24 October 2022

Depths of madness. Farewell message. Part two

 

Farewell message. Part one 

— Once again, gentlemen: your entire investigation will do nothing. None of us who have survived this horror are able to understand what happened to us. We don’t know what were our hallucinations and cloudiness of understanding, and what was true. Even now, after several years that have passed since those days, I cannot say for sure what really happened there, on the nameless satellite of the gas giant МОА-2011-BLG-322, in the bowels of someone else's ship and later in the catacombs under the city.

Behind the huge panoramic windows of the cloud city, the local sun was setting, giving the clouds, slowly floating below, a sinister reddish hue. Perhaps this additionally made the patient nervous of this super expensive sanatorium for special guests, hovering a few kilometers above the surface of Colonist-11. 

— We understand your concerns. But we would like you to tell us again everything that happened in the "Excavation site number six". Everything, just how you remember it. 
— But I have already told your colleagues everything several times.
— We are aware, but now there are new details in the investigation that we would like to clarify. And for this we would be grateful to you if you tell the whole story from the beginning. 

We arrived in the Morag system at the beginning of October 4617. We are a special expedition sponsored by “Ellydium”. By that time, the city next to the alien ship was almost completed. The builders had already been taken out, but there were no other research groups besides us, and the huge complex seemed ominously empty. A handful of people in massive buildings of metal and concrete on a lifeless, completely empty planet, and an incredible flat ship that covers the horizon. 

Of course, we were not the first to explore the ship. There were already several research groups before us, but it was we who had to penetrate the locked interior rooms. Despite the fact that the age of the ship was estimated at millions of years, the material from which it was made turned out to be incredibly lasting. The first expeditions were not able to open the locked holds, or what we considered the holds. Ellydium’s engineers provided us with new tools, and we were the first to penetrate deep inside the gigantic ship.

Inside, the ship consisted of a series of rooms that were connected to each other in the manner of honeycombs, with many doors and passages. A huge complex labyrinth. Instead of stairs, there were stone slabs lying at an angle with a ribbed surface, and almost all the rooms were completely empty. This emptiness gave the impression of evacuation after a disaster. It was exactly inside the labyrinth of rooms, where we found the very unfortunate artifacts that destroyed most of the group - because of them, the survivors are tormented by nightmares to this day.

It’s an interesting thing, that the huge ship, in our common opinion, was, most likely, not a full-fledged space starship, but just a small escape pod. I'm even afraid to imagine what size the original ship must have been if its shuttle was of such gigantic size.

Harley Warren was the leader of our group. We trusted him and his experience. That's what destroyed us. It all started after we transferred some of the found artifacts to deep storages under the city. Everything had to be done very carefully, by hand. Everyone was very tired, and I went to bed early that night. I woke up from a sharp scream. It seemed to me that a woman was screaming. I dressed quickly and left my room. There were dim lights in the corridors. I don't know why, but I confidently headed down to the artifact storage.

In the central hall of the basement, where many corridors converged, I saw Anna lying on the floor in a pool of blood, next to which was a knife. Almost at the same time, all the members of our expedition came running into the hall with me. Harley cautiously approached Anna and felt her pulse. She was dead.

— This is terrible! This is monstrous! It's just unimaginable! — monotonously repeated one of the young women crowding to the exit behind me.

Everyone was shocked. Anna was killed. And the killer was among us. At that moment, there was no one in the whole huge complex except our expedition. The support ship hung in orbit. But in the morning it turned out that there was no connection. The long-distance communication system was damaged, and two of our shuttles were disabled. Important blocks needed for the flight were missing. 

We hoped that the guys in orbit would worry about us and send a lifeboat. But the ship was silent. Much later, we got to know that there was also a traitor on the ship. I tried to go to work so as not to think about Anna, and did my research in the laboratory. I know that most of the group, along with Harley, also continued to prepare artifacts for transportation. 

That evening we quickly went to our rooms. I don't know about others, but I was very anxious. My nerves just went dead. And when the screams and shots were there again, I was not surprised. I didn't have a weapon. I took a stick and went out into the corridor with it. At that moment, the lights went out, and then only the emergency lights came on. Suddenly, my communicator turned on, set to internal communication in the group. 

— William, William! Answer me! —  it was Harley.
— Harley! What happened?
— I can't tell you anything, William! This is beyond all understanding! I just have no right to tell you anything, can you hear? The one who knows about this is as good as dead. God! I was expecting anything but this.
— Explain, please. Where are you?
— William, for heaven's sake — put the slab back in its place and get out of here before it's too late! Hurry! Drop everything and run — this is your only chance for salvation. Do as I say and don't ask anything! 

The connection was interrupted. The slab he was talking about was most likely an armored door that covered the artifact storage. Despite the warning, I slowly moved down into the cellars. When I reached the hall, I saw that the armored doors were open and the vault was empty. The artifacts we took from the ship are gone.

— Harley! Answer me, Harley! — I turned on the communicator again and went through all the employees of the group. But no one answered. 

I didn't see anyone, but there were multiple bloodstains and red, smudged handprints on the walls of the vault and the surrounding corridors. And silence. Dead silence. Suddenly, the communicator turned on again.

— It's almost over... don't prolong my agony… I've blocked the entrance to this damn staircase and I'm running with all my might... you're just wasting your time... goodbye, William... goodbye forever…

That was the last thing that I remember. Then the darkness fell. Vague images of people, blood, screams. I screamed too. How long it lasted, I do not know. I woke up already in the infirmary of the ship in orbit a few days later. That's my whole story, gentlemen.

The only thing I know is that when they nevertheless descended from orbit after us, a terrible sight appeared before their eyes: 11 people from our group were dead, and their bodies were mutilated. It seemed that they had died in the fight against a cruel enemy. Several bodies bear traces of post-mortem autopsy. It was like a flash of madness. The camp seemed to have been blown away by a hurricane, and all the equipment was damaged.

Harley and one of the shuttles are missing. What happened to him, I do not know. But later I found a voice message from him on my communicator. There he shouts: “Black abyss, carved edges, five-dimensional constructions, nameless cylinder, ancient ones, cosmic shade, wings, eyes in the dark, moon stairs, primordial, eternal, undying”...

The communicator and the recording were taken from me before being placed in this hospital. I've been here ever since. For five years now. Will you let me go? Will you really let me go? Bastards! Let me out immediately! They're waiting for me! Let go of my hands! Don't inject me! The black abyss!

 


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