Big Things Have Small Beginnings is a neo-noir scifi RPG, based on the works of Ridley Scott (think: the brilliant mind behind the films Alien, Blade Runner, and Prometheus). We're set in the year 2093, thirty years before Ripley's ship took off. Weyland Industries, the face of new technology and advanced space travel, funded Project Prometheus. They set out to discovered the origins of mankind...and found so much more. Mankind is now reeling with the new discovery. Meanwhile, infections are spreading in other colonies, the military outpost is training in the event of an alien attack, and rescue ships have been sent out to find Prometheus. The space race is over; now, it's a race for survival.
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Charlie knew as well as anyone else that he was on a tight-leash. The only reason he wasn't thrown in some tiny, seal-proof box was because they needed all the manpower they could get to make this ship ship-shape. Some chunks of the Prometheus had fallen clean off and had to be patched on like some poorly knit quilt. They'd only just gotten it to the point where they could finally get a flow of breathable oxygen running through the ship without worrying about it leaking out the cracks. Just in time, too. The suits ran low fast.
Still, there were patches that needed to be made to the outside shell of the ship. Charlie didn't know shit about fixing a shit. Hell, he could barely change a lightbulb without tearing out the whole light fixture. He didn't have enough patience to be Mr. Fix-it. He was more Mr. Throw-It-Away-And-Move-On. Yet, here he was. Standing on one of the hypersleep chambers to reach the ceiling, screwing a bent metal panel back in place.
It wasn't out of the goodness of his heart, either. It was just that the job gave him something to do. Something active. Something that wouldn't leave him alone to his thoughts. Thought, really. That one, singular thought that kept looping through his head. It's still in you. It's still inside...
The small torch made him sweat and Charlie flicked it off briefly, letting the little blue flame die down before he wiped some sweat from his forehead. It was cold on the ship, the temperature from outside leaking in, but between the small torch and the general feeling of unease clamped down hard in his stomach, Charlie was feeling feverish. Burn it off. Keep working. Don't stop. Don't think.
He knew he should be quarantined. He knew it. Everyone on the ship knew it. Everyone who avoiding him like the plague, keeping a good, healthy distance between them and him. He couldn't blame them. He'd stay 50 feet away from the man who turned into a black-veined super-beast and spawned an alien-baby too. But they needed capable hands and he had something to prove.
He was thinking. Stop thinking.
Just as he was about to flicker the torch back on again, he noticed someone step into the room. One quick look at the hoodie was all it took to recognize the biologist. "You gonna pick up a hammer or are you just here for the view, Millburn?" Charlie said, eyes never leaving the ceiling. It wasn't that he had anything against Millburn, really. On any other occasion, he'd like the guy. Millburn had a healthy amount of scientific skepticism Charlie could appreciate. But right now, Charlie wasn't exactly in the mood to play nice with anyone. Millburn just happened to be an easy target in the wrong place at the wrong time.
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Millburn stepped into the room, and hearing the sound of Holloway’s voice, involuntarily took a cautious step away. He knew something was horribly wrong with Charlie- how much longer did Holloway have? How long did he have before whatever was happening inside him reached its apex? Was he contagious? The questions swirled through Millburn’s mind as he kneeled down and picked up a welding torch from the tool-case.
“That’s what I came here for, Holloway, to work.” (A lie.) “Relax.”
He rose and stopped for a moment as he took in the whole area. The place was a wreck, lots of the cryochambers’ protective glass had been shattered, rendering the chambers useless. Wires and tubes, the vital organs of the ship herself, hung torn and frayed from the ceiling and walls. The renowned (back on Earth, anyways) biologist wanted to be more optimistic, but just from viewing the completely annihilated room he knew that bringing Prometheus back to at least minimal power would be a great feat. It looked a complete 180 degrees from the clean, clinical facility he woke up to when the Prometheus first arrived at LV-223.
Millburn continued to scan the room until he came to a section of the ceiling that seemed completely smashed in. He could see the bulkhead had a giant gash in it. He could see past it into the guts of the ship. Inside this small compartment of wires shined an almost-neon blue light, flickering on and off, casting a ghostly ethereal light down into the dim cryo center. Millburn had no idea what the light was for or if it meant something was wrong. A handful of LED lights on various computers and a small lamp Holloway brought in gave a modicum of illumination to the room. He stepped under the shaft of blue electronic light, and looked straight up at the hole in the hull.
Where the hell does Holloway get off asking me for my help? I’m a goddamn biologist, not some blue collar Tim the Tool Man Taylor.
Millburn had to be honest to himself, Holloway intimidated him, particularly now that he’d been infected with God knows what. As far as he was concerned, Charlie was a ticking time bomb waiting to go off, and he should be in quarantine, or at least kept in his own quarters. Who the hell knew what was going to happen, what was his going to do? Erupt tentacles? Turn into God knows what… from everything Millburn saw so far during this mission, it wouldn’t be that hard to believe. Millburn picked up a rougly 2x2 foot metal plate from a pile of assorted sized metal plates some of the crew were able to put together or salvage from the initial crash. They wheeled them in a day or so ago. He reached his foot over to the side to snag a stepladder with his boot. He dragged it over to under the damaged piece of the ceiling and went up two steps until he was close enough to the damage. With one hand he pressed the plate against the gash in the hull and raised his spot welder with another.
Christ I’ve never used one of these before… it seems easy enough though. The closest thing I’ve ever done to this was using a soldering iron and that was back when I was a Cub Scout.
There was the sound of the welders doing their hot work, but in the cryo center the silence was deafening for Millburn. Finally after a few long seconds he had had enough.
“Holloway, you’re a scientist like me. A man of reason. You’re infected with something and we have no idea when or what will happen to you, or anyone else on the ship. Why do you walk around like nothing’s happened? Why don’t you put yourself in quarantine?”
Charlie glanced over briefly to see Millburn shuffling up a ladder with a chunk of metal, set on filling out the cracks on Prometheus. He had to give Millburn credit--it would have been easy to mumble some excuse and duck away from manual labor. Millburn wasn't quite the pussy he seemed to be.
The truth of it was, Millburn was the kind of guy Charlie would have liked to work with back on earth. He had that wide-eyed enthusiasm for everything science. The man clearly knew what he was talking about. There was passion there. An awe of mother nature's devious ways. The kind of religious fever that broke out on Elizabeth's face every time she encountered something amazing--a broken clay pot, old, dried bones, cave paintings. Charlie appreciated passionate people; nine times out of ten, you could get them to do anything for the sake of science. Anything.
It was the kind of passion Charlie shared, but on a different level. For Charlie, it was a high. A thrill. The excitement of finding something new. Touching something that hadn't been touched in years. Being the first set of human feet to step on an alien planet. The nitty gritty science of it all--yeah, he could appreciate it in it's own way. But the thrill of discovery...that's what kept Charlie up at night.
And what fucked him over, on more than one occasion. Including now. Trapped on an alien planet, lightyears away from anything civilized. Surviving.
Really, Charlie should know better. He should've been careful for what he wished for.
But he wasn't the only one out of his element. Millburn was very clearly, struggling to work the small torch. He let the other man struggle with it. If he needed help, he'd ask. Otherwise, it'd be a learning experience. They all had to learn how to make their own way out here. Any weak links, well. They were fucked. Millburn was the first to break the silence, over the quiet hiss of the torches. “Holloway, you’re a scientist like me. A man of reason. You’re infected with something and we have no idea when or what will happen to you, or anyone else on the ship." Here we go. Holloway felt his jaw clench, though he said nothing. Why do you walk around like nothing’s happened? Why don’t you put yourself in quarantine?”
It was, really, the question of the hour. Charlie knew it. Everyone knew it. And the truth was, if he had his way, he'd be back in quarantine. Away from everyone else. Where he couldn't hurt anyone. Where he couldn't hurt Elizabeth. But then there was that way she curled up against him. That plead. Please don't go back to the lab. Stay with me. And...well. He just had a hard as hell time saying no to her. Especially after what he'd put her through. "Tell you what," he said, glancing back at Millburn. "When I start sprouting a third arm, I'll be more than happy to get thrown back into quarantine. Until then, I think you guys need all the arms you can get."
Charlie turned back to his equipment and dropped his voice to a near mumble, "Someone's gotta get us off this rock." It made him uneasy. It made everyone uneasy. They had no idea what was still here. Living, just under the surface of the moon. Never mind the fact that they had no idea whether they were going next. What they would find. One thing was for certain: no way they were turning around and going back to earth. Not now. Even though Holloway knew there were some of the crew members dead set on turning this ship around and sending her right back where she came from. "Bet you didn't think you'd be gone from Kansas this long, huh, Dorothy?" Charlie said, offering a light grin. A little lightheartedness was the least he could do, even if it was a little at Millburn's expense.