The Durance was cold and lifeless. Silence filled the empty halls and save for emergency lighting, the massive mining vessel was dark. It was built to hold several hundred laborers and management personnel. As a result, there was generally some activity happening at all hours. But, for three weeks there had been no sign of life from the bustling ship.
No whisper of life. Until, a team arrived to investigate. The ship echoed with the sounds of their footsteps.
“Quiet. Jorgen, Did you hear that?”
Dark halls emptied into forgotten control rooms where nothing moved. Row upon row of automated machines paused in mid-operation. Trays filled with minerals from the moon Arausio lined conveyors going to and from processing stations. Not a buzz or whir interrupted the mechanical mausoleum.
“The ship is derelict, there’s no one here. Kitsechix, help me pop this access panel.”
It began as a slow thrumming sound. The noise echoed somewhere in the lower seventh level, behind sturdy walls of thick metal and down level after level of winding staircase. The sound quickened.
“I told you I heard something.”
Cups and plates lay scattered across a mess hall thick with dust. Heavy soup pots sat ready to serve as lonely tables and chairs lined the mining vessel’s cafeteria, waiting. The ship held its breath. The thrumming grew from the depths of the cold engine room.
“Did you see that… what the hell was that thing?”
“It’s not stopping. Open fire!”
“Caleb, shoot the damn thing!”
The Durance wandered in space, a silent witness to the horrors that it bore. Aimless it drifted, infected with something dark and terrible.