Spending an Hour Too Close to the Sun

We all know what happened to Icarus when he got too Close to the Sun.

We all know what happened to Icarus when he got too Close to the Sun.

My name is Rose, and today I received a letter from my younger sister Ada. She’s a clever one, working as a physicist for the Wardenclyffe company who, as I’m sure you know, provide electricity to most of the civilised world. Anyway, her letter has asked me to come and join her on the Helios, the company’s enormous “ship”. I’m reluctant to describe it as an actual ship, as this seafaring vessel is larger than most cities and can only be reached by using Wardenclyffe’s patented radio controlled boats. Whilst I’m more than happy to see my sister again after all this time, my job as a journalist makes it impossible to resist the opportunity to visit this secretive commune of the world’s best and brightest. Add to that the chance to gather a little evidence for the — let’s call it what it is — war between Wardenclyffe’s head Tesla and his rival Edison, and there’s no way I would turn down this offer.

The radio-controlled boat is lonely and somewhat bleak considering the ostentatiousness Wardenclyffe is known for, but it gets me to the Helios safely enough. Ada had left a communication device of some sort for me to use once I’m in the main part of the ship, so I pocket it and head to the deck. I’d heard about the size of the vessel, but it wasn’t until I saw the docking bay open that I truly understood the vastness of the city on the sea. The gargantuan doors open to allow my tiny transport access, and I dock using the automated systems on board.

Close to the sun
The Helios is truly vast in scale

It’s quiet here. I’d have thought there’d be more hustle and bustle in a docking area of this scale, but perhaps they don’t get all that many visitors. I find my way into the main reception area and find…no-one still. If the absence of humanity didn’t seem a little off, then the flickering and crackling of the light fittings certainly did. Isn’t this supposed to be the epicentre of the global scientific community? Where the hell is everyone?

As I head towards the elevator leading to the main concourse, I hear what sounds like movement, but I can’t be too sure it isn’t some damn electrical nonsense happening in one of the side rooms. The elevator doors close and it starts heading up towa— WHO THE HELL IS THAT?! A figure banging on the glass on the doors! I can’t tell what they’re yelling, but I’m really getting concerned about this place.

The elevator stops, and as I disembark the communication device sparks into life and I hear the first positive thing since I’ve arrived. It’s Ada. She is here after all, and she’s safe. In fact, she seems in good spirits and tells me that whilst there is some strange stuff going on, I’ll get answers from her once I reach her apartment.

My explorations reveal that there has been a number of confrontations aboard the Helios between Tesla and Edison’s people. Apparently Edison has been sending spies to the ship, and Wardenclyffe’s security has been rooting them out using some barbaric methods. I’ve come across interrogation rooms containing the tools they utilise, and war boards showing which crew members are under investigation. This hardly feels like a commune taking humanity into the future.

I reach the hallway leading to the apartment complex and experience the strangest event yet. The hallway seems damaged, with chandeliers having fallen from the ceiling, and splashes of blood on the floor, but that is nothing compared to the golden, shimmering silhouettes of people I see briefly wandering the area. Are these real people? Ghosts?! Surely such nonsense is impossible, but I saw what I saw dammit! Am I going insane? Is this ship a purgatory of some sort?

Close to the sun
Why in the name of all that is holy can I see this?!

As my mind reels from the impossibility of what I’ve seen, Ada’s voice chimes in once more. She doesn’t seem all that surprised by my revelation that I’m seeing what I could comfortably call ghosts right now. In fact, she points out that she was surprised to know that I’d come to the Helios at all as she hadn’t sent me any letter yet.

Yet? An interesting choice of word that she elaborates on. Ada tells me — I’m loath to say this as it sounds like I’m reaching the heights of insanity — that she believes her future self sent that letter back in time to me. She has been working on some sort of time experiments recently, and it seems that she may have been successful. Or may be successful in the future. It’s hard to explain in terms that make any sense because Ada is literally talking about time travel! How is that possible? I need answers and I need them quickly. Ada tells me that I’ll understand more once I reach her apartment.

I reach the complex and manage to force a partially open door. There’s blood everywhere. Blood, gore, mutilated corpses, I collapse to my knees, only just hearing my sister’s voice in my ear. I blurt out the horror that’s in front of me, my head between my knees desperately trying to keep myself together. What the hell have I walked into here?! This whole ship is utterly insane! I just want to find Ada and get out.

I finally compose myself, and find my way around the apartments, looking for Ada’s. After messing around with some generators to restore power to the area, Ada informs me that she left her spare key with her friend Eliza. More bodies litter the hallways, and the contents of Eliza’s apartment do not make me feel any better. It seemed strange to find her key on the floor just outside her room, but any concept of that strangeness quickly evaporated as I found her body hung by the neck in the bathroom.

Close to the sun
Poor woman…

I’m all but becoming numb to this madness and violence. It doesn’t make me feel any better about seeing a young woman having taken her own life rather than face whatever actually happened here. The notes in her room refer to ‘Exotic Energy’, whatever that is. Is all this chaos the result of an experiment gone wrong?

Once I find Ada’s home, she tells me to locate a hidden compartment and recover her research into this time malarky. It doesn’t take much to figure out how to open the compartment. I may not be a physicist, but I’m no slouch when it comes to puzzles, compromised mental state or otherwise. Still, I’m nowhere near smart enough to understand the contents of her notebook. Ada contacts me but is swiftly cut-off by what sounds like loud banging. Before the connection completely gives out, she tells me she’s holed up in the Bio Labs, so I suppose that’s where I’m going next.

I saw a rail link in the main foyer, so I go back to the concourse. Just as I’m about to head back downstairs, I see the shadow of a person in the next corridor and quickly duck just out of sight. I don’t know how friendly anyone around here is. He walks by but quickly drops to his knees, as something causes blood to spray out of his back. Another man lunges onto him, driving a knife into his ribs over and over again. The demented mutterings he lets out are barely audible over the cries of the dying man’s suffering. I clasp my hands to my mouth, not wanting even the possibility of my panicked breathing being heard by this madman. I can’t have my life end here.

Please don’t spot me. Please don’t spot me. Please don’t…

Close to the Sun
Why is he doing this?!

Close to the Sun can be purchased for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One and is coming soon to PC.

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