The End Is The Beginning
The corridor was littered with the lifeless bodies of the engineering crew. Their remains lay contorted and broken, bloody handprints lined the walls and doors. Desperate to escape their fate, to get away from it by any means necessary.
The pulsing sound of the red alert klaxon pierced the silence, the strip lights that lined the corridor flashed red illuminating the darkness and periodically revealing the horror of it.
With each flash Matthews could begin to make out images on the LCARS panels on the walls. He edged closer towards the panel, his eyes struggling to adjust to the darkness that followed every pulse of light.
Matthews reached out and touched the panel, his fingers instantly wet and cold. These pictograms weren’t being displayed by the computer, they had been scrawled directly onto the walls… in the blood of the dying crewmen.
Matthews recoiled in shock, stumbling backwards, tripping over and falling to the floor.
His eyes met the gaze of one of the the bodies that lay inches from his face. Their eyes fixed lifeless in terror, their last moments written all over their face.
Matthews gasped and scrambled to his feet trying to catch his breath when he began to hear it. That sound, that discordant ugly sound that he heard in his dreams. It was getting louder, infiltrating his mind, drawing him to it. He wished he was dreaming it all, he wished it was some terrible nightmare, but it wasn’t. It was happening, it was real.
Cautiously he made his way toward the source of the sound, stepping over the corpses of the crew as he did so. The sound appeared to be originating from main engineering.
Reaching the large double doors that led to engineering Matthews paused. The doors that would usually slide effortlessly apart as someone approached them were fixed and closed. A large hellish pictogram covering both doors, still wet and dripping toward the floor.
He reached out to press the manual release, his hand trembling as he did so.
Pressing it the doors jolted and shuddered, opening only part way. Through the gap Matthews could see into the chamber beyond. The warp core illuminated the space, it’s reassuring blue was instead a malevolent red.
Matthews forced the doors apart just wide enough for him to squeeze through, grunting as he did so.
Slowly he entered engineering, even more pictograms covered almost every surface, every console. Old wax candles were scattered throughout the chamber, their flames flickering, their light casting long shadows against the walls.
That sound, that music, if you could even call it that, this was the source.
“Welcome.” A voice echoed from above. “You’re finally home.”
Matthews looked toward the source of the voice. Suspended from the ceiling by writhing oily tendrils. The tendrils appeared to infiltrate every system of its body, connecting it directly to the warp core.
It’s arms were outstretched on either side, it’s long boney fingers contorting on the ends of its rotting hands.
“Chloe!” Matthews exclaimed.
“She is mine!” It screamed, its jaw cracking out of place revealing rotten black teeth.
“I… I have what you want.” Matthews stammered.
“The Grimoire.” It said.
“I’ll tell you where it is… let her to and I’ll give it to you.” Matthews replied anxiously.
“Or we could simply take it from you,” Brendt said as he revealed himself from the shadows. “As you have taken it from us.”
Brendt stood under the figure, revelling in its presence, breathing sharply in anticipation.
“Receive your reward, disciple,” the figure said as its tendrils descended from its core towards Brendt below.
The tendrils perforated Brendt’s skin, his veins turned black and pulsated at the surface, like a thousand insects squirming along his veins.
Brendt’s eyes turned black and his mouth twisted into a smile.
“Return the Grimoire, and we will allow you to live, in service to us.” Brendt demanded his voice echoing. “Refuse us, and you will suffer for eternity in the void.”
12 Hours Earlier…
“Computer, time?” Matthews queried as he stood in the conference room onboard Devron.
“06:58,” the computer replied.
Matthews exhaled deeply in anticipation. He had received orders from Captain Brendt, the CO of the USS Norway to report to the conference room for a formal debrief.
Debrief, that’s what they were calling it, but Matthews knew it was an investigation. People looked at him differently since he returned, alone.
Nobody believed him that Miller just disappeared on their last mission, there had to be something he wasn’t telling them, although nobody would come out and say it to him directly. But he felt it, there were hushed whispers whenever he walked past in a corridor. People would stop conversations until he passed. Maybe he was just being paranoid, maybe he wasn’t.
The doors to the conference room slid apart as Brendt entered the room.
“Lieutenant Commander Dean Matthews?” Brendt said as he approached Matthews, extending his hand.
“Yes sir,” Matthews replied grasping Brendt’s hand firmly and shaking it.
“Pull up a chair Commander,” Brendt said as he gestured towards the chairs at the conference table.
Matthews nodded pulling out a chair and taking a seat.
Brendt slid out a chair opposite and sat down, placing a PADD down on the polished mahogany desk.
“Before we begin, let me try and alleviate some of your concerns. This is a formal interview, yes. But, having said that, it isn’t designed to catch you out and nobody’s accusing you of any wrongdoing.” Brendt said, smiling.
“I’m here to explore the incident, and to clarify a few points in your report,” he continued.
“Everything I need to say I’ve already said.” Matthews said bluntly, folding his arms, “and while nobody is officially accusing me of anything, try living with it. I know people think I’m nuts. I know they don’t believe me, why else would you be here?”
Brendt leaned forward, clasping his hands together neatly on the desk.
“What if I were to tell you that what you saw was real?” Brendt said, leaning forwards.
“What?” Matthews replied in disbelief.
“What if I were to tell you that what you saw is the very embodiment of evil. An evil so primordial that it’s been written about by countless species across the galaxy, including our own?” Brent continued.
“Who the hell are you?” Matthews demanded.
“Officially, I’m a Starfleet captain sent here to find out what you know. Unofficially, I’m the only one who can help you see your friend again.” Brendt responded, picking up a cup of coffee and taking a sip.
“What do you want?” Matthews said, unsure if he should trust this man.
Brendt looked up from his coffee cup, his eyes once again meeting Matthews’.
“To end it.”