Oil Painting (Signalis X Deadspace F1) - Chapter 13 - Skill7Spark04 (2024)

Chapter Text

I’ve locked myself in the armory. He won’t get out of my head. They won’t get out of my head. Voices. I can’t take it. It’s overwhelming. I just wanna lay here and cry myself into madness or death, whichever comes first.

“Your fortitude is cracking at the foundation, hunter. You cannot escape the phantoms of your past. These two, you hadn’t bothered to even learn their names… and yet you lead them to an easy death, avoidable deaths. Stupid. Deaths. They joined us. You even killed the third one.”

White steps forward out of the dark mist in the room, their fractured rig mounting, staring. She doesn’t speak, but words fill my mind.

“I made a mistake. I should have shot you. Not the fugitive. It was YOUR fault we were down there. YOUR fault we died.”

The other two remain silent, judging. Green holds her head to her side as if a helmet and salutes with her other arm, while blue simply stands there, a clear stream of tears and a tear at her midsection from when she was torn in half.

“Stop… get out of my head…”

“You hide like a roach. A coward. Running in the shadows like a f*cking filthy whor* from a street gang.”


“You can’t make them stop, Hunter.” Marx walks over and lifts my chin to meet his eyes. “Once you have joined us, you will understand. You will make us whole again… regardless that the world is tarnished and tainted with the individual. We need a collective. Like our glorious regime, we must all work in unison, not as independent beings.”

He walks off and pulls a small pistol from the corkboard with all the small firearms on it, and points it at my shoulder.

“Let this be a reminder of what we can do together, Hunter.


I feel a stabbing pain in my shoulder. In my hands I hold a small pistol, freshly fired, and a bullet hole is left in my shoulder. They are all gone.

“Did… did I do this? What… what is going on?”

“What is wrong with me???”

I climb through the swamp of blood, the walls pulsing in rage and unison. The building seems angry. I don’t know who pissed it off, but if it’s alive, it is likely sentient. Meaning there’s a way to kill it.

“I’ll find you, Ayjay.”

Up ahead, there are two people talking. I hide around the corner and try to overhear them.

“Whoever she is, we’ve found plenty of tribute thanks to her. We should thank her for that. Though I'm curious why her rig has no boots.”

“I know, it’s rather strange, is it not? … At least we can please the marker. I don’t know who she is or how she got this information, but it’s GOOD information. Especially the info about the elevators working. We should check the first floor next after this batch…”

My grip falls as a chunk of the flesh on the wall I was leaning on tears, causing the building to rumble and pulling the… people? to attention. Great. another problem to deal with.

I turn the corner and level my Drache smg towards the one on the left, aimed at the head. The makeshift suppressor should make this a little less risky, but it shouldn’t last more than 3 shots.


There it goes. It’s regretful that the third shot had to be wasted for the sake of a burst fire. Downsides of using a Drache I guess.

They collapse like bricks, the muted sound of their rigs flatlining echoing through the hall.

I walk over to their bodies and liberate the shotgun from one’s hands. I take the pack of shells as well, and load up the shotgun. Ein-12. Buckshot. The collapsable stock seems removed. I rack a shell. Second most beautiful sound I have heard in my entire life. Right up there with her voice.

“I’ll find you. If I have to search every INCH of the nine hells we now wander, I will NEVER stop walking. One day i’ll find you, and we’ll leave, hand in hand, smile and smile. I won’t make the same mistake that Orpheus made with Eurydice. I won’t look back till we’re both long since safe.”

… what a badass speech. If only I had said it when anyone was listening.

I enter the doorway they were guarding. It’s a clean hallway with clean air. I take off the gas mask for the first time in hours. I duck behind some crates. Two gestalts are guiding a replika prisoner with a bag over his head… It looks like an Adler unit. Or… what remains of one. It stumbles along, clearly struggling to walk due to an injury.

He’s cuffed at the hands, being shoved from behind by the two guards.

I dash carefully behind both guards and grab their mouths so they are muffled. I then slam their heads together with all my strength.

There heads are indented from the impact and a gurgling whisper can be heard from beneath my hands. Their eyes darting in fear, slowly losing color and slowing down until about 3 seconds have passed, and they are deceased. I lay them gently on the floor and pull the bag off the cuffed adler.

His face is scarred. Right eye missing, and a symbol carved in his forehead. a Twin Spiral Helix Tower. I cut the gag from his face. “They dragged me from the 4th floor. Pulled me from her. Could you unchain me?”

I take the shogun and point it down to the handcuffs.

“Don’t freak, or your blood will paint the walls.”


“Thanks. Some haven’t been transferred yet, and the rest are in the atrium.” he calmly walks off as if nothing is wrong. Seems like he was faking a limp to postpone his transfer… but why?

I run towards the prison block. First thing’s first, gather the people. 4 guards, 3 in rigs, one is a SAPR with a “Vulture” .50bmg rotary cannon. f*ck.

I grab the shogun and double check that it’s loaded. I examine the room. There’s a suit kiosk in the wall across from me. I manage to slip over, quickly select the only rig still available, a tier 2 engineering rig. It has stasis and kinesis preinstalled.

I quickly stand in place after selecting my purchase. The cuffs tighten around my body and hold me perfectly still as I'm dragged into the machine. It’s dark, but I can feel arms prodding and measuring as well as attaching. A bright light scans down my body as this happens. When it’s finished, I take a step out, my hooves sliding out of the boots.

“Hey! You! You should be at the ritual!”

The SAPR approaches and places a strong firm hand on my shoulder.

“State your business and identification!”

“I’m rather new. I believe it is… uhh… f*ck. I forgot it. Hey, I was sent here because a prisoner escaped. Killed two guards too. Gestalts. I am to begin prisoner transfer for the ritual.”

The SAPR looked skeptical at me, but before they could speak, one of the gestalts speak up.

“Oh, so you’re the replacement? Fine. take them off. As long as they are out of my care, I don’t give a sh*t.”

There are three prisoners left, and none are Ajay. One is the Kolibri, though. She’s been blindfolded instead of bagged, and blood runs from her ears and from under the blindfold. They deafened and blinded her.

It’s my fault.

I grab them roughly by their chains and pull them up. “GET UP.”

The two gestalt prisoners comply silently. I force the Kolibri up. I drag all three of them to the hallway, still being watched by the SAPR.


When we are there, I blast their chains. I give the two gestalts the pistols and mags held by the guards. They don’t say a word, just slowly processing what’s happening. I hand the Kolibri the drache from off the belt it was attached to, since I had the shotgun now-


I turn to face the Kolibri again. They had the SMG pointed at… me?

“I’m leaving. I can’t see. I can’t hear. I’m not helping you with your stupid plan whatever it is. YOU are the reason we were even CAPTURED! I said we should have stayed put, bunkered down, but YOU had to keep moving, and for what? To exterminate the K-towers?! An illusion of safety. Nigh, a DELUSION. I'm out. I’ll see you in hell, Nova.”


“No buts. You’re lucky I can still read your thoughts to determine what you’re saying, or i’d have shot you already, you insubordinate ass. Don’t follow me.” she turns and dashes towards the exit door.


She’s gone. Ran off into the smog, not even a gasmask on her. The last thing I heard from her was the door clicking shut.

Another sin. Another mistake.

I press onward through the door to the ritual room. Over 30 gestalts and replikas are lined up in 2 rows of 15 on a massive stage, bags over their heads and ropes and handcuffs on their hands and feet.

A person in a level 3 engineering RIG walks onstage. The boots are missing. A clear sign that it’s a replika. The armor is battered and damaged, cracked and shattered.

There are several dead corpses strung up on the walls. I feel a cold shivering series of stabs down my spine as I realize they are Eule units, strung up as decoration. I panic and look around at each of them.

Two on each wall, and one hung in the center, crucified on chains that hang from the ceiling.

None of them are Ajay. I would recognize her from the scars alone from the time we’ve spent in this hell… I cried for a long time about them. Now, I see they only add to her beauty. Especially the ones on her face…

She must be among the bagged. I motion to the gestalts to take cover among the crates.

“Hello. I am Sola. Today, we are here to unite. To become whole, at the marker’s will.”

She pulls a revolver out of a holster on her waist, before shooting a random hostage. The crowd cheers.

I nearly vomit. The stress is getting to me. I pray that she wasn't Ayjay…

The crowd is about 50 or so cultists, gestalt and replika, of all kinds. We aren’t winning a gunfight. I look around the room.

The ceiling…

“There are many who don’t understand.”

The walls…

“And they never will, either. So we must show them the path.”

The… the EULES! They are bleeding! If I remember anything from medical, it’s-

“And so we bring mercy in death.”

I shoot down the Eule that is hanging from the ceiling with two well placed shells, then once more midair sets it ablaze.

It lands in the center of the crowd. Soon, there is no crowd. Just a fireball that sets off all the other deceased Eules in the room. As the fire engulfs other replikas in the crowd, they too combust and detonate.

The one in the armor is damaged from shrapnel, but manages to leave. A lot of the hostages got caught in the fire.

“You killed them… it’s your fault…”

I don’t know who said that. And I don’t care. I rush through the fire and begin to blow off their handcuffs. I use the last of my shells just before I could free the last three hostages, so I hand them off to the others. We run into an adjacent room. It appears to be some sort of concession booth from before the outbreak.

I run back out into the fire and flames.

Sweat beads down my face.

I feel light headed.

My shell is bubbling on my skin.

But I search the flames for her face.

I don’t see her.

My eyes are heavy, my vision dark, despite the glow of the fire around me.

I feel the pain.

But it doesn’t hurt as much as my sins.

And nowhere close to how I'd feel if I lost her.

I try to outpace them in the halls. The reach of their voices never falters. It’s as if they are my own. They mock me. Taunt me. I'm getting tired of it. I saved a bullet just for myself if it gets unbearable.


I cannot take it. I shut myself in the weapons locker. I place the firing range headphones over my ears, and pull my legs to my chest, curled into a ball. Tears run down my face like raindrops on a windshield.

I can’t… I can’t go on. Im… I'm just gonna sleep…

Just… gonna… sleep.


I clutch my head. It hurts. It stings. I feel a tidal wave of memories, all mine, but none mine. I collapse to my knees.

“We need you.”

“Make us whole.”

“You can’t avoid us.”

“Remember our promise?”

I feel two voices fighting in my mind. I see two arianes in front of me. Both have their left arms outstretched.

“... I remember.”

The issue is… which one do I trust?

I think.

For a long time.

It’s almost 6 hours later before I've decided what to do.

“Left. What was the promise?”

“We promised to die together. You promised you’d kill me if necessary, before the radiation got to us.”

“Right. What was the promise?”

“...” she shifts silently in her position, seeming to have relaxed her posture a moment.

I walk over to the middle, between the two. They turn to me, arms still outstretched. I take the right one’s hand, and kiss the top of it.

“Actions. Always a woman of action, Ariane.”

I turn back to the other. It’s face seems to melt into static. I notice a gold and black pattern beneath the glitch. Then it’s gone. In it’s place, a simple painting. The Penrose, under a starry night, landed on some grassy knoll. The oil paints used give it a fuzzy, warm texture to look at. It brings comfort.

I turn back to see that Ariane wasn’t there. But in my hand, sat a picture.

I place the picture into my bag, ditching the rations to obey the rule of 6.

It’s much too important to abandon.

Oil Painting (Signalis X Deadspace F1) - Chapter 13 - Skill7Spark04 (2024)


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