The Von Braun Incident: Chapter 11 – Scuttled Shuttles

Chapter 10

Chapter 12

Sorry about being busy last week, but here’s chapter 11! That I have ingeniously dubbed “Scuttled Shuttles” for secret reasons.

I shall name you... Aang.

In the best ever news, you can now acquire your very own copy of System Shock 2 over at GoG.com! They clearly employed magic to secure the rights to this much-demanded game, and now you can live through the same terrors I have. The joy! 😀

While I feel like I’m approaching the climax of the game as more and more plot points are revealed, I really don’t know exactly how big the Rickenbacker will be, or how much resistance I will run into. SHODAN indicated it would be a lot. Should be interesting, and nerve-wracking.

——————–

110th entry: Bloody hell. Of course that’s where the Rumbler had gone. Assuming it was still the same one. I didn’t have time to reload the pistol with anti-personnel rounds, and I don’t know why I hadn’t already reloaded it, so it took a full clip into the monster to bring it down while it chased me back and forth through that corridor. I’m definitely sweating. Thank… thank SHODAN, I guess, for my superior dodging skills. Speaking of SHODAN, she has a new task for me. The Many have caught wind of what we are doing, as I suspected, and are loading shuttles with their blasted eggs to get away. I am to take out those shuttles, and maybe make some proper blasted eggs in the process. For once a task I feel happy to perform.

111th entry: I have scoured the cargo area of shuttle bay 2, and reprogrammed the rocket turrets to stop the annelids from retaking it. Sadly the door to shuttle bay 1 was busted, so I can not currently reach Delacroix. I found another log by Korenchkin, where he claimed he was “complete”, whatever that means. Nothing good for me, I’m sure. The Many have protected their shuttles with some kind of forcefields, but a log left by a certain McKay claims I can shut those off from Shuttle Control, so I’m heading there now. The voices try to distract me, but I push forward. I care not for their bold claims.

112th entry: Clever girl. I found a cyborg midwife in the process of destroying the shield control computer for shuttle bay 1, so I have no way to turn the shield off. The shuttle in bay 2 is dealt with, however. They thought they had been smart posting a ninja as a guard, but I have no time for this crap any longer, so I melted a hole through it with my laser pistol. Over-charge does funny things to electronics. SHODAN has a plan, though. She says she’s uploading the schematics for a… thingy, to the replicator up here. If I attach it to the shield generator, it should take care of the shield, and the shuttle, and anything else nearby. She warned me against staying too close, because she still has need of me. How nice of her to care.

113th entry: I can’t get the back door to the cargo area for shuttle bay 1 open either. I can hear a cyborg midwife in there, but I doubt I could persuade her to open it. How big will the blast be, exactly? Delacroix is supposed to be in there, after all. Can I really do this and risk her life? …yes. I must. It does not matter. We must all die in the end, once the threat is over. I’m sorry, Delacroix, but you weren’t getting away from this place alive anyway. Maybe you could have joined me to the end of my adventure, but ultimately it matters little. Forgive me.

114th entry: SHODAN tried to warn away from going into cargo bay 1. Even went back to calling me “insect”. Well, I wouldn’t stand for it, so I went in. Delacroix was dead, but not because of the explosion. The Many had cornered and killed her, and SHODAN had abandoned her. There was a log… with some nonsense about a faster-than-light drive. God, I hope it’s just nonsense. She wasn’t able to record the full details, but I’ve heard enough. This just makes my plan all the more paramount. Whatever SHODAN is planning, I can’t let her do it. SHODAN was so unhappy that she actually removed some of my Cyber Modules. I will leave for the Rickenbacker through the umbilical, let SHODAN destroy the Von Braun, and then I will destroy the Rickenbacker. The Many will no doubt already be on-board. Korenchkin and Diego both. With who knows how many minions. …what am I doing?

115th entry: Spiders! Spiders everywhere! Bash in their brains! Bash!

116th entry: I found another of Delacroix’s logs. This seems like an old one, or she was talking about Polito in retrospect. Sadly it seems that SHODAN had scrambled most of it, so I couldn’t get anything useful out of it. Polito had discovered something though. Was that what made SHODAN drive her to suicide? I honestly have no idea, but it seems plausible. SHODAN does not like us knowing anything she doesn’t want us to know. There is also a strange forcefield here. As I approached it, I got a message from Korenchkin. Telling me to come to the Von Braun bridge, to discuss my future. I will go, but I fear there’s little discussion to be had.

117th entry: Korenchkin is dead. Probably. I actually do not know exactly how The Many work. Maybe he’s just been reabsorbed into the hive mind and will be reconstructed later? Either way, his form is destroyed for now. He actually fooled me at first, crafting a powerful projection of a Psi Reaver to fight me. I remembered what Prefontaine had said though, and quickly searched for the little brain creature controlling it. I smashed it, and found beside it a log, again by Korenchkin, saying Suarez and Siddons would not be allowed to leave. I think they still did though, so score one for them. I am still not sure if they left alone, however. If it wasn’t such a risk to leave SHODAN on the Rickenbacker for too long, I’d use the ship to hunt them down. In bad news, destroying the brain does not destroy the Psi Reaver. It merely stops it from regenerating.

118th entry: I am now on-board the Rickenbacker. I have found two logs on my way up here. One where Norris explained that he was the one who created this… viral weapon I found. I honestly still think it’s pretty useless, but I keep it with me, just in case. Next was an old log from Bayliss, right after they first made planetfall on Tau Ceti V. Apparently Korenchkin and Diego were the first to set foot on the planet, ignoring regular safety procedures. I find this interesting. Were they really just out for the glory, or were they already hearing the voices, spurring them on?

119th entry: I honestly do not know what creeps me out the most. That The Many now fear me, and have spawned some sort of black eggs that will usher in the next generation of annelids, so formidable that I have no hope against them. Or that SHODAN just called me her “Avatar”. Thank every god there is that after this day, we will all be destroyed, and no one will ever know of this. Anyway, I need to get these eggs destroyed, then wait for SHODAN to scrap the Von Braun before I destroy the Rickenbacker. *sigh* Here we go again.

120th entry: Ha. Hahaha. HAhahahahaHAHAHAHA! Haha… ha… this body is pretty amazing. The things I’ve done… what I’ve suffered, and yet I’m still here. I have speed and stamina beyond any human. Strength to rival large beasts. Weapons never dreamed of by man. A brain of exceptional power and processing speed. What could I achieve elsewhere…

——————–

Next time we delve into the depths of the Rickenbacker in the hunt for black eggtober.

Chapter 10

Chapter 12

~Wulf

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Posted on February 15, 2013, in Games, Retrospective and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Now you’ve reached this part of the game I can talk about things that are no longer spoilers!

    Korenchin has basically become the highest _singular_ form that The Many evolve into. As befits a leader. The brain “root” is capable of generating a projected form that attacks you. Once you destroy the brain, the projected form will no longer appear, so you’re safe. It’s interesting that this form is a completely immobile brain, where as the Rumbler is all brawn and no brain. Is the Rumbler that is wandering around the level the evolved body of the CEO? The head on the shoulder of the Rumbler is basically a big fleshy pimple, a last vestigial part of the human that formed it. It would not take much for the head to drop the brain. It also makes you wonder how Psi-Reavers get around as I guess the projections can’t stray too far from the host brain, so one of the many must move them from place to play to deploy them. It wasn’t there before when you visited the bridge, so someone must have left it there.

    The evolution of The Many is an interesting point throughout the game. The spiders are an “artificial lifeform” in that they are generated by the Many from something you haven’t seen yet, and the other non-annelid forms are based on the human form. I’m surprised that there isn’t more diversity in the forms available (like in Dead Space) so the Many adapts to create new forms to counter your play style. So a psionic would find enemies that have psionic shielding and teleportation..and a Marine would find enemies that soak up huge amounts of damage or where weapons are largely ineffective, like the swarmer eggs that generate swarming insects. Imagine a permanent cloud of flying worms that seek out and infest anything human. To a marine armed with a machine gun it would be almost impossible to stop. You’d need an areas weapon, probably a frag or incendiary device.

    Obviously this is 1999, and games weren’t that sophisticated back then..but if I was to redo this game, I would do just that. Have models that can follow sub-branches of evolution and then weight the probability of them appearing according to player action and play style.

    One thing that I haven’t really talked about (because I didn’t want to talk about levels you haven’t reached yet) is the geometry in the ship. The Von Braun is laid out pretty much as you might expect. In both System Shock I and II you start in Medical (usually because you’ve just recovered from an operation) but rapidly move into the Science level (in the first game it is second) then to engineering. On the Von Braun this is the engines, but on Citadel Station, this is the reactor level. Level 3 on Citadel is the fault diagnosis level not present on the Von Braun..Next level is the storage areas (same in both games), then the shuttle and command decks (although this is called the Executive Level in the first game). Security is next, and then you wind up with the Bridge. Between the two games, the layout and way in which you encounter them is broadly similar. All of the levels encountered in the first game are sprawling dungeonesque mazes (this is not surprising given the basic game engine was used in Ultima Underworld) but in the second game, they’ve put a lot of effort into making it feel like a real ship, what with areas with access to multiple paths and various other details like pipes, doors, ladders and other fittings. Even the bottles of alcohol and foodstuffs littered around the place make it feel like it has had humans around..once.

    The Rickenbacker is a strange ship. Unlike the Von Braun, it doesn’t seem to have this sort of logical layout of compartmentalising the ship into functions. I found it baffling how the first level doesn’t really seem to do anything other than act as a vague cargo bay and engine room. It’s also extremely linear, and I doubt that anyone coming on board would basically follow a single linear corridor through three levels of the ship through steam pipe channels to get to the Rickenbacker bridge.

    I’m not sure whether this design was to focus the player to get to the end or perhaps they were running out of ideas/motivation to build a better ship, but for me it was glaring to pass through the ship into areas that didn’t seem connected other than the plot needed them to be there. I know the Rickenbacker is a military vessel and more akin the cramped confines of a submarine..but it’s missing places like dormitories and bathrooms? Doesn’t anyone sleep on this vessel? You’ve got a torpedo room, but the actual torpedo tubes are some distance away. And for some reason you can fire one off. I hope there wasn’t any annelids on board..

    The eggs are independent of the main body of the many. By loading them onto shuttles, they are clearly trying to escape what they think is a doomed ship. It is inconceivable that you can find all the eggs secreted all over the ship, so it only needs one to get back to Earth and then all this will happen again. The “foul black eggs” are also interesting as you never get to see what they are inside. Some kind of super annelid I assume but they’d have to be something very special for all of our weapons to be useless. Or perhaps SHODAN is lying to motivate us to destroy them.

    What happens if one of these eggs survives? SHODAN seems to know how many are present but her information is due to the cameras and other sensors on board. She could have missed one. It seems odd to me that The Many could not have produced more..given where you’re going next..!

    • Oh yes, stuff like the morgue on the Rickenbacker being a deck below the Medical Bay. I hope they don’t have too many dead bodies to deal with as carrying them through the ship must be popular. Talking of dead bodies..both ships still seem extremely corpse light given that several thousand people have disappeared. Clean up, aisle two! 😉

    • So from what I’ve understood, The Many started as a clone of SHODAN? And the annelids were her attempt to turn flesh into machines, of a sort? Once I get through the LP, I should do another playthrough in more rapid succession to refresh myself about story bits I’ve forgotten or missed.

      • It would have probably helped if you’d played System Shock I first. SHODAN originally created a virus that adapted living tissue into new forms. Her original plan was to seed the Garden Groves on Citadel Station, then crash these onto earth to transform the entire planet ecosystem into a toxic form of life. I’m not sure whether she had the purpose of breeding the annelids at that point as the lifeforms were horrifying twisted forms of vegetable, animal and human life. Her chosen avatars were cyborgs – a blend of cybernetic implants and flesh, although Diego (the executive who hired you and the father of Bedford – the captain of the Rickenbacker) was turned into a very sophisticated form of drone with psionic abiltiies and teleportation. After he sold out everyone else that is.

        The early forms of virus infected humanity were little more than Zombies, but it is conceivable that she was trying to perfect flesh into some form that with cybernetics would be the perfect lifeform she could exist in. A sort of Borg Queen if you will.

        The player in the first game ejects the grove before this happens. The interesting thing is that the grove manages to cover 35 light years and crash land on Tau Ceti V _before_ the Von Braun reaches it. SHODAN is on board, so it would seem that she used her science skills to both create some form of propulsion..and perfect the virus (and creatures in the grove) into the form of life that she seems fit to replace humanity – i.e modelled her own image. We just don’t know what happened in the decades since Citadel Station and what happened on the Von Braun…

        If you’re interested in learning more about the going on in Citadel, there’s transcripts and audio of the game here:

        http://www.ttlg.com/ss1/voiceres/index.htm

        If you’re interested in playing it through the original game , then you might not want to listen to them. It seems someone has ported the original code here: http://www.systemshock.org/index.php?topic=211.0

  1. Pingback: The Von Braun Incident: Chapter 10 – A Bridge To Nowhere « Wulf Space

  2. Pingback: The Von Braun Incident: Chapter 12 – Egg Hunt « Wulf Space

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