System Shock 2: Surviving the OSA – Part 4

Fuck fuck fuck. Just FUCK IT. I’m fucking lost. Just not even a little bit lost – totally fucking lost. I’m on the Engineering deck and I’ve completely lost my sense of direction after having my ass filled with buckshot by some sneaky hybrid cockwomble – it was going fine until literally a few minutes ago, so perhaps we should take a step back and reassess just what the fuck happened. After defeating the giant metal bitch that looked like Bender had fucked SpongeBob Squarepants, I made my way down the ladder to the lower decks. My mission is a simple one – get to the engineering core and restore main power so that the elevators work again and I can get to Deck 4. This should be fairly straightforward and won’t require another round of ‘whose keycard is it anyway’ with Doctor Dickface and his pack of Ebola monkeys. That shit can fuck clean off – no monkeys, no running around looking for Curly, Moe and Larry. Get to the core, flick the ‘on’ button and ride the elevator to victory.

Naturally, the first thing I see when arriving in the bowels of the ship is a severed arm and a wine bottle. BUT OF COURSE I DO. Fucking hell, this isn’t going to be fun at all. The finding of the severed arm goes hand in hand (no pun intended) with a couple of audio files – ‘strange readings’ coming from engineering and ‘concerns’ over radiation leaks – I suppose it was too much to hope that the ship was powered by fizzy sherbets and jawbreakers. So, engineering has become flooded with radiation, which isn’t great for me seeing as I have the constitution of a jelly sandwich and I doubt ‘strange readings’ can be contributed to static on the radio. Polito chimes in that I need to get a wiggle on to get the elevators working but warns me that XERXES is now under ‘their’ control – I’m not really sure how the situation could get more fucked up really – then XERXES cuts her off and tells me it’s time, basically, join the collective. Well he can fuck off – I’d rather join the Latter Day Saints.

I got some more cyber modules before that though, adding to my enormous pile of cyber modules that I don’t know what to do with. I mean, I know what to do with them – I need to spend the things – but on what is the problem. I still know very little about the OSA branch and my memories of the game start to fade out around this point. I know from this deck I can expect an increased amount of turrets and Cyborg Midwives, both of which will be problematic. If nothing else, I’ll need some anti-armour options and maybe something to buff my strength statistics so that ol’ yellow can swing into bloody action. Polito also gave me the code to a door – something about hiding some supplies, but I’ll be lucky if I don’t get my face ripped off before I find it.

What I do find, though, is a lot of narrow passageways filled with radiation – this does not play to my strengths. I have a couple of radiation (or rad) hypos but not a lot else. My other tactic of running behind corners to avoid shotgun-wielding foes is also going to be about as useful as a cock-flavoured lollipop, seeing as there are no fucking corners. Long straight passageways, filled with lethal amounts of gamma radiation and the occasional corpse. Naturally, I get lost inside the first few minutes, my muscle memory failing me to a degree I wasn’t expecting. However, there are some floor signs, and even my lack of natural instinct with regards to direction can’t fuck up following signs on the floor. What did screw me over was following signs to engineering and wading through a host of radiation, only to be told I can’t access engineering until I’ve purged all the radiation. Fan-fucking-tastic. I start heading back in the opposite direction only to get cocky and take a wrong turn. As I’m standing in a relatively safe bit of corridor, I consult the map – a directional assistant so vague that it’s like Satan sacrificed a honey badger and decided to let whatever blood stains hit the carpet do for a guide – only to hear the call of a hybrid.

Fenton’s slow to rise (old age does that) and I get buckshot for my troubles as I turn to gallop unceremoniously away, the hybrid giving chase. I start swearing, trying to remember which way I’ve come and which way I want to be going, while taking more and more radiation damage – it’s like watching a Benny Hill sketch except I’m an ugly man with lead poisoning being chased by a leper. I turn but continue to backpeddle, letting off some shots from Fenton. All three of them hit, the hybrid falls to floor and, in what can only be described as pure luck, I find myself outside the storage unit Polito was talking about. Inside is a host of goodies: medical hypos, speed booster, nanities and a radiation suit. This presents a conundrum because, as previously mentioned, I have zero actual strength – a couple of hits and I’m brown bread. Equally, I’m out of radiation hypos so…

I take my chances and stick with what I’m already packing – a few inches of kevlar – it’s kept me alive thus far. I consult the map in relative safety and, after a few minutes, decide on a route out of the area. It isn’t long before I discover an exit, only to land myself in more hot water.

My immediate emotion upon exiting the tunnels is joy, because they were confusing and shit to fight in. My joy turns to despair because while I’m prancing around like Julie Andrews, the Nazi-like security camera spots me and makes all the noise under the sun. I quickly chuck a psionic bolt at it to silence its bleating noise but the damage is done – the security countdown is on and bringing all the enemies bearing down on me. Immediately I get a smack to head from a pipe-wielding hybrid and quickly return the favour, but it’s not long before I’m overwhelmed. Another shotgun hybrid and what appears to be an android come scuttling towards me, so I seek refuge inside a small chamber in the centre of the room.

It’s quiet in here… too quiet, almost. They didn’t see me go in here so I’m relatively safe until the alarm goes off, but I will have to deal with them soon. I breathe a sigh of relief and wait a few beats until I hear a noise – subtle at first, but unmistakeable right after. I turn to find a fucking monkey strutting around like it owns the place! I rush towards it, taking a psychic bolt to the face, dropping my health even further, before hitting him twice, only to turn as I swing and barrel clean off the walkway. The fall costs me all but three points of my health and that’s where I stay, cursing the simian asshat and listening to the murderers and killing machines just outside the door as the security countdown continues. Here is where I stay trapped, injured and very much alone.

Come back for Part five where we do the dance of death down in the bowels of the ship, finally get to spend some cyber modules and hopefully get off the deck altogether.

Last five articles by Chris


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