People usually say that the best of memories come when you're about to die. The ones who go through those near death experiences always have a story to tell about how they remembered things from their early child hoods that they never knew were in the back of their minds, just because they were about to breath the last gasp of air. A clear image, a time line of events you've cherished just because either your hearts about to stop or someone or something is about to put a bullet to your head. I really can't see how they think like that. It always comes to my mind that people, especially myself, would experience a moment of guilt or pity towards our lives full of meaningless goals and lies. How could one see such beauty before the last second of pain? How can one see a glorious light when they know they will never see again?
You know what it is? It's complete bullshit.
My name is Michael Ark. I've been held up in this damned command center for over two weeks now. My men, though not many, have all been a great deal of help. Some get rations and some get death counts. Other than that we've been in hell since the crash. These bugs are everywhere and they feed upon the fear we breath out. Every time one of those things decides to take a chance we play tennis with a few rounds till one of us falls. Already, ten of us have already stopped moving. The last of the five, including myself are just waiting for the next meal and the next sound of battle.
Hell though, is known as a fiery place. This is a cold, chilling place of death and isolation. The floors are icy and stained of red and blue. The walls ache at the slightest movements and bellow their cries as they inch closer to collapsing each day. The screens we lay near for warmth flicker ever so often from the rumblings of the shattered earth we collided into. And I, the last one with a clear mind, sit and watch those screens closely. The journals, last words and last actions as those things flooded into our ship tearing and shredding through my fellow brethren like waves to a sandy shore. Even in mass we couldn't hold them back, our weapons useless to the chaos that was before us. All the good men, the fighters, the warriors of this once proud ship, scattered and torn till the last drop of blood fell and made it's mark, signaling the final echo of pain and the final hope of us all.
I am not a soldier, nor am I a fighter. I could be called a survivor though, one of instinct and desperation. I never knew how to use a gun till now. Hell, I never knew what one of these things looked like up close. I'm just a Medical Officer. I've been the one, these past few weeks, that has been cleaning and dressing the wounds these poor souls receive day in and day out. They too our brought into the same scenario as myself and cling onto the last of thoughts as they cry themselves to sleep each night. None knew how to fight or survive till these moments of duress. I am the only one whose mind is still focused on escaping. The others are just waiting, praying before they die.
I am somewhat thankful I am not a religious man. If I were I'd be doing the same rather than killing these things and gathering the last of the food. They pray to a God that can no longer give them comfort. What God is this that they worship that would let such things happen? What God creates such foul creatures to torment their minds, destroy their spirits, and burn their bodies? Their God doesn't seem to care or he is blind as we all are. I say go to your God if you are ready to die like a coward or let him go if you are ready to die a man.
All I've been doing these few hours of the nightfall of this strange world is cleaning my gun, reading it for the next trial. It feels like I'm preparing for the next test of life. It's time I stopped failing and finally go out there.
The others and I usually go out into the back hallways in search of the left over food, the rotted out portions of what used to be a good mans meal, now given to we scavengers of this derelict iceberg. Now it seems to be the last day for them all. If that is so then let this last day be my final hour of revenge and honor. I'd rather die fighting the fangs of evil than the wings of hope. That drop ship will never arrive. The military no longer cares and neither do our loved ones. It's time that I say, damn them to what we have been suffering.
The bugs are on the other side of the complex, waiting for one of us to open that door and walk out to face them or stand up near the broken glass so they can get some target practice. They want something then so be it. I'll be the first to enter the arena and step out victor or martyr.
Besides, why rot here when I can die quickly. There is also another motivation. The rumors heard from my now dead comrades of the human who escaped, fighting his way through the hoards till he saw the sunlight of the new planet. If this is so I will fight as he did and I will fight to see this savior. Maybe he can help us. Maybe he knows why all this happened and can fix it.
These sonsabitches haven't experience our hell. It's time they did and I'm going to be the one to give it to them...
I could see my breath puff through the stale air like a locomotive on overdrive, my heart pacing quickly to my soft steps upon the metallic paneling. The others looked up, trying to see what I was planning. I looked back at them all, watching as they huddled together for warmth, eyes starring straight, dead as their souls. They looked like a litter of kittens, fearful of their mother's departure. Poor bastards. The saddest thing about it also was that I needed them to get out of this hellhole. I summoned up the last of my strength.
"Alright men, it's time we moved out. It's time we saw the light of this planet and get out alive. I'm not going to sit here and wait for my corpse to rot. Damnit, if I have to die I may as well die taking one of those bastards down. Now get up and come on!"
The men looked at me for a while and paused. I didn't expect a boost in morale. These were just simple cooks and cleaners. One by one though, they rose to their feet and cocked their guns giving small grunts of approval. The looks in their eyes never changed, but they were ready to face whatever was out there. They were ready to die.
Alex, one of the cooks, stood last, bowing his head for his last respects to his God. All he had was a pistol and a few rounds stored in his utility belt. He was a bulky man, rounded at the shoulders and bold at the legs. He was one of the stronger ones, never speaking much, but had a hell of an aim. I assumed he had been in the military at one point in his life, probably retired and just decided to stick with the corp. because of good benefits.
He limped towards me, his crusted red cast thumping on the floor as he walked towards me. Without a word he placed his palm on my opposite shoulder and pointed to the door with his other hand, signaling for me to carry him. For the first time I saw him smile. Even without a breath of speech he made me feel strong. I carried half of his hulking body as he limped with the other. We crouched low in hopes to avoid the windows and possible enemy fire.
I looked over my free shoulder and gave my men a last look before I reached for the data key. The door lay still, silent with dust, as it hadn't been opened in weeks since the attack. The data key brightened at my touch as I punched in the numbers, "Two, Three, Nine, Six..."
It vibrated, powering up to full as it screeched, echoing throughout the room. The door began to slide open, hissing the stale air out and running along the edges of the floors with a sound of rust to steel.
Alex let go of me that instant and spoke with a deep Irish accent, "Boy, let me do this by myself, aye. You and the others stay behind me. I'm so big I can provide protection for the lot of ya."
I just stared and let him do as he wished. I knew he could take care of himself and I knew he'd rather die honorably than hang as a wounded animal. He stood in front as the door slammed into the interiors of the walls, fully opened.
The steam clouded our vision, but we ducked through it slowly and finally came to sight. The walls were all the same here. They ached and groaned, black as death. The lights of the outside world crept in through the battle wounds of the gigantic ship, uncovering the small flakes of dust as they danced about in front of us. Everything was silent, not a sound of life anywhere.
My men and I departed from the cold of the room to feel a draft of warm air grace us. Just with that I was fully energized. The others gave small chuckles as they walked out.
I remembered this place well. All of us were standing on the same platform as we did before. This ring of solid steel encircled the dome shaped cargo bay. The command center we were bunked in was positioned on the very top floor of the ship. Below was a hundred foot drop, straight down where the cargo was stored and released. In order to get to that cargo you had to access the security elevators from the command centers main console. That's how we came about getting stuck in that God forsaken shit hole. The others and I ran from the Living Quarters, dodging enemy fire as some marines backed us up. They told us to get out through the cargo area below, but we had to operate it from the command console. Once we entered the room the doors shut because the ship went into "Emergency Override". After the battles had ended we broke the glass that separated us from freedom and confronted the enemy with nothing, but our fist. The two marines with us at the time took the creature down, but also perished in the attack. We took what weapons we could find, but met more resistance, which lead us to retreating back to the shelter of the command center. Then that's when the weeks passed, the battles continued, and we began to die off one by one.
Now we were free. The elevator must still be working due to the ships limitless energy supply. If we could only remember the position of that elevator... It should be a clear hundred yards near the crane room.
Suddenly something whooshed by me. A crack of thunder erupted into my ears and a wet stain sliced onto my face. I turned as I whipped the red clean off my cheek. Alex lay, carved into the Command Centers door; his head lay waste and painted all over.
All I could do was stand, eyes opened and starring blankly into the slaughter of what used to be a man. My body felt unstable, weak from shock. The gun in my hands felt like a weight of unspeakable mass, falling to my feet with a clank. Suddenly something slammed into me and knocked me to the floor. Before I hit the ground I saw flashes of light crash into the nearby walls, shaking them of the rustic dust, illuminating the ships interior. The smell of charred flesh crept into my nose immediately. I opened my eyes to see Jeremiah; one of the ships Janitors, lying on top of me. He held on tight, gripping my shoulders, seeming unscathed, but extremely frightened. I motioned my hands to push him off. He had saved me from a terrible wave of enemy weaponry, thanks be to him. He opened his eyes soon after rolling off and took hold of his pistol. Before I could react to the sudden attack, I noticed behind me that Alex had now become more than just a kill, but a toy for target practice. His arms and legs were amiss in the smoke that floated about.
I turned my head in disgust. How dare these creatures make a mockery of death! How dare they destroy what little a soul has left to rise from! You bastards killed one of my comrades once again. You filthy beings have disgraced all that we love and have tarnished our ways of humanity by taking away what we hold dearest! Life is not a joke, nor is it a curse! Life is all we have to hold onto to! Then so be it. If these cowards wish to take that from us than we shall do the same.
"Jeremiah!", I screamed to the scared janitor, lifting my fingers and signaling for my gun.
He glanced at my fallen gun, picked it up, and slung it over to me with ease. I snatched it and wrapped the strap around my neck, holstering the end of the weapon under my arm.
We all kneeled behind a scarred wall that separated us from overhead fire towards our position. It was fairly small and hard to duck behind, but it was all we had to regroup. Soon some of the creatures would be on foot to meet us on this end, laser like knives ready to slit our throats. I had to act quickly.
"Men!"-I yelled to my comrades-"In order to escape we must cross over to the other side by clinging to the walls. If we are to make the small journey to freedom we must fight our way through! Some will die or all will die, but let us die trying! Jeremiah, you and the others stay behind me. I will lead the attack!"
I stood, the last of courage lifting me to see over the wall, the last refuge we had from these lifeless killers. That's when I first got a good look of one of the bastards. Towards the center platforms of the dome scampered about three insects like creatures, no larger than a dog, small projectiles in hand. They trotted mechanically towards us and around the interior of the structure, clicking their talon feet across the metal, legs bent like a chicken's, back arched over with a misguided spine. Before I knew it they had seen me. I raised my gun right before the first one of them took a glance and fired my rounds. The one farthest back took the first of my shots directly to the abdomen and fell off the platform to its death. I didn't take time to notice that my shots struck and just fired on in a deadly rage. Moving the gun back and forth I held the trigger down as hard as I could. The other creatures dodged as best as their legs could carry them, but soon were etched into the ship like a stone engraving, their purplish blood giving color to the platforms. I smiled as their limbs no longer twitched.
My fellow men followed up behind me as I gave a small battle cry. They cheered, screaming down the path towards the crane room. I led the way, blindly towards my fate, unknowing of the dangers up ahead.
We moved along the edge, around and finally to the doors of the Crane Room. The constant humming of the elevator echoed in the distance. It wasn't to far now.
"Blessed be God for this hour!" Jeremiah whispered.
I just pushed forward, cautiously, and inch by inch as my toes planted themselves in front of one another at a time. I knew this was too easy. We had met greater opposition before, held up in that primitive bunker. That's when I heard it.
"Damnit..." I muttered to myself.
The Crane Room's doors slid open quickly, steam hissed out of them as two large, ghostly figures appeared before us.
Jacob, a lab assistant, with only a pistol in hand, was the closest to the new foe. He was also the first to die.
Before any of us could act, the two blue monstrosities leapt out and snatched Jacob in their slender claws. Both carried long bright shields of sparkling energy, with a rifle of some sorts hoisted on the backside. They mimicked that of mantis about to suck the life out of their prey. Tugging as though playing with a toy, the two creatures tore Jacob in half without much difficulty. His body now strewn layers of red, wet strings as they flew about like confetti. Such a terrible site is this. We just stood there as the creatures made more tears into the fleshy fabric, marveling at the strength and brutality of the killing of these two demons.