The Von Braun Incident: Chapter 14 – Mutual Repulsion
Chapter 14 is here! And is spent crawling around the insides of the immense body of the Many.
I really got caught up in things while playing this time. My old copy finally failed me. Inside ‘The Body Of The Many’ it just kept crashing over and over, so I had to bite the bullet and install the new GoG version. If I hadn’t been able to transfer my saves, I’m not sure what I would have done.
There a few more log entries than usual this time, because, as I said, I got too caught up in what I was doing. When I finally figured ‘Hm, this seems like a good time to call it, have I got enough entries?’ the answer ‘Yup, more than enough.’ I didn’t feel like saving any of them for next time though, so here you go.
It’s actually very interesting to see how the ‘new’ and ‘fancy’ GoG version compares to the highly modded one I was already playing. It looks slightly prettier, as is common for GoG adaptions, but what surprised me the most was how much I had to work on the keybindings. Now, I do remember changing some of those when I started my modded game as well, like setting up a proper WASD scheme, and binding Quicksave and Quickload to T and G respectively, but I’m fairly certain Ctrl was not crouch by default. I was actually using X in my game, though I think it was S originally. And to lean I had to actually hold Shift+Alt+directional key, if I remember correctly, but in the GoG version it’s simply bound to certain keys, with ASD as default lean left, forward, right. And none of the weapons are bound to keys, which I know they were by default in my modded version. So my question is… which scheme is the original game’s default, and which was influenced by the mods incorporated?
142nd entry: Right, it’s now or never, and while the latter choice has a certain appeal, the Many have to be dealt with. How did they even make a body this big? Is… is that where all the dead bodies I’ve seen missing have gone? Were there even that many people on these ships? It is frankly ridiculous. How long have I been staring at this wall of flesh in front of me? Time to hit this button. This is a BAAAD IDEEEAAAAA-
143rd entry: Okay, okay, I am somehow still in one piece. The escape pod… not so much. The Many probably felt that. Assuming they even feel pain, but it’s not like they can’t have noticed what’s going on. SHODAN sent me a message saying not even she can keep in contact with me once I delve into the depths of this… gross piece of flesh. Seriously, the… for lack of a better word, the floor here feels sticky. And I’d rather not touch the walls if I don’t have to. I half-expect to be swallowed up at any moment. Are these huge red things supposed to be blood veins?
144th entry: I was surprised to find a log in here. Apparently Prefontaine and someone named David ended up in here as well, because… a flying thing dragged them here. W-what flying thing would that be? The Reavers? Something new? Also, there seems to be acid dripping in here, and I can’t shake the feeling that it’s… well… essentially stomach acid. Were the living people dragged here as food?
145th entry: The voices welcome me. Taunt me. Tell me to remain still, and one of their servants will show up to deal with me. The monsters are everywhere now. And… the Many seem to have absorbed parts of the Rickenbacker. Or perhaps I’m just able to access other bits they’ve wrapped around. There are a lot of dead bodies here. And eggs. And I even found a vending machine, and managed to get it working. No weapons or ammunition though. If all else fails, I’ll let the crystal branch sing until the Many are all deafened.
146th entry: I found a… I suppose a nerve cluster, guarded by a Reaver. The blasted mind-magician had already claimed two lives in here, but my pistol dealt with both it and its brain centre. I was not sure what to make of the cluster at first. It was huge, and pulsing. I figured the crystal might want a reunion with the flesh, so I struck my branch against the cluster and resounding resonance caused the thing to pop like a giant zit. My ears are actually ringing after that, but I feel this urge to find more of these things and introduce them to the song of my branch. The Many like song, that much I know.
147th entry: An update from Prefontaine. He has deduced as much as me, that this is essentially a large creature. With its own central nervous system. I struck one cluster, and while I have no idea what damage that caused, I am sure I will find out. Disappointingly there is little to no effect from striking other parts of the flesh. Prefontaine has set up several weapon caches to be able to plan and carry out future strikes against this body, like we’re some sort of virus or bacteria. I guess that would make the monsters the anti-bodies. The sounds in this place make my skull tingle.
148th entry: Irradiated water. Thank god my hazard suit is sealed. I do not like how vulnerable this leaves me to attack, but I’d prefer to not die of acute radiation poisoning either. The Many say that the ‘Machine Mother’ can’t help me in here, because her cold machinery is not welcome in their warm flesh. Perhaps they believe me helpless in here? I will admit I have no clue where I am going. Where to proceed through these vast arteries. Perhaps something interesting will be past this water. I found a breathing hole. Someone else found it first. But he died up here.
149th entry: Whether or not they felt the first, they definitely felt the second. ‘Do you think we will sit idly by’ they asked. Threatened. I saw nothing in the water, but perhaps something is waiting on the other side? Was that enough to open the sphincter that Prefontaine talked about? Do I need one more? And how does their flesh not decay with this irradiated water inside? Why don’t they break down? …what are they?
150th entry: The Many mock my loneliness. I do want to find associates. Someone else alive. Prefontaine’s logs. They give me some hope. But not… a lot. The latest log indicates he found the digestive centre of the biomass. And he didn’t expect to survive it. Have these logs been washed around the arteries? Or is the thing just up ahead? Can I damage it somehow? … you know… I expected there to be more monsters over here. Perhaps…
151st entry: Somewhat weary of what lay ahead, I backtracked and found the Rickenbacker’s main chemical storage room. It’s flooded, damaged and infested with worms, but I was able to get some research done. I also found rig upgrade stations, a recharger, and a working vending machine that can produce anti-personnel bullets. Hopefully I’ll be able to backtrack here with little issue. Now then, the research. I found a WormHeart implant that will make me immune to annelid poison and give me a slight case of regeneration. As long as it’s powered, that is. If it runs out of power, or I try to remove it, it will flood my system with toxins. I do have a fair amount of anti-toxin hypos, but I’d still prefer to leave this implant out unless it was absolutely necessary. And I was finally able to upgrade my research software to maximum, so I can find out what Diego’s secret weapon is all about. It is clearly a weapon as it is currently configured, though what its original purpose was is hard to say. The materials it’s made of are semi-sentient, and it uses the same worm ammunition I’ve been collecting in these beakers as the viral proliferator. Likewise, it can also be set to damage pure annelids, or hybrids. Maybe this will be more useful than the other ‘super-weapon’. Assuming I can wield it.
152nd entry: This grinding noise is splitting my skull. What looks like a couple of giant molars are constantly gnashing together in here, and this pit of water is surrounded by what looks disturbingly like pointed teeth. Maybe it’s not water. I could barely hear what Prefontaine’s log was saying, but he thought that the flesh golems were actually moving the Many’s ‘food’ through the digestive tracts, like… oh, my anatomy is failing me right now. I need to get out of here.
153rd entry: Finally silence. At least from the grinding. I had to put down another flesh beast, and suddenly the voices spoke to me again. They can feel me, they say. It’s repulsive, they say. Can they even imagine how it feels for me? I honestly can’t believe there were enough people on the Von Braun and Rickenbacker combined to create this… monstrosity. Where could they get enough biomass for all this? Another nerve cluster is down as well. Perhaps I can paralyse this thing. Open it up for the Rickenbacker’s weapons. I do wish I’d fired those leaking torpedoes straight into the mass.
154th entry: I can’t believe Prefontaine is actually doing research at a time like this, but his conclusions and observations are most interesting. Apparently the Many have the power to convert flesh into energy, so they can eat people, or they can directly reshape them. And they clearly need people to make their eggs in some capacity. The eggs with the wasps are the males, and the ones with the worms are the females. And it takes a certain investment of biomass to create anything beyond the regular hybrid. He theorises that the spiders are cheap, while the rumblers and reavers are expensive. ‘Thus limiting their number’, he claims, but I’ve seen quite a number of the flesh golems in here. Still only one Reaver though, so he might be on to something…
155th entry: ‘What’s clear is that SHODAN shouldn’t be allowed to play god. She’s far too good at it.’ Considering what I’ve seen of the Many, and the fact that they came this far in a mere forty or so years… I am inclined to agree with mister Prefontaine. Forty years of evolution, and they managed to conquer two starships and make this huge biomass… a perfect hive mind. This giant body houses the brain, and all the smaller creatures are merely extensions of the whole. Perfectly guided and controlled by the voices. Humanity would stand no chance if this thing made it back to Earth. In fact, it’s only by SHODAN’s own intervention that I have gotten as far as I have. Had these two teamed up instead of fought… where would we have been?
This is a highly fascinating part of the game, and I wonder if I’ll get to the heart of the biomass next time? Perhaps I’ll keep going until that’s the case, no matter how many log entries it will cause.
Posted on March 3, 2013, in Games, Retrospective, Thoughts and tagged blind, Chapter 14, FPS, log, PC, RPG, serial, System Shock 2, The Von Braun Incident, videogames. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.