“They took something "said Spyder, “Some crazy drug from their cargo. Some kinda Mars Colonist altering drug, but with bad side effects.”
“A retrovirus, inserting modified RNA” said Doc. Orlov. “Is possible. But more likely weapon than colonist drug I would say.”
“A weapon?” queried Marcus.
“These people terrorists” said Doc. Orlov. “Create crazy cannibal people, who are good at surviving on Mars. In normal population a serial killer is …what… one person in many hundred thousands? Maybe millions. What about creating many such people in small population like Mars Colony- only 300,000? Is chaos.”
Jake was feeling a little uncomfortable, coming face to face with this ruthless face of terrorist extremism. This was all too far for his own radicalism, and he realised that people like Doc. Orlov probably wouldn’t make much distinction between the two. The political nuances he thought critical would not even be recognised by most people.
“Let’s hope they don’t have a factory producing the stuff” commented Marcus.
“If they do, they would have released more by now?” suggested Jonas.
“Maybe is some critical component. Maybe this shipment is total of resources” suggested Doc. Orlov. “Either way, taking drug was desperate act. Maybe crew not know full effect.”
“We should check the rest of this deck” said Jake, clearing his throat Slowly, the others nodded their agreement.
The door into the heart of the ship revealed a corridor extending about thirty metres: Jake’s goggles could not quite see to the end of it. A dozen doors were set both sides of the corridors. If it followed a standard pattern, these would likely be crew quarters leading to an Engine Room aft.
Nervously, with his goggles set on both IR and LI, Jake started testing the doors. Doc. Orlov followed close behind, wearing a set of LI goggles. Behind her the others scanned about in the darkness with their flashlights. All was silent.
Jake tried half a dozen rooms: all crew quarters, all cold, all desolate- though Doc. Orlov thought one had been disturbed more recently. Jake was in a cold sweat now. he didn’t like this. He clutched the trigger on his AFL -16.
In the next room, it came silently out of the darkness. Strong hands ripped the assault rifle from Jake’s hands, sending it clattering across the cabin. Claw like hands gripped his shoulders. With a feral snarl teeth bit deep into his shoulder, the high armored collar of his Duster fortunately protecting his neck. Jake screamed, and the silence was shattered.
With her goggles Katrina was the only other person with any clue as to what was happening. Moving into the doorway she glimpsed a wild figure with sparse hair wearing a ragged armoured vacc suit, minus gloves and helmet. Talon like nails gripped jake’s shoulder, wrapped in cloth or bandages. A guttural growl emerged from its throat, though she could not see its face, buried as it was in Jakes shoulder. She fired, and rushing forward Jonas too pumped bullets into the melee. Vainly, Jake struggled to escape, helplessly trapped by iron hard muscles.
“What’s happening? What’s happening?” called Spyder, at the rear of the group. He heard a growl behind him and turned just in time to glimpse another nightmare figure, which pounced on him knocking him backwards into another cabin.
“Ahhhhh…. Get if OFF mee!” he yelled, as the thing bit into his arm. Marcus ran forward, and unsure in the darkness as to which figure was which, fired his Anvil 12mm into the melee. It was a good hit, but unfortunately on Spyder. The bulled grazed his temple and knocked him senseless.
“Shit” thought Marcus, as the attacker jumped quickly to its feet, eyes glittering in the darkness facing towards him.
In his panic, and badly mauled, Jake managed to snap free at last. His shoulder burning, and feeling the warm blood trickle into the mesh in his Mars Suit, he fled back out into the corridor. Jonas and Katrina pumped several bullets into the figure, which finally spun backwards against the wall.
It was Marcus’s turn to scream now. Close combat just wasn’t his thing, and the figure snarled, raked and bit deep. Jonas and Katrina rushed back out into the corridor, Jake staying behind them. But then he shrieked as another of the attackers jumped on him, possibly having emerged from another of the rooms. This time he was luckier however, and he managed to slip out of its grasp. Jonas also managed to evade it, and it had several bullets pumped into it by himself and Katrina.
“Please get me out of this. Please get me out of this” prayed Jake silently, badly wounded, and cowering , while another of the things savaged Marcus only a few meters away. Without his rifle his nerve was crumbling.
Spyder meanwhile had recovered, and drawing his Redbird stumbled out into the corridor, minus his torch. All he could see were a few dim shapes, but he could hear a mix of confused shouting, feral snarls and screams. He aimed blindly at the melee that seemed to be occurring next to him. And then he was bundled to the ground again by yet another figure.
Finally a 12mm slug shattered the head of Jake’s second attacker. Pushing past Jonas and Katrina, Jake ran back into the cabin, trying hard not to look in the direction of the figure slumped against the wall. Frantically he scrambled around for his AFL 16.
Marcus was still screaming, when a pair of accurate shots from Jonas splattered his attackers head. Only Spyder was still screaming now, but this final attacker was clearly either weaker or clumsier than the others, as many of its attacks seemed ineffective.
Embarrassed and emboldened by recovery of his rifle, Jake pushed his way forward, and seeing clearly through his goggles, aimed a single shot at the creatures head.