Payne wandered through the facility, once his commanding officer had made it clear that their current location was probably safe. He'd decided to go investigate the loading bay, since he had nothing better to do, and the de facto leaders of their two groups would probably appreciate having somebody take stock of everything they had at their disposal. What was he to think of the fact that another group had landed at exactly the same time near almost the exact same location? Eh, happy coincidence. We're quite the motley bunch. A pair of Qari, as well as a pair of Azaali, and a trio humans, gives the major races fair representation. And we've also managed to find ourselves with a few robots, and some outliers. The Halion, the Kasa, and... me.
Payne shrugged, he didn't much mind being the only Urhusasja around. From what he could remember of Rukhkah, he wasn't certain others of his kind would blend terribly well with this group of survivors. Of course, that was nothing compared to the walking stomping, talking screaming, irritable pissed off Halion they were saddled with. As far as the Cook was concerned, she had no business coming anywhere near his kitchen, and he hoped the leaders directed her at something equally large, foul-smelling, and mean. That thought gave him pause, as he reminded himself of the map he'd seen earlier, of the colony.
"Feynman, does this base have a kitchen, someplace to make food? Even a half-decent bar-top would do fine."
Payne reached the Loading Bay, and began rooting through the rows and rows of crates, some opened, some still sealed, all seeming long-abandoned. He scanned the labels, looking for the supplies of food that had hopefully been left behind in a hurry. He could use his Matter Analyzer if need be as well, rifling through the contents of boxes and scanning them to judge how suitable they were for consumption. The last thing Payne wanted to do was go scavenging, out where he could be on the menu, rather than composing a menu of his own.
Feynman's avatar appeared on Payne's helmet with a quick flicker, "The inventory list states that a large number of foodstuffs arrived fifty-eight years ago and were put in long-term preservation cases. Such cases would be stored in this loading bay. As for where these crates are I'm picking up cryostasis engines here." The AI put up an overlay on Payne's helmet leading him to a wall of storage containers, the one holding the foodstuffs and ingredients behind behind a few at the front. "As for cooking facilities the living quarters houses a small kitchen that may be of use, I've placed its location on your map"
Odd stopped outside of the colonys open doors, kneeling down to investigate the floors looling for clues to what happened. Drag of claws, bullet marks, anything. Not finding anything he grabbed a handful of sand and poured as much as he could across his suit. One of its useful functions was a tactical comoflouge that mimicked basic colors.
When he cwme up and entered the building his suit was the color of the sands with patches of white.
"Is the target in motion?" He asked to the AI.
"No, the subject within this stasis pod is not conscious. I must advise you that I have detected two distinct organisms within this stasis pod. Judging from the manner which one envelopes the other I suspect it to be a symbiotic relationship. As for the organism host, no records on this base or on this stasis pod provide information on its species. Based solely on its dimensions, I hypothesis the host to be a female human"
Buried SecretsA collab with @ManoftheNorth
Despite the fact that this colony looked like the aftermath of a warzone, the Med-Bay was rather well stocked. There were only a handful of medical supplies missing from the inventory list. "Whatever happened here was fast, there was no time to care for wounded. If I had to guess, these missing supplies were probably taken by the few survivors of whatever attacked this colony", Irisa's eyes scanned the room for clues but aside from the usual items found in a med-bay there was nothing out of the ordinary here. There was a computer terminal located in the Chief Medical Officer's office, perhaps they would find something there? "Here's hoping we finally get some answers", she said to Xi while sitting down at the computer. Booting it up there was no security lock on it, "Strange. Patient medical records would be kept here, why would they leave the files unprotected?" As she looked further and further into the files she could see the history of injuries and illnesses treated for each patient. "Xi, look at this. Almost every patient file here shows they were treated for lacerations, acid burns, and puncture wounds. How would workers on a mining colony get injuries like this? I was expecting lazer burns, broken limbs, concussions, but that's not the case here. It can't be animal attacks because they were working down that shaft out there. I want to say it was our unknown apex predator but something tells me that is not the case."
"Feynman, do any of the detected lifeforms on this planet possess the physiological capabilities to inflict such injuries?", Feynmen took only a moment to analyze the data before replying with a short "I'm afraid not"
"This doesn't make any sense. If it isn't the local fauna and it cant come from working in the shaft then what did this? Feynman, do the bodies in the station possess injuries like the ones in these files?"
"From what I have scanned there seems to be a variety in causes of death among the colonists. At the communication center there are bodies matching the files but with blunt force trauma as well. Moving further into the facility the causes of death match the injuries on this terminal but more severe. If I may offer a hypothesis ma'am, it seems that whatever killed these colonists started at the front entrance. The resulting panic causes a mob to trample those not fast enough to keep up. They were then killed by whatever was attacking the facility before it moved on to hunt down the initial survivors"
"So we have a timeline but we still dont know what did all this..Feynman, scan the room for any electronic devices, disregard medical equipment", her orders were cold and calculated in tone and the AI followed them without question. "Ma'am I am detecting a small data cube located within the right drawer of this desk"
Quickly opening the desk her eyes landed on the small metallic black cube which she grabbed and inserted into the port. In an instant a series of video files came on-screen in order from most recent to oldest. "The latest entry was made fifty-eight years ago, that's before the war's end...I suppose we start there", selecting the file, the first image to appear was that of an aged Qari male. Judging by his attire he was probably the Chief Medical Officer. His eyes were filled with sheer terror and pain yet the rest of his face carried with it an air of exhaustion. For the first ten seconds all the man did was struggle to breathe as he sat in the same chair Irisa was now in.
"My name is Dr. Makheon Isturios, I am the Chief Medical Officer of Instllation G0-M-74K3. I do not have much time so I will try to be short. This facility is a covert Imperial Bio-Engineering Lab. The surface compound was meant to conceal the true nature of the laboratory below. By now you must have noticed the deceased humans strewn about the colony and the design of their living quarters being rather...simplistic. These were human prisoners of war, we used them as test subjects for our experiments below. As to what those experiments were...it was the Malov.
Our emperor saw that desperate measures needed to be to taken if we were to win this war with the humans. Our mission here was to create a species of Malov that was obedient to our will. A Malov queen was captured on another planet and transported here where we had her breed specific species of their kind to be experimented on. At first our scientists tried to merge Qari and Malov DNA to create a hybrid species of our own. We tried to reverse to steal their gene manipulation for ourselves...ancestors forgive us.
When that failed we moved to neural interfacing to control them. At first we could have them perform basic commands but as we advanced the neural interface would reject the bond and cause fatal brain damage to the test subjects. We had only one other option, we combined the DNA of the Malov queen with that of one of our scientist, Dr.Ketoi Akestis. From there we had it breed another queen which we augmented heavilty with cybernetics. The result was a Malov queen with the consciousness of a Qari...at least we had thought so at first. The details of what followed are located on this data cube but I will give you a synopsis of what occurred.
Soon after reaching the optimal breeding age it began to birth other Malov at an alarming rate, their growth rate was so fast we couldn't contain them. Eventually they caused a containment breach and slaughtered everyone in the labratory below. Upon reaching the elevator shaft the creatures attacked the surface facility killing most of the staff and test subjects in the first few hours. As of now there are only five of us still alive including myself. The others have gone down into the sub level to try to kill that abomination. I've been told that if they do not return within four hours I am to cave in the elevator shaft and destroy the power core...It has been four and a half hours. I've already caved in the elevator shaft, unfortunately it took al the explosives we had. I suppose I will simply shut down the power and rip out the terminal wiring...there is no surviving this for me. To whoever is viewing this, I beg you, do not turn on the power to this facility. The mining drill is still operational and will clear the shaft if powered. Just leave this place or if you can then destroy it completely. Besides this data cube I am the only witness to what happened here...I will take an EVA suit and walk out into that wasteland till the ancestor's take me."
"By the Heralding Spirits..." Xi was completely unable to speak. He hadn't done more than nod and walk about the Med-Bay as they searched through it before finding the terminal. His hearing the viedo play brought only the greatest level of disgust and pain into his stomach. The Aaali was baffled and bewildered. He couldn't manage a look at the female Qari at the terminal. Xi took a moment to step away into the other room, it was there that he slowly took in a few deep breaths and then detached his helmet. As he did so he walked back to the main room and turned to the Qari before lifting off his helmet, the slow releaase created a growing glow from the helmet.
"Your people.. Your pride.. Your War.." Xi spoke as his helmet finally came off, his antlers forming and his "mask" shining as he breathed through the Azaali oxygen lung."You utterly destroyed a semblence of reality and morale understanding.. for war.. Your people did such things, because they feel the universe is theirs... and yet it is everyones.." Xi slowly put his helmet back on and he turned away again as he looked at the floor. He couldn't say what he did behind a helmet. He had to speak face to face, and yet he felt even then he wasn't done.
"Listen to me. I will not hate you, for your people. I will not out you, for your people. Peace is universal, and so is redemption. We must'n let them turn on the power, Irisara."
When the video ended, all that was left on-screen was the weary visage of the old Qari slumped in his chair. She had no words, this place and its experiments had gone too far. She did not care for humans but she knew of what the Malov were capable of and to think her own people tried to use it as a weapon. It may have been a different time but that did not excuse it. To hate humans for their use of the Heastros Virus meanwhile the empire attempted the same thing...all she could do was stare at the screen as Xi spoke.
"Thank you Xi, hopefully we can reach them before its too late", Irisa grabbed the data cube out of the port before heading for the door. Checking the map once more sheshe locatef the reactor room and ran as fasfast as sheshe could down the halls, the sight of the corpses she passed by replayed the video in her head over and over again. "We can't let any trace of this place exist. First we find a way off-world, then we destroy this facility for good"
It seemed as though fortune did not favor them for as soon as she entered the loading bay, the base's lights flickered on with a hum and whir. What's more the central drill reactivated and in a matter of seconds was clearing away most of the debris filling the shaft. Irisa was in full sprint at this point and upon entering the power core chamber she yelled out, "SHUT IT OFF NOW!" But it was no use, the drill had done its work and shut down once it sensed the shaft was cleared. For a moment there was silence, a long dreadful silence that seemed to drag on forever before finally releasing its grip over her with a loud schriek from beneath the ground. It was free.
"Everyone to the comm center, NOW!", her voice came through everyone's comm link. In a matter of seconds she was already there grabbing whatever wasnt bolted to the ground and stacking it against the windows and doors. "Someone help me block these windows! We need to reinforce this base as fast as possible! There should be plenty of stuff to block the access points with in the loading bay, get there and put what you find in front of every door and window in this place, HURRY!", she knew to fear what was coming, something like this couldn't be beaten by their small group. The most she could do was hold them off and pray for a miracle.