I now work… And I work in the Recession Proof industry of electricity generation and distribution. Hell yeah.
Disclaimer: Plot is mine, nothing else. Well, the OC's will be mine too. But those of you who don't like OC's please bare with me. The Metroid universe is sorely lacking in character material, and OC's are a great plot device. I will never, EVER use Super-OC's… for they disgust me. My OC's will be logical and likable, guaranteed! (I hope…)
Johnson kicked his legs off the side of the massive cliff, allowing them to swing back and thump back against it once they lost their momentum. Taking a long drag from his Sweet William he held his breath, allowing the smoke to circulate in his lungs, before expelling it off the plateau in a perfectly formed smoke ring.
After watching it float away for a few moments, Johnson turned to his companion, who's muddied, armored boots were resting against the cliff-side like his own. Taking out another cigar he handed it out to the Chief.
"Want one?" He asked.
Waving his hand in the negative, John continued to stare out at the sunset tinged vista.
"Your loss." Johnson said with a grunt.
Taking another drag, the Sergeant Major began to rattle on about things John only half listened too. He was a little distracted.
"Huh?" Johnson gave him a weird look.
"You're smoking." The Chief repeated.
"I thought that was obvious!" He exclaimed, waving the cigar back and forward in front of John's face.
"No." The non-smoker pointed at his friend's back.
Johnson twisted his head, raising his eyebrow at the wisps of cigar smoke that crawled over his shoulder blade.
"Hrmm." Reaching around with his hands he traced the large hole which adorned his lower left side. "Forgot about that."
"You forgot about a hole, ten centimeters in diameter, which severed your spinal cord and penetrated your left lung?"
"Hey!" Johnson stubbed out his cigarette on John's gold visor. "Zombie boys can't talk, son!"
The response was rather bitter. "And dead men can't smoke cigars."
John was woken by a staccato of rapid knocks. He initially ignored them, as his head was still swimming with the after effects of a migraine. However, a second series of bangs forced him to pull his head out of the pillows of his too-small bunk. Stumbling to the door he tapped it with one finger, causing a section to go translucent and revealing the outside corridor. Not recognizing the figure on the far side of the door, John resignedly opened it when it became apparent that person wasn't going to leave.
"Yes?" He asked in a clear voice, not allowing any indication of his previous tired state to be evident in front of a stranger. His eyes were still slightly squinted against the brightly lit corridor, however.
"Are you Sierra, Sir?" The young man standing in front of the Chief inquired.
Sleepy or not, the Chief was still quick on his feet, and he easily recognized his old code-name. "Yes. That's me."
"Ah, good." The man handed John a thin plastic card with four stripes of yellow on it. "Here is your Level 4 Keycard. It will give you access to all civilian decks, the hangar and the Bridge. When unescorted on the Bridge or in the Hangar bays make sure you wear this out in the open. If you are still halted by personnel at those locations show them this stripe." He turned the card over and pointed at the other side. "They should let you go after that. All civilian corridors and areas are marked in yellow," The man gave a quick gesture towards the wall behind him. "Engineering areas are marked in green and sensitive military areas are marked in red. If you are caught inside a military area without the proper clearance you are liable to be shot on sight. The Hangar is an engineering level and the bridge is unclassified, so you should be able to explain yourself to any soldiers you encounter before they shoot you as long as you remain within those areas."
He took a breath.
"If a combat situation occurs while you are alone, please put this card into one of the many wall terminals and give a retina scan. This will stop the automated defense system from designating you as an enemy. If you can't find a terminal, stand with your hands against the wall, as this too will stop the system from shooting you. Just don't move until someone finds you."
Another breath. "Did you get all that all that?"
John gave a slow nod.
The man visibly deflated. "Oh, good. I'd hate to go through it all again." He rubbed the back of his head and gave a sheepish grin. "Sorry about the long tutorial. You wouldn't believe how many visitors get lost on this ship, and then shot as a result."
There wasn't really much John could say to that.
"Anyway, to get to the bridge you need to get to the ship's tram system and take the bridge line. Don't try and walk, it'll take forty minutes. Just follow the signs to the station." He consulted his watch. "The Admiral will see you whenever you arrive."
John gave a silent nod.
The other man snapped his fingers. "Oh! Almost forgot. Welcome aboard the GMCU Ishimura." With that, he gave a crisp salute and marched off.
Closing the door, John gave a look at the card, still not one hundred percent sure what he was supposed to be doing.
'Getting to the bridge is the first objective in any case.' He decided, shrugging out of his slept-in clothes and into the tiny shower attached to his small room.
"So the gate wasn't hit?"
Samus heavily synthesized voice caused the Admiral to stop pacing. The grey bearded, white haired CO turned to face the red armored bounty hunter. "No. As far as we know, none of the shots managed to hit the gate, probably through some sort of miracle. We both know that if it really wanted too, Arcadi could pour firepower into that cloud bank until it hit it everything in there, once again it's decided to stay logical and do things it's own way." He turned around and speared Samus with a pointed finger. "But I'll let you know, if that gate had been destroyed I would have had you court-martialed so hard-"
"I'm not a member of the Corps anymore, Clarke." Samus rebutted from her seat on one of the bridge's command chairs.
Clarke just grunted and looked out the main display window, a view which only showed stars.
"Regardless, that's still Admiral Clarke to you! I haven't fought wars for eighty years in order to be disrespected by kids less than a quarter of my age!"
Samus just sat in silence.
"Maybe you should come back to the Corps?" Admiral Clarke said softly, giving his own command chair an affectionate pat. "Last time I checked you held the rank of Commodore, right? With your track record, give yourself five years and I could see you standing here on this bridge wearing my hat."
"You don't wear the hat, Clarke."
"Of course not. Too itchy... And I thought I told you to call me by my title!"
"Only if you call me by mine." The smugness in Samus' voice still made it through the voice distorter.
Clarke snorted. "Sure thing, Four Star Hunter Lance-Commandant S'Amus Aran."
Before the conversation could continue, the pair was interrupted by a junior officer who, after excusing himself, spoke in the Admirals ear.
"Ah. Thank you, Lieutenant." Clarke said.
The Lieutenant snapped to attention before marching back off the command deck.
Turning back to his companion, Clarke repeated what he'd just been told.
"It appears that your 'friend' is on his way. Boarded the tram ten minutes ago, and should be here shortly." Clarke stroked his finely bristled chin. "Yes, interesting specimen, that one. Rather heavily modified, too. I thought you'd dug yourself up a somewhat coherent 4th, but of course you'd never have anything to do with those filthy, inbred mongrels." Despite the harshness of his words there was no malice in his tone; it was almost like he was simply describing the attributes of a particularly bothersome co-worker. "However, I am curious about why you insisted the medics not take a DNA test. It's standard procedure for any civilians treated in any military facility, and yet you signed a wavier for him."
Clarke smacked the arm of his chair with the flat of his hand. "And in the eight years I've known you, you've never done a favour like this for anyone! What's so special about this guy?"
Samus said nothing for several seconds. Then; "He's got his secrets. And by proxy his secrets are mine. For now, they'll remain that way."
Clarke scratched his moustache and let out a huff. "He'd better not be a danger. To me or my crew."
"He's not, Isaac. I assure you. Though he is-"
The door slid open once again, revealing the Lieutenant from earlier. Standing just behind his shoulder, dressed in what was identifiable as a grey naval uniform, was John. At a motion from the other man John entered the room.
John's eyes roved over Samus' crimson form. Taking the hint he nodded his head in greeting and said nothing else. Turning his gaze to the other occupant in the room he almost snapped to attention. The man sitting across from Samus literally oozed military precision. Whilst seemingly in the beginnings of old age, the wispy white hair and wrinkled skin was offset by his powerful physique and broad shoulders. The deep blue uniform he wore signified a higher rank, almost certainly indicating his admiralship. Most noticeable however, was the piece of metal that was apparently bolted over his right eye socket.
"I see you got here alright." The Admiral gave John a quick once-over with his visible eye.
"Ah!" The corner of the Admiral's eye crinkled as he grinned. "At least someone here can show proper respect. At ease, son."
John relaxed, impulsively observing the order of command.
"Take a seat." Clarke gestured at one of the seats, and waited for John to sit before continuing. "Now, what do I call you?"
John flicked his eyes to Samus.
Noticing and taking the hint, Samus muttered her instructions.
"I go by Sierra, Sir."
Clarke looked at him over the top of his steepled fingers. "That's not your real name of course." It wasn't really a question.
Once again, John's eyes flicked to Samus. There had been a certain tightness in her words, a veiled warning of some kind.
"Yes! Yes. I know, I know. I won't pry into Guild business. Not my business." He then stabbed a finger at Samus. "But what is my business is how long you disappeared for. I was stupid enough to let some people know that I was the last person to see you before you disappeared for half a year. And then the inquiries started coming in, along with the threats and love letters. And I'm the one who had to deal with it. What where you doing? And don't say Guild business! I may be old, but I ain't senile!"
Though her helmet shielded her face from view, John could tell Samus had a bored expression on from her general demeanor.
"It's his fault." Came the candid reply. It took the addition occupant o0f the room a second to realize that she was taking about him.
Clarke snorted. "As if anyone would be able to stop you from doing anything, ever."
"Fine." Samus ground out. "I was trying to make a little extra cash. Things got a little complicated."
"Don't believe that either. You have a bank balance large enough to live an extremely excessive lifestyle several times over."
Samus seemed to pause.
"You do still have a ridiculous bank balance, right?"
"…Where did it go, Samus?" Now it was the Admiral's turn to be agitated.
The silence stretched out for a while. Finally; "She's a tough target to track."
'She?' John knew of Samus' 'significant other.' Just mentioning the alien clone was enough to set her on edge. He also knew that Samus had dedicated all of her time and decimated her hard earned fortune hunting down the enigmatic individual. Apparently she had turned to mining when she grew bored of the chase; not that mining was really any more interesting.
Clarke's face reddened, veins bulging along his throat. Yet despite the evidence of an incoming eruption Clarke managed to get himself under control.
"What you do with your money is your own business." He said finally, rounding off his statement with a defeated huff. "Besides," He tapped the surface of the large desk he was sitting at. "That scan you got into so much trouble to acquire has just been through the latest analysis."
A concealed projector whirred to life, projecting the image of a female humanoid AI.
"Nicole here has been conversing with your shipboard AI." Nicole gave a short bow. "She has the files collected from the probes. And the results were quite unusual."
Nicole's hologram morphed into a series of graphs, maps, wave-from patterns and other miscellaneous information displays.
"Unless you have more experience with the theory's of space anomalies than I, you won't have any idea what these represent. And I have no idea what this shows." Clarke pointed at a large spike of information. "I got a few teams of this ship's theoretical physicists to investigate this anomaly, and at the moment none of them have any idea what it is."
It only took Clarke a few moments to analyze the reactions of the other two occupants of the room. They were both rather easy to read. Samus' unusual stillness and ever-so-slightly stiffened posture, and her companion's furrowed brow and tightened jaw were the warning signs of suppressed knowledge.
"Spill it." Clarke knew that he was pushing things, bounty hunters were notoriously tightlipped, more so than they had any right to be in his opinion.
Finally, Samus spoke.
"I know what that is."
"And?" He gestured impatiently for her to continue.
She turned to her companion and muttered something unintelligible, and he muttered something equally unintelligible back. It took Clarke a few seconds to realize that they were talking in a language that he didn't recognize, and it wasn't just poor hearing on his part.
'Sierra' cleared his throat, bringing Clarke's attention to the man.
"I've had a lot of experience with these things over the years, Sir."
"Get to the point, man! What is it?" The veins which had recently disappeared returned with full force.
He seemed to deliberate with himself a bit more. "It's a Slipspace Rupture, sir."
"A what?" A seasoned veteran of many wars, Clarke's obvious distaste at being in the dark was showing through.
"It's the result of a piece of technology that doesn't exist anymore." Samus supplied, turning her head towards the other towards John. "Or so I'd been led to believe."
It spent most of Its time thinking, and had been able to think for decades at a time before something of sufficient notice broke Its concentration. But now, now it acted. For the first time in Its existence it began to move.
And all because of external input.
It HATED external input, but that life-form had said things. Interesting things. Things which wouldn't have occurred to It, even if It hadhada million years to think to Itself.
Now the thoughts that had been thought no longer remained as thoughts. Now they were action. Actions of great magnitude. Galaxy changing actions.
And all because of that strange life-form that spoke in rhymes.
The reason why this is late? Gaming. Here is a list of games I have played (And finished) since last chapter.
Dead Space (Obviously)
Farcry 2 (Barely a decent game)
X3 – Reunion (Fucking Huge)
Fracture (One of the shittiest games I've ever played)
Fallout 3 (Awesome)
Overlord (Clever, but could have been more)
Fallout Tactics (Fun but clumsy)
Mirror's Edge (Haven't had this much fun since Portal, and the theme song is so good it makes me cry)
Nexus – The Jupiter Incident (Great space combat)
Gears of War 2 (Everything it should have been)
Evil Genius (Is absolute Genius)
Earth 2160 (Okay, but full of awesome ideas)
That might feed my addiction… for a few weeks. Now to get Halo Wars!
Well. I got Dawn of War II, but I don't want to rate it. Why? It's only slightly above average in a sad sense. It's closer to the table top, which is a plus. But is far, far from epic like the first game and expansions. One heavy bolter in a squad of marines does NOT a Devastator squad make. Hell, that's not even a normal marine squad… Four marines is NOT a squad! (Well, I guess five is alright… SHUT UP!)
Bad THQ! Bad!
…Maybe I did rate it… Well, despite it's short comings, it FELT like 40k.
But; you know what we need? 40k: Total War (Drools)
Did you know that the average life expectancy of front-line Imperial Guardsmen is 15 hours? How many men would you need to fight a war with that kind of ratio? A lot.
And why is this turning into a blog?
On a story note… why do all my military guys refer to Chief as Son? Johnson, Clarke and the Commander of the base he got frozen in. All call him that. And by this stage he's older than all of them.