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Post by nehima » Mon Aug 29, 2005 12:01 pm

WARNING: This story contains explicit language and content. Read at your own risk.

OOC: This is a story I started last night that had been bouncing around my head for a while. I'm posting it here because I feel like it and Caro (RileyKenobi) rather liked it. It is not the best writing (it's rather first-drafty) and I don't care for now.

Two of the characters (Reaper and Sarge) are inspired by those in Doom (or at least the movie, you don't really know the chars in the game that well) but the story is my own, even if it is Doom-like. So there :P

IC:Lines spread across the monitor, mapping out the USO Biochemical Research Facility on Phobos, as the ship’s artificial intelligence recited the orders.

Erratic transmissions were received from USO Facility 160779 at 0543 hours. These transmissions reported a containment problem and possible rogues before ceasing altogether at 0613 hours. You are to investigate these reports and perform containment and rescue operations if necessary.”

“Orders understood,” Sarge affirmed. The AI’s inhuman- but feminine- tones stopped, but it left the diagrams and orders on the screen. Sarge traced the hallways with his fingers, forcing his mind to remember every twist and turn and he forced it to forget whose facility it was. They’ll be fine. She’ll be fine, he thought, trying to ignore the disquiet in his mind.

He shrugged his tan shoulders into a shirt as he palmed open the door to the main hall. The crew would have the orders, and he could already feel Orient turning the ship toward Phobos. It was a fairly short journey- they were still in the same solar system, after all- and he could already hear the pounding of boots on the upper levels as the crew raced to suit up.

The door to what the guys affectionately called “the tack room” was open. Uniforms clicked, and the AI’s voice filled the room, chorusing the men’s IDs as they grabbed their weapons. Sarge grabbed his gear and strapped it on, ignoring the AI’s various exclamations.

“Phobos in three minutes.” Orient’s voice echoed over the intercom.

All through the tack room, the crew slipped on their helmets, slipping the filters in over their noses and mouths. Experience had taught every one of the small crew that problems in biochem facilities were best treated with caution.

“Two minutes.”

“Enter and disperse,” Sarge ordered. “Lupe, Ruin, Flier: check the habitation area from the front. Ghost, take Veritas and Bale and go around the back. Reaper, take Aero, Nin, and Wiseguy and secure all the halls and the storage sector. Tors, Nate, Wrecker, you’re with me in the labs.” The crew nodded curtly as the ship began to descend.


Reaper took a sidelong glance at Sarge as Wrecker hacked into the facility security system to open the doors. They’d made many trips to 160779: among other things, it allowed a relatively landside stop for the crew. The original stops had been more for training with the weaponry that had been developed: assorted biological and chemical weapons, mostly for use against the more violent alien life forms. One of their trainers, a long time back, had caught the eye of many of the crew. Kasy Payton was both an expert in biochemistry and genetics and very pretty, with very dark brown hair and green eyes so dark Reaper had thought they were black. She’d dealt with everyone in a professional manner, though a few occasions had shown that she had a cynical, dark sense of humor and was not one to suffer fools.

Sarge and Reaper had watched as Kasy turned down every suitor. They laughed with the crew over broken hearts, but experience had taught both of them to stay out of it. Reaper had never talked to Kasy much, Sarge had developed a friendship with her. After a year or so, that slowly developed into something more. The crew was largely oblivious, though there were a few veterans- led by Reaper himself- that knew. It had died away after a few months and assignments drew them away to other areas.

Now Reaper was the only one left to remember, besides Sarge himself. He knew Sarge would still carry out orders, but he decided to watch- just in case something happened. They saw brutal things, but rarely anything this close to home.

The door hissed, and Reaper joined the others as they climbed into the airlock. Once inside, a button push was enough to switch the doors and let them into the complex. Still air and an ominous silence awaited them inside. Reaper shook his head slightly. This is not good. At least noise means life. Or maybe they all just needed a little quiet time, he thought darkly. Sarge took his group off towards the labs as the others split. Reaper motioned Aero and Wiseguy to check a hall off to their right as he and Nin headed down one to the left.

“God Almighty.” Reaper heard Tors’ quiet remark in his earpiece before Sarge’s stony explanation. “Body. Pieces scattered, sliced and diced. Marks on the skin. Looks like we’ve got a disease and a murderer.”

“Or multiple,” remarked Nin softly as he stepped over the bodies of two scientists.

Reaper looked at the bodies at his feet. “I’m not so sure,” he said quietly. The two were dead, but not from external injury. They had assortments of cuts and bruises, but nothing fatal. Their position, too, was wrong for violent death: one lay as if resting, the other looked as if she had slid down the wall. “Not violence for these two.”

“Three more,” whispered Aero into his mic. “Gruesome injuries, but nothing that should be fatal.”

“Keep going,” said Sarge. “Tell the AI if you find any more corpses. It’ll keep tally. Try to find any survivors,” he finished, dearly hoping someone had survived this. The building was relatively undamaged, but there were still no signs of life.

The labs looked normal, except for the bodies inside. Most were undisturbed, with computers still recording results on undamaged experiments and AIs reporting. A few, though, caught his eye. The glass walls of one lab had been broken from the inside, and the lab itself was in total disarray. Labs around it were also chaotic, but none so much as this one. Here they found violent death all around. One man had died as he was scalping another, and Sarge heard Nate gulp back bile as he saw.


Hallways were fairly clear, except for the occasional bodies. Some of them were gory, but as soon as Reaper and Nin found a violent death, they often found the murderer nearby. Reaper was falling into a malaise, wishing for something other than death. Or something to shoot, something he could fix. For now, he and Nin could only listen and contribute to the swiftly rising body count.

Nin was reporting in a few more corpses as Reaper saw something on his helmet’s infrared viewscreen. It was far off, but it was a heat signature other than the central heating. “Think I’ve got something,” he muttered into his mic, motioning for Nin to follow him. They followed the signature down a few twisting halls to a door not far from the labs. As they closed in, Reaper was assured of his initial judgment: someone was alive in there.

Brushing his hand across the door lock, he found that it had been disabled. Searching the doorframe, he found dents where it looked as if it had been beaten in with a blunt weapon and considerable force. Nin was crouched, his ear against the door.

“Someone’s breathing in there. They know we’re here- trying to be quiet. Sound scared.”

“Of us? Whoever’d be scared of us?” said Reaper, a wolfish grin spreading across his face. They’re the only living thing on this level. Probably killed everyone else. Bastard, he thought darkly as he aimed a hard kick at the weakened section of doorframe. It crumpled, and Nin pulled the door back from the hole as Reaper readied his gun.

"Something's up here," called Tors. "Looks like someone might've survived."

“My God,” whispered Reaper. Behind the doorframe crouched Kasy, rocking back and forth. Her eyes were wide with fear and puffy from crying, and she had bruises on her arms and cheekbone. As he looked down, he saw that one of her legs was angled oddly- probably broken.

“What do you have?” asked Sarge, who’d moved to the upper levels to check what Tors had found.

“Kasy,” said Reaper, ignoring Sarge. He heard Sarge’s breath catch as he continued, “C’mon, Kasy.”

Kasy only rocked harder, and Nin reached down to her. As soon as his glove touched her, Kasy jerked away. Her mouth opened as if to scream, but the barest of noises came out. Nin heard her, though, and came away with a horrified look on his face.

“What did she say?” asked Reaper urgently.

Nin looked as though he didn’t want to reply, but after a pause he said slowly, “She said, ‘Killed them. I killed them all.’”

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Post by nehima » Tue Aug 30, 2005 7:48 pm

The ship had a medical bay that the crew swiftly converted into a quarantine before putting Kasy and the other three survivors Sarge’s crew had found in clean rooms inside. They’d had to sedate all of them to bring them inside: two of the scientists reacted violently when found, a third had tried to run away, and Kasy went into convulsions whenever someone touched her.

Sarge ordered that medical treatment be given for any wounds sustained, and that no one was to enter quarantine without a suit. He set the AI to testing for any diseases as he separated the survivors. If whatever had killed almost everyone in the facility was contagious, he didn’t want to take chances with his men.

He sat back in his chair and looked in the window of the quarantine. Kasy lay there, sleeping for now. When Reaper had carried her in, it had nearly given Sarge a heart attack. He trusted Reaper, knew that if his friend reported her alive, she’d be fine, but seeing her lying limp in Reaper’s arms… that was horrible. She had been covered in bruises and a few small cuts, and her left leg had been fractured in three places by something. Now she was unconscious, hooked up to an IV drip as a robot arm reset the bones in her leg.

“She said she killed them all,” said Reaper quietly. Sarge hadn’t even heard him enter.

“I know.”

“I checked the violent deaths. She didn’t murder anyone.”

“I know.”

“But she’s no liar.”

Now Sarge just nodded. Reaper knew him too well. Knew that he knew all these things about Kasy, knew that he needed to hear them again for his mind to process her innocence. Knew that though he didn’t love her anymore, seeing his friend lying there was horrible.

He felt the tiny prick as the needle passed under his skin and the narcotic entered his system.

Knew that I wouldn’t sleep otherwise.


Sarge woke a few hours later, in the room he shared with Reaper. He shook off the last of the narcotic and checked the AI. It had found no signs of infection in any of the quarantined, but was still monitoring them.

If any change in status occurs, I will notify you,” it said simply. More annoying than a human doctor, that, he thought. Can’t even sympathize.

“Where’s Reaper?”

Reaper is exploring the facility with Aero, Tors, Nin and Wrecker. He said to tell you that they are insuring that whatever occurred in the facility was contained to it, and that he is tempted to report you for your sloth.

Of course, thought Sarge. Reaper had a dark sense of humor, but he was one of the most loyal men Sarge had ever met. And he was a damn good soldier- excellent shot, first-rate tactician, great leader. He just bothered some people with his humor, his honesty, and his attitude.

“Connect him to me if he finds anything,” he told the AI as he headed for the quarantine.

They’re all still asleep. I told you, I’ll inform you if there’s a status change,” said the AI, and Sarge almost caught a note of mocking in its voice.

“Ha ha. We humans don’t just do things because there’s a change.”

Or any other reason. I’m doomed to forever work with lower beings…” it said, mockery and sadness both present in its voice before it faded away.

“Great. Now my AI needs a shrink. Or would you prefer antidepressants?”

A chance to talk to another AI other than that excruciatingly slow military mainframe would be nice.

“So now you want a play date?”

I wouldn’t use those terms.

“Of course you wouldn’t.”

but yes.”

“Well, you can start with the AIs in the facility. See what they know about what happened.”

I’m so happy.”

“You can’t feel emotion. How in the hell can I make you happy?”

One wonders how you make anyone happy,” replied the AI before its voice disappeared altogether. Sarge knew it could easily speak with him and be uplinked to the other AIs at the same time, but he had no particular desire to see where the conversation would have gone anyway.

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Post by nehima » Sun Sep 11, 2005 7:05 pm

Kasy’s dark hair swirled around her head as she lay prone on her cot. Her face was calm, her eyes closed, and she was breathing steadily through slightly parted lips. She was dressed in a plain hospital gown and her clothes from the laboratory were gone; the AI had tested them before disposing of them. Her broken left leg was elevated and appeared to be healing decently, though she’d probably need crutches for a short while. An IV drip was in her arm, though the readouts on the wall beside it indicated that it had stopped dispensing sedative some time ago.

As he went to check on the other lab employees, he was surprised to see Reaper looking in at two of them.

“Hey, bum,” said Reaper in greeting.

“Thought you were exploring the facility.”

“I was. Someone set off a bio-bomb in there, but I’m not sure yet what it was programmed to, since it didn’t kill everyone. Nor am I sure what else happened in there- it still looks like a crazed murderer went on a rampage.”

“Maybe they did.”

“They do a psychological and genetic profile- none of the employees were crazy, at least not murderously so, and none of them had the markers for it,” replied Reaper, his brow creasing.

Sarge. Report to quarantine three immediately,” the AI said. Quarantine three was Kasy.

“Shit,” he whispered. Reaper followed him to Kasy’s quarantine, where they found her tossing and turning, her bad leg coming out of its brace. Her face was furrowed, her mouth in a silent scream.

Sedative administered. Neural activity returning to normal,” reported the AI.

“What the fuck is going on?” asked Reaper. He was staring at Kasy as she finally ceased struggling and fell back onto her cot. The AI picked up her leg once more, an x-ray eye coming out to examine it.

“Nightmares. She’s having nightmares,” said Sarge quietly.

Left tibia has been re-broken. Resetting bones,” the AI said as its arm began the work.

“We need to know what the hell went on in there,” said Reaper.

“We should probably question the others first, our own knowledge of them won’t be coloring our perceptions.”

“Our time in that facility will color our perceptions anyway. But I agree,” said Reaper quietly.

Quarantines one, two, and four are conscious,” reported the AI. Sarge made a start, but Reaper put his hand on one of Sarge’s shoulders.

“We can watch them, but don’t question them yet. Give them a little time to recover.”

“You ordering me around?”

“Nah. Just telling you what you were thinking anyway,” said Reaper, knowing it was true.

As the returned to the window before quarantines one and two, where Sarge had found Reaper, they found the two men awake. However, their responses to consciousness were drastically different. One had grabbed his IV and was exploring the quarantine room he was in, while the other simply lay in his bed, staring at the ceiling, muttering. Sarge touched the wall softly, and the sound came through the speakers.

“…aegroti suprema lex. Salus aegroti suprema lex. Primum non nocere…”

“Hippocratic Oath. Ancient version. He’s a doctor,” said Sarge softly.

“Didn’t know you knew that one,” said Reaper thoughtfully.

“John debated it all the time with Kasy. Drove me nuts. And Sarai and Lacey quote it,” he said. Reaper chastised himself, he should’ve at least thought about Sarai; Sarge’s younger sister was an accomplished surgeon. Lacey, his girlfriend, was a nurse, and John was one of their mutual friends and a doctor.

They watched the men for some time before the AI blared in their earpieces. “Quarantine four. Now.

They raced to the quarantine and found the last employee lying on her cot. She could’ve been sleeping, if not for the lack of breath. A syringe still in her IV hub showed exactly what she’d done.

Time of death: 2308 hours. Cardiac arrest induced by self-administered intravenous potassium chloride.

“Shit!” said Sarge. “I should’ve known they’d try this. AI, lock all medicine cabinets and check the status of the other quarantines.”

Reaper was silent, looking in the window at the face of the girl and wondering. He knew what he’d seen in the facility, and now, more than ever, he wondered what had really happened that had made her turn to suicide. What did she see?

Quarantine one is declining rapidly,” said the AI, and Sarge and Reaper raced back over. “Quarantine two: no vitals,” it continued ominously.

“Keep quarantine one alive,” ordered Sarge. Something horrible had happened in that place, but he still couldn’t have all the survivors dying. It defied all logic, though. It was like some cloud of depression had settled over the facility’s inhabitants. “Why didn’t you stop them? What’d they use?”

They reached the medical cabinet before it was locked. One injected secobarbital, the other ingested acetylsalicylic acid. Neutralization of acetylsalicylic acid in progress.

The view through the left window displayed the man’s body alongside the very vial and syringe he’d used. A quick look to the right showed the AI injecting a cocktail of drugs to neutralize the acid, which, rather ironically, included the very same thing the woman had used to kill herself.

“‘While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die,’” quoted Reaper softly. “He repeated it over and over before he died.”

“The Hippocratic Oath to… who is that, anyway?” asked Sarge grumpily.

“Leonardo DaVinci. Early European scientist and artist. Brilliant man,” commented Reaper. “Guess he never shut up before he died.”

“You are callous as hell,” said Sarge darkly.

“Hypocrite. You asked, anyway,” retorted Reaper. He’d earned his named both from a penchant for dealing death and a somewhat morbid sense of humor. He had more feeling than his humor ever showed, and the suicides shook him. More than the others, though, the attempt bothered him. We can try to counsel, but what if they truly wish nothing more than to die? Are we going to deny them?

[OOC: I made an OOC thread if anyone actually wants to comment on the story.]

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Post by nehima » Sun Oct 23, 2005 6:20 pm

Blood followed the syringe as Kasy drew it out of her arm. She’d forced it in too hard in her panic. The antivirus burned slightly as it entered her veins, but she didn’t stop to ponder.

A screech pierced the air near her mostly intact lab, and Kasy jumped in fright.

Dreams turned, and now Kasy raced through the halls, her breath catching and her muscles burning. His pounding footsteps added another rhythm into ears that already pounded with the sound of her own heart, and his breathing was loud and uneven behind her. Every step, he gained, and she knew she had little time until he was within range.

Kasy’s body twitched as she struggled to wake, but she only succeeded in forcing herself into another nightmare. The door shuddered as he lashed out, and her hands sweated with fear as she struggled to hold the trigger. Her leg hurt in a million places, tears streamed from her eyes and her head throbbed from the images and sounds now etched in her memory. Every kick and yell he made gave her another rack of pain, threatening to reel her off into oblivion. But she found focus in the trigger, and held onto it for dear life as she said a silent prayer and pushed.

Sweat dripped into her eyes as they flew open, and she blinked away the sting. Confusion enveloped her. This place was all wrong, it was all brown and grey, not the dark of the closet. Her leg ached, but it no longer throbbed with mind-numbing pain. She collected herself as she looked around. She was in a clean room, or a space converted into one. An AI hovered near her, reporting her status to its superiors. Her body was stiff, and scabs on her arm showed where sedative had been injected.

Carefully shifting her leg from its elevating sling, she swung around to dangle her legs of the edge of the bed. The place seemed more familiar now, and she at least knew they had a decent medical system, for not only was her leg healing, the cast on it was of the strong, light sort instead of some of the messier inexpensive sorts. The AI’s metallic arm hovered near, looking for all the world as if it were worried. Kasy smirked, and surveyed her surroundings again. Things began to fit into place, and she suddenly realized that she was in a military ship, probably one docked with the facility.

A query to the AI gave her some comfortable, loose clothes, and told her that hers had been destroyed when she’d been put in quarantine. The loose, fuzzy sweats and light t-shirt were several sizes too big, but between drawstrings and auto-sizing tags, she managed to get them onto her form.

Debate ensued when Kasy requested crutches over the need for them when she wasn’t allowed to leave. Kasy’s quick explanation of the outbreak and eradication of the virus finally carried some weight, after the AI compared them to its own data gathered through tests and the facility AIs. Relief spread through Kasy’s mind when she realized that the AI wasn’t going to ask any question of her ethics or mind. Among other things, all but the most vital, quantitative facts of the night before blurred in her mind, leaving her with only a repressed horror. In the end, she was still forced to resort to using the AI’s intrinsic programming and inherent logic against it to be freed from the quarantine.

The crutches were another matter entirely. It took her a short while to accustom herself to them again, not having had to lean on a crutch of any kind since she was a child. Once she did, it was small work to be out of the quarantine and see where she really was.

As she worked her way down the halls, she was relieved to hear the relatively normal noises of a ship: footsteps here and there, guys training and snoring, snatches of conversation. She didn’t meet anyone for the first few minutes, and took her time to see what was around her. The ship was sized for a small crew, the kind of ship that came in droves for the training. The battalion ships and commands had space for their own technical training centers, but these small ships did not.

Quick footfalls interrupted her concentration, and they came in her direction this time. Kasy hobbled toward them, and nearly fell over when she saw who they belonged to. Memories assaulted her like machine gun fire, quick and harsh: Sarge’s crew as they’d first appeared for training, Sarge’s laugh at her jokes, Reaper appearing before her when she was so far gone she could barely recognize that he wouldn’t kill her, and myriad others. She regained her composure slightly a second later, but the damage was done. She rocked forward slightly on her crutches and barely caught herself as she watched the twin looks of surprise, so like her own, on Reaper and Sarge’s faces.

“What the… how’d you get… you’re not supposed to be…” rambled Sarge as he tried to gather his thoughts.

“Don’t shoot the AI, I blackmailed it. And quarantine isn’t what you need anyway, the virus was eradicated,” she said unenthusiastically, her voice still raspy from nights before. “And whatever happened to, ‘Hello, Kasy, it’s good to see you’re alive,’ anyway?”

“Since you’ve been asleep two days now, the timeliness of that sentiment has had a bit of time to wear off,” retorted Reaper, having gained control of language earlier than Sarge. From the looks she gained from the other men and their fearful silence, Kasy had the bad feeling that they saw her massacre, and not herself. “Still good to see you alive, though,” he admitted.

Sarge looked into her eyes, and she knew he was trying to determine the truth of her words. He trusted her with his life, but after the damage the event had done to her coworkers’ minds, he didn’t want to risk his men if she lied. His brown eyes found no madness in her black-green ones, and he finally admitted that he could not have prevented the spread at this point anyway. “You’re still not supposed to be up and about,” he resigned himself to saying.

Kasy was silent as Sarge continued, “Eradicated how, exactly?”

“Bio-bomb linked to the viral DNA,” she answered wearily. A grunt from Reaper told her that they’d probably guessed this already, but were trying to be safe about it. Her right side was starting to hurt from the weight she put on it, but the least she could do was answer their questions without complaint.

“How did the virus… make people do that?” he asked quietly, and she closed her eyes for a moment against the screams, the footsteps, the sirens that battered her mind again. When she opened them, she saw the concern on his face and Reaper’s.

She paused slightly, trying to remember the viral experiments without awakening the memories of the past days. “It would mainly attack the frontal lobe of the brain, destroying the synapses that allowed normal processing of social behavior. It created a drastic personality change, not unlike violent trauma or a lobotomy. However, the personality change it created made people very… violent, almost inhuman,” she said, shuddering slightly. The memories came flaring back, and this time she could not staunch the flow. She turned as she heard the first yell, heard the alarms start. Bile came to her throat when she saw the source of the blood, a boy of ten with glass in his throat. Her throat burned inexplicably until she realized it was she who’d been screaming. Losing control of her stomach again when she looked at Ila’s body, beaten to death and missing an arm. Bryan came towards her, a metal table leg in hand and a bloody smile on his pocked face, and she struggled to back away.

Reaper and Sarge watched in horror as Kasy seemed to disappear inside herself, seeing the fear in her eyes as she looked around unseeing. They dismissed the others, who went doubtless to report to their peers on the oddity of the merry murderess in their midst. When she tried to back away from something, they caught her before she managed to fall completely. She thrashed for a moment, and then her eyes resumed their focus, and she regained her balance.

“Let’s talk in our rooms, where you can sit down,” suggested Reaper gently. Kasy didn’t argue, but instead followed him to the quarters he shared with Sarge. Sarge brought up the rear, watching Kasy for any sign of another collapse.

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Post by nehima » Sat Oct 29, 2005 5:34 pm

OOC: It has come to my attention that Sarge and Reaper are barely based on the movie characters. So be it. I just stole their names and appearances, then.

IC:Kasy lowered herself carefully onto the lower of two bunk beds, leaning her crutches up against the wall. Reaper leaned on the wall opposite her, while Sarge paced the floor. She was trying to sort out her confused thoughts, break through the muddle in her mind, when Sarge’s voice broke into them.

“What happened, Kasy? We know the virus got out, we know people killed each other, we know you bio-bombed it. But that’s just the basics. What happened?” he asked, his voice strained and a little loud.

Kasy was silent, her eyes turned inward. She made no motion to answer the question, and after several minutes, Sarge asked again.

“Kasy, dammit, what happened?!?”

“I don’t remember,” she replied quietly, rocking back and forth slightly.

“You remember what you did, you remember the virus, but you don’t remember what happened? Bullshit. I know you better than to believe that.”

Kasy’s memory started swirling again, but she tried to keep grounded, gripping the edge of the bed so hard it made her hands hurt. “You don’t understand…” she began softly.

“Sure, I don’t understand. You had precautions against viruses. You had antivirus. Yet you took the path that killed almost everyone. What the hell were you getting at?”

Kasy felt her anger rising to match his. “What the hell are you accusing me of? Your men talk you into me as a mass murderer? Kasy the Killer, she’ll get you when the lights go out on the ship…”

“You even said you killed them, and now you expect us to believe you’re innocent?”

“If you’d just listen to me for a goddamned second, I’d tell you, you bastard. I don’t remember anything useful from the outbreak. I just know what happened around then. The viral properties were in the database months ago. The antivirus was only blood-borne. Let’s see you stick someone with a needle in the vein when they’re trying to kill you. Tell me how it goes.”

“God above, Kasy. I thought you were one of the greatest people. I loved you. You were smart, kind, funny, beautiful- simply an amazing specimen of humanity,” said Sarge bitterly. Kasy, her hands bloody from her grip on the edge of the bedframe, waited in silence for the other shoe to drop.

“So much for that. You can’t even feel guilt for killing over a hundred people. You’re not amazing, you’re a psychopath.”

GUILT? You don’t think I feel guilty enough? I can’t close my eyes without faces swimming in front of them. I don’t want to sleep again because I’ll just have nightmares. I can’t trust myself because not only did I kill everyone, I lived. I never thought that the worst thing I’d ever do in life is keep living it, but here I am,” she screamed, tears coming from her eyes as she gestured with her bloody hands. “If I kill myself, will that make it better? If I lie here and pray to you for their souls? If I tell you that the memories I have are of Katie and Logan, choking each other to death; of running down a hallway, just knowing that the next door I opened would have one of my friends ready to kill me; of watching Nyo kill Jon with a shard of glass while blood streamed from his own face…” Her voice trailed away into nothingness as her memories consumed her and she fell back on the bed, crying and screaming.

“You are a bastard,” said Reaper to Sarge as he moved past him to help Kasy. “You wouldn’t say that a soldier killed his whole battalion just because he was one of the few that lived. You would know that what he’s seen has screwed him up, and that he might not have seen enough to explain it all. You wouldn’t push him like you just pushed her.”

“What am I supposed to tell the families of everyone that died? ‘We don’t know what happened, and we’re not going to blame anyone.’? I still love her, Reaper. She’s one of my best friends. But that can’t be my excuse for not investigating the deaths of so many people,” he said as he helped Reaper put the sedative in her system.

“But did you look at her, for Chrissakes? She’s not ready to answer anything. She just lived through something that made everyone else try to kill themselves, but you expect a report in full, with footnotes.”

“Shit, Reaper. Don’t you think I know? I screwed up royally. But I don’t know what to say. How do you ask that nicely? ‘We’re not accusing you of anything, but are you a mass murderer?’ How am I supposed to keep all the guys from trying to kill her themselves? They all know what they saw, and they all blame her for it,” he finished hopelessly as they laid Kasy out on the bed, and each worked to wrap a bloody hand.

“Doesn’t give you an excuse to blame her for it. Besides, they have to obey you- you’re they’re superior.”

“Not if they know I’m making a bad decision.”

“They don’t know. They just have suspicions, like their little paranoia-racked brains always do.”

Sarge shook his head, but he knew his friend was right. Changing the subject, he asked, “You going to be ok without a bunk tonight?”

“Damn, just when I thought I’d have a pretty bunkmate,” said Reaper obnoxiously. Seeing Sarge’s venomous look, he added more seriously, “Sleeping on the floor never killed anybody. I’ll be good.”

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Post by nehima » Sun Jan 29, 2006 5:19 pm

Kasy woke suddenly a few hours after passing out, but she was blissfully unaware of what had caused her to rouse. Slight snoring came from the bunk above her, and she could hear Reaper breathing slowly on the floor. She stared down at him silently, her mind coldly processing and filing the image.

Reaching for her crutches, she thought better of it and instead stretched to grasp Reaper’s tablet, stroking the screen to turn it on. It was still logged under Reaper’s identity, and Kasy mused that the ship probably had little need for too much security, since clearance levels weren’t that different, and- besides her- no one on the ship was a civilian. She saw no need to correct the error, though, since her identity was probably being tracked for the moment anyway.

She called up a diagram of the facility and began editing, marking first the lab the virus had occupied. Superimposing the bodies over the map, she was struck with an odd note: none of the bodies were actually near the proposed initial release spot. The lab lockdown worked correctly, she noted thoughtfully, scanning the AI’s report. And the bodies showed that- patient zero must have broken down the dividing walls to go after his target. He was not a doctor she knew well, though she had seen him around. And once he’d broken down the wall, the lab lockdown and the ventilation lock were moot points. The ventilation lockdown meant the disease hadn’t spread as quickly as it could have, but once it was out in the main corridor it dispersed quickly.

She studied the body diagram with clinical precision. Almost all the bodies had fallen in groups or trails, indicating that a small number of individuals had been quickly infected and killed most of the others. No tests had been truly performed with any personality- or sanity-altering weaponry before, and the pattern was certainly unique. Just as different guns produce different spatter, she reflected.

A few searches made her model appear even valid: many of the bodies were unmarked by disease, but the few that were marked were drastically affected. Kasy had no idea if this would match with her memories or not, but she welcomed her emotional numbness and felt no need to invite turmoil. Pure research was helpful enough, for the moment. And it was quite interesting: the virus had definite applications, particularly for more subtle warfare: the pattern matched no known weapons, and if the visual cues to infection- the slight pockmarks, the hemorrhaging under the nails- could be eliminated, it would be highly effective for espionage. It would also reduce the major risk of biological warfare: the need to insure no inherent resistance and eliminate all, so as to avoid retaliation in kind. If nobody knew it was an attack, would anyone fight back? she mused academically. Psychologists would love this. It allows for rapid behavioral change and immediate social response to a threat. Pure social psych gold.

And yet it still left the intrinsic question: should it be used? Somehow, Kasy doubted she would ever be sure. She had seen what this virus could do, and she would be recovering from those images and that view for some time, but the same could be said for war in general. War had once been relatively civilized, with soldiers lining up and shooting each other. As guns got better, strategy played more of a part. Atomic, chemical, and biological weapons had been made, used, and then banned until terrorism had found an application for them. When the governments started responding in kind, the bans disappeared. Now war was never just guns anymore. Nor was it generally human against human either, except for assorted fringe groups: it was far more often conflict between species that simply found no way to coexist. Looking through the data, Kasy and her more ecologically-centered counterparts often found no particular reason the species couldn’t work together, but whenever they’d brought it up they always got into trouble. Dissenters were not highly appreciated, especially when it was not only a “crime against your country” but “against humanity” to be such. And yet they still bring us back, because the intellectual class is dwindling because of the reliance on AI.

Kasy knew that she could no more store things on Reaper’s identity than she could use her own: her activity was already tracked, and she had little use for spreading false information, at least for the moment: it would only lead to more restriction, not more freedom. A new identity would only arouse suspicion, and any information on it would be subject to intense scrutiny. She went through her findings again, memorizing the information and imprinting the pattern of bodies on her memory. The AI and the investigators would see her searches, she would let them. They did not have her training nor her knowledge of herself or of what she’d found, and the data would probably appear more to them as a guilty or amnesiac conscience looking to see what had been done.

They would question her. For now, she didn’t care. It would not be today, but when they came back to a landside facility with proper areas. Sarge’s questions were just the beginning- the questions anyone would ask. Her other ones would be distinctly more interesting, and probably distinctly less enjoyable. Psychological warfare had finally come into its own over the last century, especially with the advances in neurological science. And yet the brain was still not utterly comprehensible. The religious said it was the soul that would be judged at the end of times. Those who treated science as their very religion said that the research was coming along and all would soon be known. Kasy was curious, but she generally believed that there were some parts of life that were not supposed to be analyzed.

At any rate, she wanted to attempt to organize her own mind before she talked with them. It would help quicken her interrogation, though if she had something to hide, it would not avail her, because a knowingly guilty conscience was the easiest to crack. Either way, though, she simply wanted to know what had truly happened, and not just her own blurred and scarred perspective. She realized she would encounter one of the same fundamental problems as her interrogators: the lack of surveillance. The consequence of the early 21st-century encroachments on privacy, laws had sprung up forbidding a variety of tracking methods. Video and audio surveillance were generally forbidden, though as a general rule, whenever one logged onto a computer or chatted with an AI, the encounter would be recorded. In the labs, another reason had appeared for a low amount of surveillance: anything recorded was connected to something, somewhere, and there was simply too much of a chance of others acquiring the information. The end result of all this was that she would have to get back into the lab- or manipulate Sarge or Reaper into finding the information she needed. An interesting prospect, to be sure, if one that would have to wait until she felt more like dealing with another person. Or possibly be reconsidered then, when she could judge the ethics without her present impersonal apathy.

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Post by nehima » Tue May 16, 2006 8:16 pm

Kasy spent the rest of her night examining the blood work the AI had done on the crew after their exploration into the facility. Looking through the statistics and DNA, she mentally catalogued the markers she found with the codenames they belonged to. It gave her an interesting perspective on the men, and she was willing to bet she could make a decent identification of them with the information.

She heard Reaper stir slightly, and closed down her search. His eyes opened as she put down the data pad, and he walked over to sit silently next to her on the bed.

“What was that?” he asked huskily.

“Do you trust me?”

“Do I look that stupid?” he replied, his eyes narrowing. “I’m willing to consider what you have to say, I’m not particularly responsible for the crew and I don’t give a shit what they think.”

“But it would be idiotic to trust someone whose whole facility just died,” finished Kasy.

“You’re direct for someone who can’t remember much.”

“You’re evasive for someone who can.”

He reached his datapad and silently slid it into his lap. “Well, I’m never entirely sure what I’d have to tell someone like you anyway… after all, you know…” he checked through the screens, “my blood type? You do realize people on a new ship generally look for like a map to the bathroom, not a genetic profile of all its inhabitants?”

“That’s depressing.”


“Says something about the community when the first thing people look for is the bathroom, doesn’t it?”

“Says something about the girl when the first thing she looks at is your karyotype.”

“Damn right it does. Besides, what would you rather have me look at? I could stare at your face or your butt or your abs, but I seriously doubt they would tell me as much.”

“Because my face tells you nothing now,” retorted Reaper caustically.

“Because your face is easier to lie with. Besides, if someone is handsome then the face can be a little distracting from reality anyway.”

“I suppose I’ll take that as a compliment.”

“As you will,” she replied noncommittally. “Now, where is this bathroom you spoke of?”

“Closest is down the hall a few feet, second door to the left. Need a little help?”

“I can figure it out, thank you,” she replied nonchalantly.

“More worried about whether you want to deal with the guys when you disturb their beauty sleep.”

“You know, “beauty sleep” isn’t just a turn of phrase. When people get more sleep, they tend not only to act better, think better, and perform better physically, they also tend to look better. It has to do with the amount…”

“Explains a lot about the guys,” interjected Reaper, too tired to hear the explanation, though he was fascinated and a little heartened to see how Kasy’s face lit up to talk about something that interested her and didn’t involve the incident.

“Indeed it does,” remarked Kasy, slightly annoyed and disappointed at not being able to finish. “Sleep tight,” she continued as she slid her crutches from the side of the bed, trying to silence the quiet murmur they made against the edge. “The crew aren’t the only ones who need the beauty sleep.”


“I still don’t get why they’re fucking letting her walk around when she admitted it. Shetold us she killed them.”

“I heard Sarge knows her from way back,” said Lupe. Others nodded, having heard the same.

“Knows her, eh? I can’t blame him. I’d tap that,” said Aero, smirking. His remark was followed by sounds of agreement and obscene gestures from most of the group.

“Maybe normally, yeah,” admitted Ruin. “But you saw the bodies.”

“Yeah. I can see why the others tried suicide- they knew the people those bodies belonged to.”

“‘Belonged to’ being important. Most of those didn’t look so fuckin’ human anymore.”

“She didn’t try suicide. Maybe she’s more comfortable with what happened. Maybe she just meant to do them all in all along.”

“Maybe she’s just got a little more mental stability,” suggested Nin. “And I think she meant she’d killed them all with the bio-bomb- she was pretty scared and beat up herself when we found her.”

“Well, I think even a group of smart-ass scientists would act up when they figured out one of their own had turned on them.”

“I still don’t buy it. Besides, she doesn’t remember much- she might just be confused.”

“Then how was she able to recite everything but what happened? Damn suspicious to me.”

“Everything is damn suspicious to you, Ruin, you’re a paranoid delusional,” taunted Reaper evenly, sweeping into the kitchen to grab his morning protein supplement. “And that’s why we love you. Nothing like someone talking about what’s going to kill us all to make a man appreciate even the shit we eat for breakfast as if it might be his last. So thank you. You allow me to note every meal I take on this ship, and curse the thought that any of it would be my last,” he finished, taking a slurp of the gooey protein and grimacing before raising his pouch in a toast. “To Ruin.”

“To Ruin,” called the others, laughing as they raised their own pouches of protein. Ruin muttered as his face settled into its usual expression of dejected, anxious and fuming martyrdom.

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