Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Survey: A First Law: Override short story - Part 3

The attack had been so sudden, Craig wasn't sure exactly what had happened. He recognised the ship and it's insignia, but as if it was something from a dream rather than real life.

Further explosions ripped across the dig site as more ships revealed themselves. From behind Craig heard someone shouting.

"Where's the army guys? They're supposed to protect us from this shit!" This was quickly muted by more screams as another explosion erupted within the dig site.

He wasn't sure when it had happened but Craig knew that at some point one of these explosions must have knocked him to the ground. There was a wet warmth against his chest and clutching at the sensation he felt something long and sharp sticking into his chest and pulling his hands to his face he saw they were bright red with blood. Craig strained his neck to see what had happened but to his own dismay he found his every attempt to move his neck caused an intense shock of pain to wash over himself. Instead he resided himself to just lay there and observe what was occurring while he waited to die.

Craig had always assumed he would have been scared of death; thought that when it finally came for him, he would want to cling on to life with everything he could. Right here however, clutching a shard of constructing metal as his blood pooled wetly on the frozen ground, he no longer feared death at all. It was his final release, an opportunity for him to be reunited with Anna after so long apart.

Craig's head lolled to the side where it didn't hurt and he felt his cheek now slick with his own blood begin to stick to the ice below. He thought he could see her coming for her now; Anna his wife. She strode with power and authority, without a care in the world. He reached out for her, hoping she would grab his hand, lift him high away from all of this and together they would leave this horrid world.

She was nearer now and Craig realised his error. It was not his Anna and at this distance he scolded himself for ever thinking it was. Before him stood what looked like a human, but in all fairness to Craig it could have originally been any of the humanoids from the Outer Fringe. It appeared to be wearing an armour plated body suit, however on second inspection it became obvious that the armour was not a suit but instead grafted onto it's skin. Craig was unable to establish if this humanoid was either male or female as no clear gender was apparent.

As the figure approached, Craig felt a shiver down his spine as the full grotesque of the humanoid was revealed to him. One arm had been replaced with what appeared to be a long, sharp, black metal spike, and as it walked it stopped over every worker either unconscious or dying. As it did so, it's right eye now covered by a strange lens that connected to the back of hi't head via a series of cables and wires, would either flash a brilliant green in which case the humanoid would keep on walking, or it would instead flash a red warning and the creature would stab it's victims through the head with it's long spike arm.

Struggling with fear, Craig was able to make out a second figure behind the first, it scuttled about on four robotic spider legs, but it's upper body was very much humanoid. It's face appeared to be covered by a mask of some sort and it's left arm was mechanical, covered in row upon row of bright coloured syringes. Craig couldn't help but gasp as he saw this spider legged monstrosity scuttling up to any that it's humanoid companion had left alive before stabbing it repeatedly with all manner of syringes from it's mechanical arm.

By now the first figure was upon him, it grabbed him by the neck and held his head ever so slightly off the floor. Craig screamed as his neck agonised at the humanoid's touch. This close to the figure Craig could make out the strangest of smells, like preservative mixed with lubricating oil. It looked at him with a single living eye that appeared almost human and in a moment it's lens obscuring it's other eye flashed a vividly bright green.

Dropping Craig back to the floor the spike handed figure turned away from him and began pacing to the next human. Craig held his breath as he waited for the spider legged companion to arrive and as if on queue he heard the scuttle of it's mechanical legs.

Up close Craig could make out so much more of this multi legged creature, what he had previously thought was a mask, Craig could now see was actually a sheet of metal that had been grafted over and into the creature's face. The metal had three large holes cut into it, behind the top two Craig could just about see a pair of shadowed bloodshot eyes that stared continuously without blinking. From behind the third lower hole a thick yellow coloured mucus seemed to drip and steam would erupt following the sound of a throaty rasp.

Craig closed his eyes and awaited the needles and syringes to thrust their way into his skin and not before too long his patience was rewarded by the sensation of three thick needles being thrust one by one into his chest, each one leaving behind a chemical under his skin that seared and burned. Craig smiled as he felt the world darken around him and he longed to see his wife again.

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

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