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ALIEN: Isolation - Toy Robot

The below story was a short I wrote for a contest years ago that was tied to the video game, Alien: Isolation. The prompt was to write a story about the toy robot included in the picture below. Fans of the game will recognize areas and characters, and this was intentional. I am a huge fan of ALIEN and ALIENS (go see my other blog post to see just how big a fan). I tied the toy to a key moment in the game itself. I have made no addition to the writing itself aside from fixing syntax issues.


 

With all that being said, I also need to state the below is fanfiction. ALIEN and all properties, to include ALIEN: Isolation and all properties within the universe, belong to Fox Entertainment. I make no claim of ownership, nor am I sponsored or supported by Fox or any of their affiliates. If this must be removed, please reach out to me privately, and I will take the work down.

Hope you enjoy. Happy LV426 Day.


 

Long tension in the dark amplifies sound. The half daze between sleep and the living world casts shadows that can’t exist. Long dark shadows, which move and consume, muffling screams from the deepest depths inside. Voices echo, and sounds become warnings whispering in the paranoid mind. No one can hear you scream here.  

Jason Wu’s eyes fluttered open. A blaring noise called him out of the shadows. Black swirls threw off his eyes. A single bright white light focused in on him. His eyes burned looking at it. Jason threw a hand up, blocking the light. He felt the thick fabric under him. Blinking burned, but the images came in. He was in the dark, still. The monitor, the source of the light, flickered, still overlooking the waiting station outside of the transit system. He had fallen asleep waiting in the dark. But it didn’t look like anything had changed, and he would have heard Brent call back if it had.

The date read December 10, 2137 still. He didn’t have the time up; he had no clue how long he had dosed off. The Solomons Habitation Tower was in such chaos he couldn’t flip through any of the other feeds. He wasn’t sure if they were all down, or if it was an issue on his end. The only feed he could get was the transit. So, he waited, tirelessly.

It was difficult to sleep; fear had made it difficult for everyone to sleep. When the disappearances started, there was speculation. Lots of speculation. Jason almost didn’t believe any of it like the rest. When it got worse, he had begun to suspect the Working Joes. They had been peculiar from the start when they arrived. He’d been assigned to assist with their care and found it unusual he was denied access to the cognitive core, especially as there were known issues with other Weyland-Yutani models. The whispers of a monster were ludicrous, and he was sure to prove them by pressing on the Working Joes.

Looking through the dark, in the small, cramped office, even here the corners lurked with dangerous shadows. Jason, Brent, and Drew knew better. They had been near one of the auxiliary escape doors. They had been shutting down doors and locked them; he recalled using his favorite number, 0340, he used it to lock one in particular. Then they ran into Axel, the weird wiry bald jerk, only caring to get his paycheck and leave. They found him over one of the maps vandalizing one of the walls with “No Future!” in black ink. When they confront him, he pulled a gun on them. They froze. People had become desperate, and scared. As they had stood there, Axel’s face became a look of terror. He scattered off down the hall in a sprint. The group turned.

From one of the higher maintenance shafts, something was emerging. Slime preceded it. Like a broken seal from above, it oozed down. A wet silicone smell preceded it. A mass of wet dark machinery followed, lowering, controlled, with ease. Touching down with a muffled thud, it rose. Jason only recalled running after that. Brent was close behind. As they reached the shuttle, Drew stopped, dropping to the panel at the transit station. The doors shut. They could see through the port. Drew pressed the lever down, attempting to seal the door between the shaft and the transit station. The thing moved in blinks in the dark. The large, industrialized insect hand reaching up around Drew’s head.

The transit lurched, and they were off, never to see Drew again.

Jason’s stomach knotted with anxiety recalling the scene. He wasn’t even sure what he had seen, he wasn’t even sure how long ago that really was. The only hard figure of time he really had was that his shipping date was a week ago, and somehow, that seemed like another lifetime now. And now he was alone. Brent was nowhere to be seen. Jason had to act. And swallowing the truth proved to be harder than swallowing the lump in his throat. Standing, he shut off the monitor. From the desk, he picked up the awkward revolver. He had never fired a weapon in his life, let alone in anger at someone. He swallowed something lumpy.

Jason straightened his shoulders and neck. If he was going to stay alive, he was going to get help back to as many people as possible. He stepped towards the door; it opened with the sterile automatic hiss and bang most doors used. He stepped out into the hall.

The Lorenz Systech Spire was shaped like a ‘L’ which had fallen on its side which linked with the Seegson Communication area. People, in the recent days, came here only to loot what little was left before attempting to go to the lower levels in the hopes a ship would come and dock. Since they had sealed the doors, most just became frustrated and left. Others would stay, but not for long. Groups had formed, and if you weren’t in, then you were hostile. The marshals, the failures they were, were nowhere to be seen.

Jason took the stairs, heading down, sweating bullets with each step. He never realized how dark everything seemed to be, how quiet the area had grown. The silence and isolation allowed his heartbeat to grow stronger and louder with each step. There came a beating, like something pounding against the wall. Pausing mid step on the stairs, he realized it was his own ears. Pounding away with his heart. He made it to the bottom of the stairs and stopped. To his left was tech support, to the right was the lounge.

Bam! Jason pressed himself against the wall. He shook. Another two gunshots rang out. He waited. Just silence. He waited longer. Still nothing. He crept, slinking with each movement around the corner.

Down the corridor was dark. A lit map console glowed in the next room. Jason eased himself away from the wall as he made his way down the corridor. In the room containing the map, he saw a man, crouched, in an orange jacket, sorting through things in a wall locker and moving them to a bag he had set out. Jason crouched, and continued to creep, watchful of the distracted looter. He edged around and proceeded into the next hall, and then into the room on the left. More people had been killed out of desperation than he could count.

There were several controls in this room. He knew he could use them to lock the doors. Cut off routes the thing could use. He would need a tuner, and he knew one had been left in the next room. He passed by the archives circular room where a black box recovered from some long-lost ship sat. The next door opened with a whoosh.

Jason stumbled back. Center of the room sat Don, a communication technician. He and Jason had been drinking buddies. They often worked with each other as he needed the Working Joes to do physical labor, and Jason often had to assist the Joes when they had issues. He was kind and dedicated. Now he sat slumped in a chair. He’d been shot multiple times, the wounds blossoming from his white sweater like roses laid on marble. Jason couldn’t really believe the scene. Don was there, and he wasn’t. Jason again tried to swallow, and but his body had stopped producing saliva.

Crossing the threshold into the room, the door sealed behind him. He avoided looking at Don, but the accumulating blood made it difficult to avoid the scene, which engulfed a quarter of the room. Along one of the shutdown systems, Jason saw the tuner he sought. Picking up the device, he swung right and glimpsed Don’s pale, violated face. Jason flinched at the sight. His flinch brought his attention to the right wall.

Jason pushed back his repulsion and moved towards the document clipped to the wall. It looked like the rough outline of schematics for a flash bang. Jason and Don had talked about how they could make one for a prank. This was by far too powerful to use playfully, but it was missing something as well. Don must not have been able to finish his designs. Jason took a pen he kept from his pocket and drew in the last piece. A sensor node. It would allow the blasting cap to ignite after thrown, the trigger for the device. Jason suddenly felt foolish. He had no idea why he had completed the design. He was wasting time. The science part of his brain was just seeking an escape.  

Leaving, he passed the room with the black box once more and back into the small control station. He put his pistol down on the desk between a coffee cup and a coaster. Under a document, he saw the handle to a keycard. Seeing the first few letters “Don…” he didn’t bother uncovering it, knowing whose name it would be. He instead focused on what he felt he needed to do. Get into the communication section. Leaving his pistol there, he moved to a nearby desk. He wanted to set a delay on the door to lock once he left. It wasn’t hard, but what would prove hard would be setting it so no one could reverse it once he left without a keycard. He clicked the controls, his fingers gliding over keys. He wasn’t as intimately familiar with every command as he wished. Jason never thought he’d be here long enough to need to know the commands too well. Now he may not get a chance to learn anything new.

He heard someone running down the corridor. He moved faster, seeking instead to hide the command prompt than disable it. The icon fluttered across the video screen and disappeared in pixels. Jason dropped to his knees, crouching behind the desk. He cursed himself for having left the pistol on the other side of the room. Jason heard the person move in. He didn’t dare try to peek out to see who it was. But then, the footsteps were overshadowed by a heavy thunder. Thudding down on the paneled flooring. Someone extremely heavy, as if wearing ancient armor, barreling down the corridor.

Papers blew down on Jason. He clung to the small desk, cowering in fear. A primal scream justified his fears. A woman shrieked, right next to him. He dared not look, dared not move. Thrashing knocked more papers over onto Jason’s side. A deep, reverberating hiss came. Slamming above him, his eyes stretched in terror. A hand clung to the edge. He could only make out the death grip of the fingers clinging to the furniture. The hand loosened and stayed still. Yet still, Jason felt a presence, something beyond the fact the woman was there, yet so far from him. The hand slid limply over the side. Jason dared to breathe. A heavy serpent slid through the air where he looked. He gasped. He held his breath, that the air he required may give him away. The tail, long, slick, and armored, yet it glided through the air with elegance, and then whipped away. He heard the heavy thundering steps again, growing farther away until he felt alone again.

He counted down, his breathes shallow. He pressed away from the desk. Jason saw nothing, as if no struggle or violation of any sort had occurred. He pressed up with his legs and moved. Jason wanted out of the room, out of the area. That table and room had become tainted. He wanted off the installation!

He went straight for the tech workshop. Running, he slammed his key card against the panel forcing it to open. He pressed through the door before it had slide open completely turning and waiting impatiently for it to shut again. With the door shut he pressed his key card to it again but this time to access the security setting. He set the door to “Authorized Personnel Only.” He ran, hoping that the creature wasn’t smart enough to use an access tuner or keycard.

In this room, there was one terminal that stood out. Two screens, each green with a larger green circle in the center on display. A thermos, coffee cup, folder, and calendar book sat on the white terminal with the simple plain white chair. There was a flight of stairs to Jason’s left with an overhang that read “Facility Control.” He needed to have the safety lock engage once he left the area. He tapped away. Jason had done it often, especially since he had started to suspect the Working Joes of malicious intent. God, how he hated proving his paranoia correct. He tapped, the only sound he could hear was the clicking of his keys as he got better, faster. Click, click, click. Tap, tap, tap, tap. Click, click, click, click. The ancient IBM era sound buzzed on the screen in success. Tap, tap, tap, tap. He wasn’t typing any more. Tap, tap, tap, tap. 

From the center of the room, a flood of goo flowed down. Blood in his veins ran cold. From the access point, the long, slender dome emerged. He shivered. It drooped. He crouched, in sequence, subservient, unable to breathe. He edged forward. The tubular structure, not reptilian, not insect, but undeniably primal. An enlarged body came down into the room. The phallic head rose in silence. Jason moved towards the corner into a lower aft ventilation shaft, the creature’s back to him. It stood, erect, massive, taller than any man he’d met. It moved, confident it is the deadliest thing on the station. It moved with purpose, not a prowler, but stalking, hunting indiscriminately.

Jason moved into the shaft. Cautious to avoid his pursuer. Jason slipped into the vent. He moved now with a shaking fright in the low, dim confines of the vent.

He could see the green glow of the door before him. He pushed up out of the vent and up the small flight of stairs. The doors clicked, with a relieving swoosh, that when he passed through, knowing they would lock behind him.

“You do not have an appointment,” a gargled voiced greeted him. His bowls almost dropping their contents. The milky face of a Working Joe before him.

“I know, I’m not here for you this time,” Jason gave a wide berth around the android. He had no proof the Working Joes were malicious, but they seemed far too resistant for androids, something was off about them. But he felt relieved. The creature wouldn’t be here with a Working Joe moving about, he figured.

“Working together to make a better, safer Sevastopol,” the broken voice said as he passed. He paid no mind to it. The creepy thing could stand there for all eternity, for all he cared. What he did care about was how the creature was able to always sneak up on him. He needed something to detect it. Something that could pick up movement, in the vents or on the floor. Heading down the corridors, he knew of a maintenance room where there were parts. He could throw together something.

“If I had dreams, I would see unicorns?” Jason stopped and looked back. The Working Joe stood stationary, looking back at him. The two did not move, and the Joe did not say anything further in their silence. Jason shook off the interaction and continued to the maintenance room.

Inside the maintenance room, there was a single workbench. Two off monitors sat in the shadowy corners; dust having collected from neglect. An old metal fan sat on the opposite end, rusting and waiting for repairs. A wrench, flathead screwdriver, lug iron, and red monkey wrench sat nearby, abandoned by their previous owner. There was a toy robot whose gears had given out, and several loose components scattered about as well from something else that had been taken apart.

Opening the bottom drawer, Jason found another variety of parts, the best piece being a battery pack. Jason took out the battery pack and then went to work on the robot with the flat head. He pried the head off first. He wanted the body. The body had a small LED display screen which he would use. He then twisted off the arms and legs, the unneeded pieces he tossed to the floor. Behind him he could hear the Working Joe pacing up and down the corridor. He stopped and went silent. The Working Joe’s steps sounded heavy, but he could also feel the thudding of his heart. He went back to work.

Prying open the toy’s screen, he removed the small battery and from the box removed a resister. He would use the larger battery pack to provide a longer power source. Once the resister was installed, he switched to where the head had been. The opening was large enough he could place an HR110 antenna. Putting a switch on, he could make the antenna receive twice instead of sending a signal. That would provide the detection.

Sweat poured from his forehead, an ice-cold droplet in the hot, claustrophobic room. He could have sworn he just heard something drop. He waited. Too scared to turn. He heard a door open and the padded steps of the Working Joe moving in the corridor behind him. He went to back to work again.

Jason connected the battery pack into the back. He flipped the device over and switched it on. The screen’s background came in black, and the old toy’s green lines showed several boxes. A circular display came up, and a heavy ticking went off. Jason waved it back and forth. A whoop went off, indicating it picked up the movement.

The whoop, signaled again. The ticking drowned it out. Then again whoop, whoop, then ticking. It was picking up the Working Joe. It sounded off, whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop. The Working Joe was coming closer down the hall towards him. He set the tracker down as he moved his unneeded tools away. Whoop whoop whoop whoop. The Working Joe was behind him. He could hear the steps had stopped, but there was a rustling. He was about to turn to face the ugly milky face when the garbled voice spoke.

“What are you?”

Jason scrunched his brow at the question. He turned. A large, dark figure towered before him. Jason mumbled. Quivering. A deep, reverberating hiss coming from within it. Thick fleshy lips peeled back. His legs shook but would not move.

“You’re beautiful,” sounded the Working Joe.


 
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