Mark was actually kind of starting to enjoy the extra vehicular activity walk as they approached the airlock that would take them to the bridge level. He hadn't done much EVA in his life, but he supposed, he also hadn't done any EVA while there were zombies on the inside of the ship and this was the only real way he could get away from them. He was enjoying the stars, the peace, the isolation of it all. He and Jennifer were like insects, crawling across some vast, unimaginable thing. Mark had only actually seen the ship in its whole once, and that was when he'd been on approach to it. And even then he hadn't been able to comfortably contemplate its size.
"We're here, get ready," Jennifer said.
Mark knew what that meant. Get ready to fight for his life. They honed in on the airlock and Jennifer activated it. The door swung open and they waited a moment, to see if anything would come out, just in case a zombie had gotten locked inside. But there was nothing and they climbed into the airlock. Jennifer worked the controls, the door clanged almost silently shut behind them and atmosphere began to fill the small bay.
Jennifer was still trying to get in touch with Hideo, but so far, there was nothing. Mark was beginning to fear the worst.
It was hard not to, aboard the Cimmerian.
Another clang sounded, this one much louder, and the interior door opened. There was nothing waiting for them in the locker bay beyond. Jennifer began taking off her suit. Mark hesitated. He took off his helmet. "Maybe we should keep them on," he suggested.
"I thought about that, but no, we need speed over all else in this situation. These things are built to stand up to space, not necessarily to claws and teeth. Whatever potential small increase in defense we'd gain, we'd more than lose in speed. This isn't exactly combat armor," she replied.
"Fair point," he said, and started taking off his own suit.
A moment later, they were both back to their standard jumpsuits, weapons in hand. Without wasting a second, the pair left the airlock bay and came back into the small network of corridors that made up the bridge deck. Mark was leading the way, so when he turned a corner and spied a pack of Spitters up ahead, taking up residence in the primary corridor that led to the bridge, he was the one who had to deal with the problem first.
He let out a small sound of surprise, snapped his pistol up and let off a couple of shots that put one of them down immediately. Another one turned and fired off one of its spikes. Mark tried to move but he hardly even had a chance. An explosion of burning pain ruptured from his right shoulder and he let out a cry of agony, stumbling backwards and falling flat on his ass. He heard Jennifer say his name, then everything was lost in a staccato haze of gunsmoke and muzzle flare. In that moment, the whole of his world was his pain.
Mark tried to reach up, to grab the spine that was sticking about an inch out of his shoulder, but his finger brushed it and a fresh explosion of pain washed through him, making him almost sick with agony. He was gearing up to make another attempt, then Jennifer was crouching in front of him, eyeing the spine. She shook her head and got out her medkit.
"Well," he said, through gritted teeth, "we'll find out whether or not that vaccination was crap."
Jennifer offered a small laughed. "Yep, hold still," she said.
"What are you gonna-FUCK!" Mark screamed as she pulled out the thin bony spine. He sucked in wind to scream at her, that she should have given him some goddamned warning, but then she was pouring something into his wound that brought a fresh wave of agony and he found himself shouting again.
Jennifer clapped a hand over his mouth. "Please," she said. "Try to contain yourself."
This struck Mark as a hilarious thing to say and it seemed to douse the flames of his anger, bringing them back down to smoldering embers.
YOU ARE READING
Necropolis 4: TerminalHorror
The eleventh novel in The Shadow Wars. Two people have just awoken aboard a deep space research vessel. The Cimmerian. Mark Collins and Jennifer North, a technician and security guard respectively, have absolutely no idea why they were apparently ca...