Soul Pulse Episode 1, Mission 2 – Zoe Delphin

A mess hall in a Helios Union Taskforce Barracks on Metis. Zoe Delphin, along with other HUT soldiers, is cleaning the hall. Specifically, ZOE is cleaning the bins. It’s an unpleasant job and she clearly isn’t enjoying it. Elijah Platon, a well-built but an almost effeminate looking man walks over, dusting off his hands. ZOE looks up, having just about finished, and grins.

ZOE:
Eli! Finished with the floors, have you?

ELIJAH:
Yup! Was just about to help with the tables. You nearly done?

ZOE:
Nearly! Got about half a bin to go.

ELIJAH:
Nice – Oh, by the way…

(quieter)
Sorry I made you swap with me. The smell just makes me ill.

ZOE:
Oh, don’t you worry about it. I made the suggestion. Besides, you getting sick everywhere would’ve just made more work for all of us.

ELIJAH laughs nervously. ZOE is about to get back to cleaning the last bin when alarms start going off in the hall. ZOE sets the bin upright and looks at the alarm bemusedly. The rest of the soldiers in the hall run out while ELIJAH waits impatiently.

ZOE:
What is it this time?

ELIJAH:
Never mind that. You know what Havelock’s like. We need to be combat ready in five. (runs to the door) Come on!

ZOE follows him out swiftly.


The soldiers march out onto the plane of ground immediately outside the base, combat ready, and load themselves into the transport ships parked before them. Lieutenant Marcus Havelock, the commander of ZOE and ELIJAH’s battalion, remains standing once all have sat down.

HAVELOCK:
Alright soldiers, we’ve been called out to assist the people of Sinope, whose colony Soloi Genis is under attack. We are to ensure the colonists’ safety and eliminate any immediate threats. Any questions?

… Nothing? No one’s curious? Good. Head out!

As the ships prepare for take-off, ELIJAH notices the pensive look on ZOE’s face.

ELIJAH:
(quietly)
Zoe please, at least try not to wander off this time. I know what you’re thinking and it’s pointless. You might even get charged with desertion this time!

ZOE:
(quieter)
But he might be there…

ELIJAH:
From what you’ve told me about this kid-

ZOE:
I didn’t tell you so you could hold it over me. I didn’t even want-

ELIJAH:
Tough. You shouldn’t have allowed it to distract you. Besides, from what you said, it sounds like you’d have better luck in Midas. I heard some people were planning a protest.

ZOE:
Oh?

ELIJAH curses under his breath.

ELIJAH:
No – Forget it. That actually would be desertion. Try asking for leave once we get back.

ZOE makes no verbal answer, but allows a sound of resigned irritability to appease her comrade, which seems to relax him. The ship takes off.


MISSION BRIEFING

Destination: Soloi Genis, Sinope

Current Time: 13:34, Tuesday,  03/18/2348

The identity of the people currently laying waste to Soloi Genis is unconfirmed, although they are believed to be mercenaries or an independent group the Union is not yet aware of. Rogue colonists have been known to attempt occupation of another colony in the past, but their actions have rarely involved destructive methods, especially to the extent reported today. The targets’ actions may be unpredictable as their motives are as yet unknown. In light of this, a secondary objective has been applied to your orders: to find the leader of the attackers and detain them for questioning. The targets have been reported to be using explosives in excess as well as firearms in their methods of attack. You are to be mindful of these elements and to be prepared for anything. Prevent civilian casualties. Provisional bodies will be available under guard. Neutralise the threat and be merciless in acquiring their surrender.

Meanwhile you are frustrated that you must not stray from the battlefield this time, even to seek the administration and archives building, where records of the inhabitants are kept. After all, it wouldn’t take that long. However, you are well aware of the seriousness of desertion. Accusal would mean dishonourable discharge at the least, if they discovered your motives were endangering the 5th Company, intentionally or not – Conviction would mean execution. You settle your nerves, steel yourself and decide to focus everything on this mission. You will throw yourself into your work. You will forget yourself.

Just until you get back to Metis, anyway.

ETA: 14 minutes


The ships set down on the outskirts of the colony and, weapons ready, ZOE, ELIJAH and the rest of the platoon exit out of them, joining at least ten others already disembarked. Several of the buildings in their vision have crumbled to the ground and the sound of explosions and shooting can be heard further in. HAVELOCK steps out in front the company he leads along with the other Lieutenants, the sergeants beside them. Each of them  surveys their platoon before barking out some final orders.

HAVELOCK:
Soldiers! Here’s a quick recap for the deaf ones in our little party! Fan out and make a sweep of the colony. Shoot everyone who isn’t a colonist – I can’t guarantee they won’t have weapons too, so you’ll need your eyes about you! – Watch out for explosives. If you see any attached to intact buildings, defuse them immediately. Ensure the safety of the civilians – gather a group together and then someone will need to escort them to safety – that’s here, by the way. By any chance, if you encounter the leader of our trigger-happy friends, capture him and bring him to me. I’ll take good care of him.

Now, to arms, soldiers! Get in there!

ZOE and the rest of the soldiers charge into the colony. Transition to playscreen.


ZOE is running down a street bruised with scorch marks and debris, she is somewhat battered herself. The battlefield may or may not be clear, but ZOE spots something at the base of the building. It looks like a bomb, but it’s not one she recognises. It almost seems to be wired into the building itself.

ZOE:
(through communicators)
Lieutenant, I found an explosive attached to the base of a building in Sector N23E05, but I don’t recognise the make. How should I disarm it?

HAVELOCK:
Slow down, Delphin. Can you describe the explosive?

ZOE:
It’s fitted over the corner, a folded black box, sir. It’s got wires going into the walls, but they don’t seem to go anywhere, sir.

HAVELOCK:
Those are conduction bombs, Delphin. Nasty. They shake the building apart and use the debris as shrapnel when the singularity created inside implodes. They’re proximity activated, so don’t get too close yet.

Conversation could be intermittent with shooting enemies.

ZOE:
Yet, sir?

HAVELOCK:
You don’t have long once the bomb is armed, so you need to move fast in disarming it. There should be one box on each corner. Kick them all off. It breaks the connection with the singularity before it can fully form and implode. It’ll dissipate instead. Much better for us and the inhabitants, but you have to be quick.

ZOE:
If I can’t disarm it in time?

MARCUS:
Stop asking questions like that!

ZOE disarms the bomb. If not, she is severely wounded by the blast and has to pulse out.


ZOE walks up to another building in a brief moment of quiet from the killing. As she gets close to the wall the perspective changes so we can see the poster on display in more detail. A mayfly and the slogan ‘One Life. Per Life.’ is visible on the poster.

ZOE:
6:30… Conference Room in the Stripes Public House… I need to find out where that is. Jake might be there!

ZOE darts out of sight as she sees two of the mercenaries converge nearby. LITHO strides towards JACOBS, who is pressed against the wall of another building, staring watchfully ahead.

LITHO:
Jacobs!

JACOBS starts and turns around.

JACOBS:
Captain Litho?

LITHO:
Did you and the rest of the unit fall out of bed last night? I’m not seeing much progress here. We need to be levelling these buildings, not skirmishing around them.

JACOBS:
The Helios soldiers are keeping us plenty distracted, Captain. They’re disarming the explosives.

LITHO:
Bloody Lemonade! I’m gonna kill him. He said those things couldn’t be disarmed!

JACOBS:
Faulty?

LITHO:
Maybe. We need to improvise. I just got off the phone with the client and he’s already impatient. On the clock or something.

ZOE turns round and reloads her gun. Slowly, she walks towards the two men.

ZOE:
(softly)
Is that the captain, then?

JACOBS:
Rich folks always like to get ahead of themselves.

LITHO bursts into laughter.

LITHO:
Yeah. Get the rockets. And the grenades. They should do the trick. I really don’t know why we bother with the fancy things. Never do any good.

About to leave, LITHO pauses.

Why are you still here?

JACOBS:
Right, captain!

He starts to run off but Zoe shoots him and he falls. His Soul-Pulse flashes but does not shatter. He’s pulsed out. Zoe curses.

ZOE:
Just once I’d like them to forget to do that.

LITHO:
Hey! Quit distracting my men!

ZOE:
(overly cheerful)
Sorry! My commander would like to talk to you. Can you come with me quietly, please?

LITHO raises his weapon and aims towards her.

LITHO: I don’t think so.
ZOE takes the safety off her weapons and appears disappointed.

ZOE:
It was worth a try.


Short scene: Moments after subduing the captain, some other soldiers come to help her get him to the captain.

Exhausted, LITHO falls to the floor, dropping his gun. He realises his mistake and lunges for it in a burst of energy. ZOE shoots at it, barely missing his fingers, which dart away. He tries again, same result. ELIJAH appears but does not intervene.

ZOE:
Keep doing that and I’ll shoot off your thumbs.

LITHO:
(breathing heavily)
I don’t need thumbs to shoot.

ZOE:
Maybe, but you need them to do almost anything else. I’d hate to inconvenience you like that.

LITHO:
Like that matters. There’s no need for me to stay.

ZOE:
What, you’ll use your device again? Don’t bother. We are covering every exit from the planet. If not me, someone else will find you and stop you. This will keep going on until you realise it’s pointless to struggle. You can’t escape. We have you. Just accept it.

LITHO:
No need to give a speech. Just go ahead and kill me.

ZOE:
I’m not going to do that. My superiors want you alive.

LITHO:
Oh yeah?

ZOE:
They want to know who your client is. I’m sure you don’t want him knowing you failed, so you’d best come with me. Do you feel up to that?

LITHO:
I’m not discussing information on my clients.

ELIJAH:
Well, that’s a shame. Are you sure we can’t persuade you?

LITHO:
Try it. But you’ll have to drag me there first!

ZOE:
Okay!

ELIJAH:
How about I take him?

ZOE:
Why?

ELIJAH:
I’m quicker with a heavy load.

LITHO:
Meaning I’m fat? That’s uncalled for!

ELIJAH:
Shut up.

(to Zoe)
Plus, you’re a better shot than I am.

ZOE:
Fine, fine.

ELIJAH hoists LITHO over his back in a fireman’s lift style. LITHO groans in protest.

Next scene involves ZOE defending ELIJAH from mercs trying to kill him liberate LITHO.


IF PLAYER USES THE SOUL-PULSE TO JUMP TO ANOTHER BODY:

After handing LITHO over to HAVELOCK, ZOE and ELIJAH walk off to help any injured civilians. ZOE, at a whim, looks herself over and groans in annoyance. She’s jumped into a male body without realising.

ZOE:
Not this again.

ELIJAH:
What’s wrong? Ah, bad luck.

ZOE:
Didn’t you notice?

ELIJAH:
Thought you knew.

 

ZOE:
Nope! I’d have been complaining more.

ELIJAH:
Ah.

ZOE:
Eh, I’ve got a few spares left at base, I think.

ZOE taps her soul pulse device in annoyance.

Daft thing always gets confused.

ELIJAH:
Heh. Preferences.

(If the player gets through the mission without using the soul-pulse, then skip to the next scene)


The sound of fighting in the colony has been replaced with quiet broken only by conversation among the soldiers and civilians, and some sounds of pain. Many people have the partial glow that follows an injury as the Soul Pulse replicates healthy tissue. Some have lost limbs, to which soldiers are administering temporary devices to block the Soul Pulse’s replication system and prevent a fatal overload until a prosthetic can be fitted.

ZOE watches as HAVELOCK and the other two lieutenants restrain LITHO and stick on a jamming device designed to prevent transferral into another body. He is then lead into a specialised vehicle. Any mercenaries who didn’t manage to escape before the moon was locked down are also restrained and taken into a vehicle for immediate transportation to Io. ZOE is appalled to see some other mercenaries taken away by a surlier group of soldiers, where their Soul Pulses are then shattered with a finely placed bullet. There is an explosion of light from each of their Soul Pulse devices, and then the mercenaries collapse. The devices have vanished from their chests.

ZOE:
How can they do that? Why does no-one ever stop them?

ELIJAH:
The superiors don’t give a horse’s ass how many criminals make it to Io. After all, they make a valuable resource. Why waste it on a prison when they can use it? It’s less costly than clones.

ZOE:
I know all that. It’s still horrible. It’s still wr-

ZOE catches herself, pauses, and then sighs.

I think I’m starting to see why Mayflies take issue.

ELIJAH:
You’re too kind, Zoe. You shouldn’t have signed up. Why didn’t you pick another career? This can’t be worth finding Jake.

ZOE:
It is. Even the Armed Enforcement doesn’t travel this much. Can’t afford to do it on my own.

ELIJAH:
You’re surfing sewage to find one person. This isn’t healthy.

ZOE doesn’t answer, and instead looks back at the transport for LITHO, which lifts off and flies away independently of the other ships.

ZOE:
I wonder how long it’ll take him to talk. Do you think they’ll learn anything?

ELIJAH:
Maybe. I don’t think they’d tell us, anyway.

HAVELOCK walks over close to ELIJAH and ZOE, and is shortly after approached by his sergeant, Helena Floros.

HAVELOCK:
Delphin, Platon. Start packing up. We’re leaving in ten.

(to Helena)

Sergeant Floros. How many did we lose?

FLOROS:
Estimated at somewhere between 30 and 40. Concerning the amount of useable vessels left behind, however, I can’t say. I sent a team to comb through the colony and recover the bodies for cryo.

HAVELOCK:
Good. They can stay with Kokin’s lot and help the Enforcement Officers clean up when they arrive. Stay and coordinate that team. I’ll gather the rest and see you on Metis.

FLOROS:
Yes, sir.

HAVELOCK and FLOROS walk off in opposite directions. ELIJAH glances over at ZOE.

ELIJAH:
Gotta feel bad for the Enforcement. They’re always made to pick up the pieces.

They walk towards the ships. The view shifts to all but two of the ships taking off and flying into the distance.

MISSION END

written by Jenny Steiert, August 2014

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