Author's Note: Can't write much, but at this point I'm nearing the end of my exams however I'm going to be out of the country for a month so still no chance of a decent update schedule. Hence September's the dump date for what little I've managed. Hope I haven't taxed your patiences too much.
"I'm telling you there was nothing there!" Greer yelled, trying to shout down Rush.
"And I'm telling you there has to be!" Rush replied, shoving a datapad into the soldier's line of sight. "All this power is being diverted to the pods and... that's odd."
Rush yanked back the pad and called Chloe over. "Can you make sense of this?" He asked, "I mean I know what it looks like but... the potential difference would cause an overheat if I'm seeing this right."
Chloe tapped the screen. "Not if they ran it through in parallel, see the corridor here, something's running the current through it to spread the heat produced, also electrified the floor unfortunately."
"You two do know you haven't actually said what's wrong yet?" Lt. Greer pointed out, by now they were used to having to prompt the scientists.
"All the power is being diverted to a single pod now." Rush said in lieu of an answer, "Lieutenant I need you to go get Col. Young then find yourself an insulative layer for your boots, I need you to go back in there and this time I'm coming with you."
"Has anyone seen Lipton?" Lt. Greer asked, trying to get his squad back together.
The general consensus of the mess hall was "Not recently."
In fact it turned out noone had seen the corporal in two hours.
"If I ask you to cut the technobabble would that achieve anything?" Young asked drearily.
"It's quite simple, just follow the pattern here." Rush explains, indicating a section of the screen. "That's the power being diverted from FTL, nothing new there. But this..." He tapped another section. "is recent. That's the artificial gravity, note how it's only a ten percent drain, barely noticable, if I hadn't been looking, and here," Tap. "Lighting reduced twenty percent, and here," Tap. "The power for cooling the engines." Tap. "Engine power." Tap, "And here's the sinister bit, whatever it is is trying to hack it's way past the life-support safeties."
"Ok, I'm convinced. But where's it all going, we've checked the damn pods. Nothing." Young pointed out.
"Which is why I'll be going with Lt. Greer's men this time." Rush said simply. "Chloe can hold the fort here."
"Thanks." snarked Chloe.
The squad didn't quite making it to the stasis room, stopped instead by the shambling figure that had been Corporal Lipton.
"Help... me..." He sobbed, as his arm rose, P90 in hand as he opened fire. Fortunately not hitting anything as the squad all dived aside, cowering in doorways too small to hold them.
"Lipton, stand down!" Greer shouted as the corporal limped closer, passing into the direct path of one of the lights to reveal the gleaming metal plate now bolted to his skull.
"Help... me..." He begged, firing again, this time catching one of his erstwhile comrades in the arm.
With no choice Greer shot back on full auto, emptying ten shots into his chest. It barely knocked him back a step.
"Aim for the device on his skull." Rush suggested, trying to hack his way past the locked door that was both shelter and hindrance.
"Help..." The voice cut off as Greer followed the physicist's advice, the shots this time flooring the corporal.
Greer advanced quickly, kicking the gun out of reach as he now got an eyeful of what had been done to the young man.
Large amounts of skin had been replaced by metal plate, one eye was now a glowing red LED and there were thick wires threading out of the forearms into the wrists.
"H... h... hell... hel..." Lipton rasped, hand reaching to grab the lieutenant. Greer emptied the entire clip into his head. "H..." And then silence.
"Rush. I'm going to ask you a straight question, and if I don't get a straight answer I'm going to shoot you." Greer's voice was low and dangerous.
Rush shrugged, already kneeling over the corpse, not bothering to check for a pulse, instead trying to pry open the metal plate on the late Lipton's head.
"What could cause this?"
Rush gave it due thought. "I have no idea, but it clearly didn't want us to reach the pods. We're lucky it didn't wait longer to show it's hand or we'd probably have all been killed by the electrified floor while trying to avoid the good corporal."
Author's Note: That's a wrap, as always please review. Sorry it's so short. Also, on a side-note, I am now writing for commission, anyone who's looking for a short story or similar custom written the drop me a message.