FHD Remix Chapter 16
Previous: FHD Remix Chapter 15: Objects In Mirror; Orders To Follow
Chapter 16: Cancel That Transmission
[Doom 3 eleventh stage]
Tatakai enters a local Satellite Control terminal room. It is quite small compared to the main Communications Center, which was ruthlessly blasted by Jack Campbell to prevent her from transmitting.
First, she pulls out a bottle of scratch-laced Pyrostop fluid and sets it on the console; the infamous little fire extinguisher. Then, she pulls out the transmission card given to her by Private Sam of Fire Team Bravo.
"Now ... is the time for truth," she sighs as she inserts it into the slot.
"Manual uplink established," the computer announces.
The screen lights up in front of her with a video call with an override that doesn't require her to answer it before the caller begins to speak. She can only think of two people who can do that.
Fortunately, it is the good guy.
"Marine, you hear me?" Elliot Swann barks, "Back off from that console. Do not call for reinforcements, we don't know what the-"
Elliot Swann is stunned as he sees Tatakai's tattered, determined visage on his screen.
Elliot Swann finds the fortitude to continue, "This area remains under UAC Control. Cancel that transmission."
"Greenborough, do it!" Campbell calls from over Swann's shoulders.
Tatakai reads the decrypted transmission message, realizing that it was written with the goal of transferring the enemy to earth. "Standard Personnel Ground Advance." "No Orbital Bombardment." All it has to say about the hostile force is "Hostile Force Engaged."
Angrily, she tears the card from its socket and throws it on the floor, then blasts it with her shotgun.
"You did the right thing," Swann sighs in relief, "Until we know what's happening here, we need to keep ourselves sealed off from everyone else. The monorail entrance looks-"
"I have my orders," Tatakai interrupts, then sprays the card socket with her scratch. The fire extinguishing liquid is the perfect solvent for the job: It is non-conducting, so it won't short out the electronics, and it vaporizes easily when in contact with the hot chips inside so as to displace oxygen from a fire. Instead, it spreads her super-hormone throughout the entire interior of the electronic housing.
The oxygen displacement effect sets off an alarm, as though on cue with Elliot's confusion and surprise.
Elliot explores his baffling console as his remote hack into the communications system fails completely. Typing to try to get back in, he can get no response at all, as though his commands go into the system and disappear. No "File Not Found," no "Access Denied," no "Network Malfunction" messages at all. Scratch, the mysterious secret poison of the featherwings, is at work.
"What are you doing!?" Elliot Swann cries in fear.
"I’m sending my own transmission," Tatakai explains as she plugs her PDA into the socket.
"You fool!" Swann cries, "If the creatures get a hold of those ships, who knows what can happen? You may have endangered all of Earth."
"If you would call those creatures demons," Tatakai explains as she deploys her wings, wincing to make them visible to the consoles camera, "What would you call a creature like this?"
"Transmission successful," the computer announces.
Elliot stares in awe at the angel on his screen as she explains, "Only my kind can detect this transmission. It doesn't ask for reinforcements, in fact it contains a warning ... I know what can happen, what would happen, and that is in my report, along with details of the nine types of creatures I have encountered so far. I am on your side, Counselor Swann."
Tatakai then reveals her true name: "I am Tatakai."
There is no point in responding since she has left the satellite control room.
"KURATO!" he screams, "I can't believe this!" Elliot Swann is downright furious.
"Counsellor, what is it?" Jack Campbell asks.
"Perhaps it was a smarter plan than sending us," Swann explains, "Operation Tatakai was proposed by the Director of Science Operations, Hogosho Kurato ... go in covertly, he said ... send in someone that Betruger wouldn’t suspect was sent there specifically to investigate his activities ... send in a spy. I can't believe he would do it behind my back."
"That’s no spy!" Campbell protests, "As you can see, subtlety is not her strong suit ... Kurato couldn't possibly have had her in mind. That's someone who can move fast and shoot straight ... what we need, right now."
A ringtone, Elliot grabs his PDA, "What? How could he?"
Remarks Jack Campbell, "Today is full of surprises, eh?"
FROM: Hogosho Kurato SUBJECT: Firepower
Elliot, I hope that you get this before all hell breaks loose up there, as I’m expecting it to. I've sent somebody to Mars with the same codename as we discussed earlier. Campbell knows this person well and I've instructed this person not to engage in any intelligence activities, but simply to remain inconspicuous until Betruger's attack begins. Once engaged, she has special abilities that I believe are uniquely suited to the situation you are about to face. If you lose control of Betruger, I recommend you join up with her immediately for your safety.
"Greenborough!" Kelly yells in anger over the radio, "You have just violated a direct order! Get your butt back to that console and send that transmission!"
<You can kiss my uropygial gland,> she thinks as she storms back to the elevator.
"Marine, this is your last chance to get-" Tatakai tosses the Marine radio and its bone dome headset into the bloodied lobby as the elevator closes.
When Swann is done gawking at his latest email, he turns to Jack and exclaims,"This message arrived at Mars in the last five minutes and came to my PDA after Greenborough disabled the uplink."
"She didn't disable the uplink," Campbell says, "She sent her own transmission just like she said, see?"
Swann looks at the blank screen, "Looks pretty disabled to me."
"What?" Campbell says, "Look, you nearly stopped it!" Campbell points at the console apparently at nothing, "Remote root access ... Disable Local Control, User E. Swann … It's still waiting for your password."
The console screen is blank to the Counselor's eyes, "I don't see anything." Remembering what she said of the transmission, he asks, "Are you one of her kind?"
"No, I only took her seriously when she showed us her wings and said she was an angel," Campbell explains, "I didn't know it before, but if she can actually fly, that's why she's so fast ... that's why she got through Alpha Labs Sector 4, Enpro, and the Communications Transfer facilities so quickly. ... And it explains a few things I observed during her training." Jack Campbell speaks to his boss as a friend, "You trust me, I trust her. If you do too, perhaps that's what it takes to read her secret messages."
Elliot Swann looks at the console again, he can see everything. "I see no reason to keep this thing alive." Elliot types his password into the console.
"Satellite Control Local Access disabled," the computer announces.
"She's scared," Campbell explains.
"Really?" Swann asks.
"She's scared of me ... and I'm scared of her please don't make us fight each other."
"We'll see," Swann opens the transmitted message.
He can't believe his eyes, his gaping stare closes only when he rests his head on his elbows on the console. "Holy cow! She dictated this since we landed? This thing is huge!" Then he turns to his bodygaurd and says, "She'll have to explain to us this Source-X and Factor." Swann gets ready to leave.
"Wait!" Campbell cries, scrolling the message, "There's three creatures we haven't seen, let me read up."
Next: FHD Remix Chapter 17: Seven Weeks Without Toga; Transmission Received