36 Hours – Part 8

It is mid-day by the time I’m allowed to sit up. Len doesn’t say it but Kat does. Even this is too soon, but they need every man who can hold a rifle. A big offensive is coming soon.

“It’s less than a day,” Kat says as I hobble through the medical station with Shiod. Shiod is proposing a game of cards and we’re in search of Len again, full of purpose that we’ll steal him away from the center long enough for a game. Ever since Shiod spilled the news about Vanmere, Len hasn’t been around. Continue reading

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Icarus – April 26th (approximate), 2099

April 26th (approximate), 2099

Oh Jesus. Oh my God, what have I done? I let them in while they were asleep and then I… I just left. Went to the engine rooms and sealed myself in. Why am I not dead? Why did the others leave me alone?

I can’t get that song out of my head. It’s louder, pounding inside like a migraine. I hear it in the walls, feel it through the floor and it comes with each beat of my pulse. Is that blood? I’m bleeding from somewhere, my fingernails, my ears… where is it all coming from?

They’re banging on the door, screaming my name. Is that my name? Is that how it sounds? Sarah, you never called me that. You always called me Will, not traitor. Is that what I am? Did I do this? I can’t hear myself think anymore, all I hear is that song. One of the words makes sense to me now.

Brother.

Icarus – April 24th (approximate), 2099

April 24th (approximate), 2099   

Sarah comes to me constantly now, trying to reach me and bring me back. I long to touch her, but she is always just out of reach as if insubstantial. She is a phantasm, nothing but mist upon my fingers. I find myself calling out to her, crawling after her but hands drag me back. They are frantic hands and they are real.

Alex is real and so are the other three. Rich sits silent against the wall and stares for hours at nothing. Kate talks to us about how to get to the bridge and send for help. We can use the laser system to route power and serve as an antenna, but Rich won’t respond. She shakes him and he just stares.

He lost his partner, everyone has but Alex and Bree. They sit together, holding one another. When I am not seeing Sarah, I watch them. Is that what it should look like? Is that how love, how life, is supposed to be? I watch but avoid thinking of Jennie, of how we sat together and never touched.

#

I slept for a few hours and feel more lucid. There is something stale about the air I didn’t notice before. It’s got a fetid smell in it as well, like blood left to pool too long. The others, the ones beyond the door, have been quiet lately. Kate thinks it’s time to try her plan.

She and Alex are going to climb through the maintenance tunnels. Without gravity they shouldn’t have too much trouble, but I can’t shake this feeling of anxiety that grows with every passing second. Only writing seems to keep me calm.

Now as I sit with Rich and Bree, we wait and pray.

Icarus – April 17th, 2099

April 17th, 2099

Anne is dead but we don’t know how long she’ll stay dead. I don’t know what to say, I can’t think straight. Nothing I write will make this whole thing make sense. She just went crazy and attacked her, biting and clawing at her.

After, we watched the whole thing on the cameras. When it happened, Anne was just there with Kira’s body in Medical, talking to her like she was still alive. I felt for her, it was the saddest thing I’ve seen in a while.

When it happened, there was no warning. Kira’s body jerked and suddenly she was up and screaming, biting at Anne’s face and shoulders, her fingers flailing, tearing. The worst of it was the blood, but it wasn’t Anne’s. It came from Kira’s mouth or eyes, we couldn’t tell.

Evan and Jennie both went in when they heard the Anne’s screams. They couldn’t have known what they were walking into. They managed to get Kira away from her but she turned on them too. Jennie has a good gash on her cheek and Evan was bitten so bad we almost lost him right then. Kate shot her, right in the head.

I can’t believe I’m writing this, but she didn’t die. We thought it was over, the damn flechettes took half her face off. They’re wood, made to splinter against the Icarus’s hull rather than punch a whole through, but at that range it should have killed her. It didn’t and Kate just managed to pull Evan and Jennie out before she was up and screaming again. Kate locked and sealed Medical from the outside and we set up the same thing we’d done with Kate’s room. She’s still in there, banging on the door and wailing like a damn banshee. I can’t shut it out.

Jennie and Evan are in Quarantine and Alex is doing what he can for them but Kira and Anne were the medical people. They’re both restrained too, in case what happened to Kira happens to them.

We need to get out of here.

Icarus – April 15th, 2099

April 15th, 2099

They didn’t die from radiation poisoning, Alex confirmed that. They killed one another. There was foreign blood in the corpse’s teeth and skin and blood beneath his nails. Those rends we saw in their bodies? Those were done with human hands.

He also found something else: a foreign protein in the blood. According to Alex it didn’t match a single known entry in the computer’s database. What’s worse is the body’s immune system was suppressed to a point where it was practically destroyed. He thinks it happened rapidly, maybe over just a few days.

There was something else too. Just above the brain stem, a tumor grew right into the thalamus and hypothalamus. Unlike the other tumors in the body, it wasn’t filled with blood, just this protein and a black, inky fluid.

I watched from beyond the screens of Quarantine, feeling sick to my stomach as apprehension took hold. One of those tumors burst on Kira. This morning she had a fever of 102F. Those corpses killed each other. I couldn’t help but think of Kira doing the same and so I ran, ran back to my quarters and sealed the door.

That was hours ago and Alex must have told the others. Now there are noises in the hallway. People are shouting, voices angry and scared at the same time. I can’t make out their words because I can’t bring myself to approach the door.

Sarah. It’s so stupid but she’s all I think of now. I close my eyes and there she is, walking away and I’m too afraid to reach out and stop her. The shouting is worse and I can’t go out to help. I just can’t.

Especially now that I hear screaming.

Icarus – April 12th, 2099

April 12th, 2099

I visited Kate today. She couldn’t stay in her Can forever of course, so instead they locked her in her quarters. Evan set it up so she couldn’t unlock or even open the door. One of us has to bring her meals and today was my turn.

We talked and of course she tried to get me to let her out. She tried to explain that this was all some kind of horrid misunderstanding but she knew it was useless. Where could she go if I let her out? After that she just asked about the body.

I told her what I knew, that the tumors were not cancer like Kira initially thought. The theory was that the Chinese ship came too close to Alpha Centauri’s prime star and the radiation made the crew sick. That theory was put to bed with a quick visual scan of the ship. Its ablative armor was intact.

The questions I wanted to ask were hard, but I asked them anyway. Why weren’t we told about the other ships? Why so much mystery and intrigue for a simple science experiment? She didn’t say anything at all, wouldn’t even open her mouth for me. All she did was look away.

As I got up to leave she did ask me one last thing. She asked how Kira was. It was such an unexpected question that I didn’t know what to say at first. I told her the truth. One of the tumors burst on her today and she put herself in quarantine for a few hours. Anne took her vitals and she appeared fine. The tumor was just a sack of blood.

Kate didn’t say anything and I was just about to cycle the door when she called my name. She told me to send a beam to Earth and when I asked what to say, she gave me a code. I didn’t understand it but it sounded military. I’ll go over it with the others later, but I doubt they’ll trust her enough to send it.

Trust is a word we hold like a dagger to each others’ throats.