The bridge was an interesting design; no captain’s chair, pseudo-military layout. Just a large screen with three rows of four work stations. It looked more like a coding party set up than a bridge.
“Okay Adric, what do we do?”
“Just slap the patches I gave you on the closest computers and let me work.”
“Alright. Adric will poke at the computers, we’re going to explore the darker places. Suzie you’re closest to what should be the flight decks and primary docking bays. Go find me a reason this ship’s empty. We’ll head to crew quarters and living areas.”
“Aye, aye Captain!” Suzie said mockingly. I could picture her face as she said it and it made my heart skip a beat.
The walk was slow and nerve-wracking. Without my visions from Sol to guide me and having no real Precog abilities, I was blind and I hated it. I don’t like being surprised.
The hallways were boring grey and utilitarian. A very Earthen design. I was more used to the opulent, borderline ridiculous design esthetic of the Venusians. This felt like being in a metal box or coffin.
What should be the crew quarters, based off of Sol standard design, turned out to be a giant hold, it held nothing but glass and dried blood. “Everyone back out. Masks on, there’s something viral in here,” I ordered. I could feel a virus trying to take hold of me. The moment the other two left the hold I burst into flames.
The virus wasn’t natural. It had been designed to wipe out something specific. I got a flash of two scientists finishing the virus and then a vision of them being horribly killed by the creatures from nightmares.
The room was now filled with melted glass and ash. I walked out and Hoff gave me a new robe to wear. Fire doesn’t ignore clothes. That’s why I never keep my credit chips on me.
“That virus wouldn’t have affected us. It was designed to attack something specific. I have the genome now but I’ve never seen anything like it.” Hoff had her pad out and was looking at it with a mixture of horror and amazement.
“How did you get that so fast? I wasn’t out for that long, was I?” I was worried. I hated losing time.
“No. I scanned the virus and it had a secondary part that was biotech. It interfaced with my pad and downloaded everything about itself.”
“So we’re on a plague ship with viruses smart enough to interface with our tech?” Fry asked.
“So a few steps ahead of you Fry,” Hoff joked.
Cutting into our conversation, Adric said, “Yes, and it gets worse.”
“What? Did it infect our ship?” I asked, starting to feel a little better.
“What? No. I’m better at security then that. I’m not just stumbling through a ghost ship’s systems without a plan.” He was snarky but not wrong. “I managed to get some data from their systems. This isn’t an original jump ship. It’s a distress call. The Earthen’s settled in Tau Ceti and it looked like everything was fine until they were attacked by ships from Epsilon Indi.” He sent a picture of the ships over to Hoff’s pad. They were the ships from my nightmares. “They’re asking for help but this information is all over a two hundred years old.”
“But where’s the crew?” I asked, hoping he’d found something.
“Looks like they should be in the lower decks where Suzie is. They were in cryosleep. The ship said it tried to wake them, but got an error and shut down to conserve energy. It’s been drifting towards us slowly for two hundred years.”
“Sir, we found the cryotubes. There’s almost fifty and they’re all smashed except for one.” Suzie sounded worried. She never sounded worried, unless it was about me.
“Okay, fall back to the shuttle. Let’s decontaminate and figure out our next move.”
“What about the man in the last tube?”
“He’s been in there for two hundred years, a few more hours won’t hurt.”
Teddy’s com cut off any other conversation, “What the ash is that?” His screams of pain caused us to start running.
Read Next Chapter Tuesday July 23
In the distant future humanity has spread to the other planets in our solar system. These stories follow Hal (a prophet for a godlike entity that lives in the sun), and his friends, as they try to make the solar system a better place.