He ran as fast as he could down the empty corridor. His boots clunked and clanked on the hard metal of the catwalk below. The sound bounced and echoed off every surface.
Aside from his heart pounding in his throat and ears, it was the only sound he could hear.
Diving around a corner into a side hall, he slid along the wall and looked back the way he came.
The hall was eerily quiet. Nothing moved except for steam that hissed from a severed valve.
Still, he waited.
Just as he started to move again, he saw it. It was huge and black, like a shadow come to life. It slithered out of an air vent and, just as quickly, disappeared down into the hollow below the catwalk.
His legs couldn't carry him fast enough. His lungs burned and his heart thrummed in his head. Pins and needles started to splinter up his thighs and his fingers tingled. His body rebelled against this rare attempt at physical activity, but he had no choice.
The barracks were not far away. Maybe just under a hundred yards through the halls, Aric's breath was catching in his chest when he finally arrived.
He didn't dare look behind him.
Cracking open the front panel of the door lock, he quickly went about rewiring the electronics. He didn't know the code.
Why would he? He wasn't a soldier. He was just a damned computer tech. He was there to make sure that the ship ran like it was supposed to, not fight monsters.
He jumped and flattened himself against the door surface, his eyes scanning frantically for the source of the sound.
The corridor remained empty.
"Comeoncomeoncomeon!" He said, turning back to the panel.
It was a hardy military grade electronic security system, meant to be encrypted against insecure access. Luckily for him, he was the one who installed the system.
Finally, he found the right cord. He snipped it and rerouted it. The door slid open with a whoosh.
Aric dove forward instinctively. He felt himself stop in midair as something got hold of his shirt.
He hit the ground hard. His head was spinning, but he had enough forethought to turn around and slam the control pad. When he did, he saw the creature standing there in the door, his torn shirt in hand.
The door closed in its face.
Standing, a wash of nausea hit him, followed quite promptly but severe vertigo. The room was spinning. Reaching up, Aric touched his head where it had hit the floor. It came back red and glossy, covered in wet and sticky blood.
"Gotta..." he said to no one, turning and looking around the barracks. They were empty, void of any human life, but he could see his target.
Taking a step towards the lockers on the far wall, he stumbled.
With another groan, he weakly made it to the far wall and soon found the one he was looking for.
Sgt. R. Sanchez
His fingers fumbled with the lock, trying to remember his lover's combination. He had only been told it once before and the fall had left his thoughts muddled.
"If something ever happens." Rick had said. "Get into my locker. I always keep a second set in there."
He fumbled with the lock, but it wouldn't budge. He couldn't remember the combination.
"Don't talk like that." Aric replied. "Besides, it's not like I'd even know what to do with it."
Something fell at the far end of the room...
"It's not rocket science. You just point and pull the trigger."
What was the combination? He tried Rick's birthday. Another failure. The locker wouldn't open.
"I hate guns, Rick..."
There was a skittering sound at the far end of the barracks.
"Too bad. There's too much bad shit out in the galaxy to be a pacifist."
Aric didn't dare look. He had to get into the locker.
"Fine. What's the combination? I'll write it down."
There was a click as the combination was accepted. The lock gave and Aric ripped open the front of the locker. Inside, there was a full set of armor, two handguns, and an assault rifle along with a picture of the two of them together.
"It's our anniversary. Just remember that."
He reached for one of the pistols when pain exploded through his chest. Looking down, he could see the large, black point sticking out through a gory red hole. His vision started to blur and he felt himself fall backwards into darkness.
"That should be easy to remember." Aric had said with a smile.