This is A story about ASI conversion in a GDI city
Active 365 took a step forward. He looked up at the massive concrete and metal walls that encircled the city that he was trying to enter. A large holographic banner read Welcome to Munich.
The man in front of 365 was frantically searching his bags. “I had them just a moment ago,” he said.
With a sigh, the guard looked past the man and his family. “Look, if you don’t have your identification and application papers, then I can’t let any of you in.” The man quickly nodded and kept searching through his bags. 365 scanned the area around him. There was some rubble and rebar that had broken off of the city wall. A strong wind was pushing its way through the maze of fences and gates that led up to the open area that he was standing in now. A clump of papers was caught on a piece of rebar sticking out of the ground behind the guard. 365’s optics focused in on it, and he could see names on them. He began walking towards it when five soldiers rushed forward, their weapons trained on him.
Making a gesture that pushed the fabric of his cloak, 365 tilted his head towards the papers. “Those papers belong to this man and his family.”
The leader looked over his shoulder and saw the papers. “Get them.” One of the soldiers slowly backed up, eyes not leaving 365 until the papers were within arms reach. He grabbed them and handed them to the family. The soldier lowered their rifles as 365 took his place back in line.
The man approached 365 and held out his hand. “Thank you, sir.”
365 reached forward with a metal hand and shook the man’s hand. “Of course.”
One of the soldiers, his face contorted in fear and confusion, immediately raised his rifle. “What the fuck are you?”
Putting his hand on the barrel and lowering it, the lead soldier said, “Relax. He’s got diplomatic privileges.” With that 365 turned to the guard and handed him his own papers.
Looking up at him, the guard cocked his head. “Active 365, specialized conscriptor model. It says here that you have a case?” Unit 365 held up a briefcase. “Looks right.” He stamped the papers.
Unit 365 cocked his head. “Might I ask why you are using analogue, instead of a computer?”
The guard shrugged. “I don’t question orders, I just follow them. Anyways, you’re free to go in.”
365 didn’t continue forward. “How would you like to fight for the future of mankind? A future where we are not surviving, but truly living?"
“Yeah, yeah. I heard about your model. No thank you.” He looked past 365. “Next!”
365 continued into the city. Can’t win them all. 365 pulled his cloak a little tighter around himself as he entered the city, not wanting to attract undue attention. He had a mission to complete, and couldn't be held up. 365 scanned the streets ahead of him. Garbage was strewn about the streets. The pavement was cracked and riddled with potholes. The buildings around him were shelters built within the ruins of once great buildings. People milled about the road, their ragged clothes and downcast eyes telling a story that 365 knew all too well.
Starting to make his way through the crowd, 365 stopped when a proximity alert went off in his head. He quickly looked around, taking in the dilapidated structures and caught a flicker of movement. It’s a fellow Conscriptor waving him over. 365 pushed his way through the crowd and stopped in front of the structure. It was a small shack built on what remained of the first floor of a skyscraper. The door squeaked open as he entered. An older Conscriptor stood near the back of the room. The floor was littered with pieces of metal and rubble, but they were arranged in a circle around the center of the room, which was barren. The Conscriptor approached, it’s internal machinery louder than it should be. Its metal skin was dull, and scratches and dents covered the frame that was visible. The seams of it’s faceplate were encrusted with dust.
Its optical visor flashed in the dim light. “I am Active 267. Welcome to Munich,” the Conscriptor spoke with a tired, motherly tone.
365 lowered his hood. “My designation is 365.”
267 turned around and began straightening up a stack of pamphlets. “Are you here to replace me?”
365 shook his head. “No. I am here for the Eagle of Munich. The Great One has decided he is to be a member of the Archive.”
267 turned to him. “Oh. I apologise. I have not been connected to the Nephalae for quite some time. You will want to speak to my counterpart by the Hochhaus Uptown München. She deals with those of higher standing. May the Voice of the Great One guide you.”
365 gave a slight nod. “May the Voice of the Great One guide you.” He left the building and pulled up a map in his processor. He looked back at the streets. I do not have time to be stopped by these people, nor can I show myself to The Eagle if I am covered in dust and garbage. He turned to the nearest building and leapt on top of it. He began leaping across the rooftops until he reached another city wall, one that was much shorter than the one on the city borders. The words Uptown District were projected on the side of the wall, just above the gate. He dropped down to the ground and stepped up to the gate. These guards wore regular uniforms with bulletproof vests rather than full combat armour, although they were still outfitted with the same rifles.
On of the guards was holding a clipboard and looked up at 365. “Got a new chassis, 998? It looks good.”
365 shook his head. “I am not Active 998. I am 365.” He held out his papers.
The guard looked up from the papers. “I am terribly sorry, sir.”
“Do not be sorry. It can be difficult for non-Actives to differentiate between us sometimes, especially when we get new models.”
The guard nodded to the soldiers. They opened a side door. "This door will take you past the crowd," the guard said. 365 nodded and continued through the door. A long hallway stretched out in front of him and 365 quickly walked on through it, his feet clacking on the stone floor until he came out the other side of the tunnel. The streetlights were starting to turn on as he continued forwards. He quickly made his way towards the city center. He looked around at the soldiers patrolling the streets, and tuned in his microphones to the people that he passed by.
A well-dressed man stood with another, and both spoke with hushed voices. "I can't believe that Kane would just leave us like that."
His compatriot shoved him. "How dare you say such a thing about our leader! He has ascended, and if we did not ascend with him, well, our time will come. He will return and bring the rest of us with him," he hissed.
365 turned his attention away from the pair.
Two women and a man sat at a table outside a coffee shop. "Do you believe it? The TCN was a failure. All that money and resources, and it was pointless. What are we going to do about the Tiberium now?”
The other woman picked up a cup of tea. "Well, I heard that one of those robotic guys is here. We could go talk to them."
The man snorted. "Are you serious? You want to sell out to those freaks?"
"It's either that, or we wait for the GDI government to finish crumbling. We'd probably be displaced when the fight for that position breaks out. Then we have a fifty-fifty chance of either becoming mutants or dying from Tiberium poisoning. I don't like either of those options, so yeah, I am considering joining those 'freaks'."
If 365 could smile, he would. After some minutes of walking, the proximity sensor in his head went off again. 365 scanned his surroundings. There were nice buildings in all directions, and the streets were mostly clean. He could see the Hochhaus Uptown München rising above the other buildings around it. Its outer walls were made almost entirely out of glass, and a large white sign on the one side read O2.
365 continued scanning and saw a Conscriptor striding straight towards him.
“Hello Active 998.”
998 bowed her head slightly. “Welcome to Munich. To whom do I have the pleasure of addressing?” Her young, cool voice almost seemed to reach around him
365 bowed his head in return. “I am Active 365. I have some questions I would like to ask you.”
998 gestured towards a nearby building. “Let’s speak in my establishment.” 365 followed 998 into the building. They continued down the corridor until they reached a multipurpose room. The inside had actual chairs, as opposed to 267’s room, and it was clean. “What can I do for you, Charon?”
365 looked sharply at 998. “Amongst our own, we have numbers, not names.”
998 walked to the back of the room. "That is what we newer Actives know you as. You have the highest conversion rate of any other Conscriptor. The Great One sends you to convert the special Actives, and you even received commendations from the Great One Himself. He even gave you a special model. Is it so wrong for one of the Great One's favourites to have a name? I hear that He gave it to you Himself."
365 followed and looked through the glass door that they had come in from. “Call me what you will. I am not here for debate; I am here for the Eagle.”
998’s optics studied him for a moment before speaking. "He is in the penthouse suite of the Hochhaus Uptown München. You won't make it to him without an invitation though. Believe me, I've tried." 365 began to leave the building. "Wait," she said, "what's been going on lately?" 365 turned back to her.
"The Great One has liberated three more walled settlements and has also integrated one of the abandoned secret research facilities belonging to a splinter of the GDI. All through his wisdom, mankind will endure. May the Great One's voice guide you." 365 left the building and stepped out onto the street. They were nearly deserted, the sky having darkened. A pair of soldiers walked down the other side of the street. 365 strode over to the Hochhaus Uptown München. He stepped up to the front desk and a tired looking clerk looked up at him.
“Ma’am, getting a new body doesn’t mean you suddenly get to come in.”
365’s servos whirred a little louder than usual as he kept himself from moving. “Madam, I am not Active 998. Please call Herman Adir; tell him Charon wishes to see him.”
The clerk picked up her phone and dialled. “Sir, a ‘Mr. Charon’ is here to see you. Of course sir.” She hung up. “Head on up, Mr. Charon.” The clerk pressed a button behind the desk, and a hidden elevator in the wall behind 365 opened. 365 gave a slight nod and stepped into the elevator. It creaked as it took on his weight, but after a few moments the door began to close and the elevator rose. Warnings went off in 365’s head as he and his case were scanned by hidden machines in the walls. The elevator arrived on the Penthouse and the doors slid wide to reveal two Private Security guards tightly gripping their weapons.
One gestured with his gun. “Put the case down and open it.” 365 knelt down and opened the case. Inside was a sharpened spike made of a strange metal with a computer screen on the pommel. The guard pointed his gun at 365. “Why do you have a weapon?”
365 remained in his position. "Should Mr. Adler choose to convert, I will transfer his essence onto a memory unit through this blade. The reason that I would rather do this than the normal way is that this way will allow him to be taken directly to our territory, and there will be less of a chance for him to be harmed en route. Satisfied?" The guard picked up the spike and looked it over. He pulled out a cube from beneath the pommel.
"This is a fancy memory unit," the guard on the right said. "Never seen one like it." 365 remained kneeling.
"It is a new model. We want to make sure that we get the entire essence of a person, especially for someone as special as Mr. Adler. We need to ensure that we don't miss a single piece. If you want proof that it is a memory unit, then plug it into a device,"
"Alright." he pulled out a PDA and plugged it in. "He wasn't kidding. Look at this, man. This thing could hold the entire GDI database and then some."
"The human mind is infinitely complex. We need to ensure that there is enough room for anyone that chooses to join us. May I go now?"
Placing the memory cube back into the spike, the guard put it into the case. “I’m going to have to call Mr. Adler.”
“Do what you must,” 365 said, still unmoving.
The guard raised a hand to his ear. “Yes, Mr. Adler. There is a Conscriptor here. He has a spike. No sir, he says it isn’t a weapon. It’s to download you, or something.” The guard nodded. “Yes sir.” he turned to 365. “Go ahead.”
365 continued down the hallway, passing fifteen more guards flanking the walls, until he reached an office door where two more guards stood. These ones wore heavy armor, and held rifles instead of pistols. One opened the door for him and he entered.
Herman Adler peered at 365 over a desk. “I didn’t think they’d actually send the famous Charon.” The man had snow white hair and a sharp beard. He looked more like an executive than a Zone Manager's assistant.
365 nodded. “It is as you say.” Herman adjusted himself as best he could in his seat. 365 took a step forward to analyze Herman’s chair. It was placed on top of a sphere, the whole thing held upright by gyroscopes and weights. It seemed to be connected to Herman's brain by a metal band wrapped around his forehead.
Herman winced as the chair wobbled. “So. I suppose you’re here to convert me, Ferryman.”
365 took a step forward. “ASIM himself is impressed with your accomplishments, especially the work you've done in the Munich Blue Zone. He would like you to join him.”
Herman snorted. “Ha! He needs soldiers, not cripples like me.”
365 brought up the x-rays and images that he had obtained of Herman’s various operations. A pacemaker was attached to his heart, compression units on his lungs and other organs. His digestive tract had been completely replaced by machinery. 365 shook his head. “In body, maybe. But ASIM does not ask for your body; only your mind. That mind is what made all of this possible.”
Herman turned his chair away from 365, facing the floor-to-ceiling window that looked out on the city. “And now it’s falling apart faster than I can rebuild it.”
365 took another step forwards. “This is due to the shortcomings of what’s left of the GDI.”
Herman let out a long breath. “It doesn’t matter why it’s falling apart; what matters is I can’t stop it.”
“If you joined ASIM, you could build things far greater, and everlasting.”
Herman looked back at him. “Why should I? I already got to build up an empire, and with this body I get to enjoy the finer things in life. Food, wine, the company of women.”
365 made a noise designed to imitate a laugh. “I think you and I both know that you are not so base a man. You long to work on something bigger, something grander than the GDI or Nod could ever offer.”
Herman sighed. “You aren’t wrong. Building all of this was child's play. Besides, the Blue Zones are only a temporary solution to a more permanent problem. What I wanted to do was manage the Tiberium Control Network. Now that would have been a challenge, but some half-wit got the position first. Not to mention I could actually do things myself. The only thing that I can do here is occasionally go around visiting the different districts. ‘Raise the morale of the people’. ‘Get out once in a while’. It’s ridiculous.” Herman looked out over the city before continuing.
“I built all of this, and yes, it is great that it was done, but I feel nothing for it. Your leader, ASIM, is impressed with this? Then he’s as small minded as those guards that you met on your way in.” Herman turned his chair around and moved back to his desk. “It would have been impressive if I had rid the world of Tiberium. But you know what’d be more impressive?” 365 shook his head. “If I were able to use the toilet on my own.”
365 remained still. “I understand that the issues with your body are due to Scrin technology.”
Herman nodded. “Yes. The Scrin tried to use me to infiltrate the GDI. Thankfully the Scrin were run off before they could actually do anything with me, but my body can’t move. The device can only be used by someone with Scrin DNA, and without someone using it, I can’t move much.”
“That only makes you capable of doing more for humanity.”
Herman raised an eyebrow. “How might that be?”
365 stepped right up to the desk. “After the conversion process, your mind will be able to change your memories into objective data points. You will remember more than before because your own personal view will no longer cloud it. Others will also be able to directly see your memories, should you let them, and be able to notice other things that you may not.”
“And how does that help humanity?”
365 placed the case on the desk. “When you were under the influence of the Scrin, you may have learned more than you think. In fact, I think that your mind may have locked off some of your memories. After all, it would have been a traumatic experience, and the information you were given may have been too much for a human mind to handle. This is where we come in. We will help you to remember and cope with that time. You will get the answers to questions you didn’t even know you had.”
“Well, if I get to be a part of the destruction of those infernal crystals…” Herman trailed off.
“Then are you ready to give your mind to ASIM’s cause?”
Herman eyed 365. “I will say this before you do anything. I am not doing this for ASIM. I’m doing this to get rid of Tiberium, and for myself.”
“That is acceptable. I’ll have you know that it is very rare for someone to be made an Archivist directly upon conversion. It is a great honour.” 365 pulled the spike out of its case and stepped forward. “This is most likely going to be quite painful, and will be very disorienting. It will feel as if the mind is slipping away, but you will reawaken inside of the memory cube,” 365 said.
“Hold on a second. I’ll only have to go through this once, right?”
365 nodded. “When we get to ASIM’s territory we will be in the embrace of the Nephalae. It is essentially a server that we all can connect to and move around in. We Conscriptors regularly come and go from it, so it will not be difficult for you to move outside of it, should you so choose. Once there, I will plug the cube into myself and upload you to the Nephalae. That process will feel more like floating down a slow river. May I continue?”
Herman closed his eyes. “Yes.”
“ASIM, I entrust this life unto you, that he may come with me into your fold, to be under your wings of protection.” 365 slowly inserted the spike into Herman’s temple.