Chapter 1

Sleep...life's reset button. The best part of every day. It's hard to think what life would be witho-

BEEP! BEEP!

BEEP! BEEP!

BEEP! BEEP!

"...fuck"

Morning have never been Caleb's thing. He simply couldn't spring out of bed every morning like other people, his bed didn't help either. Aboard the space station, Pursuit of Knowledge, orbiting an unnamed planet, all tier 1 personnel get access to the luxury apartments. 120 square feet of convenience and relaxation with a full kitchen, jacuzzi, and the best part...full size master bed. It was like sleeping on a cloud, a cloud that contours to your body, adjusts temperature, and best of all-

BEEP! BEEP!

BEEP! BEEP!

BEEP! BEEP!

"FUCK YOU ALARM CLOCK!" Caleb yelled. He slammed on the snooze button again.

A small hologram winked into existence. "Oh no", caleb mumbled, "not this bitc-"

"Good morning Miss Masalym", a small figure in the hologram said, "or should I say Mr. Spearman, Sahara's mooching boyfriend who should be thrown in the stockades for using the Tier 1 living quarters."

"Jessica", Caleb started.

"I mean seriously", Jessica ranted, "a verbal affirmation is not enough to facilitate Tier 5 personnel using the premium quarters!"

"Jessica!" Caleb yelled, "English would be great, thanks."

"Oh I'm soooo sorry, let me speak so you can understand, I forgot I was talking to a janitor" Caleb smirked and said, "and a great one at that"

"Anyway, you shouldn't be allowed to live in this room, but that's not up to me." Caleb began to go through his morning routine as she talked, "so Caleb, you're being tasked with cleaning sector 5 of D-Block, apparently the system registered a buildup of something in the vents, probably a leaking waste pipe, I hope you get covered in shit." Caleb started to walk out the door.

"Well aren't you just a ray of sunshine," Caleb chuckled as he shut the door, "See ya later sweat cheeks" he shut the door before she could say anything, "Hmm, D-Block...that's in the deep storage area. And pretty close to where Sarah works!" He took out his com unit and sent her a quick message asking if she would like to meet up for lunch because he was working so close to her.

As he looked up from his text he saw that he was nearing a security checkpoint. 'Oh boy, here we go again.'

As Caleb approached, the security officer smiled like he was seeing an old friend, which he was. "What's up caleb?", The colored officer said, "how's my white janitor doing?"

"If I was any better I'd be a black guy sitting in a chair all day and getting paid to do it."

"Aww Caleb, you know my jobs a lot more complicated than that, I got all that special training and shit."

"But Joseph, we have this conversation almost every day," Caleb smirked as he handed over his ID, "I say that you sit around all day, you brag about your 'special training', I ask what's so special about it and you say..."

"Classified", Joseph dutifully finished, "and that if I tell you I would have to kill you"

"Yea, now I gotta get going..."

"Hey! Hold on a second", Joseph smiled, "You almost forgot your favorite part." He held up a small device that looked like a grocery scanner.

"Aww, I thought I could slip past you this time, I hate the retinal scanner."

"Like hell you will, last time you did my superiors chewed me out for a solid three hours...it's by the lords grace that I didn't get demoted." Joseph frowned, it was clearly a touchy subject.

"Yeah...I guess I still owe you a favor for that one..."

"Big time, anyway retina scans are normal, your free to go."

"Thanks Joseph, don't work too hard ya lazy bum!" Caleb smiled as he left, talking to Joseph always put him in a good mood. The two has been friends since they met on Caleb's first day on the station, they where a sort of people that always took to each other and where friends within minutes.

As Caleb walked down the corridor he glanced at the numerous rooms to his left and right. Storage 150883, lavoratory 150884, living quarters 150885, laboratory 150886, ext. ext. "Wow", Caleb said to himself, "it never ceases to amaze me how big The Pursuit of Knowledge is."

He whistled a tune as he walked down the corridor before reaching the Bridge of Glass. While the Pursuit of Knowledge's main purpose is creating the latest innovations in biological, mechanical, and chemical science it has one feature created solely to impress The Board. The bridge spanned two kilometers between the two main hubs of the station and was about 30 meters wide. And as the name suggests the entire structure is made of glass like materials giving the appearance that you are walking in space..and the view was breathtaking. "Millions...no hundreds of millions of stars surround me, I am but a speck of matter floating in a sea so vast it can only be accurately compared to itself, the universe. Endless, ancient, all-consuming, and filled with the unknown, a million stars compete to grasp attention, each one striving to be the biggest and brightest, to shine like no one before. That is their goal and it is mine as well, I can do anything I put my mind to! ...All the professors at the academy can suck it! I totally could have been a poet!" Caleb stepped off the bridge into D-Block and approached sector 5.

It was like a ghost town. 'Hmm, this is strange, this place is usually full of people...well it's not like I can disobey orders over a funny feeling', Caleb thought as he gathered the tools he would need for a pipe repair, as well as his general tools, from a supply room, and continued through the seemingly abandoned D-Block, it was starting to creep Caleb out. "Ok," Caleb tried to coach himself through the creepiness of this whole scenario, "all I have to do is pop into the vents, fix the leak, mark the problem in my report, and get the hell out of here. Simple."

As he approached the area he immediatly saw what had tripped the system alarm. A black substance had seeped out of the ventilation, stopping the cover form closing properly and thus making the system report the error.

Caleb knelt down and touched the black buildup, it was hard and smooth. He tried to pick at it with his fingernail but it thwarted his every attempt, this stuff was TOUGH! 'What is this stuff, it's certainly not shit, never seen anything like it...'

Without much else to do he called Sarah, she answered on the second ring. "Hey Caleb, how are you?"

"I'm great but I have a bit of a problem."

"You, problem?" She teased, "that's so unlike you!"

"Yea, haha laugh at the matinence guy see where that gets you, you must remember that time I fixed your sink..."

"How could I forget, you ruined my makeup, do you know how expensive that was?" Sarah said reminiscing in the good memory.

"Of course I know how expensive that was I bought all of it for you," Caleb chuckled, the unease he felt earlier had vanished replaced with a warmth in his chest, "but back to my predicament, I need you to radio in an unknown buildup in D-Block, Sector five, vent #287, source unknown."

"Wait, what do you mean unknown, what does it look like." Sarah sounded a bit worried.

"Well, it's black, very hard, cool to the touch," Caleb opened the vent, "aaaand it's coating the entire vent, maybe more...fantastic. You sounded worried is this stuff toxic or something?"

Sarah was very scared now. "Oh lord...Caleb you need to get out of there RIGHT NOW!"

"Wait, what do you mean? If it's da-"

"Caleb there's no time to explain, you need to get to one of the emergeny rooms, RUN! Don't stop for anyone or anything! GO!"

"Got it, I'll call you when I'm there," Caleb could tell when Sarah was serious and turned to get to the emergency room...but stopped dead in his tracks.

A figure had crept up on him silently and now towered over him menacingly. Caleb had never seen anything like it in his life, it's stood more than a foot taller that him, had what seemed to be an exoskeleton that was the same color as the stuff in the vents, and had a very distinct oblong head...but the most shocking thing of all was that it wasn't moving, just standing there, still as a statue.

"...uuum...h-hello," Caleb said trying to stay as unthreatening as possible, "Do you want to see my leader...cus' he's kind of an assho-"

Faster than he thought possible the creature shot at him, grabbed him by his shirt, and threw him at the wall. Caleb saw stars dance across his vision and shook his head to clear them.

"...oww..fuck," Caleb looked up to see the creature towering over him again, he saw its hand raise to a striking position...and swipe down at him...then he saw no more.

"...No...Caleb..", Sarah had seen the entire thing, right down to the xenomorph dragging the unconscious Caleb back into the ventilation, "he's...gone...just gone"

They had never been the closest of couples, Sarah's long hours often prevented them from spending much time together. But those moments they did have together...those where special. All of those memories where just that, nothing but memories, he was gone.

There was only one thing he could do. With tears in her eyes...she locked down D-Block