“Stay close to me,” Leon entreated. “Whatever happens on there just stick close to me. I’ll keep you safe.”
“I’m certainly not going there to sight see,” Paul said. “You don’t have to worry about me wandering about.”
“I’m more worried about what’s waiting for us,” Kat said. “This reeks of a trap. Paul, you’d better carry a blaster, just in case.”
“That would be ill-advised,” Paul stated. “In an emergency situation I would be just as likely to hit one of you by mistake as the enemy. My medical training didn’t exactly include aiming a pistol.”
“Suit yourself,” Kat said. “If things do get hairy just take cover and stay out of the way.”
“We’re approaching them now,” Farah reported. “Do we cut our way in?”
“No,” Kat said. “This time we’ll use the docking bay. Since they called for help we should be able to initiate the protocols fairly easily.”
“But if it is a trap whoever’s behind it will be able to track us,” Leon said.
“And if it isn’t we would have blasted through their hull, potentially killing some of the people we came to help,” Kat said. “We go through the docking bay.”
Kat tried to reach someone on their ship, but there was no response. Fortunately, she was able to get the bay’s automated systems to open it for them. They parked their shuttle inside and waited for the bay to close.
“The bay is pressurised,” Kat said, checking the instruments. “Farah and I will take point. Leon will guard the rear. Doc, you stay in the middle. If we see any injured people we’ll stop so that you can treat them.”
The four headed out of the shuttle, keeping in formation. There was no sign of anyone. The only sounds were the dim whir of the life support system.
The first thing Farah noticed when they reached the corridor was the rusty stain against the metallic wall. “Is that blood?”
“It is,” Paul confirmed.
“So, why did they leave the wall like that if they were well enough to walk away?” Leon wondered.
“I don’t know if we can say that they were well enough,” Paul said. “The floor is stained as well. It looks almost like the injured person was dragged off.”
“But to get them help or for another reason?” Kat pondered.
The four kept moving, encountering no one and hearing no sounds of life. They eventually came across a door that had a massive hole torn into it, seemingly from blades.
Kat cautiously peeked in, keeping her back against the wall. She relaxed her body instantly. “No one’s in here.” She led the group inside. The room had several lockers filled with blasters, grenades and other assorted weapons. There was no sign of life.
“Looks like this was an armory,” Leon observed. “But why was the door blown open if the intruders were just going to leave everything?”
“Unless it was done to keep the intruders out,” Farah said.
“Someone was in here,” Paul said. He pointed at the wall. “That’s brain matter. Given the way it’s spread, it looks like it was a point blank blaster shot.”
“These too,” Kat said, noting a nearly identical stain on the opposite wall and one on the ceiling.
“How did the intruders get close enough to shoot them like that?” Farah wondered. “I mean, if there were three of them shouldn’t they have been able to hold them off? Especially with all these weapons.”
“And where are the bodies?” Leon added. “Who cleans out the corpses and leaves the bloody stains?”
“At least we know someone’s alive and active,” Kat stated. “But are they friend or foe?”
“There’s something else that bothers me,” Paul said. “If the intruders had blasters, why did they rip the door open like that? It would have been simple enough to overload one of them and blow it open that way.”
“It’s also not tactically sound,” Kat added. “I’m not sure what they used to slash the door open, but it couldn’t have been done instantly. The people who were in here would have been able to fire through the hole while it was still small.”
“And yet there are no signs of blood near the door itself,” Leon observed.
“I’m sure we’ll be able to figure out what happened when we find the survivors,” Farah said. “Let’s keep going.”
“Agreed,” Kat said. “Speculating won’t help us.”
The four continued, making their way towards the bridge. They found several more areas with blood staining the steel, but never any bodies. Never any signs of life.
The bridge was a mess. The consoles and furniture had all been uprooted and tossed to the side. The floors were sticky with blood. Paul put on his gloves and pulled up a small white fragment. “Bone,” he muttered. “Human bone.”
“This is the most blood I’ve ever seen in one spot,” Leon muttered.
“Why here?” Kat muttered. “Why move everything here and nowhere else on the ship?”
“It’s predatory behaviour,” Paul’s voice was so low that Farah could barely hear him. “It brings its prey here to consume it.”
“What’s that, M’Love?” Leon asked.
“We have to get out of here!” Paul declared. “We have to get back to the shuttle before…”
The three turned to the sound of the bridge door sliding open. The thing that came through had razor sharp blades jutting from its forearms, compound eyes and razor sharp teeth jutting from a long, needle-like snout. Fragments of human flesh were stuck in them. It had long, muscular limbs and a smooth, armoured body.
Kat, Leon and Farah turned and opened fire. The creature dropped the corpse it was carrying and ran towards them, showing no signs that the blaster bolts had fazed it.