Semper Vigiles

Chapter One

June 14th, 2077

Night City, Northern California

Arasaka Tower, Sublevel-Four

Dr. Jeremiah Kingston stood on the precipice of a technological breakthrough. The only obstacle that could halt his progress was time itself.

As the head researcher for Arasaka's Advanced Research and Development Division, he was responsible for ensuring the corporate giant's continued dominance in the field of cutting-edge technology, whether it be through cyber or conventional means.

His predecessor Dr. Anders Hellman was reassigned to another project by Saburo Arasaka, of which he had no direct knowledge.

Regardless Kingston's focus was no longer on the pretentious and often irritating bioengineer but the mechanical masterpiece presented before him.

He knew not its origin nor the materials that made up this work of art, but it mattered little in his humble opinion. The only priority in his mind was to crack it open and see what made this mech tick.

That would, at the very least, make the costs of retrieving this mechanical specimen worthwhile.

The object's arrival was nothing short of a spectacle.

On April 20th, 2077, a celestial object entered the Earth's lower atmosphere at a calculated velocity of over 800KMH.

Not a soul on the planet even had any idea that this celestial body was on a collision course, nor did they know where it originated from.

Arasaka and Militech were the only Corporations to detect its atmospheric entry before anyone else was the wiser. At 02:00 hours local time, the object crashed in a field ten kilometers outside of Night City's limits, causing a mass panic event within moments.

Riots and looting kicked off before long, leading the NCPD to declare martial law before the violence could escalate further. Night City's mayor had requested Arasaka, and Militech security forces help quell the riots, but they were given false promises and excuses from both corporations.

Both Militech and Arasaka corporations deployed advance scout teams to the crash site expecting to find an exotic material to advance their corporations' interest.

Instead, what they found was a humanoid mech nestled deep within the crater's epicenter. Before anyone knew it, a heated exchange broke out, and it didn't take long for an all-out skirmish break out around the impact zone.

Fears of a Fifth Corporate War sparked unrest across Continental America, as both corporations began mobilizing more ground units for deployment to Night City.

It was only through the ingenuity of Arasakas INS teams units' that they secured the Mech and shuttle it back to Arasaka Tower before the situation intensified, thereby forcing Militech to make a decision.

Either to intensify the conflict or to climb down.

Predictably Militech chose to deescalate the situation before it exploded into a Fifth Corporate War. That being said, both corporations' reputations took a significant hit with the inhabitants of Night City.

The mere threat of a Corporate War breaking out left the residents of Night City teetering on the edge of corporate rebellion. The so-called 'Comet War' had come to a swift if bloody conclusion.

The consequences were left to the capable hands of Arasaka's Public Relations department.

Since then, Kingston was assigned as the project lead for Project 'Prometheus,' the Mech was given the codename and was transported to Arasaka Tower's Sublevel Four for study and research.

Project Prometheus researchers spent the first week attempting to gain access to the Exoskeleton itself, but their efforts were hampered by a barrier they had not expected.

At first glance, one can assume that the 'Prometheus' armor's main line of protection was its titanium plates and the bodysuit that, when analyzed, was made of the same material.

When attempting to use an X-55 Plasma drill to cut into the shell, a barrier deployed and caused the drill to bounce clean off the Exoskeleton before it could even make contact.

The operator was sent airborne along with several other tools in the lab. Since then, there has been a convoluted effort in an attempt to pierce the 'Prometheus' shell.

Saburo Arasaka had taken a particular interest in the Project itself and made 'Prometheus' Arasaka's number one priority. Arasaka's Special Operations director Susan Abernathy was ordered to assign Two squads of Nightstalkers for onsite protection at all times, along with a general order to lock down Sublevel-Four entirely.

It had the unintentional effect of crowding Sublevel Four, but that was an inconvenience, if anything, for Dr. Kingston. His aide Dr. Elizabeth Sims was even more enamored by 'Prometheus.'

While he was more interested in the Military Applications the Mech could bring to the table, Dr. Sims believed this suit could assist Arasaka's cybernetic implant department. Why she was so set on analyzing its parts for civilian use was beyond him, but he cared not for her constant prattling or idealism.

"Dr. Kingston." Speak of the devil, and she shall appear.

A woman's voice spoke up from the side of him, and his attention was stolen from the silent machine to a blonde-haired woman in her mid-thirties.

Standing off to the side of him was Dr. Sims herself; her attire was that of a typical Arasaka scientist, practically nothing less than a white protection suit that encased her entire body. The only feature that was marginally exposed for the outside world to see was her face behind a glass pane.

"What is it, Sims?" he replied. Her only response was to hand him a datapad with the Prometheus exoskeleton. The Mech was giving off readings they had never seen before, and mixed in were compounds and materials that were both known to them and not.

Titanium was a prevalent material that served as the primary source of protection for the Mech. Still, the energy shield scrambled any attempts to decipher what other compounds existed in the mechanical body.

"Initial scans show the energy field is concentrated around a compartment located at the small of the Mech's back." Kingston handed her back the datapad and began pacing towards a workstation to the left of the Mech.

"Its location is not the problem, Dr. Sims; the problem is penetrating the shield. We cannot access its outer shell until we find something to disable it."

The easy solution would have been to access the suit directly via jack port, or in this case, splice into the suit with a daemon. However, none of Arasaka's many daemons could breach the Mechs cyber defenses, which left many at Arasaka ARD baffled and intrigued.

Even the most confidential and hazardous virus programs were unable to breach the Mech's cyber defense systems.

Project Prometheus would be the crown jewel of the Arasaka Corporation, and he would be its proprietor.

"We've used every tool in this lab, and we are no closer to penetrating its shield than we were a month ago. Saburo Arasaka is getting impatient, and his tolerance has been razor-thin since Yorinobu's consistent rebellion." Kingston's eyebrows furrowed as he accessed his notes on 'Prometheus.'

There was a constant tension within Arasaka Tower these days, ever since Yorinobu's arrival not long ago. The three mainline Factions and those loyal to them became more prominent every day, loyalties were being tested, and many found themselves in less than desirable positions. Dr. Kingston cared not for the tension inside Arasaka Tower, so long as it did not interfere with his work.

"We have a deadline to meet Dr. Sims, and I want to be at least able to look Saburo Arasaka in the face and say we made progress. Anything less, and we might be out or jobs." Dr, Sims understood the underlying threat; it would not be just their jobs on the line if they did not produce results. If Saburo Arasaka found them inadequate, he would find someone else to produce results, and their lives would be forfeit.

"Gather the rest of the Project Team. I want a staff meeting in 30 minutes. We need to start making progress on this Exoskeleton before the week is out." Sims nodded and was out the door within moments, leaving Kingston alone with the somewhat intimidating Mechanical Cyborg.

The damned thing always made him feel self-conscious every time he was in a room with it. It felt like an eye was still following him when he was in a room with it.

The Mechs design was military, and there were multiple compartments located around its waist and on its upper breastplate where one could slot in magazines. A single pauldron on its left shoulder provided ample protection covering the shoulder to just above the elbow.

Curiously, the right arm's shoulder plater was less bulky and seemed at a glance to be made of a lighter material. Why a mech would want their right shoulder to be more lightweight, he would never know. The defining feature for him was the helmet, specifically the visor that encompassed most of the helmet. Its color had no defining features and was as black as night.

"If you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you."

He was never one for superstition, but that quote fit the Prometheus suit entirely. For all his bluster and infamy, Adam Smasher had nothing on this Mech, no matter what the rest of the Arasaka ARD team said.

"Dr. Kingston." The soft voice of Dr. Sims startled him out of his wavering thoughts.

"Yes."

"We're ready to begin the meeting."

With one final glance towards the lynchpin of Project Prometheus, Kingston cleared his thoughts and made for the Sub Levels meeting room with Dr. Sims in tow.

All the while never noticing the ever-subtle movement of the Exoskeleton's head following his every move.


Welcome to the start of something different, for me at least. I spent a reasonable amount of time on this site, and I'd figured I should contribute to its many works. Please review to your heart's content.