Collisions On Aether: Chapter 2 – Abandon(ed) Base
Chapter 2 is complete, and our heroine is searching for answers.
I am seriously in love with the introduction part of this game. Slowly advancing from the ship and through the GalFed trooper base, with all the small and large hints that can be read from everything you scan. It’s a wonderful little puzzle, and a great example of environmental storytelling.
Regular text is Samus’s thoughts; bold is Wiki and other instances of computer text/speech; “” designates speech; cursive is the narrator.
I examine my surroundings to make sure the place is truly safe for the ship to stay. There is always the chance that something might stumble across it, but the area seems secure.
Now that I’m giving them a second look, I can see that a lot of the stone pillars around here are actually artificial. Scans reveal that they hold power grids, motivator units and energy-projection arrays. I do not actually see a way to activate any of them, so I can really only speculate on their function. It is probably safe to assume the Luminoth constructed them, and perhaps they were once part of a defencive system. Or they could be for entertainment or record-keeping. If the energy projections can take the form of holograms, perhaps this is some sort of elaborate outdoor theatre? That I just happened to ruin by knocking down a few of the columns. Oops. I won’t even speculate on the kind of fine that would earn me.
I bring up the map to check the direction towards the GalFed ship. Huh… apparently there are some Federation signals really close by. Weak, but confirmed. Past those webs. According to Wiki’s analysis, those are likely created by local fauna called ‘Splinters’. Firing at the webs themselves has little effect, but hitting the acid-filled digestive balls at the centre causes the construction to disperse rapidly.
Inside the cave the path forks pretty quickly, but one route is blocked by a giant gate. There is writing on it, and by scanning I can detect a complex locking mechanism inside, but without a way to translate this text I doubt I’ll be able to get it open.
This leaves me with the other path, which presents a steep drop. As I look down there, I can see it’s unlikely I’d be able to get back up. It is however where the signal is pointing to, so I have little choice.
Samus drops down into the hole and lands at the edge of a cavern.
Galactic Federation storage crates, jury-rigged equipment… dead critters. Looks like GalFed procedure, alright. It appears this cavern is used for storage, with parts of a ventilation system on the walls re-purposed to dispense pesticide. I assume to deal with any wildlife trying to destroy or run off with the equipment. Judging by these dead splinters, it seems to have worked. The dispensers are nearly out of pesticide, though. Could be it’s the last of what they had, or could be they’re… no, I’d prefer confirmation before jumping to any such conclusions.
I need to move further into the base. The security gate is blocking my way, and while I’m sure a power bomb would deal with it, it would also vaporise everything in this cavern. Let’s see here… yes, I can access the locking mechanism. With a few tweaks, then triggering these, and voilà! I’m in.
There are more dead splinters in here, but these were killed by weapons fire. Lots of weapons fire. The signatures match GalFed weaponry, and it’s way more than would have been needed to put these things down. Curious. Troopers aren’t prone to such overkill.
“Wiki, are you detecting any life-signs nearby?”
“Only local fauna, Samus. No human life-signs within range of my scanners.”
They might have abandoned base because of all these splinters. I don’t truly believe that though.
The way they’ve re-purposed their equipment to serve as security is actually a bit impressive. They’ve been inventive.
With a hiss the re-purposed cargo pod gate retracts as Samus activates its panel, and she moves inside.
This is quite the amount of computers and monitoring gear they’ve set up. Were they carrying this stuff as cargo, or did they have to strip the ship? Let’s see what these things say.
Communications was taken offline because of wiring failure. Whoever logged it says the likely culprit is ‘local hostiles’. I guess they didn’t get on well with the local critters, though I suppose the ones blasted apart by weapons fire back there could have told me that.
This one talks about hostile forces… an odd classification for a bunch of wildlife. Did they run into someone, or something, else? They must have had a reason to go down to the planet. These logs mention troopers lost in action. Why were they setting up a gas trap? And this console… why hello. Map data.
She moves over and taps into the databanks, downloading all the mapping information the troopers have acquired.
This seems to cover everything from here to the ship, and some of the surrounding areas. If they were constantly under siege, I’m impressed they managed to scout this much. Right, the rest of this room doesn’t seem to hold anything useful, I’ll just move on-
As the door slides open, the bounty hunter stops in her tracks, and after a moment she enters the next room slowly.
By all that is holy… how many of them… five. Five troopers. Maybe some of them are still… no, scan results are conclusive. All dead. This one died in an extreme state of fear… cardiac arrest… this one fell victim of friendly fire… accident? This one is being broken down by digestive fluids, and I can’t even tell cause of death because of it… this one fell victim to excessive blunt trauma… must have been at least thirty individual attackers… and the final one… toxic shock, from bites or stingers carrying venom.
And these critters… worker drones of the splinter hives… handling the bodies so casually, as if they’re just food to be processed… circle of life, isn’t that what they say?
She looks straight ahead and strides on, holding back any emotion she might be feeling, though a couple of the drones on the ground burst apart after absorbing a bolt of energy from her power beam. In all likelihood she could have simply stepped around them.
More death and destruction in this room as well. What could have made the creatures so aggressive? Hey, some of these troopers still have fairly intact armour computers. I should be able to pull some log files off of these.
Galactic Federation Marine Corps
Personal Log Entry, GSGT C. Benet
There’s something wrong with the lock systems in this section. They’ve failed twice, locking us out until someone came along to let us in. If that happens again while we’re playing “bait” for those things… well, at least we’ll go out fighting, instead of hiding in the control area.
‘Those things’… the splinters? Let’s see what the next one has to say.
Galactic Federation Marine Corps
Personal Log Entry, SPC B. Reevs
I don’t like this plan. This hive is a small portion of a larger network. There may be dozens of hive systems like this across the planet, and they may all be linked. Destroying this one may buy us time, but it may also provoke the other hives into attacking.
I think I understand how they were overwhelmed now, but this doesn’t really explain what provoked the local creatures to begin with. Now I need this cargo pod door out of the way, but that requires fixing this power malfunction and restoring the access panel. If I morph I should be able to get under here, and follow the cables.
In a process no one dares claim to understand, maybe not even Samus herself, she curls up and becomes a literal ball, rolling under the gap beneath the cargo pod door before unfurling into her regular self on the other side.
Now let’s see what have h- whoa! That’s a big critter. It doesn’t correlate to anything in my databanks, but I can detect a total of 242 impacts from trooper high-energy weapons. That must have severely depleted their ammunition reserves.
The computer logs here say that efforts to stop the local fauna were in vain as they’d simply tunnel around gates and shields. And I might have found the last entry they ever made in here; a call to arms against hostiles breaching the base. Not stamped that long ago either. Had I come a day or two earlier… if the Federation had called me in immediately… no point in pondering that now though.
I see where the cables lead, but the regular way in seems to have collapsed. I should be able to exploit the maintenance shaft though. Even with the cables there should be just enough room.
Again she morphs back into ball mode and roll along the cables until she enters the generator room.
Another war zone. The splinters were trampling over eachother to get in here. It seems the troopers were reduced to melee once ammunition ran out. I wonder if they felt better going out fighting? Let’s see, there should be a panel around here.
“Samus, I detect an unknown biochemical residue on several of these splinters. Further research recommended.”
“Understood Wiki, but it will have to wait until after I’ve gotten the power running. We can take a sample before we leave.”
The generator seems to consist of a power cell from the ship. Good, I’m familiar with the design. I should be able to open up here, and just give it an appropriate jolt to jump-start it, and… voilà! I believe the door panel should be active now. I just… wait, what was that noise?
What a twist! Next time we’ll see how such a sinister threat can be defeated.