Mass Effect x Dead Space Ch1: The Deadening

Jan 27th, 2014
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  1. Ch 1:
  2. “Isaac, wake up.”
  3. Fear and rage wash away the fatigue, in a flash, Isaac is lucid and tense, the memory of death and carnage fades but still gnaws at his mind. The doctor sees his anxiety and tension and makes soothing sounds to calm him
  4. “Shh, Isaac i-it’s okay. W-whatever that was, it can’t hurt you, it isn’t real. You were h-having a nightmare. Remember where you are! Earth! In the Angel’s M-Mercy Hospital. You were transferred here heavily s-sedated a week ago, do you remember?”
  5. Of course he remembers, he’s not insane. After those army types grilled him with questions for who knows how long in that timeless dungeon they call a holding cell, he was told he was being sent to Earth, to the Angels Mercy. At first he didn’t understand why they didn’t just label him insane and throw him in a padded cell. His questioner, who apparently had aspirations to torture people with his nasally, bored voice, cleared up his misunderstandings. The military were offering him an olive branch. Isaac keeps his mouth shut and he doesn’t have to spend the rest of his life dreaming of something better then four walls and a corner to shit in. Knowing he had no other options, he took the deal.
  6. “Yes, I remember. Of course I remember.” The irritation is clear in his voice and he doesn’t attempt to hold it back. The memory of that bastard with his slick hair and his stupid voice was enough to keep him angry for days. The doctor sees his agitation and endeavours to use a calm, reasonable voice. It’s a good try but the stutter gives him away. He’s scared of the psycho engineer and Isaac knows it. This does not improve Isaac’s mood.
  7. “N-now I know y-you are probably w-wondering w-“
  8. “BOO” Isaac roars at the top of his lungs, tensing against his restraints in the doctors direction. With a terrified cry the doctor stumbles backwards over the stool he was using and lands on his backside with a loud thud. Before Isaac could do anything more than feel a grim satisfaction, the door to his room slides open.
  9. “Having fun scaring our intern Mr Clarke? Feel better now?” The doctor walks in and stands at the foot of Isaacs bed staring calmly into Isaacs eyes. It’s clear from his posture that he is used to this situation. This is better, someone who won’t crap themselves over nothing.
  10. “Much.” Isaac retorts, examining the new arrival. Tall. Very Tall. As well as thin.
  11. “Well Doctor Stick, what can I do for you?” Isaac, still enjoying the interns embarrassment was feeling a little cocky.
  14. “Hm. You are a very intimidating restrained man aren’t you Mr Clarke?” The bored tone of the doctor made it clear he wasn’t impressed by Isaacs bravado. Motioning to the Intern to stand up and show some backbone and not be scared of a man in restraints, which Isaac found impressive to do without saying anything, the doctor asked Isaac to apologise. Which, after some deliberation, he did.
  15. “Now, I am Doctor Hayde and you have been transferred here to undergo a proper medical examination. I have asked the higher-ups to authorise a psychiatric evaluation as well after that incident during your arrival but they refused. Apparently a specialist is being flown here to handle your case. A Doctor Naomi if I recall.” The Doctor turned to leave, intern in tow.
  16. “What incident?”
  17. “Now, for the duration of your stay here, I expect you to be on your best behaviour. You aren’t an animal, so don’t act like one.”
  18. “What Incident?”
  19. Pausing at the door, Hayde looked back at Isaac with a very serious look.
  20. “....Try to keep the intern scaring to a minimum during your stay Mr Clarke.”
  21. With that the door slid shut and Isaac was left in his room alone. Still restrained he noticed immediately. Apparently whatever this “Incident” was, was enough to have them scared of him. It also seems that the military were keeping up their end of the deal. This specialist was without a doubt their own agent being sent in to mark him off as sane. Then he was free. Free to have nightmares. Alone. Free to know the truth, free to know that if he dared speak up he would be labelled insane and thrown into a padded cell...
  22. “Fuck.”
  24. ******************
  26. Isaac sat up, heaving, in his bed. Another memory burns bright, death and fear once again being his morning breakfast. Naomi was coming again today. His Psychiatrist, the one the military sent to label him sane. Only she hadn’t done that yet and it had been at least two weeks since she had arrived. She had made it clear upon arrival that he was going to answer every question she had. It seemed that in her eyes, Isaac was a fascinating subject, to be thoroughly examined before being released. Standing up, Isaac began his morning exercises, the time spent in transit had atrophied many parts of his body and, after knowing everything he knows, he knew being fit was always a benefit.
  27. “Good Morning Isaac, I brought you some food” The door slid open to reveal Naomi. Her curvaceous body marred by the fact he was her prisoner.
  28. “Naomi,” Isaac greeted her “Is Hayde still head over heels in love?” He asked drily, Wishing Doctor Stick hadn’t taken an interest in her, which, in turn, caused him to have an interest in Isaac.
  29. “Oh the poor fellow, he keeps giving me vague assertions that he is of a royal line to try and interest me. Too bad though, he’ll never interest me as much as you do Isaac.” She said with a smile, a feverish look in her eyes.
  30. There it was again, this strange attachment she seemed to be developing. Once she realised he was exercising she began bringing him food whenever she visited. All he had to do to get something was hint at it. The restraints went first, then the restriction on his access to the hospital ground, now more food every day. Isaac was beginning to find that attachment very useful-
  31. Breathing deeply of the room’s gym-sock smell Naomi’s smile widened,
  32. -As well as a little bit creepy.
  33. “Now,” Naomi said, settling into a chair next to his bed, suddenly all business, “You were telling me more of the Ishimura, its inhabitants, as well as the cause of all this business.” She gave him a level look. “Tell me everything.”
  34. “What more is left to tell?” Isaac demanded, resurgent memories flooding back to assault him once more, “I was part of the team that answered the Ishimura’s distress call; we boarded the ship and were subsequently attacked. The offenders killed everyone except for me. I barely escaped alive, then your military boys picked me up, floating in dead space.”
  35. “Yes yes, I know all that. Tell me more of the creatures that attacked you.”
  36. A clawed hand shot out of the darkness and slashed his helmet,
  37. “What form did they take?”
  38. Jerking backwards, Isaac got a good look at the creature, standing before him was a walking, emaciated corpse, hell-bent on his death,
  39. “How did they spread? Did t******-“
  41. Naomi’s words fade as suddenly Isaac is back on the Ishimura, fighting off walking corpses with daggers for hands. The servo’s in his RIG suit whine as he slams his foot into the paste that used to be one of the creatures head. Again, again, again and again until he is certain the thing is dead. Panting from the exertion he reared up, heart pounding, as he heard a roar in the distance. That fucking thing was after him again, no matter what he tried it just wouldn’t die, everything just grew back. The worst part is, it was getting quicker at finding him, he needed-“Isaac?”- to find a way to –“Isaac!”- kill it before it-
  43. The full-bodied slap brought him back to the present, he was tensed, his entire body had clenched up and sweat was draining off him like someone had thrown up the gates on a dam.
  44. Staring at him with wide, round eyes, Naomi was practically drooling,
  45. “You just went there, didn’t you?” The excitement in her voice would normally have repulsed him but he was too busy being clenched up from fear, “Tell me what you saw!”
  47. “I saw... I saw too much. Far too much death, it’s everywhere on that ship. It infected everything including me. I’ll never escape these memories, never. The only thing I have left is preventing others from experiencing what I did. This is why you need to label me sane! I need to get out of here and make sure that this never happens again!” By the end of his tirade Isaac was shouting, fear and anger once again laying waste to his more respectable emotions.
  48. “Isaac you know I can’t do that, even though it is my job to do so. We must go through the procedures,” at this she held up a hand to forestall his protests, “quickly I know, but they must be done nonetheless. Especially after the incident of your arrival. I understand you were stressed but by god, what were you thinking?”
  49. “What incident!?”
  50. “It doesn’t matter anymore. What matters is we need to find a way to prove to Hayde, as well as to any other person who is interested, that you DID go through evaluation and that every effort WAS made to check your sanity.
  51. “Then haven’t we done enough!?”
  52. “No, not yet. I have an idea that might work though.” Naomi paused, thinking deeply. “In the mean time, tell me more of these creatures and the Ishimura. What controlled them? Did they have a hive-mind like quali-”
  53. White noise. It’s all just white noise.
  54. *******************
  55. Another morning, another nightmare. Another bedcover drenched in sweat. It had been days, maybe weeks since Naomi offered the hope of freedom in the form of her “Idea”. In that time she had gleaned as much as she could of the Ishimura and its nightmarish inhabitants from him. He felt like he had been dry-washed, then hung out to dry! The stupidity of it all irritated him the most. All she had to do was request the conversation he had with his original questioner and she would have all the answers she wanted. Feeling exasperated with Naomi, Isaac began his morning exercises. He had achieved a level of fitness he was comfortable with, if not proud of. Naomi hadn’t commented but he could feel her eyes on him in that creepy, possessive manner of hers. Isaac was getting slightly worried by her seeming obsession with him.
  56. The door slid open once again to reveal Naomi, with her customary gift of food. It seemed to Isaac she was turning up more or less during or at the end of his exercises every day. She seemed slightly disappointed to see Isaac had kept his shirt on but that didn’t stop her from smelling the air once again.
  57. Whatever, thought Isaac, Its better then walking corpses I guess.
  58. He was still, slightly, creeped out.
  59. “We’re nearing the end of this facade Isaac, soon you’ll be free. Just one trial left to complete.”
  60. Isaac’s heart stopped, his mind went blank, he had spent long hours agonising over his incarceration only to be told his freedom was near. Laughing he, went to hug Naomi, thought better of it and covered it by accepting the food from her.
  61. “What’s the test?! Let’s do it right now!”
  62. “You’re going up into space to work on a science orbital as an engineer!” Smiling, Naomi dropped this bombshell.
  63. Isaac’s heart stopped for a different reason this time.
  64. “....What?”
  65. “It’s to prove to whoever examines the case next that you were thoroughly tested. This trial, once completed, shows that you are capable of doing your old job without breaking down.”
  66. “But I-“
  67. “Isaac! It’s either space or stay in the hospital forever!” Naomi’s usual demeanour was gone, replaced with a severity that surprised Isaac.
  68. “...Fine.”
  70. *****************
  71. “What is it with you and falling asleep everywhere Isaac? Wake up, we’re here.” Naomi nudged him awake. “Here” turned out to be the ESO: Inara. The research vessel where Isaac would float about repairing things until he was judged sane by Naomi. Great.
  72. “What is it they do here exactly?” Asked Isaac.
  73. “Oh, the part of the orbital that you will be stationed in is telescience. The manipulation of space-time.” At this, Isaac gave her The Look. “Don’t look at me like that, you won’t be a test subject. Besides that, Dr Cleark, the man in charge, hasn’t had a breakthrough in a long time.”
  74. “Whatever, the faster this is over with the better.” Isaac grumbled. Settling back into his seat Isaac jumped when a loud synthetic female voice screeched over the ships speakers.
  76. Isaac had forgotten how much he hated the orbital’s ship board computers. Machines that pretend to be intelligent to confuse people. Sounded a lot like some scientists and religious types he knew.
  77. *************
  78. Dr Cleark turned out to be a rather chubby, short man, with a cheerful demeanour as well as an explosively flowing white beard. His white scientists lab coat looked as though it couldn’t possibly be buttoned up around his girth. The coat was laid over the top of a plain, red shirt. Exactly what I need, Isaac thought, Santa in space. Isaac stared at the crimson shirt, fighting back more vivid memories.
  79. Extending hands in greetings the two men shook and had a short conversation about what Isaac would be doing. Basic repairs it sounded like. He was restricted to this part of the orbital for the duration of his stay. Under no circumstances was he to mess with any part of the valuable machinery found in the labs, nor was he to enter, under any circumstances, the restricted areas of the orbital.
  80. “Just how big IS the orbital?” Isaac was intrigued at the idea of a restricted area on a tiny orbital.
  81. “Two kilometres.” Answered Dr. Cleark promptly.
  82. Isaac’s face remained the same but he felt as though the bottom of his stomach drop. The largest civilian orbital he knew of was the ESO Kintae, measuring in at 1.5km. He knew this because his Chief Engineer proudly boasted the fact that they were serving on the largest civilian orbital in existence.
  83. “Right........Give me a map, show me the areas I can and can’t enter so I don’t accidently end up there. Until then, I’ll be in my quarters.”
  85. Walking to his quarters, which one of the few scientists he had seen was kind enough to point out for him, he noticed that Naomi was quartered close by. Her door was open and light from a monitor was spilling out into the poorly lit hallway. Bored and restless, he moved over to the door when he heard Naomi talking.
  86. “I know, i’ll be careful. Hayde, I want you to stop worrying about me. Yes I know he is insane.” A derisive laugh flowed out of her room, “Of course he is, human corpses devolving in a matter of moments then attacking others? Absolutely ludicrous.” Naomi paused “Hayde. Listen, when we return from this orbital I wot be returning to the Hospital. Im sorry Hayde, this is goodbye.” With a quick, loud beep, the connection was cancelled. Just as Isaac was about to confront her about her questioning his sanity, this sudden derision wasn’t in keeping with her character, he heard another connection go through.
  87. “I have him. He is at the other end of the orbital. He doesn’t suspect anything. I know. Yes, taking this woman’s identity was easy, we should consider doing it more often. Our prophet will soon be with us all. I will keep Isaac safe until then. Destroy the unbelievers if they oppose you. Death is only the Beginning and he will Make us Whole.”
  88. Another beep, another connection cut. Isaac heard her approaching and bolted to his cell.
  89. Sitting on his bed, Isaac was trying, somewhat unsuccessfully, to stave off a panic attack. Naomi, or whatever her name really is, was trying to keep him safe for some sinister reason, there was someone on this orbital that wanted him. He gave himself three guesses as to who
  90. *******
  91. “Isaac? There you are, you’ve talked to the doctor have you? Good. Get to work on fixing whatever is wrong here. There is a RIG suit just down the hall, it’s where the old engineer used to work. There is a few tools you might need in there already. You also need to do a space walk and examine the outside of the orbital. These are the conditions to complete your examination and be announced sane. I bet you’re excited.” At this, she smiled endearingly. “Here are the maps you asked for” Naomi’s smile broadened and her proverbial tail started wagging. Isaac was doing his best to keep his growing revulsion hidden. He nodded and moved off immediately. Suiting up in a RIG suit gave him an odd sense of comfort. The helmet covering his face gave him a feeling of safety. Checking the maps he noticed immediately that the areas he was restricted from were missing completely, names and all, except for blacked out borders were the area he had access to connected to a restricted zone. With a growing sense of foreboding Isaac notified Dr. Cleark that he was ready for work and was given some odd jobs to do. During this time he acquired a few bits and pieces here and there, he knew that he would be needing some kind of hidden weapon now. Whatever undoubtedly diabolical scheme was going to happen was clearly happening soon and, this was the important part, he was directly involved.
  92. The day went fast and the ship cycled it’s time to night but Isaac knew he wouldn’t be getting any sleep. Upon arriving back at his small engineering office he was accosted by Naomi.
  93. “Isaac, I want you to get a full night’s sleep. You have a long day ahead of you and you’ll need to be bright and ready for it in the morning.”
  94. Steeling himself, he managed to keep his tone level when he replied.
  95. “Fine Naomi, first though there are a few things I need to do to the suit, it’s an old model and I don’t feel comfortable in it. Don’t want me breaking down and killing you now do we?” This was delivered in the most deadpan voice he could muster. Naomi was slightly unsettled by something in Isaac’s eyes as he said this and bade him goodnight.
  97. Isaac spent most the night-cycle modifying the RIG suit, reinforcing it and attaching a hidden plasma cutter under his right arm. To the untrained eye it would simply appear as part of the suit’s clutter but at the flick of his wrist and the press of a button it would arm and fire an extremely powerful, focused plasma shot. He only had a single shot. Adding the capacity for more would have made it extremely bulky and unwieldy, as well as overtly obvious.
  98. Using the precious little “Night” time left he snuck into the unmanned security section in his part of the orbital. There he found a crew manifest as well as several maps. What immediately stood out to him was the fact that though he had only seen several scientists as well as a single security guard, who was currently sleeping in his cell, the crew manifest said that there were over 70 people on board. Almost half of them were labelled as guards. Checking the maps available he found that they provided more information about the local area then the ones he had received. They showed a larger portion of area but they weren’t immune to having restricted areas. He was fairly certain that the maps showed only half of the orbital with no clues at all as to what was happening at the other end.
  99. As he was thinking about this the lights came on and the day cycle resumed. Quickly he placed everything back and got to his room as fast as he could.
  102. Naomi once again was at his door, bright and early to wake him up. So she was surprised by Isaac walking up to her in full RIG gear.
  103. “Didn’t you sleep at all? You know you should rest, we don’t want you getting hurt” The genuine care in her voice scared Isaac a little as he knew a semblance of the truth now. This woman’s obsession with him stemmed from something much darker than a simple love of broken minds.
  104. “You’ll be doing your space walk today.” She laid a hand on his chest and leant onto him, whispering “be sure to stay safe out there, I don’t want to lose you”
  105. Thoroughly creeped out, Isaac nodded and made his way to the airlock. Reasoning that the only way to get off the orbital would be to do what she said and make damn sure he didn’t fall into any traps her friends might have placed out there to snare him.
  106. Walking on the outside of the orbital was a relaxing experience. Once more he felt freedom as he used the RIG suit to float around. Oddly enough, there were no oddities on the outside, nothing that shouldn’t be there. No damage to lure him at all. He was just about to report as such when Naomi voice blasted into his ears.
  107. “Isaac! Bad news, the airlock circuitry shorted and the door won’t open. You’ll have to go to the airlock at the end of the ship and enter through there.”
  108. “No, it should be fine, I can easily open it from the outside, it’s a simple matter of rewiring th-“
  109. “You can’t, I’ve already asked the other engineers, apparently the outside circuitry is also fried. There is no point in you delaying any further, just head on over to the other airlock. I’ll notify their security officer up there to let you in.”
  110. “Other Engineers?” Isaac asked, perplexed as he had no idea there were Engineers besides himself nearby.
  111. “Damnit Isaac, just do as I say!”
  112. With that, the connection closed.
  113. Not one to be foiled by fried circuitry, Isaac made his way back to the airlock he knew to be a safe entrance. To his surprise, Naomi was right, the airlock was completely inaccessible from the outside. The circuitry on the outside wasn’t just fried. It was completely irreparable. Like someone took a pulse rifle to it.
  114. He had to go to the other airlock to get inside, where god knew what was waiting for him.
  115. Shit.
  116. ***********
  117. “Im at the airlock now.” Isaac reported over the radio.
  118. “Good” Naomi replied “there will be a few security guards waiting for you on the other side. Don’t panic. They are there for your protection while you are in this restricted area. I’ll meet you there soon.”
  119. “How do you have access to the restricted ar-?”
  120. The connection closed with a click. Damn it. Damn it all to damnation and fuck. Armed guards, a mysterious restricted zone, Dark Agendas and a sycophantic psychiatrist
  121. “I fucking hate my life”
  123. Entering the airlock he found himself surrounded by half a dozen guards. Their light, red clothing taught over muscle-bound bones of steel. Fighting his way out suddenly became a last-ditch scenario. Motioning for him to follow, their leader moved on. With a rough shove in the back, Isaac was forced to follow. They led him past several areas full of scientific apparel and machinery. What struck Isaac immediately was the morgue-like quality some areas had. He caught quick glimpses of several desiccated corpses throughout the trip. They arrived at a closed door at the end of a corridor marked “Area 1”. Thrust through the door forcefully Isaac stumbled onto a strange scene. A large amount of people surrounding Naomi and a man he had never met before, arguing loudly, it soon became clear what. The man was still speaking when Isaac entered the room
  124. “-e is a heretic! A non-believer and a destroyer of everything we hold dear! You’ve talked to him and you yourself have admitted to the fact that he hates us!”
  125. “He is just misguided you stupid fool!” Naomi shouted “He is blind to the truth and it is our sacred duty to show him the right path!”
  126. Quickly surveying the area Isaac found nothing he could use for safety if things turned sour. There was a large metal panel running along one wall which seemed to open out into a much bigger room as well as some controls nearby that undoubtedly controlled the panel. Any thoughts he had towards making a plan to escape abruptly flew away when he heard what the two were arguing about.
  127. “-e is not the one!” The man screamed, face turning red in anger.
  128. “He is!” Naomi retorted “Isaac is our prophet, Michael Altman, reborn!” With this, she turned and pointed directly at Isaac. All heads turned to look his way, some with awe and adoration, others with hate and disgust, a small minority looked on impassively.
  129. This all registered with Isaac before Naomi’s words registered in his mind.
  130. “.....What?!”
  131. Naomi, not one to be flustered, immediately launched into a speech about how Isaac, someone who can resist the effects of the Marker, had the exact same traits as the Unitologists dead prophet, Michael Altman. The simple fact that Isaac was resistant to the marker was enough proof to Naomi that he was, indeed, the prophet reborn. This explained why she obsessed over him so much. It was at this moment that Isaac realized he had walked into a room full of Unitologist zealots. Many of who seemed to be in agreement with Naomi. The ones that were at the forefront of Isaac’s mind though were the those who did not agree. These fellows did not seem to like Isaac in the least and Isaac counted himself lucky to have overheard Naomi’s conversation and to have seen the shadier parts of the orbital, he was sure that if he did not already have deep suspicions then this information would have left him speechless for a little while before he could size up size up his situation
  132. Naomi was once again talking, trying to rile up the zealots and turn them to her way of thinking. “You have all been brought here today because you are ALL influential members of our religion, who know the truth about Altmans misguided past, however some of you have been led astray by this foolish man here!” she exclaimed pointing at the man who had been arguing with her earlier. “ This fool knows nothing of The Marker and cannot even imagine its splendour. Today, we are aboard this vessel to witness the unveiling of the future! Today! We witness the fruits of our labour coming to being! At last, TRUE CONVERGENCE IS AT HAND!” Ending her speech on this triumphantly loud note, she slammed her hand down on the panel controls, making the panel slowly slide open. To Isaacs mounting horror, he recognised what he was looking at. A miniature Marker, almost formed. The Unitologists roared in unison, their approval making the making the very universe seem to shudder in collective fear of the madness of men. Isaac knew he had to get out of that room, get away from the crazy and find a way to destroy that Marker. A Marker in the orbit of EARTH for Gods sake! The psychotic bastards intended to spread the infection to the planet, the corpses in the orbital that he saw weren’t JUST corpses, they were Necromorphs that had been dissected and studied. They fully intended to commit genocide on their own fucking race! By the time Isaac had finished thinking this, he was out the door, a pistol stolen from an unsuspecting guard in his hand. He rushed into the maze that was the restricted zone intent on finding a way to stop them.
  134. ******
  135. The Unitologists were just winding down from their victory shout when Naomi stopped and suddenly tensed. Everyone in the room immediately felt in danger and all eyes were on Naomi. Her eyes were on the spot where Isaac USED to be.
  136. “....Where is Isaac?” She asked calmly of the guards. Sensing trouble immediately looked to the fellow that was supposed to keep a hold of him and handed him the responsibility of having lost their reluctant prophet
  137. “I...he...I don’t know ma’am”
  138. “You don’t know?” Naomi said sweetly, slowly walking towards the guard.
  139. “Y-yes ma’am. I t-think that he took the chance to escape during our celebration-“
  140. “DO you think that do you?” Naomi’s voice dripped with sinister sweetness. “Is there anything ELSE you’d like to THINK about while you’re at it?” Slowly she slipped her hand into her pocket.
  141. “Ma’am....I...I think he stole my pisto-“ Naomi was on the man in a flash, grabbing hold of the back of his head she rammed a scalpel down into his neck. The until-now silent audience audibly gasped as the man toppled backwards with Naomi clinging to him, stabbing again and again and again. Venting her grief and anger on the guards throat until all that was left was a shredded pound of meat. Rearing up, covered in blood, she screamed with a force of almost godlike fury.
  142. “FIND. HIM. NOW.”
  144. ********
  145. For some reason, Isaac couldn’t hear the sounds of pursuit. All the better, he thought, I’ll be gone before they catch up. Isaac had to find a way to stop them from completing whatever their plan might be. He can’t crash the ship into the planet, there is a chance the marker might survive. He can’t overload the orbital’s reactor, it wasn’t nuclear powered and there is a chance the Marker might survive an indirect explosion. Before he could properly stop and think about a way to destroy the marker, he had to get past the Unitologist bastards. The problem was, he had no idea how to do that. He was unfamiliar with the layout of the area and didn’t know what to expect. He needed to be on more familiar ground. This meant getting back to the Telescience area. He had spent the previous night-cycle memorising the layout whilst in the security guards checkpoint. He knew the ins and outs of the area very well and knew that his tools were right nearby.
  147. The problem was getting BACK to Telescience. He couldn’t spacewalk because not only would it be too slow, the airlock was undoubtedly still destroyed. He couldn’t take the obvious route straight there through the halls, the Unitologists might have been caught unawares once but they would undoubtedly post guards everywhere in the area to ensure he doesn’t escape. Remembering something back from his apprenticeship days, he was reminded that the majority of Orbital’s like the one he was currently on had a long maintenance shaft that ran the entire length of the station. It was designed so that engineers would have ease of access to the entire station. Immediately Isaac looked for a map of the area, he found one nearby in one of the hallways at a T junction. He had only a few moments to look at it before a pistol shot whined past his head, scoring the wall in front of him. Taking cover behind the nearby corner, he heard the man that was arguing with Naomi earlier call out. “You’re death will be long and hard if you run from me you false prophet!”
  148. “You’re insane! FUCK OFF!” Isaac roared back, firing a round around the corner from his stolen pistol before rushing for the maintenance shaft he saw on the map.
  150. After a short while, Isaac found what he was looking for, the maintenance shaft was slightly out of the way, along one of the main corridors of the orbital. Quickly glancing around, Isaac took a moment to set himself and look into the shaft. It was poorly lit and the maintenance panel was already opened. Still hyped off adrenaline Isaac failed to notice the deep gouge near the entrance before jumping down.
  151. Dropping into the poorly-lit shaft, Isaac immediately felt at home amongst the clutter. He knew that all maintenance shafts would undoubtedly lead to the main shaft that ran the length of the station. This was his one way out and he was taking it, no regrets. RIG suit charged and ready he stormed through the maintenance tunnel, looking for any sign of the large tunnel. At last he found it, rushing over to the entrance he immediately stopped dead. There, lying on the floor, was a severed arm. With a claw for a hand. It was surrounded in blood splatters and it was clear that whatever was leaking had been dragged deeper into the dark tunnel beyond. Walking up the tunnel he turned on his gravity manipulator built-in to the RIG suit for extra strength when he crushed the arm underfoot, hearing multiple bones crack and the flesh squelch in a way that took him back to the Ishimura, when he realized that he could kill the creatures stalking him.
  152. Peering into the tunnel ahead he noticed immediately that the lighting was sporadic at best and very dark.. He would have to go slow and careful whilst in there. Leaning down, he tore off the dagger like claw attached to the arm with a whine of servos and a slight grunt of exertion. Holding it next to his pistol in a way that would provide for easier strikes at whatever was in front of him, Isaac felt a strange calm overcome him. A feeling of determination and, oddly, completeness settled over him.
  153. Isaac Clarke stepped into the darkness.
  154. *****
  155. The familiar feeling of claustrophobia, the sense of danger all around, darkness in front, poorly lit by his almost depleted flashlight and all consuming darkness behind. Possible monsters intent on feasting on his Jibblies in front of him, clear psychotic religious types above him with the intent of genocide with little he could do to stop them. The situation was shitty, Isaac new it but he was going to make the best of it. Walking in a straight line, the steady *clunk, clunk, clunk* of his boots making the only noise in the shaft, Isaac was waiting for it to happen. As it always did, these places were their favourite haunts. Those corpse like fuckers, hiding in the dark, pretending to be dead. Just waiting to jump out at you and rip your throat out. The memories came trickling back to him, of fighting with his life on the line, going toe-to-toe with immortal creatures of death that don’t stop coming, of being lacerated and battered again and again. Isaac had thought it was all over, that he wouldn’t have to deal with these fucking abominable creatures again. He was wrong of course, we humans just can’t leave well enough alone, whether it’s worshipping the monsters or trying to study them, we always put ourselves into the proverbial fire on purpose, only after oiling up first of course. These creatures, always stalking, hiding, slashing, hitting, always trying to kill him, always HIM. Come on then! Come at him now! Im ready for you! Im ready! IM READY! COME ON! ATTACK ME! KILL ME! JUST TRY IT YOU FUCKING MONSTERS! I’LL RIP YOUR GOD DAMN HEADS O-*clunk*
  156. Realising he had been screaming at the darkness to come and kill him, he felt a bit foolish when he found himself staring at the ladder up to the safe part of the orbital. As he put his foot onto the first rung, he heard something slither in the darkness behind him. Already keyed up on adrenaline he whirled around, claw and pistol at the ready. He saw nothing, as he steadily scanned the maintenance tunnel for movement. Cursing himself for wasting time and imagining things he turned around and began to climb the ladder. It wasn’t until the claw exploded out of his right shoulder that he realised he was in trouble.
  158. Hurled backwards into the darkness, the light from the telescience maintenance above illuminating the one armed creature standing before him, Isaac remembered to keep a death-grip on his weapons. Long hours of fighting on the Ishimura had trained that particular instinct deeply into him. Rolling with his momentum he lost sight of the creature and when he stood back up, ready to fight, it was gone. Quickly he scanned his surroundings, looking for the creature. He didn’t properly see it earlier since he was shouting at the darkness to kill him but this area of the maintenance shaft was much bigger than the rest of the tunnel. Immediately he realised that this place was the Engineering Storage for the Telescience section of the station. There would be all kinds of materials and tools down here, and a quick flash of is flashlight confirmed that there was indeed a lot of metal things down there, a lot of big bulky things to hide behind as well. He knew the creature was still down there with him, the blood trickling down his shoulder was enough to attest to its reality. This was no hallucination he was dealing with, the crazy fuckers above had actually let one escape to down here.
  159. It’s hunting me, Isaac thought, it will expect me to make a mad dash for safety. Wether back into the confines of the tunnel, a less likely option or straight for the ladder and up into the light. If I do either it would undoubtedly cut me in half. Therefore it has to be in a position to capitalize on my movements. Meaning it would be halfway between the two areas, as I am, nearby, waiting for me to let my guard down and make my move.
  160. Scanning the area once more, as well as congratulating himself on not pissing in his RIG and staying calm, Isaac attuned himself to his surroundings, the pain in his shoulder causing the pistol shudder slightly in his grip made this attunement a bit slow. He’d been in worse situations but not many. Bleeding, poorly armed to fight a thing that can only be killed by removing its limbs, and exhausted from the constant adrenaline and lack of sleep, he had to kill or disable this creature. The best way to do that is to surprise it, shoot it in its hiding spot and capitalize on the situation as best he could.
  161. Isaac continued searching, without moving from his location, until his flashlight outlined a vauge, body-like shape on the floor. Hesitating only a moment he lifted the pistol and fired. The shot illuminated the room and in that moment Isaac was able to see clearly. The dead, mutilated, Engineer, piled in a heap which he fired at and the monster itself rushing at him from his right, arm raised in a killing blow. Acting completely on instincts honed on the Ishimura and moving as fast as his RIG would allow he dropped down and shoulder charged the onrushing monster in the stomach, causing it to lose its footing. His right shoulder exploding in pain at the exertions and he barely maintained a grip on the pistol. As the creature quickly tried to right itself he fired into its torso as best he could, panic overriding memory, hoping to damage it sufficiently to slow it down. As the bullets forced the creature back the extra breathing room gave him a moment to think and remember. Slowing down, he raised the pistol and fired at the creatures head. At that moment the pain in his shoulder spiked to a new level and he jerked the trigger, the bullet falling down and piercing the creature in its shoulder. It’s one arm was now partly disabled, realigning the pistol as best he could, fighting through the pain, he fired one more time at the creatures head, certain it would be a direct shot.
  162. *Click*
  163. The pistol was empty and the creature was readying itself for another charge. Its onrushing scream of guttural hate was met by one of equal force from Isaac as he threw away everything except his rage, once again he shoulder charged the beast, not before it could slice at his face, gouging a long furrow into his helmet and partly disabling the lighting emitted from it. Both, creature and man, fell to the ground, Isaac lucky to be the one on top. Dropped into a pseudo-darkness, Isaac knew that if the creature got away he was dead, with a scream of pure rage he drove the dagger like claw he had into the beasts chest to stop its movement, the creature was just as fast as Isaac, stabbing its claw deep into his left leg. Isaac barely felt the pain through the cocktail of adrenaline and rage his body was currently running off. Isaac stood, pulling the creature with him by the claw in its chest. Letting go Isaac stepped forward and enveloped the creature in a crushing bear hug, lifting it off the ground with the help of his RIG. Using every ounce of his suit-enhanced strength he crushed the creature ruthlessly, its arm dangling uselessly as shards of bones tore apart its spine. Letting go, the creature collapsed, lifeless.
  164. Bruised, battered, bleeding profusely from two very large holes, Isaac fell backwards and took a deep breath.
  165. “Not so tough now are you, you fucking thing.” Isaac taunted
  166. The body twitched and Isaac was up in a flash, stomping it into paste. Each stomp punctuated by a curse or the word “Die” roared with such force it shook the walls.
  167. The effort proving almost too much, he collapsed once again, now CERTAIN the thing wouldn’t be moving at least for a little while. Now that the immediate danger was past, Isaac saw that the flashlight he had dropped earlier in the fight now illuminated part of the wall. The wall had written on it in large letters “Engineering South” It was as he thought originally, it was the Engineering Suite for the Telescience sector. Isaac could undoubtedly build a varied assortment of dangerous toys using the tools and materials to be found here
  168. First things first, he had to stop the bleeding, the creature had stabbed clean through both his right shoulder and his left leg.
  169. Though possible, he realised it was probably a bad idea to weld himself back together. Remembering the maps from earlier he knew that there was a Medbay very close to the Security checkpoint. As well as maybe some ammo in the checkpoint itself. Resolving to return to the Suite after obtaining vital medical supplies he approached the ladder with a measure of trepidation. It wasn’t going to be an easy climb.
  170. Every rung climbed was agonising, both leg and arm felt as if they were on fire. Blood leaked from Isaac in a steady flow; he knew that if he didn’t get a move on he would collapse from blood loss. The realisation that his death was a very real possibility surged new life into the battered engineer. Finally reaching the top, he crawled out and tried to stand. The moment he placed weight on his leg, he collapsed, vision fading dangerously. The pain was too much of an overload to his senses, barely retaining his consciousness. It would be so easy to sleep, to fall, to simply stop but the thought of the unsuspecting people below him on the planet drove him onwards. He wouldn’t wish the horror of the Marker on anyone. He was the only one that could stop it. That thing in the tunnel was only the start, even though he killed it, there would be more. So many more. Isaac made it as far as the corner out of the engineering area before his vision began to fade out. The last thing he saw were two white shoes coming to a hurried stop in front of him. He could hear slurred words being shouted and barely registered a hand rolling him onto his back. A blurred, bearded face came into view and Isaac blacked out completely.
  171. *********
  172. Too exhausted to care about the nightmares, Isaac rose out of his stupor slowly. All his senses were deadened but slowly returning to normality. Sitting up and swinging his legs out from under him, he looked down at his half naked body to see the medical patches covering him. He was in a medbay of some kind. Looking around there were two things that stood out glaringly to him. His RIG suit was missing and he was staring at the broken, pasty corpse that was the Necromorph he fought in the maintenance shaft. It’s squished, broken head faced him, empty eyesockets staring at him accusingly.
  173. “Fuck you! You tried to kill me you damn thing!” He croaked at the head. “You deserved it and more.”
  174. Belatedly realizing that he was off his head on morphine, Isaac panicked slightly as he still had no idea where he was. Standing up was a challenge but he managed it, he looked around for clues as to where he could be. He found none but pocketed a scalpel just in case. Hearing footsteps approaching rapidly caused Isaac to take up a position besides the door. The door slid open to emit two people. A scientist and a guard, the guard immediately noticed that Isaac was missing from his bed and was just about to warn the scientist when he felt the scalpel press up to his jugular
  175. “Make a move and die, you psychotic bastards”
  176. Dr Clearke rotated around his axis to get a better look at what was happening behind his formidable girth. It would normally have been an impressive sight.
  177. “Mr Clarke? Whatever are you doing? Officer Manly here and I found you bleeding outside a maintenance tunnel, muttering about monsters in the dark and the tunnel itself. Chet here went into the tunnel and returned with this monstrosity. Did you actually kill this thing?”
  178. The little fat man was absolutely blubbering when Officer Manly made his move. Isaac, already distracted by the fact that someone was actually named Chet Manly, was having trouble realising that he was talking to his saviours. Manly, sensing his distraction and feeling the scalpel slip slightly away from his throat, ducked down and drove his elbow straight into Isaac’s gut, winding him and forcing him to bend over, pivoting Manly’s uppercut found Isaac’s chin square on and knocked him out clean.
  179. *******
  180. “Why did you do that Officer Manly!?” Dr Clearke blubbered
  181. “....Wasn’t no right thing to do sir, holdin a man hostage li’e that.” Mumbled Manly
  182. Dr Clearke sighed deeply, “Manly my boy, you need to learn to understand the situation, the poor fellow is clearly having a hard day. You breaking his jaw won’t help any!
  183. ********
  184. Waking up to a splitting headache is never a nice feeling. Waking up in restraints to the smiling face of the person who GAVE you that headache is an even WORSE feeling. Staring quite calmly at the glaring face of Isaac, Officer Manly looked quite happy to be in the company of someone who just threatened his life with a scalpel.
  185. “’e’s awake now Docter.” Manly drawled, acquiring the attention of the doctor immediately
  186. “Excellent, thank you Manly. Now then, Mr Clarke. Could you please tell me why you have two holes in your body, which I assume were created by the creature over there. In fact, could you also tell me that creature actually is? I’ve never seen anything like it before. Where the hell did it even come from? Don’t tell me it already looked like that before you got to it, it’s been dead for wee-“ Clearke cut off, distracted by the phone ringing, just as he stepped to go and answer it Isaac shouted out,
  187. “Stop! Listen to me very carefully, I know how this sounds but there is a crazy as fuck cult at the other end of this Orbital called the Church of Unitology, they worship the machines that create creatures like that one on the table. They want to kill me or worship me I don’t know for sure. What I DO know is I can’t go anywhere near them and they HAVE a half-finished machine on THIS orbital. If you value all of our lives, if that phone call is from a woman called Naomi or anyone else on this place for that matter, do NOT tell them where I am!”
  188. By the time Isaac had finished, Clearke stood next to the phone staring Isaac in the eyes. With careful deliberation he picked up the phone and listened.
  189. Isaac’s heart was pounding in fear as he waited for Clearke’s decision to be made, the fate of Earth and humanity itself rested on what Clearke said nex-
  190. “Yes dear, i’d love some baked potatoes. Oh yes with the cheese sauce, very nice. Oh not much my dear, just a little business to attend to before dinner. Yes I will see you there. I love you too sweetums.”
  191. Clearke, still staring Isaac in the eyes, carefully and deliberately placed the phone back down and slowly walked back over to the table.
  192. “Unitologists huh? On the other end of the orbital too. Oh dearie me. Well they don’t come down here much. If they do they need my permission to enter. One way access doors sure are handy. Now I recall you mentioned the fate of Humanity? Manly my dear boy, go and put the kettle on. While we have some time, Mr Clarke, why don’t you fill me in on, oh, everything?”
  194. *******
  195. Naomi was, again, in a rage.
  196. “What do you mean you can’t find him in our sector? He’s an engineer! He’s probably welded himself into a locker and is being dragged around by some fool assistant as we speak!” She shouted at the reporting security officer. “Check EVERYWHERE! Every maint tunnel, every locker, dorm, everywhere. We must find our prophet before he harms himself, or in his misguided actions, harms The Marker!”
  198. The Security officer saluted and marched out of the office. Naomi turned and leant on the rail overlooking the almost complete Marker. She had to think and this place relaxed her the most. Many of the Unitologists consider the Marker to be divine, an extension if not the physical manifestation of god. Naomi knew better, the Marker could only create and converge, a true god could create and destroy. Naomi knew that her god was on board this ship, though it wasn’t the marker. Her god was running around trying to destroy the Marker. He was also missing. He wasn’t in the restricted sector, it was as simple as that. They missed something and now he had escaped and had the entirety of the rest of the orbital to hide in. Think damnit. Where would he go? He wouldn’t go to ground in unfamiliar territorty. That leaves only one place, the area I originally tasked him with repairing. Telescience...
  199. *******
  200. “-nd thats why the Markers must be destroyed. The Unitologists are fools who will kill us all.” Isaac finished his revised story as fast as he could.
  201. “Well this could not have come at a worse time I can tell you that. I was just about to achieve a breakthrough in the field of space time manipulation. Im certain that a vacuum is what is needed for the field to properly affec-“ Seeing the blank stares from both the other men, Dr Clearke continued huffing and grumbling into his illustrious beard. “All this psychotic cult business puts all my scientific work on hold. Damn it.”
  202. “Once they realise where I am they won’t stop at anything to kill me or capture me. No one will be safe. Not me, not Manly here, nor you or your wi-YOUR WIFE! Get her here quickly! As well as the others! We need to protect them!”
  203. “Oh don’t worry about my wife. I doubt the cultists would tamper with a hologram just to get at me. My dinner can wait as well, the fate of Humanity on OUR shoulders? The very thought sets my blood afire with passion! Oh we must go and prepare for these foul invaders post-haste!” Bustling off faster than Isaac thought possible, Dr Clearke rushed out of the room. Leaving Isaac tied to a bed besides a still happy looking Chet Manly.
  204. Chet, seeing the stupefied look on Isaac’s face leant over and undid the strap binding him.
  205. “Docter Clearke, ‘e’s a romaniticitht at heart ‘e is.” Mumbled Manly.
  206. Isaac, getting up slowly, rubbed life back into his restricted arms. Nodding slowly, Isaac asked where Manly stored his RIG suit.
  207. “It’s down back in te place we gots you out of Mr Isaac. Mr Isaac. Im sawwy I hit you sir. You had me hostage is all.” Apologised Manly
  208. “It’s okay Manly, just lead me to my suit and all debts are forgiven.”
  209. “Yessir Mr Clarke” Chirped Manly, happy to be of assistance.
  210. **********
  211. Finding the light switch in the Engineering Suite was an easy task. Deciding what he should toy with first was hard. The Suite was a veritable plethora of gadgets, doodads and the occasional bitz. A cornucopia of Engineering Gold. 8
  212. “Mr Isaac? You’s gone all big-eyed and stopped breathin.” Manly nudged Isaac.
  213. “For a good reason Manly.” Without further ado, Isaac got to work, repairing and reinforcing his RIG suit again as well as throwing together a collection of weaponry. All the while trying to think of what he could to destroy the Marker. He quickly realised that the only chance he had was to cobble together a makeshift explosive with enough power to completely destroy the Marker. This would take time however, time he knew they didn’t have, not with the cultists breathing down their neck at least. This fact was compounded by a large explosion that thundered through the halls above. It seemed that Naomi had figured out where he went and had to blow through the one way blast door. She would know by now that the scientists of this sector were against her. It was going to be a bloodbath. He handed manly a large, heavy looking device.
  214. “Manly, listen to me, there may be monsters up there. I need you to help me kill them, they can only be stopped by cutting off their limbs. The weapon I just gave you fires saws, you don’t have many shots but the stopping power is great. To use it you ju-“Isaac cut off a buzzsaw exploded out of the cannon and embedded itself deeply into the metal wall.
  215. “I thinks I gots it Mr Isaac” Manly stooped to pick up more saw stacks. “Le’s go kill us some monstahs.”
  217. ***********
  219. Motioning to Manly to stay a few steps behind, Isaac approached the first bend towards the Telescience entrance that separated Telescience from the rest of the orbital. The first steps he took around the corner found him face to face with half a dozen Unitologists, they raised their weapons in unison, in an attempt to kill or stun Isaac. Isaac couldn’t know for sure, what he did know was that he had his home made unstable Arc cannon for a reason and that reason was DEATH.
  220. With a quick pull of the trigger Isaac was blown off his feet by the recoil of the device, the three energy cells he’d jury rigged to work in unison draining completely of charge. The blinding light and deafening sound that rocketed out of the tip of his weapon could only be described as the wrath of Zeus himself. When Isaac opened his eyes the entire hallway was painted in blood and blackened from burns. Metal was gouged out in long furrows for at least a dozen metres down the hallway and there was no sign of the Unitologists besides the bloody paste smeared everywhere.
  221. “See Manly? I told you to stay back for a reason.” Smiled Isaac
  222. “Yessir Mister Isaac.” Manly nodded happily
  224. Dropping the now useless weapon he unholstered his rivet gun and began to move towards the Telescience lab where he knew Dr Clearke was. Destroying the Marker took a backseat to ensuring the immediate safety of his allies.
  225. “Manly, you keep an eye out for the monsters, I’ll deal with the human ones.” Without waiting for a comforting “Yessir Mr Isaac”, Isaac set off to Telescience, ward in tow.
  226. They didn’t run into any resistance, it seems that losing a large portion of her men in a single moment was causing Naomi to be much more cautious. Entering the Telescience lab they found Clearke working furiously on his machine. “Clark? Oh and Manly is here too, excellent. Now, do you have any plans for destroying this marker device?”
  227. “The plan was to ask you if you had any plans, Clearke. Im out of options and ideas here. I could cobble a bomb together but that would take too much time. The Marker would have constructed itself by then and would be impervious to the biggest explosion I could make given the materials we have on hand. We can’t escape nor can we radio for help, I’ve checked and all that equipment is on THEIR side of the orbital. No doubt by now they have the whole area guarded. Trying to get in would be suicide. The maintenance tunnels are undoubtedly crawling with Necromorphs now, Naomi would have released all her toys to ensure I don’t make it through there a second time. So im completely out of options” Isaac said dejectedly, admitting to the chance of defeat.
  228. “I don’t have any ideas either Isaac. Im afraid we might be beaten here....” Clearke deflated. The room’s atmosphere darkened steadily as the two men sunk into a deep melancholy at the thought of failing their task in saving humanity. Manly, however, remained smiling.
  229. “Why don’t we jus’ use the teleportah and teleport this marker thin’ into the sun?” Manly Asked
  230. “.....”
  231. “.....”
  232. “Let’s do that, Isaac”
  233. “Y-yeah”
  234. *********
  235. “Thats IT” Naomi screeched. “We are going in their right NOW. Kill everything that gets in your way, EXCEPT Isaac! All of us are going!” surging to her feet, she beckoned to the remaining Unitologist. Some, including Mark, the man who so adamantly refused to believe Isaac was the prophet, were nowhere to be found.
  236. “Death is only the Beginning, we will bind Isaac to our cause and rejoice when The Marker takes us all! Be not afraid of Isaac and his associates for they are simply a test of our will! The death they give us will not be a true death, for when the marker is complete, we will be born anew as gods!” This rousing speech compelled the remaining Unitologists to their feet, they released their remaining test subject Necromorphs and moved together on the Telescience Sector. Naomi, at their head, could not contain her excitement at meeting her god once again and urged them on to move faster.
  237. ***********
  238. Isaac, waiting near the Telescience doorway as Clearke calibrated his machine, looked over to Clearke and said “I hope you know what you’re doing over there.” Clearke looked up from the machine and without a trace of irony said “So do I”. This hardly encouraging statement was followed by a loud bang and a “Damn it all!” squeaked from the confines of the machine. Isaac quickly looked around the room and immediately noticed something very important. A Kinesis/Stasis module for a RIG. Just sitting to the side with a coffee cup spilt next to it.
  239. “Why is this here? What were you using it for!?” Demanded Isaac
  240. “Oh that old thing? It makes a nice coaster.” Clearke called out
  241. Not bothering to express his outrage at the misuse of such valuable tech, Isaac placed the unit into his RIG. Immediately he used it on the coffee cup nearby, the sensation was just as he remembered it. A good thing he found it too, as he could hear the sound of his Saw Cannon being used outside as well as some screeching.
  242. Rushing to the door Isaac saw Manly standing in the centre of the single hallway, feet planted firmly, firing away at a gang of approaching Necromorphs. Several lay behind them in tatters, buzzsaws we’re embedded along the walls, each had smears of blood on them attesting to the accuracy that Manly had. The man had an affinity for fighting it seemed. It seemed that the Necromorphs had hunted down the other scientists before assaulting the lab, Manly’s somewhat pained expression showed that he knew some of the creatures he was now cutting to pieces with flying buzzsaws.
  244. Quickly stepping outside, Isaac used his Rivet gun to add to the outpour of death, quickly mopping up the few remaining monsters. As the dust settled Manly and Isaac shared a moment of mutual manliness as they watched their monstrous victims twitch and shudder because of the amalgamation of metal pinning their various body parts to various sections of the wall.
  245. The bullet piercing Manly’s chest put a stop to that and a moment later a buzzsaw put a stop to any more bullets.
  246. “Mr Isaac, my chest hurts, can I go see the doc?”
  247. “Yes Manly, go, now! I’ll cover the door till you get fixed up.” Isaac and Manly knew, that wound was going to be fatal, Clearke wasn’t a medical doctor and there was no one else around to help. Manly was leaving to say his peace to a dear friend.
  249. For some reason, Isaac burned at the thought of Manly dying, he had to take a moment to steady himself and concentrate on the fight ahead. Leaning behind a protruding bulwark he was hidden from sight for a few minutes. This apparent absence of physical resistance was all the remaining Unitologists needed to charge out into the open and rush for the Telescience lab. Isaac, hearing their rush, overloaded the stasis module, stepped out and fired an enormous wave of energy down the hall. The dozen or so remaining Unitologists who survived the fight with the resisting scientists and marauding Necromorphs were stopped in their tracks. Knowing he didn’t have the luxury to take it easy, Isaac’s shots were quick and efficient, each Rivet from his gun piercing through the eye of a cultist until they were all dead. Once the stasis wore off Isaac stood alone, amidst a hallway littered with corpses and pieces of corpses. Turning on his heel he marched into the lab and found Manly sitting against a table with his eyes closed. Isaac had a moment of silence for the departed Manly then went over to Clearke. Clearke was clearly attempting to hide his grief at losing a friend and Isaac had no intentions of ruining his attempt.
  250. Turning to Isaac, Clearke said “The machine is calibrated, all you have to do is press this red button here for it to turn on and it will generate a field of negative energy behin-“ Isaac interrupted the Doctor.
  251. “If it works, why don’t we just use now? He asked, moving over to the button, he was stopped by Clearke’s hand grabbing his shoulder.
  252. “There are realms of physics still being mapped by new generations of physicists Isaac. I can’t tell you exactly why we can’t use it as it is without explaining to you several newer fields of physics. All you need to know is that at the present, the teleporter is calibrated to move the ship a huge distance, well beyond its safety limits that I theorised long ago and it can only be used in a VACUUM. As in, exposed to space but still attached to the ship! I haven’t been able to test these calibrations before and even I don’t know whats going to happen for sure. All I know is, the entire station will move and very, VERY far.
  253. “Why didn’t you calibrate it for the sun?!” Exclaimed Isaac in anger, that was the plan after all.
  254. “There is no time for that Isaac, calibrating this machine takes a very long time, we have to go into the minutiae of physics and space-time itself to do so. These calibrations were my next test, the only option we have left is to change a tiny number of the calibrations to only teleport the Marker device, even then it would take hours to properly calibre-“
  255. Clearke was stopped suddenly by a bullet entering and leaving his skull. Naomi slowly stepped into the room with a gun pointed at Isaac.
  257. “Step away from the console please, My Lord. We have to get you to the Marker for the joining ceremony” A wild, crazed look in Naomi’s eyes seemed to have settled there permanently.
  258. “Im not going anywhere with you, you crazy bitch! You want to murder the entire human race for the advancement of your delusional religion. You are a power-hungry monster with no regards for others!” Isaac shouted at her, reaching for the button on the console.
  259. With a loud BANG Naomi fired the gun, the bullet tearing a hole through Isaacs stomach through and through. The reinforced armour of his RIG doing little to halt the Armour Piercing rounds Naomi were using. The pain was incredibly, barely managing to stay upright, Isaac gasped in agony. He’d been stabbed before, a few times actually but now he knew why old army men always said that gutshots were the most painful type of wound.
  260. “There there, my sweet prophet, we can’t have you ruining all our effort now can we? Come along and we will become as one before the eyes of The Marker” Naomi giggled, the manic look about her not leaving for a moment.
  261. “Never, you crazy, bitch.” Isaac managed to get out, between gasps of pain. The next bullet went through his unhurt shoulder. Whilst not as painful as a gutshot it still hurt terribly.
  262. For fuck sake, Isaac thought, that’s both arms now.
  263. Naomi looked genuinely crushed at his rejection. That sadness quickly turned to an insane anger. “If you don’t wish to be mine, then you shall be no one’s!” she cried, aiming the next shot at Isaacs head.
  264. So this is what finished me, Isaac thought, A crazed cultist shoots me in the head with a gun. After all he’s been through, Isaac couldn’t help but laugh. “How mundane” he whispered to himself.
  266. “MR ISAAC” A voice roared in defiance of death, Chet Manly, apparently returned from the grave, tackled Naomi to the ground. “USE THE TELEPORTAH!” he thundered as Naomi fired shot after shot into his gut until the clip was empty. Isaac seized his chance and smashed his hand down onto the button. The machine began to online and a loud rumble could be felt throughout the entire orbital. Standing up, Naomi kicked the now very dead Manly away from her, once again she was covered in blood. Her appearance was framed by a window to space, Earth in the background, the sight at once both grisly and beautiful.
  268. The machine beneath Isaacs hand continued to spin over and over but would not catch. Nothing happened. Nothing continued to not happen. With a triumphant laugh Naomi taunted Isaac.
  269. “Your machine doesn’t work, you are out of weapons to defend yourself with, unless you’ve got something secreted about that big, pocketless RIG suit of yours, and you can barely stand. Your only options remaining is to surrender and become mine, or die.” Naomi gloated, eyes glazing over slightly at the thought of joining together with Isaac for an eternity using the Marker.
  270. At the mention of secreted weapons, Isaac’s thoughts turned back to the beginning of all this madness, seemingly years ago, where he remembered implanting a hidden, single shot, high density plasma cutter into one of his RIG’s arms.
  271. Suddenly looking up at the woman framed by the window, he smiled, the dangerous glint in his eyes all the warning Naomi got before he fired. The plasma shot flew straight and true, right over Naomi’s shoulder, only ruffling her hair.
  273. Just as it seemed Naomi would laugh in triumph once more, she noticed that Isaac’s RIG was engaging it’s helmet. She whirled around to the window just in time to see it explode outwards, the air being expelled taking her, as well as anything else not nailed down, with it.
  275. Isaac, having engaged his Mag-Boots before firing and using his RIGs servos to maintain a death grip on the solid, bolted down machinery around him, waited for the atmosphere to equalize before moving. The air escaping quickly from the holes in his RIG suit. He could feel the machine at his front finally kick over and achieve whatever it was that Clearke designed it to do. A moment of ultimate weightlessness, disembodiment and nausea later, and the machine powered down. Hopelessness quickly settled around Isaac’s shoulders as he realized they had failed. The marker was still in orbit above Earth. Standing up Isaac looked out the exploded window. He noticed instantly, Earth was no longer there. There was nothing there, they were floating in dead space.
  277. Isaac activated the emergency window panels and the room was no longer exposed to space. Atmosphere began to once again pump into the room. Isaac stood alone in the lab, aboard yet another ghost-ship full of murderous demons intent on his death. The thought ate away at him, eternity amongst the dead with not a soul to find him. They were beyond the reaches of known space now. Isaac couldn’t rest yet. No, not yet, not while there was still work to be done.
  279. Patching himself up with a nearby medkit he once more he off to the Engineering Suite where he set about making the largest bomb he could, as well as repairing his rig and making some new weapons to kill the remaining Necromorphs. Days later, after creating many traps and tools to fight off the constantly reforming Necromorphs Isaac stood before the Marker, covered in the viscera and fluids of the last Necromorph guardians, intent on making an end. He had no desire to die with a thing of such evil however. So Isaac set the bombs timers and began to section off that part of the orbital. He spent a good few hours closing all the bulwarks and doors to ensure a that as little atmosphere as possible escaped from the area he had settled in as well as re-arming the many death traps he had placed, just in case some Necromorphs decided to rush him before the bombs went off. Starvation and Madness wracking his body, he finally settled in at the Telescience lab and waited for the explosion. He was rewarded a scant few minutes later with a rumble that reverberated throughout the entire station. At last, with Isaac’s true enemy defeated, he was finally able to rest.
  280. Slowly drifting away, eyes closed, exhaustion preventing them from opening again for whatever reason, content to let an eternal sleep take him to the void. He failed to register the sound of static coming from his RIG’s radio:
  282. “-&Bzzt&- This is the SSV Normandy answering distress beacon in the Tau Ceti Sector, unidentified vessel, please respond. Unidentifie- Commander this is a ghost ship, why are we here?–
  283. We’re here because the Salarians registered a tear in space on their deep-space scanners. You said you registered a large scale explosion moments before we arrived, give me a damage report on the ship.
  284. It doesn’t even look like a ship Commander, I don’t see engines or anything similar to propulsion. The explosion caused minimal damage, I’m sure that much of the structure survived and can you please explain to me why we are heading to an exploding ghost ship without eng-
  285. Joker.
  286. Alright captain plotting a course now.
  287. Scan for life signs.
  288. Its a ghost ship Commander, I doubt we’ll find anything, EDI, run a full scan for lifesigns anyway.
  289. ....
  290. Please?
  291. Running scan. This is odd, Commander. Im reading several life-signs as well as large amounts of biomass centred around the area that supposedly exploded. There is a single life sign as well on the other end.
  292. Good, Jack, Garrus, gear up, you’re coming with me, we’ll enter through the damaged side of the ship. -&Bzzt&-”
  293. CH1 END
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