Quid est, reliquit, sed memorias
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10

It was late in the evening. Silar had just finished up another report on RPC-301. The hall was sparsely populated save for himself, 162-01, and that one receptionist who sat behind his desk around the corner. The thought of going anywhere near the black hole was unpleasant for the lizard.

Silar wanted nothing to do with it himself. Physics wasn’t exactly his strong suit. Yet, there were still so many unanswered questions about that entity and the behavior it displayed always needed to be recorded. The idea of total, complete, empty silence terrified him enough to drink. Given what else went bump in the night in Site-015, he much rather preferred the little cannibals. Still, beer dulls just about any ugly thought that cropped up in his head.

It needed to be studied. Dr. Kale would know more about it. Anyone in the physics department would know more. As for him? He was content with studying the intricate inner workings of artifacts.

However, Silar’s curiosity always lead him to explore other fields of science against his better judgement. He always wanted to learn things, always wanted to take things apart and know more about what makes things tick. He had a knack for taking things apart and putting them back together as a kid. Though his lack of impulse control did get him in trouble on a great and many occasions growing up. A habit that stuck with him to this day.

And it is one of the reasons why he was now stuck with this ring. What came with it was the Latin speaking astral guardian. While 162-01 definitely doesn’t have any discernible sex, the creature’s masculine voice and attitude made it tiring for Silar to mediate between he/it, so he just stuck with the pronouns best familiar to identify him as.

The upside to this all is, those long, boring, and lonely nights in his new quiet office won’t be so quiet anymore. The only thing that made him agitated about this was that he couldn’t leave the Anomalous Habitat Wing. The exceptions would be if he was ever called upon to oversee tests or a department meeting.

162-01, or as he liked to call him, ‘Scales,’ was not allowed anywhere in one place for too long because of how much heat he gave off. The intensity of it was primarily based around the threat present to the one who wears the ring, 162. The benefits of having an undying guardian was that he’ll never leave your side. The cons being the entire room will probably burst into flames if he was very angry.

Sleeping wasn’t an issue for him. Which was perfect considering how cool the temperatures get whenever he hibernates. Not to imply he slept on the job, as Scales jumps at anything that even comes close to plucking a single strand of hair off of Silar.

On one hand, Silar didn’t have to worry about being maimed or torn to shreds when a hostile entity breaches containment, or if those Malthus decided to try their luck on the facility. On the other hand, the creature never holds back at the slightest hint of a threat. Reluctant or not, Silar didn’t think Scales was so goddamn determined to keep him safe.There was so much about 162 itself that he had yet to understand.

Scales did say the ring was indestructible. A power drill and a hammer (as well as an injured finger) told the impulsive scientist one thing he needed to know. For something so basic and simple as an iron right, it wasn’t too surprising that such a baffling concept exists. The unknown phenomena that inhabit this world were anything but simple.

“Hey Doc. Shouldn’t you be in your office?” said a voice. When Silar turned to his right to see who it was, he saw Agent Alenko, one of the Authority agents the site. Disciplined, dutiful, more empathetic than even the most considerate of staff personnel on site-015.

“Just getting a drink Alenko. Want anything?” Silar replied.

Alenko looked over the researcher’s shoulders for any sign of 162-01. The heat haze was obvious as it resonated in the air beside Silar. Scales just hissed quietly in agitation; “Hoc whelp est molestiae.”

Silar just shoved his elbow back against the creature. He probably didn’t feel it, but it was enough to make him hiss louder.

“Don’t mind him. He’s just cranky.”

Alenko looked at Silar and at the heat haze. “Ummm. I didn’t hear anything. Remember doc; I can’t hear him. Anyway, I wanted to let you know that your next test for 301’s been shifted towards 135.. Dr. Apth’s request..”

“The TV-Head?”

“That’s the one.”

“I thought Dr. Apth wanted to focus on 301?”

“Why do you think he’s picked you for the job? Apparently Dr. Kale told him to move you out since he has someone from the physics department to take your place. Dr. Apth’s still focused on the societal damage scenarios 301 can cause.”

Dr. Silar just sighed in response and downed his can of beer. “Hmm. So, you’re my escort then? You are pulling me in this late at night when I had just finished 301’s report?”

“Oh no, no not at all,” Alenko quickly reached his hand up to wave him off. “I meant for tomorrow. They want 162-1 in the chamber.”

The lizard whispered to Silar; “Pshah I will not go anywhere near that creature,”

Silar just turned his head aside to respond; “Chances are, it won’t even have an affect on you at all Scales. Rarely does it affect other Phenomena such as yourself. Plus, you are ring bound after all.” Silar lifted his hand up to show 162 on his finger.

“I still would rather be consulted on the manner before the very last minute.”

“That’s how it is with us eggheads. Just be glad I’m not ordering you to do it out of sheer spite. And remember, you and the others can’t talk to each other. I’m your only mouthpiece.”

Alenko just looked at Silar. To anyone else who wasn’t aware of 162-01, it’d look like he was just talking to absolutely nothing. Or at least, the haze of heat beside him that wouldn’t register into their heads unless they were actually looking where the creature stood.

“He isn’t too happy with the idea, is he?” he asked.

“No Alenko, he just isn’t happy taking orders at all. His attitude is a lot better now though but he still digging the salt mines because I got the ring on,” Silar said with a shrug and proceeds to finish his can. “What can I do? Wait until I die or old age or until something is lucky enough to get pass Scales?”

Silar realized just how absolutely unlikely such a possibility was. He recounted how many times Scales rushed towards his aid at the slightest notion of harmful intent. He stopped counting after twenty-six.

When one of the 102 specimens thought it was a good idea to use a bone carved spear to throw at the researcher, his guardian responded by crushing it under its claws. Another time, the elevator doors malfunctioned. Silar got trapped between the doors despite the other researchers’ attempt to open them. Scales promptly ripped the doors apart and the damages done was still coming out of his pay.

Even when he decided to cook for himself instead of eating the slop they served in the café, the creature threw the knife away after accidentally slicing the skin of his finger. It acted more like a goddamn nanny than a guardian.

The researcher sighed and finished whatever remained of his can before tossing it in the recycling bin.

“Anyways, I’m retiring for the night. Good luck on your rounds Alenko.”

The guard waved him off as the researcher went back to his dorm. “You too doc. I’ll be here tomorrow morning. Be sure you get some rest.”


Silar returned to his office, dug in his desk, scribbling notes in his journal.
Scales sat in his usual spot; the corner at the end of the office, right near the vents.
His body wasn’t giving off anymore heat so that was good for him. He always had trouble sleeping whenever the bastard was awake. Though he wasn’t being fair to him. It wasn’t like he had full control over his own bodily capabilities.

Even with an air conditioner installed, it didn’t help him much. Only when Scales went into hibernation did Silar actually get some sleep.For now, he was playing the waiting game, hoping for the entity to hibernate.

Time to time, he looked over at Scales, seeing how exhausted the creature looked.
It was always so hard to tell his facial expressions were. Though the most obvious signs are often the most troubling, at least when you read the reptilian’s expressions.

Even when asleep for long periods of time he looked exhausted. Hell, Scales never needed to satisfy any of his bodily functions to operate normally. He wasn’t human after all. Yet, Silar could still tell.

“There’s a couch you know?” Silar said to him. “Maybe you’d be more comfortable sleeping on that?”

The creature just opened his eyes and looked at Silar. “I’ve gotten used to sleeping without proper lodging.” Scales replied.

“I bet you prefer being in the ring, that right?” Silar waved his hand to show off the ring. “No sense in beating around the dead horse. The least you can do is make yourself comfortable.”

Scales said nothing in return and just leaned back. His eyes were closed, taking in deep and calm breaths.

Silar continued to watch him for a moment or two before going back to his work. Though he didn’t keep to his work in silence.

“Got any interesting stories to tell?” he asked.

The creature opened his eyes and lets out a curious hum. “Stories? I suppose. Why do you ask?”

Silar just shrugged. “Curiosity. There’s a lot I want to know about you.”

“I suppose you want questions centered around a particular time period?”

Silar just looked at him and nodded. “Why not?”

Scales sighed and shifts his body forward to a more comfortable position.

“Optime, quaeso.”

Silar organized the paper to set aside. There were a lot of questions to ask of him. Though there was one in particular that always fascinated him.

“Tell me more about Ancient Rome.”

The lizard let out a hearty laugh. “How could I not guess?”

Silar shrugged lightly in response. Then he made a follow up to his request. “What do you know about the The Sons of Hercules? Have you been in their service?”

Scales made a curious hum and tilted his head. “Quid?”

“It’s what we called this elite Roman Vanguard back then. Our predecessors. They had a hand in capturing and destroying entities that are like you in some ways.”

Scales tilted his head up as he muttered to himself; “Hmm… Someone… I think I was in the service of one person in Filli Hercules. Atticus was his name. Called me ‘the gift of Minerva.’ I served as the vanguard’s agent.”

“They didn’t think your master was insane?”

“It was a time period where superstitious beliefs were par for the norm. The only difference between then and now is that back then, people hid the leverage they held from others for either political reasons, ulterior motives or when they feared an uprising.

“Atticus was an optio principalis of Filli. The vanguard’s ranks operate in the same way as a centuria. Atticus was a rather interesting character. Keeping the vanguard in shape, prepped for when they had to deal with beings that don’t have that certain… obscuritate.

“One of the most interesting aspects of my service with him is how he used me to train the hastati. ‘Aedificare est frangere. Et conteram vobis eos.’ And broke them I did. Within reason of course. Atticus had an odd way of training recruits.”

“I can’t imagine that went over well with his centurion.”

“As long as he got results, he didn’t care. Just as long as he didn’t leave the men maimed or dead.”

Silar nodded his head and lets out a curious huh.

“Did he also order you to capture other anomalies?”

“I did more killing than capturing. But yes, Atticus ordered me to contain potential targets. For those that were a threat to the state, I crushed. For those whose components could be exploited, I dominated.

“Before I came into Atticus’ fold, my duties were simple and benign. Though some had tasted the power of the ring and developed a craving for it. And it was when those who had gotten careless with the power did the Sons intervene.

“Before Atticus claimed me, they filched the ring from my previous master’s corpse. They tested it on a slave, realized what they could do with the ring, and killed him. You know the rest.”

Silar reached his right hand up to rub his face. He wasn’t sure if he was able to stay up for much longer. Though he could hardly sleep anyway.

“You look exhausted. Perhaps you should sleep,” the lizard advised him.

“I should. But I’ve gotten used to restless nights. Tell me more about your time in the Sons. Maybe it might actually put me to sleep.”

Scales responded with a laugh and grinned. “Where to begin?”

“Anything you’ve fought that gave you a hard time?”

“There was one. You may think them as myths by now but back then, they were very much real.”

Silar just cocked his brow at the creature and slowly shook his head. “Did you forget where the fuck you are?”

A small hum escaped the lizard’s throat. Then, Silar experienced a rare moment where he caught the creature actually laughing. “You are right. Let me rephrase myself then; as far as the unsuspecting masses are concerned, they’re naught but myth. When the Holy Roman Empire formed and the first of many crusades surfaced, many of the monsters you read in the books back then were killed off, and they faded into obscurity.”

“And what did you fight exactly?”

“A cyclops. And, much to the popular belief, they’re about as big as you would expect them to be. The Sons responded to an attack on a small farming settlement south of Bovianum along Via Saminitica.

“The town wasn’t too far from the road. It had a nice connection to the local river useful for irrigation. The crops were bountiful. Though they were more proficient in animal husbandry, mainly sheep and cattle. It proved to be a hospitable region to herd these animals.”

Silar smirked and shook his head. “So, this Cyclops, is it true to the Odyssey’s depiction?”

“Some details were omitted. As other mythological works can tell you, they are capable blacksmiths and craftsmen. But they are similar to what the play portrayed them as. Including the beast devouring the townsfolk who went searching of their missing sheep. A patrol that was passing by the town went to investigate after a messenger was sent out for help. They found half-eaten remains of some of the townsfolk just outside a cavern, just by the river.

“Whenever members of the Roman military encounter unusual creatures and entities that are within, and beyond the borders of Roma, they always sent word for the Sons of Hercules. Being more specialized in their role, they knew how to properly handle something as… problematic, as a cyclops.

“Atticus was brought along because they wanted me. For something as threatening as the creature, I was insurance. And sure enough, when we came to its lair, the beast emerged. A ferocious sight to behold.

“Now… with one very large eye, the Sons had the right idea of throwing their javelins at it. Though the bastard was clever, covering itself with one hand and used the other to upheave the nearest tree it could get its hand on and started swinging. The cyclops was fast. While the sons did their best to avoid the creature, it was about as nimble as a Gallic axeman. Several of the troops were sent flying across the fields. Some were crushed to death.

“Atticus then ordered me to attack the beast, fearing there’d be more casualties. And I obliged.”

“How the hell did you take on a giant? It must had been what? Two, three meters tall?”

“Simple. I just fought it.”

Silar just looked at him and shook his head. “Can’t get any more climatic than that.”

“Did you expect me to climb up its back and eviscerate him once I reached its fattened head?” Scales replied with a hearty chuckle.

“Well, yeah.”

“I may not be able to die Silar, but I can be incapacitated. Its size didn’t mean it was slow. Plus, the creature could see me. Which proved to be another issue that I had to work around.”

“So how were you able to kill it?”

“I took several unused javelins from some of the hastati and threw them at its knee. The creature’s skin was thick, but the force of my throw was enough to pierce its skin. After five more throws, I was able to down the beast.

“I took the risk of charging the beast once I felled it to its knee. With one last javelin, I rushed for the beast. Atticus ordered for the rest of the men to distract the cyclops. I had to avoid the beast swinging the tree in order for me to make my attack.

“I got close enough. The beast wasn’t guarding its face anymore. The men stopped their range attacks which allowed me to take aim for its eye.” Scales recreated the scene by using the gestures of his hands. With a sharp hiss, he thrust his pointed hand in an uppercut motion towards the ceiling. “The beast was blind. And in its moment of pain, it dropped the tree, using both hands to cover its face.

“Then I jumped. I dug my claws into the beast’s chest. My searing heat was able to pierce through its flesh. A fountain of blood erupted from its cavity as I dug in for its heart. By the time I reached for it, the beast registered the burning pain in its chest and reached for me.

“But as it grabbed hold of me, I had my claws in its heart. As it threw me off, it unwittingly tore out its own heart and threw it, alongside me, across the field. In its moment of foolishness, the beast was without air and without a beating heart to pump its blood. It didn’t take long for it to finally succumb.

“The creature was dead. We retrieved our dead, and the animals, and returned them to the town. We were hailed as heroes. But we had to make sure the populace remained silent about the whole situation. Of course, they didn’t listen. And soon they started to sing songs about the Sons.

“The Centurion said we did sloppy work, but we got the job done. Atticus was promoted and was in charge of his own centuria. He died two years later from an illness.”

A contentful sigh escaped from the beast’s maw as he finished his tale. It was hard to tell what his expressions were, but Scales looked like he enjoyed reminiscing about the past.

“Sounds like you enjoyed your service to Atticus,” Silar said.

“I did. It is one of those rare moments where I appreciate what I do, and what I was expected to do.”

“I’m just surprised he wasn’t killed for his ring.”

“Indeed, so was I. But Atticus was a warrior, as am I. And not many would test the mettle of an unseen guardian. Except for those who actually do see me. The Sons were a closely guarded organization. Our enemies couldn’t sneak into our ranks even if they were Roman.”

“Well, that at least answers one question.” The researcher finally placed down his pen and leaned back. He yawned aloud and stretched. “I enjoyed that Scales. Would had loved to hear more details but I guess the best fights are the practical ones where you kill your enemies with efficient swiftness.”

“You guess right then, Silar.”

The researcher filed away what was left of his paper work and reached for the lamp. “How bout tomorrow we make some more stories for you to tell in the future eh?”

Scales just smiled that uncertain smile at him. “Hah. That is if there were no one foolish enough to slip on the ring.”

“Scales, you can be a pain in the ass sometimes. But you sure make my nightmare inducing job all the more bearable.” And with that, Silar flicked off the lights.

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