Chapter 13: Ashen Skies

78 6 0

Eric frowned as he laid eyes on the planet before them.

They had finally arrived at the set of coordinates Callie had given them and although he was glad that they hadn't flown into a black hole or a trap of some kind, (so far, anyway), he didn't like the looks of the planet they'd found. It was mostly black with crimson lines running through it, what looked to be a very volcanically activate planet. It made him think of Ash. He tried to shake off those feelings, instead focusing on the screens before him and Weller as she brought them in closer to the unknown world, running various scans on it.

"Well?" Drake asked, who stood at her other side. Stacker and Porter were back in the armory, suiting up for the mission ahead.

"So far, I don't detect anything in the region or in orbit around the planet," Weller replied.

"That's a good start," Eric muttered.

"Is it a dead end? Is Erebus here?" Drake asked.

"Hold on," Weller replied.

She finished bringing them in closer and settled them into a high orbit over the planet. Eric's eyes drifted back up to the windows and to that wretched, barren surface. He hated the feelings of ominous dread it gave him, the way icy horror crept through his body. But he also felt drawn to it, as if he had to keep watch on it.

Just in case...

In case what?

With an effort, he looked back down at the screens, scrutinizing the information being displayed from the sensors and scanners.

"I've got a power signature and some communications, outgoing and incoming," Weller replied.

"Can you decipher them?" Drake asked.

She paused, then shook her head. "They're too tightly packed and complex to figure out, at least in a short amount of time. With several days, maybe. And I can't trace where they're going or coming from, either. Otherwise, this whole planet is dead, civilization wise. No other power signatures, no other communications, nothing I can see. Of course, our sensors are having a difficult time punching through the atmosphere."

"Bring us in and get us as close to that signal as you can. And rescan the area once we get down there, through the atmosphere," Drake said.

"Got it," Weller replied.

The planet began to grow again as they headed for the atmosphere. Drake turned and headed out of the bridge. Eric followed him.

Neither of them spoke as they made their way back through the small ship and into the armory where they found the others prepping themselves for the mission ahead. Eric was still thinking about what Porter had told him. He tended to be a worrier, but in all fairness, life had given him a lot of reasons to worry. It had shit on him so many times that he'd just basically come to expect more shit to be coming his way. Honestly, it was kind of what had provoked him into taking this job. If his life was going to be shitty all of the time, then he might as well be doing something worthwhile. Tons of great people had had miserable lives.

Taking care of these threats, eliminating these lethal creatures, or defusing these strange situations, they were pretty unquestionably good. He had rescued a lot of people. But this whole idea of life being out to get him, well...he couldn't exactly abandon the notion. It just felt too perfect, all the things that had happened to him. Logically speaking, he could usually write it off as bad luck. But when he laid awake at night, thinking of it all...

Sometimes it seemed like someone high up had it out for him.

Or something maybe. And given the kind of paranormal, supernatural, and extraterrestrial threats he'd been dealing with lately, it seemed somehow more likely. What if there was some actual, scientific version of a curse that was following him around, subtly manipulating reality against him? It sounded absolutely crazy, but so did the events of Ash or that asteroid he'd lost everyone on. It was some seriously crazy shit.

Into the VoidRead this story for FREE!