Red vs. Blue: Reconnaissance (Chapter 7)
Posted By: Stelladea<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 22 October 2011, 4:57 am
When I woke up the next day, I found the base still had no power. We figured that the Reds had somehow hacked into our electrical system and shorted out all of the energy sources, draining us of light and heat. Admitting that they had gotten the better of us this time, Church left to go make sure the Reds weren't attacking in our time of weakness. Meanwhile, I attempted to reconnect the system, Tucker and Caboose trying to save the food in the fridge—the former eating it and the latter panicking.
After a day of reconnecting wires, rummaging around for spare batteries, and fighting over the wire-cutter, we finally had the electricity up and running again. Our success didn't last long, however: over the next few days, we had constant blackouts and needed to repeatedly repair the blown fuses.
The power outages happened constantly. I couldn't help but get irritated when they occurred, as Caboose would run around in a panic before Church and I could hunt him down and drag him to the kitchen, which became our meeting point when the lights went out. Then, we would encounter Tucker complaining about something, and when we tried to settle that, Caboose would freak out again because Sheila was off at the Red base flirting with Lopez.
This was not what I signed up for.
During an abnormally long period of having power, the Blues and I decided that we should check on the Epsilon device again to make sure it hadn't been damaged during all the blackouts. When we headed downstairs, the AI lay in the same spot it had been in when I had first encountered it.
"It is glowing. I like glowing things." Caboose was pointing at the green button I had pushed to turn it on the first time I had spoken to it. For some reason, it was giving off a neon green light—it hadn't done that before.
"Do you remember turning it off?" asked Tucker.
"What? You didn't tell me I had to turn it off!"
"I can't believe it didn't run out of energy or battery or something," Church said. He bent down and pushed the button again, but it didn't turn off—in fact, we weren't sure at first what happened.
A blinding light blasted us all back into the basement wall. I heard some indistinct yells and curses, and I found that I had landed on someone once we collapsed to the ground.
"Eleven! You're on top of me!" came a muffled voice from below me. It was Church.
"Sorry!" I gasped, rolling off of him. The white light had temporarily blinded us, but I could have sworn I heard a "bow chicka
" from Tucker before Caboose sat on his head again.
When my sight returned, I could see that Epsilon was still on, but an enormous, life-size image of the Omega AI (otherwise known as O'Malley) stood just above it, staring down at us.
O'Malley waited patiently for us to regroup, his armor shining a bright purple. His arms were crossed and he stood in a very confident stance that was nothing like the other AIs'—it was too conceited, too proud. I had a very bad feeling about this. The AI chuckled darkly once we all could see him again.
"Epsilon," I said cautiously. "What's going on?"
I expected to hear the obedient response from the device, informing me of some technical problem, but what came next was far from what I imagined.
"Wouldn't you like to know," he said, an evil laugh escaping his lips. "But, my dear, I would like to thank you for bringing me back to power. You were most helpful."
Everyone looked at me, and I frowned. "What are you talking about?"
"Oh, I suppose you'll be able to figure it out."
And with that, O'Malley stepped out of his image.
His entire body solidified as he walked out from above the Epsilon device—I couldn't see through him to the other basement wall anymore. He stretched out his limbs and neck, the clanking of his boots on the ground sounding extremely real. At that point, I realized we weren't dealing with a memory anymore.
I tried to reach for my gun, but before I could point it at O'Malley, he swooped down and jammed his finger into the wall. He sighed contentedly while I screamed—all the light bulbs in the basement exploded, showering us with sparks and broken glass.
"Again, thank you all so much for your help," O'Malley said, bowing. "It seems as though you are all quite shocked—excuse my pun—so I won't kill you this time."
His evil laugh echoed through the basement, and he was gone.
"Is everyone all right?" I asked, fumbling around on my armor. "Everybody turn on your lights!"
I watched pale blue and teal glows appear next to me. I flipped mine on as well.
"I can't see me."
I sighed and walked over to him, turning on his light.
We all turned on our armor lights to full power and scanned the dark basement. The Epsilon device, still in the middle of the room, lay motionless like an empty shell.
"Come on, we'll take Epsilon—or whatever's left of it—back to the living area."
Upstairs, I wasn't surprised to see that the entire base had lost power. I also had a funny feeling that no matter what we tried to do, we wouldn't be able to get it back this time. I didn't even attempt it; we had more than enough light shining in through the windows.
"Okay, so what the hell was that?" Tucker asked, but none of us seemed to have a good response for him. We were silent and I picked up the Epsilon machine.
It was completely dead. No lights, no buzzing, nothing.
"Epsilon is gone," I murmured, running my hand over the empty metal corpse. "All the memories
Church took the shell and examined it closely. Once finished, he sat back in a sort of resigned hopelessness and buried his face in his hands. I could almost feel his remorse. But why?
"How did it escape?" inquired Tucker again. "We had it down there the whole time—we didn't expose it to anything."
"Maybe that was the problem," I said, struck by the idea. "We never watched it, so we couldn't know what was happening."
"But what was there to happen?" Church interrupted, breaking his silence. "I mean, the only thing we did differently was that we forgot to turn Epsilon off
and while the Reds kept stealing our power, it didn't seem affected by it at all!"
I contemplated a moment. "You know
I don't think our power outages were due to the Reds at all. I think it really was—"
At that point, we heard a large blast from the other side of the canyon. I told Caboose to grab the Epsilon shell and we ran at full speed out the door just in time to see an enormous explosion coming from Red base.