Carrie

   It all had to move quickly. He needed some way to get inside the group, needed to replace one of the squad. Sadly that would mean that his regular exchange would not be fast enough. Luckily he had a team of his own waiting. Quickly a provisional mask was used to pass the gate. Trusting the intelligence, he found a suitable target and got it to run straight back to his own team. Took the shape, down to each detail, down to the voice. Stole whatever gear was near and moved on.

   The grey skinned, white haired woman sat on the steps for the jetcopter. Reading the mission briefing once more while in contemplation rubbing the lightning tattooed on her cheek. Since the mission would be mostly close quarters she had gotten out the old armour for once. Still a perfect fit, a perk of being a living machine. “Morning Silver” Suddenly took her attention as a short black form arrived. He looked like he had black tights with metal platings, though she knew that it wasn’t tights. He was quite differently built then most other machines, but also got was much quicker that way. “No Kage, Triple?” It was really 666 after the small metal plate tied around his arm, his serial she guessed, but that wasn’t as easy to say. The small aiding machine Kage had recently been broken and there had been no time to repair it before getting with this mission, 666 explained while correcting his katana and lighting a cigarette.

   After a moment of small talk another pair arrived. Loke and Metro. Metro looked young, acted young as well, but well worth the trouble once battle started. He had the standard armour as Silver had, but instead of green, as was the regular colour, his was red. If someone asked why he’d reply that it was to show his affinity with bleeding out plasma from each of his pores and being able to control it. Knowing him, it probably was a mistake that he went along with. Some form of accident in the past. He held a bright smile on his lips as he moved closer in contrast with Loke whom grimly watched 666 before looking over towards Silver. Instead of an armour Loke had a grey camouflage suit. Created to be a shape-shifting spy it was in his nature to look his environment. He had gained another purpose as well as of late. A battle scholar. The place they are heading for might be out of contact with the headquarters, but Loke had read every note in the hunter database at least once. Which made him very important. “What is this I am hearing, Ma’am? Will this… thing be guarding me all the time?” He motioned towards Metro. She explained that that was the intention, while Metro giggled.

   Once the ‘kick-me’-sign on Lokes back was found and the two of them had stopped arguing the next group got onto the helipad. The youngest trio of the Hunters overall. They had been conscripts for a moment but all three had quickly turned into regular soldiers. All three of them had bonded early on and now seemed inseparable. Not that anyone minded, they made a great team. Woods, the short one with long black hair, now in a ponytail. She was mostly quiet, but give her a gun or rifle or even a bow and she’d be able to quickly adapt and not only get the target each time, but she’d hit the bullseye. She carried a big rifle, the kind that Silver had used many times herself whenever she acted with the sniper-squad. Next to her walked Barker. A big man, with a morning-stubble for a beard. He was tall and about as wide, mostly muscles. Not the brightest of people, but certainly handy in a fight. Not that he’d ever be able to win over 666, in their eyes 666 was much fitting the name “devil”. Lock walked in front of the other two, being the leader of the group. Thick, red, curly hair fell down her back and her shoulders, covering the part of her that showed her difference. Her mechanical ears that turned her into a cyborg instead of a human as the other two. They also gave her better hearing, better balance and quicker reflexes. She had been dismissed from the marines before getting called to the hunters. Subordination. With the hunters she had gained a looser leech and seemed to enjoy her presence a lot more. It was explained that their lateness was due to Barker peeing himself, while Barker loudly explained that it was spilled beer that had him change his clothes. As they passed Silver entering the jetcopter, Woods whispered that it had just been regular water, with a wink.

   As it was questioned if someone else would arrive, he rushed through the gates, excusing himself for being late again and again. Snex explained that his armour had been to small and that he had to adjust it before coming. His armour had been regular armour once upon a time, but had been altered and changed time upon time and now looked quite different to the others armours. He had added pockets and hidden compartments everywhere, to store mostly one of the same things. Explosives. Other areas of the armour had been improved to withstand that very use. He smiled brightly and gave Silver, his wife, a quick kiss before boarding. Followed by the 666 and Silver.

   Well in the air the questioned was asked as of what the mission were. After the initial jokes about not knowing even that, Silver passed on the question to Loke whom got everyones attention. He explained that there were a ship that had resurfaced. An old oil-tanker that had been rebuilt to suit a more scientific resource. What science was sought on the ship was unknown, but only a month before the ship had vanished from detection. Only a few hours ago it had reappeared and was not answering the transmissions sent to it. It was, however, concluded that the transmissions did arrive, meaning that no one was answering. If there had been an accident or a hostile takeover was unknown. Their mission was to aid the scientists and crew in whatever problem there might be, and if something has happened those on the ship, salvage what they can of the science preformed there.

   Carrie

   As they flew over the pacific, they could see the tanker grow in the distance. The enormous machine looked dead in the midday light. No movement were visible and it didn’t seem to be any lights lit anywhere. The ship lit up on their radar-beacon, electricity seemed to be working well enough to keep the communication tower active. As they came closer they could see long stretches of rust along it’s side. On the starboard side was a long deep cut into the ship. Cutting past the outer hull. Loke explained that the cut wouldn’t have reached the oil tanks. There would be another hull inside. In big white letters, the name ‘Carrie’, was written on the stern. They tried once more to get communications with the tanker and failed before setting down on a big open area on the deck. Woods sat ready with the sniper rifle the whole time, just in case. It could be pirates. Nothing happened. They quickly got of the jetcopter and held ground as it lifted again and started away. Not to return until the next day or in emergencies. They would have to take care of themselves. Quickly they headed along the deck, past the cranes and over the tank hatches to the aft-extension.

   666 opened the bridge door and entered first. Empty, dust everywhere. No people and no bodies. The others quickly followed into the big room. “All right, set up camp here for now.” Silver started ordering. “Lock, take your team and check the surrounding area. Loke check these controls, tell me if anything looks funny” “And what do you want me to do?” Snex asked with a sly smile moving close. Pushing him back she replied “Find the cabin with Triple. We need to see if the captain is around, if not head towards the quarters. If he is, get him here” Lock, Woods and Barker left directly and went into the corridors on the same floor. Grouching Snex left with 666 and went downwards. Metro stood by the controls for a moment, in contemplation before Silver ordered him not to touch anything. Anything. Then she moved on to the communication system and reported back through the interlink to base that they had arrived and that the ship seemed empty so far. Loke then reported that the ship in fact worked, but the engines would have to be started in the engine room. That there was something in on of the oil tanks, if it was oil couldn’t be said from these controls, only that one of the tanks was full. Silver decided that they’d hold their ground for now, until they know more.

   As Snex and 666 moved downwards the question if the cabin wouldn’t be on the same floor as the bridge was asked, being the captains sleeping quarters. Then came jokes about Silvers affinity with vehicles as they continued down. Mostly it was Snex whom talked. The corridors was tightly built and strangely dusty everywhere. No signs of people moving through in a long time. Rust had crept through the metal at some areas, marking red corners. There were still light everywhere, both to their surprise and relief. Following signs on the walls, they found their way to the passenger quarters area.

   Lock opened the big bulk door into the cabin and stood ready with her rifle before shrugging back by an extremely bad smell. Both Barker and Woods reacted shortly after, standing too close to the door. Covering her mouth Lock entered the room. A rather big room, with elegant furniture bolted into the floor. On a table was what formally would have been known as food set for two. Now the food had rotten, worms had taken over instead and in their turn had died. Quickly they found a paper-bin, threw the horrible thing into it and it all out the window. Opening all the windows directly afterwards. Then they all started to look around. There was a well carved bed, proudly standing in one of the corners. Well made. A small cupboard containing a bible and a small codebook. They took the codebook. There was a desk, where they found the captains logbook, closed with a small padlock, a map and a pistol. Some paperwork as well, but they were of no interest at the moment. They studied the map and found how the captain had marked their route for the entire journey. Marking dates. The ship had travelled all over the world, but in the middle of the lower southern ocean the markings stopped. Barker was about to open the small kitchen fridge before getting stopped by the other two. Woods got to carry both the books as she had an impracticable weapon for the small corridors and tight surroundings in general.

   The duo arrived in the quarters area. They quickly moved down the tight corridor, checking room for room, bunk for bunk. No people there. At some places, games were set, cards, chess and similar. In other places books lay folded open in the bunk or the footlockers. They even found a toothbrush with crispy dry toothpaste on. Nothing seemed touch, yet if the ship had been abandon for a few days things would have moved by the gentle swaying of the ship itself. Snex tried to report in about the empty quarters, but the conversation was difficult as there was a lot of static interference. “Thick metal hull” 666 explained as he knocked on the wall “Where do we head now?” Snex shrugged “Silver said that we should check around, let’s see if we can find the science area” In agreement, they went along. Leaving the area empty once more.

   Barker entered the galley first. A large room with a bunch of long tables. By one of the walls a long buffet with all kinds of containers. All of them gratefully closed. Looking through the plastic cover, the food looked about the same as the one found in the cabin. Rotten and so old that even the maggots had died. They stopped a moment and looked out the big windows along the room. The ocean was calm, almost still, with the bright sun hanging in the sky. There was no land, no other ships, no birds in the air, close to no clouds in the sky. The eerie emptiness fell upon the group and they watched the vast space before them in silence. Then Lock cleared her throat and urged to move on. The kitchen was as empty as the rest of the ship. Before whatever happened, the chef had finished doing the food for crew. Everything stood in order and some of the plates and cutlery stood in water. A vague smell of soap rose from it. They didn’t dare open the fridges. Before they left the dining hall, Barker excused himself for some private business and entered the bathroom. The two others walked out on the catwalk outside, and watched the view once more.

   When they entered the ‘science hall’, as the signs called it, they were hit with darkness. The light from the door wasn’t enough to show much more then the thin catwalk they came out on. No windows seemed to let in light either and a strange smell of morning dew filled the air. They quickly found a switch to pull that gave light. Massive construction lights slammed on in the same floor they stood on. Another switch gave light on a floor above them and a third on a floor below. Everywhere were catwalks, giant machines and all sorts of strange gadgets. Everything turned off. In the middle of the further wall stood a machine with such an enormous frame that it reached from the bottom floor to the top ceiling. Firmly built into the wall. Snex and 666 decided that they’d split up to check the room quicker. Constantly able to hear each other. Snex went up a floor while 666 started on the one they stood on.

   The upper floor stood empty. Machines interconnected with each other and all kinds of equipment. A table stood with different kinds of paper. Snex tried to lift it but it crumbled and broke, as if soaked in water and dried. Being more careful he noticed that the text was illegible anyway, smeared out. There was nothing else there that he could understand what it were. Until he found a small box hanging in a cable from the ceiling. The control button to open then main hatch. Pressing it, enormous engines turned on and let light in from the outside and he could see the sky. They met up with each other, 666 hadn’t found anything else of interest. Paper was destroyed and neither dared to start the machines. They headed out over the ships open deck.

   The trio returned to the bridge where Loke was investigating the navigation equipment. Judging that the ships position seemed very wrong from where they actually were. Being informed of the map he headed away quickly for the cabin to fetch it. Metro got scolded a moment later for not following, then ran to catch up. Woods gave the books to Silver and, after a gentle tug, the lock on the logbook was removed. The last remaining pages read as followed:

   ‘March 24
We have positioned ourselves by the beacon set by the scientist group. Josef Marshall told me that we should keep the beacon under constant view as the experiment was underway. The crew all seem mostly nervous about this run. The last one worked perfectly, but a object of this size would be something completely different. Josef Marshall keeps reassuring everyone that it all will go just as ‘splendid’ as the last one. The scientists all seem to agree with him. Even little Sara seem to think that it will be all right. Personally, I think it might not be as safe as they said. I did eyewitness the result of that failed process and I still get nervous whenever he smiles towards me. I guess I’

   The rest of the pages was ripped, not completing the sentence. When Silver asked where they might be, Lock nervously explained about the paper-bin. Nonetheless the order was given to Loke and Metro to check the cabin more thoroughly for the last few pages. Moments later Snex reported in from the main deck, the both of them in clear view from the bridge window. He explained what they had seen and as Barker heard about the playing cards he insisted that they’d go get them. Silver let him and Woods go as she started discussing with Lock if it would be a wise decision to make a deep search of the ship or they should start head back to the main land. Salvage the ship. As Loke and Metro returned, unsuccessful, Loke thought that they “Should at least check the engines and repair them if it’s possible” Then they both started down the many stairs towards the engine room. Snex and 666 got sent into the bow to look around there. “Where have they all gone?” Silver muttered. No sign of violence. No bodies or remains. It looked like everyone just left everything and went. The two of them stood in silence and studied the ocean outside. Woods returned. Pointing on her stomach “Bathroom again” explained where Barker were.

   Metro gave Loke a ten dollar bill as they moved down the tight staircases. “How did you know there would be no one around?” A short shrug was the response. The metal in the walls were riddled in rust and they kept complaining as the boat rocked back and forth. The lower they got, the worse it seemed. Bigger areas of the walls were covered, the grating of the staircase started to redden as well. Rust seemed to shake of with each step they took. They stopped when they came so far down that the lights further down were broken. It started with every other light, but now all of them. With still a few floors to go, Metro advised the route back. No one would hear their radios. “Wanna bet the staircase is broken?” Then they moved on, flash-lights in hand. It was dark without windows, the air tasted of iron and they could hear how the water slammed on the ships hull. Suddenly the step Loke landed on broke and he fell into the darkness below. A deep thud sounded. Metro leaned over the hole and looked down between the rusted broken metal spikes coming out of the walls. The staircase below this one was broken as well and nothing was seen until the bottom floor. He quickly started to climb the short metal stumps, holding hard in the railing as he moved downwards. Shouting Lokes name, getting it echoed back. He tried to move faster as he went along, especially when the metal started to complain about his weight. Running, stumbling, almost falling he got himself down to the next floor, the very last one, he jumped down.

   He landed in water, deep enough to cover his foot. Loke was a few steps away from him, motionless. Feet pointing the wrong direction. Metro cursed as he found himself carrying Loke on his back, jogging through the tight rusted corridor. Water seemed to be everywhere, dripping of the ceiling, covering the floors. Not being able to return the way they had came, he moved forward. Towards the engine room. He had troubles knowing where to step, since the light got vague. Holding the flash light while carrying Loke was difficult to do with precision.

   The engine room was big, his steps echoed. Metro left Loke by the entrance and started to look around. Knowing that he wasn’t as smart as Loke, he still decided that he would try to get things running. Pipes, enormous machines, giant pistons, rust and dents. He found a control board with buttons and switches, but all the signs had been washed off. Instead of randomly pushing buttons he got to Loke. Metro tried to wake him, slapped him, shock him, poured water on him. No reaction.

   It had been a while and Barker had not returned. Lock and Woods got sent to fetch him, leaving Silver alone in the bridge. She stood, leaning on the equipment, looking out over the main deck. She could just barely see down the big open hatch and the strange machine inside. Knowing the regular communication device wouldn’t work down to where they were, she went over to the ships internal system instead. Turning it on she heard dripping water from the speaker, as if the device was active somewhere else. She could not use it as it was. Then there were footsteps. Entering through the door was another Silver. She twitched seeing herself standing before her. The new Silver started talking and moving, doing the very same things that she had done herself once she had boarded the bridge the first time. Thinking it as some mind-trick, Silver went over to hold her new self. As she clasped the arm, the new Silver shoved her away with full force. Pushing her over one of the control boards. Then screamed, falling to her knees. The hair quickly grew longer, the tattoo vanished. Lock came rushing in and the new Silver vanished. “Why are you screaming?” Silver stared at her before she tried to put what happened into words. Shortly after Barker returned, looking worried. Woods had been sent to the roof as a lookout, as was Barker when he entered. “Something is going on, no one should be alone”

   He stood by the solid metal door, talking through the com-devices crackling connection. The other hatches had been different. A simple wheel would’ve opened those. This one, on the other hand, was wired to a computer screen. Shining letters asking for a locked combination. 666 didn’t know how to open it. Over the com, Snex explained that explosives might not be a wise idea. The ship being an old oil-tanker, it might be oil inside. The fumes could ignite if exposed to enough heat. Instead, Snex was heading back towards the bridge. Trying to get a connection. For a moment 666 stood alone, without contact. In the complaining corridor. He heard a quiet scratching further down one of the paths. Following the sound, he found his way to a dead end. The sound was within the walls. After a quick surveillance he found a small garbage chute down the inside of the hull. With a flash-light he looked down. There was a small form that, when hit by the light, let go of the walls and fell quickly down the long shaft. Before he could follow, Snex’s voice rang in his ear again. Explaining of how to open the door. 666 didn’t mention what he had seen.

   Slowly the door creaked open. The rusted hinges made it hard to even move. As soon as the opening was wide enough, the air gushed on him. The smell hit him. Rotting flesh. Holding his nose he could look down from the small catwalk balcony. Glimmering blue water and bodies. Lots and lots of floating dead bodies. Decomposed and rotting, swollen with the fluid. Men and women in white robes and sailor uniforms. 666 went out of the room quickly, closed the door and stood panting. Pulling for air. He stumbled as he moved, forcing his steps to a ladder and got to the main deck. Laying on his back to breath. Simply breath.

   Next thing he knew, Snex sat kneeling beside him wondering how he was. “Found the crew. All dead” then went on to explain what he had seen. Snex turned white when listening. He then added that something strange was happening on the ship and that they were to find their way to the engine room. Check on Metro and Loke.

   Metro laughed maniacally when Loke started to blink. “It’s ALIVE!!!” His scream echoed through the tight corridor “ALIVE!!!” After a quick recap, Loke found himself on Metros back, being carried into the engine hall. They paused by each machine, making judgement of which might work and which might not. Most of the machines were broken. Rust had taken the best of them. Some of the pipes had holes and with the ankle high water everywhere, Loke doubted about some of their functions. Metro, wanting to regain his money, made a bet that they would or that they, together, would be able to repair them. The bet was made and they started. Metro took the toolbox he had used to wake Loke up and got to work. Sitting back and relaying on explanations of Metro to give him instructions of what to do, Loke suddenly heard something. Water splashing, too loud to be water dripping. He got Metro to be quiet and listen. The sound disappeared shortly after. Metro started sneaking towards the source when Loke asked him to wait. “It might be a trap” Metro added that it would be safer to attack then to wait. Especially since Loke wouldn’t be able to defend himself. They started argue about it. Loudly after a few moments.

   Walking downwards through thin and rusty metal corridors, Snex kept trying to find a connection with Loke or Metro. After a while 666 added that he couldn’t hear his attempts on his own device. Snex asked to try with that one as well, not knowing which one was the right one. They slowly noticed how everything started to fall apart, deeper they went. More rust on the walls. A broken staircase forced them to try for another path. Snex suddenly stopped by an open hatch, arming himself. 666 quickly drew the claws in his hands and headed into a small box-room. A bullet ran into his torso and out the other side. The thick metal door closed behind him, as he fell to the ground, sealing shut. He was completely locked in.

   Silver had moved to the railing outside the bridge and were overlooking the main deck, mostly the opening to the science-hall. Through the broken sound of her earpiece, Snex voice came out explaining that 666 had vanished. He had looked around some before he had opened the door to the locked tank. Silver sat down as Snex described what he had seen. Holding her stomach. Soon afterwards, Lock came out, looking pale as well. They gave each other a short hug before moving into the bridge again. Checking all the instruments to check up on the engine-team. A small light would be all that would show if they succeeded or not. So far it was turned off.

   Snex arrived as Silver gave up on contacting Barker and Woods. Then they tried to contact the HQ, but only received static. Aggravating static. Not getting any contact, they decided to check on them and moved to the roof together, the three of them. The roof was empty, the radar tower stood still and as Snex sat down by the machinery he noticed how parts were missing. Sabotage. Someone was on the ship with them, someone wanting them harm. They moved on, checked the bathroom on a hunch. There they found Barker, tied to the ceiling by wires and cables. His armour broken and his skin bruised. They quickly cut him down and found that he still were alive, but only barely. Lock stayed behind as the rest rushed to the sickbay.

   Earlier, Barker pulled his pants up as he flushed. He looked over towards the other one as he exited the stall. “Why are you in here?” He asked as he started to rinse his hands. In the mirror he could see how the other come against him with a big metal pipe. He didn’t have time to react.

   Now, in the engine room, Metro proudly boasted of how he just won the bet. With greasy hands he moved to the instrument panel and pushed engine start. With a big cough, the engine made a power effort to start. Metal scratching, breaking. An oil pipe suddenly broke and Metro rushed over to seal it, after he had pushed the panic-stop button. Loke was impressed, the big pistons had started to move. They were not far off. Tying the cloth he had used to wipe his hands, Metro stopped the oil rush. Not giving up, he looked inside the cabins and the desks in the far end of the room. Finding sealing foam. Drenched in oil, he got back to the pipe and started sealing it shut, temporarily, but more permanent then the rag he had already used. “Carrie tummy move?” The question came from a small platform overhead. A small women sat almost hidden by the big machines, peeking down on them. Metro, being busy only gave her a quick look. Loke started talking, asking who she was. She started to laugh and climbed over to the machine with a limber motion “Sara Sara” Stated as if obvious. She jumped down beside Loke. Her clothes was ripped and broken. Dirty. Her skin were cut and bruised, long scars covered her arms and legs. The hair had been cut at different lengths and she was dirty in oil and sweat. She reeked of old sweat. She asked who they were. Loke tried to sit up straight, but his legs hurt when he tried to brace on them. He presented themselves, and their positions. Sara moved across the watery floor to Metro as he finished up, after having stared at Loke as he talked. “Metro heal Carrie?” It took him a moment to understand what she meant then nodded, smiling. “Trying to” Metro said, patting the ship engine. She seemed happy with the response. Loke tried to ask what she was doing here but before she answered she stopped, looked towards the doors to the rooms then ran off. Metro tried to grab her but he slipped in the oily patch and she quickly disappeared behind a corner. A second later Snex entered the room, asking who they were talking to.

   Shade watched the two of them as they started to talk about the engines. They were hiding something. If it was from him or his mask, he wasn’t sure. Most likely the mask. He listened to their explanations as he studied the machine. Snex would’ve started helping them, so Shade did as well. Once more he asked about who had been there but Loke pretended as they were joking. Making a pretend voice of Silver, an impressive impression but not enough to convince him. Then it was revealed why Loke didn’t move. They were tempting, very tempting. A cripple and a fool. He would be able to take them both out without either being able to get a word to the others. He would be able to make them vanish. Asking for his help, Metro set up a toolbox on a small table. They kept talking about what was needed to do to fix the engine. It seemed as if it would work as well. He so wanted to play with them but they were needed. With a bright smile, he cursed inside as he got to work.

   Silver found the door open as the two of them arrived. Cautiously she entered first to find 666 sitting on a bench tying a bandage over his chest, saying he was shot. Before able to say who had shot him, Snex entered and 666 charged him in a heartbeat. The brawl wrecked most of the sickbay before Silver got hold of 666 and pulled him off. Snex, laying startled and hurt on the floor. 666 kept calling Snex a traitor seemingly unaware that the stitches beneath his bandage had broken. After few more moments of loud complaints he passed out. Silver stayed as Snex limped away with the salvaged equipment needed for Barker. It was an easy matter to repair the stitches and to wake 666 again. Now calmer than before. He described to her what had happened and that Snex could not be trusted. Hearing of the radar-tower, he saw it as more evidence that Snex was a ‘false’ Snex. After some convincing he agreed on keeping quiet in the hopes of tricking the doppelgänger to reveal himself.

   Barker was stable when they got to the bathroom. Laying on a stretcher, ready to be moved. With the sickbay broken, they got everyone to the bridge. The already established origin of operation. As Lock asked about 666 wounds he simply stated “I didn’t see the shooter”. An answer good enough for her. Snex said nothing. With Barker put comfortably aside, Silver mentioned the fact about a possible spy within their numbers. “Tell me something no one else would know except me” The com-devices securely turned of and removed. Lock mentioned their first meeting and how it ended in sparks. Literally. Snex started “In bed you-” then got cut off by Silver. 666 mentioned a subterfuge order he had been part with long ago. They then decided on a password before turning on the headsets again.

   The entire ship resonated with twisting metal as the engines suddenly started to turn. The complete metal body started to propel itself forward, slowly. A lot of cheering was heard in the bridge as hope returned to them all. Moments later Metros voice in screaming panic echoed through the static in the headphones and the cheering stopped. From the parts getting through, something was hunting him. Then it was cut off.

   They quickly started discussing tactics of a rescue mission. Then 666 foretold a plausible situation “It’s probably a trap”. He continued that if the spy within their rank could take their shape, they surely could take the voice as well. Metro sounded to good to be beneath the hull. The suggestion to let it go and build a stronghold within the bridge area took a silent response. After a few moments Lock started to oppose, even if it was a trap they should investigate. Silver agreed with 666 which got Lock into a loud rant about honour in the field. She refused to listen to any explanations and left on her own.

   With quiet voices Snex and Silver started talking about the route they should travel to get the tanker to a safe harbour. The mention of fixing the communication tower silently ran away. The two of them didn’t want to split up. If nothing else they had to protect the harmed people. 666 frowned upon that conclusion, but kept his mouth shut. They redirected the giant ship and turned up the speed some. Suddenly the intercom sounded off and Metros voice rang through the entire ship. “Testing, Test… Haha! This one worked, Loke!” He then continued with explaining that the engine had broken down, fixed now but it would be very unwise to push it to hard. Lokes condition was mentioned as well with a groan from Loke in the background. As it got silent, Silver quickly moved over to their end of the intercom. She made the conversation short by ordering them to come back up as quick as possible, that included Lock. Then added a “Good job” before hanging up. Snex was relieved that they were all right but 666 kept a frowning face “Which one is real? The one screaming earlier or this one?”.

   Turning off the intercom he turned to pick up Loke again, with a groaning effort. Just around the corner Sara sat crouching and looked on the both of them with puppy-dog eyes. She held her stomach as she pained spoke “Sara tummy ache. Metro heal?” They looked at her surprised for a moment before Metro put down Loke again. He leaned down in front of her, smiling, asking how it felt. After a moment of hardly understood explanations Loke said that she might be hungry. Metro, having some candy in his pocket, gave her some. Sara ate it quickly, then asked for more. Metro reluctantly gave everything he had and she still asked for more. It had helped, just not enough. Metro looked over to Loke whom shock his shoulders. Then he asked Sara to follow them up top and they would give her more. She happily agreed.

   They soon found that all the stairs were broken, leaving no way up. Rust and time had broken down the entire area. Still, the ankle deep water never seemed to get deeper. Metro wouldn’t have any problems climbing the parts still sticking out from the stairs, without Loke. If only Snex had hung around he could have helped them. Metro really didn’t want to leave him behind. Sara then spoke about a hidden path. With no other choice, they followed her into some of the smaller chambers. She showed them a small crack in the wall, rust had broken the inner hull. The space between the hulls was wide enough to walk in and the grids holding them separated were easy to walk on. With amazing speed and limber motions Sara went ahead and called for them during the whole climb. Loke muttering “Always climbing inside walls”. Metro only replied with a groaning laughter.

   Lock moved the rifle to her side as she climbed down the tight staircase. Her feet started to feel numb and almost caused her to slip. Hanging against the wall she felt her legs and her arms going numb. Looking down she noticed a small needle in her thigh. Removing it she found it held a small capsule, now half filled. The iron corridor seemed to turn around her as everything went darker. Her chest got heavier, almost burning. Something seemed to burst inside her head. When she realised what was going on, she could no longer scream. Soon after she passed out.

   Metro and Loke found Lock before they got back to the bridge. Lock was put next to Barker and 666. Then everyone were introduced to Sara. A person that was met with deep suspicion but quickly was agreed to be a victim rather than someone malicious. Sara didn’t mind as long as she got some food. A rule was made that no one were to leave the area. No one was to walk out of sight of all the others. The tanker kept its engines running as they kept the direction towards the closest harbour.

   It was very quite amongst the people. The sun slowly started setting in the horizon. No one really knew who was to be trusted and who wasn’t. Every time someone started talking, people seemed to wonder more why they spoke rather than what they spoke about. Until Metro found a piece of paper and read it out loud.

   ‘…I didn’t agree with them and keeps myself hidden here, inside my cabin. They do not bother me here any more.

   March. At least I think it’s still March.
The sky is as it has been since the incident. The ocean as still as always. The frozen feature petrifies me sometimes. Makes me realise how bad the situation really is. The scientists are all dead now, mauled by the crew. Their bodies still lay scattered on the water around the ship. They won’t sink. A small band of the crew collected and started walking. I studied them from out my holes. They reached an edge, then dropped into the ocean. I wish I knew what happened. One good thing about all this is the fact that we don’t have to eat any more. Some still do, but no one get hungry or even weakened by hunger. I guess there’s always an upside to every situation.’

   Comparing the note with the captains log, they realized that the paper were a torn page. Even the handwriting was correct. Smiling to himself, Shade moved away from the others. He had a plan with letting them get occupied with such drivel. As long as they stood close he could not hurt them. Having read the rest of the story, he knew how. While the others were preoccupied with jointly reading the passage over and over, he simply pushed a button. Soon they will do what they do best. He put on the expected face as he returned to the group. They’d panic.

   While they all tried to figure out what it all meant, they all agreed that what ever had happened was a bad thing and that it most likely was due to the secret machine built into the oil-tank. As if on cue, Snex noticed the lights inside the open part at mid deck. Light pulsing in green, red and blue. Slowly changing colour. Everyone suddenly got silent and hurried out on the walkway surrounding the bridge to get a better view. In the fading light outside they all could clearly see the light from the science hall. Silver makes a quick decision to send somebody to quickly stop the machine before it activates fully. No one disagreed. Loke and Metro were chosen, though 666 insisted to come along, whispering “For safety” to Silver. Snex scoffed about a cripple defending others. A second later his stomach met with 666’s fist and the discussion was over. Sara was convinced to stay at the bridge, though she looked in despair as they left.

   They quickly passed through the corridors, even with Metros complaining about having to carry Loke. 666 kept silent. The science hall seemed strange, when they came in there. The massive space was filled in bright green light with very sharp shadows, while the sky stood redden above them. The colours did not match. Being the smart one, Metro got Loke close to the enormous apparatus, while agreeing on Loke buying him drinks when they get home if he succeeds in the fixing of the machine. 666 went away for a moment then returned with a wheelchair from the bottom floor. Metro dropped Loke in it then hugged the pained 666 in thanks. Then stepped back, far away. Excusing himself.

   Metro became Lokes arms and eyes as he could move faster. They were hesitant to just breaking the machine. Not being certain what it might do, they might trigger something very bad if they break it apart. Beside, something this big? Loke was afraid of what was necessary to create all that power and the machine sure was harnessing a lot of power. A slow humming noise slowly rose from inside the enormous metal casing. 666 stood back and seemed to study them, being Lokes legs when needed. It wasn’t a hard task they had, just find something to stop it, but after a long while and they still couldn’t get it turned off they decided that the best course of action would be to try and break it apart.

   Shade stood in silence and watched the magnificent machine before him. He felt in awe for the immense power within it. Having found log before the pathetic others, he knew what it did. Given the short time he had been able to study it, he was certain that he knew how parts of it worked. Ingenious and very easy design. For such a complicated machine that is. Sadly, it wasn’t as simple as just to turn it off. One would have to send the energy harnessed somewhere. Time slowly drew short when he heard the others deciding to break it apart. In a swift action he pulled the intercom of the cripple and moved across the entire length towards the child. The cripples warnings barely gave Metro the time to turn around before his face was inside Shades hand. Shade pulled him off his feet and then shot before turning towards the petrified cripple. Smiling his most sincere smile as he slowly changed his shape into the original form. Lowering his voice. “We are going to have some fun, my friend”

   A strange blue pillar suddenly sprang out of the science hall, reaching high into the sky. Like a great arrow pointing towards heaven. A thundering noise and a wave of tremendous heat made the air almost vibrate. Then it vanished. All energy in the ship was cut off. The sound from the ship engines vanished and all the lights went dark. Silver and Snex stood frozen as they looked down on the deck and up towards the darkening sky. Gallons of water came splashing down all over the ship, then nothing more happened.

   After a moment of silence, The boat suddenly started to lean and Sara pulled Silvers jacket. Looking down on her Sara pointed towards the door just as another Silver fumbled in. As the one from when they had just arrived, but this time hurt. She was covered with blood from cuts that smeared over her face. Burn marks in her clothes. “Shot her, she’s the doppelgänger!” the new Silver shouted pointing towards the old one. Snex was stunned and looked over towards an as stunned Silver. The new Silver attacked the old one. Snex didn’t reacted until after the two women had been able to get a few blows. Getting them seperated, he looked between the two women accusing the other of being a fake. “She’s the fake one!” “I know the password!” One proving her affinity with lightning, the other having her badge as she screamed of a battle earlier that had stolen her energy. Without knowing what else to do, Snex pulled one of them to himself and kissed her, deeply. Then shot the other one, the new one, in the chest. Silver asked what happened. “No one else has your taste” He answered, smiling. They checked through the fake Silver and found the electronics needed to repair the communicators but they did not find anything else on her. The blood on her was a part of her hull.

   Being reminded that the ship was tipping over and sinking, Snex quickly rushed to fix the radio as Silver radioed for the pick-up. Silver tied the fake Silver tightly as Snex went to look for the other people. A rescue-raft was lowered into the water and the people was rushed into it. Snex found Metro sprawled on the floor and Loke tied as a cross backwards over a table. Due to pure luck, he heard a scratching noise from 666. Locked inside a box-room, bleeding, barely able to move. Sara helped carry the people. In the midst of the confusion, the fake Silver vanished. Then they found themselves in the raft. Silver, Snex and Sara looking on Metro, Loke, Lock, Barker and 666. Worrying if Woods had been real or not and what might have happened to her. It took the tanker almost an hour to sink completely.

   The pick-up was no problem. The jetcopter hovered above them, sending down a stretcher to the injured people. Soon they found themselves at home. Complete night. A medical team waiting for them, taking care of them. The pilot congratulating them for surviving. Woods had been rescued from a small opposition that had captured her before the mission. The superiors were glad to have them back, but disappointed that they still didn’t know what the machine really did. Now it would be too late to find out.

   He had a smile on his face as he passed the gates. The papers in his hand held explicit information about what the machine. A form of teleporter meant to move giant objects rather than the human sized ones. Sadly no schematics but he did have the exact coordinates. It had been easy to hid in the tumult earlier. Rip the rope, slide into the water and hide under their raft. That they didn’t notice him underneath the stretcher amazed him. They would find the pilot, of course. Unless she was needed, they wouldn’t find her until morning. He laughed to himself, by then he would be long gone.

   End

Story is © Peter A Svensson 2010
All characters are coyright respective owners.