Escaping

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A great deal of time had passed since Captain Jol'Redan heard from the scientist on board his ship. Doctor Horga and his staff were often silent when they worked, but this was different. There were no indications the pod had been launched, no progress reports and, above all else, no boasting about the success of a new experiment.

"Doctor Horga, what is your status?" the Captain asked pressing the communication button.

Silence.

"Doctor Horga, respond."

Silence.

"Bridge to security. Find Doctor Horga immediately."

"Yes, sir." a voice called back. It wasn't like the Doctor to ignore anyone let alone the Captain. Jol'Redan had this overwhelming sense of anxiety, especially given the nature of the experiment. He stood from his chair and began to pace the floor of the bridge anticipating word about the good doctor.

Three men in security armor approached the science lab. The door was torn asunder and there were pieces of flesh littering the floor. Each of the security team readied the energy rifles they had been carrying. Each one gave off an individual hum as it activated. Cautiously, they advanced on the doors to the lab. The lights had been snuffed out in the room except for the stasis fields on the remaining four creatures in their cages. The floor was slippery with blood, which made walking into the room difficult without falling. Each rifle had been equipped with lighting, and the security team illuminated the room almost simultaneously. The entire science team had been torn to shreds. Several bodies seemed to be tossed about in unnerving and unnatural postures. The security team leader reached over to the door panel to signal the bridge.

"Gah'Jal to Bridge." he said as his hands were shaking from fear.

"Go ahead, Gah'Jal." the Captain's voice called back.

"The entire science team has been..." before he could finish, a clawed hand reached down from the ceiling above and impaled the security leader in the neck. The two remaining security officers began to open fire. With an amazing amount of speed, the creature moved throughout the room avoiding the bright blue blasts of plasma. Gah'Jal slowly crumpled to the floor as a large section of his neck had been torn free. After making a lap around the lab, the creature leaped onto the chest of a security officer sinking its teeth into his throat. The force from the attack pushed the younger security member out the door. Laying on his back in the hallway, the young man fired his weapon into the lab in rapid succession. It was his hope that at least one of the shots would hit the creature. Without warning, a clawed hand reached out of the lab and pulled the young man into the room. The halls echoed with his screams, and then all went silent.

Kal Renor was the ship's medical doctor. His facility was a short distance from the science lab. As his duties were light during the experiment, he decided to conduct a bit of research on his own. While Horga was playing with animals, Renor focused more on viral and bacterial strains. It wasn't as horrific as a predator barreling down on some helpless prey, but he believed a virus could be almost as effective with a higher degree of success. He was busy mapping out the progression of his virus and how it could be spread through copulation of a species. Renor believed that stunting a species' ability to procreate was the best way to eliminate a target without damaging planetary resources. Suddenly, weapons fire broke his concentration. He looked up from his display in time to hear a loud scream. He stood from his work area, grabbed one of the samples he had been working on, and walked slowly to his door. As it opened, he peered down the hallway. Renor couldn't be sure, but it looked as though the front of the science lab and been covered in blood. As he walked down the corridor to investigate, he heard a loud growl echoing through the halls. The Doctor knew that sound as he's heard it once before, when Horga was testing the creature's resilience to lightning strikes.

He stood at an intersection of corridors frozen in fear. Renor watched as the creature walked out of the lab on all fours. It's claws clicked the metallic surface as it moved. Its teeth were stained with blood as they dripped the life-force of the security team onto the floor. When it turned to see Renor, that's when the Doctor decided to run. He had to make his way to the bridge. Without looking back, he could hear the clickity-clack of claws against the hall's deck as the creature was in pursuit. Luckily, Renor made it to a section of the hall that controlled an access port. As he ran through, he reached over and pressed the closure button. The door slammed shut as the creature pounded into it.

Frantically, Doctor Renor charged down each corridor leading to the bridge while shutting every door he could behind him. It wasn't long until he reached the bridge where Captain Jol'Redan had been pacing. The doctor's forceful entry startled both the Captain and the helmsman.

"What's wrong, Doctor?" Jol'Redan asked putting an end to his pacing.

"It's...It's...out. It's out...and..."

"Slow down, Doctor. Take a moment." but the Captain already knew what the doctor was going to say. The worst thing that could happen on this expedition had come to life. Then, many of the bridge's systems shut off simultaneously as if someone flicked a switch. "Open a channel to the Alandra."

"Communications are down, Captain." the helmsman replied working on trying to repair his console.

"Do we still have engine power?"

"Yes, sir."

"Set a course for the last known coordinates of the Alandra."

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