The predator had been stalking its prey for the last day and a half and it was starting to loose patience. Neither had been willing to risk a conflict at range. Instead a slow game of catch up...a game of movement. The prey had been clever, using all its tricks it knew to evade capture but now it was out of time. The deadly predator readied its teeth and drew closer, its prey knowing what was imminent to occur.
At first the rumble that reverberated through the slung up hammock that Tyrus was sleeping on could have been blamed on the engines or some practical joker. In fact so could the second. However the third shock, the one that threw Tyrus out his bed and across the room, the young guy sprawling, could not be blamed on any engine or practical joke. In a few seconds Tyrus could hear the screams and the shouts. He could hear the whistles of shells outside and the sounds of thudding boots. Then the alarms started. Loud oppressive alarms. Then came the call from command.
“All personal to damage control and battle -stations. Now!”
Tyrus pushed himself up and stumbled to his locker to grab his gear and boots, another hard shock reverberating through the floor. It took him hardly any time to get dressed from his bare form to being in his heavy clothing, most of it dirty with grime and oil. Strapping a helmet to his head and goggles on his face, he charged out the dormitory and headed up the stairwell, taking two of the metal stairs at the time, joining others that were heading upwards. He didn't give the people around him much thought. All that mattered was getting to his station. Atlast the stairs opened out into the large cathedral of engineering above. A mighty construction of metal and canvas.
He gave it barely a look as he ran down the metal gantry ways that ran along the sides of the huge open construction. All around him, both above and below were gun platforms, some already winched outside the hull, others being readied. A deep boom thundered as one of the positions fired, hurling a shall towards whatever was after them. For a moment all was still then came more thuds and clatters. Objects were hitting the outside, creating a loud clatter like steel rain that filled the inside of the vessel making an already loud environment deafening. Tyrus avoided getting in the gun crews way and headed upwards taking a service ladder that lead up to a narrow door cut into a solid metal bulkhead that formed one of many compartments. Just as he got halfway up there was a shrill whistle and a loud crash as an object punched through the side skin, taking a gun platform with it. The gun and its crew toppled out and off the vessel, their screams impossible to hear over the sound of grinding metal.
Tyrus bolted up the ladder as yet more rounds punched through the outer armour and caused carnage for those inside. Just above a crewman was helping people off the ladder. There was another impact and a flaming object roared overhead. It struck the crewman and in a flash of phosphorus fire he burned to ash and tumbled away. Tyrus ignored the frightful scene and clambered up to the gantry-way, heading to the next compartment, as the carnage behind continued. He flung himself through the doorway and then slammed the heavy square door shut, spinning the round capstan on its rear sealing the door. At least any fire would be contained. The next compartment he found himself is was as chaotic although seemed in better shape. He raced along, his walkway running along the middle of the vessel, about halfway up the open area. He had gotten about halfway when there was a loud explosion. The cathedral of metal heaved violently. This was followed by the sudden and hard rearing up of the ship. Tyrus, who had been flung to his front by the first impact grabbed onto the metal walkway, sliding his fingers through the holes in its metal grating and gripping tight , glad he was wearing his thick gloves. The steep angle of the craft continued to increase, others who were unable to grip[ or hold anything tumbling, along with anything else that wasn’t secured. Shells...crates...people...loose guns all came crashing down around Tyrus who groaned and half screamed out loud as the ships angle passed 70 degrees. His ship was almost vertical now. Any minute it would start slipping back.
For the shortest of times Tyrus hung there as the ship hung too, seeming to ponder what to do. And then for the briefest of moments it seemed control was back. The angle started to reduce, and the vessel regained a level pitch. Thinking he was safe, the young Tyrus, his face streaked with blood and dirt already jumped up and started running again. The other bulkhead ahead was in reach. And that is when there was a loud thud and an object flew up behind him. He turned just in time to watch the shell bounce of a metal girder. It reached almost centre of the rounded cathedral of engineering before in a flash it burst. It barked like a wounded animal, spraying fragments of boiling hot metal around. Fire and flames licked at those caught too close. Tyrus was knocked back against the bulkhead door and felt his skin upon up on his back, blood pouring from him. He yelled loud but no one heard. The loud explosion soon died away leaving a sight of chaos that was dead and still. Metal walkways lay hanging, ripped apart. Huge tears in the outer skin flapped. Gun positions were silent. That’s when a new sound echoed around. The sound of snapping.
Like gunshots Tyrus watched the heavy, thick metal cables start snapping with whip-cracks. Heavy, arm thick ribbons of metal snapped like elastic and flicked round. He watched a lone survivor be cut in two as one snapped close to him. The brain inside the young man was working slowly, groggy from the impact with the heavy door. But it knew snapping metal bas a bad sign. Tyrus heaved himself up wanting to open the bulkhead door and run but the grinding tearing sounds behind continued. Then to his right he watched the outer hull start tearing around...rising along the wall and then up and around the top before moving under where Tyrus was stood. He looked down, watching the tear continue before it joined back with the hole that caused the first tear. He knew in that instance it was too late.
With a loud crack the ships back snapped and Tyrus watched everything behind him suddenly start moving away, replaced with a blinding glare. Before he could do anything else he felt everything give way and like that he was aware of the wind whistling past his ears. Above he watched his former home continue to tear apart in fire and smoke. Tyrus then lost consciousness. He wouldn’t be awake to watch his ship explode into fire. He wouldn’t be awake to join the pieces of debris falling towards the ground. He wouldn’t be awake as he plunged through the pea green soup that hung in the sky before he hit the murky water beneath with a splash and disappeared under.
The predator watched its prey die before she turned and slinked back into the clouds without any more thought. Yet another victim had fallen to the shark of the sky.