11 Minutes

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 2.15.33 PM

Photo taken using Google Earth by Jessica Schouela.

 

11 Minutes

Two men, both dressed in well-tailored suits investigate an open escape pod, they peer through the open hatchway like two predators sizing up a kill. There is an uneasy silence between them, until one of the men notices a shape in darkness.
“What’s that?” he asks, pointing a bony finger towards the object.
“It’s a comm log” the second man says as he awkwardly ducks and reaches into the pod and picks up the object in question.
“There appears to only be a single recording” he says after intensely studying it “Shall we take it back for analysis?”
“No, play it now”

[Beginning of Entry]

[Captain S. Burgess signed on.]

Captain? Well I wasn’t expecting that.
The light just went red, which means that I have exactly 11 minutes. You know, I can’t help but smile at that, although my current situation is pretty grim 11 has always been my lucky number.
If this is my last will and testament then I want the truth noted and no doubts as to what happened here. The crew of “SS Phalanx” are dead. What appears to be an Alien entity killed them, but in all honesty that’s a guess, it sounds better than saying a monster killed them. That’s why the computer thinks that I’m captain, because I’m the only one left. I know that sounds ridiculous and trust me I feel stupid saying it, but I swear that it’s true.
To make things worse the Alien which killed the crew is just outside this door, I can smell it but worse I can also hear it. I can hear them. Apparently it’s not even trying to hide any more, I guess that it has nothing to fear.

How it got on board we have no idea. I would like to say we picked it up with some strange cargo or we landed on a suspicious planet but we didn’t. Basically, when and how it got on board is a complete mystery and one which I don’t think I’ll ever find out the answer to. It didn’t make itself known until we were far out in quiet space, too far for help to reach us. As Grant said, too far for even God to help. He always was quite melodramatic.

10 minutes

Thanks for that.
It killed the Captain first, no one had seen him, Anderson decided to check his private quarters. That’s where he found what remained of the Captain, I didn’t know people had that much blood inside them, that’s all that remained, lots of blood. I remember seeing smeared hand prints on the floor, it looked like the Captain was crawling away from something but then they just stopped. That scares me, the Captain was undoubtedly one of the bravest men I’ve ever known, I’ve never seen him run away from anything. No corpse was found.
Vice Captain Edwards took command as Captain. We all meet in the mess, myself, Anderson, Marshall and Sinclair all sat listening to Edwards. He said we needed a plan and that there must be protocols in place for situations like this. What protocols exactly he was talking about we didn’t know. He sent Anderson and me to look for weapons. What weapons? Sinclair to fix the escape pod, and Marshall to seal up the parts of the ship we didn’t need. He sent her off alone dispite our arguments.
Marshall, well she never returned. We looked but in all honestly fear got the better of us and we shamefully abandoned the search. That’s when the shit really hit the fan, Edwards started screaming and ranting at us, the fear was getting to him. That’s when what could only be described as a mu

9 minutes

Oh man, that’s going quick.

A mutiny, and yes I was involved I don’t care if this disqualifies me from my loyalty bonus. You can shove it.
Anderson had knocked Edwards out cold. We didn’t want him waking up and getting us killed, so we locked him in the airlock. Without a spacesuit there’s only one way out of there and thanks to some stupid company regulation it can’t be opened from the inside. This conveniently makes it a perfect prison for locking up megalomaniacs.
We decided that no single person would be fully in charge, this would be a democracy. Then we decided that Edwards’ clearance levels would come in useful, he had access to all the ship’s systems, something which we needed full control of if we wanted to survive.
Not willing to split up, we all went together to get his codes, but just like the captain all that remained was blood, lots of blood. I always hated him.
The strange thing was that the door was already open, not smashed, it had opened the door. It actually opened the door, well either that or someone else did. The latter didn’t bear thinking about.
Now with only 4 of us left and no plan to speak of things were desperate. We didn’t even know what was killing us off. Aliens don’t exist, right?
As I said before we were too far from colonised space to receive help and by the time the message reached them we would be long dead. We sent one anyway. You never know.
8 minutes
OK, I’m going to need to cut some stuff. After what seemed like too long, we eventually all agreed on a single plan, one of us would suit up and act as bait. The brave volunteer would lure the thing into the cargo hold by making lots of noise. Hopefully this would attract the Alien into the hold and which point one of us would hit a button to open the cargo bay doors, sucking them both into deep space. Unlike the Alien the volunteer would be physically attached to the ship by a lifeline and could easily be pulled back inside.
You think that’s a bad plan? You should have heard some of the alternatives.
Sinclair drew the incredibly short straw and was designated as bait. I could see it in his eyes that he was afraid, but never questioned it or even hesitated, he suited up and marched to the cargo hold.
Have you seen the cargo hold? It’s a nice big open space, something of a luxury when compared with the rest of ship, I’ve heard that the miners on Venus feel sorry for our lack of space.

We hid in the airtight control room at the back of the cargo hold, Sinclair clearly visible through the glass at the far side, he was attached to the ship via a lifeline which came from just outside the room we were in. I nervously kept looking at the panel, the button to open the bay doors was big enough, but the button to pull Sinclair back inside was stupidly close to the button which would uncouple his life line from the ship. Who the hell would design it like that?

We cut the engines to keep the noise down and then we waited, I’ve never

7 minutes

felt a silence like that before, it was equally both oppressive and terrifying. I was glad when Sinclair started his singing. I never thought I would say that. 2 hours later, it came for us.

It happened while Sinclair was giving his throat a well deserved rest. That’s when we heard Marshall’s voice quietly cutting though the silence, kill me she moaned but to my horror her voice wasn’t the alone I recognised Edwards and the Captains voices joining the harmony too.
But it didn’t come for Sinclair, who, oblivious to the new noise and had started signing again.
This will be difficult to describe, it seemed as if it just appeared right behind Grant, I think that I screamed, he turned and it… it… engulfed him, using legs with too many joints it crammed Grant into what looked like a mouth. While it was devouring Grant it had already started wrapping it’s spindly legs around Anderson, pushing into his soft eyes and down his throat as it pulled him towards its fleshy mass. He seemed frozen with fear, he didn’t even fight it. I ran, I left them to die and it saved my life.

This isn’t going to be easy.

I tried to unlatch Sinclair before I ran but I hit the wrong button. Instead of freeing him, I pulled him towards the Alien with no way of escape. I kept running, at first I heard him begging me to go back, then the unmistakable sound of glass smashing and that’s when he started screaming.

[Captain Scarlett Burgess signed off.]

[Captain Scarlett Burgess signed on.]

5 minutes

Sorry, I had a bit of a cry there. I can still hear him begging just outside the door. They are all begging me for death. They sound in pain, it must be a trick, they can’t possibly be alive. I’m glad this thing doesn’t have a window. I don’t want to see outside. I ran, I ran as fast and as far as I possible could. I crawled here into the escape pod. Just my luck that it’s broken. I’m no engineer, all I know is that the oxygen supply was damaged by a rogue bit of an asteroid and the computer won’t launch it until it’s fully functional. The speakers are working absolutely fine. They seem hell-bent on telling me that I have, wait for it.

4 minutes
of oxygen left.

What happens after 4 minutes is that the ship’s computer will realise that I’m going to suffocate and the door will open to provide me with some lovely oxygen from the ship. Normally this would be appreciated but this time along with the oxygen it will also let in a killer Alien.
If you’re listening to this you probably want a description of the Alien. Did I see it? Yes well I saw something, I saw a thing with too many legs, too many eyes, like an octopus mixed with a spider mixed with the crew. I saw their screaming faces embedded in its flesh. It was the colour of putrid flesh and it had teeth, lots of teeth. And far too many spidery legs.
I’ve run though every scenario in my mind, but it’s hopeless, I can’t fight it, I can’t outrun it. At least I’ve got time, most people don’t get that. Sinclair never got that chance, all thanks to me.

He was my Husband you know. Here come the tears again.

3 minutes
God, all those legs, I can hear them impatiently tapping the door and to make things worse I can hear the crew. They’re still begging me to kill them and now they’ve even started muttering my name.
How can they still be alive and conscious? I can’t face it. It knows that this damn door will open, and that it only has to wait. How could it know? Could it be using the crews own memories? I can’t even think about that.

I would prefer to take my own life than become part of that thing. I can’t hang myself, there’s no space in the pod. No sharp objects, no pills. Damn It.
Fighting seems pointless. It shoved Grant into its maw like a rag doll, he was twice the size of me. I wouldn’t stand much of a chance…

I need to think.

2 minutes

I have a gun! Well it’s a flare, not even a real gun. Well I guess it’s better than my fists. I should have checked sooner, everyone knows that escape pods always have some basic supplies and clearly the most dangerous thing in the supplies is the flare, well that and the dried rations but I doubt I could get the Alien to try them.

OK.

The plan is to open the door before the count down finishes and to try to catch the bastard off guard slightly. I’m going to shoot straight away (hopefully towards its face) and then make a run for it. I’ll run and hide, it’s a big ship.
I’ve not really though this through much, I’ll shoot it and take it from there. I know that it’s not much but it’s better than sitting around waiting to become dinner.

Wish me luck.

[Captain S. Burgess signed on.]
[End of Entry]

The two men are returned to silence.

“Do you think she survived?” The man holding the recording asks.
“No, mark it down as a successful mission”. And with that both men turn and walked away from the open hatch.
 
 
 

Liam Bryant is a Graphic Designer for the Film and TV industry. Designing is his life but his true passion is for writing. He has two comics published with hopefully a third one following this year and is also working numerous other writing projects.

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