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Cosmic Negation - 2011

It’s here! Cosmic Negation has officially been released! Use the above embedded player, or check out my Bandcamp page to hear the album!

If you enjoy the music, and you’d like to support Pixeltank, go to my Facebook page and ‘like’ it. In fact, as a bonus, if you tell someone else about Pixeltank and they ‘like’ the Facebook page, post about it on the wall and I will send you a free download code for any of my three albums!

If you like the album and you want to buy an online, digital copy, you can do so on Bandcamp right here. If you like having all of your music on CDs, don’t sweat! I have made limited quantities of all three of my albums as CDs and they are also for sale on Bandcamp.

Finally, if you want to hear some of my demo tracks as I make them, subscribe to my Soundcloud! That all said, enjoy the album! The story picks up after the events of the last album, Missile Commander:

-|3|-

Decrypted header information from data fragments labeled ‘Cosmic.Negation.2011’

Somewhere in a former Soviet Union state, a broken man worked tireless to end his own suffering. His last happy memories were with his family, and they were dashed when his family has killed in a house fire. He could still see the bright bursts of flame engulfing the house and hear the heart-wrenching sounds of his wife and daughter screaming in terror. He wanted nothing more than to dull all of the light and sound around him; his desire was to end the pain from the terrible memories that his senses forced him to constantly relive.

This man, Sid, was a nuclear physicist in his prime, decades before. Quite wealthy, he had access to equipment, technology and a large abandoned military compound. When he completed his frightening work, it took the world by surprise and humanity once again looked to the skies for the Pixeltank.

End Header Data

1| Trifusion Clutch
- 3:14 -

Despite my banishment to the space station orbiting the Earth, I spent much of my time sending and receiving broadcasts to and from my allies around the globe. Not everyone had turned their backs on me after the events that took place in 2009. A few months ago, all of the broadcasts suddenly and unexpectedly stopped.

My first thought was that the Pixeltank had somehow malfunctioned. I tried communicating with the equipment on the space station. Still nothing. Maybe solar activity was interrupting my communication? I wasn’t sure. Several days passed and I was unable to send or receive anything at all. As my fears grew, I also began to observe a greyish “film” that appeared to slowly cover the face of the Earth, leaving it seeming dark even in direct sunlight.

By this time, my anxiety had escalated into complete panic. Desperate for contact with anyone at all, I checked the old communicator that I had used in the past to send my coordinates to aBot. There were two unread encrypted messages present on the device. They were from aBot. The first warned me of danger on Earth, the second was too complex to decode quickly. I prepared to launch the Pixeltank.
 
2| Terra Mater
- 3:57 -

I had not been home in 2 years. As I entered the atmosphere and returned to Earth, I noticed a much different landscape than I remembered. There were no colors, just shades of grey. It was like stepping into an old silent movie. The smoky film was thick in the air, and the music I played to fly did not travel very far through the air. It appears that the film may have absorbed and cancelled the sound waves somehow.

The messages that I received from aBot were sent on the day that I had stopped receiving regular communication from the planet. Apparently this had all begun at that time and he was trying to warn me. (I still regret that I never noticed until it was seemingly too late.) Part of the data that he sent me contained coordinates. I continued to play as much music as possible in order to keep moving, but I was using a great deal of power and I could not recharge my solar cells in the darkness. Everything was frustratingly difficult in this grey dark substance!

The most terrifying aspect of this whole experience was seeing what it did to humans. Everyone was lost and disoriented, wandering aimlessly like zombies! I was afraid of leaving the Pixeltank and breathing the air outside, so I decided to set my course for the coordinates that aBot sent me.

3| Cosmic Negation
- 4:32 -

The coordinates led me to an abandoned military complex in Eastern Europe. This was the source of the filmy mess. The intention of Sid, that delusional bastard who was driven to madness by the loss of his family, was to drown out his pain by negating all of his senses. His focus was partially on dulling his sight, but his primary concern was drowning out the sound of the screams that played on repeat in his mind.

He never meant for the film to spread outside of his complex, but as he increased the power to his device and manufactured more and more concentrated doses of the substance, he found that it was not successful. Eventually, the experiment went haywire and spread out of his control. The Cosmic Negation he created continued to spread, carried by air currents in the atmosphere, until it had covered the globe.

Upon arriving, I made a quick attempt to breach into the compound and quickly destroy the device. I was hoping that destroying the source of the negation and playing enough music would clear up the film, but the Pixeltank was simply not powerful enough. I pushed it to the limit, draining much of my remaining power playing as hard as I could. Once I was critically low I had no choice but to retreat, flee the planet, and regroup with a new plan.

4| Chemical Synapse
- 4:31 -

When I was safely in orbit, I turned my attention towards my energy crisis. When functioning normally, the Pixeltank is designed to quickly recharge its power using solar energy. The dark film from the Cosmic Negation blanketed the panels, and I was unable to get a strong charge. I made attempts to clean them, but they were unsuccessful.

Being too low on power to return to Earth, I decided that the best course of action would be to try decoding the second message that I had received from aBot. After a bit of work, the computer finished the decryption process and I was shocked at what the message contained. It was a paper discussing multiple references to the megalous in ancient times that we had not discovered during our initial studies years before.

A clergyman in the Enlightenment, just as interested in finding the megalous as we had been, described a vision he claims to have had. In the vision, Jesus and the angels of heaven visit him, and instruct him to find the megalous. According to him, Jesus instructed him to “ride the path of Iris to the seat of Hermes to gain power from Apollo.” He found it puzzling, as a Christian, that he would receive a vision that referred to pagan gods. In his notes, aBot explains that this vision is more significant than the clergyman knew.

5| Sunshine
- 3:40 -

His theory, based on this and several other later writings, was that the clergyman, close to finding the megalous, was contacted by beings from another world and interpreted this vision as a religious experience. If aBot’s theory was right, the instructions given to him by Jesus might be a clue. Hermes was known to the Romans as Mercury, and this vision could have meant the planet Mercury. Perhaps the naming of the planet on Earth was influenced by this same source as well?

It seemed like a long-shot, but the message sounded to me like “fly to Mercury to get powered up by the Sun!” I used the navigation system on board to locate the planet Mercury. Once locked on, the Pixeltank began to fly on its own, using most of its remaining energy to boost itself towards the planet.

I flew in space for three days. Each day grew hotter and hotter. The Pixeltank struggled to maintain a survivable environment as I got closer to the Sun. The approach to Mercury was beautiful. It was too bright to see until the Pixeltank turned around to face opposite the Sun. The surface of Mercury was bright with the exception of a symbol carved into the dirt, shaped similarly to the Pixeltank. We landed right on it. This is the song that the Pixeltank played all on its own while the Sun burned the film from the Cosmic Negation right off. I sat in awe.

6| We Rise
- 3:39 -

Once I was supercharged with power, the Pixeltank rebooted itself and began processing at speed benchmarks that I had not previously seen (or even thought possible). With this much power, I was convinced that I finally play enough music to dissolve the filmy substance smothering the world. I was thankful that I “saw the signs in the sky”.

7| Stellar Waves
- 2:43 -

Armed with a newly upgraded Pixeltank and a plan, I rode the stellar waves back to the Earth as fast as I possibly could. I wondered if this new level of power would just make the governments of the world search for me even more despite all I have done to help humanity.
 
8| Sound of Sight
- 3:49 -

As soon as I breached the upper atmosphere of the Earth, I got to work. I maximized the broadcasting signal of the ship, powered on the synthesizer, and played across as many frequencies as the Pixeltank could handle. The effects were noteworthy, to say the least. The dark film sizzled and evaporated as the sound waves were absorbed.

The grateful people in the neighborhood that I landed looked as if they had been born all over again. Their eyes lit up, and they smiled from cheek to cheek at their newly restored abilities to see and hear. The joyful sound of their sight motivated me to keep going. This was working, although it was on too small of a scale.

There was another problem, too. As I travelled from neighborhood to neighborhood, the negation from areas that were still infected started spilling into areas that I had already cleared up.

If I was going to clean up this mess, I was going to need a way to broadcast a signal powerful enough to clear up the entire world at one time.
 
9| Boogie Thunderland
- 2:41 -

It was this realization that led me to a further, more significant, epiphany. The mothership from the invasion from 2009 was still orbiting the Earth in the upper atmosphere. I used it before to broadcast a signal around the globe, so I didn’t see why I couldn’t do it again.

Government officials and scientists had been studying it for the last two years, so I was somewhat doubtful if I would be able to achieve the same effect as the last time. At any rate, I decided to risk it and it worked.

Once I was able to locate it and find the center, I pumped out the funkiest that I could play. The results were astounding. The sky around the world lit up with bright colors as the Cosmic Negation dissolved into basic harmless elements!
 
10| Aquatic Ambience
- 3:04 -

Although it was successful at destroying the Cosmic Negation, my plan had disastrous consequences for me. The signal I was broadcasting was too much, and it caused the mothership to become unstable. As I once again use up nearly all of my power, I began to free fall with the mothership. I was trapped inside and I could not recharge my cells in time. We plummeted towards the ocean, and crashed at full force. I was knocked unconscious on impact, doomed to sink slowly to the bottom of the sea.

Missile Commander - 2009

Decrypted header information from data fragments labeled ‘Missile Commander.2009’

For two years, I remained underground and studied the Pixeltank. I taught myself how to play music, fly, and to control the weapon systems. During this time, I managed to repair much of the damage that was done to it in the years that aBot was the pilot.

I discovered a way to utilize the root commands of the ship, and it gave me the ability to access the archives, blueprints, system diagnostics, and various other, often hidden, utilities. One of my favorite utilities allowed me to listen in on encrypted radio signals. I used this one often, allowing me to remain on the move in the caverns when I suspected that I might be discovered. During these two years I researched tirelessly, but I would have never imagined the significance that my discoveries would make to our planet until that significance was staring me in the face.

End Header Data

1| Manufacture
- 4:22 -

Elsewhere in the universe, beyond the planet Earth, there is some form of intelligent life. To this day, we have not found it, or even encountered it. We have simply suffered through the effects of it. In 2009, it found us, and tried to destroy our civilization with hundreds of thousands of lifeless manufactured drones.

Whoever, or whatever, it was that obtained them and sent them to us clearly had no motive outside of invasion. We do not know if their ultimate intention was to enslave us, annihilate us, or even harvest us for our resources. A massive “mothership” appeared in the upper atmosphere on November 1st without any notice. Before any government had a chance to mobilize, it opened and unleashed a swarm of these drones onto the earth. These unmanned aircraft sprayed poisonous gas, spewed fire, and unleashed unrestrained destruction on everything they could find.

There was chaos in the cities as everyone tried to evacuate with no warning. Traffic jams and accidents clogged up the streets and looting, rioting, and general lawlessness took place. Meanwhile, military powers around the world were strained for weapons and fuel. The Pixeltank, once hunted and feared, was now the world’s secret weapon and it didn’t even know it.

2| Visions of the Future
- 3:34 -

One of the most tragic aspects about the invasion was that the military predicted that it would happen months in advance, but could do very little to prepare. In the summer, scientists at NASA detected a previously undiscovered body in the sky. It changed course unnaturally multiple times in the months that it was observed, causing a mixture of excitement and alarm.

When they were able to point their telescopes at it and get a decent look, experts concluded that this body was some kind of manmade object. The President was notified, as were many world leaders, but this news was kept classified for fear of chaos and unrest.

Some American military leaders suspected that it was a previously unknown weapon from the former Soviet Union or China, while others argued that its location and projection did not make since if it had originated on the Earth.

For the next few weeks, the government began preparations for both a hostile alien invasion and a friendly diplomatic visit from another world. We received neither. These drones were just a lifeless force of robots from an unknown source.

I had been decrypting classified transmissions for weeks and I was prepared to help the world on the day they arrived.

3| Pixeltanker
- 3:49 -

I knew the invasion had begun because I was suddenly unable to keep up with the amount of data transmissions being sent by the militaries around the world. This was it, the moment I had unknowingly been preparing for while in hiding for so many months. I strapped into the pilot’s chair, armed my synthesizers, and blasted out of the caverns with my teeth clenched and my hands gripping the Pixeltank firmly. I wanted to do anything possible and necessary to fend off this deadly invasion.

When the invaders assessed our planet’s military capabilities, I highly doubt that they accounted for the fact that a megalous had somehow fallen into the hands of one of our inhabitants. The ships that they sent were even very difficult to destroy for our state-of-the-art military aircraft, but I had no trouble at all shooting them down with the Pixeltank.

As I entered the atmosphere and began to play, the Pixeltank began to broadcast my music across several frequencies. This was the first time the Pixeltank had flown beside jet fighters and received a cheer or ‘thumbs up.’ On an average day, the jet fighters would have been chasing it.

Word began to spread rapidly that pilots who heard my song knew that help would be soon on the way.
 
4| Missile Commander
- 3:43 -

I flew from city to city, destroying every enemy that I could find. As I stretched my hands across the keyboard and played, I commanded hundreds of missiles that fired into the sky. I received thanks and praise from everyone around me, including even the President of the United States on two different occasions. I felt unstoppable.

Noticing my presence, the enemy AI directed a large force of drones to my location. I took it not as a challenge, but as a pleasant chance to destroy more enemies with my missiles at one time.

5| Phoenix
- 2:55 -

Word of my success spread like a wildfire around the world. The war was turning around in our favor. Suddenly, those who have given up hope were rising up and their faith in victory was being resurrected. Despite the renewed faith in the fight, there was still a lot of work to do, and many people were still dying.

I wept for those I could not save in time.

6| Dreams
- 2:55 -

As I travelled across the world, going anywhere and everywhere that I could help, I was saddened by the places that I could not. It was too late for many, and I wanted badly to stop and mourn with those who had lost loved ones during the attacks.

There was still work to be done, and I wasn’t getting it done fast enough. I decided that my best bet would be to attack the mothership head on. If I could find a way to destroy or interrupt it, I could cripple the enemy enough for the remaining military forces on Earth to finish the fight.

I set my course for the upper atmosphere. The mothership was orbiting from a high altitude and was, at the time, somewhere in Chinese airspace. I wasn’t sure what kind of defense mechanisms were waiting for me, so I prepared myself for the worst. What I discovered when I arrived, however, was nothing that I could have anticipated.
 
7| Autodynamic
- 2:54 -

The invaders were obviously not expecting a strong enough retaliation from the Earth to justify a strong defense of the mothership. They certainly had no idea that I was in possession of a megalous. What I never expected was for them to have one of their own.

I do not know if it was created by the source of the invasion, or acquired by some other means, but the terrifying fact was that they were in possession of one. And it appeared to be not only better than the one I was flying, but also the sole guardian of the mothership. My insecurity overwhelmed me, and I began to doubt that I could be any match for a superior model of my own craft.

The robotic pilot of the enemy megalous played its synthesizer, and I played mine. It was an epic clash that lasted for hours. Our missiles cancelled each other out, as we both played harder and harder in order to out maneuver one another.

At the end of the day, good musical composition and performance won out, and I got the best of the enemy. As the enemy megalous slowly crashed onto the earth, I noted its final resting place and continued toward the mothership.

8| Shadows and Sunsets
- 4:24 -

Once its guardian was gone, blasting a hole into the mothership and gaining forcible entry was no trouble at all. Inside, the mothership was empty. No alien race present, no army waiting for occupation, no anything. The frequencies and transmissions I was intercepting inside, along with the confusing layout of tunnels all connected to a massive core all lead me to a stunning conclusion: the mothership was acting like a giant antenna.

Whoever sent this force was using the mothership to broadcast commands that controlled everything, from the drones to the enemy megalous. My idea was risky, but I decided that while I was in the core, I could play the Pixeltank and broadcast my own signal. This, in theory, would throw off the communication so much that the enemy would be devastated. I was right.

As I played, enemy drones went haywire, crashing into the ground and exploding in balls of fire all over the planet. I feared this would have devastating consequences on civilians, but I was later assured by the President that it was necessary and saved more lives than anything else. It doesn’t take away the guilt, but the rationalization keeps me going.

9| Ending Credits
- 5:20 -

Over the next few months, I managed to recover many of the remaining pieces of the enemy megalous and use them to repair and even upgrade the parts of the Pixeltank damaged from both the time of aBot and the invasion.

While I ignorantly began to believe that I was finally at peace to continue my research unhindered, the world slowly began to once again believe that the Pixeltank was a weapon too powerful for the possession of one man. They either wanted it for themselves, or wanted it destroyed. Either way, it put me once again on the run.

This time, I wasn’t completely alone, however. I gained a few allies during the war, and they showed their gratitude by keeping me hidden in an underground military complex for over six months. These were some powerful foreign government officials, and without their help I would not have managed to escape the same fate as aBot.

Once preparations were completed, they even helped me launch the Pixeltank, inside of a tiny space station disguised as a satellite, into orbit. I continued my research alone, trying not to go stir-crazy from the quiet loneliness of space.

End of archive fragment.

(Source: pixeltank.bandcamp.com)

Robomancer - 2005

Decrypted header information from data fragments labeled ‘Robomancer.2005’

In 2005, we found it. The megalous was hidden in a small secluded cave off of the coast of Italy. I, along with aBot, a few of my most trusted colleagues, and some men from the weapons contractors that were (regrettably) funding us, descended two miles down into the cave.

Seeing it for the first time was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. This sonic weapon that our ancestors believed was “handed down by the gods,” was in reality some sort of alien battleship. The way it was shaped when looking at it from above reminded me, for some reason, of an Atari game involving tank battles that I played in my younger days. I therefore nicknamed the megalous “Pixeltank.”

After several sleepless days and nights, we carefully gained access inside of the Pixeltank. To our amazement, it quickly became obvious that the station was still fully functioning after thousands of years. The weapons contractors that accompanied us, when they learned the station was operational, tried to forcibly gain entry and seize it from us. During this conflict, all of the members of our research team were rounded up and murdered by the ruthless contractors. aBot and I were fortunate enough, if fortunate is what you want to call it, to have locked ourselves inside the megalous before we started running our tests.

As the weapons contractors tried to pry open the hatch, aBot had an idea. If the stories about Marsyas and his reed weapon were true, the Pixeltank could be controlled by the sound of music. He plopped into the pilot’s chair. None of our own musical equipment had any effect, but we found that there were some alien synthesizers built into the control panel. aBot struck a chord, and then a played a short melody on the dusty keys. The Pixeltank started to move!

The contractors, not wanting to lose their precious bounty, opened fire with automatic weapons aimed directly for the ship, which was now floating high in the air. Luckily, the bullets were not powerful enough to pierce through the reinforced armor plating that was protecting us. As aBot and I experimented with music, we managed to learn how to fly out of the cave.

We did not stop there. The more we played, the faster we barreled through the sky, until we were even flying at supersonic speeds. I decided that we should maintain our course until we were positive that we could land safely in a remote location.

Once we were certain that we could slow down and land, we did so. It was there we parted ways. He promised to keep the Pixeltank safe while I came up with a location to hide it. We each carried an encrypted satellite phone with us. I told him to remain vigilant, and that once I found a safe place I would contact him with the coordinates.

He remained on the run for over a year, battling contractors, thieves, and government agents. He even engaged in combat with the US military during several of his daring escapes. Meanwhile, the world presumed that I was dead. After a while, aBot began to believe these presumptions and eventually lost hope that I would ever contact him.

The following audiobiography is the story of aBot, as he fought for his survival. These are the songs that he played as he slowly became mad with power and insane from self-depravation. I managed to extract these audio files from the records in the Pixeltank and archive them here for historical purposes. Along with the files I have included details relevant to the events surrounding the recording of each song.

I hope that anyone who finds these records can learn from them, much as I have spent countless sleepless nights learning from them.

End Header Data
 
1| aBot
- 2:55 -


One of the first things that aBot learned while piloting the Pixeltank is that having theme music can be empowering. When he first went on the run, he took pleasure in playing this song every time he could. His “theme music” gave him the energy and confidence he needed to run from the world as it chased him. The melody would instantly transform him from a scared and insecure scientist into a confident and skilled pilot.

aBot wasted no time filling the void in his life that was created by the loss of our crew. He absorbed himself with music and war. It was fitting for a pilot of the Pixeltank, that magical spacecraft believed by the ancients to be forged and fought over by the gods of both war and music.

Weapons contractors badly wanted to seize this warship in order to dissect it, study it, mass produce it, and sell it for profit to the highest bidder. Governments wanted to be the first to claim it, modify it, and add it to their military arsenals. The harder aBot tried to disappear and be left alone, the harder the world tried to find him.

Sometimes, his theme music was the only consolation he had.
 
2| Robot King
- 1:32 -

As his ability to compose pleasing melodies increased, his ability to pilot the Pixeltank and master its’ weapon systems grew exponentially. At one point, he likened himself to be the “robot king” because he was “unstoppable in battle.” Of course, at this point he was only engaging with small bands of mercenaries and the occasional helicopter or two. This initial success helped his head to swell more than it should have.

After six months of winning small battles that each ended with his miraculous escape, aBot’s swollen ego and delusions of grandeur got the best of him. He came out of hiding, and for no reason other than “he thought that he could,” he entered into U.S. airspace. His plan was to enter low and fast in order to remain undetected by American radar. Travelling faster than the speed of sound, he set his course for a small secluded lake on the outskirts of a major city. Once he landed, he swam to the lake shore and hiked several miles to the city.

He spent several days lying low and scavenging for food. He did not realize at this time that he had already been identified. U.S. intelligence had allowed him to enter the country, and although they did not know the exact location of the Pixeltank, they had aBot under constant surveillance.

3| Robomancer
- 3:00 -

Little by little, aBot was beginning to lose his grip on reality. Every day he was a little less careful about masking his identity and covering his tracks. Everywhere he went, his instincts told him that he was being followed. Even so, he continued to get more and more careless as if he was challenging the world to find him. He slept in gutters, hid himself in boxes and under bridges, and found food in garbage cans and homeless shelters.

Weeks later, while aBot was sitting on a park bench and trying to stay warm, a beautiful young woman came jogging by him. She had long brown hair, blue eyes, and a gorgeous smile. He was instantly attracted. In his mind, this beautiful woman should have instantly been attracted in return.

He approached the young lady and bluntly asked her for her hand in marriage. She very sternly rejected his offer, and could not help the disgusted look she had on her face. His poor heart was crushed! Along with likening himself to be the “robot king,” aBot also thought himself to be quite the romancer! He concluded that the Pixeltank could help him acquire a new title: the “Robomancer.” He began travelling back to the lake where it was hidden. U.S. intelligence forces followed from a distance.
 
4| Deve Ocean
- 1:53 -

The day passed, and darkness swept across the landscape. As aBot approached the hidden megalous, the United States military began mobilizing a massive covert operation to capture the sonic weaponry from him the moment they could locate the Pixeltank. Tired, he sat down to catch his breath. As he rested, he suddenly heard a crackling sound coming from the woods. “Am I being followed? I’ve been so careless,” he wondered. A squirrel ran past and jumped into a tree. “Okay, that was just a squirrel, but I should be more careful.”

He got up and started moving more rapidly towards the lake. When he finally arrived and the lake was in view, he made a mad dash and dived into the water. The Pixeltank was not very deeply submerged, and he was able to quickly secure himself inside. My assumption is that the military had been unable to locate the Pixeltank when they predicted aBot’s trajectory because of the darkness, and could not move in time.

Foolishly, he played a melody and sent the Pixeltank barreling into the sky at an incredible speed. The idea of winning the heart of this woman, rather than his escape, consumed him. He maintained a high altitude until the morning.
 
5| VR Battle
- 2:02 -

In the morning, aBot arrived at the park fully prepared to win the heart of this stranger. Meanwhile, the U.S. military mobilized heavy tank artillery along with full tactical air support. In one of the largest military operations on U.S. soil, stealth bombers and jet fighters, all backed by scores of recon support troops and satellite real-time feeds all zeroed in on the Pixeltank.

Their mission was to either capture the device or destroy it so that no other government could obtain it. aBot, in his distracted stupor, was caught completely unaware. When the military teams were in place they engaged, firing the first shots. Missiles were launched, and they managed to land multiple direct hits on the Pixeltank. Realizing that the missile strikes had caused severe damage to the armor plating protecting his craft, aBot played his synthesizers.

The Pixeltank ran a self-diagnostic, and concluded that aBot should take extreme evasive maneuvers. Despite his attempt to escape, the Air Force continued their pursuit. aBot had to decide to fight back or be killed. He fought back. This music activated the self-defense system on the ship and the Pixeltank began firing its own missiles. Somehow, aBot managed to escape. The military was shocked, but determined still.
 
6| Slave of the Machine
- 1:28 -

Left with no choice, aBot remained on the run. Every time he stopped, even if for only a night, he was located and pursued by an enemy. There was nowhere for him to hide. He was a slave of the machine; a prisoner in an alien metal cage.

7| Path of Insanity
- 1:36 -

As the escalation increased, aBot’s mind began to slip even more. Audio data recorded by the Pixeltank revealed that during this period he was suffering from severe hallucinations, anxiety, and depression. He would scream, sing, whistle, and talk to imaginary people that he believed were aboard the ship.

When he was lucky enough to settle down for a few hours’ rest, he was able to regain a bit of his sanity. It was only a matter of time, however, until his hunters would find him and attempt to capture the ship once again.  His musical abilities and creativity continued to suffer from the wear and tear of his lifestyle, making his eventual defeat seem more and more like a real possibility every single day.
 
8| The It Number 2
- 2:51 -

The day aBot lost himself completely was, unfortunately, the same day that he was engaged in his largest battle. Allied military forces from around the globe had him cornered in a remote desert location somewhere in eastern Turkey.

With the last ounces of his strength, he played a song that he later logged as, “The It Number 2,” for reasons unknown. The music was enough to hold off the enemy forces for three days.

At the battle’s peak, aBot’s strength left him. Almost two minutes into this sample of his song, you can hear the sad, tired melody he played. He was defeated. The Pixeltank was still engaging in war, but aBot could no longer continue to run, to play, or to keep his grip on reality. Fortunately for him, he managed to escape one last time by a stroke of pure chance.

9| Da Plunk
- 2:56 -

It is here that we see a sudden and sharp decline in his ability to create music and pilot the Pixeltank. “Da Plunk,” as he named it, was his goofy sarcastic attempt at recording a victory song after his final attempt to escape.

10| Polilop
- 3:57 -

As he flew high over the Mediterranean, with multiple enemy aircraft in pursuit, he continued his streak of poorly composed and highly delusional “victory songs.” Even as the Pixeltank was being barraged with missiles, he continued to play. All systems began to fail, and he even began involuntarily losing altitude. He carried the twisted song on, offering no fight in return. With one final chord, he sent the Pixeltank into a nosedive. Falling at an incredible velocity, he crashed himself directly into the middle of the sea.

11| INCREDIBLE SONG
- 5:15 -

Sitting at the bottom of the Mediterranean, aBot collapsed into his own dark mind. The music from the megalous no longer liberated him. Instead, he became a victim of its trappings. His lunatical, deranged music at this stage, labeled simply “INCREDIBLE SONG” in the archives, perfectly illustrates the depraved state of his mind. At his moment of darkness, however, a ray of light for him came in the form of a communication from me, his lost colleague Ninjalan.

12| The Hero Lives
- 5:15 -

Being presumed dead had its advantages. It allowed me to move freely about with little interruption. I spent my time, as promised, devising a plan to hide the Pixeltank and continue my research into its history and power. aBot had managed to keep the battleship functional enough to continue, but he had failed to keep his sanity intact. It was challenging to find him, but I managed to send an encrypted message to him with my warm regards and the coordinates of an underground system of caverns.

He was all too pleased to rid himself of the Pixeltank and therefore his endless conflicts. I arrived at the cavern twenty days after I sent my broadcast. The Pixeltank was there, safely tucked away. Sadly, but most likely for the best, aBot was not there. I don’t know where he went and I have not heard from him since.

The last recording that was logged in the Pixeltank’s archives is called “The Hero Lives.” It was dated from the day I send him the message. I have named this section of the archives, “Robomancer,” after all that aBot endured for those tough years. You have earned the title; I hope you are well.

End of archive fragment.

(Source: pixeltank.bandcamp.com)

A Brief History of Pixeltank

A fragment of a journal entry dated 11.11.2011

 The legend of the Pixeltank has its roots in the ancient world. Subtle references to it, scattered all throughout primitive and classical writings, have baffled scholars and researchers for centuries. The ancient historian Herodotus wrote of a weapon fashioned by the god Hephaestus in his forge as a gift for Apollo, the god of music. He writes of its origin:

And Hephaestus forged the formidable megaulos to satisfy the respectable urgings of Apollo.

Until recently, it was unknown what exactly this megalous was supposed to be. Later in his writings, Herodotus describes it as some sort of weapon. Its power scared Ares, the god of war, so much that he crafted a plan to gain control of it. Herodotus continues,

But Ares, not to become an enemy of this new weapon spoke kindly to Apollo and convinced him of his friendship. Then while Apollo was away, Ares, having become close to Apollo and his servants, was able to steal this formidable megaulos and hand it down to his minion Marsyas in order to betray Apollo. Marsyas, having his own grand ambitions, used the megaulos to challenge Apollo in battle, much to the pleasing of Ares.

An ancient philosopher, in his account of this famed battle, explains that Marsyas controlled the megaulos with his reed instrument. Somehow, the philosopher explained, the sounds of the music he played caused the weapon to come to life and “wreak great havoc on Apollo.”

It was the idea that in the ancient world some kind of sonic weaponry could have existed that led my team to begin its research into the “megalous.” My name is Ninjalan. I was the head of a department at a large American university. Our area of interest was ancient weaponry in mythology.

We traveled European libraries, museums, and archives looking for any reference to this weapon, the megalous, that we could find. One of my colleagues, who I will refer to as aBot, discovered a link between the weapon and a famous Biblical story: It was supposed by medieval scholars that this same megaulos was used when Joshua blew his trumpet to siege the city of Jericho.

Despite the great progress we were making, funding from our university ran out as the budget for “researching frivolous ancient myths” (as it was explained to us) dried up. In order to continue at the pace we were working, we foolishly accepted additional funding from a man who claimed to share an interest in our work. He was, in a way, telling the truth. We did not realize at the time that his real interest was limited to the ways that our research could benefit his corporations’ weapons contracts with the government.

Despite our short-sightedness in choosing funding, we continued to otherwise make great progress on our research. We found that small, passing, references to this weapon continued in various forms throughout the Persian, Greek, and Roman Empires. Our most striking discovery, however, was that the references suddenly cease altogether sometime in the 3rd century CE. It is not until years later that the megalous is mentioned, and even then it is only mentioned in the past tense as a weapon of legend.

It is at this time that the last writer we find referring to it in the present tense claims that the megaulos was supposedly hidden away by the crumbling Roman Empire to keep it from being stolen by barbarian raids.

If it was lost, we wanted to find it. It became our obsession.

End of journal fragment.

(Source: pixeltank.bandcamp.com)