The Medical Wing of the Ranger was rife with activity, men in labcoats urgently dashing from room to room, medical technicians popping in and out of doors, and the occasional crew member running through the halls. Military personell were present in almost every corridor, and high ranking officers kept up stoic and stern faces. Major Rooke was not pleased, and walked with a presence, many people clearing for him to walk through.
"Mister Braxton, you have conclusive evidence that the suspect fled the sce-" Rooke did not catch the rest of the dialogue between the Corporal and the labcoat, and neither did he want to. They hadn't even set their boots on the ground and they were already tripping. Striding into the 'autopsy' room, a hastily sterilized storeroom, he cleared his throat, gaining the attention of three medical examiners. Quickly, the went stiff and saluted.
"Gentlemen, at ease,"
At that one phrase, they all snapped back to the corpse on the table. The entire room smelt of death and bleach.
"What do we have here?" the Major inquired.
One of the men stood forward, "Well Travis, some sort of membrane-dissolvant, somehow used to replace tobacco in his cigarettes, killed him in less than two,"
One of the examiners snorted.
Rooke stepped closer to the table, and even though the body was underneath the wraps, the putrid smell of burnt flesh and sourness made him retreat. The Major raised his hand up to his grey beard and gave it a light rub, then turned to the cabinets to pull on a pair of gloves. He returned, and took a deep breath, then lifted the rags.
"Christ..." Rooke whispered, then recoiled backwards into the wall.
The other examiners looked back to him empathetically, and they gave knowing nods.
"Who the hell did this? What kind of sick, demented fuck would do this?!"
"We aren't sure, Major, but hopefully someone will find out. Soon," The smaller one said. They all looked the same, talked the same and moved the same; like robots.
Rooke pulled off the gloves, deciding he did not want to be a part of this any longer, and spun to the door, sliding open the metal wall, and rushing out. As he entered the hallway, there was slightly less activity, but not very much so. Rooke's head hurt, and he leaned against the wall.
'What happened to his eyes?', thought Rooke.
Further down the hall, Doctor Rossman scanned the Major with his icy blue eyes, taking in every detail, then departed into the lobby. He was going to see to it that justice would be found for his old friend, and he was going to be the one to bring the culprit to the light.
"Hey, Applejack!" Spike called. As he tittered over to her, he noticed that she seemed anxious, cautious even. She had not even acknowledged his call. He frowned.
Drawing closer, he stared around her toward the object of her fixation.
At least forty Royal Guards marched around the streets of Ponyville, their hoove steps rumbling through the paved roads. Spike halted in his tracks, 'What is going on?'
"Sugarcube, Ah'm think'n it'd be best if ya made yer way back home about now, there might be trouble,"
She looked at him and ushered him away, and for the briefest moment, Spike could see genuine fear in her eyes. Applejack had frequently visited the Library the past week, and Twilight was ecstatic about her new report on the 'unidentifiable celestial cruising object'.
A large shadow loomed over them, and his eyes were cast upward, squinting at the shape of a chariot descending towards the guard. Spike then noticed, they were marching away from the marketplace, and he sped off to see what was happening. Arriving to the corner of the street, he peered around the wall of a small cottage.
They seemed to be marching into the heart of town.
Spike could see the chariot touch down somewhere further out, near... The Library.
"I's telling you Ross, there ain't nothin' else to be seen on these cameras. Culprit managed to avoid all th' damn surveillance, only way he coulda done that is if he came in through maintenance, an' that cam has been down for a while,"
"Then can you not bring up tapes from the entrances of the maintenance department?"
"There 'er at least a hundred goin' in an' out of maintenance a day, it'll take too long ta-"
"I said, can you bring up the tapes from the lobby of the maintenance hub?"
The technician sighed. This is why you don't accept dessert in the cafeteria from strangers.
"I guess, but I ain't goin' through 'em, I'll e-mail 'em to you, that's yer problem now,"
"Thank you Rick," Ross smirked as he strode out of the room.
"Fuckin' asshole." 'Rick' murmured.
Princess Celestia was seated beside Princess Twilight, and hushed whispers were shot back and forth. Royal Guards took up positions along the upper floors, the entrances and windows of the entire treehouse.
"Celestia, if what readings and measurements I have taken are correct, we have a monumental national security issue to deal with,"
"National? This incident will, without a doubt, be on a global scale! The griffons are searching for reasons to attack our soil as is, but this? This will spark an all out war amongst the creatures of Equuis!"
A loud banging resounded on the door, and the Guard sprung up from their collective posts and readied their spears, all pointed toward the oak slab. For a moment, all was silent, but the banging resumed.
"Private Welting, you're up,"
"Can't Corporal Pine go first...?"
"Move your sorry flank!"
"Yeah, Welt! Get a move on!"
"Shut up you Tree def-"
"Twilight, open up! What's happening?" Spike called.
Princess Twilight stood from her chair, and made he way toward the door, "It's okay Shining, it's just Spike," and opened the door with her purple magic. Spike then bolted in and tackled Twilight.
"Twilightohmygoshwhatishappeningthereareguardseverywhereand-" Twilight nearly smacked Spike with the ferocity she covered his mouth with. Another Pinkie Pie-rate conversation? Not today!
"Spike, its okay. Calm down, nothing is happening,"
Spike calmed down slightly, and peeled off of Twilight, but then took into account of the massive amount of Royal Guards in the area. Usually, when Princess Celestia visited, two more Guards would be posted to the 'Library Guard Duty', but this was far more significant.
Something was up.
Spike narrowed his eyes.
"I'm serious, we're fine,"
Spikes eyelids inched closer.
"Something fishy's going on, and you're in on it,"
Spike raised his claws toward his eyes, and then pointed at Twilight, quietly slinking away. Princess Celestia's brow creased, and Twilight chuckled nervously.
"I guess he's been hanging out with Pinkie too much...?"
"No he hasn't silly!" Pinkie spontaneously appeared from the rafters. "Hey Twilight, when are the aliens coming?" Pinkie grinned. Spike peered around the kitchen corner,
"You are hiding something!"
Twilight facehoofed. Keeping this a secret was going to be much harder than originally thought.
Curse existence. Life is not worth this kind of pain.
Was I struck in the chest by the Hammer of Thor or something?
Actually, it kinda feels like I've had 500 pounds of fat-ass on my chest.
I can see white lights.
God? Is that you?
No, I can feel someone's hand resting on my arm.
PAIN. LOTS OF PAIN. WHAT THE FUCK. IT FEELS LIKE MY CHEST IS ON FIRE.
IF THIS IS A MEDICAL PROCEDURE, I AM GOING TO GIVE THE SURGEON A THOROUGH CLOCK CLEANING. WITH HIS DISMEMBERED ARMS. WHILST SINGING IN GERMAN.
I wish I had a book to read or something to distract me from the- OH SHIT. SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT
It had been two weeks since the operation, and the U.T.C Fleet was nearing ever closer to Earth. The Warrior and the Fighter were lagging behind and were due to reach the planet in one more month, so that meant that all of the array-equipment and the accessory-deployment-colonization units were not present. For Jacob, these two weeks had been hell on... the ship? Taking an insane amount of shrapnel to the chest is bad enough, but couple that with several instances of internal hemorrhaging and a mild concussion, and you've got a recipe for a terrible life.
To make matters worse, Jacob's personal friend and CO was horrifically murdered, and his 'savior', as he coined himself, was suspect number one. Every team that was sent down to Europa had been slaughtered by unknown resistance, and had activated the 'We're Fucked' beacons, Connor had apparently been put into a coma, then had a heart attack, or so they had called it. His body reanimated on the recently made morgue, and he took an nice big chomp out of the head researcher.
After he was put down again, some mysterious figure came to the researcher's private quarters and unloaded a full magazine of a stolen Armory weapon.
The crew was getting suspicious of each other, and fights escalated quickly. However, before it could become too much for the Captain, the Medical Wing came out with a discovery. From Jacob's lungs, they had extracted a highly potent and lethal spore, one that had completely overtaken the mind of Connor prior to his death and had grown into his mouth cavity. They suspected that due to the nature of what the bite could have done, someone had known about the spore prior to the incident.
General Alexei's office had been compromised once more during the week, and a Staff Sergeant Hazem Al-Horami had been found burning classified files that had been hidden away. While unrecoverable, the files were identified as the very same that had detailed a biological terrorist attack. The Sergeant was interrogated, but due to the restrictions against how he should be handled, he was rather uncooperative, and instead was issued a death penalty by the Council of Military Justice, which humorously had been created just for the purpose of making sure he would not get away with the crime.
Connor, Hazem and Alexei had been cremated last Monday, and things were still somber around the ship. There weren't anymore fights, but there were no celebrations.
Jacob tried as he might to ignore the soreness and achenes in his muscles and his chest, but in the end, it permeated into his brain, and even his music could not help to stave the pain.
"God damn it!" Jacob growled as he threw his body off of the bed, wincing in pain as his muscles screamed at him.
Lying there, he relaxed, the coolness of the metallic floor calming him. He finally was going sleep without the damn medication.
But then his PDA starting blaring.
"WHAT IS IT NOW?!" He roared, standing slowly and hobbling over to the table beside the porthole.
Picking up the annoying device, he read a message;