All right! I'm so sorry for the lack of updates on this story, but I haven't forgotten about it! Here's the next chapter of "Playing the Game 2"! Thank you to everyone who's been reading, reviewing, favoriting, and alerting this story! I appreciate it! :)
DISCLAIMER: Everything belongs to Visceral Games and EA.
"Well, here it is," Isaac announced to Ellie, Stross, Daina, and Tiedemann, "The centrifuge from the first game."
"Ahem," Hammond piped up, clearing his throat, "You mean that death trap from the first game. This thing almost cut you in half before!"
Isaac smirked. "Thank you, Hammond," he joked, "Anyway, let's see what we've got here."
"No Necromorphs," Kyne pointed out, "That's a good thing."
Everyone else nodded in agreement as Isaac pitched his game counterpart into the air to fly around with zero gravity. He used Kinesis to drag some stray boxes towards him to break them open, gaining more credits and ammo than before.
"Hmm," Isaac hummed as he continued to fly around and noticed some missing pieces from the tower in the middle, "Somehow, a few of these popped out of the machine. That's probably why it's not working."
"So you know what to do," Kendra retorted, gesturing to the TV, "Go fix it!"
"Like I've fixed everything else on this ship," Isaac laughed as he continued to use Kinesis to grab all the pieces.
"Ellie," game-Isaac suddenly spoke up, "The damn cooling core is extended and pieces are everywhere."
"Really?" game-Ellie asked from her end, "It won't work unless all the cooling tubes are connected." The flesh and blood Ellie beamed.
"I work with those all the time," she announced to the others.
"Yeah, I see tube paths on the floating components. I think I can match them up with the right sockets."
"You'd better hurry. The Gov Sec is getting further away by the minute."
"NOOOOO!" almost everyone in the room cried.
"I know, I'm going as fast as I can. Look, I'll contact you when I'm done."
"You heard the lady," Tiedemann said, "Get to work!"
"Don't boss my boyfriend around like that," Nicole chided.
"Well, someone has to," Tiedemann quipped, shrugging as everyone watched game-Isaac match the floating components with the right sockets. Fortunately, there weren't that many of them, and he soon completed this task. He floated back over to the control panel by the exit and pushed the button, restoring gravity to the room. The centrifuge hissed and creaked as it began to spin on the floor down below.
"You know," Nicole said, "It's hard to picture the centrifuge with sound after the first game."
"At least I don't have to hide in those alcoves down there," Isaac responded, "Well, we're just about finished in this room. Let's get out of here."
After saving his game, Isaac retraced his steps through the circular door up ahead.
"Oh my God!" all the old timers gasped as a Drag Tentacle appeared out of nowhere and grabbed game-Isaac.
"Oh, God, not this bastard again!" Isaac yelled, instinctively picking up the controller to try and shoot it.
However, this time was different. "Isaac," Ellie piped up, "It's gone."
Everyone who remembered the first game glanced up at the screen to see it had flashed back to normal.
"It's all right, guys," Kyne assured them, "This time, it really was just a cutscene." The others took a deep breath and slowly began to relax as the newcomers just stared at them.
"What was that thing?" Stross asked.
"A Drag Tentacle from the first game," Temple answered, "That's why there was a big hole in the wall before."
"Remember the first time we faced it?" Mercer suddenly questioned with a smirk on his face.
"Oh yeah!" Isaac cried, his eyes lighting up, "How could I forget? That was my first game over!"
Isaac shrugged and began to guide himself through the different alcoves, killing the few Necromorphs that tried to take his hiding spots and refilling his oxygen in the process. This part soon had all six of them on the edge of their seats; the centrifuge was spinning much faster now, not giving game-Isaac enough time to run in between alcoves. He somehow managed, however, taking the second elevator back to the main door and finally exiting the vacuum.
"Well, that wasn't too bad," Isaac commented as he saved again, "I'm really starting to like this game." He opened the door up ahead as he continued to talk.
"I mean, the game play is easy, the storyline is getting better, and-"
"HOLY SHIT!" everyone else cursed in unison, effectively interrupting him.
"What?" Isaac asked, and then gasped a second later, "Oh, shit!"
Everyone watched as a huge tentacle with a huge, yellow pod appeared out of nowhere and grabbed game-Isaac by the ankle. As this was happening, Isaac started to button mash with the "A" button out of habit, but he soon found out that this wasn't another quick time event. The tentacle slammed him down to the ground and began to drag him away.
"Okay," Isaac sighed as he tried to calm himself and everyone else down, "It's just a cutscene. I don't have to do anything." Everyone nodded, and they all watched as the tentacle continued to drag game-Isaac as it growled.
"This is the worst cutscene ever!" Kyne gasped, "Why isn't anything happening?"
"Don't worry," Isaac assured him, "Any moment now."
But as more time passed, the closer game-Isaac and the Drag Tentacle got to the hole it had come from. "Are you sure it's just a cutscene?" Hammond asked doubtfully.
"Positive," Isaac confirmed. However, Nicole suddenly widened her eyes, as if she had just had an epiphany, and shoved the controller into the engineer's hand.
"Isaac!" she yelled, "You are supposed to do something! Shoot the yellow pod!"
"What?" Isaac questioned, "Aww, shit!"
He managed to land one shot in to the pod, but it was too late, for the Drag Tentacle had dragged game-Isaac far enough where he was fighting to get out of the hole. The six of them watched in mute horror as game-Isaac went limp, got dragged into the hole, and emitted the sound of himself flat lining. In the next second, everything faded to black as blood splattered across the screen.
"I felt like such an idiot after that," Isaac said after explaining what happened to Stross, Daina, Ellie, and Tiedemann, "I honestly thought it was just a cutscene."
"We all thought that," Nicole piped up in her boyfriend's defense.
"I'm sure a lot of people did," Ellie replied, "It's not the end of the world."
"Yeah, but I was hoping to have a no-death run the whole time," Isaac explained as he continued on, killing more Necromorphs that stood in his game character's path. After getting locked in the same quarantine room from the first game, he turned the corner until he arrived at a Bench, where he decided to upgrade his RIG and a few of his weapons.
"Well, it's only natural that you would be killed many times during your first run through the game," Daina retorted, but she trailed off as game-Isaac's RIG went off.
"Isaac," game-Ellie whispered into it, "Stross is starting to worry me. Listen…"
"Oh, God," Stross groaned, face-palming himself as everyone shot him a worried glance.
"…I would never. I would never," game-Stross was mumbling, "But son, Daddy's not a murderer! I would never hurt you and Mommy!"
"Of course I'm not a murderer!" Stross cried incredulously.
"Shh!" the others shushed him so they could hear the rest of the dialogue.
"Stross!" game-Ellie cried, "He's not real-"
"Yes, he is! You can't see him because you haven't taken the steps! The needle will make you see! Step Three! Step Three!"
"There's a Step Three?" Elizabeth asked in surprise.
"What's Step Three?" Temple added, raising an eyebrow.
"Stross," game-Ellie repeated, "Put down the screwdriver. AHH!"
"Stross!" game-Isaac shouted, "Ellie? Shit!"
Isaac paused the game as soon as the conversation was finished, and everyone in the room glanced at each other before shouting the same thing.
"A screwdriver? A screwdriver?" Nicole gasped.
"No way!" Kendra and Elizabeth cried, "That's insane!"
"Where and when the hell did your character get a screwdriver?" Ellie asked Stross.
"I don't know," Tiedemann answered before the real Stross could, "But someone better get that screwdriver away from him before he does something stupid."
A little while later…
"At least the tram's working, thank God," Isaac said as he let his game character board the tram.
"These used to be the places where chapters would begin and end," Kyne explained to their new friends.
The four of them nodded, and they watched the quasi-cutscene while the tram traveled on its way.
"Aww, Isaac," game-Ellie groaned, "Damn it, that hurts. The bastard bit me!"
"Holy shit, Stross!" Hammond gasped as the flesh and blood Stross remained silent.
"What?" game-Isaac asked, "Oh, shit. Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. But he's stopped talking and he won't look at me. How's it going on your end? And please tell me this plan's going to work!"
"I'm almost there. I'm heading to the Bridge now to activate the gravity tethers."
"Well, good. They're swarming in through a hole in the Medical Deck. At least you won't have to go through there."
"Yeah, thank God," the real Ellie echoed as an automated message began to play.
"Unexpected obstruction ahead. Shutting down. Welcome to the Medical Deck."
"NOOOOOO!" everyone cried again.
"Damn you, Langford," Tiedemann cursed, "You jinxed it."
Ellie shrugged. "Not my fault," was all she said.
"Crap," game-Isaac muttered on the screen as he disembarked from the tram.
"Why do we have to go here?" Kendra groaned, "Is this game trying to kill us or what?"
"Of course it is," Isaac said as he began picking up scattered items.
"The Ishimura Medical Deck, Isaac," game-Nicole suddenly whispered as everyone in Tiedemann's drinking game downed another round of shots, "These were my last hours. Frightened…cold…alone. Well go on, Isaac. Don't be shy."
"Please don't tell me I'm gonna be taunting him the whole time he's here," Nicole pleaded.
"I think you are," Tiedemann said, "This was your main deck."
Nicole shook her head as she watched her boyfriend progress through the game. These halls were familiar as well, even though most of them were bathed in a fluorescent blue light with blood appearing green on the walls.
"I think I'm gonna be sick," Daina groaned, clutching her stomach. Mercer just patted her shoulder.
Isaac turned again and gasped at what he saw. "Hey, Mercer," he said, "This is where you had all those frozen Necromorphs. Remember? And the Hunter attacked me here?"
Mercer only shook his head as he closed his eyes. "Let's not get into that again," he suggested.
"Nutcase," Temple hissed under his breath between fake coughs.
Isaac let that comment slide as he reentered the infamous lab where the Hunter had first woken up in the previous game.
"Wasn't there a second Hunter in one of those tubes?" Kyne inquired, "Where did it go?"
"Beats me," Isaac answered just as the screen turned a sepia shade and another hallucination began. In this one, game-Nicole appeared on some monitors to the right.
"Isaac, it's me," game-Nicole began, "I wish I could talk to you. I'm sorry. I'm sorry about everything. I wish I could just…talk to someone. It's all falling apart here. I can't believe what's happening! It's strange…such a little thing. In the end, it all comes down to this one…little thing. I didn't want it to end like this. I really wanted to see you again, just once. I loved you. I've always loved you." The old timers didn't have to watch the screen to know what was about to happen.
"Is this when…you know…" Stross asked, but didn't finish.
Nicole nodded, and the people playing Tiedemann's drinking game didn't drink any vodka on this one.
"Poor Isaac," Ellie whispered.
To everyone's surprise, the group didn't have much to say on this part of the game that hadn't already been said. Perhaps it was because it was just like the first game. Ellie, Stross, Daina, and Tiedemann just watched in silence as Isaac took an elevator up to the familiar Imaging Diagnostics Room, encountering a swarm of Necromorphs along the way.
"It's like playing the first Dead Space all over again," Kendra commented, "I never thought we'd visit this place again."
"I hope we won't be here for too much longer," Kyne said worriedly.
"I hate how this room is so blue," Nicole added as well.
Down below, there was a small path where electricity was sparking out of control, and once game-Isaac took the elevator down to that level, he found himself being ambushed by a couple of Leapers.
"Kill them! Kill them!" most of the men cheered while the women watched with shocked expressions on their faces.
"Well, there is something good in all this," Isaac mused as he used Kinesis to pull a battery out of the wall, "At least we don't have to use a walkthrough like the first game."
"You mean for that asteroid?" Hammond asked, "Yeah, thank God. I thought we were gonna be stuck on that part for a long time!"
"We were," Kendra reminded him, "For two hours, remember?"
A few of the others chuckled as game-Isaac continued through the path, now that the electricity had stopped.
"The head banging man was right through this hallway," the real Isaac recalled, stopping in front of where a Stasis Recharge used to be in the previous game.
"You mean that man we saw during the recap video in the beginning?" Stross asked.
"The same," Kyne said.
"I think we're about to head back to the station Mercer locked down in the first game," Isaac announced after saving his game at a nearby Save Station.
"You never found my body, never said goodbye," game-Nicole whispered, "Was I just stacked in the morgue with the others? Another random casualty? Or did they turn me into one of them? Wearing my bloodied face, stalking the halls looking for more victims..."
"Oh God," Nicole said as Tiedemann and the others resumed their drinking game, "I don't want to think about it."
"I'm sure you weren't turned into one of them," Ellie assured her.
"I wish the first game had allowed me to say goodbye to you, though," Isaac told her as he continued on his way, finally exiting the blood-covered hallways to enter the tram tunnel.
"Looks like you'll have to fly, Iron Clarke," Tiedemann teased as game-Isaac used the zero-g environment to his advantage, flying through the spacious tunnel as he killed the Lurkers on both walls.
"The barrier between us is wearing thin, Isaac," game-Nicole continued to whisper, "Behind every tarp... a memory. Behind every door of the passage of time from my life to when I died."
"You're not going to break me," game-Isaac insisted.
"Why do you keep insisting these unpleasant memories are somehow my fault? This isn't about the Marker, Isaac. This is about you."
"But it is about the Marker," Temple pointed out, "The Marker's making him relive these memories. If it weren't for that, he wouldn't have all this angst."
"Good point," the others agreed as game-Isaac landed, arriving at the Bridge at last. Up ahead was a maze of crates, which made everyone realize what was about to happen.
"Just make sure your Stasis is in check," Daina muttered after game-Isaac was almost mowed down by a Stalker.
"I thought we were done with these Necromorphs," Isaac replied as he plowed his way through the crates.
"Evidently not," Tiedemann said.
"Hey, what's that up ahead?" Stross suddenly piped up, pointing at a clearing in the distance.
Isaac pointed the controller in that direction as the screen turned sepia again. Up ahead, something began to break the door down from the opposite side.
"What's that?" Ellie asked.
But as soon as the door broke down, the hallucination was over. "That was the first time we encountered a Brute," Kyne explained to Ellie, "In the first game."
"And Hammond gave some pretty helpful advice to shoot the Brutes in the back," Isaac added.
"Not like it helped my character in the end," Hammond mumbled.
Isaac shrugged and continued towards the elevator in the center of the room, which he used to descend into the Captain's Nest from the previous game.
"Ellie?" he began, activating a video log, "I'm almost to the Captain's Nest to activate the tethers."
"All right," game-Ellie replied, glancing through a window, "The centrifuge looks spooled to full power from here."
"Great! Let's hope this works. It'll be tight. You ready?"
"All set. I'll wait for your signal." She hung up.
Everyone in the room held his or her breath as game-Isaac entered the Captain's Nest that game-Hammond had occupied in the prequel. He immediately ran over to the control panel and pushed the "A" button to activate the tethers. Alarms began to ring as the panel counted down to zero in front of him.
"Gravity tethers engaged," a voice announced, and all twelve people in the room let out a cheer.
"Yay!" they cried, holding their shot glasses up.
"Thank God!" Daina shouted.
"You did it!" game-Ellie cried in joy as she appeared once again, "Get back here! The tracks are moving!"
"No, just go!" game-Isaac commanded, "I'll use one of the escape pods and meet you there! Now go!" Game-Ellie nodded and disappeared.
"Go, Isaac, go!" the others cheered just as his audio RIG went off.
"Clarke, you idiot!" game-Tiedemann snapped, "Those gravity tethers will tear the whole moon apart! Cl-"
"Time to go!" game-Isaac interrupted him, hanging up on him in mid-sentence, which made everyone burst out laughing. Some of them whistled, cheered, and clapped their hands.
"Not funny," the real Tiedemann growled, sipping some vodka.
"Come on, Tiedemann," Ellie teased, "You've gotta admit it was a little satisfying. You've been harassing him the entire game!"
Tiedemann mumbled something under his breath that the others didn't pick up. On the screen, Isaac directed himself over to one of the escape pods just as the screen changed colors again.
"Where are you going, Isaac?" game-Nicole taunted as she appeared in front of him, "Do you still think I'm something you can avoid?"
"I don't know!" game-Isaac snapped, "I don't know what you are, okay?"
"You're a Marker-induced hallucination that loves to make Clarke feel like shit," Tiedemann piped up as Nicole glared at him.
"Don't blame her," Isaac spoke up, "It's not her fault."
Game-Isaac climbed into the escape pod just as a voice announced, "Ejection sequence initiated. Launch in 3…2…1…Launch!"
The pod ejected from the Ishimura's bridge, and everyone watched as it accelerated towards Gov Sec.
"I'm away!" game-Isaac reported, "Ellie? Did you make it?"
"Isaac!" game-Ellie shouted, "We crossed the track, but we're coming in hot!"
"I just need you to see what I see, Ellie!" game-Stross hissed, "I promise it won't hurt!"
"Stross! Put down the screwdriver!"
"Stross, no!" game-Isaac yelled as Ellie's counterpart screamed.
"I'm telling you," Tiedemann spoke up, "Get that screwdriver away from Stross!"
"I'm getting a bad feeling about that, by the way," Kyne said in an ominous voice while game-Isaac looked like he was getting ready to crash land.
"Proximity warning. Impact detected. Guidance system malfunction."
"Fuck," game-Isaac cursed.
"All guidance systems offline."
"Brace for impact."
"Oh, no!" Daina cried.
"I can't watch!" Elizabeth added as she buried her face into Jacob's side.
With a deafening bang, the escape pod game-Isaac was in eventually crashed, knocking him unconscious not unlike the time the USM Valor had crashed into the Ishimura in the first game.
"Wait," Mercer spoke up, "Something's happening."
"Isaac? Isaac, are you there?"
It was game-Nicole, who had appeared on the screen in front of an image of the Marker.
"You were right, Isaac!" she exclaimed, "The Ishimura is a great ship! I'm so lucky to be serving aboard her! You made me stick with it."
"You made me stick with it" echoed a few more times as the camera zoomed in towards game-Nicole's face, and when she looked up, everyone in the room screamed at the sight, which was game-Nicole with light in her eyes and mouth.
"YOU MADE ME DIE!"