Skeleton Crew by
Dear reader (s),
This story is a little slow at first but does mature into amore tense,
System Shock experience a little bit more into the story. Soplease, do
exclude this story because it doesn't start off with a BANG.
I woke up. My quarters weresmall and cramped but I liked it that way.
Braun had been good to me all the time of my stay. The doors swished open
I left my room. Outside the hallways weren't lighted. Still must be before
0500. That was when the majority of the crew was awake and working. There
was always a skeleton crew working though. I strode down the corridors
following the dim lights that lined the walls. I felt sorry for the skeleton
crew. They always were working and almost never got any sleep or respect.
you worked on one you had fucked up somewhere else.
I knew this guy, Kessler,who
had dropped a vile of acid onto the floor and
melted through a few decks. Almost immediately he was transferred to the
After my little hike
downthe Hydroponics B sector the lights came on and the
skeleton crew succumbedback to their quarters as a bright new crew took
smiling the Trioptinum smile.
I got to my post and
immediately checked my e-mail. Nothing. We had stopped
moving from the Tau Ceti planet and no one on the ship, and I do mean
knew why.I exited my e-mail screen and got up to check in with my senior
officer. He wanted me to go up to the Med/Sci sector to deliver a package
The elevators were
supposedly fast but to me they always felt like an
eternity moving from sector to sector, deck to deck. Finally, it came
end. The doors opened and the bright lights of the Med/Sci sector shown
my eyes. I adjusted and proceeded. The crew of this sector was always
like a good doctor/nurse should be. I wondered how the skeleton crew of
Med/Sci sector acted. I'd hate to be a patient to one of them...
After asking directions
from about thirty different crewmembers I finally
came to Dr. Janice Politio'soffice. She was lying back in her chair but
quickly lurched forward when I entered.
"Yes?" she asked,annoyed that I had ended her pleasure.
"Delivery from Dr.Smith" I replied trying to keep the warm atmosphere
deck alive in her room.
She grabbed my package
from me and put it in her desk. She then looked back
at me, showing the door in her eyes. I took this message and left. The
closed behind me and I took a deep breath. Phew.
I had not moved when
Dr.Politio came over the loudspeakers. Everyone stopped
moving. Shesounded worried and scared.
Would any nearby doctors and nurses report immediately to my office. Please
evacuate the R and Asector immediately.
Air locks closed and people were moving about in a hurry. It was then
realized that Dr. Politio was behind me and whatever she had found,
discovered, or made was behind me as well. I wanted to run to the elevator
and return back to my work place but I couldnt. I turned and went
Dr.Politios office. She was staring at her computer screen with
didnt look up but started talking.
Doctor, we need you and a security team to get into the R and A
got wounded all over. She looked up with the same face of shock,
resided as she saw a Hydroponics crewmember standing where her doctor
have been. She took a deep breath and called again for doctors and nurses
report to her office. This time three doctors arrived, white trench coats
waving as they ran in.
Dr? Whats wrong? asked the first doctor.
Im not sure, but something broke out of its body bag
and attacked Dr.
Miller. Were waiting for a security team to arrive, then were
in to give aide to those in need. Politio replied with her raspy
I moved over next
to her and looked at the screen. The emergency lights had
been activated. The main power must have been cut. The redlights revealed
some bodies lying on the floor. Dead or alive, I didnt know. Yellow
were flashing next to the red ones. An alarm had been sounded. Something
moving at the bottom of the screen but no one in the room could tell what
was. The doors opened. We all turned around to be met with the straight
of the UNN Von Brauns security force. There was only about five
of them but
they were all armed to the brim with rifles and bullets.
Dr., what is reason for thealarm and evacuation? asked the
he tipped his hat to Politio.
Unexplained attack on the crew of the R and A sector replied
Alright, Dr., youre going to be our eyes and ears. The doctors,
us, and you? the lieutenant looked at me.
Take this, he said as he threw me a side arm.
Wait, no, no, I dontknow- I stuttered as we left Janice
office. But then it clicked. If I didnt do this I could end up on
with that thought in mind I quickly rushed up next
to the crew.
Even the doctors had straight faces without fear.
The lieutenant took out his security card and the door to the R and A
opened. It looked worse than on the computer screen. A body lay right
front of us, mangled and still bleeding. One of the doctors bent down.
Dr. Politio? the doctor spoke into his PDA.
Subject is DOA, he continued as he checked a pulse.
Looks like rifled slugs added a security officer as he chewed
his gum even
We continued down
thehall. A door swooshed open and the officers raised
their weapons as they entered. Nothing. The inside of this particular
had been splattered with blood and rained with bulletholes. The security
officers proceeded to open the freezer in the room. Three
bodies fell out
and hit the ground with a sickening splat. The doctors didnt even
the lieutenant said with command.
If this blood is theres one of the doctors said,
pointing to the
sickening amount of blood on the walls then believe me, they are
We left the room and
I noticed something. The security team was beginning to
look scared. Great the guys with the guns are scared. We made a turn next
to a ladder that led down to a room. One by one the soldiers went down.
They kept signaling everyone down until I was the last one standing on
top floor. I couldnt move. I thought if I looked around I might
something and I thought if I went down I might see something worse. I
my gun and began my decent down the ladder. When I reached the bottom
was more blood. The soldiers checked their surroundings. In front of me
a window that led into the autopsy room where Dr. Miller was pounding
Let me out, there are thousands of these things in here!!!
screamed as he pounded more and more on the window.
We cant, the window is unbreakable. We will proceed down to
immediately replied the lieutenant.
All right Janice, we found Dr. Miller, he doesnt seem to be
injured but- the lieutenant turned around.
whered he go?
The window, which once separated Dr. Miller and us, was bare. The crew
around but found nothing. No Dr. Miller.
Alright people doubletime! shouted the lieutenant as the soldiers
up the ladder.
Once everyone was up top they trotted down the hallway with military
precision, covering and signaling each other. I just played along with
We finally came to
it. The room that was
that was ground zero. Everyone took
a deep breath. The death toll was now in the teens. I think15. God, what
wouldnt give to beback in Hydroponics right now. The lights seemed
gotten darker, a lot darker.
Something fell. A
metallic sound followed. A vile? A container? A rifled
slug? The soldiers slid down the ladder that ledto the autopsy room.
Thousands of metal closets that held bodies surrounded the room. An examining
table was still dripping with blood. I raised my weapon and the doctors
myself went down the ladder and entered the autopsy room.
An audio log lay next
to meand I picked it up. I pressed rewindand listened.
It was Dr. Miller.
What does it say? asked aconcerned doctor.
Well, so far- I was interrupted when a loud pounding came
from one of the
body closets. The soldiers quickly sprang up in front of us and moved
towards the noise. It sounded like someone was yelling, help!
soldiers opened the closet and Dr. Miller, out of breath, collapsed to
floor, coughing like a madman.
Dr. Politio, the package has been retrieved spoke a soldier
into his PDA.
They were all delighted.
you did rem
remember to close, to
close the door
didnt you? murmured Dr.Miller beginning
to stand up.
You mean the R and A sector? Yeah, we got that closed up spoke
with the gum. He had stopped chewing it so violently now.
that door behind
Miller said as he started to
shake, a seizure. I just stood there. In horror we all lookedup to where
door that should have been closed was now open. Nothing was there.
Doctor! yelled the lieutenant, breaking our fixation on the
I wasnt helping; I turned the examination table over and stood behind
pointing my gun at the opendoor.
Hes going into shock! yelled a doctor. There voices
began to fade away.
The room became darker and darker and I realized I couldnt see in
The others noticed this too.
Shit exclaimed one of the officers.
Politio, what the fuck just happened we cant see a damn thing!
another into his PDA.
I slouched over, gun at my knees.
Politio? screamed an officer.
We fucking lost Politio?he added becoming more and more scared.
Shes not responding? a doctor asked.
No, we cant see, we cant know whats out there,
Eric? Eric get a hold ofyourself, ordered the lieutenant seizing
soldier by his scruff.
Sorry sir the soldier said quietly.
It was quiet now.
I couldnt see anyone but I knew they were still there. A
low, very low, raspy voice spoke. It was male but yet horrifyingly familiar.
Your flesh is not of ours, said one.
Summon the discord, said another.
Killlllll me! screamed one as it discharged a slug.
The shot illuminated the room for a split second. I rose from my cover
fired some random shots into the air. I looked over and to see everyone
scrambling for cover, everyone except the lieutenant who had the caught
slug in his neck. He coughed up blood for a second but gave up and went
limp. The doctors had crowded around me behind my cover while
were dispatching the enemy. After somebursts of heavy fire the moaning
the enemy was silenced.
Fuck! We lost thelieutenant, exclaimed the youngest soldier.
What the fuck were thosethings? I asked rising from my cover.
The emergency lights returned showing three dead bodies across from where
lieutenant lay. One looked like Dr. Miller, but somehow,different.
They look infected with something, whispered a doctor to another
I bent down and picked up the lieutenants assault rifle and holstered
Lets move, I said.
The soldiers looked at meand I knew what they were thinking who the fuck
this guy think he is,taking command. But they didntargue with me,
proceeded up the ladder and ran, ran down thehallways. Nothing followed.
We reached the R and
Asector. The lights illuminated the doorvery
Oh, shit, yelled asoldier.
The lieutenant has the card! he added.
Fuck! another one said.
We all just stood
there. One of soldiers started banging on the door to the
Fuck, please let us out!Please!
To everyones surprise we heard the clicking of the R and A sector
through the slot. The door opened revealing a young woman withthe key.
What happened in th-? she uttered before the soldiers shot
her square in
the chest. They turned on us, barrels smoking.
Move back! shouted one of them.
The sector had obviously been evacuated because no one came running at
gunshots. We retreated into the darkness as the door swished closed. From
the other side the three doctors and myself heard one of the soldiers
out their PDA.
Sgt. Bronson? Yes, Corporal Williams here. We have closed off the
Yes, we did. Four of them are in there now. Yes sir, they did pose a threat.
Thank you, sir
Corporal Williams put his PDA away and walked
away with the
rest of his skeleton crew of soldiers.
TO BE CONTINUED
More to Come