Well, Kendrik now you've prompted me to post my somewhat unfinished prologue for the book I will never really write much less finish. I need to flesh it out a bit more as some things remain unexplained. Some are on purpose and some are simply because I have the universe ultimately designed on in a separate document and need to figure out how to work in the explanations. I'm still working on the pacing, as the whole thing seems a little truncated and needs more buildup in my mind. Again, I have the whole scene in my mind, I just need to pen it in such a way that the reader can see it as well.
Jeff's eyes snapped open, his ears straining. He had been half dozing moments ago, balancing dangerously on the cliff which led downward into sleep. Now he waited quietly, listening for the sound he was sure he had heard. The only thing making noise was the steady hum of the instrument consoles stacked around his seat and the ever-present rumble of the power plant buried in the back of his ship. Twenty more seconds of not daring to move or breathe and he slumped back into the captain's chair. These long hauls were starting to wear on him. Perhaps too much time in simulated sleep during tunneling? He glanced at the various indicators, making sure everything was in the green. Another couple of hours and the waystation should arrive. Then they could head to Earth. The final leg of the journey wouldn't take more than 20 minutes or so but they needed the waystation to get them close enough.
He felt, more than heard, it a minute later. An impact and a slight shift as the attitude thrusters automatically fired to keep them in position. This time the pressure alarm sounded for a brief second before cutting off. Jeff quickly checked pressure levels and noted that they were holding steady. Then he saw the oxygen levels. O2 was spiking while CO2 levels were rapidly dropping. Frowning, he reached for the intercom.
"Cap, might want to head up here. Think something may have hit us." He thumbed off the intercom and pulled up the video feed from one of the sweeps operating a couple hundred yards away. On the display an external image of the Manifest Destiny sprang into view. Behind him the door swung open and two men strode into the room. The first and older of the two, Captain Windham, walked up behind Jeff and glanced at the screen. The other, Tom Issacson, dropped into the nav chair and began querying the computer.
"What is that?" Captain Windham pointed at the screen where it showed a black bulge sticking out of one of the cargo modules.
"There's another one near the engine." Jeff pointed out another bulge just forward of the engine. "Prox alarm didn't pick up anything. Pressure alarm went off after the second hit but shut off within a second."
"Cap, O2 levels are spiking," Tom was pointing at a digital readout. "CO2 is dropping."
Windham moved behind Tom’s chair and placed his hand on his shoulder, "I'd be more worried if it were the other way around. Tom, looks like pressure is holding. Can you go back and take a look at the damage?"
"Sure, Cap." Tom stood up, "Waystation's due in a couple hours."
"Thanks. Might want to put on a pressure suit first. Don't want any nasty surprises." The captain lowered himself into the chair.
"Another one coming in!" Jeff gestured at the screen. They all watched the screen as another dark mass impacted just above the cargo containers. "Looks like it went into the gangway above the cargo. Cap, if we lose pressure there we'll be cut off from the engineering deck!"
"Jeff, why don't you go with Tom? He might need a hand." Captain Windham turned his attention to maneuvering the sweep into a better viewing position.
Tom was the first to the hatch. He pulled back the cover on a reinforced window and attempted to look inside.
"What do you see?" Jeff finished pulling on his helmet and was walking up behind him.
"Window is all fogged up, can't see a thing. Cap, what's the humidity set at for the gangway?"
Windham’s voice sounded unnatural coming from the cheap speakers in the ceiling. "Humidity is set to 5 percent. But it appears the system is having trouble keeping up. I'm reading humidity at near 69 percent. Temperature is pushing 85."
"I'm going in. Wait a sec..." Tom peered back through the small window, "I think I see something moving in there."
"What?!" Jeff backed up from the hatch, "how could anything be moving in there?" He was halfway to the previous hatch when Tom answered.
"I can't make it out real good." He reached for the latch.
"What are you doing! Don’t open the door!" Jeff spun and sprinted the remaining distance to the opposite hatch. He had just reached it as Tom pulled the latch and swung the hatch aside. "Oh man!" Jeff reached for the latch as the ship suddenly lurched spinning him into the bulkhead.
"Cap, what was that?" Tom was holding onto the latch and kept on his feet but spun around when he heard Jeff hit. "Cap?" Tom watched Jeff get back on his feet. "Cap, if you can hear me, we seem to be experiencing a communication issue. I think...Aarrrgggg!"
Jeff turned to see a wall of green burst through the hatch as Tom disappeared into it. Scrambling as quickly as he could, Jeff just made it through the hatch and jerked it shut as the rapidly expanding vegetation reached him. He pulled open the viewport and tried to make out where Tom was but the view was quickly obscured with fog and vines. He backed away from the hatch for a couple steps, shaking his head before turning and fleeing down the corridor. He reached the bridge in record time and had pulled the hatch open when a blast of warm, humid air hit him. He had just enough presence of mind to realize the bridge was entirely engulfed in vegetation and slammed the hatch shut trimming some of the vegetation that had already pushed out. He backed away from the hatch, wondering what to do when the bulkhead beside him burst inward throwing him into the far wall. Turning, he slowly forced his eyes to focus on the object protruding through the side of the ship. As he was struggling to his feet, the object burst open spewing vegetation into the hallway. Jeff stumbled backward into the opposite bulkhead as the green wave overtook him.