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SOS. I’m trapped onboard an alien spaceship on the edge of our solar system. We’re running out of time

SOS. I’m trapped onboard an alien spaceship on the edge of our solar system. We’re running out of time

Estimated reading time — 21 minutes

Read Part one here

Read Part two here

I know someone will receive this broadcast. Sooner or later our signal will reach one of the parties involved in this conflict. My only hope is that whoever is listening is able and willing to send help and they can reach us before our enemies do.


My story is incredible and may be written off as a fraud by some, but there are those in a position of power back on Earth who know the terrible truth, even though they’ve gone to incredible lengths to cover it up. As for me, I don’t know how I got dragged into this living hell, but I’ve fought so hard that I refuse to simply give up.

Let me start at the beginning. My story will be sadly familiar to many. I served in the military and saw combat, only to return home with PTSD, an addiction problem, and no support network. Like so many others I fell through the cracks in society as my demons destroyed my life and left me living rough on the streets. I guess that’s why they targeted me.

Unlike most of the other victims I don’t remember the circumstances of my abduction. I guess I was totally out of it when they took me so I avoided the well-documented blinding lights and sensation of being pulled upwards by an alien tractor beam.

Hell, for all I know I was taken by an agent of some shadowy organisation and willingly handed over to these animals. Frankly, I don’t know which is worse.

The first thing I do remember is waking up naked on cold metal, my head aching as a dull pain reverberated through my skull. I groggily opened my eyes and got up on my feet, finding myself trapped inside a tiny windowless cell of featureless steel illuminated by a dim red light above me.

I tried not to panic although this wasn’t easy. I struggled to control my breathing and fought hard to avoid having an anxiety attack, instead focussing on my surroundings. I searched my cell, finding a set of ill-fitting white robes neatly folded on the floor in front of me. I was suspicious but also freezing cold and so decided to dress myself in the garments provided.


Feeling slightly more confident, I placed my hands upon the cold metal walls of my cell, feeling blindly for a door or exit. I did consider calling out for help but quickly decided against it as I figured whoever had done this didn’t have good intentions towards me.
To my immense frustration I could not find a way out…and then I started to panic. I found it heard to breathe as my chest tightened and my head was filled with terrible visions. My imagination went wild as I considered why I was here and who was holding me.

I lay down on the cold metal and placed my head in my hands, but suddenly I was startled by whooshing sound as a previously invisible door slid open, revealing a lit corridor beyond my tight cell. Slowly and cautiously, I left the holding room and walked out into the passageway, jumping when the door automatically closed behind me.

I continued bare foot across the metal gangway, feeling increasingly uneasy as I explored. The dimly lit and narrow corridor was devoid of any colour or natural light. Austere and featureless, I was reminded of the inside of a battleship or submarine. Listening intently, I thought I heard the soft humming of far distant engines although I couldn’t be sure.

However, I did experience a terrible foreboding as I slowly advanced.

I felt sure I was being watched and wondered what my captors wanted with me. Once I reached the end of the corridor I discovered a T-junction with two seemingly identical corridors before me, one going left and the other right. Standing still, suddenly I heard a booming robotic voice calling out to me from invisible speakers.

“You are the subject of an experiment. This is the Labyrinth. If you make it to the centre, you will live.”

I gasped as raw panic pulsated through my body. My instincts and military training kicked in as I experienced an intense heat behind me, turning to see a wall of flames rapidly advancing along the corridor I’d just walked down. My skin singed as I ran from the fire, and I chose the corridor on my left as I dived for cover.

Thankfully another shutter door slammed shut, trapping the wall of flames on the far side. I got up on my feet and shook myself off, relieved that I hadn’t burnt to ashes but terrified by the hellish situation I found myself in. The ‘labyrinth’…That’s what the voice had said. ‘Make it to the centre and you’ll live.’

I was a rat in a maze, tormented by my yet unseen tormentors. Of course I didn’t want to play their twisted games, but what choice did I have? Despite the hell my life had become, I wanted to live.

I continued walking, advancing deeper into the labyrinth whilst keeping my eye out for traps. I made my way down several narrow passageways, all appearing identical to the last. I had no clue whether I was heading in the right direction or not. Come to think of it, I had no idea of how large this maze was or how I would reach the centre.

For all I knew this was all just a twisted game planned by my captors and they were simply toying with me. The fear was building inside of me – a sickness rising from the pit of my stomach. Somehow I knew something bad was coming but I never could have guessed at the threat I was about to face.

I froze when I heard it – a low, animalistic growl from the corridor behind me. I turned slowly, seeing a monstrous shape in the shadows. And suddenly the invisible speakers blared and the same mechanical voice called out to me.

“Meet your competition. Only one of you will make it out of here alive.”

I experienced an icy cold shudder as I watched the figure approach and I saw the monster’s true form under the dim light. The horror I witnessed was impossible but yet real. There stood a werewolf, or at least a close approximation of one. The beast was over six foot tall, its muscular body covered in thick, matted fur. When I looked to the beast’s face I was surprised to see it had three pairs of eyes, all black and glaring menacingly towards me.

But what really concerned me was its thick claws and sharp teeth, saliva dripping from its maw as it advanced. I backed up, raising my hands defensively in a futile attempt to defuse the situation. Then the disembodied voice called out once again.

“Your competitor has an unfair physical advantage. Time to balance the odds.”

Suddenly a panel in the wall to my right shot open to reveal a small storage area with a set of hand-held weapons contained within a rack. Instinctively I grabbed hold of a machete and faced the beast, bracing myself as the wolfman roared and charged towards me.

My opponent was fast and I barely dodged the first attack. But I didn’t escape unscathed as the beast’s claws cut into my side. I squealed in pain and shock but the cut wasn’t deep and so I stayed on my feet. Thrashing out with my machete I returned the favour, cutting the beast’s back and forcing it to roar in agony.

Blood had been drawn on both sides and I prepared myself for the next attack, turning to face the wounded beast. I saw the anger in its six dark eyes and knew it meant to kill me. One of us would surely be dead in a matter of seconds or so I thought, but events were to intervene.

The beast was about to pounce when we were hit by a powerful explosion as the wall itself was blown in. The blast threw both me and my opponent to the floor. I hit my head on the cold metal gangway and was dazed for a moment.

Slowly, I regained my senses and rose to my feet, coughing and spluttering as I made my way through the dust and debris. To my astonishment I saw a huge hole in the wall of the labyrinth, quickly filled as a motley crew tore through the gap.

I ducked and rolled myself into a protective ball as a mob of bodies charged past me in a mad scramble. I saw a dozen or more pairs of feet, glancing up to see human bodies – most dressed in sparse robes or rags like me while others were entirely naked. All were whipped up into a frenzy, their eyes filled with mad rage and a fiery determination.

Most were armed with hand-held weapons such as machetes or short swords although a few carried advanced looking firearms that I didn’t recognise. A second later and a small but deadly robotic war machine floated through the newly created hole in the wall. The drone hovered above me, observing me with its inbuilt cameras and apparently deciding whether or not I constituted a threat.

I froze, expecting to be cut down at any moment, but then a hand reached out and helped me to my feet. I looked into the eyes of my rescuer and saw a hint of compassion behind a hardened exterior. The young woman who’d helped me up looked like she’d been through the wars, her face drawn and eyes tired and bloodshot.

When I saw her skin I noted deep and barely healed scars and wondered what tortures she’d endured. In fact, all of the humans present appeared emaciated and bore signs of torture upon their naked bodies. And yet these people were far from defeated as they waved their weapons in the air and prepared for battle.

“I don’t understand…” I muttered weakly.

“Me neither.” the woman replied, “All I know is that we’re free. These Astri bastards have tortured us all and murdered our friends. Now it’s time for payback!”

I didn’t know who she was and what she meant but reckoned I was better sticking with these guys rather than the alternative of facing an unknown enemy alone.

The hovering robot seemed to be leading the mob and delivered its instructions in a monotone voice.

“Follow me. I will lead us safely through the labyrinth and onto the next level.”

I felt a little more confident now I had help but in the chaos I’d forgotten about my previous nemesis – the six-eyed werewolf who’d also survived the explosion and was now back on its feet, snarling aggressively and blocking our path.

I lifted my machete and prepared to fight but the woman stopped me by placing a firm hand on my shoulder.

“No.” she said, “He’s on our side.”

I looked to her in utter bafflement but the woman remained steadfast.

“Just watch.” she said.

We stood back as the machine advanced towards the growling werewolf. But instead of attacking, the drone communicated with the beast, speaking in what I guessed was the alien wolf’s native language. This sounded to me like a series of unrecognisable grunts and growls. Nevertheless, the werewolf responded to the communication in kind, and its body language quickly changed from aggressive to relatively friendly.

To my disbelief, the beast who had almost killed me moments before was now an ally. It made no sense but I didn’t dwell on the confused situation, instead joining my new comrades as we followed our robotic guide and tore down the tight corridors.

Before long we reached a solid wall and I feared we’d made a wrong turn, but then the machine called out to us, saying – ‘Stand back.’

Raising its robotic arms, the machine fired two powerful rockets which slammed into the metal wall, demolishing it in a mighty explosion which knocked me off my feet. Pulling myself up, I followed the scrum as we charged through the newly created hole and emerged into a whole new level of hell.

Leaving the so-called labyrinth, we found ourselves inside a massive chamber which looked like some kind of docking bay, except the ‘cargo’ were hundreds of prisoners held in stacked cages – so many frightened humans with ugly shock collars secured around their necks.
But I hardly had time to take in the horror as suddenly every one of the cages opened automatically and the collars dropped off the prisoners’ necks, freeing them all at once.

Some were reluctant to leave their prisons, hanging back like they thought they were being tricked. But others bolted out of their cages without hesitation, crying with fury as they leapt down onto the metal gangway and armed themselves with whatever weapons they could lay their hands on. Most of the prisoners were human…but, to my utter astonishment, I saw other species amongst their number – exotic aliens of various descriptions.

There were several other werewolf-like creatures similar in appearance to the one I’d fought back in the maze. There were other humanoid creatures too – some tall and hairless and others short, stumpy and covered in thick fur. Most bizarre was a pink octopus-like being which slithered across the cold metal surface, using the suckers on its tentacles to propel itself forward.

Despite their differences, all the prisoners seemed united in their desire to escape and seek bloody vengeance upon their captors. But who had done this to us, and why? I had no time to ponder this question but did receive an answer of sorts as the situation quickly escalated.
A blaring alarm sounded throughout the chamber and a moment later a shutter door at the far end of docking bay shot open, revealing a platoon of monstrous alien foot soldiers who quickly joined the fray.

“Astri!” my female companion cried, a cold terror now evident in her voice.

I watched on in horror as two dozen red-scaled reptilian killers armed with guns and war pikes fanned out in military formation, their cold and predatory eyes full of malice and the claws on their feet clicking in anticipation as they attacked.

The gunners struck first, filling the chamber with needle-like bullets which literally tore human flesh to shreds, slaughtering dozens and spilling their blood and guts on the metallic floor. Next, the spear-wielding warriors jumped into action, charging forward and setting upon escaped prisoners, impaling them or slashing their throats with their claws.

“Come on!” the woman screamed, “We’ve got to fight, otherwise they’ll kill us all!”

Her rallying cry was very effective, because the mob surged forward with a righteous fury, throwing themselves at the Astri soldiers in a desperate wave of violent attacks. The alien stormtroopers cut down dozens, but still they came.

The woman and others used their stolen guns to lay down covering fire while machete-wielding humans thrashed out at the Astri. The captors were stronger and tougher but they didn’t have the numbers. One by one the Astri were overwhelmed and cut down by furious gangs of freed prisoners.

In the midst of the bloody chaos I saw the same werewolf I’d previously sparred with jumping on top of an Astri soldier, ravaging the enemy soldier with his claws and teeth in a savage attack. Next I witnessed the octopus-like being seize a gun from the claws of another reptilian guard with one of its tentacles. Next, it lashed out with a second appendage and suffocated the same Astri, crushing its skull in a deadly embrace.

For a time I stood paralysed, watching in horrified awe as the savage battle played out before my eyes. But I was brought back to reality when one of the reptilians charged at me, pike extended as it roared in fury. I reacted on pure instinct, using my own blade to parry the first attack.

We sparred for a few moments, thrashing out at each other and dodging attacks. But the Astri was bigger, stronger and faster than I was and so the alien soon gained the upper hand, knocking the weapon from my hand and forcing me down to the ground.

The snarling beast stood over me, holding its war spear aloft as it prepared to strike its killer blow. I closed my eyes and prepared for death but suddenly a shot rang out. I looked up in time to see the Astri’s head explode into bloody viscera, its scaled body collapsing heavily onto the hard floor.

Getting to my feet, I turned around and saw my gun-wielding saviour – the woman from the labyrinth who’d led the resistance. Once again she held out her hand to help me up, which I gladly took.

“Thank you.” I mumbled.

“You’re welcome.” she said with a faint smile on her dry lips. “My name’s Natasha by the way.”

I smirked, acknowledging the insanity of making introductions in the middle of this violent chaos. Nevertheless, I replied in kind, saying – “Nice to meet you Natasha, I’m Jamie”.

For a brief moment we rediscovered some humanity amongst all the terror and anarchy, but the bloody battle raged on around us and so there was no time for sentimentality.


By now the Astri fighters were on the back foot. Most of their number had been butchered while the last half dozen laid down supressing fire to cover their retreat. The assault against them was led by the same war machine that had guided us through the labyrinth, firing rockets down upon the enemy with a ruthless efficiency.

But the price paid for these gains had been a heavy one as the docking bay was littered with the bodies of humans and other species, the bay floor splattered with their blood and guts. I was saddened to see my former nemesis amongst the dead – the six-eyed werewolf from the labyrinth. He’d fought bravely but had ultimately been cut down by a barrage of Astri bullets.

In fact, almost all of the dozen escapees who’d fought through the maze with us were now dead. The carnage affected both Natasha and I, and we both stood for a moment in stunned horror before a new voice called out to us from the distance, shouting – “You two! Over here!”

We turned to see a pale-faced and emaciated middle-aged man dressed in white robes standing in an open doorway and repeating his call – “Come here! Quickly. I can help you!”
We didn’t know this man but he was a fellow human being and so I decided we needed to trust him. Sprinting, we ran through the bodies and made our way to the doorway where we were greeted by the mysterious stranger. Our would-be saviour waved us inside before shutting the door behind us.

We found ourselves inside of what looked like an elevator – a tight steel container which automatically rose, taking us up to the higher levels and away from the blood-soaked combat zone. I relaxed during the temporary respite we enjoyed but could not do so for long.

Natasha and I were quick to survey our surroundings, noting the stern-faced man who’d called us over and invited us inside, his eyes intensely observing us while his lips remained tightly shut. But what drew our attention was the creature which cowered behind him.
I instinctively jumped up when I saw it – a reptilian being similar to the Astri warriors I’d just seen, but also notably different – its scales coloured a light brown instead of red. What’s more, the creature was significantly shorter than an Astri – less than five foot in height, and it was far less aggressive in its nature. In fact, it or he had yellow eyes filled with fear and anxiety, and I soon got the impression he was more afraid of us than we were of him.

I didn’t believe this being posed any threat to us, but Natasha wasn’t taking any chances. In a rapid movement, she raised and aimed her alien firearm and prepared to shoot. But, to our immense surprise, the white-robed man stepped in front of the gun and cried out – “Don’t hurt him! He is not Astri. This being is on our side!”

Natasha was shocked but thankfully she didn’t pull the trigger, instead lowering her weapon and taking a step back. We both looked upon the odd pair with bafflement, watching as the human reassured his reptilian comrade, showing him what appeared to be heartfelt compassion.

“Who are you?” I asked in confusion.

The man turned towards us and nodded his head before answering.

“My apologies, let me make the necessary introductions. My name is Gideon. I have been a ‘guest’ of the Astri for quite some time.” He paused and turned towards his brown-scaled reptile companion before continuing. “And this is Abel, who I’m proud to call my friend.”

“Abel?” Natasha exclaimed in disbelief.

Gideon smiled faintly before replying. “Yes, well…I’m afraid his true name is quite unpronounceable in our tongue. Instead, I have named him after my late brother back on Earth. I think of it as a sign of respect.”

I was no clearer on who this odd little man was or what his relationship was with this strange creature. Then again, nothing which had occurred since the beginning of this living nightmare made any sense to me. I’d received no real answers since the chaos back in the labyrinth as my entire focus had been on survival.

Natasha had been here longer however and surely she knew more than I did. She continued to glare suspiciously at the nervous reptilian like she suspected a trap.

“I don’t get it.” she exclaimed, “If that thing isn’t Astri then what is it? Another prisoner?”

“Not exactly.” Gideon replied thoughtfully, “It’s difficult to explain, but I will try my best. But there’s something else I need to show you first. It won’t be an easy thing to witness…but alas, it is necessary to experience the full extent of the horror before you can understand the truth…”

Natasha and I shared a look of cold terror as we considered the horrifying meaning behind Gideon’s cryptic words. I was prepared to demand further answers but a moment later our elevator came to a halt and the doors slid open to reveal a horror beyond my worst nightmares.

“Welcome to the Astri’s temple of pain. The pinnacle of their culture.” Gideon said grimly, as he and Abel stepped inside.

It’s hard for me to describe the interior of the Astri temple – if that’s the right word for it. The lighting inside was a dim shade of blood red, giving the chamber a foreboding appearance from first glance. Nevertheless, the entrance to the room was fairly unremarkable, consisting of what I guessed were the alien equivalent of pews, places for the Astri worshippers to sit or kneel whilst they participated in whatever twisted ceremonies occurred within this hellish chamber.

But it was impossible to ignore the vile centre piece that adorned the far wall, standing above the pews in the same position one would expect to find a crucifix in a Christian church. The Astri’s equivalent was surely the result of bad science resulting in a twisted mosaic of skin and flesh, all meticulously sewn together in a sickening display.

I’d seen enough death in my time to know that the horrific exhibit was constructed from real human bodies, and the foul stench confirmed this was so. And then there were the faces contained within the fleshy canvas – thirteen human faces detached from their skulls and sewn into the hellish tapestry, their eyes shut but mouths still hanging open.

Against my better judgement I slowly walked down the aisle towards the sickening idol, horrified by what I saw but somehow unable to turn away from it. And then it happened. The faces suddenly came to life, their eyes opening all at once to reveal thirteen lost souls, all long since overtaken by terror and madness.

They glared out at us, acknowledging the presence of fresh victims to their torturous existence. And then they opened their collective mouths to reveal the utter darkness within. I don’t know how they exerted any noise through their non-existent throats, but suddenly they screamed as one – a blood-curdling, soul destroying wail which reverberated throughout the small temple, rising to a terrifying crescendo which forced me to cover my ears in a vain attempt to drown out the horror.

Natasha ran to my side, screaming – “Make it stop!”

I looked to Gideon and Abel who appeared quite calm throughout the terrible cacophony. Gideon nodded to his alien friend and shouted to be heard over the screams – “Time to end this.”

Abel gently nodded his head and activated a control panel on the wall beside the mosaic of skin, using his thin claw-like fingers to type in a command. We heard a bleeping sound and a moment later the screaming abruptly ended, the thirteen pairs of eyes closing and the disembodied faces dropping.

We held a moment of solemn silence before Gideon spoke softly, saying – “Finally these poor souls are at peace.”

Natasha and I stood by in shocked silence, unable to find the words to react to the savagery we’d just witnessed. Once again, it was left to Gideon to offer an explanation of sorts.

“You know, I used to believe the Astri were invincible. That they were so superior to us and their cruelty was akin to a sadistic child pulling the wings off a fly. I’m ashamed to admit that I once served them when I thought I had no other choice. I believed I deserved to die as punishment for my complicity in their crimes, and this was so nearly my fate. But Abel was the one who rescued me just moments before a fiery death.”

He paused, looking with affection upon the odd lizard-like alien.

“He was the one who showed me the truth and proved to me that our enemy can be beaten. After all, Abel’s people know the Astri better than we ever could…”

“I still don’t understand.” Natasha interrupted, “Who is he? And what the hell is all this?”


Gideon nodded his head thoughtfully, looking to his alien companion before replying.
“Yes, I suppose answers would be helpful. Our time is limited and so I will try to be concise. The true name of Abel’s species has long been erased from history, although I will refer to them as the Gaians. In any event, they had the misfortune of evolving on the same planet as the Astri millions of years ago.

The two races are related in a similar way to homo sapiens and neanderthals back on Earth except both sub-species survived to establish their own independent civilisations. The Astri came from the savage jungles were they needed to fight against fierce predators for limited resources. Meanwhile, the Gaians lived upon the more peaceful plains, valleys and coastlines where their civilisation thrived.

While the Gaians focussed on science, culture and enlightenment, the Astri developed into a cruel, war-mongering race who sought to resolve all disputes with bloody violence. Abel’s ancestors were certainly technologically superior to their planetary rivals, developing space flight when the Astri were still killing each other with muskets and pikes.

They could have destroyed the savage Astri millennia ago and saved the galaxy centuries of pain and suffering. But alas, the Gaians were a peaceful and trusting people and so they let them live.”

Gideon paused briefly, a faint smile on his lips but a terrible sorrow apparent in his tired eyes. “You can probably guess what happened next…”

“The Astri betrayed them.” Natasha answered angrily.

“Correct.” Gideon confirmed, “They used brutal violence against their planetary rivals, committing a near genocide whilst subjecting the survivors to permanent slavery. And the Astri also captured the Gaian’s spaceships and advanced technology, ultimately allowing them to expand their savage empire across the galaxy.”

I shook my head as suddenly this nightmare was starting to make sense to me. But there were still so many unanswered questions.

“But why all this?” I exclaimed whilst pointing towards the grotesque display of now thankfully dead human faces. “What do they hope to achieve from all this cruelty?”

“A very good question.” Gideon answered thoughtfully whilst meeting my gaze. “And a difficult one to answer. We humans have committed horrific atrocities too of course, both against our own species and the animals we share our planet with. Still, on some level most human beings know the distinction between right and wrong. Not so for the Astri. I’m afraid they have no moral compass left after millennia of savage warfare and inter-galactic genocide. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? Their violence and passion for torture has developed into a religion of sorts, a twisted cult of death built upon the pain and suffering of their many victims. At least this is what I once thought…But now I see the truth.
The Astri aren’t the galactic master race they claim to be. Their power is based on the terror they inflict upon their victims, but they are nowhere near as strong as we’ve been led to believe. This is why Abel and I created the necessary conditions for this rebellion. We shall take this slave ship from the enemy and send a message to the galaxy. They need to know that the Astri’s days are numbered!”

I noted the passion which entered Gideon’s voice as he spoke those last words and wondered what hellish personal journey he’d been on to reach this point. There were further questions I wanted to ask but there was no time. Abel typed more digits into the control panel before walking over to his human friend and whispering in his ear. Before long Gideon shared the latest news with us.

“The battle is all but over.” he proclaimed, “But there is little reason for celebration. Sadly, casualties amongst the prisoners have been very high. But our rebellion has succeeded. The Astri torturers and murderers have been vanquished and all that remains is for us to seize the bridge. From there, Abel can take control of the ship and bring us home. Now, shall we?”

I shook my head in disbelief, looking to Natasha who seemed to share my confusion. Could it really be so simple? Were we actually going home? I didn’t know what to believe, but it seemed we had little choice but to trust the enigmatic Gideon and follow his plan. And besides, we had no desire to spend any more time in this sickening temple of death.

Gideon and Abel led the way, exiting the chamber through yet another hidden door and leading us through a dark maze of twisting corridors which seemed to be the norm inside of this bleak Astri spaceship. Before long we reached another door leading to an elevator.

The ever-resourceful Abel summoned the lift and we entered, ascending to another level inside of this enormous vessel. Once we exited the elevator we came face-to-face with the bloodied survivors of the battle – a motley crew of brutalised but defiant humans sprinkled with several members of various alien species.

They had little in common with each other and even the human beings might have been mortal enemies back on Earth, but old rivalries didn’t matter now. All had been abducted from their homes and even removed from their own planets by a savage alien race who’d inflicted unspeakable tortures upon them. Nevertheless, as soon as the opportunity arose they’d fought back bravely and fiercely, winning against all the odds.

And yet there was no joy in their eyes, only sorrow and pain after all they’d lost. But still, their job wasn’t quite done yet, and there was one last barrier to break through before a final victory could be achieved.

We pushed through the silent crowd and saw the heavy steel door which I guessed was the entrance to the ship’s bridge. We stood well back as what I assumed was the same war machine which had saved me from the labyrinth flew forward, carefully positioning itself before bombarding the barrier with high velocity rockets, causing an almighty explosion that almost forced us off our feet.

I shielded my eyes from the blast, waiting for the dust to settle before observing the substantial hole blasted through the formerly impenetrable doorway. I was still apprehensive, feeling that the ship’s bridge wasn’t safe, but Abel proceeded cautiously inside, his talons clicking on the cold metal as he went.

Gideon soon followed and the mob of freed prisoners went next. Natasha and I shared yet another look before she said – “After you.”

The bridge was brighter and more elaborate than the other sections of the ship we’d seen, adorned with control panels and monitors whose functions I couldn’t even begin to fathom. Abel however seemed very familiar with the Astri’s technology, which I suppose wasn’t surprising given that said technology had once been stolen from his people.

But sadly, there was another tragic twist to come. The last surviving Astri might have been the ship’s captain or a senior officer. I guess we’ll never know for sure. What seems certain is that he remained hidden within the control room, waiting patiently for his prey and the opportunity for vengeance.

The predator moved fast and before anyone had a chance to react, withdrawing a pistol and firing, the round hitting Abel square in the head and blowing his brains all over the control panel. Gideon responded with grief and raw anger upon witnessing his friend’s death, screaming in fury as he recklessly charged at the Astri warrior, only to be hit by a second shot, his body thrown backwards by the powerful force of the impact.

In that moment the mob was consumed by a righteous anger, charging forward as one in a ruthless attack upon the Astri killer. He shot one and slashed two others with his claws before the furious prisoners overwhelmed him, knocking the alien down and brutely stabbing him with their blades. Soon the bloodbath was over as the reptilian lay dead on the cold metal floor, struck down by a hundred stab wounds.

We paid the monster no heed however, instead running to the side of our stricken companion Gideon who was now sprawled against the wall, blood pouring from a gunshot wound in his belly. He whispered in sorrow as his face went pale, saying – “I’ve lost another brother…So, it was all for nothing.”

And so here we are, the last survivors of a prisoner rebellion in control of an alien spaceship on the edge of our solar system. Poor Gideon was able to communicate limited instructions to us before he lost consciousness, providing enough information for us to transmit this SOS message through space.

But we have no idea how to pilot this huge vessel and so are adrift in the cold vacuum, slowly waiting for death. I can’t accept that this is the end of our story however. My comrades and I – human and non-human alike – have fought too hard and suffered too much to simply give in.

I’ve learnt so much about the enemy but also about the complicity of our Earth-based governments in their atrocities. There are those amongst our number who remember being handed over to the Astri by fellow human beings, delivered into evil by traitors from our own species.

Our transmission may well reach Earth but we know that no help will come from there. But we have heard rumours of a third party – a galactic confederation which stands up to protect those brutalised and tortured by the monsters of this cruel universe.

And so, we hope against hope that our account will reach these inter-galactic saviours. If you’re listening, you must reach us before the enemy does and together we can take the war to the cowardly Astri and end their reign of terror once and for all.

I repeat. SOS. Please send help. You’re our final hope.

Credit: Traveller


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