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This is a fanfic I've been planning on doing for a while, with the intention being that it will become an actual mod for GZDoom in the future (a few of the assets are already in the bag, but I digress).

The first part is just the prologue, but feedback is welcome all the same. And yes, the main character is that little lady sitting in the chair ;)

Hope you enjoy what I've got so far. So, without further ado ...



OCTOBER 23rd, 2163

My name is Dr. Cameron Scott. I am a theoretical physicist stationed at the Union Aerospace Corporation outpost on the dwarf planet Ceres. I have been working here for the past few months under the supervision of Dr. Alison Crawley PhD. If you have found this log, there is a high probability that I am dead. I am recording this in the hope that someone finds out what happened here.

It pains me now to think that I had actually wanted to come here against my family's wishes. But I had no choice. All I wanted was a better life for Darren and our two children, and it seemed like the UAC was the way to go. Like most people these days, we'd been struggling to make ends meet. The salary and benefits for my six-month stay here would in itself see both of our kids through college and pay off the arrears on our home.

It wasn't just the financial side. On a personal level, it was the chance to work with Dr. Crawley that clinched it for me. Since Ceres went live, she had single-handedly advanced the research into interdimensional space travel by around 10 years in a little over two. In fact, if there was anything that she didn't know about portal tech, it probably wasn't worth knowing. A truly remarkable woman.

Fact is, I had always wondered why the UAC offered such generous incentives for their off-world opportunities. Now I know...


The alarm went off. I'd been dreaming about being back home with my family. It wasn't long now until that would come to fruition.

Today marked the beginning of the final stage of the portal experiments. To date, we'd been able to send small teams through the portals with a modicum of equipment, but today we would begin testing with the portals open for prolonged periods. I would be in charge of monitoring proceedings at this end, under Dr. Crawley's supervision.

I was apprehensive, though. I'd been hearing stories spread throughout the complex about things happening to some of the volunteers who'd gone through the portals. I'd heard mention of delusions, psychosis, assault, suicide, even physical changes in people. Apparently, some hadn't returned at all.

I eased myself out of bed and went into the bathroom. I looked at myself in the mirror, ran my fingers through my hair and sighed.

“Well, this is it,” I said to my reflection. The face staring back at me didn't look as nervous as I felt.

After taking a shower, getting dressed and having some breakfast, I grabbed my lab coat and left my quarters. It was the usual scene for the base at that time of the morning. People going about their business in either lab gear or overalls, and the ever-increasing military presence. I understood the reason for having the armed guards on site, I'd even got to know a few of them, but their sheer numbers always gave me the creeps. Why did we need so much firepower?

Dr. Crawley had given me this task personally. She had a reputation for being eccentric and difficult to work with. I could see that she was pretty highly strung at times. I just put it down to the stress of the job, but there were a few people in the facility who had issues with her. I knew that some of them resented the fact that I had been given this opportunity ahead of them, given my relatively short time on Ceres. I didn't know exactly why Dr. Crawley had taken such a shine to me. I hadn't tried to be the “teacher's pet”, so to speak, but she'd seemed impressed with my performance all the same. Today was my chance to shine, to show the rest of the lab that I'd earned this task. That just made me all the more nervous.

As I continued on my way to towards the lab complex, I caught sight of Dr. Crawley in a side office with two men I hadn't seen before. She seemed quite agitated. That is to say, more than usual. I stopped walking, lifted out my PDA and pretended to fiddle with it to see if I could get an earful of what was happening.

Dr. Crawley was standing with her arms folded, her bright aqua-marine eyes almost like slits. One of the men was in a suit, the other in full military fatigues.

“We've been through this before, Counsellor,” said Dr. Crawley. “I raised this with Senior Management myself eighteen months ago. How many different ways do you want me to tell you the same damn thing? You know full well the UAC and the OSHA have never been exactly cosy.”

The man in the suit shook his head. “It's what you aren't telling us that's the problem, Doctor,” he said. “The accident rate on Ceres is through the roof. There have been several suicides and every day there's another transfer request coming through to us on Earth. People working here are terrified of something. I am here to find out what the problem is.”

Dr. Crawley rolled her eyes. “These people are on a remote off-world facility in the ass-end of space, millions of miles from their homes and their families,” she said. “People are going stir crazy up here. I even question my own sanity at times. Seriously, Nugent, you try living here long term and you'll start hearing things, too.”

Counsellor Nugent leaned forward. “Dr. Fallon and Dr. McManus,” he said. “Were they just hearing things?”

Dr. Crawley put her head in her hand and sighed. “Why the hell did you have to bring that up?” she said. “They were two of the best minds we ever had out here. It still hurts me that they never felt comfortable enough to come and talk to me. I'm sure I could have done something to help.”

Fallon, I thought. Grainne Fallon? Wasn't she the scientist I replaced?

“I've been given full authorisation by Senior Management to examine everything that's happening here,” said Nugent. “Every single portal experiment the Corporation has conducted has ended in disaster. We don't want another.”

Dr. Crawley turned her head away from him. “Just do whatever you're here to do,” she said.

The two men left the room, and that was when Dr. Crawley caught sight of me. I was expecting to incur her full wrath, but instead, she gave me a friendly wave and left the room herself.

As I made my way down the dimly-lit corridors past the infirmary, I saw another one of the soldiers being restrained by three of the medical staff. His face was contorted, and it was hard to tell whether he was in pain or going crazy. I would have sworn that his eyes were bright red. One of the staff, Dr. Marcus Weyland, was standing over him with a syringe.

“I can't believe this,” I heard him say. “What the hell is happening to these people?”

He gave the man the injection, which seemed to settled him down, but the staff still looked nervous. I was, too.

It was then that Dr. Weyland spotted me. “I didn't think you'd have had time to watch the show this morning, Dr. Scott,” he said, dryly. “What with this being your big day, and all.”

“I'm sorry, Doctor,” I said. “I didn't mean to intrude. I'll talk to you later.”

With that, I continued towards the labs. As I turned the next corner, I bumped into one of the few friends I'd made during my time here.

“Oh, I'm sorry, Cam,” she said, “I didn't see you there.”

Dr. Toshiko Yutani had started here the same day I had. We wound up eating lunch together most days, and got to know each other really well. She was a few years younger than me. In fact, at just 22, she was one of the youngest members of the team. We all called her “Toshi”. She was pretty green, but she was eager. Today, she seemed really upbeat.

“Toshi,” I said, “good morning. How are you?”

“Well,” she said, “Marcus popped the question last night.”

My eyes widened. “You're kidding me!” I said. “What did you say?”

Toshi raised her hand to show me the ring. It was silver with a massive sapphire in the middle.

“That's fantastic!” I cried. “When's the big day?”
“As soon as we get home,” she said. “Actually, I was meaning to ask you if you would be maid of honour?”

I was kind of taken aback by this, but I gave it a little thought. “I'd be honoured,” I said, finally. “Listen, I gotta go. We'll talk more about it over lunch, okay?”

“Sure,” she said, “I'll see you then.”

“Congratulations!” I said. As I walked away, I smiled. It wasn't every day that something nice happened around here...

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Posting now just so's you know someone's actually looking at this, in case you feel discouraged due to lack of response. Haven't read it end-to-end (its 5 AM right now and i haven't slept) but I am awake enough to state that, if you start the story off in an epistolary fashion (using a document to tell the story), you may as well stick with it through the whole thing, rather than winding the clock back and switching to normal first-person. Epistolary style lends an air of realism to the story that can make it more immersive.

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I got to the Alpha Labs main reception shortly afterwards. Julia was sat behind the desk in her usual despondent manner. It was no secret that she hated this place and was busting a gut to get back to Earth. Not that I could blame her, given the rumours going around.

“Hey, Julia,” I said, trying not to sound too cheerful. “How are you this morning?”

“As good as can be expected, Cam,” she said. “Another day closer to getting out of this dump. Gives me the creeps, this place.”

“I heard that,” I said.

“Dr. Crawley's waiting for you in the conference room,” she said. “She came by here with two guys I haven't seen before. Some suit and his personal lackey by the looks of it.”

“Any idea what it's about?” I asked.

Julia looked at me blankly. “I'm front desk, Cam,” she said. “How the hell should I know?”

“My bad,” I said.

“All she said is that everybody on her team is to attend,” said Julia. “Sounds important.”

“Sounds ominous,” I said. “Thanks, Julia, I'll talk to you later.”

“Have a good day,” she said, flatly.

I walked away, rolling my eyes. Team meetings were always bleak, and Julia knew it.

I headed round to the conference room, and a number of the team had already arrived. I took a seat and waited for everyone else to show up. As usual, nobody wanted to sit at the front. Dr. Crawley had the demeanour of an old-style schoolteacher – she wasn't the kind to suffer fools lightly. Counsellor Nugent and his bodyguard were already sitting at the top of the room. I noticed him eyeballing me disdainfully. I could only assume that he'd noticed me earlier. I chose to remain silent.

A moment later, Dr. Crawley entered the room. She stood at the top of the room and scanned the attendees.

“Where's Dr. Weyland?” she said.

Just then, Dr. Weyland entered the room. Dr. Crawley glared at him.

“Sorry to tear you away from whatever the hell it was you were doing, Marcus,” she said, “but I'm glad you could join us all the same.”

“Patient, Dr. Crawley,” he said. “I couldn't leave him unattended until he was sedated.” He looked straight at the Counsellor. “Couldn't risk anyone getting hurt, now could I?”

“If I wanted your opinion, Marcus, I'd give it to you,” said Dr. Crawley. “Anyway, since we're all here, I'll begin. This is Counsellor Terence Nugent and this is Jake Willis, his UAC-assigned personal security. Counsellor Nugent will be overseeing today's experiments ...”

There was a groan from more or less everyone. “Ladies and gentlemen, please,” said Dr. Crawley, “I know you're all under a lot of pressure of late. Trust me, I'm feeling it as much as you. That's why I want this to go as smoothly as possible, okay? Now, as you're probably already aware, Dr. Scott will be handling the main operations today.”

Weyland put his hand up. Crawley rolled her eyes and stared away from him. “What is it, Marcus?” she said.

“If the suits are here to check on us, why have you got the cheerleader calling the shots?” he said.

I bowed my head, silently.

Crawley sighed. “Dr. Scott has already proven that she has not only the expertise, but the ability to cope under abnormal levels of pressure,” she said. “She's earned the right to oversee the experiments, just like the rest of you. I will be supervising as usual, so if anyone else has any objections, I suggest you deal with it. We continue as planned.”

Counsellor Nugent leaned forwards. “For the record, Dr, Weyland,” he said. “I am not here to check on you. The UAC are carrying out a general audit on all off-world investments. It's a new measure put in place after the incident on Mars.”

Given what I'd overheard earlier, I wanted to say something, but thought it best not to cause any more animosity.

“Anyway,” said Crawley, “you all have your briefs for the day. Let's get this moving. The sooner we start, the sooner we can show Mr. Nugent that there's nothing to worry about. Dismissed.”

We all got up to leave, but as I got to the door, Weyland stopped me.

“Please, Cameron,” he said, “don't screw this up.”

I glared at him. “Fuck you, Marcus,” I said as I turned away.

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Very nice, looking forward to the next part!

Also, when is Threshold Of Pain 2 going to be completed?

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When it's done ;)

In seriousness, I'm aiming for this summer, but don't quote me :P

Part 3 of the fic coming soon.

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The time came for the experiments to commence. The marines were stood in the first of the facility's two main portal chambers, awaiting its activation. Two scientists were with them, dressed in full hazmat gear. I was alone in the sealed control room, with Dr. Crawley, Counsellor Nugent, his bodyguard and the rest of the team in the monitoring station situated above me. I was as nervous as I'd ever been in this place, given the rumours flying around.

I logged into the computer system and waited for Dr. Crawley's instructions.

“Are you okay, Dr. Scott?” I heard her say over my earpiece. “Can you hear me?”

“Loud and clear,” I said. My voice was shaking.

“It's okay, Cameron,” she said, “just follow my instructions and everything will be fine.”

“Yes, Doctor,” I said.

“Okay,” said Dr. Crawley, “first, you need to throw the three main power switches. Wait until the light goes green before throwing the next one in the sequence.”

“Got it,” I said. I went over to the first switch and threw it. A few seconds passed that the red light above it changed to green.

“Okay,” said Dr. Crawley, “now for the next one.”

I did the same with number two, and waited for the green signal.

“See?” said Dr. Crawley. “Not so hard, is it?” If I was honest, I'd have said that remark was aimed more at Weyland than myself.

Finally, came switch number three. Once all three lights were green, I could feel my pulse getting faster. This was the moment of truth.

“Awaiting your signal, Doctor,” I said.

“Affirmative, Dr. Scott,” said Dr. Crawley. “Proceed in your own time.”

I walked over to the main switch and took a deep breath. “Activating the portal in three … two … one ...”

With my heart in my mouth, I threw the switch. I looked through the glass, down into the chamber, and I could see the platform begin to glow. The portal itself was huge, and covered in archaic runic symbols, for reasons which had never been fully explained. It was certainly intimidating.

“Alright, men,” said the squad leader, “let's move out.”
I watched as the four marines and the two scientists stepped into the portal and vanished in a bright green haze.

“Good work, Cameron,” said Dr. Crawley. “Dr. Weyland, how are we doing so far?”

“Everything seems to be within acceptable limits,” he said.

Dr. Crawley smiled. “Good,” she said. “Time to see if the radio works. Open up a channel.”

Weyland complied. “Ready,” he said.

“Alpha Team,” said Crawley, “this is Dr. Crawley. Can you hear me?”

“Yes, Doctor,” came the response. The signal was anything but clear, but it was at least audible. A number of the team applauded.

“What do you see?” said Crawley.

“It's … it's difficult to see anything here, Doctor,” said the marine. “It's really dark here. And it's hot as hell. Wait, what was that?”

“Marine?” said Crawley. “What's going on?”

“It's ... oh shit! Oh SHIT! OH SHIII-”

The line went dead. Before anyone could react, the remainder of the team emerged from the portal, screaming.

“Please,” cried one of the scientists, “shut it down! Quickly!”

Instinctively, I reached over and threw the switch to disable the portal. Nothing happened.

“Shut it down, Cameron,” said Crawley. “Shut it down, now!”

I began to panic. “I have, Dr. Crawley!” I cried. “It's already off!”

I tried shutting down the power switches, but to no avail.

“Nothing's happening!” I yelled.

“Alright,” said Crawley, “we're evacuating!”

The exploration team were now at the main chamber door, desperately trying to get it open. Before anyone else could move, I saw something that will remain with me to my grave. As I looked back towards the portal, I saw emerging from the green mist a huge creature, unlike anything born of this dimension. A giant, horned being, standing at least twelve feet tall, augmented with a range of cybernetic implants, including what appeared to be a massive arm-mounted cannon.

All I could do was watch as the entire team were obliterated in a barrage of missiles.

“Everybody, get the hell out of here!” I heard Weyland cry.

Then, as I looked back towards the portal, I saw a huge number of what I could only describe as flaming human skulls emerging and flying straight at the monitoring station. I could hear everyone screaming as they tore to get away, and at that moment, it was clear to me that I should probably follow suit.

I opened the door and ran as fast as I could down the corridor. As I looked up ahead, a saw one of my team coming the other way, only to be hit in the back by what appeared to be some kind of plasma mass. He fell to the ground, and then I saw his assailant. A creature, vaguely humanoid, brown-skinned and covered in spikes, staring me down with burning red eyes.

I turned a corner and ran as fast as I could. At that moment I heard Dr. Crawley over my earpiece.

“Dr. Scott,” she said. “Dr. Scott! Can you hear me?”

“Er … err … there's something chasing me!” I panted.

“Try not to panic,” she said. “We're making our way towards the main hangar. We're evacuating the facility. You're not far behind us, but we can't wait for you. Try and catch up.”

“I'll try,” I said.

I felt the ground shake, and as I turned the corner to hook up with the rest of my team I discovered that the ceiling had collapsed. I could still hear people screaming and the sound of heavy gunfire, but I was isolated from my team and had no means of defending myself. I darted through the nearest open door and hid, hoping that that thing hadn't spotted me.

I could hear the footsteps, then nothing. My heart was in my mouth and ready to drag my lungs behind it. I held my breath, expecting the creature to come through the door at any moment, but as I cowered in the corner of this small storeroom, I heard the footsteps become more and more distant. Satisfied that I was safe for at least the moment, I stood up and looked around for something I could use. Sadly, all I could find was a wrench.

I lifted it anyway, and looked around again for another way out of the room. I spotted a grate in the corner, leading into the air ducts. I smashed it with the wrench and made my way inside, hoping against hope that there was nothing waiting in there for me.

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