Cl-BANG! BONG! BANG!
Cecilia's fall was short lived. Sliding down the cold metal, she found herself ricocheting off the sides of the tunnel. Slamming this way and that, she tumbled downward for what felt like an eternity but only lasted for some twenty or thirty seconds; smashing against her broken ribs and almost assuredly breaking some more bones along the way as her already abused body was beaten about like a undignified pinball.
She came to stop at the bottom after a short, vertical fall straight down onto something surprisingly soft and squishy.
Not that she noticed.
Curled in on herself, all she could do was wail. Her sobs heaving her entire body and only making the pain from the fall that much worse.
Losing her hearing not ten minutes ago was stressful and a bit painful. This was all pain. Lots and lots of pain.
Her ribs felt as though several knives had been jabbed into her torso and her hands mindlessly wandered to see if she actually had been stabbed by something. She wasn't. On top of that she found that she couldn't quite turn her head and her left arm didn't seem to be responding the way it was supposed to and didn't seem to be sitting in her shoulder correctly. Anything didn't feel directly broken or dislocated started to feel swollen and her joints began to feel locked.
Cecilia thought this might be what it would be like to have been run through a blender.
The room she was in smelt odd. It was like rotten eggs with a hint of fresh manure that had just started to age long enough that the scent wasn't as sharp or nauseating. The ground was warm and wet to the touch; with a little give but more elastic then anything else. Around her, there was the sound of movement; squishy, sloshy sounds that didn't sound human.
"...help..." she barely whispered.
But no help came.
There seemed to be a stirring of activity. Some movement far off.
Too far, she thought.
And so, curled in on her self, her body weakly heaving from the abuse, as she passed out from the pain.
Cecilia was awoken in a start by the sound of pulse rifles.
In a second of panic, her hands snapped up to her ears to protect them from the roaring booms, but she had forgotten about her left arm. It barely responded and, instead, sent shooting pain up her spine that took her breath away from a moment.
This, with the fear of the rifles and the sheer shock of everything else, was too much.
She screamed. Loud, long, and hard.
It was a horrible, desperate cry. Primal in its intensity and singular in its purpose. It begged anyone, any human that could hear it, anyone of the same species: please help me.
The pulse rifles, still loud, seemed to ebb. As if someone had stopped firing.
"Did you hear that?"
"I think we've got a survivor!" Cecilia could barely hear a young woman shouting.
Yes. YES! she thought, her mind begging her to find shelter. To find her own kind and escape this nightmare.
She tried to push up off the ground. Tried to escape.
Her left arm wouldn't support her weight and, when trying to push off with just her right, she found that the pain in her ribs was too much. She screamed again just from the effort.
"Over there!" a man shouted.
Cecilia tried and failed again. Tears were streaming down her face as she fought against the agony. She could hear the roar of the rifles growing louder and the sounds of men and women running.
Along with something else.
There were roars and hisses now. They seemed to come from the very walls. To unfold from the darkness around her like shadows given some monstrous kind of life. They must have passed right over her while she was out cold earlier. Or they just never cared about her to begin with.
Now they cared.
"I think I see someone!" the woman shouted.
"HELP!" Cecilia managed to scream before doubling over on herself again. She coughed and her mouth filled with the startling taste of copper. Blood.
"We're coming!" someone else shouted.
"Son of a bitch! More!"
The hissing at Cecilia's sides changed to violent roars that were cut short with the blaze of pulse rifles some short distance away. She felt their warm blood splash across her back and hair and the sticky, slick feeling made her retch. A half-second later, two heavy thuds shook the ground she laid on and did not get back up.
"Cover me!" the woman yelled. "I'm going for her!"
"We've got you!"
The marine sloshed and squished her way towards Cecilia and, a moment later, she felt warm, soft hands wrapping around her good arm.
"I've got you, honey." the woman said with surprising tenderness. "Come on."
"I...I can't." she sobbed. "Hurt...my ribs. My arm."
"I know, sweetie. I know." the woman said softly tugging her up to a sitting position. "But we can't leave you here. They're going to destroy the ship. We have to get you off."
Cecilia, who had been curled in on herself, her eyes shut, finally glanced up in the marine's direction.
The marine gasped when she did.
"Oh sweetie...how are you down here?"
"Down the air shaft?"
The echo of pulse rifles intensified suddenly.
"We gotta go!" the man yelled.
"Gordo! Rifle slung! We need a lift!"
"You got it, Sarge!"
The ground shook as someone else came running; his armor and weapon clanking and clattering along.
"Holy shit." the man began. "Is she...?"
"Obviously." the woman said shortly. "She's pretty banged up and I don't trust her to be able to get out of here easy. Gonna need you to carry her."
"How did she get down here?" he asked shortly. "How is she even still be alive if she's..."
"Not now." the woman barked.
"Sir." the man said shortly before leaning down next to Cecilia.
She felt a second pair of hands wrap around her. Bigger. Warmer. Cecilia unconsciously leaned into them and sniffled.
"This is gonna hurt, darlin'." the big man said. "So I'm sorry in advance.
All at once, Cecilia felt herself leave the ground. Pain shot through her as the marine scooped her up and she screamed in response. The man cooed her softly and cradled her to his chest and she sobbed.
But, her unconscious mind countered, she was safe. He was big and warm. He smelt of gunpowder and sweat and grime. His arms were large and hairy and muscled. She could hear his heart pounding, heavy and steady, in his chest. He was one of many marines with their guns and their grit and their determination to keep her alive. He was human and he would keep her safe.
She felt the sobs calm slightly and she held tight to his armor.
"Fall back!" the woman shouted.
"Let's go!" the man yelled in unison.
Cecilia held tight as they moved. They were surrounded on all sides by the other marines; seven others from what she could tell. They moved in unison, fleeing the hive as quickly as possible. And, as they moved, she heard whispers.
"Did you see her eyes?"
"My god...how did she get down here?"
"Do you think they did that to her?"
"Enough chatter!" the woman barked.
"Sir," an unknown male voice said, "We only have five minutes til the last dropship departs."
"Then let's not miss our bus." the big man holding her said.
"MARINES! WE ARE LEAVING!" the woman shouted. A moment later, the entire group took off at a run.
(Hello Lovelies, I'm glad you've been enjoying this little romp. There will be one more after this and then we will see about returning to 'Kappa in my Closet' along with a few other things! All I can say in my defense is that I was inspired because of the upcoming 'Alien: Covenant movie. Not gonna lie, I'm enjoying my version better. haha! See you soon.)