Author's Note: Hello ladies, how are you-FANTASTIC. Hehe, ok. I am nervous posting this, I'm not going to lie. I've never written a full on story, much less posted one on the web. I'll get into the inspirations and the like at the end, but a couple quick things. 1: The reason for the title will be revealed later, and it'll be obvious once it does. I bring this up now because you might be wondering why I have the squad name from Bulletstorm in this, so I'm just saying there's a reason. 2: This first chapter may seem to have absolutely nothing to do with Mass Effect. Again, there is a reason for that. It's not a Dead Space story, and it's not a full-on crossover. I will definitly have both DS games in here, and possibly other games, but the ABSOLUTE MAIN focus is Mass Effect. It's NOT a crossover. Now, onwards!
My name is Joseph Smeltzer, and this is my story. Wow. WOW. That sounds so bad I'm ashamed of even thinking it. I can only imagine the amount of facepalms that sentence brought. But it's true. I have a story. And I should probably get to it before you people get bored of me rambling.
A little background info is in order however. I'm a little over 6 feet tall, thinner than average, 17 years old, and I have short brown hair with a tinge of red, though I never see that tinge, personally. My hair is commonly referred to as a brillo pad due to its wiry nature, and it's also waterproof, or at least extremely water-resistant. A few freckles here and there, glasses, and I'm probably one of the most friendly people you'd ever meet. I do have a short temper though, but I keep it under control. I don't think anybody I know has actually seen me angry. Well, not until what happened. Then anger became a useful intimidation tactic. But I digress. I've got a huge, up-to-date game collection, I know details on basically every game out there. Again, that came in unbelievably handy, especially for my friends that didn't have my knowledge. I had the big next-gen consoles, PS3, 360, Wii. Had. Up until my Dead Echo days. I think it's probably time to get into that story...
The day started off normally. My alarm woke me up with music from iPod, as usual, at 5:45 AM. I got up, got ready for the day, went to school, yadda, yadda, yadda, typical teenage life. A normal day in every way, no reason to think it was anything else. Until English class.
I'm sitting at my desk in the front of the room, trying and failing to pay attention. Don't get me wrong, the teacher's hilarious with his constant bad puns, but the "educational material" is just so boring. I shift around in my seat, throwing a glance to my right to see what my friend Ricky's doing.
Ricky Galvan. Nice guy, unless he's annoyed. Then he starts calling you names behind your back until you're nice to him. From what I've seen, anyway. Pretty typical teen, we only met about a week ago, after the teacher moved his seat next to mine because he talked too much. It's much better having someone to talk to where I sit, I felt like I was exiled or something. I mean, I had a wall to my right before Ricky was moved, and no one to my left. I was on an island! Figuratively speaking. He's of a similar build to me, except with darker hair and skin and more muscles. Football player, which explains it. So I glance over and see that he's rapidly writing down some sort of symbols like he was writing in a different language on a sheet of paper. Come to think of it, they look oddly familiar... I whispered his name, trying to get his attention. His head whirles around to face me, and he has a crazed look in his eyes. That kinda startled me, I'd never seen him like this before. Then he whispered something that utterly terrified me.
"They want our bodies."
I jolt back in my chair. Oh my God. He just quoted Dead Space. And not in the good way. It was the line a woman said in Dead Space: Downfall right before she killed herself to give her body to the necromorphs. Obviously, I know that since my job is full time gamer. My mind instantly placed the symbols he was writing as well. He was writing Unitologist script! The shock of this knowledge opened my eyes. Literally.
I picked my head up off my desk and rubbed my eyes. Wha...? I was dreaming? Really? That must be the first time I'd ever fallen asleep in class. That's when it hits me. The noise.
Or rather, the lack of noise. I lower my hands from my face and open my eyes. The entire classroom was devoid of people. Except me. I slowly stand up out of my desk. I can honestly say this has never happened to me before. It's kinda creepy. I look at the clock mounted on the wall. 11:09. Ok, so it's not lunch yet...but where IS everybody? I'm positive someone would have woken me up if we left to, say, the school library, so why is everyone gone? I start walking towards the exit, and my ears pick up faint conversations from outside. Yes! I'm not alone anymore! I hurry over, grab the door handle, and throw the door open...and freeze at the sight in front of me. My jaw drops to the floor. My class, along with other nearby classes, are crowded around a crater I guess is about 10 feet or so in diameter, and sitting right in the middle of it, steaming from the heat radiating off it in the cold weather, is the Red Marker from Dead Space.
This is impossible. No way. I have to still be dreaming. I turn and smash my forehead against the side of the door frame, krogan-style. No, I'm definitely not dreaming. I walk outside towards the crowd, rubbing my sore head. I notice the police officer that visits occasionally is here, I'll have to warn him about necromorphs in a moment. His gun is probably the most useful tool in this school for killing necros right now, since I highly doubt this school has chainsaws lying around. I see Ricky standing in the middle of the crowd, the same dumbfounded look on his face that's on everyone else's. I walk up next to him, still staring at the Marker.
"How did this get here?", I ask. He doesn't even look at me, just answers me like I was there the whole time.
"It just...crashed down. One minute it was here, the next..." Well, thanks for that. Very helpful, Ricky.
It seemed that nobody wanted to step into the crater, but that's kind of understandable. I wouldn't want to go near a giant rock that "crashed down" in the middle of school either. I decided to go have a word with the police officer about the Marker, I thought it would be a pretty good idea to warn him about what might happen if necromorphs showed up. I don't see how they would though, since there's no dead bodies around.
I sidle up next to him and try to get his attention. "Officer?" He turns his head away from the Marker and fixes me with a blank stare. Little weird, but I can live with it. "Listen, I have some inform-"
"They want our bodies."
It takes a moment for his words to sink in. "...What did you just say?" He repeats his statement with the same expressionless face.
"They want our bodies." His hand reaches down towards his pistol holster. My eyes widen as I realize what he intends to do. "No. No no no nonononono!"
I reach out a hand to try to stop him, but it's too late. He yanks the gun from its holster, flicks off the safety, places the barrel under his chin, and pulls the trigger in one fluid motion. The bullet punched through the top of the officer's skull, bringing flecks of blood, brain, and bone along with it. Everyone in the crowd screams in terror, but I barely notice. The shock of a person committing suicide like that in front of you makes you numb to the world around you. The sound of a bullet being fired less then two feet away from you has the same effect.
I stand motionless, my brain attempting to process what had just happened. He pulled out a gun, and shot himself. He killed himself. He's dead. Dead. Dead body. Dead Space. Oh God! I burst into motion, trying to drag his body to the crater surrounding the Marker so he was in the dead space, meaning he wouldn't turn into a necromorph. Of course everyone around me tried to stop me.
"What are you doing?" "Get off him!" "Let the dead lie!"
They all start trying to pull me off him. "Let go of me! I have to get him into the dead space around the Marker!" A particularly strong teacher then hoisted me into the air and began carrying me off. "I have to do this! You don't know what you're doing!" I look back at the body, and see it already thrashing about, mutating into a necromorph. The infection doesn't spread that quickly! Not unless you're killed by an infector! I began yelling as loud as I could. "Look at the body! Look! LOOK!" My pleas were simply ignored, and I watched in horror as I saw the fully mutated beast struggling to rise up from the ground. All eyes were focused on me, so nobody witnessed the...puker? A puker? Really? It couldn't be simple, could it? This day keeps getting better and better! The puker let out an inhuman groan, and the crowd fell silent. Instantly.
The crowd stood motionless as the puker struggled to its feet, dripping blood and...puke, I guess. It rose to its normal slouched over height and regarded the crowd, letting out quiet gurgles. I closed my eyes and waited for the screaming to start.
The puker moved with startling speed, grabbing a young girl next to him and began spewing acidic vomit all over her face. The crowd exploded into a panic as the girl screamed in terror and agony. The man carrying me dropped me to the floor, and I turned my head away as he ran to try to save the girl. Seeing someone die that way in a game is ok, but real life... I shook my head, clearing my mind of those thoughts. There'll be time later to let these feelings get to you. If there is a later. I stood up and found Ricky staring in shock at the scene behind me. The girl was still screaming, and I didn't want to find out why. I grabbed Ricky's shirt and began hauling him off in the direction of the fleeing crowd.
"Ricky, listen to me. I know what we're dealing with here, and I can find a way for us to get out of this, but you have to do what I say, ok?" He nodded like a bobblehead. "Ok, follow me." I took off running, my new destination in mind.
As I ran, that stupid little voice in the back of my head decided to make an appearance. You'll never survive. You know what happened on the Ishimura and the Sprawl, there were no survivors. Issac survived, I thought. I intend to be like him. And I ran on, with Ricky in tow, to retrieve Alex Herrel.
Alexander Herrel. My best friend since 7th grade, even if he did have a psychopathic penchant for violence. If there was ever a human who was more like a krogan, it was him. If that krogan had the physical strength and endurance of the Pillsbury dough boy. Alex isn't overweight, but he looks like he's pushing it. He's got messy brown hair he always hides under a hat, and wears black, thick-rimmed glasses. They always seem weird when compared to my elite Silhouette Titan frames with Transition lenses, which remind me of Albert Wesker every time I put them on. Alex is about 6 inches or so shorter than me, and he spends most of his time the same way I do, playing games. He's the only friend I know of other than myself who's beaten both Dead Space games, which is exactly why I'm going to make sure he stays alive. Our knowledge would help immensely as I help the people I feel I need to save. Also, I've never seen a fat...chubby necromorph, and I don't intend to today.
I rushed up to the door of Alex's class, and forced it open, totally smashing some poor kid in the face. I feel a pang of guilt as I watch him hit the floor, but I've got other more important things to worry about.
"Just what do you think you're doing here?", a female voice calls from across the room. Great, like I needed this.
I point to Alex, who's sitting in his chair like he's pretending he's not there, and say "I'm here for him, and it's kinda urgent." His teacher, who had no idea of what had happened moments ago that caused a mass panic, stood and stared. "And what gives you the right to barge into my class, injure one of my students, and demand another come with you?" I opened my mouth to respond when the school-wide intercom activated.
I could hear screams and growls in the background of where this announcement was taking place, and I lowered my head. God, this is a nightmare. It's exactly like the Sprawl, except it's real... A clearly terrified woman began speaking. "Everyone, evacuate the school! Evacuate the school immediately!" Then, in typical horror style, a necromorph could clearly be heard, and the woman screamed along with the rest of the class just as the intercom went dead. I looked back at Alex's teacher.
"That gives me the right."
The class leaps out of their seats and practically tramples me on their way out the door. God, I come to warn them, and this is how they repay me? I haul myself up off the floor and find Alex standing next to Ricky. I turn to face Alex and begin speaking.
"I don't have time for questions, so we're doing the quick version. The Marker's here, and it's unleashed necromorphs. According to Dead Space: Martyr and Downfall, if we can get close to the Marker, then the necros can't reach us. It's a safe zone, understand?" He quickly nodded.
"Good. Now, Ricky, you don't have the experience we do, so I want you to go back to the Marker and get as close to it as you can, ok? They can't hurt you if you're close to it. So get there fast, I want to go see if a few other friends are ok, so Alex and I'll be right there. Go. Go!" He nods once and dashes out the door. I follow him out and pull out my iPhone to make a call.
Alex jogs next to me as I run with my phone to my ear. I was trying to get in touch with another friend of mine, Jake Albright. I had met him, Timothy Ta, and Evon Ramirez last semester in a computer graphics class. I now consider the 3 of them to be the guys I'd go out drinking with. If we could drink. Aside from Timmy, who was seen as a crazy muscular super Asian ninja by me and the other guys, Jake and Evon were similar to Ricky and I in build, except Evon had short black hair, and was the suave ladies man, even if he didn't believe that himself. Jake was quite possibly the coolest guy I've ever met, he's got crazy basketball skills, knows how to work with computers, and he's an awesome friend. So it was my mission to get the three of them and make a dash for the Marker. It'd be the only safe place in a town rapidly becoming infested with necromorphs.
Jake FINALLY answered his phone after I called him five times. "Joe!"
"Shut up, Jake! I know things are crazy, but I'm coming to get you. Where are you?" It sounded fairly quiet on Jake's end, which was a good sign. At least he found a hiding place.
"I'm in a classroom, hiding from those things. Aren't those the monsters from Dead Space you showed me?" I took a deep breath, then let it out as I stood in an open area, twirling my head around, searching for necros.
"Yeah, they are. Listen, can you get outside the G building quickly? There's a safe zone there."
"How are monsters from a game in-"
"Now is really not the time! Answer the question!" There was a moment of silence on Jake's end, presumably him checking out his surroundings.
"Yeah, I can be there in 2 minutes." I let out a sigh of relief.
"Oh, thank God. Ok, now where are Evon and Timmy? I'm going to get them too."
"Do you have their numbers," Jake asked.
"Only Timmy's. Please tell me you have Evon's."
"Yeah." YES! This might actually work! I took a moment to think of my next move.
"Ok, ok. I'll call Timmy, you call Evon. We'll meet up in the middle of the campus, alright?"
"Got it, Joe." I took a quick glance around.
"Be careful out there, Jake. The screams are dying down, which means either people are getting away, or the necromorphs are killing off the survivors. Either way, it's bad for us. I gotta call Timmy, but meet with Evon, then get to us. ASAP." There was a click on the other end. Exactly. Speed over goodbyes. Besides, we'll see each other again.
I turn to Alex. "Ok, be ready for anything. We haven't encountered anything yet, but that doesn't mean we won't." And that's obviously the perfect time for a slasher to see us from off in the distance. Which one does.
Alex and I ran for our lives. Not only has that one slasher met up with two more, but we've got a few members of the "pack" on us too, screaming their creepy little heads off. I glance over my shoulder as we run. The necros are still chasing us, but at least they haven't gotten any closer.
Alex wheezes "I can't run much further." Change in plans then. I whip out the bluetooth I decided to bring to school today, I got tired of holding my phone to my ear. I activated the voice control and shouted "Call Jake Albright!" into it. My phone responded with "Calling Pizza Hut." I gave up and took out my phone and hit the dial button under Jake's number. He answered in record time.
"Joe, where are you? Timmy said you never called, and he was with Evon!"
I yelled back "I got problems!" I suddenly heard Evon's voice on Jake's end.
"I just heard that..."
I yell "Heard what?"
"That's SUPER! I hear you too!"
"There! Joe, turn left at the corner in front of you!" I use an extra burst of energy and sprint up and around the corner of the building we were running alongside to see Jake, Evon, and Timmy in the distance! Finally! A roar from behind Alex and I reminded us to run faster.
Timmy yelled from across the campus "Why are you running?"
"Look behind me, idiots!"
The half a dozen or so necromorphs rounded the corner the moment I said that, and I was close enough to the trio where I could see their eyes widen in disbelief as to what was chasing us.
"Don't just stand there!", I yelled. "RUN!" So, they did. They joined in our mad sprint for survival. Jake ran up next to me and asked quietly "We aren't going to make it are we?" I panted from exhaustion before I answered his question. I hadn't done any running in a long while, and doing a marathon sprint wasn't the best way to pick it up again.
"We will," I gasped. "As long as we make it to the safe zone!"
Alex suddenly shouted out "BRUTE!" I looked back and saw that somewhere along the way, a brute thought it'd be fun to join in the hunt, chasing the 5 humans fleeing from its brethren. Oh, for the love of...
"RUN FASTER!", I shouted. "We're almost there!" We rounded another corner and saw the Marker in front of us. But no Ricky.
No...no. This is safe. It has to be.
The teenager in question stepped out from behind the Marker, wondering who called his name. I waved frantically to him, and Evon shouted "Big guy's right behind us!" I risked a look back and saw the brute 20 feet behind us, and gaining. I looked ahead and knew we were about 30 feet away from the Marker. I tried to rally our drive for survival for our group as fast as I could.
"Sprint as hard as you can and you live!" That did the trick. We all made one final push, and made it inside the crater safely. I jerked my head around and looked at the brute, hoping my plan worked. It ran closer and closer and closer, and right when I closed my eyes so I didn't see it bearing down on us, the thumping of its legs stopped. I cracked an eye open and saw the brute standing at the edge of the crater, unmoving, just...waiting. I passed out from sheer relief and exhaustion at that point.
I woke up 4 hours later. I sat up to see there was a whole horde of necromorphs around the crater now, waiting for us. Oh. That's nice. Death by necromorph, or death by starvation since we have no food. Great choice. I heard someone talking behind me, mentioning I was awake. Moments later, I'm surrounded by everyone I brought here, including...
"Tillman? Alex Tillman?"
The Alex I was referring to gave me a big grin and asked "Who were you expecting? A necromorph?"
I shook my head. "That's not...it's not funny, Tillman."
His smile faded. "No, sorry...yeah, shouldn't have said that, since they're here..." Jake extended a hand down for me and pulled me to my feet. I looked at the people I had managed to rescue. Alex Herrel, Alex Tillman, Ricky, Evon, Timmy, Jake, and myself. I shook my head in disbelief. How did I save myself, let alone 6 others?
"So...how'd Tillman get here?", I asked Ricky.
"Oh, he was actually here already when I showed up. He knew about Dead Space as well." I smiled at Tillman.
"I forgot all about you, actually." He did his typical mock disbelief thing.
"Whhhaaatttt? You save all of them, and forget about me? I'm hurt, Joseph. Right here." He points to his heart. I shake my head, that smile still on my face.
"How could I forget you, Tillman? With your buzz cut and exaggerated arm movements?"
"Real funny, Smeltzer. Funny." I turn to the rest of the...gang, I guess you could say.
"Anybody hear any news?" Everyone except Jake shook his head. I looked pointedly at Jake. "Something to say?" He looked unbelievably forlorn.
"According to what I've heard on my phone...all of T.O. and N.P. are wiped out. Both cities are gone. They're spreading fast."
I sit back down up against the Marker, stunned. "Everyone here?", I ask quietly. Jake looks at his feet.
Everyone. My family. My friends I didn't rescue. Total strangers. Massacred. Never had a chance. And the killing. The killing. That girl, screaming in pain, no, AGONY from the puker. The crowds being ripped apart as they tried to run somewhere, anywhere from the demonic creatures. I lean over and literally vomit whatever I can. I wipe my mouth with my sleeve when I finish and stand up, tears running down my face. I stare off into the distance for a few moments while I gather my thoughts. We're stuck here. No food. No water. No rescue. Everyone's dead. Surrounded by necromorphs. Yeah, you really saw this coming, Smeltzer.
Alex placed a hand on my shoulder, and it drew my attention. I looked right at him, and he gave a weak smile. "SFD?", he said. I smiled at that, still sniffling and crying though. I knew the others were wondering what that meant, but that's a story for later. He looked at them and said to me, "We need a leader. Someone to raise morale, Visari-style. I'd do it, but I don't know them." He looked back at me, and I nodded once, smile still on my face. He wandered back to the main group and left me to think. I'm not in a "leading" mood...
Hours passed. Time dragged on and on, and the numbers of necromorphs around the Marker kept increasing endlessly through the night.
"At least they can't get us.", Timmy said.
"Yeah," I replied. "There's the bright side." Evon leaned forward in our little circle we had formed.
"As long as we're not dead, I'm happy." I looked at him.
"We should probably get off the topic of our deaths, it's a little morbi..." My voice trailed off as I noticed someone in the sea of necromorphs. Someone human. I jumped to my feet and watched with my mouth open as she just walked right through the crowd of necros unscathed, heading straight to me.
Jake stood next to Ricky as they both watched Joseph act like he was being gently pushed up against the Marker by someone. Or something. Ricky leaned closer to Jake.
"Does he normally do this?" asked Ricky. Jake shook his head.
"Never seen this before. He must be hallucinating or something."
"That isn't good, is it?" Jake didn't respond that time.
I let her push me up against the Marker. She should be dead. After all this time. But she isn't, and she's talking to me. It was so hard to make out what she was saying though. The fact that she was talking to me again was astounding, since we previously had an unspoken agreement to ignore each other, but God! What is she saying? I can't... Then I touched the Marker with my bare hand. Instantly, I understood the mumbled foriegn language. It all made sense. Every word she was saying, the point she was trying to get across. We were going to die.
I swung my head to find Alex and Tillman, not noticing the girl disappear when I looked away. I started babbling like an idiot, I couldn't get the message across to my friends in time. "Convergence, we're dead, minds will break-" Jake grabbed my shoulders and tried to shake me out of it.
"Joe, snap out of it! You're scaring me, man!" I shook myself out of his grip.
"No, you don't understand! The Convergence event is upon us!", I cried. God, I sound like a Unitologist! Alex and Tillman heard me that time, and it hit them. Finally.
At the same time, they asked "Convergence? It's happening?" I nod frantically. "Yes! And-" I get cut off...because Convergence...has begun.
The Marker sends out a pulse of energy, giving us all the worst headaches any of us have ever had. I can't even think about anything else other than the pain, it's so intense. The 7 of us are stuck rolling around on the ground now, clutching our heads like idiots. Then another pulse, doubling the pain. I manage to force myself to my feet and lean up against the Marker. Images were suddenly forced through my mind. A ship drifting in space, giant, foreboding. The Red Marker on a pedestal. A Convergence event around a skyscraper sized Marker. Finally, a sleek, futuristic ship flying towards the larger ship previously seen. I manage to wrench my hand off the Marker to see my friends going limp, one by one. NO! I didn't come all this way to die here! Then the world around me explodes into darkness, and I struggle to keep myself awake, but as with the rest of my friends, I fall unconscious and collapse on the cold asphalt, unmoving.
Author's Note: Well...not much for me to do except sit here and hope it goes well. I'm continuing this story no matter what, but if it gets bad reviews, I'll just slow the update rate to when I feel like it instead of trying to hit a weekly schedule. Now, quick shout-outs to my inspirations! Sarge1995 gets the first thank you, since The Outsider was the first story I read on here, and I find it awesome with all the other characters from different games added in. I'm warning you now, I might do something like that. ;) 2nd place goes to iNf3ctioNZ(Why does your name have to be so complex?). I'm stealing your idea of ending up in the ME universe early by the way, but it won't be like your style. He also has a sentence in the 1st AN of Masses to Masses saying how you have to stick with the story to discover "his purpose in the ME universe". Same idea applies to here as well. And I guess 3rd is a tie between Wozzeck and The eezoman. Both of their stuff is pretty good, but it could be a little better IMO. But this isn't about other authors, it's about me! So hope you liked this confusing first chapter I wrote in 2 days. Post some reviews if you care about this story!