A young ensign must battle a monster on an unknown planet to save her life and the ship she’s pledged her loyalty to. (PART TWO)
The dark coolness of the briefing room dampened the heat of adrenaline.
Adrenaline caused by a creepy monster chasing me half across a dead planet, that is. That kind of adrenaline smothered.
The Captain sat in his chair behind the simple black desk, the lights dimmed almost to darkness.
“Power is down,” he explained matter-of-factly. He crossed his arms and stared at the blank wall in front of him, apparently lost in thought. Then he jerked his gaze to meet mine. “You don’t look well,” he said.
I had been ignoring how I felt ever since the monster appeared—or, rather, I awakened it. I shifted uncomfortably in my uniform. The Captain had an unsettling gaze.
“I don’t look well because I don’t feel well,” I said, holding back a growl. “I nearly got killed by some freak.”
“We have life sciences on it, and I have your sister’s report. I want you to check into medical immediately, and that’s a direct order.” He knew how much I hated check ups.
Whatever The Captain said was absolute law. I had to admit I didn’t feel very good, however. I felt sluggish and—heavy.
I didn’t grumble. “Yes, sir.” I hadn’t even said anything about the report. Well, he had my sister’s. A Lieutenant Commander’s.
Walking out of the briefing room, I headed toward medical. The doctors had a penchant for poking and prodding and touching too much, in my opinion. The Captain never minded it. Maybe he liked it.
I spun around. Nurse Elaine, dressed in a smart dark blue uniform, gave me a beaming smile.
I glared at her.
She tilted her head to one side, and then frowned. “Something wrong?” Then she gave a tiny gasp. “Ooh!”
That irritating sound annoyed the heck out of me, and I’d endured it for three years. Much too long.
“You’re not a lieutenant. Your sister is, right? You’re just an ensign.” She started giggling. “I’m sorry. Well, take off your shoes and step onto this scale . . .”
She frowned at the readings, which were contained in a small rectangular console in her hand.
“What?” I asked, not in the mood to discuss my weight, not now, at least.
“Ma’am,” she said slowly to me, “You haven’t swallowed anything unsusual lately, have you?”
“I’m in no mood for jokes!”
I jumped off the scale, noting that my knees took more weight than usual today. Maybe something was wrong.
“Thirty pounds,” she said, not looking up.
“Excuse me,” I said, “I don’t get what you’re saying.” It took all my effort not to rip the thing out of her hands and see for myself.
“Your last check up was five days ago, and this scale is saying you’re thirty pounds heavier than last time.“
“The scale’s wrong, then.” I said it without thinking. Then I took a deep breath. “Okay, fine, I do feel a bit strange. Kind of . . . heavy.”
“I’m scheduling a scan. For now, you’ll wait in a containment area. Can’t risk anything.”
“You mean you’re sticking me in the brig?” It was impossible. Ridiculous. It had to do with gravity or whatever, I was certain.
“Not the brig, silly—you can be so dramatic sometimes. Really.”
An hour later—scheduled scans were terribly inefficient, especially when Nurse Elaine ran them—the doors opened and an armored Security Guard wearing a hazmat suit stepped in.
“Come with me,” he ordered.
“Excuse me?” I didn’t budge. I gave him one of my glares.
Despite my protests—and I can be very loud—the Guard shoved me in front of him and took me to one of the operating rooms. Another Nurse stood there in hazmat gear, holding a syringe in one hand.
Before I could yell at them, or even glare, the needle entered my skin. A few seconds later, my vision fuzzed and everything dissolved into black nothing.
. . . to be continued . . .