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Max_Writer

Aliens Adventure Game: Forced Entry 2 (Part 1): 2012-01-30

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Monday, January 30, 2012

(After playing the conclusion of the Aliens Adventure Game scenario “Forced Entry” by Roman J. Andron from Challenge Magazine #62 with Steve Turner and Erik Huffine Friday from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. in High Point. Continuation of game session from July 30, 2010)

Lt. Smith and Pvt. Kemps left engineering to go secure the dropship. Once they left, MkVenner told Anderson and Henson to get ready to head down to the cargo hold to retrieve a crate to transport the eggs.

Lt. Smith kept in constant communication, noting when they were on level three and when they approached the airlock.

“Entering the airlock,” Lt. Smith said. “Oh shit!”

Kemps grunted.

“One’s–!” Smith shouted.

There as a slapping noise that they recognized over the radio as the sound of pulse rifle recoil against an environmental suit. Then there was the sound of a short struggle and a snapping noise. Smith screamed.

“Son of a–!” Kemps shouted.

He yelled again and they heard a tearing noise and a brief rush of air before everything went silent over the radio. The entire episode had lasted less than four seconds.

Pvt. Henson’s eyes went wide. Pvt. Anderson also looked unnerved and Coombs looked at the two techs nervously. It was the first time Corporal McVenner had seen the man look out of sorts. Pvt. Simmons tightened his grip on his pulse rifle. Then Corporal McVenner ordered Anderson and Henson to stay in the engine room and guard Coombs and the techs.

“If they so much as flinch, ventilate ‘em,” he said.

“Wait,” Coombs said. “Hold on just a moment.”

“Shut up!” McVenner said to him. “Stay here. We’ll be back.”

He turned to Simmons.

“Let’s go,” he said.

The two of them left engineering, heading for the tube that led to Deck 3.

“Oh god ...” a voice came over the radio.

“Lieutenant?” Simmons asked.

“Sir?” McVenner asked.

“I don’t know,” Smith’s voice crackled over the radio, heavy with static. “It’s ... it’s ... no light ... leaking air ...”

“Sir! Sit tight!” Simmons said. “We’re on our way!”

They headed down the tube double time while still staying alert to their surroundings, practically back to back walking from the knees down. The tube and the corridors that connected to it were only partially lit by damaged lights. The door at the end of the corridor that they knew led to the main passage on Deck 3 was closed.

“Keep your eyes open Simmons,” McVenner said.

“You don’t have to tell me twice,” Simmons replied.

“Keep your eyes open Simmons,” McVenner quipped.

Simmons rolled his eyes.

When they reached the door, they saw that there were green lights on the controls next to it. McVenner moved to the right and pushed the button. The door slid open soundlessly.

“Corporal, sealing this door?” Simmons said.

“No,” McVenner said to him. “We might need it to retreat.”

“Yeah, but, I mean, could these things get through?” Simmons went on. “We don’t know if they can get through doors or not.”

“They can get through anywhere they want to,” McVenner replied.

“Son of a *****,” Simmons muttered. Then “Yes sir.”

Just as he said it, a large, black shape passed the door at speed, apparently flying through the air. It was moving aft, towards the cargo bay. He jerked his pulse rifle up, aiming it toward the door.

“We’ve got movement!” he said.

McVenner’s eyes went wide and he went down to one knee, bringing his pulse rifle up. Simmons moved closer behind him and pointed toward the aft end of the corridor. McVenner leaned out into the passageway, looking forward. Simmons followed suit and leaned out, looking aft. McVenner spotted several small, floating spheres in the air near the airlock access passage. Simmons saw some kind of barbed tail disappear into the open door to the dark cargo bay.

“It went into the cargo bay corporal!” Simmons said.

“Shit! Shit! Shit!” McVenner said.

“I saw a ... a tail?” Simmons went on.

McVenner headed into the passageway, closely followed by Simmons. The corporal moved forward and the private followed him, back-to-back, covering all sections of the corridor. As they approached the door that opened into the corridor to the airlock, they guessed the dark red blobs floating in the air were drops of blood. One of them struck McVenner’s helmet and splattered against it, clinging to the surface and partially obstructing his view. He wiped it off.

“Yeah, don’t move,” they heard Henson say over the radio. “At all.”

After a moment, his voice came over the radio again.

“No, I’m not going onto a private channel,” he said.

McVenner and Simmons reached the intersection of the two airlock corridors. McVenner looked down the starboard corridor and saw that it was dark except at the very end, where a flickering light came from around the corner of the intact airlock. The interior door was open and he could see the green lights of the control panel on their side of the airlock, the only light in the darkened corridor.

He reached back and patted Simmons’ shoulder and they moved down the airlock passage back-to-back. It was a long corridor and it felt like they were moving very slowly down it, their only illumination their helmet lights.

The radio crackled with static again.

“They got me up against a wall ...” Lt. Smith’s voice gasped. “I don’t know what it’s doing ...”

“Sir! Tell us where you are!” McVenner said.

“I can’t see,” Smith replied. “It’s pitch black ...”

“Cargo hold!” both Simmons and McVenner said at the same time.

They headed back down the black corridor. They had only made it about halfway to the airlock but headed back with more speed. Simmons saw that the other airlock passageway door gaped open and he thought he saw movement far down the darkened corridor. When they reached the main passage, McVenner crossed and pushed the button and it closed. He closed the door to the starboard airlock passage as well.

Then the two men made their way aft, closing the door to the tube to Deck 2 as they passed it. The other doors, two of which led to crew quarters and the third marked “Rescue Pod,” were already closed.

The door to the cargo bay was open and looked into a small, dark foyer with another open door beyond it. The cargo bay was dark. As they approached it, Simmons started calling out their range in yards.

“Control panel’s fragged,” Simmons, facing aft, said.

“Stop at the doorway private,” McVenner said.

“Roger that,” Simmons replied.

He stopped when he got to the doorway, the lights on his helmet doing little to dispel the clinging darkness in the foyer. The light fixture in the small room had been smashed and shattered glass and frozen mercury from the fluorescent lights floated in the air.

“Are we entering, corporal?” Simmons asked.

“You know it,” McVenner replied.

Simmons took out a flare, broke it, and it burst into life, the small device providing its own oxygen-fed flame. He tossed it gently into the room. It floated slowly straight across the foyer and into the cargo hold beyond. McVenner, meanwhile, had turned to cover the passage behind them. They followed the reddish light into the foyer.

“Two more, Simmons,” McVenner said. “Two more. Left and right.”

Simmons took out another flare and lit it, carefully tossing it down the alley between the wall and the first pallet of cargo containers to his right. Then he sent a third to his left. The red glow from the flares gave the place a strange, hellish look. They all seemed to be moving away from them at a great pace, though it could not have been faster than a man walking.

McVenner took out two of his own flares and lit them, sending them up at about a 45 degree angle and at about a 90 degree angle from one another. These burned blue and made strange shadows where their light and the red light came together.

The two men waited in the foyer, intently watching the first flare that Simmons had tossed into the room. It floated faster than the rest and struck the resin-covered wall of the huge cargo hold, not far from one of the dead men they’d spotted earlier. He appeared to have been mutating into some kind of round, puckered alien substance that looked almost like a flower with an overly fat stem when they found him. The shadows of the flare made the dead man seem to turn to look at them.

“Yeah, I said don’t move, buddy!” they heard over the radio.

“Henson!” McVenner said. “Cap a lid on it. I want radio silence.”

“Sorry Corp,” Henson replied.

“Sir, give us an indication,” McVenner went on. “Where are you?”

There was a crackle of static.

“We’re going to get you out, sir, but we need you to show us where you are,” McVenner went on. “Can you see the light, sir?”

“It’s all red,” Lt. Smith said. “I see red.”

“He’s in here,” Simmons said.

“I’m having trouble breathing,” Smith went on.

“Keep it together, sir,” McVenner said. “If we can find you, we can patch up your suit. We just need to know where you are.”

“I’m up against the wall,” Smith mumbled. “With the ... there’s a ... there’s a ... I tried to get it with the knife ... there’s a tear ... I think there’s a tear ...”

“Sir, are you surrounded by goo or just regular wall?” McVenner asked.

The radio crackled with static.

“I can’t see anything ...” Smith mumbled. “There’s light off to my left. This looks like ... Hell ...”

McVenner looked at Simmons and then pointed up with his thumb. McVenner jumped hard enough to disengage his magboots, heading up towards the ceiling of the cargo bay, aiming for a spot about five meters from the near wall. Simmons also jumped but he followed the wall, going nearly straight up towards the ceiling. McVenner spun over as he reached the spots and bumped into ceiling some 20 meters above. Unfortunately, the main engine core, which ran along the roof of the cargo bay to the engine housing on the back of the vessel, now separated them.

However, with the light from the flares, they could see a figure about 10 meters up the far wall connected to the resin there. They saw no sign of the alien.

McVenner turned himself over and clamped his magboots to the ceiling.

“Simmons, let’s go get him!” he said. “Cover our six. Let’s go get him.”

“Corporal, just flip it!” Simmons said. “Just flip. Zero-G training.”

* * *

Simmons flipped over and his magboots connected with the ceiling. Now, instead of being at the top of the cargo bay, he was on the floor again. It was momentarily disorienting but nothing he hadn’t been trained for. He made his way across the engine core and spotted McVenner on the other side.

McVenner launched himself from the ceiling and flew towards the Lieutenant as Simmons walked that way, continuing to look around, keeping an eye on McVenner and trying to look back at the cargo bay entrance, now far above him, at the same time. McVenner spun, mid-flight, to orient himself with the floor once again. He struck the wall near the lieutenant and quickly examined the man, finding a small hole about two centimeters across on the chest of his suit. Smith no longer had his pulse rifle and was webbed to the wall with resin that looked fresher than that already coating the wall.

“A light,” Smith muttered. “I see a light.”

McVenner glanced back over his shoulder and could see Simmons’ helmet lights near the ceiling. The man continued to make his way across the vast cargo bay.

“All right Simmons, cover me,” McVenner said. “I’ve got to try to patch this suit. Then we’ve got to get him out of here.”

“I’m on you,” Simmons replied.

“Keep your eyes peeled up there, buddy,” McVenner said.

He slung his pulse rifle and took out the patch kit from his suit. He pulled apart one of the patches, pressing it over the hole. The lieutenant looked very pale and barely seemed conscious but, even as he watched, seemed to come around. Then McVenner started to pull at the resin, tearing it away from the wall and the lieutenant.

“Hang on, sir,” McVenner said.

A little color had come back into Smith’s face and his hand suddenly slapped down to his right side, drawing his side arm. McVenner looked behind him.

“Simmons!” Lt. Smith screamed in a crackle of static.

McVenner saw the muzzle flash from the M4A3 pistol well before it pointed anywhere near Simmons. As his helmet light came around, in the hellish light from the red flares, he could see one of the aliens moving on all fours behind Simmons, rushing him.

“Simmons!” McVenner shouted. “Kick off now!”

Simmons kicked off the ceiling with a jerk, flying towards the wall near McVenner and Lt. Smith. The alien continued to gallop along the ceiling towards his last position. McVenner slipped his pulse rifle from his shoulder, aimed at the horrible thing, and fired a burst. The rifle slapped against his arm and a spark burst near the alien but one of the bullets struck it in the leg, though it didn’t seem to slow it at all.

Simmons had rolled in the air and struck the wall with his feet, his magboots activating. The wall now seemed to be the floor and the alien seemed to be climbing down a high wall ahead of him. He fired at the thing, as did McVenner, and sparks struck the engine housing. Some of the bullets struck the thing in the leg again and it looked like the leg broke and then hung uselessly off the thing. Its mouth opened in a silent scream.

As McVenner stopped firing and attempted to steady his aim, the alien leapt off the engine housing, propelling itself back towards the door to the cargo bay. Simmons fired again, holding his pulse rifle at his hip. Bullets struck the cargo bay ceiling but none of them struck the alien. As it floated at an angle towards the floor, McVenner fired again without luck. Simmons fired at the horror as well but also missed.

McVenner launched himself straight out from the wall.

“What are you doing!?!” Simmons shouted.

“I’m not letting another of these bastards get away!” McVenner yelled back.

As he floated across the cargo bay, he aimed at the thing that was quickly floating towards the pallets on the floor.

* * *

Simmons, meanwhile, headed towards Lt. Smith.

“Lieutenant! Lieutenant!” Simmons called. “You okay?”

Lt. Smith waved his firearm in the general direction of the alien.

“Who’s that?” he said over the crackling radio. “Who’s that?”

“Simmons, sir!” Simmons replied. “Simmons!”

He reached the officer and started to look him over. He spotted the patch that McVenner had placed on his chest. He looked over his shoulder just as the alien reached one of the pallets on the floor.

“Lieutenant! Lieutenant! Put the side arm down!” he said. “We’ve got to get out of here!”

Smith continued to struggle against the stuff that was holding him to the wall.

* * *

At the alien reached the pallet, McVenner fired a burst from his pulse rifle but without apparent affect, though he thought he saw at least one of the bullets strike the thing in the leg again. He continued to fire as the thing scuttled over the side of one of the cargo containers. He thought one of the bullets had struck the alien in the lower body and saw that the thing’s lower legs both seemed to stop moving. Then he lost sight of it.

“****!” he screamed as he realized that he was floating towards the thing.

“What’s going on!?!” Henson’s voice came over his headset.

“Clear the channel!” McVenner screamed.

The pulse rifle’s recoil had only knocked him off course a little and, as he looked for the creature, he saw it appear in the main alley between the containers. It was pulling itself with two arms, the legs trailing uselessly behind. He fired another burst at the thing and he saw sparks all around it as it dragged itself into the darkness of the foyer and vanished from sight.

McVenner struck the far wall of the cargo bay solidly. He grunted and shook his head.

“Corp! Corp!” Simmons called.

“I’m good,” McVenner replied. “I hit the wall.”

He got his magboots on the wall and then headed down to the floor of the cargo bay, moving to the doorway of the foyer, his pulse rifle ready. As his helmet light struck the foyer, the alien lunged down at McVenner from where it was crouched near the ceiling inside, grabbing his right arm with a single long, spindly hand. He screamed and instinctively fired his pulse rifle, the bullets striking the alien in one of the dead legs, the arm that the thing held him with, and its tail, which had risen up over its head but not flopped uselessly behind it. It jerked McVenner into the foyer, using its other arm to hold onto the pipes above. The man’s head slamming into the upper part of the doorway and he felt himself lose consciousness.

* * *

Simmons saw the flash of the pulse rifle and then McVenner jerked into the foyer.

“Corporal! Corporal!” he shouted.

There was no answer.

“Lieutenant, I’ve got to go check on the corporal!” he said.

“Go!” Lt. Smith said.

Simmons kicked off from the wall, aiming at the foyer doorway as Lt. Smith tore at the resin that held him to the wall. Simmons’ aim was off and he spun, his boots striking the wall near the foyer doorway. He raced down the wall as quickly as he could and headed for the foyer.

* * *

McVenner awoke and glanced around. The alien still had him by the right arm but was dragging him down the corridor, pulling itself along the wall with its other arm. Its bloody legs and tail hung uselessly behind him, though it didn’t seem to slow the horrible thing significantly. McVenner was surprised that the strong acid that seemed to make up the thing’s blood hadn’t gotten on him. The thing was holding him low, far below where the occasional drop of acid fell into the vacuum. The two were moving down the wide main passage that ran nearly the length of Deck 3, heading away from the cargo hold.

His pulse rifle was gone.

“It’s pulling me down the main corridor,” he muttered.

“I’m coming!” Simmons replied. “I’m coming!”

McVenner very slowly moved his left arm down to get to his side arm.

* * *

Simmons got to the foyer door and saw the crippled alien dragging McVenner’s limp body down the corridor near the ceiling. They were about 40 feet from him and about a quarter of a way down the main passageway.

“It’s taking me to the stairwell,” he heard McVenner say. “We’re moving towards the stairwell.”

“I’m behind you!” Simmons said. “I’m behind you!”

He headed into the main passageway.

“Tell me when to shoot!” he said.

“Shoot it!” McVenner replied.

“I don’t want to hit you, corp!”

“I don’t want to disappear in the stairwell! Shoot it!”

Simmons put his pulse rifle to his shoulder, aimed at the creature for what felt like a long time, and fired when he saw McVenner raise his side arm in his left hand and point it at the thing. The bullets tore into the alien’s lower body and it convulsed and let loose of McVenner. The corporal fired his side arm, using the recoil to get to the floor and away from the thing. He quickly examined his suit but found no breaches.

The unmoving alien continued to float down the passageway towards the stairwell.

“Corp! Hal! You okay?” Simmons called.

As soon as McVenner’s magboots had him safely connected to the floor, he headed back to Simmons as quickly as he could.

“Get your rifle!” Simmons said, gesturing to the pulse rifle that was moving lazily down the passageway.

Then he swung around and moved back into the foyer, looking into the cargo hold.

“Lieutenant!” he said. “Lieutenant!”

“I’m here,” Lt. Smith replied. “I’m here.”

Simmons saw that the lieutenant was free of the resin-covered wall and making his way back towards him. A moment later, McVenner was at Simmons’ side.

“Corp! Lieutenant! We got a situation up here in engineering!” Henson’s voice came over the radio. “Something’s trying to get in!”

“Son of a *****,” Simmons muttered.

“And I think it’s going to!” Henson said.

“Shit,” McVenner muttered. “Shit!”

He thought a moment.

“Maintain discipline, Henson,” he said. “You and Anderson set up overlapping fields of fire. Cover the doorway from where it’s going to break in. Anything comes through, hose it down. We’ll be up there in a minute.”

“Corporal,” Coombs’ voice came over the radio.

“What do you want, Coombs?” McVenner asked.

“Would gravity be of assistance to you?” Coombs calms said. “I have two men who are not doing anything who could be working on getting gravity back. If you so desire.”

“No, I want them sitting tight,” McVenner said.

Simmons moved back into the cargo bay proper as the lieutenant floated down towards the middle alley. He landed nearby and moved to the foyer as Simmons reached over to the control on the wall and fingered the switch. One by one, several fluorescent lights flickered to life. Some were damaged and those nearest the alien, resin-covered wall did not work, but the rest lit the cargo bay.

Lieutenant Smith reached the other two men.

“You okay sir?” Simmons asked.

“No,” the man replied distinctly.

“All right, sir, stick with us,” McVenner said. “We’re headed back to engineering. Henson?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Henson replied. He sounded anxious.

“I need you to tell me what entryway this thing’s trying to get in,” McVenner said.

“Uh ... uh ... the same one you left from,” Henson said. “But it stopped. I don’t know where it is!”

“Don’t–” McVenner said.

“Is it in the vents again?” Henson said shakily. “Is it in the vents again?”

“I don’t know, Henson,” McVenner said. “Just ... keep your cool.”

“Let’s get to the rescue pods and get the hell out of here!”

“Shut up, Henson, and clear the channel.”

He heard an indistinct whimpering from the radio.

The three men headed back to the corridor that led to the tube to Deck 2, McVenner in the lead. As they moved, Lt. Smith told them that one of the things was near the airlock and it grabbed him. He’d tried to use his knife, but it stabbed him with its tail and bit his helmet, destroying his helmet lights. He mentioned that the creatures had some kind of retractable second set of jaws in their mouths. He knew it grabbed at Kemps but didn’t see him after that, suggesting that the man might still be in the airlock. He said all he knew was that when he awoke, he was being dragged through the darkness.

They told him they’d killed one of the creatures in the cargo bay.

They made it to the open area near main engineering without any encounters. To their left was the closed door that led to the stairs directly to the bridge. To the right was the door to engineering, which had been battered by something with great strength. The door was dented and warped. The controls next to it were smashed.

A dark corridor was on the far wall that led to cargo handling control. Anything could have been lurking in the darkness there.

“Henson, Anderson,” McVenner said.

“Yeah,” Henson replied.

“We’re trying to come through the door,” McVenner said. “Do not fire.”

“All right,” Henson replied.

Lt. Smith worked the manual override on the door and was able to get it about halfway open before it got stuck. It was enough and he squeezed through the door. Simmons and McVenner looked at each other.

“You first, sir,” Simmons said.

McVenner looked at the man.

“All right, Simmons,” he said.

He ducked through the door. Simmons followed him, moving backwards and saw that there were green lights on the control inside the door. As he reached for the control, he saw movement in the room without.

“Movement!” he shrieked as he slammed the button.

The alien moved with a sickening grace and speed, rushing at the door on all fours as it slid closed just before the creature could get to Simmons. He saw the door buckle under the ungodly strength of the creature as it fought to get in. Simmons backed away from the door, his pulse rifle at ready.

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