1...

It's been a while since my last entry, hasn't it? Between all that happened with Rockwell back on the station and the shock of arriving planetside, I've been in a bit of a rut. Even cataloguing the new species I've found has done little to ease my mind.

Things down here are so mental that some people are wondering if we were safer before. Honestly, they might be right. Maybe that was why we were trapped on those stations to begin with...

Luckily, Santiago's plans have given us all something to do. I'm hardly an ace with technology, much less giant bloody robots, but after all that's happened, I owe it to these people to lend a hand in whatever way I can.

2...

It's hard to believe that this is actually Earth, but the proof Santiago provided is undeniable. The lack of night is disconcerting though, unless you really enjoy apocalyptic events. Could the Earth's rotation have slowed down, or worse, stopped entirely?

No, that's rubbish. With the atmosphere out of control, all those abandoned buildings would have been decimated by wind and those giant creatures would never survive the shifting oceans, extreme temperatures and weakened magnetic field. Yet, if all those space stations above us could somehow form a magnetic barrier and repair the atmosphere...well anything's possible at this point.

Maybe that's their real purpose, or maybe they're behind this mess in the first place. Whatever the truth is, I have to find it. There's no way I'm getting squashed by some monster before I do.

3...

These machines Santiago's building are brilliant! Somehow he's simplified the controls so that even a weirdo biologist like me can move these big blokes as if they're our own body. Me, piloting robots...I've completely lost control of my life, honestly.

Even Mei-Yin was able to synchronize with one, and for a second I swear she cracked the tiniest of smiles. I think that brought me more relief than the mechs themselves. She's fought so hard to get here, and been through so much, especially that nightmare with Rockwell and Diana. I hope that at the end of all this, I can help her find some shred of real happiness. She deserves it.

4...

I had a talk with Santiago today. A real one I mean, not the sarcastic banter that's his preferred method of communication. I was pretty surprised, I didn't think that had an off switch.

He'd been thinking about the cloning chambers we found back on the station. Are we clones of real people? If so, are we responsible for their actions? And what was the point of it? All questions I'd asked myself, but rarely had a chance to discuss.

I told him that we can't control any of that, and that all we were really responsible for is how we lived from now on. I'm not sure that's the answer he wanted, but for now that's the best I have.

5...

Why does it always feel like everyone's making sacrifices for me? Rockwell, Mei-Yin, Raia, Diana and now Santiago.

Just before we could finish powering on the mechs, the monsters finally attacked in force. Only one of the machines was operational, so Santiago used it to lure them away. By the time Mei-Yin and I managed to power on our suits and fend them off, he was gone. There was no sign of him.

Well it won't be for nothing, Santiago. With the tools you've given us, I'll find the truth behind all this. Then I'll have those better answers you were looking for, I promise.

6...

With Camp Omega compromised, we've decided to head for the wastes. There's not many of us left, and there's only three mechs remaining - piloted by Mei-Yin, myself and a fiery URE bloke named Kazuma - so we can't form that super weapon Santiago designed. That means if we run into anything too big or too nasty, it'll be trouble.

Yet we don't have a choice. The answers are somewhere in that wasteland, and hopefully safety along with them.

God, this whole piloting thing still feels bizarre, but I guess my nervous system just linked up with the machine really well. And it's what I wanted, isn't it? I'm finally something more than dead weight for other people to lug around, I can do my part. I just hope I don't let everyone down.

7...

With Camp Omega compromised, we've decided to head for the wastes. There's not many of us left, and there's only three mechs remaining - piloted by Mei-Yin, myself and a fiery URE bloke named Kazuma - so we can't form that super weapon Santiago designed. That means if we run into anything too big or too nasty, it'll be trouble.

Yet we don't have a choice. The answers are somewhere in that wasteland, and hopefully safety along with them.

God, this whole piloting thing still feels bizarre, but I guess my nervous system just linked up with the machine really well. And it's what I wanted, isn't it? I'm finally something more than dead weight for other people to lug around, I can do my part. I just hope I don't let everyone down.

8...

It's funny how the one subject that managed to put Mei-Yin at ease still had to do with fighting. After a fashion, anyway.

I'd said that I wanted to talk strategy, but mostly I just ended up showing her all the ridiculous tag team moves I'd been sketching out for our mechs. The Dossier Driver, The BioBeast Bomb, G'day Mei-t...this stuff was gold! I can't believe she didn't go for any of them, but at least she lightened up a bit.

For a while it was almost like we were back on the Island, failing to cook a decent meal and chatting about raptors. Bloody hell, you know your life's a mess when "the good old days" has you stranded on an island full of dinosaurs, don't you? Yet here we are...

9...

I'm still amazed we actually tried that, and more incredibly, it actually worked! When Mei-Yin said she wanted to try the Mei I Hel-p You maneuver, I thought maybe she'd taken a knock to the head, but we really pulled it off. If only Santiago was here to see it. What an absolute ripper!

To be honest though? I was terrified through the whole thing. I'm scared to death every time I get in that mech, but I'll keep doing it. I can't just rely on Mei-Yin all the time and even she can't fight all these battles alone. I think she's starting to see that too.

10...

I know it's likely that my memories are implants, but they're so clear that I still think of them as mine. They still shape me. Maybe it's just denial, but I can't help it.

I remember growing up in Darwin - the sunsets on the coast, the splendor and fury of the storms in the wet season, and volunteering in Kakadu whenever I could. I was an obnoxious little bugger, chasing after my next great discovery but usually just finding trouble. I suppose that hasn't changed, has it? I'm still just hopping from one adventure to another.

And after this over, if we find what we're looking for in this wasteland, what then? Will that be it, my last adventure?

Somehow I doubt it..

11...

Even though he's gone, Santiago keeps coming through for us. That signal he found, the one he talked to me about, I think we've finally locked onto it! We picked it up a few hours ago, and it's only been getting stronger!

With a bit of work, we should be able to triangulate its position. I'm not sure what exactly we'll find there, but if there's even the slightest chance that it's linked to those space stations or what happened to the planet, then we've got to investigate.

I think this is the spark we needed to lift everyone's spirits! We're one step closer!

12...

Why is this a debate? We finally have a clue and everyone wants to go hide in a cave and what, just try not to die? Sure, we don't know what lies at the other end of that signal, but that's the point! You climb the mountain to find out what's at the peak!

We vote on the matter tomorrow, and my stomach's passing the time by tying itself into knots. Could I really have come all this way just to be stopped dead by a few raised hands? Part of me thinks that even if I lose the vote, I should head off on my own, but well, there's a bit of a complication.

Mei-Yin is voting for the other side.

13...

Not everyone sees things the way I do, but that doesn't make them wrong. I owe Mei-Yin for reminding me of that fact. I can't remember exactly what it was I said to her, something about how the signal was the only thing in this bloody wasteland that mattered, but her reply stopped me cold.

"Your voice just then, it sounded like Rockwell's."

I didn't say much after that. For a change, Mei-Yin did most of the talking. Unlike me, she doesn't care about the mysteries of this place. The space stations, the end of the world, none of it. She just wants to keep us - me - safe.

I should be grateful for that. I mean, I am but...I need time to think.

14...

It's been a day of reversals, I guess. I'd slunk off to brood somewhere, and Mei-Yin tracked me down to talk, mostly about a subject we'd been avoiding: Diana. Since she opened my wound, she'd open hers, she said.

It didn't feel like a fair trade. The way she clutches that necklace, and how she smiles when she remembers the woman who gave it to her, there's a gentleness there that she offers to nothing else. To persevere with a wound so deep that it may never heal, her will must be extraordinary, but...

Maybe it helps that we're limping onward together, and maybe as long as we're here to prop each other up, we'll see this through.

In the end, Mei-Yin changed her vote, and the ayes had it. We're following the signal.

15...

As the signal grew stronger, I'd been anticipating catching our first sight of the source. This afternoon, it finally happened.

It's a massive, monolithic structure that somehow looks ominous even on the horizon. I mean honestly, what was I expecting in a place like this, a pub? The ruins we've seen aren't exactly brimming with hospitality...or pints, for that matter. Sadly.

That said, it does seem to stand apart from the other buildings, almost as if it was built separately. That would make sense if it's connected to the stations somehow, and also explain why it has power. As to its purpose, well there's only one way to find out...

16...

This place is even more gigantic and foreboding up close. If the architects were trying to instill an impending sense of dread in their visitors, then well done, they absolutely nailed it. Really, I campaigned for us to come here and now even I'm wary about going inside. That's a bit embarrassing, isn't it?

Well no sense in putting it off. The entrance is too small for the mechs, which means we could be in for days of exploring it on foot. Of course, we could cover more ground if we split up, but given the building's aesthetic and my rudimentary knowledge of horror films, I've expressly advised against it.

All right, here we go. Let's see what we can find.

17...

There's a dark sort of beauty to this place. The technology we've found so far is beyond even our mechs or TEK armor, and there are rows upon rows of it, humming softly and pulsing with an eerie light. From the way it's organized, it almost looks like a library or a server room.

In fact, that's exactly what I suspect it is: an archive. In other words, my instincts were right! This is the place where we're finally going to uncover all the answers we've been seeking, it has to be! If the civilization that built those space stations stored their knowledge within these halls, the secrets behind everything we've been through must lie somewhere within.

All we need to do now is find a way to access it...

18...

We finally managed to get a terminal working, and well, this is it. I almost can't believe it, but I've finally found it! The mystery behind those stations, the whole reason we even exist, it's all right here!

According to this, those space stations are deliberately designed bio-domes called "ARKs," and they're exactly what they sound like: lifeboats. Whatever happened to the Earth, whether it was Element based technology like Santiago suspected or something else, these ARKs were built to preserve and cultivate life in all forms - fauna, flora and of course, human - safely separated from the planet's poisoned surface.

But something's gone wrong. There's all sorts of errors here...maybe that's why they turned into such death traps. There's something about a "Reseed Protocol" too.

I'll need time to look this over...

19...

Sorry if I'm a bit loopy, I've been deciphering the information we found for two days straight. Stuff sleep anyway, I run on data.

So, that Reseed Protocol I mentioned? Apparently, that's the endgame for the ARKs - they're supposed to return to the planet, and when they do, all the life they're cultivating will spread across the surface. In theory, this might make the Earth habitable again.

That's where the errors come in: the Reseed Protocol never initialized. I can't quite figure out why though, it just says the "conditions have not been met."

Damn it, that can't be it! All the answers are here, but this is the only terminal we've gotten working. I've got to find another way to access the archives. Maybe that artifact Mei-Yin mentioned? She said it was pulsing with some sort of energy, so it probably has power. I'll ask her to show me where it is.

20...

Before Mei-Yin even showed me what she'd found, I knew I was in for something bizarre, but I didn't think it would be quite like this.

When I reached out to touch the artifact she found, it felt like my hand was caught in its gravitational pull. I couldn't stop myself from touching it. Some of the details are fuzzy after that, but the next thing I knew, the artifact was gone. Instead, I was staring at an enchanting, diamond shaped object - a prism of raw, cosmic energy.

I didn't get the chance to examine it any further before Mei-Yin confiscated it for safety. I guess I can't blame her caution, but I'm fine! Really! Sure, my head feels like a cracked eggshell and there's still tingles running across my body, but I'm physically uninjured. Somehow I have to convince her to let me study it.

It's just...when I touched it the artifact, I felt something. Saw something. I need to understand.

21...

When I said that things got "fuzzy" when I touched the artifact, that's not really the whole truth. I remember bits and pieces of it - images, flipping across my vision in rapid succession. At first they were hard to distinguish, but now that Mei-Yin has allowed me to study the prism at a distance, they're gradually becoming clearer.

A man made of light, monsters roaring, a sky on fire...they didn't seem like memories. At least not mine. If the prism put those images in my head, well that's a little frightening, honestly.

Mei-Yin's right. I need to tread carefully here. As much as I want to know the prism's secrets, if I delve for them too deeply, I could lose myself to it. We both saw where that could lead, back in that violet pit. I should apologize for pushing the matter...

22...

By now, Mei-Yin and I can understand each other with only a handful of words. I just said I was sorry for being short with her, and that was that. She knows how much this means to me, and I know that she's just wants to protect me, even from myself.

I even told her about the images I'm seeing. She dismissed them as nonsense, but I'm not so sure. They're growing clearer with every day I spend studying the prism, and one in particular keeps coming up.

In it, I see a single room, in the depths of a cave. It is both a tomb and a throne - where a coffin like structure sits on a raised platform, surrounded by silvery metal and glowing crystals. The walls glimmer and a light shines down from above, or is it rising up from below? I can't tell.

What does it mean? Anything at all? Or do I really just need to get more sleep?

23...

Possible hallucinations aside, the prism itself is fascinating. It's similar to one of Santiago's hard light constructs, but it seems more solid. At first I suspected it was plasmal Element, but I'm beginning to think that's unlikely.

However, I do know one thing for certain: its shape. Somehow, the prism has the same size and profile as the slot in the center of our wrist implants! Yes, yes, that may seem obvious, but I was so distracted by everything else that I never noticed.

So is that what it's for then? Am I meant to just pop it in there like a data drive? Oh God, what if that's all it is? Did I go through all this trouble just to see a family of cyborgs' holiday photo album? "Wait, do that one again! Mum closed her optical lenses!"

I joke, but if it really was just something mundane, if there were no answers...what would I do then?

24...

After studying the prism for all this time, I'm only certain of one thing - if I insert it into my implant, something will change forever. Myself, probably, but maybe not. Who's to say I'd even survive the experience? Whatever the case, I think that's what it wants from me, and it wants it urgently.

And me? I still want answers, but I keep seeing Rockwell's mutated visage and hearing Mei-Yin's words. Is this how he felt, towards the end?

Well I won't make his mistakes. Mei-Yin, Raia, Santiago and all the others who have helped me get here made sure of that. I'll only use the prism if I'm sure it can't hurt the people I care about, and if that means never learning the ultimate truth of the ARKs? So be it.

25...

Up until now, the images I've been seeing have been brief and disconnected, like a collage, but this last dream was different. It was a full, coherent vision - if it a bit abstract.

In it, I saw violet fingers clawing at bedrock, knuckle deep in soil. They reached further, stretching, splitting and spreading like a web as stone crumbled beneath them, until at last they found a molten heart, its cadence soft and steady. Without pity, they grasped it in their twisting tendrils and squeezed. The heart's rhythm slowed, then stopped altogether, and at last it turned to cold, lifeless stone.

As the heart died, strings of shadow shot from the violet fingers. I traced the them across cracked and drying flesh, and when the strands ended I saw it - an army of monstrous shadows, hunting for even the smallest glimmer of light. And they were marching right towards me.

26...

Any thought of those images being hallucinations evaporated when Kazuma came back from his scouting run this morning. An army of monsters is headed our way, and I don't think it's a coincidence.

They're after the prism, that has to be it. So if I get rid of it...no, I don't think that will work. Those monsters won't stop with the prism, they'll devour everyone who came into contact with it. Somehow I just get that feeling.

Ugh, why am I only getting visions of how doomed we are? Show me something I can do to save my friends, you lambent little bludger!

Damn it all. Maybe I'll think of something once we're on the move. For now, we've got to get the hell out of here..

27...

I've only slept once since leaving the archives, but in that brief moment of respite, another vision came to me.

I saw a ladder, stretching from beneath the earth to high above the clouds. I was climbing it, ascending rung by rung, and carrying someone over my shoulder. Our pace was slow but patient. Somewhere beyond the sky, I was sure the ladder had an end, even if I couldn't see it.

From below, monsters roared and raged. They couldn't climb the ladder, and they couldn't reach us. Even the tallest of them - a towering King of Death - could not harm us, and as I climbed, I could see a familiar light shining from within my wrist.

Is that it? Is that how I can help everyone, or was that me just seeing what I wanted to? I need to decide, and soon. We're running out of time.

28...

I feel like my stomach has twisted itself into a cat's cradle. When Mei-Yin refused to give me the prism, I well...I stole it. I know she wants to keep me safe, but our backs are against the wall here. If there's a chance this thing can save us, then I need to have it within reach.

Still, I know the danger it poses, so I'll only use it as a last resort. Not to solve any ancient mystery or make a grand discovery, but to help her and everyone else. If things are dire and the prism's the only chance I have to help, then it's worth the risk.

I'm sorry, Mei-Yin, but we promised that we'd prop each other up, didn't we? Maybe this isn't how you envisioned it, but this is the only way I can hold up my end of the bargain. I hope you can forgive me.

29...

It worked. The prism, it worked, but I hesitated. Now we're only two. Only two, everyone else is dead. Everyone else. Am I dying too? Is this how it feels? Is that why I keep seeing the tomb? The tomb, again and again. The tomb, the throne and the ladder.

The ladder. I see it once more. I'm climbing still, above the clouds and into the stars. I think I see the end, but when I try to grab the next rung, my hand turns to dust. I try to scream, but I make no sound.

I'm slipping away. I see their faces. Rockwell, Raia, Diana, Santiago, Mei-Yin...I reach for them. I have to find purpose. There must be something I can grasp. Something.

The tomb. The tomb!

30...

I'm sorry, Mei-Yin. I'm sorry. The weight's all on your shoulders now. There's no one else who can carry it.

The tomb. The throne. You have to reach it. You have to take me there, to the Tomb of Ascension. I can show you the path, but you have to walk it alone. I wish it weren't true. I wish I could give you wings.

But I believe in your heart, so believe in mine. One last time. I need you to believe. Please. Ple...