I wrote this short RP for a contest to win a GR-75.
It was dark, it was cold, and it was cramped. The room could barely be called such, it was essentially a large walk-in closet. Within was a wide awake Vratix. His large, L-shaped body was on its side, sprawled out on the oversized, rock solid mattress. The mattress laid directly on the ground, covered in stains of all sizes and colors. From afar it looked like a festive pattern, but the smell ruined that illusion rather quickly. His abdomen, which extended past the end of the mattress, hosted two small hind legs which rested pathetically on the cold floor.
His large forelegs couldn’t find a comfortable place to settle, and his entire frame was thoroughly permeated by the humming of the cargo spacecraft’s large engines. Finally he rose, eager to leave the disgusting place. The ceiling, too low for his 2 meter tall frame, met his head with a loud *THUNK*. A series of angry, yet mumbled, clicktongue sounds came from deep within the creature’s long, slender throat as he bent his head down and gingerly poked at where he thought was the button for the door. After a few seconds of ramming his finger into the wall, he finally felt the button press in. The door flew wide open as the sterile light from the ship’s hallway assaulted his large, lidless, compound eyes. He recoiled from the bright whiteness for near a minute before finally adjusting. After such a laborious process, Doctor Spree Razzix stepped wearily into the hallway.
The cold floor kissed Spree’s bare feet as the Vratix walked down the hallway. He knew where he wanted to go, but he could not orient himself. ‘This place needs more signs,’ he thought to himself. His feet meeting the floor reverberated down the entire, barren hall. ‘Is there anyone even on this ship?’ Spree’s questions were answered by the sounds only of his own echoing footsteps. Spree sighed and *buzz*ed simultaneously, “Is there any*click*one around?” The Vratix’s throat was built to produce clicktongue sounds, not to elicit the speech tones of Basic. His native language ‘accent’ has peppered every sentence he has uttered since the day he learned the galactic lingua franca.
An echo, fantastic.
Spree continued a slow pace, all four of his legs moving at a slow, half-awake pace. A new sound began to ring around him, he moved towards it with great anticipation. Sleepiness turned into alertness and he continued towards the sound’s source. It wasn’t a run, but he was definitely in a hurry. Finally, after what seemed like ages of sound-following, Spree arrived at the source: a noisy command room. He knocked.
The room behind the door fell silent. Promptly, the door popped open and a young human man stared forward at one of his passengers, “Oh, Doctor Razzix! Thank goodness! You need to see this.” The confused Vratix was grabbed by the arm and tugged into the room. Inside was a scattered collection of crewman bodies on the ground. The only other conscious individual besides the individual who grabbed Spree was a skinny Thyferran man, who was kneeling beside the body, an open medkit next to him.
“What *buzz* is going on here? What has felled all *click* these individuals?”
Before the human could reply, the Thyferran chimed in: “I cannot figure that out, doctor. We were in the middle of a meeting when almost all of us dropped. Thankfully they are all still breathing… but with essentially comatose pulses. I do not know what to do. The nearest hospital platform is three days away.”
“It’s the curse!” shouted the human hysterically, “this damned ship is cursed!”
“Cursed? What do *buzz* you mean?” the Vratix asked the human.
“The theory goes that inhabitants of this ship will be destroyed by the ghosts of its original owners, who are said to have—”
“THEY WERE CURSED TO DEATH!”
“Sir, please *buzz* calm down! We cannot solve anything by *buzz* shouting.”
“My best guess is that there must be some sort of illness spreading through the ship. Probably airbore. I am unsure why the three of us have not been afflicted, however.” Said the Thyferran.
“It is *buzz* possible. What were these individuals *click* doing before they fell unconscious?”
“Arguing amongst themselves, shouting about being lost,” the Thyferran looked a little hopeless, “they are yet to be proved wrong.”
“THE CURSE DROVE THEM TO MADNESS! SAVE ME, DOCTORS!”
“Please, stay *click* calm. Whatever the cause *buzz* is, it is not likely that it’s *click* solution is yelling.” Spree waved his hands downwards, as if to quiet the man from afar. To no avail, however. The man sprinted towards the Thyferran, tackling him and drawing a knife from his belt. “I will not die because you are standing around doing nothing!” He stabbed once wildly at the man, cutting into the Thyferran’s shoulder.
Suddenly, a groaning began to fill the air. Soft at first, it began to get louder. Spree’s attention was drawn from the violence towards the source, or rather, sources. The downed crewmembers were beginning to stir!
The human rose from the bleeding Thyferran and ran to his friends. He offered a hand to the closest one.
The bleeding Thyferran, however, was not as excited. He was not mortally wounded by any means, but he was certainly worse for wear. His attention, however was focused elsewhere. Spree moved over to him and helped him up. “It does *buzz* not look bad. We can take *click* you to the sick bay to *click* get you bandaged up.” Realizing that the Thyferran was not paying him any attention, Spree followed his gaze just in time to hear a familiar voice, “OUCH! WHY DID YOU DO THAT, GREG?”
Spree took a good look at “Greg”. The man’s skin was deathly pale and he seemed to be more interested in the human’s arm than his words. Something was not right. The Thyferran touched Spree on the shoulder, “Vratix, do you believe in zombies?”
The bitten human collapsed in pain as Greg’s bite broke the skin and drew blood. Other crewmembers began to slowly rise at the noise, each also groaning and pale as the moon. “I *click* am not certain. However, these *buzz* individuals do fit the folklore quite *click* well.” Without warning, the standing Thyferran grabbed Spree’s arm, “well then we should RUN!” and tugged him along as he bolted for the door.
The two of them began to sprint away, with Greg and his small group moving at a rather slow pace close behind. “Follow me, I know a place that should be safe.” After a few minutes of uninterrupted running, the Thyferran stopped at a shut door. He pressed the button and the door slid open; he bolted in with Spree close behind. The door shut behind them and the Thyferran proceeded to press a few buttons on the inside wall, locking it.
“Why did we *buzz* not go to the sick bay?” Spree asked, “we can better treat your wound there!”
“Because there are people in the sick bay, Doctor. This ship is full of passengers and their cargo. We are stuck on a zombie infested freighter. There should be some scraps we can put together to clean my wound well enough. For now, though, we have to leave this place!”
Spree shakes his head, still processing that he was actually on a ship full of zombies. After a minute of silence, the Vratix said, “No. There is not a single *click* disease in the galaxy that cannot *buzz* be cured. We should *buzz* fix this trouble and save the *click* afflicted.”
“That is very noble of you, but how can we possibly do that? Like I said before: there is no way we can possibly make it to the sick bay without encountering zombies.”
“We will *click* think of something, my *buzz* friend.” With that, Spree began cleaning the Thyferran’s wound.
After a brief moment of silence, the Thyferran spoke up again, “You do realize that we will have to kill some of these individuals if we plan on moving about the ship, right? By my estimation, there should be about six hundred passengers aboard. There are two sick bays at the front of the ship and one in the back. If we want to even try and understand this virus, we will need the equipment of the sick bay. Additionally, we are stuck in hyperspace for another 48 hours. If we want to cure this disease, we need to do it before this ship gets to realspace. If we cannot get to the cockpit we will be unable to send a warning transmission. If the virus is airborne, which is very well could be, allowing individuals to board would spread the disease.”
Spree nods, “If the *buzz* virus is airborne, it would seem that you and I are *click* immune for now. We need *buzz* to create this antidote and circulate it throughout *click* the ship.” Spree hesitated a bit before continuing, “I do not *click* wish to end a life. However, there are more ways than one *buzz* to incapacitate an enemy. We have no time *buzz* to waste, let us depart!” He finished dressing the Thyferran’s stab wound and moved towards the door.
The two exited the room and into a still deserted hallway, “C’mon, it is this way!” On their journeys, they made careful not to go towards any dull moaning sounds. When they arrived near the sick bay, however, they saw a small group of 10 zombies sort of milling about. “Do you see the door? It is the only way in or out. Once we are inside, we can proceed.” The Thyferran drew his holstered pistol, Spree took out a makeshift shield he and the Thyferran had built earlier. The two of them moved as quickly as they could towards the door. However, as they closed in, a zombie noticed them! It moaned slightly louder and the rest of the group turned towards the two doctors. Both of them hurried as quickly as they could towards the door. Spree went first, bashing two zombies out of the way with his metal shield. The Thyferran popped a zombie in the head with a laser. The remaining 6 inched closer and closer to the pair as the Thyferran popped open the door, hopped in, and pulled the Vratix in with him before promptly shutting the door. The two exhaled as they listened to the rhythmic pounding on the sick bay door. “Do not worry, there is no way they can get that thing open without doctor credentials and a password.”
“What about *buzz* any zombified doctors? Or what about the *click* ones still in this *buzz* room?!” Spree shoved the Thyferran to turn around. Three doctor zombies crept slowly towards the healthy doctors. After five well timed shots, the three zombies crumpled to the floor, each currently headless. “Well, doctor… sorry about your ‘colleagues’.”
Spree shook his head sadly, “The loss of *buzz* a life pains me. However, if *click* we do not survive these zombies, we will not be *click* able to save the majority. Let us *buzz* get to work.”
The two worked for hours on end, toiling over the corpses of the three dead doctors, trying to identify their disease and, more importantly, how to cure it. After a sleepless 18 hours, the pair were tired. “I believe this solution should work, Doctor. However, it needs to culture… for another six hours.”
“I do not *buzz* wish to sleep, if that is what *click* you are insinuating.” Spree remarked, “I do not *buzz* trust the integrity of that door.”
“Suit yourself, friend. I am going to catch a few winks, wake me if anything is trying to kill us.”
At least four hours went by, Spree shifted his attention from the door to the Thyferran and back again. At the dawn of the fourth hour, he watched in horror as his newfound friend’s skin began to become pale. Looking around, Spree found a pair of restraining cuffs and a medical backboard. He continued to search until he found a syringe of a powerful tranquilizer. Slowly, so as not to wake his zombifying compatriot, brought the syringe to the man’s neck and stabbed. The sharp prick woke the zombie, but the drug knocked him out straight away. Spree took two pairs of restraining cuffs and backboard and totally restrained the sleeping doctor. He placed him safely out of the way. “Less than one hour *click* to go, and my only friend on *buzz* this ship just became a zombie.”
Time passed slowly for Spree as he continued to watch the computer display as it replicated the antidote. He heard an increased pounding on the door. Seemed like more zombies were attracted to their actions. The door began to shake a bit. It was still structurally sound, but its locks were beginning to weaken. Uh oh.
Minutes remained for the antidote to be replicated. He needed to get it into the central ventilation, but the only way to do that was to go elsewhere in the ship… and he was pretty cut off. Looking upward, Spree tried to find an alternate route to escape. His plan’s ace in the hole was having the lighter Thyferran do the legwork… but Spree had a feeling that his friend would not be so inclined to help now. He decided that the best and only way to leave was to try to make his way into a central ventilation shaft and release it there. He grabbed a medical backpack and stared at the machine.
Ding! The large antidote replication finally finished, dispensing four banana-sized canisters full of the stuff. He threw three capsules in his backpack, the fourth he released into the room hopefully to revive his friend. However, he could not stick around to wait, it was time to heal this ship before the disease could spread. He climbed up onto a cot and hoisted himself to the ceiling. It was then that he realized that there was no way he could fit inside the air duct. He could, however at least neutralize the zombies outside. It was time to be incredibly foolish and heroic. After he grabbed his shield, he pulled out another capsule and cracked it open. He pressed the button to unlock and open the door, threw the capsule like a grenade into the now large group of zombies, held his shield in front of him, and charged forward blindly, running for his life. Startled zombies crunched hard against his shield, but were unable to bite the courageous Vratix.
Down the hallways he ran, trying desperately to recall exactly where the life support fans were located. He dodged horde after zombie horde, almost getting bitten a few times. After most certainly getting lost, he found the room labeled “Life Support”. He dashed inside and dumped his entire backpack’s worth of antidote into the fan. He sighed and *buzz*ed at the excitement of victory. Then he fell asleep.
A few hours later, he was startled by the sounds of footsteps echoing down the hallway. Grabbing his shield, he stood at ready behind the door. The footsteps grew ever closer until they were right outside the doorway. Slowly, a figure began to creep into the room. At that moment, Spree swung his shield out, right into the face of the mystery man!
Spree was shocked, he came out from his hiding spot to see a familiar face. The Thyferran doctor lay on the ground in front of him, his nose bleeding. “It looks like our drug worked, my friend… even if it cost me my dignity when I was unbound from all your “security measures” by a passenger.” The Thyferran’s tone of voice changed from congratulatory to teasing, “Seriously? Two pairs of handcuffs and a backboard? What is wrong with you, man?” he chuckled.
“I had to *click* make certain your safety! I do regret *buzz* the deaths of those few individuals we had to *click* kill, however.”
“I already took the blame for that, Doctor.” The Thyferran said morosely, “Come now, the ship’s captain would like to speak with you!”
The pair walked side by side, exchanging banter about patient recovery and trading compliments back and forth about medical prowess. Finally they reached the command bridge. The ship’s venerable captain approached Spree. The man’s face was creased like a crumpled lunch bag. He must have been 70 years old. “Doctor Razzix! Just the...” the captain stalled for a second, “erm, man I was looking for! Your heroic actions on this ship have saved all of us from certain death. As a result of this, I have decided to give you a reward.”
Spree tried to get a word in edgewise about ‘doing it for the patients, not the reward’ and so on. However, he was not given that opportunity.
“I am an old captain, and this is one of the finest ships I have ever owned. She has served me for just one trip, but she has already shown me that I have no place in space anymore; it is time for me to retire from this business. I think being zombified finally put everything in perspective for me. I’m not the spry young pilot that I used to be and apparently I was the first to become infected. In fact, they say they could barely tell the difference between ‘alive me’ and ‘zombie me’! Hahaha!” the man gave a jovial laugh, before falling into an awful coughing fit. “Please, you have saved my ship and her crew, I believe you are the rightful heir to her command.”
Spree was speechless. “I am *buzz* speechless.”
The Thyferran man leaned next to the Vratix and whispered, “Just take the win man! You just scored an entire ship!”