Seattle Mission 11: An Apple a Day – Part 2

Written by: Bear           Played on: 11 Mar 2012
PREVIOUS: Mission 11 – An Apple a Day – Part 1
NEXT: Side Mission 05 – Bug City

I instantly recognized the beast that destroyed my life. Next thing I remember I had him knocked-down, pinned against a wall with a blade to his neck. “Do you remember me?” I asked him all he could do was nod weakly. “Do you remember what you did to me?” Only a nod. “Remember what you did to my tribe?” Again, nothing but a shakey nod, tears filling his eyes. “Why do you deserve to live?” All he could say was “I’m sorry.”

“So why’d you do it?”

Again he responds, “I’m sorry.”

“What was the purpose of the Marahal Project?”

He then explained that they were designing super soldiers. He didn’t know who for, military maybe, only referred to whoever wanted us as “they”. Warwick also didn’t know anything about the wizard or our tattoos. Every answer he gave was followed by, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.” He explained that after I was deemed a failure and he dumped me, a Dr. Phillips took over. He gave us whatever data he had on the project.

Wheeler gathers what data he can from the doctors computer. Looking into the crying eyes of the monster that destroyed my life, I asked him if he had a reason to live. Again, he doesn’t hesitate to tells us the truth and feebly shakes his head. Then cupping the beast’s head in my left hand, I drive his creation on my right arm piercing his heart which I feel stop beating and his heat signature, which loomed over my nightmares for so many years, finally began to fade away. As his heart beat one last time he uttered two more words. “I’m…sorry…”

Marius must have been having a similar but opposite conversation with Dr. Strughold, because as we head back to the lab Dr. Strughold is walking to the elevators. As I called to the doctor, to ask him about the purpose of the Marahal Project, I was interrupted by Marius who fired two stun rounds at Dr. Strughold. Marius looked terrified and stared at Wheeler. Just then all hell broke loose.

In a final act of desperation the doctor must have pressed a release because all off the subjects were released, which posed as a gauntlet of death to get to the elevator. The sound of the screams, which were the first memories I have, awoke a beast inside me. Once again, I was a beast in a metal cage dumped with all the other failures. On this planet for one of two reasons: to die or to kill.

The subjects in the tubes the party had passed on the way in were simultaneously released and their controls, newly created electronic controls pioneered by Dr. Strughold since the party had been there, were released. They were beasts without focus by brimming with violence. Many had been heavily augmented with cyberware upgrades. Fortunately for the party, though they outnumbered the team the subjects were neither coordinated or well armored and had only melee weapons installed.

I refused to die here three times, there’s no reason any of us were going to die there tonight! Oh great spirit a pray to thee for giving me power there this night! Not only to bring defeat to my enemies, and strength in my soul but also the protection of my friends, my new family.

What I remember is only in fragments of clarity I had during my rage. As the screams broke out down the hall, they grew louder by one as I rushed to make my way through the un-finished and maddened “creatures”. I remember many of the team running past, focusing on getting to the elevator. Somewhere Chekov’s Flame Spirit awakens and joins the fight. As my blades cut, my team’s bullets sear and silence the wild creatures.

As I faced the beasts of my past, my present allies tried to pull me out of the fray but my resolve to stop the screaming was too strong. The flames, bullets and screams raged on. I heard a voice calling my name through a bright light between one of the creatures which snapped me back to sanity. But as I blinked, all around me was chaos and it was growing. Blood, screams, the clashing of flesh and cybernetics, fire, death. A pounding crucible of meat and metal, steel and skin where fear met against fury and suffering pitted against survival. It was Wheeler calling to me, telling me to get to the elevator.

Then began the fight to escape, with Jade and Marius already in they held their ground. Then came the troll, wild and half metal. Cho was nimble and fearless as she battled the great beast. The battle raged on, Chekov and I helped get the unconscious Dr Strughold into the elevator even though the dead troll lay half in the door way. As I turned, Wheeler was being swarmed. Seeing him nearing death, I could do nothing less then explode with rage. Aided by the fire spirit we manged to get Wheeler free and the rest of the team into the elevator. I kill a creature that followed us into the elevator as Jade presses the top floor button and Cho  leaves a parting gift, two grenades, just as the doors close. Quickly, Chekhov and I heal what wounds we can. Not knowing what we would find when the doors open.

Luckily for us, the staff at the Mercury express depot we came out of wasn’t alerted. Stained with blood and exhausted we make a sprint for the nearest truck, giving Pilot our location (he sounded worried and was close). Only a few minutes later, we all felt a similar, unforgettable pull as Dr. Strughold’s old feeble heart stops beating. Apparently we’re all lucky that Wheeler didn’t explode, or something, I don’t quite remember. Either way, the Nyx Genetics symbol burned away, leaving only four remaining tattoos. Before dumping the doctor and van we copy all the data we gathered, I make sure to add the doctors control rod to my collection.

We get picked-up by Pilot, looking worse for wear. Once home, we secure Walter Tytus’s research in the packages he provided and send them off.

It’s hard to imagine that today would be the day I killed the man I had been hunting for so long and see another die. I should feel relief, happiness, something. But instead, I just have more unanswered questions. Like what made Marius shoot Dr. Strughold, especially if there was a risk that doing so might blow us all up? I’m gonna have to get that story out of him.

Maybe tomorrow… Surviving the events of tonight was enough, but reliving them has got me exhausted. Well, we all have a few more scars, those that didn’t fully heal magically, and I’m sure we all will have plenty to talk about at breakfast tomorrow… Ok, none of us are getting up until at least late lunch.

>Sleep well Bear With Mountain Wings, you will have time to make peace with what has happened this day. But remember, the fight of your friends is yours as well, your fights are theirs as well. Be true to your allies, focus not on the past, but instead to what lies ahead. Tomorrow the sun will rise, as it always does. For now sleep, keep moving forward and your path will become clear.<

Bear’s version of the log ended above. Marius came in after the fact and added this epilogue, clarifying a few facts and his conversation with Dr. Strughold that he wanted recorded.

“Marius, What the fuck dude. You gotta tell us what you were thinkng?” This was Wheeler asking the question. We all sat around the dining area. Surprisingly, it was only around 11am, but we were all up. We had been up for about an hour in fact. I had just finished relaying the events of last night to Pilot and Detrius, the only thing we had not heard was what happened to Marius and the Dr.

“Allright, let me explain” he pauses “So you guys left the room. The good Dr. only got more eccentric. He starts telling me all kinds of crazy shit. Mostly he is just super excited to show me all the cool toys he has laying around. I managed to put some stuff into the bags, more on that later. Anyway, he explains that the Marhara…”

“Marahal,” I interrupt.

“Whatever, Marahal.” The Elf continues, “Was a super soldier project.”

“We were all there for that part Marius, get to the point.” This was Chekov this time.

“Right, ok, well what you were not there for was this… My parents used to work on another super soldier project with Dr.Strughold. Both of my parents worked with this guy.” Marius takes a long look at Dee, almost saying ‘I am sorry’ with his eyes. “And it turns out, I am not your brother; well not genetically. I am the product of this other super soldier program. It was scrapped because they did not want to grow subjects from infancy, they wanted something faster and more mass marketable. When they scrapped the project, my parents took me home and raised me as there own. It may even be what got them killed.”

“Wow, that is quite the bomb” Dee said, he seemed calm and unaffected by the news that the brother he has known all is life is not actually related to him. “Marius, I want you to know that this changes nothing as far as I am concerned. You and I grew up together, played together, fought together… Hell, after Mom and Dad died, for whatever reason, it was just the two of us taking care of each other. You saved my life a few years ago and if it was not for you I think I would have died a few times since. We are brothers.” Dee had tears welling up now, quite an unusual sight for the socially awkward hacker.

Up until now, Marius and Detrius had always seemed more like roommates than siblings. It was just the way they interacted. I think it probably had something to do with both of them having to grow up so fast without parents and all. In this moment, as they embrace, for the first time I see the way they feel about each other. I am filled with sadness thinking of the family I have just recently avenged.

Marius sits back down, taking a moment to compose himself. “The doctor also said that this project tinkered with the genetic code of the subjects, they heightened certain traits, switched on certain markers. For example, all the test subjects would have been ambidextrous and all the subjects would have been…” Marius pauses “Predisposed to killing with ease… sort of explains a few things.” Marius gets a distant look. “Well, I think that about catches you guys up. I have to hit the restroom” The elf hops out of his chair and begins to walk out of the room.

While Marius’ player was certainly not aware of this plot twist, it was developed in response to his repeated observations regarding Marius’ violent tendencies and remorse. It was not intended to justify his behavior, so much as bring it to his attention more pointedly as a pre-disposition he can, if he chooses, try to overcome.

“Hold on,” Cho says “Why did you stun the doctor?”

“Oh that,” Marius says flippantly, as he stops moving. “He was going to go get a security team to restrain us for more implants.” he turns to leave again.

“But what about your predisposition to killing, you had your rifle in hand, but you drew your pistol and used stun rounds. Why?” Wheeler inquired.

“If I killed him, the deadman switch in his comlink would have set off your cranial bomb.” The elf replied, closing the bathroom door behind him.

All of us just stared at Wheeler, who looked just as shocked as the rest of us “Your what?”

During the exchange in the lab, Dr. Strughold informed Marius that Wheeler had been implanted with a cranial bomb. He also warned against Bear’s use of the Petrify spell, asking Marius what the, “Resting heart rate of a stone statue was.” Ultimately it was a lie, another ruse on the Dr’s part, who was well aware of their abilities and tactics, to discourage them from killing him or kidnapping him. He did not specify what would happen if he was stunned into unconsciousness, a decision Marius had to wrestle with.

“Marius don’t be such a dick!”

To which Marius replied after an audible grunt “Don’t worry.” *flush* “He was bluffing. The old man was just as full of shit as I was.”

PREVIOUS: Mission 11 – An Apple a Day – Part 1
NEXT: Side Mission 05 – Bug City

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