The corridors were dim, lit by the pulsing red emergency lights that lined the ceiling. Somewhere else on the ship someone screamed as they were slaughtered. Minutes later, Samantha and Kelley froze as the ship’s corridor shook with the footsteps of the beast. Little Fee squirmed in Kelley’s arms and whimpered.
“Shh,” Kelley hushed, “Shh.” She glanced at Samantha, who was fiddling with circuitry on a staff like rod. It had a blade taped and wired to the end with nozzles and spouts and bulky tanks strapped just beneath the head.
“There’s no time to waste.” Samantha said, “Go!”
Kelley nodded, squeezing little Fee in her arms as she hit the switch on the next bulk head. With a hiss of hydraulics the door slid open and the beast in the other corridor roared. The group tumbled through the door and hit the switch. The door grinded closed with sickening slowness as the thump-thump-thumping of the beast approached. It rounded a corner in the dark, screeching and slammed into the doors as they sealed shut.
The beast slammed back into the door and it buckled under its immense force.
Fee and Kelley screamed.
“Into the pods, now!” Samantha said.
Samantha and Kelley picked themselves up with Fee and shot down the corridor, huddling to get through the next bulkhead. As they hit close on it they heard the first door break open and shatter as the beast roared and pursued them further.
They barely got to the next bulkhead by the time the beast broke through the previous one. It had their scent, it wanted their blood.
They reached the escape pod bay, Fee cried out as they slipped on blood and guts – John’s from the last failed attempt to flee. Kelley held Fee’s head close to her chest as Samantha ushered them into the open pod. John had managed to begin the start up procedure before being butchered.
“Finish the start up procedure!” Samantha ordered, as she donned the space suit in the locker by the pod bay door as quickly as she could.
“Mummy!” Fee cried out, as Kelley put her down.
“I’m right here sweetie.” Kelley said as she sat behind the console in the cramped chamber and went to work.
Fee turned towards Samantha, her thumb half in her mouth. “Mum!” She cried.
Samantha clicked and sealed the last of her bulky space suit and grunted as she slammed the locker down in front of the door – a useless gesture – but hopefully it made Fee feel more secure. She spun and ambled over to Fee who was standing just past the threshold of the pod door.
“I need you to be brave now, little Fee.” Samantha said kneeling down before her, “You know Mum loves you very much.”
Fee nodded, tears in her eyes, and stumbled back in fright as the pod bay doors buckled.
“How much longer?” Samantha yelled.
“Thirty seconds!” Kelley cried out.
“Fuck.” The door buckled, “I know what to do.” She donned the bronze domed helmet and locked it in place. “Little Fee, Mummy needs you to push that button right there.” Samantha pointed past the threshold of the pod to the red, illuminated button.
“That one?” Fee sobbed.
“Yes, be brave now and push it,” Samantha hefted the spear she had constructed. “Mum will take care of the monster.”
“Sam, no!” Kelley cried from the pilot seat. “There’s time, you can get on board!”
The doors buckled more.
“Do it now Fee!” Samantha barked with her matriarchal tone, it jolted the terrified toddler into action.
“Sam!” Kelley pleaded, dutifully completing the start up procedure. “Sam you don’t even know the spear will work!”
“The theory is sound,” Samantha replied, “Overload the CNS and force it into a compromised position… I love you both very much.” Samantha finished, as Fee pressed the button.
The doors to the pod slammed closed, Samantha could just faintly hear Fee go ballistic as she realised what she had done. She turned to the buckling door and switched on the power to her weapon. A tiny starter light ignited by the nozzle beneath the blade which hummed with static power.
The doors collapsed inwards and the dark form of the beast in the strobing red lights rushed through. It filled the room with limbs and scales and appendages and claws flashing in the light and with a primal rage Samantha surged forward.
She jammed the techno spear into the bulk of the beast and squeezed the trigger. The blade embedded into it which did not deter it – bullets and bolts had done nothing – but the flames spewed forth from the tank she had rigged and the power of three ion charge batteries now surged through the creature’s body from the blade.
It flailed and screeched as Samantha heard the pod finally jettison behind her and the pod bay doors open to an empty chamber. It swiped down and cracked open her helmet, glass and flame licked at her face and she screamed back at it. She crouched and pivoted and dragged the braying beast into the open pod bay, hitting the switch to close it in.
She pulled free the spear and held down on the flamer as the doors closed, keeping the beast at bay long enough to be trapped.
She sighed as the doors clicked closed and smirked as it started to smash against the reinforced doors.
“Scream all you want you fucking animal.” She hit the second release button. “No one is going to hear you.” The outer doors opened and the beast was sucked into space.
Samantha collapsed onto her knees panting, feeling the burns and cuts on her face and the strain in her joints and muscles. She peeked through the little view port on the hatch door, watching the creature as it tumbled through space, and her breath caught.
It was still writhing, still active and conscious, and shooting through the void straight to the escape pod that harboured her family.
“No!” She watched in horror as it caught onto the edge of the pod with a claw, and pulled itself flat onto it, watched as it began to claw its way into sweet atmosphere, to the juicy meat sealed within. “NO!” She slammed her fist against the hatch.
Only one thought went through her mind.
She ripped of her helmet and went to the second locker in the pod bay. The helmet there was also smashed. She paced the pod bay area, searching for anything she could use, and realised that there was only one way she could solve this problem.
She sealed the outer pod bay doors and entered the empty chamber, shutting the inner pod bay doors behind her. She pulled one glove off and quickly rewired the battery of her spear to connect to the fuel tank. She opened the tank’s nozzle and pulled the oxygen hose from her now useless suit, filling the fuel tank with oxygen then sealed it.
She took one last look at the dot that was the tumbling escape pod as the beast tore chunks from it. She held her hand over the release valve – hesitant. But she thought about her family in that pod – screaming – thought about them being torn from atmosphere and into the vacuum of space.
Samantha took one last deep breath. “I won’t have long,” she tightened her grip on the spear, and focused on her target.
She hit the release.
A violent rush of air and she jettisoned out into the vacuum clutching her spear – her lance out here in the void. Her vision blurred and clouded with white and red, the moisture sucked completely from them, her lungs collapsed and ribs broke inwards as every molecule of air was pulled from her lungs. Her skin shrivelled and blistered. Death encroached on her from every angle, but she had one task left.
Protect the family.
She reached the pod; Kelley must have been trying to manoeuvre it around to shake the beast. With one last effort Samantha drove the spear, felt it embed into something and she and the beast were lurched off the pod and out of reach of her family.
As she felt the last dreg of life slip from her, vaguely felt the beast strike at her, she pulled the trigger, sending power coursing through the fuel tank half full of oxygen.
Kelley watched in horror as her wife exploded into pieces along with the beast that had predated their ship.
Fee was curled in the corner in a sobbing mess.
“It’s okay sweetie, Mum killed the monster.” She looked back out to the void, the scattering of biomass and debris that was her bane and her life. “Thank you, my love.”
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