Eric opened his eyes.
He was being moved. Carried. Directly in front of him was a gritty, industrial bulkhead. The wall of a corridor. His right arm hurt, it was being held by something with a powerful grip and that's how he was being dragged. In a flash, he realized that it was one of the monsters, the demonic alien creatures had gotten hold of him. Terror seized him so powerfully that he continued not to move, allowing himself to be dragged along like a limp doll down one of the random passageways of Theseus Station. It was probably for the best.
So far, it didn't seem like they'd tried to take anyone alive.
It probably thought he was dead. And the second he let it know otherwise, he was sure that it would do whatever it could to make him dead. The beast turned a corner and he suppressed a grunt as he was shifted, now he was facing the floor. His faceplate grated against the deckplates as he continued to be dragged along.
Where was it bringing him?
More importantly, why?
Okay, actually, most important of all: how the fuck was he going to get out of this? Wherever he was going, he imagined something bad would happen when he arrived there. Now he was in the awful purgatory of being technically safe so long as he didn't move, but not moving would ultimately result in his death.
How was he going to get out of this?
Just as he was considering doing something stupid, an array of gunfire exploded into existence, pounding the corridor with the strobing lights and pulsing rattles of a high caliber machine gun. Eric was released at once and he thanked God because it felt like his arm was about to come out of its socket. He moved quickly, ignoring the pain that wracked his body from his experiences so far, scrambling to get away from the beast as it roared with a fury unmatched by anything else he'd ever heard. Who was rescuing him?
Autumn? Some survivor from the installation?
As Eric managed to lurch to his feet, he spied a familiar figure further down the hallway, wielding a huge machine gun: Seth. The man had survived and come to his aid. Eric began to pat himself down for a weapon, his pistol, something to help Seth combat the creature, which was racing for him, arms outstretched. But he had nothing. Eric stood, helpless, preparing to watch yet another friend get cut down by the beasts.
But then Seth dodged at the last second, diving forward towards Eric, beneath the reaching grasp of the hideous thing.
"Eric! Here!" he called as he scrambled back to his feet.
He tossed Eric a submachine gun. Eric tried to catch it, missed, heard it clatter to the floor and hurried to snatch it up.
"Keep it busy! I need to get behind it!" Seth shouted.
"Got it!" Eric replied.
No time to think, merely to act. How familiar. He brought the SMG to bear and took aim at the creature, Seth standing beside him. It had swung back around and was now coming for them. He found himself yet again staring into that lunatic grin and those huge, black eyes. It reached out at them with its long arms, its black, pebbled skin glinting in the lights of the corridor. Eric centered the barrel on its big, ugly face and squeezed the trigger. A few of the shots hit home, punching into its open mouth and blood as black as night sprayed out.
The beast loosed a roar and charged.
"Back up! Run!" Seth screamed.
Eric did as he was told, backing up several paces as the thing charged for him. It had locked its eyes onto him. It was coming for him and him alone. Which was probably what Seth had been hoping for. Eric kept firing in short bursts while quickly backing up, though he couldn't seem to draw a bead on any of the creature's vulnerable parts. Instead, he just kept hitting its flesh, which practically seemed to absorb the bullets.
YOU ARE READING
The twelfth novel in The Shadow Wars. Eric Starck is a man adrift. After fighting in the Systems Wars that ravaged the galaxy, he's spent the past three years drifting from one job to the next, never quite feeling comfortable. The latest in a long l...