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Prologue Edit

Abraham Neumann: “P-SEC, ma’am. What’s the problem?”

female colonist: “I was just about to leave for work when all the lights went out and I heard this horrible screaming from Lisa’s apartment next door.”

Vera Cortez: “This one here? What does she do?”

female colonist: “She’s a surveyor. Tom’s a doctor, and he helps out at the morgue too. I-I just thought that with all the weird shit that’s been going on–“

Vera Cortez: “Thank you, miss. I need you to stay back now, okay?”

Abraham Neumann: “Ugh, pad’s inactive. Marla! Got a door for you to unlock. Apartment 23, Row D-4, B Block. And, uh, can you do something about the lights down here?”

Marla Janssen: “Yeah, yeah, one at a time. Software’s all good on the lights. Must be a hardware fault. The door, on the other hand…” Buzz. “Done.”

Abraham Neumann: “Ready?”

Vera Cortez: “Ready.”

Abraham Neumann: “Planetside Security, nobody move!”

Vera Cortez: “Oh, jeez! It stinks!”

Abraham Neumann: “Oh, ‘helps out at the morgue’, huh?”

Vera Cortez: “Some people just can’t leave their work at the office, huh?”

Abraham Neumann: “Talk about fucked up. This makes 32 assaults in the past week, compared to, what, two since colony’s start?”

Vera Cortez: “No, three. You forgot the homicide.”

Abraham Neumann: “Shit. Yeah, is that guy still in Psych or what? Never heard what happened-”

Vera Cortez: “Neumann! I got a body!”

Abraham Neumann: “His or hers?”

Vera Cortez: “Holy shit, she moved! Marla, get us a trauma team! She’s alive! Ma’am, it’s okay; we’re security. You’re gonna be-." Gasp.

Abraham Neumann: “Holy shit.”

Marla Janssen: “What’s going on? ’Braham!”

Abraham Neumann: “Officer down! Get some backup out here, fast!”

Marla Janssen: “Neumann! Talk to me!”

Abraham Neumann: “Just get me some goddamn backup! Ugh…”

Marla Janssen: “Jones and McCabe are on their way. Are you alright?”

Abraham Neumann: “Never better. Jesus Christ! Will you die already?!”

McCabe: “Neumann! What’s goin’ o-. Mother fuck! The fuck was that?!”

Abraham Neumann: “Hell if I know. But somethin’ tells me – this’s gonna be a long day.”

Chapter 1 Edit

Abraham Neumann: Bzzt. “-work, you fucking-” Bzzt. “There we are! Gotcha! Aegis VII Colony security log, local day: 925. This is Sergeant Abraham Neumann, Planetside Security Office. We are fucked. If you’re planetside, you’re already good as dead. Just radio up, and order this place nuked. I’m serious! You’re gonna die down here! The least you can do is save the rest of humanity from the same fate.” Bzzt. “No kidding.”

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P-SEC HQ

Five weeks ago…

Abraham Neumann: “Hey, you wanna catch a vid tonight? Union Plaza got a new download.”

Marla Janssen: “’Braham, I already told you, I’ve got a ton of paperwork to- Holy shit, what is that?”

Jennifer Barrow: “It’s Jen Barrow’s dig team; I’ll feed it through.”

Marla Janssen: “Hey, Commander. Everyone, heads up!”

Commander James: “The hell is that?”

Abraham Neumann: “But just hold on there, Commander, while I consult my book of weird shit.”

Commander James: “Everyone’s a comedian.”

Vera Cortez: “That’s nothing to laugh about. Are we patched through? Barrow, this is Cortez in P-SEC. Is that-? Can that possibly be what I think it is?”

Jennifer Barrow: “I don’t know, Detective. Depends on how fucked up your thoughts are, I guess.”

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Lounge Area 3

female colonist: “This is bullshit! They shut down excavation prep because of some piece of rock?”

Unitologist: “It ain’t a piece of rock! It’s a Marker.”

male colonist: “Who’s to say it’s even alien?”

Unitologist: “That’s the point! It’s not. The Marker’s a part of human evolution.”

male colonist: “What? The secret of eternal life?”

Unitologist: “A new life. Beyond death.”

female colonist: “Beyond bullshit!”

Unitologist: “Dammit, shut up!”

Abraham Neumann: “Hey! P-SEC! What the hell’s goin’ on here?”

female colonist: “Come on, Markerhead; take your best shot!”

Vera Cortez: “Nobody’s taking shots at anybody.”

Unitologist: “Bitch mocked my faith!”

Abraham Neumann: “Oh, Jesus. Unitologist, right?”

Unitologist: “And proud of it!”

Abraham Neumann: “We got room in the brig for these two?”

female colonist: “What?! Wait a second!”

Abraham Neumann: “Never mind. I’ll check. Marla?”

Marla Janssen: Bzzt. “-can’t hear you, ‘Braham.” Bzzt. “-breaking up.” Bzzt.

Abraham Neumann: “Oh, great. Guess it’s your lucky day, folks. So sit down, eat your lunch, and grow a brain cell between ya. We’ll be sitting right over there.”

Vera Cortez: “He had a point.”

Abraham Neumann: “Yeah, and lost it the minute he threw a punch. No offense, Cortez, but your fellow believers? They’re fucking nuts.”

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Office of Dr. Tom Sciarello

Brant Harris: “I can’t sleep.”

Tom Sciarello: “Lot of it going around. How long you been on colony?”

Brant Harris: “Since Day 1. Why?”

Tom Sciarello: “I’ve seen this before. For the past two and a half years, you guys have done all the work, done all the excavation prep.”

Brant Harris: “Yeah, so?”

Tom Sciarello: “And then the Ishimura shockpoints in at the last minute and grabs all the glory. Enough to make anyone depressed, really.”

Brant Harris: “I ain’t depressed. I just can’t sleep.”

Tom Sciarello: “Sure, sure. Look, all I can do is prescribe you some sedative pills.”

Katie Evans: “That’s twenty cases in three days. Have you really seen this before?”

Tom Sciarello: “Hmm. Something damn strange is going on around here!”

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Union Square

Deakin Abbott: “For 200 years, Unitology has sought the truth! When Michael Altman spread his word, few people believed him! The government tried to discredit him! When that didn’t work, they killed him and said it was an accident. But we also know that he was telling the truth! For two centuries, we and our forefathers kept the faith and our belief in his words. Now finally we have proof that we have been right all along. You’ve all seen the vid-logs by now. You all know what they found out there. Here, on this very planet, we found another Marker!”

Abraham Neumann: “Yeah, I thought the Marker’s supposed to be black! This thing’s red!”

Vera Cortez: “Neumann!”

Abraham Neumann: “I’m just sayin’. This guy’s a, what, a priest or somethin’?”

Deakin Abbott: “Deakin Abbott, VTM Engineer 1st Class. And yes, lay preacher. Who are you?”

Abraham Neumann: “Neumann. P-SEC.”

Deakin Abbott: “You can’t hide the truth, Mr. Neumann. That’s what they tried to do when they killed Altman. But we’re still here.”

Abraham Neumann: “Ah, don’t be stupid. CEC doesn’t give a shit about some fringe nutjob.”

Vera Cortez: “’Braham, that’s enough.”

Abraham Neumann: “Ah, come on, this is the last straw. You can’t seriously buy this crap!”

Vera Cortez: “‘Buy’? Dammit, this is my faith!”

Abraham Neumann: “There is no goddamn Marker! Sure, that thing out there is some weird shit; maybe it… isn’t even human! But in case you hadn’t noticed, we already conquered Heaven. And guess what? God wasn’t home!”

Deakin Abbott: “Your God, perhaps. Our God is very much in residence.”

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Dig Site GL-426

“All I’m sayin’ is how come we get this shitty job?”

“Gee, Jerry, I don’t know. Maybe it’s got something to do with destroying a door in Bay 5?”

“Accident. Dammit.”

“Anyway, it’s not so shitty. I kind of like it out here.”

“Yeah. What a great view.”

“Not that way, you jerk. This thing.”

“So, is this really a Marker, or what?”

“Hey, I just work here. All I know is Carthusia wants a tram built between here and the colony.”

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“Assault in progress in Surgery 1, West Sector 9, Level 5! Repeat, ass-“

Abraham Neumann: “Neumann and Cortez, responding!”

Katie Evans: “Oh, thank God! Hurry! He’s got a line cutter!”

Abraham Neumann: “P-SEC! Drop the cutter!”

Brant Harris: “This fucking quack tried to con me! He said the pills would make me sleep, but they don’t! Every night I lie there, and these things… these things I think about. I don’t want to, but I can’t stop it!”

Abraham Neumann: “Hey. Hey! Listen to me. You’re stressed out, I know. But this is not going to help you. Just give me the cutter and let’s talk about this.”

Brant Harris: “No, you’re lying! Ah! Ugh!”

Vera Cortez: “C’mere, you crazy son of a bitch!”

Abraham Neumann: “Doc, you alright?”

Tom Sciarello: “Yes. I’m fine… Just a little s-“

Abraham Neumann: “Doc, what is it?”

Tom Sciarello: “Katie!”

Abraham Neumann: “Oh, fuck.”

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Office of Hanford Carthusia

“Captain Mathius, sir, have you heard a response yet?”

“I just got it now, but not from the government. Our instructions are from a higher authority.”

“The Church?”

“They tell me you’re a believer.”

“My family’s been devout for three generations. Is that important?”

“Could be. What rank?”

“I’m Vested.”

“Good. Your instructions are simple: Do all you can to safeguard the Marker until the Ishimura arrives. Everything. Understand?”

“So it’s definitely a Marker? Altman be praised.”

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“How far, Abbott?”

Deakin Abbott: “It’s only a dust storm, Joe. Anyway, we’re almost there.”

“I still say we should have asked.”

Deakin Abbott: “Ah, nonsense. Since when did we need permission to take a drive? Alright, close enough. Suit up, gentlemen.”

“Should be just ahead. That way… if the dust ever clears.”

“There!”

“Holy shit. It’s beautiful!”

“At last! A real Marker!”

“Abbott! What’re you doing? Don’t touch it!”

Deakin Abbott: “Relax, Joe. Who knows how long this thing’s been here? Centuries, maybe millennia. You see? Nothing to be scared of. This is our salvation.”

“Of course it is. You always were smart, my dear.”

Deakin Abbott: “Mom? But… you’re dead.”

“Deakin, listen. You must protect it.”

Deakin Abbott: “No. No. This isn’t right. Go-Go away!”

“Who the fuck is he talking to? Abbott!”

“They want to take it. Don’t-”

“Are you alright? The fuck just happened?”

Deakin Abbott: “I’m… not sure. I think I just saw the… other side.”

Chapter 2 Edit

Union Square

Tom Sciarello: “Katie was my assistant for five years. She was devoted to her job, but that devotion got Katie killed.” Sigh. “As you know, everyone’s stressed right now. You can’t sleep; you have bad dreams when you do. Katie saved my life. If she hadn’t called P-SEC, I’d be lyin’ in the morgue right now. I’d gladly make that exchange. And I-”

“I know you would, Tom-”

Tom Sciarello: “Katie?”

“-but there are more important things that you have to do, Tom. You’ve got to stop them.”

Tom Sciarello: “No. No. This isn’t real.”

“Tom, are you alright? Sorry, folks, Tom’s not feeling too good. Thanks for coming.”

Tom Sciarello: “Oh, Christ, she’s gone!”

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Apartment 35, Row A-7, D Block

Vera Cortez: “’Braham? Oh, shit. What time is it?”

Abraham Neumann: “9:50. Shift started 80 minutes ago. Third day in a row, Vera. I can’t keep covering like this; I mean, we’re all exhausted right now-”

Vera Cortez: “I can’t sleep, ‘Braham. The doc gave me some pills, but they don’t always work.”

Abraham Neumann: “Uh, you realize you sound like every other miner we’ve arrested this past week?”

Vera Cortez: “I know, dammit!”

Abraham Neumann: “You hallucinating too? You getting visions of your precious Marker?”

Vera Cortez: “Alright, that’s enough! Get out!”

Abraham Neumann: “Vera. C’mon. We’ve got a shift to work.”

Vera Cortez: “So go work it!”

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“This is outrageous! That site is of major archaeological importance.”

Deakin Abbott: “It’s a sacred object, not some rock to be mined! A Marker! You know what that means!”

“That’s still to be determined. By the proper authorities, not some…transport engineer. Touch that artifact again, and you’ll be on a shuttle back to Earth before you can say ‘Altman be praised.’”

Deakin Abbott: “I don’t believe this! You’re devout! You of all people shouldn’t try to stop us practicin’ our faith!”

“You blustering idiot! I’m not telling you to stop believing. I’m telling you to stay away from that Marker! Goodbye, Abbott.”

“Dr. Sciarello to see you, sir.”

“Thank you, Alice. Come in, Doctor. What can I do for you?”

Tom Sciarello: “Sir, we need to make this problem, the depressions, insomnia, all of it, our top priority. Not just medically! I doubt handing out sleeping pills is going to solve this. I think there’s a deeper root to this problem.”

“Don’t we have a clinical psychiatrist?”

Tom Sciarello: “Dr. Welland? Yes. But… that’s not what I’m talking about.”

“Then I don’t follow you.”

Tom Sciarello: “This all started after we found that… artifact. And I don’t believe in coincidences! I want to examine it thoroughly. Maybe it’s radioactive in some way.”

“Out of the question! Come on, Doctor, this is all just down to stir-crazy miners who’ve been cooped up with bad recycled air for too long.”

Tom Sciarello: “Sir, with respect, I’ve never seen anything like this before! If I could just examine i-”

“I said no! Now please, see yourself out. By the way, your nurse… What did you do with the- with her body?”

Tom Sciarello: “She’s in the morgue, of course. The Ishimura will take her back home when it leaves. Why?”

“Goodbye, Doctor.”

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Dig Site GL-426

“You mind explaining to me why the fuck we’re standing out here instead of P-SEC?”

“Quit griping. Think how important this is. The first real Marker we’ve found in 200 years, and we get to safeguard it. Sorry, Abbott, but you’ve all got to stay behind the cordon.”

Deakin Abbott: “Natalia, I’ve got a dozen people here, all wanting to see it, to experience it!”

“And they can… from behind the cordon.”

Deakin Abbott: “But you don’t know what you’re denying us! Have you seen them yet?”

“Seen what, the symbols? You can’t miss ‘em.”

Deakin Abbott: “The visions. When I came down here a couple of days ago, I saw something incredible. This is the real deal. Come on. Let us through!”

“No one gets through the cordon… especially not you. Carthusia singled you out.”

“Maybe he’s right, Jerry. What harm can they do?”

“No one.”

Deakin Abbott: “Then we’ll stay here. And we’ll pray. And we’ll wait.”

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Tom Sciarello: “Thanks for helping me out, Sergeant.”

Abraham Neumann: “No problem. I’m with ya. There’s some weird shit going on with that rock.”

Tom Sciarello: “You have no idea how glad I am to hear someone not call it the Marker.”

Abraham Neumann: “That’s bullshit. Trust me. I know a thing or two about Unitology.”

Tom Sciarello: “Your partner? Where is she anyway?”

Abraham Neumann: “She got whatever head fuck is freaking out the rest of the colony. We, uh, kind of fell out.”

Tom Sciarello: “Because she’s a Unitologist?”

Abraham Neumann: “No. Because she’s an idiot.”

Tom Sciarello: “There you go.”

Abraham Neumann: “Holy shit! Now I see it with my own eyes.”

Tom Sciarello: “What’s going on here?”

Abraham Neumann: “I heard about this! Pilgrims, coming out to worship.”

“Sorry, guys, this is as close as you get. You want to join the prayers? Abbott’s leading a group over there.”

Abraham Neumann: “Can’t say I’m surprised. Cortez?! You’re supposed to be laid up sick!”

Vera Cortez: “Abbott said I should come here instead, and I feel better already.”

Abraham Neumann: “This is crazy! What the fuck hap-?”

Vera Cortez: “Honestly, I feel sorry for you. You don’t understand what you’re missing.”

Abraham Neumann: “I know exactly what this bullshit is about. I lost my wife to your fucked up cult, remember?”

“Hey. Hey! Is there a problem here?”

Vera Cortez: “No, Carl. My partner just hasn’t seen the light yet.”

Abraham Neumann: “‘Seen the light?’ If Commander James catches you out here, all you’re gonna see is your severance. You’re coming back with me, Cortez! I’m booking you in for a psych eval!”

Vera Cortez: “No!”

Deakin Abbott: “Let go of her!”

Abraham Neumann: “Hey, you guys! You’re supposed to be guarding this thing! Give me some backup here!”

“You’re disturbing the prayer group. You should leave.”

Abraham Neumann: “What? It’s these idiots who should leave.”

“No, I don’t think so. Now get back in your crawler and go home.”

Abraham Neumann: “What the fuck just happened?”

Tom Sciarello: “I don’t know. But I don’t wanna be around it a second longer.”

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Tom Sciarello: “Not a thing.”

Abraham Neumann: “You’re shitting me. Maybe you need a better scanner.”

Tom Sciarello: “Alpha, beta, gamma, black band, shockpoint; you name it. As far as science is concerned, it’s just a rock.”

Abraham Neumann: “I’ve worked with Cortez on three colonies. I’m telling you, that just wasn’t her. And the miners? Whether you can detect it or not, that rock is behind this somehow.”

Tom Sciarello: “This can’t go on.”

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P-SEC HQ

Marla Janssen: “Hey, ‘Braham. Have you seen this?”

Abraham Neumann: “What is it?”

Marla Janssen: “Someone got past the guards and made a vidlog of the Marker, up close.”

Abraham Neumann: “Or one of the guards made it. Who’s it from?”

Marla Janssen: “Nobody knows. It’s a handheld, not a helmet cam, and the ID was wiped. Look at these symbols. Do you think they’re carved into it? It’s like they’re glowing. A lot of these symbols are repeated, like it’s a code or language.”

Abraham Neumann: “You’re geeking out. Heh, heh.”

Marla Janssen: “Of course! This is incredible! I mean, it looks like there are similarities to cladistics math in here.”

Abraham Neumann: “Heh, heh.”

Marla Janssen: “What?!”

Abraham Neumann: “Sorry. I know this stuff gets you hot, but the Church has been trying to decipher the Black Marker for centuries, and they’ve got squat.”

Marla Janssen: “So they say. A fresh perspective might be all it needs.”

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“You have your orders.”

“What if they refuse?”

“Don’t take no for an answer! In fact, arrest them regardless, on my authority. I want to know who made that vidlog!”

“I understand. Very good, sir! Altman be praised!”

“Altman be praised.”

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“Hey, get out of here! No visits to the Marker! Carthusia’s orders.”

“He’s given us new orders, Deshyanov. You’re all relieved of duty, effective immediately.”

“Bullshit.”

“You’re also all under arrest. Carthusia suspects one of you made that vidlog.”

“I said bullshit! Now get out of here!”

“What the hell are you doing? You’re under arrest!”

“Holy shit.”

“Drop the cutter.”

“Natalia…”

“I won’t let them hurt it, Jerry.”

“No. Natalia, they’ll kill you.”

“We’re not going to hurt it. We’re just here to replace you.”

“You’d see me again, Jerry. You know that now.”

“Let them have their turn. Right guys?”

“Right on… bitch.”

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Abraham Neumann: “I’m telling you. We need to just leave that thing alone and get the hell out of here.”

“Officer Neumann-”

Abraham Neumann: “Sergeant!”

“-this is a very important find.”

“Important enough for people to die?”

“You’re reaching, Commander! Some miners get the colony crazies, and suddenly it’s because we found the rock.”

“Don’t pull that shit with me, Hanford! We got two dead already, and things are only getting worse! I strongly advise you call CEC and tell them we’re pulling out.”

“Let me get this straight: This operation’s already cost hundreds of billions over two and a half years, Aegis VII has trillions worth of salable resources, but now, less than three weeks from planet crack, you want me to abort, because a couple of miners died? I’ll be very clear, Commander: not a chance! Besides, you’ll get your wish. Just be patient.”

“What are you talking about?”

“In four days’ time, the artifact will be lifted and brought here, to await the Ishimura. When the ship arrives, it will be transferred on board.”

Abraham Neumann: “You’re bringing it into the colony? How much fucking damage do you wanna do?!”

“Don’t get hysterical, Sergeant.”

Abraham Neumann: “Are you blind?!”

“Goodbye, gentlemen. Thanks for your input.”

Abraham Neumann: “What the hell do we do now?”

“Brace ourselves.”

Chapter 3 Edit

Abraham Neumann: “Half the colony’s walking around like it’s the end of the world. Can you believe this?”

Tom Sciarello: “Detective… I’m a lifelong atheist and skeptic. I know what I saw was a hallucination but… it felt so real! So… if I were a spiritual man… I’d be on my knees praying right now.”

Abraham Neumann: “I just find it incredible a bunch of blue collars like this can get so swept up over a rock!”

Tom Sciarello: “A rock, a scroll, a chalice… What’s the difference? Carthusia finally gave me access to Natalia Deshyanov. I intend to find out why she got so swept up.”

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Vehicle Maintenance Bay, East Sector 1

Deakin Abbott: “Seems everyone has a theory right now! Some wonder what the Marker is for. What does it do? Why is it here? What does it mean? Unitology already teaches us the truth. And the truth is… the Marker is talking to us. Now think about it: Three weeks after we found the Marker, the one thing we can all agree on is that we’re feeling pretty low. Why should that be?! Why are we beset by thoughts of death, realizations that our material lives are unimportant? The Marker is preparing us!”

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Brig Cell 17, Secure Quad, East Sector 3

Tom Sciarello: “Hello, Natalia. I’m Doctor Sciarello. How are you feeling?”

“I need to get out of here!”

Tom Sciarello: “And you will. Just as soon as I can be sure you won’t hurt yourself.”

“Hurt others, you mean. I know what you think, but you don’t understand. You know what I dream about every night, Doc? What I see, even when I can’t sleep? We have to leave! Please, it’s not safe!”

Tom Sciarello: “Natalia… You know you can’t leave the quad until you’re well again.”

“The planet, dumbass!”

Tom Sciarello: “Argh!”

“We all have to leave the planet!”

“That’s enough, Deshyanov! Get off him!”

“Ah! Go on. Finish it… Please, just kill me… Kill me now.”

Marla Janssen: “’Braham, you might want to get down to Union Square. Abbott’s holding one of his sermons.”

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Union Square

Deakin Abbott: “Right now, the foreman and his team are about to remove the Marker and bring it inside. The glorious day! And we all know what it can do, what awaits us…because it’s told us! We won’t be here, but we’ll be waiting…patiently waiting for our chance to ascend and become one with God! That’s what we must do now too: Wait to hear the voice of God. It’s coming soon.”

Abraham Neumann: “Cortez! For the last time, please just go home! Anyone can see this guy’s a whack job. ‘Waiting for the voice of God?’ I mean, really?!”

Vera Cortez: “Yes, ‘Braham. Really. You wouldn’t understand.”

Abraham Neumann: “Damn straight I don’t! I thought this was supposed to be a rational scientific religion! Whatever happened to that?! Marla! What’s the status on the Marker pull team? Are they done yet?”

Marla Janssen: “They’re doing it right now. We just started a ten-down… Four… Three…”

Abraham Neumann: “Holy shit. Marla, I think they’re gonna riot. They’ve all- Argh, my head!”

Deakin Abbott: “Listen, my children, to the voice of God! Now… prepare yourselves!”

Abraham Neumann: “No. Vera, no!”

Vera Cortez: “Don’t worry, ‘Braham. See you soon.”

Abraham Neumann: “No!”

Marla Janssen: “’Braham, what the fuck just happened?! Fifty vital monitors cratered at once!”

Abraham Neumann: “No. No, no! Oh, Vera…”

Marla Janssen: “’Braham… Talk to me.”

Abraham Neumann: “Oh, she’s dead… She’s dead, Marla… She killed herself right in front of me… They all did…”

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Inbound Vehicle Bay, North Sector 2

“Steady as she goes!”

“Foreman Barrow! I’m Jones; this is McCabe. P-SEC.”

“Yeah, they said something about you guys, but static’s murder out there. You worried one of these gawkers might try to steal it? Trust me. The shit we just had? They don’t want it.”

“What kind of shit?”

“Soon as we removed it, everyone started feeling rough. One of my guys even collapsed and threw up in his helmet. Something’s not right here.”

“Well, didn’t anyone tell you about Union Square?”

“No. What about it?”

“You aren’t gonna believe this shit.”

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Office of Hanford Carthusia

“Where are the bodies now?”

“Apparently we have a morgue. I assume they’re in there.”

“‘Assume’ isn’t good enough. I want those people on ice. They must be in top condition when we arrive.”

“You mean, apart from being dead.”

“Don’t get cute, Carthusia.”

“You really think the condition makes any difference?”

“Better safe than sorry. All recumbents with the Church are treated the same way.”

“I know. Don’t worry, Captain. You’ll get your cemetery.”

“I’d better. Our future is riding on this, Mr. Carthusia. Don’t let us down.”

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Megavent 27, North Sector 18

Abraham Neumann: “How much farther?”

“Man, this’s nothin’. There’s another hundred miles of this vent alone.”

Abraham Neumann: “And nobody thought to install a trolley?”

“We’re forty miles from the hub. You think anyone gives a shit whether we have to walk? Anyway, relax. We’re almost there. By that grill.”

Abraham Neumann: “Is this some kind of joke?!”

“Man, if we’d wanted to pull a gag, we’d have put it somewhere where someone would see it.”

Abraham Neumann: “So what is it? Ugh, it stinks!”

“Was hoping you could tell me, Detective.”

Abraham Neumann: “You’ve never seen this before on a vent?”

“This whole section was clean yesterday.”

Abraham Neumann: “Well, not for long. I’m gonna get this down t- Holy shit… It moved! It fucking moved!”

“Bullshit. What, you thinking it’s some kind of animal? Ain’t like no animal I- Hey, what’re you doin’?! Stop! Are you crazy?! These vents feed back into the whole colony!”

Abraham Neumann: “Exactly.”

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P-SEC HQ

“Haven’t seen anything like this since 19th Precinct, back on Earth.”

Abraham Neumann: “Yeah, well, you weren’t on Mars during the riots.”

“Hey, Neumann. The Marker pull went okay, but Barrow’s team are sick as dogs.”

Abraham Neumann: “Great. More staff off duty. Wait a minute. Where’s the rest of today?”

“Weird, huh? Nothing. Apart from the suicides.”

Abraham Neumann: “Huh. Wish I felt happier about that. Hey, Corpsman. Where’s Marla? I thought she was still on shift.”

“Went home sick. Said she had a headache.”

“No ‘Wham, ‘Braham, thank you ma’am’ tonight, huh? Heh, heh, heh.”

Abraham Neumann: “Hilarious. Alright. I’ll go check on her. Call me if it gets crazy again.”

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Apartment 26, Row C-5, D Block

Tom Sciarello: “Mrs. Fencher? I’m Doctor Sciarello.”

“Oh, thank God! Come in, Doc. Sorry to call you out, but I can’t get him to visit Surgery. He-He won’t even leave the apartment!”

Tom Sciarello: “You said your husband was one of the dig team who found the Marker?”

“He just hasn’t been the same since they found that goddamn thing!”

Tom Sciarello: “And that’s why you think his condition is connected.”

“Well, that… and this.”

Tom Sciarello: “My God!”

“That’s the key. That’s the key. It’s coming. It’s t-too late; now death is the answer.”

“Pete… I brought the doc.”

“No doctor. No use. Die, die, like everyone else.”

Tom Sciarello: “Mr. Fencher? I’m going to give you a sedative. Nothing to worry about.”

“No, no. Get away. Wasting time! Get away! Get away!”

Tom Sciarello: “Mr. Fencher-”

“Get away!”

Tom Sciarello: “Argh! H-Help! P-P-Please!”

“Kill you! Kill us! All! Kill, death! K-Kill… Kill me… K-Kill me…”

“You alright?!”

Tom Sciarello: “I should start… demanding danger money.”

“You mean you’ve seen other people like this?!”

Tom Sciarello: “Yes. This is a growing problem. And of course there was the suicide in Union Square.”

“Oh, God. Yeah. I heard about that. What’s going on, Doc? Is my husband gonna be like this forever, or what?”

Tom Sciarello: “I wish I knew, Mrs. Fencher. Right now… seems like nobody can figure it out.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Abraham Neumann: “You’ve gotta stop this!”

“I’ve told you before, Detective. I will not jeopardize a multi-billion dollar operation just because of a few deaths.”

Abraham Neumann: “This is a sheet of every death since colony start. We had three in the previous two and a half years, all working accidents. Since we found that fucking rock, we’ve had 65!”

“52 of these are suicides.”

Abraham Neumann: “Exactly! Open your eyes! For God’s sakes, just stop the planet crack before it’s too late.”

“Sorry, Detective. It’s already too late. Even if I agreed with you, I don’t have the authority.”

Abraham Neumann: “Bullshit! You’re the colony manager!”

“You misunderstand me. Before you came charging in here, local comms received a hail from the Ishimura. Captain Mathius now has full jurisdiction over this entire operation.”

Chapter 4 Edit

Row B-12, H Block

Tom Sciarello: “So, things have calmed down for you since they took the Marker up to the ship?”

Abraham Neumann: “Yeah. You?”

Tom Sciarello: “If anything, it’s worse. Almost 20% of the staff now have psych problems.”

Abraham Neumann: “Wait. She’s not cured? Why’d you take her out of the secure quad if she’s still dangerous?”

Tom Sciarello: “Oh, she’s not dangerous anymore, but far from cured. Natalia? It’s Dr. Sciarello. Where are you?”

“I’m right here, Doc. Who’s the cop?”

Abraham Neumann: “Seems kind of cheery for a nutcase.”

Tom Sciarello: “It comes and goes. Now, how are you today? Did you sleep well last night?”

“Didn’t sleep at all. I’ve been here all night.”

Tom Sciarello: “I see. Well, let’s talk a little about that.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Abraham Neumann: “The fuck was all that on the walls? It looked like-”

Tom Sciarello: “I know. More than half of the people who came into direct contact with the Marker have reacted in the same way. Acute morbid depression, attention deficiency, compulsive scrawling.”

Abraham Neumann: “More than half, huh?”

Tom Sciarello: “Where you going?”

Abraham Neumann: “Uh, excuse me, Doc, but I got a friend who needs to know about this! Sergeant Neumann, P-SEC.”

“Detective, this is Supervisor Cameron out in the megavents. Remember?”

Abraham Neumann: “Yeah, I remember. What’s up?”

“You said to call if I found any of that weird stuff again.”

Abraham Neumann: “Let me guess: same place as before.”

“Yeah. And a whole lot more besides.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

North Sector 18

“Late again, Lambert.”

“Couldn’t sleep again. These headaches are- Jesus, did that grow overnight?”

“Yeah. And you can make up for being late by getting down those vents and burning it off.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Office of Hanford Carthusia

“The Marker is on its way to you now, Captain. A second shuttle is carrying all murder victims.”

“And the suicides?”

“They’re on a third shuttle. The crew is set, just waiting for me to get on board so I can join you.”

“‘Join us?’ That’s not possible. You are to stay on the colony.”

“What?! But-! Captain! I’ve given you everything you asked for! I demand to be part of this!”

“Don’t demand anything. Your colony is out of control, and I will not risk the same madness infecting my ship. Once the bodies are on board, I’m issuing a no-fly order between the ship and planetside.”

“That’s outrageous!”

“It’s my decision, and I am in control of this operation.”

“Then if you want those suicide bodies, Captain, you’ll have to break your own order and get them yourself! Carthusia out.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Abraham Neumann: “Supervisor Deshyanov. Natalia. Remember me? I came with Dr. Sciarello earlier.”

“Don’t know! Don’t know! You-You can’t stop! Got to find it.”

Marla Janssen: “Holy shit. She did this all herself?”

Abraham Neumann: “Yeah. I’ve seen you hunched over that vid-log enough times to know you’d want to see it.”

Marla Janssen: “Damn straight. Natalia, what are you writing? Is it a message?”

“No, they don’t understand! They don’t know! Good… It’s no good! Too late… Death is the key. You don’t understand… We can never go back.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Abraham Neumann: “A supervisor found a small piece of this down in the megavents less than a week ago. These are from the vent hub, taken today. If you can’t see it yet, let me spell it out for you: There is something on this planet, something we missed in the initial sweep. It is alien, it is hostile, and it is invading the goddamn colony! Are you even listening to me?”

“What does it matter now?”

Abraham Neumann: “Of course it matters! I told you, we need to abort this operation! Get everybody off this-”

“We’re not going anywhere. Captain has seen to that.”

Abraham Neumann: “What?!”

“We are staying the course, Sergeant. Planet crack will proceed tomorrow morning as planned. Now please leave. I have preparations to make.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Apartment 23, Row C-4, D Block

Marla Janssen: “Hey, ‘Braham. Thanks for taking me to see Natalia. It was really useful.”

Abraham Neumann: “I hoped it might persuade you to stop, not carry on.”

Marla Janssen: “No way! I know she’s flipped… Some of what she said made a crazy kind of sense, and it’s helped me a lot. I think I know what the Marker is.”

Abraham Neumann: “Yeah. I’m thrilled. Come on. Planet crack’s in less than an hour. We should go.”

Marla Janssen: “’Braham, listen! It’s some kind of code. Like an instruction s-”

Abraham Neumann: “Instructions for what? Driving everyone batshit nutso?”

Marla Janssen: “It has to do with DNA… I think. I’m still working on the specifics.”

Abraham Neumann: “If we’re gonna make the OD, we have to leave now. You coming or not? Marla! Goddammit.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Russ is stable, Alpha. Gravity Tethers 13 through 16, status: green.”

“Geo stat AV is in place. Confirm final.”

“Roger that, ground. Stand by.”

“All tether locks confirmed?”

“Oh, yes. Correct and green.”

“This is Glider 2. All systems look good.”

“Roger that, Glider 2.”

“Patrol, this is Glider 1. We have confirmed operational final. All units standing by.”

“Alright, Mr. White. Pop the cork.”

“Roger that, Control. 3…”

“Let’s crack this sucker.”

“2…”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Oh, shit. Oh, wow.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“1… Mark.”

“Man, I love this part.”

“Planet crack initiated. 1200 local standard time. We are go. Repeat, we are go.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Marla Janssen: “’Braham, it’s Marla. You here?”

Abraham Neumann: “Yeah. They just fin- Holy shit!”

“What the fuck?”

“Is that normal?”

“What was that?”

“Monitors down!”

Abraham Neumann: “Marla? Marla, come in!”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Marla Janssen: “’Braham! Are you there? You’ve got to hear this; it’s- Shit.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Hmm…”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Abraham Neumann: “Control, this is Neumann? What the hell just happened? Control?”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Ooh!”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tom Sciarello: “Where the hell are the backup generators? Ah! Katie!”

“There’s no time, Tom. I tried to warn you. Now it’s too late.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Backups must be shot.”

“Where’s the fucking engineer?”

“Damn it!”

“Trams too, betcha.”

Abraham Neumann: “P-SEC, clear the goddamn way!”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Comms down too? Jesus! Can’t they keep anything up for more than a day? Hey, Lambert! You got any light down there?!”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“No comms.”

“Oh, fuck this!”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“H-Hello?”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Lambert? Dammit, if you’ve fallen asleep, I will kick your ass! Come on, man, I can hear ya. What’s going on? What the-? Looks like you dropped something here. Great. You know how much these things cost? Jesus. Will you just get out here and quit screwing around?”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Abraham Neumann: “Oh, no. Marla! You there?!”

Marla Janssen: “I’m right here, ‘Braham.”

Abraham Neumann: “Ah! Jesus!”

Marla Janssen: “What’s going on?”

Abraham Neumann: “Oh, thank God! It’s chaos out there. Everyone’s panicking. You got your gun?”

Marla Janssen: “No. It’s in there.”

Abraham Neumann: “Then bring it. I got a bad feeling about this.”

Marla Janssen: “’Braham, wait. I was looking at the Marker again when the power went, and I think I found-”

Abraham Neumann: “No time, sweetheart. Right now we just need to get back to HQ and figure out what the hell happened.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“So undignified. I’m so sorry you couldn’t join the others. I don’t know if there’ll be another chance. With a little luck, we might- Ah. At last. Carthusia to the Ishimura. Ishimura, can you hear me? Damn it all to Hell.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Abraham Neumann: “And about time. The generator should’ve kicked on long before now.”

Marla Janssen: “So where is everybody?”

Abraham Neumann: “Heading for the shuttle bay, if they’ve got any sense. Oh fuck.”

Marla Janssen: “Oh my God.”

Abraham Neumann: “Jones… McCabe… Even the Commander. There’s that weird shit again. Got here pretty fast from the vents.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Doctor Tom? It’s John Welland. Do you hear me, Tom? Are you there?”

Tom Sciarello: “I’m here. What in God’s name is going on?”

“Hell if I know, but we’ve got mass panic and bodies are starting to stack up.”

Tom Sciarello: “Say what? More murders?”

“People are dying here, but I don’t know how, what-”

Tom Sciarello: “What the hell? Hold on, John. Huh? Nobody here? So who-? Oh…”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Abraham Neumann: “I don’t… I can’t believe this.”

Marla Janssen: “Don’t touch them!”

Abraham Neumann: “You’re right. I should call the ME.”

Marla Janssen: “No, I mean we have to get out of here, right now. You remember I said the carvings were some kind of instructions for DNA? Well, I think I figured it out.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Your time will come, my friends. I’ll see to it myself.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Abraham Neumann: “Marla, this is serious shit. DNA doesn’t just get up and walk about to go kill people.”

Marla Janssen: “It does if it’s recombinant!”

Abraham Neumann: “Re-com-bah-what?”

Marla Janssen: “‘Recombinant.’ A DNA that mutates genes at the cellular level, like a cancer, or a virus-”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Soon, we will all ascend.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Marla Janssen: “-but it only spreads through a specific target vector!”

Abraham Neumann: “What?! Speak English, for God’s sakes!”

Marla Janssen: “Necrotic flesh, ‘Braham! It infects dead bodies!”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Altman be praised.”

Chapter 5 Edit

P-SEC HQ

Abraham Neumann: “Alright, so it mutates dead bodies. Fine. But what killed them in the first place? This… stuff?”

Marla Janssen: “I don’t know. Maybe. Wait there; I’m gonna call the ship. P-SEC HQ to Ishimura; come in. This is P-SEC HQ. We have a major hostile situation down here! Come in, dammit! Nothing but static. I can’t even send them a log.”

Abraham Neumann: “Ah, that’s too- Holy shit! That is disgusting! The body’s already dead! What’s the point?”

“Come in, P-SEC! For God’s sake, is anyone there?! Come in!”

Marla Janssen: “This is P-SEC. I’m sorry, but we’ve got a situation here too. I can’t-”

“We’re dying down here! We’re being attacked! They’re coming in!”

Marla Janssen: “Attacked?! By who?!”

Abraham Neumann: “Oh, fuck! This thing’s moving. Get down! The hell is it doing?”

Marla Janssen: “It wasn’t going for me. It wants another corpse. Dead bodies, remember? It’s making more! Reproducing!”

Abraham Neumann: “Ugh. That is some sick shit. Carthusia, next time I see you, I swear I will kill you myself!”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Med-lab, West Sector 13

“I’m ready. Take me.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Avenue B7, North Sector 3

“People are dying down here! We’re being attacked! They’re coming right out of the walls!”

Marla Janssen: “Attacked? By what?” Bzzt.

“Hello? Hello?! Can you hear me?! Ah!”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Abraham Neumann: “Gotcha!”

Marla Janssen: “Be careful.”

Abraham Neumann: “Relax; it’s dead. Assuming it was ever alive. Jesus, this is fucked up. Yah! Makes no goddamn sense. If all it does is make these crazy bad things- Oh, shit. Oh, fuck me! Since when could anyone take that many bullets and still be standing?!”

Marla Janssen: “Since he died, at a guess. Give me a hand here.”

Abraham Neumann: “What the-?”

Marla Janssen: “We can trap it with the desk. Help me! Shit! Push, dammit!”

Abraham Neumann: “More than one way to skin a recombinated cat, you ugly fucker. We need a pipe, uh, something heavy, while it’s trapped.”

Marla Janssen: “‘Braham, look! The first one’s still alive!”

Abraham Neumann: “And this one isn’t as trapped as we thought. Ah, geez!”

Marla Janssen: “Shit! It’s fast!”

Abraham Neumann: “One second! Hey, ugly! Heads up! And heads off. And fucking stay down this time!”

Marla Janssen: “’Braham, we have to go. It’s just gonna keep making new ones.”

Abraham Neumann: “Right. Let me see if I can raise the doc. Neumann to Sciarello. Doc, can you hear me? Still nothing. Shit. Is it clear?”

Marla Janssen: “I think so!”

Abraham Neumann: “Alright, let’s head for Union! We need to get everyone together and out of here on the shuttles.”

Marla Janssen: “And go where? There’s a no-fly order in place. Mathius will have a fit if we take everyone up to the Ishimura.”

Abraham Neumann: “Then I’ve got two balls for his chin, because we are not staying here!”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

West Sector 13, Level 2

Tom Sciarello: “Did you find Carver?”

“No. Either his comm’s still out, or-”

Tom Sciarello: “This is insane! What are we doing?”

“Whatever we can. Are you still a real doctor or not, Tom?”

Tom Sciarello: “That’s not fair. This is way beyond our capacity.”

“Doesn’t mean we stop trying.”

Tom Sciarello: “But what makes you think anyone will come to the med-lab anyway? It’s chaos!”

“Because that’s where people will expect us to be, where people will come when they’re injured!”

Tom Sciarello: “You’re right. But if we get too many in here, we’re- What the hell?”

“Now what?”

Tom Sciarello: “The bodies! The suicides were all in here! Where the hell are they?!”

“Search me. Plenty of blood though.”

“I thought they were all taken to the ship.”

Tom Sciarello: “No. Carthusia kept them here. Against my wishes, I might add, not that they seem to make a damn bit of difference around here anymore. But… Never mind. Everybody wash up and get some gloves on. From what we’ve seen so far, it’s gonna be a long night. What was that? Don’t tell me we’ve got a leak, too. Oh… Oh, no…”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Union Square

“Out of the way!”

“Hey, tram’s here!”

“I was first!”

“Quit pushing!”

“Out of the way!”

“Stop shoving, will you?!”

“Move down! Move down!”

“Make some room!”

“It won’t move with this much weight! You’ll have to wait for the next one!”

“Bullshit!”

“Out of my way!”

“Go tell the computer to get moving!”

“The next one could be fifteen minutes away! We’ll die before then!”

“Get out of my way!”

“Hey, lady, you’re going the wrong way! What the hell? It’s your funeral.”

“Yes, I suppose it is.”

Abraham Neumann: “Oh, shit. Talk about gridlock.”

Marla Janssen: “Good luck trying to organize this crowd.”

Abraham Neumann: “Wanna bet?”

Marla Janssen: “Don’t be an idiot! Look, everyone’s heading for the shuttles anyway. Maybe we should just go on foot and help out at the bay.”

“There’s no room! Everybody just get back! Thank you! Jesus, what is wrong with you people? Hey, I told you to stop climbing all over! Nobody’s getting out of here if the load’s too… heavy.  Argh!”

“Run!”

Abraham Neumann: “Know what? You’re right. We could do with the exercise.”

Marla Janssen: “Oh, God.”

Abraham Neumann: “Everybody with me! To the shuttle bay!”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

East Sector 2, Level 1

Footsteps.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

South Sector 4, Level 6

“What the fuck are those things?”

Abraham Neumann: “You wouldn’t believe me if I told ya. Quit yakking and keep moving!”

“Bullshit! If you know something you’re not telling us-!”

Abraham Neumann: “The only thing I know is that bullets bounce off them, and they will fucking kill us if they catch us! Satisfied?! Ah, shit. Door pad’s not responding.”

Marla Janssen: “Move! Let me take a look.”

“You mean we’re trapped?! Find another way!”

Abraham Neumann: “There is no other way! Not unless you want to spend another two hours walking! Listen, the shuttles could be leaving right now, for all we know. This door is the only direct-”

“Got it.”

Abraham Neumann: “Fuck me.”

“Two hours, you said?! Doesn’t sound like such a bad idea to me.”

Abraham Neumann: “No! Everyone come on through. Quick!”

“Are you insane?! Those things-!”

Marla Janssen: “Those things are too busy with the bodies. He’s right. They’ll ignore us. But we have to hurry!”

“Why do we have to hurry? Are they eating those-?”

Marla Janssen: “Not exactly. It-It’s actually worse.”

“What could be worse than eating dead people?!”

Abraham Neumann: “Sh! Keep your voice down!”

“Wait!”

Abraham Neumann: “What?!”

“Alonso! Hey, hold on, buddy.”

Abraham Neumann: “No! Get back here!”

“Yah! You’re late for dinner!”

Abraham Neumann: “Quit screwing around, and get back here! We don’t have time for this-!”

“Fuck you! He’s coming with us! What-?”

“What the fuck is that?”

Abraham Neumann: “It’s a sign… a sign that we just ran out of time. Run!”

Chapter 6 Edit

“What the-? Ugh!”

Abraham Neumann: “We’re too late! They’re changing! Run!”

“They’re… They’re…”

Marla Janssen: “Colonists! Yeah! Move!”

“Wow!”

Abraham Neumann: “Trust me, it’s complicated!”

“Ugh!”

“Oh!”

Abraham Neumann: “Shit! Keep moving!”

“Fuck me! They can fly?!”

“Get it off! Get it- Ugh!”

Abraham Neumann: “C’mon! Keep moving! Through the door!”

Marla Janssen: “Look out! They’re blocking us in!”

Abraham Neumann: “Fuck that. Move it! Door’s closing!”

Marla Janssen: “’Braham, you can’t shoot them, remember?!”

Abraham Neumann: “Who said anything about them?”

Marla Janssen: “Oh, shit. Everybody, behind the wall! Get away from the door!”

Abraham Neumann: “Shuttle bay’s just down the hall! Go on!”

“This is the Unitologists’ fault, isn’t it? Why couldn’t they just leave things alone?!”

Abraham Neumann: “I’m not sure it would’ve made any difference.”

“But all the people who have died! What if we’re the only ones who…made it…?”

Abraham Neumann: “Oh, shit.”

Marla Janssen: “Wait… One… Two… There’s only five shuttles here. One must have left already.”

Abraham Neumann: “Then I guess there is a chance. Everybody, with me! Stay close!”

“Move away from the shuttle! We’re about to launch!”

Abraham Neumann: “Thank God, somebody’s getting out! How long is it for a round trip?”

Marla Janssen: “30 minutes, maybe more? Depends on how long it takes to get everyone off once they reach the ship.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“We’re away!”

“Come on! Get in!”

“We’ve made it!”

“Thank God!”

“How long ‘til we reach the Ishimura? We’ve got some injured back there.”

“Buddy, with this payload, we’ll be lucky if we can break orbit.”

“Come on, there’s still some shuttles left to go! We can all make it!”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Uh… Heh. Should it be wobbling like that?”

“What the…?”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“It’s no good! We’re carrying too many people! I’m taking her back down!”

“What?! No! Turn around! Get us to the ship!”

“I can’t!”

“Then I will!”

“What the hell are you doing?! Let go!”

“I’m taking us to the ship. I ain’t goin’ back down there.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“They’re… They’re coming back.”

“At a hell of a clip too.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Stop! We’re too low! Slow down, for God’s sake!”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Abraham Neumann: “Oh, shit. Run!”

Marla Janssen: “’Braham?”

Abraham Neumann: “Here. The hell happened? It barely even took off!”

Marla Janssen: “No idea. But that was every last shuttle we had.”

“You said you’d get us out of here! You said we’d be safe!”

Abraham Neumann: “Hey, I… I’m sorry, kid. I really thought we could make it.”

Marla Janssen: “Maybe we still can. We just need to call the ship.”

Abraham Neumann: “How? Comms have been down since planet-crack, remember?”

Marla Janssen: “So we go to the source… the main comm needle.”

Abraham Neumann: “That’s an hour’s walk! And for what? If comms are down, they’re down!”

Marla Janssen: “Relay is, sure. But if I can transmit directly through the needle, I could get a better signal, and maybe reach the Ishimura.”

Abraham Neumann: “You don’t seriously think that’s gonna work!”

Marla Janssen: “No. But I’m not gonna sit on my ass and wait to die! Coming?”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Oh my God… I’m ready… Make me whole…”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Abraham Neumann: “You sure it’s this way? Seems a little off the beaten track.”

Marla Janssen: “It’s unmanned. Only engineers come out here.”

Abraham Neumann: “I guess Cameron was right.”

Marla Janssen: “Who?”

Abraham Neumann: “Megavent super. He was the first guy to find this shit growing everywhere. Remember, I said that-”

Marla Janssen: “Wait. That door. It should be locked.”

Abraham Neumann: “Maybe somebody left it open when they ran for the shuttles.”

Marla Janssen: “Uh, huh. I told you, no permanent staff at the needle.”

Abraham Neumann: “Maybe someone got here before us.”

Marla Janssen: “Or something. Jesus, look at this stuff. What is it? What does it do?”

Abraham Neumann: “You mean, apart from smell really bad?”

Marla Janssen: “This isn’t looking good.”

Abraham Neumann: “That’s the understatement of the year!”

Marla Janssen: “No, I mean… Does this stuff grow outside too? Because if it’s growing over the needle, it might explain the problems.”

Abraham Neumann: “Let’s just find a terminal so you can do your thing.”

Marla Janssen: “I’ll need more than a terminal, ‘Braham! I have to reroute power, and I mean, look at this shit; it’s growing right through the ducts! It’s probably fucked every cable in this place!”

Abraham Neumann: “Hey, hey, come on. We’re gonna get through this. You’re a genius, remember?”

Marla Janssen: “What was that?”

Abraham Neumann: “In there.”

Marla Janssen: “This is where the power router should be… Oh…”

Abraham Neumann: “What the fuck…? Shit… Look! Is that… Cortez!”

Marla Janssen: “No. ‘Braham, we have to go! This is no good!”

Abraham Neumann: “Oh… Vera…”

Marla Janssen: “’Braham, snap out of it! Abort! Dammit! Abort!”

Abraham Neumann: “Oh, shit! We better hope that door lock’s not busted! Marla! Come on!”

Marla Janssen: “I’m right behind you-”

Abraham Neumann: “Marla!”

Marla Janssen: “’Braham! Ah!”

Abraham Neumann: “Marla! No, no, no! Oh, Marla… Oh…”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Abraham Neumann: “And that’s the whole story. It started twelve hours ago. I haven’t seen another living soul for the last six. They say there are no atheists in foxholes. Heh. But after what happened here, it’s more like the other way around. I’m gonna leave this recording. Who knows? You might see something that convinces you. But I doubt it. Don’t come looking for me. You may not like what you find.”

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