Progressive Alternative Writing Exercises: Combatant and Non-Combatant

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“stars burn and stars fall,
yet their light shines eternally in the imaginations of the young”
-me

ODST Marine Malcolm Jarrett always found it awkward to watch an AI Construct conversate with the elite Spartan soldiers that seemed to be assigned the most hazardrous missions as of late.
On the one hand you have a vibrantly shimmering hologram, designed to look and sound like a person. This transparent figure often displayed characteristics of real people, including emotions, and Jarrett often wondered how the advanced computing persona knew which facial expressions and body postures to imitate.
Then there were the “larger than life” armored Spartans with their reflective visor which masked all their identities. It never helped that their voices were altered, that is, if they ever spoke. How was Jarrett suppose to trust a man who he couldn’t look in the eyes? At least the beady eyes of their alien enemy could be seen on fiery battlefields.
At the moment, Jarrett watched a Spartan and AI in a conversation, but with the overly expressive motions of the tiny holograpic construct it seemed more like an argument. The Spartan remained idle as the AI circled the holographic light panel, their arms waving wildly at some points, or their foot stomping down hard on the disc of light that gave them their “life”. It was strange that the Spartan never moved yet the AI seemed to be explosively responding to whatever the two disagreed upon. Jarrett obviously knew that the AI and Spartan communicated on a secure ONI signal but he wanted desperately to know what was being said.
After three minutes the ODST Marine decided to get a closer look. As he walked over to the AI display the Spartan slammed down their fist unto the hologram console, turned, and then walked away. As the armored Spartan left the room, the AI morphed into a fiery orange version of itself, as in literal flames. Orange yellow and red flames engulfed the AI, it shreiked, and then flickered into nothingness. “Oh damn, that thing is pissed!” Jarret exclaimed.

*

“113, what the hell were you thinking,” Caissa asks. Her arms stretch out and jerk in frustration. She shakes her head as she hears no response. “You will answer me,” she commands. At only seven inches in height it is odd that the toughest marines and officials in the UNSC find her aggression threatening. Nonetheless, she demands respect of her authority and she gets it. Caissa is an AI that should not be fooled with.
Her brilliant cerulean color mesmerizes most who look at her for too long. Even if being scolded, a soldier or ONI Official would often get lost in her entrancing appearance. With a form derived from depictions of ancient Aztec princesses, and a voice soft like feathers it is a wonder how any could be upset with her. For Spartan 113, none of this matters.
“I saw an opportunity and I seized it,” Spartan 113 replies. She stands at nearly three meters tall and probably weighs at least three hundred pounds. Built like a tank and stronger than any livestock, 113 has often been mistaken for a man. It is something that they would like to change but has learned to ignore.
“An opportunity that could have cost the lives of our forces,” Caissa snaps back.
113 does not move, she only stares Caissa down as she responds without any remorse or regret, “They are marines, they know the risks.”
Caissa is flabergasted. She shakes her head in disbelief, “you heartless fiend. They are your comrades and you would sacrifice them so easily?”
“You’re the heartless one. I’m an opportunist.”
Caissa turns from her usual cool blue to an intense red, a benefit of being a computing construct: her outer appearance could always reflect mood. “Listen you insensitive prick! Sacrificing your fellow soldiers to achieve a goal is never an option.” At this point Caissa begins circling the holopad light that allows her to display a physical form rather than being an automonous voice from a speaker on the ship. “Mankind can only survive this war if they continue to band together and fight as a solitary unit. We must all value life. It is precious and needs to be protected. If a waste of skill and talent like yourself cannot grasp that then it is hopeless.”
Caissa stops pacing and stares Spartan 113 down, “ever go off mission like that again and I’ll have you demoted to cleaning the gunk off the battlefield.”
“Look at little Caissa getting all defensive and aggressive.” Behind the gold plated visor 113 smiles, “better be careful or they’d think you’re losing.Seven years is almost up, right?”
Caissa waves a fist at the Spartan and declares vengeance if they continued with their tone. “Really? What can you do? You’re a figment of imagination and engineering. I coukd undo you with a magnet.”
Caissa allowed a twisted grin to spread, “well, you’re a product of bioengineering and extensive training. You’re as much a creation as I am. Except, I am far more intelligent.”
113 slams her fist, nearly destroying the console, ” at least I am organic and will outlive you seven year lifespan.” 113 turns and walks away, leaving Caissa fuming in pain and rage.

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