Among Us

There had been silence within the station for so long that it seemed sacrilege to make noise. You could feel the weight of the quiet in the air. It could turn even the loudest of voices to a whisper. Unfortunately, Plisken and Pornsak had little choice but to be loud.

Huffing and puffing, the two Dwarfers pounded down the corridor, helpfully labelled Corridor 16-C. What didn’t help was that neither Plisken nor Pornsak new where Corridor 16-C was in relation to, say, literally anywhere else on the station. Had they the time to stop and chat, their new friend/baggage might have been able to help them. However, since its rescue, the mechanoid hadn’t been awfully keen to give directions. That could be that it was obeying the tried and true motto of ‘Stranger Danger’. On the other hand, it could have been adhering to the equally true motto of ‘Cyber Zombies Are Not Very Friendly’.

Feeling the enemy at his heels, Plisken stopped and turned. Plisken’s weapon let out a deep, throaty bang. It was then followed by a short chorus of metal snapping and crunching as the rifle’s bolt action was deftly operated. Then, a clattering of the dispensed shell on the floor. Music to Plisken’s ears.

‘Could you please bring a better gun next time?’ shouted Pornsak as he turned and frantically let lose a volley of laser fire.

‘Look, you’ve barely hit anything!’ exclaimed Plisken, turning again to run now that another wave of zombies had been dealt with. But something was tugging at his coat. A hand, thin and blue but holding on tight had grasped at his coat’s tails. On the ground, a wounded but not dead zombie clawed at the fabric, desperate to gain further purchase.

Plisken couldn’t pull away. He felt fingernails tear through, first, the leg of his jumpsuit and then through his skin. The went deep, scraping away a chunk of flesh. A smattering of lasers from Pornsak’s gun battered away the creature, leaving Plisken to getaway.

‘That was one you tried to shoot!’ shouted Plisken, trying to ignore the bleeding.

‘Maybe if you didn’t take five minutes to shoot one it wouldn’t be an issue!’

‘When I shoot them, they stay dead!’

‘Sirs, sirs,’ said the mechanoid, finally breaking its silence, ‘There is an emergency bulkhead I can activate on Corridor 17-R.’

‘Where is Corridor 17-R?’ came the panicky shout of Pornsak.

There was a small whirr from within the mechanoid’s brain and then a thunderous clatter. A great steel door came crashing down behind them. A horrendous pounding on the other side of the door came as a wave of zombies crashed against it. Then, there was silence. Quiet returned.

‘Do you think we are safe?’ whispered Pornsak as both he and Plisken stared and the closed door.

Plisken lent in close and whispered. ‘No, not especially.’

‘Sirs, I must thank you for my rescue,’ said the mechanoid.

‘Aye, and now you can rescue us,’ said Plisken, slinging his rifle over his shoulder. ‘Corridor 17-R. Any idea where that is?’

‘Yes, yes, I believe you approached from Docking Bay 6? We can reach it through Corridor 29-Q.’

‘Left or right?’ said Plisken, ‘Just, left or right.’

‘Right, sirs, let me lead the way.’

‘You know, in my day –‘

‘Don’t start,’ warned Pornsak, ‘Please. Better update Cass and let her know we aren’t dead.’

‘Smeg, I think I dropped my vox,’ cursed Plisken, padding about in his coat pockets.

‘Let me guess, in your day you used two tins of beans and a piece of string?’

‘Och, don’t be ridiculous. We used empty tins of beans.’

On the other side of the bulkhead door, Plisken’s vox unit was picked up.

‘Plisken, you’re here!’ exclaimed Jamie, rushing up from a pile of something that was taking up a good portion of Engineer’s main room. There were bits of pipe, bits of crap, bits of metal. Surely, it would have made sense to Jamie.

‘Yes,’ said Thomas Plisken, ‘Reporting as requested.’

‘Haha,’ laughed Jamie awkwardly, ‘Right you are. Listen, if you are all ready to get going with your cannon idea then I just need you to run me through what you did on the Ark Royal.’

‘Cannon idea,’ repeated Thomas Plisken.

‘I only need the brief overview really,’ said Jamie, turning to the Engineering console, ‘I can probably fill in the details.’

Something then caught Thomas Plisken’s eye. Although the Dwarf’s main engine, or at least one of the important ones, was safely encased in a vast cavernous silo only usually visible through the main window, there was something else occupying the deck. Sleek and sophisticated, the object clashed horribly with the budget constraints of the JMC’s handiwork. This even had twinkly lights that twinkled in a pattern. On purpose.

‘Plisken,’ said Jamie, snapping his fingers, ‘The details for your big cool weapon-y thing that’s apparently going to save us all?’

‘What is this object?’ asked Thomas Plisken.

Jamie sighed. ‘I suppose, you don’t really come down to Engineering often. Don’t you remember? This is the subspace drive that we nicked from the –‘ Jamie coughed, ‘Sorry, but you remember, don’t you? Or is a senile thing? Or a drunk thing? Did you find beer on the space station?’

‘Subspace,’ repeated Thomas Plisken.

‘Yes, yes, subspace. Listen, I could rattle off some technobabble like this was Star Trek or something –‘

‘It creates a brown hole in N-Space to allow quantum threading along subspace rifts,’ said Thomas Plisken, eyes darting up and down the glinting central column.
‘Hmm yes,’ said Jamie, beginning to get irritated, ‘Big ship go zoom. Listen, I didn’t think you cared about engineering. Or science. Or things that didn’t go bang.’

‘I require further explanation,’ said Thomas Plisken, not taking his eyes off the subspace drive.

Jamie glanced at the countdown that had been helpfully plastered all available view screens. At least the ones that still worked.

‘Right, so the thing you have to know about subspace is –‘

Thomas Plisken put out his right hand to touch the drive. Jamie looked in horror. There was a sizzling and the smell of burnt flesh.

‘The thing you have to know is that it is very, very hot,’ said Jamie, and he shot over to snatch Thomas Plisken’s hand away. ‘Smegging hell, Plisken, what do you think you are playing at?’

Jamie looked down at Thomas Plisken’s right hand. The burnt flesh, the red skin. The skin. The skin?

‘You must explain more about the subspace drive,’ said Thomas Plisken again.

‘Hang about, there is something not quite right here,’ said Jamie looking at the hand which should have been metal.

Just as the pieces came together inside the jumbled mess of his mind, Jamie felt a heavy hand strike the back of his head.

‘The engineer has been acquired, returning to the mainframe,’ said Thomas Plisken. Which frankly was quite a strange thing to do since only the unconscious Jamie would have heard him.

‘Cass!’ shouted Plisken, as he, Pornsak and the mechanoid rounded a corner, ‘Looks like you’re coming to find us.’

‘You mean rescue you? I thought you had made it back to the Dwarf?’

‘Nope, I think someone’s getting senile,’ laughed Plisken, stroking his balding head.
‘Besides,’ said Pornsak, ‘He lost the vox unit.’

‘Plisken! For the last time, stop losing the vox units!’

‘Listen,’ said Plisken, trying to calm the tensions, ‘Let’s not get bogged down in who lost what. What matters is that we are here together. Now lead on, Officer of the Day.’

Cass looked at him for a moment. ‘You really are senile, aren’t you? The way out is that way behind you.’

‘No, it’s down Corridor, uhm, 34-W?’

‘The sign says this is 59-O,’ said Pornsak, pointing at a large sign overhead.

‘Same thing,’ said Plisken, with a shrug.

‘I’m afraid, I haven’t been entirely truthful with you, sirs,’ said the mechanoid as it pressed a few buttons on a nearby door, ‘But you have to understand, it was going to kill me.’

The door opened and revealed colossal computer mainframe. A web of wires crisscrossed the room, and the drones of dead humans and Fazon stood guard. Held tight by two of these guards, one of which looked suspiciously like Plisken.

‘Welcome,’ boomed a voice.

<<OOC - Hope you don't mind, I interpreted the weird voice messages as being 'imposter Plisken'. I tried to tie in your idea of time-shenanigans with weird time fluctuations though! (how did imposter Plisken get to engineering so quickly? How did he get back to the computery bit so quickly? How did Cass et al. get to Plisken so quickly? How does time move so lowly during the week?) I left it open to as if imposter Plisken overpowers Jamie or not. Excited to see where you take it!

I also left room for you Locke to get to the point where Cass and Plisken meet. Looking forward to see what happens to Cass and anyone else that come into the station. Perhaps Jamie can meet us there too with some information gleemed from his encounter with imposter Plisken?

Looking forward to seeing what people do with the computery bad guy!>>

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