Chapter One - Day 97 : Space Fishing
“Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say.” I murmur into the small lens on the tape recorder. “But with kinetic shock waves concentrated at a small frequency, I can hone in on life forms located in the cosmos.”
I reveal the miniature beacon device snuggled in my left palm. The camera is staged on a tripod directly in front of the lab desk. Several notes sprawl across the countertop. Bunsen burners, beakers, tongs, and syringes clutter my workspace.
“With a press of a button, I can pinpoint the location of the nearest organism. Through rigorous tests, I have finally achieved my goal!” I boastfully announce. With my right index finger I jab the circular red button on my invention. A tiny orchestra of soft beeps crescendo loudly until the wide screen blinks to life. I study the monitor. Shortly after I reveal the beacon’s screen to the recorder.
“As you can see all conditions are normal.” I adjust my square framed glasses. “These cursors here represent the planets in this galaxy. Our spaceship, Yomelele, is now entering planet Onyx’s orbit. The gravitational pull isn’t that strong, so we would only experience some minor turbulence.” I briefly gaze outside the porthole on the far left corner of the laboratory. Planet Onyx obstructs the clear glass with its monstrous size. Grey clouds shroud the land like a palpable smog.
The device beeps irregularly and I abruptly advert my gaze from the view and snatch the screen from the lens. I study the monitor as the once moderately paced alarm warning grows frantic. The intervals in between each signal are shorter. I observe the screen closer as I hold it near my eyes. My heart slams against my chest with the rising anticipation. Adrenaline spikes in my bloodstream with the increase in anxiety.
“It seems to be a life form near Yomelele! It’s approaching at an alarming rate!” The nagging sound continues.
The beacon’s alarm is in a frenzy. The life force is nearly a couple meters from Yomelele. I explode out the metal chair causing it to topple over and clatter obnoxiously on the tile floor. I sprint to the entrance of the dimly lit lab and burst through the double doors. I attempt to dash down the vacant corridor, but the exit snatch the edge of my lab coat, and I stumble backwards.
I slide out the sleeves of the lab coat and plunge down the corridor towards the cockpit. The beacon now squeals at a constant rate. The alarm no longer signals with timed intervals. My feet patters across the steel floor as I advance closer to the entrance of the cockpit.
As I run down the corridor I peer over my right shoulder at the large glass wall that displays space. My eyes dart from the device to Planet Onyx, and I can’t visually see the approaching life force. The device clicks off and the bells abruptly mutes. The awkward silence consumes the corridor as time itself grows still. My sweaty palm grips the railing of the stairs to the cockpit. Before I can register my invention shutting down; a loud crashing force causes the entire ship to lurch towards planet Onyx.
My hand slips off the rails. The ship slumps over. Horns in the corridor sound off as my body flings into the glass display. Strobe lights illuminate the hallway in an eerie red color. A loud ring screeches in my ears while my vision blurs from the impact. My chest wildly heaves as I collect myself.
I saunter to the small flight of stairs. I drag my feet up each step and ignore the intense burn raging throughout my body. I grasp the latch and swing the door open. The railing clatters against the door once I erupt through the entrance of the cockpit.
The entire crew jumps at my sudden entry. The blaring alarm suffocates my ragged breathing. The captain rises from the chair at the head of the cockpit. He grimaces once he acknowledges my distressed disposition.
The other crew members cover up their faces as they secretly snicker.
“Woah, woah-,” Captain Eric cups my shoulder with his large palm. His lips pull back in a sly grin. “Where’s the fire professor?”
“Captain Eric there’s signs of a living-,”
“Oh no, the professor found another alien with his little tracker!” Co-Captain William says mockingly. The other crew members hysterically cackle at his snide comment. I grit my teeth in frustration. I shove Eric’s hand off my shoulder.
“You need to increase the propulsion levels and get the Yomelele out of here!” I urgently stress the captain. His smirk broadens as he studies my frenzied behavior. He holds both hands up to create a barrier between the two of us.
“That’s Planet Onyx’s orbit pulling us in doc, relax. You worry about science and I’ll handle Yomelele.” Eric ignores my crucial warnings. He turns and plops back into the pilot chair.
Will clicks a few buttons on the console, and the giant monitors around the walls blink to life. Each monitor reveals a different perspective of Yomelele from the inside out. Will left clicks on the mouse nestled in his right hand. With each click the monitors change perspectives.
I unclench my fists as doubt circulates in my anxious brain. With each different view of Yomelele, the hope in my new invention diminishes. It was a false alarm. There’s not a single sighting of any extraterrestrial beings near the ship. I lick my dry lips as I accept the harsh reality.
“There’s no alien in sight doc,” Will venomously spits. The others erupt into a chorus of laughter. My face heats up. The embarrassment consumes me. Will presses another button on the console and the alarm dies out. “Go play with some lab tools or something,”
The entire cockpit is hysterical. Even Captain Eric releases a few subtle chuckles. I endure the humiliating torture for a few moments before I commence my stride to the entrance of the cockpit. I never had much of a backbone. Or the ability to defend myself.
I reach the exit and grasp the latch. My head hangs as I sigh deeply. The fleeting thoughts rushing in my mind renders me motionless at the door. My hand hangs off the bar as I blankly stare at the base of the cockpit entrance. I hesitantly pull the lever and crack the door open.
I pull the door open wider, and the entire ship lurches again. The bright red strobe lights click back on. The blaring alarm frantically rings in my ears. In a instant my hand snatches off the door, and my body heaves into the cockpit. My back slides across the floor until my head bashes against a computer. Some of the crew members, not strapped into their seatbelts, roll out of their chairs. Their bodies clash into the different consoles around the cockpit.
Will frantically punches buttons on the computer. I groan as I roll off my back. I use an empty crew member chair as a crutch to fully stand. I struggle to my feet as I wince. I squint to study the monitors. The intense ache shoots up my back and arms. My jaw unhinges open. I gawk at the blinking monitor.
I saunter closer to the screen as the rest of the crew scurries around the cockpit. The monitor displays some type of tentacle like extension, stretching from the depths of planet Onyx. The flesh on the overstretched appendage slithers and moves like a separate species. The origins of the beast obstructed by the thick grey smog.
“Crew get your weapons in case of a breach! Will increase propulsion levels.” Eric bark orders. All the noises around me drown out. My ragged breathing is the only audible sound I can manage. I feel the vibrations of the crew sprinting around me, but I can’t hear their footsteps. My vision locks onto the creature in the camera. It continues to slither its large tentacle around Yomelele.
Armed with laser beam machine guns, some of the crew, station themselves a couple feet away from the entrance. I peer closer at the monitor as I take a step forward. The tentacle extends to the front of the ship. I gulp. A roar echoes throughout space. The sound waves penetrate the Yomelele. I cup my palms around my ears as the camera blinks off.
“Captain we have lost all surveillance feeds!” Will screeches over the blaring alarm. I acknowledge the panic in his faltering voice. Will punches more buttons on the console. “Propellers are disengaged and blocked!” He cries out. Eric unlatches the holster on his hip, and draws the handheld pistol that shoots UV Rays. He frantically aims around the cabin. His horror stricken countenance drenched with his own perspiration. Suddenly, the blaring alarms and flashing strobe lights shut off. All the lamps, LEDs, and power for the computer breaks down. The cockpit sits in pure silence and pitch black darkness. My palpitating heart smashing against my chest thuds in my ears. My eyes trail around the cabin cautiously.
Without any warning, a large blow punches the cockpit’s ceiling. The heavy impact causes everyone to stumble. An ensemble of screams fill the pitch black cabin. I trip over my feet and slam against one of the large monitors. The alien smashes against the ceiling once more. I attempt to gather my footing, but with each successive blow, I tumble over.
The backup generator clicks on and a yellow light illuminates the disarrayed cockpit. I visually acknowledge every life in the cabin. Intense fear appears on their construed expressions. Eric latches on to a metal column. His finger brushes against the trigger on his pistol.
Will cowers under his seat. He holds his quivering hands up around his ears to shield his head. I’m not too familiar with the other crew members. But they all are immobilized by the ice cold grip of fear. Their hands violently shiver while they grip their destructive weapons. I shuffle to my feet and clamp my arm around a column closest to the entrance of the cockpit.
Eric and I temporarily lock eyes. Regret settles in his brown irises. He purses his lips together. His chest expands once he inhales a lungful of air. After his long exhale he mouths the words ‘I’m sorry’. While the phrase forms on his lips, the extraterrestrial being slams against the cabin ceiling, and a miniature fissure abruptly splits open. Our bodies jerk from the sudden shock and I stumble to the base of the column.
Like a vacuum the air sucks through the gaping hole. The loud whistle from the gust of wind rings in my ears. My legs sweep off the ground as the air pulls me towards the gaping hole. My fingers and arms burn as I grip the column with my remaining strength. One of the crew members, latched onto the leg of the chair, loses his grip and the wind snatches him towards the wide fissure. The boastful air overpowers his cry for help. But I still hear him. I see the pool of tears gushing down his face. He elevates closer to the tear in the ceiling.
His flailing body reaches the hole, the long tentacle from the camera feeds, hooks on to his body, and drags him through the hole. His futile cries for help suddenly stops. Once he leaves my line of vision the alien bellows intensely. The new hole exposes us to the outside and the cry from the beast is more audible. I shrink as my eardrums throb from the roar and rushing wind.
The tentacle slams across the fissure and bandages the gaping hole. Our bodies crash into the ground as the gust of wind stops. I roll to my side as others scramble to the entrance. I gaze at the extraterrestrial while it plugs the hole. A white mucus-like substance oozes around the flesh of the tentacle. Miniature life forms slide through the thick substance on the tentacle's flesh.
My mouth drops as one of the life forms on the giant extension expands in size and slightly unlatches. With each passing moment, its length and thickness doubles. At the head of this expanding creature, a tiny slit splits open and reveals a row of miniature teeth. The slit spreads wider and a sharp cry escapes the opening.
Our heads snap in the direction of the infant like moan. It came out strangled and congested. The life form is now the size of an average male torso. The slit is easily wide enough to consume a human head. I gawk in horror but a single sound can’t leave my diaphragm.
The extension eerily migrates around the cabin. The snapping sound of its jaws clanks in the silence. It’s moving like a separate beast from the tentacle but still attached at the base. My scientific gears even rotate during a crisis. Captain Eric clutches the column with his left arm tightly, snapping me from my endless thought cycle. His right arm points the handheld at the creature as it monitors the cabin. Just as his finger brushes against the trigger, the larger tentacle blocking the fissure on the outside of the ship, sends out a deep roar. On the floor, I cup both ears to alleviate the agonizing sound. I press my back against the column as I writhe on the hard floor.
However the extension quickly shifts directions and plunges towards Captain Eric. The alien’s movement is hard to pick up. It seems like it zips across the entire cabin as a blur. I catch the final moments of the extensions true intentions. It loops itself around Eric’s neck and constricts him. His knees slam against the ground as his oxygen supply depletes.
“Captain,” Will exclaims. He pulls the handheld from the holster on his left side. He takes aim at the extension and pulls the trigger. A red beam of light explodes from the barrel of the gun and shoots the extension of the large tentacle. The beam brushes off the alien and it roars once more. Will shoots a couple more times and nothing happens.
He smacks his teeth as he reloads another UV Ray cartridge into the handheld. Just as he attempts to take aim, another extension from the tentacle constricts his arm. He cries out in pain. The gun clatters to the ground as he winces. I slide my back against the column. I gradually rise to my feet.
I glance at the tentacle above and more smaller extensions are unlatching and growing. My chest heaves as another hyperventilating episode starts. I grit my teeth as I press the back of my head more against the column. My legs are stuck. I cannot move from this spot. I urge my body to move but nothing responds.
One of the newer extensions now snakes its way towards me. It slithers into the air. Each second inching closer to me. Is it sizing me? Am I not considered a threat? Am I just fun prey to kill? I didn’t know I was capable of self doubt in the face of a crisis. Guess I’m a victim to my mind like everyone else.
I grimace as the harsh thoughts continue to surface. I close my eyes in defeat as I cringe away. The extension advancing closer towards me squeals joyfully. Through my squinted eyes I peer at the beast plunging in my direction. The slit pries open as it reveals the full row of sharp fangs. I accept my fate.
“Move nerd!” A female crew member tackles into me as the extension slams its head into the column. My back crashes against the floor as she lands on top of me. Our bodies slide across the cabin. More so towards the entrance of the cockpit. She rolls on her back next to me, drags me up with her, points her AR Laser Gun, and releases a barrage of beams into the cockpit.
The ammunition power from the AR is a bit stronger than the UV Ray handheld. The extensions all shriek in distress. The beams slightly disintegrate their flesh that was exposed to lasers. Smoke rolls off their bodies. The larger tentacle screeches. The Captain and Will bodies jerk in the air from the flailing extensions. Both of them seem lifeless and limp.
I turn to study my savior. She grits her teeth as she unleashes more lasers into the cabin. Her soft brown skin glistens under the yellow back up generator strobe lights. Small blotches of blood paint her pilot suit and high cheekbones. Her lips are full and round. Blue thick curls gravitate around her slender jaw. She’s beautiful.
“Let’s get the heck out of here doc!” She cups my forearm and yanks me up the stairs. My feet stumble a bit and I trip on the last step. She releases a deep sigh and assists me.
I quickly spring to my feet with her help and escape the cockpit. We enter the corridor and all strobe lights blink in unison. The alarms blare loudly with the added acoustics. We sprint down the hall towards the back of the Yomelele.
“Where are we heading!” I ask in between gasps of air. I am not the athletic type. My lungs aren’t used to this type of exertion.
“To the pods!” She barks. We turn a sharp corner and sprint down another corridor. We both glance outside through the display window and gasp. The Yomelele is being dragged down to Planet Onyx. I attempt to stop so I can register what’s in my line of vision, but she ignores that and pulls me forward.
We reach the hanger with all the portable pods. Other crew members are jumping into them and discharging from the ship. We find a free pod and dart towards it. She points to the back seat of the circular white travel pod. Two grey seats with a barrier in between are inside. Several buttons and a steering wheel are equipped on the front seat console. I jump into the copilot seat, and click into my seatbelt.
She punches buttons on a computer that’s located at the dock of the pod. As she clicks her last button, another hole rips open in the ceiling. The air vacuums the entire dock. Some crew members sweep into the air and through the new hole. My savior’s legs swing into the air.
Still strapped into my seatbelt, I reach out and grab her hand once she loses her grip on the computer. I pull with all my might but her body doesn’t budge. The tentacle finally clamps on to the hole to allow its miniature extensions to survey the area. She crashes on top of me again inside the pod.
“We can’t keep doing this,” She sighs as she adjusts herself out of my lap. This is the closest I’ve ever been to a girl. She climbs to the front seat and closes the hood over our heads. I peer through the thick glass at the growing extensions from the giant tentacle. They’re starting to unlatch and migrate around the dock area.
She smashes a button with her fist and the hanger doors under us open. My stomach lurches into my chest as the pod drops without warning. Our pod dives through the grey clouds of Planet Onyx. At this altitude the land is visible. There’s vegetation on this planet. I stare at the tall trees extending past the grey smog. The terrain is irregular with high cliffs, and very low valleys.
I crane my neck to get a clearer view of Yomelele. The large tentacle gradually pulls it closer towards some sort of cavern in the ground. The tall trees block the origins of the large tentacle. Pods still discharge from the ship during its descent. Some crew members were fortunate enough to escape.
I silently gulp as Eric and Will's faces flash in my frantic mind. Suddenly, the monitor on the console beeps loudly. I try to peer over the barrier at the screen but the hold restricts me from lifting too high.
“Wha-what’s going on?” Panic surfaces in my quivering voice.
“Our friend is back,” She snaps as she recklessly turns the steering wheel and our pod jerks to the left. I let out a choked scream. We zip through the sky. Once we shift back upright, I turn to find what we’re escaping. But trailing behind us, the miniature extensions rocket in our direction. Their agility is high above supersonic speed.
“Hold on!” She cries out. We dive into the thick of the forest. The wings to the pod clatters against the tall trees until they snap off. The alarms in the pod now screeches in protest. I brace myself into the seat as she maneuvers us through thick branches. “Get ready!” She screams. The nose of the pod slams into the ground. The multiple airbags around our seats discharge and smash into me. My head jerks back from the impact and my vision blurs.