Part 4

( )

:   : Screams in Space

some strange room. It was the same as the first premises. The same size, the same white walls. Excluding the soot the walls were clean. Excluding the memories too. He was absolutely sure he had never stepped in this room. Because he would remember the thing that stood in the middle. The thing that made his blood freeze. It was perfectly black (just like the gap) and looked like [incubator] some kind of a giant egg. It was standing in the middle of the room, maybe 2 meters high. Its surface wasnt reflecting the light. Just like the gap. In case it had surface at all. It wasnt black it would be equal to define a ?black gap? as black. [bigstrongfast] dangerous as the gap or even more. All these thoughts as if he had been blind. As if somebody had been putting them in his head. Somebody or something. He had to think if he wanted to avoid this trap. Think fast. The gap The gap wasnt there. It was a door. But he saw it! Because something wanted him to see it. And here he was again, trying to repeat his terrible mistake, come too [one-throw distance] close. He knew he didnt want to do it, but he was doing it, something in his nature was obliging him to do it. He wasnt able to fight himself. He would lose. No! He was coming closer and closer to the line of insanity which would surely lead to his death. He had to fight if he wanted to survive. But fight what? And how!? He had to think. Why had he managed to avoid the gap? Because because the big black chair had disappeared. Very realistically. So realistically that the freed space absorbed air. But there were no big black chairs in the room, no chairs at all, nothing to prevent him from And he eventually saw he was only a step away from the thing, oh, God, he was holding his hand out to it He was almost touching it! Pure terror spread throughout his body and blocked his mind. The lights turned off. *** - Damn these technical failures! Kiegan was listening the tense voice of the supervisor. Poor mate he thought He will have to report this risking his wage or even his job. Kiegan was in the Whirlwind one of the simulation devices, the purpose of which was to test the teams physical condition and determine whether it is appropriate for traveling in hyperspace. Of course, the process of hyperspace traveling was too dangerous for people and they spent all the time sleeping in special capsules. Despite the fact it was an automatic process, due to the risk of unforeseen damage of the ship corpus the team had to be prepared to do it manually. Which was extremely dangerous. They had to act quickly and accurately in these occasions. Kiegan had had two emergency flights and both resulted in the death of a crew member. That obliged them to pass the tests to prove they were perfectly fit for the forthcoming flight. Kiegan wasnt. He was everything else but mentally fit. Because this time he had managed to take a look at the medical results of the titular crew, approved for the mission. He was surprised to see his crew was the substitute. But right when he started wondering why he saw the results. Kiegan had never heard of a total failure at the tests. Oh, it was normal that someone wasnt 100% fit and failed a couple of them. They were more than 100, after all. The person passed all the others and was approved for the mission. Sometimes someone failed to report for the tests or refused to. Then he was disciplined and the place was taken by his substitute. Corporations cadres were exceptional people. They were all under the control of a psycho-modulating system that kept them fit. It worked so smoothly that in the whole history of the Corporation there were only two total failures. Two men. But these reports contained shocking information. The whole crew had failed every single test. Not one or two. All of them. Every single test. And they had been moved to the mental hospital. All of them lost their minds. - Oh, shit! it was an unknown voice perhaps a technician and Kiegan heard sparkles sprinkling. Of course, he was the captain. He had to have a decent story in case someone from the crew found the information somehow and asked about it. Or maybe he needed the answer for himself. It was easy to find a rational explanation for what had happened. The first crew was part of a new mental control system. It was a beta version, being tested by the Corporation. It was normal that failures occurred. Kiegan had even been expecting it. But not that flatly. Well, true or not, this was the best possible answer. And he didnt have to worry in vain. He was excited. Because he knew these crews were sent where the chances of success are minimal. Lights turned on and the Whirlwind made its last revolution to reach first position. - Its all done. Time to pass the Labyrinth, Kiegan the supervisor was calm again. Kiegan unbuttoned the belts keeping him turned upside down. He hated labyrinths. *** There were no directions. He expected to see the standard signs East Wing or Central Corpus, but they werent there for him. No matter which way he took he wouldnt know the destination. He had to choose one of the tunnels. Thinking for it, it wasnt that important. He didnt know anything about where he was so he had nothing to lose. After he went out of the room with the [incubator] strange object, he found himself in front of two tunnels. He hated labyrinths. They were so uncertain. He always found unpleasant surprises in them. Like the one in the last room. Electricity went off for a moment just in time. He had almost touched the [incubator] fucking thing, he felt strange chills in his hand head towards his body In his desperation he remembered of the big black chair, of its sudden disappearance and his belief that had saved his life. He thought there was no rational or irrational reason to escape the consequences if his stupidity this time. But what he saw just a second before the lights turned off interrupted any attempt to think. He saw the shadow of the [incubator] thing. It was sinister. He just shot a glance on it, he couldnt be absolutely sure he saw what he was thinking he saw, some weird move on the floor attracted his attention. He never realized that the [incubator] object had a shadow. But then he saw it. Maybe it wasnt that he saw it with his eyes as much as he felt it with his soul. It was the thing that laid waiting for him in the gap. It was in embryonic position, its monstrous hands over its body. He knew it was the thing that was chasing him. The ghost he wanted to bury. But it wasnt the shadow itself that terrified him to death. He was just unable to perceive the curved claws as quick as he perceived the movement that attracted his attention. It had turned its head towards him. And was gaping at him. He blenched at the memory of someones look following him. And the darkness fell exactly when he saw the shadow. His heart stopped beating for several seconds, filled with pure horror. And then light was back. He was standing, his hand pulled out to the nothing, frozen in deadly awe. Of course, there was nothing in front of him. He needed much more time than before to overcome the shock. He wasnt at the edge of insanity anymore. He was unable to see any edge No, no, he wasnt mad. He was fine he had to be fine. He had to find a way out. There were two other tunnels leading out of the room. The one in the left was dark and the right one was shining. He could see two doors on it before it was making a sharp turn. And he took a decision. He would fight. His steps resounded on the right tunnel.