The Starburst was still headed in the direction of the Outer Rim. I hailed the ship to see if the vampire had been captured. There was no response. The escape pod I was in was barely just over the size of a sleeper pod. It was cramped to say the least. Outside I saw the other escape pods flying automatically to Crete. A hail came through as I passed the mining ships. I answered the hail, “Hello, this is Adriel.”
“Hello this is the crew of Blue Robin. Would you like to dock at our ship? We are headed toward the Outer Rim next.” Generally escape pods were like being trapped in a cage. People would offer travel to escape pods to present a less claustrophobic option. In the meanwhile the new passenger would share the gossip as to what happened to their ship. I would have no problem recounting the horror of the vampire attack for curious crew members. My escape pod docked on the Blue Robin. There was a clicking sound as the escape pod connected to the side of the ship. A rush of air and sanitizing spray entered the pod before the door opened for me to step out.
The room I entered was empty save for a crew member that came to greet me. She was a Felix Dominae, a cat-like bipedal species that greatly resembled the domestic cat.
“Welcome aboard, Adriel.” She purred as she spoke my name.
“Thank you, Miss?”
“You can call me Tas. Follow me.” Tas’s tail twitched slightly at the tip as she led me down a corridor that was free of advertisements. The ship must have pulled in funding from other sources.
Eventually we came to a lift which deposited us on the top floor. We entered a doorway into the bridge. Tas introduced me to the officers and captain.
Captain Ando said, “Tell us what happened to your ship?”
“I’m not sure you will believe me but-” I recounted the horrid affair. I spoke calmly as if the events happened to someone else. I was surprised by the end when I noticed I was wringing my hands.
“A vampire in space, huh?” The captain looked at the other officers.
Vampirism was found in a variety of species but none hailed from anywhere near this star system. The crew heard my tale with little interruption. Now that I was done a silence fell over the room.
“Alright Adriel, you have been through enough. Why don’t you stay in your guest quarters and get comfortable.”
I didn’t argue and happily followed Tas to my room. The room boasted a bed and bathroom. There was no cooking unit. Soon I would have to leave to eat. I was not looking forward to it. Undoubtedly people would ask me questions I no longer felt like answering. I survived a traumatic event and had a remarkable sense of calm about the ordeal. I still remembered some of the bloody bodies I saw on my way out. I shook my head as if I were shaking off the dark thoughts.
When the time came to eat dinner I left my quarters. I followed the ship’s schematic to the mess hall. Tonight’s dinner was garlic tofu with rice and beans. The ancient tofu dish was tasty and a tad bit spicy.
“Tofu is my favorite.” Tas sat down across from me.
“My favorite is beef burger.”
“We only eat real food. No imitation beef based on long dead cows,” Tas used her chopsticks to pick up tofu and popped it in her mouth.
Dinner passed with little interruption. People didn’t notice me in the crowded mess hall filled with hundreds of people. For that I was thankful. Once done I bid Tas farewell and headed back to my quarters.
A hail came from the captain. I answered the call, “Hello Captain Ando.”
“Adriel, we are approaching the Starburst. Would you like us to hail and see how the crew is doing? I will keep the comlink open so you can hear them.”
I agreed knowing it would likely be radio silence again.
“Hello this is Captain Ando from the Blue Robin. Do you need assistance?”
The viewing screen on the wall showed the Starburst floating nearby. Almost all the escape pods were ejected.
“Hello this is captain Ando-“
“Hello this is Captain Wendel. Please allow me to board your ship.”
My breath hitched, captain Wendel was alive.
“Captain Wendel, we were informed there’s a hostile entity on your ship. Did you neutralize her?”
Captain Wendel responded,”No she has not been neutralized. She has taken the lives of countless crew members and there’s a minute chance she will chase me to the escape pod. I’m abandoning our ship and cargo because while she is free she will kill and feed on anything in sight.”
“Alright Captain Wendel, if you can make it to an escape pod you’ll be allowed on this ship for safe passage to the Outer Rim.”
“Thank you Captain Ando.”
It was a few hours later when Captain Wendel contacted Captain Ando. “Captain, my escape pod isn’t operational. The only way I can come on the ship is if you dock it to mine.”
I was glad the bridge kept my com on line so I could hear the latest request. I immediately hailed the bridge, “Captain Ando, this is Adriel. I strongly suggest that you do not dock to the Starburst. The vampire can break into this ship and cause havoc.”
Captain Ando dignified my request with the response, “We have more security personnel, all will be fine.” There was nothing left to say now that my request had been denied. I waited to see what would happen.
The ship docked with the Starburst. The door to the Starburst opened after the sanispray was released. A lone female figure stood in the doorway. It was not captain Wendel.
Security personnel immediately tried to apprehend the vampire but she used her superior speed to dodge their weapons and cuffs. Until finally she ran past them to enter the ship. Immediately an intruder alert alarm was activated.
“Intruder alert, all non essential personnel please lockdown in your room or the immediate area.” The sounds of doors shutting nearby reminded me to lockdown my own room. I had been watching the docking on the display screen in my room. I tried to maintain a link to the bridge so I could see what happened next. Unfortunately the connection broke. A message went across the screen.
“Please remain in lockdown until the intruder is caught.”
I remembered the vampire’s strength and knew it was the luck of the draw whether she would choose to break down the door to my room. Outside the window I could see the docked Starburst. It disconnected from the Blue Robin and continued its course to the Outer Rim. Captain Wendel must have realized the vampire was no longer on board which meant she could haul the supplies and sell them on her own. The crew had abandoned the ship so they forfeited their portion of the profit. A part of me was disgusted that Captain Wendel would leave the Blue Robin with her problem. Still one had to hand it to her, she didn’t lose sight of her goals.
Screams erupted from the hall and the loud sound of banging metal soon joined the chorus of sounds. An alarm began ringing and the ship’s AI repeated, “Intruder alert,” over and over. I took a deep breath and looked at my bed. It was attached to the wall so I couldn’t put it in front of the door. A banging sound began to ring on the other side of my door. The metal was folding into the shape of a fist as the vampire banged on my door. Maybe if she got to me she’d just drink my blood and knock me out if I was lucky. Bang. Bang. A hole formed in the center of my door. I was out of options; there was only one door to my room. The sound of a gun going off caught my attention. If the vampire was shot she showed no indication of pain or recognition. The banging continued and my door continued to open wider and wider. My breathing increased speed, and the room began to spin. I had to put my hand on my chest to calm myself. I slowed my breath. Weaponless I raised my hands into fists just in time for my door to open up into a gaping hole large enough for the vampire to come through.
Her skin was pale and her hair a dark shroud pushed away from her face. Her ears were pointed. She hissed revealing fangs. I swallowed my breath catching in my throat. My hands were raised next to my face into fists. She came so fast I didn’t have time to even think let alone move. She stood directly in front of me and I attempted to punch her. My right hook didn’t even nudge her. Her body was like punching concrete. My hand immediately felt sharp pain. The vampire hissed and grabbed my neck. She raised me off the ground looking into my eyes with pure hatred. I didn’t understand how she disdained me. Whatever the reason for her anger, I soon began to see spots before my eyes. The world went black.