Chapter Two – Fear of the Unknown

“That’s impossible Mr. Dawson. No combat vessel of ours has ever been boarded in the history of this empire not by any foe foreign or domestic.” said Lyra.

“Whether it has or hasn’t happened before, it’s happening right here, right now and with or without our consent. All we can do is ready ourselves for whatever may be onboard that Cruiser. Mr. Dawson is military police standing by at the repair bay that the Tokomi will be landing into?” asked Rygol.

“Yes sir they are standing by and awaiting orders. Once the Tokomi has landed I will get the bay crew to lockdown the entrance bulk heads so the ship can’t take off again.” replied Dawson.

“Good, I’ll be heading down there myself to assist in the handling of this situation.” stated Rygol.

Everyone looked at Rygol with amazement for his cool headed attitude and desire to be involved in the situation.

“Sir I would advise against doing so considering we don’t know what we are up against as well as possible endangerment of your life.” stated Lyra.

“Nonsense, those are our men and women on board that ship and I won’t allow their lives to be lost over some rogue stowaway. Is that understood? Any one not willing to take part in protecting my personnel do so by staying in here, otherwise follow behind me.” responded Rygol.

Rygol then proceeded out of the meeting room towards the repair bay where the Tomoki was expected to arrive. Everyone else followed behind him sensing his strong determination for his people and their well being. Once they arrived to the repair bay the MP Sergeant walked up to Rygol.

“Commander we’ve gotten video on what’s going on inside the Tomoki.” said the Sergeant.

“Good, pull it up on the monitors Sergeant.”

The sergeant then pressed a few buttons on a console near the bulk head doors to the repair bay. Almost immediately a video of gun fighting blazed onto the monitor. Apparently a few crew members were defending the entrance of the command bridge with fully automatic weaponry. After about a minute and a half everything within the ship went pitch black. The only light illuminated during the event blazed from the flashlights attached to the rifles the crew members were wielding.

“What the hell just happened?” asked Rygol.

“The ships engines just went offline sir. It seems whatever the hell is on-board knows it way around our vessels quite well.” replied Dawson.

“Are you telling me that our men are stuck up there in space mindlessly floating about like useless debris in our planet’s high orbit?” asked Rygol in a worried tone.

Dawson hesitated to answer his question at first until he answered yes after a few moments. At the exact moment Dawson answered, the crew suddenly let out a hellfire of gun shots and yells of agony. Their yells could only be described as brutal and terrifying to the point that everyone was looking at each other in a horrified manner.

Rygol immediately straightened himself up and marched towards the space stations barracks. Lyra rushed to his side as he headed away from the council.

“Sir, are you about to do what I think you are?”

“Yes I am. I’m not going to stand by idle as our men are massacred by some creature. I’m going to brief the entire barracks and allow whoever volunteers to accompany me up to the Tomoki.”

“But sir your life will be at stake and…”

Before she could finish Rygol suddenly interjected furiously.

“And those are my men on that ship! I’m not just going to watch them get killed!”

Rygol then continued heading towards the barracks. When he arrived he ran into his brother Cruorious, a man with excellent skills using Taisorian firearms.

“Rygol?” asked Cruorious curiously. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m here to gear up and head to the Tomoki to rescue the ship’s crew.”

“Considering the sternness of your voice and the fact that you’re suiting up means this is serious. I’ll accompany you on this crazy rescue mission then brother.”

“Thank you Cruorious, it means a lot to me.”

“No problem, plus we, meaning Ferox and I, are bored as shit without any action. Isn’t that right Ferox?”

“Yep that’s right, nothing to blow up since the wars ended.” chuckled Ferox.

Then Lyra suddenly walked out of the barracks geared up with Jitka anti-round armor and an assault rifle loaded with Jitka armor piercing rounds.

“Ready when you are sir.” stated Lyra.

“Coming along I see?” asked Rygol.

“Yes, remember I was appointed to watch over your well-being no matter what sir.” replied Lyra.

“Very well then, men let’s move out!” exclaimed Rygol.

“Sir, yes sir!” they replied.

After gearing up in the same setup as Lyra the four of them met back in the transport hangar. They approached transport five and within seconds boarded it.

“Pilot, take us up to the T.E. Tomoki as soon as possible, it’s urgent that we do.” stated Rygol.

“Yes sir commander.” replied the pilot.

The pilot started up the transport setting its course for the Tomoki in high orbit space along the planets gravity well.

“Okay everyone the goal here is to board the Tomoki and make our way to the bridge as quickly as possible while clearing out areas along the way. We’re also bringing along an A.C.I.D. unit, Autonomous Combat Intelligence Drone, which is going to map out our path to the bridge.”

“Five minutes until we dock up with the Tomoki sir.” announced the pilot.

“Alright team, ready?”

“Sir, yes sir!”

The transport had just broken into high orbit when Rygol prepared his squad. The docking bay on the vessel seemed to have remained opened during the incident that took place on board. The pilot cautiously approached the T.E. Tomoki while scanning for activity inside the docking bay. He safely guided the transport into the docking bay atmospheric shield and landed.

“Alright I’ll be waiting here for your team sir.” said the pilot.

“Roger that, teams let’s move out.”

Rygol and the rest moved onto the bay platform checking all corners for possible contact with hostile forces. Rygol then configured the A.C.I.D. with a few input commands to locate the bridge. They followed suite behind it as they traversed through dark and empty halls that once flourished with activity. The passed by residential quarters and various mess halls filled with emptiness as well as despair.

“What do you think could have rendered the ship inoperable?” asked Lyra.

“I don’t know but it has a fair understanding of how to cut off the engines.” replied Ferox.

“Whatever in the hell it is it knows how to get around and incapacitate our crew.” said Cruorious.

“Give me five minutes of radio silence everyone. I’m going to attempt contacting the bridge.” stated Rygol.

Rygol then pulled up a hologram display on his left wrist computer. After configuring some settings he sent out a call for the bridge. Moments later…

“This is the bridge, come in commander! We are being overwhelmed by hostiles who have breached our location using the air ducts. We require immediate assistance! Over!” exclaimed the soldier.

“Bridge this is Commander Rygol, we are approximately ten minutes away from your position hold tight. Over!” stated Rygol.

The team then rushed forward towards the bridge’s position to provide support. When they arrived the bridge doors were shut tight. Ferox immediately opened his wrist computer and began hacking the door control panel for access codes.

“How much longer Ferox?!” asked Rygol.

“Just a little more time sir, it’s retrieving the access codes right now.”

At that moment the team could hear the cries of the crew as they fought for their very existence.

“We don’t have time! Get that fucking door open now soldier!?”

His computer soon afterwards made three beeping noises signifying that the hacking software was successful.

“It’s complete sir, I’m opening the doors now!”

“Alright everybody at the ready!” ordered Rygol.

The door jumped open to a very horrifying sight that the team could only imagine in their most dreaded nightmares. Crew members were laying everywhere from the floor to the control terminals. There was blood and gore everywhere all over everything. To greet them in this horror were a multitude of tall, semi-slender, black shadowy figures with nothing more than the desire to destroy lives dripping from their grinning rows of teeth. The team then felt a large number of amber yellowish-green eyes stare innately into their souls as they stood in terror.

Thoughts of the nightmare and that dreaded day flooded into Rygol’s mind instantly. He remembered those eyes from that day in the conference center. His thoughts came to an abrupt halt as he froze in place.

“Oh my god!” exclaimed Lyra.

“Commander?!” asked Ferox.

Hearing the team brought Rygol back to reality concerning the current situation at hand.

“Everyone, fall back to the transport shuttle immediately!”

Immediately the team began opening fire as they fell back hitting everything and anything that made its way towards them.

“Transport this is Commander Rygol, we are on our way to your position with hostile forces on our six! Utilize extreme prejudice on targets, I repeat kill anything that isn’t human acknowledge.”

“Roger that Commander, acknowledged, we’ve got your six once you make it to us sir.”

The creatures utilized the shadows in such a dynamically fluid fashion that it was difficult for the team to determine where they’d come at them from.

As the team approached the transport vessel they heard shrieks and noises throughout the docking bay. They waited for the creatures to make a move, but nothing occurred. Everyone’s heart rate increased dramatically at the suspense of the situation at hand. After reaching the extraction point the creatures mobilized like a swarm with only one vicious goal in mind, to murder them. The team began opening fire with everything they had on their body. Heavy tungsten rounds flew through the air with the air with enough deadly force to tear them apart, but to the teams surprise required more than one round to put them down for good.

“Team let’s move, get on board now!” yelled Rygol.

In one unified motion the team hustled on board while the pilots opened fire with the ships on board weapons system. The team boarded one by one with Rygol boarding last to ensure his teams safety. He had barely crossed the threshold when he began to notice a tug on his backpack. He grabbed onto the ships interior safety straps and what he saw behind him shook him to his core. It was one of the creatures attempting to board with Rygol being the target. At that point without second thought Lyra unleashed what couldn’t be described more than a hellfire of rounds. She emptied the entire clip in the creature’s skull which caused it to simply shatter as it released its grip and slammed into the docking bay floor. Rygol had lost his balance due to the change in weight holding him back at which point Lyra had just barely gotten a grip on his forearm. She pulled him inside while staring at him with a slight grin on her face.

“What are you grinning about?” asked Rygol as he took a seat.

“Didn’t think you wanted to have one as a personal pet so badly.” she replied in humor.

“Yea when that happens I give you full consent to put out of my misery for insanity.” he replied jokingly.

As they furthered themselves from the Tomoki its engines began firing up to full speed. That was when Rygol ran into the pilot’s cabin for some answers.

“What the hell is going on with the Tomoki?!” demanded Rygol.

The pilot handed Rygol a headset with a direct connection to the Arc space station.

“Commander Rygol this is the Arc space station, the Tomoki’s trajectory indicates that it will slam into us momentarily creating an area of destruction wide enough to wipe out the space station and half of the city.” stated the dispatch.

“Then I give full consent for the Arc space station to activate any and all orbital defenses to take down the Tomoki.” stated Rygol.

“Yes sir, we will commence the necessary actions in order to eliminate the rogue vessel.” replied the dispatch.

Every orbital defense platform that was nearby the space station began taking aim of its intended target. The goal was to shoot it down over the ocean before it could reach any form of landmass. Every citizen within the city could hear the crackling of the gauss cannons as they shook the ground with ever shot fired. The sky lit up brilliantly with explosions and fires roaring across the Tomoki until there was one final blast. That final blast signified that the Tomoki’s core reactor had been penetrated and the engines were losing power. As the ship collapsed and entered the ocean, an incoming message was received and broadcasted on all radio frequencies by some unknown source.

“Very soon your meaningless existence will perish from this very universe as we descend upon you.” stated the voice cynically with a malicious laugh afterwards.

That final message struck fear into the hearts of every Taisorian citizen including Rygol’s. All he could ponder was what would transpire now due to this event.