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OT: The Thing : Reanimated-chap5 final
Monday, March 5, 2012

The final of “The Thing: Reanimated #5” finishes below. It was a fun experiment for me to write about folk other than the team on Serenity, yet the exploits of Malcolm Reynolds and his crew will always be one of my favorite expression of prose. I hope browncoats enjoyed the detour, at least a little….see ya, ZBP


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 616    RATING: 0    SERIES: FIREFLY

OT: The Thing-Reanimated Chap 5 -----------------------------------------------------------

Roster : Vostok #2 (Russian Station, Antarctica)

1)Dr. Kate Lloyd (paleontologist, Thule base camp) 2)Alexander Veselov (lead scientist & overseer of Vostok Base 2) 3)Ivan Alenin (assistant lead scientist and Afghan war veteran) 4)Dr. Greta Dubrovsky (doctor/surgeon- sometime cook of Vostok 2) 5)Dr. Hans Burkov (lead biologist & assistant to Greta) 6)Peter Lapidus (lead engineer/electrician, & most literate in foreign languages) 7)Vladimir Kalagin (engineer/laborer & overseer of Husky sled dogs) 8)Boris Gorev (engineer/specialist of labor trades) 9)Erik Kuklev (engineer/ specialist of labor trades) 10)Alexei Olkhovsky (geologist & main cook of station Vostok 2) 11) Olshefski (radio operator/ polish) 12)Lawrence Boskin (Russian helicopter pilot) 13)Sergei Laptev (Russian co-pilot) 14) Ben Ballard (American helicopter pilot/ main area of station- U.S- McMurdo) 15) Franz Jenson (Danish co-pilot/ American station McMurdo) ============================= McMurdo : US Station, coastline- Ross Dependency Thule Base Camp- Norwegian Station, continental interior. Vostok Station 2- Russian Camp, continental interior, located a few miles from the main station at Lake Vostok. Outpost #31- US Station, continental interior. * Equipment; Snow-Cat rovers , snow rovers, steam generators, electrical generators, steam & electrical turbines. Flamethrowers, flares, grenades and an assortment of other weapons & equipment that may be needed in the Antarctica. ============================= The Thing : Reanimated - up to this point

With things looking bleak for the survivors of Vostok 2, barricaded in building eight, Kate has come up with a plan. This idea which she’s generated hasn’t been shared with the others. Her thoughts are, that if she stays alone in the knowledge of her scheme, the better it’s chance for success, and the better the chances they can get out. Of course if it fails, she likely won’t be around it know it……the final of “The Thing: Reanimated #5” begins below. =============================

Kate slipped out the back exit of building eight. Three flares contained within her pockets for defense. She had left Ben with the flamethrower. It was starting to become light outside now. A new day was dawning, the skies had cleared and the paleontologist had an idea that the Chameleon knew that if it waited, after some time a rescue team would arrive. It’s scheme seemed to be of taking control of each outpost individually. If not stopped, the nightmare would continue it’s advance one base at a time.

Her plan at the moment was to find the snowmobiles and disable them, then find the dozer and render it useless too. She would then locate the Snow-Cat, drive it to building eight and have Ben and Alex open the big supply door in back where she could drive it inside. Once the door closed, and everything was secure, she would show them the fillings in her teeth, then they could use the Snow-Rover’s radio to contact Lake Vostok Station to warn them and get help. It would be better to radio the outside and have a crew come to their rescue, rather than have any of them leave Vostok 2 and take the chance on the THING getting out. However, it may come to someone leaving the smaller Russian camp, she just prayed that if it happened, that person was still human!

It occurred to her that the THING’s method of operation was strategic! If it spread itself too thin, it could loose it’s advantage as Chameleon. Likely it’s idea was to consume each camp one at a time, and progress slowly. If it was discovered too early, it was in danger. It truly did act as a virus.

Kate found the snowmobiles and disabled them. She then found the dozer and disabled it also. A few minutes later she found the Snow-Cat next to the dog kennel/building seven, and the boiler room. She was hesitant about going near it at first, observing it from a distance for a time. It didn’t seem to be guarded or disabled in any manner. It looked to be in good condition. She was thinking that once she reached it, maybe she could send out a radio call before driving it back to the kitchen! Of course, anyone receiving a message of aliens, creatures and otherworld spacecraft would think her mad. It may be a better idea to stick to her original plan and get the vehicle back to the safety of the shelter before trying a transmission. Having more than one person telling an incredibly unbelievable story was better than her trying to tell the tale alone.

Her eyes shifted from side to side. There was no hint that she was being observed. She began stealthily to advance towards the Snow-Cat. When she was within fourteen feet she noticed fresh blood on the snow.

Someone injured had come this way, and not long ago. She looked in the direction from which the blood stain seemed to originate. It looked as if it derived from building four, then shifting her gaze she could see that the trail extended to the Snow-Cat, then ended at the boiler room door. There too she noticed, lay the second flamethrower, against a wall of the structure, in the snow, damaged and unusable. She wanted to investigate, but decided to check the Snow-Cat first.

Her heart dropped when she found that the radio in the vehicle had been disabled. The machine still looked operable, but her plans of using the radio to alert Vostok Station were gone. She would drive it back to building eight anyway, but first she wanted to investigate the blood trail.

Kate opened the door to the generator hut, flare burning in hand. She noticed walled steps leading down six feet. So did the spots of blood. She descended slowly, applying caution with each step. She finally reached the bottom.

“Kate!!?”

The paleontologist was startled by someone calling her name. She froze in her tracks!

“Kate, it’s me Alexei! There’s a light switch at the bottom of the steps, on the right.”

She reached for the switch and turned on the light. She noticed Alexei laying on the floor, propped up next to some of the insulated steam piping protruding from the wall. The blood trail led straight to him.

“Kate! Is that truly you?”

“Yes Alexei, it is!”

“How can I be sure?”

She knelt down and from a distance showed him the fillings in her mouth. Then he uncovered the hood from around his head showing her his earring still in place.

“Alexei, you are still human!”

“Yes.”

“What happened?” She asked.

“We retrieved the weapons from building four without incident, but heading back we were attacked! The creatures came upon us. Ballard was attacked and knocked to the ground. He burned the beast with his flamethrower. The second one I torched with a flare, then used a grenade to finish it off. Something knocked me out then. When I awakened there were two THINGS laying dead, but I saw Lawrence standing over Ben. I crawled away without being noticed.” Alexei winced in pain, but then continued….

“From that point on I don’t know what happened to Ben.” Kate attempted to comfort him.

“I came here, found the Snow-Cat and hid. I’m glad you found me first!”

“Look, the Snow-Cat is just outside. I’ll start it and come back for you!”

Alexei showed her that he understood.

“Kate, I took the keys from the vehicle and hid them. They’re buried six inches in snow beneath the flamethrower. I didn’t want the creatures to find them.”

The woman smiled. She knew that Alexei was someone she could trust and depend on. She went back to the door and looking outside she saw that it was safe. She walked over to the flamethrower and dug the keys out of the snow. She stood and turned to see a pillar of smoke coming from where building eight was located.

THE STRUCTURE WAS ON FIRE!

************************** It had been over an hour since the American paleontologist had left. Light was starting to stream in through the window announcing to Ben that he, Alexander, Ivan and Franz had survived the night. He stood looking out the window.

“She should back before long, shouldn‘t she?” Veselov was asking.

“Yeah,” Benjamin said, never taking his eyes away from the window, “if she’s still human?”

“What was her idea?”

Ballard turned to look at the base Commander.

“Her idea was to return with the Snow-Cat I believe? What her actual plan after that, I’m not certain.”

“Maybe it was to use the radio in the Snow-Cat,” Ivan spoke, “you know, return back here and call the other bases about all of this?”

“Ain’t gonna happen,” Ballard looked at the other three men, “it’s been damaged.”

“How do you know that?” Ivan asked.

“I just know, now shut your trap,” he returned to looking out the window. “This is a conflict, and we have to make sure we win.”

The men inside the building noticed the American pilot’s demeanor had changed. He didn’t seem to be himself.

“By conflict, you mean war! That reminds me!” Alex stated, “Ivan, you were in the war against Afghanistan, yes?”

“Yes, I was injured. Wounded by an explosion.”

“Wounded in the leg. The doctors couldn’t remove all the shrapnel, you told me?”

Ivan’s eyes lit up!

“Yes, that‘s right, I still have the scar!”

“Then you have metal in your leg, you are human!” Alex went to his comrade and pulled up his pants leg,

“See, he still bares the scars!” Alex said looking at Ballard.

“Yeah, but that proves nothing. He’s still gotta stay tied!” Ben turned his head to look back out the window.

This aggravated the base Commander.

“I am tired of taking orders from Americans! Ivan is still human, and I will release him!” He started to untie his friend.

“That’s far enough Alex! Go any further and…….!” Ballard spoke turning around.

“What? You will burn us! As far as I’m concerned you are no better that your partner Kate! For all I know she’s escaped in the Snow-Cat and you and she are the THINGS yourselves!” Alex returned to untying his comrade.

“That’s it! That’s my final warning!” Ballard spoke. He pointed the weapon towards the two men.

“Murder if you must Ballard, I’m releasing Ivan!”

Maybe Alexander assumed that Ballard was soft? Maybe he was thinking that having Franz tied up next to the man would stay his hand? Whatever was going through the Russian Base Commander’s head, he felt sure that the American pilot was beyond pulling the trigger on the flamethrower. He figured wrong!

A “click” was heard, and the eyes of the three men opened in shock as they witnessed flames spit forth from the nozzle of the weapon! In an instant all three were consumed in fire. They screamed horrifically as the fire took their lives. The chopper pilot didn’t hit them with just a brief burst of flame, he doused that entire side of the room with fire. Building eight was beyond saving. Ballard looked, seemingly indifferent about what he‘d just done. He dropped the flamethrower to the floor and made his escape.

************************** Kate was mortified by the smoke. A dark column of billowing fluff was rising up into the atmosphere. What had happened? Something was wrong!

“KATE!”

She heard the voice of Ballard. She looked to see the man approaching her seemingly almost in shock!

“Kate, Ivan got loose! He was a THING! He got Alex and Franz before I could stop him!” Ballard stopped to catch his breath. She noticed he was without the flamethrower.

“The weapon?”

“Used up! What about this one?” He asked, hands resting on his knees.

“Damaged! Unusable!” She answered. She pondered the American pilot a moment. Then said, “Alexei is inside.” she nodded towards the building.

“Alexei?”

“Yeah, injured, but alive.”

Ballard stared at her.

“He’s human?”

“Yes!”

They both went down into the room.

“Alexei my friend, you’re alive!” Ballard greeted him with a smile.

“Hello Ben,” the Russian cook spoke. His look was unsure, he wondered if the American was the same man he’d started the mission with?

“You found refuge?” Ballard asked of Alexei.

“Yes, the pipe-room! The boilers and steam generators are on the other side of that wall,” Alexei nodded his head behind him, “ that room is vented. The piping comes through here and runs out to the rest of the camp. The room is kept warm by these steam pipes running through it. We would keep the dogs in here sometimes when the temperature dropped below their threshold,” he explained, “guess the creatures kept the equipment operating on the other side so that they could keep the camp warm.”

“Are they capable of doing that?” Ballard questioned.

Kate looked at him.

“Ben, the THING operated a spacecraft out in the universe! I think a couple of steam generators and boilers aren’t high tech enough to give it headaches!”

The chopper pilot showed that he understood her answer.

“Here, help me get him up,” she spoke reaching down to assist Alexei to his feet. They each took a side and raised the Russian to a standing position.

Alexei looked over at his failed mission accomplice.

“Ben, get the keys from Kate. Start the Snow-Cat before we leave. It needs to warm up a moment before it will operate correctly.”

Kate looked at Alexei. His eyes telling her story that kept her quiet! She gave Ballard the keys. When he was gone, she looked at Alexei with question.

“Kate, he’s a THING!” Alexei spoke in a low tone, “his razor cut is healed perfectly. No bandage, no cut!”

The Paleontologist was surprised that she hadn’t noticed.

“Lawrence must have turned him! He’s not human!”

She thought for a moment. She had no plan.

“What are we going to do? We haven’t a flamethrower!”

“Follow my lead, “Alexei spoke. He pulled a couple of flares from his pocket and tossed them against the opposite wall.

Ballard returned and they began to help Alexei towards the doorway.

“Ben! Get those flares there against the wall, we may need them later.”

Ballard released his grip on the man. He wandered over to the other side.

The Russian cook moved quickly, he reached for a steam hose which lay across one of the many pipes that ran through the room. He quickly turned a valve which issued a huge volume of steam in Ballard’s direction. The American recognized his fate to late. He was awash in scolding vapor that consumed him completely. He began to transform into a THING. A reflex response of the creature once it realized that it’s veil of deception had been discovered.

Ballard’s arms sprung claws, his head gaped open to reveal a massive appendage of large teeth! It screamed in it’s agony, being cooked alive! It tried to reach them, but Alexei turned up the pressure and forced it back. It began to wither and wilt, becoming a pile of cooked meat on the pipe-room floor. The Russian, confident in his cooking ability, turned the steam valve off. The THING lay in a scolded heap on the pipe-room floor. Alexei smiled at Kate. She felt such joy in her soul that she could have kissed the man!

“Time to go,” he spoke.

She assisted the Russian to the bottom step. Alexei placed his foot on the stair and looked upward. The sky was blue, a sight he hadn’t witnessed for days. A grin creased his lips.

Just then a tentacle expelled from the creature laying on the floor. It penetrated the Russian’s back and busted out from the front of his chest. It’s appendage flowered, and turned into hooks! It pulled him backward into the room, then began to devour him amid screams of terror!

“KILL IT KATE! A FLARE!” He shouted. The woman reached for her last remaining weapon and tossed it into the room, then turned to run up the steps just as she saw Alexei take a grenade from his pocket and pull the pin. In three seconds she was out the door and laying flat in the snow.

The explosion ripped through the air. Pieces of the building flew in all directions. When she looked back, all she could see was smoke coming from the room. It had been destroyed, and the THING along with it. A tear streaking down her cheek froze into an icy crystal within a minute.

The Snow-Cat was still running. Kate realized, again, that she was the lone human survivor! Yet, instead of relief, she felt cursed! She was immersed in a continuing nightmare which plagued the frozen continent. She took stock in the reality that she was still alive, however there was a difference. She realized she knew more about the THING than any human who walked the planet’s surface! Maybe somewhere along the line she could stop it! End the Chameleon’s plan of vanquishing humankind! What did it want? She hadn’t time to ponder the question. She got to her feet, gained the Snow-Cat and shifted the rover into gear.

Destination, Lake Vostok, the Russian main base of operation. Blood trickled down the side of her face. She felt faint, but was determined to see this to it’s end, or hers!

END

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