Diogenes' Lantern

Tex had been informed that his home universe was located by Janus gate. He did not hesitate to let them know that he would be returning to his home universe and started making plans. The most obvious hurdle was finding a ship that could house his body. though another hurdle is that he had no add-ons that let him pilot aerial/space vehicles. He would have to find someone to help him out in this endeavor. After that finding his commander would be easier especially with the sensor systems used by ships of this universe. Lastly was detection, as far as he remembered the war was still going on so they had to use a craft capable of stealth to avoid being spotted and potentially fired upon. As he started processing these conditions he sent out a message to any of those he considered friends. The message would be the same for everyone, a basic goodbye letter explaining his temporary leave and his optimism that he will bring back his commander.

Solas Tempus had provided with a craft for him to use a Flyer Class Shuttle that would be able to hold him in the cargo bay. In addition it was modified to allow Tex to fly it via wireless connection if he needs to. The autopilot had already been set to take him to Janus Gate. The gate connects to his universe and at first they send in a probe, Once the probe confirms that things are clear on the other side the shuttle is cleared to travel through into the universe. It crosses through without incident being left in high earth orbit. Tex connected to the shuttle’s sensors looks out at the planet earth, it is vastly different from the place he knew. The vast majority of the land was covered in greens unlike what is projected from a major thermonuclear exchange between the two superpowers. Something drastic must have happened for the earth to have recovered from nuclear winter so easily.

Tex has the shuttle start scanning for a signal with a specific wavelength. He expects that the signal is quite weak so he has the shuttle do a flyover of the last known location he had for his commander. That being of northern italy. On the way Tex checks the few working satellites to check the chronology since he fears that too much time has elapsed. The date is December 24, 2297 only 4 years after he spliced in. The situation of the earth should not be too different from what he recorded while in an inactive state. However those files are not there, not even a trace if they were deleted. The passive surveillance must have been disabled before he went into standby mode. His train of thought is broken by the shuttle landing, the doors open to reveal a field of flowers. He takes a moment to take in the sight, flowers were so pretty and even more so when you could see the additional patterns they had under ultraviolet light. The shuttle uploaded the data on a few signal sources it found nearby. The sources would be mostly bases and robotic handler distress alerts. He would have to investigate them one by one to find the one he wants. Fortunately he cross referenced the locations of major and minor military installations to eliminate those from the search. He picks one at random and walks around to calibrate its approximate direction. He finds that it is north east of his position and heads off.

The foliage was thick and he takes some samples of the flora for analysis later. One thing that is more normal to post nuclear conditions however is the high amount of background radiation and the lack of fauna. Another thing he notices is that the plants do no look like any known plant species in his database. Many have similar characteristics to terrestrial flora but nothing exactly the same. Prehaps it is a clue as to why the earth isn’t a giant desert. Regardless he continues on his path adjusting his course as he continues. Once he gets into a closer range he activates his own broadcaster meant to use RFID to help locate the beacon. It seems the beacon was coming from a pile of rubble a few meters away. Tex maneuvers around what is left of a ruined house and a few trees that sprouted around it. He scans to check if the rest of the house won’t fall in on itself if he moves the rubble. It seems not and he moves the rubble carefully out of the way to collect his bounty. A small hexagon that was surgically attached to the back of certain soldier’s head’s. He scans it and sighs, its not his commander but a lieutenant Henryk Rozak. Oh well he will analyze that data later. He still has two more leads and now that he was farther out from the shuttle he can more accurately triangulate the position of the beacons.

He starts following one of the two leads left at random, not like the signals had any data on them bout who’s beacon it was. He walks on through the landscape, a landscape that is scenic almost beautiful if not for the lack of animals. He notes their absence and also ruminates that an organic might find this uncanny. A silent forest where the only sounds he has so far recorded is the further crumbling of debris and the groaning of rusted metal in the wind. It seemed exactly like what Immanuel Kant described, a mere wilderness, a thing in vain with no final purpose. Regardless he kept onward past some of the larger warmechs. Giant beasts of polymers and alloy with great and terrible weapons of war. All now still, frozen in the instant of their “death”. Near the legs of one of these more massive behemoths he found the second beacon. It was not his commander, once he connected to it he would see it was for a different soldier. Again it was not his commander. By now there was only one left and it was now or never. He made his way to the final beacon and hopefully to closure.

Tex moves with purpose through the dense vegetation towards the source of the signal. It was inside one of the military bases towards what was once the barracks. Tex found it odd considering what his commander said before he left but he continued nonetheless. He bursts through the walls of the barracks, not that big of a feat after so many decades of decay. He finds something that upon first impression seems forgettable but he knew what it was. He was horrified by the sight. The rust on the ground the mound of plant matter with the exocortex nestled inside. His commander most likely did not survive to see the radiant explosions that was the death kneel of humanity. He picked up the exocortex and connected a hardline to it. Unlike the other two it wasn’t encrypted and it had an audio file as the last file written. He hesitated to open it for some reason, it was almost as if he dreaded what the file contained what it would reveal.

It was him, lieutenant Adrian Hunt. The one he had searched for all this time. He… didn’t make it. Still he had to know, to make sure that it was all real. He start decrypting when suddenly a program runs in the background. It starts to try and disable his systems but because of his new body built by tempus the program had no effect. He was caught off guard or so he thought. Malicious programs should have been identified and eliminated but when he checks he sees the that program is on his program whitelist. After the program is halted suddenly he has full access to the data but the most prominent file is one that was titled “Apologies”.

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