As they burst out of the labs, Mimi called up a floating projection of the security feeds near the armory. The screen before her was filled with static.
Alarms continued to wail as there was a loud boom accompanied by a telltale creak of metal from the rear of the ship. Everything violently shook and pitched them to the port side. Ahead of them they heard a cacophony of shouting. It stank of rotten eggs, charred meat, and burning metal. Everything was cast in a rotating crimson light. Mimi regained her feet and ran ahead, "It's this way! Octavia! Are you up?!" She yelled over the noise.
Before Rayshied a ghastly figure clad in white appeared. Whatever the interference was, it distorted the image of a young blonde woman who could have been Carol's older sister. "Secur.... Off... author... defens..." Her voice was distant barely audible about all of the noise. A green and red volumetric square appeared in front of Rayshied as they ran. The green button was marked with a spider and the Red a scorpion, they pulsed to keep in front of him. "Auth...?" He was meant to make some sort of choice. The air bristled with energy around him, it reminded him of a lightning storm.
At the rear, Catronia noticed something rippling under the deck plating. When it violently shifted to the left, the ship shuddered in response. The air was wispy to them, like it was filled with smoke. There was an acidic edge to it, like they had licked a battery.
Nenna with her heightened sense of smell was hit with a horrid bouquet of destruction and rot, like someone lit rotten eggs on fire. And they were all running towards whatever the smell was and she could TASTE it. It was burning, whatever it was. The stank was almost tangible, like they were walking into a thick cloud of something horrible. There was something else she could pick out, it stank of sweat- fear? There were lots of people ahead, she could unfortunately hear them in addition to the wail of the alarm system. Fire. Someone set off... something... she couldn't make it out. They were shouting directions to control whatever it was.
@IncuBoye @Mike @Mortuary Insurgency @Immortal Cyan @Ahoy
Amidst that, the ghostly shape of what he presumed was an AI spoke. His weapon primed and raised, aiming right at its chest. Its sudden appearance was contrated by its dim, rigid speech. It clearly wasn't a true sentient, at least not under these cirumstances.
"Rashayeid here; what I presume is a holographic AI has appeared - two buttons, green spider and red scorpion." He spoke over the coms, sweeping the area with his gun and waiting for a reply from his newfound seniors. "Advise."
The air seemed alive with raw power, electrifying against his skin. He wanted to go for the green but he had no idea what this thing was.
Catriona was glowing like a mild candle in the half-dark. Red markings blended in when things were lit up, but stood out the moment it was dark. Green eyes shifted about like laser sights.
It was happenstance that their eyes lingered behind. Something was moving beneath the flooring, or perhaps something was breaking beneath? They weren't trained enough to know what the hell was wrong with the ship, "Something's not right. Know where the emergency oxygen is? I think... There's something wrong with the atmospherics." Their eyes shift back to the group, making sure to keep pace, "... And I'm fairly certain... This ship's breaking. Not to be alarmist or anything."
Their eyes were less focused on the issues around them, and more towards the panels. As the rest of the group was handling one thing or another... Catriona was looking for emergency supplies.
She covered her nose. No sense in double checking. The answers seemed fairly obvious to her. She halted when the broken ass AI jumped up in front of them and, again, didn't pee herself. She had a big mushroom goliath in between her and danger. Danger could be anywhere she supposed but at just this moment it was opposite that five hundred pound monster and she was very comfortable with that state of affairs.
"I don't mean to interrupt this but how many of us are there? Aren't we the only ones on the ship? Because there's a lot of people up ahead... I can smell them."
Rashayeid was greeted by static. He heard his reply in Mimi's receiver. She called back through her earpiece, "It's the defense protocol. I've not sure what they mean, but a red scorpion can't be anything good. Maybe the green spider means containment? Maybe the red scorpion is weapons blazing? I don't know why Octavia is being triggered."
The distorted the image of Octavia repeated. "Secur.... Off... author... defens..." Her voice was distant barely audible above all of the noise. A green and red volumetric square floated in front of Rayshied as they ran. The green button was marked with a spider and the Red a scorpion, they pulsed to keep in front of him. "Auth...?"
Nenne's question came back through the local communications protocol, whatever was jamming was not effecting communications within the corridor. Perhaps, as they got closer, they'd be able to communicate? "We have crew loading and preparing the ship. The station staff mostly! Once we launch, it'll just be us and a handful of technicians to keep the ship running. It's mostly Machina."
As they got closer, the smoke thickened, cast a bloody red by the warning lights. The din of people shouting instructions as they fought the fire were clearer. Their forms shadows against the red.
A series transmission cut through the static, "We need security up to the Armory."
"The man ran up there!"
"I don't think there was a hull breech... "
"Why are we turning?"
The image of Octavia got clearer but her question was still distorted. "Conta... or.. def...?"
The rumbling continued but the deckplates reverberated beneath their feet. The stench of burning electronics and singed metal became more pungent as the alarm claxions continued to wail.
She sneezed; the smoke and smell of fire wasn't as strong as the smell of rot, and it made her want to puke. It was like she was walking into the world's worst kitchen where everything had been expired for a decade. Or two decades. And then immersed in tepid water to foul it.
"There's something rotting up there. Like, really rotting. It's worse than the fire."
"The man ran up there..." He mouthed quietly. An intruder? He looked to the others. "Let's the head to the armoury. At the very least, we can make sure whatever's on board isn't any more well armed than we don't need them to be. The rot can wait."
Better to cover more ground and have a few in the dark than for something important to be missed.
"Alright! If we're going in further, make sure you have a mask on. ... If you breathe oxygen, at least." Catriona stepped among the group, handing out the masks, "These should keep your oxygen supply from being contaminated by... Whatever it is that smell is. I'm guessing it's some kind of... Sulfur. Better safe than sorry."
She had made a regrettable life choice.
The jongwu shoved her face into it and adjusted the straps, and came up blinking.
"Okay, I'm ready," she said, nervously.
It came out, "Oke mm rmmdy."
Red lights burst into clean white light as gravity shifted around them, leaving them weightless and at peace. The illuminated faded away to pitch darkness.
Were they dead? They felt whole.
A sigh broke the stillness like a mirror cracking.
Shards of black fell away as streams of light spilled through.
"It's time to wake up," a voice whispered echoing in five languages and filling the void.
When their eyes adjusted they stood at the door to the armory. The stench and din were gone. The door was secured. Their gas masks were mounted on the wall next to them.