They round the corner of the hall. Dozens of them with jaws open and teeth flashing in the light. They close the distance in heartbeats.
“Been nice knowing ya.” Sparky growls as she sends twin bolts of energy into the attacking horde. “Wish we could have made it off.”
“Not over yet.” Blades answers as he steps in front of them. The bone plates on his arms thicken and grows. Acid strikes the bone.
The three teens are shoved to the side of the hall. An armored suit stands between them and the horde. Gunfire booms down the hall, sending bullets singing into the animals. The sound of explosives competes with the angry animal howls. Blue, Sparky, and Blades stare in amazement as five other armored forces march forward.
After a few tense minutes, the animals retreat backward. Two of the armored suits step forward and set up a glass barrier.
“Are any of you hurt?”
“Not really.” Blades answer as he sheds the bone coverage that is covered in acid.
The guards push forward and form a defensive barrier between the kids and the attacking animals. One of the armored individuals’ steps before them. His shoulder plates are painted with red stripes.
“Are you alright?” The wearer asks, looking between Blades and Blue. “Are they hurt?”
“No.” The first armored figure answers, “I am seeing light injuries. Nothing to stop us from moving them to the evac ship.”
“What’s going on?” Blades ask.
“Wait! Who are you?”
“We’re part of the security team for the colonization program.”
“Sorry. We didn’t realize that the computer failed to notify us that passengers have been left behind. We’re here to rescue you.” The wearer straightens and looks towards the hall they came in, “Retreat. We need to retreat now! The Captain is picking up heat signatures.”
“What’s happening?” Blades yells as he is pushed away from the entrance.
“Move it short stuff!”
The half dozen guards form an oblong circle around the teens and the hustle away from the hole. Before the children could ask, two of the guards drop behind and place a clear barrier.
“Phew. Close one, boss.” One of the guards removes their helmet. A woman with short brown hair grins at them, “Hi. I’m Medic Officer Third Class Chesna. Let’s take a look at those wounds. Oh, looks like you have regenerative abilities.”
“Uh.” Blades raises a hand, “This might seem ungrateful but… Uh, what is going on? Who are you? What is happening?”
“Well.” She glances at the hole, “It was. Well. There seems to be some sort of plant that is taking over the ship. Seems like this particular plant likes spaceships.”
“Alright.” The commander removes his helmet, revealing dark features, “I’m Captain Eric Selzar. I am in charge of Strike Team Charlie Zero Four, or Dynamite Team. We’re here to rescue you.”
He looks at Blue then at Blades. The two teens break in hopeful smiles.
“I see the stasis amnesia is still in effect? Well. Short answer. You and your families were part of a colony expedition on the way to this world. However, your ship was damaged. You two were the last few people recovering from that damage. However, this ship fell victim to a then-unknown assailant. The medical ship was evacuated but the ship’s computer apparently glitched out and failed to register you two.”
“I’m actually kinda glad that I wasn’t awake for that.”
“Wait. Our families. Our parents. My sister!” Blue says worriedly.
“Safe.” The medic officer says with a smile, “Containment procedure held off the lizards and the plant while the ship was evacuated. However, the plant caused structural damage. Repair procedure was set in motion. Then we discovered that you two were left behind.”
“Alright.” The commander turns to them, “The rescue ship is holding position and is waiting for us. We have successful feints by the other teams. They’ll keep those animals off while we get you to the rescue ship. Captain confirms that there are no other passengers onboard.”
The soldiers break into three groups of six each. One team remains at the barrier. The other one disappears down the hallway. The last group surrounds the teens and begin heading towards the front of the ship.
“Can you at least what is going on?” Blades asks, “We kinda have some of our memories back but nothing about what happened.”
The commander glances over at one of the other soldiers.
The teens exchange worried glances.
“Not here.” The commander continues, “We’ll talk when we get to a resting point. And we’ll need to get you two into evac suits.”
After passing several halls, they come to a stop in what appears to be a meeting room of some sort. The soldiers take up positions near the doors. Outside, the world turns quietly below.
Blades frown in surprise, “What about Sparky?”
“What do you mean?”
“Captain! They’ve broken out of containment.”
“Time to move.”
“What broken out of containment?” Blue yells out, “You mean those lizard things?”
“Yes. They’re an apex predator found on the world below. A sample was brought up for examination. Unfortunately, it was discovered that the animals reproduced like ants. A single queen producing workers and warriors. To top things off, an aggressive plant was also brought up. Which was released when the lizard creatures broke their own containment. Sensors on board the ship reported you trying to escape. An emergency rescue vehicle was dispatched to rescue you. Then we discovered the plant infestation. Well. That took a bit to figure out how to get on board, save you, and then get back off.”
“We were heading to the escape pods. Or the bridge.”
The commander chuckles, “The pods were all launched when initial containment was lost. And you can’t get into the bridge without a passcode. Anyways. You’ll be fine. We just head down to the launch bays and we’ll be home free.”
A howl fills the air just behind them.
“We better get going. Those animals are not going to take an attack lying down. If we run, we can get off this boat in an hour.”