I watched a part of me die on the floor of a stinking, rotting ship. And two of the miserable creatures responsible for his death were just meters away, behind a locked hatchway door. As I stared at his lifeless figure, the anger boiled over inside me. The frustration and pain gave way to hate and renewed strength. I stood up. I decided that I was going to leave this ship and detonate the power core from the safety of my own vessel. But before that, I was going to end the lives of these two wretched creatures.

I grabbed up the EMD pistol at Maxim’s feet and swiped the pry bar off the floor. Still painfully conscious of my injured ankle, I hobbled to the hatchway of the Power Conversion Locker and put my ear to the door. I heard shuffling and growling from behind. They were trapped animals, mindlessly pacing the room. I took a step back, raised the pry bar, and banged loudly on the door. The trapped LMOs were instantly enraged. There was a hideous screeching and thrashing from the other side. I heard clawed hands tear at the door, and yet I was straining to keep my hands off the latch. I wanted to rip this door open and go after these monsters with every ounce of strength in my body. But if I disengaged the hatchway lock unprepared, the LMOs would come pouring out and overwhelm me in an instant. Already, their renewed banging and thrashing had the hatch door ready to come off the hinges.

The whole door shuddered with each pounding. They were incredibly strong and completely out of their minds. I beat back at the door with the pry bar, smashing and thrashing just as loud. The commotion on the other side reached a feverish level. One of the hinges cracked and began to break loose. I took another step back and checked the EMD pistol, making sure that the amber charge light was at full. Then leveling the pistol at the door, I struck out with the pry bar again and again. A loud ringing of metal on metal filled the corridor, followed by bellows of rage and pounding from the other side. Suddenly, the door came free at the top hinge and bent outward at an angle. I could see through to the other room and they could see me. The LMOs behind the door went wild at the sight of me. Their black-clawed fingers pushed through the small opening at the top corner, madly trying to reach me. These were not typical fishheads. They were hideous, a different type of modified organism altogether. Their skulls were elongated, coming to a slight point at the nose and mouth. Their eyes were wide and set close together, like hunting animals. These were only semi-intelligent beasts, probably soldiers of some sort. They were muscular and toothy and vicious and absolutely determined to tear me apart.

I began to quickly back down the corridor, keeping the pistol aimed high in front of me. Another ferocious slam and the door bent forward, almost in half. Another smash broke the latch free. The last shove sent the door skidding across the corridor floor and out they came. One turned toward me and raced at full speed, clawed feet clicking and scratching across the floor. My heart thumped steady as I lowered the pistol, squeezed the trigger, and sent out a powerful jolt to its center mass. The creature was instantly paralyzed but its momentum kept it moving forward a few more steps. It eventually collapsed to the floor and skidded toward me. As it came to a stop at my feet, I brought the pry bar down on its skull with all the force I could muster. The force of my blow barely made a dent in its tough flesh. I would have to come back to finish this one later. I stood to face the other.

To my horror, the other creature had leapt from the doorway straight at Maxim’s lifeless body and proceeded to tear it apart with long claws and teeth. It was completed engrossed. It fed and tore and gouged like a rabid animal. I was shocked. This was not typical of any LMO I had ever seen. I raised the pistol and shouted. It immediately snapped its attention to me. It turned its body, let out a horrific roar, and began to advance on all fours. As I stepped over the motionless body of the LMO on the floor below me, I wondered who would create such a creature and why? Slowly, it moved down the corridor. It was a terrible sight to see: covered in blood and bits of dead flesh, the creature eyed me like a small piece of prey. Then it charged me at full speed.

With only the pistol between this rampaging horror and myself, I was shaken to the core. I steadied myself and took aim. It was at that time that I noticed that the pistol was still charging up after the last release. At only a few yards away, I pulled the trigger and released a half-blast at the monster. Instantly, it was upon me and I found myself thrown to the floor with the angry beast on top of my body. The pistol was knocked free of my grasp and I immediately began pounding and stabbing at the creature with the pry bar, while it sunk its terrible teeth into my shoulder and began to tear me open.

[Communication sent: 08FEB2186 Shinkai Maru 5]

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