The pounding on the hatch had stopped. I hoped that the rest of the crew had given up, or that whatever was happening to them had completed and they were no longer interested in getting in. Then a bright spot appeared above the door. Apparently there was another cutter on board somewhere and they were now cutting through the door I had welded shut.
“What are we going to do!”, Anna shouted again. She had been repeating the same question over and over for the past hour. I was getting tired of hearing it. I turned away from the door to look at her.
The infection, or whatever it was, was spreading. Her left arm where she had been bitten was now unrecognizable as a human’s. Longer, thinner and with green scales covering it. Claws on her fingertips. I noticed the the greenish coloration of her face, the first scales starting to appear on her neck. Her eyes had turned yellow and a bulge had appeared at the base of her spine. I didn’t know how long she would last.
I looked down at my own hand. It too was scaly, the tips of my fingers protruding claws. And I could now hear it in the back of my mind. Whispering. “Relax, it was saying. “Let it happen. Everything will be fine. No more pain. No more confusion. No more worry. Just relax. I shook it off.
“We need to blow the drive.” I said.
“What!” she turned to me, her yellow eyes opening wider than they should have been able to. “Blow the drive?”
I nodded. “They’ll get in here eventually. Restart the engines. Go… somewhere. Spread whatever this is. We have to end it. Now. Before we… can’t anymore. Or don’t want to anymore.”
She stared at me for a long time. “I don’t think I can.”
I stared back. “It will take both of us to turn off the overrides. Will you do it?”
There was another long pause, but finallly she nodded. “OK.” She was obviously upset, tears running down her face. “I just… never thought it would be like this…”
I nodded again. “Neither did I. Can you handle the main console?”
Instead of answering she unfastened her harness and kicked off towards the fusion drive. She stopped in front of the emergecy console and looked at me.
I turned back to my own console. “Interlocks cleared Proceed with override.”
She turned to the console then stopped. She turned towards me. “Do we really want to do this? I mean… is it really going to hurt us? It says we will be happy… that it will take care of us. Should we really turn that down?” She turned to face me and her eyes widened.
I had picked up one of the grapnel guns. Normally we would use these to attach ourselves to an asteroid while we were mining it, but the piton it fired was clearly dangerous. I fired, and the spike plunged through her chest. She stared at me in horror before her eyes faded. The body drifted backwards, away from the main fusion reactor.
I unfastened my harness and kicked free. I kicked again, this time towards the main drive. I reached the console, pushing Anna’s body aside.
“Don’t!” the voice whispered. “You can be free! You can be safe!”
“Safe for who?” I asked myself.
I looked at the controls and reached for the safety lock. Then I stopped. “Why am I doing this?” I thought. “Everything is fine.”
I shook my head to clear it but again my hand moved away from the override of it’s own volition. Yelling, I lunged at the controls. The alerts in the room went off as the thorium cores that triggered the fusion reaction were ejected into space.
“Fix that!” I thought. My thoughts were getting more jumbled by the minute. At least we weren’t going anywhere.
I looked back at the door. Whoever was cutting through had almost finished. I knew I didn’t have much time, and I knew I didn’t want to end this way. But the core couldn’t be restarted and there was only one thing left to do…
“Fuck you!” I said to no one. I reloaded the grapnel gun, raised it to the base of my jaw, and pulled the trigger.