ACTIVATION SEQUENCE INITIATED. BEGINNING DAILY SYSTEMS CHECK.
•POWER CORE CHARGE: 100%
•CENTRAL PROCESSOR IS FUNCTIONAL. MEMORY UNIT IS FUNCTIONAL.
•ALL VITAL COMPONENTS ARE FUNCTIONAL
•ALL MOTOR COMPONENTS ARE FUNCTIONAL
•SUBSPACE GENERATOR STATUS: STABLE
PROCEED WITH ACTIVATION
Two bright lights flashed in the darkness, revealing a pair of cybernetic eyes. With a series of soft whirs and beeps, a lone android began booting up, once again getting ready to start his daily routine. Reluctantly, he stood from his charging bay and, as had happened every day for the past century or so, he briefly wondered if he should bother leaving his room at all. Nevertheless, he had a job to do, and with a small shake of his head and a simulated sigh, he trudged out of his cramped personal quarters to begin checking on his facility.
He supposed that it was quite the responsibility he had been given, when they had assigned him to manage an entire shipping facility and supply depot by himself, but because most of the processes were automated, he honestly felt like he didn’t do much in the long run. True, there were situations that could only be handled by a sapient being like himself and not a simple AI, but due to the facility’s remote location on a planetoid at the far edge of the Quanztyl solar system, such situations were very few and far in between. Really, he didn’t see much of a point in him being there, if he only got a real visitor once every couple decades or so, if he was lucky. All it seemed like he was good for these days, was to occasionally haul extremely heavy cargo around and reorganize inventory. Despite everything though, he still felt a sense of responsibility for his job despite its dull repetitiveness…
That didn’t mean that he liked constantly feeling lonely and bored though. His unchanging schedule and monotonous existence had really worn him down over the years.
He had tried to liven things up a bit for himself by opening-up an unauthorized pawn shop of sorts, in an effort to draw more visitors, but that venture yielded rather lackluster results. Still, what few beings that did visit, he treasured, for they were his only source of information on what other places were like. He desperately longed to visit other places in the universe someday, but with his meager personal income, he would be unable to afford doing so for quite a while yet. For now, he seemed to be doomed to a lifetime of boredom…
Hefting another container with his forearm blades, he trudged over to the storage unit, where they waited until the next automated cargo ship would arrive to take them away. It looked like that was the last crate he needed for this shipment.
Izz decided that it was time to take a small break. He tiredly plodded over to his favorite boulder and sat down, carefully resting in the groove that he had worn in the stone over many years. He gazed upward at the sky, his optics shining with renewed life and wonder, temporarily forgetting his dull existence for a few minutes. Despite the monotony of his daily life, he never got tired of stargazing. Seeing as the planetoid his station was on lacked an atmosphere, he was treated to the full unobstructed majesty of the heavens constantly. He reached an arm out towards the sky, marveling at how close the stars seemed to be, and yet forever out of his reach…
One of the stars seemed especially bright today...
His eyebrows scrunched up in puzzlement.
Strange, he couldn’t recall ever seeing that one before. Was it a passing comet? A new supernova? He narrowed his optics in confusion. To his alarm, he soon realized that the star was getting even brighter and bigger. It wasn’t a star; it was a meteorite! And it was headed right towards him! He scrambled to his feet and ran as fast as his ungainly metal body would let him. His rectangular feet pounded the dusty soil as he ran for shelter.
Unfortunately, it was coming way too fast. He wouldn’t be able to clear the impact site in time! In desperation, he lay down and covered his head with his thick arms, curling up and hoping that he could weather the impact.
…The impact was taking an awfully long time to hit, considering that it had been practically on top of him a couple seconds ago…
Hesitantly, he uncovered his head, his optics widening in amazement as he found the strange meteorite gently hovering above the dusty ground, instead of creating a crater. No, it wasn’t a meteorite… it looked like some sort of star…
It shined with a warm and inviting yellow light, causing him lean in and peer closer at the baffling, but beautiful object.
He yelped with surprise as of all things, a holographic image popped out of it. It was a strange woman, who had bright purple hair and what appeared to be angelic wings of all things. Then, she began to speak:
"I am Doctor Ametsuchi, the creator of magic and researcher of the universe. You have been deemed worthy of a special gift: to choose your own destiny. However, there is a great trial that you must overcome, with odds greatly against you making it back. If you accept my conditions, grab the star and we shall begin. Farewell."
Izz blinked, still trying to process everything that had happened so far. What was this about choosing his own destiny? Could he finally… have the life he had yearned for? To finally travel amongst the stars and see the wonders of the universe for himself? The part about a great trial and likely not making it back were admittedly quite worrying… but really, what had he to look forward to? More long, dull days filled with lifting cargo crates? More eons of loneliness? More of the same for who knows how long? He was tired of this life.
What was that one quote he had heard from that one traveler decades ago? “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” or something like that? He could either ignore the odd star and live a safe, but empty life… or he could throw everything into this opportunity and gamble with his life in the slim hope of seizing destiny for himself.
Once more, he looked over his small facility, his home for the past two centuries. Even though he had spent so long wishing to be somewhere else… it was still home. Would he ever see it again?
He closed his optics to deliberate. After a minute or so, his optics opened once more, this time blazing with determination and excitement. In stark contrast to his usually meek and humble demeanor, he stood straight, confident with his answer. His power core surged with newfound enthusiasm, and he felt more alive than he had in a long, long time.
He ran inside his somewhat-sad excuse for a pawn shop and immediately started grabbing things off the shelves, stuffing them inside his internal subspace inventory. If he was going to risk his life for this journey, he was determined to be prepared for nearly anything.
One benefit to living at a supply depot: he got to keep any extra stock or defective products for himself. He had learned to never throw away anything that seemed potentially useful, even if it was broken. Repairing broken things also was surprisingly easy most of the time; the problem usually was only a minor component or two he could easily salvage from something else.
He grabbed everything he could, everything from food products for organic beings, to machines and appliances, to random junk he had thought looked interesting.
A broken blender? He could use the motor for something. A box full of Nutrablokks, with each brick being able to sustain an average-sized organic being for over a week? Maybe he could use them as a peace offering. An automatic toilet plunger? … He’d find some sort of use for it he supposed.
After ransacking his shop, he opened a hidden room in the back, and carefully extracted his most valuable items: his spare parts. In fact, besides his power core, central processor, and his subspace generator, he could practically build a whole new himself out of them. He also raided the small stash of weapons and firearms that he had managed to stockpile. Unfortunately, most of them were broken, and none of what worked was particularly lethal, but that suited him just fine. He didn’t want to take a life unless he had to, he only wanted something for self-defense if it came to it.
Once he was done, he stood back and looked at his surroundings. His once-cluttered shop was barren for the first time in over a century, and his cramped personal quarters had been similarly stripped of everything valuable. For a moment, Izz was overwhelmed with a feeling of sadness, breaking through his newfound enthusiasm for a fraction of a second. He was once more reminded of leaving behind everything he had known, but he shook it off quickly. He had made his decision, and he was going to stick with it. He couldn’t afford to second-guess himself, or he’d never be able to leave.
He was relieved to see that the star was still there, patiently waiting for him. For once, Izz was thankful that he lived in almost complete isolation, because he would have hated for someone else to have come along and taken the opportunity away from him. Not looking back, he reached forward with an arm, and grasped the star firmly in his three-fingered hand. The star glowed brighter than ever before, and before he knew it, he could feel himself being dragged somewhere else…
Izz immediately found himself falling. His confidence now replaced with panic, he flailed around struggled to right himself. Instead, he crashed face-first into the ground before he could react properly. Thankfully, he had not been dropped from too terrible of a height, and his extremely durable metal body was unharmed from the impact.
Groaning, Izz rebooted his optics and picked himself off of the ground, shaking off any clinging dust and dirt from his fall. At the very least, he could confirm that gravity here was a lot stronger than it was on his small planetoid.
He took a glance at his surroundings, taking in the sights. He was surprised to find himself near the edge of a cliff, outlooking what looked like a derelict city. It was perched precariously upon a small plateau of sorts, sitting in the middle of an inky abyss. In fact, the plateau looked comically small in comparison to the city, barely extending beyond the reach of the collapsing buildings. It was almost as if the city itself had been wrenched out of the ground from somewhere else, and then randomly plopped into a deep crevasse. His advanced optics couldn’t even see the bottom of the cavernous pit, which was worrying in of itself.
He was immediately thankful he had not fallen a few dozen feet to the left, otherwise he would have been swallowed-up by the void.
A crooked, rusty sign at the edge of the cliff read: “Welcome to the Lost Ember Zone”. So, that’s what this place was. Taking a second look, the rust red ceiling far above him, the hazy sky, and crumbling architecture did somewhat give an impression of a city that had been burnt and left to decay for decades. A fitting name if any, he supposed.
“That’s quite a tumble you took there, pal,” said a somewhat gruff voice from nearby.
Izz had been so focused on analyzing the environment, he had failed to notice someone else approaching. Alarmed, Izz spun around quickly, almost losing his balance in the process.
“Whoa there, be careful around the edge of that cliff. You don’t want to be eliminated from the tournament before it even begins, now do you?”
Izz finally got a good look at the young man who had surprised him. All in all, he looked like a fairly average human, a strange sight in an environment like this. He was wearing a simple repairman’s outfit and had his long, brown hair tied-back in a ponytail. He looked a bit on the grouchy side, if Izz read his face right, although his bright green eyes were staring at him with a curious intensity.
“I must admit, I didn’t expect a robot like you ending up in a place like this. I’d have figured you’d end up in the Shrapnel Heart Zone or something, but whatever. I can’t complain about getting to meet something fascinating like you. I’m kind of glad I got assigned to meet the next person to arrive here.”
He reached out a hand, his previously stoic face breaking out into a slight smile.
“The name’s Andy, but most people just refer to me as the Mechanic around here. Nice to meet you.”
Despite the somewhat cold introduction, he seemed friendly enough, so Izz happily took his hand and enthusiastically began shaking it with his own.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you! I am Citizen-class Tektronoid unit IZ-44, but you may call me Izz!” Izz was just happy to see someone friendly after so long. And the very first person he encountered in the tournament too! What luck!
“Woah there, so you can talk after all!” said Andy, seemingly a bit surprised at Izz’s enthusiasm, but regardless returned his somewhat overzealous handshake.
“Look, I’d love to talk more and even take a look at your systems if we had the time, but we’re kind of on a schedule here, so I’ll have to cut this short.” Andy’s face once more became serious.
Izz was somewhat disappointed that introductions hadn’t lasted longer, but regardless, he respectfully returned his hand to his side.
“Alright, so let’s start from the beginning. That star you grabbed is now part of your body,” Andy stated, pointing to Izz’s lower torso.
Glancing downward, Izz could see a new glimmering, golden star mark where nothing had been there before.
“That star will let you teleport to any of the five zones in this tournament, where you will seek out other participants and confront them. Defeat them, and take their star to eliminate them from the competition. Once you are eliminated, you can’t use the stars to teleport between the zones anymore, meaning you are stuck unless you can somehow convince someone to help you.”
Izz would have swallowed nervously if he could. While he had suspected that fighting would be involved, he still hated the idea of having to beat someone up to progress with the tournament. Quietly, he resolved to never start a conflict, unless in self-defense. He just hoped that all the stuff he had stored would be enough to give him a fighting chance; he hadn’t been built a combat unit after all.
“Those are the basic rules. All I can say now is good luck, you’re going to need it. Now if you’ll excuse me… I’m being called to fix something again,” he grumbled. Andy then turned around and waved a hand in a short goodbye as he left.
Izz watched as Andy disappeared in a flash of light, now alone once more.
Looking to the right, following the edge of the cliff, he could see a rickety bridge spanning the gap between the cliff and the city. It lead right to the crooked metal gates surrounding it.
With cautious optimism, Izz carefully began crossing the bridge, eager to see what his future had in store.
IZ-44, although he prefers to go by “Izz” instead
Approximately 237 years old in Earth time
Tektronoid (Essentially an advanced space-faring race of androids with unclear origins)
While he doesn’t have a gender in the traditional sense, he has masculine programming and has a rather masculine voice.
5’8” or approximately 1.73 meters tall (not counting antenna)
He loves to collect random knickknacks and things he thinks are going to be potentially useful later. He also likes meeting new people and seeing new places, as both were rather rare where he came from. What he wants most of all though is to have a meaningful and fulfilling purpose in life.
He especially dislikes feeling bored and useless, something he faced quite often before he accepted the invitation. He’s also not a big fan of fighting, and would rather prefer to avoid a confrontation, but will very reluctantly defend himself if necessary.
Being composed of an advanced space-age alloy, he is extremely durable and can take a surprising amount of punishment despite not being built for combat. His body is also designed to be relatively easy to repair and modify if need be, and he carries plenty of spare parts for himself. His system includes internal nanites that can do minor repairs, such as dents, cracks, and small tears, but cannot regenerate any major components. He can also perform minor mechanical repairs, although he isn’t an expert on the topic. Still, he is knowledgeable enough to quickly cobble together something useful out of random parts and junk he has collected.
He has a scanner built into his chest that allows him to do a quick and rough evaluation of an object’s properties and purpose (and monetary worth). Granted, the information gained from this may be limited and/or incorrect, but it can be invaluable at times. Knowing something’s structural flaws for example, or possible uses of an item can come in really handy.
His arms were modified so that he could lift and carry extremely heavy loads; he is able to lift a few tons with relative ease. While they aren’t exactly weapons, they grant him a somewhat slow, but extremely powerful punch and insanely strong grappling ability. His arms also include deployable forklift attachments, that while supposed to help him carry cargo, can be used as blunt tonfa-like weapons if need be.
His biggest strength however is his subspace storage compartment. It utilizes extremely advanced technology to compress spatial dimensions, granting him a huge internal inventory; even he doesn’t know how big it truly is. Granted, the objects he stuffs in there have to be sized within reason (roughly the size of an average person at maximum), but he can still hold a huge assortment of items, and is more-or-less a walking storage unit. It is technically possible to store living objects inside him for short periods of time, but he doesn’t recommend doing it, because the shrinking and enlarging process tends to be strenuous on all but the toughest of bodies, not to mention the possible lack of oxygen in subspace.
As durable and strong as his metal body may make him, he is vulnerable to its logical weaknesses as well. For example, he is very heavy and thus cannot swim, and is vulnerable to high voltages. In addition, while his “brain” is shielded against strong magnetic fields, he can still be hampered and immobilized by it. His body is also rather bulky and not designed with flexibility in mind, making his movements somewhat clumsy.
He has no real weapons, being largely reliant on his huge inventory and repurposed tools. He has no ranged attacking ability outside of what he has picked-up and stored.
His power core, while being able to sustain him a few days without charging, is still vulnerable to being depleted if he exerts himself too much over a long period of time. He is capable of regenerating his charge on his own in addition to recharging the traditional way, but he needs an extended period of rest to do so.
His subspace generator, while granting him one of his greatest strengths, is also possibly his greatest weakness. Other than his “brain”, his storage compartment is the most fortified part of his body. But if containment is ever breached, it could cause a catastrophic explosion as the compressed space within expands to its true size, violently ejecting its contents like a huge frag grenade. If absolutely necessary as a last resort, Izz can purposefully deactivate his fail-safes to turn himself into a makeshift bomb, but this will kill him without a doubt.
Izz is somewhat meek and tends to panic easily if in a stressful situation. He tends to not do well under pressure, but somewhat paradoxically still loves to be relied on and feel important.
He loves to be of use to others, and finds immense satisfaction in feeling needed. In general, he’s a very friendly guy, and more likely than not, will gladly lend you a hand if you ask nicely.
He has a habit of stuffing anything he finds salvageable or possibly useful into his storage compartment, as he tends to believe in being prepared for nearly everything. Unfortunately, that leads to a very disorganized inventory, sometimes making it hard to find what he’s looking for, but this somewhat obsessive habit has gotten him out of difficult situations before.
Other than that, he is curious and eager to learn about others after being in general isolation for so long. He’s easy to distract, and lacks a lot of knowledge about the outside world other than what he has heard from others. That’s not to say he’s naïve though, he is still a very good judge of character and has learned several tricks in his centuries of existence.
In his home universe, he was in charge of a small supply depot/self-proclaimed pawn shop on the outer rim of the Quanztyl solar system. Due to its remote location and the fact that most shipments to and from his station were automated, he didn’t get to see many other people, other than the odd traveler who happened to be passing through the area. Overall, after a couple centuries of monotony, he was feeling rather dissatisfied and bored with his life, craving something new and wanting to see the rest of the universe, but unable to afford setting-up in a more populated and/or interesting area.