Delta Base, as they soon discovered, was a righteous mess. Obviously it was designed in a similar manner as the previous bases, however this one had been littered with paper and other pieces of junk. Chairs and tables had been flipped over, windows had been smashed, and some things were even burned. The lights that still functioned flickered dimly above them so that their shades were hard to see, and crept along in an eerie way. “What happened here?” Elsie heard herself saying, as they carefully stepped through the trashed confines of the base.
They entered a new room and Professor Goodwin said, “I believe that the master, much like the beast, has lost control of himself. We must tread lightly.” They stared up at one of the windows that looked into the bright ocean. Upon it were the words, painted in black: I AM THE BEACON OF SIN!
Elsie stepped back. Clearly Vandenberg was confused, but she wondered if he was dangerous. How long ago did he lose his mind? They entered another room – also littered with paper – but they also founds scraps of bio-tech everywhere. Dozens of discarded pieces of machinery; supposedly all of Vandenberg’s failed models. There was more paint upon the walls, highlighted by a shrine of ruined tech and candles. Elsie read the words: I AM THE AGE OF SCIENCE!
The next was far more chilling indeed. They witnessed glass containers filled with fluid and the mangled remains of dozens of specimens that came before. In some of the jars Elsie could identify tentacles or other parts of squids, but in others there was just jelly. Upon a table was the foul sight of a monkey carved open and left to rot. When they managed to get over the deathly stench and the sight of so much blood, they saw that the ribcage bad been pried open, and a biotic heart had been installed. With a shudder, Professor Goodwin raised his hand to his own chest and felt the metallic heartbeat within. Elsie was not surprised to see more writing on the wall, but this time it was written in blood: I AM ITS SACRIFICE!
Now Elsie was generally afraid. But sooner or later they found Vandenberg like a relic hidden at the end of a cave. He stood with his back to them and his hand on an elegant-looking cane. He still wore the same shredded lab coat from before, but on this particular encounter his hair was much frizzier, and his stance was far more stooped. Facing yet another giant glass window Vandenberg stared blankly into the empty abyss of the sea. He made no indication of noticing their arrival, but without turning his head, he began to speak. “I have always loved the ocean. There is no fairer example of natural beauty than in the swelling of the tide. Out there in that blue void everything simply flows as is commanded by whatever force there is that deems to control it. There is no resistance; only suffering.” He turned his head and faced them. His glasses were broken and the lenses were cracked, and his cheekbones stood out prominently, just as much as his sunken eyes. “Funny how the world works. It seems the universe enjoys taking life just as much as it likes giving it back. The blood of thousands of lives pours from my hands, and as we speak my beloved Specimen Zero is on the brink of slipping into utter chaos, but at last my work is complete.”
“Was is all worth it?” Jack found himself saying, in an overly disgusted tone.
“I am afraid it is too late to say. My inventions will save millions of lives; far more than those lost as a result of what I have done. Oh, don’t act so self-righteous! All great feats are painted with blood – our beloved Pearl Isle for one. In the wake of military imperialism our very society was built upon a foundation of corpses. In the end I did not enjoy what I did, but alas, this is by gift to the world!”
Professor Goodwin shook his head. “You have not given them a gift, Vandenberg, you have given them a curse. There is a reason the Corporation and the University of Victoria City withheld this kind of scientific progression.” He presented Mr. John Backhaus’ papers concerning the plans to sell Vandenberg’s technology. “There was one very important ailment you forgot to cure, old friend. Listen to me, Vandenberg, the world is not ready for this!”
When Vandenberg read the papers he went pale, and he stumbled back against the glass window. “This can’t be. Backhaus has betrayed my trust. My inventions were meant to help mankind and yet these people would use it for war.” He slid against the glass and fell to the floor, still staring blankly at the paper. His voice began to tremble. “All this time you tried to warn me. How could I have been so blind? And so many lives taken for nothing.” They saw tears run down his cheek. “Robert, where do I even begin to ask for forgiveness?”
Gently, the professor placed the device in Vandenberg’s hands. “Redemption,” he whispered. “Call Specimen Zero here and end it now. I promise afterwards you will have my protection and a fair trial. We can make it look as though you were unable to control Specimen Zero’s behaviours. We can put all of this behind us.”
Sobbing, Vandenberg shook his head. “I cannot kill her, and even if I did want to she is far beyond my reach now. She will not listen me. I am afraid, once again, I have put all your lives in danger.” He paused, and turned his head slightly to the blue window. “She is coming.”
“For the ship?” asked Elsie. “The VS Jade 4?”
But Vandenberg only seemed confused. “For me…”ns126.96.36.199da2