Author’s Note: This short story was originally created for the 2018 Spacebattles ‘Spaceship in the Wilderness’ Writing Contest.
“Alright, crew.” Captain Matthew Reed said, leaning forward in his chair. “I’m sure you all already know what the situation is here, but let me quickly summarise.” He took a deep breath. “Approximately three days ago, we picked up an urgent distress call from a stricken scavenger ship named the Doomed Soul. The distress call gave no indication as to the exact nature of the emergency, only that it was desperate and the crew needed evacuation ASAP. Tracking the distress call back to its root brought us here, to Silax, a abandoned solar system so remote that calling it a backwater is an insult to backwaters. Which was where we found this thing.”
Reed gestured to the hulking wreck of a spaceship currently shown on the holoprojector.
Honestly, it was no surprise that the spaceship had been the first thing the crew spotted upon entering the Silax System. After all, it was certainly an eye-catching landmark. It was a positively ancient-looking spacecraft with great heaps of rust covering the hull and small chunks of debris hovering around the main body like mangled, deformed satellites. The few windows that were visible had long been darkened out and there was a feeling of emptiness around the whole place. It reminded one of a great sunken ship, abandoned and left to weather the cold touch of time and the elements.
“Now, just to be clear.” Captain Reed said. “This is definitely not the Doomed Soul. On the contrary, there is absolutely no sign of the Doomed Soul in this solar system. All that our scans have been able to find is this ship, which appears on no known registry, has no obvious name and has a design that none of us have ever seen before. And all of this leads me to one undeniable conclusion…”
He steepled his hands in front of him.
“This ship is clearly haunted as fuck.”
Face met palm with an audibly smack. “Goddamn it, Reed.” Liz Cole, the Co-Captain and navigator said with a long-suffering sigh. “You said you were going to take this seriously.”
“Wha-? Liz, I am taking this seriously!” Reed insisted. “Have you seen this freaking thing? It practically has ‘This place is cursed, haunted and/or infested with Eldritch Abominations’ written all over it! Hell, this entire set-up is like almost every space horror story ever written! That thing clearly murderized the Doomed Soul and now it’s going to murderize us.”
“It’s just an abandoned spaceship, Reed.” Mustin, the other Co-Captain and ship’s mechanic said, his mandibles clicking patiently. “Probably an older model from before the Missing Wars. And the crew of the Doomed Soul more than likely just got rescued by someone else before we got here. It’s not haunted.”
“Oh please. That’s exactly the sort of attitude that’s going to lead to your head being bitten off by space ghosts in Act III.” Reed folded his arms. “So don’t come running to me when your eternal soul is doomed to space hell. Because I won’t be able to understand you. Because you won’t have a head. Because it was bitten off by space ghosts.”
Cole and Mustin shared a look of understanding. There was really no stopping Reed once he was on a roll like this.
The three of them had been travelling the galaxy together for a few years now. Well… okay, maybe travelling wasn’t exactly the right word. ‘’Tolerating each other’s existences’ together’ was a little more accurate. Still, when you were unlicensed scavengers, good crewmates were hard to find and despite his many eccentricities, Reed was an excellent pilot and not too much of a conspiracy nut the rest of the time.
And it wasn’t like any of the other two were perfect to begin with. Mustin, despite his hardy nature as a Skrillix, tended to be somewhat… ambivalent about the safety of his human crewmates, especially when doing his important repairs. There was a reason Cole had placed a plaque above the oxygen filter reminding everyone that human beings didn’t breath helium. Speaking of Cole, despite her ‘above-it-all’ persona, she did have one flaw in the shape of a massive gambling problem. Which wouldn’t have been so big a problem if she wasn’t also really bad at gambling.
The point was, the three tended to be short on money a lot.
“Alright, I think we’ve wasted enough time on this nonsense.” Cole rolled her eyes and began floating towards the changing room. “Get your spacesuit on, Reed and I’ll meet you at the airlock.”
“Whoa whoa whoa!” Reed’s eyes nearly bulged out of his sockets. “You’re not planning on actually going onto that thing, are you?”
Cole gave him an odd look. “Well… yeah? There might be some junk that we can sell. Might as well get some profit out of this whole venture, after all. Why, you got a problem with that?”
“Yes!” Reed exclaimed. “Were you not listening to a single word I said? About the ship being clearly evil and cursed and infested with space zombies?”
“Were you not listening to a single word we’ve been saying?” Cole countered. “About how those things don’t actually exist? And how we need to make money somehow? Because a certain idiot wasted most of our savings on a personalised holo-nameplate?”
Mustin shrugged. “In my defence… I really wanted that nameplate.”
“That’s not a defence, Mustin!”
“Look, I get we’re short on cash for reasons that, for once, are not actually my fault.” Reed said. “But you can’t just go alone onto that thing! That’s like Rule No.1 of horror movies!”
“Well, that’s why I told you to put your spacesuit on.” Cole pointed out. “Because you’re coming with me.”
Reed blinked. “And what exactly makes that sound remotely like anything I’d do?”
“Because the alternative is waiting on the ship while Mustin does repairs?”
Reed paused. He glanced cautiously at Mustin. Then at the rusted horror death ship. Then back at Mustin. Then back at the ship. “…What if I waited outside?”
“Get your goddamn spacesuit on, Reed.” Cole said.
“Fine fine…” Reed grumbled as he slowly floated after Cole. “But when this all inevitably goes horrendously wrong, I reserve the right to say I told you so.”
One Hour Later…
“I told you so.” Reed said. “I freaking told you so.”
Cole stopped pulling at the closed airlock door long enough to give him a scowl. “Reed, please stop being a prick and actually do something to help here!”
The two had not been on the abandoned spaceship long before things started going wrong.
In fact, to be precise, the two had taken about three steps onto the abandoned spaceship before things started going wrong.
Specifically in the form of the airlock hatch slamming shut behind them and then refusing to reopen, no matter what tricks and techniques they tried. Which even Cole had to admit was a little bit out of the ordinary.
Things didn’t help matters when they found out their communication devices were being jammed and they couldn’t signal Mustin to come and pick them up. Which meant, unless they could find another way out, they were completely helpless in this abandoned rusted ship. Reed didn’t make any particular comments as to what he assumed the cause of this was, mainly because a) he didn’t really need to and b) Cole probably would’ve strangled him with his own oxygen tube.
Still, he knew what it was. And he knew that she knew. And wasn’t that really the important thing here?
The important thing was that they were clearly fucked. Because there was absolutely no way they’d be able to get out without-
“You know what, screw this.” Cole said, drawing a laser cutter from her belt. “If the hatch won’t open the old fashioned way, I’m just going to have to get creative.”
Reed gave her an odd look. “You really think that’s going to work?”
“Don’t recall any stories saying ghosts are immune to lasers.” Cole said, crouching down to line up her shot. She activated the small red laser and guided it as it cut into the thick sheet metal of the airlock. “And even if they are, airlock hatches certainly aren’t.”
“Fine, whatever.” Reed rolled his eyes. “Waste your battery. But trust me when I say that there’s no way something so simple will possibly work on-“
“Done!” Cole said, snapping off the laser and leaping to her feet. “That was quick.”
Reed blinked. Indeed, Cole’s plan had seemingly worked perfectly. The main lock of the airlock hatch had been sliced away and the door was already starting to hang ajar, swinging lifelessly on its hinges. “…Huh.”
“’Huh’, indeed.” Cole grinned, grabbing onto the airlock handle and yanking it open. “Now hopefully, this will put an end to all of this stupid ghost cra…“ Her voice trailed off.
Behind the airlock hatch, lay a wall. Not a corridor. Not the entrance that the two had just come through. Nothing but a wall of thick sheet metal. A wall that very clearly had not been there before. A wall that had no obvious cause or explanation or natural means of being there. A wall that had literally appeared out of nowhere.
“…Okay, Reed, it’s possible there might be something a bit odd about this spaceship.”
Clang! A sound cut through the air behind them.
Cole reacted fast, drawing her high-powered mini-tazer with one hand and a flashlight in the other, shining a powerful light into the deep gloom. Her finger twitched on the trigger of her weapon, ready to shoot at anything that might emerge.
Reed also reacted fast, by jumping about twenty feet in the air and immediately hiding behind Cole.
At first, the powerful spotlight illuminated nothing. Nothing but steel walls and rust. Then, suddenly, a small round head poked itself around the corner of a doorframe. It was a young human girl, maybe around 8 or 9, with scruffy unwashed hair and clothes that were little more than rags. She squinted at the bright light being shined in her face, before letting out an ‘eep’ and immediately ducking her head back behind the door frame.
“Was… Was that what I think it was?” Cole said, slowly lowering her weapon.
“Yup.” Reed nodded confidently. “Definitely a ghost child. You probably should’ve shot it in the face.”
Cole gave an angry glare at Reed before reaching into her pouch for something. Reed recognised it as a ration bar, one that she gently snapped a piece off. Lowering herself to a crouch, she slowly crept forwards to where they had seen the girl, her hand outstretched.
“Here, little one…” Cole said gently. “We’re not here to hurt you. See, I’ve got some nice food here? See the yummy food? Num num num?”
Reed watched the display with something resembling bemusement. “You know she’s a child and not a squirrel, right?”
Despite Reed’s snark, the ploy actually seemed to be working. The young girl slowly poked her head back around the corner and stared up at Cole’s face with wide, suspicious eyes. Then she reached a hand out and quickly snatched the ration bar out of Cole’s hand before nibbling on it like a chipmunk. Then she made a face and spat it back out.
“Try being stuck on a diet of them for 10 weeks because someone lost the food money on a daklaak table.” Reed muttered.
Cole managed to keep herself from glaring at Reed again. Instead she asked the girl in a friendly voice, “What are you doing here, little one?”
The girl shrugged. “I live here.”
“Told you.” Reed said in a sing-song voice. “Ghost child.”
“M’notta ghost!” The girl insisted.
“Well, maybe you don’t think you are,” Reed said, “but trust me on this one. You’re going to end up being the spirit of some poor soul who died on this ship centuries ago who hasn’t yet realised she’s dead and it’s all going to be very tragic and just a little bit spooky and-”
“I’m notta ghost!” The girl insisted even louder. “Maybe you two are the ghosts!”
Reed looked like he was about to laugh the comment off when, suddenly, a look of horrified realisation came over his face. Slowly, he raised his trembling hands and stared at them like he’d never seen them before.
Cole, on the hand, decided to cut this nonsense off before it could start. “Reed, you’re not a ghost.”
“How do you know?” Reed shot back. “Maybe we’ve all passed on into another world and this is some horrific purgatory where our souls wait unfettered, stuck between one reality and another, doomed to never find out way back ho- gyaaah!”
“Satisfied?” Cole asked, retracting the mini-taser.
“Hate you.” Reed groaned, clutching his side.
The girl, meanwhile, had been looking back and forth at the two with an expression of odd concentration.
“You two…” She said. “You’re outsiders, aren’t you?”
“If you mean we’re from outside, then yes.” Reed said. “As are most things, I’d imagine.”
“Oh.” The girl digested this a moment. “Mama says that outsiders don’t tend to last long here.”
“…Well, that’s a little ominous.” Reed said.
“You said your mama told you this?” Cole noted. “Is your mother on this ship? Can we talk to her?”
The girl scrunched up her face in thought. After a moment’s consideration, she nodded. “A’ight. Follow me.”
With that, she took off scampering down the corridor, moving with reckless ease. Cole nodded at Reed, signalling him to follow.
“Seriously though, are we just going to ignore that whole ‘outsiders don’t last long here’ thing?”
“You know, this ship is honestly starting to disappoint me a little.” Reed said as they walked down what must’ve been the 50th gloomily lit corridor. “By now we really should’ve been jumped by at least one shadow demon. Or a nightmare hellbeast. Or… I don’t know, some lights flickering on and off or something?”
Cole glanced back at him. “I’m sorry, are you telling me you want to get murdered by supernatural forces?”
“Well, no.” Reed said. “But I’d like at least something to have happened, you know? Walking down barely lit corridors is spooky, yes, but it gets a bit boring if there’s nothing actually there.”
“Well, call me old-fashioned, but nothing is fine with me.” Cole frowned and checked the display on her Navi-Watch. “This place’s layout seriously makes no sense though. According to the scans Mustin took before we entered, we should have reached the ship’s bridge nearly 20 minutes ago.”
“No kidding, huh?” Reed rolled his eyes. “The ghost ship has a ghostly layout. Whodda thunk it?”
‘Well, according to my Navi-Watch, we actually left the ship’s boundaries nearly 5 minutes ago.” Cole frowned, glancing around at the gloomy corridor surrounding them. “Meaning that either this thing is broken or something very funky is indeed going on.”
“Wow, you don’t say…” Reed said flatly. “Also, because I’m nice, I’m going to ignore that you just used the word ‘funky’ unironically.”
“C’mon, c’mon!” The girl said, waving at them from further down the corridor. “You’re too slow! Mama says not to get caught in this place too long, otherwise you get splooged when the halls start changing!”
Reed blinked. “I don’t know what splooged is, but any chance it’s not as horrifying as it sounds?”
The girl rolled her eyes at him, before scampering off around another corner. Reed and Cole shared a glance.
“Maybe we should hurry up a bit?”
“Seems wise.” Cole agreed.
The two were about to run forward when, suddenly, a horrendous scream echoed through the ship’s corridor. Cole’s mini-tazer was out of its holster in a nanosecond, as the two immediately turned back to back, searching for the sound of the noise. They waited together for what felt like a solid minute, but nothing seemed to emerge. No demons, no monsters, no deathly skeletons, nothing.
“See?” Reed let out an exhale. “This place is such a letdown, right Cole?” No answer. “…Cole?”
Reed turned to see Cole standing unmoving, her eyes wide and fixed directly on the ceiling. Her face had turned pale and her mouth was hanging open slightly.
“Cole…what’s wrong?” Reed asked hesitantly, very deliberately not looking up. “It’s not ceiling demons, is it? Please don’t tell me it’s ceiling demons.”
“Reed…” Cole said slowly, her head not shifting from where it was looking. “That ship we were looking for… The one that sent out the distress call… What was its name again?”
“The Doomed Soul?” Reed tilted his head. “Why you asking about that now?”
Cole didn’t answer. She only gestured towards the ceiling. Where the words ‘DOOMED SOUL were printed in very large black letters.
“…Well.” Reed said bluntly. “Shit.”
“Hey!” The shout was so loud and sudden that the two nearly jumped out of their skins. They turned to see the girl waiting for them, tapping her foot impatiently.
“What’s wrong with you two?!” She exclaimed. “I thought you wanted to see Mama?”
“Oh, sorry.” Cole quickly regained her composure and put on a sickly sweet smile. “We just wanted to see the view. Although, I have to wonder…” She pointed upwards at the words printed on the ceiling. “Do you know how long that’s been there?”
The girl squinted up at the inscription. Her lips twisted in a frown. Then she shrugged. “I’unno. These rooms change all the time. Mama says it’s the ship mortifying itself with pieces from outside.”
“…Do you mean ‘modifying?’” Cole asked.
The girl shrugged. “You’ll have to ask Mama. Don’t worry, she’s not far, as long as you’re all not too slow. Now c’mon!”
With that, she took off running down the corridor again. Once more, Reed and Cole shared a glance.
“I swear to God, if you say ‘I told you so’…”
“I’m already saying it in my soul.”
10 Minutes Later…
“…You know, there were a lot of things I was expecting to see when I came onto this ghost ship,” Reed said blandly, “but even within those expectations… this is pretty fucked up.”
Cole didn’t answer, her jaw too busy hanging open in stunned horror.
“Hey, what’s wrong?” The girl asked. “You wanted to meet Mama, here’s Mama.” She gestured politely between the two. “Mama, these two are the outsiders who arrived here earlier today. Don’t you want to say hi?”
Mama didn’t say hi. Mama did not want to say hi. Mama more than likely physically couldn’t say hi, to be perfectly honest. You tended to have that problem when you were little more than a decades old mummified corpse sitting in a chair.
“Still don’t think this ship is haunted as fuck?”
“Shut up, Reed.”
“Okay, I think Mama’s ready to answer questions now.” The girl said. “So if you want to ask her things, go ahead.”
That got Reed and Cole to snap out of their stance and look to her.
“Um… kid?” Cole said carefully. “I’m not sure how to tell you this, but your mother is dead.”
The girl tilted her head. “So?”
“So?” Cole ran her hand down her face. “Dead people don’t usually tend to answer questions very well.”
“Unless they’re ghosts.”
“Not helping, Reed.”
“Well, Mama always answers my questions.” The girl folded her arms and pouted. “Don’t you, Mama?”
“Affirmative.” The skeleton creaked in a shuddering voice.
Reed reacted to this sudden surprise in what he would consider a very natural and dignified way. Specifically, by screaming like a frightened dormouse, jumping about a foot backwards and hiding behind the 8yo child. Like a real man would.
Cole, on the other hand, immediately tazed the corpse.
“Hey!” The girl complained, shoving Cole’s mini-tazer away. “Don’t do that!”
“Your fear is unwarranted, Miranda #32.” The corpse rumbled. “This unit is not liable to be overloaded by a simple low-energy electric shock.”
The girl frowned, but stepped back nonetheless. “Still rude.”
“Um… M-My apologies, ma’am.” Cole was still somewhat pale, but she holstered her mini-taser nonetheless. “I just wasn’t expected the… um… talking…”
“Your apology is accepted.” The corpse said. “You may proceed with your inquiries.”
“You can ask her questions now.” The girl explained.
“That’s not what I-” Cole shook her head. “You said you answer questions?”
“Well, that’s great.” Reed said with false cheer, “because I have one tiny thing I’d like to get out of the way nice and quickly. Specifically, what in the name of every space god and Christhulu are you?!”
“This unit is the experimental machine-man ship interface formally known as Proserra Vaselli.” The skeleton answered.
“Oh good,” Cole said. “Those sure were words that probably meant something to someone.”
“Proserra Vaselli…” Reed tapped his chin. “That name does actually ring a bell. Wasn’t she that famous scientist who went missing nearly two-hundred years ago?”
Cole did a minor double-take at Reed’s sudden unexpected trivial knowledge. “How do you know about that?”
“I watch too much daytime holocast TV.” Reed shameless admitted. “She specialised in creating machinery that ran on organic components, but her work was considered heresy by the Pure Flesh Priests and she went into hiding with her young daughter, Miranda, never to be seen again.” He paused. “My theory was always that she was kidnapped by techno-lizard people, but I guess becoming a haunted skeleton on a ghost ship works too.”
“Correction: This unit is not a haunted skeleton.” The definitely haunted skeleton blared. “This unit is the final remains of Proserra Vaselli’s final and most important experiment. The uploading of a mental print into the complex of a ship’s main hyperlogic processing systems.”
“…Okay, can you put that more easily understandable terms?”
“Affirmative.” The corpse said. “Basically, I uploaded my brain into the ship’s computer.”
Reed blinked. “You can do that?”
“Affirmative.” The ship confirmed. “And with only 70% mental degradation.”
Cole winced. “That seems like an unhealthy amount.” Suddenly, a thought occurred to her. “Wait, so if your mind is linked to the ship’s computer… then that means you’ve been controlling the ship!”
“Affirmative.” The computer blared.
“And that means you were the one who trapped us here!”
“Why though?” Reed asked. “What do you want with us? Don’t tell me this ship runs on souls?!”
“Negative.” The skeleton/computer/ship/thing stated. “Capturing you was not the primary goal. And ectoplasmic energy generation is significantly less efficient than normal solar power generation. Destroying your souls would yield a negligible energy output.”
“…Um, that last bit was a joke, wasn’t it?”
“This unit’s Humour Matrix is online, correct.”
“You’re still not answering the question though.” Cole pointed out. “Why are you keeping us here?”
The computer was silent for a moment. Then it spoke. “Miranda must be protected.”
“Miranda?” Cole blinked. “Wait, you mean the daughter?”
“Ooh! Ooh!” The girl, who had been fidgeting with some sort of plaything during all of this, suddenly poked her head up. “Thas me! Thas me! I’m Miranda!”
“…Right sure, of course you are.” Cole glanced between Reed, 8yo Miranda and the corpse of Proserra. “But didn’t the two of you vanish 200 years ago? Why does ‘Miranda’ still look like she’s 8?”
“Hah!” Reed grinned. “I told you she was a ghost child!”
“’M not a ghost!!”
“Miranda #32 is correct.” The corpse said in its usual ghoulish voice. “The original Miranda died 196 years ago at the hands of Pure Flesh assassins. To save some part of her daughter, the original human host of this unit activated an experimental artificial replication procedure to recreate her daughter using organic flesh. The Miranda you see before you is the 32nd iteration of that process.”
“We cloned her.” The skeleton simplified. “She’s a clone.”
“Can we get back on track here?” Cole asked. “Why does protecting Miranda require you keeping us here against our will?”
“Protecting Miranda requires the concealment of this ship’s existence from the outside world.” The computer explained. “Any who come here with hostile intent are to be liquidated and their ship taken apart and absorbed into my own to bolster necessary repairs. Should repairs be urgently needed, this ship has permission to engage the ‘Sucker’s Bait’ in the form of a false distress signal to lure in small passerbys.”
“So you’ve been eating ships, melting their inhabitants and sending out false distress signals to lure people in?” Reed summed up.
“People like us!” Cole realised. “That distress signal was from you, you bitch! All so you could lure us here and kill us!”
“Affirmative.” The ship confirmed.
“Um… Any chance you could maybe not destroy us and our ship?” Reed asked as Cole went for her laser cutter.
Cole froze, mid-draw.
“Hold on, sorry, what?” She said. “You’re okay with not killing us?”
“This ship’s primary purpose is to protect Miranda.” The corpse exclaimed. “However, Proserra Vaselli did include deliberate limits in that mission statement to avoid <quote mode engaged> this ship becoming some kind of crazy-ass sentient haunted murder machine <end quote mode>. Should Miranda decide to leave this ship on another ship of her own volition, this unit has been informed to allow her and to self-destruct to conceal all evidence of its existence.”
“So what you’re saying is…” Cole repeated slowly, glancing at the 8yo, who had clearly stopped listening and was busy fiddling with her toy. “If we can persuade Miranda to come with us, you’ll let us go?
“Great!” Reed clapped his hands. “This should be easy.”
“Easy?” Cole grabbed Reed by the shoulders and leaned in to speak quietly. “Reed, you do realise the girl has spent her entire life on this ship? Everything she knows or has ever known is here. Do you really think she’s just going to agree to drop everything and come with us just because you asked her nicely?”
Reed blinked. He looked over Cole’s shoulder towards the girl. “Hey Miranda! Do you want to come with us on a spaceship?”
Miranda looked up at them. “Okay. Don’t like this place anyway.” She then went straight back to her toy.
“…Well, that was anti-climactic.”
“Okay, so let me get this straight.” Mustin said, running a claw down his face. “I sent you both down there to fetch some useful components to either fix up the ship or sell on the black market… and you bring me back a kid. A kid who I’m apparently not even allowed to eat.”
“Okay, first of all, stop asking if you’re allowed to eat children.” Cole said bluntly. “The answer is never yes. And second of all, like I told you, it’s a long complicated story that I have no intention of telling you until I finish emptying the liquor cabinet.” She took a swig of the Brasian Whiskey bottle. “So either stop whining or fetch me another glass!”
Mustin took that as his cue to leave, grumbling as he went about how he was never allowed to eat anything sentient these days. Miranda watched him go with a fascinated expression. Reed’s was a bit more disturbed.
“…Yeah, I’d avoid being alone in the same room as him for the next week or so.” He gently advised. “Just trust me on this one.”
“Hey, Reed!” Cole said, walking over to him with a little swagger (or was might have been a wobble) in her step. “Turns out you were wrong all along, huh? The ship wasn’t haunted after all!”
“Eh, depends on your definition.” Reed said. “I mean technically you could say it was ‘haunted’ by a ghost in the machine and-”
“Nope!” Cole insisted cheerfully. “It wasn’t haunted and I will fucking fight you on this.”
“Hey guys,” Mustin reentered the room with a slightly worried face. “Um… Is the ship outside meant to be exploding?”
“Yeah.” Reed nodded. “S’cool. Just the self-detonation of the security system of the ghost of a long-dead woman uploaded into a cyber-system in an eternal cycle of murder, cloning and child rearing.”
Mustin tilted his head slightly, before looking to Cole.
“No, I’m afraid that’s… mostly accurate.” Cole said, taking another swig of whiskey.
“Right…” Mustin said. “And the sounds of hellish screaming are also part of the plan?
Cole and Reed both froze. “…Screaming?”
“Yup.” Mustin flicked on the switch to the ship’s speakers. Immediately the room was filled with a horrendous soul-wrenching scream that echoed through the air like a nightmare. “I don’t even know how we’re able to hear that in a vacuum.”
Reed paused. “Come to think about it, we never did ask about that screaming we heard in the corridor…”
“Ah, thass just the hellghost.” Miranda said with a nod. “It floats around the ship, screams and murders people. Mama never did find out where it came from, but since the ship blew up, I guess it must be searching for a new home.”
Reed, Cole and Mustin all looked at each other, sharing one silent thought.
“Start the engines?”
“Start the engines.”
“I fucking told you this place was haunted!”