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Identity Crisis - A Darlok Short Story

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ApolloArtemis #1 Posted 07 April 2016 - 06:36 PM

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We continue our short story series for Master of Orion as we shift our focus to one of the most cloak and dagger races in the game, the Darlok. Stay tuned for more, and please feel free to ask questions about any Darlok lore in the comments!


Identity Crisis by Kelsey Howard, Creative Writer at Wargaming Austin

He opened his eyes slowly, slightly uncomfortable from the night before. He could sense a bright light through his closed eyelids; he must have slept through his alarm. As he went to move his arm, it jerked back suddenly. He opened his eyes in a panic and saw that he was in a hospital bed with his arms restrained to the frame.  


“Hello!?” He screamed, his voice hoarse. How did he get here? The room around him was a standard hospital room… white walls, tile floors, and an empty bed beside him. Tubes ran from his arms to a hanging bag of viscous red liquid that made his stomach turn.


A nurse came through the door at the end of the room. “Please, relax, Mr. Anderson.” 


The nurse picked up a clipboard from a nearby desk. “Mark Anderson… may I call you Mark? It says here you were found in an alley late last night. You were admitted and began fighting the orderlies.” She held the board with cleanly manicured nails and long fingers.  


Mark stopped struggling against the restraints. Something in his head clicked. That didn’t sound like him. “I’m sorry, ma’am, I just…”


The nurse pulled up a chair and sat beside him, “Don’t worry about it. Call me Kara.”


“Kara, then.” Mark tried to sit up on the bed, limited by the amount of space the straps gave him.


She looked down at his arms. “Want me to remove those restraints?” He nodded sheepishly and she sighed, collecting a key from her left pocket. “Just promise not to become violent again.”


She unlatched the binds and he rubbed his arms gratefully. The feeling of blood rushing back into his fingertips was welcome. He began to touch the IV drip and she clicked her tongue at him. He dropped his hands back to the bed and tried to ignore the headache throbbing in his temples.

“Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?” Kara’s voice cut through the pain and gave him something to focus on.


Mark looked over at Kara. She was pleasant to look at, though not intimidatingly beautiful. Her dark eyes were kind and her round face seemed flushed, as if she had just been outside in the cold. Her face was set in an expression that was not unkind and she held a pen over the papers on a clipboard expectantly.


“Sure.” He cleared his throat and took a deep breath. He must have had too much to drink last night and landed himself in the hospital. Sarah would be worried. Sarah!


“My wife, Sarah… I should contact her.” He scratched the top of his head. How could he forget about Sarah until now?


Kara smiled and scribbled a short note on her board. “Of course. We’ll look her up right away. So, my first question. What do you recall from last night?”


He remembered going out to a nearby club with a few of his friends. Yes, he must have been drunk, but he always took a cab home and got back safely. “The last thing I remember was heading to the bathroom.” He scratched his head again. “Honestly. I don’t even recall getting here.”


Kara nodded and made additional notes. “Any previous medical history we should know about?”


“No, healthy as ever. Injured my knee playing baseball in college…” Mark shrugged and smiled sheepishly. Kara watched him carefully and reflected his smile back at him.


“Have you ever experienced these black-outs before?”


Mark shook his head. “No, never.”


Kara cocked her head to the side and smiled. “You enjoy baseball?”


Mark shrugged, “I guess so.” He looked out the window and noticed a pair of blue birds hopping on a nearby branch in the early morning sunlight. One hop forward, two hops back.


Kara pursed her lips. “What do you fear the most?”


Something about Kara’s soft expression made Mark feel disoriented. “That’s… a rather complicated question. Is that on the form?”


“Do you love your wife?” Kara’s voice was flat and casual.


Mark stared at her. Kara kept her attention on the board, unfazed by her own question. Dark ringlets framed her face and her thick eyebrows were scrunched gently together as she focused on the paperwork. “What kind of question is that?” he asked.


Kara moved along without pause. “You just hadn’t mentioned her until now. Do you have any other family members in the area?”


“A sister who lives outside of Dallas.”


“Where did you grow up?” Kara continued to scribble quickly on her paperwork.


“We moved around the Southern Union for a while.” Mark rubbed his forehead; his skin felt clammy to the touch. Why was it so hard to remember where he grew up? It felt like his brain was on fire. “Miss, I think something’s wrong…”


“Can you describe your mother to me?”


Mark grasped for the image and nothing came to mind. His heart began to race. “Aren’t you going to call my wife?”


She stood up and smoothed her skirt. “Of course. I’ll be right back, Mr. Anderson.”


As she left the room, Mark sat up and swung his legs off the bed. He looked out the window and had a strange feeling of déjà vu. The birds hopped forward, then hopped twice back. The exact same movement, almost like a video on a loop.


He stood up gingerly, afraid that his legs wouldn’t support his weight. He moved over to Kara’s clipboard and flipped through the pages, but they were all covered in some script he couldn’t recognize.


She came back through the door with both of her hands in her pockets, her head cocked to the side as if she could not understand his actions. “You should be in bed, Mr. Anderson.”


“What is this place?” His voice came out shakily, as if he already knew where he was. He was afraid.


Kara smiled, but the corner of her mouth turned up just a little too high. “You may have sustained a little more damage last night than we thought.”


Mark looked back to the window, to the birds hopping in an endless repetitive loop. “This isn’t right!”


She nodded emphatically. “Can you clearly express what isn’t right?”


“This… this room. Why is it so silent? What’s wrong with the window?” He staggered into the bedside table as if he were exhausted, carefully slipping a scalpel into the sleeve of his shirt.


Kara nodded again, her hair bouncing playfully. “You’re paying too much attention to the details, Mark. Humans aren’t supposed to point out these things.”


“Humans?” He stepped backward as Kara moved forward casually, her hands still within her pockets. “What do you mean? What are you?”


Kara stopped and sighed. It came out as a sizzling hiss that was unlike any sound Mark had ever heard a human make. She pulled a large syringe out from her pocket as she said, “I’m just trying to help you.”


“How is this helping?” He screamed out, his voice echoing against the stark walls.


She was closer now, on the same side of the bed as Mark. “Humans bring up their loved ones FIRST.” She scoffed to herself. “Sentimental creatures.”


“I am a Human!” Mark shouted at Kara, but even as he said the words he had a creeping feeling that they weren’t true.


As she took the step to bridge the gap between them, Mark lunged forward and slashed out at her face, the scalpel flashing in the dim light. She closed her fist and swung, making contact with Mark’s abdomen and leaving him breathless. He collapsed to the ground, gasping for air. Kara’s face was deeply cut across her left cheek and nose, a deep wound that began to foam a foul-smelling purple substance.


She slammed the syringe into his neck and he quickly drifted out of consciousness.


Kara took a towel from the side table and brushed her face. The blood was beginning to clot and the wound was superficial enough that the skin was reforming on its own. She threw the bloodied rag at Mark and hissed, “Amateur waste of resources.”


She pulled the IV from his arm and checked the bag of fluids above him. The Human target’s blood was still fresh and viable for another donor, so she wheeled it out of the room with her. Past the door to the cell, a group of Darloks watched the room through a one-way mirror.


 “This subject is a waste. You should have known better. I don’t need farmers for these operations, I need trained operatives.” Kara hated wasting time. The Darloks they were bringing her for their operations were not prepared for the pressure of immersion.


The Darloks on the other side hissed in agreement. One spoke first, a male-formed humanoid with greying skin. “We have limited assets, Teacher.”


Kara sighed dismissively. “Get another subject ready for transformation. When they come out, I want them prepped and ready for interrogation.” She began to walk off, then looked back over her shoulder. “Get a memory wipe on that one in there. He’s not appropriate for stealth operations, but he’s strong. I recommend sending him to the armed forces.”


The Darloks whisked like shadows into the cell, picking Mark up off the ground as his skin began to fall in heavy clumps to the floor and his Darlok body shivered uncontrollably beneath the mass. 

Ozymandyus #2 Posted 08 April 2016 - 07:10 PM


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I dunno, for some reason this story didn't click with me the way most of the others did.  I thought that the Klackon story showed more real meat about the Darloks than this one did.

ApolloArtemis #3 Posted 27 April 2016 - 06:05 PM

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View PostOzymandyus, on 08 April 2016 - 11:10 AM, said:

I dunno, for some reason this story didn't click with me the way most of the others did.  I thought that the Klackon story showed more real meat about the Darloks than this one did.


How so? 

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