Dead Space: Marker Rising
By Rac Ward
Note: Dead Space and all materials therein are copyrighted to EA Games.
The lonely emptiness of the colony struck Isaac as being rather odd. It is hard to believe that days prior it had been alive with the sounds of workers busy cracking the hard surface of Aegis 7. The only sign of life on the barren surface was the colony. The occasional dust storms had been the only reprieve for the workers from stepping foot outside of the colony. Not even a shred of plant life could find it’s roots. The winds had stripped any of the soil only leaving the hard bedrock bound like iron. What remained of the colony was like a lifeless shell that echoed with the voices of hundreds. The torment of their final moments lay spattered on the walls and floors. Bloody hand prints where they clung as they were pulled into the darkness. Barricades stood as erected monuments to the utter futility that hadn’t seeped into the minds of the survivors. Organic masses grew over the walls and floors renting them into ghastly shapes. The warped metal and growth attached to it created sickly looking cathedrals of soggy death. The pews stained with puss and blood intermingled with the occasional silent patron. Who lay sitting or laying with glassy eyes open and full of terror, mouths agape in an silent scream.
Walking down the long dark tunnels he twists his head side to side looking into the different rooms as he passes by. The light from his plasma cutter isn’t even strong enough to pierce the darkness. He notices the frantic flashing of a log as it lays on the ground. The flashing almost begs him to pick it up. He cautiously bends over to pick it up, his plasma cutter held high aiming at the doorway just in case. Pressing the button on the utmost right hand corner an disembodied voice emanated from it. “My name is Sergeant Tim Jackson with P-SEC. If anyone is alive to find this get out while you can! Get the fuck out! All of this shit seems unreal, I knew those crazy Unitologist bastards would pull a stunt like this. They just should have left that damn Marker alone. The shit really hit the fan when all those people killed themselves in Union Square. I watched it on one of the security monitors. What the fuck was that all about? Too much bad recycled air or whatever. Every Unitologist has become a head case, as if their religion wasn’t bad enough. I am sorry for all this rambling…my wife was one of those who killed themselves in Union Square. All of this started when a dig team found the Marker. I told the Commander that Jen Barrow shouldn’t have led the team. I knew if they found anything she couldn’t be trusted to keep a level head. She and the others who found the Marker are now confined to their quarters.
All of them flipped shit, violent acts started to rise as soon as the Marker was brought into the colony. We only had two incidents before the Marker was brought here, and both of those were nothing compared to what came next. The busiest place in the entire colony was the morgue. Bodies started to pile up, the Commander didn’t really seem to know what was causing it. Shit I don’t think anyone had a clue. Me and Neumann were the only ones who saw what the core of the problem really was it was the Unitologists and their damn religion. My wife Denise was a big supporter of it, on the surface I supported her since she was my wife. But as soon as the Marker was brought into the colony she changed, everyone changed. The Marker became her entire world. Constantly talking about it, staring aimlessly at the vid logs of it. To be truthful the damn thing crept me out. Those pulsating red markers on the black smooth surface was almost hypnotic if you stared at it long enough. The way people walked so quietly in it’s presence was annoying. It wasn’t like the damn thing was going to suddenly talk and tell everyone to stand still. Apparently Neumann’s talks with Carthusia hadn’t made a dent. He was still of the opinion that the Marker is a holy relic and that it would be transferred to the Ishimura when it arrived. Shit!!!!” Isaac hears five shots that echo out of the log and across the empty room.
Shining the light on the floor he sees empty discarded bullet shells. In the corner of the room a couple of necromorph corpses lay piled against the twisted remains of a vent from which they burst forth from. Isaac looks away from their pale angry glares. Isaac hears heavy breathing on the log. “Damn…Those bastards are clever. I didn’t suspect they would use the vent. Well, like I was saying before I was rudely interrupted, the Marker was transferred to the Ishimura. Even with the Marker gone this place was still an insane asylum. I caught Davis, one of the engineers trying to decapitate Nurse Johnson with a line cutter. As soon as I told him to stop and drop the cutter he turned and looked at me. I think at that moment I drop a load in my pants. His face was gaunt and pale. His eyes had sunken into his head leaving them looking like black pits. He fired the Cutter at me. I managed to duck behind some crates, I then pulled out my sidearm and shot him. He was hit twice in the chest and once in the head. As I put my weapon away the body rose off of the floor, apparently one of my bullets had only grazed his head. He pounced on me like some wild animal the wounds to his chest didn’t even seem to effect him at all. I tried to reach for my sidearm with my hand but he pinned that to the ground. He putrid breath made me want to vomit. As he pressed the Cutter to my head saying “Later, you bastard.” Johnson whacked him over the head with a metal pipe. He slumped over to the side. As I got up I noticed that he was dead. The pipe had caught him in the temple and there was now a steadily growing puddle of blood extending across the floor. Johnson at that moment fainted at the sight off what she had done. I caught her in my arms and radioed for some back up and the coroner. I later learned that Davis had been issued sedative pills to help him sleep. But they hadn’t been working so he came after Johnson who issued them to him.
A couple of days later as I was walking down Vent Shaft 27. I noticed this organic mass growing on the walls. As I walked closer to it, it seemed to pulsate like a beating heart. I pulled out a glow stick and shook it. Immediately the surrounding darkness was cast aside in the wake of a eerie green glow. The organic mass was wrapped all the way around the top part of the shaft. It had caught the giant fan at the end of the tunnel and was now blocking the air from circulating. On the wall to my left I saw the scorch marks where some of the repair teams had tried to burn it away but this didn’t seem to effect the shit at all. As I pulled out my walkie talkie to radio to the Commander that we needed another repair team to come down here again and try to burn the stuff off of the walls again. The whole shaft shook rather violently, at first I didn’t take any notice since I knew that Planet Crack was today. But the communications went out, and the emergency lighting didn’t kick on in the tunnel.
I moved my glow stick back and forth in front of me trying to find the switch to open the airlock door. But as I put my finger on the switch, I heard a rustling sound emanate from behind me. I will never forget what stepped into the light for as long as I live. The hair on the scalp lay in patchy clumps that were twisted and covered in grime. The glassy eyes fixed solely onto me and it held my gaze. The lower jaw was missing leaving these twitching worm like appendages hanging from the upper jaw. The clothing this thing was wearing was shredded but the logo of CEC was clearly visible on the chest. The creatures hands had these things that looked like bony scythes coming out of the palms while the feet had transformed into a two toed structure with the original pair hanging off of the back of the ankle. As I reached down for my sidearm, the creature noticed my movement and rushed at me roaring like a wounded animal. I quickly fired three rounds into the chest to drop it to the ground but it continued to charge anyway. Finally I shot out it’s knee caps and it feel to the ground with a thud. But still it continued to drag itself along the floor, I emptied the magazine into it’s head and finally it came to a stop.
As I exited the tunnel I entered into a mob of people running in every which direction. It kinda looked like rush hour traffic in New York City. From the far end of the hallway the walls buckled and those things came rushing through. A bloody mist erupted from the crowd of people still at the other end of the ruined hallway. I tried to move against the tide but found myself swept up by it. I managed to make it into an elevator to escape the throng of people, pressing the lighted button to go up. The doors closed and the elevator lurched upwards. As the elevator left the sub-level and enter onto the barracks level of the colony I was thrown to the floor with the force of a car crash. The walls bent in every which direction and there was the sound of metal grinding against something. I tried to pry the doors open with my hands but they were bent. Looking around I saw the emergency exit on the ceiling of the elevator. Luckily it slid open, as I climbed out to see what I the elevator smashed into I discovered more of that organic shit growing across the elevator shaft blocking an ascent further upwards. Taking out my sidearm I flicked the switch to turn on the flashlight located underneath the barrel of the gun. As I shined the light around I saw a vent that I could crawl through until I was able to get into the area I wanted to go. I climbed into the vent and tried to radio the Commander but all I got was static. Then I tried Neumann. His voice crackled over the static saying “This is Neumann, Jackson is that you.” I replied, “Yes it is me.” Neumann asked where I was and I told him I was in a vent on the Barracks Level. I managed to bust out a vent over the ceiling of one of the barracks. Jumping down and flashing my light around I found a horrible sight.
Most of the bunks had been torn open and the people who had been pleasantly resting before were laying mutilated in various ways in their bunks. Some of them had been dragged out of bed before being decapitated. Others were impaled some many times in their chest that it had fallen apart. As I made my way out of the room a voice called out “Wait, don’t leave me here.” Looking around I noticed an outreached hand coming from a pile of corpses in the corner of the room. I rushed over to the pile and grabbed the hand pulling hard against the dead weight of the bodies. Gradually a figure arose from the pile, it was a women. She was probably 5’6 with a slender build. She had dirty blond hair and green eyes. Her skin was pale like the moon. But it was smeared with the gore from the bodies she was covered in. I asked her, “What were you doing in that pile?’She replied, “I was hiding from whatever those things were. I was taking a nap when the screaming began. I noticed that the thrum of the lights had gone away and the emergency lights had kicked on. When I opened my bunk just a crack, I saw many of my bunk mates rushing about. The vents above burst and these twisted things came out. People started to die, there was blood everywhere. It happened so fast that I fainted. But when I came to probably a few minutes later it was really quiet. Everyone was dead, I managed to grab a few of my bunk mates bodies and cover myself in them thinking those things wouldn’t notice me and well I guess I was right.” I shook my head and said, “Well we can’t stay here. We have to find somewhere safe.” I grabbed a couple of Plasma Saws off the ground and said, “Do you know, how to use one of these?” She shook her head yes. I give her one and we exited the room. Neumanns voice came back over the comm’s. “Jackson report in are you still there?” I replied back, “Yeah, I still here. The vent I was in must have blocked the signal.” He asked where I was heading. I told him that I was heading for the nearest tram. He told me that we would meet up with each other at the tram by the Barracks entrance.
The walk to the tram must have been the longest in my life. Every sound caused one to turn and look into the dark empty rooms. The slightest twitching of a corpse of some poor soul was enough to strain the strongest nerves. The faces of the fallen were to horrible to look at, their mouths open and twisted. Hands outreached in a silent gesture of help as if they were calling from the grave to bring their souls back into this realm of existence. As we passed one of the rooms I saw a person pouring themselves a glass of whiskey. I guess in the deepest parts of space something’s never change not even when all you have never know is coming down around you. But I guess that was his way of waiting for the end that was soon to come. Every shadow seemed alive, always following in your wake. It tried to penetrate your soul choking off the beat of your heart.
Eventually we reached the entrance to the tram. Neumann was calmly sitting on a bench flick a cigarette around in his hands. The fact that a broken body of a women lay two feet away didn’t seem to effect him. He looked up at me as I approached. His face was gaunt and his eyes had sunken into his head. He exuded exhaustion from every orifice on his body. He said, “About time you got here Jackson. What the hell took you?” “Well it is a pretty long distance from where we were to here.’He replied, “Yeah well I don’t blame you. You have to watch your step in this place otherwise you will end up in a world of shit.” I looked around and asked, “Where’s Marla? I thought she was with you.”“She went to find some more ammo off the bodies of some of the officers we passed. Back that way.” He pointed to his left down the hall. He looked behind me and saw the women that I had found in the Barracks and asked, “So who’s she?” I turned to look at her and said, “To be honest I don’t know. I found her hiding under a pile of corpses.” Then I asked her, “What is your name Ms.?” “My name is Veronica.” I smiled and said, “Hi Veronica, My name is Tim and this fellow here is Abe.” She looked past me and at Neumann. Neumann weakly waved hello, then went back to aimlessly looking at the ceiling.“Where’s Commander James? I have tried to get through but the communication has been shit since the crack.”Neumann replies, “The Commander is dead. Along with all the personal with him. Marla and I can across their bodies when we entered the station. They turned into those things and well we had to re-kill them all over again.” I sat down on the bench next to Neumann pressed the palms of my hands to my head wiping the sweat off of my face. “The Commander always seemed more of a brawler than a leader. I hope at least he didn’t go down without a fight.” Neumann doesn’t reply he sits still just looking around at the ceiling.
From the other end of the hall Marla comes running up to the bench where Neumann and I are sitting. Veronica takes a looks as she comes running up. Marla says, “Jackson, is that you? I thought you were surely dead. We haven’t met any other P-SEC personal since Neumann and I met up.” I reply, “Yep, I am still alive and kicking well maybe not kicking.” I gesture to Veronica and say, “Marla this is Veronica. I found her in the Personal Barracks.” Veronica waves hello then goes back to reading a advertisement on the wall for Sun Cola. I look down at the clips of extra ammo and say, “Hey Marla, Can you spare some of that ammo I am nearly out of it.” She looks at the Plasma Saw in my right hand saying, “Why? I bet that tool works better on those things than our sidearm’s do.” I nod in agreement but reply, “Yes they do, however I figured I would use my sidearm as a back up in case the saw malfunctioned or something.” Marla hands over a couple of clips of ammo and I put them in my pant pocket. Neumann gets off of the bench saying, “Well lets get going.” I nod in agreement and stand up.
Neumann presses the switch to open the door to the tram when it opens I am shocked to see a crowd of people trying to squeeze their way into the trams. As one of the trams leaves the station another pulls up and within a couple of seconds is already filled to capacity. But people still try climbing on board, it was complete chaos. People were being shoved out of the way and others fell onto the tracks of the tram way. A P-SEC officer stood trying to hold back the crowd saying, “This ones full. There is no more room wait for the next one to pull up.” A person from the crowd screamed angrily, “Wait! Wait for what? For those fucking things to find us and kill us I don’t think so!” The crowd surged forward again. The officer did his best to keep back the crowd. As we went over to aid him, a twisted form appeared on top of the tram. The officer looked up in horror as the thing roared. It dove into the crowd killing the officer, the proceeded inside the tram. I could see as the doors to the tram close it closed around the body of the officer taking it on a drag. People tried to scramble out of the tram through the narrow space left open by the door because of the body it was dragging. The glass windows on the tram were covered in blood. The crowd seeing more of those things emerge from the tram way immediately panicked and ran in every which direction.
Some of the people were trampled under foot as they were knocked to the floor. That was the last time I saw Neumann and Marla. I caught a glimpse of them through the crowd but they disappeared in the surge of people. As I made it into a hallway next to the tram station I looked around to see if Veronica was still with me. She wasn’t there. As the last of the crowd dissipated from around the station I counted at least thirty or more bodies of people who were crushed by the panicked crowd. The body lying nearest to the hallway where I was standing was that of Veronica’s. She was laying on her back, her eyes were wide open staring at me. Her Plasma Saw lay at her side, her chest had sunk in and the best I can figure is that she had tried to follow me into the hallway but tripped and was trampled. I took one last look at her body then turned away from the tram and down the hall.
I made my way towards the Shuttle Bay, I figured that it was my only way out of this place. There was nothing I could do to help anyone. I was now in this for my own survival. The closer I got to the Bay it seemed that the air got hotter. When I finally reached the doors to the Bay, I smelled smoke and something that smelled like a barbeque on a warm summers day. As the Bay doors opened I was blown back from the heat of the fires. What remained of the shuttles were now twisted pieces of metal. Some of the fires still raged, all around there were bodies. I walked to the other side of the Bay and I could swear that my feet never touched the ground because there were so many dead bodies. I looked back hopelessly at the shuttles and the victims of whatever had happened here. At that moment I gave up hope. What was the point? Why should I continue on? There was no escape from this place. No place to run and hide. Sure I had the means to defend myself if necessary and the ammo to back it up. But really what was the point to all of this? I was as good as dead, no point in trying to deny it. I sat down on a bench holding my head in my hands and wept. There was nothing I could do, no one I could help. My wife was dead and so was Veronica. I couldn’t find Neumann, the comm’s were down. I couldn’t contact the Ishimura for help. I drew my sidearm from it’s holster and pressed it to my head. At least this was the one thing I could control, my own death. As my finger squeezed harder on the trigger I counted the beats of my heart figuring it would be the last time I heard anything. An image of my wife popped into my head, she seemed to be saying, “Don’t do it Jim. Live on for me please.” It is funny how we have memories of those we love come to us just as we are about to die.
I pulled the pistol away from my head and obeyed what my wife had said. Putting back my sidearm I stood up from the bench and walked deeper into the silent colony. All that was nine hours ago. I managed to find this storeroom and barricade myself in. I don’t know how much longer it will hold. If those bastards can find away in here I am finished. I haven’t seen or heard from anyone since then. It is getting pretty lonely in here, maybe I will just go out and find one of those things and let them take me. At least then I can never be alone again. Well that’s all I have to say. Maybe if anyone finds this they will be educated not to stay for very long in the colony. Not that any of that matter’s. This is Sgt. Tim Jackson, Signing Off.”The log abruptly ends. Isaac stands alone in the empty room listening as the sound of Tim’s voice fades away in the darkness.
He turns to exit the room, he turns seeing a pile of rubbish in the corner. He figures that is what remained of Tim’s barricade. They looked like they were placed there and not torn away violently from the doorway. Tim must have left and where he went or what happened to him Isaac didn’t know. It was probably for the best that he didn’t know. The thuds from his heavy boots reverberated off of the walls of the empty hallway. He was the only living thing that remained inside. For everything else around him was dead and gone. The colony had become a silent mausoleum to the dead on this dusty planet of Aegis VII. The End