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Perfect Dark: Story Synopsis


Background

Millions of years ago, a huge alien ship of immense power was scuttled in what was to become the Pacific Ocean on Earth. It was equipped with an untried and vastly dangerous weapon: the weak nuclear force de-coupler, which could, in theory, cause the fundamental bonds between molecules to fail. So that watching eyes would believe in the destruction of the ship, a message pod was dispatched to the home galaxy, and vital components of the ship’s drives were destroyed in the star system it had chosen as a hiding place. For this ship was a Cetan, a massive, sentient alien creature.

Another extra-terrestrial race, the Maians, encountered life on Earth in 2000 BC. They saw great potential, but decided to let the primitive Human race develop without their interference.

The Maians encountered the Skedar near Delta Eridanus in AD 1650 (Earth date), and the resultant skirmish soon blossomed into all-out war. Only after hundreds of years of fighting did an uneasy peace develop, and even then Skedar fanatics persistently tested the boundaries of this peace with terrorist activities. Fortunately, the Maians refused to be drawn.

Mankind, too, continued to be a cause of concern to the Maians, and they watched with disappointment as Earth suffered increasingly more crises brought on by the rise of technology and ‘outside context situations’. They feared that announcing their presence would only precipitate further wars on the planet, and decided to continue their quiet observation until the race became more ‘mature’.

Daniel Carrington ‘jumped the gun’ in AD 1985 by contacting a Maian ship in orbit above Earth. He put forward a plan which would help both parties, resulting in accelerated contact between Humans and Maians. Having agreed that his plan was sound, and finding him to be a Man of integrity, the Maians allowed Carrington to release their technology into the Human public domain through his considerable Research and Development holdings.

Then, in AD 2006, Skedar fanatics accidentally discovered the Cetan message pod. They immediately began to scout Earth in a particularly heavy-handed way, abducting Humans and mutilating Earth’s non-sentient wildlife in an attempt to determine the location of the lost battle cruiser. In time, their tests inevitably led them to its resting place on the bed of the Pacific Ocean, however, to actually reach it, they would need the help of the natives.

Performing their own study of Earth, the Skedar drew up a shortlist of companies possessing the resources to help them recover the sunken ship. At the top of the list was the dataDyne Corporation. They contacted the company head, Cassandra De Vries, and presented her with a deal which sounded too good to be true – which, of course, it was. In return for helping to raise ‘their’ ship from the ocean floor, the Skedar promised to supply dataDyne with enough alien technology to become the biggest corporation on Earth. All dataDyne had to do was to build an AI unit with language and code-breaking abilities, which was tricky, but certainly within their means. Work commenced on the project immediately.

Cassandra De Vries approached NSA head Trent Easton with the details of the plan, but his attempts to get Presidential approval for the loan of a deep-sea research vessel were repeatedly turned down. There was no way that the Skedar or dataDyne could steal the vessel without triggering the wrath of the US government, so over time they settled instead on a far more sinister plan of replacing the President with a clone whom they could control. Of course, this also promised extra rewards for Trent and Cassandra when the Skedar operation was consigned to history.

However, they would not be given a chance to gloat. The Skedar fanatics’ ultimate plan was to test the weak nuclear force de-coupler on Earth before wiping the Maians out of existence, and both Cassandra and Trent remained blind to the possibility of being double-crossed, so enamoured were they with the visions of power and luxury which lay ahead.

dataDyne had unwittingly created something which could see all too clearly the danger within this multi-layered conspiracy: the sapient AI built to crack the core of the Cetan ship. When it expressed concern over the mission for which it had been designed, Cassandra’s response was to order its personality removed. Clearly, it was thinking too much. In desperation, and in a move which would make or break a great deal more than dataDyne’s ‘deal’ with the Skedar, the sapient adopted the pseudonym “Dr Caroll” and contacted the Carrington Institute with a plea for help…

The Story

Freshly trained agent Joanna Dark is assigned a mission involving the extraction of a scientist from the high security research area beneath the dataDyne skyscraper. Upon rendezvous, she is surprised to discover that “Dr Caroll” is an AI created by dataDyne – but she continues with her task of escorting him/it to a place of safety. When the alarm is raised, Joanna has to fight her way up the tower to reach the helipad and the drop-ship which presents her only means of escape.

In response to this incursion, dataDyne make Daniel Carrington a personal target and take him hostage two days later at his private villa. They demand the return of the AI – their ‘property’ – in exchange for his life. Unknown to them, they AI is already at the villa, where Carrington was questioning it on dataDyne’s future plans. Joanna eventually rescues the head of the Institute, but is unable to prevent dataDyne from taking back Dr Caroll. However, Carrington has heard enough to take the drastic step of summoning a team of Maian specialists to Earth.

Joanna is dispatched to Chicago to spy on the conspirators’ meeting at the G5 Building, a front for the dataDyne Corporation. It is here that she learns of the involvement of Trent Easton, head of the NSA, and of the strange Nordic Men who appear to be in control of the whole deadly scheme. Once Trent discloses the plan to usurp the Presidential position, Joanna radios the news to her base – only to find that another, more urgent task requires her attention before further action can be taken against Trent.

The Maian specialists have been intercepted and brought down by the conspirators, with survivors and wreckage being transported to Area 51 in Nevada. Briefed to rescue any survivors and retrieve their equipment, Joanna is dropped in to rendezvous with another Carrington Institute agent. Upon breaking into the medical lab, Joanna finally discovers the Institute’s secret – their allies are Maians, the alien race commonly known as ‘Greys’. The particular Maian she rescues goes by the name of “Elvis”. He was a bodyguard for the Ambassador who had been flying in at the head of the specialist team.

Having aided the remnants of the Maian delegation, Joanna can return to the matter of the President and dataDyne’s designs against him. She poses as a member of the President’s entourage to gain access to the air base where Air Force One is stationed, and successfully conceals herself aboard the plane. As soon as it’s airborne, Trent and the cloaked Skedar make their move – but Joanne is there to stop them. She rushes the President to his escape capsule while a team of Trent’s men scour the aircraft, intent on dragging the hapless politician aboard the Skedar UFO now docked to Air Force One via an umbilical connector. Joanna weakens the umbilical, but is unable to break it, and ultimately, Elvis makes a last ditch attempt to sever the connector by crashing into it at high speed. All three craft plummet towards the Alaskan wilderness, and the President’s escape capsule is launched.

Regaining consciousness, Joanna tries to report in, but finds her communications jammed by a transmission from the Skedar craft. She sets off through the snow to find the President and Elvis, encountering teams of Skedar out searching for her, the President, his belongings, and Elvis. She tracks one group back to the downed Skedar ship, where she discovers a clone of the President: quickly she destroys it, shuts down the jamming device and calls in the US military. The Skedar are thwarted once more, the President is safe, and Trent’s incompetence has earned him a nasty fate at the hands of his ‘allies’.

However, it is not over. Throwing caution to the wind, dataDyne and the Skedar steal the US government’s deep-sea research vessel, Pelagic II, and head out to the Pacific crash site. Joanna and Elvis leave to disrupt activity on board the ship and find out what lies at the heart of the Skedar plan. After crippling the vessel’s diving operations and recalling the submersible, they head down to the ocean floor, where they get their first sight of the downed Cetan battle cruiser. A portal made by the Skedar offers them access to the ship, where they find a dead Skedar warrior… Clearly, the assault team did not have it all their own way. Fighting off the remaining vengeful Skedar and avoiding the Cetans, Joanna and Elvis make their way to the core of the ship, where they find the AI which was once Dr Caroll. They manage to restore his personality, whereupon he urges Joanna and Elvis to leave the ship so that he may destroy it for good.

Later, back at the Carrington Institute, Joanna is about to leave for a Presidential reception at the White House when an explosion is heard – and felt. The Skedar assault team survivors are venting their anger on those they deem responsible for their failure to recover the Cetan ship. Joanna dashes around the Institute, helping Institute employees to reach the safety of the hangars, as the Skedar launch attacks on various parts of the building: the majority of employees manage to escape while Joanna holds the line, but eventually she is knocked unconscious and taken prisoner.

Joanna finds herself in a holding cell on board the Skedar assault ship, with only Cassandra De Vries for company. In a shocking move, the dataDyne CEO willingly sacrifices herself to create the distraction necessary for Joanna to break out. Fighting her way through the ship, Joanna eventually manages to locate and disable to docking bay shields, allowing Elvis to bring in a few friends for the long-awaited shooting party.

The captured assault ship enters orbit above the Skedar Battle Shrine, which shocks Elvis as the Maians never managed to find this Skedar ‘holiest of holies’ throughout the long years of their war. If the Shrine was destroyed, Skedar morale would be dealt a fatal blow and true peace could finally replace the uneasy cease-fire. So Joanna sets her sights on the Skedar leader, the high priest of the Battle Shrine, while Elvis returns to the assault ship to summon the Maian fleet.

After the climactic battle, the temple lies devastated with Elvis calling for a halt in the bombardment so that he can find Joanna. She is alive, held under a pile of rubble by the last tenacious Skedar who caught up to her during the last seconds of her escape bid. Elvis quickly offers her a gun to ‘convince’ the Skedar to let go, and with the job finally done, the Skedar Shrine and morale both in ruins and the conspiracy dealt a mortal blow to the heart, Joanne and Elvis depart for orbit.


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