Dead Space
By: David K. Montoya

Tony's eyes stung as he opened his eyes for the first time in nine years. He and his fellow shipmates had been in hyper-sleep while their spaceship the Thor journeyed across space and time until it came upon Titan.

Titan was a large moon that orbited Jupiter, but what made the large mass so enticing to Earth's scientists was that from a satellite view, it appeared to have crystal blue oceans. White clouds surrounded the globe itself.

The head scientists from NASA were able to get approval from the government to send a team of explorers to Titan. There the crew would confirm that Jupiter's moon would actually be habitual by human beings.

We're finally here, Tony thought. He was the first to awake from hyper-sleep, but that was not a surprise to him. He knew as Chief Engineer it would be his duty to wake up first and check the spaceship before the others awoke.

First, on Tony's list, he checked on the other eight crew members. Each appeared to be in good health and were still in deep hyper-sleep, as they remained in suspended animation. Tony was comforted that he would awaken all of them soon since he had only been reanimated for less than an hour, and he needed some company.

Next, Tony moved down the hull of the ship, where he found the engine room. While there were still conventional engine parts, it appeared more like a huge computer room. There was wall to wall CPUs with Large LCD screens nearby.

Tony fingered a few buttons on a keyboard and gained access to the ship's mainframe. As he virtually moved through the Thor, Tony said to himself, "Everything seems to be in check. Not bad for an oversized tin can that's drifted through space for the last nine years."

Tony moved to a large computer to his left; it was the ship's navigation system. Tony grabbed a joystick that rested next to the keyboard and maneuvered Thor into a porthole and prepared the craft for entry.

While the U.S. Had the best-known avionics in the world, it still required a live person to bring the ship in and land it. Tony was unsure why it was his duty to bring the spaceship in since his title was Engineer and not pilot.

"Easy now, big fella, I was only joking about being a tin can," Tony said when he hit strong turbulence while Thor entered Titan's atmosphere.

Tony felt the heat increase during entry; sweat flowed from his forehead and watched as the walls turned from a cold gray to a glowing red.

"Oh man," Tony muttered. "Titan's atmosphere must be hotter than our own!"

As Tony continued to navigate the spaceship inward, he heard a loud pop from his left. He glanced toward that direction and saw that one of the large LCD screens had blown out.

If it gets too damn hot in here, it could blow all the screens, and if that happens, I won't be able to see how to land this thing, Tony thought.

Finally, Tony saw a blue sea and watched as the glowing walls cooled back to a dim gray. Gently he pulled back on the joystick and leveled out the Thor, which sped across the ocean's surface.

Not long after, Tony saw a large opening and knew that was the best place to land the ship. He pressed a few buttons until the picture on an LCD screen changed from an inferred view to a live view that allowed him to view what the cameras saw outside the ship.

Tony punched a button between the keyboard and the joystick. He felt the landing gear begin to lower from the craft; once again, Tony grabbed the joystick tight and began to land.

#

A large metal door swished upward as Tony approached; he was greeted with a heavy musk odor that reminded him of an old footlocker when he walked inside the room. Tony placed his hand atop a small transparent box that had a slight green glow. Once his hand made contact with the cube, the green glow intensified. A thin blue horizontal light appeared at the top of the box and quickly inched downward until it reached the bottom. Both lights faded into a bright white light, and with a loud click, the room lit up to reveal the contents inside.

Tony stood inside what appeared to be the supply room; the area was littered with large metal racks, each containing different items. The first rack he passed was filled with geological equipment, where the second was stocked with spare computer parts. But Tony walked past the remaining rolls and stopped at the final rack, directly in front of the crew's spacesuits.

The final rack was filled with a mass of small packages wrapped in generic brown plastic.

"After nine years of Intravenous feedings, I bet these MRE's are gonna taste great," Tony said to himself while he ripped open the brown package. He savagely stuffed the contents into his mouth. Tony snatched another bag as he walked over to the spacesuits.

#

Tony checked the suit one last time before he made his way to the front of the ship; he studied the moon's temperature and pressure on a computer. Then, after he felt assured, Tony opened the bay door and stepped outside for the first time in nine years.

"Titan's identical to Hawaii; maybe I can build a resort", Tony joked to himself. He made his way around the ship and checked for damage. The craft appeared to be in good condition other than minor scrapes and dings. But when he got to the back, Tony noticed that the third jet engine's afterburner was out.

"Dammit! I knew I wouldn't get off so lucky," Tony spat. "This is gonna take all day to fix!"

Tony crawled up on the craft to view the situation from a different angle. What he saw was less promising as he said, "The whole centerpiece melted off! It must have happened during ent—"

Tony was interrupted by a loud sound which could only be described as a moan coming from behind him.

What the hell, He thought. Tony tried to focus on the matter at hand and went back to work on the afterburner.

"Ghana."

Tony turned and looked over his shoulder and was taken aback by what he saw.

"Dear God."

At the foot of the ship were a large pack of creatures; they appeared humanoid, but they looked dead. Their bodies decomposed away from the bone; the aliens shuffled closer to the ship and moaned louder with each step they took.

Tony pulled out a pistol and opened fire on the monsters. His aim was dead on as each shot made contact, but the creatures never fell as though they were invincible to gunfire. They moved toward the ship as they cried out with ravenous moans.

"Get away from me," Tony screamed. He wildly fired his weapon. He knew it was useless, that those monsters would not die. That was until he struck one in the head; the creature dropped lifelessly to the ground and remained motionless with a thick tarry substance flowing from their exit wounds.

"That's it!" He yelped. Now with each shot fired, the aliens fell to their death. Tony felt hope begin to return to him as there were fewer creatures by the moment.

"I need to think of a way back into the ship", Tony thought to himself. "I'll worry about taking off once I get back inside."

Tony glanced over to his left when he heard something scrape against the ship. What he saw was a small cluster of aliens as they tried to crawl up the side of the craft. Tony turned and opened fire on the monsters on the side of the ship; he let out a laugh as each one collapsed to the ground.

"That's right! Die, you dirty bastard—AAAH!"

Tony continued to scream out in pain as a creature tore away the flesh from the Engineer's neck. He saw his skin as it hung from the alien's rotted teeth, and without a second thought, Tony turned and fired a round into the monster's head. But it was too late, and the damage had been done. Tony dropped to his knees from the heavy blood loss as he watched the brood of beasts climb on top of the ship.

Tony knew there was no way out and decided he'd rather die a quick and painless death than be eaten alive. His hand trembled as he placed the pistol's barrel to the side of his own head. He took a moment as he gathered his courage—he watched as the aliens moved closer to him.

Though he was afraid of what came next, Tony knew it would be moments before the creatures got to him. So, he squeezed his eyes shut and let out a scream before he pulled the trigger.

CLICK!

Tony quickly opened his eyes and lowered the weapon away from his head, and questioned, "What the hell?"

He removed the clip from his gun and saw in terror that it was empty.

"Oh dear god," Tony exclaimed as he looked up and saw the group of creatures who stood before him.

The End

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