Ced hauled himself over the final sand dune. Fine grains had seeped through breaches in his void suit and were irritating his dying flesh. Every so often he would have a futile attempt at scratching the itch this caused. It was as satisfying as a dry biscuit after a marathon. There was no relief.
He looked down at the glowing lights of his destination. Shapes kicked up the dust of the dead planet obscuring their true form. The outline looked humanoid but with too many limbs. Ced sucked in stale air from the suit recycler and threw himself down the steep reddish hill. A combination of low gravity and a soft landing meant the fall didn’t kill him. It did however aggravate an already broken arm.
Ced lay on the barren desert floor looking at a starless sky trying to ignore the constant pain bouncing around his body. Giving up was a real option. He was already too late and in no shape to stop a malevolent alien intelligence carrying out whatever apocalyptic plan it had for the human race. Dying in the shadow of the dune would be easy.
Fuck easy, get to the failsafe he thought
Ced didn’t remember using his one good arm to prop up his shaking legs or the kilometre long ramble to the facility. He stumbled, crawled and occasionally rolled until he was at the base of the ancient structure. An access panel was a few paces to his right. Using the wall for leverage he half hopped a few metres then popped the atmosphere seal and pulled himself through like a dull white slug. His objective wasn’t far.
The interior was as barren as the desert outside. Every corridor was a muted orange only broken by oversized doors. Some of which were ajar. Ced avoided these and tried not to listen to the gurgling moans that echoed from inside. The entrance way he was seeking was not hard to miss. It was twice the size of the others and rimmed with the same pallid glow from the exterior. He pushed the giant door open with his shoulder.
His team’s equipment was still there but barely visible. A creature three metres high with seven and a half arms loomed between Ced and the failsafe. Appendages stuck out from random parts of its torso like branches from a tree. He had the feeling it had been waiting for him. He flipped up his middle finger.
The thing looked ridiculous with two tiny human legs and the encumbering body that swayed on top. He would have laughed if he hadn’t seen it rip the arms off his commanding officer and screw them into its body. A spluttering cough was coming from the corridor outside. Ced lurched forward. The creature met him halfway. It seized his broken arm and began to twist. He flipped but not to stop the arm tearing but to help it. The alien Frankenstein miscalculated the force required to detach Ced’s arm and stumbled backward. The void suit constricted over the voluntary amputation. Ced used the same momentum to fall on the fail safe. He turned the three keys with mechanical precision. The nuke would ring three times.
“See ya bye… “