Tales of Mischief, Misfortune and Misconduct

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Among us

Blue is dropship area brown are cabins.

She picked up her spacesuit, examining the sturdy, layered fabric for any cuts or openings. Satisfied with its durability, she pulls the charcoal suit over her fair skin and zips it closed. She would have chosen a red or green suit, but those colors were already taken. The fit is tight, skin-tight matching her measurements exactly and leaving almost nothing to the imagination. The only reprieve is the thickness, it’s about as thick as a fluffy bathrobe. She twists and rolls her jet black wavy hair into a low bun before putting on the helmet and pressure locking it. The small confines of her mini NASA space shuttle doesn’t allow for much wiggle room but it’s just enough for her to get dressed, and for a small cot to sleep in. After making sure her shuttle is on sleep mode/neutral she steers her shuttle and connects it to the Skeld dropship bay. She locks her ship on so it doesn’t drift off. Powering down she pulls the pressurizer lever to decontaminate and pressurize the next chamber. The doors open to a brightly lit room with multiple seats lining the far wall as well as multiple ship docks for other space shuttles. The pressurized chambers leading to the other shuttles are blocked by air-tight doors similar to the one she emerged from. The communication receptors in her helmet make a static noise before a waterfall of voices bombard her senses, adjusting the volume she nears the group of her comrades dressed similarly in suits of different colors. On the front of their suits, the light of their voice bars goes up and down as their voices fluctuate in pitch and volume. They are all crowded around a computer on a stand and a large box

“Uhh….hi”

The man in the red suit is first to respond

“Ohh Howdy! Didn’t see you there, come on over!”

He sounded to be in his mid-thirties and the heavy southern tilt in his warm, baritone voice has her instantly taking a liking to him. She walks over to his side and tries to look at his face, but like her own, the glass on his helmet is slightly reflective and impenetrable by the outside’s eye. He wraps a platonic arm around her shoulder and pats her arm.

“Welcome to the crew! My name is G.I Joe-well not really but you can write whatever you want on the nametag, hehe, or you could just call everyone by their suit color. Doesn’t matter since we’re probably not gonna see each other ever after this mission. Ever. Hahahaha.”

His hearty laughter, as well as a few chuckles from the others, filled the comms before he spoke again

“Well anyways this is the program computer, it is like a smaller version of the motherboard we have in the navigation room. You can check the system’s functions, fix problems, and have a good overview of the ship’s condition. These are our other crewmates so far, brown, yellow, and purple, or whatever garbage they wrote on the name tags. Shart, Buttercup, and, oh lord, WAP”

Boisterous laughter filtered through the comms from everyone, including black, as purple, or WAP, just shrugged. Clearing his throat G.I Joe managed to get out a couple more words about how crazy they were and how we would be waiting here until everyone arrived, so she should get familiar with them, despite their questionable sociability. Patting her on the back and still coming down from his laughing fit, he tells her

“Well, there you have it, that’s half your crew right here. HAhaha. Go on and make yourself comfortable, name tags and accessories are here and all free, except the custom suits and pets, the space corporations make us pay for those. Damn assholes….anyways welcome to the Skeld”

With a final heavy-handed pat on her shoulder, he turns away and back to the others. Black begins to look through the accessory box and decides to wear a cherry on top of her helmet, as it reminds her of the charcoal ice cream trend that went on for a while back home in New York. Looking through the pet options she decides to forgo a pet, as she does not want to pay money for something that just follows her around and looks cute. Sitting down on one of the chairs she decides to keep to herself. The minutes turn to hours and within 2 almost everyone had arrived, Orange, Pink, Blue, Purple, and Green were all here milling around and socializing. Yellow had joined Black against the wall, and Black found that she enjoyed her company. Just like yellow’s name suggests, she seems shy and delicate like a Buttercup. Though Black never particularly favored the flower or any flower for that matter, she thought the name was sweet.

“What are we waiting for? Isn’t everyone here?”

Yellow shook her head, and in her gentle voice responded,

“um no, usually there are 10 crewmates for a single research ship.”

“Oh ok”

They continue to talk together quietly, since the reception radius is small, nobody can hear them unless they come close. They are also unable to hear anything but muffled voices, as the comm connection works both ways. Finally, the loud hiss of the final pressure chamber is heard before it opens to a tall, muscular man in a white suit. Like everyone else’s, it leaves nothing to the imagination. He saunters into the room as if unbound by gravity, he walks the way an astronaut walks on the moon, but with joy, with grace. He walks his tight ass, which black can see flexing beneath his suit with every stride, right to the others looking very confident and seemingly hitting it off right away. Their heads bob or nod every so often as they talk and make hand movements. G.I Joe turns and motions with his hand for them to come over. She and yellow stand and once they are in the communication range Red speaks.

“Finally! Now that we are all here on the ship we can start this whole thing, it only took, what 3, 4 hours for us all to arrive? Hehe, anyway my name is G.I Joe and since I have been on these missions before and am more knowledgeable as to what’s going to happen here, I will be crew leader, also cuz I was here first and first-come, first-serve, so deal with it.”

Collective chuckles were shared as Red continued

“First off, on this ship, we will all have our collective tasks and our individual tasks, we all must complete our tasks to keep the ship in good condition. We will all be divided by specialty, I have all your specialties on this here binder, Pink is an astrophysicist, Black is also an astrophysicist and an astronomer, those two sciences are siblings, so Black and Pink may have similar tasks, I am a Biochemist, Brown is a mechanic and Blue is an engineer, they both know a little about each other’s practices though, Orange is a geologist, Yellow is a botanist, Green is a- oh look at that, a biologist, nice to meet a fellow scientist of my practice.”

Red said with a pleasant surprise, Green responded in a deep, gravely, smokers voice

“Right back at ya”

“Then lastly the newbie, White, is a technician, a computer nerd, and a tardy crewmate.”

Everyone laughed including White

“Well, hardy har har. I had to make sure that my nano Megatron HD nitro bits were properly secured, there was also a bit of a delay in my propellers so I had to reboot and code all the micro-bit cell scepters. So yea”

Hi velvety, melodic voice floated into the comms and nearly made Black jump. He sounded like he was talking right into her ear. His voice was deep too and had a thick richness that reminded her of a wealthy man at an expensive bar sipping whisky and talking slow.

Red, obviously not familiar with technical terms just nodded his helmeted head.

“Oh ok right..sorry I guess”

“I just made those words up, none of that actually happened”

White’s laughter filtered into the comms followed by everyone else as Red stuttered how he knew white was making stuff up but didn’t want to be impolite.

“All right you got me there White. Moving on. As I was saying, everyone has a specialized skill in science or something else, so if something happens with computers Blue or White will handle it since I think blue is also familiar with tech right blue?”

“Hmm? Oh, yea yea, totally boss.”

“Good. Now, here are our arm touchpads, you can find out where tasks need to be completed with them and you can click the report button if something happens or the emergency button to have an emergency meeting. You can also look at the map on it, use it to access certain equipment, and more.”

Opening the stand the computer was sitting on he pulls out a basket full of little screens attached to straps of different colors.

“Get the armband that matches your suit color, no mixing, and matching, and turn them on”

After they all get them on and powered up they light up showing the map of the Skeld in a tiny corner and two buttons on the bottom under the screen, one is orange with a megaphone picture and the other red, with an exclamation point.

“Now the screen turns on to tell you your tasks and on the top right-hand corner is the map so you know where your tasks are. The buttons on the bottom are for emergencies. The orange for a report and the red to call an emergency meeting for something. If you press one of those buttons it will send a signal to everyone’s device. Now Before we move on let me tell you the rules here, do not tamper with the devices, messing with the hardwire or whatever tech is in there could corrupt your system and cause problems for not only you but everyone. Do not tamper with any equipment if you don’t know what you’re doing, you have a specialty, use it.”

His country voice taking a more stern tone as he continues

“Also, there will be NO removal of your helmet or protective equipment if you are not in a sanitized, pressurized, air-sealed room with functioning air filtration. That includes removing your helmet in other people’s space, Not allowed. NO use of the vents that run throughout the ship. If you have nothing to hide then there is no need to be sneaky, anyone caught using them should be reported and WILL be questioned. NO crewmate fraternization, it is best not to get distracted, I know a couple of months of celibacy will be hard but I believe in you, you can do it”

Sarcasm, evident in his voice.

“If you find any abnormal substances, objects, or organisms that look like they don’t belong, report it immediately. The only living creatures on this ship should be the ten of us. Nothing else.”

Were there ever any other creatures on these ships?

The more Red continues the more suspicious and uneasy she becomes about this whole ordeal.

“ Damn what is this, a research ship or a prison, c’mon its space, technically rules are for land.”

Blue says in a sarcastic drawl that Black is sure she would be hearing more of.

“Why don’t you do me a favor Blue”

Red’s voice taking a sweet almost antagonistic tone, the type of tone a country sheriff in a small town would use with a criminal from the city.

“Pipe down!! This is serious business! So listen and listen good! It is important that we all follow the rules, another one being NO possession of any lethal weapons, stun only, so the arsenal room is off-limits if I see any-”

The touchscreens on everyone’s arm lit up a red color simultaneously, interrupting Red mid-sentence. The screens flashing and glitching in different colors. Everyone looks down at their screens in surprise including black.

Well, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

Pinks bored voice filters into the comms.

“Oooooh spooky, but anyways does that mean we can go home now?”

Though Red didn’t seem to be listening.

“Oh no, no no NO! This is bad.”

Red backed away from the group the huddle formation breaking as he proceeded to lose his shit. A small tremble shook his body before he managed to utter in a bone-chilling voice.

“They are, among us”


Outside the door of her cabin, Black stands setting a password, she chooses her go-to number password 123567.

Well, at least it’s not zero zero zero zero.

The system accepts and the doors to her decontamination chamber open. She presses the green button and waterfalls of antibacterial steam and other cleansers spray her down before a gust of filtered pressurized air, drys any access moisture in a large blast. Once the process is finished the doors to her cabin open with a wheeze. She walks into the 10ft by 13ft room, the queen-sized bed on the far left, taking up almost half the 13ft width.

Wow, that’s a huge bed, not that I’m complaining though.

Next to the bed, about a foot away, is a long rectangular window that is conveniently aligned with the door giving Black a beautiful view of the stars and planets. Under the window is a small desk, then on the far right wall is a clothing rack with two more suits identical to the ones she’s wearing. Black explorers her room walking to the rack and inspecting her reflection in the floor-length mirror. Next to the rack is a small foldable treadmill, gotta stay fit in space.

This suit may be tight, but I have to say it looks good on me, I would much rather wear something like this to a work event than some stuffy dress. Then again Tack would freak.

She laughs to herself thinking about how her boss would react to her wearing such a thing to a work event. He is a rigid man and would probably seethe in silence so as not to embarrass himself in front of colleagues and superiors. That doesn’t mean she wouldn’t face consequences later though since he has rules for almost everything, including dress.

Turning, she notices a doorway and assuming it’s a bathroom decides she’ll shower, the suit can get a little hot especially since she forgot to turn on her temperature stabilizers. Walking into the small white bathroom there is a sink toilet and a shower all cramped together in the small room, with the toilet far to the side and behind a separating wall…..for privacy she assumes. Ridding herself of her suit she takes off her durable, supportive underwear, before stepping into the shower. Feeling refreshed after grooming she gets into bed and sits in darkness for a long time before sleep claims her.


“Now I have gathered you all here because one, it is a requirement for us to have a debriefing, and two I have something very important to tell you all……”

Red lets out an exasperated sigh

“Well you gonna tell us or what?” Blue says

“Listen, Ted Bundy”

Red’s country accent making the name sound even more strange.

“I’ve had enough of your horse shit attitude. Gee, I didn’t know they sent children to space nowadays. Shut the hell up and listen!”

“Sorry, grandpa but your taking forever.”

“I’m getting there, and I’m barely 5 years older than any of you so zip it. Now, I’ll keep it short since I know some of you have the attention span of a toddler…... This ship has been infiltrated.”

“I’m down if the alien is hot.” Purple interjects

“Aliens?! T-that not what I signed up for!” Orange says sounding very much like a recluse rock collecter

“Oh, but it is, and these aliens love to eat rocks so hide your favorite ones…..igneous, heh..stupid name.”

Pink taunted Orange

“Shut up star bitch!”

“Hey! Its star GIRL”

“You sure? Because bitch really suits you.”

“Why don’t you-”

“That’s enough!” Red shouts and silence drapes the room

“Listen, I’m just going to tell you what I know. We have been infiltrated by an alien lifeform. What it is, what it looks like, or what it wants, nobody knows. All we know is that it targets research ships the most.”

We? Did international space stations know about this and still send us out?

“Who’s we?” Black questions

“We, as in the space station.” Red begrudgingly answers

“So we were sent up here when everybody knew the danger? That’s so irresponsible, I’m surprised no one has been sued.” Black feels herself starting to get worked up

“No one has survived and lived long enough to sue! YES we were sent up here at the risk of dying, YES the space stations have kept this from the general public YES they have kept it from us, but god danmit we are already here. All I know is that the life form gets on the ship and people start dropping like flies. Some people say the life form is a sort of parasite that gets into the human brain and make you kill your crewmates. Others think the life form looks like a human and simply infiltrates the ship in disguise. Others say it’s in the ship air and its poison. I don’t know what it is but I know it’s deadly and it can not be reasoned with. Whatever the case it usually ends with people killing people, one of you could have malicious intent or maybe more than one….anyways I’ve tried to send an emergency beacon back to earth but it was blocked so we are on our own until the space stations contact us in a month for an update. Until then….try not to die and do your tasks. The malfunction yesterday was actually a corruption in the system, two it looks like. Meaning there are two saboteurs among us, we can only assume they mean to do us harm, the software they hacked and corrupted prevents them from doing certain tasks, so report anything suspicious, the emergency meeting button is on this table. No using vents, no weapons, no sneaky behavior, and trust no one, including me.”

As Red’s words sink in Black begin’s to wonder

Am I going to make it out of here alive? How long do we have to walk on eggshells, and how long before this evil lifeform strikes?

“WELP!”

Red’s loud voice startling everyone.

“Every crewmate for themself so let’s do our tasks and avoid each other..”

With that, he turned on his heel and jogged off the sound of his booted feet hitting the metal floor echoing throughout the hallways.

“Some team leader he is” Orange scoffs in an annoyed tone also running off

Black watches in disbelief, as her crewmates, shrug off the news of certain death and go on about their business. One by one everyone leaves until Black and White are the only ones left. He steps closer to her and Black is immediately on alert. Standing beside her he looks at the cafeteria with her in silence.

“Hey, I don’t think we’ve met, you wanna team?”

Mmm that voice

Black takes a moment to analyze her situation.

He is tech, she is astrology, their professions are not compatible. Quite suspicious how he approached me to partner when our sciences are on different sides of the spectrum, so to speak. Though his voice is beautiful and I guess I wouldn’t abhor talking to him.

“Umm, Dark matter?”

Black almost didn’t recognize her chosen nickname.

“Um yes I would like to partner, Captain Cadet, and please, call me Eva”

“Great! Oh, and call me Bruce.”

She smiles as a small airy laugh leaves her lips. His voice like velvet he holds out his hand for her.

“Stay close so we can talk within comm range, lets go swipe our cards first.”

Placing her gloved hand in his they jog together. Out of the cafeteria, Bruce leads the way, Eva feels a bit scandalous holding his hand but convinces herself it’s just to stay close so they can communicate. After cards, they go back up, pass asteroids and stop in navigation.

“Wait, Bruce, I have a task here.”

“.....Oh yea, go ahead.”

It takes him a moment to respond as his name from her lips does something strange to him. Like no one had ever said it before. He watched as she charted a course checking the route. She worked without a hint of apprehension or worry. Like everything was a-okay. Her hands moving in a slow calculated sequence as she finishes her task. She stands straight and walks back to his side, and he takes note of her gate, at ease. To him, she seems like a very easy going calm person, relaxed, he finds that surprising given the circumstances.

What a wonder. I’ll have to stick around this one.

Bruce grabs her hand again taking off and bringing her along down to shields, Pink jogs past and they all exchange a quick hi. Once White reaches the shields he moves to complete his task. While his hands work they talk.

“So, Eva,”

Her name rolling off his tongue like butter.

“I’ve never met anybody with that name....... it’s beautiful. Are you Hebrew?”

Eva blushes under her helmet at his compliment.

Hebrew? How did he reach such a conclusion? Curious

“Um no, I’m not. Why do you ask?”

“Your name is Hebrew, It means life, or mother of life, or living one. I thought your name would reflect your culture...?”

Eva laughs, the sweet song of her joy stirring something in Bruce once more.

“Oh no, you must be from a culturally rich place, I’m from America, we just take a culture from everyone else, so no my parents probably went online and thought Eva sounded pretty, there is no cultural significance. I didn’t know what my name meant until now, so thank you.”

Bruce chuckles “Oh ok”

He finishes his task and takes her hand again, as they make their way down the hall past communications.

“What about you Bruce, what does your name mean?”

“Oh heh, it’s old English but I’d rather not say it’s, heh, accurate too, anyways moving on”

Note to self, google Old English meaning of the name Bruce.

“So tell me about yourself, Eva.”

She takes note of how he pauses before saying her name as if savoring the sound of it. Though she savors it more, especially from his lips.

“Hmm, well, I’m an astronomer, I study the stars and the universe as well as the components of the universe, like dark matter.”

She gestures to her name tag and a small chuckle escapes his lips. She smiles under the helmet.

“I love learning, life is a fascination to me, the Universe studying is what I live for. I know I may sound like a nerd or something but there are so many things to think about and analyze. It’s the bread and butter of science really, curiosity.”

He is enthralled by her passion and immediately wants to know more about her. Explore more of the universe that lays in her head.

“Wow, that’s......beautiful”

Eva stops in her tracks, his response caught her by surprise. In all her life no one had ever taken a genuine interest in her and her ideas. Usually, it was for other people. No one had ever wanted to hear her ambitions and thoughts without an ulterior motive.

So what does he want? Why does he think it’s beautiful, I know why I think so but why does he?

Eva couldn’t help but get suspicious as her heart and mind debated over what to think.

“Why did you stop, Eva?”

That pause again. Why does he say my name like...that?

“Why...do you think what I said is beautiful?”

He tipped his head to the side slightly as if trying to figure out a problem. Turning his body to face her he steps a little closer.

“I think it’s beautiful how you wonder about everything, and I agree there is so much to see and learn because learning is fun and I think it’s beautiful how you know that. More people should know what you do. But it’s important to remember not to let your thoughts consume you, live in the moment and stuff, right?”

Wow, he’s different. More different than I thought

She looks at him in bewilderment under her helmet.

“Right.”

He starts jogging again grasping her hand and tugging her along.

“I like you, Eva. We seem to see eye to eye.”

Eva smiles a little

“Yea, me too Bruce.”

He faces back to the front and they continue doing their tasks.

After an hour the emergency lights against the walls flash red as a deep slow alarm goes off. A crisis, both Black and White look at their arm screens. The crisis is in electrical.

“We should move, c’mon”

Bruce says, already jogging to electrical. The lights go out as the hissing of multiple doors closing sounds loud, as she hear’s it through helmet. At that moment Eva is glad for Bruce’s hand in hers as they continue more slowly down the hallway to electrical. She moves closer to Bruce and accidentally bumps into him.

“Oh, Sorry” She whispers

“It’s fine, come here, Eva.” Bruce whispers back while wrapping an arm around her

Not used to such close contact, Eva walks stiffly in Bruce’s arms. They reach electrical to see other people at the door, which is strangely closed. White releases Eva to join Pink, Blue, and Orange to try and open the door. They all bicker on who should stop touching the switches and how everybody else is messing everybody up. Finally, the doors wheeze open and they all clamber into electrical to flick the electric switches, more arguing ensues, black decides to back away and let the others figure it out and as she does a heavy thud reverberates through the floor from behind her, the lights turn on just in time for two bloody corpses to come into view. A shriek leaves her lips as she jumps away and tremors rocks through her she hears more gasps and curses. Purple and Brown lay on the floor in bloody mutilated messes. Purple lay only a foot away from the electric panel and brown in the doorway. Every crewmate was present in the room.

Part two coming

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