25 April 2017

Dead world. Part 2


Dead world. Part 1 

There is only darkness. The helmet flashlight hiccups and the light comes on and off. My reinforced armored suit survived the flight and the back barely hurts. But I won't be able to come back to the surface here. A huge plate has blocked the pit. And even the muscles reinforced with an armored suit won't cope. I have to go into the dark alone.

These look like old technical tunnels. Here and there on the walls you can still see braces for communication lines, but it is clear that everything is very old. The plastic is contorted because of the local poisonous atmosphere. All metal parts are rusted despite particularly resistant alloys. The flashlight beam picks out individual parts of the tunnel, not allowing to see the complete picture. Soon I had to find another route. The main tunnel collapsed and you couldn't walk through it. I had to use a pair of vertical wells and a particularly ancient-looking flooded gallery that looked like it was carved in the rock in the days of the Ark. There was no connection. And there couldn't be. I got right under the defence umbrella and was somewhere very close to the ‘Spot’. Suddenly the gallery ended with a rather modern vestibule. Automation was offline, but the manual controls, fortunately, were still there. The vestibule opened into a modern corridor, lined with light-colored plastic panels. I have seen such a finish before on some older Empire bases. The hallway was dimly lit and I could finally turn off the light that bored me with its monotonous blinking.

So far this base, and it certainly was a base, did not impress. The boring corridor led into the unknown, slightly rounded to the left. Suddenly the monotonous light gray wall was interrupted by a black hole. Behind the thick armored panel I could vaguely see a huge hangar, sparingly illuminated by emergency lights. I couldn't make out the details, but it was clear that the hangar was packed with vehicles. A huge frigate carcass was moodily hanging right by the window, contours clearly reminiscent of the legendary shuttle of the space exploration era.

Then the corridor abruptly ended in another collapse. Again I had to go down the narrow maintenance manholes, crawling in cramped tunnels and wading knee-deep in liquid methane. Finally, I found myself in a vast hall that looked like an old cave, adapted to the needs of the first settlers.

Low ceiling. Uneven walls melted with cutters. And along the walls — sarcophagi. Judging from the appearance and design — the ones from the Ark. I approached the closest one. Yellow and green lights on the panel. I opened the armored cover. There, inside, was a naked girl. She was beautiful. Her dark, almost black eyes were wide open and seemed to be staring right into my soul. I took a step back. Then I walked quickly to the next sarcophagus. And the next one. And the next... Each of them was in working condition. And she laid in every single one of them. Some bodies had their eyes closed. But each had a birthmark under the left breast. I do not know how many coffins were there. A lot. Part of the hall collapsed and counting the exact number was impossible.

The far end of the room revealed a ladder, roughly carved in the thick rock. The steps took me to the central corridors of the base. Circular halls intricately crossed and bent. There were a lot of doors. Including the one that I needed. Marked with a stylized diamond eye.

Undoubtedly, it was the central post. It looked exactly like the ones I'd been shown. A broad Horseshoe of the central console. A wall of screens, like a leap into space. The dusty console surface was covered in large clumsy letters ‘Hate’. The author of the inscription was right there. Reclined in the only seat. I dropped the mummified body on the floor and sat down myself. It was clear that here you could control the base's defensive mechanisms. I opened the comms and called Vanderhoeze.

- This is Leo. I found everything we were looking for. You can start the landing.


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