The great freighter glided majestically
through the cosmos, silent as a shadow in the emptiness of
space. The stars' reflections twinkled off its metallic hull
and played across the sensor arrays. The ship innocently
traveled along its preplanned course just like thousands of
others had throughout the years. There was no reason to
suspect anything was amiss, so the great vessel was
completely unaware of the dark, malignant presence it neared
by the second.
"All seems fine here Sir, green lights across
"Good," Alexei Rousseau replied, sighing as he
leaned back in his contoured chair, the synthetic leather
squeaking slightly. Another perfect delivery, right on time.
There was only another day or so to travel before they
docked, as long as they stayed on their current heading. All
according to plan.
"Uh, Captain, there's something ahead of us,"
his tactical officer, Jay Fox, reported uneasily. "I'm not
sure what it is. The sensors can't seem to get a good lock on
it. I'm almost tempted to say it has some sort of stealth
"It's too small to be a threat," Andromeda
Taylor, his executive officer, interrupted. "And it's the
wrong shape to be a mine, especially in a little backwater
sector like Kallisto. Looks to me like a stray asteroid that
was knocked out of the asteroid belt who knows how long
"Continue on then Helm."
"Aye, Sir," the helmsman replied.
Alexei returned to his former chain of
thought. He was going to receive a bundle for the power
blades, competition pistols, and hunting rifles he was
carrying. The amount of ammunition alone would last the small
colony for months. He'd even brought army rations, food and
water to last the colony a month. With his profit he would
pick up the raw materials the colonists had been mining and
head back to Ermante. Then he could see his wife and son
The massive freighter shuddered as it was
struck heavily, the echoes of the impact reverberating
throughout the massive ship.
A maintenance man stared into Cargo Hold
Seven, where the echoes seemed to have originated from. He
wandered into the cavernous hold, walking between the giant
crates, each two meters tall and piled three to five high.
Only the maintenance man's rough breathing and echoing
footsteps could be heard. Sweat glistened on his brow and the
hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. Something was
behind him, he sensed it with that uncanny sixth sense he'd
always had. It had never been wrong.
The man started murmuring a prayer and slowly
turned around, not sure what he'd see. With a feeling much like
reluctance, the man looked down the well-lit aisle that ran
between the crates. His shoulders slumped in relief when he saw
that, for the first time, his sixth sense had been proven
wrong. Feeling foolish, the man began humming and idly turned
to resume his patrol. He turned on his mike to report
_ _ _
"There's nothin' I can see that's wrong... so,
"Look more towards the hull, see if it's been
compromised and check for dents."
"Sure thing Cap'n... it's all good so far...
What the hell... Holy shit!" The line went silent. That silence
was worse than the scream. Then crackling static took up the
empty space, the mike's signal lost. But silence still reigned
on the bridge, the tinny speakers offering the only
Alexei's spine was stiff and his communications
officer's face whiter than milk. He took a breath and tried to
compose himself. It didn't make him feel any better, but at
least he looked like the captain again.
"Taylor, Fox, go see what the damage is," Alexei
ordered. They glanced at each other uncertainly, mouths open in
Alexei glared at them. "That's an order!"