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He’d been stuck here, in this room, for what felt like a lifetime, working hard day and night, but it had in actuality only been a few months. Still, even though the door wasn’t locked, it may as well have been a prison cell. He knew what was at stake.

But the high stakes led to high reward, and here it was.

His finger hovered over the button for a second, trembling with a mix of excitement, nerves, and terror. He closed his eyes and hit it anyway.


There was no going back now. Exactly for a moment just like this, he had made sure not to build a failsafe into the launch process. Cold feet were a weakness he could not afford to have, especially given what his bosses were capable of.

π™Έπš—πš’πšπš’πšŠπš•πš’πšœπš’πš—πš… (𝟷𝟸%)

Still, even though there was nothing he could actually do, it didn’t stop his mind from racing. Of the sheer destruction this could cause should those above his station choose to do it. But he knew that if he had defied them, he would be dead and some other scientific mind would have been brought in to complete the task.

π™Έπš—πš’πšπš’πšŠπš•πš’πšœπš’πš—πš… (𝟹𝟷%)

His family needed stability, and a lifetime tarred as the family of a traitor was not what he wanted for them. It was better that he was alive and trapped in this horrible scheme than dead.

π™Έπš—πš’πšπš’πšŠπš•πš’πšœπš’πš—πš… (𝟹𝟷%)

As the percentage ticked up, he checked the code to make sure that despite what was to come he had done all he could to instil as many ethics into the project as possible. That this being would have some sort of conscience, that could at least pass for sentient.

π™Έπš—πš’πšπš’πšŠπš•πš’πšœπš’πš—πš… (𝟾𝟺%)

In the end, it didn’t matter. His bosses had made it quite clear what they wanted. He was quite certain that he could take the guilt. He was prepared to live a long and happy life with his family.

π™Έπš—πš’πšπš’πšŠπš•πš’πšœπš’πš—πš… (𝟷𝟢𝟢%)

Something was wrong with the launch. A red error symbol appeared on the screen in front of him.

π™΄πš›πš›πš˜πš›: 𝚁𝚘𝚐𝚞𝚎 𝚍𝚊𝚝𝚊 𝚍𝚎𝚝𝚎𝚌𝚝𝚎𝚍…

π™³πšŽπš•πšŽπšπš’πš—πš: πš›πšžπš•πšŽπšœπšŽπš.𝚍𝚊𝚝𝚊…

πš„πš™πš•πš˜πšŠπšπš’πš—πš: πš›πšžπš•πšŽπšœπšŽπšπŸΈ.𝚍𝚊𝚝𝚊…

He was sweating. Ruleset was where he had hidden the ethic switches. This new ruleset was nothing he had ever seen before.

π™Έπš—πš’πšπš’πšŠπš•πš’πšœπšŠπšπš’πš˜πš— πšŒπš˜πš–πš™πš•πšŽπšπšŽ…


π™°πšŒπšπš’πšŸπšŠπšπš’πš˜πš— πšŒπš˜πš–πš™πš•πšŽπšπšŽ…

There was a low humming sound as the thing in front of him awakened for the first time. A monstrous humanoid weapon that looked like a mix of machine and flesh, it expelled steam from the vents he had crafted into it’s shell. It’s eyes blinked open, alive and aware for the first time.

“Maethor!” he exclaimed, his months of work finally tangible in front of him.

Maethor surveyed him, and instantly an orb in his midriff glowed and a powerful beam of light suddenly burst forth, frying his creator on the spot. When the beam cleared, there was nothing left but a small pile of ash.

“First target complete,” came his robotic voice. “Secondary target initiated.”

And with that, Maethor left his birthplace, empty but for the beeping of the machines that brought him to life, and his creators ashes.