Reemer slumbered towards his cabin's door. He pressed a small button on the control panel to the right of the casing and the door creaked open. The sound sent the shadows scattering for a place to hide in the darkened hallway. Reemer reluctantly stepped outside. His bare feet touched the floor and the feeling of the cold metal reminded him of death. He tried to retreat into his room but the door slammed shut and refused to open.
He was on his own.
He wiped the sweat from his forehead and took a deep breath. He looked over his shoulder into the abyss and slowly began to walk into the unknown. As he made his way through the dank passageway, the shadows of the dead souls of his crew quickly enveloped his body with fear. The spirits swirled about him moaning and crying out for help. He frantically waved them off but soon began to hear faint footsteps behind him. Reemer stopped dead in his tracks. As he did, the footsteps stopped.
He was not alone.
He was being watched.
He was being followed.
He was being hunted.
The footsteps started up again. This time they were much louder and much more defined. His hair stood on end as a cool breath could be felt on the back of his neck. Reemer spun around to confront his destiny but the corridor was empty. He gasped for breath as his heart beat wildly in his chest. Relaxing but for a brief moment, Reemer decided to continue on his way. He turned around and came face to face with a scowling demon. Reemer screamed as a glancing blow from the monster sent him tumbling to the floor.
Fangs dripping with green saliva protruded from the monster's mouth. The creature growled and then howled in anger. Deep cracking sounds filled the hallway as the creature lifted its bony arm. The claws on the monster's hand were huge sickles dripping with blood. The demon swung its arm and the huge blades made a loud swooshing sound throughout the hallway. Reemer rolled out of the way of the potentially fatal strike.
Reemer got to his feet but the monster had a much larger arsenal. The demon took aim and spit a huge wad of paralyzing green phlegm at Reemer hitting the Deputy Captain in the chest. Reemer tried to run but the venom worked quickly. He could barely move as the evil being sized up its prey.
The demon took a small swing and its hand of sickles sliced through Reemer's left leg. The cold dark metal floor became warm with the newly spilled blood.
Reemer screamed in pain.
The demon smiled hideously as a slimy green tongue with smaller demon faces stuck out of its mouth and licked its blades clean of the blood and gore. Reemer recognized one of the tongue's faces. It was Comet and the face looked as though it was pleading to Reemer for help.
Reemer tried with all of his might to move, scream or even breathe but his attempts were futile. He was paralyzed from the venom but mostly from dreadful fear of his impending doom. As if things could not get any worse, Comet's face changed from a grimace to a horribly distorted smile as the tongue returned to its nest and the demon's fang-filled mouth slammed shut. The creature lifted his arm and swung the final death blow...
Reemer sat up in his bed and desperately gasped for air. His bed sheets were drenched in sweat. The antidote had induced a fever that had helped rid his body of the deadly Bollar virus but it had also cursed him with an evening filled with nightmares.
After composing himself, Reemer took a short shower and then got dressed. Before leaving he took a brief moment to look around his room. It had been his home for some time and he felt a little sad knowing he may never see it again.
He leaned over and picked up a small bag of his personal belongings. The bag contained only a few photos, some medals and the last remaining vial of the antidote. He walked over and was about to press the small button on the panel next to his cabin's door but was reminded of his dream. What was waiting for him on the other side of the door? He slowly pulled his hand back and reached for his sidearm. He grabbed the weapon with one hand and pressed the button with the other.
The door effortlessly slid open.
Reemer poked his head outside and then looked up and down the corridor to see if the coast was clear. The hallway was empty but there was still the smell of death in the air. He took a cautious step outside and as he did, the door slid shut behind him. He reached back to see if he could reopen the door but then reconsidered. There was no need to relive the nightmare.
Reemer walked down the hallway and arrived at Jordy's quarters. He holstered his weapon and was about to knock at the door but heard loud snoring coming from the other side. Reemer smiled. His friend was okay. Reemer decided not to be delicate. He pounded on the door as loud as he could. Reemer then heard a loud rustling followed by an even louder thump.
Jordy had fallen out of bed.
Moments later the door slid open revealing a very tired looking Chief Navigator. Jordy's hair was everywhere. The usually well kept young man looked like he had a horrible hangover. Jordy put his hand to his head trying to stop the pounding in his brain. He could barely get a word out of his mouth as every bone in his body ached.
"Reemer, I feel so wiped out. Can I sleep another thirty minutes?"
Reemer shook his head. "Sorry pal. We're late as it is."
Jordy's night was not nearly as eventful as Reemer's. He slept like a baby. There were no demons or evil creatures haunting his subconscious. There were only dreams of a better tomorrow and peace in the universe.
Later Jordy and Reemer entered the hangar and saw two fighters on the runway. They were both reminded of their final days at the Academy.
It was late in the day and the boys were about to be graded on their final fighter plane training exam. They were aboard the Space Destroyer Lowell and were at the end of their last year of training at the Academy. Reemer was first in the class in grade point average and Jordy was following closely behind in second. Jordy knew that this would be his big opportunity. Reemer had a terrible problem with motion sickness and Jordy needed to use this bit of information to his advantage.
"Isn't this great Reemer? We'll soon be blasting through space!"
Reemer, looking sick and very unenthusiastic, refused to reply as the two boys entered the Lowell's hangar. Jordy however appeared to have an extra bounce in his step. He had been looking very forward to this day and wasted no time in ribbing Reemer.
"You look as green as a Galman space ship Reemer."
The exam was straightforward. Groups of two fighters would launch from the ship and do looping patterns. The object was to follow the correct predefined coordinates and not break formation with your partner.
"Good luck Reemer!" Jordy said jokingly.
"Gee thanks." Reemer replied as he climbed the ladder to his fighter. "I'm all aquiver just thinking about it."
After strapping themselves in, they were given the green light to take off. Jordy's ship blasted off first. Reemer nervously watched the yellow glow from Jordy's engines as his friend sailed into space. He then reluctantly pulled back on his fighter's control stick. His ship soared out of the belly of the Lowell and into space.
Reemer made a wide turn and caught up to Jordy. Once the boys were in formation, they adjusted their fighter's positions and quickly aligned themselves for the exam. Jordy was ready to make the first loop but Reemer's stomach was making its own twists and turns. Jordy made the first move and Reemer followed.
As Reemer's plane twisted, he knew he was in trouble. A loud gurgle erupted from the inner depths of his stomach. Trying unsuccessfully to hold it back, Reemer vomited all over the inside of his cockpit. The stench was horrible as pieces of his lunch were clearly visible on his seat, his controls and everywhere else in between. The sight of his lunch made him even more sick and he vomited again. Reemer no longer had to worry about his lunch. He got an intimate view of what he had for breakfast that morning.
Reemer handled the situation about as well as anyone could given the circumstances. He didn't break formation but his flight was not nearly as smooth as his partner's. Needless to say, his performance earned him a lower score on the exam. Jordy passed Reemer in grade point average and eventually graduated first in the class.
Reemer opened his ship's storage compartment, secured the bag by strapping it down and then closed the door. He then climbed the ladder to his fighter, put on his helmet and prepared to launch while Jordy was still trying to finish his pre-flight checklist.
"How did you ever get over the motion sickness, Reemer?" Jordy asked over his headset's intercom system.
"Lots of therapy," answered Reemer.
All systems on both ships were ready so Reemer remotely activated the outer launch hatch. The hatch opened, the fighter's engines were ignited and they were propelled into space. Behind them the launch bay door closed.
Reemer took the lead position and decided to make a loop around the Omega. He wanted to see the ship one last time. He swung by the bridge and noticed that the Captain was standing and saluting his two remaining officers. As a tear rolled down his cheek Reemer fired his lasers off into space as a salute to his Captain.
Reemer then joined his friend and they flew off into space to rendezvous with the Earth Defense fleet.
"Up for some looping patterns this morning?" Reemer asked.
Jordy groaned. "I'll never make fun of your motion sickness again. I promise."