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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Member No.: 9
Joined: 7-October 12
Annika pulled off her helmet as she slipped inside the ship, the door closing shut behind her. She sat down on one of the benches and pulled off the rest of the suit, storing neatly away as she did so. She had spent a good part of the morning and afternoon outside, working on the hull of the Prometheus. It seemed like there was an endless amount of work to be done, and there were times she wondered if the ship would ever be flyable. But it had to be. Somehow. Otherwise, no one was going anywhere.
She didn't want to go home. Many did. She heard them talking about it, but she was struck with disappointment every time she thought about going home. Earth was the last place she wanted to be. Even living one of colonies would be better than Earth. But what she really wanted was to continue on, see what else was out there.
She had spent all her years there dreaming of leaving Earth. It was all she had ever wanted. Going into space, exploring the unknown, it filled her with an excitement she couldn't always contain. All her life, she had loved astronomy. Studying planets, stars, alien lifeforms, it was everything she wanted. But she had never imagined she'd get this far into space.
She picked her way through the Promethues, heading towards the Control Room. She had spent many hours in there, using the large windows to study the stars around the ship. It was so beautiful, she caught her breath at times. She had half-wanted to not go into hypersleep, and spend the two years they had travled here to study. Most onboard were here to study the planets. She was here to study both that, but also everything around them.
Even when others were on recreation time, she often slipped away to the windows and sat there, gazing out.
Once she reached the Control Room, she headed to the section of windows where she had set up her telescope. She was worried about how it had fared. And sure enough, it was lying on its side amongst broken glass. She picked up the precious object and sighed as she saw the dents and scratches. She had been so careful with it, cleaning it, polishing it, and keeping it looking brand-new.
But that wasn't the worst part. The lower lense was cracked beyond repair. The one at the top had several scratches, but it would at least be usable.
"Dammit!". She cursed. She could only hope she'd be able to find another lense, or even another telescope. None would be quite as good as hers, but she could make it work. Sighing again, she set it back up, wishing she had packed it away when she had used it last. But there was nothing she could do about it now. Besides, she was too busy working on the ship to use it much now, if it even was still in working order. Most of her studies had to get put on hold while they fixed the ship and figured out their next plan of action. She heard footsteps, but didn't glance up as she carefully brushed shards of glass off the telescope.
To say the ship was a mess was a very, very sorry understatement. The ship had fallen apart. Thank God--or the Engineers or whoever you did or didn't want to believe in--that Prometheus had managed to sail straight through the big, round alien monster of a ship. She was smaller in size, but sturdy, studier than imagined. Really, despite her wear and tear, it was a miracle she'd survived at all. A miracle she hadn't combusted into a million pieces. Some of the cabins at the back of the ship were just as intact as they'd been the moment Prometheus had lifted her wings and stepped straight off the face of the earth.
But the control room, well. That was another story. The control room had taken the brunt of the collision, smashing in head first. No doubt, Captain Janek and his assistants had imagined that they'd die on impact. Even Charlie, who prided himself on his lack of fear, had a hard time imagining himself driving his own ship straight into chaos. Then again, he knew all too well what it was like to take one for the team.
Right now, he was feeling something else. Claustrophobia. A trapped, caged feeling. Itching at him from the inside out. A large part of him wanted to simply check himself into quarantine and be done with it. The lab was still intact, a small blessing. Wouldn't be too hard for Charlie to walk in and say, "I know it, you know it--I'm infected. Isolate me and let's get this over with."
But there was something keeping him back. Someone. Elizabeth, with her doe eyes and her rare, fragile vulnerability. Elizabeth, who had clung to him last night, all but begging him not to go. Begging him to stay. To work this out. Together.
What she didn't seem to understand was this wasn't something that they could just talk about and fix. It wasn't one of their hypothetical theories that maybe was, maybe wasn't. Charlie felt like he was going inside, like he was some sort of walking, talking cancer. A time bomb, itching to go off, itching to infect the entire ship and everyone in it.
And so Charlie had two options. He would either go against Elizabeth's wishes and quarantine himself anyway (which would no doubt make Vickers a very, very happy woman) or he could sweat it out and drive himself (and everyone else) completely insane.
Neither option sounded like a party. It was time to reevaluate the situation. Doctors were good, but doctors weren't everything. After all, doctors only knew how to treat earth bound infections. This was way outside of their payroll. No one knew what to do with an alien contagion except to just wait it out and hope for the best. Charlie didn't need someone who knew infections. He needed someone who knew aliens.
Which brought him to Meer. She was the ship's astronomer and, as far as Charlie was concerned, not particularly necessary to the mission. A sweet girl, sure. But quiet, introverted, in her own world. Charlie hadn't had much contact with her before now. He'd been too focused on the Engineers to tolerate any distractions, especially one quite so...spacey. Now? Well. He could use a little out of the box thinking. And chances were, if she knew a thing or two about different planets, she might know a thing or two about the theoretical species that inhabit them.
He found her crawling around the control room, swearing to herself as she picked up tiny shards of glass. It took Charlie a second to realize why--her precious telescope, one he had noticed her fondling on the ride over--was dead on the ground. Broken. She was picking at it, treating it like something injured. Now was as good of a time as ever to intervene.
"Hey...busted your telescope?" Charlie started, crouching down beside her. He was here. Might as well pick up a couple shards of glass while he was at it. "It was kind of useless out here anyway, wasn't it? I mean, why look at the moons from far away when you're standing on one?"
So maybe her little telescope wasn't at all what was on Charlie's mind. But he was finding it hard to open his mouth and tell her exactly why he was here. After all, how did one start the sentence: Hey, you seem nerdy enough to have your own theories on aliens life forms, can you give me some extraction tips?
Member No.: 9
Joined: 7-October 12
Annika was so focused on what she was doing that she didn't notice Charlie till he knelt beside her and spoke. She was rather surprised at his appearance. She didn't know much about him. They'd talked very little during the time they'd spent on the Promethues.
She also knew he was one of the ones that didn't see her studies as completly vital to the mission. She knew that people like him and Elizabeth were more important to it, but she had spent her entire life studying outer space. She had more than just a little to contribute.
But she wasn't exactly the most friendly person. It was a trait of hers she despised. But talking to someone wasn't really her thing. She had spent so little time with other people in school that her social skills were somewhat lacking. She had a bad habit of burying herself in her work and ignoring everyone around her.
She was rather intrigued by his infection, mostly because it was caused by some alien disease, poison, whatever you wanted to call it. What she knew about aliens was nothing to brag about, but it was more than most people. All her studies were strictly theoretical. She had had no way to prove anything. But along with her studies on planets, came studies about the possible lifeforms that inhabited them. She had several pages full of all her ideas. That was half the reason she felt like she deserved to be here just as much as the rest of the crew.
She hadn't done much studying on the Engineers. Mostly because that was the whole reason people like Elizabeth and Charlie had come here. Getting invovled, she figured she would have just been seen as in the way. So she kept her focus elsewhere, with her studies being on the physical features of the moon they were on, as well as the constellations. She was simply being patient. Her day would come when she'd have something big to offer.
She shrugged in response to Charlie's comment. "Old habits die hard I guess. I've spent most of my life looking through one of these things. Besides, I'm not just looking at the moon. The constellations of this place are amazing. The ones in the north sector are some of the brightest I've seen. They create such an-" She stopped mid-sentence, looking a little sheepish. "Sorry. That's another bad habit of mine. I tend to ramble when I get on the subject of astronomy. Another thing I need to work on I suppose."
"Anyway, you do have a point I guess. But this thing's practically a part of me. Silly I know, but I've never been what someone might call 'normal'." She looked at him for a moment. "Did you need something?"
She was assuming he did. If he had wanted to simply talk, she could think of several other people he would have gone to. She folded up the legs of the telescope once all the glass was off. "Thanks." She said as he helped her in picking up the glass. She set it carefully in the case that was lying nearby. Eventually ,maybe, she'd be able to fix it. Besides, who knew when, if ever, they would come back here? She had to get what information she was looking for while she could.
Annika was a funny sort of creature--she was quiet, shy one minute, and then as soon as she opened her mouth, a fountain came out. He should've known better than to ask the astronomer about space--she went on a rant about the different constellations, swirling all around them. She'd looked almost like Elizabeth, then, in the wrong light. That same fevered passion coursing through her veins. For Elizabeth, it was archeology. For Annika, it was astronomy. For Charlie? It was making sure he was right and everyone else was wrong.
Charlie couldn't help but smirk. He tapped one finger against his temple, pointing his other hand at her. "You're smart, aren't you?" There was that shark's grin. "Bet you were the best in your class, weren't you?" Of course she was. She was young, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed. They wouldn't have let her on this mission if she wasn't an intellectual freak of nature. That, or Weyland had some repopulation mission he wasn't letting anyone in on. "Whoopdefucking..."
Holloway trailed off. His voice was getting too hard. His smile too mechanical. His tone too grating and malicious. He didn't dislike her. It was hard to dislike anything so innocent and naive. It was this thing inside of him. That's what he kept telling himself. It was pushing all his button. Getting him hostile in the middle of a genuinely friendly conversation. Every time Charlie opened his mouth, it seemed, nothing but poison came out. He closed his mouth, sealing it in. Let out a deep exhale through his nose. Reevaluation.
"I uh..." he ran his hand over the top of his head briefly, where a his hair had started growing in. Shaved down ever since their travel in their pods. Just another reminder of how much damn time they'd spent on this ship. "I was wondering if you knew anything about this planet that the others didn't. You know. Since you're..." he lifted his hand once, uselessly gesturing to her. Since you're such a goddamn nerd."...Our resident astronomer," he finished.
He tossed a large piece of glass in a makeshift pile of destroyed telescope and shifted in his crouched position, his elbow resting on his thigh. Getting a better look at her. He always liked dealing with people head on. Eye-to-eye. That's how you got to know a person, really. From what they said in their eyes. The truth there. "Namely, if you have any theories on the alien life here." There. He'd said it. Now all his chips were on the table. If it wasn't obvious, the infection was eating him up--inside and out.
Note: Eeep! I'm sorry that took so long/it's so short! I'll be quicker next time!
Member No.: 9
Joined: 7-October 12
She gave a half smile at his comment. "You wouldn't believe some of the nicknames I had." She said with a shake of her head. She had been mostly a loner at school, but that had never bothered her. All she had cared about was her astronomy. She was pretty sure half the school would have fainted if she had ever shown up to a dance or football game. No, her eyes had always been on the stars and planets.
She had always been good at reading people. Lunchtime in the cafeteria had been a great time to study those around her. It wasn't like she was off chatting with anyone. He seemed to be getting more on edge, but who could blame him? There wasn't one person on the damn ship who was in a great mood all the time now. And he had been through more than most.
She listened to his question as she looked over a scratch on her telescope. It wasn't too noticeable, but right now, she'd just be happy with a working one. Not that stars were really her priority. She was more interested in the lifefroms on the planet at the moment.
"If you're looking for tons of information, I'm afraid I can't give you that. You're right, I do more than probably anyone else here, but it's nothing to brag about. Most of what I have is theories, speculations, guesses, with a couple facts here and there. But, I can share what I have."
It wasn't hard to guess why he asking. Though she couldn't have known for sure and wouldn't dare ask, she figured it had something do with his...infection, or whatever you wanted to call it. If she had been in his shoes, she would have scouring the whole planet for answers.
Reading up on theories about alien lifeforms had been one of her freetime activites. She read everything she could get her hands on. So along with the stars and planets, she had been a nerd with aliens. Even if most of it was just speculation, she still read it. It was interesting, and intrigued her on how there could be so much more out there.
She pulled a small flashdrive out of her pocket. "This is everything I have." She said. Her tablet was lying on her work station where she had several maps, drawings, and other papers lying about. She picked up several of them and sat back down next to Charlie. "This may or may not be useful, but I'll show you what I've come up with." She laid out several drawings on the floor. A couple were of the Engineers with labels and notes next to it.
"Ah, this one. It's the...thing that attacked Milburn and Fifield."[/b] She said as she laid it down. "It has nothing in common with the Engineers. And as we've seen, quite dangerous." She plugged the flashdrive into her tablet, and more notes and drawings popped up on the screen. "While the Engineers are similar to us, the other things have a completly different make-up. "
She went on to mention the couple theories she had on what they were, how they lived, a few other small tidbits. "There is one thing I keep coming back to. Those...vials with the head statue. Most of the Engineers died somehow. I think the black liquid fits in somewhere. I don't know where, or how, or if I'm even right, but I have a feeling it's one of the pieces. Don't ask me why, I just can't my mind of it."
Notes: No problem! I took a while to get this one up to. I was wondering, do you have any ideas or plan in mind for where you're going to take this. Like if Charlie ever finds out David stuck the drop in his drink?
At very least, Meer was a good sport. Rather than getting prickly by his accusations and bitter sarcasm, she just smiled and shrugged it off. A near inch of pity there, as though to say Oh, you poor thing, you really need to insult me to feel better about yourself? She had a thick skin, but that came with the territory of someone too smart for their own good. A loner, as she said, someone who had probably spent the better half of middle school trying not to get shoved into lockers. Charlie? Well, he'd been the one putting kids there.
Better for her, really. Because even though Charlie felt bad that this thing was grating against his every last nerve, that it seemed anything could set him off these days--like living with a constant, piercing hangover--he didn't have enough pride left to swallow and properly apologize. Much better to move on, moved passed it, pretend it didn't happen. Pretend he wasn't an ass. Pretend he wasn't losing his fucking mind.
Luckily, Meer was on the same page. She set aside her busted telescope--Charlie gently set the broken fragments of glass down as well, beside the hollowed out tube--and she shifted her attention to him. Reminding that her information was more speculation thank cold, hard facts. At least, that drew a thin-lipped smile from Holloway. "Speculation is something of a friend of mine," he reminded her to put at a little bit at ease.
It was the truth--facts, yes, facts were important. Facts were the end goal. Fact was the thing you found, held in your hand, and said to yourself, Yes. I accomplished something. But speculation was the mother of all facts. She was the thing that got the curiosity growing, got all the itchy fingers drumming for more information. Speculation was what had flown them to this piece of rock in the first place--speculation and trust. Trust that Holloway and Shaw knew what the hell they were talking about. Trust that this wasn't some fever dream from too many lonely nights spend inside old, forgotten caves.
Before Holloway could get lost in his own thoughts, Meer reached into her pocket and held out a flashdrive. "This is everything I have." Charlie eyed it almost greedily. If the key to his infection was on there...he'd rummage through every line of code to get through to it. With that, however, she got up and picked up a couple stacks of papers--diagrams and maps, it looked like--and set them down in front of him. This may or may not be useful," she added, "but I'll show you what I've come up with." Charlie's heart was drumming in his chest as she spread the papers out on the floor in front of them and he tried not to look too anxious, eyes scanning over the paper quickly for something new. Anything.
He could barely hear Meer over the sound of his own aching anticipation. Something about the thing that attacked Milburn...the Engineers...all things he knew already, more or less. Blahblahblah--
And then, something stalled her. "There is one thing I keep coming back to," she finally said. "Those...vials with the head statue..." Everything else was rushing water. The vials. They had been leaking black the last time Holloway had seen them. Charlie had lifted off his helmet--but then, so had everyone else, taking his cue. But had hadn't gotten attacked by a strange giant worm. He had barely gotten a chance to get close to the Engineer head. So what was it? Was Meer onto something here with the vials?
Charlie hesitated, then, since she seemed to be the only one at all interested with what was going on here, tried voicing his thoughts, "I took my helmet off when we were inside...near the vials. But so did everyone else, so if it was something...airborne, something coming off the vials, it doesn't make sense that I would've been the only one to get it." He paused briefly, then glanced up so his eyes met Meer's. Trying not to sound too much on the edge of desperation. "Can you figure out where it came from?"
-------------------------- Notes: I'm ALL for Charlie finding out what happened with David and his drink. Woot!
Member No.: 9
Joined: 7-October 12
If an alien had leapt out at her, Annika figured she would probably would have tried to sedate it rather than kill it. As long as the thing didn't injure her, she would almost have been excited she had stumbled across one. She was odd in that respect, but since most of her studies on aliens had just been theories and guesses, she was dying to get some hard-facts. Things that were proven, definite, true without a doubt. She had stared up at the sky for so long, wondering what else was out there. Now, she was finally getting the answers she was looking for.
She was sort of like Dr. Shaw in that respect. They were both searching for two different things, both wanting answers. And both were finding them. Annika had been jumping at every opportunity to study an alien life form. There was so much more beyond Earth, and she wanted nothing more than to keep looking for the rest of her life. And that was exactly what she intended to do. There was nothing left for her back on Earth. No matter what the rest of the crew of the Promethues did, she'd find a way back out here. She didn't want to spend another minute on that planet.
Annika smiled. "Yes, I should have guessed that since it's half the reason we're out here." She shouldn't have been concerned about her lack of facts. True, facts were what they needed to find eventually, but they didn't always come into the picture immediatly.
He started scanning all of her pages and notes, and she could tell he was eager to go through all the info she had. She found herself really wanting to help. Here was her chance to contribute something big to the crew. The Engineers and their whole history wasn't her area of expertise, but this was. If they were going to be stuck here for a while, and she was pretty sure they would be, they'd have to be prepared. Who was to say someone else wouldn't get sick? She could be ready. She had to be.
Holloway seemed to agree on her idea about the vials. She nodded in response to his question. [b]"If I do some more digging, I'm sure I can." She got up and started walking back and forth, something she often did when she was thinking.
"Ok, so the giant worms and the head couldn't have anything to do with it. You're right, it couldn't have been airborne. And you didn't touch anything in the cave, right? But even if you did, your suit would have protected you. It wouldn't have let anything leak through." She grew silent for a moment as she thought. "It happened the first day, we know that. There's just no possible way you came into contact with the vials in the cave. Everyone was around the same things you were."
"If it wasn't the cave, the only other place could be...the ship. But where on the ship?" She was half talking to herself as she continued. "But where? And how would it have gotten on the ship in the first place?" She looked directly at him. "Did you happen to notice anyone bring one of the vials on board? That still wouldn't explain how it got to you, but it would at least be a place to start."
Meer was up and pacing now. Clearly, she just looked excited to have a puzzle to solve. That brain of hers working, spooling through her vast wealth of information about alien life, different species, different galaxies--all the textbook material that Charlie had blown over just to hop on the first ship off Earth. And she was really getting into it, too--working through all the different possibilities out loud. As if she didn't have enough on her mind, what with Prometheus still in disarray and everyone pulling together to pull the old ship back into one piece. Then again, maybe a pet project was something they both needed. Something to take their mind off all the shit crumbling around them.
At least she was taking him seriously. That was, really, more than Charlie could hope for. Everyone else was treating him like a goddamn leper. He couldn't blame them; after all, he was the reason a small alien baby had grown snuggly inside Elizabeth. But the fact was, Charlie was infected with something and no one knew why. Which meant it could infect anyone at any time. Meer got that.
She was running through the list. Couldn't have been airborne. Couldn't have seeped in through the suit. Couldn't have happened after the first day. The ship. It had to have happened on the ship. Charlie leaned his back against the wall, rubbing his had over his face once. Suddenly exhausted by the endless possibilities. The truth was, they knew nothing about it. Anything could happen. Anything. Vials on board? Charlie tried to think back. He'd been so fucking disappointed by the fact that their Engineers had appeared all dead, he'd remembered nothing from that night but a heavy, weighted haze, pressing down on his chest. The weight of wasted years and useless ambition.
He lifted his hand then before dropping it. "We left the ship. Found the Engineers. Found the vials. Took the head. The storm chased us out of there before we could really take inventory. I got back on the ship...and spent the night in the recreation room, drinking myself to near oblivion with David the ever-talented barkeep." So his last line had held a little bite in it, but he was frustrated now. Answers somehow seeming even more far away the more he dug in to them. Maybe if he hadn't been so angry, he'd have paid more attention. Maybe if he hadn't drank himself stupid he would have caught his infection before he gave it to Elizabeth. Maybe...
Charlie cleared his throat once, before continuing. "I went back to my bunk. Tried to sleep it off." Of course, the obvious step was missing. The part where he'd made love to Elizabeth, something reconciliatory, something loving and forgiving. Something he hadn't done since, too afraid of the thing still living inside of him.
"If anyone brought a vial on board," Charlie said, finally back to business, "We've got no way of knowing where it could be now. I'll hunt around, let you know if anything comes up." With that, he pulled himself off of the ground. At least, now he had a mission. And, hopefully, Meer would do the same. Then, maybe, they could get to the bottom of this.
Member No.: 9
Joined: 7-October 12
She listened to him closely, her mind still going in a million different directions. She didn't respond immediatly. Maybe David knew something. If Charlie had gone to bed afterwards, it could have happened in the recreation room. It was the only logical place.
And then something hit her. The vial wouldn't have been just lying around. It should have been in one of the labs. Anyone who had brought one on board should have put it there. But Charlie hadn't been in there. And she was forgetting something. Who had brought a vial on board? She could rule out Fifield and Millburn for obvious reasons. Ford and Dr. Shaw had been handling the head. Who else was she forgetting besides David? He had been taking a while to catch up with them. And he might have wanted to study it.
She needed to talk to him. He had to know if someone had messed with the vial. And she saw no reason why he wouldn't tell her where it was.
It still didn't explain how Charlie had gotten infected. Another idea crept up in her mind and she stopped for a moment. It was impossible, no one would have...but yet...
She gave a shake of her head, not liking where her thoughts were going. Find the vial first. That was what she needed to focus on. She'd figure out the other stuff later.
"Ok. Stuff that dangerous wouldn't be kept just anywhere. Try the labs first. I'm going to talk to David and check out the recreation room. I'll let you know if I find anything." She turned to go, but stopped and looked back at him. "You haven't gotten into any fights with anyone, have you?"
Charlie couldn't be entirely sure why Annika Meer was helping him. Maybe she was just bored. Maybe she needed a pet project, something to distract her from the inevitable truth: they were stranded in a destroyed ship on a dangerous and unpredictable planet. There was no rescue in sight. They were all probably going to die.
Hell. Maybe Charlie needed the distraction too. Maybe a little murder mystery would be enough to keep them from all killing each other for the next few days, at very least. Anyway, when it came down to it, he knew one thing about Meer: she was a lover of science and astronomy. She had that same life-or-death passion in her that infected Elizabeth Shaw. That same push that kept them going, gave them a purpose. Meer didn't need any other reason than the simple fact that she had to know. For the sake of science.
Meanwhile, Charlie just wanted to know his head wasn't going to explode anytime soon, like that damn Engineer skull they'd studied in the lab.
The lab. Seemed like a reasonable next step. She told him to check it out and then stood to go. Charlie stood with her, leaving her still-broken telescope lying on the floor like a cracked spine. But then Annika stopped. Turned to him. "You haven't gotten into any fights with anyone, have you?"
The question threw Charlie off guard. Fights? The image of Fifield flashed through his head. He was about to open his mouth, but then he second-guessed himself. What was she really asking him? She was like a therapist suddenly. But there was something else there. Needling. She was asking him if he was dangerous. If they needed to quarantine him. For the safety of his ship.
Meer was helping him. Meer was a friend, even in the loosest sense of the word. And yet, even Meer knew he was still a liability. A threat.
"Nothing to report," Charlie said, flashing her a quick smile. Trying to toss the subject under the rug. And he jutted his thumb over his shoulder. "I'll check out the lab. Let me know if you find anything." And with that, he turned tail and head out of the room before she could really interrogate him. He was living on Prometheus only by the skin of his teeth, but maybe once they found the source, Charlie could put himself a little more at ease.
------------------------------- Notes: Fin? For now?