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John Carpenter's


By Cody Ball






DAY I- DECEMBER 11, 2007

1500 HOURS
Dr. Ricky Vasquez was the man when it came to Extraterrestrial studies. The government had launched probes into space before, and that was all handled by better men than Ricky. However, when that probe suddenly crashed to Earth, tall and slender Dr. Vasquez was on the scene, with tweezers and mountains of baggies. Ricky had a tendency to collect everything on a crash site, not just suspicious would-be organisms. He collected dust to see if it was different from dust he had examined on Earth. Sometimes the dust would collect microorganisms, but it wasn’t very different. He would simply keep all the samples, rather than throw them away and possibly cause a disease of unseen seriousness. Ricky had proposed a theory he liked to call The Roswell Virus Theory. The theory explained that if an alien organism landed on Earth, and it was a disease, humanity would be totally unprepared for it. Man had developed resistance against certain diseases over time. When the Spanish encountered the Aztec five hundred years ago, the Spanish’s greatest weapon wasn’t their steel armor or their revolutionary muskets, or even horses, the likes of which an Aztec had never laid eyes upon. The greatest weapon the Spanish had was a double-edged sword- it was disease. Smallpox had been killing in Europe for centuries, but over time, Europeans developed a resistance to the disease. But what about the Aztecs? They had never been in contact with the disease, and so were unprepared for its devastation. The disease killed Spaniards, but far more Aztecs. That and other advantages enabled the conquistadores to destroy an empire. Imagine the entire planet as an empire. Should a disease ever land on earth, would humankind be prepared for it? Of course not, because they had never encountered such a disease. We could be wiped out in a matter of days, or as long as a year or a decade. Humankind would be caught off-guard, and with no tools to fight back, our race seemed doomed. That was the set of principles Ricky hated to admit, were probably true. Just like humankind being caught off guard, Ricky was caught off guard on December 11th. He had been devoid of activities, since the government had been improving probe design, and crashing probes were put at a disappointing ten percent chance. So Ricky wasn’t expecting the knock on the door of his house in Sacramento.
Ricky was simply watching TV when the knock came at his door. He figured it was his neighbors having yet another potluck dinner, trying to make Ricky become a social butterfly, which would never happen.
Ricky answered the door. In his face were two armed men and a black Ford Explorer parked in his driveway. A man dressed to the nines in a black suit and tie approached him. Ricky couldn’t see his eyes for a pair of sunglasses that blocked his view, but he imagined he looked serious.
“Dr. Ricky Vasquez. Calls himself the ‘Expert on Extraterrestrial life.’ Does this set off any alarms?”
It was true. Among the scientific communities, Ricky loved to brag that he was the one man that knew alien organisms better than any man alive or dead.
“I suppose you could call me that.” Ricky replied.
The dressed man nodded to one of the armed ones, and he opened a passenger door to the Explorer.
“Doctor, you are required for a national emergency. We believe you the top candidate for this situation.”
Ricky was starting to get confused. The government had agents at his door, asking that he help with a national incident that he had never heard of. What was so important they needed a so-called alien expert for?
“Where’s the locale, and what’s the situation?”
The man had made no movement between Ricky thinking and his response. Even the armed man was still holding the door, with a MP5 machine gun slung on his back.
“The locale and incident is disclosed in this file.”
He held out a manila folder with his name on the tab. RICKY VASQUEZ was printed in fine penmanship. “Know that by accepting to investigate the situation and reading the file, the contract cannot be terminated. If you escape with the contents of this file, you will be tracked down and exterminated. The file will be incinerated, and no record of this incident will exist. Do you accept the task?”
Ricky paused for a supposed eternity. He knew that this could be a risky situation. Of course, there was always financial compensation. And Ricky needed money. Badly. All his emotions said no, but Ricky’s greed had a megaphone, and a louder voice.
“Fine. I’ll accept the task.”
The man motioned to the Explorer. “Please enter the secured vehicle.”
Ricky thought about that as he entered the vehicle. Secured vehicle? Did that mean it wasn’t secure before? He drew a bead of sweat as he buckled his seatbelt. The dressed man got into the driver’s seat, while one of the armed guards closed his door and entered his house. The other was in the passenger seat. Ricky had to ask, “What is that guy doing in my house?” Without turning around and still driving, the agent said, “Should you somehow manage to retreat to your current residence, that man is trained in close quarters combat and will kill you upon re-entry of the residence.”
Ricky was beginning to think that the government simply wanted to kill him, not use him for a matter of national safety. He saw streets fly by, and soon, they were at a dock with a small ship. What did this all mean? Ricky decided some questioning was in order.
“Can I be eligible for financial compensation?” Ricky hesitantly asked the agent.
The agent replied in a monotone voice, “Upon completion of your task, we are prepared to offer you one million dollars in United States currency. However, you will be put on an oath of silence, to not report any details of the incident to anyone. After you have signed the oath, one million dollars will be transferred to your local bank account.”
Ricky was curious. “What does my task entail?”
“All that and more will be revealed at mission control.”
“Mission control?”
The agent gestured him onto the boat. “Mission control is located at a classified location (Ricky rolled his eyes) where you will receive your briefing. I am only transportation for yourself, and nothing more. The armed men were required in case of spies on our trail. We’re serious about keeping this incident quiet until we know more about it. Please step onto the vehicle.”
Ricky put his left foot on the boat, then his right. He sat down on what looked like a cushioned bench. The agent took the wheel, and the armed man sat down opposite from Ricky on another cushioned bench. The agent seemed to know his way around a boat, and piloted with expert control. Ricky watched the wake of the boat for a while, somewhere around thirty minutes, before he continued his questioning.
“Why the change of vehicles?”
The agent replied without turning or slowing of speed.
“Mission control is a facility built in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.”
Ricky was even more confused.
“In the middle of the ocean? How’s that?”
The agent answered his question.
“Mission control is built the same way an oil platform is. Mission control is connected to the incident area by an underwater tunnel. A high-speed train will take you to your destination. The facility has food supplies for ten days, so expect to stay a while.”
Ricky decided the agent was boring, so he opened the file the agent handed over.
It was basically an expanded version of the oath, requiring Ricky’s signature in several places on every page. It was getting boring, signing his name over and over. But he knew he should read the paragraphs before each signature, so he didn’t accidentally sign himself up for some body donor service. Ricky hated the idea that someone would mess with his body after he died. Biologists did it all the time, which is why Ricky decided to study organisms. They were too small to cut or dissect, and didn’t bleed. They didn’t stare at you with cold eyes, either. That’s what creeped him out. The blank stare of a man’s eyes after he was dead. That’s why he was never at funerals, because he thought the eyes would stare at him. Suddenly, the eyes would stare at him. That was the stuff of his nightmares.
Finally, he finished signing all the papers, which totaled to about fifty papers.
The agent had nearly completed his task, too; a platform was fast approaching on the horizon, which looked boring without a sun to illuminate the horizon. The agent pulled closer to the facility, and the boat docked under the platform. A ladder attached to the platform allowed Ricky and the agent to climb up to the Mission Control. After about one hundred or so rungs, with the agent in front of him, Ricky reached Mission Control.
The agent gestured to a tub full of some sort of solution. “Please remove your clothes and step into the pool.”
Ricky hesitantly did so, and waded into the solution. The agent explained the process.
“This solution will destroy all outside organisms on your body, and it will completely cleanse your body. This is required for all staff at mission control.”
Ricky asked, “Then when are you getting in?”
The agent shook his head. “I will not be entering the facility. You will pick up two sets of clothes after you exit the pool and go through that door. Put on one, and take the second door on the left. You will be at the train platform, where you are to enter the train. The train will take you to the facility. You will be monitored by staff in their private rooms, and when you reach the facility, should the need arise; you may contact the Mission Control computer from a transmission device in a certain room at the facility. The process should be complete, so please dry yourself,” Ricky saw a white towel, “and exit through the door.” Ricky exited the pool and dried himself off, then opened the door. He heard the agent’s voice. “Doctor Vasquez?”
Ricky turned to him.
“Good luck.”
Ricky closed the door behind him, and picked up his clothes. They looked like a plain white t-shirt and jeans and beside that, there was a red jacket and padded red pants. He put on the shirt and jeans, then the pants and jacket. There was an identical pair of the same clothes in a bag. He opened another door, and he saw the train. She was an unmarked train, with the most solid white possible. He approached the door, and it automatically opened. He sat down in an empty seat. Once he sat down, there was a beep, and the door closed. The train accelerated slowly, and Ricky noticed there was no conductor. The train was on a rail and powered by electricity. Ricky guessed that there was a sensor for when he entered, and when he sat down. The door sensor would detect the number of passengers, and the seat would confirm the passenger was seated. The handles above the seats probably had sensors as well. That way, they could operate the train without a human crewmember. This minimization of human interaction reduced the chance for error. Ricky decided that, wherever he was going, it would be a while, so he lay down on the seats. The ride was surprisingly smooth, thus enabling him to go to sleep with astonishing speed.


DAY 2 0200 HOURS
Ricky was awakened by a loud electronic noise. It was the computer saying “Wake up!” He rubbed his eyes and got up. The door opened, and he walked out. The doors shut behind him, and he set down his bag with his clothes. He put up the hood of his jacket, and put on some gloves he had picked up. Wherever he was, it was cold. The subway station was freezing, so he hustled out of there. He opened a door, and noticed the station was a mirror image of the one at the Mission Control. Perhaps the train waited for a while, and then went back to Mission Control? No, it wasn’t this cold. He checked his watch, and then realized he didn’t have one. There was a military digital clock on the wall, which read:
0204 HOURS
It was past sunset when he entered Mission Control, which made it about 2000 hours in military time. He had arrived at the facility in six hours. The clock then read-
Antarctica? How had he arrived from a station off the coast of, Canada, he’d say, to Antarctica in six hours? It was simply unheard of. This train must be capable of traveling at speeds unheard of in human technology. He opened the door, which looked to be the only exit from the station, and was immediately blasted with cold air. He closed the door quickly. He opened the door again, and saw a building about ten yards from his position. He ran to the building, fortunately, a door was right next to him. He opened the door and pushed himself inside. A voice greeted him.
“Never experienced below thirty degree weather?”
Ricky turned to the voice’s source, an aging man. He was seated at a desk, with his legs crossed and looking straight at Ricky’s surprised face. “Hello, you must be Dr. Vasquez.” Ricky nodded his head, which seemed to be the only response he remembered how to do. The man approached him, and held out his hand. “I’m Doctor Robert Fleischer, the head of this facility. Well, I’m the head of five other people, which isn’t much, but they elected me. I’m 49 years old, my sign is Libra, and I…” Ricky knew it was rude, but he interrupted Robert. “Why was I called here? What are you doing here?”
Robert’s face became stern. “My friend, why don’t you meet the others first?” Robert guided him to another room, where a woman with black hair was working, with another man sitting in a chair watching her work.
“Dr. Vasquez, this is our biologist, Linda Hadford, and my least favorite person on site, Brad Johnson.” Brad turned to Robert and Ricky. Linda looked at Ricky and Robert. Linda was barely over thirty, and seemed to be the youngest one in the room. Ricky seemed about three years older. Brad looked forty, and was still slim from some sort of military training. He took it that Brad and Robert had worked together for some time. Linda spoke to him. “So you’re Dr. Vasquez? Welcome to Arctic Outpost 11.” Ricky motioned in a disapproving way. “Please call me Ricky. I can’t stand my last name.” Linda smiled, and laughed. “Ok, Ricky. Thanks for coming.” Brad looked at Linda. He talked in a heavy Southern drawl. “Linda, darlin. You trying to charm Ricky hyere?” Linda laughed again, and replied in-between giggles.
“No, he just doesn’t like his last name. Sorry, Brad.” Robert looked at Brad, and then at Ricky. “Thank you Linda, now, I have to show Ricky the facility.”
Ricky and Robert moved to a separate room. There was a late-thirty year old man in a dark blue jacket with his head shaved. He was looking at a control console, which clearly showed security cameras around the building. “Ricky, this is William Collins, the engineer here at 11.” Ricky heard a toilet flush, and a door in the right corner of the room opened to reveal a bald, fat man with an orange jacket on. He zipped up his pants, and offered Ricky his hand. Ricky felt gross shaking his clearly unwashed hand, and he spoke. “I’m Gerald Fitzpatrick the Third. Me and Collins keep everything running around here. Collins is just making sure nothing’s outside the facility. Routine operation. So you’re Ricky? Make sure he gets on that situation, Robert.” Ricky finished shaking hands, and Robert replied with, “Yes, Gerald. I’m just making sure Ricky knows everyone. Where’s the Captain?”
Gerald shook his head. “He was outside making sure the- ‘area’ was clear. We’ve got him on CCTV; we could call him in if you want.” Ricky knew CCTV meant closed circuit television. It was likely the camera system was beaming back images to this room. Collins took a joystick, which controlled the camera manually. Soon, he saw a man patrolling in a black jacket around an area. “Call him,” Robert said to Collins. Collins spoke into a microphone. “Captain Sharp, report to the security room. The seventh member is here.” The man on the screen moved to a door, the same Ricky had entered. He heard it open, and then Captain Sharp had entered the room. Ricky could tell the black man was likely a Marine, or some sort of military specialist.
He looked at Ricky, and offered his hand. Ricky shook his hand, which meant the Captain basically shook his whole arm energetically. Sharp looked at Robert. “I’m going back to patrol. Call me if you need me.” And he was gone.
“Don’t worry. He only thinks of his job. Now that you’ve met all of us here at 11, we must start our work.”
Ricky looked at his stern face.
“Finally, I can find out why I came here. What’s the problem?”
Robert’s face looked even more serious than before.
“Ricky, on December 10, about this time, we found a probe, apparently a US research probe. We knew you had experience with this, so we called you in. And here you are, two days later. We, myself and Captain Sharp, moved it into a building south of this main building. I’ve been studying it, with Linda’s help, but we weren’t able to find anything wrong with it. But we know something’s wrong.”
Ricky looked puzzled.
“How do you know something’s wrong?”
Robert looked at him and his hand grabbed his shoulder.
“Ricky, Frank, our last specialist, died yesterday. We don’t know why. We hoped you could examine it and find what’s wrong.”
Ricky suddenly realized this wouldn’t turn out well.

DAY 2 0530 HOURS
Robert and Ricky were in the small building where the probe was put. On the way there, Ricky saw a fragment of the probe placed straight up in the ground. It was engraved with the name Frank. Ricky knew this wasn’t like anything he’d ever seen. This situation was clearly out of control, whatever it was. Robert guided him to the probe, and Ricky began looking at it with a high-power microscope. His eyes couldn’t focus, even though Robert had allowed him three hours of sleep. He had taken a sample, and he found something interesting- a green blot on the side of the probe. It was moving ever so slightly, and Ricky didn’t know what to make of it. Ricky took it and put it on a slide, and examined it with a microscope. It seemed to be moving, and Ricky couldn’t see any cellular structure. He left it with Robert, who placed the microscope on a table. Robert asked him if it was familiar to him. Ricky had never seen anything like this. Not even in his nightmares. Though it pained Ricky so, he asked Robert a question he wish he hadn’t.
“Could we possibly look at Frank’s body? See if there’s any connection?”
Robert and Captain Sharp un-dug Frank and brought him to Linda’s lab.
Linda, Robert and Ricky were examining him, while Brad was watching.
“I see no body deformities. What about you, Ricky? Do you see the mysterious organism?” Linda reported looking at Frank’s body. Ricky had looked all over Frank, and didn’t see the organism. He even looked at his eyes, the place he hated the most on the human body. Ricky noticed no contamination, if this thing was a virus. Robert said Frank was found dead at the exact place they found him. He was returning from examining the probe. Gerald watched him drop dead on the snow on the CCTV. They buried him quickly and on the spot. The arctic air had kept Frank well preserved, so there was no decay. Of course, even Ricky knew there probably was no decay after only a day of death. Linda had decided that there was no further point in examining the body, so Robert and Sharp had hauled the body back to the small building, where there was a cryogenic chamber. Frank would lay there until they felt there was a significant reason to examine him again. Robert went back to the building to do his studies, while Linda and Collins went to sleep. Sharp was patrolling the crash site, Gerald was on the CCTV, Brad was in his room playing a pinball table, and Ricky was in his room. He was thinking, but it was hard to think, since he had Brad’s room next to his. Ricky knew the organism was probably a virus, and thought it spread by direct touch. As Robert had told him, Frank was only an amateur scientist. Perhaps Frank had touched it without gloves on. Ricky was grateful he had gloves on when he examined it. If this was a virus, Ricky realized everyone here was probably done for, and now that included him. Why did he think this was a good idea? Because of a million dollars, he thought. He needed money. That’s why he had risked his life up here. Ricky wasn’t staying. He bolted to the door, and run to Linda’s lab. She wasn’t here, of course. With his red jacket on, he ran to the train station. The door opened. The clock said it was 0700 hours. He could be back at the Mission Control in six hours. That mean one o’clock in the afternoon. He watched the train door open, and he stepped his left foot in, and then he heard the shot. It was a loud noise, and Ricky turned around to see Sharp with a M16 assault rifle in his hands, with a laser scope aimed at Ricky’s head. He realized something was wrong with him. Or maybe not.
“You realize what will happen if you step into that train? The government will terminate you, and we’ll be in the dark about this situation. The government will kill us all, probably.”
Ricky realized the man’s quick thinking. Gerald must have projected his voice through the CCTV, alerting Sharp to Ricky’s escape. Sharp knew there were consequences, but why hadn’t Ricky?
“Then let’s all escape! We can say that we were all in danger of the disease. I don’t know why you people intend on staying here. This area should be quarantined! Make sure that this….. Creature doesn’t escape.”
Sharp loaded a bullet into the M16 and aimed at Ricky’s head.
“You wouldn’t.” Ricky said.
“I would.” Sharp said.
Ricky heard a bang, and it was over.

DAY 2 1900 HOURS
Gerald emerged from the bathroom, yet again, and told Collins he would wake up Ricky. Brad was passing by in the hall, and he waved to Gerald. Gerald knocked on the door, and said, “Ricky, time to get up!”
Ricky awoke in his room. He thought he was dead. He saw a tranquilizer on the table beside his bed. There was a Post-it note from Sharp:
Ricky noticed the captain had amazing penmanship. He noted this and moved on. Sharp had been right, that the government would kill them all. Or at least send them back here. Ricky saw the time on the clock. 1920 Hours. He’d been knocked out half a day. He decided that he would get Robert to entrap the organism, and then they could return by the train. The men at Mission Control would put the Creature in a capsule, then put it in some chamber, and maybe they could go home. Maybe. He may not get the financial compensation, but he would be out of here. Ricky opened the door and walked out. He went to the Security room, where Collins was, watching the CCTV. Ricky asked him, “Where’s Robert?”
Collins turned to him. “Hey, Rick! You slept a long time. Sharp had to carry you back after you passed out, I heard. Robert is in the building with the probe. Checking it out again. He’s really curious about that thing.”
Ricky nodded and left the room. Ricky went to the Biology lab, where Linda and Brad were studying an experiment. Ricky must have startled them, because Linda dropped a petri dish, and it smashed on the floor. Linda bent over to pick it up, but Brad intervened. “No, Darlin. Let me do it.” He put gloves on and dumped it in the trashcan. Ricky passed through, and went outside. He headed to the small building, and opened the door. Robert was laying his head on the desk. A microscope was still on the desk, with the light on. Ricky turned the light off, and quietly went back outside. He headed back to the main building, and Linda was gone. Brad was sitting, playing cards with Sharp. Brad had apparently won, because Sharp looked worse than usual. Ricky went back to his room, and looked at the dull room. He decided he was hungry. He went to the kitchen, and made himself something to eat. He went back to his room to eat and stare at the dull wall. He finished eating, and didn’t even bother to throw away the food. He left it on the nightstand, and he lay down for a nap.
DAY 2 2300 HOURS
Robert awoke inside the small building. He noticed that he had knocked over the microscope. He made sure the organism was still there, but he couldn’t see it. He wiped the drool into his mouth, and started looking for the specimen. He couldn’t find it, which was bad. He couldn’t leave the room, because he might be carrying it. He couldn’t believe this was happening. He decided to at least get a new sample to study, since he may never leave. He went to the Cryo chamber, and punched in the codes to unlock it. Frank’s Cryo chamber opened. But Frank wasn’t in there. There was some humanoid organism. It had claw like hands and no face. It seemed to be wearing Frank’s pants. Robert was utterly confused. What was this? Is this a virus mutation? The organism started to move. Robert backed away, and tried to punch in the code to seal the door. But the organism had left the chamber and was moving to Robert. It moved surprisingly fast, and slashed with its claw. Robert barely dodged it, but it scraped his shirt and gave him a scratch. Robert punched in the Cryo code again, and tried to push the monster in. The monster slashed again, and it gave Robert a deep gash. He fell, and he saw the big crimson spot on his chest. He realized the monster was probably blind, and reacted to the way he was trying to push it back in. The first slash was to check its surroundings. When he tried to push the monster, it realized there was a threat, and responded. He was glad it was blind, because he didn’t want anyone to see him on the ground like this. He scooted back until he hit the door. The monster heard him, and its claw came down onto Robert’s leg. It pinned him in place, and he couldn’t even open the door. Robert realized it had a second claw, and the claws swiped him right in the face. He couldn’t see, but he knew he was in pain. Finally, it was all over. He felt as if there was someone else inside him, but who would want to be him? He was dead.

DAY 2 2400 HOURS
Ricky woke up, and went to check on Robert. He left the building into the cold once more, and saw the small building. He opened the door, and he felt someone rush out from under him. He turned, and a small spider creature was running to the main building. Ricky ran and stomped on it. He heard blood squirt, and he examined the body. It was an apricot spider looking thing, like he thought. He always kept gloves in his pocket, so he pulled them on and picked it up. He closed the building door, and went to the Biology Lab, where Linda was experimenting. “Linda,” He called. “I found something coming from the small building.” He held out the creature. “I don’t know what it is. I was hoping you could tell.” Linda looked surprised. “ I don’t know. Let’s look at a DNA sample.” Linda scraped a sample off its skin, in its mouth and on its legs. She ran it through a machine, and the DNA results appeared on a screen.
Scanning logs…….
Scanning logs…….
Scanning logs…….
Linda and Ricky couldn’t believe the results.


0200 HOURS
“So this means that Robert is this Creature?” Linda pointed to the spider thing on the table. Ricky nodded. “Seems that way. I don’t understand it, either. It may be the disease from the organism.” Linda was shocked. “A disease did this? It turned Robert into this?”
Ricky knew she couldn’t believe it. He couldn’t either. He didn’t know how to explain it. Robert was sleeping, and then, he was a spider-organism. Ricky was going back. He had to have answers.
“I’m going to make sure. Where’s Sharp at this hour?”
Linda shook her head. “He could be anywhere. Try the kitchen.”
Ricky exited the lab and went down the hallway. Collins was in the hallway.
“Hey, Rick! What you doing?”
Ricky had no time for Collins. “Looking for Sharp. I think there’s a monster on base.”
Collins was surprised, as Ricky expected him to be. “A monster?”
“Yeah. Where’s Sharp?”
“He’s in the kitchen. I want to come with you, to see this monster. I can help.”
Ricky wasn’t sure he should come, but what the hey.
“Fine. Come on. Are there any weapons on base?”
“Only Sharp has the key.”
Ricky and Collins headed down the hallway, where Sharp was fixing a sandwich.
“Hey, Sharp. I think we should investigate the small building.”
Sharp turned. “Why is that?”
“That organism? It’s a disease. It turned Robert into a monster.”
Sharp didn’t say a thing, he only unlocked a cabinet, which was filled with 9mm pistols. He tossed one to Ricky and Collins, and grabbed three more.
He ran up the hallway, ran in the Security Room, and then into the Lab.
Ricky and Collins entered the Lab, where Brad and Linda were armed with pistols. Sharp motioned to Ricky and Collins, and they followed him out.
Ricky and Collins followed him in the snow and to the building. Sharp looked at the door. Ricky and Collins were behind him. He opened the door, and instantly, the monster was upon him.
Ricky and Collins opened fire while the monster beat Sharp to a bloody pulp. His face was scarred and bleeding. Sharp somehow recovered and fired his MP5 into the monster. He jumped up and ran inside the main building. Ricky ran right behind him, and Collins followed.
Sharp didn’t know how he had been able to see the door. He collapsed on the floor. Ricky helped him up, and Collins closed the door. Linda examined his wounds, and grabbed a bandage. She wrapped it tightly around his forehead. That would stop the bleeding. She took a gauze and wiped the blood out of his eyes and his face. Sharp had a gash across his left eye. Gerald came running in. “What the hell happened? On the CCTV I saw Sharp get attacked, and… Oh God.”
He saw Sharp’s disfigured face. “What the hell is that thing out there?”
Ricky looked at Gerald’s scared face. “I think that’s Frank. And that,” He pointed to the spider, “Is Robert. The organism is a virus, and it turns you into a monster. I don’t know what we’re dealing with here.”
Gerald ran into the Security Room. He looked on the CCTV monitor. The monster was beating down the door to the Lab. He yelled so the others could hear. “We need to reinforce the door! That Creature’s beating the hell out of it!”
Ricky and Collins overturned a table full of experiments, and the petri dishes broke on the floor. They shoved the table against the door, and put other debris against the door. Brad looked at everyone around him. These were desperate times. He decided to sleep, and save his energy.
Ricky shouted at him. “Where are you going? That thing’s out there!”
Brad laughed. “I can’t kill when I’m all tensed up.”

0700 HOURS
Gerald continued to watch the CCTV. The flesh-coloured monster would pound the door, then walk around, and pound some more. He was tense, and was sure everyone else was too. Except Brad. He never lost his nerve. Sharp had gone to the kitchen to eat his sandwich. Collins, Ricky, and Linda were analyzing the Robert Creature, try to figure out weaknesses of the monster. Gerald had sent a transmission to Mission Control. It read something like this:
When they heard a cry from the kitchen, Gerald ran down the hallway. Ricky was behind him.
Sharp was on the floor, obviously in pain. It looked like he was trying to get enough heat to make soup. The blue flame shone brightly, and a pot lay beside the oven. Sharp got up, and Ricky started talking to him. “What’s wrong, Sharp? Are you okay?”
Sharp drew his MP5 machine gun and pointed it at Gerald and Ricky. “You’re both infected!” He screamed. “You came in contact with them before me! You’re probably a monster already!” Ricky was terrified. So this is what he was going through, he thought. Ricky tried to calm him. “Sharp, how are you even up? Maybe you should just sit back down, you’ve been working too long…” Sharp angrily retorted with “Screw you, Ricky! I’m going to shoot you two, and then I’ll get Linda, Collins and Brad, too! Then I’ll live! The only pure one on this base!”
Sharp’s torso started to mutate, his arm morphed into a claw, and his blood spattered everywhere. Ricky stood in disbelief, but Gerald was quick to action. He pushed him, and Sharp fell back onto the oven. The open flame caught him as Ricky fired rounds into him. The monster collapsed, charred and defeated. Ricky and Gerald paused momentarily. They had just killed their teammate. But he was a monster. So it was okay, right? Gerald ran up the hallway to the Lab, but Ricky kept staring. Sharp’s face wasn’t even recognizable, even in the state it was in before. His legs stayed the same, black padded pants and combat boots. Ricky ran into the lab where Gerald was telling them of what happened. “Ricky! Is this true?” Linda asked him.
“Yeah. That’s what happened. I think we ought to run for it.”
Collins perked up. “Yeah. Let’s run to the station. It’s not that far! We can make it! Come on!” Collins moved the debris out of the way of the door.
“Hold on!” Ricky said. “Linda, do you have a flamethrower? Fire seems to be their weakness.” Linda looked around the lab. “Here’s a small one. I hope it works.” Ricky got in front of the door with the flamethrower in his hand. “Let’s run for it! Everyone ready?” Several nodded, while Collins shouted “Yeah!”.
Ricky kicked down the door, and he ran as fast as he could go. Collins was behind him, then Brad, Linda, and Gerald was lagging. Ricky opened the door to the station and let the others in. Brad was coming in the door when Ricky was at the door of the train. Linda got on the train first, and Collins got on, too. Gerald finally made it inside the door, and Brad ran to the train. Ricky was already in when Gerald jumped on. The door closed, and the train beeped. The train speeded on to Mission Control at high velocity.

0900 HOURS
Gerald was in the corner of the train car, thinking to himself. A fat guy like me, living through this? I can’t take this shit! I should be monitoring computers, just like Brad should be flying helicopters back in Florida. Damn, I gotta go to the bathroom…
The train was about a third of the way to Mission Control when Gerald heard a thump on the back of the train car. He looked out the back window, which would be the last thing he ever looked at. The monster burst through the back of the train, crushing Gerald’s chest cavity. The monster made its way forward, as Gerald’s corpse was sucked out the new hole in the rear. Ricky, Linda, Brad and Collins saw the monster approaching. It was having difficulty moving, but it was still fast. Ricky approached it, out of range of its claws, and started up the flamethrower. It burned the monster, and it slashed towards Ricky. Ricky felt the burning claw make contact with his flesh, and fell backwards. He patted out the fire as he bled. He fired the flamethrower again as Brad and Collins fired pistol rounds into the monster. Ricky desperately tried to make it to the front of the car, but kept sliding back. Soon, he was in range of the monster. He kicked it with his left leg and fired the flamethrower. It burned the monster, and fell back on its behind. The air sucked it out the car, but it held on for dear life. The rails scraped it, and eventually, all that friction created a fire that engulfed the monster. It let go, as the train sped on. Ricky was impressed with himself. A monster that huge must have been the leader of the creatures. And he had defeated it. Ricky had little time to savor his victory, though. The train came to such a screeching halt that he was flung into a wall. He was knocked out, so he didn’t know what happened, but Collins described it as best as he could:
Ricky was knocked out, and some armed men entered the train. They had carbon fiber armor and were armed with M-16 rifles. They lifted up Ricky and carried him off. They made him and Brad drop their weapons and they herded the three of them into a cell. There were scientists studying them, and they carried off Brad. Linda and him lay down to try and sleep, but the scientists kept rapping on the glass. Collins beat on the glass of their cage, screaming for mercy, but the scientists ignored him. And so the group was captured.


0200 HOURS
Ricky awoke in his holding cell. The walls were solid gray steel, and he thought they were pretty intimidating. Ricky had been unable to grasp what had happened over the last few hours:
Collins told him what happened to them, how they forced Brad to become a Creature and how he had killed a few scientists. Ricky, Collins and Linda were being studied by government scientists.
“Why have they not turned into those creatures?” The scientists ask. Ricky talked to a few of them, told them what happened at the base, and swore that he wasn’t infected. The scientists only nodded and continued working. Ricky was getting tired of the game the government was playing: The fact that survivors were being made to die in this god-forsaken place, and Ricky had already laid all his cards on the table. He tried to make the best of it, and he wondered if this was where he would die, in a facility filled with scientists and mysterious alien beings that no one knew how to predict. Ricky’s wound still bothered him, the wound he received from the fight with the huge monster. Sharp turned into one of the Creatures, and he had been wounded by them for about an hour after he came into contact with it. But Frank’s body had taken about two days to mutate. So perhaps mutation depended on the organism being assimilated, several things like blood type, age, and health could all be factors. He also knew the Creatures hated fire, so that was a sure way to beat them. Ricky had been feeling different, not a huge difference, but a big enough difference to notice. Whenever he was routinely fed by the scientists, Ricky seemed to eat more and faster. Before Sharp had turned, he wanted to eat his sandwich. He might have been hungry, like Ricky. A wave of paranoia swept over Ricky as he thought, ’Could I already be one of those monsters?’ Just then, two scientists came to his door. They opened the door and pointed him to a small kitchen, which had several cupboards and pots and pans hanging on the dull gray wall. The scientists told him to prepare a meal for one. Ricky grabbed a pan, and started pouring in a can of green beans. He added salt to them, and left them to cook. While he was waiting, Ricky felt strange, as if another person were inside him. He didn’t know what to do, so he ignored it and concentrated on the beans. He had a small muscle spasm, and looked at the scientists. They were writing down his behaviors and probably the muscle spasm. Great, Ricky thought. Now they’ll say I’m unstable. Suddenly and without warning, Ricky collapsed onto the floor. He tried to grab something to regain his balance, but just touched a hot burner on the stove. Then he realized he had already spilled the pot of green beans on his face. One of the scientists called for a soldier to come in and help him, but it was too late. Ricky got up again and approached the scientists. He closed the door to the holding area as a soldier approached the door. He beat on the door, trying to get in. Ricky’s body began to mutate. His arm was the first to change- he grew a massive claw, which he used to decapitate one scientist and blind another. His legs began to change, and his red padded pants were scattered all around the room. Finally, his vision dimmed. Robert was only partially right about his theory that the Creature couldn’t see. In fact, they couldn’t see light, which was the right part. On the other hand, they had a radar that detected heat, much like looking through thermal goggles your entire life. So Ricky plainly saw the scientist cowering on the floor. He thrust his claw in deep, and then beat the door. The soldier had attracted more of his comrades, beating and banging on the door like that. Ricky destroyed the door with a powerful swing of his right arm, and several soldiers were knocked back. Ricky moved faster than any of them could, and destroyed them as quickly as they came. He proceeded out a door where there were more soldiers waiting.
Ricky had proposed a ‘Doom Timeline’, the estimated time which it took mankind to fall to an alien disease. Ricky estimated that a virus could destroy the Earth in 72,000 hours, or three years, if it was allowed to escape a secure facility. The clock started ticking.

0700 HOURS
Collins woke up in his cold, gray cell. Linda was in her bed, lying down. He got up, and noticed he still had his dark blue jacket on. Linda looked cute in her big poofy pink jacket, he thought. He never noticed how pretty she was. Maybe that was why Brad was around her all the time. But you never really enjoyed her beauty, because she always looked so serious. Maybe that’s what Brad had liked about her. Collins always accepted their ’office romance’: Brad calling Linda ’darlin’ and sweetie’, doing stuff for her. Yeah, they did love each other. Or at least they had. He saw Brad go into the test chamber room, and he remembered a Creature coming out, killing many of the scientists before a soldier shot it and burnt it. Just as he was reminiscing, Collins heard a screeching metallic noise, like metal being ripped apart. He looked outside his cell and saw the door to the main building had been ripped off the hinges. No, not just that: The door was broken into several pieces. Two scientists were lying on the floor, dead. Red padded material was scattered everywhere, and an enormous amount of blood covered the wall. A burner on the stove was still burning, and a pot filled with something- green beans?- was on the floor. Collins had heard the noises. But what could that have been? Then his heart suddenly stopped. It was Ricky, he thought. Ricky had gotten that wound in the train car. Perhaps he was mutated when he received that wound. Collins had no clue exactly, but Ricky was gone. Collins tried turning the doorknob of his cell, and surprisingly, it creaked open. Linda woke up, obviously from the noise.
“Collins? Is that you? What’s wrong?”
Collins looked at Linda. She had ruffled her black hair, and she had dark bags under her eyes.
“Linda, I don’t want you to get scared, but Ricky…… He may have been killed. There’s some carnage out here, and Ricky is gone.”
Linda got up and looked out the now-opened door. “So this is what you found? Nothing else?”
Collins shook his head. “This is all I see.”
Linda hung her head and opened the drawer on the nightstand next to her cot. Inside was a pistol, and some bandages and a suture kit.
“Where did you get that?” Collins asked.
“There’s one in every drawer. Look, and see.”
Collins opened his nightstand drawer, and inside were the same three items. He picked up the pistol, cocked it, and held it in his left hand. He gave the suture kit and bandages to Linda. Linda took her pistol and armed it, and she walked outside. Collins followed her, making sure she made it out of this place alive. She and him were the last two members of the team, and he wanted someone to make it back. Collins saw first-hand what the Creature could do: There were corpses everywhere, and a man lay on the side of a wall with his neck twisted so that he was looking from the back. Another man with eyeglasses was impaled on a surgical machine. Its robotic arm still moved, demonstrating the action last selected. Collins was horrified. Linda wasn’t taking it well, either. She had almost barfed onto the ground after seeing a man with his arm going through his head. Linda and Collins then heard another sound, and turned to the medical bay of the large room. A man lay on an operating table, shivering. Linda approached him, while Collins raised his hand in defiance, but she had already made it there.
“Are you hurt?” Linda asked casually.
The man lifted up his head, and Linda could see a bandage around his head, and his right eye had a white bandage covering it as well.
“I’m fine. But I do have a small cut on my leg.” He rose up his medical garment to show her the cut. It wasn’t too bad of a cut, but it did look infected. Linda got up and searched for Peroxide to clean the wound. She poured Peroxide over his left leg as he grimaced. She then took some of her bandages and covered his cut.
“How do you feel?” She asked him.
“Better, thanks.” He looked into her eyes, and he said his name.
“My name’s Ray. Ray Z. Sweissman. Thank you very much for helping. Who’s your friend over there?” Ray pointed to Collins.
Linda looked back at Collins. “He’s a friend of mine. Do you know a Ricky Vasquez? Or a Brad Johnson?”
Ray shook his head, but then got up and typed something into a computer. The patient list came up, and he found Brad’s name.
Ray then pulled up another entry in the patient database.
Linda was glad Ricky was alive, or as the computer said, ‘intact‘, but she had a strange sense that he wasn’t going to be the same man when they met again. But she had to know for sure.
“See if the system knows where Ricky is. Can you check, Ray?”
Ray pulled up another screen, and it listed the patients again. He scrolled through a list of names- Linda saw hers, Brad’s, and Collin’s- and then they saw Ricky’s name. Ray pulled up another menu, and it showed several different choices:
Ray typed in ‘L’ for Location, and a small loading bar appeared on screen with text above it saying ’Gathering latest camera feeds……’
Soon enough, a map appeared with several blinking dots. There was a pink one, a blue one, and a gray one all very close together.
“Those dots are us.” Ray said. There was a red dot in a corner of the building.
“That must be your friend. He’s in the armory, and the camera says he’s in trouble. It reports several of those Creatures heading his way.”
Linda rose up her head from the computer screen. She heard moans and groans. She motioned to Collins with her head, pointing in the noise’s direction. Ray continued to key commands into the computer, and Collins and Linda moved over towards the noise. There was a small nook, with a computer and a glass cage. Lying against the large computer was a wounded Brad. Linda quickly looked him over. He had been gashed in several places, and he was bleeding profusely from the shoulder, which seemed like it was coming off. He managed to look at Linda with his left eye, the only one left. His right eye socket was covered in blood.
“Linda? You’re alive? Thank the Lord……”
Linda bent down and put her hand on his shoulder.
“I’m fine Brad. We’re going to find Ricky. Collins will protect me.”
Brad lowered his head, and more blood leaked from his eye socket.
“Glad to hear it. I wish I could come with you, but I can’t. That Creature attacked us all. I fought back, but it destroyed me. You and Collins be careful. By the way, take this.”
Brad lifted a flamethrower and handed it to Collins.
“This is the only way to kill one of them. You have to burn it. Please Linda, make it out alive. For me.”
Linda stood up and nodded her head. Brad’s head fell even lower, and he died.
Collins gave him a nod, and he and Linda left the nook. Ray was still typing on the computer. He looked over at them as they approached him.
“Are you ready to go? Your friend may not have much time.”
Collins nodded, and so did Linda. Ray picked up a pistol from the operating table and cocked it. “Let’s do it.” He said.
0830 HOURS
Collins led his group down the hallway. He led the group with the large flamethrower in hand, Linda was in the middle, and Ray was covering the rear. Collins saw something in front of him, and he stopped. Linda ran into him, and Ray into her. Collins looked right in front of him, and there was a man in a white medic outfit and he had the logo of a bald eagle on his breast.
“Are you hurt?” Linda asked behind his back.
The man looked up and saw Collins.
“Where the hell did you people come from?”
Collins backed away from him, but not very far.
“Why are you people here?”
Collins tried to answer him, but he cut Collins off.
“I bet you’re infected, just like everyone else! I had to kill them, but I don’t regret a thing! I’m still alive, and that’s all that matters!”
“We’re not infected! We’re just prisoners here! We’re just trying to escape.”
Collins told him.
He looked at Collins again.
“How am I supposed to trust you? Where did you come from?”
Linda pushed Collins out of the way, and looked into the eyes of the man standing in front of her.
“One of our friends is in trouble. Please move out of the way, because time is precious. If we were infected, wouldn’t we have already killed you?”
The man pondered this for a while, and then said,
“Fine. You’re not infected. Let me help you. If you’re friend is in trouble, I better come along. Name’s Gerry.”
Linda pushed him out of the way and ran down the hallway shouting,
“If you’re coming, let’s go! Our friend doesn’t have much time!”
Gerry started running, and so did the rest of the group. Linda led the way, even though it bothered Collins. He knew that Linda and him were probably the only ones left from the facility, and Brad had told her to be careful, and forced Collins to protect her. Now here she was, running like a madman in front of everyone. She led them down several passageways, until they encountered the Head Creatures: what Robert had become. They were sitting on top of a body in the winding hallway. Collins pulled the trigger, and the flame covered the body and the Creatures. Collins then led the way: Carefully making his way down passages, probably upsetting Linda. She would get over it. Linda found an open door, so she looked inside. A Creature was inside, and it swiped for her, until Collins came in with the flamethrower and torched it. Linda kept going on, and she had plenty of opportunities to show Collins how good she was with a pistol: The Head Creatures didn’t stand a chance. She hit one dead center in the eye, and it crumpled on the floor. One other jumped for her face, and she killed it in mid-air. Linda and the group came to a door in the middle of the hallway. She looked around, and there was no other way, except backward. She hesitantly opened the door, and she saw an relieving sight. Ricky was standing in the middle of the room, looking calm. Linda rushed up to him and hugged him. Ricky barely had time to react, and so he was rewarded with a big hug. Linda stopped hugging him, and she backed away.
“Ricky!” She said. “I’m so glad you’re okay! Come on, let’s go! We’re getting out of here!”
Ricky made no response, but he nodded his head and followed them. Linda was in the back, telling Ricky what had happened since they came. Ricky replied with “Oh really?” or “That’s terrible!” Collins walked in front, flamethrower in hand.
Suddenly, Collins turned around and faced Ricky.
“You’re not Ricky. You’re one of the aliens, and I know it!”
Collins raised the flamethrower, but Linda walked in front of it.
“This is Ricky, Collins! Don’t be so quick to judge!”
Collins looked at her, her arms raised in defiance of what Collins was going to do to ‘Ricky.’ She was convinced it was Ricky.
“Fine then. Come on then, ‘Ricky.’”
Collins and the others continued walking, until they got back to were they started in the research area, with their cells and the operating table.
Linda laid Ricky down on the table and began to examine him. She checked for wounds, which she found none. Collins sat in the corner, looking at her and Ricky. Ray was typing commands into the computer, and Gerry was gathering medical supplies and placing them in his kit.
“How about a test?” Collins said loudly after a while.
The others turned to face him.
“If the parts of Creature are all separate entities, it will try and protect itself from any danger. Even blood will fight back.”
Collins took a scalpel from a desk, took a petri dish, and slit his middle finger. Blood dropped into the dish. He placed the scalpel in front of the flamethrower’s pilot light, and warmed it. He stabbed the scalpel into the blood, and it hissed.
“You’re normal if the blood hisses. But something else will happen if you are one of them.”
They kept staring at him, looking as if they were hearing a diabolical plan. He took a scalpel and petri dish over to Ray. Ray held out his thumb and Collins slit it. He collected the blood, warmed up the scalpel, and thrust it into the blood. The blood hissed.
“You’re good then, Ray. Get over there where the table is.”
Ray walked past Collins and sat down at the table.
Collins went over to Gerry.
Gerry held out his pinky, and Collins slit it.
“Why your pinky?” Collins asked.
Gerry shrugged. “No reason.”
Collins warmed the scalpel and thrust it into the blood. The blood seemed to jump out of the dish and onto the floor. Collins looked at Gerry, who had already began to mutate. His head split open, and claws replaced his arms.
Collins tried to pull the trigger on the flamethrower, but it was stuck. He crouched under an operating table while trying to pull the trigger. The Gerry-Creature ran over to Ray. The gruesome head split to reveal a giant jaw. The jaw bit Ray’s head off, and blood spurt from Ray’s neck. Ray’s decapitated body fell to the floor, and Gerry-Creature began munching. Collins emerged from the operating table, and blasted a stream of flame onto the Gerry-Creature. Gerry-Creature was engulfed in flame, and ran around the room. Collins blasted it with more flame, and finally, the creature collapsed. Its jaw opened to reveal Ray’s head, crushed like a melon. Ray’s head grew legs, and started to run away. Collins blasted it with flame too. He looked at Ricky and Linda, who had nothing to do but watch and cower.
“Does that prove my point? We’re not all human here. I say that I’m human, otherwise I wouldn’t have proposed the test or just destroyed those Creatures. Linda, you can’t be a Creature because you and I have watched each other’s backs. We haven’t left the other’s sight. And that leaves…”
Ricky had already started running, and he opened the door to the outside and ran. Collins ran to the door, and saw him leave footprints in the snow. Linda came over to Collins.
“I guess you were right. He’s not Ricky. But when was he infected?”
Collins looked over at her.
“No time to explain! Let’s just go!”
Collins ran into the white snow. Linda soon followed.

0925 HOURS
Sergei sat on top of the building with his sniper rifle. He had his scope pointed at the door to the research facility, which had produced two- no, three- figures racing outside.
“Why are they so eager to get in the cold?”
He chuckled to himself, and refocused his sights on the man in the lead. He was lean and thin, and he ran fast. One of the other two was a late-thirties man who carried a flamethrower. The other was a pretty, young woman in a pink jacket.
He had run out here because he had heard the warning. The Creature had escaped. That was the project here for a while, but it had gone awry. He had seen one of his friends get mangled by one of the beasts, until he burnt it. Whatever they were doing outside, it meant that something had gone wrong on the inside. The lean man reached the white landscape before him and the building, and he collapsed. Sergei zoomed in, trying to get a closer look. He was fidgeting, or something. The man in the blue jacket was coming closer, and so was the woman behind him. Sergei looked at the lean man again, and he was changing. The lean man burst open, revealing a large Creature which climbed up the clouds and grew bigger. Sergei eventually was pointing his scope straight up at the Creature, when a vibration shook the building. He lost his balance, and fell backwards. The giant Creature came down on him, picking him up with its spider-like mouth. Sergei could see a human head on top of it. There was a giant mouth below it, and eight claws circled its ‘face.’ Two of the same claws were now buried in Sergei’s side. It brought Sergei closer, until he could smell the hot, putrid breath it had. Its mouth opened, inviting Sergei in. Sergei looked inside the mouth and cursed as he felt more pain from the claws stuck inside him.
“Well, F-”
Sergei had already been gnashed by the sharp teeth in mid-sentence. His vest and jacket tore to pieces and fell onto the snow.

0930 HOURS
Collins saw the giant Ricky-Creature turn around and attack the man on top of the building. He knew that this Creature would be nearly impossible to tackle. He felt like running back inside the facility right now. But his gut told him to finish the fight. He ran until the Creature was taller than his point of view, with its head up in the sky. Linda ran behind him, with her supplies she had gathered. Collins dashed towards the building, climbing its stairs in a record time. He took the flamethrower off his back, and set it down behind him. He took one of the flamethrower’s tanks and threw it down around the monster’s base. It shattered, and fuel went everywhere. He looked around for something explosive, and saw the man had had some fragmentation grenades. He reached for one, and pulled the pin. He aimed for one of the fuel spots down below, when one of the Ricky-Creature’s claws tried to strike him. He ducked, got back up, and threw the grenade. It hit the patch dead-on, and Collins ducked down. The fragments scattered everywhere, while the flame rushed up the base of the monster. The flame reached the top of the monster, and it burnt off several claws. Four claws hit the ground with a deafening thud, which sent Collins on his back. He saw Linda emerging from the stairwell, but motioned to stay inside. “It’s too dangerous! Run to that shed over there!” The shed in question was a maintenance shed, not very far from the building he was on.
“Go now! Run! Jump off the roof!”
Linda jumped off the roof, regained her balance, and ran for the shed. Collins felt a sharp, stabbing pain. He saw a claw had dug into his side. He looked for the flamethrower, but couldn’t reach it. He saw the man’s sniper rifle, and picked it up. It had three shots in it, so Collins used one on the claw. He missed, and by that time he was being lifted into the air. The claw lifted him to the mouth at the top of the monster. Collins aimed for the mouth, which had opened, and fired. Blood spurt out, but not much. He then saw Ricky’s head on top of the mouth. He raised the sniper rifle to the general level which Ricky’s head was at, and fired. The head burst open, showering blood everywhere. But the monster didn’t stop. It kept moving Collins closer and closer to the mouth. He saw pieces of jacket and vest clinging to the teeth, and thought of how horrible it must have been for the other guy. Collins also saw that he had a grenade still stuck in his belt, so he reached for it with his hand. He missed once, but grabbed it the second time. He lifted it to his mouth and pulled the pin out, then spat it into the monster’s mouth.
“Just an appetizer for what’s to come!” He yelled defiantly.
Collins threw the grenade as far as he could, and it landed right on the tongue as the monster’s teeth parted. The grenade exploded, and the beast cried in agony. It swayed, letting Collins slip off the claw a little. Its head fell backwards into the snow, and it made a great dull sound. The other three claws rest on the snow, while the other slowly went to the ground. Collins pushed himself off, and he fell into the snow. Blood immediately drooled from his wound, but Linda was already coming. She took him into the building, and ripped off his jacket. She took her suture kit and started sewing back the gash in Collins’ left side. Collins passed out after that.

1000 HOURS
Collins woke up to the sound of helicopter blades buzzing over his head. He lifted himself up, and noticed he was on it already. Linda sat on a seat across from him, and seemed delighted in his return to this world.
“Who did you call? Who saved us?”
Linda patted him on the shoulder.
“The government saved us. They were doing routine training flights when they spotted me down below in the snow with a fire. They had no idea this base existed at all. I sewed you up, and they lifted you onto the helicopter, and here we are!”
Collins took in all the info. The government had a base so secret, only certain officials knew about it? There was a base right next to this one, and they never knew? But that didn’t matter. He and Linda were alive, and that was all that mattered. He saw the pilot start to land on a small landing pad below them. They would be going home.
Collins saw a beautiful sunrise in the distance. He told himself that everything was going to be okay, and that he had killed a beast of mythical proportions. He thought of all the people who didn’t make it. Robert had not even seen the worst part, Ricky was there through most of it, Sharp had seen the Creature first hand, Gerald had died because of the giant monster on the back of the train, and for that, he felt sorry. Gerald was so filled with hope about escape. Then Brad had died in the facility. He went out fighting, at least. Collins also realized he had saved Linda, just like Brad had asked him. He thought of all he had gotten past to make it here.
“That wasn’t so hard.” He told himself as the helicopter landed.
The pilots carried him off the helicopter, and Linda followed behind him. Collins felt a twinge of pain.
He also felt hungry.
Linda… he thought.
For Collins was there, but there was also something else.
A creature.
Waiting to strike.


Date: December 20, 2007

To: Brigadier General Forrest

From: General Thom

Subject: Help Needed


As I write this, I am afraid. We have had several security breaches in the past hours. My men are hard at work, but I don’t know exactly what is happening. A Creature- same in stature as a man- attacked and killed three of my men. The fourth man survived, but he disappeared later. I now write this in my office, with my aide George and Teresa in the room. I need you assist us in any way possible, for we are facing dire circumstances.
General Thom

DAY I- December 20, 2007

0700 HOURS

Sitting at his desk, phone in hand and in his chair, General Thom was afraid. He had made the letter about three hours ago, and hoped to get a reply- not in the form of a letter, but a team to come and wipe this thing out. General Thom looked at his aides, George McMichaels and Teresa Bradford. They had been in the office space right outside his office. They were performing simple work, and then, the creature got loose. From what he had heard three days ago, his men were hard at work at killing it. Of course, that was three days ago, and he believed they were all dead. He could defend himself if necessary- He had a pump-action Remington 870 mounted on the back wall. He wasn’t sure though, about how he would get out of this place. His fax machine was the only thing working, and he’d already used it. Thom decided he had to play the waiting game, and just sit this whole mess out.
Teresa Bradford was half-asleep in one corner of Thom’s office. She didn’t know how she was asleep, though, with all the commotion. She had been up for almost a day and a half, keeping watch. Now she was just about to run out of willpower. She thought of her brother. Ray, please, come help me. I don’t need this crap. But hoping wouldn’t do anything. She was on her own.
George McMichaels was in a swivel chair in the other half of General Thom’s office. He was impatient, he wanted to get out of this place. He watched as Thom had his third or fourth cold chill this morning. Just my luck. I’m trapped in a remote building where a monster can replicate your friends and family. He sighed.
“Just my luck.”

Lawrence ’Destroyer’ Wilkinson read the fax with a grimace. Too bad General Forrest wouldn’t get this letter. He was off in Cancun, or someplace like that. Thom would never get his help, unless, that is, that Wilkinson forced the team to move out. There were six of them on the ’team’- the people assigned to tasks like this. There was himself, Sergeant Lawrence ’Destroyer’ Wilkinson. He got his name from the big machine guns he liked to carry. The second man on the team and the most important one was Corporal Richard Garrison, who worked communications. “What’s this, Destroyer?” Richard, a tall , solid man, approached the giant black Destroyer. “It’s a distress signal from General Thom a couple bases over. He says he’s in real trouble. See?” Richard read the fax quickly, then handed it back to Destroyer. “Go get Malcolm, he’s probably stoned in the rec room.” Richard walked down the hall to the recreation room, where sat Malcolm White, the team’s sniper, on the brown couch tripping out of his mind. Sitting beside him was the team medic, Gil Stafford, not tripping on acid, but he was having fun poking Malcolm in the side. Malcolm was too far out to feel it. “MALCOLM!!!!” Richard screamed. It made Gil and Malcolm jump. Malcolm turned to Richard and asked, “Whaaaaat? What’s happennnnnnning?” Richard shook his head and slapped Malcolm on the cheek. “Come on, you hippie, we’ve got a mission. Destroyer wants us out there in an hour. You too, Gil. Pack plenty of spare stuff, this might be a long one. Oh, and don’t forget to bring food. The survivors have been holed up for days and they’re probably starved.” Gil and Malcolm went to the armoury to get their stuff ready. Richard headed along with them, and Destroyer had just woken the other two members of the team, Asa Adams and Roland Conner. Asa worked support, and was liked by all the members of the team. Roland was an assault gunner, and worked with a powerful Bernelli M4 Combat Shotgun. “Wake up, men. We’re now officially on duty, and it looks like you’re wasting time.” Asa was the first to wake, and immediately put on his gear. Roland took a little longer, but did the same. “Pack up plenty of supplies, gentlemen. We might be gone a while.” Destroyer then left the room. Asa spoke to Roland: “Man, I guess I got to carry a lot more ammo than the last mission. Let’s see, I’ll need shells, pistol clips, a few clips for Malcolm, and some more stuff.” Roland listened as he got on his backpack that he would use to carry equipment. He handed Asa his. “Fill it up, Asa, we don’t want to be running out of ammo in the middle of the mission.” Asa and Roland headed for the armoury to pack up their weapons. Destroyer and Richard had already packed up their things and were waiting outside for the chopper. Malcolm was the first to finish (he had only to get his rifle and several clips, plus some of his acid) and he ran outside to wait with destroyer and Richard. The rest of the men packed up their things and eventually, they were all climbing into the chopper. Once they were in the air, Destroyer explained the mission. “Alright, men, this is the situation- Base 471 is under attack by some unknown threat. From what we’ve gathered from General Thom, the base’s CO, it has killed a majority of the staff there, so don’t expect back-up. General Thom is holed up in his office on the west side of the building, which is where we’ll be headed once we land. We rescue the people inside the office, link up, and perform a sweep through the whole of the building. Once everything’s destroyed, we evac for mission complete. Okay, any questions?”
Malcolm had one. “What are we fighting? Do they have heads to snipe?” Destroyer shook his head. “No, they aren’t human. Thom said they were monsters, so expect anything. Sorry, guys, but we’re closing in. Get your packs on and prepare to drop!”

“Oh shit, I’m going to be sick!” Malcolm called out. No one could hear him in the vacuum, of course, except God, who probably didn’t want to listen to Malcolm anyway. Everyone else seemed to be taking it better than Malcolm, he was still feeling the effects of his drug. Everyone opened their chutes and landed safely on the ground. They all drew their primary weapons, (Malcolm, a Barrett sniper rifle, Asa, a Heckler and Koch UMP machine gun, Richard had a M4 carbine, Destroyer carried a FN SCAR rifle, and Gil had a Colt Single Action Army) and raced to the door where they knew they could get to the general’s office. Destroyer opened the door and Richard dove in. He scanned the immediate area, which looked to be an office block. The rest of the team had already moved in, and they inspected the area. After finding nothing, they all returned to the middle. Destroyer addressed his team. “Ok men, we’re going through that door there” he pointed to a door on the right wall, “and that should lead us to the office of General Thom.” Roland moved to open the door, and scanned the next area with his combat shotgun. Asa followed behind, and then came the rest, with Richard in behind. There was a door labelled “Commander’s Office”, and so Destroyer walked up to the door. The big black man tried kicking down the door. He could see several figures inside who had moved to the back of the office. One approached, and as Destroyer kicked the door again, the door opened. Destroyer lost his balance, and fell slightly forward. The man who opened the door had a Remington shotgun in Destroyer’s face. Before Thom knew who he was targeting, he had fired.

Destroyer’s body collapsed onto the floor behind him. His head was partially destroyed, and his lower jaw was all that remained. General Thom stood in the doorway, with his Remington still aimed and covered in blood and brain matter. Asa, who had been standing behind Destroyer, was covered in blood. He yelled out loud, “What the hell, man! You killed Destroyer!” General Thom dropped the Remington onto the floor as Asa raised his weapon. Richard batted Asa’s UMP down and said loudly, “Calm down everyone. It was a terrible mistake, that’s all. Let’s get everyone out here so we can interview them. Destroyer may be dead, but as second-in-command, I’m not letting this mission go FUBAR. You’re Thom, aren’t you?” Thom didn’t say anything for a long time. “Yes, I-I am. There are two others inside. George, Teresa, come on out.” Asa was the next to speak. “Hand me that Remington, traitor! HAND IT OVER!!!” Thom calmly picked up the shotgun and handed it to Asa, who took it with a sneer. Gil looked at Destroyer and sighed. As the medic, he was going to have to clean up this mess. He had brought three body bags- as a medic he had come to expect these things- but he didn’t think he would be scooping Destroyer out of his own blood into a black vinyl bag. Gil started his messy work, while Richard gathered the three survivors and interrogated them.
“So, Thom, have you heard anything about these creatures?” Thom thought a minute, and then came back with a reply: “We heard they were humanoid, and when you thought you were safe, suddenly one of your friends would disappear and one of them would take his place.” Gil came over to listen, Richard was puzzled. “You’re saying this creature takes over your own people?” Thom shook his head. “No, it becomes them. Somehow,-I don’t know how- it becomes whoever it assimilates. No, that’s wrong- they become it.” Richard absorbed all this information into his mind. A creature that assimilates humans and then controls them until it’s ready to transform? That’s serious. “Do you know how to tell if someone is infected?” Richard asked. “No, there’s no way. They are imitated perfectly- no defects whatsoever.” So there’s no hope at all? Richard thought. What the hell are we supposed to do? I suppose I should contact headquarters. “Hey, you guys!” Richard called out to the other men. “I want you to secure the room outside this one. And watch each other closely!” As Gil walked out the door, Richard re-thought his decision and called him over. He told him: “Gil, I want you to find out a test for this infection. Something to do with blood would probably work.” Gil nodded and opened up his medical kit. He found a syringe, which was sterilized and ready to use. Gil took some of his own blood, and then put it in a labelled container. He knew he wasn’t one of the creatures, otherwise, he wouldn’t be doing this. He looked at Richard, who had unpacked his radio. Richard turned on his radio headset and listened for a response on the base frequency. “Nothing but static. Something’s wrong with the base outgoing frequency, I’d bet. At any rate, I can’t get a frequency.” Gil approached Richard. “I think I’ve figured it out, Richard. Heat- that’s what will bring it out. If this organism takes over all the cells in the body, then each cell is a part of the creature- even the blood cells. So, I made a special modification to the syringes I have so that they heat the blood inside. I have six of these, so pick who you want to test carefully.” Richard called the other teammates on his radio. “All personnel return to the office space. This is an order from Richard, the second-in-command.” Richard, Gil and Thom waited until Roland returned. He reported in and was filled in on the details of the experiment. Richard found a blowtorch in the office of Thom, just in case the creature was weak to fire. Since the heat would make it react, surely a burning trail of fuel would kill it. Richard watched as Asa and Malcolm returned, and then Gil prepared to administer the test.
1100 HOURS
Gil began by displaying his six syringes on the table he had dragged out. He sat down and looked at his team mates, all around him, and he spoke. “Gentlemen, this creature takes over organisms and completely replicates them. This is a flawless strategy, except for the fact that the creatures are weak to heat. So, by drawing blood into these syringes, the blood is warmed, and revealing if the individual is a monster. There are eight of us, and I have five more syringes ready for use. This one-” He pointed to one full of red blood- “Is mine, showing that I am not infected. I believe Richard should decide who to test, since he’s the assumed leader.” Gil turned to Richard, who was holding the blowtorch in his hands. “Since some of you men are suspicious of Thom-” he looked at Asa- “I believe we should test him first. Gil, I’ll cover you.” General Thom watched as Gil approached him with the blood test. This is barbaric. This place is out of control. I’ve got one chance- General Thom drew his personal sidearm from the holster on his pants, and pressed the cold barrel to the right side of his head. “I wish the best of you gentlemen.” He then pulled the trigger, splattering his brains to the left of him, and caused the chair he was sitting on to be knocked over the same direction. The men stood shocked, their fears relieved and their hopes dashed at the same time. Malcolm finally had the courage to speak. “This is screwed up.” was all he could muster. Richard motioned Gil to Malcolm, and Gil stealthily put the syringe into Malcolm’s arm while he was fixed on the dead form of Thom. “Shit! Gil, that hurt!” Gil didn’t speak as the blood was drawn and he waited. Nothing happened, and so by taking a piece of tape and writing Malcolm, Gil labelled the syringe. “Roland next, Gil. Notice how he came back by himself? Asa and Malcolm returned together. That was smart. Why was Roland all alone?” Gil moved over to Roland and inserted the syringe into his left arm. “I don’t know why they came back together, maybe they’re gay or something.” Roland winced, and as soon as his blood shot into the syringe, the heat reacted to the invading organism. The glass syringe shattered, and the needle was left intact in Roland’s arm. Gil backed up, and Richard readied the blowtorch as Roland’s entire being changed. His blue jacket that said “USA Research & Rescue” burst all over the room, and his arm changed into a deadly claw. His head split to reveal a terrible maw, dark and gaping. He violently got out of his seat and turned to Teresa. He was about to attack her, Teresa screaming when Gil fired his SAA into Roland’s ‘stomach’. The barrel smoked, and Roland turned to attack Gil. Richard had been having trouble firing the blowtorch, but it came on finally and covered Roland with flame. It was too late, however: Roland’s head mouth had inhaled the entirety of Gil’s head as Gil tried to back up. This resulted in Gil’s decapitated corpse retreating while his neck bled and his head hung out of Roland’s horrendous maw. Richard continued to lay down flame on Roland’s new form, and any one in the way had fled. Asa looked around for some sort of weapon, and found a grenade attached to his belt. Malcolm was pulling out his pistol, but Asa knew it would do no good. “Richard! Back up, I’m going to blast him to hell!” Richard retreated to the wall the others were backed up against. Asa threw the grenade straight in the direction of the creature, and in seconds, it blew up the creature into tiny bits. Richard examined the bits for signs of life, and then returned to the table. Everyone else- Asa, Malcolm, George and Teresa- gathered in front of the table to hear what Richard had to say. “First, I’d like to bag up Gil and Thom. They deserve it as a courtesy.” Richard and Malcolm bagged and tagged Thom and Gil, then gathered the Roland creature and threw it into a pile. Richard then returned to the table. “There are three syringes left. I’m going to test George and Asa, and then myself. Then we can think about getting out of here.” Richard administered the test to George and Asa, who came out clean, and he set the syringes next to the others. Finally, he inserted the syringe into his arm. The blood was drawn into the syringe, and- there was no reaction. The others looked relieved. Richard sat down the syringe on the table, and got up. “I’ll try contacting headquarters again.” Richard turned on his radio. It was more static, but he got part of a response, and it sounded strange, but he could make out the words ‘east, rescue, Destroyer, atrium’ and he knew what he had to do. “Alright guys, there’s a rescue coming to the east wing, in the atrium, if anyone knows where that is.” George shuddered. “What’s wrong, George? Scared?” Malcolm teased. George shook his head. “No, the atrium was the first place to be invaded by the creatures. There’s no way we could survive five minutes in there. They say this guy is there now, killing the creatures, and refusing to come out. He’s obviously experienced killing in the creatures. He runs around with a flamethrower and evades our security cameras. He’s a real psycho.” Richard looked inquisitively at George. “What is his name?” George turned to Richard and said, “We only know him as Collins. He came here from another base, and he had a girl with him. She disappeared in the attack. That’s probably why Collins went crazy. So I advise staying away from the atrium.” Richard was feeling just great. I’m trying to keep these people together, and now there’s a psycho running around torching creatures- and probably people. “Regardless, we have to make it out of here alive. Let’s make for the atrium. George, why don’t you take one of these guns left behind. They won’t need them anymore.”

1300 HOURS
Richard grabbed the blowtorch and the M4 carbine, which for now had gone unused. Asa and Malcolm stocked themselves with ammo from dead comrades, and George promised to protect Teresa with Thom’s large magnum. Richard led the group through the doors, one-by-one. They passed through a lab, and several more offices. Richard admired the high-end technology they contained, even the regular computers were top of the line. Richard thought of what kind of experiments would have taken place in these labs. Then he decided he didn’t want to know about what kind of horrors might have taken place. The labs being empty, appeared sinister. He quickly rushed through the labs after that. The other four followed along diligently, sweeping the area with their eyes. Then, finally, the group reached the Atrium. It was covered with blood and a strange moving mass. Teresa vomited on the spot. George tried to comfort her. Richard tried to calm the group down, but then an enigmatic figure approached. He wore a blue puffy jacket and carried a flamethrower. His head was shaved. “So, you’re Richard. And this must be your crew.” Richard and Asa confronted the mysterious man. “How did you know we were here?” Asa asked. Collins just shrugged. “I’m a technological expert, I have ways of doing things you’ve never even imagined. I’ve been here for about four days, doing this. I can assure you I’m not infected.” Richard looked disgruntled. “How can you have survived for four days? Wouldn’t you have run out of fuel?” Collins just shook his head. “No, the creature knows when it’s beaten. It only looks for opportunities where it is the sole victor. When it attacked me the first time, it knew not to come back.” As Collins was explaining this, Malcolm (who had wandered out of sight from George and Teresa) was walking around the atrium, when he saw a bird bath. He saw his own reflection, and also saw something else. It was a tentacle of some sort, and it wrapped around his neck and didn’t let go. It dragged him up, and he could feel the wall on his back. He swiftly approached the writhing mass that was the ceiling and was starting to lose oxygen. About this time, Collins had turned around and saw Malcolm’s fate. “Up there! The ceiling is alive!” Malcolm’s body disappeared into the grotesque ceiling, which began raining tentacles. Asa and Richard pulled out their K-bar knives, while Collins grabbed Malcolm’s, who had dropped it when he ascended to the ceiling. George was seized by a tentacle to the shrieks of Teresa. George’s tentacle waved erratically as it rose, and ended up snapping George’s neck, killing him. Teresa was even more frightened by this, and did not see the wall tentacles trying to absorb her. Collins motioned to the entrance door, but it was covered with slimy tentacles. Asa pulled out a bigger knife than before, and charged his swing. With one powerful swing, he diced the tentacles that covered the wall. With his arm behind him, he didn’t notice the tentacle that had ripped it from it’s socket. Richard and Collins ran inside the door, and called for Asa. “No thanks,” was all Asa said. “I’ve got a plan.” Asa retrieved a flame grenade he had on his waist and pulled the pin. Tentacles rose up and took him to the ceiling, where the grenade detonated. Richard and Collins shut the double doors entrance to escape the blast. Asa’s body, and all the others, were consumed along with the giant atrium creature that surrounded them. The atrium fell in, after the thing supporting it faded to ash. Collins and Richard stood behind the doors which were locked tight. After a great crashing of glass, metal and body parts, they opened the door. The atrium was no more, and they could only see the snowy landscape stretched out before them. “Quite a sight. But now what do we do?” Collins asked. At that time, the helicopter began to appear into viewing. It landed on the ground beside the atrium, and called for Destroyer. Richard and Collins ran to the helicopter, and once on board, the pilot asked, “That it?” Richard nodded. “Sorry, we underestimated what we were going up against.” The pilot laughed. “You gonna have a lot of angry mommas to tell that to.” Richard looked over at Collins, who looked famished. He searched for food, and gave an MRE to Collins. “So Collins, you got anything you want to say?” Collins looked at Richard and smiled. “Well, I tell you what. I’m opening an electronics store and staying the hell away from this frozen wasteland.” Richard looked at him and chuckled at the joke. “You know, I work communications, we could open the store together.” Collins nodded. “Let’s do that when we get back to the States. Let’s do that.” The helicopter flew off into the horizon.




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