Yes, I know you're all very shocked to see an update, but I hope you won't count on it being a regular thing. I struggled quite a bit to get even this much down. To everyone who reads this I don't think I can apologize enough. The past couple of years has been very rough on me. First I lost a friend of mine, who was my inspiration for Allie's personality so it was very hard to try writing her again. Then last year I lost both my Grandpa and my Mom so I was in a bad way. I hope you enjoy this chapter. It was hard to write but I think it managed to turn out well.
Chapter Twenty: Through the Darkness (Through the Pain)
Thursday, May 01, 2183
2:00 PM EST
Cruise Dreadnought USG Ishimura
Stab. Stab. Stab.
Roll to the right.
In the seconds after I saw to it that Allie had safely gotten away, I found myself in what quickly became the most intense fight for my life….so far. Three on one is never very good odds. When those three are Necromorphs odds plummet to suicidal at best. My guns were useless, there was hardly any room to maneuver, and I had little to no time to fire off any of my biotics. When I dodged one, the other two were there. Things weren't looking to be in my favor.
One lunged at me, swiping horizontally, causing me to swear and quickly move back words. Big mistake it turns out. My foot catches some debris lying on the ground making me fall on my ass. Seeing an opportunity the monster stabs down at my leg. I move it, but not quickly enough to avoid receiving a pretty deep gash on the side of my leg. Said wound makes me scream in pain. Mother fucker! The thing went straight through my armor like it wasn't fucking there!
I blink away the tears of pain stinging my eyes, and then grin fiercely at the sight in front of me. The Necromorph got its blade stuck in the ground and couldn't get it unstuck. I quickly capitalize on what may be my only chance to survive. Ignoring the pain I jump to my feet and slam a foot down on the Slasher's thin, fragile arm. As planned the blade separates from the creature's arm. With a yell I Sparta kick the monster away from me and quickly Lift the blade and send it hurtling at the Slasher coming at me from the left, causing it to fly back and be pinned to the wall. It twitched for a second then went still. One down two to go.
Only my quick reflexes prevented Slasher Three from putting his blade through my right eye. Instead it gave me a painful cut along the side of my head….and sliced off the tip of my right ear. That pisses me off more than it hurts. I Lift the damn thing and cause the gravitational field of the dark energy to collapse on itself crushing it. I move the mangled mess of Three in the way of its recently handicapped friend, who was trying to stab me with its remaining blade. It cuts through Three and walks right into a biotic backhand. It hits the wall and falls to the ground stunned momentarily. With a roar I bring my foot down on it's chest in a biotic powered stomp…repeatedly. Have to make sure it doesn't get up.
"Fuck," I sigh heavily, sliding to the ground and hissing as the motion aggravates my injured leg. "I will forever hate Dead Space. Fuck it, fuck those monsters, and fucking Christ my ear hurts like hell!"
I activate my Omni-tool and bring up my Medical program. I run one of the subroutines and let out a shaky sigh of relief as my armor administers medigel to my leg. I run my Omni-tool over my ear to do the same to my ear. The anesthetic properties take effect almost immediately, relieving me of the burden of pain. Next I bring up my mini-fabricator and active my armor repair protocol. Running my Omni-tool over my leg seals the breach in my armor. A temporary fix to be sure, but it should hold until I can get it repaired professionally.
I rest for ten minutes before I decide to get up. I wonder where I should go from here. Looking at the elevator I can tell that I won't be going that way. The way the doors are twisted and mangled, it would take more energy to open than I have right now. Guess I'll have to go back through the flight lounge. I activate my helmet to add more light to ease my navigation of the dark corridors, and slowly make my way back to the flight lounge. Several times I stop after hearing a sudden noise to check my surroundings for enemies before moving on. Ten heart wrenching minutes later I make it back to the security station in the lounge. I synch my Omni-tool to the computers and start searching through the data for anything that would be of use. I almost let out a shout of joy when I find file labeled "Map," only to be supremely disappointed when the data turns out to be corrupted. Now I'm wishing I'd got a copy of those blueprints Allie downloaded. I do learn that several areas of the cruise liner were sealed off during the initial outbreak. There may have been survivors had Saleon not deactivated the life support. That son of a bitch!
I'm so engrossed in the information I'm looking at, that I forget the cardinal rule of Dead Space. Always pay attention to your surroundings.
I'm blindsided from behind by a massive blow to the side of the head that sends me flying from the computer and crashing into the wall. Ears ringing and vision swimming, I look up at hulking figure staggering towards me. My sight clears up enough to get a clear picture and by the holy it's not a pretty sight. It was clearly originally a Krogan, but horribly mutated. It looked as though someone had strapped it to a torture rack, and stretched it damn near until it ripped in half. It was taller and skinnier than any Krogan I'd ever seen, and there were tears in its skin. In fact it appeared as though its legs were forcibly straightened, adding to its height. Its neck was twisted so badly that its face was upside down. The hump on the Kroganmorph's was split open and two pairs of long thick arms came out of it, each ending in a nasty looking club like appendage. One appendage was slick with blood.
That was when the pain from my head finally became known to me. It came fast, and it was blinding. I brought a hand up to the side of my helmet. I lightly brushed my fingers across the surface until I felt what I was searching for. A sizeable indent was present in the side of my helmet. When I pulled my fingers away and inspected them they were coated in blood. Fuck, that blow to the head caused the metal to buckle inwards and cut into my skin.
I struggle to get to my feet, as the beast continued to lumber towards me. I manage, barely, and summon up my biotics. Well I try to at least, and my reward for my efforts is a horrific headache that blurs my vision.
Fuck I need to get out of here.
I stumble to my left through the open door, and fell into flight lounge. I crawled over to one of the couches and propped myself up against it and pulled my pistol off my hip. With my vision still swimming from my attempt at using my biotics, I didn't have a clear shot at the monstrous Necromorph. I just aimed towards it and started pulling the trigger. I could see the shots impacting with its hide, but they weren't doing a thing. It just kept lumbering towards me. Hopelessness began to creep into my bones, and I began to feel certain that I was about to die. When it was in the doorway, inspiration struck me. Almost without conscious thought, I quickly raised my arm and fired off as strong an Overload as I could on short notice at the door panel. The servos in the door malfunctioned, causing the door to slam shut with so much force that it sheared right through the monster, and damaged the door frame.
The front half of the huge monster slumps disgustingly to the ground, spilling blood and decaying intestines in the process. I look away with a grimace, and try to collect myself. I attempt to contact Allie and the others to let them know I'm okay, but all I get is an ear rupturing electronic screech that scares the hell out of me. I run a systems diagnostic on my armor and it turns out that blow to the head destroyed my helmet's communicator. Not only that but the buckled in portion of the helmet is preventing me from removing it. The good news is that the medical systems within the helmet are still functional. Triggering those rids me of the blinding headache. The issue causing it is still there, but at least the pain is no longer a hindrance. Hopefully I can find more medigel soon, or I'm going to run out at this rate.
I slowly pick myself up off the ground, and warily peer around the room. I don't see anything, but that means nothing in this situation. Straining my hearing I reach the conclusion that, for now at least, I was alone. Near one of the couches lies Sullivan's decapitated head, its features slack and blank eyes peered at me from half closed lids.
"Damn it," I mutter nervously. "Why didn't you listen to me Allie? I'm sorry Sully, I'll make this bastard pay."
Not wanting to stay in one place much longer, I take one last look at the room and exit through the only working door.
3:00 PM EST
It wasn't even five minutes after I left the Flight Lounge when all the lights went out. Within ten, I was ambushed by another necromorph. This one attacked from the ceiling and managed to catch me in the arm with a slice that cut pretty deep. After that I was running low on medigel. Paired with the unfamiliarity of my surroundings, I was pretty lost. I had come across the door that the rest of the team must've used to get to the tram station, but it was locked down with such a tight encryption it would've taken me hours to crack it. That long in one spot on this ship and I would be dead before I knew what happened. It wasn't that long afterwards when I encountered my first Lurker. I've never thought anything could be so terrifying and depressing at the same time.
The infant this monster used to be looked to be no more than a couple months old. It skittered around unnaturally on all fours. Its head was twisted a full 180 so its face was upside down, and its back was split wide open to allow several tentacles to protrude. The tentacles were thick, looked like they were made from several different types of muscle, and ended in a large wicked looking barbs. They seemed to be moving independently of one another, and there were definitely more of them than the Dead Space games depicted. Its skin was a disgusting menagerie of yellows, blacks, blues and greys, almost looking like one large bruise covered every inch of the deceased infant's body. When it spotted me, it gave the creepiest sounding scream I've ever heard. My blood chilled and my thoughts froze, my instincts triggering straight into flight mode.
Then the thing attacked.
All seven tentacles fired their barbs at me simultaneously, forcing me to hit the ground in order to dodge them. I quickly rolled back onto my feet, only to have the small monster in my face immediately. Two tentacles wrapped themselves around my neck, constricting and cutting of my air. Another tentacle knocked my shotgun from my hand, and pierced me through the palm effectively pinning me to the wall. Two more knocked my feet from beneath me, driving the remaining breath from my lungs, increasing my struggle with the creature. My vision started going dark, with red creeping into the edges as I kicked my feet in a feeble attempt to gain leverage. In my panic I gathered my biotics in a last ditch attempt, and formed a barrier around myself which I then violently surged outwards. Thankfully it worked, sending the Lurker flying and stunning it momentarily. Without much hesitation I hurled a Warp at it, successfully shredding it to pieces.
I gave myself a moment to rest, knowing I wouldn't have long, patching up my hand and taking a drink of water to sooth my sore throat. A medical scan showed there was no lasting damage to my throat and trachea other than some bruising.
A few more close encounters lead me to where I am now. Hating the dark, and the effects it has on the corridors of this damn ship.
In the best of situations, absolute darkness plays with the mind. Smell is amplified from the lack of sight, as is hearing which curses you to hear every little shift of anything. Your eyes, no longer as effective, begin to make things up. You see movement where there isn't any and shadows seem to be much darker. Your nerves play havoc with your mind, making you feel things move nearby when nothing is around. The worst sense change, though, is taste. Normally taste never comes into play, but in an area like this? Oh, in an area like this one, it's awful. The air is heavy with a metallic tang unique to one substance and one substance alone.
The air is so thick with it, that to my darkness enhanced senses, it's as though I've taken a large swig of blood, making me gag as the taste coats my tongue. As I proceed down the corridor, the smell and taste of blood becomes stronger, making me wonder if this was perhaps the part of the ship were the passengers stayed.
A stray thought grasps me then. What if they weren't as dead as they should be?
All the while a little niggling feeling at the base of my skull, that sixth sense, is going haywire, telling me that I'm being watched.
"Damn it," I quietly hiss what has quickly become like my mantra. "Damn it. Damn it. Damn it. Damn i-"
A sudden booming noise above me and several clangs behind me somewhere caused my already taxed heart to speed up dangerously as I jerk my gun from one source of noise to the other. The lights from both my flashlight and my helmet reveal nothing. My heart was hammering painfully in my chest as I checked my surroundings frantically to ensure that I missed nothing. Silence reigned supreme once more and all I could hear was my heavy breathing. As I began to creep forward once more I registered that my hands were beginning to shake. Too much adrenaline for too long. I have to regroup with everyone. I have to find Allie. I refuse to die in a situation that shouldn't even exist in this universe in the first place. I'm also beginning to hate corridors.
Before I can rant mentally (and somewhat insanely) about corridors, a slight noise from behind registers in my mind causing me to freeze. I slowly turn around, praying to every deity that it's nothing when a deep, guttural growl rumbles through the air telling that the gods have forsaken me. My lights wash and over the corridor to show...nothing.
And then the vent next to me explodes outward with a deafening crash and the roar of a nightmare come to life as a scythe-like appendage pierces my shoulder and pins me to the wall and the other pulls back to end my life.
Faster than I thought I was capable of reacting, I brought up my non-disabled arm and caught the blade mere inches from my face. Only a layer of dark energy coating my hand, prevented it from being cut badly. However, in my weakened state, I was beginning to lose ground, and I was barely able to move my head to the side and avoid impalement when I lost my grip. With both of its arm blades stuck in the wall, the Slasher roars in my face revealing the multitude of bloodstained, razor sharp teeth. Frantically trying to come up with a way out of my current predicament, I decide to try something I'd been trying to develop for a while.
"Well if I fail, all that'll happen is I die," I mutter, giving a small laugh at the dark humor. "Here goes nothing."
I focus my biotics into my free hand and begin to will the dark energy to swirl in many directions at once. I pour more and more power into the attack until the gathered energy actually begins to give off a faint whirring noise. When the energy settles down into a rotating sphere of dark energy, I barely contain a breathe of relief. I finally got the technique down.
Before the necromorph could react to the new development, I shoved the sphere into its chest blowing it back with such force that it left behind both arm blades, and imbedded into the metal wall. The site of impact was a shredded mess and the monster was clearly dead.
"God I've always wanted to be able to do that!" I exclaim loudly. "I knew my love of anime would come in handy someday. Just didn't expect it to be a life or death situation."
I really should've kept my voice down. I really should have. Mere seconds after my loud exclamation a cacophony of roars and screams fills the corridor, reminding me of the thought I had a short while ago.
Are the occupants of these rooms properly dead?
With no time to be gentle, I rip the blade from my shoulder with a roar of pain and break out into an all out sprint. Behind me, the hallway explodes with noise as necromorphs burst from the rooms all down the corridor. A glance at my motion tracker shows it clouded with red. Not good. I'll be over run if I try to fight. So I just keep running.
Left. Right. Right. Left. I make turns almost without conscious thought, as I duck and dodge necromorphs bursting out of walls, rooms, and ceiling vents. I just keep running. A sign ahead of me catches my attention. Bridge. A shout of success leaves my lips. I can find the team from there. A loud roar sounding above the chaos behind me makes me risk a glimpse back. It leaves me wishing I hadn't, as now there's a Brute amongst the countless other necromorphs crowding the corridor as they race after me. Unwittingly, I compare the scene to something out of World War Z.
A sharp turn in the direction of the bridge fills me with dread. The door at the end of the hall is locked. I frantically begin trying to hack it, knowing that if I'm unsuccessful, there'll be nothing left of me behind to bury. Then a miracle happens.
The shortwave communicator in my Omnitool pings. I frantically activate it and a voice fills my ears that almost makes me weep in joy.
"Barney, please tell me that's you trying to hack this door," the flanged voices of Garrus crackles through my Omnitool.
"Jesus Fucking Christ, Garrus it's good to hear your voice, but you need to open this fucking door right fucking now!" I yell, still trying to fight his encryption. "The entire fucking corridor behind me is full of these fuckers and there's a huge one here now too, and I'm running out of hallway!"
"On it," he replies seriously. "Hit the doorway in a slide so we can hold them off long enough to get the door shut again. Opening in 3, 2, 1...now.
Just when I was almost out of room to run, the door flew open and I slid through, witnessing a wall of bullets fly through the space I just vacated. I let out a breath of relief, finally reunited with the group after this horrifying event. Behind me I heard the doors closing, so I rolled to the side and began to stand up.
With the doors almost closed, I risked looking away to see how Michael was doing. He stood up and smiled at me when I saw movement behind him. I screamed for him but it was too late. A spike erupted from his chest and he was lifted off the ground. He looked down in confusion and struggled weakly before coughing up blood and going limp.
Then his vitals flatlined.
Sorry it was a short chapter. I don't know when I'll have the next chapter done as I'm struggling with it too. Rest assured that I will finish this story at the very least. Hopefully it won't take another two years to do so. Hope you've all been well, and have a good year.