Skeleton Crew by Andrew

Dear reader (s),
This story is a little slow at first but does mature into amore tense,
System Shock experience a little bit more into the story. Soplease, do not
exclude this story because it doesn't start off with a BANG.

I woke up. My quarters weresmall and cramped but I liked it that way. The Von
Braun had been good to me all the time of my stay. The doors swished open as
I left my room. Outside the hallways weren't lighted. Still must be before
0500. That was when the majority of the crew was awake and working. There
was always a skeleton crew working though. I strode down the corridors
following the dim lights that lined the walls. I felt sorry for the skeleton
crew. They always were working and almost never got any sleep or respect. If
you worked on one you had fucked up somewhere else.

I knew this guy, Kessler,who had dropped a vile of acid onto the floor and
melted through a few decks. Almost immediately he was transferred to the
skeleton crew.

After my little hike downthe Hydroponics B sector the lights came on and the
skeleton crew succumbedback to their quarters as a bright new crew took over,
smiling the Trioptinum smile.

I got to my post and immediately checked my e-mail. Nothing. We had stopped
moving from the Tau Ceti planet and no one on the ship, and I do mean no one
knew why.I exited my e-mail screen and got up to check in with my senior
officer. He wanted me to go up to the Med/Sci sector to deliver a package to
Dr. Politio.

The elevators were supposedly fast but to me they always felt like an
eternity moving from sector to sector, deck to deck. Finally, it came to an
end. The doors opened and the bright lights of the Med/Sci sector shown into
my eyes. I adjusted and proceeded. The crew of this sector was always cheery,
like a good doctor/nurse should be. I wondered how the skeleton crew of the
Med/Sci sector acted. I'd hate to be a patient to one of them...

After asking directions from about thirty different crewmembers I finally
came to Dr. Janice Politio'soffice. She was lying back in her chair but
quickly lurched forward when I entered.
"Yes?" she asked,annoyed that I had ended her pleasure.
"Delivery from Dr.Smith" I replied trying to keep the warm atmosphere of the
deck alive in her room.

She grabbed my package from me and put it in her desk. She then looked back
at me, showing the door in her eyes. I took this message and left. The door
closed behind me and I took a deep breath. Phew.

I had not moved when Dr.Politio came over the loudspeakers. Everyone stopped
moving. Shesounded worried and scared.
Would any nearby doctors and nurses report immediately to my office. Please
evacuate the R and Asector immediately.”

Air locks closed and people were moving about in a hurry. It was then that I
realized that Dr. Politio was behind me and whatever she had found,
discovered, or made was behind me as well. I wanted to run to the elevator
and return back to my work place but I couldn’t. I turned and went into
Dr.Politio’s office. She was staring at her computer screen with shock. She
didn’t look up but started talking.
“Doctor, we need you and a security team to get into the R and A sector. We
got wounded all over.” She looked up with the same face of shock, which
resided as she saw a Hydroponics crewmember standing where her doctor should
have been. She took a deep breath and called again for doctors and nurses to
report to her office. This time three doctors arrived, white trench coats
waving as they ran in.
“Dr? What’s wrong?” asked the first doctor.
“I’m not sure, but something broke out of it’s body bag and attacked Dr.
Miller. We’re waiting for a security team to arrive, then we’re sendingyou
in to give aide to those in need.” Politio replied with her raspy yet
commanding voice.

I moved over next to her and looked at the screen. The emergency lights had
been activated. The main power must have been cut. The redlights revealed
some bodies lying on the floor. Dead or alive, I didn’t know. Yellow lights
were flashing next to the red ones. An alarm had been sounded. Something was
moving at the bottom of the screen but no one in the room could tell what it
was. The doors opened. We all turned around to be met with the straight eyes
of the UNN Von Braun’s security force. There was only about five of them but
they were all armed to the brim with rifles and bullets.
“Dr., what is reason for thealarm and evacuation?” asked the lieutenant as
he tipped his hat to Politio.
“Unexplained attack on the crew of the R and A sector” replied Politio.
“Alright, Dr., you’re going to be our eyes and ears. The doctors, come with
us, and you?” the lieutenant looked at me.
“Take this,” he said as he threw me a side arm.
“Wait, no, no, I don’tknow-“ I stuttered as we left Janice Politio’s
office. But then it clicked. If I didn’t do this I could end up on the
skeleton crew…with that thought in mind I quickly rushed up next to the crew.
Even the doctors had straight faces without fear.
The lieutenant took out his security card and the door to the R and A sector
opened. It looked worse than on the computer screen. A body lay right in
front of us, mangled and still bleeding. One of the doctors bent down.
“Dr. Politio?” the doctor spoke into his PDA.
“Subject is DOA,” he continued as he checked a pulse.
“Looks like rifled slugs” added a security officer as he chewed his gum even
more rapidly.

We continued down thehall. A door swooshed open and the officers raised
their weapons as they entered. Nothing. The inside of this particular room
had been splattered with blood and rained with bulletholes. The security
officers proceeded to open the “freezer” in the room. Three bodies fell out
and hit the ground with a sickening splat. The doctors didn’t even look
“And…” the lieutenant said with command.
“If this blood is there’s” one of the doctor’s said, pointing to the
sickening amount of blood on the walls “then believe me, they are dead.”

We left the room and I noticed something. The security team was beginning to
look scared. Great the guys with the guns are scared. We made a turn next
to a ladder that led down to a room. One by one the soldiers went down.
They kept signaling everyone down until I was the last one standing on the
top floor. I couldn’t move. I thought if I looked around I might see
something and I thought if I went down I might see something worse. I raised
my gun and began my decent down the ladder. When I reached the bottom there
was more blood. The soldiers checked their surroundings. In front of me was
a window that led into the autopsy room where Dr. Miller was pounding on a
“Let me out, there are thousands of these things in here!!!” Dr. Miller
screamed as he pounded more and more on the window.
“We can’t, the window is unbreakable. We will proceed down to your room
immediately” replied the lieutenant.
“All right Janice, we found Dr. Miller, he doesn’t seem to be seriously
injured but-“ the lieutenant turned around.
“Hey…where’d he go?”
The window, which once separated Dr. Miller and us, was bare. The crew looked
around but found nothing. No Dr. Miller.
“Alright people doubletime!” shouted the lieutenant as the soldiers scurried
up the ladder.
Once everyone was up top they trotted down the hallway with military
precision, covering and signaling each other. I just played along with my

We finally came to it. The room that was…that was ground zero. Everyone took
a deep breath. The death toll was now in the teens. I think15. God, what I
wouldn’t give to beback in Hydroponics right now. The lights seemed to have
gotten darker, a lot darker.

Something fell. A metallic sound followed. A vile? A container? A rifled
slug? The soldiers slid down the ladder that ledto the autopsy room.
Thousands of metal closets that held bodies surrounded the room. An examining
table was still dripping with blood. I raised my weapon and the doctors and
myself went down the ladder and entered the autopsy room.

An audio log lay next to meand I picked it up. I pressed rewindand listened.
It was Dr. Miller.
“What does it say?” asked aconcerned doctor.
“Well, so far-“ I was interrupted when a loud pounding came from one of the
body closets. The soldiers quickly sprang up in front of us and moved
towards the noise. It sounded like someone was yelling, “help!” The
soldiers opened the closet and Dr. Miller, out of breath, collapsed to the
floor, coughing like a madman.
“Dr. Politio, the package has been retrieved” spoke a soldier into his PDA.
They were all delighted.
“You…you…you did rem…rem…remember to close, to close the door
did…did…didn’t you?” murmured Dr.Miller beginning to stand up.
“You mean the R and A sector? Yeah, we got that closed up” spoke the soldier
with the gum. He had stopped chewing it so violently now.
“No…no…that door behind…behind you…” Dr. Miller said as he started to
shake, a seizure. I just stood there. In horror we all lookedup to where the
door that should have been closed was now open. Nothing was there.
“Doctor!” yelled the lieutenant, breaking our fixation on the door.
I wasn’t helping; I turned the examination table over and stood behind it,
pointing my gun at the opendoor.
“He’s going into shock!” yelled a doctor. There voices began to fade away.
The room became darker and darker and I realized I couldn’t see in front of
The others noticed this too.
“Shit” exclaimed one of the officers.
“Politio, what the fuck just happened we can’t see a damn thing!” added
another into his PDA.
I slouched over, gun at my knees.
“Politio?” screamed an officer.
“We fucking lost Politio?”he added becoming more and more scared.
“She’s not responding?” a doctor asked.
“No, we can’t see, we can’t know what’s out there, and we-“
“Eric? Eric get a hold ofyourself,” ordered the lieutenant seizing the
soldier by his scruff.
“Sorry sir” the soldier said quietly.

It was quiet now. I couldn’t see anyone but I knew they were still there. A
low, very low, raspy voice spoke. It was male but yet horrifyingly familiar.
“Your flesh is not of ours,” said one.
“Summon the discord,” said another.
“Killlllll me!” screamed one as it discharged a slug.
The shot illuminated the room for a split second. I rose from my cover and
fired some random shots into the air. I looked over and to see everyone
scrambling for cover, everyone except the lieutenant who had the caught the
slug in his neck. He coughed up blood for a second but gave up and went
limp. The doctors had crowded around me behind my “cover” while the soldiers
were dispatching the enemy. After somebursts of heavy fire the moaning of
the enemy was silenced.
“Fuck! We lost thelieutenant,” exclaimed the youngest soldier.
“What the fuck were thosethings?” I asked rising from my cover.
The emergency lights returned showing three dead bodies across from where the
lieutenant lay. One looked like Dr. Miller, but somehow,different.
“They look infected with something,” whispered a doctor to another one.
I bent down and picked up the lieutenant’s assault rifle and holstered my
“Let’s move,” I said.
The soldiers looked at meand I knew what they were thinking who the fuck does
this guy think he is,taking command. But they didn’targue with me, we all
proceeded up the ladder and ran, ran down thehallways. Nothing followed.

We reached the R and Asector. The lights illuminated the doorvery
“Oh, shit,” yelled asoldier.
“The lieutenant has the card!” he added.
“Fuck!” another one said.

We all just stood there. One of soldiers started banging on the door to the
“Fuck, please let us out!Please!”
To everyone’s surprise we heard the clicking of the R and A sector key going
through the slot. The door opened revealing a young woman withthe key.
“What happened in th-?” she uttered before the soldiers shot her square in
the chest. They turned on us, barrels smoking.
“Move back!” shouted one of them.
The sector had obviously been evacuated because no one came running at the
gunshots. We retreated into the darkness as the door swished closed. From
the other side the three doctors and myself heard one of the soldiers pull
out their PDA.
“Sgt. Bronson? Yes, Corporal Williams here. We have closed off the sector.
Yes, we did. Four of them are in there now. Yes sir, they did pose a threat.
Thank you, sir…” Corporal Williams put his PDA away and walked away with the
rest of his skeleton crew of soldiers.

More to Come


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