-Well... we are fucked -
-Yeah, no shit Lance! -
Keith's yell was answered with a chorus moans and groans coming from under their feet. The boy looked down, thorough the thin metal grate, keeping them suspended a couple meters in the air.
A hundred or so zombie aliens of different form and size were wrestling themselves to get a bit off of the paladins. It was really lucky none of those was tall enough to actually reach.
As the stench of rotting flesh hit his nostrils once more, Keith turned to Lance with a scowl of disgust.
-Well gentlemen, welcome on fucking Planet Romero I guess-
The Castle of Lions had picked up an energy signal from a nearby planet, but fearing it may have been a trap, Allura had decided to send only two of them and one lion.
And so, Keith and Lance had found themselves landing on the surface with the red lion.
He wouldn't admit it, not even if his life depended on it, but Keith was secretly happy to be alone with the sharpshooter.... just a little bit.
At first the planet seemed fairly normal, even considering the apparent lack of inhabitants. The two paladins had left the lion near a river, or what they presumed being a river.
-Hey, mullet man, do you think we'll meet some pretty ladies? –
-I can't even believe that is what your brain is thinking- he tried to hide his irritation with a scoff -And anyway, your pick-up lines are awful and annoying - that probably came out a bit too harsh, and he could see it in Lance's hurt expression. Why was he even angry about? It's not like he cared about what Lance did.
Keith took a deep breath to steady his voice -Anyway, we are not here for leisure time, we have a mission to focus on, let's go-
He may have felt a teeny bit guilty when Lance followed him with his eyes on the ground like a beaten dog.
It took a good two Vargas to find the first signs of any kind of civilization.
Namely, they ended up into what seemed to be a naval construction port.
The morning air was clear, the two suns in the sky shone bright, and there was no one to be seen.
-I might be wrong, but shouldn't this place be more, I don't know, lively? - even if he tried to play it cool, it was clear Lance was scared, his Bayard at the ready, already shaped into a gun.
Keith clenched his teeth. His hand reaching for his own Bayard –Just stay focused- The silence was deafening.
It was another couple of Dobashes before they encountered anyone.
They were moving slowly, making as little noise as humanly possible, and Keith was so focused on what was before him that he nearly jumped when Lance elbowed him in his guts.
-Lance what the hell? - the blue paladin didn't answer, electing instead to use a finger to point silently. Keith followed the direction with his eyes.
There was a figure staggering and wobbling just at the end of a narrow path to their left. It was a little shorter than a human and had two pair of arms. Its skin was of a sickening greenish color.
Keith moved quietly in its direction, ignoring Lance's concerned squeal, until he was close enough to touch it with the tip of his sword, the blade firm in his grip. The closer he got the worst the stench lingering in the air became.
No response. No sign he was even heard.
-Uhm, Keith, I don't like where this is going-
Keith glanced behind him. Lance was pale and he held his gun ready to open fire. He really wanted to disagree with the blue paladin, to call him coward and tell him to lower his weapon. But he didn't. Because something rubbed him the wrong way as well, and all his instincts were screaming for him to run.
Instead he gulped and took a step forward, raising his voice. This seemed to do the trick and the alien slowly turned to face him. Blood froze in his veins, as the red paladin stared at the bloody hole where half of its face originally had been.
The creature stumbled forward, all four of his arms stretched toward Keith.
At its every movement splotches of blood and bits of flesh fell on the ground.
Keith heard Lance scream out for him to run, he heard him panicking and firing his weapon. A bluish blast passed him and missed the target. The blue paladin's arms were trembling terribly, he was sure of it. Another blast hit the alien right in the center of its chest, opening a smoking hole through which bones and entrails were now exposed. And still it didn't stop it.
Keith knew he had to move, but his legs were frozen in place, and his brain seemed to have lost the ability to think. He felt nausea surging in his stomach.
He made as to raise his shield, but before his muscles responded, he was thrown on the ground, the creature on top of him was trying to bite him on his forearm through the space suit. Keith thanked God he was wearing his protective space gear, the only reason he didn't have to cope with rotting teeth sinking into his flesh.
He put his free hand on its chest to try and push him away. It felt so horribly like pushing away a bag full of gelatin, that Keith had to bit his lips to fight the need to throw up.
Finally, he managed to free himself, throwing the alien against a wall. He quickly pulled himself up, the adrenaline had finally awoken his muscles, and took a few steps backwards.
The two paladins stood still, watching the alien trying to stand up itself, both of them ready to fight, side by side.
-What in the fucking hell is that fucking thing? - Lance's voice was shacking.
-I don't know, but it surely isn't friendly- Keith closed his helmet in open space mode and with the corner of his eye he could see his partner do the same. After all, if that thing had decided to go for his jaw, or his neck, instead of his arm, things would have gone quite differently.
-Ok, what about this, shot first, ask questions later- Lance nodded beside him and raised his rifle -And Lance... aim for the head this time -
The impact of the shot with the skull of the alien sent what remained of the head flying, leaving only a mess of bone, blood and brain scattered in a gruesome and macabre painting on the concrete.
The paladins waited a few more ticks before they made their way to the carcass. -Do you think it’s dead? - Keith nodded, and for good measure, landed a kick in the abdomen of the corpse.
This caused the dead muscle to have a spasm which, in return, caused the two to jump back, possibly shrieking, quickly bracing their weapons.
They managed to calm down enough to approach the dead body once more. -Okay, I shot first, now it's time for questions, right? Because to me this looks a lot like.... -
-Don’t! - Keith had spoken through his teeth - Don't even think about what you're thinking-
-Oh, come on, you must have thought it too...-
-It tried to bite you.... -
-Not going there-
-It didn’t die when I shot it in the chest-
-Don't say it-
-That's clearly a zombie fuck of some sort- Lance had stated that like a matter of fact, like it didn't really bother him that something like zombies could actually exist and the had just blast one to kingdom come.
But it did matter to Keith. He groaned and crouched, holding his head between his hands.
-You okay there, buddy? -
For good answer, Keith took off his helmet and threw up.
-Peachy! I just could never really stand zombies and stuff like that back on earth, and now it turns out I fell right into one... feels like Christmas-
The look on Lance's face was sympathetic -We could always contact the others and abort the mission-
-No, we received an emergency signal. We are going to find whoever sent it. I mean, that.... thing.... couldn't have done it-
Apprehension was clear in his comrade's eyes, but he nodded nonetheless -Okay, you're the leader, I’m trusting you with this, buddy-
A knot formed in Keith's stomach at those words, but he forced himself to stand straight. He turned his back at Lance and took off once again -Keep your eyes open, I fear that might not have been the only one-