Denial of Self “Once More, With Feeling”

February 28, 2012

“Hello?” you ask, the light still blinding. You realize you’re lying on sand. It’s not hot, it’s not cold. You’re naked, and as your eyes adjust a little you realize you’re by yourself.

“Hello?!” you scream out, looking about at dunes of sand. “FOR GODSAKE SOMEONE!?”

There’s not even a breeze, it’s just piles of sand. You are about ready to just lay down and let go when you see another blinding flash, this time from across the dunes.

You struggle and start walking towards it, an arm up to protect your eyes.

As you get nearer, you can see something in the distance. It’s black against the white. It’s a person, you think. As you try to get closer, suddenly you feel pain shoot up through your leg. You look down, and see two spear like pieces of rock sticking through.

 

And then, suddenly you’re back on the Sprawl.

 

Radikov is off his feet, his nose broken and he’s sprawled in a corner, gasping for air. You’ve got screeching pain going from your foot, and you look down to see a Unitology-engraved knife sticking out, wedged in a weak spot.

“…you gonna take that out or what?” Norton asks, her voice seems off edge.

She’s got her plasma cutter trained on Radikov’s head, ready to split it open like an egg. He doesn’t look so clean cut and keen now.

“I gotta hand it to you Vandal – you found someone more fucked in the head than you. That takes a special amount of luck…” Radikov sputters, wiping the blood off his lips.

“Give me one more reason to shoot you Tyler, I dare you. You made me unleash these things on the Sprawl, you made me open up the public sector, so what’s one more excuse to hate you?” Norton says, inching closer, her finger hovering just in front of the trigger.

“Alright. Shoot me and the transport I’ve got setup is rigged to blow. My RIG needs to stay online and O-K for the ship to launch properly. My boss will be here any minute, so if you don’t want him to puncture your skulls in, I’d suggest getting the hell away from me and maybe he’ll consider letting you at least have a few med packs for before you die from the impending explosion,” Tyler Radikov says.

“What impending explosion?” you ask. “The ship’s?-”

“A certain fellow is going to cause a Convergence event. As much as I’d like to be present to see the souls ascend, the Convergence event also cleanses anything nearby. We need to be out of here before Mr. Clarke undoes the Director’s foolish attempts at stopping Ascension,” Tyler.

“So I stopped the core overload for nothing. That’s just great…” Norton says. “I’ve got an idea. And you better do what I say, Tyler. I’ve seen how those things make people ‘ascend’. I know how to make sure you -never- get to, how does that sound?” Tyler glares at her, slowly rising.

Norton grabs him by the arm, and rips open his wrist piece to the RIG. She pulls out a wire and plugs it into your suit. The rest of the RIG link syncs in, and you can see where 4-2795 is.

“Great, now I’ve got the ship’s location and I can see a route that will take is past 4-2795. By the time he figures out we have Radikov we’ll be off the station,” you say.

You make sure 4-2795 won’t know by disabling Tyler’s personal communicator. Then you rip out the wire and activate the RIG link.

“You’ll never stop us. You both know that. Ascension is the future of humanity! It’s our destiny!” Tyler starts to yell as Norton pushes Tyler with a gun to his back.

You take point, a line gun in hand.

“You’re really lucky I’m out of stasis right now Tyler, or I’d freeze your mouth shut and just drag you to the shuttle,” you say, watching carefully for any signs of more threats.

“Is that so?” Tyler asks.

“Norton would probably just cut your tongue out. She’s got a plasma saw, it has a precision mode,” you say, and you grin to yourself when Tyler falls silent after that.

You start hearing a clanking noise in the vent above.

“Move!” you yell, shoving them forward as you keep your gun trained on the vent.

It’s silent for a minute, then the air filters start running again. As you breath a sigh of relief, one of those things rips itself out of a wall fan. It’s got both of its legs fused together, like a whip. You shoot at the whip, but it just takes the shot. You then fire the next shot into the arms and head, and they slice off clean.

The freak just continues growling and jumps at you blindly. You roll out of the way and it slams into a wall. It gurgles, unbalanced with only one arm left. You fire a timed-charge and run after Norton and Tyler.

As you approach them, Norton’s already raising a hand as you see that Tyler’s rig is at yellow now.

“There was another one of those things following us. I cut it off but it gave him a stab in the leg. At least now he can’t just run off,” Norton said.

“Ever the optimist I see…” you say. “We’re just a quick run from the ship, lets get moving.”

 

As you approach the launch bay, Norton pushes Tyler towards the ship.

“Where’s the explosive, Tyler-” Norton begins to say as 4-2795 exits the ship, his rifle shouldered. Walt is right behind him, a seeker rifle loaded and ready.

“Get to cover now!” you yell, ducking just as 4-2795 opens fire.

Tyler runs past, heading towards the ship. 4-2795 keeps fire focused on you and Norton, Walt occasionally chiming in with a shot from his seeker rifle.

“Tyler you better be fucking worth it! These two are becoming a serious pain in my ass!” 4-2795 says, firing of a grenade shot from his rifle. “We’re not leaving until I know they’re dead…”

“Norton!” you say, muting your stereo speakers.

“I’m all ears if you have a plan,” Norton replies quickly.

“Throw some ripper blades at them, I’ll try and pick off 4-2795’s head! Watch out for the seeker rifle’s targeting beam!” you yell.

As Norton reloads her ripper and begins to fire the blades off without the gravity lock, you roll and start opening fire with your rifle.

4-2795 gets behind a cargo canister and sends another grenade your way. Walt nearly picks off your head but you move out of the way just in time.

You crouch down and huddle past some explosive canisters. You pause for a minute, looking at them. The idea forms in your mind, and you pray that idiot Tyler isn’t anywhere near 4-2795.

“Norton, I’m going to throw a fuel tank their way, is Tyler anywhere near them?” you ask over the comm.

“Not that I can see!” Norton yells, guns firing off in the background.

“Alright, then keep your head down!” you say, activating your telekinesis module.

The canister slowly raises – it’s wobbling because you never took the damn time to learn how to use the module. Well, no time like the present to learn, aye?

You slowly rise up, making sure they haven’t moved. Walt’s targeting beam suddenly glows on your helmet.

“NOTHING PERSONAL!” you yell, firing it off straight at him.

Walt screams as he’s burnt to cinders, and 4-2795 is sent flying – and not in one piece. You can hear him cursing and in pain as he lands on his back on a large crate.

You rise up, and you can see Norton’s already at the ship’s doorway.

“I think Tyler’s inside… be quiet…” Norton says, stepping forward slowly.

She barely makes a noise, like a cat. At the first noise, she raises her gun. Then she curses and relaxes her grip a little.

“It’s clear – he must have run off. Probably heading to the nearest emergency escape pod bay. I’ll see if I can find the explosives he’s got rigged to the ship,” Norton says, taking off her helmet and wiping the sweat from her face before putting it back on.

“I’ll check and make sure this bird will fly,” you say, heading to the cockpit.

As you slide into the pilot seat, you access the flight manifest. The navigational charts are preset, you won’t even have to pilot the ship. It looks like it’ll be headed to some spot in the Hades Gamma Cluster. A refueling station.

You see a bleep on the emergency comm notifier. You activate it, and a life feed comes in from government sector. The quarantine seals… are broken? Some catastrophic failure of the power system – RIGs are going offline left and right.

“Norton, we need to get moving now, bomb or not I think that ‘Convergence’ thing is going to happen soon! I just got a feed from-” you say, rising from your seat as you realize who’s walking up behind you.

“I really am starting to hate you,” 4-2795 says, firing Walt’s seeker rifle at you. Two shots pierce your shoulder, the first one is stopped by armor, the second breaks muscle tendons and bones.

You slam into the seat, and fall to the floor, pain almost blinding. 4-2795 shoves your head so your looking at him. He’s only got one arm left, but he doesn’t need the other for a point blank shot.

“I don’t know who you are, but you are a real fucking pain in my-” a javelin suddenly goes through his mouth, and he falls over, gagging.

“Shit, these Markerheads are as bad as the things their Markers make…” Norton says, dropping the javelin gun. “Are you okay?”

“Fuck no… I think he just ruined my left arm,” you say. “The ship’s set to auto-pilot, so we’re good to go…” You grit your teeth as another wave of pain goes across your body. When it makes you twitch, the pain gets worse.

“I’ll get you a med pack. Just, try to sit back and relax. We’re done with this damn station…” Norton says, activating the ship’s launch cycle.

She runs off, heading to the lower deck. As she does, you see movement from the shadows. For a second, you think its one of those monsters… but then you see it’s something worse..

“Shh…” Tyler says, a pistol in his hand. “I just need to get to the station, then I’ll be outta your hair. This will be our little secret…”

You’re too weak to speak as he slips into a storage compartment. Norton comes back up and leaves her ripper by the compartment door, pulling out a med pack.

“Alright, time to be done with this shit…”

Radikov to base. I’m en route, comin’ home. Sabotage execution is complete.

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