Published on July 2nd, 2020 | by gareth0
Here is my new Alien Short Story and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did creating it.
Archais 9 seems like a strange name at first glance but as Will Jenkins looked out the window of the landing craft he was on; he realized it was better than the numerical designations that usually are given to celestial bodies.
After several weeks in Hypersleep; Will was looking forward to stretching his legs in some real gravity even if things were a bit higher than what he was used to on Earth. At least the atmosphere is breathable he told himself. Of course taking a stroll on Archais 9 was not ideal due to the blowing snow and freezing temperatures but compared to working with an Environmental suit it was a small victory.
It seemed like a pretty easy job when will took the assignment; a few weeks and Cryo Sleep followed by a few months of easy work installing and testing the network for the facility; and then back home with enough money to pretty much do whatever he wanted for the next few years perhaps even taking on a few employees so he could live the good life while they help ensure a steady cash flow into the company.
Will snapped back to reality when the lander hit with a thud indicating that they had arrived at their destination.
Archais 9 was designated a medical facility with specialty facilities for Colonial Marines. Will had pondered the nature of having an emergency facility when Cryo would ensure virtually no change in status until a patient was awakened but he had been told that this was a cost-saving measure as it was far cheaper to ship colonists there than it would be to the more developed colonies and advanced facilities back on Earth.
The hatch opened and an icy wind struck Will instantly getting his full attention. “Welcome to summer on Archais 9” a gruff voice announced. “Grab your gear and get inside; you can work on your tans later”. Will could not make out who uttered the gruff greeting but then realized it was made via a P.A. system as only an idiot would want to be out in this weather if they could avoid it.
Will gathered his bag and made his way as quickly as he could across the Tarmac as he followed the line of people many in company coveralls heading to the nearest structure. When he was finally able to enter the building he was grateful for the increase in temperature once the door was sealed behind them.
A female voice greeted them with a pleasant enough and eager sounding welcome. “I am Maxine Weeks; Welcome to Archais 9 and Cumberland station”. “I am sure you all want to get settled in and acclimated before your first shift but if you need anything; please let me know.
Will tuned and saw a dark haired woman in her late 20s and she wore a mid-length skirt and fashionable blouse which looked amazing on her if a bit out of place on a company locale.
Before he could speak Maxine approached him and extended her hand. Will shook it and introduced himself. “You have no idea how glad we are to see you as getting our deep range communications and tech issues ironed out will be a huge morale boost” Maxine stated.
Will could only imagine how difficult it was to have to rely on shuttle arrivals to bring in new entertainment and news options versus streaming them directly. The old-fashioned way of sending recordings to corporate and loved ones took what was a matter of a few hours to several days or weeks depending on the destination.
Will knew that this was the main reason he had so much demand as locales on Earth and established colonies rarely needed more than a few tweaks and upgrades which often could be done via remote or by people with basic skills.
When a new system was being put in place, Will and others like him had to be present not only to ensure proper installation of vital and expensive components but to ensure that everything operated as it was supposed to.
Maxine was a very attractive woman and Will wondered why she would opt to go to a facility such as this as she looked like she could have her choice of assignments anywhere. He hoped he would get the chance to find out but for now the job was his main priority as few people would freeze themselves and venture to an ice covered wasteland for a pretty face; but Maxine came very close to being the exception.
“I am sorry we have to put you to work right away but we are behind schedule as we hoped to be able to received patients a week ago” Maxine informed him. While the colony had short-ranged communications, the Hyperband transmitter that allowed messages to reach great distances in a few hours was not working and as such; any communications that originated from or were directed outside the system could take weeks for a relay to grab them and speed them along.
Time is money and in the case of a medical facility like the one here on Cumberland Station; lives were often hanging in the balance.
Upon entering what Will took to be the Control Center for the base; Maxine introduced him to a tall but older individual. “This is our Chief of Operations Walter Johnson” Maxine stated. Will shook his hand and noted that not only did Walter have a very firm grip but had had a very imposing stature which he immediately took for being Colonial Marines. “Welcome’ it will be nice to be able to get things up and running around here and get Corporate off my back. At least when you get Ass Chewed it takes a few weeks to get here now but I am sure you will change all of that now”. Walter stated and Will immediately identified him as the gruff voice that greeted them when he arrived.
The rest of the day was a mix of introductions and briefings as Will met various individuals and developed a plan to get things up and running. As he entered the common area when he was done; he was surprised to find Maxine there. He had figured she would be in an area reserved for execs and not mixing with the labor; yet another interesting part to her character. Upon seeing him; Maxine invited Will to join her and he sat down and began to eat”. Maxine started the conversation “how soon do you think we can have long-range established”? For the briefest of moments Will had entertained that Maxine invited him over for social reasons but he realized it was all business. “I hope to have a test signal out but the end of the week if not sooner and if all goes as planned 24 hrs. after that” Will stated. Maxine smiled and said “I am glad you are living up to the potential I saw when I selected you for the job” Before he could reply Maxine smiled and excused herself leaving Will with more questions than answers.
The next few days were a very busy for Will and he had not seen much of Maxine or Walter aside from daily update briefings as he spent much of his time on his work which thankfully was moving along ahead of schedule and resulted in him being able to send out the signal a day before he had estimated. Will, Maxine, and Walter stood in the command center as he sent out a test signal to a nearby relay station and waited for the signal to be returned verifying the system was operating as it should. “Now comes the fun part” Will thought aloud which resulted in a smile from Maxine and a wry grin for Walter. After a few anxious moments the signal came back loud and clear which caused the assembled staff to cheer as they undoubtedly had a myriad of messages that were eager to get to destinations sooner rather than later.
The celebration was cut short but an alarm and flashing light that indicated an urgent message was inbound. Will took the initiative to answer the hail and the speakers in the room filled with a clam but clearly concerned voice. “This is USCM Ship Intrepid calling Cumberland Station. I hope you guys are receiving this and are ready for customers as we have some business for you”. The happy demeanor of the area quickly became all business as various workers hurried to their consoles to attend to their various duties. “Hurry up and answer them as this is what we are here for” Walter grunted. “A technician took over for Will and asked about the nature of the medical emergency. “Some sort of creature has attached itself to one of our Marines. Nobody has seen anything like it so we put him in Cryo and headed your way as you are the nearest advanced medical facility”. Walter pulled up the main Doctor and quickly brought him up to speed. Based on the initial report it was determined to transport the patient down in their Cryotube in order to maintain Quarantine procedures and examine and treat them in isolation.
The Intrepid confirmed their instructions and announced that they were two days out at current speed and would begin the transfer as soon as they entered orbit.
The next two days were a flurry of activity as crews rushed to complete the necessary preparations as drills and simulations are one thing but this would be the first time that the station experienced a true medical emergency and people were eager to do their jobs right from the start.
The Dropship broke through the clouds and it was evident to all who were monitoring the decent that the harsh winds and limited visibility were not making things easy. Why someone would want to put a base in such an inhospitable locale seemed odd but the locale did serve a purposes and it was theorized that with some minor teraphorming and ships automated functions that landings would be done without having to wait for weather windows as long as people did not mind a rough ride.
The ship landed safely and crews worked efficiently to transfer the patient from the Dropship to the facility before watching the ship quickly ascend back to the Intrepid. The needs of the Company had required the Intrepid to quickly break orbit and head to a new locale where a rival company had been stirring up unrest on a disputed planet.
In the Medical area Dr. Caldwell looked over the readouts with a perplexed expression. In her 30+ years of medicine she had seen many things but nothing as strange as what she was looking at. A creature looking like a nightmarish hybrid of a crab and a spider had attached itself to the face of the patient and clearly was not going to let go.
The database had no record of a similar incident and all she had to go on was that the patient; a Private Gunderson had been doing a routine patrol on a planetoid in the LV sector and lost communication with his team. When he was located via his tracker; they found him in his present state and took him back to the ship for further evaluation which in turn; ended him up here.
As the hours passed and exhaustion set I; Caldwell had to take a break and leave her patient under the observation of the medical staff. The full complement of Doctors was not due to arrive for a few weeks yet and she really wished she had some backup as no matter how efficient her staff and equipment was; it would be ideal to have other experts on hand.
When sleep finally did arrive, Caldwell embraced it and dreamed of her childhood back on Earth. She had enjoyed an Upper Class life and her decision to take such a remote posting versus a company facility on Earth shocked her family.
She was thinking about her last conversation with her parents when her Com buzzed and the attending staff informed her that she was needed as there had been some improvement in her patient.
Caldwell dressed quickly and ran to the Med Bay and was surprised to see that the mysterious creature was no longer fastened to Gunderson’s face. The creature lay motionless under the medical table in which Gunderson was placed.
At a loss for answers, Gunderson had the creature tagged and bagged for future study as who knew what kind of long-term complications could arise. The company also had standing orders that any and all subjects of extraterrestrial origin that had yet to be documented be preserved and there was no way she was going to have a team of “Corporate Suits” keeping her from doing her job.
Gunderson later awoke and had no memories of his ordeal aside from entering the cave and moving to examine an objected he noticed at the edge of his light. He noted that his team had opted to head back but he wanted to check out the cave as he figured it would save them a future patrol and finishing all points of note in the area would undoubtedly result in more down time.
Caldwell opted to move Gunderson to the main hospital area since his current locale was for quarantined cases and she had decided that his conditioned no longer warranted isolation. Plus he was the only patient so he may as well use what was available.
Since the main corridor connecting the facilities was still being completed, Gunderson was carted by two orderlies down an access way which was crowded with supplies still waiting to be stowed from the last shipment. Undaunted the orderlies who were nearing the end of their shift opted to bundle up their charge and themselves and take a shortcut outside.
The first orderly complained about the cold but his companion reminded him that they would be off as soon as they were done they could make their way to the Rec area and see if any of the women were there and in the mood for “company”.
As they moved Gunderson began to convulse and they quickened their pace to get inside and call for help as it would not do well to lose a patient and be reprimanded for their unapproved route.
Panic ensued as Gunderson began to scream and fight their efforts to hold him down and when spittle erupted from his mouth followed by a scream of pure agony the orderlies knew they were in way over their heads and a rebuking from Caldwell or Johnson was the least of their worries. A spray of blood and gore erupted from Gunderson followed by a nightmare version as something looking like a snake emerged from his chest.
The spray of blood stained the ice and snow a dark crimson and they could only watch as the creature burst forth from poor Gunderson and vanished in the cold distance.
The orderlies could only imagine the trouble they were in and decided to cut their losses and tell Caldwell everything they could. Besides not many things could last long in the cold of night on Archais 9 so there would be plenty of time to look for whatever it was later.
Will was awakened from his sleep by the buzzing of his com system. Half asleep he answered and was surprised to see Maxine appear on the screen. Will became involuntary modest as he realized he was not exactly looking his best but composed himself as best as he was able. “Sorry to wake you but there has been an incident” Maxine stated. “What is the nature of it” Will asked groggily; “Better to tell you in person. Meet me in Operations” Maxine stated before signing off and leaving Will with more questions than answers which seemed to be par for the course of late.
Will entered the Command Center and found it a hive of activity. Maxine and Walter were huddled in a corner studying a screen and he figured it was another problem with the Communication System that needed his help. “Sorry to get you up early but we have an organism on the loose” Walter explained in his non-nonsense way. Before Will could reply Maxine informed him that it was brought on the drop ship unbeknownst to them and with a storm coming and their perimeter sensors down; this might be a good time to get them up and running. “Sgt. Jackson and a few of his Deputies will escort you so cover up and work your magic” Maxine stated trying to sound as cheerful as she could.
Will realized from their expressions this was not the time to ask questions and he returned to his quarters to try on the new Thermal Suit that was issued to him and prepare for what he hoped would be a simple diagnostic and fix. He hoped that their decision to have the Marshall and some of his crew accompany him was just a simple matter of C.Y.A. and standard procedure but he had to wonder what type of creature had arrived on the Dropship and caused such concern.
Marshall Jackson was a burly man who looked like he could easily be a Football player or Boxer to Will. He was cut and imposing and looked like he could disarm anyone with an intense stare and his no-nonsense tone. He clearly had the look for the job as one would have to be seriously determined and/or crazy to want to tangle with him.
He had two deputies with him and they had all met and exchanged professional greetings at the exterior exit hatch they were about to open. Will noted that aside from their usual sidearms; his escorts had combat shotguns in their hands which to him looked like overkill as they were not going up against an army. Will had read the data on the organism before he left and something the size of a small snake in freezing cold could hardly warrant this type of protection. Will remembered his basic biology and realized that if the creature followed known patterns it would either have frozen to death or entered a state of hibernation.
The freezing cold wind hit them full on and Will was grateful for his thermal protection which was absent when he arrived. He was told that he was able to do without it when he arrived for a short duration but seeing how the weather had become much colder and worse sense he arrived; he was eager to get this trip over with and get back inside to the warmth.
As the team made their way to the first sensor tower the visibility became worse with each passing moment. Despite this the team was able to make their way to the first three towers and gave them a perfunctory check which showed them all in working order.
After a freezing check of the sensors punctuated by trudging through growing snow and decreased visibility; Will made his way to the location of the final sensor. However the sensor was not there. Will and the team spread out attempting to find it but only a misstep by a deputy located it as they tripped over what appeared to be an unassuming pile of snow.
Jackson rushed over to check on his Deputy and broke the silence with “what the hell”? Everyone looked at what had captured his attention and noted what used to be the sensor tower. It had been destroyed and was in pieces which had been covered by the recent snow.
“Looks like this is not getting fixed anytime soon” one of the deputies intoned. Before he could reply; Will’s com chimed and Maxine’s lovely voice came over the speaker asking for an update. While she was perplexed over what had happened to the Sensor, Walter thought it could simply be due to the high wind and weather and told the team to come back to base.
Despite reservations, Jackson and his team guided Will back to base and they were all very grateful to be back inside. Will headed up to the Command Center and Walter told him to take a break as a maintenance team had been dispatched to replace the sensor and he can calibrate it from here once it is done.
Will figured he had a couple of hours and opted to get something warm to drink and some food as he was still thawing out from his venture outside. He had not expected to trek through show and ice on what was supposed to be a routine assignment. Then again; what is ever routine with the Company he thought.
RJ Samuels wondered who he pissed off in order to draw this assignment. He was not the low man on the Totem Pole and there were less senior individuals in his department who were more than capable of installing a new sensor. He was able to pull two others to help speed things along but it did not ease the frustration of being out in the cold with two junior techs and two deputies doing a Milk Run.
Samuels looked over at the bundled Deputies who seemed like they had checked out long ago and were simply frozen in place through boredom. His team worked fast and they were able to get the Sensor installed in no times. The two techs were so new that Samuels had not even learned their names yet but made a mental note to ensure that he did as soon as they returned.
Samuels contacted the Command Center and told them to fire up the grid after they send in a test signal to the newly installed sensor.
As the wind increased Samuels wondered if he was even heard but the change in status light on the sensor showed that a signal was being attempted and the piercing buzz confirmed that the unit was up and working.
Satisfied he was preparing to go back inside when something caught his eye. It appeared to be some movement under the snow. He had seen a dog run eagerly through a snow drift on Earth as a boy and the image before him brought back that happy memory.
Samuels stared at it a while which got the attention of one of the deputies who asked if he saw something. At first he was going to dismiss it but he said that he thought he saw movement under the snow. “Might be that ‘snake” thing Jackson told us about one of them muttered”. “We should nail it and get a trophy for the office” the other joked and they both lowered their guns and headed to the source of the movement.
The first deputy casually began to poke the snow with gun while the other stood back and covered. Just when they were ready to move a figure erupted form the snow with a burst of speed that stunned the Deputies and assembled techs.
The form was easily seven feet tall and appeared to be a silver/black color which was adorned by the snow. In a flurry of activity the deputies opened fire but due to their panicked state they fired wildly. The creature closed the gap on the two with a leap and the air was punctuated but a scream and a horrific ripping sound. The second deputy started to retreat and found himself with the creature firmly on his back about to suffer the same fate as his companion.
Samuels decided survival was more important than the job and loyalty and ran as fast as he could despite the screams of the techs he left behind. He moved as fast as he could through the snow heading to the entry back to base; unwilling to look back at the horror he knew was right behind him. Samuels reached the door and promptly entered his code and waited for what seemed to be an eternity for the door to cycle but in truth only a couple of seconds had passed.
Samuels breathed a sigh of relief as the door opened and stepped inside. Whatever it was must have run off as there was no sign of it now. He would make his report and let Jackson and his team deal with it as that was way above his pay grade.
As he stepped inside and reached for the control to close the door; a set of incredibly strong hands dropped from above. Samuels was lifted up like a child picking up a toy and the last thing he saw was a mouth of incredibly nasty looking teeth parting as what could only be described as a tongue emerged and the world went dark.
Will entered his room and recorded a message for his mother back on Earth. He had not done so since just before he entered Cryosleep and he was overdue to check in as the last thing he needed was for her to worry and then start a series of unending calls to his boss to get a status update. His father was less inclined to do such drastic actions but he like Will knew that when his mother made up her mind there was little anyone could do to alter that course of action.
Will decided he should drop a line to his siblings as well as Ann and Tom would want to know how things were. There was not much one could do to embellish a tech run on a minor planet but he tried to make it sound as interesting as possible.
As Will settled in for the night his thoughts went to Maxine as she had made a lasting impression on him. A Techie who moves from job to job across company space is not the most enticing prospect for a woman but there was something about her that enabled him to muster up the courage and send her a Com to ask her to join him for breakfast the following morning.
To his delight; Maxine eagerly accepted and Will drifted off to sleep with his mind filled with excitement and possibilities.
Maxine shed her robe and stepped into the shower which on a frozen locale was a luxury indeed. The water for the base was processed from the abundant ice on the planet and was easily heated to ensure a practically endless supply of hot water. She was happy that Will stepped up as she had hoped to spend time with him socially. The nature of her position kept her at a distance from many on the base socially as it was fine to be friendly but hard to date anyone who you may have to give orders from the top to; especially ones they do not agree with.
There was something about Will as he seemed like a genuine person who was not all about career advancement and willing to do what it takes to get there. Truly a very impressive and rare find these days and one that appealed to her. As she emerged from the shower she began to debate what she should wear tomorrow as it had to be something that worked for the situation but was also suitable for her shift which would begin after her date with Will.
As she drifted off to sleep Maxine thought of what life away from Administration would be like and how perhaps now that it has been years since she brought the charges of harassment against a supervisor the Company might be willing to forgive and allow her to transfer back to Earth or one of the lush colonies.
So many possibilities and Maxine reminded herself not to get too far ahead of herself and see what the future holds.
Chester C. Wood was a man who was grateful for a second chance in life. He had fallen into a bad crowd on Earth and ended up an unwilling pawn in a heist gone bad. Those he considered friends willingly sold him out for reduced charges even though he was little more than a bystander to their activities and just happened to have the bad fortune to be unwilling to turn against his friends or walk away from a bad situation.
Chester had long had issues with abandonment and figured bad friends were better than no friends at all. However facing a five year stretch he radically changed his priorities. In a stroke of good fortune; his case was covered by a local reporter and caught the eye of the Company who used their influence to hire Chester. The terms were simple; Chester would work his sentence in the service of the Company and in return would draw a salary and gain career options.
Since anything was better than prison and since he had a lack of options; Chester soon found himself in Cryosleep for the first time on his way to Archais 9 to but his mechanical skills to good use. Chester was not even bothered when he was awoken from a sound sleep by his boss due to inconsistent readings from an outer airlock. The board was showing that it was both closed and open and since the cameras in that area had not been installed yet he was given the task of checking things out.
As he approached the area he turned on his flashlight and saw a scene straight out of a horror vid. The door was mostly closed save for a torso wedged into the grove and the resulting spray of gore covered the walls.
Chester quickly sounded the alarm and made a hasty retreat from the halls and ran as fast as he could to the Command Center to report his findings to Walter as there was no way he was going to take in more of the scene than was required.
The Command Center was a flurry of action as Walter was busy trying to put one fire after another out. It seems that the Marshall and some of his Deputies were missing and sensors were giving all sorts of erratic readings in the reactor area. Further complicating matters were reports that a handful of workers had failed to show up for their shifts and all of this combined to signal a bad day was in the making.
Will was nervous as he approached the cafeteria and even more so when he saw Maxine light up when she saw him approaching. He gave her a nervous hug and was stunned by how amazing she smelled as her perfume was captivating.
As they ate they talked about the things ranging from their families, funny stories, and their career before Archais 9. Maxine opened up about her harassment suit that while successful derailed her career and earned her a trip here and Will was amazed at how easily their conversation came. Time seemed to fly by as he was intoxicated by Maxine and could not believe that it was almost time to report for work as the morning and flown by.
They made plans for that evening much to his delight and Will had an extra bounce to his step as he made his way to the Network Center to test the new sensory and refine the communications grid.
Walter always saw himself as a hands on type of person. He attributed this his time in the Colonial Marines where he was a big supporter of not asking people to do things that you had not done or were not willing to do yourself. So Walter headed down to the reactor with remaining Deputies in tow. What he saw made the action he saw during his military career pale in comparison.
Around the walls of the Reactor Room was some kind of resin and the missing workers were twisted in some unnatural angles to fit the tormented architecture of whoever designed it. One of the Deputies lost his breakfast from the smell coming from the room and the heat was not helping the situation at all.
He called down to Medical to get staff there to try to help and no sooner had he done this and noticed a dark shape crawling down the walls. Walter was amazed not only at the size of the creature but with how fast and silently it moved. He cried out an alert to the Deputies and before he could raise his rifle the creature pounced on him. Whatever it was landed with a sickening thud and the crunching of bones and turned its grotesque elongated head in his direction. A mouth full of razor sharp looking teeth caked in saliva parted and a piston like tongue pierced the hapless deputy leaving him a bloody mess. It was almost as if it was taunting him to try to do something Walter thought as he sprang into action. As the creature set upon the remaining Deputies; Walter sprang into action and grabbed the rifle from the fallen Deputy and unleashed a barrage of gunfire at the creature.
Despite the rust and not using his usual M41A; Walter scored several hits on the creature but lacking explosive rounds the shots seemed to do little more than anger the creature who took its revenge on the poor Deputies who had since joined in the firefight.
With shots scoring the creature a yellow/brown liquid emerged and started to eat its way through the reactor casing. Despite multiple protective layers, whatever this thing was using for blood ate though it like it was not even there. Having dispatched the Deputies, Walter found himself alone with the creature just as the Medical team arrived. Screams and gunfire filled the room as well as an acrid smoke. Unable to reach the exit due to the creature blocking the door as it shredded the hapless medical team, Walter decided that if he was going down he was taking the thing with him Walter unloaded his clip on the creature and managed to shoot off an arm which resulted in him and what was left of the reactor plating being dosed in blood. His final thought was one of his old unit and Walter drifted away as he watched the creature flee from the room and into the hallway.
Will was startled from daydreaming about Maxine during a diagnostic when alarms erupted all around him. A quick check of the system showed the reactor was going critical and Will rushed to the Command Center to check on things. He saw Maxine calm under pressure giving orders as she attempted to reach Walter. The staff had been unable to shut down the reactor and with a meltdown pending Will jumped into action. He was able to slow the reaction but the damage had been done. Will informed Maxine that the reactor has to be shut down but the batteries will only provide heat for a few hours and after that they have to repair the reactor or freeze.
With none of the actions appealing but at least allowing them extra time, Maxine had Will close the reactor and asked him to get a general distress call out while they still had power to do so.
Will aligned the dish and sent out a repeating signal. No sooner had he completed the task when screams erupted from the hall. Will and Maxine looked at the monitors and saw a creature from a nightmare attacking the staff as it worked its way down the hall Will noted a stub on the side where it’s arm should have been and it reminded Will of the class where his teacher showed them a vid on how certain reptiles could regrow their tails after losing them.
Without a second thought Will took Maxine’s hand and ran as quickly as they could from the Command Center. Will took the only path open to them which took them to the Medical wing.
As they entered the Infirmary they saw Dr. Caldwell attempting to deal with injured staff who had suffered various slashes and burns at what Will and Maxine could only assume were the result of the creature.
Maxine noticed that Chester was there and helping the Doctor as best as he was able despite a lack of medical training. Will gathered in as many people as he could from the corridor and sealed the doors to the room.
Cries, screams, and anger permeated the room as the shock of the attacks and reality of their situation became clear. Will took Maxine to a side room to go over their next steps. As various strategies were considered, screams erupted as the creature entered the room from an overhead vent. As Dr. Caldwell and her patients recoiled in fear, Will grabbed a terminal and closed the doors between the creature and the injured and in doing so; sealed Maxine and himself in with the creature. Maxine lost her usual calm mannerisms and told Will to run in a voice that was half scream and half command. Not wanting to argue Will and Maxine raced down the hallway with the creature rapidly following. When they reached the end of the hall they found themselves trapped in the MRI chamber as the room offered no other means of retreat or escape.
Sensing its prey was trapped, the Alien advanced upon them and its mouth opened and closed in eager anticipation. Will had an inspiration and pulled Maxine over to the diagnostic bed. The MRI was in an open formation and he told her to be ready as he was about to pull a Hail Mary. Will noted the numerous impacts on the creature and combined with the missing arm; hoped it was the result of the gunfire. The Alien seemed momentarily confused by the actions of the two humans but it did not last and prepared to pounce on them. Will tapped the keyboard; which began the process of starting the machine. While the noise seemed to aggravate the creature it did not slow it down and it quickly closed the distance between them. The creature lunged at them just as Will hit the start sequence and he and Maxine fell to the floor just as the creature fell upon the diagnostic bed. The Scan began and the creature roared in pain as the bullets inside were triggered by the strong magnetic field. It attempted to break free but Will had activated the restraints and loaded the bed into the chamber. Will and Maxine rushed to the control room and Will sealed the final door and took the machine well beyond the usual settings and thanks to the bullets inside it’ as well as the intense field it created; was able to end the creature which resulted in a barrage of acidic gore. Before the reality of what he had just done had set it, Maxine embraced Will and kissed him deeply.
The Shuttle lifted off the surface and Will and Maxine found themselves heading into orbit to dock with an orbiting ship. Multiple ships had responded to their calls for help and the Company had sent in a crew to “mop things up”
Maxine and Will were required to sign non-disclosure clauses but in return were allowed to take promotions on Earth. Will and Maxine decided that a new life Earthside with one another was worth the price of silence as was likely the mindset of the survivors. It would take some time to repair the damaged reactor but Will had no doubts that Cumberland station would be up and running in no time.
As they prepared to enter Cryosleep, Will kissed Maxine and wished her pleasant dreams as he knew he would be dreaming about her all the way to Earth.