Chapter 1: Spectres

Sergeant Myers stood before the small circular porthole transfixed by the view. The sun was rising over the crystalline horizon of the moon Purgatory. Myers stepped forward slightly to enhance the view. Though the star at the heart of the system was distant, its faint aura was refracted and focused by the natural lens that was the moons surface, forming a brilliant white crescent that arched across Myers' field of vision. She raised her hand up in front of her eyes as the beam that penetrated the darkness of her quarters became more intense. This did not deter her from peering down at the jewel like celestial body between her fingers. As the moon rolled silently on its axis, it seemed to draw the sergeant in. The sight of the lonely world below filled her with awe and trepidation in equal measure. Myers' unshielded her eyes, and placed her hands against the cold metal wall, one on either side of the porthole. Gradually she began to lean towards the window. It was as if the Purgatory had reached out with a spectral hand and wrapped its icy fingers around her soul. Held by her own inexplicable intrigue, she pressed her forehead up against the glass. At that second she wanted nothing more than to set foot on the hauntingly beautiful orb. She pulled away from the window abruptly. A chill ran down the sergeant's spine, as she had actually found herself considering leaving the ship for Purgatory without the aid of drop ship or environmental suit. For the moment, much of the moon's hold over Myers was broken. But she was still finding it difficult to look away.

Finally she turned away from the mute splendour of the shimmering world to return to her bunk. She paced across the small, box-like room and clambered into the alcove in the wall that served as a bed. Myers did not slide beneath the rough standard issue quilt, but instead lay on top, hands behind her head, staring up at the ceiling of the alcove. Now relaxed, she pondered over how she might react when face to face with the seductive planetoid. Her mission would begin tomorrow, a routine setting up of base in preparation for a larger Arm presence. Her thoughts began to twist, distort and fade however, as she slid into a dreamless sleep.

Myers' awoke. A stream of yellow light that had fallen across her face had broken her slumber. Clumsily she dragged herself to a semi-sitting position, supporting herself on her elbows. Through sleep sodden eyes she could just make out a dark figure in the doorway. As she struggled to focus on the hazy silhouette, she thought it odd that she had not heard the clunk that usually accompanied the release of the magnetic door lock. The figure seemed reluctant to give away any details of its true form. Just as Myers' thought she might be able to resolve the apparition, a sharp whistle pierced her consciousness. She winced in momentary discomfort and then opened her eyes. The figure had gone, as silently as it had arrived. She glared with bemusement at the closed doorway that was given sharp highlights by the sinister dawn that was occurring outside. Still groggy from the short period of unconsciousness, Myers began to wonder if the incident had happened at all. Wearily she let her head to drop onto the thin pillow, and allowed the soothing lullaby of the engine hum to carry her back to her slumber.