The Notrium Saga: The Survivor
Chapter 1: The Crew- "You can't do this, I know how much you think this is your big chance of proving yourself but it's too dangerous.
You can stay here, you don't need to go a distant pla-"
"If I stay here I am nothing more than a runt. Don't you see? I would rather die than to lead a life of ridicule and shame among my own kind!" She growled.
"Nobody expects anything of you. You have nothing you need to prove to them."
"Exactly! They treat me with such little respect as to expect nothing from me. They think I am useless!"
Seeing that she could not be swayed, he gave in.
"Fine, I'll let you go on one condition: That you let me come with you. It's too dangerous for you alone."
She snorted in disgust, but was left no choice. "Besides," she thought, "I could get rid of him if he gets in my way."
"The ships about to leave, come on!" The two aliens left their hiding spot and rushed into the cargo bay. Seconds later the blast
door closed, leaving them enshrouded in darkness.
BANG! The clamor echoed in the hallway. "Aahhhhh! Let me go! Ahrrgh!" the crewman yelled in
agony as an invisible force pressed him against the wall. The captain rushed into the room to find the medic and the pinned
"Stand down!" he yelled, but the medic payed him no attention, only pushing harder with his mind.
"That's an order!" Finally, the medic relaxed his composure and the crewman fell onto the ground, dazed. The captain rushed over
and helped him up. The crewman looked up at the medic in fear and hastened to leave the room.
"What was that?!" The captain demanded. "You nearly killed that man!"
The medic did what passed as a shrug among his kind. "I was having a nightmare, and that man made a jest at me. I simply was not in the mood for it."
"Listen, I know you've been getting fidgetty ever since we set a course for the Hive, especially in the last few days, but smacking a
guy around for making a crack at you is not acceptable."
The medic's large eyes blinked a few times. Then he nodded.
"I understand, it won't happen again."
The captain walked out of the room and took a deep breath. He looked around at his crew, busy doing their assigned duties on the
bridge. The first mate, Jack Sterns, was giving orders to the others. He was one of the few humans on the Var' Equinallin. The
navigator, Ra'keesh S'narsh was chosen for his position due to his race's great reputation as explorers of the galaxy.
The weapons operator was a warlike Drekken. His name was unpronouncable so the crew affectionately named him "Spot" after
explaining to him that "Spot" was one of Earth's great warriors in ancient times. The captain paced around the bridge, overseeing his
crew's work. The star chart said they were 56 hours away from their destination, the Hive. The captain chuckled to himself,
"Not likely," he thought,"In that time frame the warp engineer is bound to come up with at least a dozen ways to increase warp
efficiency." The captain walked over to his quarters and entered the spacious room. He turned on his log and said to it,
"Aboard the Var' Equinallin, en route to the Hive, ETA 48 hours..."
Chapter 2: Ambush-
Footsteps resounded in the darkness but they faded as quickly as they came. The captain stopped and turned his gaze toward the direction he heard them in. This was the cargo bay, why would anyone be here at this hour? He shifted uneasily and was about to leave when he heard the footsteps again. This time, the captain immediately pulled his pistol out and aimed at the source of the noise. He walked closer slowly, and saw a a shadow, sneaking around stealthily. Suddenly, the shadow disappeared and its owner leapt out at him. The captain barely had time to react as the pistol was knocked out of his hand. He tried to push back but was knocked onto the floor. His attacker was a strange alien and possessed enormous strength.
"Oh no you don't!" The captain screamed as the alien tried to lock it's jaws onto his throat.The struggle went on for a long minute that seemed like hours. The alien was not tiring at all yet the human was reaching the limits of his endurance. Out of pure desperation, the captain kicked the alien with all of his remaining strength. One of his kicks connected with the alien's vulnerable abdomen and it reeled back in pain. Taking the opportunity, the captain rolled sideways and grabbed the pistol. He aimed at the alien's torso and emptied his clip into it. Its chest was soon riddled with holes. The alien stumbled for a bit and then, emitting a weak growl, it collapsed.
Gasping for breath, the captain got back on his feet and wiped the green blood off of his cheek. The security squad arrived and surveyed the scene.
"What happened sir?" asked the squad leader.
"Well men, there was quite a show, and you just missed it."
The captain and his team left, leaving the body for the cleanup crew to take care of. If they had paid closer attention to it, they would've found it was still faintly breathing. The nearly dead creature noticed a second alien approaching it and gasped it's last breath when a sharp claw beheaded the fallen hunter, snuffling out what little life was left in it. The second alien could hardly contain its glee. A whole week living off of barely edible ship rations had made her forget what meat was like. As she bit into her decapitated comrade's body, she licked every drop of blood and chewed on every bone, leaving nothing behind. She savored the last morsels slowly and then retreated back into hiding. The cleanup crew's job was already done.
Chapter 3: A Not-So-Dead Planet-
The planet was unlike anything he had ever seen before. The atmosphere was a hazy green that almost completely hid the wilderness below. One could spend hours gazing in awe at this planet. It seemed completely impossible that something like this could develop naturally.
"What is this planet called again?" asked the captain.
"It's called Notrium, captain." replied the navigator in his usual smooth, silky voice. He tapped a few buttons on the console display and planet information started to dance across the screen.
"Notrium is a medium sized planet whose age is unknown. Same goes for its orbiting moon Netria though they both are likely to be about the same age. The planet surface is unique in that many different type of enviroments are crammed in relatively small areas. Hmm, captain, you won't believe this!" Ra'keesh's voice turned suddenly urgent.
"In depth analysis shows that in most areas there are signs of alien life. They're all over the planet. Another thing is that the poles aren't cold at all, in fact, both of them seem to have warm climates."
The captain walked over to the scanner station and looked over the planet analysis himself. A few red dots glowed on the map. The captain's eyes widened.
"Crashed ships, Ra'keesh?"
"Yes, captain, and quite a few of them too." replied Ra'keesh
"What could possibly cause all of those ships to crash?" The captain asked but his question was shortly answered by small blips on the radar display.
"Missiles!" yelled the weapons operator, "Their coming in fast!"
The captain turned and yelled, "Get the shields o-"
The ship shook violently as the steady stream of missiles pounded against it.
"Hull integrity failing." beeped the computer. "Engine detonation imminent."
A stray missile hit the ship, this time right on the bridge. A split second later, half of the bridge was gone. All of the crew were sucked into space but the captain and Sterns barely got to the closest room whose atmosphere was still intact.
"Sterns, we have to get to the escape pods!" yelled the captain over the constant explosions.
The first mate nodded and got to his feet only to be knocked back down by the shockwave from another missile.
"We have to hurry!" the captain urged after helping Sterns back up.
The two fought past smoldering gas pipes and leaking coolant until they reached the port side of the ship.
The captain opened the door and the two of them rushed in and pressed the launch button. There was no time to fasten their seatbelts so the captain and the first mate both got slammed into the back of the escape pod by the force of the launch. The escape pod started hurtling into the planet's atmosphere with it's heatshield flaring brightly.
The captain looked out the small window to see that many of his crew had not made it in time. The few that did make it were almost instantly destroyed by the continuous volley of missiles. He braced himself as the pod pounded right into the planet's surface, going from 800 mph to 0 in a millisecond.
After recovering from the thundering impact, the captain looked around and quickly assessed the situation. The escape pod's fire control system put out the fires but the emergency lights were shattered, making the innards of the pod almost pitch black.
"Sterns, you okay?" The captain asked, feeling his way around the pod for his first mate.
When he got no reply, the captain started to search the floor. His foot grazed against what felt like the first mate's head, and he instinctively got to his knees and felt Sterns's pulse and breath. He was alive, but unconsious. The captain, got up, grabbed the escape pod latch and wrenched it with all his might. No good. Then he remembered that there was a welding torch in the emergency survival kit and grabbed it. He started to carve his way around the latch. When he was satisfied it was weak enough, he gave a swift kick to the center of it, sending the latch outward. Light streamed into the cramped pod and for the first time, the captain looked out at the planet of Notrium.
The pod had landed in what seemed to be a jungle or forest. Grabbing the survival kit and his first mate by the leg, he hauled them both out of the escape pod and looked at Sterns. His injuries were severe. Blood trickled from the back of his bald head and he was suffering from a concussion. The captain grabbed the first aid kit, hoping that there was no permanent brain damage. As he was emptying the contents of the first aid kit, he heard a rustle in the underbrush. A few seconds later dozens of small blue aliens came rushing out, apparently attracted by the scent of blood. The captain groaned, this was going to be a long day.
Chapter 4: The Aliens and the Dream-
The aliens started running on their clawed feet, jumping and snarling as they went. The captain reached for his pistol but remembered that his holster had been lost during the escape from the Var' Equinallin. He immediately grabbed the welding torch and turned it on. It wouldn't be enough for an entire pack of aliens but maybe it would scare the rest off if he could kill a few. He immediately turned toward the closest alien and charged at it. He bashed the aliens head in with the rear of the welding torch and then lit it on fire. He then grabbed another alien and burned it's head from it's wiry neck. With two of the aliens dead, the captain wondered why all of the others were still continuing their attack. He was outnumbered, the aliens didn't bother to flank him or catch him unaware, they just attacked relentlessly. One of them leapt four feet into the air and sank it's claws into the captain's back.
The captain screamed in pain and whirled around while more aliens grabbed onto him. He swung around wildly, throwing a few off, then he smashed the welding torch onto the ground with all his might, breaking the fuel container and sending flames roaring up. The captain rolled onto the ground with a couple aliens still trying to hang on. The fire set the aliens aflame and they started to writhe in agony. The captain quickly rolled away from the fire and started to breathe heavily. "So this is Notrium's first greeting." The captain muttered, wincing at the cut wounds the aliens tore into his back. Blood streamed onto the strange vegetation that grew on the forest floor. The captain grew lightheaded, and felt strangely weak.
The large ship shaked slightly as the warp engines hummed to life. A small child looked up at his mother and father with fearful eyes. He had never been this scared in his life. And though he didn't seem like it, the father was scared too.
"Where are we going papa?" asked the little boy in a shaky voice.
"To somewhere safe, where your momma and you can live a new life. Safe from what's going to happen to our home."
The boy clutched onto his mother tighter, but she was so fatigued that she could barely stay awake. A strange garble of voices spoke over the ship's intercom system, and the crowded group of humans started walking to their designated storage rooms of the ship.
The boy's mother started trudging her way down the congested hall but the boy held on to her tighter.
"Papa," the boy said, with a desperate look about him."When you said we were going to a new place, you meant you would also come right?"
The boy's father lowered his face so his son could not see the tears forming on his eyes. He
took a few paces backward and said with a such a deep sorrow that it barely sounded human, "I'm sorry." He turned around and walked away. The door closed. That was the last time he saw his father.The boy did not shed a single tear, only turning extremely pale. From that day on, he became a survivor.
Chapter 5: The First Step to Survival, A Prototype Enviro-Suit-
Awakening. He looked around and tried to get up, but his whole body ached. He could hear growls from a distance. "Where am I?" He thought to himself, "What happened?"
Then it all rushed back to him in a flood of memories. He was on Notrium, nearly killed by the planet's strange inhabitants. He remembered that he had suffered severe back injuries and burns. But when he passed his hand over them, he found that they had disappeared. Was it all just a dream?
He rose to his feet with some difficulty due to his stiff joints, and was surprised to see that the leafy plant that he had been sleeping on had oozed out liquid all over his body. The liquid had magically healed every one of his wounds, leaving not even a scar behind. If the circumstances were different, the captain might've been utterly astounded by this discovery, but he simply made a mental note of the plant in case he might need to heal himself in the future. Walking over to the escape pod, he could see that Sterns was still there, unconscious and breathing shallowly.
It occurred to him that if he could barely keep himself alive, then how could he care for another man? For a moment he thought of leaving Sterns but it went against everything he had been taught. Survival is your main concern, urged a little voice in his head, but another shouted out, Sterns would do the same for you. He stood there for a while, thinking. Then the voice of reason won out, and the captain decided to leave his fellow crewman here. He could not survive unless he kept moving, so caring for Sterns was out of the question. He grabbed the survival kit and carefully inspected its contents. A few packets of rations, enough for a day, a traditional lighter, a flask of water, a medical kit, a flashlight, and a large unmarked box. The captain examined this last item carefully and opened the seal. Inside was a folded up green metallic suit labelled: Infantry Standard Issue Prototype Enviro-suit. It had an airtight inner mesh and the headpiece had vision enhancing goggles built in. He grabbed the suit and slipped it over his burnt clothing. He then took the helmet and put it over his head. He started to tinker around with the tiny switches on the side but found that the suit had not been upgraded with any nightvision or motion detection vision modes. He would have to use the flashlight for now.
The captain looked down on his first mate. No doubt the aliens would eventually kill him. He said a quick prayer for his first mate, then started hiking through the forest. If he was to survive, he would need shelter. The Notrium sky was bright and the slightly frigid temperature was easily compensated for by the captain's new suit. He was alert, but perhaps not alert enough, for he did not notice that something was in the shadows, following his every move.
Chapter 6: The Second Step to Survival, Roasted Brown Alien-
The captain's stomach grumbled in want of food. The sun was setting beyond the horizon and only a greenish glow came through the thick clouds. It was obvious that it would soon be a Notrium "night". The captain had already consumed the rations that he brought with him. He now regretted not taking some of the blue alien corpses with him. They were thin with little meat on them but even they seemed appetizing to him now. As he was slowly limping along, he spotted some orange fist sized mushrooms growing next to a bush. He ran to them and stuffed a few into his mouth, hardly chewing the mushy flesh of the fungus. The first few went down with no problem but as he bit into one of the larger ones an acidic juice started to burn his tongue and throat. He spat it out in disgust and grabbed his flask to wash down the rancid taste. It was empty. Coughing and wheezing uncontrollably, he staggered about with tears running down his cheeks.
Then he heard a faint growl close to him and he barely was able to keep down his coughing. There were quick footsteps and then a death cry piercing the night sky that sounded similar to one of those blue aliens. The captain started to sneak to the source of the sound. It was getting closer. Then he peered past a large tree and saw a silhouette against the sunset. It was feasting on something on the ground but when it raised its head to sniff the air, it immediately ran off, leaving its meal behind. The captain waited until he was sure the other creature was away to approach the corpse on the ground. He examined it closely. It was an alien all right but instead of being one of the small blue aliens that attacked him earlier it seemed to be much larger, about twice as large as himself. It had large claws and a extremely tough exoskeleton. The captain took a look at its wounds and saw that its his stomach was open and its entrails were strewn across its body. Whatever did this to it was a dangerous creature indeed.
His stomach growled once more, dissatisfied with the fungus that it got earlier. He found a sharp rock after a few minutes of searching and started to slice away at the meaty parts of the dead alien. When he was finished he found some of the more flammable pieces of wood lying around and laid them out like he was taught so many years ago in the Academy.
The thought of the academy made the captain hesitate and reflect on his childhood days. After his mother became a slave he was enrolled into the New Dawn Admiralty Academy on the distant planet of Timreh in the Centauri system in the hope that he would eventually be promoted to Admiral and given the power to free those who was enslaved so long ago. His training was rigorous and he was the best of the best, yet nothing had prepared him for this.
The fire was now blazing at its full strength with meat roasting over it. The captain ate to his heart's content and put the rest away for later. He was content and comfortable but was careful not to fall asleep, lest the aliens start picking his remains off their teeth by morning.
Chapter 7: Not Alone-
A deafening report of a pistol woke up the captain from the little "bed" of leaves he had been dozing off on. He cursed himself for falling asleep, imagining how lucky he was to be still alive in the morning. He wondered where the pistol firing had been from. It seemed he wasn't alone with the aliens on this planet. A shelter would make his life here much easier, but so far he hadn't seen anything that could be used to make one.
As he was ambling aimlessly around, a gleam from far away caught his eye. He squinted at the object far in the distance, but it disappeared behind the trees. Perhaps it was a survivor from the Var' Equinallin? He hurried in the direction he saw the person. A pistol report went off again, and he heard a bullet whiz past his head. The captain ducked and hid behind a tree. Heavy footsteps came closer and closer to the captain's hiding place. Whoever that person was, he definitely wanted him dead.
When the person who shot at him passed his tree, he saw that the person wore a heavy suit. It's visor completely covered the person's face, and the rest of the armor was made of a shiny metal. On the bicep plate it read: "Ville Corporation Marine" in small black letters. He held a large pistol that was also labeled "Ville Corp". This marine was well trained and seemed familiar with the surroundings.
The captain's first thought was to sneak away slowly and leave the marine alone, but then he thought of the pistol, and the rations the marine undoubtedly had. It would be in his best interests to
try to take this guy down. The captain followed him from the underbrush, using the occasional rock
and tree for cover. Finally, after nearly an hour of stalking him, he heard the marine turn on a radio
and say, "I saw something a few miles back. It can't have been an alien." The radio crackled then replied, "Never mind that, we need your help over here. He's not coming out."
The marine turned off the radio and finally put his pistol next to his hip. A short while later, he came upon what looked to be a crude cabin made of rocks and logs in a small grove. There were
three other marines with slightly different suits than he, each heavily armed.
"Surely," The captain thought. "These marines aren't simply marooned survivors." He saw them approach the thick door. One of the marines knocked on the door and yelled, "We know you're in there. If you come peacefully then maybe I'll think about letting you live."
There was a barely audible whimper from inside.
The marine who knocked on the door looked at his companions, and they nodded. One of the marines reached into his pack and pulled out a small device which he placed onto the door. The marines ran back and 10 seconds later, there was a huge explosion. The door was vaporized
along with half of the entire cabin. The marines rushed inside with their weapons drawn out. They grabbed the sobbing man from the corner of the house and one of them knocked him out with the
butt of his rifle.
"Sergeant, he didn't have his suit with him, or any weapons and food. We're probably doing him a
favor by taking him back."
The leader of the group turned and looked at the miserable heap they were placing on a stretcher.
This was no favor. Once they got back, he would most likely be tortured for three days straight, the
standard disciplinary punishment for desertion. For a moment, he felt a bit of pity for his fellow
marine, but he quickly shook it off. He knew the consequences for his actions. He deserved what
was coming to him.
"You guys go ahead" said the marine that the captain was following. "I'm gonna go look for the
person I saw earlier. We have to get our hands on him before it's too late."
The other three left, carrying the unconscious man on a stretcher.
The marine started walking in the
other direction, but suddenly somebody jumped in front of him, pointing a pistol straight at his
forehead. The marine reached for his own pistol but it wasn't there.
"Don't move." the captain commanded.
Showing an utter lack of fear, the marine tried to disarm his opponent, but the trigger was pulled before he could move an inch. The bullet pierced his helmet and entered his skull, killing him instantly. The captain searched the remains and found a radio, a few packets of rations, and a few
boxes of bullets for the pistol. He quickly gathered these items and ran off, his mind still mulling
over what he just saw.
Chapter 8: An Unexpected Meeting-
The hut was a sorry wreck. The foundation was weakened, the roof was caved in, and the heavy wooden door was all but burned to ashes. Despite all this, it was better than starting from scratch. The captain finished his brief inspection of the remaining parts of the hermit's hut and decided that if he could work through the night he would be done by morning. While searching the wreck he found an archaic hammer, saw and nails, along with leafy journal propped up next to a rock.
On the journal he read in Runic Follian:
"Day 2, Week 1, Year 4- Finally! My walls are built, my hut is done! I am safe from those hideous aliens and the mean sergeant. Yes, mean sergeant can't get me here! My pistol is broken but I have enough food to last me a day or two.
Day 3, Week 1, Year 4- Ville Corp, I knew it was bad news when I first joined. Too late now! I can't go back, but I can't escape either. All my friends, turned into heartless marines of a mysterious company of an even more mysterious man. I regret coming here. No amount of money can convince me to stay, no no no no!
Day 4, Week 1, Year 4- I saw the former companions of mine. They are searching for me but they can't get through my walls. If the sergeant comes I'll tell him 'No no no no! I'm not going back!' I am safe! Safe! My walls shut out the cursed planet. Safe!
The rest of the scratchy writing was not legible. It was clear the hermit was losing his mind the past few days. He seemed to be a marine from the strange "Ville Corp". The captain wondered what such an organization would be doing on Notrium. He promised himself he would look into the matter as soon as possible. Beneath the rocks he was surprised to find a battery and a few computer units. Both invaluable to his survival if he could find some use for them. He grabbed the hammer and nails after lifting away the roof. First he would replace the missing wall and then he would repair the ceiling. "These walls will keep me safe." said the captain aloud, chuckling a bit.
The rising sun cast long shadows from the trees onto the ground. The captain wiped the sweat from his fore head and knocked the final nail into place. He walked a few paces back and admired his work. The hut would provide shelter for him during the cold nights and the constantly roaming aliens. His belly ached for something to fill it, so he grabbed some of the packaged rations to quell his hunger. During the night, the captain kept an estimate on how long had passed. It turned out that a Notrium night was around 20 hours. It was peculiar that throughout this long period, the captain didn't feel sleepy at all. Even right now there was no sign of fatigue in his eyes, nor were his actions lethargic in the smallest bit.
Now that his food was nearly consumed, he packed his pistol and a few packs of bullets with him. He had developed a craving for some meat, and remembering the brown alien flesh he ate the first night of the crash made his mouth water uncontrollably. He wiped his mouth dry, wondering why he salivated so much at the simple thought of food.
While he was hiking through an extremely dark part of the forest, he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. He pulled the pistol out and slapped a few rounds into the chamber. Growls from behind. He whirled around held his gun steady. Suddenly, a green alien leaped from inside a bush and rushed towards the captain. He was awestruck, this certain alien looked like the stowaway he killed on the Var' Equinallin. The surprise only lasted for a second, and within moments bullets were zipping through the air towards the alien. Three glanced off its hard carapace but one found it's way into the alien's chest. It screamed a horrid sound and swung its tail at the captain. He dodged it barely but the alien clawed out again in anger and cut his forearm. The pistol fell onto the ground and the alien charged at the captain again. However, this time he was ready. He braced himself and threw the alien over his shoulder onto the ground, using a move he had learned for subdueing stronger foes. He jumped onto the alien and punched it with all of his strength. The alien struggled and squirmed but couldn't break free. The captain kept punching straight at its face until, in a surprise action, the alien spat acid through the helmet and into the captain's eyes. Temporarily blinded, the captain lost his grip on the alien and it ran off into the woods.
The acid lasted for a few minutes and by then, the captain's vision was restored. The first thing he did was look around for the alien that had just attacked him, the one that looked almost exactly like the one that ambushed him a few days ago. But he could see nothing, the alien was gone.
Chapter 9: The Marsh-
After recovering from the close encounter, the captain started walking back to the hut. His arm was cut badly and he wouldn't mind having some of those red plants he had found the first day. He bandaged it up as best he could with various leaves and vines and then stumbled upon some orange mushrooms. This time, instead of blindly eating them he inspected each one with a watchful eye. He sniffed each one, tasted each one, and then came to the conclusion that the reddish small ones were the only edible mushrooms. He gathered as much as he could find and continued to hike through the forest. The dark forest no longer seemed so dark, but still the captain could not fully see. He grabbed his flashlight and inserted a battery into it, the light flickered on.
He looked around warily as he went through the darkness for many hours until he almost walked straight into a marsh. His feet sank into the wet ground and the suit quickly sealed itself tight. He looked up in awe.
There was a huge cliff that the thick forest prevented him from seeing earlier. A waterfall emptied down the cliff and into a ravine. Twisted green foliage overshadowed seemingly endless swamps. Some small insects flew above the festering pools.
"Interesting," muttered the captain. He kept wading through the swamp, then began to wonder why he had seen no survivors out of all the crashed ships the Var' Equinallin had detected while above Notrium. It wasn't plausible that all of them were captured by the Ville Corp marines or eaten by aliens. There were no signs of distress calls or even bodies to be seen during his whole time on Notrium. And how long had he been here? Nearly three Notrium days, which was about... the captain's thoughts were interrupted by some low hisses and the sounds of splashing water. He turned his flashlight downwards and was surprised to see strange spider-like aliens swimming through the water. His other hand instinctively hovered near his holster, but the spider aliens paid him no heed, and swam away.
The captain trudged through the bogs slowly but surely, pausing periodically to eat and rest.
Hours later, he finally came upon some solid ground. The flashlight passed over a large object from inside a cave. It was a ship! The captain quickened his pace through the cavernous cave. As he came closer, the ships outline became clearer. The outer plating was mostly ripped off and there were small electrical fires burning inside, suggesting that the crash happened not so long ago.
"Help! Arrgh... no!" shrieked a voice from inside the ship. The captain ran over to it and pulled open the ship's hatch. Expecting to see some survivors inside, he was caught off guard when several blue aliens leapt at him and clawed furiously at his suit. The captain threw them off and emptied his pistol clip into their fragile bodies. He crawled into the dark ship and looked around. There were no bodies, not even any bones, blood, or flesh. The aliens had apparently consumed all. He opened the door to his right and saw a few crates scattered around the hold. He rummaged through each one and took with him a few batteries, fuel cells, and light diodes. When he left the wreckage, he could see movement from far away. Three humanoid figures were running toward him. He dashed to the side of the ship and hid behind some rocks, while peering over the top.
The radio the captain took off the dead marine beeped, and he grabbed it. "This is a universal broadcast to all marines, we are at crashed ship #1839 from 2 days ago. There are four alien corpses with bullets embedded in their flesh." the radio said, "We are the first to arrive on the scene so the aliens must have been killed by a rogue survivor. Has anyone seen someone who could have done this?" The radio went silent for a few seconds, then a new voice replied. "One of my privates went after such a survivor a couple days ago. He disappeared and we couldn't find his body."
"Can you track down where his radio went?"
"Standby... sir, it's.. it's four meters north from your position."
At this point the captain tossed the radio aside and started sprinting back to the entrance of the cave. The marines followed in pursuit and the captain had to duck as bullets flew past. Rocks exploded around him but he didn't slow down. He fell to his stomach on the swamp and slowly sank in. The enviro-suit began filtering oxygen from the water through his respirator. The marines started searching the swamp floor with their spotlights, but the captain was already safe under the murky waters of the marsh.
Chapter 10: A New Toy-
The dark water completely surrounded him. He could not see a few inches from where he was. As he put more distance between the cave and himself, the captain began to tire of crawling on the swamp floor. He finally stumbled onto his feet and looked backwards to make sure nobody followed him. Some marsh plants were caught on his suit, hindering his movement, so he took a few moments to pick them off. The surroundings looked familiar, this was the same place where the spider aliens swam past. The captain continued onward back to his hut, for he was eager to dry off his food and sleep, if only for a few short hours. Then the thought first came to him, what if he could make a map of all the places he visits? It would certainly make finding hunting areas and marine camps easier. That would be the first thing to do once he had some time. For now, memory would have to be his only guide.
He saw his hut from a distance between the many trees and bushes. Never did a simple wooden structure seem so much like home. The captain eagerly ran the last few dozen paces and opened the door with his key. He quickly got a fire going to dry off his belongings, which he looked over once again. A few computer units, batteries, a flashlight, pistol, fuel cells, fuel converters and a couple light diodes tumbled out of the bag. "Hmm," the captain stared at each one, apparently in deep thought. He grabbed the light diode and examined it. It was a few centimeters long and had a bulbous end. The laser that it would emit would be powerful enough to see easily, but not enough to actually damage anything. The second diode was a different story. This one was a lot larger, the size of the captain's hand at least. The end had refracting lens to concentrate the beam into a potentially devastating weapon.
The captain took the first one and removed his helmet. He tried to insert the diode into the missing slot but it would not fit, so he put it away for now. Then he turned his attention to the larger diode. Evidently it was meant to be part of a weapon or a cutting tool. It was unpowered however. To solve this the captain took a fuel converter and easily placed a fuel cell inside. The resulting energy source hummed with life. He combined the light diode with the energy unit, then, suddenly the light diode emitted a hissing sound and a beam punched a hole into one of the walls. In his surprise, the captain dropped the weapon and he had to duck to dodge the long continuous laser beam the light diode was firing. He grabbed it in a panic and yanked the energy unit out. The beam stopped. The captain mentally smacked himself for being such an idiot. Of course putting an energy source with an uncontrolled light diode would create an uncontrollable weapon. He needed some way to control when the beam fired and how it fired. He took a computer unit and connected it to the light diode. The bare wires of the universal computer unit were simple in concept. Each wire or chip had multiple jobs that could be interchanged to fit different situations. These units could serve in many roles but could never excel at any of them.
"Hopefully it will suffice." thought the captain as he started tinkering around with the little chips and wires. After a few minutes work, the computer unit had a small button that triggered the diode to fire, and a few buttons that could be pressed to change the intensity of the beam. He combined the computer unit onto the light diode, and then added on the energy unit. Perfect, no random firing yet. The captain took the pistol and went outside. He pressed the trigger button and a beam split through the air and turned a tree stump into splinters. The captain smiled. Maybe now the marines would think twice about chasing him down, but for now, he would go back into the cabin and catch some well-earned sleep.
Chapter 11: All Too Much-
The morning caught the captain off-guard. While his first few nights lasted for up to 20 hours, this one seemed to barely last 10 at the most. It was either caused by his intense fatigue or by some strange anomaly unique to Notrium. The captain rose reluctantly. As much as he wanted to sleep some more, he knew that every day time hour had to be cherished if he was to guarantee his continued survival. He left the hut to explore the surroundings some more and to gather some food.
While he was walking to the top of a hill, he saw an escape pod that looked like it was from the 'Var Equinallin. He hiked up the hill and saw that there were no bodies, but supplies were strewn across the ground. He climbed into the escape pod and found it to be in better condition than the one he had been on. The lights were still on, and even some of the control displays flickered on and off. He started to tap a few buttons and the words "self diagnostic initiated" flashed across the screen. A few seconds later it beeped and the screen displayed a few options. The captain selected "internal video recording" and the screen went black again. Then, it started playing footage from the 'Var Equinallin. Explosions shook the camera and the silhouette of someone appeared in the background. As it got closer to the pod, the captain could make out the crewman, it was the Psionic! The Psionic glided over to the controls, the door shut and the escape pod blasted off from the ship. The captain fast forwarded to the moment of the crash. The Psionic exited the pod, and left the crash site. The footage ended there.
The captain pondered what he just saw; this was the escape pod of his medic, which meant that one of his crew just might be alive. The Psionic certainly had special abilities which might help him survive, but even so, the odds were astronomical that he could evade the Ville Corp marines and the aliens. The captain salvaged the rudimentary nav computer of the escape pod and found that it had a coordinate system which the captain could use to map out the areas he came across. This would definitely be useful. The Psionic also had no need for the emergency supplies inside the escape pod so the captain grabbed its contents. The welding torch was too large and bulky so he broke it down into its basic components and emptied some of the ether.
The captain left the crashed pod and decided to try out his laser pistol on some of the aliens. He gave a loud yell to attract their attention and looked around alertly. A short while later, three brown aliens lumbered out of the trees and up the hill. The captain aimed his laser pistol at the first one and pressed the trigger. The beam knocked the alien back but did nothing else. The captain turned up the beam intensity and fired again. This time the laser shot through the alien's head and killed it instantly. A few more shots more and the other two were also dead. The captain ran over to the bodies and immediately dived into the corpses, tearing at the meat with his hands... then he stopped, what was he doing? The act came without thought, driven by his instinct, as if he was meant to hunt and feast on the flesh of his prey. He walked back a few paces, horrified by what little control he had over his own actions. He ran off, not even stopping to take the alien meat with him.
After a brisk walk cleared his mind, the captain came to the conclusion that the whole thing was simply due to his hunger. He refused to believe that his own self-control failed him. The thought of death did not scare him as much as the thought of losing control over his own self, his own mind.
For a brief moment he had become something other than himself.
"It is nothing." He said aloud to comfort himself, "I was just a little hungry, that's all."
The captain continued exploring for many hours later, aided by the new nav computer he got from the escape pod. By the end of the day, he had mapped nearly 10 acres of land within the vicinity of his hut. He found mushroom patches, areas of denser forests and a few natural wells of water. For the first time since his time on Notrium he began to appreciate the beauty of the planet, from its lush plant life to its calming green sky. A few times the captain even thought of settling down here and living out the rest of his life in the wilderness of Notrium, but he always remembered the incredible burden that was on him. There were others, enslaved without any hope of freedom. He had swore an oath long ago to them that they would be saved. He had promised them that one day he would come to them. The captain was their only hope. Staying on an alien planet and pretending the rest of the universe did not exist would not solve anything. Everything had sped by so fast, it seemed like yesterday that he was the proud captain of an explorer ship, ready to leap into the unknown, and now... now he was stranded in the Hive, on a planet with alien life, and a group of marines intent on gathering all the planet's stranded survivors. "It's all too much to comprehend." thought the captain.
And somewhere else on the planet was another survivor from the 'Var Equinallin who was thinking the exact same thing.
Chapter 12: Misery Loves Company-
A week or so passed without much happening. The captain hunted frequently during the night in the past week and in using this tactic he was able to stockpile many alien corpses. He had enough food in the hut to last a while but he was eating more than usual from the constant exercise he got during both the day and night. One day he discovered that using the hard carapace pieces from the more mature blue aliens he could reinforce the little protection his enviro-suit gave. Using the welding torch he slowly turned his suit into a fairly sturdy armor. The fact that it covered up some of the shiny parts of the enviro-suit was another benefit. Soon the captain felt a bit safer behind his improved suit.
As he walked out into the bright morning sky he felt ready to venture a bit further away from his hut than he had done so far. Therefore, he brought some meat and firewood along with him and set out at a strenuous pace. There was a small mountain range in the opposite direction of the marsh that the captain had wanted to explore for a while. As the hours of the morning passed, the captain finally reached a pass in the mountains. He was about to continue but he felt the ground he was standing on start trembling. The tremors continued for a while then they ceased. After that the captain felt the air around him start blowing slightly and when he looked up he saw a small dot in the sky above the horizon. The dot grew larger and larger and he could see that it was a ship on fire. It dropped quickly and the captain could make out missiles exploding all around it. When it was nearly over his head the word engraved deeply on the side of it read: "Unrelenting"
Time froze as the captain slowly let the word sink into his mind. His knees grew shaky and he found that his face was dripping sweat. "No!" he whispered. "Impossible!”
The bulbous ship flew out of control straight above the mountain range. Its underside caught on the tallest peak and the ship was gutted from front to back. Debris flew everywhere and fire erupted from the belly of the ship. It dived downwards and came to a dead halt a few kilometers away from where the mountain pass was.
The captain watched this scene unfold with horror. He ran down to the valley the "Unrelenting" crashed in encircled by the mountains and hills. His feet carried him along with frightening speed and he felt his heart pump faster and faster. The thick black smoke funneling upwards that marked the site of the crash looked like the grim reaper himself, come to take the souls of the ship's dead.
When the captain got to the crash he could see aliens and the occasional marine squad moving into the enormous ship. The "Unrelenting" had its nose submerged underneath the ground but it still seemed to tower over the mountains themselves. He took out both of his weapons holding one in each hand. He climbed into one of the many gaping holes the missiles made in the hull.
A pack of blue aliens rushed at him but they were no match for both bullets and laser beams shot in quick succession. The captain snuck in the shadows, progressing to the mid-section of the ship. A brown alien nearly saw him but the place was so packed with aliens it quickly found another meal to catch.
At the bridge door, the captain shot through it with a strong laser beam and a hail of bullets came out to meet him. One or two hit him as he dodged aside but they were deflected by the blue alien plating on his suit. There were some moments of uneasy silence while he inched toward the doorway with his weapons gripped tightly. In one swift move the two guns popped out and blindly fired all around the room. Then the captain leapt in and looked around frantically. There were a few dead marines and crewman lying on the floor. He advanced cautiously to the front of the bridge, aiming at any possible places someone could use for cover. It was all clear.
Relaxing a bit he kicked the bodies around gently to see if anyone was alive. Suddenly he swung around and knocked a tazer out of the marine's hand. The marine countered by grabbing his wrist and twisting it so the laser pistol clattered to the floor. The captain tried to use his other pistol to kill the marine but his enemy was too fast. The weapon was knocked aside and the marine kicked the captain in the stomach with terrific strength. He punched the captain's face and shoved him into the corner.
"Come on," said the marine in a hoarse voice. "The commander wants you alive and not too injured either." The captain looked up at him and noticed that his armor was purple and there were many emblems painted on the chest plate. The captain also glanced around for any weapons and was surprised to find he was sitting on one.
"Urgh, you're pretty good, I don't think I can stand up.", he faked a grimace.
"Heh, not as tough as I was told you'd be. This was damn easy." The marine walked over and extended his hand to the captain.
The captain grabbed the hand and supported himself by putting his hand where he was sitting. He stood up and said, "Thanks."
He pulled the pistol out from behind his back and shot the marine three times in the chest before the clip ran out. The marine reeled back a little bit and fell backwards to the ground.
The captain heard somebody groaning underneath an overturned table. He lifted it upright and looked at the person that was pinned down. The trapped person turned his head upwards. The captain looked incredulously at man beneath him. "Admiral Thorpe?" he asked, “What the hell are you doing here?"
Chapter 13: An Old Friend, Some New Guns-
Admiral Thorpe coughed violently and sat up with his arm leaning against the table. The captain took off his helmet and held it under his arm.
"Well, you're alive after all aren't you Captain?" the admiral seemed to laugh but clutched his side in pain as more coughs came up. "Hold on, I'm going to make this room more secure." The captain dragged the table over to the doorway and leaned it so it would cover up the opening. He walked back to Admiral Thorpe and said, "There. Now you haven't answered my question admiral. What exactly are you and the Unrelenting doing here?"
Admiral Thorpe struggled to stand up. "The fleet sensors near the Hive system lost your ship's signal six weeks ago. Of course we couldn't be certain if it was due to some solar interference as the signal was getting weak already as you were approaching the Hive. I wanted to send some of our fast destroyers to make sure you were all right. The other admirals didn't agree. They argued that it would stretch their forces even thinner for a captain who wasn't even fully part of the United Confederacy."
"But obviously you didn't listen." the captain replied.
"Yes. Enraged, I ran off with the Unrelenting and her crew to find and perhaps save you, and now this is where we stand. The ship is in ruins, and the crew is all dead. An interesting planet, pity we couldn't explore it under more favorable circumstances."
The captain shook his head and sighed. "So all of this is my fault. You come rushing in to save my butt just like always Jared. You shouldn't have come, what were the chances of me surviving anyway?"
The admiral laughed again. "Yet here you are standing before me having lived alone on a hostile planet for over a month!"
"Enough warm sentiments, we have to plan our next action. The armored soldiers that entered the bridge are marines of an organization called Ville Corp. I assume they were the ones that shot your ship down. While they are still here we can't leave the planet or we'd get killed by those defenses."
Admiral Thorpe thought for a moment and said, "Those defenses! The rest of the fleet will come looking for us now that both an exploration ship and a heavily armed combat ship have disappeared. If we don't do something about the defenses our entire fleet may be destroyed!"
The captain became extremely worried. The marines might have multiple missile stations around the planet.
"After we get you armed and suited up let's try and find a marine outpost. Maybe it will have information on where the planetary defense stations are and how to deactivate them."
The captain lifted up Admiral Thorpe but he winced.
"Where are you hurt?" asked the captain.
"I'm fine, let's go." The admiral walked to the door by himself, while the captain retrieved his laser pistol.
The two removed the table and tiptoed out the door.
"That is where the armory is." whispered Admiral Thorpe, pointing at a charred door across the hall.
The captain pressed the button and the door slid open silently. The lights in the armory were flickering and weapons were scattered all over the floor and shelves. The captain looked around and picked up a graviton rifle and a rapid fire pistol. The admiral chose a shotgun and a scoped magnum. Over in the corner of the room were a few boxes fixed to the wall and the captain walked over and opened them. Inside each of them was a black lightweight sniper rifle with a scope and an oblong particle accelerator housed inside the stock. The barrel was quite long with a small silencer on the end. The captain took one and inspected it carefully. He gave a low whistle, stroking the scope gently.
"One for me and one for you." said the captain, grabbing the other and tossing it over his shoulder. Admiral Thorpe had already put on a combat suit that was capable of limited environmental protection capabilities. His dull grey armor changed color with the flickering lights, as its camouflage made the outer layer pitch-black whenever the lights went off.
"Alright, I'm ready to leave this place, let's go." The admiral announced after thoroughly checking his suit.
Outside the ship, the two looked back at the wreckage in a solemn respect for the fallen ship. Each had his own thoughts about it. The captain felt guilt at the death of the many lives that once manned the Unrelenting. The admiral reminisced over the many journeys the ship had been taken on under his command. Then they both turned and left the Unrelenting to the hands of Notrium, to be battered and eroded for centuries until it becomes one with the planet.
Chapter 14: Stealthy Infiltration-
"I'll meet you there exactly 5 Notrium days from now. Don't forget." The admiral said, while pointing to a place on the nav map. The captain and Admiral Thorpe had made a plan to destroy the planetary defenses. While the captain would try and find a marine outpost in hope of finding a map of the marine headquarters, the admiral would go to the source of the missiles just in case the captain couldn't disable the defenses remotely. This way they would have double the chance of succeeding, yet the odds were still against them. "If I'm not here, don't try and find me. If the defenses have been shut down just lay low until the United Confederacy fleet arrives, then you can contact them for extraction. Chances are that the marines won't be too happy about this so try to be careful." The captain nodded and turned to leave. "Good luck admiral." He said to which the admiral replied, "To you as well. I'll see you in 5 days."
The captain went back to the area in which his escape pod landed and he saw his first marine. He ate his dinner there and kept going. If he was lucky, he would stumble across a marine patrol. He was lucky. Where the trees slowly thinned out and the grass turned to rock, a marine squad of at least twenty-four were marching around in perfect unison. They were led by someone in purple armor. The rest wore white and grey armor. The captain watched them march back and forth across the forest edge until they eventually met up with a second squad of marines, also numbering twenty-four. At this point the two leaders talked with each other before turning back and backtracking to where they came from. After the two squads were out of sight the captain passed them and ran further away from the forest. Off in the distance he could see blue smoke in the air contrasting with the green Notrium sky. The air began to taste very foul even when being filtered by the captain's suit. The ground inclined upwards and soon the captain was standing on the edge of a cliff. He saw the source of the blue smoke beneath him and brought out his sniper rifle.
Click. The rifle zoomed to a 200x magnification. There was a base with two huge smoke stacks emitting smoke on a regular basis. Large blue crystals jutted out of the ground that strange machines were drilling into. People wearing orange suits much thinner than the marines' suits were hard at work carrying loads of blue objects from a mine in the cliff face to the outpost. Marines guarded the entrance and the towers had powerful spotlights scanning the ground constantly. The captain decided not to make them on the alert by shooting the guards already so he walked along the ridge looking for a way down. There was what seemed to be the remains of a rockslide below him and the large rocks made climbing down seem possible. Still, it was too risky. As he kept going he saw a strange object in the distance that pulsated every now and then. A strange lift came into view, with carts full of blue crystal ore being ferried down the cliff and empty carts going up. Two marines guarded this lift. The captain raised his rifle, aimed carefully, and fired once. The bullet tore through the heads of both of the marines and they fell to the ground, dead. The discharge made hardly any noise. The captain smiled at the deadly efficiency of his weapon. He jumped fell downwards onto a cart and covered himself with the blue crystals. They were beautiful ores and felt extremely cold. It was no mystery why the marines wanted such valuable crystals.
The descent down the cliff was actually pretty smooth. Something on each platform made the carts hover in mid-air stably to prevent any ores from falling out. The orange workers ran up to the cart and lifted it up. They carried the cart over to the base and into some sort of processor. The captain had to bite his lip to prevent himself from crying out when he was tossed down a tube and into a large bowl-shaped container. This container was underground, filled to the top with crystals of varying sizes and shapes. The captain got up to the top of a particularly large one and looked around. The walls were reinforced by steel plating and the tube that brought him down had just sealed itself. The crystals started to sink deeper to the bottom of the bowl, like water down a drain. The captain ran over to the very edge and looked around frantically for a way out. He took out his laser pistol and tried to blast a hole into the tube. The beam just dissipated when it hit the shiny metal. The big crystal the captain was standing on slid down the hole at the bottom of the bowl a set of lasers cut it into smaller piece. He held onto one for dear life as the crystals were sucked back up to the surface. The captain flew out of a hole and found himself right in the middle of the marine mining outpost.
He raised his weapons at the workers staring rather dumbstruck at this unexpected surprise. The captain expected them to try to fight him but to his confusion they ran off screaming for help. One thing was for certain, these guys weren't marines. The entire base went onto full alert, the guards scrambled for the base, and all machinery stopped. The captain loaded his gravitron rifle with a fuel cell in one deft move. He had practiced this before in simulations- insertions into an enemy base outnumbered and outgunned. The gravitron rifle glowed green and he closed the fuel cell chamber. This was just like those simulations. Just keep a cool head and a focused will and it wouldn't be too hard. The captain lifted the rifle and turned off the safety. Once the guards were in range he held down the trigger. Hundreds of green orbs flew out like angry bees swarming at the marines. The gravitron particles bypassed their suits and exploded on impact, killing dozens of them within seconds. The remaining few ran for cover but there was nowhere they could hide from the gravitron rifle's onslaught. When its overheated, the captain turned off the energy restraints and tossed the rifle at the remaining marines. Normally the energy restraints would've prevented the fuel cell from overloading but the severe heat caused the fuel cell to explode, sending shrapnel flying everywhere. A second squad ran out of a nearby bunker. They quickly dispersed behind cover and shot their tazer pistols at the captain. One hit him square in the back as he was retreating, immobilizing him. He struggled to move as electric currents swept through his body. The suit quickly compensated and he regained movement.
The captain sprinted away from the bunker and into the refinery. He climbed onto the roof and took out his sniper rifle. The marines moved back together and searched for the captain. He aimed at the closest marine and fired. The muzzle flashed briefly and the bullet hit home. The captain loaded a bullet into the chamber, aimed, and fired. Another marine was down. The marines were panicking and another three of them were dead before they found out where the shots were coming from. They ran towards the refinery and a few even made it before being shot. The captain climbed down the ladder and easily dispatched the rest of the marines. He was at the refinery entrance when the last marine rushed at him with a knife in his hand. The captain turned and grabbed the marine's hand. He disarmed the marine and pinned him to the wall with the barrel of the sniper rifle. The captain was about to shoot but then he realized that the marine was sobbing.
Chapter 15: A Coward's Reprieve-
"Oh God..." whimpered the marine. "Please dun... dun shoot... oh my." The captain was so dumbfounded by this marine's behavior that he didn't even pull the trigger. The image of a marine was an emotionless, fearless, and efficient fighting machine. The last thing the captain expected was to have one groveling at his feet.
"Please, I have... valuable money.... good goods, and... and shiny trinkets!" The marine begged while holding out a pitiful pile of ore dust, old Sol currency called "pennies", and a few broken gadgets. He tossed these at the captain's feet. "Here, now don't press that trigger. I'm not one of them. I swear! I swear!" The captain recovered from his daze and pulled the marine to his feet.
"Who are you?" He asked. Not expecting an answer, he reached behind the marine and lifted up the headpiece from the rest of the armor. Behind the breathing apparatus that was still attached, the face looked awfully familiar. "I know you! You're the hermit I saw in that hut!" Said the captain.
"Yes, yes, I'm not a marine. Don't kill me.. please." came the reply.
"I'm not going to shoot, now tell me who you really are and what you're doing in a marine suit if you're not really a marine."
"Oh, right. I... I come, I mean I came here a few months ago. My ship, oh how I miss her, my ship... crashed onto this planet. Terrible soldiers, marines, yes, they took me but killed the rest of my crew. I was the only human. That might have something to do with it. Yes, yes, I'm human, but I wish I weren't. The Ville Corp-" The hermit hesitated at the thought of his employing corporation. "- only takes humans. Death would have been much more... better. The rest of them. I saw. The rest of them had these, these things put into their skull. They lost their self becoming empty shells of a computer, a strange computer chip. Oh but I got out of it. I escaped for a while and they thought, they thought I already had it. I became, I pretended... acted to be brave, and ruthless, but I couldn't stand it. I couldn't, I wouldn't do this to my fellow stranded survivors. I deserted, left them. Made my own hut. That's when they barged in and took me back. Tortured me for days. Oh god."
The hermit clutched his head at this horrible memory. The captain held onto the shoulders of the hermit while he breathed heavily. "About these chips, are you saying that those marines are humans being enslaved by Ville Corp?"
The hermit took a deep breath. "Yes. Another, like me, he got away the second time I was captured. They recovered him too. I saw the fear in his eyes. Like a madman! He was no marine, he was just a fatigued survivor forced into being the arm of Ville Corp. He became crazy, wacko, cuckoo! I sure am glad I didn't go mind-sick like him!" The hermit forced a laugh, showing his relief that he himself was not crazy. The captain looked at the hermit and laughed genuinely himself. The whole time he thought he was dealing with a marine, in truth he was dealing with a nut.
"And I got away again. Pretended to be like them.. I accomplished, like them, being them. Until you showed up. I don't think I could've kept, keep on, rounding up humans and killing the aliens. I just don't have the nerve for that kind of, business, stuff. " The hermit sighed and looked around at his dead comrades. His eyes welled up again with tears, and for the first time since they met, he said something that didn't quite seem like something a crazy coward would say.
"You know, you got to stop this Ville Corp. These men, marines, don't deserve this. Nobody does. To lose your own identity, horrible. But to never know freedom anymore, even worse. They are humans, there are so few of us left. Stop them stranger, please stop them. I... I don't want to see humans gone forever. I want to leave this planet with my brethren by my sides. Stop them, that's all I ask. I don't want to be the last proud human in this universe."
The captain shouldered his rifle and turned around. "Me neither."