Alone in the Dark (Gabriel, Macross)

The digital clock reading the hour had been covered over with a bundled up shirt, the numbers buried to keep the green glow from disturbing the room. Without the display it was pitch black and the silence was all pervasive but for the soft in and out of a sleeper on the bed and the occasional rustle of sheets as they shifted amid the tangle of fabric. It was a good sleep too, deep and dreamless. There were several more hours before Chief Engineer Gabriel Collins had to be out of bed and La Forge knew he needed all the sleep he could get. It was not to last however, as a knock on the door shattered the blissful quiet.

Gabriel wasn’t known for being a quick riser and, combined with his fatigue as of late, he was pulled very unwillingly out of his slumber. He moved, a foot disrupting something he’d left there and causing it to fall with a clatter to the floor which elicited a groan and then finally prompting him to lift his head. He didn’t know who was out there, it wasn’t like he got a lot of visitors, but he was not waking up to be a very happy person. The knock came again and he slowly pulled himself up. Damn whoever it was… “Just a minute!”

He somehow managed to extricate himself from his sheets, groping for his glasses on the nightstand though he didn’t bother to turn the table light on; he’d learned to get around his quarters in the dark and it took him only a few moments to find his way into his tiny bathroom, refusing to answer the door until he’d checked to make sure he didn’t look like hell first; he had that much vanity anyway. He flicked the light on, blinking owlishly in the sudden glow. Laying his glasses down on the slip of counter he turned the faucet and splashed a handful of cold water on his face to chase the rest of his sleep away then buried his face in a hand towel for a few long moments. As he did so the knock sounded again from outside and he seriously considered just telling whoever it was to go away, though anyone that persistent made him think it must be urgent; why they hadn’t just called him through his comm was a mystery he couldn’t be bothered to figure out at the moment. He laid the towel down and slipped his glasses on, the sink coming into sharp focus and then he straightened up to check himself in the mirror. He did look like hell. Fantastic.

A subtle motion behind him drew his eyes away from his face and just slightly to the right. There was a second figure reflected in the glass, a face half hidden by the frame of the door though he realized, to his horror, that he didn’t need to see the entire thing to know who it was. Even in the light the figure was pale the flesh a dull grayish-green, not white, the color extending even to the lips. The eyes were dark rimmed and clouded, and milky eyes stared blankly at the engineer from sunken sockets. The hair was short and dark but as the figure started to move, to shift far to slowly to the left, it revealed the shattered forehead and hair matted with dried black blood around the hole.

Gabriel was paralyzed, his mind frozen in terror and a stab of guilt twisted his insides so sharply he was almost sick from that alone. The silence was deafening now, the knocking had stopped, and he knew he was all alone with this thing forever and ever and ever. If he was lucky it would end him quickly but he knew it wouldn’t be that easy, it would never let him go. Never never never.

He didn’t move for nearly a full minute but as Henry Fieldman lifted his arm and reached out his hand and those dead fingers touched his neck Gabriel Collins let out a scream filled with the sheer mind numbing horror of it all. He kept screaming as the fingers slid across his flesh and slowly closed around his throat…

And he fell.

Pain. That was the first thing his mind registered, a dull aching in his neck that worked it’s way down his back and a raw soreness in his throat that made it hurt to swallow. Second was the darkness now surrounding him that he found somewhat unnerving. Third was the sound of someone pounding on his door outside, calling his name. It took him far to long just to process that.

Gabriel Collins had spent the last minute screaming in his sleep, tossing so violently he’d taken himself and the sheets to the floor, a fact he discovered as his hand bumped the side of the mattress in the dark. He hurt, his breathing was labored, and his skin was covered with a clammy sweat. As he lay there the lingering terror of a dead face swam in his memories… He yanked his mind away from the dream as hard and as quickly as possible, focusing on the door. There was someone out there, he wasn’t alone. “J-just a minute!” His voice sounded more like a croak and he turned himself over, somehow kicking free of the sheets that wound his body. Instinctively he reached for his glasses but he’d fallen on the wrong side of the bed from where he kept them and he was to afraid to linger in the dark long enough to get them.

He nearly ran to the door, not caring at the moment he was in his sleep clothes and that he must look like he’d come out of hell. The door was pulled open sharply, the light from the hallway blinding him and he lifted a hand to shield his eyes. “Who is it? Who’s there?”

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Gabriel (Macross) – Into the Void, Part 2

Gabriel had been about to explain to the Captain very calmly that such a thing was simply not possible when he was cut off before the words were even allowed to issue forth from his mouth. What? He hadn’t time to do or say anything at all really, when the blast came. It was good that he was stuck in such a small space, as it minimized how much he was jolted. It was also bad, as the wound in the ship still festered and he was sent hard into a piece of twisted metal. His sharp cry was swallowed by the sound as he felt the serrated edge bit deep into the flesh of his arm.

It was dubiously that he pulled himself off of it, his own blood now welling up and seeking to find the engineering bay floor. Using his free hand he ripped the torn sleeve from his suit and tied a makeshift tourniquet around the wound before he ended up passing out. The pain in just moving was enough to make him want to stay perfectly still.

This was serious. There was no way that he could charge the fold cannon now, not with all of this. Who did the Captain think he was anyway? He couldn’t work miracles like…

And it was in that moment, he found his answer, his mind clicking on it without him even having really been searching. Making himself move he half crawled out of the hole, calling to the first man who wasn’t on the floor.

“Ensign Favian!”

“Yes sir?” The very young man snapped to attention, though he looked surprised to see his boss just popping out of nowhere. He was covered in soot and grime, like most of the others.

“Go to the Core and prime it.” He did a few quick calculations in his head. Power, but not to much power. No sense in killing everyone. “Four rotations, no more, understand?” The Ensign nodded and hurried off to do his bidding. When he was gone Gabriel slipped back into the hole, moving a bit ways down to find a small tube console. It wasn’t good for much, or so people thought. You just had to know how to use them. He pulled a small keyed device out of his pocket and pulled a cord from its innards, connecting it into one of the ports of the console. While he waited for the telltale signs that the prime had been successful he tapped one handed on the personal device and on the consoles controls with the other. His wounded arm cried out in protest but he ignored it and forced his fingers to move with as much speed as he could muster.

Within the first week of coming onto this vessel, he had tapped into its computer system and had made himself at home. Not exactly regulation, but it helped to have an intimate knowledge of the technology that kept you alive.

He slipped through the system, connecting to his personal computer which rested in his quarters, always on, always connected to the ships systems. He could do most anything from the comfort of his own room. Patching through his own system he had only to wait, and luckily not for long, as the console in front of him beeped a warning that a portion of the ships power had been cut and drawn out of the Core. It was certainly not the first choice in a situation like this, but it would be suicide to try and do what he was planning with all of the ships power. Relays were built for a reason. Just enough to power the fold engines and get them out of here.

He had the power, now he just had to figure out a way to move it.

Unfortunately, that was the hard part.

Gabriel slowly slipped into his quite space. The place he went to whenever he hacked something new, watched his favorite episode of Star Trek, or picked up a particularly beautiful piece of electronic equipment. A place where it was only himself and what he was doing at that very second. In this time, in this place, it was just him and the ship, and what he had to do.

His fingers moved now without regard to the pain that shot up his arm from the forced movement, as he called up systems, patterns, paths, one after the other, running through them far faster than a human probably should have been able to. But at the moment, he could have been merely an extension of the machine.

One, two, three…

He linked the path together, running through it like a maze to try and find his way from the beginning in the Core, to the ending in the Fold Generator. Even though they were so close in proximity, with the proper channel cut, he had to go the long way, through systems that weren’t designed to carry that sort of power. He had to be careful to pick them wisely.

Four, five, six…

He steered away from those that were most important, even if they were faster. Life Support, Navigation, Weapons. They would be lost anyway without those. Every time he found a dead end he had to turn back and go another way, leaving markers in his wake so he could follow the trail back. How many seconds had it been, how many minutes? There was no time here.

Seven, eight…

Finally, after what must have been a forever, he found the light at the end of the tunnel and staked his last flag at the power cells of the Fold Generator. Then he looked back over the line of red dots that indicated the path he had taken. It was the best he had been able to come up with and though there was no room for error, somewhere in his mind he prayed that he had not indeed done just that.

There was a moments hesitation before a finger dropped on a key and the program was executed. The floodgates of power that held the supply stripped from the Core opened and rushed from their holding along the path he had prescribed for it. He watched as the torrent of power crashed into each way station, each system he had chosen to guide it. Alarms over the ship warned of sudden power spikes in a seemingly random pattern. The first system held and it moved on, the second didn’t and throughout the ship the lights went off as they were overloaded, plunging them all into the semi-darkness of consoles and emergency lights. The third went to as did the fourth, both nonessential systems when it came right down to it. The fifth held, and so did the sixth. The seventh crashed harder than he would have thought, and an alarm sounded as they lost one of the impulse engines. The eighth, and last, barely held before sending the power to its final destination.

It hit the Generator cells hard in its rush to be home and for a moment he thought he might have miscalculated and the entry points would short, but they modified themselves and sluiced in the power. There, in his place, and on the bridge the power in the Fold would spike to full and hold, giving the Captain what it was he needed. He had done his part. It was out of his hands now.

He fell back against the side of the tube, breathing hard and hurting all over as his high left him. Somewhere in his muddled mind he realized he had lost a lot of blood. He said a silent prayer to a certain Engineer God who went by the name of LaForge and then went still as he felt the blackness pulling him down.

Gabriel (Macross) – Into the Void, Part 1

Gabriel hadn’t needed to reply to the Captain, the thought wasn’t even in his mind. It was his job to get them out of here and for once he agreed fully with the ships commander.

Four Meltrandi battleships, just like that. Something didn’t seem right to him…

But, it wasn’t his job to speculate on things like that. He had half turned, when the explosion came, sending him back against the console once more, but before the sound had even expired he knew something was seriously wrong. They weren’t flying out into space. And he knew that as far as engineering went, he kept it in the best shape he possibly could. His work didn’t explode. They hadn’t been hit by anything external.

Everything about this was just wrong.

His mind screamed it at him, but nevertheless, he had to get them out of here or they were all doomed. And so he pushed himself off the console to get his crew in the corridor to head off the fire so they didn’t have an inferno on their hands before he was able to figure out just what the hell had happened and how badly it would affect them. He just hoped to god the fold generator hadn’t been damaged.

He was in midstride when he caught sight of Fieldman and Watt, two of his own. They were good boys, good crew. Fieldman was a workhorse, never complained, and Watt had even managed to teach him a few things. He was about to send them off, not understanding yet why they were standing around when there were things to be done. His words were taken when a wide, blurred arc of some great black horrible thing flashed across the space as Watt turned. And then some sound that couldn’t have possibly come from a human creature echoed through the space, followed by a deafening ‘Yes’ resounding from the gun.

Gabriel didn’t even flinch, and while his eyes were fixed upon the scene before him in disbelieving horror, he felt something warm and wet land across his face. Red blurred his vision. The scent of it and something else he couldn’t identify assaulted him and he slowly tasted the metallic twinge that he somehow knew couldn’t have been his own blood.

And the chief technical officer of the UNS Shogun stood there in the middle of his own engineering bay, frozen, eyes wide, mouth agape, his mind numb and trying desperately to catch up to him and what had just happened. It was failing miserably.

There was a sickening thud at his feet but he couldn’t move his eyes to see, even if his mind knew it was… had been, Henry Fieldman. His engineer. No sound could find its way to his blood flecked lips to express the horror, pain, and anger that was assaulting him.

The silence seemed to stretch on forever and somehow he knew the world, his world, had come to its end. He could see Watt, the gun still in his hand. But that wasn’t his engineer. It wasn’t His Lieutenant Junior Grade Thomas Watt, the young man who had given him the idea he needed to fix the problem with the shield manifolds when he had been stumped on it for weeks…

His crew didn’t kill each other!

That gun would come for him next. He would die, the ship would be destroyed, and everyone would follow him. And damn it all, why couldn’t he bloody move!?

But a figure moved into his line of sight behind Watt, small, short. Something heavy and all slick silver metal lifted high above the young man and hung there for a few moments before it careened down towards the back of his head.