Too Smart, Too Strong

Meanwhile... On the Montero

Paddy continues trying to shake whatever is on the airlock. “Should we get back to the Cronus, Captain? The others might need help.”
____________________

Kenny replies, "Paddy if we can't shake those parasites off, they will either kill us before we make it back or kill the others before we can connect to the Cronus."
____________________

“How can we know what their capable of? What are you not telling me, Captain. What kind of parasites are these?!”, Paddy wonders aloud.
____________________

Kenny was annoyed that Paddy was not quick on the uptake, despite his amazing flying skills. He then replied, "We are dealing with a parasite that plants its young in a living host only to pop out of them when hatched. Not only are they deadly since they killed half the crew on the Cronus, but they can survive decades without food, air or life support. As we saw on the vid screen it took several shots just to kill a hatchling and the other one was still alive after getting roasted in the face. We also saw claw marks on the steel walls meaning they are very strong and violent. Now Roberts may be trained to fight these things , but the rest of us are mere cannon fodder and can only depend on luck and what few skills we have. So if you can't shake them off we will either be dead or hosts for new parasites. So fly this ship like our lives depend on it because they do."
____________________

“Ok, hang on!” Paddy presses his lips into a line and pulls as many Gs as he can, over and over.
____________________

Kenny set MUTHUR on auto detection. This was an emergency.
____________________

While the ship is rolling and moving MUTHUR doesn’t detect anything, but as soon as the ship corrects itself, it pings for a second. Still at the P1 Airlock. This goes on for at least 5 minutes.
____________________

Paddy maneuvers under the Cronus and narrowly avoids a collision with another ship that is docked on the ventral side.
____________________

Kenny orders, "MUTHUR. Send the following message on all frequencies until we get the coms working:

"We lost coms. Parasites on Montero. There is a ship docked under the Cronus.
Repeat. We lost coms. Parasites on Montero. There is a ship docked under the Cronus."
____________________

"Affirmative... commencing repeating transmission across all frequencies..."
____________________

A moment later...

“...WARNING: Explosive decompression in P1 Airlock...
____________________

As the Captain watches the ping on his display, he assumes that one of the parasites has clawed a hole into the outer hatch of Airlock P1. He intends to space the damn thing and so he waits until the movement enters the airlock and opens both hatches, venting some of the pressure from the antechamber. Kenny checks with MUTHUR if the Intruder is gone and the movement appears to be gone from the airlock but the movement looks like it is right back to where it started, just outside the outer hatch.

"What?!", the Captain shouts.
____________________

“Cap, what the hell is going on down there? I can’t shake the damn thing? It seems to be just hovering there, blipping on the map.”, Paddy yelled.
____________________

Kenny tells MUTHUR to prepare to do the same thing again
____________________

The movement slowly enters the airlock again, there still isn’t any pressure in the airlock and just as he is about to order the hatches open...
____________________

“...WARNING: Explosive decompression on B Deck P1 Antechamber...”
____________________

"MUTHUR, open a nearby hatch next door to vent the air through the airlock and force it out!", Kenny orders.
____________________

MUTHUR opens another hatch. “WARNING: Losing pressure on B Deck.”
____________________

The movement again disappears from the airlock, then blips just outside again.
____________________

"Well the damn thing is too smart and strong to get spaced.", Kenny sighs.
____________________

Warning: Damage to P1 Airlock inner an outer hatches. B Deck Antechamber is losing pressure. Repairs needed to patch the breach. EVA suit required.”
____________________

The airlock hatches appear to be both sealed but the area loses all pressure. After another moment, the movement reenters the airlock for a third time.
____________________

"Well, I guess we are suiting up and getting armed with whatever weapons we have.", Kenny says.

“Well, shit. Where should I park the ship, Bossman?”, asked Paddy.

"Near the Cronus but far enough to not crash.

“Any particular spot? In case the others try to space walk to us?”

Make it easy for them to get onboard

“Roger.”
____________________

Paddy pulls a turn and goes up and over the top of the Cronus again, aiming the docking umbilical at the dorsal airlock. In the lights of the Montero, they can both see a figure moving around inside, light reflecting off of a helmet.
Paddy puts the Montero in reverse thrust and slowly pulls away from the Cronus.

“Is that Vera’s space man?”
____________________

Kenny replies, "It might very well be. At this point anything is possible."

“Well the crew isn’t getting out this way unless they bring that guy with ‘em... Maybe we can lure it away.”

"Well we can't save the crew if that parasite kills us. Get ready to kill it since the other option means we die."

“Fair enough.”
____________________

Paddy jumps up from the piloting console and heads toward the port side companionway.
____________________

There they both suit up, grab a pair of 30ft tethers, and arm themselves in no time like a couple of old pros.
____________________

Once again looking at his data tablet, Kenny sees that the movement has entered the P1 Antechamber on B Deck and is heading toward the aft of the ship. Kenny and Paddy climb down the companionway toward the movement. A moment later, Kenny notices that the ping is inside MUTHUR’s Server Core. Then the data pad no longer detects any movement.

He sighed as he spoke up to Paddy, "Well Paddy its been one hell of a run and if we don't make it, I want you to know its been fun serving with you. Now it appears the parasite intruder boarded our ship and somehow quickly made its way to the Server Core. Personally I would prepare to set up a trap and kill it safely, but sadly it seems to be very intelligent since it avoided getting spaced several times in a row before getting into the ship. I am hoping its not smart enough to fly the ship but I bet it can do some serious damage on this rust bucket before realize it. So its down to you and me killing it with out limited weapons. Make your shots count and try to avoid getting sprayed by its blood since it may be toxic or contagious. Now if you don't have any last words or advise I suggest we do our best to survive this suicide run."
____________________

Paddy smiles and looks genuinely excited by the prospect of combat.

“Fuckin’ A, Cap."
____________________

Kenny then orders MUTHUR to seal all the doors to keep the parasite in place. As Paddy and Kenny advance toward the starboard side and aft, they open each door in their path and get ready to shoot.
____________________

Minutes later, as they approach the S1 Airlock Antechamber, MUTHUR isn’t responding to the Captain's voice commands anymore.

Then the lights go out.

< Prev : Thud Next > : The Armory