"So, Isaac…your girlfriend all snug?"

"She's not my girlfriend."

"Sure, sure…whatever lets you sleep at night."

Sleep…it seemed like years since Isaac had got a good sleep. Probably was, all things considered, considering the three years he'd spent on the Sprawl being loaded on drugs. For once, he wanted to sleep soundly. To sleep naturally. To sleep on a planet or space station that wasn't being overrun by space zombies.

And have someone sleeping beside you?

Maybe. But Nicole was gone. He couldn't-…

Not talking about Nicole, dumbass.

Markers had strange effects. Hallucinations and a smartarse conscience seemed to be two of them.

Isaac slumped down against the co-pilot's chair of the crashed shuttle, Carver casually staring out into the icy wasteland in the other. The ship was a lost cause, unable to fly without some serious maintenance, not to mention that it was a potential death-trap if necromorphs attacked. Still, it had been the shuttle Ellie had been found near, fighting for her life against the necromorphs and Tau Volantis's weather. Isaac and Carver had carried her back to the ship, giving her the crew area, a blanket and a sedative. Not the greatest medical attention in the galaxy, but on this frozen shithole, Isaac supposed they should take what they could get.

"Night's coming," Carver murmured suddenly.

"Really?" Isaac asked. "Sun seems fairly high still."

"Fast rotation. Short days. Short nights too, so as soon as the sun starts coming up again, we move out."

There was the unspoken threat that the sergeant intended to move out with or without Isaac, not to mention Ellie. Looking at the soldier, currently fieldstripping his pulse rifle for the tenth time, Isaac wouldn't have put it past him. The man was a leader, but only in as much in that he could give orders, not necessarily inspiring those around him to follow on their own volition. As soon as the Marker was destroyed, Carver could do whatever the hell he wanted for all Isaac cared.

"Think they come at night?" the engineer asked. "The necromorphs?"

"If they do, we're screwed. If not, we're slightly less screwed."


"Still…" Carver continued. "The necros are…well, necrotic. Dead flesh. Undead."

"Which means?"

"Means that the ice might adversely affect them. Presumably they're not endothermic, so with any luck, they'll freeze in their tracks or at least be slowed down."

"I dunno…" Isaac said. "They can operate in space, you think the temperatures here are gonna do anything?"

Carver didn't answer.

Sighing, Isaac leant back against his chair, trying to ignore the howl of the wind and wondering whether sleep was a luxury he could afford. It would have been nice to lie down, but looking back at the crew area, with Ellie still sleeping…it didn't seem right somehow.

"You should get some rest," Carver said suddenly, as if reading the engineer's thoughts

"And you?" Isaac asked.

"Few hours, then it's my turn. Standard watch."

"I…think I'll stay up," Isaac murmured. "Don't think I want to sleep too much."

"Why?" Carver sneered. "Nightmares? Or is it that you haven't got past first base?"

The engineer sighed. "For the last time, sir,"

"I'm a sergeant, not a sir."

"She isn't my girlfriend," Isaac continued, ignoring Carver's outburst. "We survived the Sprawl together, but that doesn't make us an item."

"Of course not," the soldier grinned. "Course, I suppose you screaming out 'Ellie! Ellie!' every few seconds doesn't count for anything."

"Shut up."

"And the whole carrying her back to the shuttle…is your armour really that warm? Or does having your damsel in your arms get the blood flowing?"

Isaac groaned and turned opposite his comrade to face the blizzard. A force of nature that thankfully didn't go out of its way to annoy him.

"Or that your girlfriend as the whole crew area to herself…quite noble of you…other people might see that as an opportunity…

Isaac glanced back at his ally, reaching for his plasma cutter as he did so. Opportunity…it hadn't entered his mind. He knew Carver was married, but still…

No, he wouldn't do that. He wouldn't stoop that low…

At least Isaac hoped not. Because if Carver suffered from being left in the cold in a metaphorical as well as physical sense, Isaac knew there was precious little he could do to impede him. Carver was his physical superior in every way…

"You know, you don't have to be ashamed of it,"

And verbally as well.

"I mean, what, your girlfriend only has one eye?" the sergeant continued. "The other one's a prosthetic."

"Yeah…" Isaac mused.

Don't bring up Stross, don't bring up Stross…

"Well, there's the irony of it," Carver said. "Your girlfriend's only got one functioning eye, and she can see better than you."


"Oh come on!" the sergeant exclaimed, his look a strange mix of humour and frustration-like a wingman who was paired with a dumbass in the bar. "You really that dense? The way she looked at you when we came over the embankment? The way she snuggled up to you as you carried her back to the shuttle?"

"That…that was…"

"The whole willing to be sedated while you stay awake?" Carver let out a snort. "Trust me Isaac, there's only a few reasons why anyone would willingly sleep in these conditions, and all of them require trust."

"Don't trust you…" Isaac murmured.

"Course not. But she trusts you. Trusts you enough to rest while you stay awake. Trusts you to keep the goblins from the keep."

Isaac remained silent. He didn't know how to respond to that. He didn't know what goblins were (something out of an alien movie?) but he did understand the references that Carver was making besides that of xenobiological organisms. As much as the man got on his nerves, the engineer supposed he had a point.

No shit. You want to go to second base now?

Isaac didn't know. Didn't know if he was even on first. Didn't know why Carver could see what he couldn't, or wouldn't. Didn't know whether the sergeant was screwing with him, or whether he was just some oblivious forty-something year old who could no longer read women.

Then again, it had been years since he'd had any real clarity.

Casting a look back at his…friend, Isaac just hoped that if they ever got off this snowball alive, Ellie could get what he'd lost. True sight. Able to see the truth, whatever that was.

She deserved that much.


The idea for this came from the full demo of Dead Space 3 at E3. Whatever one may think about the shift to horror to action and the co-op mechanic, there are a few things I distinctly like. One of them is the dynamic between Isaac and Carver. The other was how Isaac repeatedly called out for Ellie, even to Carver's annoyance. "Cute" isn't a word that would be used to describe something out of Dead Space often, but it was the word that came to mind because of it. Pairings are rarely a main concern for me, but either way, it'll be interesting to see how Isaac and Ellie interact in Dead Space 3 IMO.