Prologue: Of Clones and Stasis
AN: This fanfic actually started out as a random idea brought up by my friend shortly after Octo Expansion's release. He proposed the first story block and asked me to widely spin the story out of proportion. Unfortunately I took that a little too literally. Hence my revisition of this story to become an actual story. Only the first block and the cloning chamber scene were ripped out the old chapter, because I have no idea how to fix the cringe. I did ask him if he wanted to continue it but he just said, "It's your story now." So uh… enjoy?
Splatoon? Owned by me? Feh.
I trailed him down the stairs, and into a room that seemed like a cross between a space station, a nuclear bunker and a laboratory. Empty vials and electronics were strewn across tables, models of engineering feats stacked on a shelf, and on the far end, shelves upon shelves of scientific research material, along with one filled with sealed food. I walked over to the scientist as he sat down next to a rather large metal contraption, labelled 'JUDD'.
'Good-bye my purrfect little kitty cat. May your meows echo through the ages.' Engraved in the side of the capsule, those words seemed to be made to last thousands of years. I turned to the man in his stark white coat, already tapping away on his keyboard.
"So… what do I do?" I asked, glancing around the room for anything remotely human-sized, everything was either too big or too small. The man chuckled, seeing what I was doing, and pointed me to a helmet on my left.
"The helmet will allow me to read your brain and transfer the data into a time capsule," he explained, pointing at the cables leading from the helmet to his desk, "A live subject has the best chance of staying intact through the ages, but I'm lucky I even have a person willing to do this."
"I'm assuming that cat does not count," I joked, picking up the helmet.
The man barked out a laugh, "Oh, the cat can count, at least the first hundred numbers."
He turned to me, adjusting the straps beyond my reach. "I suggest you take some anaesthetic, you clearly don't want to wait ten hours," he said, as his eyes roamed across the data-laden screen. He eventually passed me a pill and a cup of water.
I took the pill, and immediately felt like my brother had knocked me into tomorrow. The edges of my vision started to fade, and I fought to keep my eyes open a few seconds longer.
"My name is Joanne, what's yours, kid?" the man asked, extending a hand.
"Carol. Carol Geier," I replied, shaking his hand, and let myself fall into the darkness of sleep.
AN: Fanfiction doesn't let you use the carrots :( So I substituted them with a colon.
CraigCuttlefish: agent 8 I have a mission for you
Webmaster: Agent 3 has joined the chatroom.
CraigCuttlefish: we need you to investigate an ancient thingamajig in the middle of the ocean
Agent 2: Gramps we talked about this,
Agent 2: we need time for 8 to adjust.
Agent 2: Wait… what do you mean, 'in the middle of the ocean'?
CraigCuttlefish: i hope you dont mind me pushing you into ruins investigation
CraigCuttlefish: agent 4s brother will be with you. hes the only person i could get my hands on that has his own mini zapfish
CraigCuttlefish: how about it
Agent 2: Hold on a moment.
Agent 2: Ignoring that 4 has a brother who has a zapfish, which is a security constraint on it's own,
Agent 2: how exactly is she going to make a trip across the ocean?
CraigCuttlefish: deepsea metro
Agent 2: What?
Agent 3: Let me take over, gramps
Agent 3: The deepsea metro has a lot more than the eight lines and eighty stations of test chambers that Eight went through
Agent 3: The facility Gramps wanted Eight to investigate is an abandoned station on those other lines.
Agent 2: So… you expect 8 to do… what exactly?
Agent 3: What Gramps said. Ruins investigation
Agent 3: More specifically, a relic of the fossils that suddenly showed signs of activity
Agent 3: We're hoping whatever is sending signals out there will be much clearer once Eight and Four's brother are there.
Agent 2: Shouldn't this… excursion... be held by actual ruin investigators?
CraigCuttlefish: we have clearance. 4s brother is certified
Agent 8: when is it
CraigCuttlefish: six in the morning
Agent 3: Come back safe, Eight.
Webmaster: Agent 3 has left the chatroom.
Agent 2: Wait, you can't just
Agent 2: Ugh.
Agent 2: Safe travels, Agent 8.
Eight did not want to be here. The sea had always made her sick, and she unfortunately did not have the luxury of diving into a kettle system to cross the ocean this time.
Why were they boarding the boat again? She was sure the captain had mentioned the deepsea metro had direct access to the ruins. She pulled out her phone and scrolled through the walls of text, searching for any mention of the unexpected ride on the Accursed Ocean Transportation Machine™.
The boy beside her noticed the puzzled look on her face, and grinned.
"The metro line that connected to the ruins collapsed, so Kamabo temporarily shut down that line," he explained, seeming smug. "Sis told me to find another way to make it there." Eight sighed at his response. What would have been a nice and calm half hour trip had just mutated into a three hour torture session.
"Let's get this over with," Eight murmured. And took a step onto the small boat.
Ten minutes later, her breakfast cheered in joy as it evacuated from her stomach.
The young kid was fairly talkative in her opinion. He went on about his profession, what his favourite weapon in Turf was(a bucket, for all the wrong reasons) and even going as far as to talk about the various ancient languages, which woke Eight was mildly intrigued by, did not understand the terminology he was insistent on using. He also seemed content with receiving one-word responses from her.
Though she could forgive him. Having to sail a boat for three hours straight with nothing but the scorching sun and the sound of waves with a very, very loud motor would drive her up a non-existent wall too.
Their conversation approached a lull of topics, and the silence seemed to stretch across time.
"Name's Jean. You?" he asked, offering a hand towards her, the other firmly held onto the steering wheel. She contemplated revealing her name to a relative of the agents, but eventually decided against it.
"Eight." She ignored his hand.
"Aw, that's just your agent name."
They stepped foot on a small, artificial island and from a distance, Eight could see why the captain had asked her to investigate. What little she could see of the ruins above ground was roiling in activity, lights flashing in the inside of the building.
Frankly, she still has no idea what she was doing here. Callie was still under therapy from her little fiasco, Marie was too busy being the manager of Inkopolis news, and Three would have been on this mission if the Captain hadn't been so intrigued over the extensive report of Kamabo Corps' shady history that Three had just casually passed over.
For some odd reason.
So the captain had seen something, and decided that she would have been a better candidate for this job than a young lady who had three years of combat experience on her.
The two slowly made their way deeper into the darkness, the ruins had been tunneled deep into the mountain. Jean's zapfish slowly lit up in a yellow buzz, helping illuminate their path onwards.
Her thoughts slowly went deeper into the rabbit hole she had dug herself. What did she have that Three did not, that could help on this lonesome journey into the dark recesses of the unholy mountain mouth?
A light next to a closed door flashed in fury. Jean attached his zapfish to a nearby power socket, waiting for the light to remain on instead of flicker as his zapfish did all the hard work. A screen flickered into existence and he stared at the foreighn script, before confidently jabbing his finger into a button.
The door creaked and shuddered, it was those automatic ones that the ancient races had used. Most of them she used to see in Kamabo Corps had been mostly electric, but this door seemed to open by a physical method instead. She could hear the derelict wheels groan against each other, and the door slowly opened.
By like, an inch. Then it stopped. More than enough space for the two of them to slip through.
Three had the combat edge over her, fast on her feet and able to respond to anything so fast she thought her head woke have snapped off from the speed. Not that they could, but the thought counts. Her first battle with Three had been extremely intense, and she had only managed to pull a victory by sheer, unadulterated luck.
Her only advantage against her was her physical strength. Sure, Three could lift a roller and use it if she had to, but she rarely used it as it would clash horribly with her speed, so she regularly used the dualies instead. Meanwhile, she herself could best Three in any strength competition, and could raise a roller high above her head if she put in the effort. She still mostly used the brush, for the same reason as Three
Callie still bested them both in sheer awesome, she managed to fling a roller six feet into the air before catching it and slamming the darn sack of tungsten into the floor without breaking a sweat. Just for intimidation, she had said.
Not a wise thing to do, her turf-war grade roller couldn't handle the abuse and the handle had snapped before the round had even started. Callie had simply shrugged and lifted the half of the handle that was still attached to the rolling bit.
The other team had forfeited out of terror.
Jean had flicked a couple of light switches around the place, so the large room slowly gained luminescence as power was slowly redirected into the room they were in.
There was a huge tank in the middle, filled with the same strange sludge she had seen during her tests in Kamabo Corps. Slightly off to either side were tables filled with various buttons and screens scrolling with illegible data. A small stack of ancient books laid untouched near one of the tables of buttons.
She had never heard a boy squee so high in her life, the books had promptly been whisked into his hands and the cheaty device on his face helped translate the ancient script into legible Inklish.
So she was probably just here for security detail, surely. Three had better things to do than waste her time walking around some ancient structure, and Four was simply too inexperienced.
Another high pitch squee made itself known, and Eight was meet with the shining brown eyes in her face.
Four's brother wore contacts, and by the look of it, it had a prescription.
"Look look look they managed to store an entire human brain in this thing how is that possible how have they done it can we try to resurrect them please Eight?!"
Her befuddled face might have not been obvious enough. She gave him a small nod. He squeed louder.
"Great i'll just take a sample of your blood thanks!"
Ow. He hath stabbed thy arm with sharp thangs. She wasn't there for her strength, just for her genetic fodder.
Jean stared at the octoling-shaped blob suspended in an almost transparent liquid. His eyes flashed past the growing amalgam of symbols recognisable only by the resemblance to an ancient, forgotten language. His only hope at understanding the language of the creatures before was unfortunately on the head of another person. Instead, he fiddled with the wires in the grid, making sure none of the wires overlapped and risked a feedback loop. Sure, his zapfish was here to handle the flow of electricity, but it could only do so much when the wires were in the wrong place.
His zapfish pulsed in reassurance, forcing his frayed nerves to settle. A warm smile enveloped his face, and he gave the small fish a thankful pat.
"You ready?" Jean called to the other side of the room, one hand on the lever to direct the facility's power into the machine. The blob remained suspended in the semi-transparent liquid, but he could almost swear the malformed blob had smiled at him, as if reassured it could finally begin its life.
Eight faced Jean, the barest of emotion visible behind the translation goggles. Her small nod was the only answer he needed. With a breath of anticipation, he flicked the lever on the circuit breaker.
Without warning, sparks of lightning coursed through the body, wave after wave crashing down on the vague body of ink. And he saw, slowly, clearer octoling features grow from the blob of inkly remains. He watched as the body developed, the purple ink surged and spiralled into recognisable parts of a body. Arms, feet, the likes.
The electric pulses slowed, and the machine whined as it came to a halt. Jean winced at the hiss of various gases as they left the machine, and the glass compartment screeched, giving way to the body that collided into it.
Eight knelt down next to the kid, who was female, an octoling, and incredibly small.
The young girl opened her eyes, and met the gentle face of Eight, one eye obscured by the green hologram of the translation device. Jean watched as they stared, and slowly, Eight spoke. Her Inklish abandoned in favour of her familiar Octarian language.
Welcome to the world, my little one.
Nevermind, the girl was asleep again.
Eight had no reason to claim this child as hers. Her mouth had rattled on in front of her thoughts, and now she was stuck questioning the sanity of her actions. For starters, her apartment had barely enough space to accommodate for her rapidly maturing body, let alone the… disheveled nature of her living quarters.
And she had chosen to adopt her. Out of pity or just sheer kindness, she did not know.
So lost in thought she was that she jumped at the polite cough at her back, had drawn her octoshot at the intruder that dared to scare her...
She placed the gun back in her holster. The cough had come from behind her, and she knew perfectly well who it was. She most definitely did not forget that there was someone behind her while she lost herself in those clear blue eyes.
"Yes?" she asked, forcing her hands to relax.
"I uh… wanted to know if you need any help? With the…" he made a vague motion towards the door, they had came from, bent and battered to the force she had exerted earlier. It had a small hole where they entered, but it was nowhere near enough for her to bring the small kid through the door.
Eight gently carried the girl in her arms, strangely light, almost as if she had nothing to eat for the past few days. The young archeologist pushed on the door as much as he could, and Eight carefully stepped into the hole in the former security door. Her feet ached, muscles cramped from the long hours of work, but she propped her body against the frame and shoved. Metal screeched and screamed, tight wails of agony reverberated through the room, before folding away from the hole at an agonisingly slow pace. Her muscles burned from the extra exertion, but she had handled worse. She could deal with it.
Taking one last glance at what might be the final wonders of Humanity, she carefully bent herself to cradle the child in her hands and slid past the wider hole in the door. The young boy grabbed his zapfish and joined her on the other side.
Neither noticed the primal sludge squeeze out of the cracks in the door
Being back on a motor-powered boat so soon after her last trip was not doing anything good for her body. Waves pulsed with unnatural balance, pushing her sense of balance to the limits as she felt the world shudder when she herself had not moved. Only years of being in the octarian military kept her from further vandalising the polluted ocean with the contents of her stomach.
Okay, she lied. There was nothing left in her stomach. Dry heaving was not fun.
That said, the little kid with her seemed to be doing alright. She watched the kid pass time peacefully on the makeshift bed in the boat, and it somehow brought a warm feeling into her chest. She let herself show a small smile, and turned to face out into the sea.
She may or may not have let out a small eep when she turned to face the assumed-to-be-sleeping child, only to see wide blue eyes staring back at her.