Mayer Station was a sealed bio-dome against the harsh surface of the carbon planet, Siren 2, nestled just a few miles outside of the unimaginatively named, “Siren Mining Colony 7”. Almost every hangar was full and the station was bustling with activity as technicians and Peacekeepers hurried about their duties. People were full of energy and anticipation for the coming missions…. for some, it was a diversion from fairly routine UOCPF supply -escort duties.
Fleet Admiral Mitsuya's decision to form a Pirate Task Force with only a handful of her fleet's numbers meant that all of the 4th Logistics Fleet's vessels were here at Mayer Station to be refitted, updated and resupplied for the coming months ahead. There was no illusion that the mere formation of the Task Force would immediately yield the result of ending the presence of piracy in the United Outer Colonies, so there was much work being done to prepare the Peacekeepers for the arduous task ahead of them.
But, with so many ships docked at Mayer it meant that there were many idle Peacekeepers simply waiting for their ships to be ready and the order to head out to start working. The crews of the EDS vessels were put into classrooms and training sessions to properly prepare them for the task of educating the general public on how to establish their own means of defense from piracy and the formation of law enforcement agencies.
The PCIS crews however, were mostly given busy work to keep them busy. Sub-Commander Belinda Blake was less than pleased to be assigning Power Armor Pilots to cleaning and mess details. She felt it was a waste of their time but… she had to give them something constructive to do while they waited. The ship captain's were not all chosen for some the vessels, so in their stead- she had to direct these Peacekeepers to where they needed to go.
In YE 32, on the outskirts of the United Outer Colonies…
Pandemonium broke out as a squadron of ships appeared out of the void of space and opened fire on the patrolling forces. With so little time to react, many of the ships didn't survive the initial attacks. It left their forces in tatters and the survivors confused. As suddenly as the attacks began, they ended. It left everyone wondering- Where had those ships come from? Were they pirates or were they NMX?
The surviving ships retreated to Siren system as other Peacekeeper vessels in the neighboring systems went on alert. The news of the attacks hadn't quite hit Mayer Station as the current forward deployed ships swept the outskirts of the Colonies in force, searching for the ships that had attacked their comrades.
The ships damaged in the sneak attack slowly started appearing and requesting clearance to dock at Meyer Station but something went wrong. One ship had started its descent towards the parking apron into the hangar and lost control of its ability to slow down or pull up…
The Zenpyou crew members could hear a hurried request over the station's PA, “Attention all Damage Control personnel, report to Hangar 6Z! This is a code black!” Very few of the other diners seemed concerned about the announcement as a small team of Peacekeeper Damage Control personnel ran past the restaurant as they cut across the concourse to get to the hangar on the far side of the station.
Meanwhile, the surrounding diners in the restaurant went about their afternoon as if nothing was going on in the station outside. They seemed unphased by the PA call for the damage control teams. Some of them murmured about it being another training drill and some thought it had to do something with shoddy wiring jobs on the older ship rigs.
A soft thunder clap echoed throughout the station that was immediately followed by a tremor of sorts- the floor vibrated and caused the warning red lights to come on. “Please do not be alarmed, the earlier incident has been contained to that hangar bay. We are currently working to reset the fire loop to turn off the alarms. Stay tuned for more updates to follow,” the PA chirped reassurances as many of the diners seemed slightly more perturbed by the escalation of the situation.
ATTENTION ALL PEACEKEEPERS: PLEASE PROCEED TO YOUR ASSIGNED SHIPS AS CALMLY AND PEACEFULLY AS YOU CAN. WE ARE TRYING TO KEEP THIS SITUATION AS QUIET AS WE CAN WITHOUT PANICKING THE GENERAL PUBLIC. MORE DETAILS ARE PENDING AS THE STATION STAFF ARE BEING TIGHT-LIPPED ABOUT IT. WE ARE IMPLEMENTING A TEMPORARY RECALL TO HELP CONTROL THE SITUATION AS BEST WE CAN. FURTHER INFORMATION IS TO FOLLOW ONCE YOU RETURN TO YOUR SHIPS. MESSAGE FORWARDED BY CDR S. FLEMING MESSAGE ORIGINATOR: SCDR B. BLAKE
Their hurried pace down the corridors brought them swiftly back to the hatch leading back into Hangar 13 on 7B. It took a couple tries for the door to recognize their authorization accesses and actually open but it did slowly slide open with a loud grinding sound, like the mechanism suddenly didn't have enough power to open or that mechanism had been broken.
An outbreak of unknown origins occurred in UCS Zenpyou Post Mission 1: Liberty Call when damaged UOCPF ships lost control and crashed in Mayer station. The situation escalated as the infection spread, mutating those infected in UCS Zenpyou Mission 2: Containment.
Kenshin Chikai's life sign scanner revealed several moderate thermal level readings within the Zenpyou's rear bay that were humanoid shaped. There were also faint signs of oxygen displacement and some heart rate readings inside the hangar as well. Whomever they were, they were clustered fairly close together.
Other readings indicated that there was something else filtering through the ship's ventilation system but it was in such trace amounts that it was hard to pin point what the additional substance was.
The regular hangar lights flickered off, and the red emergency lights groaned as they kicked on. The thermal and other life sign readings within the ship suddenly disappeared.
Alice's request fell on an open line, filled with static. But there was a faint echo from her radio request on the opposite side of the hangar closest to the containment doors that led back outside the station.
Looking inside the hangar bay doors showed that the power was still on inside the Zenpyou and tools were once again on the deck, turned off but not put away. Several PA were missing but many were hanging limply in their appropriate properly secured racks against the walls of the bay.
There was no confirmation of the Security Team receiving Chikai's message. In fact, there was a loud screech of falling metal outside the Zenpyou near the door they had entered the hangar from the station.
Inside the Power armor bay, one of the Tenshi on the farthest rack at the very back of the hangar blinked out of existence as the others started donning their power armor.
Within the power armor bay their thermals scans indicated that there had been some movement of several Tenshi from their initial spots on the storage racks; the tools still indicated a bright thermal shadow which meant that they hadn't been turned off very long. The very nature of their power armor made it difficult to detect using thermal or low light sensors, but with a long wave frequency infrared scan, it'd most likely reveal any power armor using their active camouflage.
There were several possibilities that would have explained the inexplicable disappearance of the life readings but the most plain would be connection between the disappearance of the Tenshi. But further scans inside the bay didn't reveal anything further. The doors leading deeper into the ship was open and the floor panel that Commander Fleming had been working in had not been replaced. It was possible that the other crew members had retreated further into the Zenpyou.
Outside the Zenpyou the grinding noise continued, there was a disjointed mumbling from the back of the hangar bay punctuated by further interference by whatever was jamming their communications frequencies. Their PA were able to isolate and amplify the sound of the signal, “….breech…. level 10…..unidentified…. moving…control systems… regroup… 1ALPHABRAVO Hangar….”
As the Zenpyou crew investigated the incident, they came under attack from rogue Peacekeepers in Tenshi and some in shroud suits wearing gas masks. After dispatching the attackers, they observed that the bodies had abnormally high body temperatures. Further medical investigation determined that the traitors were carrying some sort of parasite. Other Peacekeepers were found passed out inside the station as a result of some sort of gas attack. The crew also discovered that someone had tampered with the ship to connect into the station's security systems to set the station's reactor to explode.
After some effort, they stabilized the Zenpyou's systems and deactivated the program meant to destroy the station. They had to manually search the rest of the ship for survivors in areas that blocked the scans.
“Sir, I'm so cold… what's happening out there?” Technician McLeven asked weakly as he shivered beneath Commander Fleming uniform jacket from his position on the freezer floor.
Commander Fleming frowned for a moment, “We got hit pretty bad by some new squid infestation is all I can figure. Just try to stay warm, Mac. I'll try to figure out how to get us out of here,” he said reassuringly as he leaned over the severely wounded technician. His own skin was a pale shade of blue from the cold. He had retreated into the freezer to hide their heat signatures from enemy thermal scans among other things.
The auxiliary power to the freezer had only just lost power a few minutes ago so the metal cube was still covered with frost and the air still showed the condensation of the men's breath as the rescue team opened the freezer door.
Stacey's hand immediately grasped the handle of his pistol but the cold had numbed his response time so the team had the drop on him. He couldn't see them to properly get off a decent shot but he shouted with a slight tremble in his voice, “Identify yourselves or I'll shoot!”
The injured Mac moved extremely slowly with Commander Fleming helping him along in a half fireman's carry. Lavender of course, had to be carried out. Her diagnosis was looking fairly grim as she was being held like a limp doll in power armored arms. Her overalls were smeared with grease and dried blood, and her hair hung in limp tangles around her face.
Commander Fleming looked fairly rough, although pallid with a grim expression he said nothing else as he helped his fellow shipmate towards the medical bay with the power armored rescue team as escorts.
The ship seemed oddly still and silent, it was almost unnerving that there wasn't even the typical electrical hum of the conduits behind the bulk heads or the soft whine of the florescent tubes in the overhead light fixtures. As they got closer to the med bay, the air started to smell metallic and heavy; and the lights flickered out for long and longer periods of time. The red emergency lights painted the passageways a dull red.
The Zenpyou crew located their captain and two other survivors but discovered something was wrong.
As they moved further down the corridor, there were bloody hand drag marks on both the walls and the deck plates. The walls were splattered with blood and the scent of raw meat and bile were starting to get stronger. In doorway to the left of them in the split to the medical bay and the bath areas, there was something strung across the door frame that dripped in a large clotting puddle across ceramic tile.
Further scans of the area don't show any other life readings in the air ducts, access tunnels or in any of the rooms that have their doors forced open. It is possible that the scans aren't going to penetrate some of the medical bay rooms without the doors being open but the team is effectively on their guard.
“C…can…. read…. fire… help… under… jammed… looking… Blake… team to… save…” The radio suddenly crackled to life, the reception is still barely intelligible but at least someone was alive outside of the Zen.
The medical bay doors opened slowly and the automatic lights flickered on revealing several still forms, one half hanging out of an overhead ventilation panel and another leaning against the back wall. Life scan readings resulting in a small blip above them.
Outside the ship there was the sound of distant thumping and creaking again.
“OH MY GOD! Someone help us!” A panicked female voice screamed as her transmission crackled over their radios, “We're trapped! S…something's coming…”
Something akin to a clicking of metal against metal echoed through the ventilation shafts above them.
Roken had drifted for a moment as he listened to the metallic clicking above them, that cant be human.. Roken checked the security on the ship to see if anything had shown up and If the distress call was close “if there close the ship should pick them up,” He went to work focusing the sensors of the ship on the garbled communication he also tried to tweak the sensors..so that they were a little more sensitive to motion and vibrations but it wouldn't be much since he has not taken the time out to study sensors and the systems behind it.
“Great…lets…clear the bodies and careful with the one hanging out of the vent.” Roken continued to work the ships security, running the system through his suit as he deeper into the medical room. He switched his suit to thermal, figuring it would be a little better and would help catch what was stalking the crew.
Roken saw the the distress signal came from deeper in the station from the cafeteria deck. The security system started showing small blips… something was there and something else was fast approaching from outside the ship in the hangar bay.
Chiaki could see a ripple just beneath the surface of the one man's skin as he searched for identification in his clothes. It was like there were bugs under the man's skin as the body began to spasm.
In the rest of the medbay, things started moving. Thermal readings continued to be strange with the sudden influx of large cold spots. The life sign readings started screaming as the groaning in the air vents became louder as something started clanging. There was a wet ripping sound in the hallway that filled the air with a bile like stench.
The infested body started to move, and the man started to moan in pain as his body started to more drastically change. His limbs elongated and his jaw fell loose from his face as it pulled out like a piece of putty. His eyes opened wide as all the white of his drained to black. They maybe had a few more seconds before the change completed and the infected technician would be trying to attack them.
The blip above them stopped with a loud crash as something large fell through the ceiling air vent with a loud PLOP. Whatever it was as a large as their Tenshi and sounded metallic with scraping, clanging movements as is started to pull itself upright…
Commander Fleming shivered as Mac's arm tightened around his neck, trying to maintain his balance. “Sir, I'm so hungry it hurts,” Mac moaned as his face changed and his mouth elongated.
Fleming tried to pry the technician from his neck, “M..Mac?!”
Lavendar finally opened her eyes as she stood up in a quick jerking movement like a marionette on strings. Her body began to expand like something big was inflating her.
Blips started appearing on their scanners and whatever it was was suddenly all around them.
The survivors of the Zenpyou were in their improvised command center in the underground portions of Mayer Station, they had hooked up with other Peacekeepers who survived the chaos of the NMX zombie invasion. There were some twenty actual Peacekeepers, including the injured Commander Fleming. They also had managed to round up some seventy-five civilians. With the help of the technicians they rescued they made the area they were in impenetrable to the parasites. The Peacekeepers were hooked into the internal cameras and spent their time gathering supplies, and waging a guerilla campaign against the NMX.
There were more Peacekeepers in the group when the second stage of the NMX invasion commenced. The first people they saw were Nekovalkyrja and Mindy clad soldiers. Thinking that the Star Army had come to their assistance, a group of the Peacekeepers went to greet them. It was a horror scene for those still in the command post when they saw their comrades burned to death by the rescuers. Moments later they saw Rippers on the scene and that the Nekos were taking orders from them.
The jamming had gotten worse, and radio communications beyond short range was impossible. There was no way to send word to any other Peacekeeper forces, and the fact that they had not seen any during the occupation, left only one conclusion. Help was not forthcoming.
As for Commander Fleming, they had been treating him the best they could with their limited medical supplies. He had periods where he was lucid and able to provide his guidance, other times he slipped into a fevered state where they had to restrain him.
Months after their base had fallen; the vigilant Peacekeepers had their first sign of hope. A vehicle approached the dome of a design they had not seen. But what was promising was that the occupants who were clad in a different kind of Mindy. And these soldiers were fighting the NMX. Once they breached the dome, they quickly engaged the Ripper and the NMX nekos with it. Help from below - excerpt
The screen showed the surface of the planet, down on the surface the facility known as Mayer Station was engulfed in a massive explosion as reactors obeyed their final order. The initial wave of heat and plasma flooded the facility scouring it clean of any living or dead thing. A moment later came the detonation and the facility was shattered and chunks of it were strewn in all directions, the ensuing blast spread out to encompass more than twenty five square miles of surface. The shockwave extended out much further and a massive debris cloud surged up into the atmosphere. “The damn squids won't be using that base to hurt anyone else.” he said.