The vessel shakes again. Blue, Sparky, and Blades pause. All three wait for yet another report of some failure or damage. To their relief, none comes. Yet more shaking comes. The tremors come in bursts and the ship tilts back and forth.
“Oh now what?” Sparky grumbles.
“New damage?” Blue asks.
“No. I don’t think so.” Blades says from the window.
“Why is that?”
“The planet is getting smaller. One of those alerts were warning that the ship was in too low of an orbit. I think whatever is controlling ship just put us into a higher orbit.”
“Oh. Is that a good thing?”
“Yes. Means we are not going to die by falling into the world.” He grins at them.
“Yay us.” Sparky grumbles, “Instead of dying by burning up, we’ll die by getting eaten by a strange reptile creature. Or something.”
“Better chances of survival. Can’t survive a ship that isn’t going to survive.”
“Better chances? Better chances if we’re down on that planet. At least then we have an entire world to run in. We should be getting to a lifeboat. Not the bridge.”
“Assuming that the world doesn’t have its own set of reptiles that will find little humans tasty snacks.” Blades says with a chuckle, “Come on. I am sure that we are just jumping to conclusions. Right?”
“What is that world, anyway?” Blue turns away from the window, “I don’t remember what its name is.” She frowns, “Or anything else for that manner. Does anyone else remember what that world is? Or anything.”
“Not a thing.”
“Great.” She sighs.
“A little. I don’t like not knowing. And I don’t even know why I don’t.”
“It is a little strange but like the bots said. Suspended animation does cause amnesia. It’ll come back to us. I mean parts of it already have in a way. Airlocks. Warships. Bridge. Or the fact that we know amnesia is not unusual when being pulled out of an ice cube tray. Our memories are there. Just not clear yet.”
A distant howl echoes down the hallway. Shivers run up and down the teens’ spines.
“And what is that?”
“I don’t know.” Sparky flexes her fists, “Where is that stupid little robot anyway? We could use some help. Especially when those things kinda almost got us eaten.”
“Come on.” Blue says as she starts walking again, “The more distance we put between us and it, the better off we’ll be.”
“Good point.” Blades looks up and down the hall, “I am a little surprised we haven’t found some sort of terminal or communication pad yet. You’d think a ship this side would have dozens. Everywhere.”
“Research ships must not have as big of a need?”
“But,” Blue says, “the robots said that there were other passengers.”
“No.” Blades said with a frown, “The robots said it was part of their protocols. Did not mean that there were other passengers. Which would explain why there aren’t any signs of them or any distant lifeboats waiting for the all clear. And the fact all of the quarters we have come across seem to be devoid of personal items. Photos, clothing, toys, or the like.”
“What can we do then?”
“What else is there? Anything we need to do is on the bridge. Finding anyone in charge. Communications. Records. Everything.”
“Fine. The bridge it is.”
Blue and Blades stop.
“What is it?”
“I hear something.” Sparky stares down the hall. She stiffens and orange lighting explodes from her forearms, “Something’s coming and it’s coming fast.”
At once Blue and Blades take up defensive positions.
“Got any ideas on how to deal with that thing?”
“I distract it and you two hit it.” Blades answers, “Seems lighting does more danger than my bone blades.”
“Good point. Are you a fast runner?” Sparky asks with a grin.
“I don’t know. About to find out.”
Now Blue can hear something thudding along the hallway. Seconds pass and it grows louder and quicker. Tensing for a fight, the three tense.
Around the corner comes the custodial bot buzzing along its treads. Just behind it comes to a much larger machine.
It has four legs and two arms. Massive claws tip the arms while weapons are mounted to its forearms, back, and flanks.
“Greetings!” The robot says, “You are not in the secure bunker. Why?”
“Uh.” Sparky replies as she shuts down her energy, “One of your friends led a monster that almost ate us. We trapped it in the security bunker.”
For a moment the two robots freeze and stare at the teens. The smaller custodial bot’s lens flickers with changing lights.
“Uh…” Blue murmurs, “Did we break it?”
“Maybe. Maybe not.”
“This is troublesome.” The small robot begins to pace back and forth, “That bunker is the most secure location on this vessel. If it has been compromised then you are in danger.”
“Uh what happens then?” Sparky asks.
“Standby.” The robot freezes again with its lens flickering.
“Is anyone else getting a bad feeling?”
“I had one since I popped out of my unit.”
“Please follow me.”
“Uh, we were going to the bridge.”
“Negative!” The robot spins rapidly and faces the trio, “You are not authorized to access the bridge. Please follow me.”
“Wait. Where are we going?”
The robot suddenly stops. Spins in place than hurries straight towards the teens. The larger robot lumbers forward much faster.
“Stand back. Allow the security unit to serve its purpose.”
Around the corner comes a reptilian beast. This one is much larger than the other two. Large spikes extend from its shoulders and flanks. Both machine and flesh charge each other. Their footfalls shake the floor.
The two giants clash.
Claws screech against metal skin. Meaty blows as metal fists hammer against hard flesh. Back and forth in a wild dance. They spin and twists as they work to gain the advantage. Metal gears whirling and beast roars echo through the hall.
“Do we help?” Blue yells over the battle.
“Maybe. But I am not accurate enough to hit at these speeds.”
“Negative!” The little robot cuts through the sound, “Specimens are not to engage in combat. Protocol dictates that you must be placed in a secure location.”
The robot spins its tracks and begins heading down the hall. Out of a side door, a reptilian beast appears. Smaller and like the original versions they met, it charges down the hall. One foot crushes the robot. It barrels through the teens.
Blue flies through the air and slams into the wall. There is a sharp cry off to her right and a grunt from Blades. Blue cranes her neck and she sees the two creatures battling it out with the giant robot. In the ensuing fight, it has lost one arm. Blood and oil stain the ground red and blue.
“Come on!” Sparky yells, hauling Blue up to her feet, “This is not a time for a nap. Blades? What are you doing That robot is dead!”
“I know!” He yells back as he picks up the damaged unit, “We might be able to salvage part of it.”
“A map! Communications!” He wheezes.
The screech of metal being torn cuts into the conversation. The small reptile lies on its side with its guts ripped out. The larger one is in the process of tearing the robot in half.
“Time to go!”
The creature roars triumphantly. Its red eyes stare at them. It slowly begins to lumber forward towards them. Opening its mouth once more, green slim flies forward.
Blue screams as some of it strikes her arm. Stumbling from the pain she hears sizzling and the smell of burnt flesh. The pain suddenly explodes. Her arm feels like it is on fire. A flash of orange light flairs off as someone is pulling her back to her feet. More green streams fill the air.
Blue takes two steps before agony becomes too much. She doubles over and hits the ground. A wail fills the air. She holds onto sanity just long enough to see the creature stand up over her.