Lothar tries to get some info but instead stumbles upon the birth of something powerful.
Surge, Justich System
A deadly strain of engineered plague infected an entire planet and caused its demise. It has been over 20 years since then, and I am the only survivor of that plague. My former life is nothing but a brown and withered leaf between the pages of a forgotten book. Eventually, after I overcame such a major life-change, I decided that I had to find out why it happened and who was responsible. My mission has led me here.
My guide walks casually in front of me, garbed in a white lab coat. We walk in the dimly lit corridor of this major corporation who recently joined the bio-tek race. On the wall is an insignia: a giant black helix made of electronic components set on a square silver frame. Cybernetic DNA, I assume. Machines that are life-like? Whatever.
Iíve never met the guide before, but one of my sources recommended I talk to him. Can I trust him? Will this place have any answers for me? We shall see in a few moments.
He stops at a large door at the end of the corridor. Swipes his card and the door opens. We go inside.
ďLeave my credits here,Ē he whispers. Then he takes a suit and mask off the wall. ďYou must wear these inside at all times. Remember, once you are on the other side, walk down the corridor and go through the fourth door on your right.Ē
I take off my lab coat he gave me earlier and suit up. He takes my case and opens it. Inside is his fee, the cost of access to Helix Co.ís top secret lab areas. It took me a while to earn those credits and find this guy, but it will be more than worth it if I get my answers. I guess Iíve become much of a gambler in these last few years. So far, none of my bets have hit any jackpots.
He leaves the way we came in without any more words or advice. Thatís fine, I can get to work without any delay. I secure my suit, a standard heavy-grade bio-suit. Iíve seen the alien keepers wear these before they enter my quarters in the arenas. Itís ironic Iím on this side of the costume.
I open the door with the keycard the guide gave me. Itís a darker hallway that seems to disappear as it goes deeper. I take my first step. The suit is uncomfortable, but I donít care right now. I canít be distracted.
Suddenly the lights go on around me. I pause. Then quickly realize a motion controlled switch is activated. How cute.
I keep walking, my footsteps echo in the long metal hallway. Each step forward activates a light in front and extinguishes a light behind. I pass my first door. On the wall next to it is a rectangular glass window, a view of the room. Itís dark inside.
From the light here in the hallway I can see some cybernetic wares. A device on the table, probably a weapon, is partially dismantled, with pieces next to it like a puzzle left to be completed later. I assume this area was crowded and busy earlier today. Though the guide told me there would be some scientists working here late, I donít see any yet.
I keep going. The second door. This room also has a view. Inside however, there is something interesting. To me at least. Inside several cages of different sizes are sleeping creatures. These arenít ordinary creatures. They are outcasts with no kind to be a part of. A motley bunch of mutated individuals.
Mutants have been the topic of interest recently, outside the arenas but inside as well. Most bio-tek gladiators are using them in their matches. Also, the portal-openers have been branding them with their glyphs and bringing them into the arenas. I donít understand this sudden spike in curiosity.
These mutants must no doubt be part of Helix Co.ís new branching into the bio-tek field. I canít waste time trying to figure out what they will be used for. I keep going, past the third door. I didnít have to figure it out. Inside this room looks like the corporationís main focus with the mutants. More cages, but these mutants have cyber implants. Beasts with electronic skull caps, steel limbs, and mechanical bodies. One of them is awake, trying to adjust to an oversized cyber arm.
I shake my head and go.
Here it is, the fourth door. I enter the room with a swipe of a key card. The lights slowly dim behind me and the door closes. The lights donít go on in the room. I want to take my mask off.
The room is larger than the others. It is a bit brighter too, though the side and wall mounts donít make good reading light. However, they allow me to see and walk up to a desk with a computer on it. I turn it on and log in with an ID and password given to me by a source of mine. Level 3 access. I hope itís enough.
Fifteen minutes of searching reveals some interesting information, but nothing I need. This could take longer than I expected. I think I hear a noise. I turn off the monitor and duck. After a moment, nothing. Itís this infernal mask. Iím already starting to sweat. I take it off and continue to work.
Suddenly I hear an alarm followed by an announcement. Something about assistance in a treatment lab. I hide again. From the window, I see three figures rush past the room. One of them, a scientist in a suit similar to mine. The other two have masks but are dressed in dark-colored cloaks.
My time is almost up. I canít find my answers here, but something tells me to follow those guys. I grab the mask and put it on. I carefully open the door only to be confronted by a masked scientist grabbing my arm, telling me something, and then running in the same direction as the other three.
Perfect luck, I follow him. Taking a look behind, no one is there. My suit is slowing me down, but I canít do anything about it. After a moment we get to an open double door that leads to a very large roomĖalmost two floors high. We enter on the top area and through a balcony I can see the floor. The four men run down and join a group of other scientists in frantic commotion. In the center of the room is a glass room the size of an elevator car. Inside is a swarm of what appears to be nanites. I pause in awe, watching them move like waves in slow motion. In perfect harmony. As if the swarm was connected by a single entity moving them in unison.
The commotion dies down and the alarm siren is cut, though the lights are still blinking. The scientists begin typing away at their keyboards and watching the activity in the glass room. The figures in the dark cloaks are probably guards. They watch the scientists and the nanites.
After a moment the swarming stops. All the scientists gather around the glass room. The nanites come close together and form a solid ball at the floor. More and more they get denser and denser until finally the nanites resemble the shape of a humanoid. The humanoid is made up of millions of nanites, but moves as if it were a single entity. It stands.
ďHey, your maskís not on properly!Ē I hear a voice from behind me. I turn around and see a cloaked guard walk towards me. I feel behind my head and notice my hair is caught outside my suit. I turn around to adjust and notice down below everyone is looking at me.
ďWho is that guy!Ē says one of the scientists. Two of the guards below make their way up the stairs. The one behind me tries to grab my arm. I dodge him and throw him over the rails. I throw my mask at the guards and run for it. I take off my suit as I run and prepare for any potential combat. Lucky for me I brought my swords.
Suddenly, a pair of guards get in front of me. I lunge at them with my swords. I get one, but the other moves away. I roll to avoid an oncoming attack. These guards donít use weapons like guns or lasers. In an experimental facility like this one, you would have to be insane to do that. Thatís fine with me, swordplay is my specialty.
We exchange a few blows, but I manage to disarm my opponent. Unfortunately, the two guards from before just got here. I look for a way out, but Iím trapped. I would try some of my infections, but with their suits on it would take too long.
One charges me with a broad blade sword as the other prepares a spear. My attacker wears a blue cloak and his mask is very high-tech. He has several lenses and mouth pieces. I wonder if it is a new invention or is this a rare alien breed that requires so many options on his mask.
My thoughts cost me. I narrowly miss a wide swing. I can tell this guy is strong. Itís time to try something new. As I spin to avoid the spearman, I modify my body to fortify my skin with a layer of reptilian scalesĖjust in case they scratch me. I also begin to release spores into the air. If I canít get them inside their suits, Iíll get them outside.
Suddenly a new guard joins us. This one is female by the looks of her long hair and slim figure. She wears a solid red mask with a crown and a long brown cloak. The blue one swings again. He is very energetic. And slow. I am able to dodge all his attacksĖbut whatís this! The spear again! Now I see. Theyíre not playing fair. Ok, time to cut these guys down to size. I thrust a blade at the blue one, who ducks. Taking that opportunity, I step on him and continue running down the hall.
My trick worked, but I donít think Iíll have time to get to the door before they get to me. I can tell one of them is behind me. I sneak a peek. Itís the girl. I send her a backhand swing sure to hit any amateur. But sheís no amateur. She saw it coming and stopped just in time. Darn, there goes my surprise attack. The spearman steps into position again and the blue guy starts swinging like thereís no tomorrow. This time I let him hit me.
Arrr, that guy IS strong. My scales absorb the blow, and luckily I was standing with a wide base or else I would be prey to the spearmanís skewer! He thrusts again and I focus on the staff, right where the red ribbon separates the wood from the metal. I slice it clean. The fool trips on his own momentum, probably didnít expect my previous action. I capitalize and cut off his head. As I turn around to make sure our girl doesnít get the one up on me I get chopped. This time, old bluey breaks his blade. My back is going to be sore for a few days after that. I turn to stab him, but the girl sticks her sword between us. I position my blades to move her sword out of the way as I crash into my original opponent. With the blue guy weaponless and stunned, itís down to me and her.
Her body language tells me she looks scared, almost afraid to do anything. I canít tell for sure with that mask. But I do notice more guards coming from within its reflection. I fake a swing and she raises her sword in defense. I follow up with a kick into her stomach. She falls to the ground, and I have my opening. After that I am home free.
The rest of the guards donít catch up in time and I make it out into the darkness. Unfortunately, I didnít get what I wanted and itís probably going to cost me, but what was that thing in the glass room? I look behind and no one is following me. Itís time to visit the medics.