Looking around to make sure no one was watching, Henry climbed out of the cockpit and jumped to the ground. As soon as his feet hit the ground, all hell broke loose. A siren started blaring, and a computerized voice started issuing a warning in a language Henry couldn’t understand.
“Well, so much for gettin’ in and gettin’ out all nice and quiet like,” he said.
Two sleepy-looking aliens ran towards him. He slammed one into the side of the ship, and punched the other one in the nose, breaking it. Broken-nose boy crumpled to the floor, clutching his face, so Henry turned to the other one and slammed its head into the spaceship twice in quick succession. The alien fell unconscious to the floor, and Henry turned back to the one with the broken nose. He drove his knee into the alien’s face, and then crushed its throat with his boot as it hit the floor.
“Huh. Y’all wasn’t quite as tough as that first guy was,” he said, as he moved past the bodies.
Henry saw some cargo boxes a few yards away, and sprinted for them. As he reached the other side, he came face to face with another alien. Henry grabbed its head in both hands, twisted, and broke its neck. There was another alien right behind that one. It brought a pistol of some sort up, but Henry grabbed the barrel and twisted it so that the laser fired into the ceiling. He continued twisting the gun, and it came out of the alien’s hand. Henry used his other hand to punch the alien in the throat, and then he shot him with the laser pistol. The alien didn’t just die—it folded in on itself just like the cruiser had done before, and disappeared.
When he reached the Kirasu, there were two guards standing next to the door. They never saw him coming. He willed the flight suit to form a knife, then plunged it into the lower back of the first guard. He pulled it out, and slammed it into the face of the second guard as he turned around. Both aliens slumped to the floor. A third guard, hidden inside the ship, fired his weapon at Henry. The suit absorbed the damage, and Henry was unharmed. Henry willed his suit to change the knife into a sword, and it did. He ran the guard through the chest with the sword before he could fire again. Henry pulled the sword out, wiped the blood off of it, and willed it back into the suit.
Inside, the ship was pitch black. Henry took Artemis’ cube out of his suit, and held it over his head. Figuring he might need both of his hands free, he decided to just stick it to the top of his helmet. The suit held it in place, leaving his hands free. The blue glow wasn’t as bright as a flashlight, but it showed him everything he needed to know. The cargo bay was littered with corpses. They looked like they had been ripped apart by an animal. There were wide gashes in their throats and abdomens, and some of their arms were missing, apparently ripped from their sockets. Moving closer, he could see that their faces were frozen in terror and pain.
“Fuck me,” said Henry. “What the hell happened here?” He double-checked to make sure he had the metaphasic pistol with him, and then he grabbed another one off a corpse just to be sure. He didn’t know what had killed an entire battle cruiser full of Peri, but he wanted to be ready for it if it came back. He grabbed a third, and a fourth pistol, and placed them on his hips. Better to have too many, than not enough, he thought. The flight suit created holsters for them, and held them secure. With a gun in each hand, and one on each hip, he started making his way towards the bridge.
He was halfway across the cargo bay when something grabbed his ankle. Startled, he let out a little yelp of surprise, and snatched his foot away from the corpse that had just grabbed it. The corpse’s mouth was open wide, and its eyes were dead, yet filled with hunger. Henry shot it in the face with the metaphasic pistol, and it crumpled in on itself and disappeared. Around him, he could see the other corpses starting to stir and shuffle towards him.
“Fucking zombies!” he said, and fired at another one. It was wearing a flight suit just like his own, so Henry’s weapon had no effect. He shot it again, twice in quick succession, and the corpse disappeared just as the first one had. “Huh. One to the head, or three to the chest,” he said. “Good to know.” Armed with the knowledge, he began taking out the zombies, two at a time. With his neurological implants guiding his shots, he never missed. The zombies started dropping like flies. However, he was in the middle of a large open space, and he was in danger of being overwhelmed. There were simply too many of them. Looking around, he didn’t see many options. He was surrounded, and the corridor that led to the bridge was on the other side of the cargo bay.
There was another Peri fighter close to him, and so he scrambled up the side of it. Standing on top of the cockpit, he could survey the entire cargo bay. As he suspected, it was crawling with hundreds of zombies. He resumed picking them off, two by two, and prayed that the Peri weapons wouldn’t run out of ammo.
He cleared a path to the door leading to the bridge, and then jumped down from the fighter. He made a run for the door, taking out more zombies as he ran. The door slid open, and he stepped through. He locked it behind him and said, “I’ll be back for the rest of you fuckers later.” The corridor was empty, so Henry allowed himself to pause and catch his breath before continuing. He moved quickly, but cautiously. He didn’t intend to be taken by surprise again.
The turbolift at the end of the corridor was jammed, so Henry opened the access panel next to it and began to climb the ladder up to the bridge. He had only gone a few feet when he felt something grab his ankle. Looking down, he saw a zombie trying to pull his foot into its mouth. He shot it, and watched it crumple in on itself. He went back down the ladder, and closed the access panel before starting back up the ladder again.