Doctor Thaddeus Brinkman looked up from his patient as the door to his lab opened smoothly with a swishing sound. A short, balding and overweight man in a lab coat and glasses walked in, a nervous expression adorning his face.
“Enris. I wasn’t expecting you until after five. What is it?” inquired Dr. Brinkman. Enris’ face creased with worry, indicating to Dr. Brinkman that all was not right in the station. He put his scanner down on the table, suddenly extremely concerned; Enris was a very mild mannered scientist, and if something managed to upset him, it was very likely that it was a major issue.
“Did Sector 8 go out again? I TOLD Rake not to cross the Beams again, his last attempt at repairing that old Mek nearly resulted in catastrophic…” Dr. Brinkmann trailed off as Enris’ face went white. “Rake is dead, along with the entire repair crew. They were the first to go.”
First to… what?! Thaddeus looked up at his display console. All life support signs were green. That could only mean… “An attack. So far out here? How did they find us?! Who?!” Enris moved to Thaddeus’ main HUD display. “Oh, Thaddeus, always turning off all news channels. You are an asset, you know, this is the reason we have put such expenses into this facility!” With that, Enris pressed a few buttons on the console, activating nearby channels. Immediately upon pressing the confirmation button, the screen flashed red and Dr. Thaddeus was awash with a high pitched alarm. The Captain’s voice blared over the speaker: “Alert! Alert! We are under Legion attack! I require all non-military personell to perform evacuation procedure code CODAC. It was an honor serving with you.” Along with the message, a feed was shown of three warships breaching the facility’s cloaking shield, the mark of Legion emblazoned on each hull.
CODAK. This information told Thaddeus several things:
- Upon entry, the facilities’ self defense system was not activated, meaning that it was turned off from within the bridge or Engineering Bay. The scientist facility was top of the line; with a class S encryption, Thaddeus knew that either they had a very skilled hacker on board, or one of the scientists had betrayed them. The last thought gave Thaddeus chills. He knew each scientist on the team for several years, and he considered them close friends, close enough to keep his whereabouts secret.
- CODAC was not only an evacuation order; it was a death sentence to anyone left on the station. If the bridge was taken, the two battery cores were set to explode within five minutes.
- Legion only had one reason to blatantly break a centuries old no-fire pact on the Alliance, and that was to take Dr. Brinkman’s research, something they would no doubt manufacture as a weapon of war against the Alliance. Such power could bring the Alliance to its knees!!
Thaddeus had no time to waste. “Computer: activate total wiping protocol! I want you to dispose of all files, including THOSE ones. Wipe all trace of my research from the lab immediately.” The computer beeped in assent. “Understood.”
Thaddeus looked at Enris. “How much time do we have?!”
Enris shook his head, “Not much. Probably five minutes before they take the bridge, maybe three after that until they reach here.”
Thaddeus nodded. There was no time to waste! “Locutus! Come with me!” The patient nodded robotically, looking up at Thaddeus with those eery, dead eyes, and stood up immediately. Time to move.
Thaddeus checked the inside of his lab coat to be certain that the package, his life’s research, was still there, safely in his inside pocket. He grabbed another package, its clear glass displaying cleaning supplies, and put it in his front pocket. He then went to his safe and removed some paper, a small personal computer, and three vials of NanoGen. “We take the back exit! It is the closest to the escape pods. From there we go dark, and head for Earth.” Thaddeus liked calling planets by the names locals give them. It was much better than calling it ‘10-4-4675.’
Enris shook his head. “You heard the captain! We engage protocol CODAC! We have to go to Rheys, at the designated military installation! They’ll think you are dead, Thad!”
Thaddeus flashed a grin. “Exactly Enris. Now let’s move!” The trio worked their way out of the back entrance and into the vacant hallway. Here, the sirens were more pronounced, giving the group a sense of urgency to leave immediately. They moved quickly to the elevator, where they were taken to Level 1 without incident. When the elevator doors swooshed open, they were greeted by a worried Dr. Kranston.
Dr. Kranston, the only non-terran scientist nodded to them worriedly. His four arms shook with fear, and his three red eyes were unnaturally large on top of his green, scaly face.
Enris looked at Dr. Kranston and waved him down. “Dr. Kranston!! Thank goodness you are here! Look, we have to get out of he…” Enris gasped as a laser pierced him in the chest, then two to the face. Dr. Brinkman watched in horror as his long time friend’s face melted off and he slumped to the floor, lifeless. Dr. Kranston’s head tilted to the side, his three eyes blinking in unison. He studied Thaddeus for a moment. “Alright. Give it to me. I know it’s on you.”
Thaddeus, shaking reached into his front pocket. “Kranston, you don’t want to do this. I have known you for a long time, and you are simply not capable of…” He was cut off abrubtly. “Can it, Thaddeus!! Always with your self righteous nonsense! We scientists are about exploring the unknown, and you cannot do that with all of your self professed morals!!” He tapped his chest with one hand. “We are organic lifeforms, created by a long line of life forms. When we die, our energy will return to whichever planet they bury us on until we become recycled into the earth. Nothing more! There is no reason to cling to your petty beliefs! Now hand it over!!” With those last words, he shook his gun menacingly at Thaddeus.
Thaddeus knew that he would be fired upon immediately if he were to resist in any way. He sighed, and tossed him the small package, a small cylinder about a hand-span across. Dr. Kranston snatched it out of the air. “Thank you. Now…” he aimed the gun at Thaddeus and pulled the trigger. Thaddeus braced himself. He lamented that he could not escape, but was glad that they would never get what they wanted; he put up far too much protection to let it fall into their hands. he readied himself emotionally for what was to come.
But what was to come was not what was expected. Locutus shoved Thaddeus aside, roughly, taking the blast to himself. Thaddeus blinked with amazement as the beam hit Locutus… and simply exploded, dealing no damage to him! Locutus looked at Kranston, raising his hand. “Laser gun YU-71. I know it well; the facility is stocked with them. I have adapted. Surrender to me; Resistance… is futile.” Dr. Kranston screamed and fired off eight more rounds in succession, each not damaging Locutus at all. Locutus, his arm still raised steadily walked forward in a maneuver to crush Kranston’s face with his hand. But Locutus’ hand did not find the target; Kranston tucked the cylinder into his jacket and fled, his three tails flapping behind him as he scuttled away.
Locutus scanned Enris with his bionic eye. “I am sorry. He is unrepairable.” His robotic voice echoing creepily in the hall.
Thaddeus nodded, inwardly saying goodbye to his fellow friend and colleague. The escape pod was down the hall. They made it.
Thaddeus and Locutus walked towards the end of the hallway to find two pods still in the chamber. So. Most of them had escaped. That was a relief; their collective minds held more knowledge than a hundred planetary labs, and he lamented their departure of this world.
The sirens stopped. It was only a matter of time now before the entire facility was destroyed. Thaddeus hopped into the escape pod, punching the course for Earth. It shot off like a rocket, and the last sounds of the science facility were not good ones; A deep, gravelly voice sounded through his intercom. “Doctor Thaddeus Brinkman, you have failed. These wretched halls will be torn asunder!!”
Moments later, the buzz of silence.
What was to become of Dr. Brinkman? Is there any salvation for him, the planet Earth, or even the nine galaxies? That decision is solely up to you, my intrepid heroes; the fate of trillions lies upon your shoulders.