Chapter III – Questionable Ethics
Within the simulation was the quiet halls of the science station. The researchers and security personnel went about their business, most were artificially intelligent software. The test subjects that were in stasis blended in with the A.I. security force flawlessly. A voice came over the public address system that ordered a member of Marine Security to the hangar bay. He handed over his station and took the monorail to his assigned post, Mars hung ominously in the sky. From the outside world, Kronos watched his movements. After a while he dimmed his terminal and left his office to return to the testing area. As Kronos entered the lab, Dr. Mason looked over at him. “Sterilization process is complete, sir”, he said. “We have been authorized to begin level five testing, check your terminals for instruction” Kronos commands.
On the other side of the base another researcher, Dr. White, studied the recently possessed humans. The specimens were caged inside a small reinforced cell that was situated at a secluded side of the lab. The doctor was busy with a gruesome surgery of a still live former human. It was strapped to an operating table with its flesh splayed open and pinned. The doctor used a long instrument to blast glowing radiation on the apparent mutations. The subject screamed wildly as it fought against the restraints. The doctor eventually aborted the subject by throwing it into a disposal unit and quietly went about writing his report. He walked over to the cell and activated a terminal. The former humans were strapped in stray jackets and secured by metal arms fastened to the back wall. Dr. White smiled pleasantly as one of the subjects was shoved into an adjacent chamber to be prepped for examination. The possessed human was sterilized and fitted onto a cart, wearing a reflective straitjacket. Another specimen was neatly lifted into the the cell, the mechanical arms shifted along their track to accept another in the chain. The doctor wheeled the former human to an Automated Surgical Station and placed the subject inside. Mechanical arms cut away part it’s scalp and was fitted with neural implants to partially control its brain functions during the procedure, the subjects were known to be immune to all attempts to render them unconscious.
Marine Security monitored most of the experiments that occurred on the colony from bulky cameras placed in the corners of the labs. Most of the time when an accident occurs the marines can contain the threat with conventional UAC weaponry and bombard the area with DESO-radiation to stop the portals from appearing, in the few times when something goes wrong, Administration will self-destruct the entire facility from the comfort of their headquarters.
Elsewhere a Facility housed the only teleporter on site. Master Corporal Revok watched over a steady deployment of the colony’s dwindling population through it in a last ditch effort to claim ground in their inter-dimensional war. Five man teams were sent through at a time, it was all the UAC technology could handle. They were wearing environment suits and large packs, wielding plasma rifles and BFG 9000s. They approached the massive energy coils of the teleporter and the hardware came to life with a mighty flash of pulsating light. The “volunteers” were swallowed up by the magnificent light. The campaign was a lost cause, but the UAC officials always had ways of drumming up the last of the human race for xeno-missions.
Back in Kronos’ lab they were ready to start the next round of tests. Kronos and the other scientists were at their terminals, he entered the final command in the sequence. A set of panels, flush with the floor, slid apart and a coffin-sized capsule rose up from beneath. Thick hoses snapped off it as it opened and vented steam revealing the space-marine. He was outfitted in standard, white mega-armor with reflective patches. He was suspended from the capsule and he was placed, standing in the room. The capsule disappeared under the closing floor panels. The monorail in the simulation arrived at its station and the marine approached the large air-lock door of the hangar bay, he scanned the panel with the ID chip in his armor. ‘Klang-Wrrrrrr’, The door loudly slid upward and the marine stepped inside.
“Bring him out, Doctor” Kronos said to Campbell. Dr Campbell began a complicated cybernetic procedure to lower the intensity of the sensory input from the simulated environment and matched it with the perspective from the marine in the room while monitoring his brain-wave patterns for signs of pre-cognition. The marine made his transition without any notice at all, Kronos was monitoring Campbell’s terminal.
“Another flawless ejection, Doctor” he said. Campbell, clearly exerted from the task, bowed minutely in acknowledgment.
The hangar bay was perfectly silent. A set of two wide windows had a view of an adjoining part of the building as well as rocks, craters and Mars huge in the sky. There were four central columns in the central area, to the left was a staircase leading to a viewing tower flanked by two columns that supports the wired conduits for electronic commands, the interconnected system was spread through the many structures of the science station. In front of him was a short hall, leading to the door to the Aerospace Control Centre. Beyond that was a path stretching over hazard pits of chemical waste, which led to a non-functional airlock door to the shuttles. Just to his side was a glass security locker containing a plasma rifle and power-cell magazines. Kronos stood silently, arms at his back watching the puzzled marine walk about the replica. He turned to Mason, his face was that of stone, his glasses brightly reflected the light of the room.
“Open a level two, doctor” he commanded.
“Yes, sir” Mason hissed. He dramatically manipulated his terminal, then swung his chair around and stood to see the experiment commence. The marine was walking slowly toward the security cabinet. His ears perked up as a sudden vibration filled the room, strange whispering followed. “Whats going on?” he shouts, then before his eyes ribbons of energy danced in the air above the glowing symbol of pentagrams.
A green flash shot throughout the room. He was gripped in fear as Imps and large jawed demons appeared in all corners of the area, hissing and snarling in anger. The aliens looked upon him and attacked. The Imps threw their fireballs, he ran and dove behind a column. He drew his pistol and fired on the monstrous aliens. His hands were trembling as he emptied the magazine. The Imps dodged some of the shots, the ones that were hit continued to attack, barely fazed. He frowned and looked down at his firearm, then looked over at the security locker. Monsters were that way, too. He marched toward it, shooting furiously. He heard a gruesome sound, he turned his head and saw a hell knight stomping closer, fury burned in its eyes.
The Knight stopped and clawed at the air and the marine felt his mind being touched. In the secure observation room an alert notification came from Dr. Campbell’s terminal, the subjects brain-scans were showing disturbing signs.
“Subject exhibiting initial signs of neural intrusion” he said, unenthusiastically.
The marine stopped at the locker, turned to fire point blank into two Imps, splattering brains and blood all over his armour and the walls. He held his ID chip to the sensor plate and the locker slid open, he frantically grabbed for the the rifle, the armours magnetic belt-pack handled the task of stocking the magazines. He swung around and fired blobs of plasma at the nearby Imps, a demon flanked him and closed it’s jaws on his left arm, the marine blasted its head to ashes. The marine went running across the room, the hell Knight made another psychic attack against the marine, groping the air in a seductive, yet frightening fashion as it roared deeply.
The marine looked over at the Hell Knight as he went to level his eyes on the sights of the rifle. The hell Knight’s hypnotizing gestures captivated the marine. His head jerked back and forth, then fell to one knee, shaking. Campbell’s terminal registered the symptoms of alien possession, the Doctor frowned inwardly as he looked down at the data. He said nothing as he continued to watch with his colleagues. There was no need stating the obvious, the disturbing affliction was easily recognizable. The Imps and Demons continued to appear from green portals, they attacked the recently possessed human. It weakly handled the plasma rifle and fired at the hoards, striking the hell Knight, who became agitated. The former human turned a few more demons to smoking chunks before the stomping hell knight approached it and grabbed it by the back of its head. The former human’s head cracked in the alien’s grip. It screamed in a high pitch. The hell knight tore off its head, then an arm and a leg. They broke off with sickening, wet-sounding snaps, sending blood splashing into the air, painting the room. The hell knight roared in defiance, locking it’s eyes with those of the UAC researchers. It threw the mangled torso of the test subject at the observation room windows. The researchers were unmoved as they watched the experiment reach its bloody conclusion. The torso slid slowly down the hydrophobic glass, fell to the floor and was noisily eaten by the demons below. The lead researcher stood motionless watching the slaughter.
“Sterilize” he said as he continued to watch.