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Calling Frequency

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Calling Frequency: An agreed-upon frequency where stations attempt to contact each other; once contact is made, stations move to a working frequency. Source: http://www.dxing.com/radterms.htm#calling

***

Isaac came to, fuzzily, in the snow of Tau Volantis, cold and hurting like a son of a bitch. He rolled onto his side, gasping for breath, and blinked at the thing shielding him from most of the snow. After a second it came to him: tentacle. Tentacle from the necromorph moon. He’d killed the thing and managed to survive the fall.

Isaac coughed and pushed himself up to kneel in the snow. His helmet was gone, and he regretted it - he’d have to fix that or freeze - but the radio still worked. Had Ellie made it out? He coughed again and tried to signal her.

‘Ellie? ...Ellie...’

No answer. Shit. It looked like he was stuck here.

“At least she made it out,” Isaac muttered to himself. She would have; he had to believe that. At least one of them wouldn’t die on this rock.

Isaac pushed himself to his feet and checked the charge on his plasma cutter. The endless wind of Tau Volantis blew hard flecks of dust and debris into his face, snatching away body heat. First things first, find some way to fix his suit. Then, figure out the next step in not dying. There was a large block of something off in the distance that was hopefully some kind of shelter, and he headed off toward it, turning his face away from the wind as best he could.

The radio hissed on again.

'Ellie? Clarke? Anybody out there?'

"Carver?" The last Isaac had seen the other man, Carver had just been blown off into thin air.

'Isaac?' Carver sounded as incredulous as Isaac felt. Not that it was the weirdest - or the worst - thing to happen to either of them lately.

"Yeah! Yeah, Carver, it's me."

'You in one piece?' There was a strained quality to Carver's voice Isaac didn't like.

"Yeah. You?"

'Mostly. Busted my leg in the fall, and I don't have any medkits.'

"I've got some. Any idea where you are?"

'Surrounded by snow and rocks. Apart from that, no.'

“My helmet’s gone, or I’d ask you to set me up a waypoint.” Without it, Isaac knew, he could wander around Tau Volantis till he dropped dead of exhaustion or hypothermia, whichever came first. The Arctic RIG was better than the one he’d started out in, but with the helmet missing it wouldn’t work anywhere near as well as it should. "Do you have a weapon? If any of Danik's people are left, they might come looking for him - or us."

'I’ve got my rifle.'

"Okay. I'm going to find a way to fix my helmet. Then I’ll come and get you. Hang on." There was a long moment of silence over the radio. Worrying silence, given Carver's injury. "Hey, Carver. Keep talking to me."

'Why? You lonely?'

"Try basic first aid. Don't want you going into shock before I get there." Although Isaac had to admit that trudging across this frozen rock with a human voice in his ear was much better than just trudging across this frozen rock on his own. "How bad is the leg?" medkits could do a lot, but the ends of the bone were misaligned, or it was a compound fracture, it might have to be straightened first, which would hurt like a son of a bitch.

'Bad enough I can't put weight on it.’

“Any bone sticking out? Does it look crooked or swollen at all?”

‘Don’t think so. I can’t really see because of the suit.’

"Okay, good. Just keep it as still as you can, alright?"

‘Alright.’ Carver paused. Isaac thought it was a curious pause. ‘How d’you know what to do?’

“For the leg? I’m an engineer. Things go wrong, people get hurt. I got first aid training just in case.”

‘Survival training might’ve been more help.’

“Yeah, that I’ve kinda picked up on my own.”

‘Did you pick up anything about surviving without supplies? Because I’ve got a handful of rations but they won’t last long.’

“Same here. Once we get you patched up, we’ll go hunting for some. But hey,” Isaac added, "at least we don't have to worry about necromorphs. Just starving or freezing to death.”

‘Or getting shot by Danik’s men.’

“See? Nothing to worry about.” Isaac made it to his destination, which felt like it had taken forever. The block of something turned out to be part of a building, tilted wildly to one side but not so badly he couldn’t get into it. At least it'd be a shelter for a bit. "Hey, hang on a sec. I'm going to check something out."

If Isaac thought the wreck was a good place to shelter, someone else could have too. That would be typical of the kind of luck he'd had over the last ten years.

This time, his luck was - well, at least not bad: there was a corpse, but it was just a corpse and not a necromorph. More importantly, it had a suit helmet he could scavenge.

"Hey, Carver. Still with me?”

‘Still here, Clarke.’

“I found a helmet I can use.” The previous user had broken something when they landed, and their lips and the inside of the helmet’s faceplate were spattered with blood. Isaac scrubbed it out of the helmet as best he could, which wasn’t much, using some snow. It might be disgusting, but it’d keep him alive and get him to Carver. “Let me get my suit fixed up then I'll come get you.

‘You’ve got a real ‘saving people’ thing. You know that?’

“I’m not leaving you.” Isaac fitted the new helmet to his suit. They weren’t entirely compatible, not all the systems came online, but he had environmental, and a HUD that would show a waypoint and that would do. “I’m not leaving anyone else behind. Not again.”

‘I don’t want to be left. Surprises me too, after...’ Carver broke off. Isaac gave him a moment. He knew enough about Carver’s family to know when not to talk. ‘Sending you a waypoint. Got it?’

“I’ve got it,” Isaac confirmed. “You’re a ways off, but I’ll be there as soon as I can. After that, we can see if Danik’s crew left a ship or supplies or something behind. Hang on.”

‘Yeah. Hey, Clarke.’

“Yeah?”

‘I'm sorry I was an ass to you. You know, before. Thought you were only here chasing after Ellie. Working with you to shut the Marker down, well...I meant what I said before. You’re a good man, Isaac.’

"Thanks, Carver." Isaac made one last check of the suit and headed off in the direction shown by the waypoint. "See you soon."

'You'd better. We've got a ship to find.'