Main Characters: Koshi and Alius- Best friends and squad mates since day 1
-Koshi is comical relief
-Alius is more serious
Need to know: A "Sizer" is a heavily armored dropship. SR is short for Scorpion Rifle (futuristic Assault Rifle). Exeter is the name of a militarized base the characters are all sent from.
Summary -Many years in the future: A new base is built and a team of Spec Ops Engineers is sent in from a neighboring base to "Activate" the newly constructed one, meaning they turn on the power and make sure everything works right before the base becomes populated. But something is not as it seems! DUN DUN DUN
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chapter 1 Shutting Down
Construction Crew-
The remaining lights of "codename:445" struggled to repel the unstopping darkness. Aeson Brandt walked across the empty area, peering up at the unlit catwalks overhead. Had they forgotten anything? Last Call. Well, they would be the first to know if they did. He trusted his team. Activation wasn't supposed to take place for another week or so anyways, so he had time to take a breather. After all, what could they be forgetting? Every system was up and running and the decontamination teams had made their final sweep days before. It won't be long before the stress kills me, he thought. He walked to the electrical panel nearing the exit door and pressed the final switch, killing all of the remaining auxiliary power systems. He stepped outside into the evening sunlight as two of the teams pulled the heavy door shut manually with long steel bars which were fitted in the slots at the top of the door. With this, he locked 445 and withdrew the security card. The last of his team were already loading onto the cargo freighter for transport back to the confederate base. He glanced at his watch: 57 hours and counting since he had left home. As he made his way to the passenger area of the ship he began to feel relief and by the time he reached his seat, he already felt better. He glanced out of the window, and was glad to see "base codename:445" leave his sight.

--- Chapter 2 Starting Up
Activation Crew-
257 Hours 15 Minutes 58 Seconds Later
41 Hours 15 Minutes 58 Seconds Behind Schedule

"Alrighty, lets do this thing," Koshi said, obviously excited to activate 445. The sizer's bowels were occupied by six Activation Team members: Koshi, Alius, Brent, Otacon, James, and Sam. Base activation, which takes place after a base's construction, is when a team of special engineers is sent in to power everything on, make sure everything works, and essentially make sure the base is ready to take in a leader and begin growing. Brent, one of the newer members of Exeter, was a bit of a hot-head. If anyone was prone to speaking their mind and talking back, it was him. He was a punk, but nevertheless a hard worker. Otacon, a very accomplished scientist and technician, was fairly laid back and could be trusted with just about any job he was put to. The only aspect he was lacking in was his people skills. James was chill, to say the least. He was a fast learner, you barely ever had to tell him anything twice. Sam was a bit older, but his age never stopped him from learning anything new or getting the job done. He was a trusted old friend of Koshi and Alius. He was cool with everyone and that was all anybody needed.
"This is my first time activating a base," James pointed out.
"Last night was my first time activating your mom," Brent said.
"Brent," was all Sam had to say before sitting back and closing his eyes.
Brent huffed to himself for a moment and then mumbled "Your face..." before sitting back as well.
Koshi stroked his magnum for a second before being asked:
"What the F#$% are you doing?"
Koshi looked up to see Alius looking at him with that why-the-hell-am-I-friends-with-you look on his face.
"Well...hah...I was-" Alius closed his eyes and slightly shook his head and mouthed "Just stop. Stop. Shut up,"
"AYYY! BASE FOUR FOUR FIVE!!! I HAVE A VISUAL-" Koshi tore the earpiece from his head and threw it as far from him as he could. It hit James in the face.
James quickly jumped from his seat. "WHAT. THE. FFFUCK!"
"You don't understand!" Koshi quickly hollered and Alius put his hand over Koshi's mouth.
"Sorry James, his radio was too loud. You know how that is. He didn't mean to hit you in the face," Alius cooly saved Koshi.
"Oh. Yeah I understand, but DAMN, he's a fucking Exeter top agent. I just don't understand how-"
"No one does. Don't think about it too hard," Alius said.
James chuckled and sat back down and the team began getting all their gear ready as they neared 445.

The heavy sizer half-circled the landing pad before making its move. It touched down lightly on the unlit pad, located atop the base. The door unlatched and opened as the team began to wake up a little, realizing they were not going to be able to relax again for a while.
"Alright let's go," Sam half-mumbled as he grabbed a heavy-looking duffel bag.
"Sir, what should I do about the forward thrusters?" the pilot asked calmly over the radio.
The forward thrusters were more of a redundant secondary system anyway, but it was the only one for this particular model.
"Can you fix it?" Sam asked, honestly forgetting the pilot had informed them earlier that one of the secondary systems had failed.
"It's possible, or I can at least detail it for when it does get maintenanced," the pilot responded.
"Alright, then stay with the ship," Sam said.
The crew piled out of the ship, some carrying small loads of gear, some walking around to the cargo area to retrieve the heavy equipment. Alius noted the intensity of the moonlight, illuminating everything on this side of the base, throwing out the need for flashlights. The bulbs on the pads and on the posts of the chain-link fence that surrounded the landing pad were dark, jealous of the exuberant moon. This base was completely immense, but there was no light, no sounds, no activity to be found anywhere. Complete stillness.
"Ugh, I'm fucking starving!" Koshi said, probably a little too loudly, throwing down a heavy crate. "GodDAMN it!"... Alius squinted with anger and pity.
"So, let me get this straight," James began, "this base is completely ready to go?"
"Yep, we just turn it on," Sam said, glaring at Brent with an "I dare you" look.
"Why don't the construction crews do it?" James asked, propping up a heavy crate on top of Koshi's.
"Because they build it and only test to see if it's working, not if it's working the way it should," Sam explained, while grabbing two long metal hooks. "Most of the time, they have to follow handbooks just to be able to test anything at all."
"Why weren't we sent in with the construction team, to be able to just keep working on it?" James asked, persistently.
"Most of the time, the activation team is sent in before shutdown, but like contractors, they need to be hired first," Sam said. "Ya know, it was a really long flight, but you sat up there without asking a thing. I didn't say anything because I thought you knew the basics. Come on."
"I guess I didn't worry about it until now," James said.
"That's the problem with you younger generations, you don't worry about it until it's smackin' you in the face."
At this point, Alius tuned out the babbling of his team. He looked over to see Otacon already fiddling with the heavy door of the base. Everything was unloaded, Brent informed the group.
"Get your auxiliary equipment," Sam instructed the group, as he retrieved his duffel bag. Koshi and Alius returned to the sizer to get their large identical black and chrome cases brought from Exeter as Brent fumbled around with a crate outside. The team made their way to the lifeless door.
"Control panel works, where is the keycard?" Otacon asked.
"How does the-" James began.
"Batteries," Sam answered before hand, reaching into his upper pocket on his vest, retrieving the card Aeson held days before. He handed it to Otacon, who promptly inserted it into the door.
"Look James, it's your mother," Brent said, being completely ignored.
The door's panel flashed "Accepted" across its screen, followed by no movement.
"Alright," Sam said, relieved.
"But, it didn't open," James said.
"I'd be worried if it did," Sam retorted, handing Alius one of the steel bars.
Sam and Alius moved directly in front of the door, and slid the bars up into the crevice between the overhang on the base and the door. Sam caught his first, followed by Alius. Together, the two managed to manually pull the door open, revealing darkness inside. There was a loud "bang" as the doors opened as far as they could, which was quickly swallowed by the emptiness, and forgotten, not followed by an echo, vibration, or sound of any kind. There was a "click" as Koshi was the first to retrieve his flashlight and shine it into the base.
The group all slipped into the base, shining their flashlights every which way. Sam shined his upward, only being able to make out the first catwalk overhead as he paced slowly down the hallway, the floor absorbing every footstep. Alius noted that almost every sound seemed to be completely taken in by the base. It seemed you could hit the metal walls with a metal pipe, and instead of a loud echoey "twang" that one would expect, all you would get is a "thud."
"Found the panel," Sam said, setting down his bag. The group slowed in anticipation. He flipped the switch. Nothing.
"Aw, you gotta be fuckin' kidding me!" Brent said loudly.
"What does that mean?" James asked curiously.
"Relax," Sam said commandingly, "this is why we're here. To turn S#$^ on, and if S#$^ doesn't work, we fix it. Consider this the first legitimate credit you've earned since leaving."
"What's the plan?" Otacon asked calmly.
"Alius, Koshi," Sam began, "you've studied the schematics, right? It's a basic four bearing electrical system. Odds are, this panel is just not functioning. Can I trust you guys can figure out how to get to one of the panels downstairs? You have your plans on you right?"
"Yeah," Koshi said, retrieving a crumpled piece of paper from his pocket. Alius revealed a neatly folded sheet.
"Dash said I could trust you guys with just about anything, and I believe him," Sam said. "The rest of us," Sam said, turning, "will make our way to the control room, so we have a head-start when the power comes on."
"Will that power include everything?" James asked.
"No, it's just the auxiliary power," Otacon answered.
"Alright guys, we better get going, the company is on a budget," Sam said. He led the way down the sterile metal hallway, the rest of the group following closely.

"So are most bases built relatively similar to each other?" James questioned.
"James, I just want to know right now-" Sam turned "-how many more questions you have for us," he replied.
"I was just wondering...cause if they are, then we should be able to find the control room with relative ease, right?"
"No. As nice as that would be, almost all bases are built differently, like houses. It depends on which design the base founder wants it to be based on. For the most part, the control room in each base is usually found on a sub-floor, built into the structure of two other floors. That way, it's sturdier- it would probably be the safest room to be in if a fucking earthquake or God-knows-what-else hit. Plus, it's also the most easily defensible room in the base. Does that answer your last question?" Sam answered. James nodded and kept walking.
"I think every base should be made identically. That way, it'd be easier for the activation teams to find the control room," Brent said, smiling. He was promptly ignored. Everyone was quiet for a long time as they ventured deeper into the dark structure. The only noises were the dull footsteps in the pitch black corridors of the base. Sam's beam of safeness drifted along a wall, revealing a sign: "STAIRS," followed by an arrow pointing to the right. The group turned and crept to the stairwell, and descended. They stopped at the bottom of the stairs as Otacon tried to decipher the schematics as to where the control room was. Two more clicks were heard a fraction of a second before two more beams of light cut into the blackness. The beams belonged to Brent and James. Otacon dwelt for a moment on the fact that he had forgotten his flashlight with the rest of the equipment upstairs, but he had to carry the lot of paperwork.

"Where the F#$% are we?" Koshi whispered.
"Why are you whispering?" Alius said.
"... I don't know," Koshi responded.
The two made their way down the dark hallway, towards what should be stairs. Alius took note of the various locked airlock doors on both sides of the hallway, scanning the schematics for a sign that they were on the right track. The hallway was completely silent, save for the light footsteps on the paneled floor. The flashlight's light was reflected dully off of the walls and floor, giving off a yellowish glint. Koshi looked at one of the doors that read: "Secondary Commons."
"Do you know where you're going?" Koshi asked innocently.
"I wouldn't exactly 'lead the way' if I didn't," Alius answered.
They eventually saw a small metal railing in between two walls, radiating dimly in the light. They approached and peered over the edge, pointing their flashlights in the opening. They saw stairs below.
"Alright," Koshi said, voice echoing loudly in the stairwell.
Alius turned right and made his way to the entrance of the stairwell and began descending. For all he knew, this stairwell spiraled upward infinitely into the top area of the base. Curiosity getting the best of him, he pointed his flashlight upwards and was almost disappointed to see the roof was only one more floor up. Upon reaching the bottom of the stairs, Alius stopped to once again consult the schematics. Standing still, Alius realized how isolated he seemed. Besides their breathing, no sound could be heard, they felt miles away from their team already.
"Well, there should be two electrical panels not too far away now," Alius said, "do you still have your schematics?"
"Yeah," Koshi answered.
"How about we split up and activate separate ones so that if one is broken, we have a quick alternative," Alius suggested.
"What if we get lost?" Koshi remarked.
"Are you serious?" Alius asked. "We're in a base, not a maze. Just meet back here whenever the power is on," Alius said.
"Fine," Koshi said reluctantly, sure that he would become lost anyways.

With this, Alius headed out down his dark hallway, checking the doorways on both sides, looking for anything interesting. Just offices, "waiting eagerly to be occupied by a worker." -(ERIC) Working his way further into an office section, Alius began to feel uncomfortable. It was only natural. No one wanted to be in the middle of a powerless base in the middle of the night. It was work, he reminded himself. He scanned the map again, trying to picture where the utility room was located on this floor. He hoped the power would come on before he reached it, meaning Koshi had found his panel first. Not being able to picture that, Alius continued on through the maze of offices, passing through a room with a plus sign shaped wall in the middle, diving the area around it into four cubicles, noticing the zigzagging panels pattern on the wall next to him.
He continued on through an identical room and finally towards the back of the office section. Heading down a small hallway, there looked to be a large executive office to the left and a stairwell to the right. Studying the plans, Alius noted that the utility room was adjacent to a stairwell. Alius grabbed the door handle, stopped, and listened. Out of curiosity, he turned his flashlight off and held his breath for a moment. Silence. Every sense was overtaken by the darkness. Nothing. No sound, smell, vibrations, or light. Jesus, Alius thought.
He pushed open the door while turning on his flashlight again and made his way into the stairwell. He instantly saw the utility door. Entering into the tight room, he made his way to the back and opened the large electrical panel. The entire room was filled with gray panels and bunches of wires running from floor to ceiling. After opening the panel, he pushed the heavy switch in the bottom right part whilst thinking: "God, this better fucking work."
There was an extremely loud "thump," followed by a continuous hum. Dull light oozed through the partially cracked door to the utility room. Yes, Alius silently cheered. He pushed back out into the stairwell and made his way back to the meeting point to go find Koshi, who was no doubt lost.

"Alright!" Sam yelled enthusiastically as the control room powered up its auxiliary systems. "They did it."
Sam was the first to find the control room, with a little help from Otacon, that is. James and Brent were as useless as a horse's ass in this respect. The control room was a size-able one, being about 30' x 25', with a second level towards the back, lined with computer equipment. The auxiliary systems had begotten an eerie red light on the side wall of the control room.
"Can we call them?" Brent asked.
"Not until we get the comm system up," Otacon said, "I'll start booting the systems."
"Wait until they get back," Sam ordered.

"Wow, can't believe you found your way back," Alius said teasingly, approaching his fellow operative at the rendezvous point in the dimly lit metallic hallway.
"Yeah, it wasn't too hard," Koshi retorted assertively, standing readily at the base of the stairs.
"Thought for sure you'd-" Alius stopped. Alius peered down the hallway, seeing a door marked: "utility."
"You didn't leave did you?" Alius asked calmly.
"What are you talking about I-" Koshi said, pointing.
"-and you missed the utility room, right on the end of the hallway," Alius said, still calm.
"Well I-"
"I swear to God, if I didn't think the team was booting the security system I'd strangle you," Alius said while gritting his teeth.
"Well God, learn to read a fucking map," Koshi said.
"At least I still have mine, besides it was really dark, and I couldn't tell where S#$^ was."
"Come on, do you think you can trust me with something like a schematic?" Koshi said.
"You could at least try!"
"I did!"
"Ugh!" Alius sighed as he pushed past his teammate and marched up the stairs.

Walking into the control room, Alius noted that only a few terminals were working. The group was spread out in the room, flashlights all set out in a circular pattern on the desks, illuminating as much of the room as possible. The red light didn't seem to help much as far as visibility.
"Made it I see," Sam said, not giving any time to respond he began again: "Otacon, begin prepping the systems."
"Yes sir," Otacon said as he began browsing around his computer terminal. A moment later, almost all of the computers flashed to life, running most of their start-up programs. Extra lights flickered on illuminating enough of the room allowing the group to turn off their flashlights.
"This starts up most of the auxiliary systems, but the systems themselves have to be booted up individually," Otacon informed the group. "The tertiary lights are started up with the power, the secondary, with the auxiliary systems, and the primary with the main system."
"First," Sam said, "I want the communication grid up and running."
"Already trying it," Otacon informed him, "there looks like there is a couple cable discontinuities between the grid and the system."
"Damn it, alright, Brent and James, you two need to repair the cable, so we can reach Exeter," Sam ordered.
"What the F#$%," Brent said loudly, "can we have any more problems!?"
"Shut up, I've seen over twenty discontinuities at any one time," Sam said, "get to it."
As Brent and James reluctantly shuffled out of the room, Sam and Otacon resumed booting the systems.
"We need to make our report to Exeter," Sam said.
"But sir-" Otacon began.
"I know, the grid is down," Sam said, "is the dish up?"
"Umm, yeah."
"Alright get ready to transmit," Sam instructed. "We'll relay the signal off of the Sizer to contact Exeter." Sam grabbed his headset. "Jack. Are you finished repairing the ship? Alright, I need you to lift off. We're going to use the ship to relay a transmission to Exeter. Alright? Oh, I'd say at least ten thousand feet. Okay." Sam set his headset down.

"So are most bases built relatively similar to each other?" James questioned.
"James, I just want to know right now-" Sam turned "-how many more questions you have for us," he replied.
"I was just wondering...cause if they are, then we should be able to find the control room with relative ease, right?"
"No. As nice as that would be, almost all bases are built differently, like houses. It depends on which design the base founder wants it to be based on. For the most part, the control room in each base is usually found on a sub-floor, built into the structure of two other floors. That way, it's sturdier- it would probably be the safest room to be in if a fucking earthquake or God-knows-what-else hit. Plus, it's also the most easily defensible room in the base. Does that answer your last question?" Sam answered. James nodded and kept walking.
"I think every base should be made identically. That way, it'd be easier for the activation teams to find the control room," Brent said, smiling. He was promptly ignored. Everyone was quiet for a long time as they ventured deeper into the dark structure. The only noises were the dull footsteps in the pitch black corridors of the base. Koshi's beam of safeness drifted along a wall, revealing a sign: STAIRS followed by an arrow pointing to the right. The group turned and crept to the stairwell, and descended. They stopped at the bottom of the stairs and tried to find a sensible direction to go. Two more clicks were heard a fraction of a second before two more beams of light cut into the blackness. The beams belonged to Brent and James. Alius dwelled for a moment at the fact that he had forgotten his flashlight with the rest of the equipment upstairs, but he had to carry two cases anyways. Besides, he thought, he trusted Koshi with a flashlight.
"Alius," Koshi said, nodding towards a door to their left. Next to the door on the wall was a sign that read MAIN COMMONS. Alius nodded back.
"Alright guys, me and Alius are going through this door, you guys look for the control room through that door. The sign corresponding to that door read:

WEST WING:
-MED BAY
-LOADING DOCKS
-PRISONER HOLDING CELLS
-SECONDARY COMMONS

Sam nodded. "Okay, we'll radio you when we find the control room."
Alius nodded back. "Okay, I'm sure you guys will know when we find the auxiliary power controls."
Sam grinned. "I sure hope so."
Both teams split up and went through their doors.

"Do you want me to take one of those cases?" Koshi asked. Koshi was carrying a case in his right hand and holding his flashlight in his left, while Alius had both arms occupied.
"No, lets not waste time. I just want to find the damn power switches."
"Kay."
They walked through a hallway full of offices and blank pegboards. Every door was open, each room eagerly waiting to be occupied by a worker. Each pegboard yearning for important notices and fliers. All the offices were empty. Each one with a beautiful blue beam of moonlight pouring through their small windows- probably the last windows they would see for a long time. The moonlight washed across the empty desks, spilling onto the floor and into the hallways.
Koshi tripped on a loose tile that wasn't properly pressed all the way into place. The light from his flashlight broke into a seizure as it flew from his hand, landed on the floor, and shut off. Alius froze as he didn't know what happened and was trying to gather himself from being startled. He heard multiple pieces clinker across the floor. Damn it, the flashlight broke apart.
"Ugh...F#$%!" Koshi exclaimed. He didn't remember falling onto his stomach. He pushed himself to his knees and felt around for the flashlight.
Alius was instantly irritated. "How did you-"
"I don't know! Something was jutting from the floor!"
"Ugh..." Alius set his cases down and kneeled to an angle where the moonlight reflected off the floor, and he could see the silhouettes of the flashlight pieces on the floor. He picked them all up.
"Get up, I found it." There was the main flashlight piece with one of the batteries in it, the other in his hand, and the lens piece. He put it back together and hit the power button. Nothing.
"Good job, you broke it."
"The tile broke it!" Koshi defended. Alius smacked it against his hand, and the light fluttered back to life.
"You're lucky it still works."
"Yeah, thank God, right?" Koshi reached for the flashlight.
"I'll carry the flashlight now, you get the cases." Alius said, holding the flashlight away and out of Koshi's reach.
"But it wasn't my fault!" Koshi whined.
"Stop crying and take the cases! I would rather have the flashlight last us at least until we reach the panels. I hope that's not too much to ask for?"
"Fine," Koshi said, totally defeated, and picked up two of the cases. Alius picked up the lighter case and shone the light down the hall, and almost wanted to turn it back off just to enjoy the serenity of the scene again, but some clouds must have covered the moon, as all the light was gone, and they found themselves at the mercy of the sickly yellow beam of light, which now when held at the wrong angle, flickered on and off.