Matthews reached inside the open access panel under the computer core interface and inserted removed a damaged isolinear chip from its row of neighbours. Normally clear in colour this one was so badly charred it was almost opaque. He moved his hand along the exposed chips, selecting the last in the row swapping its position with that of the damaged one, hoping that his jerry-rigged bypass would work.
Matthews reached up and took hold of the console above, pulling himself to his feet. As he turned to face the doorway Miller was already there standing in front of him. He hadn’t heard her approach,
“Bloody hell, you always sneak up on people like that?” He exclaimed while straightening his uniform.
Miller stood and stared at Matthews, expressionless and vacant, her arms hanging at her sides like weights were tied to her wrists.
The runabout was eerily still, the damaged power conduits that periodically sparked and crackled into life had fallen silent. It was as though a great emptiness had washed over their vessel.
“Miller?” Matthews said, his breath once again visible as he spoke. Miller remained silent, her gaze fixed.
Edging forward Matthews reached out with his hand, he could feel the cold emanating from Miller. Just as his hand was about to touch Miller’s shoulder her eyes locked with his. He could feel something staring back at him, but it wasn’t Miller. It was something else, something malevolent.
It began to speak through her, it’s voice sounded like a thousand whispers twisting together.
“The first has been released…” it said, staring through Miller’s eyes. “The others will come. When the light is extinguished… darkness will wash over the stars.”
“The first? The first what? What others? Who are you?” Matthews demanded.
It looked at Matthews for a few seconds, contorting Miller’s mouth into a sinister grin.
“I am the end.”
Miller screamed in agony, throwing her head back on her shoulders, a thick black smoke fled her body in every direction. The runabout’s damaged systems, which had sat dormant, now exploded into life sending showers of sparks down into Matthews causing him to take cover under the console.
Miller collapsed to the floor, her body broken and violated, but she was still alive and a stillness settled over the runabout again.