Marching to glory
Life was nothing but death and destruction. Badly wounded man had only gloomy thoughts when he was lying among broken swords, pilums and shields. He could hear around him loud mourning when dying men were shouting out their pain. But this man – Roman warrior of tenth legion called Marcus – felt nothing anymore. He was soon to enter into the world of Orcus. He knew it. Soon he would hail the God of death. Marcus could still remember all the fights he had been. Those battles were too many and therefore he did not anymore care if he was to die or not. He have had it enough. He remembered how many times he had marched towards new battles – towards eternal glory! And inside he knew that all those endless wars were happening because rich nobles wanted always more and more. And poor men like he were just worthless buttons in the game. Much of his blood had already flown into ground and he was looking pale. He had no more strength to move – he just waited Orcus to come and get him. He did not care anymore. Yes – this was famous Philippoi. This was battlefield were Octavian and Anthony took the empire of Rome and he – Marcus – took just death.
Marcus felt that he was soon losing his consciousness and his mind was feeling blur. He could not have any more clear thoughts and he felt that something was entering into his mind. Maybe Orcus. He had to close his eyes because he felt so tired. But then he experienced strange feeling. First it was like blinking star in the darkness of his mind. Then the star in front of his closed eyes became bigger and stronger. Finally it fulfilled all his mind and he felt like his brains would blow away. He grasped air into his lungs feeling scared and he felt something entering inside him. He was experiencing strange new phenomena that he could not understand. Was dying like this he thought with his last mental strength? In peculiar way years of action flew through his brains and he felt familiar feelings – like his consciousness was reaching happenings from the path of his life and picking those from some bigger mind. Yes – this had to be the mind of Orcus he thought. Short moment – a really short moment – he felt that he had experienced all this earlier. Or was it later? Anyway this all was familiar for him. And he felt like years were traveling inside his head like speed of light. And suddenly he felt to be in other environment. Faraway somewhere else. He felt like laying on the table under bright light and he thought he had new memories – but still familiar. But still he was so tired and dying. With his last strength he opened his eyes and saw strange looking fellow standing beside him and looking him with extremely blue eyes. Was this a man from another world, he thought for a second? Maybe from world of death? Or heaven? But now he felt too tired and he had to close his eyes. Suddenly he lost his consciousness for now…
Haven’t we been here before?
Time was going forward second by second when dying man was lying on caretaking level where he was placed. A rasping sound of breath took place every time when dying man took air into his lungs. Now and then he let out weak mourning because his pains where growing too high. From upwards cold eyes were monitoring this dying man and electric blue eyes made notices and calculations of man’s condition. And everything was recorded in creature’s mind for later use – if needed. A strong electric current was shining from those metallic blue eyes of that creature. It could plainly understand what was happening – a human unit was facing it’s end. Even though dying as an incident was too miraculous for this creature to be understood. The creature – made from different kind of artificial parts – knew that this unit was in the end of its service life. It could no more be fixed. Creature understood by plain logic that this unit – called human Marcus – was taking his last breaths. Then this body was to be lost forever and it could never again be repaired. This strange difference departed these minds – a human and robot mind – so much from each others. This man – Marcus – could not be repaired and he – an artificial robot – could always be repaired and even updated better. If he – a robot called Alexander – could have had feelings, he would have felt sorry for dying man. But as a robot he did not feel anything. All his feelings were just senses of strong electric force field currents. And the despair and love had just a different kind of force current. Alexander had known this man for now several months and he had learned many things about him – about human Marcus.
He had learned something about man’s many-sided feelings. This odd mechanism that made it so difficult for Alexander to understand human beings. There were much strange kind of conflicts between man’s inner feelings and thoughts. Because Alexander was a very highly developed robot, he was able easily to penetrate inside thoughts of Marcus – as he had done many times in the past for all humans. This was for Alexander normal kind of communication because he was a mind reading robot. He could also easily communicate with his fellow robots and superiors without speaking or printed records. This ability of mind reading had been very successful for robots when they had built their world from a scratch. After the great war of planets for some hundreds years ago, they had started to create their own peaceful world. As everybody knew there was nothing as deceptive as human beings and human minds. For money and success they were able to destroy and sell anything – and broke their promises. As also Marcus had been once deceived by his fellow countrymen. This unhappy past had shaped the good heart, thoughts and will of Marcus. Alexander had also witnessed the good deeds that man finally did – even though there was no reason for those. Alexander could never understand the totally illogical chain of human decisions and emotions that finally led to human action. And when Marcus took action he usually defended good people and was even able to sacrifice himself – like now had happened. And now he was doomed because of others. But he – Alexander – was a robot and he could not understand humans. Everything was to him a logical chain of decisions – reasons and results. Emotional solutions were far above Alexander’s capabilities. And he was happy for that because he knew what evil was coming from emotional thinking.
He also knew that Marcus had envied him – a robot. He could have laughed to it if he could do it in human manner. But he could not but only in mechanical way with no color in sound. His laugh was a mechanical action without any reason behind it. Therefore it was useless in this moment. But Alexander could also understand Marcus in his logical way of robot thinking. Human emotions, search of love and affection has brought only misery for Marcus and he had been abandoned by his own. Betrayed and abandoned. So it was not a wonder that man had wished to take apart all feelings from his heart. Because his life had been mainly misery, he had hoped to be as cold-blooded as robots – only cold reasoning and mechanical parts and electronic current. For what good was there to be reached in human world? Still Alexander was looking silently this dying man. Robot Alexander was his last contact to world of humans after pass to eternity. Alexander looked the mangled body which was nearly impossible to recognize as to human body – it was merely a bloody mess. The legs of Marcus were partly torn apart and broken in many pieces. His waist and inner organs were partly damaged and he had lost a lot of blood. Only the advanced robot technique had given him some more time. And it was a wonder that he overall was alive when Alexander found him inside the ship wreck. The space ship he had been flying, had been brutally smashed against ground after being chased by criminal people – his fellow countrymen. They have been paid to kill Marcus in this robot world because no human government could dare to do that. And they wanted to prevent Marcus for giving the solution to the mess that whole world was drifting slowly – towards a new great war of the worlds. In a strange way but typical of him, Marcus had found the solution to prevent this becoming war. He had searched the key from somewhere else than others and found it in the place where no other could have believed. He had explored space and planets already for decenniums after being thrown out from human societies and worlds. So he had lot of secret knowledge which proved now to be significant.
So spending most of his life as a stranger drifting in space he knew more than others. There he had found years ago the key which could prevent the destructive war between human and robot worlds. Source of precious mineral that robot world needed so desperately to develop further. This mineral was the key matter in political conflict that worlds were drifting to. Human worlds tried to prevent Robot Empire to receiving this mineral to prevent their development further. It was purely question of power – and human worlds were afraid of might of robot worlds and they envied the success of robots. But especially some men wanted to conquer new planets from robots to make human worlds more powerful. These men were insatiable in their greed for money and power, which led them to hunt Marcus down. So they have given a reward for bounty hunters from head of Marcus and declared him as an outlaw. And finally some space pirates had been lucky to ambush him and shooting his worn space ship down. So they completed their mission and they were already in their trip to collect their reward. But still this all took place in deep robot empire and inside their planet system. And even though Marcus was now dying, he had been able to give his secret information to Alexander – the map which led to rare mineral mine. After all Alexander was a mind reading robot. And after arriving to the wreck of ship of Marcus, he had been able to just in few seconds read all information from brains of Marcus. Especially because Marcus had opened his mind freely to Alexander. How lucky robots were to find Marcus in that crushed space ship so soon! Now Marcus was dying but his deed would save the world from new war – even though he felt now himself more towards robot worlds and did not care anymore human worlds.
The robot Alexander was still looking the dying Marcus when more seconds went by. He could see but especially sense that this man was now coming to edge of his life. Some odd artificial sensors in his mind and body told that the broken body of Marcus was sending more and more pain and man could not take it anymore. Alexander felt that Marcus heart was beating weaker and conscious mind of Marcus – or what was left of it – was starting to drift into empty darkness. Robot Alexander watched and watched dying man with his cold eyes and had no feelings but just estimated man’s condition. Since eleven month Alexander had been the guide and support of Marcus in this robot world. The world that was populated with some millions of different kind of robots. It was an artificial world with several planets that once were empty. But during years robots have been conquering those planets and little by little changed hostile world to some kind of new world. Because robots were robots they did not need the same circumstances than human beings. And because these robots have once been built to work for humans, also robot worlds had usually suitable atmosphere for humans. So with time robots have been able to turn new worlds as flourishing paradise which had also enchanted Marcus. But as nothing could be hidden from Alexander, he also knew and had understood that from some peculiar human reason Marcus felt especially strong for one robot. Again if he could laugh he would have laughed to this love. When this thought came to Alexander’s brain system his mouth indeed turned to little smile.
So was every human a mystery. As Marcus had sometimes amused himself by playing his small trumpet in late evenings, he had also some other human weaknesses. Trumpet playing has been years his habit in dark, cold and lonely evenings in distant space. When Alexander had listened his trumpet playing, he had sensed so much feelings inside the mind of Marcus that it make him wonder. Why this odd trumpet playing was so important for man and raised so high feelings inside this man. Robots were logical and even though they could understand different rhythms and even appreciate those, they could not enjoy from sounds as humans did. There was a difference in creativeness. Human creativeness was emotional and robots logical. But when Marcus played his trumpet, he had often been thinking and missing his former love – the young woman that once loved him. Or at least he had thought so. Already long ago this woman has betrayed him behalf of other man. But still he had been missing her and it had always been an open wound in his heart. And he could never mend it. But as much feelings as Alexander had sensed in Marcus, when he was playing his trumpet, he had found love in man’s heart in certain occasions. Those moments were when man had spent some hours with Aurelia. Sometimes they have spent time together when Aurelia had asked it – not often but sometimes. As usual nearly all robots were illustration of natural people and so was also Aurelia. Once all robots were built by humans to be their own picture. As much as Alexander was an illustration of servant man, Aurelia was an illustration of a pretty nobel woman. And indeed Aurelia was looking as a middle sized beautiful woman with blond long hair and hazel brown eyes. But that was not all – she was also a queen of seven robot planets and Alexander was one of his servants. From first glimpse Marcus had felt that he had not seen anything as beautiful as Aurelia – ever! When Marcus met first time Aurelia, he had tried to look cool and stony, but with no luck. Of course in this encounter both robots could read Marcus mind as an open book. And both robots would have laughed again if they could have, because they understood how Marcus was fighting inside his mind. He tried so much not to show his love towards Aurelia. The big difference with human and robot worlds was this special kind of channel of communication which human’s could not reach – an inner channel with no words but just thoughts.
Marcus had first met robots and their world because he had so desperately tried to find means for surviving. So he had created some connections to robot worlds and sold some ordinary goods for them. After some years they had a routine relation where Marcus got some money from this trade route for his living. But difficult times came and dark clouds of war came then above the sky. Suddenly he had been rested in a space station owned by robot, when war was to begin. So they have captured him when he delivered some goods to them as usual. They took him first in big hearing where some robot nobels where asking questions and threatening him. These nobels – mainly kind of war lords of their empires – wanted to know all the plans of human worlds. War is coming they said and you gonna tell us what we want. But the planet where he was arrested was belonging to a certain empire – a tribe of robots – which origin where in old dead human culture. They called their empire as the “world of seven planets”. They were more moderate instead of being violent and so Aurelia had asked him to have a private meeting with Alexander beside him. And as a woman she had asked kindly whether Marcus could help them. So he had answered all her questions and finally they had made an agreement. With this agreement Marcus had promised to help robot worlds and Aurelia had given Alexander to his support. So it all started. And Marcus had felt joy for serving Aurelia. During their co-operation he had spent some time with Aurelia – had some dinners and just spent loose time with her in palace garden. They had been talking a lot about their worlds and differences between them. Aurelia wanted to understand better humans. And Marcus had also expressed many other thoughts to Aurelia. One of them was how he wished to be a robot – with no feelings and no pain. He had said it as a light thought but Aurelia had felt that inside his heart man really wanted that. And she could understand why. But all this had started eleven months ago. And now he was dying. This would be his end…
Time was ticking forward as last blood drops were still slowly running out from broken veins of Marcus. Alexander watched silently dying man. This was the end of human unit Marcus. Now when the end was near Marcus opened his eyes yet once slowly and spoke to Alexander with weak desperate voice.
“Don’t let her see me like this.”
“I don’t want to look like a mess in her eyes.”
“She would not understand it – this is so human.”
“Burn my body soon after I am gone – please!”
And besides his voice Alexander felt a strong current in his electronic brains. It was the silent request of Marcus to burn his dead corpse fast after the end. It was the last wish of Marcus…
And Alexander felt that it was just now questions of seconds before man was dead.
But same time as he watched the lonely tears in Marcus eyes slowly dropping downwards, he felt the enormous fear of man’s heart when moment of death was finally there. Alexander had felt this earlier and he could never stop wondering why these human units felt so much fear when they were dying. But it was probably because they were unique, he deducted. Never again there was going to be another one like Marcus. With him, all his thoughts, ideas and character would die forever. But he – robot Alexander – could always be built again and replaced. Maybe that was the reason why humans felt so much fear – they were mostly worthless units but still irreplaceable.
Alexander felt how the mind of Marcus was now weakening and starting to scatter. Same time he began to feel the presence of a much greater mind. He knew well this mind and knew that his Queen and master Aurelia was entering the room – she was already in the waiting hall. In two seconds door opened swiftly when a beautiful blond haired queen walked with dignity towards the caretaking level where Marcus lay. She was dressed impressively as a queen but not with an arrogant style. She watched dying man and saw still some tears in man’s eyes. She wondered that odd habit and felt how man’s will still was struggling some moments before entering into the eternal darkness. Silently both robots stood side by side without words or movements. For them this was a moment like any other – but for Marcus the final and most heartbreaking end. These robots had no feelings, so they did not need to feel sorrow for this wretched unit. Brown and blue eyes of robots were shining brightly in the dark room when they stood besides dying man – cool as ice. After couple seconds Alexander felt her queen’s thoughts entering into his mind and asking him.
“What do you say, my friend.”
“What should we do with him?”
“Is he worth of eternal universe?”
Without turning his head but watching still straight the man, Alexander answered soon with his thoughts. He had been thinking this already earlier for some time.
“I think he is, my queen.”
“After all he saved so many units from destruction.”
“Also our empire – empire of robots – would have suffered a lot if war had broken.”
“Probably we would have won the war but there is no way of being certain.”
“And in the end – he had that odd feeling for you, my queen.”
“He loved you very much – whatever that means.”
“I know he would have given his life for you, my queen.”
“And in the end – I guess – he did it only for you – only for you!” Alexander finished his thoughts.
And in her electronic brains Aurelia deducted it also so. Her hazel brown eyes were shining brightly when he remembered some moments with Marcus. She remembered how she had felt the strange feeling in Marcus heart when he had looked her. Even though man had always wanted to look cool – but with little luck. In her way she appreciated this feature in mind of Marcus because she understood that Marcus was a humble man.
Alexander remembered how other robot lords and nobles in their empire had treated Marcus harshly when he was captured nearly year ago. They have tortured him first and threatened his life. They have sworn to empty his mind with their electric torture equipments, if they don’t get all the information of attacking plans of human worlds. But then Queen Aurelia had proposed a different approach. Why don’t they ask his help and persuade him to their side. After all Marcus had nothing to gain from human worlds – he was an outcast. And so she had received all information from Marcus when she had asked nicely. And even more. When they have been discussing with Marcus he had proposed another solution – even better solution than war and war machines. Because Marcus had remembered that he had once – years ago – found the mineral that robots were seeking so desperately. If he could find this his place again from his memory, there was no more reason for war. Robot Empire would receive all needed minerals to build their sensitive control system of robot brains. Marcus was not certain right away if he still could find the place. But he promised to work hard to find this planet and this old abandoned mine. So he had explored space and planets for some months until he found what he was searching. And it solved everything nicely. After that discovery human worlds could not anymore extort robot worlds with that precious metal they needed so much. But just that precious mineral had cost the life of Marcus when the hired space killers succeeded to shot him down on his journey back to realm of seven planets. Alexander had rescued him from burning spaceship but for body of Marcus there was no rescue anymore. Now he was dying. But when the end was there Marcus did not felt anymore sorrow for his destruction but saw it as natural continuation of his life. Life had always been him heavy and merely pain. All this came to mind of Alexander and Aurelia – they already knew the thoughts of this man. They know that this man was unselfish and pure of heart in his misery. And he did not want to destroy or hurt other beings because of his own unhappy life.
Without turning their faces to each others, robots shared still couple thoughts and watched dying man when last signs of Marcus mind was still remaining in his brains. Finally Queen Aurelia – the empress of seven robot planets – turned his face towards Alexander and made her decision. Alexander felt at once the decision and bowed his head slightly to the queen as good servant was expected. He felt good for queen’s decisions – or would have felt if he would have been a human. It was merely knowledge that this was the right deed. And in that moment something started to work in this peculiar automatic robot building. And when both robots were watching each other’s a very strong electrical current filled the room. Still both robots watched each other’s and one could nearly see when data bites filled the air in the room. And both robots concentrated their might to joint endeavor and their eyes were glowing from bright light.
And then Marcus sigh his last breath – he was dead.
Somewhere in cellars of buildings nearby something started to happen. A vast space full of laying units, lie in peace with good order. One by one units lay in rows and columns. These units were made from artificial materials – from electric components, some metallic parts, some plastic and some from living soft tissue. Like from silent order one of them started to move in track towards special spot. When it reached the target spot it was automatically connected to different equipments controlled by simple automatic robots. Some tight pipelines were also connected to this unit and liquids started to run into its veins. Some minutes went on and body was filled with several liquids and then the unit was given a strong electronically impulse. Suddenly the unit opened its eyes but still it was looking with empty eyes upwards. This unit had two legs and hands and a torso like human being. Then this unit started to reshape according input it was receiving from database of server nearby. It’s nose grow little sharper and it hands get shorter. However legs were little bit getting longer and thick brown hair started to grow to unit’s head. Eyes got very green and lips red as human’s had. This was a totally new version of robot world – PC-Q6. It was able to adapt all human features and also working as humans did in ordinary life – unless otherwise programmed. It had superior memory capacity and many brilliant properties compared to humans. When the torso was adjusted suitable compared to given data, the system started to push data into unit’s memory. Unit was given all data concerning universe and all needed talents concerning physics and mathematics. And last but not least the memory was filled with some special data, which normally never was used when new robots were created for different purposes. This unit received special memory – past experiences, feelings and knowledge – of special human being. This all meant that something very special was to be created here – a robot with human senses. This was highly irregular and robot rules forbid it. Robots did not want to have human senses to disturb and pollute decisions making. However this was a different case and order was given from Queen herself.
Finally everything was there. After six hours of adjustments and input data, the unit was ready to start its new life and work. New robot was born. It opened its eyes again and stood up from level it had laid. It took steps forward as surely knowing its destination. It walked near exit door from this special hall, opened the door and went forward. There it met two robots who stopped it and started to examine this new unit. They felt satisfied and finally asked.
“Who are you?” like make it sure everything is ok.
“I am Marcus, the new envoy and adviser of the queen of seven planets”.
The robots nodded and felt satisfied. So Marcus nodded to them and started his journey to palace walking through many corridors.
A big meeting
One week and two days had already gone from death of human Marcus – the man who was flesh and bones. Many things have happened after that and everything seemed to take more peaceful course in space. Because Robot Empire had found an isolate small planet with lot of that priceless mineral it needed, there was no need for war anymore. They took that isolate planet to their control and mounted their army on it. Now human world had nothing with to extort robot worlds and they saw their chances gone. The original plan of human leaders had been to prevent robots manufacturing their brain systems and thus prevent them to be more numerous. Plan was simple – just to extort robot world with that precious mineral. Because before all known sources of that mineral were existing in human worlds where they had strong defenses, robots would not had taken those mines easily. And when they refused to sell the mineral that robot world needed, the relations were tightening to extreme. Only possible way for robots was then to occupy those planets – and that was the reason human world needed to start the war. That would have led to uncertain future, but humans were greedy enough to take the risk of war.
But now it was different. Robot Empire had all it needed and it was totally independent of humans. And the human leaders were too weak to strike first – they had to yield. And so this day came when they entered the main planet of robot world. In the glorious big palace they were to agree new peace treaty with robot Empire. So the envoys with prime minister and chancellor entered with their bodyguards into palace. When the human leaders were standing there in midst of opening ceremony the prime minister nudged chancellor and said quiet.
“Look – that man near the Queen of seven planets.”
“It looks like I know him – indeed it is that cursed Marcus.”
Chancellor sharpened his eyes and admitted that it was true.
“What the hell he is standing alongside robots?” he whispered quietly.
“That traitor!” man hissed for angry.
“Didn’t our pirates say that they killed him!” he continued.
“To what is this life changing? One can’t anymore trust even for hired criminals” prime minister growled.
“Now that bastard has sold us to robots.”
“He must be the one who found the precious metal and gave it to robots instead of us and prevented war between worlds”.
“Now we can never beat robot worlds again…” prime minister nearly wept.
“What a bastard” chancellor repeated.
But when human lords were sharing their evil thoughts, Queen of seven planets heard what they were whispering. Not so much hearing but she was sensing their thoughts. Her ability of reading minds was extra strong. And she had smiled if she had known why to do it. Now she was just satisfied for her earlier actions, which proved that she had once again been right. Still her hazel brown eyes were glowing cold as winter day without any smile. But she opened her secret amplitude of messages for certain person – not anyone else. Because of Queen’s special talents she could send messages so that nobody else could feel it but the receiver. And now she was reaching her new advisors mind and found it easily at once. And she said in his mind to his new loyal friend.
“So Marcus – is this what you wanted?”
“To be a human-robot?”
“To serve Queen of seven planets and help her!”
“Are you now happy as a robot with human mind?” queen asked in his mind.
For her this mind control was very easy even now. She could do several things at same time. When she was now listening earth envoys and talking with his co-rulers in robot world, she spoke same time in his mind with Marcus. And she heard Marcus answering clearly to her mind.
“Yes my queen. This is all I wish and need.”
“To live without fear and pain – and to serve you.”
“This is much more than I could ever expect in my earlier life.”
“I am very happy that you saved me and my memory.”
“Even though my memories are heavy, they let me now understand how happy I am.”
And queen sensed clearly how strong feelings Marcus had towards her – she knew he loved her. Even though, she could not understand why. In level of feelings she could not see why this man did that. But she could deduct that Marcus had found in her something precious and some image of his human dreams. And she had nothing against it that Marcus felt so strongly towards her. She knew it was only human and for him an innocent joy. Therefore she had given Marcus a special gift that nobody had – and also a gift from his sacrifice to avoid the war. Marcus was now the first of his kind in this world and Queen needed his talents. Marcus was the new type of human robots – a new future! He could feel and act as human but without human pain and weaknesses. His body was a robot body and could be replaced and updated. But his mind was still the mind of old human Marcus. But this human mind was not anymore feeling pain of living. It was light and it was free. And he was practically immortal!
“Nice to hear that Marcus!” Queen said in her secret mind channel.
And she had smiled to Marcus, if she had been alone with him – but now it was not suitable.
“You will serve me well – I know it” she said warmly to Marcus.
And same moment Marcus felt the perfect satisfaction flowing over his mind and body. It was the mental kiss of queen. At this moment Queen gave him her approval over his character and her thanks that Marcus had helped her to solve this gloomy threat – to prevent the great war. It was like queen had pet his forehead with her fingers when she gave her approval to him. Marcus felt so warm and joyful when the mind of Queen embraced his mind for several seconds with all queen’s mental force. And Marcus smiled at last fully as a happy man. He was free from pain of the human world. And queen felt his happiness and felt she did the right decision when she saved his mind. Marcus could advise her well in relations with humans and maybe teach her something new about life. Because in the end all life was for learning and this applied both humans and robots. Nothing would always last the same and all the time years brought something new. And for robots the human mind was always a mystery…
The man opened his eyes slowly. First he saw everything so blur that he thought he was in the world of dead soldiers. When trying to understand what has happened he heard voice?
“Soldier – try to rest now.”
“We saved you and you are in field hospital.”
“We will take care of you”
“After some months you will be fine”.
And then he remembered. He had been laying wounded in fields of Philippoi and the he had lost his con-sciousness. He understood that he had been dreaming then a strange dream. In his dreams there had been strange creatures and a beautiful woman called Aurelia. But he was here… in Greece. And he had been just saved from battle of Philippoi. He was a lucky one to survive with so severe wounds. Yes. Life had to continue and it had not yet his time to leave. But maybe it will be next time. Until his time comes he will serve in tenth legion for Rome and stand with his comrades. And he let his eyes to close and he fell asleep…