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Earth Station Eradication

Chapter One: Patient Zero

By K.H. ObergfollPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 6 min read
Earth Station Eradication
Photo by JOHN TOWNER on Unsplash

Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say. Of course, that’s what they’d like you to think. Nonetheless, a chill went up Rowan’s spine as a series of shrill guttural screams emanated from a room somewhere in the back.

You would think after all these years one would become used to it, normalized by the high-pitched animalistic groans of pain, the unending drone of death as it called, beckoning for relief.

Rowan paced nervously, hesitating, unsure of whether or not he really wanted to open that door again. He couldn’t handle the pleading eyes begging for forgiveness, begging for a bit of humanity, decency, help…he couldn’t stomach it.

After all, Rowan wasn’t a bad person, he didn’t have a mean bone in his body but they had become quite desperate, so you ask—what was he doing there anyway, why didn’t he intervene. Why…well, the answer isn’t that easy. Space is relative, it ebbs and flows, builds and destroys, takes and leaves. Space keeps us all suspended, it sucks the life right out from under you if you aren’t careful.

By nate rayfield on Unsplash

That’s what kept Rowan anchored to the spot; his feet cemented where they stood, rooted until the screams faded and the guilt began.

Rowan dug his fingers deeper into his ears, no amount of pressure could eradicate the echoes, they only grew louder with each reverberating pulse—the blood that rang, beating in his head—stifling his thoughts until they took on a life of their own.

Then it came, the thing he dreaded most —silence. Deafening silence filled the air around him, threatening to consume him; the calm after the storm. It was no less comforting, so many things could go wrong if you let your guard down…

By 🐣 Luca Iaconelli 🦊 on Unsplash

Before he knew it, he had managed to make his way closer and closer to the door, hovering just outside, waiting, listening.

Within minutes the door opened and a much older man wearing a stained apron appeared, his glasses foggy and his skin marked by what looked like a greasy resin as he pulled a respirator shield off his face.

“Finally got everything under control,” he muttered, “good thing I had this thing on or else you might be having to operate on me…” he added, winking as he threw a heaping handful of contaminated items into a large receptacle nearby.

“How’d it go…successful?” Rowan asked eagerly, making sure to close the lid tightly on the bin as he followed the old man back into the lab.

“I would say so, was hit or miss back there, I don’t blame you for leaving…this line of work isn’t for everyone, but it needs to be done…” the old man mused, throwing a pair of heavy metal clamps, an oval shaped scalpel and a bent suction hose into a vat of boiling liquid.

“You need to observe these things longer than a few minutes…that’s why it’s called an observatory…” the man began, his sarcasm not missed as he dipped a gloved hand into the mixture, pulling out wads of slimy goo that rose up, bubbling to the top of the vat, looking more like shimmery sea-weed than killer meddle-worms.

“These can kill you…always wear your protective gear when you’re here…” the man continued, nodding to the various hooks on the wall where Rowan’s apron, masks, gloves, tape and other assorted foot and head coverings sat—unused, and mostly untouched.

“Wouldn’t know you ever used them, they’ve seen more eradicative surgeries than you have…you realize that, right?” the man queried, heading over to the bio-hazard incineration hatch.

“Hit the buzzer for me, would you…”

Rowan didn’t have to be told twice. He knew the sort of work they did was for the better good of human-kind, it just didn’t feel right, it wasn’t pretty or glamorous. In fact, it was a downright dangerous, deadly business. One wrong move, one slip of the scalpel, one missed ounce of sedative could send the whole ship down, completely destroying all the hard work they had done.

Rowan walked over to where a large metal table housed a now sleeping woman—she had hundreds of tubes and wires connected to her body—she looked calm and peaceful, a far cry from the last several hours.

“She’s completely comfortable, will be here a few more days until we can safely send her back,” the man said, checking the tiny vessels that dotted the nearby machines—some for sedatives, others for food and varying retro-counter medications, most of which would have to be given to her daily to keep her in line. It was part of the study being done.

Her skin was translucent, a clear shade of purple, much different than the regular, more human like appearance she sported when she was wheeled in. It was difficult for Rowan to see her as anything but human.

“They are really hard to differentiate between you or me, they are getting good, really good at melding to our kind,” the man added, sensing Rowans hesitation.

“You have to separate your feelings, our lives depend on it…” the man began, “and make sure the counteractive medications are entering the lines every half-hour, very important…” he had moved towards a rather crowded desk, piled high with dozens upon dozens of medical records, proof of all the good work they were doing, the only proof they had.


Rowan walked around the hallway outside the observatory, the old man had headed off for the night and it was his turn to keep an eye on things. Most nights like these were easy, patients would be sedated, regulated breathing, that sort of thing. His only job was to ensure they were continually being medicated.

He checked the timepiece on his wrist, the glowing numbers read: 11:59. A loud clanking noise sounded from the other side of the door interrupting his thoughts as he rushed in. Nothing looked amiss or out of place; he found the cause of all the noise—a tiny mouse must have knocked a metal bowl over, it lie on the ground under the sleeping patient.

Rowan bent over, picking the bowl and the mouse up. He felt something stir overhead—must be another mouse—he mused, checking the sedative feeds on his way up. Everything looked normal until he noticed an obstruction in the tube, an air bubble of some sort…

That’s strange—he muttered, flicking the tube a few times to get the air bubble moving. In all the months and years of working on this project he had never seen any air bubbles form in the tubes…

The woman stirred ever so slightly, her vitals hovering above the levels they would normally be at…Rowan checked them again, the woman’s breathing quickening as though she was breathing on her own.

“That’s odd… something isn’t right…” Rowan whispered, hitting another button nearest the end of the viewing table to rouse the old man.

He felt something prick his skin, sharp teeth dug into his neck, the searing virulent pain sent him reeling as he knocked into the sedative counter, pulling the lines from the patients feeds in one fell move—watching them falter and fade as the fluids collected in the bend of the tube, the needles hanging from her arm.

The last thing he remembered before everything started fade was seeing the patient gasp, one final seizing breath as she ripped the lines fully from her arms and she sat bolt upright—the loud buzzing wailed overhead like an explosion. The sickly fog rolling in, fiery hot waves of pain crept through his veins as he realized, sheer panic flooding his body…he must have been infected…


About the Creator

K.H. Obergfoll

Writing my escape, my future…if you like what you read—leave a comment, an encouraging tip, or a heart—I’m always looking to improve, let me know if there is anything I can do better.

& above all—thank you for your time

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

Top insights

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  3. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

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Comments (1)

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  • Jori T. Sheppard2 years ago

    Fantastic idea. Great premise. Very creative and enjoyable. Keep up the good work.

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