Chapter 2: Discovery
The year 2129 had begun strangely for me. After losing a job due to sickness, and then suddenly being recruited for work by Weyland Co., I haven't had much time to actually recover fully, or even get a full diagnosis from a doctor. I still lose my breath quickly if I run too far or get overly excited. But luckily, working for the company has given me health benefits, which is more than I can say for my previous job. While working in a hospital, I had developed a serious lung disease. It resulted in permanent damage to my lungs, and now whenever i get overexcited or run, I pretty much have an asthma attack. I carry an inhaler to make sure I don't have one, but it doesn't stop the tight feeling, or the wheezing. So in short, I have terminal asthma. It sounds ridiculous, and there is no cure. I am a walking predicament. but how I developed this disease was even more troubling. I was assisting a patient in a neighbouring country, where disease was running rampant. Civil war had brought disease, and though the war was over, there was still tension in the cities. I ended up contracting one of the biologically engineered diseases when I was tending to the patient.
I walk with the Captain to the medical ward, slowly readying myself for the coming gore I will have to withstand. Even if i am the medic of this vessel, I am still a little squeamish with gore. i was only around minor wounds during my time at the hospital. we enter the medical ward, and I take a deep breath in as I prepare for the autopsy.
"She's right over here," Jacobs says, and directs me to a table, covered with a stained white sheet. The well lit room suddenly seems darker to me, just seeing the red stain on the sheet makes me queasy, knowing that my former colleague is under it, harboring a gaping hole in her chest. I walk up and slowly remove the sheet, fixing my eyes on her face, now at permanent peace. With sudden steely strength, I wrench my eyes away from her face, and down to the wound. The hole is massive, compared to her slender torso. Right in between her brests, the wound gapes at me, bone and flesh torn apart and no longer bleeding. I slide on gloves and grab a pair of forceps and poke at the the wound, noticing that it isn't intrusive, but extruding. like something burst out from inside her body.
"Jacobs, come here," I mutter softly, swallowing hard to keep my stomach calm again. I hear him walk up behind me, but he doesn't say anything. "Look at how this wound was made. It's like something just BURST out of her. IT's... like she had something inside of her. do you think that's what happened? something invaded her body and burst out," I point out, indicating to the evidence of my hypothesis, but he's still silent. I turn quickly, out of frustration, and say, "Look, I know you're shaken by thi- ooohh..." What I thought was Jacobs is standing several inches from me. It's black, slender, bony body is hunched slightly, it's elongated head looking up at me. I'm afraid to move, but I place my hands very slowly against the table, for stability. The creature makes a sniffing sound and leans its head forward more. It's head, no taller than my chest, gets nearer to me. I can feel my breathing begin to wheeze as my heart races, my fear creating a breathing issue which i know will turn deadly if I don't take care of it. I check my surroundings quickly, looking for a way out as the creature continues to sniff me, as if investigating his first human. But I know better. It's looking for a kill. I don't know how i know this, but I can feel it. If I stay still any longer, i'll end up on the table across the room from Toles. I take a deep breath in, deciding to take action.
I launch myself to the left, vaulting the instrument table into the wall, and race to the door. As luck would have it, I stumble on something, and feel a yank on my boot. I fall flat on my face, my nose smacking into the floor. I roll over quickly to watch the creature, just to see it catapult itself through the air and land with it's legs on either side of my body, it's head lowering to meer inches from mine. My panic is escalating, but instead of screaming, i turn my head to my left and sob, terrified of the incoming pain. As I turn I see the spilled array of medical instruments on the floor. A scalpel lies just inside my reach, and my fingers scramble for it. I pull my legs up, and slam my feet into the creatures abdomen, tossing it away from me. It lets out an enraged shriek, and scrambles up from it's position, then sprints towards me, tail thrashing. My panicked fingers wrap around the scalpel, and I raise it quickly. I wrestle myself back towards the wall, and let the creature race towards me, feeling the adrenaline practically slow time for me as I pray that I survive. I stand as it nearly reaches me, and dodge to the right, and raise the scalpel. as i bring it down, the creatures tail catches me in the knees and i fall on my back. before i can even roll over, the creature is upon me. it opens it's mouth and shrieks in my face, and suddenly an elongated tongue with a mouth at the end shoots out of its salivating maw, snapping at my face. i flinch away, and plunge the scalpel into the side of its head. i drop my hand away as it shrieks and flinches away, clawing at its head. green fluid spews from its wound, and drips onto my shirt. i roll away and kneel, watching the creature flail and then stumble into a wall. It claws open a vent and slides through, leaving behind some green fluid on the vents. I watch the torn up vent, waiting for it to come back for a second go, but i notice something strange. the torn edges of the vent are smoking. like its burning. and just as the word "burning" crosses my mind, i realize what the fluid is. But it's too late. Now I realize the burning sensation on my shoulder, and I am terrified beyond belief. As I tear my shirt off, I hear the door open. I turn abruptly, expecting the creature, but instead i find Jacobs standing there, looking at me worriedly.
"help me!" I cry, cupping my hand over the disintegrating flesh on my shoulder. Jacobs jogs across the 6 steps of room there is between us and removes my hand, and then he flinches.
"Holy shit! What the fuck happened to you, Jenna?!" he says shakily, afraid to touch the small wound on my shoulder. "I don't have time to explain dammit, just get some gloves and a scalpel!" I scream, the pain practically tearing the sanity from me. i feel the skin slowly burning away, and I decide I can face looking at it. The corrosive power of the creatures blood is so terrible, that it has created a divot in my shoulder the size of a quarter across, and nearly as deep as a stack of three quarters. Jacobs comes back with the gloves and scalpel, like I ask. "I need you to cut some of the skin off my shoulder, o-okay?" i ask him, stuttering through my chattering teeth, feeling the corrosion of my flesh at it's fullest strength. He doesn't say anything, and slides the gloves on. I take my belt off quickly, and fold it, then bite down and nod at him to do it. He pinches the flesh to raise it better, and I scream from the feeling of my wound spreading as it gets lifted. I close my eyes and growl through the belt, "Do it!"
Jacobs looks at me firmly and then back at the wound, then attempts to gently slice into my shoulder, cutting a circle around my wound. sadly, his gentleness is only met with raging screams of pain. My tears burn out of my eyes in rivers, and I bite down harder on my belt, feeling my teeth ache with the clench of my jaw. I feel him make one last cut and then suddenly, the burn is gone. Well, I mean the acidic burn is gone. now there is just the throb of my blood pulsing out of the hole in my shoulder slowly. jacobs places the flesh on a surgical pan and comes back to me with gauze. My pain makes me cruel, and I slap it away from me, and march to the medical storage cabinets. I pull out a stitching kit, and some sterilization fluids, then sit on a stool near the table with Toles' body. I keep the belt in my mouth and open the sterilization fluid, then pour a bit on my shoulder wound, grunting as the fluid stings my battle wound. I open the kit and prepare for stitching, ignoring my wheezing, weakened lungs. Jacobs approaches me slowly and takes the needle and stitching thread from my hand.
"Let me help you, okay?" I look at him, still wild with adrenaline and fear, and then relax slightly at the sight of his face. His expression shocks me, and softens me a bit too. His eyes are a gentle green, glistening with attentiveness. I find myself thinking he's cute when he's worried, and bite my lip to keep from saying it. "Fine, just be careful, okay? It's deep..." I mutter, and sit back a bit, relaxing as i let him work on my throbbing wound. He begins stitching my arm closed, the skin pulling tighter as the hole is being folded together. Even when the needle pierces through my arm, I don't feel it as fully as I would've if I'd done it. Jacobs is a surprisingly good medic. Or a good seamsman. He snips the 4th and final stitch and then leans back and wipes his forehead.
"Is it okay? Did I do a bad job?" he says, eyeing his handiwork. I lift my arm slowly, and move it in a circular motion, checking the tightness of the stitches, seeing if it could rip, which it doesn't. "It's good, don't worry. You did better than I would've if I'd been working on it myself," I say, sighing out of tiredness. I peel myself off the stool and lumber towards the door, eyeing the vent across the room as I walk. Jacobs follows behind me slowly, shuffling his boots across the floor. The door swishes open as I approach and I enter the hall cautiously, glancing in both directions before turning left, towards the cockpit. As I near the door, a scream rips through the ship. I feel my blood chill as I turn and sprint in the direction of the screaming.