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Dark and Derelict - Part 2 (Ending) :iconconnor18:Connor18 1 2
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Dark and Derelict - Part 1 :iconconnor18:Connor18 1 2
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Biting Chill - Chapter 29 :iconconnor18:Connor18 1 2
Literature
Love Outlasts
A whole day, one whole God-forsaken day we had been holed up in this old gas station. When the infection began in Seattle, we had no idea what to do, where to go. They were everywhere, up every street, down every alley, it’s a wonder we weren’t torn apart by them. Though, we didn’t escape unharmed.
Now I was looking out the window, a Browning .308 bolt-action hunting rifle clutched in my hands. The sun had gone down and everything was quiet here, but in the distance, above the trees, I could make out the Seattle skyline, and the rising plumes of smoke and occasional flashes of explosions.
The National Guard had been deployed but had barely entered the city before hundreds of turned people, the ones who didn’t die of the infection, burst out of every apartment window, alley or sewer grate. They pulled back and had resorted to bombing highly infected areas, but I saw Olympia in the distance getting hit, where my apartment was, so either things were really bad ther
:iconConnor18:Connor18
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Mature content
Biting Chill - Chapter 28 :iconconnor18:Connor18 0 3
Toasters :iconconnor18:Connor18 0 2 Spiders :iconconnor18:Connor18 1 7
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Biting Chill - Chapter 27 :iconconnor18:Connor18 0 2
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The Psychic's Curse Part 2 (Ending) :iconconnor18:Connor18 0 9
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The Psychic's Curse Part 1 :iconconnor18:Connor18 1 11
Mountaintop Rest :iconconnor18:Connor18 10 10 The Sun over the Mountain Top :iconconnor18:Connor18 2 2 Misty Day :iconconnor18:Connor18 1 0 Two Friends :iconconnor18:Connor18 3 0
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Biting Chill - Chapter 26 :iconconnor18:Connor18 0 4
Old Gas Station Vista :iconconnor18:Connor18 0 0

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Alone on Mars: The Se-Prequel - 1 :iconfuckboyjones:FuckboyJones 1 2
Dew Lappet :iconralen-lykos:Ralen-Lykos 4 2
Literature
A Wolf at War: Chapter 6
A Wolf at War
Chapter 6: A Wolf Among Lions
Less than a week after my incredible first transformation a peace treaty was signed in Moscow, effectively ending the war.  It was a bittersweet treaty though because yes we had pushed the Soviets back and Finland kept its sovereignty but it had to give up Karelia… That included the Mannerheim Line and Taipale, the area that I and so many of my comrades had fought and bled for would now be in Soviet hands.  I, along with the majority of the Finnish people were not happy with the deal but it was much better when compared to the alternative, utter destruction.  We couldn’t hold off the Soviets forever and once the advantage we had in winter was gone, they would have smashed their way through our lines and unleashed their fury upon helpless civilians.  I was angry but not too worried, the Finns were tough people and would persevere no matter what, besides I had other things to occupy my mind.
After the first tran
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The City on the edge of Forever :iconcolourbrand:Colourbrand 209 92
Literature
Alone on Mars: The Pre-Sequel
    Cape Canaveral was once prime location for launching various different things into space, due to its proximity to the equator and deep air force history. Today, of course, it still is used as a launch site simply because of its proximity to Orlando. Unlike most of its destinations, Canaveral served solely as a spaceport due to the fact that Orlando International was a quick Hyperloop ride away, thus making the infernal cycle of planetary and interplanetary transit complete.
    And now Kaz, five-foot-tall Earth nobody, was going to Mars for spring break.
    "Thanks for dropping me off, Nelson." said Kaz as her boyfriend lifted her up for a hug, leaving her feet and baggage dangling in the air.
    "Jesus when did you get so heavy?" He asked, letting her down, "Does the little pig need to go to the gym?" He asked teased.
    Kaz punch Nelson lightly in the stomach, "I'm carrying a lot of bags, you nunce." After that, they opted for
:iconFuckboyJones:FuckboyJones
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Literature
A Wolf at War: Chapter 5
A Wolf at War
Chapter 5: The Way of the Wolf
I opened my eyes but there was nothing, nothing but darkness.  All the pain I had felt was gone, and for the first time since the war had started, I felt… relaxed.  It didn’t even feel like I was on any sort of ground but was floating in utter silence.  ‘I guess I actually did die, this isn’t so bad’ I thought reaching over to my once mutilated shoulder to find it was completely healed, no broken bones, no bullet holes.  My shattered left arm was also mended, I raised my hand but it hit against something only a few centimeters in front of me, making a loud ‘thunk’.  I began to feel the dark wall before me which was covered in ridges, as I slid my hands down they brushed against something metallic.  I cautiously felt the object, it was round but seemed to be attached to the wall… then it dawned on me, this is a door.   I gripped the doorknob firmly before slowly twisting it and pushing forward
:iconMoonlit-Rebel:Moonlit-Rebel
:iconmoonlit-rebel:Moonlit-Rebel 12 4
Literature
A Wolf at War: Chapter 4
A Wolf at War
Chapter 4: Talvisota
After docking, we marched single file down the Revenge’s wooden gangplank and with a soft crunch of snow, I took my first step onto Finnish soil.  The docks were in a state of controlled chaos, workers moving frantically to unload dozens of ships of their cargos.  No sooner had the last soldier stepped off the Revenge, than a dozen dock workers rushed up the gangplank to unload the munitions from the ships hold.  The sense of urgency and desperation was something was all too familiar to me, I had seen it during the siege of my beloved Warsaw.  It was the unmistakable air of a people fighting for their very survival, a nation at war.  
We were directed into a large, plain, barn like building that was built right on the waterfront at the base of the docks.  The inside was as plain as the outside, wooden crates towered to the ceiling and several long wooden tables stood against one of the walls of crates.  We shuffled single-file past the row of ta
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Literature
FYS: Master Control
Planning the assault had taken two years, and that was after spending three years carefully examining the transmission patterns of morphs all across the Ring, proving Professor Kurylkin’s theory that the Groupmind had to have a central processor controlling the morphs. From there it had been another year of reconnaissance, finally locating the Central Tower, in the middle of what had been wryly named OZ, for the location was an green oasis surrounded by a hundred kilometers of searing desert.
Getting past the desert had meant infiltrating the high security of the Ring Transit System, then walking that last hundred kilometers in tunnels designed to accommodate morphs, not men. Tyler has lost three of his twelve man team, snatched by morphs or like Jansen just disappearing around a corner, gone in an instant by the time the next man came round.
Then of course they’d had to climb the Tower, a windowless, two kilometer tall structure, encased in black Ring metal t
:iconSir-Talen:Sir-Talen
:iconsir-talen:Sir-Talen 5 9
Planet of the Bin Hokers :iconxanatoast:XanaToast 210 34 Gmod - Space lunch :iconmarios1999:marios1999 12 6
Literature
Captive of the Red Vixen
"Milord!" the first mate, Lt. Hotclaw, said, his hand pressed to the com at his ear. "Engineering has been taken by the pirates!"
"Anything from bridge?" Rolas asked, feeling his heart sink. He could hear his crew firing at the pirates from ten meters forward and around the corner from his own fallback position, but the intensity had lessened as one after another of his loyal crew had fallen.
The Hotclaw grimaced. "Nothing, milord. We have to assume it's been taken as well."
Rolas closed his eyes, tail drooping in defeat. "That's it then, we've lost." Lost everything.
"We can still fight, milord. If we move into the ductwork...."
"They can just shut down the life support then and flush us out. No, I won't have any more casualties on my honor." He raised his voice to the crew ahead, still intent on protecting their Lord. "Stand down! Hold your fire and stand down!" He walked around the corner, into the middle of the corridor, in plain view of the battlesuited pirates guarding the
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O.W.A. - Happy Werewolfin' Birthday! :iconkigai-holt:Kigai-Holt 44 11 The end of the road :iconm-delcambre:M-Delcambre 106 7 SSE Art 05: Windtrap :iconignusdei:IgnusDei 270 17
Literature
My Last Run
It was my fate to run through the night as a creature.  Muscles that outlast any he-man.  Grace that outmatches any feline.  Yet even when I stay far for you humans I am still attacked.  I fear the night when I see flash lights and guns drawn.  With no doubt they hold silver bullets ready to tear through my heart or brain.  To cut me off this Earth.  Yet despite that I can not but call out to the goddess known as my moon.  She is my queen.  My everything.  As much as this is a curse it at times seems like a gift.  The power that I gain from this.  The heightened senses (whether or not I take shape of a wolf), the agility, and the strength.  My only wish is to find  a pack of my own.   I call into the night each moon and have found no one.  So then I became a nomad roaming the lands calling out each full moon to see if any moon children would answer back.  But with each month, with each cry, I foun
:iconMark-Ethan-Syron:Mark-Ethan-Syron
:iconmark-ethan-syron:Mark-Ethan-Syron 5 8
Literature
A Wolf at War: Chapter 3 Pt. 2
A Wolf at War
Chapter 3 Pt 2: Our War
Getting out of Warsaw took much longer than I had expected due to the large number of German checkpoints but eventually we were in open country speeding towards the coast.  My traveling companions were actually two brothers, Kaapo the tall one and Juho the shorter one, both reminded me uncannily of Sasha in looks and attitude.  It turns out they were born and raised in Finland but their parents moved them to Warsaw when they were younger because their father got a job at the embassy.  They wanted to protect their motherland but like me couldn’t due to the German-Soviet alliance so, like me they had to find an alternative route to Finland.  They were actually very easy to talk to and fun to travel with, Kaapo took it upon himself to toy with Juho any time he dozed off smacking him randomly, or abruptly stopping the truck.  More than once Juho went flying against the dashboard and I had to watch the truck while Juho chased Kaapo into the woods,
:iconMoonlit-Rebel:Moonlit-Rebel
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Twenty minutes later and the hanger doors were shut and the hanger was pressurised. About seven marines, all dressed in sealed vacuum suits, milled about the hanger with the Gyrfalcon parked behind them, all neatly folded up with the two pilots inside playing charades or whatever they did in there.

Our squad was going to go ahead and search the right door whilst the marines moved up to check out the bridge. We were looking for any clues that might be hidden in the rear cargo section as to what happened, perhaps on a computer. Engineering was that way as well.

The door opened up and we moved in. Luke was first, then me, then Renee and Henry as we moved quietly and used hand signals. My eyes quickly adjusted to the low light of the hallways, with the suit helping by applying a low-light vision screen over the visor. I could see a long hallway with many branching paths stretching all the way to the back, about a hundred meters away, my suit reading suggested.

“Move up, quietly.” Luke said.

With our submachine guns braced against our shoulders, we quickly stepped forwards, checking each hallway we passed. The doors were all marked above them as either crew quarters or certain storage areas such as food or repair tools. Our target was near the rear, naturally, as we passed by engineering on our left, our suits’ acute sound sensors picked up a noise...

Metal clinking.

Luke raised his hand in the air in a fist shape and we all stopped dead in our tracks. Renee was in the rear so she watched our backs as Henry and I stacked up against the engineering door. It was a double door, probably to allow large hand-carts of tools and supplies in and out. The Captain tapped the console and the keypad dinged.

I took a knee by the side as the doors slid open with a hiss. I leaned inside and pointed left, then right, looking for any hostiles. I slowly crept in and stood by the side, motioning for the others to come in.

Inside was a large square room with a walkway just along the side of the wall. The walls themselves were all dark grey, with a bright orange running along the side in a strip, the universal colour for an engineering bay. Some shelving units with various tools, some overturned, sat against the wall all around. There was even a trolley sitting in the open, abandoned by someone in a hurry.

Then there was the ion engine core right in the centre, a long dark octagonal pillar running from the floor to the roof. Four consoles sat around it, the controls and monitoring stations for the machine, all blinking and chirping normally.

We moved up, searching around for whatever or whoever made the noise.

“Covering rear.” Renee whispered as I crouch-ran up ahead to a stack of wooden crates. I braced my shoulder against it and leaned around it, pointing my submachine gun around.

Then a crash, as if something had been knocked off a shelf. I spun around to point at the noise. My HUD gave a blip over the location of it. It came from a small control room with a window looking out into the engineering bay.

“Moving up.” I whispered into my mic.

“Copy.” Renee replied, backing me up.

“Watch yourselves.” Luke said, “Could be pirates, they might have hostages.”

We quietly and quickly walked up the window, leaning against the wall just at the edge of it. I risked a peek inside and saw nothing out of the ordinary, just a square room with some tools and a workbench at the rear, a couple of lockers and a pin-up of some busty looking fox woman with long hair in a seductive pose. She was bent over some kind of classic looking, smooth red petrol fueled car, staring out at the viewer with a sly smile. She, like all foxes, had a very human looking body apart from the head, which had a muzzle and typical fox features mixed with human features like the eyes and facial expressions, and the tail obviously.

“Huh, tasteful and classy.” I said to myself.

I heard Renee snort as she saw the poster, “You want that foxy ass?”

“Fuck off, cyka.” I replied, scoffing, “I’m not into that shit.”

Renee chuckled and shook her head.

“Quiet.” Luke said calmly over the radio.

I spun to the other side of the door, keeping my barrel pointed inside the room. I motioned for Renee to move up, and she quickly entered, her gun trained at the console.

“D-don’t shoot, don’t shoot!” A lightly pitched voice yelled at us. I rushed in, pointing my gun at the target that my HUD painted with a cyan outline.

It was a fox, a young male with an Earth American accent, something you typically hear coming out of that part of space and not Vulpes territory. He wore an olive green jumpsuit with some chest pockets and had the sleeves rolled up. His fur was a dark orange and stood on end, and he even had some short head hair as well, sitting just above his fox ears. His tail was long and bushy, probably the most interesting part about them I thought, and was swishing from left to right erratically.

“Who are you?” I asked.

“My name’s Jack, I’m just a janitor I swear!” He cried, keeping his hands in the air.

“What is going on?” Renee asked sternly, slightly lowering her gun.

His head darted from me to her, his eyes wide with fear. He looked dishevelled; as if he had been hiding here for a long time. My eyes scanned the room and I saw what looked like a bedroll and a wind-up lantern next to some packets of civilian food rations, instant meals and snacks all in red and blue packets.

“I dunno, I was in the rear section here when something went down up front. There was, uh, screaming, uh, some shooting. I heard things moving out there, so I hid in here for the first hour. We were at warp at the time, so I couldn’t do anything.”

“What things?” I asked.

He looked to his legs, his eyes closed as if remembering, “Like... like stomping and roaring. It was eerie though, not like any animal I’d ever heard.”

I looked to Renee and lowered my gun as Luke entered the room. He nodded to us, “Let’s check hom for weapons. We’ll escort you back to the hanger and have you processed properly there.”

He nodded, “Ok. I’m not like, being arrested am I?”

The Captain shook his head, “It’s what we normally do in situations like these, a precaution.”

I gestured for him to spread his arms out. We patted him down, checking for any weapons or explosives. He looked at me with worried eyes, “Are you guys Olumians?”

I nodded, “Yep, we’re pilots.” I finished and nodded to the Captain who then nodded to Jack.

“They sent pilots to secure the ship?”

I scoffed, “Not good enough for you? We’re nearly Special Forces. We’re Pathfinders, if that helps.” I nodded to the right, “Marines are up that way.”

“With emphasis on special.” Henry chided in dryly over the radio.

Luke walked over to us, his gun carried loosely in his hands, “I’ve radioed back to the marine Captain and to Mother, they’re sending reinforcements and sending an info packet back home.”

“But... pilots?” He asked again.

“What, don’t fox pilots know how to fight?” Henry asked sarcastically, “Or are you all just big fluffy carpets?”

Jack chuckled, “Yeah, I guess.”

We moved out of engineering and saw a team of three marines down the end of the hallway. Luke raised his hands and opened his fingers out wide. I saw one of the marines do the same, so we all quickly moved up together.

Then the roaring began.

It came from behind us, along with a shrill voice.

“Help me!” It cried.

It was a fox woman, a youngish woman dressed in a black vest and a white long sleeve shirt. She had her hair in a pony tail that was flying about wildly as something black and fat came rushing at her on two massive legs. She tripped and fell just as we raised our rifles.

“No!” She screamed as the beast reached her. Its front opened up to reveal a massive half-dome of white teeth and tentacles, one of which grabbed the fox’s leg. She was dragged into the maw screaming as it bit down. She screamed even louder, and then stopped suddenly as a sickening crunch sound echoed down the hall.

I gasped and lowered my gun as half of the woman fell out, only to be caught by another tentacle and dragged back in, crunched up all in one go.

“OPEN FIRE!” Luke roared.

We all crouched and raised our guns to our shoulders, opening up on full auto. The sharp, loud bursts echoed throughout the rear of the ship as the bullets, coloured a whitish blue from the gauss energy, ripped and tore through the air with sharp cracks at break-neck speed and entered the creature’s body. It stumbled back a step as we continued filling it with hot tungsten.

Eventually, before we all were dry, the beast fell over with a hollow, creepy sounding whine. It oozed a black liquid as it slowly deformed into a steaming puddle.

I lowered my gun and stood there, mouth agape inside my helmet.

“What in the name of our Holy Father..?” I breathed.

“Back to the hanger, now!” Luke screamed.

We all turned and ran, with Henry holding on to Jack and marching him along ahead of us. The marines moved down and took up positions around corners to cover us. Just then, more screams and short staccato bursts came from further to the right of us. We heard screaming and yelling, but no voices over the radio so it couldn’t have been ours.

“Shit, more survivors!” Luke hissed, “Henry; get Jack to safety! Renee, Valentin and I will find them and protect them.”

“Aye Captain!”

Henry shouted, pushing Jack along into the Hanger as we made a sharp right turn down the hallway. We heard marching boots behind us as more Marines joined in. I saw another two Artys, one female and one male, a part of the four man team.

They all wielded Artemida assault rifles, a snub, down sloped nosed grey coloured bullpup design made for marines on-board ships. The magazine was located in the back and carried thirty five rounds of .338 tungsten bullets, and had a small gauss module on the end like our Ace-5s.

“Holy shit, it’s a fucking bloodbath up here!” A woman with a heavy Scotian accent spoke over the radio, “We’ve just found bodies- bodies all over the damn place. Fuck me.”

“Get out of there, back to the hanger! We’ve got unknown hostiles crawling all over the place.” The squad commander, a Celtish sounding man screamed into the mic behind us.

“Copy.” Came the meek reply.

We turned another dark corner and spotted three foxes, two men dressed in white shirts with black combat vests and one long haired woman dressed in a torn up fancy looking dark blue dress with gold jewellery hanging from her arms. The two men were attempting to hold off two more of the strange creatures, only these creatures were... different.

One was walking on two legs and had the body of a human. It had glowing white eyes and permanent, smiling white grin. There was also the black, oily looking skin that I could see even at this distance and a dozen small tentacles whipping around out of its back.

The other crawled on the ground on its hands and twisted feet, but instead of a face it had a massive, open jaw. Its skin was like the other one, and both left a trail of ooze behind them

“Fuck!” I shouted in shock as I witnessed the creatures move. The one on the ground turned and began crawling towards us, hissing. I raised my Ace and fired the last three rounds in my magazine. They all struck the creature. It raised up on its hind legs in an awkward squat, twisted its head to the side and screeched before scampering off into the darkness.

“I’m out!” I shouted, taking a knee as I pulled out a magazine from a pocket on my suit, ejected the current one with a flip of my thumb over the release, jammed the new one in and yanked the small bolt on the other side back.

“Covering!” One of the marines shouted, firing over my head at the other creature who had cornered one of the foxes. The others all let loose, filling the beast with bullets as its body shook about from each impact.

“Hold fire!” Luke screamed as the beast took a last step back. It paused and gurgled, before falling over backwards, exploding into a puddle of black liquid.

The fox that it had cornered, an older looking guard with dark grey fur, was panting and clutching his chest. He looked to us and nodded a thank you at us as he caught his breath. The other one, a younger looking guy whose fur colour looked a lot like Jack’s, quickly escorted the terrified and bedraggled female up to us as his older friend slowly jogged up.

“Any more survivors?” One of the marines asked, putting his hand on the male guard.

He shook his head, his accent different from Jack as it sounded more foreign and deeper, but I couldn’t say from where, “We had four more, kitchen staff, but they got picked off. I don’t know anyone else but us.”

“Alright, get to the hanger bay, we’ll get you out.” The marines said, patting the guard on the shoulder before pointing ahead with two fingers. The older guard quickly jogged past, mumbling a ‘thank you’ as he went by.

“What the fuck is going on here?” I whispered as we jogged down the hall, though I was really thinking out loud.

“We’ll find out Valentin.” Renee said reassuringly.

“Do we really want to?” I replied.

No one answered.

--

We finished a final sweep of the rear of the ship and found nothing apart from some paper documents in an old leather bound notebook. They were sitting on the ground in a pool of blood within one of the crew quarters. More than likely it was an old diary, but it might help us find the names of people on the ship.

Some marines had downloaded data from the bridge into their PDAs, but the data itself was mostly irrelevant or scrambled.

I pocketed the book and we finally got the order to meet up with the rest of the squad at the hanger and make our way back to the Band of Misfits.

On the way back, I had a sneaking suspicion that we were being followed. I noticed a black shadow moving down a hallway to my right when...

Something dived for me from the left, knocking into me and pushing me to the floor. It screeched and splattered viscous fluid all over my visor.

I screamed and yanked out my Vinter, pulling it up to the beast as I grabbed its throat with my other hand. The others yelled and got ready to fire when I finally pulled the trigger, the barrel in its great black maw.

There was a loud bang, a bright flash and then the head exploded everywhere. The beast immediately dissolved into black liquid all over me.

“Oh God!” I screamed, looking at myself in horror as I was covered in black, slimy goo.

“The suit’s sealed, you’re gonna be ok.” Luke said, extending his hand for me to grab onto.

He picked me up and I quickly wiped myself down and went to pick up my gun. My heart was racing and my vision a lot sharper as adrenalin was flowing through my body and my nanites were in overdrive.

As we ran back, a marine ahead of us pointed and yelled, “Behind you!”

We turned around and saw a mass of black creatures of all indescribable shapes and sizes writhing and squirming towards us.

“Oh no.” I breathed.

I felt a hand grab my wrist and saw Renee pulling me along as the others were already sprinting ahead. The marine opened fire, covering as we turned the corner. He too pulled back and quickly dove through the hanger bay door ahead of us as someone else shut it.

I jumped just in time and landed with a thump, then slowly picked myself up. Everyone just stared at me as I was covered in goo.

“Don’t ask!” I said, wiping myself down some more.

“We need to leave, right now!” Luke screamed into the radio, “And do not open that damned door!”

All the marines piled into the Gyrfalcon along with the foxes though Jack was still nearby, staring at me agape. I was away to run for my Whiplash when I felt something grab hold of my ankle.

I screamed as I looked down and saw a black, human torso with three arms trying to climb up me. I fell back, scrambling for my sidearm after I dropped the Ace-5 in panic, when the right side of the beast’s head exploded. I turned and saw Jack crouched barely a meter away holding my Ace-5, panting.

I nodded, breathing hard, “I owe you!”

He slowly lowered it as he stood up, blinking fast. The guy was in shock, so I quickly scrambled to my feet and walked over to him. I gently took the gun out of his hands and patted him on the shoulder.

“You alright?” I asked.

He blinked and nodded, “Yeah, yeah, fine.”

“Then get in the Gyrfalcon!”

“There’s no time!” Renee shouted over the radio, “The door!”

I turned and saw a mass of black liquid oozing through the door. Of course, it wasn’t hermetically sealed since the hanger doors were still shut!

I dragged Jack along with me and nearly threw him up to the Whiplash.

“Where do I sit?!” He screamed, frantically moving about look for a seat.

I jumped up and landed on my feet, then set about pushing the pilot’s chair forwards. It revealed a toilet seat underneath.

“We take emergencies very seriously in Olumian space.” I said quickly.

He breathed out quickly like a laugh, then immediately sat down. I jumped in and pressed some buttons on the console as the cockpit slid shut. Everything went dark and Jack groaned with fear.

The screen came on and revealed the hanger, the hanger door now opening as all the ships powered up. I could see Band of Misfits sitting nearby, the cannons all extended out and ready to fire and give us cover.

Suddenly a black creature jumped up on top of my Whiplash, startling us both. We yelled and I slammed on the throttle as the other ships started their engines and took off. The creature, a weird two headed humanoid thing with deformed arms pawed at the cockpit ineffectually.

We shot out of the hanger at breakneck speed, whipping past the other ships as my afterburners fired at full blast.

“Henry! Shoot this damn thing off of me!” I yelled as the creature hung on even in space. It could survive vacuum! Jack, meanwhile, was screaming in the seat behind me.

“Stop moving, Valentine!” He shouted as I powered down my craft and used the RCS to slow my momentum. He slowly floated into view to my right as we started to pass our mothership. His Rapier autocannon spun around to point at us and quickly fired at the creature, splattering the blood all over the cameras. I immediately stopped and thrusted backwards as the gloop floated off of the screen.

I heard an ‘oof’ from behind me and turned around to see Jack floating upside down, his face buried in the back of the pilot’s chair.

“Enjoying the ride?” I asked.

He floated about helplessly, “Do you guys do this all the time?”

“Only on Sundays.” Henry quipped over the radio, turning around and flying back into the hanger.

“You might want to right yourself before we land.” I said, flipping us around and thrusting towards the front of the mothership.

“Yeah, yeah.” He said quickly, spinning around before coming to a seated position, “Think I might need to use this toilet too.”

I chuckled nervously and started my turn into the hanger, “Please don’t.”

I gently touched down and landed as the doors shut behind us. Squads of marines rushed into the hanger bay, along with some medics to check out the foxes and treat any injuries.

The cockpit opened up with a hiss and I breathed a sigh of relief. I took off my helmet and breathed in recycled air.

We were finally back home.

--

“C’mon, let’s go!” A dark skinned woman spoke excitedly as we all rushed for the front view port. About twenty of us rushed towards it, Jack, Henry and myself also part of the group. It was a long rectangular crystal infused glass that could withstand medium arms fire, but it also had a metal plate that locked down over it in the case of a battle.

We watched as our ship slowly pulled back from the fox ship, the rumble of the engines could be heard in the back. Over on the ship, black ooze was pouring out of the hanger bay and into space, although it had no particular pattern to it.

A klaxon sounded and red lights flashed from the ceiling, “Medium-yield nuclear launch imminent!” came an older voice over the radio, most likely one of the officers.

We had pulled back to about five kilometres now and felt the brief rumble as a nuclear missile was launched out of one of the tubes. We could see it streaking through space above us at fast speeds and only getting faster. The glass darkened to protect us from the flash.

Within a second there was a bright ball of white light as the entire ship was engulfed in nuclear fire, and some people gasped or ‘wow’ed in amazement. It quickly dissipated, and the force from the explosion rippled through our ship shaking everything a little bit.

When it finally ended, all that was left was some debris and smoke with some junk tumbling away through deep space.

I turned to Jack and saw him standing there with his hand on the glass, looking solemn.

“We had to do it Jack, I’m sorry bro.” I said.

He turned to me and nodded sadly, “I thought that ship would be my ticket back to Vulpes space and my home, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.”

“You’re not from Vulpes space?” I asked.

He shook his head, “No. I was raised on Earth back in Boston by a human family.” He sighed, “I’m an orphan that someone abandoned on a space station. Doesn’t matter now, I’ll have to go back there and find a job, probably get one by the docks like before.” He frowned as his ears pulled back and flattened.

I didn’t ask anything more and let him be. I felt very sorry for him, but I was also curious as to why we blew the ship up in the first place.

Just then, the three high pitched notes preceding an announcement played, “Attention all crew; The Commander is giving a speech in the hanger. Please attend when possible, speech starts in ten minutes.”

I turned to Henry and grimaced, “What’s this?”

He shrugged and turned back as we all followed the crowd towards the hanger bay. I was about to walk when I noticed that Jack was still by the glass, staring at the remains of the ship. I walked back and put a hand on his shoulder, nodding back down the hall. He finally let go, giving one final look over his shoulder at the remains.

--

He stood on a metal crate, his suit a light grey officer’s uniform, with a Vinter revolver in the leather holster and a grey beret with the Olumian Navy insignia emblazoned on the front. On his buttoned up navy coat sat a small digital officer’s PDA hooked on to a pocket. His leggings were immaculately made, apparently real cotton grown on Olympus itself.

His face was old and grizzled, a few scars here and there, and his eyes a deep brown. His hair was white and he had a bushy white beard. He held one hand behind his back and, in a cliché that made me proud to be a part of the navy, he held a wooden pipe that he used to smoke tobacco in the other.

This was a man who deserved everything he wore, and commanded a lot of respect on the ship. Everyone looked up to him as it was a real honour to have him in charge of the Band of Misfits.

He was the commander himself, Ahren Bauers, and his voice boomed over the whole hanger where nearly the entire ship had turned up.

“Men and women of the Olumian Navy, I come here now to talk to you about the events that have just transpired. The ship we boarded and then destroyed was a Vulpes cruise liner, as you no doubt already know. She was christened San Luciana, and was transporting a few people of importance. Her crew was, as he have found out by reading the logs, a skeleton one with only a total of twenty people on board.”

He took a breath, looking at each and every one of us, even me, “The four souls we managed to save were last ones left alive on the ship, everyone else was dead.”

I heard a sigh of relief somewhere in the crowd.

“And now for why we used nuclear weapons...”

Jack, who was standing beside me, perked his ears up and tilted his head.

“About two weeks ago, the National Intelligence Agency received information on what could have been a terrorist bio-weapon. We do not know who sent it, only that a ship called the San Luciana was carrying it as she moved through our territory on a brief cruise trip towards Vulpine territory.”

Jack sighed.

“When we alerted the authorities from San Luciana’s original docking port above Earth, it was too late. She was at warp speed and already a quarter of the way to her destination of Bastion. For some unknown reason, the ship switched directions and dropped out of warp to here, in this uninhabited section of deep space. Our sensors picked her up and our ship was sent out with the intention of searching for survivors, then destroying the cruise liner and the bio-weapon.”

There was some murmuring from the crowd.

“I am in as much confusion as you all are. We do not know who made the bio-weapon, who sent it or how it got through security. All I can tell you is that it is nothing we have ever seen before.”

People started talking amongst themselves quietly, questioning what was actually happening and if it was an act of war by someone.

“However,” He boomed and everyone quietened down, “we will now set a course back for the Ursinus system, and our Vulpes guests will be relegated to private quarters on the ship. I apologise if they are inadequate to what you may be used to,” He gave a polite bow to the female vulpine who I think I saw smile and wink back at him, “But they are for your safety. Our security crew will also ask you some personal questions relating to this incident, purely for the safety of all of us and to help narrow down what group may have been involved with this incident.”

He took a breath and cleared his throat, “I want to add that it is a pleasure working with such a fine crew, and that the operation went as smoothly as it did because of our finely trained marines and pilots. Thank you all for your time, and a personal thank you to the Vulpes known as Jack for saving the life of one of our pilots. You have my gratitude.” The Commander politely bowed to Jack, who perked up a bit and grinned.

“Thank you all, and good luck.” He finished.

Everyone clapped as he politely nodded. He took a puff from his pipe before jumping down for the crate, as spry as a man a quarter his age. The Commander walked away with the swagger of an officer, puffing on his pipe with one hand behind his back.

--

We sat in the cafeteria of the ship. I was eating lunch, a beef Vindaloo curry cooked from some frozen and dried ingredients. Henry was eating synth paste made to look like spicy rice and vegetables whilst Luke and Renee both ate sandwiches.

Jack was also sat with us, eating a Vindaloo like me, although judging by his pinned back ears and streaming eyes, he wasn’t enjoying it.

“No, it’s good.” He croaked, blinked and sniffing, “Very tasty.”

I ate a forkful and nodded, “It’s made for Olumian taste so it’s a bit spicier than what you’re used to, nanites in our bodies giving us an edge over normal humans and that stuff.”

He swallowed and nodded, trying to smile before having a coughing fit.

“You need to start with some easier curries, fox.” Henry said, leaning on his elbow with his fork in hand pointing at Jack, “Go with Olympus korma next time, it’s really sweet.”

Jack nodded and wiped his eyes and mouth, “Yeah, good idea.” He groaned.

We chuckled at his expense and continued with our meals.

“Hey.” I said, putting the fork down, “Thanks for saving my butt back there.”

He nodded, “Welcome.”

I grunted a laugh, “You shot it clean through the head. Where’d you learn to shoot like that?”

He shrugged, “I picked it up in Boston, my dad taught me.”

“Cool dad.” I said.

“Not really.” He replied.

I said nothing and continued eating. I wondered what he meant, but didn’t press the issue.

We all talked about the operation with everyone over the next couple of days as we made our way back home. Everyone was curious as to what happened, and watching videos from the helmet feeds of the marines didn’t cure their worries.

Now there was a rumour that Band of Misfits was going to be assigned to the case, that it had reached near top priority of National Security. We were supposedly going to be having a secret service officer attached to the ship once we reached Ursinus.

I had no idea what was going on here, but from everything I heard, it didn’t sound like this would be the last of it. This was deeper than we originally thought.

To tell the truth though, we were barely scratching the surface. What was to come was going to rock all our worlds.

Nobody was expecting this to go as deep as it did.
Dark and Derelict - Part 2 (Ending)
...And here's the ending. I split it up into two parts for easier reading, hopefully. If you have any criticisms, please share them.

Also some gory parts here too. I'd say watch out for that if you're really squeamish, but chances are you've passed it to get to this point anyway so RIP

Part 1: connor18.deviantart.com/art/Da…
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I braced my hand against the metal wall of the canteen, my arm stuck inside the NutriBar machine. I frowned and gritted my teeth as I fished around for an elusive snack.

“Hang on, hang on... Aha!” I cheered, pulling out a small but heavy and dense bar wrapped in purple wrapping paper with the words “NutriBar!” emblazoned in bold and white on the front, and  “Berry Flavour, manufactured on Bastion for our boys and girls abroad!” in smaller words underneath, in italics.

“Oh yay, berry flavour for a change.” An accented feminine voice from behind me, oozing with sarcasm, spoke up. I leaned back and looked at the machine to see rows and rows of berry flavour nutribars inside.

I shrugged and chucked the bar to the woman, who was dressed in a short sleeve dull bluish grey T-shirt with close fitting grey cargoes and a pair of digital dog tags around her neck. She was built well with some feminine muscle visible under the close-fitting uniform.

“Thought you’d like a change, Renee.”  I said with a smirk.

She caught it expertly and stared at it with a lopsided smile. Her hair was very short and fair, and her eyes a deep green, typical of people from Nova Toulouse. The planet was colonised by French people from Earth hundreds of years ago. They made good cider, too.

“Why couldn’t we have picked up better flavour in the dry-dock back in the Ursinus system?” She complained, crossing her arms.

I shrugged, “Why the hell you asking me? I didn’t buy the damn bars.” My accent, normally quite neutral, became accented once more.

She sighed, “Ah, merde. Oh well, I suppose we should get going, I’m sure the captain will be upset if we don’t report in soon.”

I waved my hand in the air dismissively, “Nah, he’s never that mad. He won’t mind if we’re a couple of minutes late so long as there’s no emergency.”

She grunted, “Yes, well, we shouldn’t be here too long then, knowing our luck. Let’s go, and thanks for the Nutri, Valentin.”

I shrugged, “It’s no problem.”

We exited the small cafeteria and entered a long, grey metal hallway. It was wide enough for three people side-by-side, the floors were military grey titanium as were the walls, and all along the halls were bright lights that were meant to simulate daylight.

In the background there was a light hum, along with some other noise like machinery working and people speaking. It was a nice background noise, better than the dead silence of space, that’s for sure. Space madness could be a real issue if you were on your own for too long out here, and was the reason why all ships have some background ambience built into them, be it the hum of an engine or the sounds of chirping birds and wind.

We walked down, passing a couple of annoyed looking tech boys dressed in the many pocketed greyish blue overalls that they normally wore. They also had sidearms in their holsters; I could tell they were revolvers at a glance.

I touched the first tech’s arm. He was a young guy, light brown skin. He was from the planet Bastion; I had met him just after my squadron joined up with the ship three months ago back in friendly territories.

“What’s up, Kaiden?” I asked.

He let out a frustrated sigh and spoke in a cockney English accent typical of those from the capital on his planet, “Damn lunatics in the Jump section set one of the capacitors to the wrong baseline temp. We’re heading out to fix their problem, those fucking arseholes.”

I winked and pointed my index fingers at both of them, “You lads go fix those dilithium crystals, then.”

They both grinned and walked off, with Kaiden was shaking his head. He shouted over his shoulder, “Screw you too, Valen!”

I chuckled and turned to Renee, shaking my head.

After a couple of minutes of walking with plenty of chatting about home between us, we got the main locker room where the other two members of our squadron were already preparing for the next mission for when we came out of warp.

“Hey Valentin, hey Renee.” Luke said. He was our squadron leader from another part of Bastion. He was a middle aged looking man with a powerful build from all that time training and short, slightly gingerish, brownish hair which he had been eternally teased for. He had a small goatee and a friendly smile, but I knew the guy had decades of flight time and on-foot operations under his belt, so he’d seen it all out there. He also had a deep sounding, accented voice, being from the part of Bastion that was home to many Swedish descendants and thick, misty pine forests.

“Captain.” We both said, nodding.

Next was Henry, our obligatory Arty in the squadron. He was about three years old and still going strong, so pretty damn good for a synthetic. His skin was dark grey and his eyes bright blue with almost imperceptible blue veins under the skin around them. His short hair was also dark grey, same as his skin, though that was about it as far as a synthetic went. His personality was human, his mannerisms were human and his jokes were definitely human.

“Hey Henry!” I waved, walking up to him.

“Valentine..!” He said, mispronouncing my name on purpose and drawing out the word in a cockney English accent. He raised his hand in the air, I copied his movements, and we high-fived, “How are you doing, bruv?”

“I’m great. You feeling good, you Arty scum?” I said.

“Of course, fleshy meat-bag.”

We shared a chuckle at the joke, referencing a dark time in our history long ago.

It took us another twenty minutes to get ready, mainly because we were busy talking and joking like we usually did. If anything was to go wrong though, we would be able to get ready within five minutes.

I looked at myself in the mirror, my short dusty brown hair and lightly tanned skin being quite a mix with my Slavic facial features. My world, Posadka Dmitriya, or Dmitry’s Landing in English, was home to over a billion people. It was a recent colony, only being founded a century ago, and was home primarily to people of Slavic origin.

I also had a goatee I had been carefully shaving for weeks, now finally big and bushy. My build was medium; I was primarily a runner rather than a weightlifter so a lot of power was in my legs which suited me just fine for my duties.

I suited up in a close fitting, long sleeved thermal full-body suit designed to retain warmth in very cold environments.

Suddenly we felt the ship leave warp as motion stopped and started again and light vertigo quickly set in, but dissipated just as fast.

A voice spoke over the ship-wide speaker system; “Attention all pilots, attention all pilots; Vulpine ship has been spotted ahead. Suit up and meet in the hanger.”

“Oh golly!” Henry said with faux cheerfulness, “I love ghost ships!”

I grimaced, “God, I hope not. We’ll probably be the first Pathfinder team to check it out before they send in the marines.”

“We’ll be fine Sergeant, this isn’t the first time.” The Captain said as he chuckled, “Besides, it’ll just be a ship error, their nav is messed up or someone plugged in the wrong coordinates.”

“You know most ships only have a less than five percent chance of being haunted if all the crew dies onboard anyway, yes?” Renee said, trying to cheer me up.

I shook my head, “Uh, not exactly working there, Renee but thank you anyway.”

She shrugged, “C´est la vie.”

“Zhizn' dayet i zhizn' otnimayet.” I replied in Russian.

She raised an eyebrow at me, whilst I just shrugged and smiled at her as got dressed in our flight suits.
They were moderately armoured and could absorb some low calibre rounds, but were completely sealed and had state of the art scrubbers and cyclers to absorb and clean as much air as possible when in hostile atmospheres.

It had small thrusters mounted on the arms and legs so that a pilot could make their way back to the mothership when their craft was destroyed. The helmets were close and you had to put it on face-first, but it shifted to fit the skull and linked in with the pilot’s mind to give tactical data on the battle. All but the pilot’s eyes were obscured by lightened titanium alloys shaped like a shield over the face, whilst the glass visor was actually a Gusarov crystal-based design, allowing it to take direct small arms fire without shattering.

I put my helmet on and felt the small, tough plastic straps shift around the back of my skull, linking in with the other side of the helmet. It closed up and I heard a small hiss as the air pressurised inside the enclosed atmosphere, and then a small electronic ‘ting’ sound as the visor came online. I blinked as the suit integrated itself with my mind and the nanites in my bloodstream, accessing some bio records and taking a quick look at my well-being, with everything checking out.

The HUD, or head’s-up-display, flashed over my eyes and I saw targeting data appear over my squadron, with small arrows pointing to them and squares of data and pictures popping up. Friend or Foe identifiers appeared then disappeared as I turned them off by thinking, and then communications came up as the rest of the squad attached their helmets.

“Mic check, mic check...” I heard the slightly buzzy sounding voice of the Captain come over the suit radio, but it sounded like he was right next to me.

“Loud and clear.” I replied. The others said the same.

We picked up our sidearms, long pointy nosed chrome revolvers called Vinters with a pentagonal shaped ammo cylinder, along with eight rounds of .454 bullets. They were typical powder rounds, no fancy gauss or magrails in these bad boys, but they still packed a punch and could easily tear through tough armour.

Then we took our submachine guns, named the Ace-5. They were small black firearms made of light carbon fibres to reduce the weight for pilots carrying them. The grip was just slightly angled backwards towards the user, with a rail along the top of the Ace-5 holding a basic iron sight. It was built with a short, smooth handguard and the magazine was inserted into the grip of the weapon, allowing room for a foldable handgrip at the front. The butt of the gun was a light collapsible stock, but generally you still held the gun close to your body given how compact everything was.

The magazines were thin; holding forty rounds of small .22 calibre armour-piercing bullets, however above the short barrel sat a sharp pointed black gauss module clipped on to the rail along the spine of the gun, increasing the power of the weapon.

I put the revolver in its synthetic fibre holster and attached the submachine gun to a mag-grip on the right rib just above the hip. It was built so as not to interfere with the seating of the pilot when in the cockpit and keep as compact and comfortable as possible.

“Right, let’s head out, Killjoys!” Captain said our squadron’s name with some authority, nodding to the door.

“Aye Cap!” We replied in unison.

--

We were in the hanger after a quick jog over. It was a long stretch of metal and reinforced alloy and was brightly lit. It contained two types of craft for use in combat operations.

Twelve Whiplash fighters hung up from suspension hooks and mag-locks to prevent sway during flight sat above, looking glorious in the hanger bay. They were shaped with a downwards facing nose squared off at the end, a long body with many small compartments that opened up to reveal varied ordinance, two larger wings at the top, in an upwards diagonal shape and pointing backwards, to stabilise the craft in atmospheric flight, and two much smaller winglets at the bottom sharply pointing behind the craft for further stabilisation. The craft was coloured a lighter shade of military grey and they were armed with Rapier Mk III autocannons that opened up from under the nose of the craft and could point behind, in front or to the sides if needed. That cannon could shred smaller fighters and asteroids to pieces with no problem.

They also had a unique feature, in that there was no cockpit window for the pilot to see out of. Instead, the Whiplash was equipped with hundreds of tiny cameras inside the armour that gave an almost three hundred and sixty degrees field of view to the pilot, and if they were damaged in any way, the cockpit slid back and folded up, revealing a normal bullet-proof crystal glass casing.

Then there were the dropships. Since our vessel was a smaller patrol class, we only had room for two of them. They are the original designs that a corporation called Helix took and modified to suit their purpose. Theirs are named Sparrows and ours, the Gyrfalcon.

A Gyrfalcon was small but powerful, with a light hydrogen power plant mounted inside the tail but closer to the main body. The tail itself was long and well armoured and had two small thrusters at the back that could spin vertically. The main forces at play were two large arms that could rotate vertically and horizontally (only as much as the body could allow, as some pilots found out during the test runs decades ago) and also fold up when docked, as they were here.

The engines could also spin around, which allowed the Gyrfalcon incredible manoeuvrability in atmosphere and in space. The main body was a squared teardrop sort of shape, with the main cockpit looking more like a small glass half bubble with two seats suspended in the air, though it operated much like a Whiplash as it had folding metal plates that closed over the glass as armour. Inside it could hold enough supplies for three men for a week in space, and could carry up to twenty marines quite snugly. It could also carry our off-roaders for planet based ops, but they were stored elsewhere.

The guns on this small, well armoured beast were two Rapier autocannons under the cockpit like the Whiplash, but these could only rotate ninety degrees downwards or horizontally, and four missile tubes for ship-to-ship combat, effectively turning the Gyrfalcon into a guardian angel for fighters or ground troops. They were also rated for very low yield nuclear weapons, only for taking out frigates. By law they could only carry one per-craft, but one was usually enough to get the point across anyway. It was also equipped with a short range hyperdrive system, allowing it to quickly move from space and into an atmosphere, or escape a fight. It was activated, like on all ships with hyperdrives, by four small arms that extended out from the main body that generated some sort of dimensional field. How it worked had always been lost on me. All I knew was that it was more energy efficient but had much shorter range than warp or jump drives.

I stared up at our four whiplash fighters. With my suit on, it pointed out my one with a little cyan haze around it and a box with details about the craft. The Whiplash was armed with a thousand balls of explosive ammo for the Rapier, and ten general purpose guided missiles; low explosive yield, fighter-to-fighter class.

The Captain tapped the side of his helmet, “Request to lower our fighters, prepare for take-off?”

“Copy.” A polite, English accented female voice spoke through our suits’ radios, “Fighters are fully fuelled and armed, data systems have been updated.”

“Thanks.” Cap said again, before tapping the side of his helmet.

With a hiss and a jolt, the mag-locks on the craft detached and folded back up into their compartments. A motor buzzed into life as the four fighters were lowered down. Wheels extended out from the bottom of each craft, three silver reinforced rubber wheels on titanium alloy legs. We all stepped back as the fighters auto-manoeuvred into the centre of the hanger bay. Within seconds they had parked themselves into formation and the cockpits had opened up and slid backwards up the body.

They all formed a V shape, with the Cap’s ship leading the formation. They were evenly spaced out, obviously so as to avoid any mishaps.

As we approached, a ladder symbol appeared in my suit as the ladder to the cockpit rolled out of a hidden panel in the armour. I climbed up, shifting my weight over the edge and slid comfortably into the cockpit.

It was a typical control stick aircraft with two armrests, both with digital buttons and a pop-out holo-display. I tapped a couple of buttons on my left console and a blue holographic screen came up. It showed the ship spinning in a three sixty pattern, with little check marks over every system before it finally shut down and I took hold of the stick. I pressed a button on the right armrest and the cockpit slowly slid over me, closing me in darkness with only the emergency lights for company.

I took a breath and sighed, enjoying the feeling of being back in my Whiplash. I had always wanted to be a pilot when I was a child, but doing National Service when I was eighteen I realised, after seeing two Whiplash fighters in action over a frontier colony, that I wanted to pilot one myself.

The others had completed their system checks and were ready, and just as I relaxed a little more, the cockpit suddenly cleared up and displays blinked in of the surrounding hanger bay. If you didn’t know that they were cameras, you would think that you were surrounded by a glass cockpit.

Some basic, blue digital images appeared to my left and right on the glass of the conditions of the ship and her engines, and a targeting data screen blinked in front of me, showing weapon, ammo count, bearing and location of mothership.

“Alright Killjoys; prep engines and bring them up to speed. Release mag-breaks and prepare for takeoff.” Captain spoke

We all responded with ‘aye’s. Within moments we were rolling. I looked down the runway, a short eighty five meter long landing strip that was ten meters tall, but these craft didn’t need much to go on, especially in space. A large blast door was ahead of us, hermetically sealed so as to prevent the vacuum of space from sucking out all the air.

Klaxons blared and orange lights flashed in circular patterns all over the hanger. The two people still inside the hanger quickly rushed out and were replaced with basic robots. These bots were linked to the ships systems and were commanded by the officers on the bridge or down here in the hanger bay. Both held Marshalling wands, little red glowing things to prepare us for takeoff.

The bots were human sized and had round, smooth featureless heads, aside from a couple of blue lights in a vertical pattern down the left side. They looked nearly skeletal and had a basic chassis system over their torsos to protect the core components, but other than the mark of the navy, four stars placed vertically inside a circle with a planet next to it on one shoulder, you could be forgiven for thinking it was a naked civilian model.

They stood in the spaces between our craft perfectly, as only robots could do, and spun one stick around in a circular pattern and held the other up at a diagonal angle. We powered up our engines and I felt my Whiplash hum and buzz as the small power cells in the back powered up.

The hanger depressurised with a low rumble as the air was quickly sucked back into the ships’ tanks. Then the hermetically sealed doors slowly slid open with a hum, revealing the star littered background of dark space. It took only seconds for the gears and rotors to move the door, and then our robot Marshalls turned, swung both wands towards the door and squatted.

“Green light, take off take off!” The English woman spoke quickly over the radio.

We all powered up at the same time, going from zero to two hundred kilometres within three seconds. The hanger was a blur as we raced out, our engines leaving barely perceptible blue glowing trails behind them. We headed forwards for a few moments picking up a bit of speed in the void. Over my radio I could hear faint chatter from back on the ship as various sections talked to one another.

The Captain’s ship up front powered ahead, expertly rolling into position as engine tail shifted around, allowing the craft to turn slowly. We all followed suit and banked right and moved up, where we got a good view of our mothership, named Band of Misfits, from the side.

It was around two hundred and fifty meters long and was a dark grey all over, with very lightly glowing white lights from the various windows along the hull, and I could occasionally small black shapes moving within. The hull was long, fat and blocky, but with smoothened edges all over. The front of it was a four pointed pyramid shape with a flat top hiding a main Zeus-class railgun within, developed by the military engineers on Bastion.

Called the “Watcher-class”, this particular class of space ship was relegated to patrol or guardian duties within the navy. It was meant for long range patrol across border space, on the lookout for pirates or slavers trying to sneak through. We had a crew compliment of about two hundred, with fifty of them being marines and another thirty for the Whiplash and Gyrfalcon pilots and their crew. Along the bottom spine of the ship, facing the front, was the main hanger.

Along the sides were dark grey coloured “canyons” in the armour, each side holding six two-barrelled “Gully” gauss cannons capable of firing high explosive, ship-to-ship balls at long range targets of up to two hundred kilometres away, but were meant for closer engagements.

Along the top and bottom spine of the ship were four Guardian-class defence turrets that spewed out hundreds of flak rounds a minute, mainly for anti-fighter and missile defence. Another two were mounted within the Gully canyons on small extended platforms.

We also carried a few ship-to-ship missiles in hidden tubes along the top spine, but it was more up to the fighters and gunships to use missiles, the Watcher usually wasn’t meant for up-close engagements on its own against more than three frigates, officially. Most, however, carried two medium-yield nuclear missiles when on patrol away from reinforcements, just in case.

The rest of the ship became pointed towards the rear, with three fusion engines powering it at the back in a triangle formation. Along both sides above the canyons were white numbers digitally painted, reading “091” and the letters ODF in large white italics next to it.

“Killjoys, this is Mother, how copy, over?” An older man’s voice, accented with a light touch of a Germanic accent. It was the Watcher’s officer in charge, Commander Ahren Bauers, one of the more respected officers this side of our space. He was an old war veteran who fought against the Holy Union back in the day, apparently a very good tactician too. We had only just recently been assigned to this ship, so we didn’t have much time to get to know our new commander. What he was doing commanding such a Watcher rather than a larger cruiser or a carrier, I didn’t know.

“We hear you loud and clear, Mother.”

“Copy. Proceed to coordinates marked on your HUD. Mother will follow close behind you with two squadrons at the ready and weapons armed. Proceed with caution Killjoys, we don’t know what we are dealing with here.”

I grimaced. If the Commander didn’t know what was going on, that generally meant that this wasn’t some sort of surprise exercise like what was being spoken about after we left dock over Olympus. If this was a ghost ship, chances are we would need to watch over it and get a psychic team over to clear it. Whatever the case, it meant the Killjoys landing inside the ships’ hanger, if it had one, and securing a staging area for a few marines. If it didn’t have a hanger, then space walk it was.

Ahead of me, marked at thirty Ks, or Kilometers, by my ship’s computer sat a rocket-shaped structure which I assumed was the ship we were looking for, and by the looks of it, it had dropped out of warp right in the middle of nowhere and activated its distress beacon. That was a day ago, though.

We sped up, spreading our formation apart. Space was silent, so there wasn’t much aside from the hum of my Whiplash and the radio chatter to comfort me out here. I know it’s a cliché to say you get a bad feeling, but I did.

--

After about thirty minutes of drifting, conserving cell power in case we needed to fight or manoeuvre suddenly, we were within a kilometre of the ship.

I had heard the foxes, or the Vulpes as they preferred to be called, were the builders of beautiful buildings and ships but this took the cake. By the looks of it, it was some kind of small space liner, the type rich people and pensioners always go on.

It was roughly four hundred meters long and was shaped wonderfully with a long, cylindrical body with thin gold plating down the sides, obviously reinforced underneath to withstand vacuum. It had the flags of some big Vulpine company or merchant guild. It was the green image of a strange, twisting tree going up in a helix pattern, with odd branches splitting off of it with a white background. The flag was actually a synthetic compound made to withstand space, as normal flags lost colour after a few years whilst in void.

The ship had a long ring around the middle attached by metal pylons. It was an old-fashioned warp drive most likely. By the end it was one powerful ion engine, renewable but not very fast. It even had solar panels at the back, though they were only half extended and not getting much light way out here on the edge of the system.

“No lights, no sensor pings on mobile phones or Wi-Fi implants.” Our captain spoke quietly, “Though I am getting some power readings all across the ship. I can access the hanger doors from here I think.”

“At least it’s got a hanger.” Henry said quietly as he used the RCS thrusters on his Whiplash to turn and look at me with his ship, “I’d have thought they’d have just had a docking extension, being a civvy vessel.”

I grunted, “Yeah, but maybe it’s an emergency dock for shuttles?”

“Have to be pretty rich to afford that.” The Arty replied, slowly flipping around again.

Henry and I split off from the squadron whilst Renee and Luke moved around, looking for the hanger. We slowed down and quietly crept along the outer hull, looking through the windows for any sign of life. I turned on the ships lighting and pointed it inside the mighty vessel.

“Oh God, please don’t be floaters...” I whispered to myself.

“Nah, gravity looks to be online.” Henry replied, “Things are checking green on my end.”

I kept silent, squinting through the reinforced glass, looking for bodies, signs of an explosion, a fire or a fight.

Nothing, absolutely nothing.

“Alright Killjoys, hanger has been located. Renee and I are landing to set up a secure zone, finish up your scan and join us.”

We replied affirmative and continued on a quick sweep, seeing nothing. We briefly visited the bridge of the ship, a large glass dome up front, reinforced with small titanium bars crisscrossing the glass. It held a suspended platform with all manner of instruments and screens, all blinking normally, but the seats were spun around at strange angles as if they left quickly.

I touched a button on the arm of the chair and saw a sensor ping of the Captain and Renee. They were on the other side of the craft. I gently throttled up and flew over the hull of the ship, spotting the Band of Misfits on the other side quietly approaching. My ship’s HUD said she was only four hundred meters away, so backup would be swift.

We approached the hanger, a much smaller one than on the Band of Misfits. It held two white shuttle craft, old designs with an arching glass cover, rectangular body with two small folded wings either side and two basic ion thrusters at the back. It was meant for ship to station transport, probably ferrying light cargo or passengers.

There were crates all over the place along with tools and a wheeled, orange forklift, as if it had suddenly been abandoned.

“I don’t like this.” I said to Henry, who was arching his ship nose up and gently coming to land on the deck. I followed suit.

“We’ll be fine Valentine, don’t worry.”

“Sure.” I said, locking the magnetic wheels in place.

I pressed a button on the side of the cockpit and everything went dark, there was a hissing sound, and then the cockpit slid back.

Putting my arm on the side, I swung myself out only to find that the gravity in the hanger was lighter than Earth Standard and I stumbled mid fall. I landed awkwardly and fell forwards, but was able to right myself and stand up straight.

Meanwhile, Renee and Henry were doubled over laughing at me, whilst the Captain was too busy looking around with his submachine gun at the ready to bother with us.

“Ublyudki.” I growled at the two of them.

We all readied ourselves, taking out our Ace-5s as we swept the hanger bay. Henry and I moved up to a doorway on the right side that was closed. There was a panel on the side and above that a small screen. I nodded to it, “You think I should take a look?”

“Go ahead, I’ll cover.”

I nodded again and we moved up, our weapons pointed at the door. I moved up to the panel and lowered the gun whilst Henry took position on the other side. I pressed the on button and the glass screen flashed with the same image as was on the flags outside.

The display was a touch-screen, old fashioned for my people but easy to use. I touched the screen and dragged it up, scrolling through the options. One of them was to close the hanger doors.

“This is Valentin, I have found the hanger door controls. Want me to close them?”

“Negative, I’ll call in the marines.” Luke said, looking at me and shaking his head from the other side of the hanger. He touched the side of his helmet and called in a Gyrfalcon.

Meanwhile, Henry and I stayed put twiddling our thumbs.

If only we knew was waiting for us on the other side, we would have blown the ship up and been done with it then and there.
Dark and Derelict - Part 1
I finally did it, a story set in my sci-fi universe which has been way overdue by this point. Hope you guys enjoy it, and please don't be afraid to point out flaws or mistakes.

Part 2: connor18.deviantart.com/art/Da…
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We sat inside the main longhouse as we warmed up by the fire. Felix was wrapped in a thick fur cloak and was still shivering, somehow. Perhaps it was the lack of energy; I think he mentioned that before sometime ago.

I was sat opposite him, with Amaline and Basil sitting either side of me and the Duchess on the left, giving me a narrow-eyed look. I avoided looking at her as I knew that I was still to receive some sort of punishment for what I did, but I was also ecstatic that Felix was still alive. I could be lashed twenty times and I wouldn’t care; I was just happy my best friend was back.

“Felix, I thought you had died.”

He smiled up at me, “I knew the risks, and I also knew that I... Brr, I’m still a little cold. Yes, I knew that I would return. I am only sorry I couldn’t have saved you-”

“Don’t you dare!” I said suddenly, pointing at him, “Don’t you dare say sorry. That was me Felix, I got us into that mess because I was an idiot.”

“Indeed.” Gabrielle said quietly and slowly.

“It is alright, Frank.” Felix shrugged, “Believe me; the pain doesn’t bother me much anymore. I am just unsure as to how I come back.” He sat back and looked thoughtful, “After I was torn apart, there was a bright, white light and then a long tunnel. But then something else; when I reached the end of that tunnel, there was a wide, open... void. Like a great, big sky filled with bright swirling lights. I only saw it briefly before everything went dark, and I came back outside, near you.”

Gabrielle tilted her head as she looked at the ghost, “I have heard similar things, of a spirit realm that all go to after they die, or perhaps the realm before one meets the Gods.”

Felix shrugged again, “It could be anything, I am unsure what is what these days. I don’t remember crossing over into a realm like that after I parted ways with my physical body, but then again I don’t think I remember much of anything from that moment, or this one aside from what I have told you.”

Basil sat upright, “It could have also been another dimension, perhaps something like a piggyback dimension.”

“A what?” I asked, furrowing my eyebrows.

He shrugged and waved his arms, “I don’t know the details but, I have heard a few intellectuals talking about it a while ago, before I came here. Some dimensions, they say, attach themselves to universes and occasionally portals between the two can open up. I don’t understand it, but that is one theory. Certain creatures use them to move between worlds if they lack our ability to open up doorways.”

Just then, the door to the longhouse burst open with a loud clanging noise as they door handle hit the wood and that strange, thin werewolf in a cloak came dashing in.

Basil chuckled to himself, “Just like that.”

“Mistress!” He cried, “We have found something regarding the demon attack!”

Gabrielle stood up and looked at the other wolf. She looked very imposing, and even the way she stood up made her look like she carried some importance.

“What have you found?” She spoke, her voice deep and sounding more military commander than Duchess.

The other wolf looked to me, then to Gabrielle. I saw his ears start to pin back just ever so slightly.

“I am afraid you will not like the news, either of you. We captured a demon, one of the hounds, and Eldwin made it speak to him. It told us that they had been sent to take someone from the camp with the radio tower; a human named... well you, Frank.” He looked at me sympathetically.

Gabrielle also turned to me, probably confused as to why demons would even find me remotely interesting.

He continued, “When they couldn’t find him there, they came here looking for him.”

Suddenly I felt scared again, more scared than I was being chased by the hunters. Something creepy and wrong was going on here, I knew it. I got the feeling that this was all because of me.

“Shit.” I whispered. I held my head in my hands as Amaline put an arm around me. Out of the frying pan, into the goddamn fire.

“And another thing;” the wolf continued, “The messenger we sent down to the human camp? It appears they were also attacked and took injuries, but were able to fend it off. They also lost one of their men, someone named Toby.”

Another name to add to the list. Amaline rubbed my back a couple of times and gave my shoulder a squeeze. She knew what was going through my head right now.

“Someone you know, Frank?” Gabrielle asked quietly, sympathetically.

I met her neutral gaze with my own and gave a short nod. She nodded back and looked back to the wolf.

“Thank you. Please, tell Eldwin that if he hasn’t already to destroy the creature and burn the body, along with all of the others. Oh, and get the smithy smelt down the demon armour we have collected. We will sell that off to Priporu.”

“Of course, mistress.” He nodded. He turned to me and nodded again, giving me another sympathetic look, “Seymour.”

I just couldn’t believe any of this. What the hell was going on? It was like everything was revolving around me, like I was a fucking magnet for this shit. Why me? What was so special about me?

“You do not know what is going on, do you Frank?” Gabrielle asked as she sat back down.

I shook my head and spoke quietly, “Not a fucking clue.”

She let out a long sigh, “I hear words to that effect a lot these days. Something big is going on here, pup. It’s not just you either; we have seen a lot of activity, and not just demons but many psychics and artefact hunters around these parts looking for these special gadgets.”

I shrugged, “What’s so important about these artefacts?”

“Well,” She began, staring into the fire, “There used to be a powerful kingdom that reigned all across this part of the multiverse, and beyond. They were called the Kuh’Hatru Empire.” She said, and then spelt it out for us as it didn’t sound at all like it was spelt. Her pronunciation of it was very quick and sounded like ‘kahatro’, “They were very powerful. They built mighty space vessels capable of going from star to star, and made incredible machines that opened up doorways between worlds at the push of a button, allowing instant travel between worlds.”

I was fascinated as she told the story. A part of me didn’t want believe it, I mean it sounded so farfetched but, at this point who was I to say? Amaline stared at Gabrielle and listened, enraptured by the story, so she was obviously getting even better at understanding English.

“They had many trillions of people in their empire, and from what we understand, this area was but one of many. It was called ‘Site C’, and there appear to be many more out there, somewhere very far away. Anyway, they were destroyed over two thousand years ago in a civil war of sorts, but it was more like genocide. Some of their descendants remain, such as the scavenger clans of the desert Earth known as Jann’ir,” She pronounced it like ‘janeer’, “And some other smaller clans scattered about the worlds. Their technology, some cities and even, if rumours are to be believed, starships still remain, hidden in old military installations or abandoned bunkers.”

“Jesus.” I whispered, “And this is all real?”

She nodded and looked at me like it should be common knowledge, “Of course. This is most likely the kind of artefact everyone seeks. From the rumours I hear, it may be an old map of sorts, something showing all of the old military locations across the nearby worlds build two thousand years ago.”

“So what were the Kuh’Hatru people?” Felix asked, wrapping the towel around him some more.

“Humans. All of them were psychic, to some degree, and were amazing warriors and explorers. Their descendants are also good fighters, but most of them bred with local human populations and the bloodline thinned.”

“So like, ancient humans then? That’s pretty crazy.”

Gabrielle grinned, showing off her sharp canines, “It is true. This we know this from books and data collected by your group, the Cartographers Guild when they shared it with our scholars in Priporu. These artefacts are worth more than gold, platinum and diamonds together to the Guild and to everyone else.”

For some reason, the way she pronounced Kuh’Hatru sounded familiar, but I couldn’t figure out how or why. There was just something about that word... where had I heard it before? Why was it familiar?

“In any case,” she continued, her face turning serious, “I still have to come up with your punishment.”

I felt a lot worse all of a sudden. I really wasn’t looking forward to finding out what sort of punishment awaited me.

“Fredrick would rather you take a few lashes or face temporary enslavement.” She said dryly.

I sighed and looked away. I really was not looking forward to either of those things.

“However,” She said, raising her hand, “I understand your reasons for doing this, and as foolish as it may have been, we now know the reason for the demons visit. You. It was a stupid, if somewhat romantic gesture towards Amaline, but now that the demons are after you, pup, I think it would be best if we kept everything quiet. Your punishment, I think, should be temporary servitude to our nation. Any information you gather will be presented to us before it is presented to your guild.”

Well, Christ! That didn’t sound too bad at all. I was confused though; what was to stop me from running away?

“That doesn’t sound too bad, I mean, I could just run off and never come back.”

She smirked again, “Oh, you would return to us eventually human, one way or another. In any case, I believe sending Eldwin out with you on your next excursion would be prudent, especially as he is one of our more experienced officers.”

Oh no, that was not so good.

“Ah, can’t it be someone else? Basil maybe?” I suggested sheepishly. Eldwin was ok at a distance, but with me everywhere, watching my every move? I didn’t want to say the guy seemed a bit perverted but, well, he seemed a bit perverted.

She tilted her head and gave me a puzzled look, “What is wrong with Eldwin?”

I grimaced, “Well, he uh... he kind of comes on to me a lot, you know, flirts and stuff.”

She scoffed and flicked her hand dismissively in a lady-like way, “He does that to men anyway. He won’t try anything, certainly not without inviting Anton first.” She giggled, “Regardless, if he likes you then he’ll keep you safe from harm as well as keep an eye on you. If you want to find your missing guildsman, I suggest that taking him along might not be such a bad idea for you. He was secret service to our King, after all.”

Basil smiled at me, “So you’d rather have me along than a distinguished secret service officer, Frank? I’m flattered.”

“Well, I mean, you don’t come-on to me every ten seconds.”

He laughed along with the Duchess, “He has flirted with me, too. Don’t worry, most of the time he is joking. He likes to test people as well; I imagine it is a part of his duty as an agent.”

I groaned, “I am not gonna be able to relax, am I?”

The Duchess smiled and lowered her head, her eyes looking up at me, “Then the punishment is working as intended, isn’t it?”

I frowned, “I guess so. So, what am I doing next, then? Our guy obviously isn’t here, so maybe it has something to do with these demons.”

Gabrielle gritted her teeth and her lips curled up, “As much as it pains me to do so, I believe a visit to the Jekyll and Hyde group is in order. For this mission Eldwin will hang back of course, but I imagine he will find a way to keep an eye on you. Let him help, please, he will be useful to you.”

I turned to Felix who was starting to look a lot better now. He smiled and nodded his head knowingly, “I am ready when you are.”

I grunted, “It’s settled then; we’ll start heading back to our camp in a few minutes.”

Gabrielle did a strange little bow with her head, “And as we have said before, you are welcome here any time. However, I think avoiding Fredrick for a few days would be a good idea. I will help him calm down and talk to him about you.”

“Ok then. I think I should say thank you then, for... well, for everything. Your doctor helped me, your people trained me, and I don’t think I would have learned nearly so much so quickly without you.”

She smiled at me and blinked slowly as she nodded, it was an oddly comforting gesture, “You are very welcome. Please do return sometime though, I think Katrin and the others are expecting drinks if I am not mistaken.”

“Oh, forgot about that.” I groaned.

She laughed again, “Goodbye Frank, and stay safe out there, pup.”
A whole day, one whole God-forsaken day we had been holed up in this old gas station. When the infection began in Seattle, we had no idea what to do, where to go. They were everywhere, up every street, down every alley, it’s a wonder we weren’t torn apart by them. Though, we didn’t escape unharmed.

Now I was looking out the window, a Browning .308 bolt-action hunting rifle clutched in my hands. The sun had gone down and everything was quiet here, but in the distance, above the trees, I could make out the Seattle skyline, and the rising plumes of smoke and occasional flashes of explosions.

The National Guard had been deployed but had barely entered the city before hundreds of turned people, the ones who didn’t die of the infection, burst out of every apartment window, alley or sewer grate. They pulled back and had resorted to bombing highly infected areas, but I saw Olympia in the distance getting hit, where my apartment was, so either things were really bad there or the military had decided the whole region was a lost cause. Not that it would matter given that Portland, Vancouver, even as far south as Redding had been reporting cases before the media blackout.

You’re probably wondering what sort of infection it is. Is it zombies? That’s the word that was on everyone’s lips when it initially started appearing around the world. First reported case outside of Moscow, before the city went to hell, some guy biting another, who then bit two more, and then the cycle continued. Thing was, they were still alive and just crazy, so it was thought to be some strain of rabies, maybe one that drove people mad.

Then, one day after the report, the five people infected had busted out of their containment, but they weren’t people anymore.

Then newspapers were reporting on the condition; Mutagenic Lycanthropy, also known as the wolf virus. By that time even my home city of Cardiff in the UK had been affected.

Now everyone was panicking. All those people prepared for the “zombie apocalypse” of slow moving targets collectively shat a brick and realised that this was a foe they couldn’t run from. Preppers suddenly realized that their hideaways in the mountains and woods wouldn’t be safe anymore, not now since that was the lycans favoured habitats. Those mall ninjas? Yeah, good luck fighting werewolves with katanas dickhead.

Now it was just me and my girlfriend, sitting in this building with only a couple of wind up lanterns for light and a few wool blankets for warmth. Before yesterday, I hadn’t even held a gun never mind fired one before.

I sighed and stood up, brushing my short brown hair back. I turned and looked at my American girlfriend, Theresa, huddled in two blankets and was shivering. I walked up to her slowly, she looked up and I smiled back. She was terrified but was trying not to show it, more for my sake than anything else.

“Hey pet.” I spoke softly, sitting down next to her. I put my arm around her shoulders and hugged her close, “It’s gonna be alright, you’ll see.

“If you say so, Bai.” She said, calling me by the shortened name she had given me. My full name was Bainon, but Theresa liked the short version more. She said it rhymed with “bae” so I was alright with that.

“I do love.” I whispered, “You’ll be fine.”

I saw her cheeks were wet, but I wasn’t sure if it was the fever or from crying. I brushed her long, black hair behind her ears and kissed her cheek.

“I don’t think I’ll make it.” She said, no quiver or fear in her voice, just cold certainty.

“Hey, hey, don’t say that. People who are infected go crazy an hour after being bitten, it’s been a day and a half and all you have is a fever.”

She chuckled, “Yeah, and a splitting headache, my joints are on fire and I feel hungry.”

“Look, I’ll make us some tea and get some crackers, okay?”

She nodded and pulled the blankets closer around her. I stood up and made my way over to the small camping stove I had pinched from an outdoors store on the way out of town, before we had ran out of petrol and had to walk to this gas station. By then night had fallen, so all we could do was hole up here. I took my canteen from the black rucksack on the counter and poured it into a small pot, then placed it above the small flames.

Ever since this had started I barely slept a wink. I was only able to get a couple of hours sleep when we hid in the sewers for half a day, which is where Theresa was bitten. I still felt like a total git for letting it happen, I should have been there sooner. She had a pistol, and I thought she’d be fine going around a corner on her own since I had checked the tunnels before hand, but I didn’t know the wolves could open doors. One of them had pounced on her, some big grey brute with glowing red eyes and an undershot jaw. It took me three shots, one missing, one hitting the shoulder and the last hitting the head, to finally take the bastard down.

I carried Theresa back and thought her dead for sure. I held her close, she insisted I keep the pistol handy, but I never did use it. A good thing too, since after the first hour was up and she hadn’t turned, I realised that she must have been immune. Certain people were; something to do with genetic ancestry they said on the news. The scientists at the GHD, or Global Health Department, were trying to devise a cure when the blackout happened. I don’t know if they were successful or not, but if they were, they were taking their sweet time.

Regardless, she had developed a fever shortly thereafter. I realised then that it wasn’t a normal one either, as much as I hoped it would be.

“Bainon...” I heard her call. I picked up a subtle quiver in her voice and immediately rushed over.

She was quaking and her teeth were chattering, but I saw beads of sweat rolling down her face.

“Honey, I don’t think I’m gonna make it anymore.” She said between chattering teeth, “I feel so hot.”

I leaned back and sighed, putting my palm on my forehead. What in Christ’s name was I supposed to do? I was her boyfriend, but I couldn’t even protect her. Panic rose in my chest.

“Bai, get the pistol-”

“No.” I said adamantly, “You are not doing this to me, Theresa.”

She turned her head, her eyes glowing an intense shade of gold as she bared her teeth at me. Her pupils were contracted and bore a predatory look.

“Get. The. Gun.” She ordered.

My breathing started to pick up. This couldn’t be happening, this was not happening, not right now, not to my Theresa!

I scrambled over a fallen chair and ran back to the counter, then went into her backpack. There I pulled out the pistol, a Glock 22 that was fully loaded. I held it in my hand and looked over at her.

She was nodding, still shaking from the fever and occasionally her head or arm would fidget.

I walked over slowly, praying that a miracle would happen and she would be fine. No, I couldn’t lose another person dear to me, not after what had happened to my sister three years ago. That nearly destroyed me.

She stood up, the mere act of which took all of her energy and she faced me, her eyes glowing like one of the wolves. Her hand reached out from under the cloak, and even in this poor lighting I could already see her nails were longer and sharper.

Her hand grasped the barrel and pulled it up to her forehead. She stared me in the eyes, and I did too, pleading with her not to make me do this.

“Bai, it has to be done, honey.” She whispered, so calmly it made my heart ache.

“No.”

“It has to.” She pleaded, “I can’t live like one of those things.”

“You won’t, I’ll protect us. You won’t be a monster, Theresa, you’re different from the rest of them!” I shouted at her, tears streaming down my face.

“Bai, please?” She whimpered.

I took a few shallow breaths, staring at her. Then I forced the gun out of her shaking hand, then lowered it.

“No.”

She stepped back into the shadows, her cloak falling down around her ankles. She stared at me as she unzipped the orange jacket and took it off, then threw off her jumper underneath that.

“Theresa?” I spoke, very quietly.

A few moments of silence, that was then punctuated by a howl in the distance.

“It’s time.” She spoke, no emotion in her voice. I could barely see her face, but her eyes glowed bright in the dark.

“Theresa.”

She frowned at me, “I’m not sore anymore, Bai.”

Then she doubled over, clutching her stomach.

“Shit!” I hissed, reaching for her.

She swatted me back, “No! I... I have to do this!”

“Let me help somehow!”

“How?!” She yelled, then fell to her hands and knees.

I had seen the transformations on the news, and they were an ugly affair, but Theresa’s? I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything happen so fast in my life.

Black fur sprouted up over her whole body, her legs and arms stretched out, her hands started to look more bestial and she had pads on her palms and fingers. Her face lengthened out slowly, with a few pops and cracks here and there, but it never seemed to bother her. Her ears moved back and lengthened, becoming wolf ears like the ones on the other lycans, but a lot fluffier and less monstrous. Then, finally, a tail grew out from the small of her back. She arched back and stretched, letting out a low growl.

Just before it ended, she stared right into me and she never broke eye contact. She slowly stood up, standing at around six feet, eleven inches, maybe more. Her arms were more sinewy, the muscles on her abdomen even more pronounced than before.

“Theresa...” I spoke quietly, in awe. She looked nothing like the other creatures did, no horrid, patchy fur or large blisters, no unkempt and shaggy coat or any coarse fur covering her body. She looked so... well, almost beautiful.

She tilted her head and stared at me, her ears shifting about as if she were studying me, confused as to who I was.

“It’s me pet, it’s Bai remember?”

“Bai...” She spoke slowly, her lips moving in strange ways.

I nodded, “Bai. Please tell me you remember me.”

She took one stride closer and I instinctively backed up. I saw her cringe as I did, but I tried to make up for it by reaching my hand out. She reached hers slowly, her fingers touching the tips of mine. They slid down the palm of my hand and reached my wrist. I grasped hers, although my fingers barely fit around half of it, but she pulled me in first.

I yelled as I was met with a wall of fur, but I quickly relaxed when I realised she wasn’t going to hurt me. I moved my hand up her back and squeezed her hard.

“Oh, Theresa!” I cried, “I thought I’d lost you there, pet!”

She responded with a similar squeeze. After a minute of hugging we pulled back. She put her hands on the bottom of my face and pushed my head up to look at her. I stroked her cheek softly, feeling the thick, soft fur there. It was unlike the others, which was always wiry and coarse.

“You still look beautiful to me, hun.”

She growled playfully and touched her nose against mine. I giggled and did it back.

“I knew you were different.”

It felt amazing, like being back in love all over again. I didn’t care that she was a lycan, I didn’t care for how she looked. We could get it all sorted out later, after we escaped.

All I cared about was that my Theresa was here, with me, and things would be okay now.

Then another howl broke the silence between us. Both of our heads swivelled up to the large window at the side of the gas station. No way were we getting back to the car now.

“I need to get the packs, we’ll have to hoof it up the road!” I said. I heard Theresa grab something, perhaps her rucksack, but just as I grabbed mine and took the rifle, a large black arm scooped me up and before I knew it I was face to face with her. She nodded back with her head, I had surmised that she wanted me to ride on her... back?

I threw my arms around her neck and we took off out the front door at high speed, heading up the road and away from Seattle. Behind us explosions boomed and gunfire barked, but we paid no mind to any of it.

We were leaving the old world behind now; we needed to be ready for whatever was to come.

--

I opened my eyes slowly, blinked a few times. I looked around the room, the wooden ceiling, the log walls, the old iron stove by the kitchen worktops with a couple of pans on it and some wood underneath it. The windows to the outside world showed a large, bowl shaped lake with mountains all around it stretching on for miles, and a couple of islands here and there, as well as tall redwoods and pines all over. I remembered I’d have to go fishing later on. I scratched the bite mark on my shoulder, a souvenir from ten years ago, and about five after I escaped Seattle.

Underneath the covers, something stirred. Something moved around next to me, and moved closer to the opening. A small head poked out, no, two small heads, one covered in black fur, the other brown like mine.

“Good morning you two.” I said, rubbing the head of the eldest, who was now sitting up next to me. The other one cuddled up beside her brother and looked up at me, eyeing me playfully.

“No,” I said, anticipating the question before it was uttered, “we’re going fishing first and then you’re both studying English and History.” Or what was left of either one in any case. Mainly a few school books I had found, but that was it.

“But Dad!” They both cried.

I waggled my finger at them, “No buts! Besides, shouldn’t you be helping Mum and Dad by picking mushrooms?”

“I hate mushrooms.” Rick, the brown furred one, whined as his ears pinned back.

“But daddy makes a good stew with the mushyrooms and the wabbits!” Olivia said, pouting at her brother, “You know that.”

“And don’t forget the gloves.” I reminded them.

They both held up their hands, covered in stitched together rabbit fur and plant fibres. Not exactly my best creation, but it beat hiking back into the towns to go looking for clothes. My old wound never let me forget that.

I chuckled at my children and threw open the covers, standing up. I was dressed in my long thermal underwear, although there wasn’t much thermal left after years of stitching it up from all of the scrapes and falls.

Suddenly the door to the cabin opened, letting in the bright sunlight. A figure stood there, silhouetted in the light, but I could make out the powerful muscles and long, bushy tail. She held in her hand five rabbits all tied together with string that waved to and fro as she strode in.

“Hi pet.” She said to me in a growl as she slung the rabbits over a wooden chair next to the kitchen counter.

“Well well, who let this wolf in the door?”

“She let herself in.” She spoke, her voice slightly huskier than it had been before she was turned. She grabbed my arm and pulled me close, giving her usual “hello” after her nightly hunting trip.

“Kids, go to your rooms for a moment, would you?” I said, looking over my shoulder at them. They looked at each other, made “yuck” noises and stuck out their tongues before rushing into their bedroom on the other side of the cabin.

“Now, where were we..?” I asked the tall wolf holding on to me, “something from yesterday about making me sorry?”

She growled, putting her head down to my ear, nuzzling the side of it and scraping her sharp teeth against my skin.

“You were going to cook me breakfast.” She whispered.

I sighed and chuckled, “Yes, I knew that was coming.”

Even after all these years, she was still my Theresa.
Love Outlasts
So this became a thing the day after valentines day. My brain was like "Oh! I know! Here's a great idea for a love story!" on February the 15th.

Sorry for the terrible name. I may make more stories in the world of the Wolf Virus. And yes, it takes place in my multiverse, near the Utopia and Cavalier worlds in fact.

Also, it's not too mature, is it? I wouldn't need to add the big 'ole nasty mature filter would I?
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I woke up to a strange sensation under me, as if the ground was moving beneath my body. I blinked a couple of times.

And I had a sore nose.

Why were the sky and trees moving past me? What was that strange thumping noise beside me? Where was I?

I would have asked more questions, but as I turned my head to my right and looked I saw a sight straight out of a nightmare. A tall, 7 foot demon wearing steel armour and carrying a large war axe marched alongside me. It had a skull, a horrible mutated human skull straight out of my nightmares as its head along with a long tail like a lizard with rough, black leathery skin.

I started hyperventilating as it turned to look down at me. Its eyes were glowing red and its jaw was hanging open with red slaver dripping out of it.

I realised now that this was a very stupid plan. I should have really thought this through, but I was foolish and Felix...

Oh god... Felix. No, not him.

I felt tears begin to form in my eyes as I thought about the trapper and the sounds he made as the demon tore into him. It was like they were ripping his soul apart.

The demon grunted at me, making a hollow sound like air being blown over an empty glass bottle but a lot deeper and louder. The creature dragging me was the dog-thing from before, along with two others who had joined it. I looked around and saw that we were in the middle of the woods, nowhere near the town.

Oh god, what were they going to do to me? Where were they taking me?

My heart rate started soaring as my mind raced through every possibility, every action I could take. All of them seemed to lead to me getting killed by these monsters. But still, they had killed Felix. Maybe I had run away in the past, but not this time.

I felt a strange sensation in my chest, like a light buzzing feeling. It was constant and started near my heart somewhere. It slowly spread around my torso, then all through my arms and legs and my head. My vision sharpened a bit, my hearing was a little better and my muscles, that had started feeling sore earlier, felt rejuvenated.

My breathing picked up as did my heart rate. My body must have been working overtime to produce this... effect, I guess. I looked up at the demon that was dragging me, then back to the taller one. It tilted its head as it looked down at me and made another grunt. We stopped and the demon dragging me turned to me with a look of rage on its face.

It dissipated the moment it made eye contact with me for some reason. It started to look almost frightened.

My lips curled up as I let out a growl and kicked at the creature. I sent it flying backwards into the snow along with a blast of energy that I’m sure I didn’t even need to think about to create, before I threw my legs over my head and rolled backwards, away from the group. I followed the roll onto my feet and stood up, my teeth still bared. I raised my fists, spread my legs out into a fighting stance and looked at each one. I was feeling more focused; I could think a bit clearly and I was able to size up each demon.

The big guy was first to attack, but not to kill. He swung his arm at me with his long, leathery fingers spread out to grab me but I ducked under them with a short roll. I stood up and turned to it, letting loose a couple of punches into its exposed side. It grunted and swung its arm back as it tried to clothesline me, but I just ducked and rolled to the side before standing up and letting loose another two punches.

The creature was getting frustrated and roared at me. I just stared back at it, waiting for it to make its move. The other ones dashed around us, growling and baring their teeth, but I ignored them. They weren’t an issue, the big guy was. It started getting so mad it began to swing the blunt side of its axe at me. I heard it whooshing through air as it sailed where I had been standing a moment earlier. Luckily I had ducked and dashed to the other side and let loose a punch filled with energy. I knocked the creature off balance and followed up with another two punches and then a flat foot kick with energy right into the steel plating. The force followed through the armour, pushing the beast back a bit. It looked up at me, and if had a face I could imagine it was looking very surprised.

“Katroo!” One of the smaller demons hissed at me, “Katroo!”

I ran for it and tried to give it a kick but it fell back and started hissing again. The beast behind me took the opportunity and rushed for me, catching me off guard. I was knocked to the ground and fell with a grunt. A heavy hand pushed me back down on the ground with so much force I could barely fight back. Eventually my arms gave in and I fell to the ground. Its hand kept pushing and I felt my back begin to ache. I let out a groan as the force kept getting stronger, but one of the smaller creatures growled something at the bigger guy and the pushing eased up.

They circled around me, squinting and tilting their heads. What was so strange about me? One of them raised its hand to my head. I tried to stop it but the others held my arms down and it placed its horrible hand on my forehead. I felt all of the energy leave my body and my eyelids began to sag. I tried to fight the feeling, but it was overwhelming. It was like it was sapping all of my energy.

“Frank!” I heard a voice cry from behind me. The creatures stopped and looked up with wide eyes, then curled their lips up, pushed their ears back and narrowed their eyes at whoever had spoken. The big skeleton guy stopped holding me down and stood up, but I was too tired to look around and I felt like I had a thousand balls of cotton wool stuck in my brain. I heard the sounds of fighting, growling and the sound of the axe slicing through the air. Then there was that strange hollow grunt, a loud growl from something and then a sickening cracking sound. The smaller creatures scattered, but not before one straggler was kicked onto its front by a large, black paw. It scrambled to get up but was quickly stopped by a large axe that swung down and sliced through its back. It straightened out for a moment and then went limp just as fast.

“Frank, are you alright? Speak to me, boy!” The voice said again as it tossed the axe away. I was able to roll around and I finally recognized the face.

“Eld... Eldwin?”

I saw a concerned looking werewolf who was crouched down on his knee. He had a big black-fur jacket over him and some leather armour on underneath, along with knee and shin guards. He looked at my forehead and placed his warm palm there, closing his eyes as he mumbled something under his breath. I took a couple of breaths and felt a bit better. My head stopped feeling like there was cotton wool stuck in there and I could focus, yet again.

“Th... th... thanks.” I stuttered, trying to shake that horrible feeling out of me.

He smiled and his eyebrows arched up. He looked pretty happy and he had a very human expression on his face.

“Remember next time pup; never turn your back on a demon.” He said seriously, before chuckling and giving me a pat on the shoulder, “You are very lucky I found you. Those demons were trying to make you fall asleep, and it would have worked. Still, I am not sure how you managed to escape their grasp.”

“Neither am I.” I said, thinking about what I had just done. Then it struck me.

“Holy shit.” I brought my hand up to my head as I sat up, “How the hell did I do that?”

“Do what, Frank?” He asked, curiously.

I looked up at the werewolf and tried to speak, but all that came out was air and a pathetic grunt.

He snorted, “Cute, but you are still in shock. Come, let me take you back to the town.”

He offered his hand and I reached for it expecting him to left me to my feet. What I didn’t expect was for him to lift me right off of my feet and over his back like a sack of vegetables.

I was over his shoulder and facing the direction he was, so I craned my neck to look up at him.

“Whoa, whoa! What are you doing?” I shouted, feeling embarrassed.

“Well, it’s faster if I carry you back, isn’t it? Now hold on!” He shouted, hurting my ears. He pushed me onto his back as he leant forwards and started running on all fours. I straddled his back awkwardly and held on to his shoulders as the ground below rushed past us. The wind whistled past my ears, and I honestly started to enjoy it. It didn’t hurt that he was also very warm and was wearing a soft fur coat, so at least it was a comfy piggy-back if nothing else.

“This is, like, a fantasy for you, isn’t it?” I shouted down at him as he grunted and panted.

He leapt over a rock and raced around a tree before he replied, “A fantasy? I’ve done this before, boy.”

Uh, what? “Oh really? With your husband?”

He laughed, “No, before I met Anton. A human man, you remind me of him.”

“Oh, more like a turn on then...” I trailed off awkwardly.

He laughed again and started picking up more speed, “Hold on, boy!”

I gritted my teeth and wrapped my arms around his neck as he started running even faster. He was much faster than Katrin and the other women, and it felt amazing to be going this fast. Everything around us was such a blur, but I noticed the air around his legs and arms was wavy and a bit brighter than usual.

“Isn’t this a bit too fast?” I shouted.

“What, you don’t like it?”

I honestly did, but I didn’t want to give him that satisfaction, “Nah, it’s too fast!”

“Liar!” He shouted back, “You love this!”

I certainly did, or at least until I remembered what was going on. Eldwin leapt over a boulder in one bound and landed effortlessly, and I had barely even felt it. Give the guy his due; he knew how to run.

I could see the houses ahead of us. They were the huts of the town, but they were spread apart and spread thin, so they must have been on the outskirts. How far had those demons dragged me, and how long was I out for?

Eventually I saw a gathering of people in the distance and Anton slowed down and pushed himself off the ground behind a hut and jogged into a stride. He stopped let me off, although I slid off of his back rather than jumped off as my legs were stiff. He let out a sensual growl as I slid against his tail.

“Oh, do that again will you?”

“No.” I said flatly, shivering in the cold as the wind picked up.

He chuckled and winked at me as he walked past. We went around the hut and saw the people ahead of us.

There was the Duchess and General Fredrick, both looking furious, the same with Amaline and Basil. Anton was standing beside Katrin, shaking his head slowly at his husband as Eldwin marched over in a very confident and masculine way. Katrin raised an eyebrow, and of course Hilda just gave me a little wave. Anna was staring at me with her arms crossed. There were other wolves dotted about doing various things like checking buildings or talking to one another, but of course, I was the main attraction and everyone was either looking or glancing at me from time to time.

No Felix though. My heart sank a thousand fathoms. He really was dead. That was it then, those demons must have actually killed him. My face must have changed as Amaline’s eyebrows lowered. She stopped looking angry and tilted her head at me.

I finally reached the group.

“WHAT IN THE NAME OF ALL OF THE WOLF GODS DID YOU THINK YOU WERE DOING, BOY?!” Frederick boomed at the top of his voice with a furious expression on his face as he marched forward to stand barely two meters from me. His teeth were bared, his ears flat against his skull and he looked so furious. I just so wanted to drop dead right then and there, for everything I had done. Felix was dead because of me, I almost got dragged away and who knows how many people had been hurt, or killed.

I just stared at the floor as he continued his tirade, “YOU COULD HAVE BEEN KILLED, AND GODS WILLING SHOULD HAVE! YOU RISKED THE LIVES OF THREE WOLVES WHO WENT OUT LOOKING FOR YOU! I SHOULD HAVE YOU CHAINED, LASHED AND SENT TO SERVE TWELVE MONTHS IN THE MINES OF PRIPORU!”

I closed my eyes and gritted my teeth. It was all my fault this time. All of it.

Frederick took a few breaths, “But I will not. Not you, since you still have some use to us.”

I looked up at him. His face was a mask of anger, but at the same time I got a sense of sympathy from him.

“I’m sorry-”

“Quiet! I haven’t finished. I should have you made an example of for that act of utter stupidity, but I understand why you did it. Hilda has told me everything.”

I looked up at her and she bowed her head in shame. I shook my head and tried to let her know it was alright by giving her a smile, but it was so forced. She tried to smile back though. I then realised she was probably in trouble because of me.

Suddenly Amaline came marching up to me. She looked furious and I started backing away from her with my arms in the air.

“Stupid Frank! Stupid stupid!” She growled, “You could died! Je te gifle si dur!”

I closed my eyes and gritted my teeth as she reached me, expecting a slap or a slash or something. Instead I got two great big arms wrapped around my body as she pulled me into a massive hug. She nuzzled my neck a few times and kissed my cheek. I felt a bit warmer already.

“I know why, but don’t do.” She said, holding my head in her hands, “Or I kill you.” And then she nudged my nose with hers.

I tried to smile but I couldn’t. “I’m sorry Amaline. I...” I trailed off as my throat got caught in a sob. I swallowed it back and tried to look her in the eyes and tell her, but I couldn’t.

“Frank, what is wrong?” She asked slowly.

“What are you crying for, whelp?” Fredrick asked.

“I killed Felix.” I whispered. Amaline just stared at me like I was stupid, “I got him killed; a demon leapt on him and tore him apart and...” I could see it happening again in my mind’s eye, and the screaming. My mind went back to my past, to all of the people who had gotten hurt or killed because of me.

“It’s happened again, Amaline.” I said, it was barely audible, “I got someone else killed.”

Frederick must have heard because even he looked sympathetic. I saw his ears pull back and his eyebrows rise up. I also saw the understanding in Amaline’s face as well. She looked both horrified and close to tears, and she wrapped her arms around me again, pulling me in close. I put and arm around her and pushed my face into her coat’s shoulder.

Why did this keep happening to me? Why did everyone die around me? Around us I heard someone take a breath and the sound of air rushing through the trees.

“No.” She said quietly.

“I know, but he’s gon-”

“No, Frank.” She said grabbing my shoulders as she spun me around.

And there I saw, as clear as day, with no clothes and a hairy body...

...Felix, who was grinning from ear to ear.

“You cannot kill a ghost, Frank.” He said, with a smile.

I stood there agape, trying to comprehend everything. How did he..?

And then he collapsed to the ground with a thud and a grunt.

“Ah, it’s so cold!” He said, his teeth chattering as he rolled to face us. He turned his head to look up at me, “So, where are my clothes?”
Biting Chill - Chapter 28
And the next part is... up! I apologise for another long wait, I tend to procrastinate more than I really should.

Chapter 1: connor18.deviantart.com/art/Bi…

Next chapter: Possibly, maybe, perhaps soon..?
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Connor
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:iconihtty9877:
ihtty9877 Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you!
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:iconconnor18:
Connor18 Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Welcome!
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:iconcjfairfield16:
CJFairfield16 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2017  Student General Artist
Duuuuude, my name is Connor too. :3
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:iconconnor18:
Connor18 Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Nice! And spelled Connor, too! Thanks for the watch as well. I write stories to do with werewolves and psychics mostly, occasionally make memes and Gmod pictures.
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:iconcjfairfield16:
CJFairfield16 Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2017  Student General Artist
Your welcome. Cool, werewolves and psychics....
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:icontaylornicolereed:
TaylorNicoleReed Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Just wanted to pop in and say thanks for the comment and the favorite! They both really mean a lot.
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:iconconnor18:
Connor18 Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
You're very welcome!
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:iconsilenceyourfears:
SilenceYourFears Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I really like your literature, keep it up man!
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:iconconnor18:
Connor18 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Hey, thanks a lot! Always glad to see people are enjoying my stuff. 
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:iconmarios1999:
marios1999 Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thanks for the watch :D (Big Grin)
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