Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Zombies Innnnn Spaaaaace!

With the weird space-zombies dealt with, the party continued down into the depths of the ship. The path grew more cluttered, and a little less scavenged, though there was still very little worth grabbing. Elise wanted to try to find a nearby power reading, but unfortunately got a little turned around, and headed down the wrong maintenance corridor. Rodney, meanwhile, took a wrong turn...

The corridor was a bit more narrow than the previous passages, and was lined with pipes and conduits. Wrapped among the pipes were tendrils of some kind of semi-organic material, black and shiny. Most of the way down the corridor, they heard some metallic noises, as if the ship were under stress and bending or adjusting to having previously been bent out of shape. Perhaps not uncommon, but certainly creepy. A moment later, however, they heard clicking and tapping noises, like enormous bugs skittering along a metal floor... Elise suggested turning and booking it out of there, but Nix was fairly certain they could take 'em. They turned and aimed, waiting for the incoming creatures. Elise's thermal scanner picked up movement, but not distinct forms; however, a moment later, the emergency light that was occasionally flickering clicked on and revealed eight horrifying creatures! Each was different, though had obviously once been human. One was walking with one hand and one foot, its back bent nearly in half; another was crawling on all fours, its head dragging loosely in front of it, while yet another loped along on legs far too long for its body. The EVA suits the creatures wore had matching colors and insignias - the people who wore those suits must have all been from the same place, though the suits were too damaged to really tell where.

Elise was shocked into immobility for a split second, but recovered in time to open fire. She and Nix blasted four of the creatures, pouring laser fire, sonic blasts, plasma bursts, and disintegration bolts down the hallway. The remaining creatures forged ahead, uncaring about their companions who lay smoldering on the deck; one reached out its arms and fired its hands, connected by long black tendrils, at Elise, and only barely missed penetrating her armor. Another vomited a black, slimy mass at Nix, who shrugged it off easily. The battle raged back and forth, with Nix and Elise slowly picking the creatures off, and the creatures growing ever closer. One attempted to grapple Elise, who fought it off; the other swung at Nix and missed. Somehow, as the heavy fire blasted into the creatures, they were sometimes able to simply shrug off the damage; one was nearly blasted in half, but tendrils grew out and rejoined the two pieces.

One of the creatures managed to grapple Elise, who was unable to shoot at it; the other tore open its own chest, and lashed out with sharp rib bones, landing the occasional hit. Nix took a few surgical shots, and Elise managed to knock the creature off, but it only crawled over and repeated the performance with Nix. Finally, the last two creatures were blasted into oily black chunks, and Elise and Nix took a moment to get their breath. Or de-fuzz their circuits, in Nix's case.

Nix decided to take a closer look at the monsters. Performing a quick biopsy, he found that their internal organs were mostly functioning, but not always in the same function. Like building a car out of spare parts, just duct-taping pieces together to make something work, the creatures were radically reorganized internally. Judging by some of the foreign masses in the creatures, it seems they were running on nanites! Whatever it was, it infected the once-humans and turned them into shambling monsters, far more powerful, but with little brainpower. Whether the creatures were under the control of someone (or something) else remained to be seen.

Kicking the corpses to the side, the pair continued to the end of the corridor; it split off three directions, port, starboard, and aft, though the starboard corridor was blocked by some sort of cave-in. The port corridor was considerably narrower, so the two decided to continue heading aft. The black tendrils on the walls grew thicker, until they reached a doorway at the end that was almost entirely choked with the twisted strands. Squeezing in, the two took a look around - there was some sort of blobby, warm-ish mass at the center of the room, and thick tendrils snaked towards it from the wall (or more likely, the other way around). They turned to leave, but found the tendrils had moved, and the doorway was blocked! Elise, thoroughly freaked out, tossed a det-pack at the blob, and called out to it. It made some strange, bubbly noises, thick oily sounds, and managed to form some English words - "Man" and "feed", interspaced with burbles and grunting noises. Elise hit the activation button, and incinerated the blob, sending it crashing through the floor. Looking through the hole, the two saw the damage extended much further than it should have; instead of one or maybe two floors, the hole was easily over 6 floors deep, and seemed to widen out at the bottom. Sighing, the two began hovering down through the floor into the chasm...

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