“Captain, for the love of all that is holy, we need to open the airlock now.”
Raker shook the captain by the shoulders hoping to snap him out of his haze, but Captain Tiller would not move. His gaze remained fixed on the twisting mass of flesh jiggling and writhing inside the chamber. It was growing faster by the minute and filling the room. The rest of the crew crowded into the narrow hallway with their ears pressed to the door, too afraid to voice their opinion to the captain.
“We’re going to lose the ship. We need to get rid of it,” Raker pleaded.
The captain turned to face his second in command. “Give her time. We need to exhaust all of our options before we do anything.”
“We’ve gone over everything already! The lab jockeys say it’s a permanent mutation. Weapons don’t work. With all due respect, sir, that is not your wife anymore. We need to open the air lock or lose the ship.”
“No. We do nothing. And that is an order.”
The twisting hulk surged against the window. Its veiny pink flesh throbbed and cracked the window in multiple places.
“Captain Tiller, as second in command I am officially relieving you of command. You are emotionally compromised and endangering the crew and this vessel. I’m opening the airlock.”
“No.” Tiller said, pushing Raker away from the control panel. The window cracked even further.
“That window is going to break and that thing – “
“That’s my wife, dammit.” Tiller drew his pulse pistol and pointed it at Raker.
“Jack…Jack…come on now. Think about what you’re doing.”
The window groaned against the weight. Tiller lowered his gaze for a split second and Raker ran. Inches from the airlock switch, he felt the pulse gun ripping a hole in his heart.
Lying on the floor, Raker watched Tiller hug the mass as it poured through the broken window and engulfed them.
A story for the latest challenge from the Trifecta Writing Challenge. The challenge was to write a story between 33 and 333 words that included the 3rd form of the word “exhaust”.
EXHAUST (transitive verb)
1a : to consume entirely : use up <exhausted our funds in a week>
b : to tire extremely or completely <exhausted by overwork>
c : to deprive of a valuable quality or constituent <exhaust a photographic developer>
2a : to draw off or let out completely
b : to empty by drawing off the contents; specifically : to create a vacuum in
3a : to consider or discuss (a subject) thoroughly or completely
b : to try out the whole number of <exhausted all the possibilities>