I never have known how to write stories, but here, let me take one more crack at this: starting over right after the prologue. I onlined to the sounds of plasma bolt fire. Immediately I tried to leap out of my bunk and pull on my uniform, but when I tried to stand, my legs failed, dumping me to the dirt floor. This shocked me genuinely awake, and I raised myself up by my arms to discover that I was not at base on a colony world. Nor was I in the facility that had been my base for innumerable cycles. I was in an old, musty shed, stacked floor to ceiling with spare parts for automatons, rifles, and everything in between. Pushing my questions aside, I searched the shelves for an acceptable weapon. There was a functional-looking sidearm in sight, and I grabbed it. There were no uniforms, so I hastily pulled on the plain clothing I’d worn in the facility, which someone had sensibly left behind. I ripped it in my haste, and then was thankful there hadn’t been any uniforms. Fully dressed, I took a breath to steel myself, and then hurried for the door. Outside was a forest, and the shed, I realized, was camouflaged. It hadn’t had any windows. Flashes of metal shone through the trees at intervals, but not close enough for me to tell if they were Miniknog or otherwise. The shooting had stopped, but I still smelled the acrid scent of plasma and burnt leaves. I waited, not daring to respirate for fear I would be heard. I heard boots crunching on sticks and wet leaves, and saw then the uniforms of Miniknog soldiers. I’d never been captured before, and so it took me more than a second to realize what I should do - but then I stepped outside calmly, set down the sidearm I’d been clutching, and raised my hands. A soldier turned, gun raised, having seen me in his peripheral vision. He eyed me slowly, and I looked down at myself, realizing I no longer looked like an Apex. Whatever I was... was I one, anymore? And he fired. I had never even considered wishing to be dead before, but part of me wished that he had killed me there. That I hadn’t woken up again, two holes burned through my thin clothing into my chest plating, rejected by the Miniknog and left completely alone. That I hadn’t had the strength to force myself to get up again and see the shed completely collapsed in. There had been other buildings too. I couldn’t bring myself to investigate what they’d been. I only registered that my people had found me - and proceeded to shoot me right in the figurative heart. I didn’t even realize I was retracing the steps of the soldiers until I was already fully in the undergrowth. The Miniknog were never known for their subtlety in warfare. Of course, there were subliminal tactics and psychological attacks and infiltration, but most of us - most of them - were foot soldiers. Most of them didn’t even bother trying to cover up their tracks. And especially since Apex bodies were never designed for delicate operations, their soldiers’ tracks were very easy to follow. So, it was only a short time before I found their ship, set down in a somewhat overgrown clearing which had likely been used for such purposes before. Long before. I had to push down my thoughts of the facility again before I could continue. A soldier stood guard over the closest entrance to the ship. I couldn't tell whether he was the one who had shot me before or not, and it didn't much matter anyway. They would all react the same. He stood alert, from cycles of training I knew I had taken too. Training I knew - so if I made a move, I thought, I could predict what he'd do. Stupidly, impulsively, I picked up a rock and threw it in his direction. He immediately shouldered his gun and fired back, but I'd already hit the ground. I crawled on my elbows and knees away from the spot I'd landed, gritting my jaw and trying not to wince at the pain in my metal joints. I'd be caught for sure. I knew two other soldiers would join him, and begin searching the perimeter, starting from my starting point and moving off in opposite directions. I knew one soldier would come the same way as me, and soon catch up to me. I knew that whatever I did, I wouldn't be fast enough. But I didn't need to be. I heard a growl, not far off to my right, and immediately curled into a ball in hopes of protecting myself. But the creature, whatever it was, ignored me completely. I realized it could probably smell the Miniknog. I wanted to warn them - but before I could formulate a sentence the creature had pounced, leaping into the open field to catch the soldier that had come my way. I caught a glimpse of golden fur and what looked like gleaming bat wings. My hands and legs were shaking as I got to my feet once more. So much had happened - so much was happening - I felt like crying, if my metal form could even cry. But I kept my optics fixed on the door to the ship, and after what was either an eternity or no time at all, I'd made it to the entrance. I glanced back at the Miniknog one last time, to make sure they hadn't seen me, and then punched the “open” key and ducked inside. It was a small ship, built to hold only six or eight soldiers, though I remembered that sometimes we stretched that number to ten. The layout was the same as ever, a simple, straightforward plan. I could go anywhere I wanted. But where? Thinking of how the soldiers had fired on me and I'd fired back, I decided on the holding cells. Those would be manned by a guard as well, but I'd simply explain the matter, and he would let me in, I imagined. I hadn't expected the guard to have a companion. That, I realized, was because the holding cells were nearly all full. Not wanting to let that deter me, I stepped out into the corridor anyway, raising my hands. “Sir-rrrrrrrrrr--” “How the hell?” was the guard’s only response, as he shouldered his rifle and aimed at me again. “Thought I'd killed the bastard...” “Do- Don't kill me!” I quickly cut in. “My designation is GL-014, special... ex- experiment from Facility uh...” I didn't remember the name. If I'd ever known. The guard paused, thinking, then shrugged. “Contact the bridge,” he told his companion. “Tell them GL-014 is still functional... and that it made its way right to us.” And then he grabbed my wrist and dragged me rather roughly into the last open cell.