FHD Remix Chapter 22
Previous: FHD Remix Chapter 21: Foreshadows of Forgiveness; Noble?
Chapter 22: Big Featherwing Gun
[It is assumed that Delta Lab's generator is an electrogravitic device operating according to the principles discovered by Byfield and Thomas Townsend Brown in 1923, you can google for it. This part contains a subtle homage to another shooter: Crysis. Sergeant Kelly's transformation happens in the game, since you encounter him as a claw tank, but the actual transformation is not depicted. You don't encounter the BFG 9000 information video until much later in the game. Ian McCormick is in the game, and much of his dialogue is the same here.]
[Doom 3 fifteenth stage]
Tatakai enters the Delta Lab. The turret cannon she had to deactivate ran off EnPro power, and also had a battery backup. She had to remember that because for a moment, she couldn't make any sense of why that cannon could operate, yet Delta Lab itself is without power.
She's getting tired of Betruger's telekinetic tricks. The first couple actually scared her. Now they just waste ammunition. Tatakai is trying not to be annoyed. This time he throws a body through a corridor window, <Niiiiiiice.>
None of the doors work, floor panels are missing, there is blood all over including some fresh blood. She kneels as she approaches the operations center. She uses her PDA's built-in analyzer and types it. It is 99% Type A, she discovers, standard counts. She can tell by looking at the trail that it came out of large wounds. It had to have been a Saviour-spawn, she realizes, one who has managed to stay out of the fight until minutes before, since all artificial corpuscles are Type O. Tatakai's blood is almost all artificial corpuscles, and antibiotics to make up for a near-zero leukocyte count. Most of her natural blood, the blood she landed on Mars with, is strewn all over the Alpha Labs. She hopes to meet this new ally ... from what she can see, his wounds would be easily treated.
Tatakai reaches the main operations console, wondering what act of sabotage her ally inflicted.
The data linker is missing.
She sighs, "The data linker is missing. Brilliant!" Delta Lab is disaster-proof in every other way, festooned with emergency shelters in the walls and floors to house people in the event of disaster spreading in the corridor. She realizes that now, her enemy hides in these shelters, and that she is the disaster spreading in the corridors.
The data linker is missing. At least she has a trail to follow, although it leads straight into a door that doesn't work. As Tatakai starts to pry up floor boards, they erupt at her with a hiss and a flash, and she hears Betruger laugh. After patching the scratch on her chin, she mutters, "Awful sense of humor."
Her head, shoulders and shotgun hang into the crawlspace and scan much like the turret at the entrance. Finding nothing, the rest of her follows, and she soon emerges in the lobby on the other side of the door, the one where the morning briefing took place. The display is still operating on internal power; its stopped clock tells Tatakai exactly when the data linker was removed, at 15:41:25, about seven minutes ago. Another corridor, another lobby, she follows the trail.
No resistance. Imps crawl about outside the complex. They don't bother her at all since she can track them with her sensitive featherwing hearing. She does realize that there is no other way for Betruger to even confirm that she's there until she installs the data linker.
Tatakai closes the unseeing eyes of another sister. A civilian doing her best. She takes the data linker from her arms, thanks her and the Saviour, and returns to the control center in tears.
"Warning, R-r-r-r-r-reactor Cor-Cor-Core off-line, ... Follow Safety Procedure O-O-O-Orange." the computer stutters as it boots up. <Safety Procedure Orange,> she remembers, an automated check for shorts, overloads, and other such glitches, then a restart of the reactor. After examining the holographic operations projections, revealing how those Imps are getting back in after installing the data linker unlocked all the doors. She thinks, < If Betruger doesn't want the reactor back online, the corona charge bus should be shorted out.> Fixing that would be beyond her ability. She suspects, however, that Betruger is anxious to get his Delta 4 Hell Gate back open. Why wouldn't he?
"Warning, Reactor Core off-line, please follow Safety Procedure Orange," the computer instructs more clearly as Tatakai goes around to a video terminal which just lit up with an incoming call. After Betruger's meaningless diatribe in Recycling Two, she has no qualms about letting the camera see her face. She smacks the answer key pretty hard.
"Greenborough, this is Kelly. If you're watching this, you're tougher than I thought. I guess things aren't always what they seem. Plans have changed. Delta Complex 1 has been compromised; you're not safe there. I'm moving to Secure Service Tunnel 1. It's not far from your position. We'll meet there."
That's it. Tatakai stares at the screen and with pursed lips, she thinks, <We'll meet there alright ... in battle.>
[Doom 3 eighteenth stage]
In Delta Sector 3, Betruger stands aghast. "That's it, Kelly? We'll meet there? No orders? No reprimand for her insubordination?"
"Did you see the look on her face?" Kelly sighs, "She's not buying it."
With that, Betruger puts his hands on the Sergeant's shoulders and orange lighting crackles from his hands. Kelly recoils, falls to the floor, shakes his head as though to rid his eyes of sparklies from an impact.
"What are you doing?" he growls.
"Making you stronger," Betruger groans with evil, "Did you really think you could face her in that pathetic form?"
"Wh-what?" Kelly gasps as the orange pentagram forms on the floor under him.
"You fool!" Betruger screams, his one pupil glowing angrily, "For the challenge you face, you need a demonic form."
"Please," he begs, "She's only human."
"BULL!" Betruger belts out like a parade square tyrant, "She's an angel! I thought they died out hundreds of years ago, but she has the wings ... not any wings, the wings ... the wings of love and secrets ... the same as those who used to live here. She used them on the transmitter that was supposed to summon the fleet, that's how I know."
"Why didn't you tell me?" Kelly asks as he feels his body transform.
Kelly's words seem to pulse painfully through his body along with the transformation into his terrifying new form. He groans as Betruger answers, "I wanted you to control her so she wouldn't interfere with my plans ... Campbell and Swann are problems, yes, but this angel ... this Greenborough," he growls in disgust, "these are just her natural powers. I am reluctant to admit it yes, but the light of the Saviour is far brighter than mine."
Two orange teleportals appear on either side of Kelly as he rises to his knees, already having tripled in mass as Betruger fashions him into his dream machine. "My legs?" he asks.
"I need something more powerful than a Guardian ... more powerful than a tank." The tracks of a tank appear and Kelly's body melds into them.
"Change me back!" Kelly cries. It really is a cry, it might sound like an angry growl, but that's because his voice has changed.
"You submitted to my rule," the devil in Betruger's body growls, "a decision that can never be unmade. There is no death for you, but neither is there salvation. Be happy in your new form."
"NOOOO!!" Kelly screams, a brawny, quaking racket that reverberates through the entire complex.
[Doom 3 fifteenth stage]
Tatakai reads about the safety concerns of the now truly infested reactor space, and come to the conclusion that if she can get the massive electrogravitic reactor operational, the Chompers will quit nesting in it (among certain other positive effects ... like say providing electrical power to everything in the Delta Complex.) The reactor's operating principle is very simple: it is built of two wheels: one on the inside and one on the outside. When a charge is applied to their motive rings, they begin to rotate on their own, without using any energy. This is accomplished by the Brown-Byfield effect. The generator rings then produce a continuous supply of power from a set of magnets and inducers like any other generator. Once operating, the generator rings will automatically power the motive rings, and the thing simply spins and produces power without using any fuel. What astonished Tatakai is that it took almost exactly two hundred years after the discovery of the principle to produce a practical device for harnessing it, something she suspects had more to do with humanity’s fickle nature than with the actual technology.
Tatakai has cleared and flown about in the reactor operating space. She realizes that it is possible to be in the reactor space once the reactor is operating, but that air currents would make it especially dangerous, especially with the wind vanes she added to the inner rotor with the idea of dashing the half-dozen chompers floating about in it. There seems to be an endless supply of them in this part of the base. She begins the startup sequence, then waves goodbye to them through the operator’s window before continuing with her mission, listening to the roaring wind in the chamber. One gets blown through the window as she leaves.
[Doom 3 sixteenth stage]
With Delta Labs again operational, Tatakai can start using the elevators. In Sector 2, she meets Ian McCormick.
"Wuh? Who's there?" he turns as the door opens behind him. Tatakai lowers her weapon and approaches, checking the passage to the lab on her left, and looking up and down as well to rule out a close-quarters ambush as he explains, "Oh, thank God, you're not one of them. I- ... I was part of this, I helped them ... The madness of opening to another dimension."
Tatakai, for the first time since she arrives, really pays attention to him. The tears of another Saviour-spawn, one who was recently born and truly remorseful.
"Look, I don't- We don't have much time. We let it through, the evil. The protective stabilizer on the portal just failed after Betruger took the device," McCormick explains.
Tatakai looks closely at the screen just off his right hand as he points: The Soul Cube. Artifact U-1.
"Yeah, It was an artifact we found in the ruins," the poor man winces as he continues, "He took it into the portal, and hell followed him out."
Tatakai sets her two Enforcer rifles down, pops the clips out. "I watched it from the Sublevel Communications room with Jonathan Ishii." She locks the two together side by side and pushes a stud which forces the rounds from one, around the corner into the other to top it up. She hands him the clip, and then an empty rifle, "He didn’t make it."
"What? I'm not going with you," he protests.
"Just listen," Tatakai explains, "It is getting worse. Put the magazine in like this," she demonstrates with another one from her belt, sliding it into the holder and closing it. He follows. "And it comes out like this." After a bit of fumbling, he successfully extracts the magazine from his new weapon.
"Do it again," she orders. He does so with a basic degree of competence, "They suck if you fire from the hip, so put it to your shoulder, try to hit that spot on the wall." About twenty metres down towards the test chamber, the corridor turns right. Three rounds land within an inch of the burn mark she indicated.
Tatakai pats him on the shoulder, "Finally, someone who might just survive the entourage of catastrophe that seems to have been following me around since landed on Mars six hours ago. I'll be right back, I promise," she says, then marches off back the way she came.
"Wa- Wait!" He turns to his console, then realizes that something's missing. His PDA ... the silly trooper stole his PDA! Oh, well, he got a good rifle and some training out of the deal. He hears a familiar sound.
"Oh G-God! Not again!" he sees the angry orange glow above the floor in the corridor in front of him, and through the door behind. He leaves his seat, crouches and takes aim. <Damn, I've read these things have no stopping power!> He thinks of going for his pistol, but he has no time. An Imp drops out of the portal. He pops off four rounds. Only the first three hit as he fails to control the rise of his muzzle. He blinks, then gets his weapon back down for another burst.
The Imp lies on her back, screeching and burning. Hearing the door open to his left, he turns and fires five rounds as the Imp approaches to slash him. He jumps out of the way, expecting the Imp to tear his legs off as he tries to crawl away. After he gets a few feet away without feeling anything, but hearing a lot of screaming, he rolls over and sees the poor creature draped over his chair, she rolls off it towards the wall, no longer making any sound, falling apart into cinders.
He looks at the rifle with awe, "Holy crap!" he blurts. The ammunition read out says "48". He holds it to his heart and sighs, "Thank you, Lord."
Tatakai acquired the Delta security chief's PDA in Alpha Sector 4 and has been itching to get to his office ever since. On her way is a busted door. She's looking around, as she always does since she arrived at Mars, contemplating a sticky bomb, or collection of hand grenades in a sock, to blow the door open, but instead she sees an opened maintenance duct to her left, high above the floor. She also hears several Imps behind her. She deploys her wings and flies, furls as she hangs over the ledge, then crawls up inside. The Imps open the door just in time to see her feet disappear. The point lady forms a plasma charge on her hand, but before she can throw it, the grenade she feels rolling over her toes explodes.
The Imp at the back of the pack clutches her tiny scratches in confusion as everyone in front of her falls over and starts disintegrating. What is burning her so? She was out of range of that grenade, barely felt its blast. Tiny scratches barely mark her skin until they flare into flaming agony. Every second she can feel another. She collapses against the wall, realizes that she's dying as she slides down. She cries into her talking box, "What is she!?" in her own language, then disintegrates into flaming cinders like the rest of her section.
A Saviour-spawn Marine had camped out in this passageway, Tatakai realizes. He must have used the specimen lift, the semi-automatic crane system used to handle the containers in the chamber behind her. <A demon zoo,> she realizes, <What a stupid idea!>
She drops out of the ceiling, and looking an Imp in one of her nine eyes, says, "I thought it would be better guarded," then blasts her with a shotgun round from the hip. She pumps in the next round before raising it to her shoulder, sidestepping the fireball of the second one before shooting it from eight metres away, too far for this kind of shotgun.
As the second Imp succumbs to the scratch poison the shot was laced with, Tatakai smiles, "Surprised?" One eye burns with fire while the other eight glaze over. By the time she lands on her back, Tatakai has the door code entered and soon steps into the office of Michael Abrams.
The glass shield lifts from the ultimate handheld weapon: the BFG 9000.
"Representing the pinnacle of UAC research and design, the BFG 9000 is the most advanced firearm ever conceived," the marketing video explains, "Fully self-contained and deployed as a handheld platform, it is capable of an excessive amont of firepower. The BFG 9000 contains sophisticated friend-or-foe technology that discriminates targets in real time. Each projectile contains a small, but very powerful computer core that actively maintains targeting and delivering a stream charge down each beam to soften targets before detonation."
Tatakai growls, "Yeah, that's because we couldn't get the plasma charge to steer and we don't want such an expensive round to go to waste if the enemy runs out of the blast radius."
The video continues, "The detonation stage of the projectile is devastating. Targets within fifteen metres of the flashpoint are unlikely to survive."
"If we had the detonation pulse discharge work," she gripes, pounding on the desk, "The sucker might actually be useful on troop concentrations from above rifle altitude. The midair detonations we wanted would make quite a mess."
"While not recommended for close-quarter combat, the BFG 9000 is ideal in the field and against multiple targets. The only foreseeable defense is small arms ballistics. If the projectile is destroyed before exploding, it is unable to process the final fusion reaction, resulting in a less than optimal detonation. For more information, contact the UAC's Advanced Weapons Department."
"Or the Featherwing Brotherhood," Tatakai says as she loads it and mounts it on the chest slot in her armor suit. "By featherwings, for featherwings," she smiles. Very few people know what "BFG" stands for, although the colloquial have the first and last words correct:
Big Featherwing Gun
Next: FHD Remix Chapter 23: Source X