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An Evil Unknown
“It’s almost amusing how our perceptions of life have changed in such a short time. At first we thought nothing of it, we felt as though it was a just a minor side effect of progress. We never thought it would release h*ll into our lives. We felt as though exploration into space would only reveal progress and peace. It’s a step we took too fast. Like a baby learning to walk we slipped and fell but unlike a baby we could not heal. A bruise or scrape can be mended and a human can be healed, but this was no scrape this was genocide. Humanity was on its last legs and we did what we had to in order to survive. You hear me! We did what we had to!”
“Yes we understand this, please continue” the young man typed on his electronic pad as he scrambled to write down what he heard.
“As I was saying” the older man continued “We thought it was nothing, when our scientists found that, whatever it was in the ground of mars. That creature we didn’t know, it was dead and we thought nothing of it. Little did we know it was dead for a reason. Those creatures were carnivorous beasts that killed their own for food because that was all it had to eat! Lucky for them we walked right in and gave them a taste of their next delicacy. When the first scientist disappeared we were worried but not as much as we should have been. We searched for about two weeks and gave up, attributing his loss to suit failure or irresponsibility of the watch crew to account for him. Either way little was done as the euphoria of reaching mars with humans was too great.”
The young man interrupted with a question “Can you describe the euphoria?”
“You know, people talked of this being the biggest accomplishment in the history of the world. Humanity now had the power to reach far away planets. People already wanted to plan vacations to the planet and be the first to have their children on a different planet. Colonizing the moon was a big accomplishment but that was on our doorstep, Mars now that was a big deal.”
The man typing straightened his black suit which reflected the light above their head in the small windowless room. “I see, continue.”
“No, I want to know what the H*ll I’m doing in here!” the old man’s anger showed through his face as his cheeks began to turn bright red.
“Sir you are required to tell us all you know” The man was impatient and would not take no for an answer. He walked toward the door and opened it slowly allowing a large man to enter. The man was muscular but had a gut that bulged out quite far from his actual body. No doubt from large consumption of alcohol at some point in his life. The man walked over to the old man with a feeling of aggression preceding him. He stopped in front of the man, simply cracked his knuckles and neck. The loudness of the cracking echoed through the plain and depressingly gray room. This sound was an instant deterrent and the old man’s willingness to resist faded away.
“Please, please I will talk I am but an old man don’t hurt me” the old man was genuinely scared and cringed at the sight of the brute. “Ok, ill talk, basically no one thought anything of what information they received. When the first human colony was set to be built in ten years, it took just two. By then the progress of the work was almost startling to me. When I invented the life support dome I never thought I’d see one in my life time and not to mention in two short years. I had serious doubts about the dome’s quality but no one would listen to a foolish old man. In what seemed like days people had began arriving to live on Mars. They were all happy and amazed at the structures that had been built within the dome. It had its own ecosystem with animals, trees and waterfalls with fresh water sustained but removing hydrogen and oxygen from the dome and the atmosphere. It seemed like a paradise but, it wasn’t without problems.”
The brutish man was leaning against the wall and began to smoke while the clean cut and suited man began to shift his legs as if intrigued.
“So there were problems before the actual attack?” The young man’s interest had now reached a point where his attentiveness became surprisingly strong. As if this was what he was waiting to hear the entire time.
“Shut up and let him speak!”
The man in the black suit apparently named John snapped at the brutish thug and quickly turned his body to again face the old man. John was obviously short tempered and on edge, what ever he was looking into it was important to him.
The old man was concerned for life but continued to speak as he hoped it would set him free of this h*llish situation and this d*mning room.
“Well, at first we thought it was nothing, I mean the pipes would leak, we would lose power. It was normal right? I mean no first time thing is perfect. But then we realized it was not accident, no natural bug in the system. We began to send repairmen and engineers down
to check the problem but, they disappeared too. It was the strangest thing we had seen. No one knew what happened to those men. Well that’s not true, we would know eventually” The old man began to lose his voice as if out of fear. Even his dehydration had not changed his voice before but now this subject was hitting him. He was genuinely scared and did not want to say a word and true to his feelings he fell silent and remained silent.
“D*mnit! You will talk to me! What happened! We need to know! Dr. Routher the fate of our interests lies in what you tell us now!”
This however was not a deterrent as Dr. Routher remained as silent as he was before John opened his mouth.
“I don’t have time for this! …Louis!”
“Show the good doctor how to politely answer questions.”
The Brute named Louis stepped forward obeying his command with a certain joy. He obviously loved his work, enjoyed it enough that it almost became a game to him. He had taken his jacket off and was now approaching the doctor who was sweating with an occasional tear falling from his eye. As if he was tissue Louis grabbed Routher with just one hand and threw him against the wall. Even as his body hit the cinderblock like a ragdoll David Routher had no thoughts in his mind about yelling out what he knew. Even if he told them the truth about the projects failure, they wouldn’t listen and they would probably kill him for failing. Louis again walked over to Routher and picked him up a second time but now the doctor saw the futility of resisting and he clamored for air as he tried to talk.
In a raspy and fading voice he spoke from the grip of Louis’ arm: “The project was a failure! Whatever creatures were down there, they were chewing threw the metal pipes and power lines. They come out at night when the shifts are over. The men we sent down there they were ripped apart!” The old man was now out of breath and his skin turned pale and almost purple. Louis dropped him and he continued to speak.
“What ever they are they rip humans apart and lay their young inside them! They grow in their body and control them until they become adults and split the body to free themselves. We found their den below the housing district. We walked in to find herd of zombie-like corpses wandering the caverns with bulges in their chests and stomachs. We managed to examine a dead one and found the cavity in which the young grow!” We also have reason to believe if they can inhabit humans without their knowledge. Several women in the colonies became pregnant with no explanation only to find it was four times the size of a bulge just days later!”
“So your saying the project was a total failure” John was as alarmed as he was angry as so much money and so much time had been put into this project for no return. As John tried to get more information Routher began to ramble and seemed to ignore the frantic questions he asked.
“We fought, as hard as we could. Women and children we had to shoot them! It was the most lurid sight a human could witness. These creatures would just hobble along the dome and devour anyone it caught. They would just walk and walk and walk, endlessly with no purpose besides feeding and infecting. For every bullet we had there were ten of them. The few military men we had tried to fend them off but soon they were infected as well. We retreated to the airlocks in an attempt to reach the docked ships only to find the ships themselves had infected crews!”
“Shut up and tell me what I want to know!” John was steaming with anger to the point that his face became blood red and the anger coursed through his veins. Even with such an angered appearance the doctor would not stop, he talked and talked trying to get every bit of information out of his system as if it was a foreign plaque that needed to be expelled.
“We held out in the meeting hall for days, the lights would flicker on and off in a maddening way. We say in the locked rooms with guns aimed at the door every second of the day. There was no sense of safety, the beasts could be anywhere! Everyday for a week us survivors would argue and fight over who was infected and who we should kill. It was a nightmare! We knew gunfire would attract them and get us all killed and that managed to keep us in check. The five of us sat and waited for help but it never came.”
“I don’t care! D*mn you and d*mn all you stand for! You ruined a project that would make me rich!” John had exploded into a rage unseen by man but David continued and silenced John with words that he would never have thought to hear. The level headed doctor and burst into tears and started to come clean.
“I killed them; I killed all four of the others! I had no choice, they would have turned. I put five bullets in their brains and ran for the escape pods. I launched it into space and turned on the beacon. That’s where I was found. You have to listen to me; the colony is a failure you have to abandon it! It turned me into a monster and the others into creatures that have left a scar in my memories.” The doctor was shaking and now fell silent.
“No, I don’t care what you say the colony is a success and we will make money at this yet. A couple of public relations commercials and a little advertising and soon we can start fresh. I need you, doctor, to go back with a team and fix the problem. You’ll leave tonight.”
“No! I won’t go back, please don’t make me go back! Those people all gone and there’s nothing left to save! I beg you abandon it please!” Roether got up and began to drag himself towards John, crying so heavily that he was now barely understandable. He took two steps forward before John drew a gun from his holster and fired two shots into the doctor’s chest. In the blink of an eye David Roether fell dead; his body spilled across the ground, streams of blood fell much like his rivers of tears had. As he re-holstered his weapon John turned to Louis and in a calm and normal voice began to speak.
“Bring in the next survivor, maybe he’ll have news I want to hear.”