Killgrace and the Alien Threat

"That’s odd. Was he lying down when you found him?"

"Yes. It could be from his ears."

"No, there’s a piece of skull cracked inwards, here on the back of his head."

"Someone hit him?" Yemec straightened up in shock.

"Possibly." The explanation did not satisfy her. "There wasn’t anyone around when you found him?"

"No. And we were right round the corner. He screamed and when we got there he was on the floor, dead."

"Did you hear any doors, any sound of someone running?"

"No, he was just right by the airlock, dead."

"Who was with you?"

"Megah." For a moment Yemec looked suspicious, and then slumped. "He was with the entire mining team when the Captain died."

"May I check the Captain?"

"Sure but…" Yemec stood clear, and as the freezer opened she realised why. The Captain had been dead for two days and the autopsy was partially complete. She pushed the door shut, trying not to gag.

"We won’t learn much from him directly. Did the doctor leave any notes?"

"Somewhere in here perhaps. I’ll try his computer." Yemec sat down behind the desk, and accessed the computer panel. "Here. The last thing he was working on. But he didn’t find anything."

"That is interesting." Susan looked over his shoulder, reading the file. "No signs of assault, no damage, possible stroke."

"Any ideas?"

"Not yet. I’ll need to draw a blood sample from both of them for analysis." The doctor’s sample was easily taken. The Captain’s was less pleasant, and Yemec turned his face away as she managed the grizzly task. It took several attempts and the result was a clotted mess. Susan shook her head, preparing the samples for analysis as best she could, when the comms crackled to life. Jayan’s worried voice echoed over the system.

"Yemec, get down here. We have a problem."


“Dammit, Yemec, let us out!” Tay’s voice rang across the room, amplified by the console. Yemec, breathing hard from the run, glared at the console as if it were the mining chief himself.

“No. We can’t.”

“Another malfunction?” The voice was incredulous.

“We’ve found out more information and we may have to resort to emergency evacuation. We have to know where the crew are at all times.”

“Then let me out. I can help.” Tay was almost wheedling.

“Tay, you can help best there. If we have to jettison the crew section -”

“You can’t do that! Do you want command enough to kill the entire crew?” Yemec went pale, from shock or anger Susan could not tell.

“I’m not killing anyone. There aren’t enough escape pods, and if we have to jettison the entire section, we need an officer with it.”

“To go down with the ship?”

“No. To command the crew. You work with these people constantly, you’re the best choice.”

“I’m the most expendible you mean, and the one that won’t go along with your plans to seize command.”

“I already have command – ” Yemec reminded him, but broke off in exasperation as Tay began to rant over him.

“Well, we’re not staying in here. I have command authority, I’m releasing the crew and then – ” the transmission went silent. Jayan looked up from the controls. Her fingers were white on the edge of the console.

“I’ve disabled his command access. And his comms.”

“Good thinking. Where is he?”

“Locked in that corridor section. If we have to jettison, he’ll have a rough trip.” Yemec nodded, thinking.

“No food or water, or facilities, but he’s safe. Leave him there for now.”

“He’ll hate you for this.”

“Right now, he hates me anyway. We don’t need an officer panicing as well.”

“If it is just panic, and not something else.” Susan said from the doorway, looking round for a seat. She sat down gratefully as Megah gestured to one. She knew the Cull had detected microbial life, which left a lot of options open for viruses or bacterial. It could even be an energy based lifeform. “How many people has he been in contact with?”

“He’s the mining chief. The entire crew.” Yemec said grimly, and Susan nodded.

“A perfect vector point then. Most recently he contacted you three – and you’ve been working with me.”

“You think he’s under alien influence?” Megah cut in. “Tay does work outside most of the time, so he would be the most vulnerable. If that is still Tay…”

“A disease?” Jayan said, at the same time as Yemec exclaimed “It’s contagious?”

“Calm down. We don’t know if it is a disease. If it is, we don’t know the symptoms, the transmission mechanism or anything else.”

“Well you’d better find out.” Megah snapped. “If its contagious it’s in the air by now, or the water or – ” Susan glared at him sharply and the security chief shut up. She let the silence go on a beat before she spoke.

“That’s what I’m working on.”


Back in the medical bay, Susan checked the samples. They were ready for analysis, and she carefully installed the slides under the computer’s lens.

“Ready for analysis,” she said, turning to the console.

“What are you looking for?”

“Alien components. Foreign tissue or microbes.” She winced inwardly at his reaction to the word ‘alien’. “Yemec, do you really think it is aliens?”

“I don’t know,” Yemec admitted, sitting down on the lab chair. “I’d like to say no, it doesn’t make sense but something’s causing this. It’s killing my crew and I don’t know what I can do to stop it. How can I stop it if I don’t know what it is?”

“Well, let’s start finding out.” She looked at the console and paused. “I’m sorry, I don’t have permissions.”

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