Side Mission 01: SS Pandora Distress Call

With one disaster after another, the crew of the Edward Deming are stretched thin after another incident places their friends and family in danger...Some will go to great lengths to achieve their goals, though others may not be so eager to make a Faustian bargain.
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Side Mission 01: SS Pandora Distress Call

Post by uso » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:13 pm

Late 3018

Somewhere in space, a hulking mass of twisted metal whose engines no longer burn a distress signal pinging on repeat its message on loop. “This is SS Pandora requesting help there's not much time…..*sounds of growling and banging can be heard in the background*....l-lower decks through engine quarters were compromised other experiments got out trying to help I’m not sure if any are left…...my name is security officer martinez im currently in the lockup are with the other survivors please hurry.”

It's unclear how long the message had been looping and hailing the ship seems to do nothing as the ship eerily drifts through space.

The deep space where the ship had been was perfect for its experiments, but that isolation worked both ways. There was no one around who could help, at least, not anyone who could get there quickly. The closest ship at the time happened to be the IAS Edward Deming, a planetary survey ship with a complement of Foreign Legion Marines stationed on it.

The bridge crew had already checked for the ship’s registry, and ran pattern-matching tools to compare it against the alliance’s database of ships that it had come across so far hoping to find a match somewhere.

But at the end of the day, someone still had to go out there.


---
“Alright everyone. This isn’t amature hour. Stick together, let the drones do the heavy lifting, and take it slow.”

Green Squad may not have been the best, but they were the ones tasked with the job. Green Thumb, the squad leader, had plenty of experience dealing with all sorts of weirdness, and the four other soldiers she brought with her were her most adept at ‘following orders’ and ‘not fucking things up’.

She was hoping to make it out of this without it turning into a shit-show like last time.

“Check your suits and weapons again, We’ve got another 20 seconds before our shuttle docks.”
---

Slowly moving past the Pandora was a small EVA shuttle launched by the Deming, just enough room for all five marines, their bulky space suits, and some drones. The shuttle’s thin, spindly, arms looking for a place to grab onto so it could secure itself against the Pandora’s airlock.
As the shuttle were to doc and umbilical depressurise, the dock doors would open to what used to be a secondary hanger area for vip’s however it was hard to immediately see this with pitch blackness. The floor was covered in dark splotches and spent small caliber casings but no bodies in immediate sight however once inside the sound of light sobbing could be heard in the distance.

“Drones Out,” Green Thumb called over the squad’s private communication line as she pulled the display screen off the front of her older model EVA suit, her fingers giving the GO instruction.

Each was a small sphere, equipped with lights, cameras, and microphones, about the size of a basketball. They had a bright orange color to them too, the rescue-drones fanning out and starting to check over the immediate area before spreading out into the ship as far as they could. As they progressed, they would start building a map of the ship for the soldiers to use.

The drones would pick up on dozens of beings most likely what's left of crew members who fought something back their bodys torn up small pockets of what almost could be described as gore nests could be found by the drones one of the drones would notice something running making its way to were the ship was docket but also something else a bit larger following close behind.

“Looks like we already caught something?” One of the marines asked, as the group disembarked onto the ship. The two marines out front holding heavy riot-shields as their main weapon, the other two carrying [url=https://www.shattered-universe.com/doku ... 2966-a3017] A3017 personal defense weapons. Split between the group were grenade launchers, tools, and even shovels.

“Get ready, don’t shoot until you know what you’re shooting.” Green Thumb said, directing the group to spread out a bit in the hanger while keeping their attention focused on the direction of the threat. The drones doing their best to get a visual on their target.

The drone would be able to make out a large creature looking like a mixture of a bug fuzed with a person its body a strange ink color its size about as large as a large man and seemed to be chasing a young boy maybe 15 at most and the thing was getting closer to the child.

“Move up,” She hated saying that, she would rather not put her squad in harm's way any more than she had to… but there were other options besides just rushing in. While one of the soldiers would move up to the doorway to get eyes on the kid, Green-Thumb would pull out her grenade launcher, loading a magazine of 40mm drones and selecting the beast they already had on display.

*THUNK-THUNK*

The two drones would zip out from her launcher, rapidly navigating the space in front of them, moving over the other marines, then guiding themselves down into the hallway, past the kid, and then accelerating to slam themselves into the creature at high speed.

The creature retracted from the impact a loud crunching sound echoed through the hallways the kid managing to make it to the nearest marine the kid skin was noticeably pale with scratches and strange markings on his face he wore a old dirty green shirt sand cargo shirt and boots his shirt had pockets and belts attached to it carrying a few rounds of ammo and a knife a designation number on a fractured shoulder pad on one of his shoulders can be seen.

The first marine would shove the kid to one side using his shield, moving him out of the way of the other marines while at the same time keeping him half-pinned up against the wall so that he couldn’t harm them if he tried.

The rest of the marines would keep watch to see if the creature would get any closer, their laser-weapons and drone launcher ready to go if it decided to continue forward.

The creature lay there unmoving were as the child just stared up at the marine pinning him to the wall no emotion on his face as he said “you need to leave before more arrive.” the creature twitched then began attempting to drag/crawl its way back to where it came from.

“You’ll have to leave your weapons here kid,” The marine watching him said over his suit’s speakers as Green Thumb monitored the situation. They didn’t have another shuttle like this that could bring over more stuff… but this landing bay may be large enough for the planetary shuttle to dock inside… She’d make the call to bring over more drones.

And some more knife-missiles for the bug things.

“How many of those things are there, and is there anyone else left on the ship?” Green-Thumb would ask over her suit’s speakers.

The kid looked at green thumb, “I'm unable to remove my weapons father told me to make my way down here to lead your team to the lockup, father believes you can save him.” the child said this with no emotion again “may i move so i may lead you there?”

---
“Fuck,” One of the marines said over their private comm’s.

“Spooky space ship shit? You know we can’t just leave some people here to die.”

“Keep it professional. You two stay here and get our other shuttle into this hanger bay. We need more drones to cover this space. The rest of you are on me.” Green Horn said firmly, “Green-Grass, you’re watching the kid.”
---

“Stay behind us, and tell us which way to go,” Green Thumb said over her suit’s speakers.

One of the rifle equipped marines would put his hand on the boy’s shoulder, keeping himself in the center of the group that moved out into the hallway, shield in front, Green-Thumb in back. The constellation of drones they had brought with them were mapping the nearby areas, keeping watch for anything.

The marine who put his hand on the boy's shoulder would feel it go numb immediately after feeling a cold sensation upon touching the boy “i wouldn't recommend that, it doesn't trust you yet…” as he led then threw the ship it was clear something happened or something broke free awhile ago.

The marine would frown, and check his belt, making sure that the pile of anti-magic rocks he had was still glowing… or doing whatever. He wasn’t quite sure how they were supposed to work, just that they were supposed to protect against ‘those kind of things’.

“Yeah, ok, just don’t move away from me…. Uh… whatever your name is…”

the child would give them directions to move threw the ship safely before getting to a section with two other people dressed similar to the kid however unlike the kid these both were deformed or had noticeable tubes and wires crudely mixed in they guarded the door with smg’s but at seeing the kid and marines would open the doors to the security wing of the ship sounds of women crying and people talking walking by one of the rooms a old woman and male sat huddled together in front of a TV being used as a fireplace.

“Who’s in charge here?” Green horn asked over her suit’s speakers. She had the riot-shield armed marine stand in between them and the tube-wire-creature-things… the SMGs might not be able to hurt the marine’s suits, but there was no point in taking risks. The whole place looked like some kinda horror show that she’d be happy to be done with.

A graying haired man with the name tag Martinez made his way to the group “well i was worried no one was coming to aid us in getting out of here i hope the experiment got you here safely? I do apologize for the site with lack of capable security staff i broke out the experiments since they are more expendable instead of humans.”

“While this may not be the best time for explanations, I would still like to know who and what we came here to save,” Green Thumb said, “We don’t have the transport to get you off the ship right now, and your best chance of survival is to be straightforward with us.”

The boy grabbed a smg leaving to join the two others guarding the door causing the man to let out out a audible sigh mumbling “im sorry” before looking at greenthumb “we fucked up, we played god and are paying for it in droves we attempted to mix dark nature and blood magic with dna of creatures and dead or bio soldiers trying to create perfect soldiers but we messed up when making the boy something transpired and i'm still unsure what but anything failed seemed to writhe with pain and agony and the infection spread if you die you don't stay dead they drag you to the reactor room some strange light down their brings them back but they aren't the same if you notice how quiet it is even up here? But the further you go it's maddening whispers and voices of things people we once talked to but it's strange wherever the boy goes they get quite they follow him but not to attack almost like they are protecting him from something i still don't understand it but lately i have him around as a more or less safety net nothing attacks if he's in the general area he talks about them or it or something but i don't know what …..look i'm just a security officer and the ones who would have more info aren't with us anymore least not the same way but we can't stay here!!” the man fantasy said panicked as he moved to grip green thumbs suit.

“You couldn’t make something that isn’t a biohazard?” Green Horn said over her suit’s speakers before she could stop herself. The annoyance in her voice was impossible to miss, and she was immediately hating herself for acting so unprofessional… but their problem was far greater now. They didn’t have the facilities on the Edward Deming to handle this many people for long term quarantine. They also didn’t have the numbers they would need to guard this room, the hanger bay, and sweep the ship for these creatures much less actually escorting these people off the ship. She’d need to have a discussion with those still on the ship. No doubt engineering could provide some solution…

… after a minute or so, she would return her attention to the panicked man. “We can sort all of this out once these people are safe. We will need some time to configure our ship to handle these people, but we will need to keep you here for right now. How long have you been here, and how much longer are you ready to hold out for?”

There was also the question of what was happening earlier. If the creatures didn’t attack when the boy was around, why were they charging at him earlier? Why was the boy running? She’d message the marine closest to her to keep an eye on the kid, but there was little else she could do for the time being.

“And what other threats are here besides the creatures? Are we dealing with a Zombie type situation?”

The man scratched his head mumbling a few things a bit of it being “....must have been playing with them again” he looks at her “look there's not much i know about the situation that child is a mistake just like everything below deck i'd rather just get away from it and leave this maybe if i'm lucky the kid will choose to stay here with his family now if you excuse me i need to check the cameras.”

As he turns to leave a small crumpled note slips out of his pocket onto the floor without him noticing its edges slightly burned.

The marine who was tasked with watching the boy would find him out past the door talking to the creature from earlier that crawled off while seeming to comfort it.”

She’d let him go on his way for the time being, letting him get some distance before checking out the note. Meanwhile the other marine would send over his video-feed, “Hey boss, looks like the kid is getting along with the creature. You uh… sure we should be shooting these things?”

For green thumb, this only complicated the situation. “We don’t have the firepower right now to treat this as a wildlife preserve and a rescue mission. We’ll get everyone off and into isolation then proceed to search the ship completely with drones. I’d rather have these people in an environment I can control before trying to sort out what happened.”

The note read names of those infected including the captain his family his son being different type of infection at the bottom of the note was a bank transfer number.”

The boy get up as the creature began to crawl away a piece of metal snagged on a jagged piece of metal as it moved away once out of site the boy turned to the marine. “Thank you for not harming him.” before returning to his post.

“Think you could tell them not to come at us?” One of the marines asked, as Green Thumb copied an image of the list through her suit’s cameras. She would leave the note where it was for the time being and then make her way to the security guard that had gone to check the cameras.

The next step for Green Thumb was to forward the image to the IAS Edward Deming. The crew there would be able to investigate the bank account.

Immediately after that she would make her request of the security guard, “What parts of the ship do the cameras allow you to see?”

The security guard gestured to the cameras “everywhere on this floor and parts of the floor below us such as the armory, crew quarters and the brig before we had to move from the more hostile ones. Those don't seem to even be docile with the boy and are even known to attack the other less hostile creatures in what i can only assume is them arguing.”

The security guard seemed to be a bit nervous “so what's the eta on the ride off this hell hole?”

“It may be a while,” Green thumb replied, checking the cameras, “I need to connect to your ship’s computer. Can I do that through this terminal? It will be a few hours before our ship is ready to receive you anyways.”

He shook his head “no unfortunately you need to do that at the armory/ security station the boy can lead you there.”

“Of course I do. Do you have any security codes or authenticators I need for access?” She asked.

The security guard handed her two keys “turn them both counter clockwise at the same time and the armory should open. Other than that that's about it oh here.” He hands green a few green liquid spray bottles “if you get wounded even if it's just a scratch spray this on the wound before treating it it should kill any potential viruses before it has a chance to adapt and spread.”

Green Thumb took a look at the spray bottles for a moment before deciding to take it, getting some tape off her belt and using it to stick the bottle to her leg. She’d have time to figure out what was in it later.

Now it was time to check with the kid.

She would make her way over to him and ask, “Hey there, can you tell me what happened here?”

He looked up at green “the security guard team was instructed with helping tests criminals with a virus unfortunately it spread due to not understanding it i still don't i should be dead and like the creatures but here i am though I don’t understand”…..the boy trailed off spotting the green bottle “why do you have that”

“The… security guard gave it to me.” It struck Green Thumb that she never asked his name! For now he’d just be ‘Guard’... “Are you worried about me having this? And uh… what is your name? I don’t know what to call you.”

“I don't know the security guys name mine is Jamie Rose, but that is how the virus was administered”

The ‘bring it back to the ship for them to have a look at it before using it on anyone’ strategy seemed to have been the right call. As if this whole thing wasn’t sketchy enough.

“Jamie then! I’m Green Thumb. Or at least that is my call sign… it is what you can call me. Have these people been hurting you?” She asked.

Jame didn't answer looking away from her as he tried to cover the various gashes “only when i don't shoot the targets the security guard wants me to.” one of the door guards with the tube and wires looks a bit older than the others like him. Maybe he was fully an adult when what ever happened to him happened. He walked over and unbuttoned his pants pocket before mock tripping so a data tape fell out. He then got up, looking around he grabbed the tape handing it to the boy who looked confused at the display “try not to leave you stuff lying around kid.”



“And how familiar are you with them?” Green Thumb asked, wondering just how much this kid knew about the guards. “I’m trying to understand what happened here so I can help you. I promise I will get you out of this place soon. Somewhere nice.”

The boy looked back to green “honestly i only know him well” he said gesturing to the one walking off with the tubes and wires. “Hes looked after me since all this started, he was turned into that i think because he was a criminal. something about murdering a pedophile. But he’s looked after me and kept the others from beating me up a lot of the time.”

“Well, if they try and beat you again call for me and I will stop them. OK?” She’d signal back to the ship, confirming they had been overhearing. That information was being passed on to the other marines, and she quickly checked the status of the drones trying to sweep the ship. They were just about finished checking this level, and were about ready to explore the lower areas. “... so what’s on that tape?” She asked.


Jamie shook his head “I don't know, it could be some of the data that was deleted as shit went to hell around here, he had a lot of access to the ship... mainly due to everything they did to him to make him as dangerous a shot as possible. He might have been exploring to grab files or food or extra rations for the other ones here hes a lot nicer than the security guard or scientist. We all look to him like a older brother.”

“Alright, would you mind staying here for a moment?” Green Thumb asked, turning her attention to the guard, leaving her two marines to keep an eye on the kid and the door. “I did not catch your name either. While we’re waiting for my ship to be ready, I was hoping you could tell me a little about your experiences here.”

The guard looked at green as if sizing em up “prisoner 982, is my designation. I’m one of the few that still remained normal, if you want to call me having remorse as normal….I was here since the shit started I'm also the reason all of the youngest are still alive here. If it were up to the security guard Martinez and the quacks they would be dead, they don't deserve the life they have currently no child should especially not Jamie, as for what happened here the experiments got out of control Martinez always talking to someone in Morse code i suspect he had something to do with all this but other than that not much else if your taking Jamie to head to the armory promise me you’ll keep him safe.”

“We’ll get everyone off this ship, and squared away safely.” Green Thumb said, “We need a few hours to ready our ship. Once that is done we can escort you off the ship and take you somewhere safe. For the moment, I think it is safer to keep you all here...”

----

A few hours later >

Drones were spread out throughout the upper and lower levels of the ship. Cameras were watching every entrance, and small laser-armed drones were pre-positioned near obvious entry points. An empty atmospheric shuttle was ready in the hanger bay, enough to hold about 7 people. The regular shuttle clamped onto the airlock could hold 5. This was more than enough to get everyone in this ‘safe’ area off the ship for the time being.

Two marines were standing guard in the hanger area.

That left two more marines along with Green Thumb herself to guard the people during the trip.

“Are all of you ready?” Green Thumb asked over her suit speakers. “I’d like to go over the plan one more time. Up front are my two marines. If anything is coming at us, the riot shield will block the path. Keep moving and follow the marine up front until you reach the hanger. I’ll take up the rear and keep an eye on the whole thing. Once you’re in the hanger you’ll be split into two groups to board shuttles. Take everything you need with you as you will not be returning to the ship.”


Martines nodded helping the scientist movie with their folders as a loud bellowing sound was heard from the lower decks 984 pressed his hand to his throat “say again over….roger that. “Units sets guns to rock n roll we got company Jamie get the scientist onboard 437, 985 take flanking position lets bottle neck em!” the audible click as smgs and carbines from the three guard was heard as they switched firing modes gunshots from a heavy caliber rifle was heard from below over sounds of shrieks then silence followed by rumbling as the security guard and the scientist panicked to get out of here.

The other two guard units tipped over tables as cover

The riot shield armed marine would move up to face the threat, pistol at the ready, as Green Thumb looked around, “You need to keep moving towards the shuttle, rather than getting stuck here.” She’d switch out her load of knife-missiles in her launcher for a magazine with a targeting drone and anti-tank explosive drones. They weren’t planning on just scaring off the monsters this time.

On the far end of the corridor a hoard of the creatures, looking frenzied, rushed forward as the security guard and the scientist were making it on the ship the guard units opened up fire on the horde, bullets dropping the unarmored creatures under the barrage “worry about the quacks and the security guard marines were not backing down from helping…” 984 trailed off as he noticed one of the horde launch a spine projectile towards green thumb as she was switching her mags not hesitating he moved in the path of it as the spine sunk into him knocking him backwards and into her the spine lodged in his chest. Another few launched sinking into the marines riot shield penetrating halfway thru. 984 still breathing but struggling.

These amateurs were slowing down the whole operation. Now they were stuck defending two areas instead of focusing on just one… but at least their heart was in the right place… maybe. It was something she’d have to deal with once this was all over.

But first: The monsters.


*Thump*

Green Thumb would quickly empty the magazine on her launcher. First the target finding drone would zip out, small wings unfolding as it flew overhead and zipped down the corridor, networking with each of the follow up anti-tank grenades.

*THUMP, THUMP, THUMP*


The three devices that followed each sought out one of the creatures, slamming into it for a brief moment before exploding, sending a jet of molten metal powerful enough to take down a tank right through the creatures.

Small defense drones were already using their lasers to blind and burn the creatures as they approached, the riot shield armed marine doing his best to block any forward path as Green Thumb loaded a new magazine, this time with short range darts. They would need to ward off this attack before they could rejoin the group making their escape. One marine was already leading them towards the hangar where they could board a shuttle. Two more marines already waiting there to guard that area.

The creatures quickly thinning out from the overwhelming firepower from greenthumb and the better equipped marines would notice they creatures begin retreating back down the corridor so not to suffer more losses the other two guard units moved to drag 984 toward the other group once the creatures were out of site and just one or two remained. Jamie rushed over to 984 with a worried look “no,no no 984 please be ok you just gotta.”

As the security guard quipped “don't waste your breath boy, he was a inferior experiment, expandable he's not people.”

Green Thumb would watch her sensors for a moment, making sure the creatures were pulling back before turning towards the security guard and giving him a shove, “GO TO THE SHUTTLE,” Her voice left little room for argument.

She’d then turn towards her riot-shield armed marine who was already breaking the spines that had lodged themselves in his shield, “Use it as a sled. Get 984 to the shuttle. I”ll let them know to have medical on standby when they get to the ship.

Their drones provided amazing situational awareness, augmented by the crew onboard the IAS Edward Deming which would be watching over the situation. Their laser weapons were also quite effective, and had nearly limitless ammunition… but the rather large drone magazines used for Green-Thumb’s primary weapon were prohibitively large and heavy. She’d just used her anti-tank magazine, leaving her with just her knife-missiles and the short-range shotgun magazines. Worse yet, the shuttles only had room for the people they were saving. That meant these marines would need to stay onboard the ship until the shuttles could make the return trip.

Though if worse came to worse, they could aways jump ship.

Green-Thumb would turn her attention to 984 next. She’d use the tape dispenser on her armor to try and hold the injury in place, keeping him steady as the riot shield was brought over. 984 quickly being transferred to the shield, and secured in place so the marine could drag him towards the shuttle bay.

“No one is staying behind. GET MOVING!” She shouted over her suit’s speakers.

As they were loading 984 onto the shield the survivors made it on the shuttle strapping in however 984 was bleeding heavily arteries may have been ruptured but hi lungs were punctured filling with blood as he pulled something from his neck under his shirt and caught green thumbs hand as she was taping the would in place thrusting the object from his hand to hers “g-get them out of here ma-marine keep them s-safe.” the grip on her hand getting lax as his eyes started to glaze over.

Another think to keep track of... She’d quickly tape it to the exterior of her armor… there would be time to check it later. So long as they got 984 back to the ship in mostly in one piece the medics could put him back together. Unfortunately she wasn’t a medic herself.

“Someone get the ship’s medic on the line, have them walk you through whatever you need to do to keep him alive.” She ordered, letting the marine that had been escorting the group change jobs to ‘temp medic’. This would leave them with just herself and two others that were really capable of fighting if the creatures came back… but there was no time to consider that at the moment.

They would load everyone into shuttles, 984 included, and send them on their way.


With everyone shipped off a creature someone when they first showed up did something as if gesturing to follow it as it tried to speak in broken English “f...olw, ned st this.”

There were a few other creatures with it each in early stages of infection so having some semblance of humanity left as articles of torn security and a captain's uniform on them.

Back at the ship, the people ‘rescued’ from the ship would be taken to their own quarantine rooms that had been built to isolate them from the rest of the ship while doctors examined them. 984 would get direct attention from space-suit’d doctors who’d pump him full of medical nanomachines while trying to fix the damage, or at least keep his brain from dieing.

That left three marines behind, as there simply wasn’t room for them on the shuttles.

“Ah man… tell me we aren’t following creepy-creature-thing?” One asked.

Green Thumb nodded, “You two stay here. If things go bad before the shuttles get back just blow the airlock and go out of the ship that way.”

“WE’RE SPLITTING UP?! THAT’S EVEN WORSE! HAVEN’T YOU SEEN MOVIES BEFORE?!”

“I’VE SEEN THE MOVIES NOW SHUTUP AND STAY PUT!” Green thumb yelled back, before slowly advancing towards the creature.

The one wearing the remains to the captins uniform hands her a map of sorts with pporly written but ledgible instructions to blow the ship reactor from the armory “yo…..g...we….over, ell….amie….im sorry.” the captin creature pulled a pistol like the other creatures and moved to the door were the hord came from.

“We will get this sorted out!” Green Thumb shouted over her suit’s speakers, “If you wait. We’ll be able to figure out what is going on, and provide medical help for survivors!”

The captain turns around and gives the equivalent of a smile “too, ar….gone….no going...ack….must stop t efore it spreee.”

“You’re in deep space with nothing around. The quarantine on the ship will hold.” Green Thumb offered as a shuttle finally returned, this time full of additional equipment for the marine team. The other two marines would instantly start loading up with additional launchers and a fresh riot shields. They would be taping additional magazines of explosive drones to their sides, and immediately tossing out new recon drones to keep watch.

One of them seem to be talking to the captin looking one “fin, ….leave… we….sta…..as….long….as non….creatures here …..they will….keep ttacking….”

There didn’t seem to be much that Green-Thumb could convince these creatures of one way or another. Regardless, it was time to check out the lower areas of the ship. She’d grab her own riot shield while finishing restocking on ammunition. Taping another four magazines of exploding drones to her suit before carrying on. “LETS GO.”

Their next destination would be the armory.

Recon drones would fan out ahead of them to map the path.

The lower floors seemed to be dark and dingy as they make it threw the area in one of the hallways lay a ripped apart body with a arm still clutching a high caliber sniper rifle the body was almost impossible to see only being exposed by the blood that covered its light bending armor
Unlike everything seen so far this person seemed to have dogtags similar to 984 and there armor looks like pre alliance armor.

“Any idea who’s armor that is?” Green-Thumb asked her squad, video was already being uploaded to the ship so that the operations crew there could start investigating. The requirements for high calibur weapons didn’t make her feel any better either… She’d take an image of the dog tag, and … then decide to take it, taping it to the exterior of her armor before moving on towards the armory. This time She was up front, with two well armed marines behind her, drones being sure to check the areas around them for anything suspicious before it was able to reach them.

As they would move through they heard someone sneeze nearby. He was behind the door the bloody body was infront of. This was followed by another voice “stay behind me, i'll protect you”

“That should be the other way around. You should be getting off this ship while we check it, not staying here where you could be attacked,” Green Thumb tried to argue. “We’re heading to the armory. If you come with us we can take you off the ship on our way out. Have you seen anyone else in this area?”

“No offense ma'am but we are under orders from 984 to search the lower levels and retrieve whatever info we can on what happened here as well as secondary objective of escorting survivors out of here.” said one of the two units as the exited the room with a child in tow their armor different from the other guard units seeming to be made up of carefully welded scrap metal and ballistic fibers to be lightweight but also offer decent protection as their faces covered by a fully enclosed modified pilot helmet.


“For fucks s….How many of you people are still on this ship?” Green Thumb asked, holding her groups advance for the time being, leaving one marine to watch each direction as the drones started spreading out around their location.

“That's on a need to know bases ma'am” the one that spoke looked behind him to his squadmate and the girl “give me fifteen seconds then follow keep pace, the auxiliary shuttles aren't that far.” He says to his squad as he begins to move ahead, his modified pilots helmet hums softly as it shuts off its helmet can most likely using alternative sight.

The internal communications between the marines were starting to light up.


---
“Uh, should we?....”

“We’re not ready to babysit another group of survivors and I don’t want to get bogged down. It looks like this group can take care of itself. We’ll leave a drone with them and follow up later.”

“There could be more people there though…”

“Of course there are. If they need to get off I’m sure they can use those shuttles. They’d only need a few minutes of air to reach the Deming at this distance. Let them know to expect more people.”

“They’re already cutting up the front of the ship for use as a quarantine zone…”

“Then they’ll cut up more of the ship. The Deming is ancient, it isn’t like we haven’t cut that thing up before…”
---

One of the drones would follow this second squad, keeping an eye on them as Green Thumb’s group continued towards the armory.

When they got to the armory the door seemed to be blown off its hinges inside all the high powered rifles, shotguns smg,s and explosives seemed to be looted inside there was one man currently on one of the consoles downloading all the data files he was wearing the armor similar to the ones the squad he hasn't seemed to notice the squad however when he heard the moans of the infected the marines were with he spun around taking a knee and put a single round through one of the creatures. Quickly rechambering the round he would aim for the creature in the captain's uniform next.

Meanwhile with the group that has been heading to their rendezvous location the drone would see them enter the military hangar after knocking they were id'd by another guard unit a few actual medical staff would look over them then the girl and move the girl over to a separate section with children the drone would notice the weapons which were acquired via armory it would also notice men and young boys in the middle of physical training on a unused runway in the hanger as well as a few engineers in the back seemed to be recycling a older ship to be turned into armor for the units later weapons that were once auto turrets for the ships have been jury rigged as defense turrets in the hanger in total there are 100 people 50 percent of which make up the unit and their faculties their training can be more compared to soldiers standard grunts from a 100 or so years ago and was vastly different from training now a days but seems to work for their situation. The other half women and children loaded in a cruiser in the hanger as both transportation and living quarters. The drone seemed to have stopped move before being turned around in the hands on a grizzled man looking at it before letting it go.

Green-Thumb would turn her speakers up to maximum, she’d have to deal with the 100+ additional people later. “PUT DOWN YOUR WEAPONS AND MOVE AWAY FROM EACH OTHER. I’LL SHOOT WHOEVER KEEPS MOVING FORWARD!” Green-Thumb would approach the armory itself, heading right towards the man inside with her riot shield forward while the marine behind her turned towards the creature in the doctor’s uniform, moving up to it with its riot shield while getting ready to fire if it made a move the marine didn’t like.

The man silently watched her not moving nor lowing the weapon putting a hand to the side of his helmet a if getting a message from someone. “Understood sir, roger….sir but...ok as you wish sir” the units voice would be scrambled and in audible to those without gear like green thumb however his voice would still sound unidentifiable changing pitch every other word.
The unit would shoulder it's weapon as it clipped onto its back
“Your working with 984? He just gave orders from your ship thru datalink i am not to harm you or your….team” the unit nearly spat at the creatures one whose brain was covering a nearby wall
“Esscast will never let me live this down if we meet again.”

There was communication between the marines that this man wasn’t privy to. The third marine would move up to him, putting his shield between the two of them and backing him into a corner while Green-Thumb checked the machine in the armory, attaching her own datacable and seeing if she could download a copy of the information herself, leaving the crew onboard the IAS Edward Deming to watch their backs through the drone cameras.

She still didn’t have enough information to make a decision, but she was getting less willing to trust the people here.

While this was going on, the marine watching the man in the armory would check out his ‘captive’ having a drone fly nearby and see what gear he had on him.

The drone would be able to scan him finding he's carrying a bolt action anti tank weapon his body armor contained electrodes to monitor his vitals and his helmet was a fully enclosed modified pilot helmet the drone would also pick up on the units pack contained det packs however unlike the others this one had no identifying markers on him or her as well as a set of patches ripped from crew members who may have been infected almost like he or she was collecting trophies.

Greenthumb would realize once jacked in that the files were downloaded and ripped from the computer leaving in empty and in the possession of the unit

GreenThumb would unplug, then connect a wireless dongle to the machine to allow the ship to remotely connect and run whatever data recovery they could. She’d then turn her attention to the man they had restrained, “Hand over the data.” She stated. “Leave your gun and your explosives here.”

There wasn’t any room to argue.
The man chuckled darkly “uh huh, sorry ma'am even if i wanted to i can't the only way you would get the info is from my units engineers back at base camp and id have to be alive for that to transpire a little security protocol to keep info from falling into the wrong hands. So unless you like being in the dark you might want to do that… also parlay”

“That’s not how this works,” Green Thumb said firmly…

---
“So what are we doin now boss?” one of the marines asked over the squad’s private channel.

“Fuck me. This is getting worse and worse. I’ve got no idea who’s side who is on but we’re going to have a lot of dead people between those in the hanger bay and the creatures running around.” Green thumb said, without taking her eyes off the man infront of them.

“We need to clear this ship.”

“Combat-engineering?”

“Combat-engineering.” Green Thumb confirmed, “You guys listening in on that?”


“Got it. We’ll fit another squad and get them over there. Just be careful, we’re going to run out of marines to send.” The operator’s voice on the other line was calm enough, after all she was still safe aboard the ship. “We’ve also signaled for another ship to meet us out here. Looks like we’ve got the old man’s attention too. We don’t have any medical quarantine vessels but he said this is super interesting and he’d get something slapped together. It’s still a few days out though.

I’ll also get the engineering team on the ship to start putting together some more combat drones. Maybe we can get some of the larger ones slimmed down to fit in the hallways huh?”

“Yeah, see if you can make it happen,” Green Thumb replied, their attention turning back to the person they had detained. “Get his weapons, leave them here.”

---

“Get moving to the Hanger.” Green Thumb said over her suit’s speakers, letting one of the marines remove the man’s guns and explosives, leaving them behind in the armory as they made their way towards the hanger bay. One marine was up front, while the other two remained behind their guest. “If you want to survive this, your best option is being straight with us.”

The man in the armor nodded as the drone was able to pick up him saying through his encrypted coms to someone “making my way to the nest, over”

As the group with their new captive makes there way to the hanger checkpoint they stand outside a large blast door with a barricade crudely made out of heavy metal crates once used for carrying ammo, there are a few of the guard units at the checkpoint and a engineer “halt, state identification”, she looks to Greenthumb and her marines “my apologies ma'am the question is mainly directed to the unit here. But i would need yours just to keep track of who has entered and who leaves.”

The female engineer is small and scrawny most likely used to be in a much different field of work but has to pitch in,

The captive shrugs, “my apologies ma'am but i can't give that info in current circumstance”

The woman sighed “no problem if one of you could remove his helmet ill ID him with his face on file.” she notices the creatures with the group “they need to stay out here we cant risk infection to the civilians inside.”

One of the marines would start removing the helmet while Green Thumb addressed the woman over her suit’s speakers. “It may be best that we keep an eye on this one then.” She said, “We’re clearing the ship, but we don’t have transport for your people yet. We want to know what you know about this place already, and the state of your people. We will help if we can.

It may take a day or two, but a rescue ship with the proper facilities will be here to pick you up. In the meantime our ship can render aid.”

The woman nodded “the civilians and guard units have a separate cruiser loaded up with the civilians and room for them as well so room wouldn't be a issue we just had no idea if we were being rescued were mostly cut off from the upper floors so that's our situation.”

As the marine would remove the captives helmet it would reveal the man from the embassy attack and attempt on the kiwomian leaders life he just smiled back “guess the jig is up huh?”

The woman let out a scream at the sight of the man's face as she hid behind the barricade as the other units trained their guns on the man wearing someone else's gear.

Green Thumb didn’t recognize him, though it was clear from everyone’s body language that something was up. The marines were already starting to reposition, placing their ‘captive’ in between the guards of the civilian area and themselves. It wasn’t quite clear why they should be on guard… but luckily the crew onboard the Edward Deming would pitch in.

---
“He’s wanted for an attack on the embassy a few weeks ago!” One of the operators on the ship called out over the marine’s private channel.

“Take him in. If he resists kill him.” Green Thumb said, not willing to risk her squad for this guy.
---

“HANDS ON THE BACK OF YOUR HEAD, GET ON YOUR KNEES!.” She shouted over her suit’s speakers, the three marines keeping their weapons trained on him.

“Tell the embassy i said hello.”
The man said dead weighting as a audible click on the helmet sounded as pin and cord popping out as it detonated whiten the panic the man took off down a opposite corridor he helmet contained a small micro pressure bomb not dangerous on its own its used as a high end flash bang but mixed with the enclosed space of his composite lightweight full helmet it caused it to be a shrapnel flash bang.

The marine could feel the blast pushing against his hand, painfully wrenching his arm out to the side and knocking him back. The group’s helmet visors and audio systems would automatically start blocking out the excess light and sound, temporarily making them blind to the world in an effort to protect them from the flash bang.

Green Thumb was the only one with it enough to start shooting. Her first shot launched the target-scanning drone from her launcher. The small device deploying small fins as it quickly scanned the area in front of her, reading in the soldiers with the SMGs and bolt action rifles. Neither of which appeared to be an immediate threat due to the heavy armor, and these soldiers had not been flagged as possible enemies. Unfortunately, the soldier with the heavy 40mm launcher was flagged as a possible threat… her second shot guided itself right to the weapon and detonated, sending a molten jet of metal through it to disable it without causing too much injury to the soldier holding the weapon itself.

The target scanning drone would then pick a hallway and fly down it!

It just happened to be the correct one.

The man sprinting down the corridor would see the drone fly past him at high speed, building a map of the area as well as flagging him as a target. Green-Thumb’s Third and Fourth shot would curve around her, zipping down the hallway exploding in close proximity, the anti-tank rounds looking to injure their target as much as they could.

Her empty magazine would fall to the floor, and without thinking she’d pull a fresh one off her leg from where it had been taped in place. She didn’t need to see her own weapon to know how to reload it.

The man at the 40mm grenade gun would fall back his arms having burns from holding the now melted gun as he choked back screams of pain the other man who just tryed to kill the marine with the bomb was sprawled out chunks missing from his back and leg as the began to heal he said loud enough for greenthumb to hear. “Damn girl least take me out first before…” he passed out as his body began healing the damage the rounds caused.

The women yelled from behind cover as she tried to help the man with burns “hold fire, friendly fire!”
Medical staff came out through the blast door helping both the 40mm granadeer and the marine with the arm injury without thinking.

---
“Where is our target?”

“On your right, you also hit a friendly…” The operator started to explain.

“Just back off from them, we’ll deal with that later. Form up on me!” Green thumb shouted. “Set rounds to terminate, we don’t have the capacity to worry about this guy running around,”
---

The marines would pull back, the injured one keeping his shield facing towards the ‘friendlies’ they had just accidentally shot, backing away from them. The other two would give chase, getting closer to the main they had just intentionally shot. She’d quickly fire another four rounds from her magazine. The scanning drone was up first again, shooting out down the hallway… followed by the anti-tank drones. This time all three heading right toward the intended target.

The man would turn over after getting shot more “please just end me, I don't want to do this anymore.” he wheezed as the symbiote kept trying to rebuild him “opposite location of my heart, shoot there…..I'm sorry for whats its worth…”

His voice for once not betraying what he said in his sober and regret filled tone his eyes almost begging to be killed off.

There seemed to be a conversation between the marines one more time as they worked out what they would do next.

Luckily for him, Green Thumb seemed to be losing her taste for killing outright. It would take a few minutes, but soon her weapon would have a new mode programmed into it. She’d fire another set of rounds, but this time the explosives would come to rest against his body, each one aimed to pierce through vital areas if it detonated. Green-Thumb would then use the tape from her armor to afix them in place.

She’d then drop her riot shield, and shove him onto it, using it as a make-shift stretcher.

They were going to take him back to their hanger bay, and lock him in their small shuttle to deal with later.
The woman who had called the medic teams to look over those wounded “so your letting that thing live?”

The marine with the arm injury would notice that how the bomb exploded and what it would have done. Were as the woman looked back to greenthumb “I honestly don't understand people like that he could have easily killed you guys but didn't and now was begging you to kill it?” so many question, regardless if your people would allow it we could have this cruiser take off with our people and have it fly alongside your ship?”

There would be a short conversation between the marines and their own ship before Green-Thumb would respond.

“That can work. How long will the life support for your ship last? We’ll still need two days at least to get another ship out here… but our engineers may be able to extend the life of your ship for a little bit. Our goal is to get you to a safer area, then we can worry about our other problems.”

The woman thought for a moment “running on the current supplies we could survive a few months on life support mabie more if we cryo everyone but a skeleton crew”

“Alright, I would recommend loading your people onto that ship and getting out of that hanger. It will be easier for us to clear out this ship if we don’t have to worry about you being onit. Do you know if there are any other groups still here?”

The woman raised a eyebrow, “how much do you know if anything i could try to shed some light on what's happened here i was one of the researchers involved with what took place here.”

“Not enough. Start at the beginning and let me know everything.” Green Thumb said, making sure the rest of the crew was listening in.

The woman nodded “right well about 100 or so years ago we split off from the alliance when colonizing the galaxy. However were as part of our group was big beefy soldiers were were tasked with creating weapons and defenses when we land at our designated location. Somewhere down the line our fleet was attacked and most of which wiped out we know of our colony ship landed on some jungle planet but that's all we know on them, with our engines fried we had very little options but to wait out most of it in cryo bays. However 100 years was far beyond what our ship could handle in its current state in life support, thus sparking a 10 year long mutiny between out captain and the security team ending in massive loss of life. Once things were stable my research team and i worked with security team to try to correct our mistakes and develop a unit to defend us if say pirates attacked that went on for 20 years with great success with developing the augmented guard units you see. They are genomes a 4th generation to be precise and it was only recently in the last 6 years that we really had trouble security officer martinez was to busy knowing we could create life that he didn't stop to ponder if we should. Up until that point we were only using either genomes or volunteers to make into guard units unfortunately he wanted more and began splitting the research team. Using dead bodys from the 10 year mutanie and failed experiments he began trying to bring them back while dabbing into the occult to make a new soldier and the rest is what you see now.”

“Got it. You people don’t get along with other people. Space disaster. Monsters to kill.” Green-Thumb would leave it to the crew of the Edward Deming to sort the rest out. She still needed to clear the rest of the ship. “Get your people to safety. Our ship will take care of you while we sort out the situation here. Any further information you can provide would be appreciated.”

*
*
*

A few hours later….


It had taken some time, but the marines were fully re-armed. This time two of the marines were equipped with riot shields. Green-Thumb and the other three now carried a mix of weapons including grenade launchers, laser weapons, welding torches, spray paint, and glow sticks. They had cleared the upper floor section of the ship near the original hanger methodically. Each room was checked, then doors were welded shut. Glow sticks and spray paint markings were then left to indicate the direction back to the shuttle bay and what was found in each room. The marines slowly cutting off access to this level of the ship so that they couldn’t be attacked from behind as they moved down into the lower sections by the armory, again choosing to slowly clear out the ship room by room.

As the marines would move on the left side of them the would see a white light almost like someone was aiming a flashlight at them however only a couple would notice it and as the look its gone this would repeated for some time the dark nearly erie atmosphere in the dark lower levels of the ship. Some marines could swear the hear the faint sound of children laughing as the move further into the ship. As no creatures have engaged them yet.

---
“Lights, I didn’t see the source…” One of the marines called out as he moved towards the light source.

“Stay put!” Green-Thumb shouted, “Don’t get pulled out of position. We’ll continue clearing this room by room. We’ll find out what that light was when we get to it.”
---

The marines would continue their operation, two of them keeping watch while the others cleared things out room by room, working their way slowly towards the source of the light.


Green thumb would eventually call out over her suit’s speakers. “If there is anyone out there, come forward. We can help you get off this ship and to safety.”

“He won't let us leave, you must go before you’re stuck as well” the girls voice was heard from everywhere but no discerning direction at the same time as anyone with those magic protection crystal would feel them vibrating every time they hear the little girl's voice.

One of the rooms they entered seemed to at one point been a sleeping quarters area for civilians food and drink still laid out on various end tables blood stains and sheets draped over bodies and still eerily quiet.

Two of the marines would keep watch just outside of the room, while recon drones continued to spread out over the entire floor. Three would head inside of the room, including Green-Thumb herself, to check the bodies to see if anyone was still alive. Again, they would take their time investigating what was in the room as they worked their way through the ship.

---
“Man, creepy magical girls?”

“You getting nervous hoss?”

“HA! Never.”

“You sound nervous.”

“You should be too! Magical girls can ooze through walls and get you in your sleep and shit!”

“Focus.” Green-Thumb finally cut in, “If a little girl can kill you with some magic then you weren’t fit to be in the legion in the first place!”
---

As the would look through the bodies they would find a lot of them would have been shot in the head or the chest this included children but mostly adults one section of the room would have a soldier slumped against the wall the body of a child behind him like he was protecting it from something upon closer inspection he would be holding a datapad that when powered on would state the final moments of the soldier.”

The group would take detailed images of the entire place, the crew of the Edward Deming would have to piece it all together to figure out where and how justice would best be carried out. One of the marines would also check out the datapad, connecting it to his storage device to make a copy of everything on board the pad.

Upon picking it up the datapad would turn on “this is private vasquez, i'm barricaded in the civilian barracks, i won't let them get him i can hear them in the vents, if anyone finds this stay out of the light and for the love of god keep the vents closed….” there was the sound of screeching of metal like vents being ripped apart followed by two gunshots “i'm sorry i wasn't gonna let it take you I'm sorry”

Looking around there was vents in the walls pried open from within them. The vents big enough to house a small animal.

---
“More Creepy-Crawlies in the vents,” One of the marines said,

“Of course… send in a drone then get it sealed off. I don’t suppose that pad says anything about that light being… I don’t know, magic light or something?”

“I Fuckin hate magic….”

“Well, if you see a light. Shoot it.” Green thumb concluded.
---

The marines would send in a pair of drones through the vents, and then finish sealing off the room as they continued moving through the ship.

As the drones moved into the vents they would move into a white light however any operator who was tracking them would notice they seem to be moving at high speeds reading at they were a few hundred light years away only to re emerge out of the vent shortly after their bodies covered in some strange goo, noticeable claw marks and unknown files upon exiting the vent that weren't there 30 seconds ago.

Green-Thumb would make a call back to the ship, asking them to look into the telemetry for the drones, and to see what they could do about an anti-FTL field. The marines didn’t want to get sucked away by some light anytime soon… but Green Thumb wasn’t ready to pull back just yet. While more drones would move in to keep an eye on their surroundings the marines would continue to go room by room.

The marines would find a door leading to the lower levels welded shut the words “don't open danger written in 30 different languages green thumb would hear 984’s voice in her comms “ma’am you still ok down there?....if need be I’ll assist you with whatever i can.”

It looked like the command staff had been happy enough with 984 and his recovery to put him on voicechat.

“Yeah, I’d like to know what’s down there,” Green-horn said, motioning to the rest of the marines to keep moving. They would finish closing off this level of the ship before doubling back to this particular door. “We’ve got magic, FTL, creatures in the vents…”

“Creepy girls!” One of the marines shouted,

“Right… creepy girls. We’re checking off all of the horror story stuff. I think we just need bugs and zombies… maybe vampires… What are we going to see when we start sending drones in there?”

“The girl you're probably hearing is what soldiers originally called a reverb “they cant and wont hurt you if fact it tends to warn you of danger,and ftl monsters not so much more like teleportation to another plane of existence to be honest that's where the hostile creatures are coming from, so magic users who can close rifts and flame weapons would be your best friends here” sounds of arguing could be heard on the ship “sorry ma’am the doc and comm staff aren't too happy with me leaving my medical bed to try to contact you”

“For fuc…. Go back to the medbay!” Green-Thumb said sternly. 948 had all sorts of bandages holding him together, along with a floating drone accompanying him to provide him with vital fluids. There were also medics trying to locate him as he moved through the quarantined frontal areas of the IAS Edward Deming.

“... and, you wouldn’t happen to have any magical experts on hand? We could use an occult expert….”

984 chuckled “i wouldn't be walking around if i didn't me and jamie are magically adept jamie more than myself,” more arguing was heard on the ship “i gotta go back to my bed now, is you need anything feel free to ask.”

“Think either of you could put together some anti-magic for this?” Green-Thumb asked, hearing one of the fully space-suited nurses finally stomping over the 984 to bring him back to bed. No one was taking any risks regarding spreading a contagion on the Edward Deming.

984 bringing the mic with him nodded “yah me and jamie can work on that if he's not constantly worrying about me it get shot one time and suddenly he's worried sick.”

“I’ll get someone to bring him by to see you. Then get him working on something to counteract whatever is down there.” Green Thumb replied
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