Friday, January 30, 2015

Ghost Station - Part 4

Friday fiction! Escape pod here.

Still here? Right, before we conclude the Ghost Station horror story I'd like to ask you question. I'll repeat it at the end but would like to hear your feedback. Generally I tend to write my fiction in one of three types of theme. Action/adventure, horror (like this piece), and then the more, erm, bow-chicka-wow-wow ones. What's your preference? I'd be interested to know dear reader.

Ghost Station - Part 4

The three paused as a maintenance bot charged at them. Sikoda levelled the make-shift weapon and depressed the button. The ion field washed over the charging bot frying its circuits. It skidded to a smoking halt at their feet.

"Eight shots left." he stated "However the hanger is just down here."

The three picked up the pace. In the last half an hour they had faced a variety of rogue bots. Haalonen had finally explained that her stalker was most likely to blame, however the AI had to take her alive and unharmed. Whilst they were with her the robots and the AI were at a distinct disadvantage.

They entered the massive ship hanger. It was mostly empty. A pair of cleaner drones approached rapidly, Sikoda taking them both out with a single shot from the modified ion projector. Glancing around he saw in the distance a small group of people boarding a shuttle at the far end of the bay. What looked to be the last shuttle in the bay.

"Wait!" he shouted.

He saw the man of the group look back. It looked like a family. He paused for a second and they all vanished inside the shuttle.

"Shit! Come on!" he said sprinting to the shuttle. The two women running with him.

Out of nowhere a large drone dropped in front of them. It was some kind of starship repair drone. It had a white hot welding torch as one arm, a circular saw for another. Some kind of drill made the third one. Sikoda fired his weapon at it. The machine jerked but continued to advance.

"Its shielded. Probably for working on ship drives and reactors. Shit!" Sikoda swore as he fired a second time. Again the machine convulsed, its drill arm stopped spinning and fell limply to its side. He fired a third time. This time it stopped for a second before advancing again. It lashed out at Sikoda with the saw and jabbed the cutting torch at Nirocque. It appeared to entirely ignore Haalonen. Sikoda dived to the side and the saw buzzed through the air only centimetres from his head. He heard a scream as he tumbled to the floor. He span around and saw Nirocque had been raked by the cutting torch. A blackened line ran across her body as she hit the deck unconscious. The drone turned towards Sikoda concentrating on him now the other one of them was incapacitated.

"Come get some!" he snarled firing again. The drone shook, its cutting torch spluttering out.

Movement caught Sikoda's eye as Haalonen ran between them.

"No!" he cried out but rather than attacking her the drone tried to go around her. Haalonen simply moved to block its way. She stepped forward and the drone stepped backwards not wanting to get too near to her. Sikoda looked at its arms and realised its problem. It could not carry her, it could not move her, it could only attack. She continued moving forward and the large drone continued its retreat like some kind of scared puppy. A few more steps and the drone backed up over the edge of the docking platform and fell.

Haalonen ran back to where Sikoda was with Nirocque.

"How is she?"

"The burn doesn't look life threatening. Likely she banged her head in the fall."

The roar of engines made them look over to the shuttle. The small craft moved away from the dock as Sikoda used an impressive array of curses against the pilot who had seen them but had chosen to abandon them. They both watched the shuttle slip through the forcefield and out into space.

Before it could warp away it exploded in a fireball.

"Damn. The exterior defenses are online." Sikoda said, relieved that they hadn't managed to board the craft after all.

"What now?" asked Haalonen feeling they were out of options.

Sikoda glanced around the huge hanger looking for plan B. He slung the weapon ove his back and scooped Nirocque's unconscious body. Sikoda started walking to the nearest wall. Haalonen fell in alongside. They reached the wall where racks held what looked like multiple black coffins. Sikoda carefully lay Nirocque on the floor and dragged one from its cradle letting crash noisily to the floor. He pressed a button on a control panel and the 'coffin' opened to reveal what looked like a small bed. He picked Nirocque up and placed her inside.

"What is that?" Haalonen asked as the lid closed and Sikoda pulled a second one from the rack.

"Its a cryo-sleep pod. No way the sentry guns can scan and target one of these, their signature radius is too small. I'll put you two in them and then disable the hanger bay forcefield. You'll be blown out into space with everything else not tied down. Hopefully search and rescue will find you."

"Two things! First, 'hopefully'? and second, what about you!"

"I have two shots left. Then its hand to hand combat with bots. We'll last two minutes on this station. These pods will keep you alive but are hard to spot. That means the sentry guns won't blap you. The transmitter on them will.... What in Divinities Edge is THAT!" Sikoda said pointing in the distance.

Haalonen turned and looked at the thing approaching. It appeared to be a very tall person walking very slowly. As it neared it was clear it was a person wearing some sort of metal exoskeleton. Once close enough to see clearly, Haalonen felt sick. It was a person that appeared to be made out of parts crudely stitched together. The people they parts came from were clearly fit and attractive. However stitched together like that they were grotesque. The face was once of a handsome man. Now it was grey and hung loosely on the skull, thick black stitches holding it in place.

"What the frack is that thing!" Sikoda growled.

The construct raised its arm and pointed at Sikoda. There was some sort of metal tube running along its length. There was a whooshing sound and something flew from the monsters arm and struck Sikoda. He fell to the ground as Haalonen screamed. Several more projectiles launched from the tube hitting the ground near Sikoda. Hallonen saw they were screwdrivers.

"Haalonen" the construct whispered.

Haalonen stood frozen. She recognised the voice. His face had been replaced by that grotesque mask, but she knew who it was underneath.


"Please Haalonen. Kill me." he whispered as the exoskeleton approached. "I cannot control it. It shot that man, not me. Kill me. I am in so much pain!"

Haalonen backed off but she was in a corner. The edge of the docking platform was only feet away. The construct that was once Ylomo extended its arms at her as it approached. She glanced over the side of the dock bay. A certain death, but preferable to suffering the same fate as Ylomo had. She decided that the jump was the lesser of two evils.

Suddenly Ylomo convulsed and staggered. He spun around to face Sikoda who was laying on his side. A large screwdriver was embedded in his shoulder where Ylomo had fired it at him. He had his make-shift gun pointed at Ylomo.

"Fire screwdrivers at me? Frack you freak!" Sikoda snarled as he fired again. Ylomo shuddered and staggered backwards. Haalonen dove out of the way as Ylomo crashed out of control against the wall. He stumbled, falling over the edge of the docking bay. Haalonen ran over to Sikoda who was trying to get to his feet, his left arm useless.

"OK, no more arguments." he stated as she helped him to his feet. "Into the cryo-tube."

"You never said what about you?"

"I'm on borrowed time anyway." he said kicking the weapon on the floor with his boot "That thing was rigged from a medical ion projector. The treatment would have given me a couple more months. Nothing more. I'm terminal. Someone needs to de-active the force shield. Thats me."

"No!" screamed Haalonen. "There has to be another way. I won't leave you to die!"

"Oh my god." whispered Sikoda and pointed behind her.

Haalonen spun around expecting to see the Ylomo construct climbing up from the dock bay edge, but she saw nothing. She was about to ask what he'd seen but she never got the chance. Sikoda had picked up the weapon and brought it crashing down on the back of her head.

"Happy now? That's the first time I've hit a woman and it will be the last time." he mumbled as he dragged Haalonen's unconscious body to the other cryo-tube. He gently placed her inside and staggered to the exit. He sealed the door, keyed in the over-ride and watched as the shield vanished. Everything in the hanger, including the two cyro-pods, were blown into space.

"Right you little shit, you're next." he whispered.


Half an hour later the secure door rumbled open and Sikoda stood looking at the computer core. Thankfully the door to the computer core was manual. In case of faults it was imperative that staff could access the core. Therefore it was one of only a few doors that wasn't computer controlled. He closed the door and locked it. He had wondered why no bots had attacked him. Mulling it over he decided the most likely answer was Ylomo was dead and Hallonen was off station. The AI probably didn't know what to do now.

"OK asshat. Just you and me now." he grinned manically approaching the cylindrical core. He knew the specs, he knew how to kill it.

Orange lights flashed in the room and suddenly gas vented from the ceiling.

"Ah, so now you realise the risk! Argonite? That the best you got?" Sikoda sneered as the fire-suppression gas surrounded him. He grabbed the screwdriver Ylomo had fired into him and pulled it from his shoulder screaming. The lack of oxygen and pain made him drop to his knees. He crawled towards the core.

"Nope. You are going down."

He was wheezing by the time he reached the base of the core. Smiling he raised the tool and with his remaining strength plunged it into the exact location he wanted.

"Never frack with an engineer!" he gasped as the lights on the core flickered and went dark.

Over the course of the next few seconds many things happened. All systems on the station shut down. Almost all of the back-up and secondary systems did not respond as the AI had disabled them so only it could control them. This included the reactor shielding and cooling systems. The anti-matter containment was breached micro-seconds after the power went down. By the third second a massive explosion ripped through the station blowing out power conduits and igniting the atmosphere inside.


Present day....

The crew had secured the old core in the cargo bay and were waiting for life support to come back fully online. Running the ship cold to avoid detection meant that life support had only been maintained in the cockpit. Over the last two hours all other areas of the ship were dangerously cold and lacking breathable air. The crew sat in their EVA suits monitoring the external atmosphere.

"Minus five degrees C and nine percent O two." the Captain stated "Twenty minutes and we should be able to get out of these suits. So what is everyone going to spend their cut on? I bet we'll get a big bonus with the holo-recording of that stiff attacking the core!"

Oinu's voice came over the comms. "I'm going to get one of those new Quafe handheld hologaming rigs. Give me something to do when you guys are traipsing around abandoned stations!"

"A holiday. Somewhere warm and sunny like a Gallente pleasure resort" Mitokka said.

"I'll go for the Federation but no beach for me. I'm finding a casino outpost with blackjack, whisky and strippers" Elanoda laughed.

Gakoho thought about it as Sakkatokka and Tatsari went over their plans. He'd lie and say something about booze and women. In fact he'd add the cash to the rest of his savings. Soon he'd be able to get off this flying death-trap and start again. A proper life.

Eventually they removed and stowed their EVA suits and went back to their duty stations as the frigate carefully manoeuvred out of the wrecked station and warped away. The Captain caught up with Sakkatokka.

"Hey Sakkatokka, I've had an idea. That recording we made helps push up the price, but if we knew more about that things history we might be able to push it up further. Hook the core up to our system and see if the data is still there and if its any good. Any logs on what happened could double the price we ask for." he said with a grin.


48 hours later.

The two engineering technicians crossed the small outpost hanger towards the beat-up frigate.

"What a junker!" exclaimed Todgert.

"Yup. Its seen better days!" Moorve laughed.

"What do they expect us to do with THAT!"

"Usual when a ship is found abandoned in space. Assess, repair and try to make it look shiny for when the corp auctions it off."

"Mmmmm. You cannot polish a turd! Any idea why it was abandoned?"

"Yeah. Looks like it got hit by a cutting laser from a salvager when its shields were down. Job-sheet say there is a 15cm hole running right through the ship. Worst possible trajectory too. Managed to pierce pretty much every compartment and depressurise the whole ship in one hit."

"Nasty. There are no bodies in there are they?" Todgert asked wrinkling up his nose.

"Nope. They had a look inside when they found it drifting. For some reason every internal door on the vessel was locked open. Apparently various organic matter was found around the main breach in the hull."

"No shit! The entire crew got sucked through a 15cm hole one at a time? Nasty!"

"Yeah. Not a nice way to go. Imagine slamming into the bulkhead and then having everything sucked out through that hole into space one at a time. Not the way I'd want to go. Anyway, can you start sealing the hole on the top of the hull. I need to go inside and do some stuff first and then I'll work on those internal holes."

"Righto. What you got to do inside?"

"Corporate rules. We need to hook up the computer and download it. See if the owners can be traced. Stupid waste of time as they are clearly dead, but rules is rules."

The two men split up. After half an hour Todgert had patched the hole in the top of the ship. He decided to have a look at the hole on the other side of the ship. He calculated where it would have come out and climbed down. As he reach the underside on the opposite side of the ship he looked confused. There was no sign of any breach. Just the drone bay hatch. He opened a panel and pulled the manual release. The doors to the drone bay started to open.

"Hey Moorve. You there?" he spoke into his comms unit.

"Yeah. The ships computer is downloading to the outposts core and I'm patching the internal holes. What's up?"

"I've completed the reps on the top hole but cannot find one the other side. I think it should be near the drone bay hatch but there is nothing here. Looking inside the drone bay now and there is a type 43 salvager drone in here but no hole that I can see."

There was a pause.

"Thats strange. Looking at these internal holes I'd have said the beam originated in from under the ship and exited out top. It must be there."

"Oh wait. I think I see it. Strange. Its breached the internal wall but didn't hit the bay doors! Hey, you know what I think. I think that this drone in here fired its beam whilst it was inside and..... Shit!"


"The hanger lights have just gone out. Some sort of power cut, give me a minute to....... aaaaaarrrrrhhhhhhhhhhh" the scream chilled Moorve's blood.

"Todgert? Are you there? Speak to me dude. That shit's not funny."

Moorve spun around as he heard a metallic scurrying behind him.

There was nobody in the hanger to hear the muffled scream from inside the hull of The Magpie.

The end.

P.S. Remember at the start I asked you which of the three themes you liked best. Action/adventure, horror the more bow-chicka-wow-wow ones? Please leave a comment and let me know.


  1. For me I have no preference ! I rather let the creative juice run by itself

  2. Great conclusion. As to your question I'm not sure as I like all of your stuff. That said I can't recall a story you wrote that has "bow-chicka-wow" as the primary theme. If I have to choose one I would say horror as the jita ripper series is one of my favorite

  3. I am hesitant to say there is one that I like the most. I really liked the SCAL/Valerian Strain stories, but Jita Ripper was also good. The Affair is also a good story. I like that you work all three into some of the stories (or at least two...). All said, if I was forced to pick one style I would say the action/adventure mixed with some "bow-chicka-wow" is my favorite.


    BTW, if you need an editor for a future project, feel free to contact me in game.

  4. I like the mix of themes, honestly.

  5. Now that you got me thinking about it, I think that "The Escort" was probably my favorite. They are all good, and make the first of my Friday morning reading.
    - Zgeik

  6. Action/Adventure first, Horror second. nothing for third.

  7. I'm an action/adventure fan too, though I particularly like it when you get inside the character's heads. Especially waiting for more on the Matari mining planet

  8. Well written, I enjoyed that. Personally I'd still place the horror ones last though of the genres, the other 2 being down to styles and stories (I enjoy both)