As he listened to Trak’s unsettling words, Riox slowly and unconsciously moved away from him.
After two minutes, Riox was floating ten feet farther back and three feet higher than when he had first appeared.
After five minutes, he cut Trak off midsentence— just as the Mek began detailing his 501st-year of war.
"Quite a career,” Riox said nervously. “I was just curious. Don't, don't let me bother you.”
Riox backed away a few more feet, accidentally bonking his head against the ceiling.
“Tour Guide?” he said. “Get me out of here. Now.”
By the time Trak regained full control, Riox had vanished, leaving only the faint smell of that beautiful perfume.
Not a bad odor to reboot too, he thought.
Trak felt like he’d been offline for a year.
Then the past five minutes came back to him. Against his will, he’d been forced to relive the first 500 years of his life.
Trak’s guilt module went into overdrive. The shame was almost tangible, as if someone had cast a dark cloak over his body.
And Trak felt something else too – a feeling of astonishment.
Riox had used a secret phrase, a 10,000-year-old Saris Brigade command that he could not possibly know.
The words only existed in the mind of a long-dead maniac.
I’m not dead, said the voice in Trak’s datacore.
You are, Trak thought.
Wherever Riox learned the words, the small alien had done the impossible: he had, however briefly, taken control of a Saris Brigade Death Mek.
In Trak’s long memory, he could only find one recorded mention of a successful Saris Brigade Death Mek takeover, and even that had been fatal for the programmer.
And judging from the sparse details on record, Trak thought, it could easily be a myth.