The ship was like nothing Betty had ever seen. A charred, city-like ruin floated through the void of space, protected from the outside by what looked like a glass bubble. It was filled with towers, all shadows of their former selves, which spired towards the blackness above with their jagged edges. There was an eerie, empty feel in the air as she approached, but she supposed this was what came with her new promotion.
Betty checked her reflection in the glass cockpit of her new ship. Her red hair had been pulled back into a ponytail, as was her usual style. She wore her pink blouse, which was slightly singed in places from a previous mission. Her green eyes still carried that same determined look, but she could tell something else had crept in. That thing was fear.
She had been promoted in the Galactic Guardians program, and was now sent off on her first solo mission. It was a good feeling, but that mood of emptiness was still there, haunting her. Betty pulled her ship around to a small porthole on the side of this new world, depressurized her cabin, and opened her door. She strode out and into the abandoned city.
The bio-scanner on her wristwatch began to buzz. There was life here, even if the surroundings seemed uninhabitable. She continued deeper into the charred maze of rubble, trying to determine just what kind of place this was. She could see a central spire in the distance, and decided that would be as good a place as ever to begin her search.
Upon reaching the tower, she noticed that countless bodies of men and women littered the ground, most of them laying in pools of their own dried blood. They were grotesquely disfigured, most missing arms, legs, or occasionally their head, and the flesh had begun to peel away, often revealing the inner anatomy of the corpse. This wasn't looking good. She spied a recently deceased male, clutching a pistol in his cold hands, who lay back side up against a blackened wall.
Betty moved closer to him, examining the wounds that had dealt this man his fate. A bullet through the spine seemed to be the culprit, but the long gashes across his back way have also been to blame. She turned him over, and a feeling of sick terror washed over her. A small patch with the symbol for radioactivity, the same insignia that the Galactic Guardians used, had been sewn to his jacket, and was now spattered with fresh blood.
Suddenly, the head of the corpse burst, and bits of brain matter and skull fragments short out in ever direction. Betty screamed, and whirled around in search of the cause of this. From behind she could see a figure holding some sort of weapon in his hands, pointing it in her direction. A voice cursed, and the click and clack of rifle reloading could be heard. In panic, she dove behind part of a collapsed wall, just as a second shot rang out. Her heartbeat was frantic, pounding at the inside of her ribcage and threatening to break out. She tried to think straight, to get a clear idea of what to do next, but she couldn't seem to focus. All she could think about was the dead, bloodied body that lay beside her.
That gave her an idea...She grabbed the pistol that the dead man clung to, and checked the ammunition. Three rounds. Cocking the weapon, she peeked around the barrier she hid behind, took aim, and pulled the trigger. She heard a thud, and assumed she had taken her enemy down. Coming around, she saw that the soldier had merely taken a glancing blow, and had fallen on his rear. He now took aim with his own gun, and fired off another shot. Betty dodged, and the bullet pinged off the ground beside her. She raised her pistol, this time knocking the rifle from her enemies hands with a single shot.
The warrior let out a scream of pain, clutching his hand as he fell. Betty dropped the gun, and rushed in close. She delivered a quick roundhouse to the side of his face, and he dropped to the earth with a crash. Now, with her enemy unconscious, she picked up his rifle and prepared to end this. She placed her finger over the trigger, and lined up the sights on his head. Her thoughts fluttered back to the corpse who's head and exploded in a spray of gore. She couldn't bear to see something like that again. Betty instead took the man by the wrists, twisted them behind his back, and hefted him to his feet.
She flipped open the communications tool built into her watch (Along with the bio-scanner...Yeah, its a pretty awesome watch) and radioed back to base.
"Enemy neutralized," She gave her new prisoner a forceful shove, "Awaiting transport vessel."
That night, as Betty was getting into bed for the night, she couldn't help but wonder exactly what her mission had been. All she had been told was that this ship was harboring a vigilante fighter, who threatened the mission of the Galactic Guardians. She had most certainly found him, but why were there so many dead lying about? The Guardians had sent up others before her, that was for sure, and men of higher rank had been found amongst the bodied, so why had they sent her?
Ah well, all would be answered in due time. For now she was just glad to be out of that blood soaked city...
Unbeknownst to her however, a solitary figure stood across the street from her home. He was short, with pallid skin that seemed almost fluorescent in the dark. Atop his head was a mass of uncombed black hair, which he had cut short so he would not need to care for it as much. His clothing was a dirty brown, stained with stray bits of grass and mud, and covered every inch of his body, save for his face and hands. In his palm was a long pole, topped with an iron spike. It was his spear. He gazed through Betty's window with a pair of bloodshot blue eyes.
Now that his target was asleep, he had his opportunity. He sprinted across the street, coming to the door of the home in a few seconds. His hand grasped the handle, then gave a weak twist. It refused to budge. Apparently this family was not as foolish as he had estimated, as they had actually locked their door. Taking a step back, the thrust his spear through the wooden frame, creating a hole in the barricade. He stuck his hand through the broken boards, and felt about for the latch. Finding it, he unlocked the door and entered the house.
It was stereotypically American inside. The floors were wood, and covered here and there with a rug. A leather couch sat opposite a coffee table, upon which rested several books and other documents. The intruder made no bother with these, but instead ascended the stairs that led to Betty's room. Once inside, he lifted his staff above the sleeping girl, and froze.
He wasn't aware of how young she was, there was no way that she could have been any older than he. She seemed innocent, not the horrid monstrosity he had come to destroy. The soldier swallowed hard, unsure of what to do next. Reluctantly, he lowered his weapon to his side. Instead, he took a hand and placed it in his jacket, bringing it back out with a small pouch. Releasing the drawstring upon it, a torrent of black dust flew from within. As though it had a life of its own, it began to swirl around the room, causing the world around them to fade into obscurity. He began to whisper in some unknown language to the dust, acting like it could understand his words.
"Retsaf, nruter em ot eht ecalp erehw I gnoleb." The words seemed to have no meaning, but the dirt seemed to hear them, and it covered every wall, floorboard, and window blocking out the entire world around them. Finally, everything faded to black, and the warrior, Betty, and the room disappeared.