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 23rd (approximate), 2099

April 23rd (approximate), 2099

The scratching is insistent. I hear it all the time for there is no more day and no more night. If I sleep, I sleep in fits and jerks, closing my eyes only to snap them open again. I’m afraid to sleep, afraid that if I let myself go under, they will come. It’s not a fear of dying, not really. It’s a fear of waking up alone on this ship. That is something I can’t take. I’ll go mad.

I may already be mad. I saw her again. Sarah was just walking down the corridor, toward the sealed door. She was waving to me, beckoning me to follow her. I knew it wasn’t real, Sarah doesn’t look like that anymore. She let her hair grow out, changed so much. This Sarah was the old Sarah, her hair short and dark. She was beautiful, just like I remember.

I can’t let go, even now. I won’t let her change, or grow, or be someone other than who I remember. She is nothing but a fantasy. How long has she been that way?

They’re trying to come through again. I can hear them pounding, screeching, clawing. God, make it stop! I want the silence, the awful, unending silence! Not this, not ever this.

They’re coming for us, it won’t be long now.

Icarus – April 20th, 2099

April 20th, 2099

It’s been three days since I’ve slept. It’s so quiet. The ship is so very, very quiet now. Except for the screaming of course. I can still hear it, far away down the pressure tube, back in Recreation. Oh God, Jennie. I’m sorry. You weren’t turned yet but I saw the black marks, the tumors that were growing. I’m sorry. We had to seal it off.

Didn’t we?

I don’t know what we could have done. Anne turned quickly, and then Evan wasn’t long after. The door wasn’t going to hold, we needed to seal off the deck. You were infected by it. You were. Those were tumors, Alex said so. Weren’t the eyes blackening?

Your eyes were always so dark, almost black to begin with. The whites were darkening though, they had to be. You would have been one of them, you would have I know it. It was only right, we had to save the ship, save the rest of us. You were gone, Jennie. Gone. Forgive me okay? I’m sorry.

Engineering is a dark place full of little blinking lights and so very little sound. We should go further back, to the engine rooms just so I can hear them hum. Block out the sound of your screaming.

What are we going to do now? Kate thinks she has a plan but what chance do we have against you, all of you? It’s all wrong, so very wrong. This isn’t what they said it would be. It was supposed to be an adventure. I was supposed to find myself, become something stronger.

Am I going to die out here instead?

Icarus – April 18th, 2099

~>ICARUS COMMSAT INTERFACE INITIALIZED 04.18.2099

~>INPUT PROTOCOL

>input.secure.protocol 99157B98

~>CHANNEL OPEN

>Evacuation needed# Engines disabled# Bridge disabled# 5 dead# Coordinates-1A.B+23.C+5#

>Passcode: ********

~>SENDING…

~>UPLINK FAILED::ERROR RESPONSE FROM ANTENNAE 1 2 3

~>SHUTTING DOWN

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 16th, 2099

April 16th, 2099

Kira’s fever spiked over 106 before she died. That was when Anne started screaming. I heard them outside the room, trying to calm her down. When I finally was able to bring myself to open the door, Jennie and Bree were keeping Anne back as Alex and Rich brought the body out.

The eyes were wide open. I’ll never forget what I saw in them, what was happening to them. It was like dropping a dark liquid into a lighter liquid. The darker liquid begins to draw itself out, seeping towards the bottom with long, sinewy tentacles. That was what was happening with Kira’s eyes. This black ichor was seeping its way in from the corners, wriggling like something alive.

They were becoming like those other dead men.

I stood with Jennie while Alex and Bree worked. Anne should have been the one to really do the autopsy but she was in no state of mind for it. Jennie grasped my hand the whole time and I held on firmly, too afraid that if she let go I’d turn away and run back to the room. I’m such a coward. Poor Anne just wants to see her, keeps screaming that she’s still alive.

I hope she’s wrong. I saw Kira’s dead eyes and that blackness wriggling through. It’s the ichor from the brain stem, I’m sure of it, and the thalamus and hypothalamus controls a good deal of the body’s primal functions, but nothing happened. She just died. Yet something is still happening in that body. Alex doesn’t understand it either.

Kira’s brain is still functioning.

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 14th, 2099

April 14th, 2099

Kira was worse today. She slept most of the day yesterday and woke up this morning still exhausted. There was no fever but her red blood cell count was low. I’m no doctor but that, coupled with her lack of eating and nausea, made it sound like radiation poisoning. We’re not very close to Alpha Centauri’s primary but Kira was out longer and more frequently than the rest of us. Anne dosed her with some anti-radiation shots just to be sure and laid her up in their quarters.

For my part, I have a horrid feeling about the whole thing. They tested the blood from the corpse and found similar readings. Low red and white blood cell counts in just about every one of the dead crewmen. Just to be safe, the rest of the crew made Kate back the Icarus off a few thousand kilometers, but it didn’t make me feel any better. There was no damage to the ablative armor on that ship. Radiation just strikes me as the wrong cause here and radiation doesn’t cause eyes to turn black. Then again I’m no scientist either.

Alex and Bree were busy in the Science lab, taking readings and measurements of the system. There are two planets that we can see and Bree believes there’s a few more by the secondary star. Neither planet can support human life, being too close in orbit. That was the only excitement. The rest was dull and I didn’t offer to see Kate again.

Instead Jennie and I went up to the observation deck and just took it in. The blaze of Alpha Centauri’s primary is glorious in its incendiary blaze. With the viewing ports dimmed as low as they can go and our UV shutters engaged, it still appeared as a great yellow fireball, roiling and spitting.

We spent hours up there, just watching. The two of us sat next to one another but never touched. She was in awe but like Niagara, it was merely an intellectual fascination for me. What must it feel like to be inexorably drawn to beauty and be so affected by it that you are caught up and swept away by it? Sarah was easily taken by such feelings. She tried to describe it to me once. I thought I knew how she felt, for I felt it only once. With her.

It felt like love.

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.

Icarus – April 9th, 2099

April 9th, 2099

We have a date now. It’s April back on Earth and I can almost picture my old apartment with its large windows soaked with spring rains. I hated it. It was so full of Sarah’s memory that waking up there alone was miserable. Still, I stayed, stayed and pretended that every shadow didn’t make me turn around, thinking I’d see her come home. It was a lie I almost let myself believe, just like the lie I told myself when I came aboard the Icarus. I thought I could start over out here. In space, I’d find myself, become stronger, more… in touch. That’s what she’d wanted, for me to be more in touch.

I wanted to be less in touch today. They’re all dead, all twelve of them over in the other ship. Jennie made me go along and I don’t know why I agreed but I did. It was horrible. Something killed them, vented the pressure on some and the others… God, I don’t know what happened. They were clawed, their skin ripped to shreds in places and torn off in others. It was like an animal had gotten loose but we found nothing, just eleven dead Chinese and one poor Russian. He must have been taken hostage, a scientist taken from one of the watch posts.

Kira brought one of the bodies back to study. There’s something wrong with it beyond the flash freezing and shredded flesh. The eyes were all black, the whites and irises gone completely. There are pustules on his flesh too, like golf ball sized tumors. They’re filled with something liquid, like blood or something. Kira and Anne are going to have a look at them in quarantine in case it’s contagious.

As for me I’m staying in my quarters. Jennie wants to write about the procedure but I have no taste for it. I don’t want to see that body again. It was the eyes. Did all the dead men have those eyes? I can’t remember and I’m so tired I could fall asleep at my terminal. This whole place is one nightmare, so maybe the horrors I dream of will be more pleasant than the waking ones.