FHD Remix Chapter 19

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Previous: FHD Remix Chapter 18: Not So Lucky; Bubba's New and Used; Power Failure

Chapter 19: Always Apart

Tatakai sleeps warmly. Save for a few protruding feathers, she is indistinguishable from the bedding gathered around her. Her presence in the pile on the tiny futon mattress in her new house in the North Nest is betrayed by sounds resembling those made by the Beavertooth chainsaws delivered to Mars by accident. Her dream of the First Battle of the Final War continues.

Doom 3 twelfth stage (Advance to 9:30; harsh language warning)

She emerges from the transfer chamber to the Monorail Skybridge, pointing her two Enforcer rifles down the corridor at the humanoid shape she sees. She lowers them, realizing what she was pointing at: "Jack!" she cries, deploying her wings.

Jack Campbell, in turn, lowers his BFG 9000 and waits as Tatakai takes off, flying down the wide corridor to join him and Elliot Swann, who is inside the transfer chamber.

The laugh of Malcolm Betruger reverberates through the steel of the bridge, and as though an invisible hand spanning six metres is crushing a child's toy, the bridge collapses around Tatakai, blowing her away from Campbell.

Their visors close automatically as the skybridge's pressure rapidly falls to that of the ambient Martian atmosphere.

"No!" both warriors cry at the inside of their helmets. Jack jumps into the Monorail transfer chamber as it closes. Tatakai furls her wings as she falls, before they suffer the ultimate in bends. They also are useless in the near vacuum of Mars. She rolls onto her back and shoots two Chompers out of the sky in moments as Jack watches in amazement through the closing gap of the transfer chamber doors.

The chamber becomes an airlock with Jack Campbell and Elliot Swann inside. It is not designed to operate as one normally, so the pressure is slow to rise. The unsuited Elliot Swann is unconscious on the metal floor, dying from abaria, his breathing and heart stopped. Jack Campbell, operating on reflex, throws down a mat beside him, rolls his dying friend onto it, and presses the button on a pen like device attached to one end. A rocket propelled zipper rapidly encloses the blue-skinned lawyer into this high-tech bodybag, which then shrivels around him as though the air is being sucked out of it. In reality, the air is entering the chamber around it, compressing it. Jack then presses another button, and the bag inflates instantly, like a balloon, looking like a cheap sausage, except that it is two metres long and a quarter as big around and dressed with a gaudy orange and blue pattern.

Using the built-in flexible gloves at the end where Swann's head lies, Jack reaches inside and puts the rescue sausage's oxygen mask on his friend's face. After he removes his hands, he presses a button on the control box labeled, "Resuscitation Cycle." The sausage bounces up and down as the device pumps air in and out of the bag, forcing Swann's lungs to expand and contract inside, restarting his heart and breathing. Remote sensors tell Jack Campbell that his friend is breathing, his heart is beating, and he has a chance at survival. Jack sits on the floor and leans against it, sighing, "Thank God ... and Vanessa Bradford."

A few metres below them, Tatakai slides down the wall of much smaller, personnel airlock, resting on her behind, fogging up her visor with her tears. "Always behind," she bawls, "Always apart." She waits for the airlock pressure to reach about half above normal, then deploys her wings to sun them, allowing her suit's medical systems to repair the damage from the sudden exposure to vacuum and radiation. She starts to dictate her next report into her PDA.

Soon she is again at war, facing a much longer journey to the Delta Labs than Campbell and Swann. With more time, and more damage done to them, Campbell and Swann are sealed in an infirmary.

"What the heck happened?" Swann sighs as he regains consciousness.

Campbell calmly explains in his determined manner, "Betruger crushed the bridge with some sort of ... telekinetic power. Greenborough made it, and so did you."

"I don't remember," Swann sighs.

"That's the only thing I can't patch up ... it was really close, Counselor. The depressurization of the tunnel and the transfer chamber took less than a second. When you hit the deck, you cracked your skull ... the infirmary station also fixed something it called a Class 3 cerebral hematoma, whatever the heck that means. You're all right now."

"I hope that explains why I feel like I'm half dead on morphine and still have a headache," Elliot sits up slowly, "Where is she now?"

"I don't know exactly," Jack sighs, "She'll have to make her way through the Recycling Facility, which was seriously messed up even before we got here."

"I'm starting to think that her odds are far better than ours. As angry as I am at him for pulling a move like this, I think I'll have to thank Mr. Kurato for his timely assistance."

Doom 3 actual gameplay (Advance to 2:00)

"And what should I call you?" Tatakai grunts at a creaking skeletal demon twice her size just before it pops a rocket from one of its implanted shoulder mounted launchers into a support column. A gangway collapses from one end and Tatakai smiles that this dimwitted firepower munchkin just gave her unimpeded access to the upper level, something she would otherwise have had to fly to get to. It cuts loose a pair of rockets directly at her.

Tatakai sidesteps, but the missiles adjust their course. <Guidance,> she realizes. Just before they hit, she throws herself into a shoulder tuck and rolls out of the way, a maneuver they could not match. From her knees she aims her plasma rifle and hits this new creature between the eyes ... well, between the glowing empty orbits where it would have eyes. The lightning-like beam dissipates just in time for the next one to hit it in the chin.

The creature shakes off this attack, heavy damage unseen, scratch coursing through its invisible circulatory system. After jumping out of the path of another missile, Tatakai smiles as she takes aim, saying, "Nobody likes to get hit there," she growls before shooting it in the pelvis. Standing as her adversary falls over and burns, she mutters, "Revenant will do ... I hope they're all this dumb."

Doom 3 thirteenth stage (Note: this vid is how the author discovered the song, "Antikythera Mechanism"; SPOILER WARNING: The song's original video depicts a major event in the world of FHD Remix, an amazing coincidence. (Oh, and you might want to stay out of the comments too!))

Next she encounters something truly repulsive, the Brat, a small toddler sized creature with a bunting-like bottom instead of legs, it gets around on buzzing insect wings. A demon so sad looking she actually lets one hit her. After that painful experience, Tatakai feels no more guilt at slaying these helpless looking creatures in scores as they ambush her.

When she arrives at the main settling pond (already something she wished she could avoid), she localizes a growl she heard from about three hundred metres away. Two twenty centimetre rocket launchers end the trunk-like arms of the four metre tall, two tonne Mancubus, morbid obesity redefined. Tentacles replacing what would be its facial hair polish off the image of the very last thing you'd ever want to see if you owned an all-you-can-eat restaurant. It is so large that it would have trouble crawling through a loading dock for trucks.

<Good think I brought this!> Tatakai thinks as she shoulders her rocket launcher.

At this point, I have to keep careful track of my oxygen use. My oxygen membrane filter is very near its limits, as the partial pressure of the atmospheric oxygen passes below 7 kPa. Walking into an ambush by three Mancubi and twelve Brats was about the last thing I needed. On the plus side, my warload is noticeably lighter after expending the ammunition.

As the last elevator lifts her to the ERF filtration systems after this ambush, the Saviour sighs, <Tatakai, I think you are getting used to this, after all.>

[Doom 3 fifteenth stage]

From Delta Operations, Kelly and Betruger monitor the disintegrating situation from the two alcoves astride the main holographic display.

"This is a disaster!" Betruger mutters, "How can one Marine make such a mess?"

While Kelly and Betruger discuss the deteriorating situation and the rigged uplink to signal the fleet, a young brunette lady emerges from a ventilation panel to enter into the main console, a code giving autonomous access to everything she has access to, which excludes the Delta Central Authority and CPU Access, then pulls the data linker from its socket.

Every screen in the room goes to fuzz.

"You're kidding," Betruger growls.

"Get her!" Kelly orders the security zombies as she runs out of the room. Even though unarmed and unarmored, she manages to get to the elevator while taking several rifle rounds. While waiting for it, she is struck down by a Dodgy Commando, a quick moving 160kg muscle warrior with lots of brawn, but little wit. He stands there scratching his head with his prehensile left hand, totally oblivious to the importance of the device she carried here. Delta Lab's electrogravitic generator winds down, and power critical alarms go off around him as the entire complex grinds to a halt. He sits down and basks in the gloomy red glow of the skylight after the lights go out around him.

Doom 3 fourteenth stage (advance to 7:00)

Tatakai's runaway train refuses to actually stop at the Delta Labs, and so she prys the door open with a jack she found when it was stopped at Site Two, jumps out and deploys, dissipating a fraction of her speed before she hits the railing of the Delta access catwalk above the track. As the train screeches away below her, meeting a fiery end with the reluctant airlock door, Tatakai furls as she rotates by her hands over the railing, crashes onto her back, and slides across the catwalk, grabbing a railing support and dangling by her fingers.

The train's fireball flattens against the ceiling and engulfs her with hot air, blowing an unfortunate Imp from the catwalk, over the edge, to the big magnetic rail, which she hits with a resonating crack, spinning off into the blackness under the rail dimly lit by the train's fire.

Tatakai pulls herself up and gets a shotgun lined up just in time to end a Dodgy Commando's attempt to take advantage of her situation. As she gets her feet under her up on the catwalk itself next to the burning Commando just in time for the grainy camera image Betruger and Kelly were watching from Delta Security in Sector 3 to carpet completely over with fuzz.

<They are still around,> Betruger realizes.

Next: FHD Remix Chapter 20: The Haunted, Gloomy Haibane

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