Excelion blinked his digital eyes. Several lines of code shot through his head; designations, locations, operations and more. The Droedar's collective mind, The Matrix, was a lot to take in, but his Memory Indicator and CPU were fresh; the Engineers had ensured that. His audio receivers on either side of his head buzzed and whirred for a moment, and a pair of cooling vanes just above them hissed as the delicate systems vented off heat. He slowly sat upright, his adamantium endoskeleton groaning a little as he did so, and looked at himself in the mirror on the end of the platform. Excelion seemed to resemble a police robot from Chappie, save for the spherical blue core in his chest, but he didn't catch the connection until the modern movie files came up. Of course, what seemed most interesting to him is the two other figures standing next to him; both looked so much smoother and pristine than him. Deep down, he wondered if he would ever be like them.
"State your designation, newcomer." said the one with argon-purple eyes. Excelion took a moment to process the words, but soon he knew what Unit Number 243 wanted.
"Droedar Unit Number 626." He said mechanically, a 'jaw' of sorts flexing to match the words spoken. He was a little surprised to hear the second of them speak with a very similar voice to his own: "Ah, good. He passed the I.D. test with flying colors!" Excelion looked around; there were no colors flying except for the glowing fixtures all around. The red-eyed figure seemed to spot this. "Heh heh... That's a figure of speech, Excelion. You'll pick it up eventually. Come along; we can educate you further as we go to the fitting station." Excelion smiled as best as his cubic mouth would allow, and he clambered down from his assembly table and started to follow the two figures, all the while looking at the ground to see if he could find other figures of speech to pick up...
"I'm sure you're curious as to what you are, Excelion." said Fidelis as the three of them started to get close. "Well, allow me to answer what questions you have; We are the Droedar, a race of self-replicating androids created by our All-Mother to model the success of humans, who live across the galaxy from us. We store all that we know about them in The Matrix, which is a giant version of the little Sparks that we have. It is a gargantuan machine that constantly changes depending on how much data is within it, and it needs to be maintained from the outside. That's where Droedar classes come in; Droedar with Green Sparks are called Engineers. They're there to maintain the Matirx's sustainment functions, as well as assemble and test new equipment and starships. You, Excelion, are a Guardian; a warrior of sorts. You are there to help defend the Droedar's home from invasions by either indigenous monsters from the rusty lands or from hostile aliens from above. There's multiple subvariants of each, too. You're a Bladedancer, which incorporates music into your fighting style. And there's tons of others that you'll see, too."
Excelion was taking note of all this in his head. "I see." he eventually replied. But then he saw something odd. "Fidelis, Argus... why are your Sparks not Blue or Green?"
"Ah, now he actually questions. Test number two passed..." Fidelis whispered to Argus, before turning to Excelion. "Argus is a Sentinel, signified by the Purple Spark. He's a very rare variant that only appears twice out of every 500 Droedar to be assembled and activated. He bears properties of both Guardians and Engineers. As do I, as a Red Sparked Founder."
"In fact, Excelion," Argus continued for Fidelis. "He's called a Founder because he was one of the first 16 Droedar to ever be built!" Excelion marveled at this, but not for long; his CPU didn't have the capacity for it, and his cooling vanes steamed off the excess heat. The feeling made Excelion feel crummy. "Cheer up, little droid. We'll get you checked out at the fitting station, and get you better parts if needed. After all, no Stage 1 is perfect off the line."
They soon arrived at the fitting station, and Excelion saw all sorts of tools and items along the many racks. His display lit up as he took in the data and found matches; Socket Wrench, Ectothermal Scalpel, Rivet Driver, Plate Shaper, Aetherium Saber...
One of these things is not like the others...
" sang the song in Excelion's memory banks. He looked at the Saber, styled like a Lightsaber from Star Wars. "Why is this one on the tool rack?"
"I never said utility tools were the only things down here." chuckled Argus. "The fitting station covers both Engineers AND Guardians! And I believe this is one of your weapons, Excelion. There's another just like it around here somewhere..." He began to revolve the rack around like an airport carousel, many more tools and weapons floating by. At last, another Aetherium Saber appeared, and Excelion instinctively picked it up. His thumb felt around the handle, and suddenly, a circular button hidden in the handle pressed down, and a fluctuating red blade emerged from the emitter, humming like a bumblebee and occasionally crackling like an open flame.
"Whoa! Careful with that!" Argus shouted, and Excelion quickly shut off the Saber. "A lot of these tools are sensitive to energy fluctuations from external sources. But rest assured, you'll get a chance to test these blades in the next chamber." A door on the opposite wall opened wide at those words, revealing an even larger chamber with rings encircling blank-eyed androids with black and yellow colors. "Okay, Excelion. Step into one of those rings and face the test drone in the middle of it. You'll know when the test starts."
Excelion did so, activating the two sabers in his hands. They still hummed and crackled far out of sync... but why did that matter to him suddenly? He wasn't sure why it had occurred to him....
Then he heard it; a tapping sound from not far off. It was a steady, rhythmic sound, and Excelion heard his sabers start to buzz like some sort of 8-bit EDM backup track. He could feel something ticking inside of himself, keeping up with the rhythm, and his hips were moving now too. Suddenly, without thinking, he dashed at the test drone and began to hack and slash at it in time with the simplistic music. Each hit didn't seem to do any damage whatsoever, but the pattern in which he struck it seemed so... artistic. The rhythm stopped, and Excelion felt himself slacken off. "And that's the quirk with Bladedancers." said Argus a moment later. "They use a mix of rhythm, harmony and melody to time their strikes and other movements, alternating between the three to throw opponents off."
"What if there is no music to fight with?" asked Excelion. Neither Argus nor Fidelis replied for a minute; instead, they turned away and spoke in lowered voices. Excelion extended his audio receivers, trying to pick up on what they were saying...
"I didn't expect him to ask that question so quickly." said Argus. "What should we tell him?"
"I don't know, Argus." the Founder replied. "He could try to use other sounds that bear a rhythm to them, but I'm not sure how effective that would be."
The Stage 1 sat there for a moment, processing what the two other Droedar had said. Other sounds...
He tapped his foot as he considered these words.tap tap tap tap
Excelion could only wonder where these "other sounds" could come from...tap tap tap tap
He paused... then started tapping his foot again, this time listening close.tap tap tap tap
"...A rhythm!" Excelion said triumphantly, causing the two superiors to whirl on the spot. Already, he could hear the ticking inside himself again, and he begins to hack and slash at his dulled opponent once more. He adds eighth notes to the rhythm, doubling his attack rate. Suddenly, his sabers stop crackling and go full EDM, pulsating in time with his strikes, and as he goes for sixteenth notes, the blades start to change from red to scarlet, then orange, then tangerine, then a bright, brilliant yellow-
Argus's shout caused Excelion to halt immediately, looking straight at the now-diced test android. A wave of regret passed through him, quickly overtaxing some of his cerebral circuits and triggering a mental shutdown. Now he simply stands upright, a pitiful look on his face as steam gushes from his vanes and a wisp of smoke emerges from his metal scalp. "Oh, scrap. MEDIC!" Argus called out, and quickly, a group of Engineers rushed out into the test chamber. "Burned out his CPU, and perhaps a few other circuits. Get those parts replaced fast!" They nodded, and vacated the chamber with Excelion in their arms.
"He's already started to adapt his own versions of music to his fighting style at Stage 1, Fidelis." Argus and Fidelis were now heading down the hall to oversee Excelion's repairs. "Stage. ONE!
"I heard you the first time, Argus. Don't strain yourself."
"And yet he's not a Sentinel! How did he do it so quickly??"
"Well, we did
model him after my own Spark patterns. He's bound to pick up the majority of my traits."
"But to have them develop this
quickly is just..." Argus swallowed, the sound resembling a clogged vacuum unsealing. "..It's just astounding to me. I'm beginning to think he may be our next Alpha Droedar. After myself, that is."
"A speaker for the All-Mother? I knew he'd blaze through the test trials, but this may be a stretch..." His trail-off was followed up by a message popping up in his vision. RECALL!
it exclaimed, showing an icon of a very large Spark sitting in the middle of an intersection of six shafts, forming a cubic chamber around it. "Speaking of whom, she requests my presence at the moment. And given what just happened, I think I know what this is about." With that, he started off for The Matrix. Argus, on the other hand, turned his attention back to Excelion as he entered the Med Chamber. He looked down at the disassembled head of the Stage 1 being examined and reassembled with new parts. All the while, a single thought kept bugging him... What is it with you, Guardian?
OC Universe Pitch Silver walkways stretch across the city-like landscape, glistening in the blue supergiant's light. As a moon to a gas giant far away, Vector IV was a metropolis in disguise. And its inhabitants were constantly on the move, with bodies of similar hue to their surroundings, and each with a function in this society. Everything was in pristine condition; work was solid and clear, socialization was jolly, and all was well in general...
But deep down, Fidelis knew it wouldn't last. Eventually, he would have to expand the land they controlled farther out onto the rusty landscape, and that could yield all sorts of problems; rust storms, indigen troubles, perhaps even a run-in with invaders... He decided not to dwell on it. Fidelis took a deep breath, letting the iron-and-mica-heavy air fill his plasticky lungs, then let it out. His visual displays immediately lit up as data was extracted from his internal sensors. Just another b