FHD Remix Chapter 35
Previous: FHD Remix Chapter 34: Retreat
Chapter 35: Recon Zulu
[Author's note: Characters from Doom 3 are closer than they appear in the game, now more creations of the fanfiction author's imagination, rather than the creators of the original game.]
Pierce Rogers comes to.
"Dang it's quiet in here," Tatakai whispers from a few inches behind Pierce's head.
There is a tremor in the walls and floor, and Jack Campbell answers quietly, "Sure don't seem like it to me. But dang, where are the bad guys?"
Pierce Rogers looks up at the wall in front of him. The ornament stares back at him from the wall, a slight flash in its central light; the ornament that the Communicator's mask will remind Jack and Tatakai of centuries from now. The archeologist realizes where he is.
"How long was I out?" he asks, trying to move his arms. He realizes that he's lashed to Tatakai's back with at least a dozen feet of really tight bungie cord. He can't turn his head because it is immobilized inside an immobile helmet.
"Not quite twenty minutes," Jack says.
"Why am I tied up?" he gasps, "And how did you get here so fast?"
"Same answer for both questions," Tatakai whispers, "We flew. Nothing personal, you see. We had to secure things that were flailing."
They enter the main burial chamber of Grimm Rieper, the ancients' hero, a dead end. Near the entrance are a couple of scaffolds with floors set at waist height to form tables for microscopes and computers. Lining each long wall of the burial hall are the graves of the ancients' last Featherwing Council, a couple of which are empty because the dead can't bury themselves. Copies of the four stone tablets line the wall between the Council graves. The far wall is a large, empty chamber, ogive in shape. On the floor is a mysteriously solitary Marine backpack. Out of it seeps the green glow of BFG plasma.
"The ancients' last teleporter used to be here," sighs Tatakai. "Considering that UAC removed that, it is surprising how little they've disturbed the graves."
It is here that they set down the archeologist's stretcher and with a few seconds of carabiner unclipping, release him. He is unable to sit up in the stiff Marine pressure suit in which he finds himself. He looks and is surprised to see his watch, they had the courtesy to strap it to the outside of the suit for him. Twenty two minutes passed since he last looked at it when they left his office at Site 3.
Tatakai props him up, and he looks around. Jack Campbell stands near the far end of the chamber, wings deployed and at his sides, BFG pointing with him as he turns his head, which now sports a bit of growth because he hasn't shaved since his arrival on Mars.
Unknown to any of them [in the twenty-fifth stage of Doom 3], Junko Katayama stands by the dead body of his friend Helen Ochreby at the bottom of the Area 1 ventilation shaft, lamenting that she died without accepting the love of the Saviour, and mystified that her body was not captured by the enemy like so many others. He is quiet, scared of being discovered by the enemy, guarding a key card for the second level, hidden in the deepest corner among the air liquefaction systems surrounding him. Tatakai and Jack didn't need it because they could fly. [Neither did tagh_azog who can fly almost as well!]
"Can you hear us?" the plural voice of the Soul Cube asks Pierce Rogers.
"Yes," he answers, "Yes, I can hear you."
"I can tell from your personal logs," Tatakai says as she hands him back his PDA, "That when you discovered the crystal map, you were shaken by the thought that humanity could be descended from the ancients on Mars. Richard Davis got all excited, but you take seriously the biblical story of Genesis, God's creation of Adam and Eve on Earth and the notion that the apparent six hundred million years of multicellular fossil record was layed down in the 194 days, in the year 2344 BCE, that the Earth was covered in the floodwaters Noah and his family built the Ark to escape." Tatakai says with a tear, "One of ours in the Brotherhood knows you ... he's a paleontologist trying to figure out why the Earth wasn't contaminated with a strata of salt from the waters." [Note: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khewra_Salt_Mines]
The Soul Cube explains in Gillie's voice, grey eyes shining, "The featherwings arrived on Earth two years after the flood. At the time of your flood, these enemies walked the Earth as well, having gained access through our technology. Demon spirits hosted in specifically bred human-hellspawn hybrids, like we see attacking us today," he explains, "referred to as nephilim in your ancient text."
Tatakai slowly explains, "I've only looked at the personal material of PDAs given to me, which is yours and Elliot Swann's. The latter I found dead in Delta Central Administration, but Jack told me he wanted to stay alive to give it to me personally, just that he didn't last long enough from his injuries." Elliot Swann understood that the demons now want Earth, having lost it because of Noah's deluge, and having lost the featherwings because of," she gestures to the enormous casket of Grimm Rieper dominating the room, "his efforts. Now they want Earth back; the home of both humans and featherwings."
In hell, an imp endeavours to produce such a creature. In the moments after the attack began, Mars Operations Director William Banks, an ex-officio member of the Board, ran to Malcolm Betruger's office to contact him for advice on his personal survival. After a brief chat, he was teleported to Delta Sector 4, his PDA left where it fell for Tatakai to find half an hour later. He cooperated with the imps there, passing through the Delta 4 portal into hell. As Tatakai, Pierce, and the Soul Cube discuss the history of the first war, he admires the nine eyes of the imp lying beside him, wanting to bear as her child, Erebus' next host.
Jack and Tatakai raid the backpack of a treacherous Marine, Jack asks, "Where's that teleportal, and how do we get to it."
Tatakai, checking her PDA, sighs, "Straight down, about three hundred metres. The directions we're picking up enemy radio transmissions suggests that they are in retreat, which suggests," she turns to the Soul Cube, "that we have a way of reaching it very quickly."
The Soul Cube smiles.
"This I gotta see," Jack says, "How are you going to get us there?"
"Telekinesis," The Soul Cube answers cheerfully. The wall collapses away from them as though pushed outward by an invisible hand, revealing a tunnel. Many of the bricks that formed the wall are embedded in the ceiling after the event.
"Sweeeeeet," Jack sighs.
"Much of this passage was formed by the enemy to provide a more energy efficient way to lift the millions of secondary hosts from the teleportal below. As you can see, they like fat candles and labyrinthine corridors." As the Soul Cube forces open the huge lift at the end of the twisted tunnel down, it continues to explain in a very matter-of-fact tone, "I should warn you, they also like drawing, quartering, disembowlment and inverted crucifixion."
At the bottom of the lift, they find an even more twisted brick lined corridor, decorated with dozens of fat candles and examples of each of the horrors the Soul Cube just warned them about. Pierce Rogers holds Tatakai's hands with his eyes closed.
"They weren't intending to open this passage until the fleet got here," Tatakai realizes as she comes to the solid brick wall at the other end of the passage.
"Approach with caution," the Soul Cube warns, "Erebus is in a very bad mood."
The wall in front of them explodes inward. Tatakai, in the point position, shotgun and wings ready, turns sideways to slip between two of the bricks emerging from the wall. One bounces off the floating Soul Cube like it's made of styrofoam, saving Pierce Rogers from being smashed to pieces. Jack Campbell jumps on top of one that would have broken his legs.
The three advance through the opening into the enormous main portal chamber, and hear his growl above them. Looking up, they realize that they are between the legs of the cyberdemon, Erebus: part flesh, part machine.
"Oh, crap," Tatakai squeaks.
"Get him!" Jack orders the Soul Cube as they start running into the chamber.
As the Soul Cube viciously cuts into the flesh of the cyberdemon's chest, pinning him to the wall, shredding blades and glowing red from the heat, Tatakai runs straight at the huge portal in the floor and jumps, flapping her wings to ascend out of the open pit and into flight.
"Come on!" Jack urges Pierce Rogers as he slowly backs away from Erebus into the chamber. "Come on!" Jack orders more loudly. The cyberdemon lifts his leg and lowers his enormous foot onto Pierce Rogers, smashing him into oblivion.
Returning to Tatakai, furling its now bladeless disks, five lights dimmed by the attack, the Soul Cube explains, "We will need three more attacks. Erebus knows our needs and has ordered his forces to stay in hell so he can face us alone. We would have no supply of delta, but for," a light brightens on the Soul Cube, "the Saviour."
Jack runs around the edge of the pit, too quick a target for the rockets. The floor near the outer wall has been torn down, leaving a circular catwalk around the portal. The fleshy gravitic lift over the portal is still in position, but the teleporters giving access between this main gate and the rest of Mars have been removed. Imps and maggots crawl out over the edge of the portal, knowing they face certain death at the hands of Jack and Tatakai, or Erebus.
Jack stuffs rounds into his shotgun on the run, his wings tight over his back, trailing edges held up. He is blasting the creatures crawling out of the portal. He soon realizes that these are different than the usual imps and two-headed maggots. They welcome death, smile at the wrath Jack unleashes upon them.
Tatakai, twisting in flight to avoid the fireballs thrown into the air by the imps on the ground, cuts loose a single discharge against an imp on the ground. Two maggots run to her side as the green fireball approaches, and all are killed by the impact.
"The Saviour always keeps his invitation open," the Soul Cube explains, "No matter how distant, how depraved, how evil you can ever become, his blood is enough to atone for your sins."
The Soul Cube departs to cut into Erebus a second time. Erebus angrily swings at the little device, and punching it in midair in front of himself, finds it immovable, and dislocates his left elbow. Finding Jack on the ground again, he fires the rocket launcher melded into his right arm, finally leading him. Jack reverses direction, and Erebus begins to realize that even he can't win.
After its second attack, the Soul Cube returns to Tatakai and continues to explain, "These creatures have accepted the love of Jesus and now do his will, emerging from hell into the light, knowing that their purpose is to die at our hands and provide us with the fuel we need to stop Erebus."
Jack abandons his shotgun and takes to his wings, lifting his plasma rifle to his shoulder, the beams connect with the creatures on the ground. He doesn't hit every time, his aim unstable from the air, but only one hit of his scratch-poisoned plasma is needed to dispatch each creature.
An imp lies on her back, letting the scratch course through her veins, killing her from the inside out. The Soul Cube teleports the evil delta poison from her for its own purpose. In heaven, the Saviour is about to work a similar miracle on her departing spirit.
The third attack from the Soul Cube is against the cyberdemon's left elbow, severing his arm and increasing his blood scratch concentration closer to the lethal threshold. The horned visage of Erebus glares defiantly at the incredibly dense object.
"No," Erebus growls in disgust at the Soul Cube's final offer, "His name is worse than your poison!"
Without even leaving the vicinity of Erebus, the Soul Cube's final attack begins. It cuts off the cyberdemon's left leg at the knee, then strikes him between his horns, in his face. Tatakai lands beside him. He growls at her.
"The third resonance," Tatakai orders, "Show me!"
The Soul Cube cuts a panel from the reactor on the cyberdemon's back, then very quickly and precisely engraves into the ground a series of glyphs in the language of the ancients. Tatakai reaches for the glowing touch screen with her right wing and touches the first one with a feather. This calls up some sort of menu. The second glyph accesses a submenu and the third glyph accesses the submenu's final option.
A password prompt and virtual keyboard appear. Tatakai follows the glyphs the Soul Cube has engraved on the ground and enters it successfully on the first try. The next glyph in the series apparently answers a yes/no confirmation.
The Soul Cube stops, and opens its larger eyes. A jet black color they are. "I am Deceive, inventor of he unitary teleporter," it says with a deep growling individual voice, "This is my password," it groans. The Soul Cube cuts more glyphs into the ground without hesitation. [Deceive is the meaning of Betruger's name in German, and Jacob (in the Bible) in Hebrew.]
Tatakai can't understand a letter as she enters it in tears, asking, "Kill all angels?" The Soul Cube nods.
"No," Erebus groans, "NOOOOOO!!"
Tatakai pulls her wing back from the alien touchscreen. Jack, now by her side, preens the feather, damaged by snagging on the edges of the opening.
"Thank you, Yeshu," Deceive says from within the Soul Cube, "for letting me make it up to you." The Soul Cube then closes its eyes and uses its almost limitless inertia to push Erebus' body, and the teleportal's powerplant, into the teleportal itself.
The teleporter pit fills with what appears to be the fastest setting concrete in concrete history, freezing the gate to hell in mere moments. It was built from the last functioning unitary teleporter of the ancients.
"You were not a featherwing?" Tatakai asks the black-eyed Soul Cube.
"I was a featherwing," Deceive explains, "But I destroyed my wings," he sighs. "I was the ancients' Betruger," he confesses, then in shame, he sighs, "I even hosted Maledict in my own body." The Soul Cube closes its eyes.
"So deep runs the love of the Saviour," the Soul Cube explains in its normal plural voice, "that he would take back the demon host of the ancients."
"What about Betruger?" Tatakai asks.
"He is lost," The Soul Cube explains, "No trace of his soul remains. He has, even in his body, totally conformed to the bat-winged visage of Maledict."
"Tatakai," Jack says, cocking his shotgun, "The fleet arrives in twenty-seven hours. Get your mop."
[McNeil is featured in Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil whose events do not occur in FHD Remix; her PDA can been found in Doom 3 on the seventeenth stage.]
On a radio, <Command HQ, this is Recon Zulu. There is nothing left alive down here.>
"What's this remote capture Director Kurato keeps belly-aching about," the overweight, grey-haired admiral growls as he extinguishes his cigar butt in the ashtray at the end of the right armrest of his ship's command chair.
"I don't think we want to find out," warns a tall, voluptuous blonde woman with her long hair tied smartly back behind her wide-rimmed eyeglasses. She tightens her hands behind her back, pulling the skin-tight jumpsuit even tighter around her large breasts, unwittingly increasing the distraction she's causing the male members of the bridge crew of the large spaceship. This is Elizabeth McNeil, the woman who forgot her PDA in her office in Delta Sector 2 when she left Mars two weeks before. Or did she really forget the PDA which gave Tatakai access to Delta Sector 3?
One of the screens in front turns to static. Not a helmet camera, but a Sentry Bot.
<Contact!> somebody yells in desperation, <Command HQ, Recon Zulu, we have contact!>
A different voice yells back, <Sentry Zero-Two has turned on us, Command HQ. Everybody get down, now!> he belts.
By the time this is finished, Recon Zulu's three Sentry Bots have been captured.
"This is not what he warned us about," McNeil sighs with relief.
The Sentry Bot walks right up to the prone, petrified Sargeant and chirps its cute little identification tone, pointing its chaingun right at his head. The chaingun winds up and-
Live rounds pop out of the Sentry Bot's ejection port, clattering noisily to the floor next to the Sargeant's head. For several seconds after it has run out of ammunition, the Sentry Bot's weapon continues to clack, finding no more belt to feed its hungry appetite.
All three Sentry Bots have done this, and the eleven Marines relax. A couple even laugh.
"You morons should have waited for my all clear before coming," a woman's voice explains. "Welcome to Mars, Marines. This is Operation Tatakai, Corporal Devon Campbell. Be careful during your sweep, Sargeant. I'm pretty sure we got all the big ones, but the Trites and Ticks hide well."
Back on the ship, McNeil, the representative of Union Aerospace Corporation, the person who would have been Elliot Swann if he were available, gasps, "Campbell?"
Standing, the Sargeant snorts, "What the [beep] is a Trite?"
Tatakai, shotgun over her shoulders held by her right hand, Soul Cube under her left arm, emerges from the corridor ahead snorts, "Don't tell me they didn't brief you on my reports."
"They didn't tell us nuthin', ma’am," another of the Marines whines cordially.
"Shut up, Corporal," the Sargeant orders, "All we were told, was that all the UAC facilities on Mars were simultaneously attacked by an unknown enemy force, probably some fundamentalist Saviour-crap faction with stolen BFGs." The Sargeant holds out his hand.
"Fine," Tatakai says, lofting her shotgun, grabbing it by its forestock with the same hand, she offers it butt-first to the Sargeant.
"No," the Sargeant says as he takes it, "I mean that," indicating the Soul Cube under her other arm. "It is one of our primary objectives."
"It stays with me," Tatakai says flatly.
The Sargeant drops the shotgun and raises his rifle to his shoulder and points it at her head, "This is not a negotiation, ma'am. We have orders to confiscate the U-1 artifact in the name of the United Earth Government, even if we have to kill UAC personnel to get it."
"I'm a Marine," Tatakai snorts, "I work for the UEG, remember?"
"That's not what they told us, ma'am," the Corporal the Sargeant barked down earlier, who also trains his rifle on her, explains, "They said you went AWOL from Marine Station Two at the request of the UAC Board."
"Guess I've been fired then," she sighs. She tosses the Soul Cube at his feet. It lands with a sickening crunch felt through the floor by all present, including a well-concealed Jack Campbell. Under it, the tiled floor has been utterly destroyed, and the concrete subfloor has been damaged enough to let the steel structure of the floor eight centimetres below peek through. "If you can lift it, you can have it," she offers.
The muscular Sargeant slings his rifle and tries in vain to lift the Soul Cube from the broken floor. It does not budge.
After Tatakai hears a crack from his back, he straightens up, panting, and asks, "Corporal, how were you able to-"
Tatakai takes it by the upper corner behind its face, with her left hand, and returns it to the casual position under her arm, where she had it before, a feat that leaves the Sargeant standing there breathless.
"Quite simple," she smiles, "Artifact U-1 stays with me, regardless of who I work for."
Next: FHD Remix Chapter 36: The Airlift