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S-16: Lost Eagle

Updated: Feb 15, 2023


Iteration 1


Iteration 2



Addendum: Memo to the committee regarding S-16

I want to reiterate that S-16 is a free agent who operates on principles and personal beliefs rather than programming or crude orders. For example, the subject both understands and speaks English. However, S-16 refuses to communicate in any language other than French. Based on prior conversations with S-16, this is out of the principle and a desire to refrain from speaking the “enemy’s tongue”. Additionally, be aware that S-16 considers itself to be a prisoner of war who never formally surrendered. Ergo, it considers all who enter its vicinity an active combatant. Negotiations with S-16 with the assistance of Associates from the French Empire have been attempted. The subject, however, perceives them as collaborators and refuses cooperation.

At the recommendation of SCA, we are looking into arranging a meeting with a trustworthy representative of the Imperial Army in the hope that S-16 might accept their chain of command.

Dr. Absinthe



Description:

C-16/S-16 is an automaton whose humanoid form stands an impressive 2.5 M in height, weighing an estimated 280 kilos. Its frame has been constructed of steel and used to be covered with brass plates resembling human musculature for aesthetic purposes, of which a few have remained.

S-16’s personality is stubborn, suspicious, and borderline fanatical. The subject has refused to cooperate in our investigations and has rebuked any attempt at inspection due to the subject's suspicions of espionage. Whether S-16’s actions and beliefs are informed by programming, or personal belief, cannot be confirmed. One hypothesis states that S-16 contains Tier IV - or higher - artificial intelligence of unknown origin.

The second possibility is that S-16 is operated by a functioning human brain, thus making him, as Dr. Absinthe has called it, a Cyborg. Attempts have been made to take X-rays or other means of remote investigation of its interior.

At present, C-16/S-16 still wears the remains of an early 19th-century French military uniform believed to be inspired by those worn by Napoleon’s Old Guard. This attire includes the well-known bear-skin shako-style hat, enveloping the top of S-16’s head, whose crest plate covers the whole of S-16’s face. How S-16 can perceive its surroundings as well as it may testify to some yet-to-be-discovered sensory system.

S-16’s purpose and reason for its construction appear to be purely military. S-16 has extensive exterior damage. Its uniform is tattered, and its frame is riddled with holes and dents, suggesting battle damage. However, judging by S-16’s baroque appearance, it might also have served in public displays to boost morale or as a means of propaganda. S-16 refused to comment on any of the assumptions.




Discovery and Containment

At the moment of writing, S-16 is contained within a tungsten wire cage, shackled by the wrists and ankles with thick iron chains, within a chamber with two-foot thick walls of reinforced concrete.

There is no documentation regarding the Association’s capture of C-16/S-16’s acquisition or containment. On ******, S-16’s sealed-off storage area, Basement XVI, was discovered during the preliminary investigations of the previously undocumented wing of Sanctuary that was uncovered during planned renovations. Objects recovered inside the sealed-off area include, ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓▓ ▓ ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓ ▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓. See addendum C16-2 for details.



Document C16-2: Statement by Mr. Butler

Mr. Butler has been a chief caretaker of Sanctuary’s occupants and the associated responsibilities regarding their accommodations, recreational facilities, and staff areas. In order to make room for new accommodations, Mr. Butler was overseeing work done in the basement when C-20 was unexpectedly unearthed. C-16/S-16 was one of the constructs contained within.



The following is an excerpt from his report on C-16’s discovery:

“ […] I [Mr. Butler] happened to be nearby when the construction workers discovered the secluded wing behind the wall. According to our research, there should have been nothing but bedrock, making me suspect we might have struck a mineshaft or tunnel that had been part of the medieval castle.

Fearful of gas, flooding, or collapse, I ordered a full evacuation of the basement and told the émigrés of Sanctuary to retreat to their quarters as a precautionary measure.

[…]

When the public areas had been cleared, I requested aid from present Associates to assist me in exploring the uncovered tunnels. Wearing minimal protective gear, I and 68 entered the revealed tunnel. Despite my rebreather, I could taste the staleness of the air. Still, we were surprised to discover how pristine the corridors had remained, including the gas lamps on the walls. Some even had oil inside, which we could light after all these decades. In the waking lamp light, we noticed office furniture covered in cobwebs and even mummified cadavers of vermin.

It was what one would expect of a turn-of-the-century casemate. A subterranean refuge with crude air shafts, small rooms, and storage spaces with withered foodstuffs as if they had been preparing for some calamity.

[…]

On the far end of a corridor, we came upon a reinforced door that was bolted, not locked. It took us some effort to force the rusted latches. As we were working, I noticed the reinforced walls. I thought it was ridiculous in a place like this. But we failed to realize they had not been concerned with anyone breaking in.

I clearly recall what happened when we opened that door. All we could see were two burning eyes observing us from the dark. I don’t recall what I said. “Bloody hell,” I think. But it was enough to anger what was waiting for us inside.

There was this eruption of loud hissing and creaking metal. Heavy chains rattled, and the tiles quaked beneath our feet as the red lights burning bright came at us. That thing would have smashed through its cage if it hadn’t been chained to the wall.

The cage thundered as it punched the flexible grating with its massive fists. Then, the monster spoke. It was French, so I barely understood a word of it. All I know is that it wasn’t very polite.”




Addendum C16-05: Transcript Interview C-16

Since its discovery, Associates and doctors have attempted to communicate with C-16. An Antiquarian, fluid in French, interviewed C-16 using basic questions. The following transcript was translated from French.

[At the start of the Interview, C-16 was sitting in its usual

position without acknowledging the associate's presence.]



Antiquarian: “Recording is running. Alright. Let’s see if this works, shall we? Soldier of

the Empire. Can you hear me?”

[C-16’s body groans as its head raises]

C-16: “Affirmative.”



Antiquarian: “Can you identify yourself?”



C-16: “Designation? Is classified.”



Antiquarian: “When were you created?”



C-16: “This unit was requisitioned in 1811. Entered service in 1813.”


Antiquarian: “What is your purpose?”


C-16: “First Decree. Must serve the interest of the Empire and may not

harm the Empire or, through inaction, allow the empire to come to harm.

Second Decree. Must obey the orders by Imperial superiors except

where such orders would conflict with the First Decree. Third Decree.

Must protect its existence as long as such protection does not conflict

with the First or Second Decree.”



Antiquarian: “Who formulated these decrees?”


C-16: “Classified.”


Antiquarian: “Who Created you?”


C-16: “Classified.”


Antiquarian: “When were you brought here?”


C-16: [No response]



Antiquarian: “Did you ever serve on the front lines?”


C-16: “Affirmative.”


Antiquarian: “Where were you deployed?”


C-16: [No response]


Antiquarian: “Did you comprehend the question?”


C-16: […] “Affirmative.”


Antiquarian: “Where were you deployed?”


C-16: […] “Genappe.”


Antiquarian: “What year was that?”


C-16: […] “1815.”


Antiquarian: “Was that Genappe, near Waterloo?”


C-16: “Affirmative.”


Antiquarian: “Were you captured there?”


C-16: “Ouiiiii.”


[brief pause]



Antiquarian: “Hm. By the allied forces?”


C-16: “Affirmative.”


Antiquarian: “Are you familiar with the Association of Ishtar?”


C-16: “Negative.”


Antiquarian: “Then, who contained you in this cage?”


C-16: [No response]


Antiquarian: “Did you comprehend the question?”


C-16: [No response]


Antiquarian: “Would divulging that information violate the First Decree?”


[C-16 rises up from his seat and approaches the bars]


C-16: “It’s time for you to leave, Roastbeef.”

[End of Recording]



Addendum: Interview S16-12

The following is an excerpt from an interview with a witness who witnessed C-16 prior to its capture in 1815. Mr. Mouthly, was a fusilier in the 52nd Oxfordshire Regiment of Foot’s 2nd battalion that had been deployed at Waterloo in 1815. A journalist came upon this story in 1873, but her article was intercepted before it reached the printer. After that, Special Committee Antiquarians approached Mr. Mouthly for an interview, to which he agreed. At the start of the interview, a member of the Special Committee Antiquarians conducted the examination and showed Mr. Mouthly a photo of S-16 in captivity.



Antiquarian: Thank you for coming, Mr. Mouthly. I hope your journey went smoothly.


Mr. Mouthly: Sure lad. I used to march over forty-five miles a day, ya know.


Antiquarian: Ah, yes. Well. Please sit down. Let me take your cane.


Mr. Mouthly: Oh, don’t worry, I got a bad leg. I’m not a cripple yet!


Antiquarian: Hm. Of course. So, Mr. Mouthly. You served in Wellington’s army, correct?


Mr. Mouthly: Yes, sir. The 52nd Foot.


Antiquarian: “Let me show you something. Are you familiar with this automaton?”


Mr. Mouthly: “Oh, yes, gov’ner! I was ehhh, Wh- when seeing it, I just a year in his

Majesty's service. Yes-s, we just defeated the French at Waterloo. It was a

terrible battle. I heard men scream their last words in every language spoken

on the continent. So many bullets and cannonballs were flying, you could not

stick your arm out without losing it.”


Antiquarian: “After Waterloo?”


Mr. Mouthly: “Yeah. Yeah! Anyway, we arrived there after marching for nearly twenty

hours straight on barely any food! Almost half of us collapsed on the road.

But then we found about 100 carts of supplies at Neville. We had been

ordered to escort them to… Ehm, I forgot. But I remember the rain. Just as we

got some rest, the ground turned into a bloody bog!

When at the start of the battle, we were punished by the imperial artillery, and then our position was charged. Their cavalry charged! When we drove ‘um off, the grenadiers of Bonnie’s Old Guard appeared. They just kept on comin’ and comin’, and we had to fall back before being overwhelmed by a bayonet charge. I tripped over my dead mates as our regiment fell back. I… I, uhm… Lost consciousness then, thinking we were done for. But waking up, I discovered myself surrounded by a pile of dead Frenchmen. Before I got to my feet, the Old Guard had fallen back in panic. Ha! Just when they had us on the ropes, reinforcements had arrived and driven the Grenadiers back with shot and artillery! Finally, we had them on their back foot, and I joined my unit again as our battalion advanced at their artillery positions and routed the whole of the Grand Armee! Ha haah.”


Antiquarian: “Ha, yes… Very good. Uh. So, about the Automaton-”


Mr. Mouthly: “Ah, yes, gov’ner! It all happened after we chased those Grenadiers all the

way to Genappe. But their escape route was cut off by the cavalry. So, the Imperial Regiment found shelter inside a walled farmstead in which they would make their last stand. They were running low on munitions and supplies, we were told. It would be easy. Humpf!”


Antiquarian: “Was the automaton there, sir?”


Mr. Mouthly: “I was getting to that! So. Soon the Old Guard was surrounded. Packed

together like rats, they were. Their faith sealed tighter than a can of beans. I’ll never forget what General Colville said when he approached them under a flag of truce. “Free Frenchmen! You have done all the honor of war requires. Will you agree to surrender?”

There was a reply from the fort. I don’t recall the French, but it was, the Guard dies but does not surrender.

[…]

That’s when the general rode off, and the farmstead was bombarded by our cannons. We released several volleys before advancing at the fort. I and some lads made for the gate. Another dozen men stormed a breach in the walls, certain that we had already won! But as we ran for the gate, we could hear the screams. These weren’t the usual cries of the dying. And, as I ran toward the breach, limbs were flying. I was stunned when I was a giant defending the breach, kah- Uhm… C-cutting up the...

We fled back to the safety of our ranks. Then. Well, there it stood amidst the remains of the Old Guard like a statue from antiquity. Then the guard charged and died in a blaze of glory. That thing was the last thing moving after a dozen cannons and countless Congrave rockets were fired into the charging horde till there was no one left but that giant. But its feet sunk deeper into the bog with every step as our bullets bounced off its skin like hailstones. But eventually, it fell to its knees, and its hands sank into the ground. Few dared to approach its carcass after that. Those who did fire some lead into it for good measure... That’s the last I saw of it.”



Antiquarian: “What happened then? Who collected it?”



Mr. Mouthly: “Terribly sorry, gov’ner. But I do not know. I assumed it had been

destroyed or made a trophy like so many Imperial Eagles. Maybe interned in the back of some museum or military research facility. It probably should have been buried with its fallen comra… W-Wait… When was that photo taken?”


Antiquarian: “That’s classified, Mr. Mouthly.”


Mr. Mouthly: “They didn’t rebuild it, did they?”


Antiquarian: “That will be all, Mr. Mouthly.”

[End of transcript]


Addendum: Origins Unknown S16-34

The following is the transcript of a reel that was recovered from ▓▓▓▒▒▒░░▒▒▒▓▓▓ private quarters, continuing the audio recording of an unregistered visit to S-16 storage area.



The Visitor: “Your empire needs you. Your countrymen need you.”


S-16: “Do they now.”


The Visitor: “Yes. There is a new type of Anomaly in the Elzas. Local troops are

holding back the tide for now, but they need a force to strike at the heart

of the horde, and the window of opportunity is closing. We need you to

be part of it.’


S-16: “The Elzas?”

The Visitor: “The Empire recently won a major victory against the German alliance.[

The Visitor probably references the events of the Franco-Prussian War of

1870.] Unfortunately, they unleashed an unexpected horror upon the

world.”


S-16: “Why would I fight for this pretender?”


The Visitor: “You won’t be fighting for his sake. You’ll be fighting for the sake

of the people. Possibly the whole of humanity.”


S-16: “Humanity? They rejected my emperor and spat on his legacy.

But now, they need his creations?”


The Visitor: “Didn’t you hear me? Your empire is in danger, and all you can

think of is-“


S-16: “I have been banished into the shadows to be forgotten! You

intended to leave me here for an eternity. And now, suddenly, you

offer me to go home? This new Empire. This pretender. Does the

intention further my emperor’s legacy?”


The Visitor: “Do you even comprehend the type of person your emperor was?

He squeezed the country’s prosperity like a grape and sacrificed

your countrymen like pawns just to get an advantage. He picked

up the French throne for the gutter just to throw it in the sewer!”


S-16: “A crown proudly worn by anti-revolutionaries and the elite of

the old world. What is France, the so-called center of the world,

without our emperor? A kitsch jewel made of fool's gold and

colored stones. And now, you want me to fight on behalf of my

emperor’s enemies.”


The Visitor: “So… Do you intend to stay down here forever?”


S-16: “Why not? The world doesn’t seem to be a place worth existing

in.”


[End of the recording]


-----------------------

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