FHD Remix Chapter 34

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Previous: FHD Remix Chapter 33: Jack and Devon Campbell

Chapter 34: Retreat!

[Some dialogue is from the movie Doom (Universal 2005), the best video-game movie the author has seen come out of Hollywood. Advent Children (SquareEnix/Sony EMI 2005), the best video-game movie the author has ever seen, did not come out of Hollywood!]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ap71XRu_8g (c) 2005 Universal Pictures

Doom 3 Stone Tablets briefing:

"What?" Betruger growls, "Osteune, you better be telling me the truth."

[Doom 3 twenty-first stage]

"Yes, master," the bony revenant growls from Central Administration, "Like many others, Elliot Swann's body burned away from delta radiation when you tried to introduce a spirit into it. I see pieces of a Type 23 128bit array processor scattered throughout the room. They are scratched, master."

[Doom 3 final stage]

The Sarge echos over his talking box, <She destroyed it,> on a channel only Betruger can hear, <Her PDA is hacked so that she can download other PDAs' entire firmware, software, and data load into her own wholesale. After this, hers can emulate any of the downloaded PDAs that she needs.>

<Speaking of which,> Betruger snorts, <Where in hell is mine?>

< I believe you left it there,> Erebus says.

Erebus is enormous, four stories tall, he operates the main hellgate portal, which is located below the Artifact Dig of Site 3. The only way to access it is by the local spawn teleporters. The reactor which powers the portal is grafted onto his back, and provides enough power to keep it open continuously. In this form he is called the Cyberdemon, and is armed with a belt-fed rocket launcher built into his right arm. The portal itself is horizontally oriented so that the reinforcements coming in have to climb out of it. Above it is a demon-constructed heavy levitation lift, which is a glowing red fleshy construct. The enormous enclosed chamber is lined with local teleportation equipment, apparently constructed of bone and flesh. The chamber is so large and well lit that it has an "outdoors" feel, even though it is still smaller than a typical stadium.

<Master,> Osteune continues, < I have found the Soul Cube, it refuses to be moved. It's sitting quietly on the floor here and I can't make it budge. There are no bodies.>

<Oh, never mind it,> Betruger sighs, <The thermal pulse we observed four hours ago is consistent with their bodies burning up from delta radiation. I'm sending you to Delta Sector 2. I've had a couple of imps disappear near the prototype.>

<Master,> Osteune says, < I think you should know->

"Never mind it," Betruger growls, "Without anyone to wield it, the Soul Cube is harmless."

Osteune gets teleported to Sector 2, where he meets his fate (at least for this host) at the hands of Ian McCormick the moment he appears. Osteune never had the chance to explain that Tatakai's PDA and weapons were missing as well.

Erebus reports, "The preparations for jumping the fleet are on schedule."

[Doom 3 twenty-third stage]

Sarge, in the coolant control room of Central Processing, notes that an "Elliot Swann" has opened the transfer chamber between the Server Banks and Central Processing. Nothing on motion sensors. Suddenly a talking box cries, <Contact!> and disappears. He watches host vitals start dropping off at an alarming rate. Immediately he signals Betruger.

"Sarge here," he growls.

< I'm busy,> Betruger snorts, but before he can offer any further verbal abuse, Sarge utters the last two words he wants to hear.

"She's alive."

Sarge takes the main elevator down to the coolant unit. He then sets off charges to destroy the main lift between Site 3 and Central Processing, leaving intact a tiny maintenance lift he can't reach, but he can block the path to. Inside the host, Kelly's soul is very afraid. To the mighty spirit Saboath, which has him firmly subdued, the host is expendable. Kelly, however, has no where else to go. Sarge, the integrated being, has cut off his only retreat. The door opens to the cooling unit and Sarge rolls out. He is suspicious and looks about, even though he knows there is action in the armory on the other side of Secure Service Tunnel 2.

Tatakai's voice reverberates from the walls, her tone like that of a smart FNG, "Greenborough reporting to Secure Service Tunnel 1 as ordered, Master Sargeant."

"Welcome to the Mess Hall!" Sarge roars, "Where are you, Tatakai?"

She asks, almost plaintively, "Are you going to shoot me?"

Sarge scans about, a two-count charge on Campbell's BFG, now mounted on his shoulder, "Yeah, I was thinking about it."

Tatakai asks, almost playfully, "What you got left?"

Sarge answers, "Half a clip, you?"

"I've got one round."

The Sarge spots her flying above the coolant unit and charges his weapon. As soon as the blast releases, Tatakai shoots the projectile chip inside it with her pistol. The weak blast rattles the Sarge, but does little damage. Tatakai's blast comes down from straight overhead as the grey-winged angel tucks into a quick dive. The Sarge is quick to roll away from the impact point, and the shot barely misses him.

Shaking off the scratch-induced damage to his perception and finding her again as she lands behind him, he growls, "Plainly not enough."

Tatakai points at him, or rather past him, "Apologies, I forgot to mention my husband."

Jack runs into the room, throwing the Soul Cube at him over hand, holding a shotgun in his other hand.

The impact of the Soul Cube upends the Sarge, and he lands flat on his back, tracks sticking up in the air. The Soul Cube, its course barely disturbed by the impact, flies past to a halt near Tatakai, its blades wrecked from the attack.

The Sarge rapidly rights himself just in time to see Jack literally flying at him, his wings even larger than Tatakai's; they are a mottled ruddy color, as though desert camoflage for Mars itself.

BOOM! After blasting Sarge in the head, he emerges visible to an excitedly hopping Tatakai, shaking the smart off his hand, from having smacked Sarge in the face, losing his shotgun in the process.

The Sarge lets out an anguished scream, still upright on his tracks. He loses his grip on Jack's BFG as he flails about, and the empty weapon lands with a crack on his left track, spilling onto the ground. The Sarge rapidly expires and starts burning away, leaving his metallic chassis and tracks behind.

Tatakai treats Jack's hand with a medkit before returning to the smouldering wreck of the Sarge, in front of which lies Jack's BFG and shotgun.

"What an impact!" Jack exclaims, examining his repaired hand, "How the heck did you guys knock him over?"

"It was easy!," cheers the Soul Cube, hovering next to Tatakai.

Tatakai replays on her PDA, a portion of the UAC introductory video on the Soul Cube, "The object cannot be weighed, and in all tests, we have been unable to determine its mass."

"One hundred, forty four thousand people," it says.

"It's actual mass is about eight thousand tonnes," Tatakai drawls dramatically.

"So, it was easy!" the Soul Cube playfully confirms.

[Doom 3 final stage]

"Erebus, start wrapping it up!" Betruger snorts.

"Retreat?" The cyberdemon gasps, "Maledict, did I hear you right?"

"Yes, you heard me right, Erebus," the former scientist scowls, "Saboath is down, and you have incoming."

"Greenborough?" Erebus asks with a snort.

"Greenborough is no more," Betruger answers without cheer.

Erebus quickly protests, "Then what could possibly-?"

"Jack and Devon Campbell," Betruger snarls, "They declared their marriage before killing Sarge and now both have wings. I don't know how she transformed him, but she did. We are retreating."

[Doom 3 twenty-fourth stage]

Tatakai and Jack drop out of the ceiling into the preservation room at Site 3. They see the four tablets on stands lining the far wall. Behind them, the wall, as well as the ceiling, have been transformed into the enemy's fleshy growth.

"That is just gross," Jack snorts at the growth.

"What the heck?" Tatakai gasps as she walks up to the third tablet. She touches it softly, "I can even feel them!"

The angry, electric growl of a spawn teleporter ... two of them ... three in different corners of the room.

Jack readies his shotgun for the onslaught.

"Maggots to waste our ammo," Tatakai groans as she pulls out her pistol. A round in each and they all fall. Jack is still getting used to just how much scratch, the angel poison, adds to their effectiveness.

Tatakai finds herself standing in the middle of a huge orange glowing pentagram as she reloads her pistol. "Crap!" she cries as she jumps out of the way, inches from being squashed by a Hellknight as he emerges from the teleport spawn. Her pistol magazine clatters across the floor.

The Hellknight is about to crush her head beneath his huge foot when Jack fires his shotgun at the eleven foot tall monster's head. He grabs at his own head, trying to contain the bleeding and protect it from further damage while blindly stomping around, trying to squash Tatakai. He lets loose a swing at Jack, but misses. Tatakai shoots the Hell Knight in the head with the one round in her pistol, then grabs the clip and loads it, closing the weapon's slide.

Tatakai regains her feet and stands, both hands on her pistol. She taps two rounds into the beast's neck while Jack dances around, trying to taunt it into letting go of its cranium.

"Fellas?" she asks.

"We are not charged enough," The Soul Cube answers.

Jack dances around the beast, and finally it takes a swing with the wrong arm, exposing its head to Tatakai's sights. Three more rounds, and the monster collapses.

"I hope we don't have any further interruptions," Tatakai grumbles, then points again at the third tablet.

"So their hero had wings," Jack says, not seeing any significance to the picture.

"That's not what UAC thinks," Tatakai says, "Look!"

Jack looks at the screen on her PDA, and through its camera, Grimm Rieper, the hero of the war on Mars engraved into the stone, does not have wings.

Tatakai plays back a video file on the tablets, "The second and third tablets illustrate an epic story: a story of war, and how, faced with impossible odds, the ultimate sacrifice of an entire race to achieve victory." The wings are not visible in this official UAC video file.

"They are in scratch," The Soul Cube explains, "You must know the concept of how to use your wing poison to send and receive messages in secret."

"Scratched messages fade after a few weeks," Tatakai says, "This stone tablet is over four thousand years old!"

"And we weigh eight thousand tonnes," the Soul Cube teases, "I'm sure you'll get over it."

Tatakai has to laugh.

"What? You have the Soul Cube just like in the carvings," Tatakai turns to see Dr. Pierce Rogers emerging from his office."

"You're alive?" she gasps.

"If I'm correct, that cube is the only chance to stop this. No time to explain now. You need to get to the caverns quickly," the elderly gentleman explains, beckoning them into his office. "Take my PDA," he points, "It's right there on the desk."

Tatakai picks it up and examines it, handing it to Jack for a look-see.

"It's got security codes for the area, and my research log's on it. It'll help," he sighs.

"You have to come with us," Jack says, "The safest place is at our backs, especially once we close the portal and cut off the enemy's retreat."

"I can't go with you. I need to finish my work here, good luck," he says, turning to his console.

"Uncle Pierce," Jack reads quietly, "Mom says were going to get to see you next month. I can't wait. You've been away so long. I hope your project is still going well. I know you can't tell me anything about it, but your work always sounds so exciting and mysterious. Working on Mars must really be cool."

Jack hands Tatakai the archeologist's PDA, and she continues to read the most recent message from his nephew Timmy, "Thanks for sending me the video games for my birthday. Have you tried these? The new Quake-43 game blows my mind. It is even better than Super Turbo Turkey Puncher. I haven't played that since I got these new ones from you," Tatakai sobs, "P.S.: Mom says hi."

"I'm so close to discovering everything, I can't leave," the good doctor sighs, "I'm locking the door after you leave, good luck."

Jack and Tatakai move far enough away from the door to let it close. Tatakai gives a quiet nod to the Soul Cube, then say to him, "Your door is no protection." Jack holds his ears.

The Soul Cube passes through the door with a rending screech, leaving a diamond shaped hole. The door motor gets stuck as it tries to open for it. The Soul Cube wedges itself into the gap and forces the door open against the flowered hole, bending the frame and snapping the metal edges of its own hole. This act has rendered the door permanently open.

"Locking what door?" Tatakai asks.

"Why is the Soul Cube our only chance to stop this?" Jack asks, pointing at the second tablet, "Is it because you need this sort of firepower when they get this big?"

"A complete tablet weighs, what? Three hundred kilos?" Tatakai asks.

Jack shows him a video, rather grainy and unstable, of the Hell Knight they just defeated, standing taller than each of the tablets, "What if one of those knocked on your door?"

"I'll just have to take my chances," he says, "I must finish this research."

"Come on, let's go," Jack says.

"What's his name?" Tatakai asks, pointing at his scan of the third tablet, at the hero of the ancients.

"I'm very close to finding out," Dr. Rogers sighs.

"We know," Jack says.

"We also know when their war was, we know the basics of how these creatures are bred and controlled, the mass of the Soul Cube. Wouldn't you rather be where the Soul Cube is, that's how we learned?" Tatakai says.

"He can't hear us," the Soul Cube sighs, "Our voice is scratched, only featherwings can hear."

"Humans can hear scratch if they believe in us," Tatakai says, "It's caused problems for our Brotherhood."

"Ahem, who are you talking to?" asks Pierce

"Them," she smiles. Turning to the Soul Cube, she says, "He's not blind. Gillie, come out please, show him your eyes."

The Soul Cube opens its eyes in Gillie's grey color, the ancient historian in the Soul Cube and the modern archeologist stare at each other: the past looking into the future, and the future lookiing into the past.

"Linda, Ruby?" Tatakai asks.

The Soul Cube blinks and its eyes are green. It's small eyes open light blue. The smaller eyes scrinch into a smile and the Soul Cube wobbles a little bit.

"The kids love to sing," Tatakai says with some tears.

"That's extraordinary!" the archeologist gasps, "Is this all normal for you?"

The Soul Cube nods.

"I can't believe I never thought of it before," he says as he gingerly puts his hands on the side of the Soul Cube, feeling its familiar warmth, a bizarre property: the surface temperature was an average of 37.1 degrees Centigrade and never varied. "It was never as though I lifted or moved it," he sighs, "It was allowing me to move it. Always, it felt like a slight delay. I thought it was some sort of fluid inside, but all the time ... it was deciding to move with my hands." From the look of the eyes, he can tell that Ruby is laughing. "What is its mass, if you truly know?"

"Eight thousand tonnes," Tatakai whispers, "It told me."

"I'd take it at its word," Jack says, flexing his right hand, remembering his own impact with the Sarge.

"Can you keep an angel's secret," Tatakai whispers.

They proceed outside to look at the tablets. The electric growl and zapping of an incoming spawn sounds.

"Arch-Vile," Tatakai calls it, shouldering her rocket launcher. Jack pulls out his shotgun.

Tatakai hits the Arch-Vile in the head just as he appears. The anorexic looking creature falls over backwards, hands aglow with small flames.

The imp he summoned has no chance to even perceive its arrival before Jack blasts her.

Before the Soul Cube had three lights lit orange. Now all five are lit green. It deploys its blades and does its happy dance.

"Cover us, fellas," Tatakai pants as she holsters her rocket launcher on her back. Then she points at the third tablet and says, "Grimm Rieper is his name. You can't see them in the carving, but he has wings like mine."

Tatakai deploys her wings.

Pierce Rogers passes out.

Jack, having caught him before he hit the concrete floor, sighs, "I guess he has no objections now."

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