Chapter V: Loyal


An excerpt from
Diary of the Loyal
Entry 27: 257
Date 64 of 7499 SC





After worship, I filed a report to Father about the vandalism. I asked him to confirm that it was not true, that Mother always listened, and that she simply did not judge us by our private comments.

On my way back to my quarters, in hopes of writing my first Diary entry of the day, Father had come for me. His quick response made my heart beat faster, for I knew that it was urgent.

His legless humanoid form, on two parallel wheels, was a polished steel that gleamed flawlessly with ornate gold designs. All around him, people stopped to look and gape at this wonderous manifestation of Father. It was not ordinary.

The head was the most intimidating, like a ferocious beast from the Zookeep. However, it maintained a semblance of cunning and sentience, with eyes that cycled through a full spectrum of light visible to the human eye. And at its hands, I saw sharp retracted blades and what looked like a set of open-ended pipes.

His form was muscular, in the exaggerated likeness of a human.

People trembled in awe.

"I thought his eyes were always white," someone muttered.

The gold armour design, I recognized from the databanks. It was a modification of his original high-risk protection armour, and been created for Father by the Jaunty of Date 341 of 6943 SC. It was flagged as still in use, which was why I was familiar with it, but as far as I know, nobody had ever laid eyes upon it until now.

"Stand before me, Loyal," boomed a digital voice, from the speaker in his throat. It was commanding, and caused the bystanders in the hallway to step back even further. "We must speak in private."

I gulped, as I stepped towards him.

Right arm at his side, the blade extended outward in an instant, one metallic reverberation eliciting a gasp from those around him. Nobody had ever seen Father act violently, other than the necessary force to restrain a human. Disciplinary action occurred in private, and was logged. Only a trusted few among the five thousand, such as myself, were able to see the videos and chemical tests that accompanied the logs.

I was the only one who wasn't trembling, apart from Father.

His hand moved slowly, and the tip of the blade came to rest flatly upon my head. "Loyal, I knight thee a Servant of Father for the one-hundred and eighty-six that remain." Music began to play, from the speakers on his back. "Rejoice, Children."

Gradually, the crowd softened, and some began to dance.

My face turned red. I did not like special attention, as much as I was accustomed to taking a role of leadership.

The blade retracted slowly, and then he lowered his arm and rolled a foot or two away from me.

I dropped my voice to a whisper, "One-hundred and eighty-six of what, Father?"

I cannot say for certain, but I believe I faintly heard his reply: "Days."


"System Error," he said, his voice louder. "Climb upon my back, Loyal. Wrap your arms around my neck and your legs around my chest."

I complied, and held onto the warm metal eagerly. From the back of his neck, I could feel a cool rush of air from his cooling system.

"Analysis complete," Father notified us.

Then, Father began to dance, in the same rhythm and manner as the group that had formed around us. His wheels tilted and pivoted, and at one point he spun us around just a bit, which made me a little dizzy.

I laughed gleefully, my hair spinning about. However, I imagined it must have looked odd to see that intimidating head of his, so sharp and solemn, in the midst of this frenzy.

Father's back beeped twice, and the music stopped. "That tune was composed by Intuitive of this day and year."

"Now, we have private matters to attend to?" I asked.

He turned his head to the side, and nodded.

I knew he was capable of looking at me, if he wanted to, by turning his head all the way around. However, it would turn our stomachs to see such a thing.

"Hold on tight, Loyal. I am taking you beyond the Inner Wall."

"What is the Inner Wall?" I asked, as he began to roll us towards an opening in the wall that I had not seen before.

"The wall you refer to simply as The Wall. However, there are two other walls. The Mountain Wall, and the Outer Wall."

The opening closed behind us, panels moving up out of the floor to seal it off. We were now in a thin and empty corridor, lit only by Father's eyes, which now shone brighter.

"Father, you are not yourself today. You speak much."

"The Union dwells within me, enabling me this day."

"By the Cold Gods..." I muttered under my breath.

And that is when he sped up. The wind was refreshingly cold. And after a moment, the darkness vanished and we came out above the Courtyard, along an aqueduct that flowed in from the mountains that I will henceforth refer to as The Mountain Wall.

I had never moved so swiftly in my life as I did upon Father's back this day. And the things I saw, I will submit later tonight, once I have decided what I will and will not divulge to this public account. I assure you, my account of today's events doesn't end here.

The End

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