Post-Evacuation Report #1 of Officer Ellen Schwarzschild, Station Security, Tulloch Station.
January 4th, 2182; 2130 hours.
It's been three days since The Company pulled its science team out and left us to the bugs. Three days, and the bugs have been at the door, clawing and chewing and trying to find a way through the entire time. The chunk of Tulloch Station we call home isn't much, just a couple of offices, a hallway and a noodle stand, but at least we're alive. We have water, we have food, we have air, and we have eight inches of plate steel between us and the bugs. We have enough dried noodle pouches and soup mix to keep us fed for about seventeen days (by MacReady's estimate) but with no relief coming, we're going to need more of, well, everything, if we have any hope of surviving beyond that.
That's why I gathered the squad. There are eight of us in total, eight volunteers with firearms experience who have no interest in just sitting around, waiting to die. The plan is simple: when the bugs pull back, and they always do eventually, we sneak into the station, grab what we can, and get back to the bulkhead door that keeps home separate from the hive before the bugs get us. We've got plans to expand too, if we find any other survivors, but I don't have much hope that there's anyone other than us left in our section of the station. I look forward to being proven wrong.
Today was the first day we made a push back into the station.
We crossed into the operational zone with Angel and Father Constantine leading us. My hands were sweaty as I checked my motion tracker. No positives, nothing but us on the screen.
I gave the order to spread out, directed Angel and MacReady to take up positions to guard our escape route. Father Constantine readied his gun as he approached the first supply cache, and I swear all of us were holding our breath when he popped the lid.
Nothing. Nothing, except the shredded edge of a shipping manifest indicating there might be something further in.
Chett was the first to reach another crate, and whatever he found looked promising.
And that was when the motion tracker clipped to my belt started bleeping. "Movement!" I shouted, pointing at the walls, the direction of the mass of aliens moving toward us. "Twenty meters!"
Angel was the first to move, setting herself up with a clear shot down the passageway. MacReady set up a few meters behind her, close enough to take on anything that might get past her, far enough to avoid the acid spray we'd all heard about or, worse, seen first hand.
Darius closed with another crate and found something promising in it as well. Running ahead, Ashley broke for another crate, the furthest one out so far.
And then suddenly, the bugs were among us.
The aliens moved like a glistening black wave, rushing into the hallway, hissing and snarling. Angel didn't even blink, just put a round solidly in the first bug unlucky enough to round the corner.
The kill came so precise, so sudden, that it blew a haze of xeno-bits over the second drone, which immediately routed, careening off its fellows as it rushed back into the station.
Ashley reached her crate, but it turned out to be empty.
With a shout, Joanne rushed at the bugs and unloaded both barrels of her cobbled-together handcannon at the closest one, but the junkshot wasn't enough to do much more than piss the xenos off.
The alien Joanne had taken a shot at rounded on her and struck her hard enough to fling her against the wall and leave her motionless. Only later did I realize that the only reason they didn't kill her, the only reason they didn't kill any of us, is because they need us. They need bodies for the hive.
Angel was hit next, struck by the sharp, spearlike tail of one of the aliens. I saw the splash of white, heard the echoing hum of her internals compensating for the damage.
I found out later that Ashley made a mad dash for the nearest corridor, stood her ground right at the bulkhead door. Firing her shotgun at the alien chasing her the instant it came around the corner, she watched in horror as it shrugged off the blast and kept coming for her.
Leaping backward and landing expertly on the sharp tips of her integrated high-heel shoes, Angel readied her rifle and fired. The rounds tracked across the chest of the closest alien, wounding it and leaving it bleeding its caustic blood all over the floor.
Darius and Chett started firing at the knot of aliens just beyond the supply room, but the rounds had no effect.
And through it all, every thought was punctuated by that maddening beeping from my motion tracker as the aliens closed up with us.
Angel took another shot and dropped the wounded alien. White android circulatory fluid ran in thick lines down her arms while Constantine and I waited uneasily. MacReady stood by, nervously clutching his shotgun.
There was a shout and a scream as the aliens rushed at Darius and Chett.
The scream ended in a smothering howl-- and I knew. I knew we'd lost Darius.
Another alien closed with Angel and struck at her, but she slammed it back with the butt of her rifle.
Ashley screamed as one of the aliens rushed at her, swiping and biting.
Her sweaty fingers tried to pull the trigger on her shotgun, but the cloud of buckshot mostly missed her attackers, hardly phased them.
Constantine and I started shooting, trying to knock the alien off of Angel. Constantine's shot was clean, punched through the alien's skull with minimal splatter. I watched as Angel shoved the corpse away, deftly avoiding the caustic blood.
The xeno's mournful howl drove another one of the bugs to run back toward the hive before it circled back again.
As two of the horrors closed with Chett, he took a shot, but the round only ricocheted off the closest bug's glistening carapace.
When the bugs struck back, their claws cut into the gaps between Chett's armor and drew blood.
That was when I heard Ashley's scream. The bugs had caught her, immobilized her.
My motion tracker was going crazy as the bugs closed on us, and it was everything I could do not to panic.
Chett battled with the aliens trying to drag him down and carry him away, but their claws kept cutting into his armor without catching the flesh underneath.
That was when the aliens that had immobilized Ashley rushed in to deal with the rest of us.
Angel, Constantine and I all took shots at the closest alien, but the thing was quick, agile, and we only succeeded in delaying its rush to attack her.
Chett tried to drive the aliens off by firing wildly, but the rounds barely phased them.
When Angel started grappling with one of the aliens, I thought for sure we were going to lose her. That's when I got to see a combat android's true potential in action. Closing her fingers into a long, razor-edged blade, she quickly stabbed the drone through the jaws in a precise, surgical strike, then flung the acid to the side. It was beautiful, terrifying, and all the more so because it was clear she knew what she was doing. It made me wonder how many of these things she'd dispatched in the same way before.
Another batch of positive contacts closed in to fifteen meters while Chett wrestled with the pair of drones trying to pin him down and incapacitate him.
The drone that saw Angel's precise strike hesitated, then put a little distance between itself and the android. Her arm was smoking with the residual acid, but it hardly seemed to phase her as she stared down the next drone.
That was when the swarm surged, and four drones rushed to take down Angel.
Chett was beating back his own pair of drones with his fists and the butt of his rifle, but they kept coming.
Angel, Constantine and I started firing on the swarm, but none of the rounds seemed to bite past the chitinous plating.
Then I heard the last thing I wanted to hear-- the click-click of an empty chamber on my pistol.
Chett tried another shot, but couldn't get a clean hit past the flailing talons and gnashing teeth of the drones.
Grappling with them, Chett shouted for help, but there was no way we could get to him. One of the drones bit through Chett's armor, brushing skin, but not cutting deep enough to wound him.
Grappling with another drone, Angel shoved the alien away, tossing it down a nearby corridor.
And when they closed ranks with her again, she couldn't hold them off. I saw the white blood fly as they dropped her, swarming over her and chewing her rubbery skin.
Chett continued to battle with the two drones.
With Angel down, MacReady squeezed off a hasty shot, but the cloud of buckshot only stunned the aliens for a moment.
I quickly reloaded my handgun and started firing, dropping one of the drones instantly. Father Constantine started firing, but the rounds only bounced off the closest drone's shining exoskeletal armor.
That was when Chett finally managed to get a good shot and put the closest alien down.
Even seeing their fellows fall, one of the drones routed and disappeared into the vents. Another ran, and ended up rushing Chett.
Three positive contacts-- one rushing Chett, one closing with MacReady and one in the room with me, rushing Father Constantine.
MacReady backed off a handful of paces and let the lead fly, but the cloud of buckshot didn't do much more than piss off the drone.
Constantine and I took shots at the drone, knowing we were both in spray range, but the alien shrugged off the rounds like they were nothing.
Chett took his own shot at the closest drone, but the alien took the hit like it was nothing.
Grappling with the alien, he managed to kick enough force into the brawl to toss the alien back into the doorway.
Constantine's rifle clicked, empty, and as he looked up in horror, the alien fell on him, biting and tearing into him.
I tried not to think about the fact that there were only three of us left, that if all of us fell, we'd probably all end up in the hive, cocooned, contained to become vessels for the birthing of new horrors.
And then MacReady blasted one of the aliens apart with his shotgun.
Chett fired, but the round ricocheted off the alien's hide.
The alien that had killed Constantine rushed me, and in that moment I thought for sure I was going to die, but by some miracle, I moved at the last second and the drone's jaws sank into my armor instead, sparing my life.*
Chett wasn't so lucky.
Kicking and screaming, I blasted the alien until my pistol ran dry. Acid spurted everywhere, but still I lived. Still, I stood, and the alien lay steaming, dead at my feet. Slamming a fresh clip in, I pulled up my motion tracker and checked for contacts.
One more to go.
There was a shrieking and chittering from the room down the hall.
And then the last of the drones was running toward me, hissing, its sharp-taloned, grasping hands reaching for me.
I took a shot, but the round only managed to make the alien hesitate.
"Hey ugly!" MacReady yelled, stepping into the breach behind the alien and firing his shotgun. I grimaced as the alien shrugged off the buckshot like it was nothing.
And when it rushed me, all I could see was talons and teeth.
I ended up brawling with the horror, and it was everything I could do to shove it off of me and toss it back into the doorway.
MacReady took another shot, but it was my pistol round that finally put the drone down for good.
Checking the motion tracker, I breathed a relieved sigh seeing that there were no new contacts. Hurrying through the tunnels, MacReady and I checked everyone we could find to see who was still alive.
The first one I helped up was Constantine. He was hurt pretty bad, bad enough that I'm going to have to bench him next time out. The next we checked on was Angel, and though she was pretty beat up, she reassured me that it wasn't anything she couldn't have patched up by the time we were all ready to go out again. Joanne turned out to be unharmed, just scratched and bruised, and Chett too, though his armor was pretty beat up. Helping him back to his feet, I saw Darius, saw the horror attached to his face and knew what needed to be done. Ripping Chett's rifle out of his hands, I ended Darius's pain right then and there, blasted apart both corpse and facehugger in a hail of fire that felt as wrong as it did necessary. I didn't even look at what was left, didn't see the point in trying to make a burial. I had a trail of blood to follow, and a memory of a scream, to see what happened to Ashley.
Ashley was gasping for breath when we found her. The Aliens had hurt her, bad, and it was up to MacReady and I to try to stabilize her. Luckily, MacReady learned how to suture at some point, and we were able to get her limping again.
Gathering everyone up, we sorted through what we'd recovered and ended up with a couple of W-Y branded scout armor suits, a suit of military armor, a box of military rations and a box of five smoke grenades. It isn't much, but I'll take whatever we can get out here. We also found some useful scrap, and managed to make home a little more, well, homey.
We also connected with another survivor, another security officer I recognize from the other end of the station. Her name is Louise Weaver, and I'm giving her Darius's weapons so she can walk the line with us the next time we go out.
This is Station Security Officer Ellen Schwarzschild, signing off.
Angel is MVP
All others gain +1 XP
AP spent on healing Angel at the "doc" and fixing Chett's armor.
Settlement levelled up! +1 to Stability
Constantine resting to recover from injuries.
* I realized afterward that I'd been treating Field Armor
as Military Armor.
Whoops. Technically, Ellen should have been a casualty as well.
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