BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

STORMWIND

Proximity
Sunday, February 24, 2008

A transport ship encounters something terrble, deep in the black.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 702    RATING: 0    SERIES: FIREFLY

Proximity

WHOOP, WHOOP, WHOOP. The alarm sounded throughout the transport ship, accompanied by the red flashing lights and the fear that they brought. Mothers clutched their children, girlish giggles went silent, men turned pale. Out here, in the deep black, that noise could only mean one thing. Reavers. In the cockpit they knew it. Captain Neal Starkey knew it. Pilot Angie Jamieson knew it. First Mate Frederick Trehan knew it. And they were terrified, utterly and completely terrified. The only one of the three who had encountered a Reaver ship before was Angie and she had only escaped because the Reavers weren’t hungry. It was not looking so good this time. As if jolting out of a trance they had been in since the Reaver ship’s appearance, the captain reached forward and turned off all the lights, stilling the alarm and turning the red flashes to imprints on the back of the retina. Leaning slowly forwards, he flicked the intercom open on all channels. “We have another vessel approaching. This may be Reavers. There is no hope of outrunning them. Everyone stay calm, stay quiet. In case we are bordered, which is a very real possibility, I would like everyone willing to fire a weapon to proceed to the cargo-bay airlock as quickly and as quietly as possible. Everyone else I urge you to retreat to the living quarters.”

The engines of the other ship flared and it jetted ever faster towards them. The containment was obviously long gone and they could all see the orange flare that meant something was deeply wrong with the engines. Which left it as to no doubt as to the inhabitants of the ship. The three crew members stared at it, transfixed with fear. Then Neal shook himself and took a deep breath. “Freddie, you come with me. Angie, tell me if they do anything. On the radio.” He patted his pocket, “We don’t want to get this people any more worried than they already are.” The pilot nodded wordlessly. The captain turned to leave. Freddie made no move. Neal turned back, snapping his fingers in the face of his first mate. Freddie jerked as if stung, and then turned, face ashen grey to follow Neal out of the cockpit. Left alone in the cockpit, Angie found she could not stop shivering.

Neal and two other men hauled the crates out of their hidey-hole. It was good that the colonists had paid the extra fee to have guns smuggled along with them. Or they would have nothing to fight the Reavers with. Neal shook his head grimly. He had hoped never to see these guns under these circumstances. Freddie made sure barricades were set up, but Neal had to keep drawing him back to reality. Every so often his first mate would drift away, fear removing him from his appointed task. The colonists were worse. A few had consigned themselves to death and were willing to die and take as many Reavers with them as they could. But most still held to hope and so were more frightened than could be imagined. More than one wept openly. More still cursed and swore. One man took a rifle as soon as he could and disappeared into the living quarters, saying he would spare the children their fate if the Reavers got through. No-one made a move to stop him. His radio crackled. He picked it up. “What’s up Ang?” His pilot’s voice quavered softly through the radio. “They’re moving in for docking.” “How long?” “Ten, maybe twelve seconds. Then they are at you.” Neal drew in a deep shuddering breath. “Thanks Ang” “Hey Cap’n?” Yes, Ang?” “Goodbye cap’n. It was a pleasure to serve under you sir.” “Thank you Angie. You to.” The radio went dead. Captain Neal Starkey turned to his score of erstwhile soldiers. “Get those barricades up. We don’t have much time. Everyone grab a gun.” There was a sudden rush of movement as the reality of their situation kicked in. 8 Barricades of crates were hastily stacked. 6 Hands snatched at rifles. 4 Bullets were fumbled into place. 3 The sound of another ship attaching came. 2 Neal’s heart rose in his mouth. 1 A hideous howling came from the hissing airlock 0

Where there had been so little noise, sound suddenly exploded. The door blew open and hell poured through. The rifles of the colonists chattered into life, tearing into the flesh of the Reavers. Reavers screamed and howled in terrifying rage. Blades sup through the air burying in flesh and cutting through bone. Neal tried to pick targets but there were so many, so many. One was replaced by two, two by four, pouring through the shattered door like ants. And they would not die. Even after limbs had been removed by gunfire, after organs had been laid open, still they came on. One colonist fled, followed by another, running in sheer blind terror. Freddie went down in a flash of rusty metal, blood spilling onto the deck. Neal screamed in horror, in rage, in disgust, in fear. One Reaver came straight for him and he blew it apart. The next two got him. His last earthly sight was a mouth full of bloodied, sharpened teeth. In less than a minute the defenders had been overwhelmed, dead, fleeing or wishing they were dead.

The screams of the survivors echoed through the blackness of space, unheard and unheeded.

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