Private Lance swallowed deeply and clutched at his plasma rifle “D-d’you think it could b-be…aliens?”
Commander Ellen shot Lance a sour look. “Don’t be ridiculous! There hasn’t been a Kananites sighting in—”
The words died on his throat as he swept his flashlight across the room and spotted the unmistakable hunched, spiny back of a Kananite.
“Well…I’ll be damned!”
The creature was stooped down on its haunches; Lance could see the thick muscles rippling through its scaled hide as it busied itself hacking up an unspeakable drooling viscera all over the ship’s hull.
Lance readied his rifle, determined to end the creature’s life before it could call its brethren, but Ellen lowered it with a gently push of his elbow. “Stow it,” he ordered. “If you miss, you puncture the hull and we’re all toast.”
Lance flicked the gun’s safety on and felt his stomach boil at the sight of the creature. It glistened with perspiration and ran a three-clawed hand along the wall, shredding cables and ripping through panels and smearing tacky blood in its wake.
Ellen checked his belt; it was fully stocked with grenades and ammo, all of it now completely useless. He didn’t even dare call it in, lest the creature be roused. He’d seen what happens when the Kananites swarmed and had no desire to witness it again.
“Fall back,” he whispered. Their only real hope was to slink away and regroup, maybe depressurise the entire deck just to be sure.
The creature reared up suddenly and snapped its head around. Cold, snake-like eyes narrowed as it locked eyes with them and its dripping jaw split open in a hissing roar, revealing rows of jagged, razor-like teeth.
Terror shot through Ellen as the Kananite straightened up; despite the slight hump from the sharp fins adorning its back, it stood around eight foot and it clenched tis talons in anticipation. Ellen estimated they had less than a heartbeat before the creature closed the distance and made mincemeat of their innards and made the only choice he could.
“Take this!” he stuffed the grenade belt into Lance’s shocked hands.
“Take it! Go knock out the main gennie!” and, before the Private could argue further, Ellen tossed his rifle aside, pulled out his knife, and charged at the beast.
Lance’s training and respect for the chain of command kicked in instantly and he was making a tactical withdrawal before even stopping to question it. Behind him, the Commander’s shrieks of agony echoed throughout the ship’s narrow corridors and were soon replaced by the sound of ripping flesh and splattered gore.
The emergency lights pulsated wildly as Lance gripped the Commander’s grenade belt, realised there was only one choice left…
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