[Transcript. 11.11.2622 CE]
With all due respect, sir, and all that - I point out to you that I have salvaged a very valuable, crucial, infinitely priceless and also expensive piece of machinery from the wreckage that is the Anna Marie, may she rest in pieces, and I have gained…
Yes, that’s right, I have gained some valuable, important, and vital intelligence that you need to know in regards to the brilliant, cunning and evil alien invaders who self-destructed our brave vessel while they were still on it. Had I not fled at the slightest sign of danger, I, too, would have suffered a similar fate as my shipmates. I never would have been able to make this report for which you now await with bated breath.
Which is why I don’t understand why I, a veteran, tenured fleeter, who just witnessed the terrifying mass murder of my comrades, am locked in a brig like a common criminal. I am psychologically, emotionally, and pathologically traumatized. I would like some drugs.
Well, if you put it that way, I’d like to talk to my lawyer before I answer any more of your questions.
Well, if you put it that way, I’d like to call my mother before I answer any more of your questions. And I would like some drugs.
Well, if you put it that way, I’ll be more than happy to answer your questions immediately. And no, just for the record, I would prefer not to have my body shot out of the airlock one piece at a time while a snarl sponge gnaws on my brain.
And yes, my mother is my lawyer.
I do have rights, you know. They’re in a manual someplace.
OK. My name is Cowart Raven. Lieutenant C. Raven, Xeno Relations Specialist, stationed until now aboard the Anna Marie.
Only seventy-two hours ago, our ship was hailed by an unidentified vessel. I was awakened from my cot a full two hours after I was supposed to be on station. I had stayed up the night before playing my Microgoogamac iPlaywiibox…
Monopoly. I always play Monopoly…It’s much more fun when I can play a board game without having to interact with other people…
Well, I was rudely awakened from my slumber without so much as an apology and called to the bridge. It took me a while to find clean undergarments. I didn’t. I decided to play it free and loose. I then changed my mind. Sometimes we power down to low gravity during engine tests and it’s good to have some support. I admit, I was wearing slightly soiled underwear when I went to the bridge. I am sorry. This is embarrassing. I did spray them with freeze-breeze. I am wearing them now. Please don’t judge me. I am a refugee of a horrible disaster.
When I got to the bridge, the captain was standing there sneering at me. By the way, that reminds me, I had a hefty fifty-page discrimination report I’d intended to file about him. There are some very incriminating things that are whispered about him behind closed doors, all the subject of my report. Lucky for the captain, our vessel was commandeered by aliens and my computer got blown up along with him.
I don’t think I’ll take the trouble to rewrite the complaint, seeing that it’s posthumous and all. I’ll end up getting upset all over again and then they won’t even do anything with it…
Well, he was standing there sneering at me when I got out of the lift, as though he’d been waiting on me the whole time, as though he didn’t have anything else to do except wait on the Xeno Relations Specialist. It was very embarrassing. He looked like he wanted to spit on me. He said, “Damn unions.” Everyone was looking at me. I wanted to cry. I was very offended.
No, I don’t need a tissue. Thank you, though. I’m just traumatized. I like to lick my tears, actually. It’s like I’m recycling my emotions. They taste good…they taste so, so sad…excuse me for a moment…okay, I’ve pulled myself together again. It’s hard to be me. You’ll understand one day.
Anyway, there was no reason for them to be so mad because the science officer had already figured it out five minutes before I’d gotten there. It had only taken him an hour to translate the distress signal from an alien language he‘d never heard of. So me having an underwear issue actually turned into a growing experience for him.
Fortunately for him I am fluent and was able to verify his translation as well as give him some tips on his Tillitallinass grammar. He was very glad to have my suggestions. I don’t see why the captain gets so angry with me when I am obviously such a team player and make such contributions on a regular basis. In a few more years, the whole crew would have ended up Xeno Relations Specialists, just like the science officer…
Yes, it was a distress call. Pretty bizarre, actually. It said, “Help, help. My wife is pregnant. I have no facilities. Please help me. Help.” That was all it said, over and over again.
Yes, well, what he said certainly set off an alarm inside my head. I knew at that instant it was a trap. No one brings their wife on a space ship. If that were allowed I would have brought my mother with me a long time ago. She’s a great comfort to me.
No, I didn’t tell the captain about the trap. I’d let him figure it out for himself. He walks around thinking he’s hot stuff all the time and I don’t get what people see in him. He needs to learn to appreciate his crew. See where his leadership got us?
It’s a shame. I’m just sad that he died before he could learn his lesson and apologize to his crew. If he’s such hot stuff, then why couldn’t he speak Tillitallinass? It’s a romance language.
So against my better judgment, they found this ship that was sending out the distress signal. We were in the fringes of a nebula, so we had to look for a while. It got really uncomfortable standing there for so long, and nobody offered me a chair. My legs started to cramp.
You know, if the captain had created a more tolerant environment that fostered open communication, we never would have gotten into this mess. I would have given him a warning. Now I have to harbor resentment toward him until the day I die. He must have known he was doing that to me.
Anyway, the captain said, “I need you at the airlock.” As though there weren’t fifty other people that could go with him to the airlock. I’m not a security officer. I’m just a Xeno Relations Specialist.
I was freaked out. In my fifteen years as a Xeno Relations Specialist, I never once actually had to conduct a xeno relation. The captain knew this. He could see I was sweating. He was relishing this moment. His eyes were going, “Ha ha ha. Ha ha ha. Ha ha ha.”
I just said, “OK.” I said to myself, “I’ll show him. I’ll be the best I can be. And maybe he’ll get eaten by the alien.”
I gripped my gun as I followed him to the lift. I always made sure it was juiced. It was an extra policy I’d added to my official Xeno Relations Manual. You never know when an alien encounter will turn ugly and you’ll need to shoot something. They leave this out of the textbooks - you know, public relations and all that. They don’t want to upset anybody, but we all know you’ve gotta juice some aliens every now and then.
So we got to the airlock. It was me, the captain, the science officer, and the chief med. And let me tell you something else - the doc never liked me either. He was looking at me kind of funny, with his nose curled up, like he was trying to tell me I smelled bad or something.
The airlock opened. I saw the most horrific sight I’d ever seen in my life.
And let me tell you something else. No one else reacted like I did. This should have told me something right away but I missed it at first. Here I was screaming and shouting my head off and these other people, supposedly the “officers,” the “leaders” of the “ship,” were frozen. They were just watching coolly, as though nothing were happening.
They didn’t act, but I did. They left me with the burden of responsibility…
I’m getting to that. When the airlock opened, I saw tentacles. I saw huge fangs. I heard shrieking. It didn’t sound human. It didn’t look human. It was decidedly, freakishly, uglishly alien. There were five of them. They looked like huge spider things. They had eyes, hundreds and hundreds of eyes. And they were telepathic. They were emoting fear, no, terror into my beating heart. They were messing with my mind.
One of them in the back was doing the shrieking. The rest were just doing their mind tricks. And the one in the lead said, “My wife…please help us…” in Tillitallinass.
My captain asked me what he said. I corrected my captain, reminding him that it was an “it” until proven otherwise, not a “he”. Then I said, “Oh, God,” because these creatures had just been distracting us, buying time for their evil schemes and machinations.
From the bowels of the shrieking monster came five little monsters. They had hidden an army inside the creature. It was writhing around on the airlock floor. Its green blood oozed towards us.
No, I didn’t practice telling you this part. I’m not being dramatic. It really happened like this. I went over this story ten times to myself in the mirror to make sure it didn’t have any inconsistencies - I mean, to make sure it didn’t have any divergence from the absolute truth.
The captain, all undue respect and everything, was being an idiot. He had no idea what was going on. At any moment our minds were going to be taken over by these monsters and they were all going to burst into little monsters and outnumber us and eat us all. And all our captain could do was say to them, “Stay calm. We’ll help you.” As though stalling would do any good. As though they understood the Standard language anyway.
In that instant, I took matters into my own hands. I did what any competent, card-carrying union Xeno Relations Specialist would do. I juiced them. I juiced them all. I had my gun set on continuous and I just raked my line of fire across the airlock. I cut them all in half. They started shrieking. There was green ooze everywhere. They didn’t expect a Xeno Relations Specialist to have those kinds of moves! I had been giving myself combat training for twelve years on my iPlaywiibox…
I was a bad dude. And by bad I mean good. And by good I mean cool. Know what I mean?
It was too late, though. They’d already taken over my fellow crew members’ brains. I wasn’t as weak and suggestible as my shipmates. I had seen through the aliens’ deception.
The captain yelled at me to stop. He tried to grab my arm. I looked into his eyes. They were spider eyes. The aliens had taken over. They were going to take over the whole crew. I was terrified, and yet I knew what I had to do.
I sucker punched the captain in the face. I would have never even tried it, except that he was totally defenseless and unsuspecting. I ran down the hallway. Someone probably would have tried to shoot at me, but I was too good at running and they were unarmed. They were no longer my shipmates. The arachnids had gotten them.
This has given me deep emotional scars…Oh, God! No, I don’t need a tissue…Yummy tears…Sorry.
I didn’t even have time to go to my cabin. I had to do my duty. I ran to the escape pod. They were after me. They would get me. I was the only one who knew their true identity. They would kill me and keep me from telling the rest of the crew.
I got into the escape pod. I launched it. It was the hardest thing I ever did in my life, knowing that by pressing that button I would be floating off into space in complete security without a fear in the universe while my crewmates were torn limb from limb by cannibalistic, spider-alien possessed fleet officers. I pressed it five times just to be sure.
I had to use a code to fire the engines. I knew it because I had hacked into all the ship’s security systems just in case I ever found myself in such a bind. It was the first productive thing I did when I got aboard the Anna Marie. It took me a year.
Always be prepared to run for your life; that’s my motto.
This was the captain’s pod, the one the bridge officers use to escape. It has plush, cushy seats. It adjoined the backup bridge. It has its own controls. All the bridge controls can be overridden remotely from this pod.
This was very fortunate. I got a hail from the Anna Marie. It was my alien-possessed captain.
“Lieutenant Raven. You are to stop the escape pod immediately and return to the Anna Marie. This is a desertion. You have violated…”
That is all he said. I tell it to you word for word. I started feeling my mind sway. My hands floated over the controls. It almost got me - the monster that had possessed my captain. I almost turned around and doomed the Anna Marie to alien mind control. The fear gripped me, just like I’d felt at the airlock. I was doomed.
I shut off the speaker before he could continue his mind tricks. I tried to calm myself with controlled breathing. I saw the turrets of the Anna Marie come to bear on my view screen. The breathing wasn’t helping.
I told myself inspirational things. You should try it some time. Just sit in front of a mirror and tell yourself lies. It works. “Cowart, get a grip on yourself. You are brave. You are strong. You can do the right thing. You can do what you know is right. You are not a wimp. You are not a loser. You do not cry for your mommy every night. You do not wet the bed.”
I ended it right there. My whole life flashed before my eyes. I pressed the self-destruct button. I had to. There was no other choice. The Anna Marie exploded. It turned into plasma in an instant. I was just barely clear of the blast.
I preserved this escape pod and this vital information. I courageously saved a life - my own - and even though I’ll still be haunted by all the terrible things I’ve gone through - especially the way the captain abused me so - at least I’ve lived to run another day.
Why are you standing over me like that? You’re very tall, you know that? Why are you…Wait! If it weren’t for me, all of the Anna Marie and its entire crew would be lost. As it is, well...
Listen, it was the spiders…with their eyes! I juiced them, but they got into their brains…wait…please, at least let me put on some clean underwear before…
[End of transcript. Last words of Lt. C. Raven. All audiovisual recordings of this interrogation have been lost. Interrogator unidentifiable. All words spoken by interrogator have been deleted from the transcript. According to coroner’s report, at this point Lt. Raven stood up from his seat and killed himself by repeatedly bashing his skull into the bulkhead. Cause of death is recorded as “suicide by ‘spider possession’.”]
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