When it stepped into the corridor and spoke to me, I could not have been more surprised. My skin went cold. Little beads of perspiration rose up and down my back. There was terrible nervousness in my guts, the kind of sensation you get when you’re faced with a potential for great danger… and no available escape.

It pointed at me with a long finger and spoke again, showing a wide grin of tiny teeth. “How did you get back here?”

At the aft end of this level, there was no place to easily retreat. I raised the pry bar to shoulder level and held my ground. This particular LMO was clearly not Spegg. Where did it come from? How did it get here? There was no logical answer for any of this. I then realized that, as shocking as it was to see this one creature, there was probably more danger here than I could imagine.

“Who are you?” I said, low and aggressively.

“You forget something,” it replied, glancing quickly between my gaze and the end of the pry bar.

The LMO took a half-step forward and I shot out my palm to warn it off. “Back away. Back away now!”

“You are not to look me in the eyes, Chikushou.”

It seemed strangely fearless. I adjusted my grip and gave the pry bar a threatening jerk forward, testing its resolve. It barely flinched at all. A very bad sign. Again, it gave a quick glance at the pry bar and took another half step toward me.

“Baka!” It shouted, with a spray of white spittle. “You belong to us.”

“Enough of this!” I shouted back. “Back away and identify yourself!”

It hunched its back and squinted at me menacingly. It showed even more teeth. “I will not take orders from you,” it hissed.

“Yes, you will, hatchery filth!” I shouted back, as I leaned into the empty space between us.

“Gah!” it screamed, and jumped for my neck with both hands open wide.

With no time to dodge its attack, I took a half-step back to shift some of my weight and brought the pry bar down quickly and savagely. The weighty metal bar connected with the LMO’s left eye socket. It was a soft sound, much to my surprise. The socket caved in and the eyeball burst, spraying a sticky fluid across the floor. Under the force of the blow, it dropped to its knees. Its hands reached up to the ruined eye socket. Then, with a quick screech of alarm, it reached out for my leg. I jumped back out of reach. I brought the bar down again, this time connecting solidly on the top of the skull. The LMO collapsed to the floor. Its mouth was curled in agony. It let out a screaming gurgle, loud, very loud.

The pry bar connected again. And again. And again.

[Communication sent: 27JAN2186 Shinkai Maru 5]

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