Jim knew he's running out of time. Darkness embraced the ruins. He could pick up more and more unsettling sounds - a long haul, mad laughter, some insane screams. Wonderful. Instinctively, he glanced at the glowing dimly ammo counter. Very few left. Too few. If they spot him, he's history. He felt the weight of a couple of plasma grenades by his belt but that would only slow them down for a while.
He tried calling the base again but all he could hear was static. The damn mutants must have installed a jammer on top of one of the buildings. Well, no choice, he's going to have to get to the nearest outpost on his own, before Scouts with Pit bulls start their night shift. Jim cleaned the fatigued screen of portable locator and activated satellite image of segment A3. The closest safe house seemed to be about 2 clicks NW. Impossible to say if it's still intact. Can't help it. He confirmed the destination. A tiny blinking compass with a red dot appeared in the corner of his goggles. Jim checked all his equipment, took a deep breath and like a ghost engulfed into the darkness.
'Reload' is a personal project, a visual development of a post-apocalyptic sci-fi story, suitable for FPS or an action movie. Several polished concepts will be posted very soon but first, here's a little background to the story:
In a secret laboratory C-21, in Neo-Berlin, a research is being held, aimed at creation of 'super soldier', a unit resistant to every biological weapon known to mankind and able to fight in nearly every condition. The project is called 'Black Dawn'. Dozens of prisoners, provided by overcrowded prison facilities, serve as Gennie pigs, and are subjected to mutagenic bio-fluids and experimental radiation that modifies DNA. Most of them die in the process, although some survive and undergo the next stage of research. The laboratory and all the subjects are kept in a hidden underground complex under military supervision.
On territories of Europe and Asia a war breaks out, between Easter Kingdoms and United Empire. Trident, a powerful international corporation and main weapon manufacturer, with over 80% of global market share, supports UE. Special kind of neutron bomb is created, tailored to DNA strings of Asian nations, designed to wipe the enemies of EU in one stroke. However, not everything goes according to the plan. EK spies intercept a coded message and a deadly missile transport is taken by the Kingdom.
Missiles are reprogrammed, enriched with powerful explosives and Europe is hit with a dozen of missiles, aimed at the largest metropolises. Around 50-60 ml people die in the blasts. One of the missiles explodes in the heart of Neo-Berlin, partially damaging the underground laboratory. Strong radiation kills the staff and guards but a few dozens of prisoners in advanced stages of experiments survive. However, their bodies and immune systems, not yet fully developed, undergo unpredicted mutations. Additionally, lab chemicals released from damaged tanks mixed with radiation, infect all living creatures in approx. 20 km2. The bottom line: over 200.000 infected with something that later is called 'Stain'.
The remaining population of Europe is evacuated to territories of the former US and Africa. Trident bombs don't leave permanent radiation but distress calls come from Neo-Berlin. Several military patrols, looking for survivors, don't report back to their base. The command headquarters of United Empire believes that the Kingdom has some of its troops in the area, seemingly planning to expand its territory. A couple of divisions are send to Neo-Berlin in order to provide a detailed report.
The report shocks the entire command. Neo-Berlin doesn't belong to humans anymore. A blood-thirsty army of mutants controls the once thriving metropolis.
A decision is made, albeit slightly unwilling, to nuke Neo-Berlin and prevent the possible spread of whatever caused such drastic situation. However, before the launch is executed, the command receives a message from Neo-Berlin. Each month, Empire is to send a transport of 'fresh human meat' into Neo-Berlin. Any disobedience will be punishable by launching mutagenic missiles towards the lands of the US and Africa. Additional warheads would be detonated over Atlantic Ocean in order to contaminate the waters. The same thing will happen should the Empire decide to attack.
It became obvious that the mutants must be controlled be someone intelligent, maybe a whole group. Partial reports send by numerous (and quickly lost) agents from Neo-Berlin allow to form a theory that among the mutants there are about 30 very smart and extraordinary resistant members.
The cause of the outbreak is still unknown. To gain some time, Empire decides to follow the instructions, using war prisoners and dangerous criminals, some injected with infectious diseases. At the same time, small units of highly trained commandos, called 'Death Runners' are send into Neo-Berlin in order to infiltrate the enemy units, sabotage any important facilities, gathering data regarding the mutation and, if possible, terminate the leaders.
The main protagonist, Jim Dover, is one of the future Death Runners. As an outstanding marine, he's been sent to the military base near German border, from where Death Runner squads dispatch, to undergo extensive training. During the first few weeks spent in the base, Jim make good friends with Lance McCoy, a technician and radio operator. Jim's sister, Elaine, is a biologist who works in another base.
One day, Lance informs Jim that helicopter transporting some military personel, including Elaine, has been shot down near borders of Neo-Berlin. Operators intercepted short S.O.S. transmission broadcasted by Elaine. She and reportedly few others survived the crash and managed to hide in an abandoned TV station on the eastern outskirts of the city. However, they have no food or medicaments, and it's probably only a matter of day or two before mutants will sense their presence.
Jim reports to his commander, capt. Monroe, requesting explanation why wasn't he informed about the event and why was his sister included in a field operation, when her contract doesn't require her to do so. However, Monroe refuses to explain and when Jim demands an immediate rescue mission, he is send to solitary for insubordination. He knocks down MPs officers and hides on a transport of prisoners that is about to take off towards Neo-Berlin. Just before the flight, Jim contacts with Lance and explains the situation. Lance agrees to assist him remotely in whatever way he can.
The transport lands in the heavily guarded, far-most military outpost, near the west border of the city. While evading MPs, that has already been notified about a possible presence of a stowaway, Jim manages to find some weapons and also the PowerSuit - a prototype of a semi-organic body armor, that amplifies strength and agility. Jim "borrows" it, and sneaking out of the base, begins a journey through the devastated city.
KNOW YOUR ENEMY
A line-up of known mutants and their brief descriptions (from left to right):
Due to their numbers, Scouts are regarded the main units patrolling the infected area of Neo-Berlin. They are not very strong but can see quite well in the darkness. They also guard minor mutant outposts and less important facilities. Their military outfit suggests they are former soldiers or guards.
2. PIT BULL
Common name for what seem to be genetically modified dogs, tigers and such (some probably being former inhabitants of local zoos), bigger and more dangerous than the ordinary ones. Pit bulls are used, among others, to track spies and agents, as they are able to detect uninfected humans. Their bite transfers 'The Stain'.
Human deformed into a big, ugly mutant who's brain has been clearly damaged by the radiation and/or toxic fumes. Turned into a mindless beast, Berserker attack anything and everything, including other mutants. Some Berserkers, who are caught and kept under control by other mutants, are additionally enhanced with cybernetic exo-skeletons and/or armors, which makes it much harder to have them killed.
The most common mutant, a closest to a soldier and mutant's 'cannon fodder'. Troopers are sent to engage and destroy every detected Empire unit, intercepting their weapons and protective gear. The Empire believes the bulk of mutant squads comprises of former citizens of Neo-Berlin, some perhaps from military units..
It's mutant encapsulated in a big mechanical, semi-cybernetic armor, originally used by military and demolishing units. Usually, it's send to engage larger vehicles or heavy weaponry.
6. LICH Similarly to Reaper, it's a mutant, partially fusioned with a 'battle mech', among Death Runners known as a 'walking tank', thanks to heavy 'riot shields' it tends to drag with him. Not very fast but thick armor and fast regenerating body tissue make it nearly impossible to kill.
Very mobile and resilient mutant, using advanced MobileSuit technology, who additionally seems to posses limited psionic skills, allowing him to command other mutants around him. Not much is known about this kind and it's hard to get a good look at them but the Empire suspects that Necroses may be the ones in charge. Their real origins, unknown to the Empire, lead back to C-21 and 'Black Dawn'...