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Nightmare from the Stars


Nightmare from the Stars: Chapter 1
Author: Sorensen1318

The quiet stillness of a summer's eve clung around the science camp at Lake Bohrmore. Rich with the distant chirping of crickets, humid air rolled around a gathered congregation like the breath of giants. As the attendants of Camp Bohrmore viewed the stars atop a grassy knoll, not one had any idea of the cold trick fate was to play. Telescopes sought a better view of a celestial event - a meteor storm. The ever-watchful eyes of camp counselors gazed approvingly at students sketching and taking notes, all the while catching the splendor above. No one missed what happened next, though many would soon wish they had.

A glittering ball of flame sped through the skies, but did not fade away with its compatriots. It merely grew brighter, until it was obvious a meteorite was on course for the hill where the astronomers stood. Dragging equipment aside for caution, campers followed the shard as it buzzed low over the site with a shrieking roar, then crashed to earth only a short ways away. As one, the children raced to the scene, hoping to see this new arrival. All were given a chance to view the meteorite. The general consensus among the counselors was that a drawing would be held tomorrow, allowing one camper to study the rock as a science project. Excited students left the scene, abuzz with the possibility of an almost-guaranteed victory in the major competition.

Dr. Archibald, the camp director, addressed the student body in the mess hall. Procuring a dissecting pan filled with names, the counselors drew a slip of paper. Jason Fox leaned forward onto the table, hoping to see the podium. Counselor Goldthwait's thin, piping voice echoed in the silent auditorium. "The meteorite research project goes to... Eugene Wu!" Moans rang out as a camper crowed, then strutted to the front of the hall to recieve the official documentation. Jason and his friend Marcus rose, and trudged out of the dining area - they'd be hearing about this all night.

The next day in the science lab, jealous eyes drifted toward Eugene as he measured, photographed, and took samples of "his" meteorite. Little did anyone know what lay ahead. Making a careful incision on the surface of the rock, the arrogant scientist stepped back as the meteor unexpectedly split open, revealing an oblong, egg-like structure. Appearing to be a fossil, the shape was tough and leathery. A cross-shaped slit marked the mouth-like top.

Even more interested viewers gathered around Eugene as he carefully prodded the new-found object. Wielding a long probe, the camper pried apart the thick slits in the top of the "egg". Looking inside, he turned to Jason, standing at his shoulder. Eugene opened his mouth to speak, but was cut short by yet another unexpected surprise. A crab-like creature leapt from the egg with unthinkable speed - and latched onto Wu's face. Caught by surprise, the campers were momentarily too stunned to react. The young scientist flailed his limbs madly as the organism throbbed as if forcing something down his throat. Having recovered from his shock, Jason Fox reacted quickly. Prying the creature off his cabinmate's face, he pitched it to a nearby table, where camper Jacobson speared it with a dissection needle. Thick blood poured from the creature, then began eating away at the table - obviously acidic.

All eyes were on Eugene, who with Marcus' help had staggered to a nearby bench. Coughing and sputtering, his condition left no hint of the true creature now within him. Jason pondered quietly, chewing his lower lip. Could this be only a foretaste of this...

...Nightmare from the Stars...?


Nightmare from the Stars: Chapter 2
Author: Sorensen1318

Warm sunlight rolled across the cabins of the Lake Bohrmore science camp. The first rays of dawn scattered the curtain of night, but could only mask the haze of darkness that was fast approaching the unsuspecting campers. Children stirred, the events of the last day almost forgotten - the attack on Eugene Wu by a strange entity. Soon, though, many would never be able to forget it. It was in the computer lab, early in the morning, that darkness began to fall...

Jason Fox tapped the keys on his computer with extreme focus, researching the potential for space-time distortion by massive energy outputs. Beside him sat his compatriot, cohort, and all-around pal, Marcus Jones - who was currently researching the dynamics of matter-antimatter interaction. So deep was his concentration, in fact, that he did not notice the strange noise that had turned heads throughout the lab. Spinning about, Fox saw Eugene, thrashing wildly in his chair while coughing out a sound somewhere between a scream and a choke.

Jason rose to help, thinking that his cabinmate was choking. Wu toppled out of his chair, and vomited bloody foam as he gasped for air. Then, something unspeakable happened... Jason averted his eyes from the horrifying sight. Having choked down the gorge rising in his throat, Fox watched in numb horror as a lithe, snakelike object pulled itself from its macabre cocoon, then slid into the shadows leaving a trail of gore. Sickened, Jason diverted his attention to Marcus, who returned his stare of wonderment and surprise. Counselors flooded into the room, escorting campers outside. The two friends filed out and returned to their cabin - a bunk too many, a camper too few.

Dr. Archibald addressed the attendees later in the mess hall. Speaking in calm, measured tones, he informed the campers that buses had been called. The students were to be removed pending an official investigation. He admonished the campers to continue their daily routine, adding that they would be summoned when the buses arrived. A number of students rose to leave, and the rest followed close behind. A quiet air of deceptive peace settled on the camp, the calm before the storm. Jason and Marcus - with Hawkins close beside - wandered back toward Epsilon cabin. Bending down, Jason picked something up off the ground. It appeared to be a skin - like a snake skin - with stumps of limbs forming along a snakelike body with an elongated head.

What dark forces were at work in this...

...Nightmare from the Stars...?


Nightmare from the Stars: Chapter 3
Author: Sorensen1318

The sun burned bright in the sky over Camp Bohrmore. Dazzlingly arrayed in golden splendour, the eye of heaven gave no trace of the darkness that was lurking close by. But, for the meantime, let us investigate a hazy cloud of brown dust that rolled along the road to the camp. A handful of yellow buses stood waiting to accept their precious cargo. These buses would mean salvation to many, but not to all.

Jason Fox and Marcus Jones trudged slowly up the hill to the buses. A group of students were already congregated around the vehicles. Heading toward the buses Marcus noticed Dr. Archibald, the camp director, having a heated argument with the lead bus driver. As the two approached, the details became quite audible.

"You know I can't do that," said Dr. Archibald.

"Listen, pal, here's the deal: One bus broke down, and its replacement was too small. Six people need to stay behind - we'll send another as soon as we can."

"The counselors will stay, then."

"No can do, Einstein. Bus rules say the counselors must be on the buses to keep order."

The director struggled with the decision for a second, then called one of the counselors aside. "Goldthwait, I want you to stay behind. Just keep track of the kids, and make sure nothing happens." Turning his attention to the campers, Doctor A. explained the situation. Worried murmurs rippled through the attendees as they debated about who would stay.

Jason wrestled with himself in silence. His scientific curiosity battled his fear to determine his decision. He turned about after a tap on his shoulder roused him from his concentration. Expecting to see Marcus, he was surprised to find himself looking into the eyes of Eileen Jacobson. She greeted him, and explained the topic she came to discuss. "Jason, I've already talked to Marcus, Phoebe, and Hawkins. We all think it would be acceptable to stay - besides, there's no reason to be separated before we have to. I wanted to ask you myself." Jason thought for a second, then nodded his approval. Giving him a quick smile, Eileen led Jason to the group of friends waiting nearby. They delivered their decision to Dr. Archibald, and waited as the buses, their saviors, rolled away down the dusty path. Counselor Goldthwait took control and headed them toward Science Lab 1 - the most secure building in the compound.

Once there, the stay was a long and tedious one. The campers checked each cabinet and cart for signs of the astral creature - the alien. Jason bent to examine one cupboard, and the power suddenly failed. Goldthwait cursed, and went to start one of the lab's backup generators. The friends looked about as their eyes adjusted to the murky semidarkness of the lab, which had few windows to the outside. A skittering noise, like mice, echoed through the vents above. Jason expressed surprise at this, but a second later was outdone by Hawkins. A clattering sound echoed through the lab as the emergency lights came on. "I'm a little more worried," said the computer genius, "about that." Jason looked up, and found he was looking into the face of death. They had found the true horror of this...

...Nightmare from the Stars...


Nightmare from the Stars: Chapter 4
Author: Sorensen1318

The sun's golden disk traveled toward the western horizon. Warm air still blew through the Lake Bohrmore Science Camp. But for the campers who had stayed at the camp, this was of little concern. Inside Science Lab A-1, a faint light glowed, but no summer breeze could lift the chill of fear. In the soft red illumination of the emergency lights, all objects took on a nightmare, dreamlike appearance. This only served to heighten the fear felt by Jason Fox...

As the backup lights came on, Jason identified the clattering sound as a falling air vent grate. Of course, it really didn't make all that much of a difference. He was occupied looking upward, at one of the most horrifying sights he had ever seen. A lithe, insectoid creature was lowering itself from the ceiling vents. Stretching roughly seven feet from head to foot, the... alien... had an elongated, smooth head that curved back like a crest. Its physical structure was bony, with black exoskeletal plates. Massive hands ended in wicked claws, bound in a perpetual Vulcan salute. Dorsal horns protruded from its back. Commanding high attention were the long, blade-tipped tail and fierce inner jaw.

The alien reached out for Jason across the countertop. Staring in numb horror, Jason found he could not convince his legs to move. The creature extended its arms, seeking to draw him into its terrifying embrace. It is likely, in fact, that it would have, but for one thing. Marcus. Jason felt a human shape bull into him, knocking him aside and breaking the creature's spell of terror. The friends scrambled madly to escape from the alien,which turned to follow them. Suddenly, a vial of chemicals flew through the air and burst on the alien's face in a pyrotechnic flash. Eileen. The alien clawed at its slitted eyes in pain and surprise, then leapt back into the air vent.

Jason sat in a state of near shock. Marcus sat next to him. Eileen sat by him also, and drew him close. Jason raised no objection.

Counselor Goldthwait returned to the group, then began to speak. "Geez, how weird. The generators were both smashed - looks like a gorilla attacked them. Hey, wait, what's going on? Guys? Did I miss something?" The five stared at him in wonderment.

Taking charge, Goldthwait instructed the campers to help him prepare for a night in the lab, since it was getting late and the bus seemed unlikely to return. Activated-chemical floorlights, food, and water needed to be gathered into the lab. Jason and Hawkins went to obtain food from the mess hall, Marcus and Phoebe went after the lights and other necessities, and Eileen left to gather water from the tanks in another lab.

They went about their work, and darkness fell...

The sun could no longer hide the fury of this...

...Nightmare from the Stars...


Nightmare from the Stars: Chapter 5
Author: Sorensen1318

The last feeble rays of midday faded into dusk. Darkness was falling on Camp Bohrmore, and with it the last comfort of daylight. For five campers and one counselor the sun had held their fear - and foe - in check. Now there could be no sanctuary from the alien horror that faced them. Dusk fell, and the sun set. How many would not see another day?

The campers, all dispatched on different tasks, filed back into Lab A1. Hawkins and Jason returned from the mess hall carrying packaged food. Marcus and Phoebe trudged in under a burden of chemical floorlamps, sleeping bags, and space blankets. They set down their burdens, then looked at each other in surprise. Jason spoke first. "Where's Eileen?" A mute silence followed, shattered by a piercing scream. Taking only a second to listen, Jason spun and sped through the door. Hesitating a moment, Phoebe and Marcus followed. Goldthwait and Hawkins trotted along behind.

Reaching Lab A7, Jason was greeted with a horrifying sight. The alien, standing at its full height, dominated the center of the room. Standing before it, on the opposite side of the room, was Eileen. Hissing, the alien shifted its weight with her every move, cutting off hope of escape or attack. Rearing back to spring, it became obvious the creature hoped to add "survive" to the list. The beast launched its full seven feet through the air at unimaginable speed - straight toward Jason's trapped friend. The frightened girl managed to duck under the lunge, but was still denied access to the exit. The alien spun, then whipped its long tail out and around Eileen's throat. Constricting its deadly hold, the creature would quickly crush her throat. Blood flowed from the girl's mouth as she looked to Jason for help. Seizing a fire extinguisher, Jason rushed to her aid.

Charging the alien, thankfully distracted, Jason brought the full weight of the extinguisher - with lots of adrenaline behind - down on the beast's back. The thing screamed in anger as one of its dorsal horns shattered, spilling acidic blood all over the floor. Throwing Eileen across the room, the alien spun to face Jason. Hate glowed in its small, dark eyes. Striking him with a back-handed swipe of its claws, the creature flung Jason nearly as far across the lab as Eileen. Leaping astride the fallen camper, the creature slid back its massive teeth, revealing the hideous inner jaw. Leaning forward to kiss him to eternal sleep, the alien did not see Jason reach for the extinguisher that lay nearby. Seizing the fire extinguisher, Jason pulled the pin and sprayed the alien with clouds of dense CO2. Shrieking, the creature leapt straight upward, punching a hole in the ceiling as it escaped.

Hurrying to his friend's side, Jason was shocked by the severity of her injuries. Eileen lay unconscious, but alive. Her breathing was ragged, shallow, and hoarse. Coughing, the girl awoke. Smiling up at him, she motioned to her throat, and again to her spine. The alien had crushed her trachea, then broken her back when throwing her away. Jason took her hand and nodded. Eileen nodded in reply. Leaning forward, he kissed her gently. She smiled, then gave a rattling breath. Her eyes rolled back, then closed, never to open again. Shrouding his friend in a table covering, he turned and walked away. Hot tears of pain, hate, and helplessness flowed unabated down his cheeks. There would be a reckoning with this...

...Nightmare from the Stars...


Nightmare from the Stars: Chapter 6
Author: Sorensen1318

The moon rose high into the night sky. The stars were bright, and many. It was midnight. One who watched all these things did not bother to make note of them. Jason Fox stood atop a hill, staring out across Camp Bohrmore. He thought of many things, or perhaps nothing at all. The sound of approaching footsteps snapped him from his silent reverie. Quickly looking back, he saw his friend Marcus standing a short ways behind him. He turned around, and continued to watch the stars. Marcus walked up beside him. Drawing breath, the boy spoke. "Goldthwait found a gas jeep in a maintenance shed. You...?"

Jason shook his head, slowly. Marcus nodded. Fox had business to deal with. "I can't convince you to leave?" Another shake of the head. Marcus turned, and walked away. Jason walked down the hill, toward Science Lab One. An alien of hideous aspect stalked the camp. Jason was sworn to destroy it. Should it escape the camp and reach a metropolitan area, the results would be disastrous. Entering the lab, Jason looked around and surveyed the tools at his disposal.

After several hours of hard work, Jason's preparations were complete. Numerous squirt guns, filled with assorted pain-inducing chemicals, were placed on countertops around the room. Sealed test tubes filled with pyrophoric solutions were also readily available. The only setup likely to kill the creature, however, would probably kill him as well. An autoswitch on all bunsen burners, activated, was slowly filling the room with gas. A gas mask was handy here, and high hopes that the creature's stomach was more powerful than its sense of smell. Should all else fail, the miniature warp engine built by Jason and Marcus was wired to overload and self-destruct.

Jason waited. After three hours of hard work, and two of waiting, the alien came for him. Slithering down from the ceiling vents which were its highway, the creature turned to look at him. He was still terrified of the beast, of course, but owed it a debt of blood. He moved near the test tube racks as the thing stalked him. As the creature prepared to lunge, he grabbed a test tube and hurled it at the alien. The creature shrieked as a flash of fire engulfed its head. Jason picked up a squirt gun as the smoke cleared. The alien lunged through the air, knocked the gun from his hand, and gripped him in a horrible bearhug. The sound of snapping bones could be heard for an instant, then Jason broke free. He rolled across the floor, then lay gasping in pain.

The alien approached as the boy struggled to his feet. Stopping a few feet away, the beast reared up to its full seven feet. Quicker than the eye could follow, its blade-tipped tail lashed out. The sharp bone edge slashed Jason across the back as he tried to run away. Whipping out again, the tail encircled his legs, pulling him to the ground. Lifting the daring camper into the air, the alien opened its ample jaws. Jason, suspended in midair, tried to struggle free, then stopped in horror. A hideous inner jaw, working separately from the outer teeth, opened and closed while taking the place of the alien's tongue. All of a sudden the inner jaw shot out, as if on a stalk, and punched through Jason's shoulder.

Jason screamed in pain. Fumbling in his pocket (with his other arm), he tried to reach the match he had hidden there. Finding it, he reached out and struck it on the alien's nose. As soon as the match was lit, he tossed it out into the room - between several dozen open, unlit bunsen burners. A wall of flame shot across the room. Numerous miniature explosions began as chemicals were ignited. In surprise, the creature dropped him. Jason grabbed one of the emergency fire blankets he had left out, then fell back to the floor. The fiery surge hit the alien, which screeched in rage and pain. The creature was lifted into the air by the force of the blast, and cast into the wall - smashing a hole in the plaster! As the gas burned off, Jason hurried over to the master switch and cut the gas flow to the bunsen burners. He breathed a sigh of relief. He had won! Time to shut down the warp engine.

The alien opened its eyes, and looked around. The prey was standing nearby, next to some machine. Its back was turned. The creature rolled onto all fours, then prepared to lunge. Jason looked behind as the alien took to the air. Shouting, he attempted to duck the alien's jump, but the creature landed behind him and pounced again. Jason only had time to activate the matter/antimatter collapse on the warp engine miniature before the beast seized him. The creature tossed him across the counter, then waited for him to stand. Jason rose to his feet as the warp engine began to crackle and glow with seething energy. Seeing the warp engine speed toward massive explosion, the creature seemed to understand. It raised one hand in a gesture of salute, then fell to the wall of violent energy that spewed forth from the machine. Jason was punched backward by a tremendous force. As he flew through the air, he saw something in the blast wall. A dark space, then time rushing infinitely on an eternal line. Picking out one moment of the timeline, he screamed a warning across space and time, to a girl gathering water in a lab. A space-time distortion... how nice. He flew into a storage cabinet door, then lost consciousness as radiation-shielding panels (made from lead) fell over him. The world went dark...

...and became light again. When Jason awoke, he found he was leaning against a tree. He could see the ruined ashes of Lab 1, as well as several bandages and slings keeping his body together. There was a person at his side... Eileen! Seeing that her friend was awake, she filled him in. "Hey, Jason. Glad to have you back with us, finally. Phoebe and Goldthwait patched you up. Looks like you killed that thing, whatever it was. Oh, and Jason... I don't know how you did it, but thanks for the warning back there. The alien could have killed me." Leaning forward, she kissed him.

********************

The hive-queen seethed. The death of one of her warriors resonated to her across mind and space. Earth. Earth. Humans... they were strong, but her children were stronger. They would pay for the death of her spawn. But this was not the time. She looked with pride out across her millions of swarming brood. They would pay, someday. Let them wake, for now, from their...

...Nightmare from the Stars...

THE END...?


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