tirsden: Riddick says: Let's play. (let's play)
tirsden ([personal profile] tirsden) wrote2015-10-08 06:32 am
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SOMA ficlet: Kinda Cute

[Written as background material for a SOMA-based/modified roleplay. More information can be found here.]

"He was kinda cute. Gave him a good meal, tried to see if I could help him more but... I dunno, I'm not pushy, y'know? So he went back on the streets and just about when I thought I better go after him and try again, I got my orders to come here. Hope he's okay... kid played guitar like a pro."

The male British voice on the other end of the comm made a quiet, thoughtful noise. "I used to see people like him come into the church all the time. They weren't there to be saved, for the most part, just wanted a place to warm up and get out of the rain. We let them be, so long as they were not disruptive. I cannot imagine what it must be like to live in that situation."

"I can." Marc looked away as a blowtorch made his original view too bright to look at. Brown eyes blinked at the light-spots left in his vision, not really paying attention to the daylit undersea vista beyond those dots. "It sucks. Can't really talk about my specific experience, though... classified."

"Ahh, right. You do seem to have a lot of tales locked behind that particular label."

"Sure do. Okay, looks like Riggs got the hatch unlocked. You still have visual?" Marc was once again looking at the hatch to the abandoned construction site of Kappa Station. He stepped closer to try pulling the thick, round, metal door open.

"Aye, there is a little static but not bad. Proceed with caution, and all that." Michael only had a secondary video feed from Rig-B, but full remote control over a larger, rectangular-box-shaped robot along with its own video feed. The Englishman was back at Theta now, in a comfy pilot's seat using a control system that literally read his mind. Cushy job, all things considered, and not his normal assignment either. He had suggested substituting for wranglers at times to help better understand what the other employees went through on a daily basis. This was his third such virtual venture into deep water.

Marc chuckled as he eased the heavy door open. "You were sounding real official until that last bit."

He could hear the other man chuckling now as Rig-B floated into the flooded airlock. The small, mostly-spherical robot from the K-8 series provided light and was the source of the blowtorch from earlier. The bigger robot watched and waited outside as Marc walked into the airlock. It was clear the room hadn't been used in ages. Pink and blue sea fans grew in one corner, a few smaller ones peeking out between pipes. Colonies of barnacles encrusted the walls and ceiling, along with the lower part of the airlock control console.

The station was rumored to be completely flooded due to several hull breaches caused by flaws in both construction design and inferior building materials. The whole project had been a mess, one that was not directly overseen by Pathos-II management because it was intended for a completely separate unit run by a company not associated with Carthage Industries. Kappa Station would essentially have been a guest site with limited and carefully-monitored access to Pathos-II resources. Someone had cut too many corners, people had died. Carthage people. The remaining guests promptly found themselves kicked out the proverbial front door, and the half-built station sat ignored until now.

Marc pursed his lips as gloved fingers poked at corrosion on the omnitool dock set into the airlock's control console. It wasn't just corrosion, there was a dark, sticky substance that reminded him of structure gel. "Yeah, no, this doesn't look useful. It's gonna gum up my omnitool if it even connects right. Screen's dead anyways, backup power might be out. Rigby, do your thing. Standing clear in a sec..."

The big guy heard Rig-B chirp cheerfully in response while he walked back out of the airlock to stand near the hatch door. It was safer this way, in case there was trapped air or uneven pressures inside the station. Robots did the dangerous stuff, except when human eyes needed to be present like this, and these robots were still doing the risky parts anyways.

Michael's voice came through as the airlock lit up brightly in the blowtorch's glare. "Careful, Rigby. Go slow."

The human waiting patiently outside the airlock smiled to himself. Michael was a softy, but then the Englishman had been a priest for some twenty years until deciding the entire thing was utter bollocks, as the man himself put it. Now forty, Michael was a counselor or therapist of some sort, with a friend in high places who knew about the troubles down here at Pathos-II. The dreams people said they had. Paranoia. Weird stuff. Stuff Marc had yet to experience himself, but then he hadn't been here long and didn't stay at any one station for more than a few days at a time.

Marc was literally a one-man security team for the whole fucking complex. Sure, there was a so-called security operative at Theta by the name of Jondsdottir, but the guy's training was so basic it hurt. The whole setup was ridiculous, but it was also an honor and prestigious and whatever else his commanding officer had spouted off about before sending Marc to the bottom of the ocean. Well, not quite the bottom. That would be Tau and Psi stations. There were supposed to be three more members being sussed out for the security team, but no one else had shown up so far.

There was tension between the muscle end of the government and the smarty-pants types working in places like Pathos-II. There were official government contracts here, some so classified even Marc didn't have access to everything. For now, he was something of a liaison between the muscle he represented and the scientists and doctors doing their thing at Pathos-II. He hated politics, but a few of the people here were nice and that chick, right, dude who managed communications dispatch was seriously adorable.

Michael's startled voice broke into wandering thoughts. "Did you feel that?"

"Feel what?" Marc looked around, ocean waters gentle with only the slightest current.

"Earthquake!" There was a burst of static followed by garbled sound with Michael's voice distorted and words too broken-up to understand.

Brown eyes went down now as Marc held out his arms to either side of him, to steady himself just in case. Nothing yet... he should be able to feel it. In fact, a shock wave through water could be really dangerous to him right now. How fast would it travel from Theta, since the earthquake must have passed there first? Marc could hear Rig-B beeping worriedly as it floated out of the airlock, blowtorch duty abandoned for the moment.

The audio mess still coming in over the comms now made it sound like Michael was screaming. No... as the signal cleared up, Michael was definitely screaming. It was terror and agony all rolled into one, the sort of scream that men made only under the most extreme duress. The last time Marc had heard a scream like that, a fellow black-ops team member lost a limb.

"Michael!" Marc tried shouting over the screaming, but he only got the Englishman's name out before bright light arced through the water nearby. Brown eyes caught a glimpse of a dangerous bolt of electricity running through the water like lightning from the bigger robot to Rig-B. "Shit-"

The larger robot exploded, knocking Marc backwards. He lost time, a disjointing jump that left him blinking his eyes in total silence. The light level was the same. His suit must have held, because he could still breathe. He was on his back, sandy ocean floor beneath him. He thanked his lucky stars he hadn't been blown into one of the coral outcroppings nearby, but what the hell had happened to Michael? To Theta? What about the other stations?

"Michael?" Nothing. "Buddy, you there?" It sounded like the comm was completely dead. "Theta, come in please. Dispatch? ...Anybody?"

Marc eased himself up, something dawning on him as gloved hands disturbed the sand around him. He'd felt no earthquake. He should have, those things traveled fast enough that he should have felt it before the 'bot blew. He could see the remote robot now, what was left of it, over by the open hatch door. A broken husk with bits and pieces strewn all over the nearby area.

I got lucky. Really fucking lucky. Marc checked his suit again just in case, as much of it as he could see as he got to his feet unsteadily. That was some blast, but at least the robot's overloaded power system hadn't fried him like... "Shit, Rigby."

Heavy boots made their way over to the larger robot's remains. "Riggs?" The smaller 'bot wasn't there, nor did it seem to have been thrown out across the sand. "C'mon, little guy. Tell me you made it." He knew the K-8 model didn't have the transmission power to reach any of the other stations from this distance, but it had light and a blowtorch and limited short-range communication via those cute little beeps. Maybe it had still been active while Marc was out of it, maybe it knew something from the time he was missing.

"Aww, shit." He could see it now, inside the airlock. No lights, and as he stepped into the small room and knelt down to pick up the robot, there was no response. No beeps, nothing lit up. "Fuck. At least you're still in one piece... mostly."

The hover system parts set into the underside of the robot looked fried. It was a new upgrade for the series, giving them the ability to move around in the air. Now, all that was left of the water-safe system was a fused mess that leaked structure gel. "Let's hope Michael's around to see you get all fixed up, huh?"

Marc frowned as he stood up, carrying Rig-B with him to stand back outside by the other robot again. Theta was a long ways off. The exploded 'bot had compressed air storage along with all the components for remote control, long-range radios, video feed, and power to keep communications going. Key word: had. Comms in the suits weren't powerful enough, thanks to a structure gel leak some months ago that had contaminated the water on a microscopic level. Even though the water looked clean, it was there. Still there, and nobody was sure how to get rid of the shit. But it's harmless, they said. It was just inconvenient. Now, it was a whole lot more than inconvenient.

"Okay, Riggs, we're going to Omicron. Let's hope they aren't the next Kappa." Marc blew air out his lips, precious air, and he wasn't sure how much longer it would last. It was still daytime, but he had no sure way of telling how long he'd been out and the abandoned station right next to him was dead in the water for sure. Even if there was a slim chance of radio controls that worked and enough air to breathe somewhere in there, Rig-B's blowtorch hadn't finished cutting through the inside hatch.

The big guy started out across the sand, towards the path between coral formations that would take him to Omicron. Theta lay behind him now, too far away to risk a longer walk in uncertain conditions with limited air supply. Sorry, Michael. Stay frosty... don't you die on me, 'kay? I'm bringing your little buddy back to you, don't break his heart.