- The place is deserted.
- It is a desert, after all.
Lin and Allan had been inside the crashed craft for over an hour now and there were no signs of survivors to the crash.
The day before, radars had detected the ship near the planet. Several times the people at Jongjin base had attempted to establish contact but the ship but hey were unable to. Then the ship appeared to lose all stability and fell into the planet.
A scientist and a military officer had been sent to check the crash site. No living beings were onboard. From the look of it all, it appeared as if the ship had been empty all along but that was impossible as radars and other technology had verified the ship was on a strict course before they stopped and fell into Katf II, the second planet in a system not far from Earth.
Both astronauts came out of the ship and entered their vehicle, a four wheeled rover that could travel as it would in Earth. The atmosphere was similar but not breathable. As they traveled back to the base, two hours away, they started talking about the possible reasons the ship was there and why it crashed.
Suddenly, the wind started to blow, getting stronger by the minute. The vehicle had to stop and, in these cases, the astronauts were required to raise stay still as storms normally moved a lot and it would be soon be away from them.
- I'm so hungry.
- Didn't you eat before leaving?
- No, I had to submit my report on that rockslide on the far side last month. Pain in the ass.
- Did someone got killed?
- No, but...
But Lin didn't know more of the matter. The wind, that had formed a tornado of sorts, was moving away from them. What had impressed Allan to the point of being rendered speechless was a figure that had appeared from the other side of the storm, it moved slowly but towards them.
Lin realized about it too and grabbed the binoculars that they kept between the two seats. She could see what the creature was: it seemed like a man with a limp but its looks were far from that. It was made of something green and seemed to be furry. Furry...
- What is it? - Allan asked.
- We need to get to the base, now.
She restarted the vehicle and pressed on towards the base.
Once there, Lin asked for an emergency meeting with the top minds and chiefs in the base. They were all there in a matter of minutes. Allan was the last person to arrive. He approached Lin and said something to hear, almost in a whisper.
- May we know the reason of your call, Ms. Lin? We have things to deal with.
- I know and I'm sorry to call you like this but it is urgent.
Lin asked Allan to turn off the lights and then presented to the audience with a video, apparently footage made with a handheld recorder. The video depicted a woman in a lab. She seemed very intelligent but very worried too. She said that she worked with a company from Earth that dealt with biogenetics and related topics. Her duty was to study all pathogens that could affect humans but that her bosses had asked, in a top secret document, to start the creation of a special virus, a strong one, able to resist any plague.
To her own surprise, research and its costs were not a problem and within a couple of years they had a prototype. Unfortunately, the experiment had worked all too well: the virus had proved its resistance to everything, even to humans. When scientists decided the project was too dangerous, the virus took possession of several members of the scientific body, killed them.
The female scientist said that their last opportunity was to send the virus to the Sun, so it would be destroyed for good. They shipped the virus in an automated craft and launched it but they soon realized they had failed. They realized the virus had taken control of the ship.
She finally stated she did this video for the people to know the company wanted all record of the virus erased as it was "no longer their problem", as the craft it inhabited had left the system.
When the video stopped, the lights turned on and Lin explained the video had circulated for years amongst scientists but everyone had thought it was best not to mess with it all. Until now.
Lin explained that her and Allan had witnessed a creature walking towards them in the desert, limping and deformed. Checking the data they had gathered on the crash site, she realized the ship may be the one carrying the virus.
One of the men laughed and said it was all ridiculous. He said that, even if was all true, the possibilities of the craft with the virus landing in Katf II were very slim as larger planets would have attracted the craft.
Lin responded by telling him that her team had been investigating a life source near the crash site. An oasis of life on the planet. The creature seemed covered in moss, similar to the one that grew in that oasis. She theorized the virus had gotten close to it for water but then used moss to form a body.
Suddenly all lights went off and the red emergency ones were on. A voice in a speaker told everyone on the base the exists were now closed and that everyone should remain calm.
Allan approached a computer and logged on the security cameras on the outside. They all scanned the images until a woman from the mining commission yelled "There!".
On a camera registering the outside of the parking area of the base, they could see a creature resembling a man but with no face or fingers. It was banging at the door, possibly attempting to go in.
Then, everyone's cold got ice cold: from the "belly" of the creature, a face came up, that of a man. And the man screamed. And they knew all was lost.