Malignant (Short Story)

This is a short sci-fi horror story. There’s some gruesome imagery here that may not be for the faint of heart. Read at your own discretion.

Incident Report

subject: Merchant Vessel MV Dawnstar
sent: June 30th, 2340 CE
from: Captain Fiona Smith, Patrol Ship UCPS Yucatan
to: Gordon Watts, United Colonies Aerospace Administration
cc: Gloria Ong, UC Department of Transportation; Samuel Wu, UC Aerospace Safety Board

June 29th, 2540 CE 00:24 ST — Intermittent distress signal from MV Dawnstar received by UCPS Yucatan and relayed to base.
June 29th, 2540 CE 04:17 ST — MV Dawnstar found adrift with no signs of life 0.3 ly off Luminous Station.
June 29th, 2540 CE 18:20 ST — Preliminary investigation reveals crew dead from unknown cause. Board computer inaccessible, no signs of physical damage to onboard systems, minor impact damage to the hull.

MV Dawnstar sealed and tug requested to quarantine dock on Luminous Station.
Handwritten note found with remains of the ship’s engineer, Cal Marek (see below).

Biohazard event suspected.

1 – Transcript of Handwritten Note
2 – Full Incident Report by Captain Smith

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Transcript of Handwritten Note

The pain is unbearable as I write these lines, I want to tear at my own flesh, gouge out my eyes, rip apart this abomination I have become. But I have to stay and endure the hell I have brought on myself, until life support fails or the black hole tears this ship apart.

This thing must not get to Luminous, nor any inhabited world. It must be destroyed, and I am the only one who can do it, the only one still alive on this boat. I can’t give up now and let it take over my body and my mind…

I have set course to the singularity and locked myself out of the system so neither fear, nor false hope, nor the whispered promises of this thing (I can hear it in my head, there are words, beckoning, but I do not understand, not yet) may stop me from destroying it.

This message shall serve as a warning, should this ship be found intact against my best efforts.

It all began three days ago. We were on the way to Felicity with their regular shipment of foodstuffs and meds, when we were hit by a rock [illegible words] it looked like a comet, mostly ice, but it smeared itself all over the hull.

We went to investigate, clean up the mess before the jump, Mara and I, and we found something (there are pictures now, pictures of worlds too alien to comprehend). It looked organic, and the Captain said we should bag it for the researchers planetside. I suspect she wanted to sell it instead, but that doesn’t matter anymore now, she’s dead, they’re all dead.

[illegible paragraph]

They did not see the darkness that dwells in me, crawling behind my eyes, dripping from every word I spoke, sweet nothings, thin varnish over rot… bad taste in my mouth, decaying flesh, this is what death tastes like?

I can feel this thing writhe under my skin, chewing at my brain… I looked it up, I couldn’t find anything on it. It’s some kind of parasite, a blob of slimy, discolored (off-color?) flesh when we found it, with tentacles like an octopus but without the suckers, randomly attached to its formless body… it wasn’t much bigger than my fist, but it has since grown (I’m so hungry).

I tried to get it off my neck at first, I don’t even know how it got there, I woke up and there it was, clinging, it’s stronger than it looks. It got out of the box we put it in, and I should’ve told them right then…

The next day I woke up, they were dead. I washed the blood off my hands, I don’t know what happened, I don’t want to know.

I think the thing [illegible text]

Something is wrong with the ship, but there’s nothing I can do. We’re drifting. Oh god what if they find it and more people die? I’m so tired. There’s a chorus of voices and images, fragments of thoughts I don’t quite understand yet, there are so many of them, they’re coming for us… I’m going to sleep now.

I have dreamt of death sweet and sudden of forgetting, vanishing, but no such fate for the wicked, the trespassers into a world not meant for mortal-kind. For that is what we are to them, food, bodies to use, meat-puppets on nerve-strings, flesh remote-controlled by entities born where others go to die.

But it’s too weak, for now, too weak to break free, to force its way into the world in tears and blood, an orgy of death splashed across radiation-scorched earth and claw-scratched steel,

haphazard brutal imagery, blood-stained love-letters from beyond,

a dreamscape of a different kind
a glimpse of madness
for the lost
for the damned
for the voidbrood…

I can hear its whispers loud and clear now, I can see what they see, the darkness speaking to m?§/T(

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Error: Data corrupted at unknown directory
Error: Transmission failed
0% [Reconnecting]
Error: Cannot read from unknown directory
2% [Checking drive integrity]
Error: Unknown error
100% [External override] [Waiting]
unknown@ucaa:∼$ su technomancer
Error: Unknown comm#]§”?/_
[Access granted. Welcome, technomancer.]