Fall of the S.S. Heilos

September 16, 2013
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Thirty minutes...

The man walked through the smooth, steel-plated corridor, casting a glance outside the transparent sheen of the windows. The stars behind them glittered and glinted; little points of light in an otherwise empty void.

He came up to two other men, dressed in the tapered blue finery of a deck officer; much different from the dirty, smudged brown of the tech uniform he wore. He stood straight, saluting, then passed on once he heard, “At ease. Be on your way.” He continued on, navigating the winding corridors and hallways with practiced skill. Soon, as he stepped into the engine department, the halls turned more bare and basic, losing much of the polished extravagance of the other areas. The floor went from flat, even walkway to a metal grate with railings on the side. The walls changed from their sleek, windowed shape and turned into a mess of tubes and piping; the ceiling looked much the same.

Twenty-six minutes...

Inside the engine room, the man stepped up to a woman, who was religiously cleaning a switched-off power coil. She smiled at him as he got close, then looks back at her work.

“Did anything catastrophic happen while I was sleeping, Alex?” He asked as the various techs and mechanics working around him in a din of mechanical music.

The woman smirks a bit, working on a particularly sturdy build-up in a crevice of the brass-colored metal of the coil, “Well, nothing other than the fact that we're understaffed since that incident in the Labs. Science-freaks need half of our grease monkeys to fix the gadgets that they know nothing about... It's madness, Frank.”

“Well, they gotta make us work for our pay somehow right?” Frank asked, chuckling and moving over beside Alex and beginning to clean the next power coil on the line.

Twenty-one minutes...

By then Alex had moved on to the next power coil, and Frank had just finished with the one he was working on. Then there was a loud crash. The room shook, sending many small instruments clattering to the metal floor. Alex and Frank grabbed onto a railing below the power conduits and stood once the tremor was over.

“What on Earth?” Frank exclaimed as he looked around at the room. Small items were strewn across the floor, some of them broken. The techs looked shaken, but none of them looked seriously injured.

Alex spoke, moving to secure a group of power couplings, “No idea…”

Frank then stepped over to the intercom console and selected the bridge.

After a second, he spoke, “Frank Hannigan to Heilos Command, come in. Over.” There was no answer. After a few more tries, he selected the laboratories, speaking, “Engine room to laboratories, anyone there?” Again, the comms were silent.

Frank’s heart was pounding, something was clearly wrong. He stepped over to a small locker labeled ‘Emergency’. After quickly punching in the code to open the steel box, he reached in and retrieved three items, a small ceramic chest-plate of body armor, a small pistol along with a holster, and a bag full of ammunition. He quickly put the armor on, clipping the holster to his belt, and left the Engine room.

Sixteen Minutes…

Frank quickly came to the polished metal encapsulation of the normal hallways. Oddly enough, the halls were empty. Eventually, Frank found someone, a friend of his, Jack Werner, a security guard.

Frank approached Jack, “What’s going on? Where is everyone?”

“No idea, no one is responding to the comms,” Jack said, tapping a small communications device on the collar of his armored suit, which, in comparison to Frank’s, was a bulwark.

“Yeah, I know… Let’s get to the bridge,” Frank said. Jack nodded and drew his rifle, following.

Ten Minutes…

Frank and Jack soon came upon a disturbing sight. To the left of the hallways, through glass windows were the laboratories. Though the glass, they could see blood strewn across the room by the gallon. Bodies of scientists were ripped into pieces. Also, an orange light was flashing, and a few of the bodies had no external wounds. It didn’t take long to realize. Whatever did this vented the labs. This was further evident by streaks of blood on the console on the side of the door.

Frank looked away, vomiting. Jack grimaced, patted Frank on the back and then, once the tech had stopped heaving, pulled him upright and walked on, “Let’s keep moving. The deck officers might still be alive.”

Five Minutes…

Following the trail of blood, they came to the bridge, which had its blast doors sealed. Frank moved to the console beside it, and began trying to open the door. He stopped after a moment, as the ship began to shake.

Jack spoke, “That feels like…”

“Re-entry,” Frank nodded, “Which means someone’s trying to land this bird…”

“But we weren’t supposed to be stopping at Earth… We were just going to refuel and head to the Saturn Lunar Colonies…” Jack said, worriedly.

“Yep. Which means something is very wrong.” Frank tapped furiously at the console, finally opening it.

Jack raised his rifle, and Frank drew his pistol, aiming at the center of the door.

The door slid open, revealing a sight much like the one in the labs, except that in the center of the room, a figure stood at the Navigation console. Jack quickly leveled his rifle at the figure, commanding it to turn around with its hands in the air. To which it only half-complied.

Upon the beast turning to face them, they saw how hideous it was. Its face was dark and flat, covered in a chitin-like material. Only eyes, two nostil slits, and huge, toothed jaws were visible; the rest blank. Its had thick legs, which led up to a thin waist, and then to a large, muscled chest. On the ends of its large arms were claws that appeared as razor-sharp swords wet with blood, and on the top of its head were two large spikes. The monster made a noise, a guttral, unsettling sound that was even more unsettling once the men realized it was laughter.

Behind the creature, through the glass screen of the windows, was the Earth, approaching quickly. The being had set the ship on a course to land.

The creature began to step towards them. There was a loud bang and a flash of light as Jack fired his rifle. The bullet, to their horror, did nothing to even slow-down the abomination; after a moment of shock, Jack screamed as his rifle was cut cleanly in two, along with some of his left-hand fingers and his entire right arm. Jack fell backwards, and was stopped as the monster slipped its claw into his forehead.

Frank ran, more afraid than he had ever been in his entire life. He sped his way through the halls, heading towards the engine room. As he ran, he realized something far worse. That thing, whatever it is… It’s trying to get to Earth! I can’t let it… But what can I do? Bullets don’t even phase it!

An idea came to his mind, and he swallowed hard. Forgive me everyone… Forgive me Alex.

Two minutes…

Frank came to the engine room, finding it in similar shape to the bridge and the laboratories. All of the techs were dead, their gore strewn all over the instruments and machines. But Frank only noticed one thing, the body near the power coils. Sitting against the wall, eyes glazed over and blood pouring out of her chest, was Alex.

Frank ran forward, lifting her lightly and holding her in his arms. He began to cry, the salty tears streaming down his face and onto hers. He put his hand over her, closing her eyes, and resuming his weeping. However, he was stopped by the sound of footsteps.

At the threshold stood two monsters like the one from the bridge. One of them holding half-a-person in one claw. Frank stood, backing up to the main engine console. The monsters stared at him as he moved, making clicking noises. Frank turned to the console, and began to enter a sequence of commands. After a moment, he turned back to the creatures, which were now making a noise akin to growling.

Frank inhaled, summoning all the bravery he could, then ran forward, facing the blades head-on. A few seconds later, the engine overloaded, obliterating the ship and all aboard…

Time had elapsed, and his alarm began to blare…

Frank woke to a start in his quarters, then sighed and smiled, “Just a dream…”

He stood up, getting dressed and grabbing what he needed. And then the intercom at his door came to life, “Hannigan, we need you and your mechanics to come repair some of our lab instruments… There was a slight… Problem with one of our experiments…”

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