Author : Brian Olszewski

The room reeked of burnt flesh. A fluorescent green halo blinked from the ceiling; the emergency lights animated the thick vapor swirling at the lab’s center, partially occluding the operating table.

Two special-ops soldiers entered, with guns drawn, fanning to either side of the door. Each zigzagged the light beaming from the barrel-top of their gauss rifles with precision, highlighting open cabinets, drooping drawers and dead machines. The lab’s floor was strewn with bloodied utensils, shaped and sharpened to cut through the toughest non-human exo-skin and bone in the galaxy.

“Still getting a faint bio-reading, but . . .”

“Weird. The Fe count is off the charts.”

They looked at each other from their ready stances. One motioned to move further into the hexagon-shaped room, the details of which flitted across the holographs of visor-interiors in glowing characters.

One soldier kicked a knife accidentally, clanging it into saws and blades across the maroon-stained tiles. “Dammit.”

“Something’s on the table.”

“Yep. Hope one of experi-pets didn’t stick around.”

They approached the warm mound flashing on their visor’s displays. A knot of fused flesh and steel crystallized in the foul mist they inhaled, a paralyzing horror.

The eyeless head-mass. A pewtered scream flush against the tabletop. The limb-hints protruding from the larger crinkled lump.

Then: ironstone tiles infected boots and the bones and skin within; the vapor-born stony contagion spread, clogging veins, hardening intestines, choking lungs, calcifying hearts, joining the soldier-statues to the ranks of the doctor’s stilled metallic life.

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