Personal Journal Serene Falk:
Captain HMMS Broadside
- Mission parameter – Hunting Ghosts
- Classification Secret – Captains eyes only
The source of the sound I had heard earlier, slowly materialised before us. It was a creature the size of a bear with a cruel avian beak above which two sets of glowing red malevolent eyes leapt out of the darkness. I now recognised the sound I had heard earlier as a combination of the creature’s claws, its tail and what appeared to be something being dragged behind it.
I could sense no tension in the creature as it slowly halted its progress toward us and proceeded to appraise each of us in turn. As its two set of eyes passed over me, I recognised with a chill the same odd combination of patient interest and ravenous hunger that I had seen on many worlds. It was the cool mechanical gaze of a predator at the top of its food chain, with absolutely no conception of fear regarding its position of superiority. To drive this fact home, the lifeless half devoured corpse of the Sergeant who had raised the alarm, fell with a thud at my feet, an expression of surprise and terror frozen across his waxen features. I an act of sheer will and defiance to the evil facing me, I knelt by the Sergeant with my eyes fixed on the creature and closed his sightless eyes whilst whispering a prayer. Then I was lost to the rage that fell upon me and watched in detachment as time stretched out, each moment becoming crystalline by the adrenalin fuelled anger and hatred that saturated and accelerated my senses in relation to the linear passage of time. I was already moving when my eyes were drawn to a mesmerising movement of the creature’s large talon tipped hands as they weaved a series of complex patterns in the air.
In microseconds and for no apparent reason my mind repeated the internal dialogue. “In the air”
Then it occurred to me, the dark dense atmosphere in which we were standing although allowing us to breath, was not normal air.
Ignorant of the nature of what the creature was doing but taking into account the dead around us. Instinct took over as I barked a shout of warning to the others. Only no sound came out of my mouth, it was like my vocal chords had no power of resonance and I watched helplessly as my companions leapt forward. Unaware that something deadly was about to be unleashed toward them. Doing the only thing left to me, I set my phase pistol to its highest setting and released a bolt aimed directly the creature’s mid-section.
In a vacuum, light and thus energy travels at approximately 186000 miles per second and I had no reason to expect anything different. Until in disbelief I watched the energy plume of my phase pistol bolt slowly trip out of the barrel of the pistol on its journey toward the creature. The light from the bolt although dimmed by the darkness drew everyone’s attention, as collectively we watched it cross the empty space toward the creature. Moving easily to one side, the creature watched in what I assumed was satisfaction as the bolt impacted the far corridor wall and slowly burnt the titanium alloy to slag before expending its energy. Turning its beaked torso back toward us, the creature raised its head and let out a clicking staccato cry like the retort of an automatic weapon as its claws resumed their odd weaving movement.
Knowledge, in a fight is pretty much as important as having the biggest gun and having seen the effect this darkness had on what we all regarded as universal laws of physics gave us a small but none the less significant advantage over the security patrol who had in all likelihood had no time to analyse their environment before they were ripped to pieces.
Taren and Lar Shei, like myself now understood how this darkness skewed every advantage toward the creature and that in reality we had unknowingly walked into its killing ground. By rights, we were now pawn’s in a pre- planned show, the finale of which was no doubt our gruesome death. But in the darkness, just able to acknowledge each other, we all instinctively did something completely irrational as fire started to dance from the creature’s claws. We soundlessly screamed and rushed the creature.