Secrets of the Midnight – Kemboi
The sci-fi classic Secrets of the Midnight introduces 3 spooktacular stories of Halloween haunting for the Never Rad Halloween Special.
Kemboi In the first installment of the Never Rad Halloween Special, we hear excerpts from the audio recordings of Kemboi was written by Conrad Miszuk, featuring the voices of Ryan Jenkins as Kemboi, Fox Williams as Seaver, Kitt Keller as the Doctor and Scientist #1, Conrad Miszuk as the Patient, Scientist #2 and the Computer Voice, and Briauna Kittle as the Child Ghost and the stage directions.
Secrets of the Midnight was written by Kitt Keller, featuring the voice of Conrad Miszuk as the Narrator, Fox Williams as the Announcer, and Kitt Keller reading stage directions.
MFX 1: Freaky haunted organ music
NARRATOR: Hello and welcome to my boudoir. Come in; make yourselves at ease. We will be journeying together tonight through the realm of the macabre—it would not do for you to be…discomfited.
The stories you will hear tonight may unsettle and astonish you, but fear not! Not yet, anyway. [ominous laugh]
Tonight we go to that most supernatural frontier, the place where darkness reigns supreme, where strange and unspeakable creatures roam the night, and where no one can hear you scream. For tonight on Secrets of the Midnight we present to you three stories of most ghastly delight.
Picture for yourselves a space station, drifting alone through the vacuum of space. The Sindri Space Station. A silvery beacon tucked into the heart of an asteroid cluster. Once a thriving colony of resolute miners toiling away within the asteroids surrounding their celestial home, then abandoned quite suddenly. One day a bustling center of industry; the next? Bereft of life. Devoid of even the tiniest of tardigrades. As though some blight on all things mortal had swept through on the solar wind. [ominous laugh]
For years upon years it floated along, as empty as the helmet of a discarded space suit, until one fateful day, it was purchased and reopened for business. But who can say what will happen now…now that the spirits of those long dead find their eternal rest disturbed?
For our first tale of terror, allow me to present the story of a futuristic phantasm. The story of Tanya Kemboi, humble repair worker, about to encounter beings of an unknown and unexplainable nature…
And now, my sweet little ravens, we will begin our adventures. Sit back, relax, and prepare yourselves for a journey into the occult. [ominous laugh that ends with a coughing fit] Pardon me; so sorry about that.
KEMBOI (SINDRI STORY #1)
SFX 1: Heavy breathing in a space helmet for a moment.
KEMBOI: Tanya Kemboi. Eleven twenty-three dash ten oh four dash seven hundred. We are beginning the repairs on Medical Bay 3, the closest medical bay to the functioning part of the station. There is extensive damage to the hull, but nothing we can’t patch back together. It looks like damage from disuse. No force fields, no asteroid lasers, and bam, you get a hole in the hull. Standard stuff. Automated systems sealed the doors before the ship lost power, isolating the damage to just this room. We have yet to see the extent of the damage to the next rooms. If it’s anything like this, we have a lot of work ahead of us. We’ve got a crew of six working right now. Four hired hands from outside, myself, and Quinn Seaver, my second in command. The team is currently sizing up the damage and measuring the holes to patch up. We’re outfitted with C-Class suits with enhanced mobility for physical labor. I prefer using the B-Class, but this is what we had available for this job. The C-Class just doesn’t give us as much time before we have to reconnect to the ship’s systems to refresh our air supply. Fixing Atmo was a real pain in the ass. We had to run back to the docking shuttle every four hours, and the rest of the crew was just sitting there twiddling their thumbs, or other gripping bits, just waiting. They could have at least pretended to have some more patience.
Getting Gen 1 started up was no issue once we had some air to breathe, powered by an extension from the docking shuttle. The issue is that there’s a short. Modern generators are completely modular and you can disconnect any system without trouble either from the generator or from a control panel. I thought that was standard for a hundred years at least. But it looks like this station was designed to a cost, and there’s something here in Med Bay 3 that’s causing the whole system to malfunction. We’ve gotta get it sealed up in here so we can at least get Atmo working off the station’s generator, and then we can work a lot faster fixing the rest of the problems if we don’t have to top up every four hours. The suits stay on, of course, according to IR 99. We never know what could suddenly fail on a space station this damaged until we’ve run full diagnostics, and we’re a long way from that.
I’m tired. The whole team is tired. We’ve been working for ninety-six hours straight now. The regulation stimulants give us another eighteen hours to work safely, so long as we get a thirty-six-hour break at the end. We have to get this short sorted out in that time or we might have to keep working. I’ve done longer before, but it’s been many years, and the side effects are nasty. Thirty six hours are not enough, let me tell you. I slept with a cannon under my pillow for six months, and that’s after they tried to take it away. They tried to give me a new one, but the teeth marks remind me to stay within safety regulations. The powers that be might not value our lives a hell of a lot, but I sure do. At least me and Quinn. I never know who they’re going to give me for labor. Mostly chipped convicts and who knows what the hell they’ve done. They’re sure not hedge fund managers. One of ’em’s got twenty-seven hash marks tattooed on his forearm and I’m guessing that’s not how many lovers he’s had. I’ve seen a chip fail before, and whatever monster it’s keeping at bay, it gets ugly.
I’ve been told that this station was originally put here to mine Dureen, a rare type of metal alloy that is difficult to manufacture. They say it can only be made when a planet explodes, whether that’s from an impact from another large object or… something else. It’s great for space ships and weaponry. They got it all out of these chunks floating around the station and that’s supposedly when they abandoned things, but I’ve heard conflicting reports and I’m not sure what to believe. Tall tales. Rumors. The kind of things you don’t want to hear before becoming the front line of the repair crew.
I’m told we’re here looking for Xeromite. It’s a mysterious mineral that supposedly helps with long term hibernation for long space travel. The exact mechanics of it are still not clearly understood, but with the way things are right now, it’s not surprising that they’re just taking something that works and not asking too many questions about it. The terrestrials are safe in their bubble, but out here in the reaches, we know what’s going on. Or at least some of what’s going on. It’s hard not to see it. I’m beginning to ramble. It’s the stimulants.
SEAVER: Tanya, check this out.
SFX ##: Transition sound.
KEMBOI: Seaver wanted to show me the extent of the damage to the hull. We needed some specialty fab pieces to make sure everything is hooked up the right way. The powers that be want me to get this stuff done fast. I don’t want to have to do it twice. It’s not going to do anyone any good if we fix the problem, and then it blows again, but this time with someone from bridge crew down here without a suit. I’ve seen it happen.
So we’ve got it fixed up and I think we’ve got just about all of the wiring sorted as well. There’s a computer console here that seems to be the heart of the wiring problem. It makes no sense that this console would be the issue. Why would it have such a high priority in the wiring schema?
SEAVER: I think we’re all clear.
KEMBOI: Good. Let me radio.
SFX 2: A radio beep.
KEMBOI: Okay, flip the switch.
SFX 3: Generators switch on, low tones gradually rise to their final hum.
SEAVER: What’s that?
KEMBOI: It’s a recording…
DOCTOR: The patient seems to be suffering from some sort of delirium.
SFX 4: Shaking of shackles and growling.
DOCTOR: This is now twenty-nine cases.
PATIENT: We have to get out of here!
DOCTOR: Nurse, please administer the sedative. Then we’ll have to consider cold storage.
SFX 5: A hiss.
DOCTOR: The patients all report similar experiences. Anywhere the waste from the mine goes, there are reports of apparitions. Ghostly alien forms. They report long claws and sharp teeth and tall slim frames covered in an exoskeleton of some sort. These “ghosts”, for lack of a better term here, attack the crew. Some of the crew members have come into the infirmary here with wounds. My guess is there’s some sort of gas leak or other chemical contamination coming from something in the mines that is causing a hallucination, and then you have one person say something about alien ghosts and suddenly everyone in the room is seeing them. We have to keep these incidents quiet or soon we’ll have a ship full of people seeing sharp claws and exoskeletons. It seems likely that the wounds are caused by other crew members. The markings are consistent with human fingernails and teeth.
SFX 6: Generators powering down, and the hum dropping in pitch.
KEMBOI: What was that?
SEAVER: Another short?
KEMBOI: Dammit. Bypass this console and keep tracing the circuit.
* * *
KEMBOI: The first time I set foot on this station, I knew we were going to have trouble. It has taken us thirteen hours to trace all of the wiring in this room. A lot of it has been mangled, and there seems to be a lot of messy work here. This station wasn’t supposed to last as long as it did. The trouble is we know for sure now that there is a problem elsewhere on the station and now we have to find it. The orders are to keep working until we fix it, but that’s pushing us into the warning zone on our stimulants. This is going to be trouble. If any of these chips pop, I’m going to personally see to it that command hears about it. If I survive.
* * *
KEMBOI: So, we’ve traced the electrical problem to the science station next door to Medbay 3. Looks like Science Station 4. The place is filled with the mining waste. I think they were trying to figure out why it was causing hallucinations.
Speaking of hallucinations, we’re at 100 hours working. The effects of extended exposure to the stimulants are starting to come into play. My skin feels cold as ice, but the meat under my skin feels like it’s slow cooking in my blood. I keep forgetting to blink. Some of the crew are getting itchy. I can see them getting their arm free of the suit sleeve so they can scratch somewhere inside the suit. The trick is to not start scratching. It only gets worse. And you don’t want to get caught with your suit on the wrong way if there’s a sudden void.
SEAVER: It’s the console again.
KEMBOI: That doesn’t make any sense.
SEAVER: It’s the console.
KEMBOI: Who the hell wired this stuff up?
SEAVER: The wiring’s a mess. I have to wonder if it didn’t get messed up when the ship took damage.
KEMBOI: Damage to the ship made complete, secure connections between unrelated consoles?
SEAVER: I can’t believe it was designed this way. It makes no sense. Maybe the previous crew did something?
KEMBOI: Let’s not start any rumors. The stimulants are going to start playing with our heads as it is. We don’t need any help.
SFX 7: Comm beep.
KEMBOI: Okay, power it up.
SFX 8: Generator starting up.
SEAVER: Another recording?
SCIENTIST 1: What are you doing?
SCIENTIST 2: An experiment.
SCIENTIST 1: Where is your protective gear?
SCIENTIST 2: It was in the way.
SCIENTIST 1: We have to get you into the shower. You’re covered in the stuff.
SCIENTIST 2: That’s part of the experiment.
SCIENTIST 1: This is dangerous. Come on, snap out of it!
SCIENTIST 2: No. I can see them.
SCIENTIST 1: Who?
SCIENTIST 2: I don’t know. They’re people, maybe. Or like people. I think they’re dead.
SCIENTIST 1: Dead?
SCIENTIST 2: The minerals let me see them.
SCIENTIST 1: The minerals are playing with your mind.
SCIENTIST 2: Don’t be ridiculous. I can see them.
SCIENTIST 1: You need to get into the shower now.
SCIENTIST 2: It’s extraordinary.
SCIENTIST 1: Either you get in the shower, or I call security.
SCIENTIST 2: No! You can’t!
SCIENTIST 1: Get… in… the… shower!
SFX 9: A struggle. Bodies impacting. A punch. Cracking bones.
SCIENTIST 2: Ray? Ray? Are you alright? Oh, god, what have I done?
Don’t sneak up on me like that.
No, you can’t be there, you’re on the ground here. You’re dead.
I see. You’re one of them now.
SFX 10: More gore. Punching, breaking bones. Slamming against metal.
SEAVER: What is she doing?
KEMBOI: Checking out the hard way.
SFX 11: The recording cuts off.
SEAVER: What did I just see?
KEMBOI: It doesn’t matter. We need to move on. Get the wiring straightened out. Stay cool.
SEAVER: You got it.
CHILD GHOST: (giggling)
KEMBOI: What are you doing here?
SFX 12: Barefoot running on metal.
KEMBOI: Where are you going?
SEAVER: What are you talking about?
KEMBOI: There was a little girl. She didn’t have a suit on.
SEAVER: A little girl? There were no children on the shuttle? Who would bring a child to a wreck like this?
KEMBOI: Maybe they couldn’t find a sitter. Stranger things have happened. Look, I gotta check it out, okay?
SEAVER: Be back in an hour no matter what. I don’t want to have to hunt you down in a busted ship in the grips of stimulant madness, okay?
KEMBOI: Got it.
SFX 13: Some sort of transition.
CHILD GHOST: (Giggling).
KEMBOI: Come back here! It’s dangerous!
SFX 14: Footsteps.
KEMBOI: This is not a time for games! You could get hurt!
CHILD GHOST: (Giggling).
KEMBOI: There’s… there’s next to no atmosphere in here. You can’t be giggling.
CHILD GHOST: (Giggling).
KEMBOI: Where are we? Archive 1? It’s a mainframe of some sort, lots of consoles, lots of server space. The little girl… she’s leaning on one of the consoles.
SFX 15: Comm blip.
KEMBOI: Seaver, can you route any power to Archive 1?
SEAVER: (on comm) Why the hell do you want that?
KEMBOI: There’s something I need to see.
SEAVER: It’s been a long shift. Can it wait?
KEMBOI: Just do it.
SEAVER: There’s no guarantee this will work. None of this wiring is set up correctly.
KEMBOI: Just give it a try. If it doesn’t work, I’ll come right back.
SFX 16: Generator starting up.
SEAVER: So are you coming back?
KEMBOI: It powered up. It’s working.
SFX 17: A cacophony of voices, reports and screaming.
SEAVER: What the hell is that sound?
KEMBOI: It’s like a hundred recordings are playing back all at once.
SFX 18: More voices, calm and intense, and screaming. Sounds of violence. Gunfire.
SEAVER: What is that?
KEMBOI: It’s… some bad things happened here.
SEAVER: The rumors were true?
KEMBOI: Crew members turning on each other. Hurting themselves. Something terrible happened.
SEAVER: What about the kid you saw?
KEMBOI: Lost sight of… no, she’s by the door. She wants me to leave.
SEAVER: Just get back here. I don’t know if that’s your subconscious or what, but I want you where I can see you.
KEMBOI: Okay, yeah, sure. I’m leaving.
SFX 19: Crashing glass, fire, and then suction and wind.
SFX 20: A thud.
KEMBOI: (heavy breathing for a moment). I’m… uh… I’m outside the station. I’m… on… asteroid?
COMPUTER VOICE: Life preservation systems activating.
SFX 21: A rush of air as if from some sort of canister.
SEAVER: Kemboi! Kemboi! God dammit!