Freddy was sure that the body’d been dead for a long time – a lot longer than the time that had elapsed since they’d put a bullet through its head. They decided that, given the problems with their ship, to try and get to the bridge of the Annic Nova, as they’d found the hulk’s name to be, and see what they could find out or make happen. There were in agreement, however, on one thing: they needed to get off this ship as soon as possible.
Making their way down passageways and up ladderwells, they found a large administration control room, full of computer workstations dedicated to a wide variety of ship’s systems. In this room they also found six more walking dead, seemingly interrupted by the team’s arrival – interrupted from working on the computer? Shooting and fisticuffs ensued, and the six were eventually killed, for good.
Time spent trying to revive terminals – which were warm from use moment before – paid off in knowledge gained. The command section of the ship appeared to be intact and still wired together in terms of power and computer systems. The forward area of the ship – where passengers would have been – was mostly off the control grid, but they could confirm that there was power there. The engineering section was completely off the grid – as if that whole portion of the ship did not exist at all. Finally, the midships area, where the many cargo canisters were attached, showed damage to various systems, and was ‘cold’ both literally and in the figurative meaning of the term. Guy was able to get emergency lighting back on in this and, he thought, the rest of the command section.
Moving deeper into the command section they found and destroyed three more walkers, and then discovered their initial goal: the security office. Inside were several monitoring workstations and a caged section, in which there was a door to what they hoped was an arms locker. Inside the locker – which was not locked – they found a single corpse of man, obviously dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He wore a security uniform, and was surrounded by mostly emptied crates and shelves which had once contained some pistols and rifles and a larger supply of stunners. Ammunition for the stunners was all gone, although some slug ammo was left for pistols and rifles. Unfortunately, only the dead man’s pistol could take the ammo they found. Still, the single pistol provided them with an extra weapon and two boxes of 50 rounds of ammunition. It was better than nothing.
Using a security workstation, Guy was able to turn on cameras in some sections of the ship, discovering at least 30 or more of the walkers on the upper decks, seemingly working diligently at their posts. Engineering was still off the grid entirely, and the cameras amidships were showing errors. The forward – passenger – area, however, was the most compelling, and disturbing. The 6-story public atrium’s cameras worked, for the most part, and provided the men with an almost 360-degree view of a series of macabre bone sculptures. Human bones – from likely hundreds of people – were heaped and arranged on one another in small pyramids, hung as decorations, and others arranged around the massive chamber. Who’d done this was unclear; that the remains of most of the ship’s compliment had been stripped clean of soft parts after death – or murder? – and used as raw materials for someone’s art project was. Guy fell to the floor, scrambling back from the images, as if shoved by his own fear and revulsion.
Next they decided, given that Guy’s suit had been breached beyond repair in the last fight, to get back to the shuttle bay and get off this hulk, even if it meant taking a space walk. That’s when the lights in the security office went out – all lights, even their suit lights, did nothing for illumination. Nothing they tried could bring any of them any light, and so they talked and fumbled and stumbled their way out of the office into the hall to find that all was normal out there, and the doorway to the chamber was as black as the depths of space. There was no way to explain it away, and the chill it gave each of them spurred them to return – quickly – to the lower deck and get off the ship.
One deck above the e-suit locker they were set upon by more walkers, one of them successfully tackling Sidd. A short fight ensued, the dead were killed for good, and the team began to run, trying to reach either the suit locker or the shuttle bay and lock themselves inside in hopes of finding a way off this ship.