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  1. Looking Glass [OnyxShard]

    “Looking Glass” Swirling lights, strange sounds, the characters… unintelligible. “Am I ever gonna adjust to this?” thought Onyx. He thought back, had he made it this far before in the simulations? The simulations had paled in comparison to the reality of what he was attempting. Onyx remembered when he and Darkiran had first discovered, what they had both come to refer to as “The Chair,” in a captured Swarm base. Only after closer examination did they realize the true potential of their discovery. Project Looking Glass the Swarm researchers had called it, an attempt to merge a Virtual Reality interface with networked nanobot technology. The project had been abandoned. In testing the nanobots had overwhelmed the nervous systems of the testers, rendering them in a comatose state, or worse. That had not stopped them though. They were Faceless. They believed QONQR’s technology belonged to them. The Chair had not spared the Faceless of casualties either. EIDramar, their ally, had been the first to test the chair. Onyx remembered the violent convulsions just before the end. Their attempts to resuscitate EID after his vitals had failed. But it was all for naught. He had suffered brain death. Onyx wondered how the Swarm researchers had rationalized QONQR, their supposed savior, destroying the very people trying to protect it. Onyx snickered at the paradoxical nature of Swarm ideology. He had never fallen for their “exhaulted” Dr. Kimyo’s propaganda. The Swarm were fools. Onyx stopped… What was he doing again? What was happening? And why were his thoughts so foggy? Immediately Darkiran’s warnings flew back to him. It had been just before he had connected to the chair. “Too many people have been lost researching this tech. The minute you notice things slipping away from you, you’ve got a minute or two at best before it’s too late to bring you back.” The ominous warning cleared Onyx’s thoughts just long enough. “Focus… just focus” he said to himself, as he cleared his mind, his surrounds stabilized. He could make out the characters now. STAGE 5 The sharp text floated above the portal directly in front of him. This was the last stage in the program he had written, he could do this. Soon after he entered he saw a flash of green whizzing about in the distance, his last target no doubt. He ran after it, keenly aware of just how little time he had left. How to destroy it? There’s no way I can catch up to it at this rate, thought Onyx. The weapons he had collected in previous stages didn’t have the range to hit it from this distance. “I don’t have time for this!” He exclaimed, as he continued his sprint towards the rapidly moving green mass. Then he saw it, out of the corner of his eye. A few meters away on a platform sat a device he had yet to encounter in the program. He changed course with a renewed sense of urgency and prayed it was something he could use. As he approached he could see the device more clearly. Explosives? He hadn’t programmed explosives. Obviously QONQR had had a few ideas of its own for him. Just as he leaped up onto the platform his surroundings started to fade again. This was it, he was out of time. It was now or never. No time to place the explosives, no time to strategize. He hit the detonator. The blast threw him into the air as the flames engulfed him and just as it was all fading away he could see the green mass was destroyed. He had won. “I knew this was a mistake!” Darkiran shouted, at the now blank monitor of the terminal from which he had been monitoring Onyx’s progress. Tears welled up in his eyes, as he began to mourn what he believed was surely the loss of his friend. To his surprise the terminal responded. “He volunteered for this, he knew the risks…” the words emotionless, digitized, the hallmark of Prometheus. [Part II]