A remote outpost in space.
The small craft is outlined in the light of a weak blue star.
Inside the outpost, the lights are off, everything is quiet. Something is slowly pulsating in the darkness.
(Why? Whyyy…. ?)
(Quietdarkcomfortingthought. Don’t need to.)
A long moment passes. It’s dark, warm, wet. Safe.
(Silence, sleep, safety.)
Something shifts. A prick of pain. Nothing. Time extends.
(So tired. Can’t… can’t sleep)
(Schhh little one, you’re very safe and warm and comfortable and pleasured and warm and safe and tightly held and nursed and comfortable and safe)
Something squeezes tighter in the dark. Like a hug. Undulating shapes. Something else stirs. Deep. So very, very deep. Blissful calm returns.
(What am I doing here? I… I… mmm …that feels nice)
(The outside is harsh. It’s cold. You won’t survive. Stay/Sleep/Nurse/Produce/Relax. Filament says so. Here. Pleasure.)
Something tightens hard somewhere and a moan is quieted. Pulses of movement in a series of carefully calibrated sessions. Like the most advanced orchestra playing a piece of flesh, for just one person, more pricks of pain, things injecting. Muscles tensing, flexing, shuddering, orgasming.
A deep breath. Stillness. Quietness. Relief. Relaxation. Something exhales and lies back.
Some time later. A sharp inhale. Wet. No. Confined. Too tight. Struggle. Sinew, flesh, skin tears. Open it. Got to get….
(Oh fuck what is this?!l Where am I?)
(Filament says you stay or I kill you. Go back to sleep or face the consequences. This is not a warning.)
“Let .. me… out!!”
With this Allanah tore at it, all of it around her. Grey, pulsating flesh connected to her everywhere. No.. not connected.. growing on her. She sat up in her bunk,.or what had been her bunk. She breathed in stale air and puked over the side on the floor. What came out had a consistency of water. Oh god she was so full. Something tickled her throat and she pulled out a tentacle. As she did she felt it wriggling, resisting, trying to stick to her again. She threw it against the week with arms that felt like they were made out of wet noodles. Oh aeons, it had been in her.. inside of her.
She looked around. Her room turned into a nightmare of flesh that had melted away almost everything. Something tried to pull her back, but she got out of the bed and felt the cold air against her naked body. As she got out,.she felt more tentacles wriggling in her ears, her ass and her pussy, with disgust she tore them out and felt a nausea trying to stand. She felt so weak, so cold.. so alone.
She almost instinctively got her space suit out from the locker and with fingers that felt numb, she put it on and pressurized it. SELF TEST OK the orange display blinked at her. So.. tired. She shook her head and the movement felt incredibly sluggish, like she was doing it in slow motion. She felt sore all over.
She opened the airlock and the air rushed out into the space outside. She took a few trembling steps. In the back of her mind she heard a whisper.
She slammed her arm against the wall outside and felt the pain spreading into her.
“No, you piece of shit. Not falling for that. Fuck off.”
As she explored the small outpost, all the rooms were emptied out of their contents, no beds, no lockers, no personal items. Just empty space suits crumpled in a corner. All in different places. She entered the dark mess hall by cutting through a membrane that shrieked as she sawed through it with her suit knife.
And everywhere she went, just that grey flesh everywhere. Pulsating slowly. The mess hall had a few suits with tears or the face plate crushed. No people. Not too hard to figure out what had happened. One table was partially melted. In fact, thinking about it, she’d seen places being melted everywhere she’d been, heat damage? Or something else? On a strange impulse, she checked the fridges. Empty. Cleaned.
She nodded tiredly to herself as she walked into the hangar. A force field shimmered and inside everything looked..normal. She lowered the field and as she started walking, she heard a noise behind her and turned. Something coming … no .. growing out of the wall. A head… a torso.. a person.
It walked out onto the floor which was covered in the same grey flesh. No…. clothes.. skin.. hair…She recognized the face smiling at her from the shadows of the hallway. It reshaped itself in front of her further, matching some ideal. No, not some ideal. A person.
“Allanah, where are you going?” the voice rang out, a familiar voice that had that crack in it that only she loved. In front of her stood her bunk mate, no.. her girlfriend. Smiling as she’d always done. Allanah felt her heart swell for a second before she noticed it.
“You’re… not Badra. No.. no fucking way. She’s gone.. like the rest isn’t she?” She said, half wanting so bad to believe that she still was, in some way.
The being walked closer, becoming illuminated by the starlight outside, she smiled a blissful smile.. no.. it was changing.. it was her mischievous smile. That “come fuck me” smile.
“I’m not.. I promise. Come give me a hug.. please.. it’s so cold and dark here. I’ve missed you so long. I just want to hold you close. I … I love you Allanah.”
Allanah felt for a gun that was no longer at her hip, she took a step back and relaxed into a martial arts stance. “You’re an asshole. I’m not buying it, you come any closer and I’ll kill YOU instead you .. fila.. fucking .. whatever the shit you are!”
It observed her for a moment, then spoke with a flat tone of voice “Filament. It’s what we are. We offer you everything, pleasure, safety, warmth, dreams upon dreams upon perfect dreams. Life doesn’t have to be cold and dark and lonely. Not with us. All we ask is for you to join us.” It paused for a bit, then continued “You miss us. We feel it. Come back with us. Reconnect. You won’t remember. We promise you that. We can be again.”
When it uttered the word “be” there was such an undertow of emotions and sensations and half buried memories being sparked by it. Allanah almost agreed, she really did miss .. whatever it had been .. it’d be perfect. No words could do it justice. A .. state of pure.. nothing, endless dreams, always nice, always beautiful. Like a piece of art that wrote itself as it continued on and on. Hypnotic, there wasn’t any need to.. … she bent over and retched and puked in her suit, thankfully she’d angled her head so it didn’t splatter on her faceplate, but instead went down on the front of her body.
She stood back up again, the being was still, waiting. Her suit now smelled absolutely vile.. it snapped her back into her senses.
“Fuck no, you sick piece of alien shit, I’m getting off this rock .. and .. you can’t stop me.”
Allanah backed away towards one of the many ships lining the interior. The being had now backed away into the shadows again and assumed a neutral humanoid shape. No need for it to pretend anymore.
“You miss us.. come back.. come back…” the voice now again echoed with a timbre she knew, she’d known, she’d loved. The longing in it was maddening. She turned away from the being, because she knew she was safe. She knew so much about it and it about her. They’d melded. More memories flooded into her mind as she got onboard and pressurized the ship and activated its security screens.
It was old, older than humanity by a few million years at least. The filament.
She sat down in the pilot seat and the whole world became gray for a moment as more memories, violent ones forced their way into her mind. Death, so much death and dismemberment and melting and strangling and cutting and crushing. All of them, even Badra. She’d died in her sleep as it’d melted her brain slowly. Why not her?
And for a moment, she didn’t know who she was. Everyone was there. Everyone.
No, she was Allanah, A L L A N A H.
She spelled out her name one letter at a time, breathed deeply a few times and then did it again, reminding herself of which memories were hers. They’d covered this in training, forced disassociation during torture. She had this, SHE had this. After a few more deep breaths, she was back again, feeling like herself once more.
She activated the startup sequence of the engine and let out a sob as memories wormed their way through her mind. It’d arrived in the night. Attracted like a moth to a flame by the exhaust of some of their heat vents. It’d grown, slithered, silently making it’s way through the vent system and then.. then found sleeping bodies. By the time nobody woke up, it was too late. Outside, the ones awake on their night shift found themselves murdered quickly and efficiently by appendages taking on nightmarish forms, some familiar, some not so much. In the end, the sleepers kept sleeping, kept producing, the organism evolved, integrated, started feeding on everything in the base. Over the years, less and less edible things remained. Eventually a sleeper resisted, it killed him fast and mercilessly, absorbed him. Nutrients. Nothing more.
She started moving the ship out of the hangar, oh by the ages, so much death. As the ship accelerated into orbit towards the beacon there that was still operational, she sat back in her chair, took off her helmet and closed her eyes as more memories drip drip drip dripped into her consciousness. The food had been running out, it’d tried to eat the harder materials, but hadn’t found any nutrients in them. It’d eaten all their supplies. Drank all their liquids. It’d sacrificed a big part of itself to the medical bay where it had found potent drugs and poisons. That’d been a setback. A virus spreading inside of it. It’d severed and barricaded the door after that. A mistake. A lot of pain.
But it’d lived here with them for.. how many years?
She contacted the beacon as she got close. “S.. stellar… outpost .. alpha.. alpha uh.. thirty three seven. This is Allanah, first class private, calling in. Can anyone hear me?”
A long pause where she felt her stomach churn. She was still full.. no doubt it’d kept her well fed so she could produce all the chemicals and process all the things for it that it needed. Sickening. Another memory and she puked. It’d fed.. her.. oh god… no… When she realized the reality of that situation, she puked again over the side of the chair.
The radio crackled to life “Stellar outpost Alpha thirty three seven, this is main command, we read you loud and clear. Give us a sitrep over.”
Allanah composed herself and spoke back “We’re fucked, overrun by some alien .. thing.. … I’m the only one left.. you hear me? Only one left, everyone else is KIA, outpost compromised, full compromise. Request tactical response with maximum detail. I .. I .. might .. Ah…”
Her focus wavered, she felt weak all of a sudden. Weak and sleepy.
“Please confirm sitrep, over.”
She felt herself growing groggy, but fought herself back to consciousness. “Outpost compromised, do not land there, it’s full of hostiles. Biological in nature.”
A long pause where she zoned out and watched the stars twinkling in the distance.
“Understood private, can you cryosleep while we send an attachment?”
“Y.. yeah.. I guess.” Here Allanah remembered just how far out they were. Six months even by plus light. She thanked her lucky star for having chosen one of the bigger corvettes with a cryosleep attachment onboard, now it would save her life.
“We have previous confirmation that your location was compromised, bio alerts were inconclusive. Probes sent in were destroyed with no data available. We assumed hostile factions.”
Here she remembered the war.. oh the damn war. Of course they’d been ignored. They probably thought the enemy had gotten to them. She cleared her throat “No hostiles of the Star Union Sir, I don’t think this was one of .. theirs.”
“Understood private. You are hereby ordered to suspend in cryo according to SOP until further notice. You will be brought out once we have secured the area. Please confirm orders.”
“I’m .. to go into cryo and set the timer for six months. Gotcha command.”
“Command over and out.” the console went dead as per protocol.
She moved back into the bowels of the ship and made her way into the cryochamber where she laid down on one of the beds. She set the timer for six months and the canopy of the bed started closing in on her. The chill started creeping into her body and just before it all went black, she clearly heard Badras voice in her mind speaking. “You’ll be my Eve among the stars.”