Photo by Elīna Arāja: Pexels
The images flickered at random, filling the dim hallway with the pale light of strobing figures. Then the holograms cut out again, leaving the salvage team in darkness.
“Did those people look . . . odd . . . to you?” Kieran swept his flashlight through the darkness, back to Stacy who was rewiring the panel on the pressurised door. “I mean, did you see their eyes?”
“It’s a hologram Kieran-OW!” The panel burst and sparks assailed her helmet’s visor. The door slid open, revealing a dark bridge. Motes of dust caught the light from their flashlight beams as they scanned the interior for any danger. “And it’s an old hologram,” Stacy continued, her breath shaky. “The people on that security gram died years ago maybe, and they were running for their lives by the looks of it.”
“What do you think did them in?” Kieran stepped onto the bridge. There was another flash of light as the security gram winked into existence, revealing yet again the spectral images of half a dozen crew members tearing down the hallway. “I mean, they look deranged.”
“We’ll know once we get to the ship log,” Stacy stalked into the room. “Once we get the power back online we can watch the hologram in full. The sooner we do this the better; it’s creeping me out how these images keep fluttering in and out like that, it’s almost like . . .”
“Like what?” Kieran asked
“. . . Nothing.” Stacy plugged her power unit into the command console and a screen flickered to life.
Kieran moved to the view port while Stacy worked, the bulky grey fuselage of their ship was in view—silhouetted against a ghastly blue nebula and connected to the derelict vessel they were now salvaging. It was adrift between the stars and they only happened upon it by chance.
“It would have been terrifying though,” he pondered, “Whatever it was that got them. Be it a systems failure or an environmental breach. Imagine drifting out here in the deep dark, with nothing but the void pressing in all around you. Where do you suppose the soul goes when someone dies out here?”
“Like, trapped out here in the abyss . . . How would the souls know where to go?”
The pale blue holograms flickered to life again. The spectres of the dead crew scrambled into the bridge like a swarm, their ghostly hands reaching towards Stacy and Kieran. Then they faded into darkness.
“Kieran, keep that shit to yourself.” Stacy shivered. “They obviously needed to get to some control function in here but weren’t fast enough. That dust in the air is probably what’s left of them . . .” she tapped away at the console. “I’ve diverted power to the ship log. Hmm,” she frowned. “I should be able to reroute power to the security holograms and see what happened . . .”
The blue spectres flickered into view, the horde of ghostly impressions surging closer before blinking out of existence.
“Well if you’re rerouting power to the security grams . . . What the hell are these holograms we’re seeing?” Kieran went rigid.
The two salvage techs watched the darkness in stunned silence. The blue lights flickered back into existence. The wraiths that had been surging towards them finally caught hold of their prey, gripping their space suits with vice like grips and ripping them open.
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