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Zubmarine

Contents

Title Page

Zubmarine Insert

Zubmarine

About the Author

By the Same Author

Zubmarine

SILENT RUNNINGDEAD SILENT

[_ _]

By Chris Paton

Copyright © 2015 by Chris Paton

Cover Art by Chris Paton

 

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events or organisations is entirely coincidental.

All rights are reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of the author.

 

www.chrispaton.dk

Baffin Bay, Greenland

N 74° 41’ 35.6975”

W 68° 29’ 34.0865”

____________________________

October 31st, 2015

 

Icebergs have a habit of getting in the way, sinking unsinkable ships, and generally misbehaving. The bergs bullying HDMS Knud Rasmussen in the black arctic waters below the Danish Navy Lynx helicopter were beginning to piss me off. Three times we had been waved off and forced to circle the ship, one more abort and we would be forced to ditch in the sea. Not my idea of fun. I plucked at the sleeve of my thin drysuit and watched the growlers of ice crashing in the waves around the ship. If we ditched, and I sincerely hoped we would not, I figured I would have seven minutes at best before hypothermia took hold and turned me cold, stiff and lifeless. If I remembered to pull on my hood I might gain another minute or so, but with the hood on I wouldn’t be able to hear a damn thing through the headphones. Believe it or not, if I was going to crash in the sea and die a frigid death, then I at least wanted fair warning. Crazy, eh?

Screwed up, some might call it.

Well, that’s me, I guess.

Not unlike this mission.

Twenty-three hours earlier, I had been screwing around in my Glasgow flat with Harry. He was on top – call me traditional – and the cat was scratching at the pillow. I don’t know what it is with men, sex and pets, but Harry was losing his rhythm with every scratch, and I had long since stopped purring. I threw him off, grabbed my t-shirt and went to the bathroom. The call came just as I was lighting up and staring out of the window at where the Volcano nightclub used to be. You know? The one from Trainspotting? Harry was dressed and on his way out of the door by the time I pulled my mobile from my jeans, swiping my thumb across the screen to answer.

“Kiera? You there?”

I recognised Commodore Hastings’ received pronunciation and sighed – my three weeks leave was about to be cancelled.

“Yes.” I took another pull on my cigarette.

“Good,” Hastings paused. “You dressed?”

I don’t know how he knew such things. It was like he could hear I was naked. But then my reputation at Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth was, I am almost proud to say, somewhat legendary.

“No, Bob. I am not.” Another toke on the tobacco stick. “But then, I am on leave.”

“Yes, yes. Leave,” Hastings coughed. “About that.”

“Bob?”

“Yes?”

“You are rather informal today.”

“I am?”

“It worries me when you don’t use rank. The last time…”

“You’re thinking about Somalia?”

“I try not to, but, yes. I am thinking of Somalia.” I stubbed out my cigarette hard on the surface of a pad of post-its on the drawer in the hall of my tiny flat. “What’s this about?”

“You haven’t seen the news?”

“I am on leave, Bob.”

“Yes. Well,” he continued, “if you had turned on the television…”

“Don’t have one.”

“If you had seen any form of media in the last twelve hours, you would know that the ISS escape vehicle was launched early this morning. It crashed into the sea off Greenland seven hours ago.”

I reached down to pick up Prometheus, the tomcat’s fur bristled as I pinned him between my arm and my ribs. “Did you say something about the space station?”

“Yes.”

“Isn’t that the second time…”

“In as many weeks? Yes. The Chinese[_ taikonauts_] were evacuated from their orbital platform last week. They were less fortunate, burning up in the atmosphere…”

“So they said.”

“Yes. That was the official line.”

“What do you need, Bob?”

“We have your old LR5 on a Finnish icebreaker on its way to the location the escape shuttle splashed down.”

“That’s convenient.”

“Isn’t it?” I could swear I heard Bob laugh. He hid it with another cough. “I need you to fly out and meet it.”

“The LR5 isn’t designed to dock with a space shuttle, Bob.”

“You won’t be docking with the shuttle. The crew have already been picked up.”

“Then what do you need the LR5 for?”

I waited as Bob took a long breath, the phone crackled as he exhaled.

“What the media does not know is that the astronauts, two Americans and a Belgian, were picked up by HMS Voodoo.”

“That’s the youngest Vanguard class, ballistic missile sub, Bob. What was it doing off Greenland?”

“That’s irrelevant, Kiera. It was there. And now, as of two hours and twenty-eight minutes ago, it has gone silent.”

“After picking up the astronauts?”

“Yes.”

“But you know where it is. Otherwise you wouldn’t be sending me up there.”

“That’s right. The Voodoo is currently sitting at a depth of three hundred and forty-one metres.”

“Silent?”

“Everything is shut down. We don’t know anything else.”

I thought about that for a moment. Prometheus squirmed within my grip and I let him go, shaking my head as he landed on all four feet, again. Bob’s breathing rasped over the mobile as I padded into the kitchen after Prometheus. The cat nibbled at the remains of last night’s tin of foul-smelling meat. I pressed the switch on the kettle.

“You still there, Kiera?”

“Yes.” I fished a mug from the sink and inspected it. Clean enough for coffee, I reasoned, and pushed it across the kitchen surface to the kettle. “I’ll need to leave a key for the neighbour.”

“You still have that cat?”

“I do.” I leaned against the edge of the sink and watched Prometheus eat.

“Well, I’ll have a car pick you up in about twenty minutes. You’ll fly from RAF Lossiemouth. I don’t know how long you’ll be gone.”

“And my crew?”

“You’ll be working with a Danish crew, Kiera.”

“What?”

“It’s part of the deal. We’re sailing within their sovereign territory. They get to call the shots. You will have command of the LR5, but the Danish commander will be in charge of the mission.” Hastings paused. “Good luck, Commander.”

And that was it. Thirteen hours later and I was clinging to the webbing straps of the cargo net holding my personal gear and that of the three Danish sailors beside me as the Lynx pilot took us in to land on the rolling deck of HDMS Knud Rasmussen, a tiny speck of grey in a very dark sea.

 

 

“The Voodoo is here,” Captain Christensen pointed at the screen. “Depth three hundred metres, buoyancy neutral.” He looked around the room. “Zero communications.”

“But they rescued the astronauts?”

I turned in my seat to look at the Petty Officer seated behind me. Striking, in a boyish kind of way, he seemed a little too enthusiastic for my liking. Far more interesting were the two bearded men wearing thick wool sweaters over zipped thermal tops and cargo trousers with Glock 20 pistols holstered at their hips. Christensen had introduced them as members of the Sirius Sledge Patrol – the Danish navy’s long range reconnaissance unit. I wondered what they were doing onboard, and why they were a part of the briefing.

“Commander Smith?” Christensen tapped the screen.

“Yes?” I turned to look at the Captain.

“We were told the astronauts were taken onboard the Voodoo. Can you confirm?”

“As far as I know,” I nodded. “To be honest, I am playing catch-up on this mission. I am just here to drive the LR5. When will be able to transfer to the Väinämöinen?”

“The Finns are within an hour of arriving. We will begin transfer of you and your crew,” Christensen gestured at the Petty Officer and the two hairy gunmen, “as soon as we are finished with the briefing.”

I swivelled in my seat and stared at each of the men in turn. To his credit, the Petty Officer held my gaze. The patrol men didn’t even blink. I smirked. This wasn’t the first time I had had a staring match with a new crew. Admittedly, this was the first time the crew were Scandinavian, but I figured we had at least some ancient history in common – my hair was as red as the patrolmen’s beards.

“Gentlemen,” I stood up. At five foot four inches, I was easily the shortest in the room. Perfect for submarines and crashing on sofas after one too many tequilas. “We’ve known each other for, what?” I made a point of pulling back my sleeve and looking at my Rolex 40mm steel submariner watch. “Forty minutes?” I frowned, waiting for at least one of the men to make a quip about my expensive armband. I waited while the patrolmen pulled back their sleeves to check their own timepieces. The familiar silver band with a black dial wasn’t lost on me. Well, at least we redheads had something in common. The Petty Officer, on the other hand, was going to need a little more work.

“Forty-six,” the patrolman on the left shrugged. He prodded at a dark blue mark on his cheek. Frostbite? I wondered.

“All right,” I covered my watch. “What is your name?”

“Lars,” the patrolman moved his fingers from his cheek and slapped his colleague on the arm. “This is Rasmus.” Lars waited as Rasmus waved. “He is the talkative one.”

“And you?” I turned to the Petty Officer.

“Petty Officer Petersen,” he answered. Just as I thought, he was going to be difficult.

“And do any of you have experience with submarines?”

“No,” Lars’ chair creaked as he leaned back in it. “Do we need any?”

“Captain Christensen,” I turned away from the patrolmen. “I was told I would be working with a crew.”

“Yes, Commander?”

“This is not a crew, Captain.”

“They are my crew Commander Smith.”

“I could have flown out here with a British crew,” I gestured at the bulkhead in the direction I assumed the Finnish icebreaker would be arriving from. “But your bureaucracy prevented that. The least you could do is provide me with…”

“Petty Officer Petersen has completed the first six weeks of the Perisher course with the Dutch Navy.” Christensen nodded at Petersen before pointing at the patrolmen at the rear of the wardroom. “Lars and his quiet companion are second-year men currently serving in the Sirius Patrol. They might not be submariners, Captain, but their psychological evaluations and training will ensure they do not lose their heads. Besides,” he rested his hands on the back of the chair in front of him. “You have no idea what you might find. Keeping cool in inhospitable environments are what these guys excel at. Even if we were not on the clock, I couldn’t think of anyone in this navy I would rather send with you, Commander.”

“Actual sailors with submarine experience would have been nice. You do have submarines in the Danish Navy?”

“Not at present, no.”

“Fantastic,” I sighed. Of course, beyond the bureaucracy, it was a fact that the Royal Navy was currently stretched rather thin. It looked like this was the best I could do given the circumstances and the location. No matter, I would have plenty of submariners to choose from as soon as we made contact with the Voodoo.

“Commander Smith?” Christensen tapped the back of the chair.

“Okay, fine,” I nodded. “Let’s get started, shall we?”

The patrolmen grinned as they pushed themselves to their feet. I let my eyes wander up their muscular frames as they nodded at the Captain. They left the wardroom, turning right and heading for the deck. I waited for Petersen to follow them before having a last word with Captain Christensen.

“You’ll have to take the RIB across to the Väinämöinen. It will be a wet and cold ride, Commander.”

“It is to be expected.” I held out my hand. “No hard feelings, Captain?”

“None,” Christensen shook my hand. Letting go, he turned to the screen, the display blurring as he pressed his finger upon the green dot representing the Voodoo. “I do hope your men are all right, Commander. They are, at least, within easy reach.”

“Yes,” I sighed. “I am looking forward to discovering what that is all about.”

“Good luck, Commander.”

I left Christensen to shut down the computer, gathered my notebook and left the wardroom. The three Danes were suited up and ready when I walked into the gear room. I stepped into my drysuit, slipped my notebook into an inside pocket, and smoothed my hair against my scalp before pushing my head through the rubber gasket. Lars tapped me on the shoulder as I pushed my head clear of the neck seal. Turning my back to him, I fiddled with the cuffs as he zipped the suit closed.

“Are you ready, Commander?” Lars peered down at me through his beard as I pulled on a pair of neoprene gloves.

“This isn’t my first time in the arctic, you know.” I rolled my eyes. “We don’t have to piss our territories to understand the chain of command. Once we are aboard the LR5…”

“Easy, Commander,” Lars raised his hands. “You’re the boss.”

“Are you always this informal with your superiors?” I frowned.

“Only the ones I like,” Lars flashed a smile. “After you, boss.”

The wind might have lessened since we landed, but the arctic air bit at my cheeks as I stepped out onto the deck. Following Rasmus and Petersen, I half slid, half climbed down an ice-rimmed ladder onto the lower deck before clambering aboard a large rigid inflatable. The Väinämöinen plied through the waves just a short distance away. The LR5, my ship, sat heavy and angular on the deck, its paint as white as the icebergs menacing the dark waters all around us.

 

 

It’s true, while it might look huge, the tip of the iceberg is tiny compared to what lies beneath. Back in my element, away from the crash of waves and the bite of freezing spray, I steered the LR5 down towards the Voodoo, homing in on the sonar [_pling _]of the British ballistic missile submarine waiting in the dark arctic depths below.

“Everyone okay?” I fiddled with the dials on the console in front of me.”

“Sure,” Lars grinned. I grinned back at his reflection in the thick cockpit glass before me.

“Rasmus? Petersen?” I glanced over my shoulder. “You guys okay?”

“Rasmus says he is fine,” Lars tapped a radio screwed into the bulkhead above his head. “Can you get heavy rock on this?”

“I am also fine, Commander,” Petersen crawled past the two patrolmen to sit behind me. “Is that the Voodoo, there?” He pointed over my shoulder.

“Yes.” I picked up the radio handset. Got nothing but static.

“Have you ever heard of such a thing?” Petersen leaned around me. “Why do they not respond?”

“That’s what we are about to find out.” I pointed at a section of the hull behind the conning tower. “There’s where we will attach. Petersen, I’ll need you at the airlock.”

“Yes,” he nodded. “I am on my way.”

“Lars?”

“Yes, boss?”

“Can you give the Petty Officer a hand?”

“Will do.” Lars thumped the radio. “Later.”

I watched Rasmus lean back against the bulkhead. He closed his eyes. “I am going to have to read these guys’ psyche reviews.” I grinned and reached for the radio. “Time to check in with the boss.”

After a bit of fiddling and coordinating the radio relay between the LR5 and the Väinämöinen, I finally got hold of Bob in Dartmouth.

“Kiera,” Bob’s voice rasped into the cockpit. “Are you in position?”

“Just about to dock.” I nodded at Rasmus as he opened his eyes.

“Kiera…”

“Yes?” I frowned at Bob’s hesitation.

“We received a strange message from the Chinese, via the Hong Kong office.”

“What kind of strange?” I teased the LR5’s thrusters, spinning the mini-sub above the black hull of the Voodoo.

“It turns out the Chinese spacecraft did not burn up on re-entry as we were led to believe.”

“No?” I manoeuvred the LR5 into position, holding steady with the docking port directly in front of me.

“No, far from it. It’s a little creepy, actually. It seems that they…” I wrinkled my nose at the burst of static prickling into the cockpit. Rasmus tapped me on the shoulder, nodding that Petersen was ready to make the seal between the two submarines.

“You’re breaking up there, Bob.” I reduced the power, holding my breath as I edged the LR5 forwards, tickling the thrusters, creeping forwards in tiny increments.

“…burned when…”

“Say again, Bob.” The dull metallic clunk of the LR5 kissing the Voodoo’s hull grabbed my attention. I tuned out Bob’s intermittent communication and concentrated on making a good seal. I listened for the twist of metal dogs as Petersen purged the baffle above the Voodoo’s outer hatch.

“They burned them…”

“Bob?” I held the LR5 steady, my hands wrapped around the port and starboard controls in a loose grip. “They did what?”

“Burned them…”

“Okay, Bob. You’re not making any sense.”

“Good seal,” Lars called up from the airlock.

“Roger that,” I powered down, idling the thrusters into a slow spin before shutting them down completely.

Rasmus shifted in his seat behind me. Crawling towards the hatch, he moved slowly through the LR5’s interior.

“We have contact, Bob.” I fiddled with the radio. “I’ll have an update for you shortly.” I crawled out of the pilot’s seat and made my way aft. Petersen sat on the Voodoo’s hatch, grinning up at Lars and Rasmus in the airlock either side of him.

“Good seal, boss.” Lars nodded.

“Well then, gentlemen.” I slipped inside the airlock. “We had better knock.” I lifted a wrench and passed it down to Petersen. “Let them know we are here, Petty Officer.”

Petersen took the wrench from my hand. Shifting into a crouch, he lifted the wrench and tapped on the hatch.

“Louder, Petersen,” I laughed. “You won’t break it.”

The metal rap of the wrench echoed through the hatch and into the hull of the British submarine. I waited until Petersen had completed the long and short taps of Morse code, announcing our intentions to make entry.

“That’ll do, Petersen.” I looked at each of the men in turn. “I have to say, I don’t like it.” I took a breath. “I think we have to prepare for the worst.”

“Question,” Lars nodded towards the hatch.

“Go ahead.”

“This is a nuclear submarine?”

“Yes.”

“If they have not answered, is it not likely they have succumbed to radiation?”

“It’s a good theory, but the computer is showing a negative result for radiation. The reactor is intact.” I scratched my nose. “This is something else.”

“And you have clearance to enter a British nuclear war sub?” Petersen queried.

“I do.”

“Then I think it is ladies first,” Petersen climbed up the short ladder and into the hatch. Squirming onto the ledge, he handed me the wrench.

“All right then,” I slipped the wrench into the side pocket of my trousers. “Let’s open her up.”

 

 

Undogging the hatch, I clasped my hand over my nose as the air hissed out of the Voodoo. I opened the hatch, the metal squealing as I laid it flat on the hull.

The smell.

Jesus it was bad.

More than that, it was death.

“You want me to go first, boss?” Lars climbed down the ladder, a large flashlight in his hand.

“You’re kidding, right?”

“Actually,” Lars shook his head. “Not at all.” He twisted the head of the flashlight and directed the beam into the submarine. “You’re the Commander, and, if you hadn’t guessed, Rasmus and I are the muscle. What?” He grinned. “You thought we were here for our good looks alone? Hell, Commander, Petersen is the brains. Rasmus and I just get the job done, whatever the weather.” Lars leaned forwards and whispered: “But between you and me, I am definitely the brains of the unit.”

Lars was smart. I should have seen what he was doing, diffusing the tension. But I’ll admit that I hadn’t expected the reek of death when we cracked open the Voodoo. I was the Commander. It wasn’t a sign of weakness to let him go first. Of course, I could never let him do it.

“Thanks, Lars. But so long as I am the only British Officer aboard, I had better lead the way.” I steeled myself with a terse nod, and climbed through the hatch and into the Voodoo.

Lars’ boots clumped on each of the rungs of the ladder as he followed me. As soon as we were clear, Rasmus slid all the way to the bottom, his boots thunking dully on the metal deck on landing. I looked up at Petersen, stopping his descent with a raised hand.

“Commander?”

“Someone has to stay onboard the LR5.” I pressed my hand over my mouth. “That would be you,” I muffled through my fingers.

“Okay, Commander,” Petersen retreated back inside the LR5. “Just shout if you need me.”

“We will.” I stepped around Rasmus. “We’re in the compartment ahead of the reactor. The bridge is this way, past the crew quarters.”

Moving towards the dogged hatch, we passed empty bunks. Beyond the glare of the flashlight, the shadows revealed little. I glanced up at the lighting strips, frowning at the lack of emergency lighting, or any light at all. The smell did not improve the closer we got to the bridge.

“Do you hear that?” Lars tapped me on the shoulder. “Some kind of shuffling. Papers blowing by a ventilation shaft or something?”

“What ventilation?” I sniffed at the air.

“Lead on, boss.” Lars nodded for Rasmus to follow.

Each time we stopped, when all three of us were still, I heard the shuffling. Back and forth. It sounded like it was filtering through the communications system, but all the speakers we passed were silent. Dead. Stepping over a mattress, I stopped in front of the hatch leading to the bridge.

“How many crewmen does the Voodoo have, boss?”

“One hundred and thirty five.” I reached out to grip the first of the dogs. It was locked tight.

“Then they are behind that door,” Lars flashed the beam of light over the hatch. “Or they abandoned ship, because otherwise, this place is dead.”

“That’s what I am afraid of.” I turned the dog in my hand.

“Wait,” Rasmus leaned around Lars and pressed his fingers over my hand. “Listen.” He pointed his flashlight towards the ceiling.

“What is that?” Lars lifted his head. “Shuffling?”

“Dripping?” I suggested.

“Is there a breach in the hull?” Lars glanced to each side. He pointed the flashlight to the deck.

“It wouldn’t drip if it was a breach.” I reached out to continue undogging the hatch.

The sound of dripping increased, growing louder.

I opened the last of the dogs and made ready to open the hatch. Rasmus moved to one side, his flashlight aimed at the side of the hatch, opposite the giant hinges. He nodded.

“Opening it,” I tugged on the hatch.

“Gah,” Lars staggered backwards. “Bad,” he pressed his hand to his mouth, covered his nose.

Letting go of the door, I gagged. I bent at the waist, my stomach muscles convulsing as I heaved a thin stream of vomit onto the deck. Rasmus stepped around me, shining his flashlight through the hatch as he pulled it open.

Wiping my mouth with the back of my hand, I looked up as Rasmus stepped to one side. Holding the flashlight steady in his left hand, he reached for the Glock at his hip and unsnapped the holster.

“Rasmus?” I leaned around the patrolman.

“Don’t move,” Rasmus drew his pistol.

“Hey, buddy,” Lars took a step towards his partner. He stopped.

We all stopped.

Hanging from the ceiling to the deck beyond the lip of the hatch, a twist of bloody entrails unspooled from a sailor’s severed body. The man’s fingers, the chewed bloody stumps, gripped the metal grille protecting the striplights installed in the ceiling. The sailor’s head was gone, the shirt collar torn and flayed like the skin around its neck. Blood dripped from the cavity of the sailor’s body.

“What?” Lars shone his flashlight deeper into the butcher’s bridge. “Boss?”

Lars would have to wait. I retched, the remaining contents of my stomach splattering the bulkhead.

“We go on,” Rasmus nodded. He stepped over the lip, ducking as he passed through the hatch.

“Wait,” I clasped my hands to stop them shaking. “We go back. We’re not… equipped for this.”

“Rasmus?” Lars put a hand on my shoulder. “Wait up. Don’t get too far ahead.”

“We should go back,” I bucked forwards, clasping my stomach.

“Something moving,” Rasmus called over his shoulder.

“What?” Lars took a step towards his partner. “What’s moving?”

“Lars,” I pressed my hand against the bulkhead.

“Rasmus?” Lars whipped the beam of his flashlight over me, back to Rasmus.

The grating sound of metal across the deck rumbled into a growl and the gnashing of teeth. Lars fumbled the flashlight in his grip. Falling to the deck, the head twisted, the connection loose. In the sudden gloom, Rasmus’ flashlight flickered deeper inside the bridge. The sharp report of his pistol crashed through the hull. I clasped my hands to my ears as Rasmus burned through a full clip. Fifteen rounds. Fifteen explosive claps one after the other, in short succession, thundering about the hull, drowning out all sound but the gnashing of dead jaws, teeth splintering, tearing through the wool of Rasmus’ sweater, ripping into the cotton cargo trousers, sinking into his flesh.

Rasmus screamed.

“Rasmus,” Lars screwed the head onto the flashlight, thumping it in his palm until the bulb flickered a thin beam into the bridge. “Jesus.” Lars ripped his Glock free of the canvas holster.

“Lars,” I gripped the patrolman around the arm. “Back. This way.”

Dead sailors, their clothes, their limbs, their skin, all torn, all ripped, all bloody, shuffled over the squirm of bodies gouging their fingers, teeth and tongues into Rasmus’ body, steaming on the deck in front of us.

“Close the door.” I pushed past Lars, pressed my body against the hatch.

“Rasmus,” Lars raised his pistol.

Clap.

I pushed against the hatch. Eviscerated fingers clawed around the edges.

Clap. Clap.

I kicked at the fingers, smashed the soles of my boots against bloody knuckles.

Clap.

Stronger than the flashlight, the Glock’s muzzle flash cast Lars’ shadow on the bulkhead, like a lazy strobe at a packed nightclub – some Saturday night meat-market on Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street.

“Lars, help me,” I kicked at fingers, stamped on arms, screamed at the tug of my foot as a pair of hands latched on.

Clap. Clap. Clap. Clap.

I reached down, ripped at my laces, tightening them into a knot. I fell onto the deck. I kicked at the hands, kicked and kicked until the chewed, skin-sloughed appendages gave slip and I rolled free.

“Lars?”

It was black. It was dark.

Clap.

The deck gushed with a fresh gout of blood and the scream of the living smothered with the dead. I pushed myself to my feet, scrabbled over the mattress and ran past the empty bunks towards the hatch. I slammed into Petersen. Wrestling the wrench free of my trouser pocket, I swung it towards his face before I recognised him.

“Commander?” Petersen raised his hands in above his head. “Commander, stop.”

“They’re coming,” I clawed my way over Petersen’s body. Pushed myself to my feet.

“Commander, I have a message from Commodore Hastings…”

I bounced against the bulkhead as I ran, Petersen’s voice fading behind me.

“The Chinese…”

I ran.

“Something about a space sickness…”

Petersen fell beneath the slew of mawed bodies. Claw-marked and bitten, they did to him as they had been done to. A slow frenzy of tearing and ripping, the sound of Petersen’s skin peeling back from his flesh, the sound of his flesh pulled from the bone – I heard it all.

My feet slipped on the bottom rung of the ladder leading up from the Voodoo and into the LR5. I sniffed at the tears streaming down my face, oblivious to the hysterical clamour I keened from my throat, with each step, into the submersible.

The first of the blood-wet, death-streaked creatures clawed its way up the ladder. I kicked at its head.

It bit my leg, just above the ankle.

I kicked and kicked and kicked at it until the creature’s bottom jaw cracked, hanging, swinging from rot-black skin. I kicked again and it tumbled to the deck. Seizing the hatch I slammed it shut and dogged it tight. I crawled into the cockpit.

Shivering in the pilot’s seat, I hugged my knees to my chest. The message light, a green LED, blinked. I shuddered. I twitched. I leaned forwards and pressed play.

“Kiera…”

I gasped at Bob’s voice, my body twitching and shuddering to the tempo of the LED, flashing on, flashing black.

“… the Chinese strongly advise against entering the Voodoo…”

Twitching, shuddering…

“… they have discovered some kind of space virus…”

Flashing green, flashing…

 

… black.

 

About the Author

British by default, Chris Paton (1973) has English and Welsh parents, and a Scottish surname. But it is his Welsh heritage – something about dragons – that seems to drive Chris’ writing. Graduating from Falmouth University in 2015, Chris has a Master of Arts in Professional Writing, and a couple of other degrees that help pay the bills. Chris’ favourite books include any genre with a bit of magic, giant squids and spaceships. Chris is a teacher by profession and a canoeist by choice. He lives in Denmark with his wife, Jane. You can find him in Denmark or online here:

www.chrispaton.dk

www.facebook.com/chrispaton.author

www.twitter.com/Aarluuk

By the Same Author

The Adventures of Hanover & Singh

Metal Emissary, book 1

Slow Demons, book 2

Khronos, book 3

Untitled, book 4 (Coming Soon)

[_ _]

Hanover & Singh MICRO Adventures

Emissary Metal: ACTIVATION

Emissary Metal: ANIMATION (Pre-Order)

Emissary Metal: NEGOTIATION (Coming Soon)

Emissary Metal: DECOMMISSION (Coming Soon)

Emissary Metal: DESERTION (Coming Soon)

[_ _]

“Stand Alone” Adventures in the same series

Arkhangel (Coming Soon)

Original Singh (Coming Soon)

[_ _]


Zubmarine

Following the rescue of astronauts from the International Space Station off the coast of Greenland, the HMS Voodoo ballistic missile submarine has gone silent... dead silent. Commander Kiera Smith and a crew of Danish sailors are first on the scene. Using the LR5 recovery submersible, they descend to the Voodoo and investigate. This is a short story written for fun, for Halloween.

  • ISBN: 9781311588517
  • Author: Chris Paton
  • Published: 2015-10-31 10:05:09
  • Words: 5194
Zubmarine Zubmarine