((Sorry for my lateness in this one here. It's set back on Vulcan, in The Forge, where we last left Yyaio. A short one, should be easy to read!))
tl,dr; - Yyaio, Savants' android alter-ego, had been assigned the task of discovering the meaning of suffering, so that Savant could come to grips with what motivates the organics that surround her. Her quest brought her to Vulcan's Forge, where the heat and radiation overtook even her artificially strengthened body. Now, deactivated and malfunctioning, Yyaio's quest seems to be at an end. However, a little bit of luck gives her a second chance...
The sparking, fading mesh of misfiring memories was all that remained of Yyaio's consciousness. The network remained there, an inert plastic spiderweb within the android body, but without more conductive fluid there simply wasn't enough fuel left in her microscopic power cells to bring her back to life. Before long those memories faded away as well, slowly devolving into oblivion. She was, for all intents and purposes, a corpse.
But fate was not finished with Yyaio yet. Some hundred kilometers away, a Vulcan Commander and her Marine beau were running for their lives from a raging storm of wind and sand and fire. Here, within these crags, Yyaio could not run, nor could she shield herself from the onrush of destruction. First sand, then rocks scoured across her prone body, biting into worn synthetic flesh and rending cloth.
Still, Yyaio was no organic lifeform, and any similarities were only skin-deep. She was made of sterner stuff, immune to the ravages of the microscopic world, resistant to heat and radiation - even in death, Yyaio was a demonstration in resilience. She lay, unmoving and buffeted only by the winds, the howling sky above her boiling with electricity and potential. An open wake, unattended.
Vulcan's Forge was no mere desert, however. The ancient powers that had rent this unhealing scar into the planets' side were such that even now, millennia past, the forces that once split the sky still raged. Firestorms. The churning morass of sand sparked the air, igniting it with a potent mixture of electricity, flame and millicochrane radiation that was doom to any living thing unfortunate enough to cross its path. Hell-fire had no better living incarnation than these churning whirlwinds, these devil-winds that could shred flesh from bones and leave scattered, charred gore in their wake.
But Yyaio was not a living thing, and those tidings which brought the end to the living might well bring beginnings to those who had never lived at all.
Fire coursed through her veins. Fire and electricity roared through her, and she screamed - not from the gut, not form the lungs - it was a keening electronic screech, an open-mouthed synthetic banshee scream that carried along with the coruscating golden sand. No sight, no sound, no touch, just an electric wail.
Yyaio writhed as if burning. She twisted against the baked-hard gravel, kicking and thrashing. Forge-fire rippled across her ragged body, igniting her shuddering network back to life. Her senses blasted back to life with the intensity of the storm, and all she saw was chaos - scouring sand and goading electrical fire surrounded her in a churning whirlwind. She bucked up, almost to her feet, fell sideways again, kicked at the rocks, twisting and shrieking. Fire! Heat! Movement! Life! Every memory that Yyaio ever had boiled to the surface all at once in a foaming froth, and she screamed, alone in the maelstrom.
No thought, no consideration - just action. A thousand fragments of utility function oriented her in a thousand directions, and she scrabbled against the rocks, dragging herself onwards, forwards, through the chaos. Instinct, raw passion moved her. No human passions or instinct, nothing that any organic being could consider to be instinct moved her. The power of Vulcan's Forge flowed through her tormented body, re-casting her in the crucible of heat, smelting out the impurities. If mathematical formulas could glow with power, these did. She clawed her way to the ridge line... to see.
She could barely see through the sand, even with her powerful sensor system, degraded as it might have been. It didn't matter. Yyaio/Savants' instincts were not to thrive, or even to survive - they were, at the core, to know. Beyond the next hill, beyond the next star - whatever was closer, whatever promised the greater reward. She clawed through the rock, her fingertips scored and welting green as she scrambled. Pain was non-existent. Thought was an afterthought. She was an empty database, drinking the world in as quickly as her flickering sensors would allow.
The wind cast her hair wildly about when she peered over the edge, and it was only her overpowered grip on the rock that kept the sudden headwind from sending her toppling back down the steep slope. In the valley beneath her, gold-red sand and fire churned like the surface of a sun. She dove towards it headlong, a thing possessed.
The storm passed eventually, and with it fled the overwhelming inductive charge that had possessed Yyaio stem to stern. As the electrons fled (slowly, fortunately), her mad scramble to nowhere slowed, and what remained of her higher processes had returned. But they were not whole - vast pieces were missing, so vast that she was even unaware of their departure. She was Yyaio, she was a wanderer. And she was searching for something. She had sent herself on this task, this much she knew, but she knew that the story was incomplete, too - was it really her that had done this? Why? The amnesia gave her much to think about as she trod through the now sullen, scalding, still desert. Sand devils whipped across the vacant plain that had once held the molten surface of a star, or had seemed to. Yyaio was a dark-haired spot amongst the white sand.
She hobbled, her body rocking uncomfortably with every step. Her left arm was curled against her side to keep it from dangling - during her madness, she had damaged it somehow. Green blood caked it, clotted even as it had begun to trickle from her wounds. She was a wreck. She was numb to it all, as she ever was, but this time she had no sense of that being a special fact. It was a stuffy-headed numbness, a phantom-body that did not seem to be her own. For it did, very much, seem to her that she needed one.
Without water, though, Yyaio was as doomed as ever - this was only a temporary reprieve. Cruel fate! Would she succumb to death once more, only to be woken by every storm that passed her way - only to slowly be torn asunder, piece by piece, with every resurrection bringing her one step closer to her complete dissolution? Her mind churned over the thought, returning to it again and again, unbidden, as if drawn there by some process she had lost track of and could no longer find. Was this Hell?
She laughed, she laughed loudly, her voice escaping her cracked and bloody lips, echoing across the walls of the valley. It came quite unbidden, and entirely un-calculated. The joke was on her, and she was the one playing it. She didn't even know what the joke *was* anymore, but it must have been a marvelous one. Yyaio laughed again, and fell to her knees. Already she was running out of time. Minutes, perhaps? She had no way to track the charge that coursed through her, as it fled through her feet and skin and scars and blood into the barren desert. No way to know. Her sight, most intense of her senses, was already starting to blur as pixels faded away. The ground became a yellow-white slash beneath a butterscotch sky, dappled with grey and gold. It was a pretty sight, a magnificent arrangement of ancient hues, coupled with the unreal thermal glow and rainbow spectra of electromagnetic joy. She was so enamoured with her dying vision that she entirely missed the black, man-sized speck that rushed to her as she toppled over.