I blame Kristin for posting a teaser from her NaNo project last week. If she can get momentarily sidetracked by another project, then why can’t I?
Since college, I’ve been tinkering with three different series–one was the superhero series I posted a teaser from last time, a second is a sword and sorcery series, and the third is a sci-fi adventure series. On some level, I’m always thinking about each of these, and it doesn’t take much–a movie, a TV show, a book–to send me off on a creative tangent.
Anyways…the other day I must have seen or heard something, because these characters started talking to me again. And they are pushy. And armed.
For the longest time the only sounds Cooper could hear were the beating of his own heart and the hissing of the surviving reptiles just around the bend in the corridor. He and his crew had fallen back to the side corridor that allowed access to the stasis chamber and Cooper had taken up position outside the hatchway while Laura and the others headed back through the chamber in an attempt to reach the Jamestown’s airlock undetected. Cooper knelt there, clutching his pulse blaster in one hand and holding Shaard’s grenade belt in the other. He checked his wrist-chrono. Laura and the others should be on the far side of the stasis chamber by now.
His comlink beeped twice. He threw the grenade belt over his shoulder and fished for the device in his pocket. “Go,” he said.
“We’re at the opposite end of the corridor,” Laura reported. “I can see the airlock hatch from here.”
“Okay,” Cooper said. “I’m going to send a little present around the corner in sixty seconds. Be ready to hustle.”
Returning the comlink to his pocket, Cooper picked up the grenade belt. He grabbed one of the thick cylinders and pressed the arming switch. The fuse indicator flashed green, then yellow, then red and the detonator began to beep steadily. He counted to ten and rolled the shock grenade around the corner. He could hear the creatures hissing and wreathing with excitement at the arrival of a possibly tasty new treat. Their tails sliced through the air, whipping against the bulkheads; their claws clattered against the deck plates. Cooper just hoped that he had gotten the grenade close enough to take out as many of the monsters as possible.
The entire corridor shook with the force of the explosion as an invisible wall of force and heat slammed into Cooper’s chest, throwing him back and knocking the breath from his lungs. Through the ringing in his ears, he could hear several of the creatures shrieking in agony. The smell of scorched metal mixed with charred flesh bit at his nostrils and a cloud of fine debris stung his eyes. Blaster in hand, he charged around the corner. Most of the creatures were lying scattered in the corridor, dead or dying. Cooper could hear some of them gurgling as blood and other fluids filled their lungs. Further down the corridor, Laura stood by the open airlock, waving him on. He made for the airlock, trying his best to sidestep the puddles of blood and gore collecting on the deck. Just to be on the safe side, Cooper squeezed off a quick shot into each creature he passed.
“How do you like my plan now?” he asked when he reached the hatch.
Laura just rolled her eyes. “Brag later,” she said. “I really don’t want to be here any more.” She disappeared into the airlock.
Cooper holstered his pulse blaster and started through the hatch when his boot caught on something. He looked down and saw a slender purple cable coiled around his ankle. As he tried to tug his foot free, the cable glistened under the overhead lighting with a metallic iridescence. He felt the hooked talons sink into his stomach before he heard the high-pitched shriek.
“Sonuva—” The warmth of his own blood was spreading across the front of his shirt and down his trousers. Cooper’s elbow instinctively shot back, connecting with the tight, muscled body of one of the creatures. He could smell its foul, fetid breath when it hissed in his ear.
The last thing Cooper felt before everything went black was a mouthful of needle-like teeth sinking into the flesh of his shoulder.