For the longest time I have had an idea for this story, it came to me in the late night trips home from work while listening to Fear Factory, Biohazard, Pitchshifter, and the like several years ago. I had originally intended to make it as a movie after my family had shot our own horror movie spoof. I wanted to do something more personal, have the entire story from the protangionist's point of view. I wanted the entire film to be shot in first person. As the concept grew in scope, I soon realized it would be impossible to make as a movie. I then thought about writing it, but I felt that would be more difficult than needed. I had just taken some courses in C++ the year before and I had written some simple text-based adventure games. I decided that would be the best way to tell the story. I worked on the game for a year, but I never completed it due to "level-designer's" block and the code being overly dependant on the way Windows 98 rendered console windows. I left Dark Light on the back burner after awhile. Everyone I told about the story told me I had to finish it in some way, and eventually I came around and resurrected the story. For the long time fans, this version is different from the game (the last version of the game is available for download below). I've been able to work back in some of the movie ideas that I couldn't translate well into gameplay, and other changes were made to help story flow. So here it is, don't expect a regular updates on it, as my desire to work on Dark Light comes and goes.
Download the Dark Light Game Demo
I awake. My vision is blurred; all I see is a grey haze. Where am I? I feel water rushing by my legs as I hit the floor. I struggle to pull myself back up, but my legs give out on me and I hit the painfully hard floor once again. In the distance words start to become legible, I see the word “ERROR” repeated over and over again on a monitor. To my left I here someone shouting something that seems directed at me.
I try again to stand and manage to stay up this time. I turn toward the ruckus I hear. I see a fat man in a blue security type suit. He yells, “Don’t move.”
At that moment I have the strongest urge to get out of here, even though I don’t know where or what here is, or for that matter who I am.
I run, as fast as I could with my weak legs. The guard or whoever he is gives chase, but soon disappears into the shadows. I think I lost him. The hall goes on forever it seems the walls lined with what look like human sized specimen tubes. What are they doing here? I don’t have time to find out; I’ve got to get out of here before the guard calls for help.
Klaxons blare, I’m screwed.
I see what looks like a small air duct I can hide in, it’s too dark to see what’s inside, but I have to chance it. Surprisingly it’s not fastened but rather on a hinge. I climb through only to find a pit. I reacquaint myself with my friend the floor.
I can’t see anything here at all. I fumble my way along the walls, until I find what fills like a switch. What the Hell, I flip it. On come the lights blinding me temporarily. Ugh. Empty, the room is empty. Only one door, I must take it.
The other side is what looks like a break room. There is no light other than the luminescent radiation of a large television tuned to an annoying game show. I can still hear the klaxons, but it’s nowhere near as loud in here.
Oh, shit. There is someone else here. I can make out laughter from the other side of the huge couch parked in front of the TV. I creep toward the couch trying to make no sound, but it not to easy with the sloshing sound of my clothes. Luck for me the dumb guard is glued to the TV. I’m right behind the couch gazing down at the top of his head, but what am I going to do? I don’t have a weapon… but I can smack him in the head! Easy enough, I just hope I don’t have to get used to this.
He was carrying a handgun. I’m glad I got him first. I might as well take it since I don’t want him shooting me in the back.
I wonder what is in the next room. Jackpot! A security station. The hum of the computer systems is overwhelming. On the monitors I can see the guards scrambling to find me. Why am I so important? Oh, well time to shut off the alarm system. Thankfully they have a simple switch. Suddenly all the little men on the screens stop. I better get moving before they figure out none of them caught me.
I exit to a hallway, nowhere to hide if needed. Left or right? Right or left? Right, not like it matters, everything looks the same; door after door, all controlled by keypads. At least, there are no guards to be seen, although with the low light in this building there is no telling what is at the end of the hallway. Nothing is labeled either, only making things easier… an elevator. Time to take a chance, I hit the call button.
The little tones of the elevator let me know it coming to me, and then it stops. Doors open no one inside. The elevator’s controls are from G to 10, I guess G is the best choice. The door slams shut and I begin my decent. When the door opens I find myself in a large ornate lobby… right behind a guard at the main desk. Unlike the other guard this one is at full attention, I don’t think I could sneak up behind him without getting a bullet. I do have a gun, I raise it. Its weight is alien to me. I pull the trigger. The bullet is launched from the barrel and impacts the guard's body; I fire two more shots without any. I have killed for the first time; I can feel it in my bones. I don't feel bad about it, but at the same time I don't like the feeling. I take a 9mm clip from the guard's corpse. On the desk there is a medical-hypo that may come in handy.
I have a clean break for the front doors. I’m not safe. I’m flanked by two guards. Fight or flee? I’m a coward, I run off into some overgrown bushes. They follow suit but can’t quite find me. The left one that is thin as a rail begins to get a little to close for comfort. I fire. I hit him straight in the head. The feeling I had earlier returns, but it’s not as acute. This startles the other guard. He knows where I am. I unload the rest of the clip in his general direction. Most the shots miss, but I hit him in an arm and a leg. It’s enough to stop him. I reload and finish him. Coldness of death still reaches me, I don’t like it and I will have to live with it.
I look back at the building I escaped from. It looks like a simple office building on the exterior, yet inside it seemed like some sort of military medical complex. A sign near the road has the logo “NeoGen Industries” on it. I decide to get away from here before they realize these guards won’t be reporting in anytime soon.
I make my way down into a subway entrance. The whole place is in disrepair, but the light gets dimmer the further I descend. Suddenly, there is a sharp pain in the back of my head and everything goes black.
I awake with my is head pounding. I’m tied to a pole; I can feel the rope burrowing itself in me as I struggle. I’m surrounded by several men in ragged clothes. Most of whom I can only describe as freaks.
“Are you a NeoGen employee?!” one of my captors barks.
“What are you doing here?' another screams.
I can’t muster the strength to answer them, but they don't care. One of them kicks me in the side. I find the energy to let out a yelp of pain.
”That got his attention,” the first captor says, “Who are you?"
I still can't remember anything before my escape. “I don’t… know. I just escaped from NeoGen.”
“You're lying,” one expounds, “Then tell me; why are you wearing a NeoGen jumpsuit!”
I notice for the first time that I’m wearing a grey jump suit with the word NeoGen etched across the shoulder.
An older man steps in from the shadows, “I believe him. He is a victim of one of NeoGen's experiments,” he states in my defense.
“Experiment?” I ponder out loud.
“Yes, NeoGen picks up people from the streets to conduct genetic experiments on them. That's part of the reason why we captured you; we thought you were a NeoGen raider trying to abduct more of our people for those experiments. We just recently got Joshua back from them, but when we found him he was hideously disfigured, and he couldn't recognize us,” the old man explains. The captors continue to just stand there, “Release him!” They get motivated.
“I wonder what they did to me...,” I blurt out without much thought.
“You could ask the sage, he may be able to help you find your answers,” the old man offers. “Take the sewer access to the right and follow the sewer's main path until you reach the markings.” He turns to his men and commands them, “Give him his weapon back and give him an extra clip and some hypos.”
“But...,” the others question him.
“Do it,” he forcefully replies. They finally obey.
“How can I thank you?' I ask. If it wasn’t for him, I’m sure these people would have killed me.
“Anyone who is hurt by NeoGen is a friend of mine. When you reach the sage tell him that Mathias sent you,” he replies.
I have no real direction to go in; I doubt this ‘sage’ can tell me anything, but I don’t want to stay here and I sure as Hell can’t go back. The sewer, no matter how much I don’t want to muck through it, is really my only option at this point.
The sewer smells worse than anything I have ever experienced. I can smell the decay, it sickens my stomach. The only path is through slush that I wouldn’t even attempt to call water. I can feel things rush by my legs through the slush. I would investigate it, but the flickering light makes it near impossible to discern anything other than the green-ness of this liquid.
Why did I come this way? I have no clue where I am going. What was that? I felt something against my leg. It’s unlike the earlier things. Whatever this is, it is very large and covered in a thick fur. I hear an odd hissing sound behind me.
I turn to see a rat, not one of the small ones that scamper about, but a monster of a rat. It jumps, it tackles me, and I go down. The rat’s disgusting face is snarling right in front of mine. I reach for my gun and shoot the monster in the gut. The rat is propelled from me covering me in its sticky blood. In the corner the rat stares at me with an intense hatred in its eyes. He’s not done with me. The rat runs straight at me, but I dodge at the last moment. The rat smashes its own head into the concrete wall. It’s down for the count.
I continue my wandering through the maze of putrid corridors. I eventually find what I believe are the marking that Mathias mentioned. I’m tired of this Hell hole; I climb the ladder and try to remove the manhole cover. No such luck, there is a key pad locking it in place. I slide back down and try to read the scratches on the wall, but it doesn’t look like more than just scratches. After having a staring contest with the wall, I start to see what could be some numbers in the jumble of lines. I might as well try them. I climb back up and punch them in the key pad. A tone is emitted and then with a whoosh the manhole raises and slides away.
Artificial light enters the dark tube and so does fresh air!
I pull myself up. It‘s still night. The wind has picked up, discarded torn papers flutter by. In front of me are the burned out remains of a house. What happened to this place? It looks like a war zone. The road that runs through this waste is surprisingly well maintained, I might as well follow it. The left would take me through empty fields, while the right heads further into the rubble. I figure that there is a greater chance of finding someone or something in the rubble, so I go right.
As I make my way to the center of this mess, it begins to rain. I hear thunder in the distance, lightning is soon to follow. I may want to find some cover.
A bum stagers out from the shadows, he looks weak. “Do you have any food?” he mumbles quietly.
“I’m sorry,” I reply realizing that I too hunger.
“Could you get me some?” he meekly asks.
“Where at, this place seems abandoned?”
“The PSC have some.”
“Progressive Software Corporation, they own this area. They have a ‘Re-assimilation’ center down the road,” he explains.
“Why don’t you ask for some yourself?” I retort.
“They don’t help the weak, only those who can work,” he replies.
“I’ll see what I can do.”
I leave the bum and follow the road in the direction he pointed me too. Eventually the wrecks that used to be house give way to a pristine clean section of town. Guards line the streets, directing traffic, and harassing people who look no better off than the bum I ran into.
“Halt! Do you have a PSC pass?” a guard demands.
“No…” I reply.
“Report for re-assimilation at once!” he shoves me along to building that could best be described as a cube with a door. The inside is all grey, no posters, pictures, or even light switches on the walls. The guard leaves me in a long line behind several people wearing little more than rags.
The whole system is being run by a single clerk. I really don’t feel like standing in line all night, nor do I want to be ‘re-assimilated,’ whatever that means. I can’t leave; a guard stands vigilant by the door I came in. A door flies open on my left, a man runs across the room to another door on my right, which appears to lead to a restroom. This could be a chance; I head to the restroom when the guard isn’t looking.
Inside the man I saw running is in the last stall with his head almost in the toilet. The sound of him emptying his stomach is sickening. I wonder if he has a PSC pass. He looks important whoever he is.
My hunger gets the best of me; I knock him unconscious so I can rifle through his pockets. I find a small card with PSC stamped on it along with what I guess is his name: Marshal Stevens. Now how can I get out of here without a ruckus? I’m going to need to take his clothes. I exchange my jump suit for his, thankfully it fits.
Now to see if the guard is still there, I peak out the door and find that a different guard is on duty. It’s worth a shot. I walk up to the door and show him the card.
“Carry on Mr. Stevens,” the guard tells me. It worked!
Now to find some food; across the street is a large cafeteria, that should do if it is open. The door is not locked. It’s a buffet, good. I grab a paper plate and fill it with as much food as possible, then it hits me, how am I going to pay for this. I head to the check out and hand them the pass hoping it is some sort of debt card. The cashier takes it and swipes it without any questions.
“You have ten more meals,” she barks.
With the food I dart out the door and head back to the bum. Something tells me, he can help me find this sage.
After sharing the haphazard meal with him, the bum hands me a key.
“What’s this for?” I ask.
“You wish to see the sage, right?” he retorts.
“How do you know that?”
“I could see it in your eyes. Take the key; it opens the gate to the house the sage lives in. Just go back to the PSC area and take the road called Evans. Follow it to a dead end; there will be a gate at the end use this key there. Good luck, stranger.”
I thank the bum and take his directions. Along the way I shoo off the PSC men with my pass. At the end of Evans I find the gate just like he told me. I insert the key into the lock, it clicks open. The gate leads to a long alley between two buildings, at the end is a large clearing with a single house in the center. The house's windows are boarded up, but the door is unlocked. Inside it is dark and cold. The building is filled with smoke and its smell is overwhelming. I walk forward into what used to be the living room; the floor is covered in trash, and a fire in a barrel sheds a little light.
“Who are you?” a voice questions.
“I don't know, but Mathias sent me to find the sage,” I reply.
A figure steps out of the shadows, he is old and dirty looking. His eyes almost looked glazed over.
“I am the sage,” he says, “What brings you to my home sweet home?”
“I escaped from NeoGen, but I have no memory…” he cuts me off before I can continue.
“So NeoGen ran experiments on you? They stole your past and you want to know who you are? Of course. Damn those rich bastards, but they're just following orders,” he interjects.
“Whose orders?” I ask.
“Why the Darcons of course the, foreign rulers of Earth. They have the Illuminati as their representatives. They control all the Corpo-Nations. But why do the nations fight each other you ask? To hide this fact from the public! They did the same thing with the JFK assassination. Lee Harvey Oswald my ass. They rule form beneath the ground in what used to be Washington DC in FEMA's bunkers. They are awaiting their master's return from the fifth dimension. The fish know all this and they will tell you if you listen. But you have to remember your foil helmet for when the Darcons return. Don't eat green cake either…” I stop paying attention to him at this point; it’s nothing more than crazy ramblings.
I see many empty bottles and several syringes on the floor, he’s on something. He then notices I am no longer listening to him.
“You can stay here tonight, and tomorrow I will take you to Wasteland. There you can meet free people and they can help you try to infiltrate NeoGen to get your answers,” he yells.
I decide to take his offer since you have nothing else at my disposal, even if he is crazy, maybe someone in this ‘wasteland’ can help. I lie down and try to get some rest.
“Edward..... Edward..... Edward.....” a voice trails. “Edward? Can you hear me?”
The vague face of a woman appears. “Edward! Answer me, please..... “
I awake to find myself inside the sage's house. As my vision clears I see him staring at me.
“Bout time you woke up boy. We need to eat breakfast and then move out,” he barks.
“Edward...” I mumble to myself.
“What?” he asks.
“Edward,” I repeat, “I think that's my name.”
“And what may I ask brought you to that conclusion? Hmmm?” he questions.
“A dream...,” I answer.
“Oh well, Edward, change your clothes and eat breakfast,” he says as he hands me a MRE, a shirt, and jeans.
I eat the MRE, but it tastes a little weird, almost like it's pass its expiration date. I change out of stolen jumpsuit into the street clothes he gave me.
“Alright, let’s go. It should be safe,” he proclaims.
I follow him out through a back door. It is bright outside and it hurts my eyes.
“What? Never seen daylight before?” he remarks, “This road will take us right to Wasteland. It’s about an hour trip so you might learn somethn’.”
He drones on and on about the Dracons. It seems they require the blood of humans to survive or something; I don't really pay much attention. He then recounts his abduction by a rival group of aliens called the Discorerons. They ran tests on him and told him that one day he would find someone that would defeat the Dracons and bring peace to the galaxy. Finally, he tells me how he met Mathias and how he realized Mathias was that savior.
Up ahead I see a wall of garbage. Is this the place? It must be; in the center is a gate with a guard that certainly doesn’t look like the corporate type.
As we approach the guard demands, “Halt, who wishes to enter?"
“Richard the Sage of the Forgiven,” the guide replies.
“Who's he?” the guard asks as he points at me.
“He says his name is Edward,” the sage answers,”don't worry, he's one of us.”
“All the same I need to take his arms and munitions for safety reasons,” the guard says.
He takes my pistol and my little ammo and tells me that it will be promptly returned when I leave. He then opens the door letting us into their fortress.
“I need to get some supplies I'll meet you here when you're done asking around,” the sage shouts as he goes off.
I wander around the town, but most of the people seem to be avoiding me. As I pass houses families recede into their homes almost as if in fear. The few people that don’t vanish completely ignore my presence. They must really love outsiders.
The only person that seems happy to see me is a merchant with what could be best described as been a ‘used junk’ store.
“Welcome to Brad's Bargains! How may I help you?” the store keep says jovially.
“I just want some information, I have no money,” I inform him.
“Very well,” he utters disappointingly, “What do you wish to know?”
I answer him, “What do you about NeoGen?”
“I just know they are a bunch of corporate morons like Progressive Soft. They're all the same. No soul, they treat people as property. I was born into a PSC family; so I know all the horrors first hand, torture, endless work, and experiments,” he seems to become a little disturbed.
“Thank you for your time,” I tell him. Well that’s a start.
I make my way towards what feels like it would be the center of this maze of shacks. There I find a large wooden building that actually looks like some thought was put into its construction; it stands in stark contrast to the rest of the village. I wonder if it’s the town hall, maybe inside I’ll be able to find someone that actually knows something I don’t.