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   Chapter 44 No.44

Demonspawn By Christina Engela Characters: 6266

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02

"Yes, sir."

Lofflin was grateful that all Space Fleet staff had a small marker inserted into the base of their skulls on joining the Academy, called an Allenby marker. "Allenby" was a play on the acronym "L.N.B." which stood for Leave No-one Behind. They were useful in keeping track of where Space Fleet personnel were during away missions, and also aided in locking onto them with a transmatter in poor or difficult conditions. It also helped in finding bodies when there were no more life signs. It meant that Wentworth shouldn't have trouble in shifting out the bodies of the crewmen killed over there… at least, the bits that had their markers attached to them.

Minutes later, Murphy returned to the transmatter complex carrying a bulky object he recognized as the grenade launcher, a flashlight and a hand blaster. Lofflin slung the bulky weapon over his shoulder, checked the flashlight, and stuck the blaster, portascan and comlinks in his equipment belt. Murphy looked at him with the kind of expression that showed mixed admiration and sympathy.

"Keep an eye on Mr. Billingham while I'm gone." Lofflin instructed the Sergeant. "Make sure they start the repairs with the parts they have already."

"Yes sir." Murphy replied in a subdued tone. He felt ashamed that Lofflin was going instead of him. Lofflin mounted the jump platform.

"Ye gods!" He muttered.

"Everything okay, Commander?" The marine at the control console asked.

"Yeah, all good – I just hate suicide missions, that's all. See you later."

* * *

This time, as arranged with the operator, Lofflin arrived somewhere else on the above the first arrival point in order to avoid an ambush. This appeared to work, because as soon as he arrived, nothing happened. He sighed, relieved. He hoped this would keep up.

He'd already formed his plan and his strategy. He was going to move as

thrown by a hasty refugee less than an hour earlier.

The doors set in the light grey frames that crossed the passage at roughly ten meter intervals were all open, as they had been open for centuries. The silence was getting to him – he heard nothing but the sound of his own breathing! He was thankful that the local bogeyman hadn't stepped in yet to ruin his trip.

Lofflin carefully approached the entrance to the main engine room, and unslung the tank buster, bringing it into a ready position. He entered the dark room cautiously, covering every angle of the room in a 360 degree sweep. All was eerily quiet. Wait! …Something appeared to be wrong! The light from his flashlight seemed to be dimmer! He tapped it against his other hand that held the weapon – but it made no difference! Then he felt a twinge of fear... It felt almost as if someone was very, very angry with him… the kind of feeling a little kid gets when he's sent to the principal's office... or when his parents were angry with him. His knees felt weak and his stomach felt un-settled. At first he thought that something might have gone wrong with the transmatter – but then he remembered the survivors' petrified state – fear without cause! The damned thing was onto him!

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