A new and exciting short story by me Cecil Thax, this was an entry I wrote for a ‘A bad science fiction writing jam’, I’m breaking it down into several parts so your mind isn’t overwhelmed by words and Sci Fi cliches.
Previously on ‘Rage Slave’ Jack Steel had managed to get the power core to the Zargon-9 ships engine and fitted it into his small one man pod, he blasted off towards the moon and the Luna fighting tournaments hosted there nightly
Part two – Space Spiders!
The trip would take slightly less than 5 hours, just enough time to prepare! Jack set a countdown for every hour, his preparations would have to be thorough, he couldn’t afford to be ill prepared for the coming battle and any slip in his preparations would mean certain death, and death was the one thing Jack was never prepared for! He checked all his components meticulously, 3 hours into the flight the whole ship jolted, the anti-gravity gave out, Jack was thrown around the tiny cabin, alarms screamed in his ears. He checked the readouts, it was space spiders, squat metallic robots, fitted with cutting lasers and powerful venoms to destroy and convert anything they might encounter into more space spiders! He was not prepared for this! When the Glanioks came they had released a few space spiders in orbit to trap anyone trying to escape, but as far as Jack was aware they had all been wiped out after the Smaptons! There was only one way to destroy a space spider, by pure coincidence Jack had fitted his ship decades ago with reverse anti-gravity repulsers, he turned them on, the spiders were pulled into the hull of the ship and crushed under their own weight, to celebrate Jack took a swig of the last drops from his flask.
By the time he was in Luna orbit, he was ready. He could see on the surface, the lights were on, somebody was home! He didn’t wait for landing permission, he just took his ship down. When he got near the tallest building he had to laugh, the light’s weren’t on, nobody was home, the lights were flames. The whole city was burning, but due to the atmospheres mix, there was no smoke, every building was either smouldering rubble or gutted by bright all-consuming flames. “Figures” Jack said to himself. He flew on across the surface, luckily the power core to the Zargon-9 ships engine would keep his little pod running with enough power, oxygen and water for 9000 years. Technically he could live in there indefinitely, apart from there only being only slightly more than standing room, in terms of life support he was fine, but the ship couldn’t synthesize alcohol, only water, protein and air, so while he could survive, he wouldn’t be living, without alcohol Jack was nothing. As he flew over the burning cities he wondered what could have wrought such planet wide destruction.
It wasn’t until he reached the dark side of the moon that he found the cause. Huge swarms of space spiders as large as cities swept over the surface, melting everything in their path with their cutting lasers. Jack turned his ship around before getting too close, he could handle a dozen or so at a time, but in their millions they were indestructible. But Jack was getting sloppy in his old age, he’d left it too late to turn round, his ship couldn’t slow down quick enough, his flight path took him dangerously close to a swarm. There was nothing he could do but let the ship change its course, if the spiders saw him then they saw him. They did see him, a small clump of them began to float up from the surface towards his ship. Jack had no choice, there were about 100 space spiders floating towards him, he was just within the atmosphere of the moon, so he did the only thing he could, he grabbed his rifle, kicked open the entry hatch and leaned out of the pod and shot down as many spiders as he could before they reached him, he managed to take out clumps of them with the explosive setting of his rifle by the time he couldn’t breathe and had to enter his ship there was only about 30 coming up on him. He set the reverse anti-gravity repulsers to be double reverse, so when a spider touched the hull they vibrated so violently they exploded, it only took 5 spiders exploding to destroy the rest of them.
Jack growled as his ship sped away from them, he was free, but his freedom gave him little comfort, despite his instincts screaming at him to persevere and live, his mind had long since given up the battle to remain alive, he longed for death but he couldn’t resist a fight! His life was his punishment for all he’d done. Jack looked at his navigation screen, he had two choices, back to Earth, though there was nothing there for him or he could go on to Mars. There was nothing there for him either, but at least there were no memories haunting him there. He set the computer on its course and jammed the soma needle deep into his neck, he passed out instantly with the needle still inside him, the journey would take 142 days.
As Jack slept, his ship taking care of his limp fragile body, space spiders devoured every city on the Moon, 9.4 billion people, droids and animals wiped out, every trace of existence on that rock was reduced to a burning rubble, then that rubble was consumed and used to make more space spiders. They grew to such a large number they covered every inch of the moon’s surface. Within 60 days they were making their way to earth, 20 days later humanity had be exterminated from both planets, every living thing had been burned, broken down and converted into space spider components. The earth now was a vast silver crawling ball, not a spec of green or blue could be seen, just a seething writhing mass of metal inexorably crawling.
For days Jacks ship silently floated through the endless void of nothingness, all the while Jack dreamt, he dreamt of her, his mind tormenting him with twisted memories of her holding him, being with him, how things were back then, over and over again he watches as she slowly floated away, she drew cold, her skin peeling from her muscle, then back to the warm loving woman he knew, then again the skin, being torn apart in front of him, the twisted look of agony on her face, her torso being torn open, her organs spilling out over the carpet while the Glanioks feasted on them, his screams, the Glanioks holding him, he breaks free, she’s writhing in unbearable agony as the last remnants of life are torn from her, Glanioks swarm round her, their machines ripping her over and over again, it’s all he ever dreamed, it’s all he saw when he closed his eyes, it’s all he ever thought about, the agony in her face and the monsters that took her, while he was held down, forced to watch because he’d managed to kill some of them. His nightmare lasted for an eternity, trapped inside his own head, being dragged from short bursts of loving memory to sheer horror. When he awoke he wanted nothing more than death, his eyes didn’t function, he could barely move. He was going to do it, he couldn’t live any longer. He fumbled around in the dark, feeling for the emergency hatch button, he would blow himself into space, he’d float eternally through the emptiness. He felt around and found the button, with the last bit of strength in his barley conscious body he hit it. There was a loud bang as the explosive rounds blew the hatch away from the craft. Jack waited for the rapid decompression then cold and silence. These never came. The hatch exploded away but in rushed cool fresh air. Air that smelt so sweet, like early morning dew.