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Ice Rift - Salvage: An Action Adventure Sci-Fi Horror in Antarctica, page 1

 

Ice Rift - Salvage: An Action Adventure Sci-Fi Horror in Antarctica
 



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Ice Rift - Salvage: An Action Adventure Sci-Fi Horror in Antarctica


  Acknowledgements

  1 -Lucy

  2 - First Incursion

  3 - Publicity

  4 - Second Incursion

  5 - Out of the Mist they came...

  6 - Dank and Dangerous

  7 - Oval office

  8 - Demons

  9 - Bug Hunt

  10 - An Uneasy Alliance

  11 - The Offer

  12 - Scout Ship Salvage

  13 - Kidnapped

  14 - The Russians

  15 - SEAL Team Five

  16 - A Rescue Mission

  17 - Fields of Fear

  18 - Please Don't Let Me Die…

  19 - The Iceberg

  20 - Jaws

  21 - Power

  22 - Map Room

  23 - Smoke and EV1L

  24 - A Sudden Change of Direction

  25 - Cargo salvage

  26 - Alone Again

  27 - Escape

  28 - Luck of the Devil

  29 - It Ends

  Epilogue

  OTHER BOOKS BY AUTHOR

  In Antarctica everyone can hear you scream!

  Action adventure sci-fi horror set in Antarctica.

  The spaceship entombed in the huge iceberg calved from the Pine Island Glacier drifts towards the warmer air and ocean temperatures of the South Atlantic. The race is on to claim the alien technology before the ice melts and releases its hold on the trapped alien vessel.

  The mission: Board the spaceship and salvage as much alien technology as possible before the doomed vessel sinks to the bottom of the ocean.

  The obstacles: A disintegrating iceberg, a collapsing spaceship, an armed Russian salvage force intent on claiming alien technology for themselves, an approaching storm, and the biggest obstacle of all—the spacecraft’s alien inhabitants.

  The aliens have another mission—survival—and when opposing species clash, there can be only one victor.

  Ice Rift - Salvage is the sequel to Ice Rift, which needs to be read first to gain the most enjoyment from the story.

  ICE RIFT - SALVAGE

  Ben Hammott

  Copyright 2017 ©Ben Hammott. All rights reserved

  No part of this publication may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any other information storage and retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the copyright holders.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

  Author can be contacted at: benhammott@gmail.com

  Author's website: www.benhammottbooks.com

  Ice Rift - Salvage is the direct follow on book to Ice Rift, which needs to be read first to get the most enjoyment from this book. Available here or from your Amazon: ICE RIFT

  Acknowledgements

  First of all I would like to thank my readers for their continued support of my literary endeavors.

  A big thank you goes to the men and women of the British and American coast guards who risk their lives to rescue others and advised me on helicopter performance limitations and capabilities in adverse weather conditions.

  I express my thanks to Captain Aristarkh Ivanov for his information on the Russian Mi-26M helicopter (Halo), multi-purpose Russian salvage vessels and the MPSV07 deck plans he gratefully provided, and certain members of a certain special forces team for their information and advice on small team infiltration tactics, weaponry, the merits and limitations of using Night Vision Goggles (NVG) in confined spaces and within the imagined scenario depicted in this book, and the limitations of communications in many-roomed, multi-level metal structures.

  As always, any errors or liberties taken with the information provided is entirely my own doing.

  Lucy

  UNCONTROLLABLE FEAR GRABBED hold of Lucy when the monster outside the room slammed against the door with such force she expected it to burst open. Shaking as much from terror as from the cold due to her near-naked state, she backed away and tried to calm down. Panicking would do her no good. She told herself fear was a reaction and not a threat unless she allowed it to be, so if she could fight her fear, she might be able to fight the cause. The metal door was solid enough to hold the monster at bay, so for the moment she was safe. Her gaze followed the flashlight she swept around the room. Neither picked out the alternative exit she desperately sought. The room that trapped her would become her tomb if someone didn’t come and rescue her. She found it difficult to believe Jane or Jack would abandon her. Richard, yes―that she could understand. The man only worried about himself. But not her friends, not unless they were dead, slaughtered by the alien monsters that prowled the spaceship. It could be the only reason for their abandonment. She fought back the tears that threatened to flow and sunk to the floor.

  *****

  The computer checked its sensors. Though many were not working, those that still functioned indicated a third of the specimens had survived their extended hibernation period and were now loose in the vessel. One species, so dangerous that not even in an emergency was it to be set free, remained firmly imprisoned in its chamber.

  Aware the specimens' only chance of survival now was to escape from the doomed vessel before it slipped beneath the sea, she opened every door it still controlled.

  *****

  Startled by the door opening along the corridor and fearing another species had tracked it scent, the Hunter outside Lucy’s room shot a glance at the sound, but relaxed on seeing the doorway absent of any menace. It was surprised again when the doors set in the corridor walls opened one by one, gradually moving towards the door blocking it from its next meal. It had been about to give up and go in search of easier prey, but not now. While it waited for it to open, it screeched in anticipation of the feast it was about to enjoy and stared hungrily at the door as it scraped a claw down it.

  *****

  Lucy hugged her knees to stop them from shaking when the Hunter outside shrieked and chalkboard screeches from the claws it scraped down the door set her frail nerves on edge. Hope replaced her dread when a different sound filtered into the room. She climbed to her feet and rushed for the door. The faint, but unmistakable rasp of doors opening grew nearer. Someone must be looking for her? They would see the monster, kill it, and set her free. She would be saved.

  Confusion banished her hope when the door of the room next to hers opened and still the monster scratched at the door. She backed away. Something was wrong. No one was coming to rescue her. The door opened. The monster peered through the ever-widening gap and snarled at her. Lucy sobbed as she frantically glanced around the room for something she could use as a weapon. When her frightened gaze drifted over the bed chamber, she remembered Jane had opened the one in the dormitory room. She rushed over and pressed the buttons until the door slid open. The monster growled as it stepped through the doorway, but wary there might be more than one of the strange creatures inside, its cruel, hungry eyes searched the room to check. Lucy scrambled into the sleeping pod and stabbed buttons on the interior console. The monster lurched forward when the bed screen began to close, but it wasn’t fast enough and found its prey sealed in the bed chamber. Frustrated by its meal’s escape, the Hunter struck the transparent view panel and screeched.

  Though she had escaped its clutches, Lucy was well aware their kind could open doors; it only had to jab at th
e buttons like she had until it struck lucky. Fearful the Hunter would be upon her at any moment, she turned away from the horrifying sight and examined the control panel. Perhaps there was a way of locking the door or disabling the outside control. A button she pressed brought a screen to life. Her eyes swept down the list of unintelligible alien words until she spied one in English. She assumed by this that when the spaceship's main computer added the English translation to its database it had gone ship-wide. She silently thanked the computer and pressed the screen. A list of English options appeared and though there was no choice to lock the door, there was another option that might save her.

  The pod shuddered and glass splintered when the Hunter struck it again. Lucy jerked her head around to see the cause; spider cracks crept across the window. The Hunter howled and struck it again. The cracks spread. One or two more blows and it would break and the monster would finally get its meal. Lucy re-focused her attention on the screen and selected the eject pod option. Another menu appeared asking her to confirm or cancel the action. Her finger jabbed at the confirmation option. A rasp of metal from the end of the pod outside announced the opening of the hatch she, Jane and Jack had seen previously in one of the ejected pod rooms. The bed chamber lurched and shot forward. Lucy tumbled back and glimpsed the side of the hatch portal passing the cracked window. When it was through, the pod pivoted to the side, giving Lucy an opportunity to glance back into the recently evacuated room. The Hunter’s vicious face stared at her until it disappeared when the pod shot forward.

  Dim lights set in the sides of the escape chute sped by faster and faster as the pod increased in speed. It was then Lucy realized, in her attempt to escape the monster, she hadn’t thought her rash plan through. The spaceship was encased in ice and it would be this she would be ejected into and not open space the pod was designed for. She thought it doubtful, at the speed they were travelling, the escape pod or she would survive the impact. Maybe she could climb out? She pressed the open door button, but it failed to respond, probably because the pod was in motion.

  As the pod’s speed continued to increase, Lucy snatched up the ends of the restraints she noticed fixed to the pod walls and buckled them around her. The slack was automatically pulled out to hold her snugly, not that it would help when the pod crashed into the ice and crushed them both. Without any warning, the pod tilted on end and threw her against the restraints before it plummeted down an almost vertical chute headfirst and continued to increase in speed. Lucy gazed at the cracked window. The lights flashed by so fast they were a continuous blur.

  Refusing to just lie there and hope for the best, Lucy formed an idea, though risky, might be her only chance to survive this journey. She released the harness and slid to the bottom. She righted herself and moved into a position facing the window. Hoping she wouldn’t rip her bare feet to shreds when it broke, she kicked at the window. The transparent panel bulged in the middle a little more with each blow and her forth kick dislodged it from the frame; it struck the side of the chute and shattered. She peered out. The chute rushing by was circular with three other rails for more escape pods distributed around its circumference to expedite the evacuation of a doomed ship. Luckily, she was travelling along the bottom rail; it would make her next move slightly easier.

  Lucy poked her head out and gazed down at the lights disappearing into its depths that gave no indication how far away the bottom was. It could be one hundred feet away or one thousand. When she climbed out the slipstream whipped her hair around her face and caused her to shiver from the cold that blasted her body. Keeping her body as flat as possible to prevent the wind drag from pulling her off, she climbed onto the top, crawled to the back of the pod and shone the light over the speeding walls. Okay Lucy, now what are you going to do?

  *****

  After the Hunter had watched its prey escape a second time, it had climbed into the empty bedchamber and leapt through the hatch when it began to close. It rushed after the pod and barely paused when it changed direction and disappeared into a tunnel in the floor. It dived in after it and sprinted headfirst down the steeply sloping chute and screeched when its prey appeared a few moments later.

  Lucy shot her gaze above. The Hunter bounded towards her at amazing speed. She had swapped one danger for another just as deadly. When it had almost reached the speeding pod, the Hunter leaped. Lucy backed away as it landed on the back end of the pod and swayed unsteadily. She lashed out with a foot, landing a blow to its stomach. It stumbled, fell, and howled in pain when momentum slid it down the chute on its back, scraping gouges in its flesh until it started tumbling.

  The Hunter halted its painful tumble and righted itself. A few bounds and it reached the pod again. Saliva dripped from its vicious mouth when it snarled at Lucy, who only had seconds before it would be upon her. Lucy glanced at the walls speeding by and jumped for one of the thick cables that ran between the rails. The flashlight, held precariously in one hand, almost fell from her grasp when her fingers circled the cable. Her momentum tugged her grip free and sent her hurtling back towards the monster that lashed out a claw. She snatched out for another cable, wincing in pain when her arm was almost yanked from its socket. She held on tight. Her life depended on it. She glanced behind at the receding pod and the Hunter riding it. A rasp of metal echoed up the chute when the hull's outer hatch opened. As the Hunter crouched, ready to spring its body off the pod and climb up to its prey, the escape pod struck the ice blocking the opening and crumpled into an unrecognizable shape. The sudden halt slammed the Hunter against the wall. Its body exploded from the impact and sprayed the area with blood and innards.

  A sigh of relief escaped from Lucy's lips. That was one problem taken care of. As her pounding heart slowed, she glanced up at the receding lights that seemed to go on forever; she had a long climb ahead of her and one she wasn’t confident she could make.

  After climbing a short distance, Lucy noticed what seemed to be an access hatch on the opposite side of the shaft. Hoping it might lead to an easier route back up to the engine room level, she scrambled across the steeply sloping tunnel and climbed the wall. A hiss of air escaped when she released the catch and pulled it open. A dark void almost filled with a mass of shiny, black cables that had the appearance of a horrifying monster's tentacles waiting to entangle her in its grasp greeted her. It wasn't a view that inspired confidence climbing inside would be a wise or safe thing to do. She closed the small door and continued her strenuous climb.

  The stressed spaceship groaned, creaked and belched distant thumps that sounded like rumbling thunder, and the occasional throaty crack produced by the ice that vibrated through the ship seemed to be amplified by the escape chute's acoustics adding to the ominous soundtrack to Lucy's troubled plight. When she paused to rest for a moment and gazed above to see if the end of the climb was anywhere near, Lucy pressed her body against the cold metal and froze on seeing something entirely different―creatures moving down towards her.

  Heads low and their rumps high, the creatures moved on three long fingers attached to each of their four, long, spindly limbs. Their skin, stretched taught over their bony bodies gave them the appearance of plucked chickens. Pimples, like goose bumps, larger and more pronounced on the shoulders and thighs covered their bodies and reinforced the illusion.

  Fear threatened to reclaim the confidence Lucy had regained since the death of the Hunter―that she could survive and escape from her metal tomb. She started to shiver as she watched the creatures pale-green, hairless bodies pass through the dim patches of light before entering the gloomy spaces again. Because none of them had so far shown any interest in her, Lucy thought it unlikely they had detected her presence yet. Their eyes, small, round and milky-white, set either side of their short snouts might indicate they were blind or had poor eyesight. Like most of the alien monstrosities Lucy had encountered on board the vessel, their jaws sported sharp teeth.

  The eight creatures were attracted by the scent of the Hunter's fresh spilled
blood wafting up the shaft, and were seeking out the source. Though they weren't completely blind, their species had been living in darkness for thousands of years and each new generation had experienced diminished sight and heightened senses of smell and hearing.

  Trying to make as little noise as possible, Lucy retreated down the chute. Though she suspected the creatures might be blind, and if she remained still they might pass her by without noticing her, they were too vicious and horrifying, and she was too scared to take the risk. The unwelcoming hatch was her only escape. She pulled it open and squeezed inside headfirst. It worried her that the creatures were small enough to crawl inside after her if she left the hatch open, but the narrow area in the center free of cables, left her with no room to turn and close it. She hooked a foot on the door edge and pulled it shut as far as she could. Though she hoped they would pass by the hatch, it wasn't something Lucy was going to rely on. She crawled and slithered through the duct as fast as the cables pressing against her body would allow.

  Though seven of the creatures continued towards the appetizing scent of fresh blood, the eighth, slightly smaller than the others, paused and sniffed the air. Its inquisitive face turned towards the wall and followed the scent to the partially open hatch. It forced its snout through the opening and sniffed to confirm the trail continued inside. It glanced in the direction its brethren headed down the chute. It knew unless the dead or wounded creature below was large, not all would manage to sate their hunger. As it was the youngest, it would be last to feed and might not get anything. Deciding it was better it found its own source of food, it pulled the hatch open wider, climbed inside with its long front limbs stretched out ahead and scrambled along the cables towards the sound of something moving.

  Lucy, sweating with the effort of forcing her body through the tight passage, paused for a breather. Vibrations sent along the cables were transferred to her body pressed against them. As they weren't there a moment ago, it was an indication something was now in here with her. The flashlight she aimed ahead picked out no threat. Dread swept over her when she realized one of the long-legged chicken creatures might have followed her. She rolled over and aimed the flashlight back the way she had come and stared at the two distant pinpricks of light caught just beyond the farthest reach of the beam. At first, she thought it might be the light reflecting off something, pieces of metal perhaps, but when she noticed the lights blink and move closer, Lucy stifled a sob, twisted onto her stomach and slithered through the shaft as fast as she could.

 
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