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John Carpenter's

Unfinished Business

by John Hitchcock

Author’s notes: This story takes place after the events of the John Carpenter film. It opens roughly an hour or so after the credits roll, and takes place roughly over the course of a week. Much of the plot takes place in the Russian camp mentioned by Carter towards the end of the prequel.

It should also be made clear that as the majority of this story’s cast is Russian (apart from the three American protagonists and one Romanian helicopter pilot), not all of the dialogue is meant to be English. Dialogue spoken by the Russians that is meant to actually be in Russian will be marked by curved brackets.

I would like to thank XidiouX for all of his support and for suggesting the title, as well as CplFerro for suggesting the use of curved brackets to distinguish when the characters are speaking Russian.


MacReady and Childs both lay in the snow. The fire from their base had died down and it was getting colder. It was dark outside and there was no sign of light coming. Both men knew they were likely doomed as they lay there, half-asleep. The rescue team wouldn’t be able to make it in time, all the vehicles had been destroyed by Blair, and all that was left of Outpost 31 was a few dying flames and smoking ruins.

MacReady had hoped he’d defeated that creature. Ten people had already died because of it. If it got out, than Garry and Nauls died for nothing. Nonetheless, MacReady could not help thinking that perhaps it was right there, right next to him in the form of Childs. Even if he was right, there was nothing he could do. He didn’t have a flamethrower, and the cold mostly kept him from moving. Besides, he had no real way of knowing if his suspicions were real.

The sound of helicopter was vaguely audible in the distance. Neither MacReady nor Childs paid much attention to it, not being able to think straight and dismissing it. Nonetheless, the sound grew louder, until finally the helicopter landed. A group of three or four men emerged, shouting something, but neither of them could understand. They wandered through the camp, trying to figure out what had happened. Suddenly, a man approached the two of them and knelt down. He took a close look at MacReady, and then Childs. He called over his companions, who quickly ran over towards him and were surprised at what they saw.

MacReady and Childs were quickly brought back into the helicopter. One of the men placed a thick blanket over both of them as they flew over the surface of Antarctica. When they landed the two men were quickly rushed inside. Their rescuers did everything they could to quickly warm them up.

MacReady started to come to his senses some time later. He looked around, not knowing where he was. He slipped out from under the blanket and struggled to get onto his feet. The door suddenly opened and in walked a young woman. She was quite young, possibly in her mid-to-late twenties. Her clothes were quite simple- just a grey turtleneck and dark-coloured pants. Her hair was long, straight, and blonde. In her hands, she carried a tray, which she placed on a nearby table. She seemed surprised at noticing MacReady.

“Where am I?” MacReady tried to ask her. The woman didn’t understand. She called out to someone, and a large, middle-aged man with greying hair walked into the room. They talked for a moment before he turned to MacReady.

“You’ll have to forgive Irina,” said the man, who spoke with a thick accent. “She doesn’t speak English.”

It didn’t take long for MacReady to recognize his accent. “You’re Russian?” he asked.

“Yes” replied the man. “My name is Vladimir. You’ll probably have trouble pronouncing my last name.”

“Mac,” replied MacReady.

“Pleasure” replied Vladimir. “Now come. Take a seat.”

MacReady sat down at the table. Irina had provided him with a bowl of oatmeal. Childs started to stir at this point, catching MacReady’s attention.

“You brought him in too?” asked MacReady.

“Of course,” replied Vladimir. “What were we to do? We couldn’t just leave him there.”

MacReady looked at Vladimir. “You don’t understand,” he said. “That might not really be him. He could be a thing.”

Childs heard this and didn’t take it too kindly. “You trying to get me killed?” he asked.

Irina watched in confusion. Vladimir turned to her and gave her some other instructions, and she left the room.

“She might not speak English,” Vladimir said. “But she’s one fine cook.”

Childs pushed the blanket aside and stood up. “How do you know he isn’t a Thing?”  He asked.

“What exactly is this “thing” you speak of?” Vladimir asked.

“It was... something we found,” replied MacReady. “It went around copying us. We blew up the base hoping to destroy it.”

Vladimir seemed confused. He remained silent as the two stared at each other, each reluctant to get close to the other. He sighed and walked out of the room. He went back into the main room and approached one of the other men, the station manager, named Yuri.

{“The two men we found seem to be somewhat paranoid”} said Vladimir. {“They were reluctant to get close together. Something about a “thing”. I think you should keep an eye on them, make sure they don’t try to kill each other.”}

Yuri nodded in agreement and left for the storage room where MacReady and Childs were being held.

***

The following day, MacReady and Childs were allowed to leave the storage room and interact with the other Russians, though Yuri always watched them carefully. However, neither seemed totally comfortable being close to other people. MacReady in particular was always listening carefully for signs of anything, and who could blame him? He had seen the Thing before, and while he had hoped to have destroyed it, he couldn’t be too sure it wasn’t Childs.

MacReady sat down with Vladimir and tried to tell him what happened. He told him all about “those things” that he faced against, and the means by which each of his colleagues had died, including Fuchs, whose death still went unexplained. The Russian listened intently, but was never certain how much of the story to believe.

“You said you found a spaceship?” Vladimir asked.

“Something like that,” replied MacReady.

Vladimir paused for a moment. “A few days ago I wouldn’t have believed that story, and I certainly didn’t until now.”

Vladimir called Yuri over. “Take this man to the girl’s room,” he said.

“What about the other one?” Asked Yuri

“I’ll get him,” said Vladimir.

 “Yes sir,” replied Yuri. He signalled for MacReady to follow. He led him down a hallway towards one of the bedrooms. Yuri pulled out a key and unlocked it. As he opened the door, MacReady stepped inside, and was rather surprised by what he saw.

A young woman, probably somewhere in her twenties, was sitting on the bed. She sat there in a fetal position, her face buried in her knees. It was clear that she was under a lot of stress, and given they’d locked her in this room something must have been wrong.

Vladimir entered a moment later with Childs. “Do you know her?” He asked. MacReady shook his head.

 “She arrived here in a snow-cat just two days ago,” Vladimir explained. “She was also telling stories about this “thing” that copied people.”

“Why did you imprison her?” Asked Childs.

“Up until now, we thought she was crazy,” explained Vladimir. “We had no reason to believe such a creature existed. It goes against all we’d ever known, so the rational explanation was the cold environment had taken a toll on her mind. Like you two, she was also very paranoid, and kept trying to look inside our mouths. Then she tried to attack Irina after she thought she heard something.”

MacReady looked at her. “You know about that thing?” he asked. The girl looked up and nodded. MacReady nervously walked up to the bed and sat down beside her, carefully watching Childs.

“He’s not infected,” the girl suddenly said.

“You don’t know that,” said MacReady. “We’ll have to perform a blood te-“

“His earring,” the girl interrupted.

MacReady looked at Childs, then at the girl. “What’s that got to do with anything?” he asked.

“That thing cannot replicate inorganic material,” replied the girl. “Look,” she reached into a drawer and removed a flashlight, which she shone in her mouth. “See, I have fillings,” she said. “This thing can’t replicate them because they’re artificial, so it spits them out.”

MacReady was surprised. “Open your mouth,” the girl suddenly told him. MacReady hesitated for a moment, but eventually he complied. She shone the flashlight into his mouth and saw that there were in fact fillings. “You’re still human,” she said.

“How do we know we can trust her?” Asked Childs. MacReady wasn’t sure what to think, but understood where Childs was coming from.

“Alright,” said MacReady. “We’ll go through the blood test.”

The girl was confused. “What is this test, exactly?” she asked.

MacReady tried to explain it to her. “When a human bleeds, it’s just tissue,” he said. “The thing’s cells function individually, and by instinct will react to a perceived attack.”

Vladimir looked at the three of them. “If it will make you feel better, than we’ll do it,” he said.

Yuri looked at Vladimir. “Can I talk to you outside?” he asked.

Vladimir looked at them, and then turned back. “Alright,” he said. The two stepped outside and Yuri shut the door.

{“Doc, are you seriously planning to go along with their story?”} Asked Yuri.

Vladimir thought about it for a moment. {“For the moment at least,”} he said. {“If we perform this test it might make them a bit more comfortable being close to each other.”}

{“Do you think there might be some truth in what they say?”}

{“I don’t know,”} replied Vladimir. {“Apparently they’d never met before. It does seem strange that MacReady or Childs would both have the same story as her.”}

{“That was a large explosion,”} Yuri said. {“Something must have caused it.”}

{“Yes, and by the time we arrived the base was in ruins,”} replied Vladimir. {“There must have been a reason for it. Perhaps this thing is real after all, in which case we’ll have to do this.”}

{“If this thing is real,”} Yuri said {“Do you think we can trust them?”}

{“We’ll have to,”} replied Vladimir.

Yuri re-opened the door and Vladimir walked back in.

“Alright,” said Vladimir. “What will you need for the test?”

“Well,” replied MacReady, “We’re going to need blood samples to test- one from each of us.  We’ll also need a hot needle, and someone will have to stand by with a flamethrower.”

“What’s the flamethrower for?” Asked Yuri.

MacReady explained it to him. “You’ll have to heat the needle with something, and if one of us is the Thing, you’ll be able to torch it before it’s too late.”

“Should we get samples from the rest of the team?” Asked Yuri.

“You should be ready to do so, but only three of us were exposed to it,” replied MacReady. “If none of us were infected, than they couldn’t be infected.”

“They were running all over the camp,” Vladimir said. “I say we test them as well regardless. Yuri, I want you to get the flamethrower and get everyone to meet us in the lab.”

Yuri left to carry out his instructions. Vladimir led MacReady, Childs, and the girl to the lab. A few minutes later Irina arrived to help him set up the test. Vladimir gave her a series of instructions which none of the suspects could understand. One by one the other men in the base arrived, most of whom they didn’t recognize, but there were roughly seven others.

One by one, MacReady and Vladimir took the containers and wrote the name of each person on them. MacReady dealt with the Americans whilst Vladimir wrote down the names of the Russians. MacReady wrote down his own name, then Childs, and then realized he’d never asked who the girl was.

“Hey, you,” MacReady said, turning towards her. “What’s your name?”

The girl paused for a moment. “Kate,” she said. “Kate Lloyd.”

MacReady wrote her name down and placed the tray on the table. One by one Irina pricked the fingers of each and everyone, collecting their blood into their respective dish.

Yuri took the hot needle and placed it in front of the flamethrower, heating it up. He held it for a few minutes. “We’ll start with you three,” he said, motioning towards MacReady, Kate, and Childs. One of the other Russians suddenly asked what the idea of this was. Vladimir tried to explain to him, and he reluctantly accepted it.

Yuri placed the needle into MacReady’s blood. Nothing but smoke. The same result came for Childs and Kate.

“I guess we’re all okay,” MacReady said.

Yuri placed the needle into his own blood. The same result occurred. He then reheated the needle and placed it into the sample of Irina’s blood. The poor girl looked frightened as he inserted it, and seemed relieved when nothing happened. One by one Yuri repeated the process on Vladimir and the other Russians.  Kate wasn’t sure what to expect but she was certain something was to happen, as were MacReady and Childs. She had known from the start that both were human- having only taken the test to gain their trust, so she figured they would have known what they were doing.

Nonetheless, to the surprise of MacReady, Childs, and Kate, nothing happened. The Russians were mostly puzzled about exactly what was going on. Yuri lowered the flamethrower and said something to the other men. One by one, each of them started to leave.

Vladimir turned towards the three Americans. “Whatever this thing is, it’s not here,” he said.

“You still believe us, right?” asked Kate.

“I believe you, but if we’re going to do anything, I’d like to see some further prove of its existence,” Vladimir explained.

“What about the spaceship?” Kate suddenly asked.

“The spaceship?” Yuri asked, puzzled.

“The spaceship my team discovered,” Kate continued.

“Wait,” Childs suddenly said. “Your team?”

Kate nodded.

“You were with the Norwegians?” Asked MacReady.

“They brought me in to examine a specimen found frozen in the ice. Then my boss decided to take a tissue sample, and the creature broke out. I was the only one who survived.”

“You weren’t the only one,” replied MacReady. “A few days ago, a dog ran into our camp. It was being pursued by two Norwegians, neither of whom spoke English. One of them accidently blew himself up- I guess he was trying to use a thermite grenade and something went wrong. The other man kept shooting, and none of us could understand why. Eventually, the station manager just did what seemed necessary by shooting him. “

“Can you show me where exactly this spaceship is?” Vladimir asked.

“Yeah, I can do that,” replied MacReady. “I can even fly you there if you want.”

“Alright then,” replied Vladimir. “We’ll head out tomorrow morning.”

“I’ll go with you,” replied Kate.

“Very well,” replied Vladimir.  

***

Early the next morning, Yuri stepped into the bedroom. MacReady and Childs had been moved from the storage room to the bedroom where Kate had been held- aside from trying to make them more comfortable, they hoped having them both there would be comforting towards her.

Yuri quietly stepped over to where MacReady slept on a makeshift mattress made up of blankets. Quietly he shook him awake. MacReady opened his eyes and moaned as he got up.

“Vladimir’s ready to go,” he said.

“Alright,” MacReady muttered. “Get me some coffee will you?”

Yuri then walked over to the bed where Kate lay. For once she seemed to be sleeping peacefully as she lay there. He remembered how she was when they found her, constantly having nightmares about “this thing”. She’d toss and turn a lot, often shouting in her sleep.

Reluctantly, and hesitantly, Yuri nudged her awake. Kate moaned as she slowly opened her eyes. “What’s going on?” she asked sleepily.

“We’re ready to go,” replied Yuri. “Come on.”

Kate sighed as she slowly got out of bed and walked towards the door. He led her and MacReady into the main room. Irina was already serving breakfast to the other Russians.  She had brewed a pot of coffee, and poured some into a thermos for MacReady and Kate. Vladimir soon approached them accompanied by another Russian. “Mac, Kate, I’d like you to meet Ivan,” said Vladimir. “He’s our geologist.”

Ivan smiled as Vladimir introduced Kate and MacReady in Russian. It seemed that like Irina, his English wasn’t as good as that of Vladimir and Yuri. Vladimir turned and led the three of them to the exit. Irina gave MacReady and Kate the coats they had been wearing when they were found, while Vladimir and Ivan put on their own jackets.

The group stepped outside and walked towards the helicopter. One by one they boarded while MacReady climbed into the cockpit, started up the engines, and took off. For at least an hour they flew over the Antarctic surface. With some assistance, MacReady was able to find his way back to the ruins Outpost 31, and from there to the crater.

“There it is,” MacReady finally said, pointing towards it. Kate looked out her window, apparently surprised.

MacReady slowly lowered the helicopter on the edge of the crater and stepped out of the cockpit. One by one Kate and the two Russians came out.

Kate was shocked upon seeing the crater up close.  “What’s the matter?” MacReady asked her. “I thought you said you were with the Norwegians when they discovered this.”

“I was,” replied Kate. “It’s just that when I was here it was a huge cavern, not an open crater.”

MacReady ignored her and walked towards the edge of the deep crater.

Vladimir was amazed. He didn’t know what to think of this. He called for Ivan to get some rope out of the helicopter.

Ivan came back with the rope a moment later and began setting up the grappling hooks. Once that was done he proceeded to climb down into the hole. Kate followed as did Vladimir and MacReady.

“How long do you think it’s been down here?” Asked Vladimir.

 “Based on the depth of the ice,” replied Kate. “I’d say it’s been here 100,000 years.”

“That sounds right,” Ivan said.

“So this is how it got here,” said Vladimir. “It’s a thing from another world.”

“Yeah,” said Kate.

“We got to destroy this,” said MacReady.

“What?” Asked Vladimir.

“We’ve got to destroy that thing, once and for all, before it attacks someone else,” replied MacReady.

“There’ll probably be a rescue team reaching your base eventually,” replied Kate. “If that thing infects one of them, and it gets out, millions of people could die.”

“Not just millions,” replied MacReady. “It’d be the end of the world.”

“My men were running all over your camp,” said Vladimir. “None of them were infected.”

“They just got lucky,” replied MacReady. “At this point we have the advantage. We know what we’re dealing with.”

“If the thing ever was there, it would find a way to infect one of your men,” said Kate. “Perhaps it’s finally dead.”

“Maybe it is,” said MacReady. “Maybe it isn’t. The only way to be sure is to destroy everywhere that thing has been.”

“How do we do that?” Asked Vladimir.

MacReady sighed. “I don’t know,” he said.

Vladimir looked around. “Let’s get back to the base,” he said.

“Yeah, alright,” MacReady said before turning back toward the rope. Vladimir shouted something toward Ivan, who quickly came running toward him. Kate watched as MacReady climbed up the rope. Upon reaching the top, he was soon helping Vladimir and Ivan to get up, before raising Kate out of the crater.

Upon reaching the top, Kate noticed something. She quickly ran off from the rest of the group. MacReady and Vladimir were just as quick to follow her. Kate stopped right in front of a small rectangular hole, standing at the very end of it.

It didn’t take long for MacReady to remember the significance of the hole. He had found it when he arrived at the crater alongside Norris and Palmer. “That’s where you found the thing, isn’t it?” He asked.

Kate nodded.  A few tears emerged as she recalled the painful memory of everything that followed the discovery- the deaths one-by-one of her teammates, her gradual rivalry with Sander, the Juliette-Thing nearly killing her, having to shoot Carter, trying to navigate the Antarctic in the middle of the night without freezing to death, attacking an innocent woman out of paranoia, and being locked in a room under the belief that she was mad. MacReady put his arm around her shoulder in an attempt to comfort her before turning back towards the helicopter.

***

 Yuri sat in his office, filling out some paperwork when there was suddenly a knock at the door. He put down his papers and walked over to the door. He opened it to find Vladimir standing there.

{“Can I help you?”} Asked Yuri.

{“I need to talk to you,”} replied Vladimir. {“It’s about those things.”}

Yuri sighed. “Alright,” he said. {“This had better be important.”}

Yuri sat back down at his desk while Vladimir entered the room, taking a seat right in front of him. {“As you already know, I went out this morning Ivan, MacReady, and Kate to see if there was any truth to their story.”}

{“What did you find?”} Asked Yuri.

{“Exactly what they said,”} replied Vladimir. “There was a spacecraft of some sort buried in the ice.”

{“Than this thing is real?”} Yuri asked.

Vladimir remained quiet for a moment. {“Yes,”} he finally said. {“It is real.”}

Yuri seemed shocked by this. {“So we have found the first proof of extraterrestrial intelligence,”} Yuri said with some enthusiasm. {“We have evidence that there’s life elsewhere in the univer-“}

{“And it’s responsible for the destruction of two camps,”} Vladimir said, cutting him off. {“Killing quite a few people in the process. If we don’t do something now we could be next.”}

The enthusiasm quickly faded from Yuri’s face. {“If word of this got out,”} he said. {“Our government would no doubt want to use it as a weapon in the arms race.”}

{“And it would kill millions of people,”} replied Vladimir. {“That is, if it doesn’t destroy the entire world.”}

{“That is why we can’t leave here,”} replied Yuri. {“From now on, this place is under quarantine. Nobody will be permitted to leave without my authorization.”}

{“Of course, it could be anywhere,”} replied Vladimir. {“What if someone on the team is infected?”}

{“Well,”} replied Yuri. {“That is why every expedition team leaving here will take a blood test upon returning.”}

{“Kate mentioned something about how they couldn’t replicate inorganic material,”} replied Vladimir. {“Perhaps we should make a note of anything noticeable among the team.”}

{“That’s not a bad idea,”} replied Yuri. “The point is simply we must be able to tell who is infected and who isn’t, and to do so we will have to take maximum precautions.”

***

MacReady sat down in the station’s mess hall, a bottle of wine in hand. He slowly poured himself a glass and took a sip as he watched some of the Russians. Ivan was with two other men, chatting and laughing at things which MacReady couldn’t understand. A few minutes later, Kate walked in and sat down next to him. Neither of them spoke, unable to find something to say.

Irina was in the kitchen preparing dinner for the night. Both MacReady and Kate knew it wouldn’t be anything terribly fancy. Canned meat and frozen vegetables were what was usually available. Nonetheless, MacReady was used to it, and it made the occasional fresh vegetable all the more appealing.

Yuri entered the room accompanied by Childs. Unlike the other Russians, Yuri seemed had a very serious look on his face. Childs walked over toward the table where MacReady and Kate were sitting and reluctantly joined them. Yuri stared at the three Americans for a moment before approaching them and sitting down.

“I’ve enforced a few new policies,” said Yuri. “From now on this base is under lockdown. Nobody is allowed to leave without my authorization.”

“Why is that?” Asked MacReady.

“If we’re going after these things, than we don’t want them getting out,” replied Yuri.

Kate smiled. “You mean you believe us, now?” she asked.

“Yes,” replied Yuri. “I have Vladimir’s report of your expedition, along with a first-hand account by Ivan stating the existence of an alien spacecraft. If that’s real than I see no reason to doubt the rest of your story.”

MacReady poured himself another glass of wine. “So does that mean you’re going to help us?” He asked.

Yuri smiled. “You have our full support,” he said.

Irina suddenly walked over to the table and said something to Yuri. He said something else in response before standing up.

“What did she want?” Asked MacReady.

“Dinner’s ready,” replied Yuri. “She wanted me to help her serve it.”

MacReady nodded in understanding. He could recall a few times having help Nauls in the kitchen, often having to help wash the dishes alongside his teammates. Sometimes all of them- Blair, Fuchs, Garry, Bennings, Windows, Childs, Palmer, Norris, Clark and the rest would be helping Nauls with something.

As MacReady took another sip of the wine, Irina turned her gaze towards him. She said something that sounded rather irritated. “What was that?” He asked.

“She said she was saving that wine for Christmas,” replied Yuri with a smile, before he turned and followed her into the kitchen. MacReady was a bit embarrassed, but kept drinking it anyway.

One by one Yuri and Irina started bringing plates of food as well as cutlery to each of the men. Dinner wasn’t much, just a plate of cooked and processed beef alongside some thawed potatoes, fresh out of a tin.

When Yuri was done he sat back down with the Americans, putting his own food on the table as he did so. As Irina walked by, Yuri called her over and said something. She said something in response before leaving the room.

MacReady was quick to start eating his meat. He cut it and placed a large chunk in his mouth. To his surprise it wasn’t too bad, at least compared to what he was used to. “She’s a good cook,” he said. Yuri smiled.

Irina walked back into the room a moment later with a rolled up sheet of paper and a pencil and handed them to Yuri. He thanked her, and Irina left to go sit with some of the other Russians.

“What’s that for?” Asked Childs.

Yuri unrolled the paper to reveal a map of Antarctica, or rather a map of their general area, which covered several miles. Yuri took the pencil and made a little mark on the map. “This here is the base,” he said. “That’s where we are now.”

Yuri then placed another mark on a much farther spot, “this was where we found MacReady and Childs,” he said.

“Yes, I think I know where my own base is located,” replied MacReady.

“Can you tell me where the crater is?” asked Yuri.

MacReady took the pencil and made a small mark where he thought the crater was. Yuri turned towards Kate and handed her the pencil. “Can you show me where your base is?”

Kate shook her head. “No, this isn’t really my field.” “Fair enough,” replied Yuri.

“I can,” replied MacReady. “I’ve been there.”

“Really?” Kate asked. “You were there?”

“After the Norwegian arrived at our base, Copper and I went to the camp to see if everything was alright. The only person we found was a Norwegian who’d slit his throat open.”

“What?” asked Kate. “That’s impossible. Only Carter and I survived. Everyone else was killed by that thing.”

“Well, obviously someone did,” replied MacReady as he took the pencil from Yuri and made a mark at what appeared to be the right spot. “There,” he said. “The Swedish base.”

“Norwegian,” Yuri said correcting him.

“Whatever,” Replied MacReady.

Yuri paused for a moment before proceeding. “Now, our men have been all over your base,” he said. “As you saw before none of them were infected.”

“I guess I killed it,” MacReady said with a smile.

Childs stared at him. “Maybe they just got lucky,” he said.

“Another search of this base will be in order than,” replied Yuri. “We have to be positive that it’s gone. Supposing it isn’t and as Childs said, we just got lucky. The American rescue team arrives, and finds some strange burnt remains they don’t recognize and take it with them.”

“That’s exactly what happened to us,” replied MacReady, suddenly horrified at the realization. “They’d bring it right into their own base. That was the thing that killed Bennings.”

“Exactly,” replied Yuri. “It will be another disaster, another base destroyed, in which case one of two outcomes will occur. They will be the third in a series of unexplained deaths, and we’ll find ourselves meeting another person claiming to have faced against the thing, or they don’t notice until it’s too late, and it gets out.”

“Another sweep around the Norwegian base wouldn’t be a bad idea either,” MacReady said. “We found that one thing, perhaps there’s others.”

Kate was about to take a bite of her meat when it suddenly occurred to her. “The helicopter,” she said.

MacReady and the others turned towards her. “It was just after we thought we’d destroyed it,” she explained. “It got out and killed one of the Norwegians. We burned it with a flare and tried to study it.”

Kate seemed to have trouble finding the right words to explain what followed. “The next morning... I was in the washroom, and I found blood.”

Kate paused for a moment before she continued. “It was spread all over the shower wall, and fillings. I got everyone together and tried to explain what happened, but Carter and Jameson were already taking off with two other guys in the helicopter. I tried to signal them, and for a moment it seemed they were going to land... then they spun out of control and crashed somewhere.”

Kate clearly felt stressed talking about what happened. Nonetheless, Yuri tried his best to talk to her. “Listen Kate,” he said. “Do you have any idea where it might have landed?”

Kate shook her head, trying to hold back a few tears. Yuri sighed and folded the map, finished his dinner, and left the others to finish theirs.

Yuri sat down at another table and opened the map. He looked over the marks that had been drawn on it. MacReady’s were probably fairly accurate, as he was a pilot, he would have to know this area well. Nonetheless, Kate was a bit less helpful in this regard. Vladimir suddenly walked into the room. Irina quickly took notice, putting down her fork and standing up. Vladimir walked up to her.

{“I’m sorry I’m late,”} he said. {“I was preoccupied,”}

{“Oh, it’s fine,”} replied Irina. {“I’ve got your dinner ready in the kitchen if you’d like me to get it.”}

{“That would be great, thank you,”} replied Vladimir.

As Irina left for the kitchen Vladimir noticed Yuri sitting on his own with the map. He quickly approached the table and sat down.

{“Did you find anything,”} he asked.

Yuri looked up at him. {“Possibly,”} he said. {“Kate mentioned something about a helicopter crash which might have to do with these things.”}

{“A helicopter crash?”} asked Vladimir.

{“Yes,”} replied Yuri. {“Unfortunately, she didn’t know where it could have landed.”}

{“I see,”} replied Vladimir. {“She didn’t know anything?”

“Well, she is a palaeontologist,” replied Yuri. “Navigation and reading maps isn’t exactly her specialty, not to mention she’s been through a lot.”

Irina showed up at that moment with Vladimir’s dinner, which she placed in front of him, and handed him the proper utensils.

{“Thanks very much,”} replied Vladimir.

{“No problem,”} replied Irina. {“Anything else I can get for you?”}

{“How about some vodka?”} Vladimir asked.

Irina smiled. {“You got it,”} she said before leaving.

Yuri continued as Vladimir started eating. {“She mentioned it was just taking off at the time, so it couldn’t have crashed too far out,”} he said. {“I say we take the chopper and search that area tomorrow morning.”}

{“I guess that’s a good place to start,”} replied Vladimir.

{“I also think we should do another sweep through the bases again,”} said Yuri.

{“That’s not a bad idea either,”} replied Vladimir as Irina arrived at the table with a bottle of vodka. She poured into a glass for Vladimir. He thanked her and she went back to her table and sat with the other Russians.

{ “Tomorrow morning I’ll take you and the Americans to the Norwegian camp,”} Yuri continued. {“We’ll investigate it, and then from there perhaps we can get an idea of where the helicopter crashed.”}

Yuri folded the map and placed it into his pocket before he stood up and left Vladimir to his dinner.

***

Early the next morning Yuri was the only man up and about. He entered the mess hall and saw that Irina was already in the kitchen preparing breakfast. He walked over towards the door. Irina seemed surprised to see notice him there.

{“Aren’t you up a little early?”} she asked, briefly looking up from her cooking.

{“Aren’t you?”} asked Yuri.

{“Yes, but when you got to make eggs for 13 people it’s a good idea to start early,”} replied Irina.

{“Fair enough,”} replied Yuri. {“I’ve got to head out with the Americans today.”}

{“Right,”} Irina said. {“More about that thing?”}

Yuri thought about his response for a moment. {“Yes,”} he finally said.

Irina quietly flipped some of the eggs. {“You know, some of the guys are getting worried,”} she said. {“All this talk about being quarantined and this... this... thing.”}

{“It’s alright,”} said Yuri. {“This is all just a temporary precaution.”}

Irina nodded. {“I don’t know what you’re planning with the Americans, but I’d like to ask you something.”}

{“Alright,”} said Yuri. {“What do you want to know?”}

Irina finished frying an egg, got a plate and flipped the egg onto it before she finished.

{“Do you think it’s real?”} she asked.

Yuri paused for a moment before nodding. {“Yes,” he said. “It is real.”}

Irina placed two pieces of toast in the toaster before handing the plate to Yuri. {“Listen, Yuri,”} she said, nervously.

{“What is it?”} Yuri asked.

{“I’m scared,”} replied Irina.

{“So am I,”} replied Yuri. {“It’ll be fine.”}

The toaster suddenly popped, Irina quickly grabbed the two pieces of toast and put them on the plate before turning back to the eggs.

{“Thanks a lot,”} replied Yuri as he walked over to one of the tables. A few other Russians walked in over the next few minutes, and one by one Irina gave them their breakfast. After three men arrived and sat down, Kate arrived.

Irina came out of the kitchen and handed Kate some eggs and toast.

“Thank you,” replied Kate. Irina might not have recognized the exact words, but she seemed to know their meaning. She smiled in response before turning back. Kate turned and sat down with Yuri.

“So what’s the plan?” Kate asked. “Last night Vladimir said something about us leaving.”

“Yes,” replied Yuri. “We’re going after your helicopter.”

Kate took a bit out of her toast before looking at Yuri. “You are?” she asked.

Yuri smiled. “Well, we’ll have to do a bit of searching but I’m sure we can find it eventually,” he said.

Kate looked at Yuri. “How will you know where to look?” she asked.

“Well,” replied Yuri. “We know it was hovering over the Norwegian camp at the time, it couldn’t have landed too far away.”

Kate suddenly recalled something. “Carter and Jameson survived that crash,” she said. “They managed to walk back to our base during the night, and both were still human.”

“In that case it must be within walking distance,” Yuri said. “That narrows it down quite a bit.”

Just then Childs entered the room. After getting his breakfast he sat down with Yuri and Kate. By this point Yuri was just finishing up the last of his eggs. Kate was almost done.

“Now if only MacReady would show up,” Yuri said. “We’d be ready to head out.”

“Where?” asked Childs.

“The Norwegian base,” replied Kate.

“Did either of you see Mac since you got up?” Yuri asked. Kate and Childs looked at each other, than shook their heads.

Yuri sighed. “Right,” he said. “I’ll be right back.”

Yuri stood up and left the mess hall. He walked down the hallway towards the main room, and as he got close, he could hear someone snoring loudly. He entered the room to find MacReady lying on a couch, fast asleep. His arm dangled off the side, and a bottle lay next to his hand. Yuri sighed, and then walked over to him.

Yuri quickly shook MacReady, and it only took a moment for him to wake. He groaned as he struggled to sit up. “Come on,” Yuri said as he grabbed MacReady and tried to help him up. “We need to get to the Norwegian base.” He wrapped MacReady’s arm around his shoulder and carried him towards the mess hall. All the while MacReady was muttering something nonsensical.

Kate was rather shocked to see a semi-conscious MacReady being helped into the Mess Hall. Yuri slumped him down in at the table and called over Irina. “What happened?” Kate asked.

“He seems to have gotten drunk last night,” Yuri said. He turned towards Childs. “Does he do this normally?”

“Yeah,” replied Childs. “It happens all the time.”

MacReady was moaning constantly. His head was in agony, as was typically the case. Irina ran over towards MacReady and tried to look at him.

Yuri looked at Irina. They talked quickly for a few minutes as they tried to figure out what to do. Finally Yuri turned towards the rest of the Americans as Irina helped MacReady up and led him out of the room, attempting to comfort him though he did not understand her.

“It seems he’s in no condition to help us,” Yuri explained. “We’ll have to go without him. One of our own men can fly us there.”

Vladimir entered room at that moment and walked over to the table, somewhat surprised. “Everyone ready to go?” he asked.

{“Almost,”} replied Yuri. {“Mac got drunk last night and now he has a really bad hangover.”}

{“Oh,”} replied Vladimir, somewhat surprised. {“Well, I’m sure Nicolae would be willing to take over flying us there.”}

{“I’ll talk to him about it,”} replied Yuri. {“You hurry up and get something to eat. There might be something left in the kitchen.”} He turned towards the Americans. {“You two go get your coats on. I’ll meet you at the chopper.”}

***

MacReady moaned in agony as Irina carried him into her bedroom and laid him down on the bed. As she slowly put the sheets over him she seemed to be saying something which he couldn’t understand, but still seemed to find comforting. Once the blanket was on him Irina left for a few minutes.

MacReady wanted to leave the room. He just wanted to pull of those sheets and get out of bed, but he felt too weak to stand, so he just lay there. Irina came back with two cans of orange juice.  She opened one and carefully placed it over MacReady’s mouth, spilling a few drops of the liquid in his beard. She slowly poured in small amounts at a time, pausing after a few seconds before putting the can down.

She started trying to say something to MacReady, apparently some instructions, which unfortunately he failed to understand. “This is going to be a long day,” he thought to himself.

***

As Vladimir left for the kitchen, Yuri turned towards the other table where three other men were sitting. One of them was Nicolae, their own helicopter pilot. He was a young man in his mid-thirties. He had a thin, dark beard and short hair, and was wearing a dark brown sweater. He was of Romanian background, speaking Russian with a thick accent, and also did not understand English.

Nicolae was talking to the dog handler Miroslav, a large man with a thick red beard, and the radio operator Alexei, a younger man with short brown hair and noticeable stubble.

 

Yuri approached the three men, looking specifically at Nicolae as he tapped him on the shoulder.

{“Come on,”} he said.

Nicolae was confused. {“What’s going on?”} he asked.

{“We need you to fly us,”} said Yuri.

Nicolae sighed. {“Don’t you have that American who can help you?”} he asked.

{“Yeah,”} said Miroslav. {“Ever since this nonsense about the “thing” started you’ve been getting that American to fly you everywhere.”}

Yuri paused for a moment. {“He’s not feeling too good,”} he said.

Remembering how MacReady was when he entered earlier, Miroslav burst into laughter. {“Those Americans,”} he said with a big grin. {“They’ll get drunk on anything.”}

Yuri’s face remained cold. He stood there, arms crossed. {“Don’t you have something more important to be doing Miroslav?”} He asked. {“Maybe feeding the dogs?”} Miroslav quickly stopped laughing and stood up. {“Uh, yes,”} he said. {“I’ll just go and do that.”} He quickly turned and left the room. Yuri looked at Nicolae. {“Come on,”} he said, leading him outside. {“What’s all this about?”} Nicolae asked as he followed him.

{“Listen,”} replied Yuri. {“Whatever this thing is its destroyed two bases and I intend to see it doesn’t get to a third. Whatever happens here could end up determining the fate of the rest of the world.”}

Yuri stopped outside one of the bedrooms. The door was closed and Yuri gave it a slight knock. A few seconds later the doorknob moved, and the door slid open. Irina stood in the open doorframe looking at him.

{“I just wanted to check on your patient,”} said Yuri. {“How’s he doing?”}

Irina remained silent for a moment. {“Not so good,”} she said. {“I’ve been trying to give him citrus, but he’ll also need a lot of rest.”}

{“How long will this be necessary?”} Yuri asked.

{“Until he starts to feel better,”} replied Irina. {“It could be a few hours or it could be the next few days.”}

{“Alright,”} replied Yuri. {“Just keep an eye on him for the moment. Make him comfortable and try to make sure this area stays quiet. Hopefully, when I get back, he’ll be feeling a bit better.”}

Irina nodded and closed the door. Yuri turned and continued down the hallway, Nicolai following close behind. After Yuri stopped to pick up the base’s flamethrowers, they managed to reach the coat room where Kate and Childs were waiting. .

“There you are,” Childs said impatiently. “What took you so long?”

Yuri didn’t answer as he and Nicolai put on their coats, Yuri also putting the gas cylinders onto his back. Vladimir arrived at that moment and quickly grabbed his own coat.

“Alright, is everybody ready?” Yuri asked, looking at the team. “Kate, Childs, this is Nicolai, our helicopter pilot.”  He quickly introduced the Americans to Nicolai in Russian before leading the team outside.

Nicolai climbed into cockpit of the helicopter. Vladimir, Yuri, Kate and Childs stepped into the back. As to Nicolai started up the helicopter, Yuri removed the map he had from the previous night, which had the approximate location of the Norwegian base. Once the helicopter was in the air, he began providing the co-ordinates to Nicolai.

It was roughly an hour that Nicolai spent in the air searching for the Norwegian base, but they finally managed to locate it. As the helicopter landed, Yuri began briefing the team.

“Upon landing,” he said, “We are going to search through this base for any signs of the thing. We only have two flamethrowers with us, but we do have flares on board. Now remember, if you see anything— and I mean anything that appears to be inhuman, I want you to burn it. We’ll bring this whole camp to the ground if we have to,” Yuri said.

The helicopter finally touched the ground. As the team climbed out, Yuri got a crate filled with flares, and proceeded to hand one to each of the team. Vladimir got a lantern, while Kate took the other flamethrower, strapping the gas cylinders to her back. She remembered using one before, first to save the life of Sam Carter, then later to kill him.

Yuri led the team towards the ruins of the Norwegian camp. He cautiously opened the door and stepped inside. One by one the team followed. Even for Kate, this place seemed strange. Despite having lived there it seemed so different, so cold and dark.

Suddenly Vladimir’s lantern revealed a door with a large axe embedded in it. Kate quickly remembered this moment- it was Carter who threw that axe into the door. It was not long after that the gas cylinders in his flamethrower leaked and started a massive fire. One of the first rooms they encountered was destroyed beyond recognition. Old furniture was scattered everywhere, small remnants of the initial expedition.

At this point the five members of the team were looking in different directions, looking at different things. Then Vladimir noticed something on the ground. “Look at this,” he said. Kate and Yuri were quick to approach. “What is it?” asked Childs as he walked towards him.

“Dried blood,” replied Vladimir. He continued to walk forward, and the trail continued, finally revealing a horrific sight. In a chair in front of a table was a frozen corpse. His throat and wrists were both cut open, apparently from the razor still in his hand, and the blood dripping from the wrists had frozen into bright red icicles. His mouth was wide open, almost as though he was screaming- he clearly was in a lot of pain when he died.

Kate crouched down in front of the body. The sight was horrific, and it was made all the worse by the fact that she knew the man. “Colin,” she muttered, remembering him. “What happened to you?” Nicolae asked Yuri something, and he promptly turned towards Kate.

“He’s asking if you knew this Norwegian,” Yuri explained.

“He wasn’t Norwegian,” Kate replied. “He was English.”

Yuri promptly translated her response. Kate slowly got onto her feet, struggling to take her eyes off of the horrific image before her. “Come on,” said Childs, moving towards the next room. Yuri followed him, as did Nicolai. Vladimir put his arm around Kate and led her towards the others.

The next room was a mess, full of broken equipment. Along the back wall was a shelf with some old test tubes. The rest of the room was largely empty save for broken shelves and scattered papers.

Vladimir took his arm off of Kate’s shoulder and began looking through the area. He found one shelf covered in snow. He quickly brushed off some of it to reveal what looked like a portable video unit. He turned and began to walk toward the next room. Yuri followed him.

Vladimir found an open door and was startled by something. As he walked down the stairs Yuri entered and saw what it was- a giant block of ice, still intact thanks to the base’s exposure to the cold winter climate. There was an enormous hole on top of the block, almost as if something had broken out.

“Is this where it came from?” Yuri asked as he walked down the stairs. Vladimir nodded. “They found the creature buried in the ice, cut it out, and brought the block in here.”

“That’s exactly what happened,” said a voice from behind. Both men turned around to see Kate standing in the doorway. “Then Sander thought it would be a good idea to drill into the ice and collect a sample,” she continued as she walked down the steps.

“That’s when it got out?” asked Yuri.

“Yeah,” replied Kate after she reached the bottom of the stairs and started approaching the two Russians. “That’s when everything started going horribly wrong.”

Childs followed Kate into the room, noticing the large block of ice. Finally Nicolae walked through the door. Upon seeing the block, he asked what it was. Yuri explained it to him.

Vladimir turned and looked around the rest of the room. He noticed a cabinet behind the ice block and decided to approach. He opened it to find another corpse. This one appeared to be standing, frozen to the back of the cabinet. Kate saw this and nervously walked around the ice block to get a closer look.

“Do you know him?” Vladimir asked her. Kate stared at it for a moment before shaking her head. The body appeared to be in the middle of decomposing, though the cold environment had clearly slowed the process down.  Whatever happened, she could not recognize the person. “I guess it could be Lars,” she said. “We never did see him again. Maybe Carter hid his body.”

Vladimir closed the cabinet and turned back to the rest of the group. “I don’t think there’s anything here,” he said.

“Why don’t you and Kate look outside,” Yuri said. “Nicolae can take the lantern and we’ll see if there’s anything else in here.”

Vladimir agreed and gave the lantern to the Romanian pilot. He put an arm around Kate’s shoulder and led her back up the stairs to the door. Upon reaching the radio room, Kate had some trouble, not wanting to see Colin’s frozen body again. Vladimir kept his arm tightly on her shoulder and led her towards the hallway, past the axe, and finally back to the entrance.

The two of them stepped out of the base into the snow, looking around. As Vladimir took his arm off of Kate’s shoulder she noticed something vaguely familiar. There was a pile of scattered gas containers, most of them partially buried in the snow. She quickly ran over to them and looked at the ground, almost as if something was there. She got down on her knees and tried to dig through the snow, but it was as she feared- nothing.

“What is it?” Vladimir asked, quickly approaching. “One of those things,” Kate replied. “It was right here, we set it on fire and killed it.

“Could it still have been a threat?” Vladimir asked.

“I don’t know,” replied Kate. “If there was still cellular activity than yes.”

“Perhaps Mac found it when he was here,” Vladimir said.

 “Perhaps he did,” said Kate as she stood up.

***

Irina stepped into MacReady’s room. She had gone through a rather odd clothing change, namely that she now was wearing a sparkling bikini. MacReady took no notice of this, however, instead intrigued by her seductive expression as she leaned on the doorframe.

“You know you are a really handsome man,” she said.

“Well, you’re quite a beautiful woman,” MacReady said in response.

Irina smiled and advanced on MacReady. She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him down onto the bed. MacReady laughed as Irina slowly kissed him again and again. “I like a rough guy like you,” Irina said with a grin. MacReady was having the time of his life, then suddenly he heard a cracking sound. Irina’s face was changing. It went from the sexy, attractive young woman to something hideous, turning a bright red as her features became distorted. Only now did MacReady realize something was wrong, but it was too late for him to do something. Irina’s face suddenly split into two halves, and a giant tentacle flew out of the center, wrapping itself around MacReady’s neck. It then pulled him in, crushing his head with the two halves of its face...

MacReady moaned as his eyes slowly opened. In the few seconds that followed he lifted his head and saw Irina sitting on a chair watching over him. She wore a light grey sweater and a thick pair of dark-coloured sweatpants, and her long blonde hair tied into a ponytail. That was also when the pain started to come back, the bad headache he’d gotten that morning, after Yuri woke him. He moaned as his head dropped back down and Irina came over to the bed to try and help him. She helped him to sit up, and by this point he had enough strength at least to stay up.

Irina poured a glass of water for MacReady and handed it to him. He took the glass and drank it slowly before handing it back to Irina. She opened another can of orange juice and handed it to him. At roughly that moment, Miroslav happened to walk into the room. {“Hey, Irina,”} he called out.

Irina sighed. {“What is it,”} she asked.

{“Some of the boys are getting impatient,”} replied Miroslav. {“They want to know when you’re going to be making lunch.”}

{“Well,”} replied Irina, {“You’ll just have to tell them that they’ll have to wait.”}

{“Until when?”} Miroslav asked.

{“Until either Yuri’s team gets back or our friend gets better,”} replied Irina.

Miroslav smiled. {“Is this the man?”} He asked with a grin. {“This is the guy who passed out drunk on one bottle of Russian wine.”} He couldn’t help giggling, but Irina was not amused. Miroslav walked over towards MacReady and took the can.

{“Orange juice,”} Miroslav joked, throwing the can aside. {“What kind of drink is that for a man? Too weak for good vodka?”}

Irina was really getting frustrated. Typically, Miroslav was not always the nicest of people. While he loved his dogs and when his services were needed, he could be very helpful, in his social life he anti-social at his best, and at his worst, he came off as a bully, though that was usually only after he had too much to drink. Normally, Irina just tried to ignore him- after all he mostly just cracked insulting jokes, and he probably would never step towards physical violence despite his intimidating size, but here he was joking about a sick man who just needed rest and plenty of liquid.

Irina stood face-to-face with Miroslav. {“Listen,”} she said impatiently. {“That man is sick, and he needs rest and citrus, and especially quiet.”}

{“Oh is he now?”} Miroslav said. {“Come on, girl. I’d just like to give him a couple drinks. That’s all.”}

{“I see,”} replied Irina. She paused for a moment before she continued. {“I’m sure Yuri will take it perfectly well that you tried to give a sick man alcohol.”}

Miroslav looked at Irina, and grunted angrily before turning towards the door. {“Oh,”} Irina said. {“One more thing.”} Miroslav turned around, with a frustrated look on his face.

{“If you really want your lunch so badly than go make it yourself,”} Irina shouted. Miroslav turned back and walked out of the room. Irina closed the door behind him before sitting back down with MacReady.

***

Yuri led Childs and Nicolae out of the Norwegian base. There was nothing there but debris and corpses, neither of which they came here to find. They found Vladimir and Kate waiting outside.

“Did you two find anything?” asked Yuri.

“There was one thing,” replied Kate. She motioned towards the empty patch of ground.

“What is it?” Childs asked.

‘’There was a body there before,” replied Kate. “It was one of those things, and it’s gone now.”

“Mac and Copper brought the body of one when they came back to the base,” replied Childs.

“Come on,” said Yuri. “We’ve still got one other place to look.”

Yuri led the team back to their helicopter. One by one they climbed inside, with Kate and Yuri taking off the gas cylinders for their flamethrowers. Nicolae started the engines and it was not long before they lifted off the ground.

Once they were in the air, Yuri gave Nicolae a specific set of instructions. The rest of the team remained quiet for most of the trip. Kate watched out the window, mostly seeing nothing but snowy landscape. Suddenly, Nicolae called out something. Yuri stood up to take a look out the front window and asked him what he saw. Nicolae said something in response and pointed towards something in front. As they got closer, Kate finally got a glimpse of what it was- some strange-looking object buried in the snow. As it landed, she started to see what it was, another helicopter- the one she had seen crash only a few days earlier.

The helicopter made its landing, the rotors blowing aside a large amount of snow as it touched the ground. Yuri stood up, grabbing his flamethrower, and looked at Kate. “Why don’t you come with me,” he said. Kate nodded and stood, picking up her flamethrower and placing the gas cylinders on her back.

Childs looked at the two of them. “I’ll go with you too,” he said, getting up.

“Alright,” replied Yuri. “The rest of you can wait here.”

Yuri placed the gas cylinders onto his back as he, Kate, and Childs stepped outside. They looked at the wreckage of the helicopter only a few meters away. The chopper had crashed into a hillside; two of the rotors had broken off, while a third had snapped in the middle. The helicopter was tilted slightly- one of the back wheels had broken off, and much of that side was buried in the snow. The cockpit seemed intact, and the door was slightly open.

Yuri slowly approached the helicopter, flamethrower in hand. He walked over the open cockpit and slowly opened the door. It creaked loudly as he did so, possibly being frozen into place. Yuri looked inside, attempting to see if there was anything. Having a hard time seeing past the pilot’s seats, he climbed in.

There was not much to see inside beyond the snow that had landed in the cabin. He carefully stepped through the seats. Childs walked in after him, as did Kate. All them were looking around nervously, knowing that that thing could be here. That’s when Kate noticed something odd. “Over here,” she said. Yuri turned towards her and saw it, a hole in the floor- on the side that was buried in snow.

Childs walked over to the hole and crouched down to get a closer look at it. The hole seemed to be very deep, almost as if someone had been trying to tunnel their way out of the helicopter. “I guess it’s down there,” he said.

Yuri crouched down next to Childs. “Well,” he replied. “Why don’t we go find out?”

Yuri carefully held onto his flamethrower as he carefully climbed into the hole, which it turned out led to an underground cavern- made of snow.

Childs lit a flare as Kate and Yuri led the way through the cave, using their flamethrowers to provide light.  At the end of the cave was something rather odd- a flying saucer, which quickly caught their attention.

“What is it?” Kate asked.

“It’s some kind of spacecraft,” replied Childs. “He built it from parts of the helicopter.”

“Incredible,” said Yuri. “This is unbelievable.”

“Kate?” Asked a voice from behind suddenly. The three of them turned around to find a man standing there. He had short dark hair and a thin beard. His jacket was noticeably torn.

Kate looked at the man, shocked. “Griggs?” she asked. “What are you doing here?”

“I was just going to ask you the same question,” replied Griggs.

“Do you know this man?” asked Yuri.

“Yes,” replied Kate. “He was with us at the Norwegian base.”

“I see,” replied Yuri. He turned towards Griggs, aiming his flamethrower at him. “How did you survive here?”

Griggs was not quite sure how to explain it. Kate looked at him for a moment. “What happened to your jacket?” She asked.

“How are you not freezing?” Yuri asked. Griggs quickly started shivering, but they’d already clued in. Knowing this, it had no choice but to act. Griggs’ head started to change shape, splitting in half. Its chest started to split open, but Kate pulled the trigger.  A burst of flame quickly engulfed the Griggs-thing.

Yuri quickly followed, firing everything he could out of the flamethrower. The Griggs-thing screamed as it ran blindly before finally collapsing. As it fell to the floor, Yuri fired a second blast. It quickly stopped moving after that.

Yuri took a moment to catch his breath, a bit startled by what had just happened. “Was that one of those things?” he asked, panting.

“Yeah,” replied Kate. She aimed her flamethrower at the Griggs-thing and fired once more just to be sure. By the time the flames cleared there was a small puddle on the ground from where the blast had melted the snow.

Yuri started to walk back towards the exit, cautiously stepping around what was left of the Griggs-thing. Kate and Childs slowly followed as they walked back through the cave towards the hole leading back into the helicopter.

Kate took off the gas cylinders for her flamethrower and placed them into the hole, and then started to climb in herself, with some help from Yuri, picking up her flamethrower as she left. After Childs threw his flare on the ground and climbed out, Yuri took off his gas cylinders and placed them in the hole. He quickly climbed out as well and it was not long before they were all back in the wreckage of the helicopter.

“Hey Yuri,” Childs said once they were out. “What do we do about that spacecraft?”

“We’ll have to come back out here later,” replied Yuri. “Now that we know what it’s up to I say we come back tomorrow with a few sticks of dynamite and blow it all up.”

“Well, we burned the only thing down there,” replied Kate. “We should have time.”

It was already starting to get dark outside as Yuri led Kate and Childs out of the helicopter. They were soon back aboard their own helicopter and reunited with Nicolae and Vladimir.

“Did you find anything?” asked Vladimir as Yuri stepped inside.

“Yes,” replied Yuri. “We found something.”

“What?” asked Vladimir.

“One of those things,” replied Yuri as he sat down. “I think we killed it, but I’d like to get some dynamite over here tomorrow just to be sure.”

***

It was dark by the time the helicopter finally landed back at the Russian base. The flight back was mostly quiet, but as Nicolae started to land Yuri gave everyone a very specific set of instructions.

“Once we are inside,” said Yuri. “We will gather in the lab and perform a blood test to ensure that nobody here has been infected.”

Kate nodded nervously as Yuri gave the same set of instructions to Nicolae. As the helicopter landed, the team climbed out one by one, Yuri grabbing the flamethrower along the way. They entered the base and took off their jackets before Yuri led them to the laboratory.

Ivan was in the lab already examining some meteorological samples. He turned in surprise to see the group entering the lab. He smiled, saying something in Russian. Yuri responded by explaining to him what they were going to do. They talked for a moment as Ivan collected the trays used before and placed them onto the table. He also got a needle and placed it with the trays.

Yuri handed Ivan the flamethrower as he instructed him, remembering what MacReady had said before. After a few minutes, Yuri held out his finger, while Ivan got a scalpel and cut it, collecting some of the blood in the tray with his name on it.

Childs quickly clued into what was happening, having taken this test twice before. Likewise, Ivan pricked his finger and collected the blood. Kate briefly winced in pain as her finger was cut. Finally, he collected the blood of Vladimir and Nicolae and then they were ready to begin.

Ivan placed the gas cylinders onto his back and stood nervously as he held the needle in front of the flamethrower. He started by placing the needle in Yuri’s tray. Nothing happened. He then heated the needle and placed it into Kate’s tray. She was scared, and seemed relieved when nothing happened. Next came Vladimir. Nothing happened. Ivan placed the needle into Childs’ blood. Again, nothing. That just left Nicolae. The needle was lowered into his blood, and nothing happened.

“I think you all good,” Ivan said, letting his limited English show.

Ivan quickly took off the gas cylinders and handed them back to Yuri. He thanked him before turning and leaving the room. Childs left soon after, as did Nicolae. Kate was about to leave before Ivan called out to her. Unsure of the right words, he quickly said something to Vladimir.

Vladimir turned towards Kate. “He’s asking if you’re a scientist,” he said.

“Yes,” replied Kate. “I just graduated in palaeontology.”

Vladimir translated her response. As Ivan started carrying the blood trays to the sink, he said something enthusiastically.

“He’s asking if you’d like to see what we’ve been studying,” replied Vladimir.

“Sure,” replied Kate. “I’ll take a look.”

As Ivan started washing one of the trays, he excitedly motioned Kate over towards a microscope. “I think you’ll find this quite interesting,” said Vladimir as he walked over.

***

MacReady lay in bed, snoring lightly. At this point he looked a lot better than he did that morning when Yuri had to carry him into the kitchen. At least now MacReady had the strength to sit up and eat on his own. Just a little longer and perhaps he’d be able to walk.

A knock suddenly came to the door. Irina groaned. Reluctantly she stood up and walked towards it.

{“Miroslav,”} she muttered impatiently. {“If that’s you again I swear I’m going to-“}

Irina quickly cut herself off when she opened the door and saw Yuri. {“Can I help you?”} she asked.

{“I just wanted to check on our friend,”} replied Yuri. {“You mind if I come in.”}

{“No, not at all,”} replied Irina. She moved out of the way so that Yuri could come into the room. As he entered, he closed the door behind him.

{“How’s he doing?”} Yuri asked, looking at MacReady.

{“A lot better than he was when you found him,”} replied Irina quietly, trying not to wake him. {“He might even be able to start walking on his own soon.”}

{“Great,”} replied Yuri. {“I think we should keep him away from alcohol for the next few days.”}

“That would be a wise idea,” replied Irina. “At this point, more wine would be the worst thing he could do.”

There was a brief silence for a moment as the two of them stared at MacReady. Finally, Yuri turned back to Irina {Why don’t you take a break?”} he asked. “I’m sure Vladimir would be willing to take over, and it would probably do you some good to relax.”

Irina nodded and turned towards the door. Yuri slowly walked out and closed the door behind him.

***

Ivan was busy washing the trays as he explained to Kate what he had been working on. He did his best to explain everything, but ultimately it was up to Vladimir to clarify the details. Kate listened intently as he explained.

“A few days ago were out in the field,” Vladimir told her. “Ivan, myself, and Nicolae. We were collecting samples of meteorites.”

Kate looked at him curiously. “Well, why didn’t you study them already?” she asked.

Nicolae pulled the snow-cat into the base. It was dark, the only light coming from the base itself. A few minutes later he brought the vehicle to a halt, and quickly climbed out.

{”It`s good to be back”} Ivan said keenly as he opened his door and stepped outside.

Vladimir smiled as he climbed out of the snow-cat.  {”Indeed it is,”} he said, looking at the warm building in front of them. Right now there was nothing he wanted more than a good cup of hot cocoa and something warm to eat.

{”Should we bring in the rocks?”} Ivan asked Vladimir.

{”Not right now,”} Vladimir replied. {”I`d say tomorrow morning when we aren`t tired, hungry, and freezing.”}

Nicolae nodded in agreement as he walked toward the base. The three men went inside and took off their coats. The heat in the base felt good after spending a whole day out in the middle of nowhere when it was below zero. The base seemed deserted, as nearly everyone had turned in.

Vladimir led Ivan and Nicolae into the mess hall, hoping to get them something to eat. As Nicolae and Ivan sat down, Vladimir walked towards the kitchen and found Irina, who was sitting against the freezer, fast asleep.

Vladimir walked towards her and lightly tapped her shoulder. Irina`s eyes opened slowly, and she moaned briefly as she looked at him, a bit embarrassed.

{”I`m sorry, doc,”} she said as she stood up. {”I tried to stay awake. I really di-”}

{”It`s alright,”} replied Vladimir. {”Why don`t you go to your room and get to bed.”}

Irina quickly shook her head. {”No,”} she said. {”You guys just got back, I know you`re hungry.”}

{”I`ll take care of it,”} replied Vladimir.

{”No, I think I can handle it,”} replied Irina as she walked over to the stove and began attempting to cook. It was clearly hard for her to think straight, and a quite a few times her eyelids started to grow heavy. At one point she did almost start to doze off but quickly snapped out of it. Nonetheless, she was able to quickly put some eggs into a pan and cook them, and toasted some bread. All the while, Vladimir watched, just to make sure she really was alright. It was not long before the food was ready, and Vladimir helped her to serve the other two men.

{”Is that everything?”} Irina asked as Vladimir sat down.

{”I think so,”} replied Vladimir. {”Why don`t you go get some sleep?”}

Irina nodded and left the mess hall. She stepped outside into the hallway and worked her way towards her room. She slowly but quietly stumbled through the bedrooms. Some of the doors were partially open and she could vaguely hear a few things going on inside them- Miroslav was snoring loudly in one, Alexei was watching a taped game show in another.

Finally, Irina reached her own room. She changed into a pair of pyjamas and turned out the light. She was about to get into bed when she saw something through the window- a light. That was strange, and it looked like it was from a snow-cat, and it seemed to be coming towards the base.

Forgetting about her desire to get some sleep, Irina watched curiously before running out. She ran back into the mess hall where the three men were just finishing up their dinner.

{”Did you guys leave your snow-cat`s headlights on?”} Irina asked.

Vladimir looked at her confusedly. {”No,”} he said. {”I don`t think we did.”}

{”Then someone`s just pulled in,”} replied Irina.

{”What?”} Vladimir asked.

{”I just saw a snow-cat’s headlights outside”} Irina replied. {”Someone`s out there.”}

Vladimir looked at her, before quickly standing up. {”Get me a flashlight,”} he said as he left.

Vladimir walked to the door and put on a coat. Irina showed up quickly with a flashlight and handed it to him. He ran outside and looked around. Irina quickly threw on a jacket and a pair of boots and followed him.

In the dim light from outside Irina could vaguely make out the shape of a snow-cat. Vladimir walked towards it as a figure stepped out.

{”Who’s there?”} Vladimir called out. The person seemed to notice him, but failed to respond. Reluctantly, he approached the figure, and as Irina got closer she could see who it was- a young woman, probably about her age, who seemed to be under a lot of stress. She was shivering, and seemed terrified even to speak.

Vladimir tried again to talk to her, but it did no good. Then it occurred to him that perhaps the girl did not speak Russian, and he decided to try English.

”Who are you?” he asked. The girl tried to speak, apparently understanding him, but she could not quite get the words out, only tears as she shivered. ”Come inside,” Vladimir finally said, placing an arm around her shoulder, leading her towards the door. As Irina followed him back inside, he turned towards her. {”Get some sleep,”} he said as soon as they entered. {”I`ll take care of her.”}

However, Irina could not sleep that night, she just kept thinking about the girl who had arrived. She could not help trying to imagine what could have happened, leading to a traumatized young woman driving into their camp. She got out of bed and returned to the main room where Vladimir was trying to talk to her. She was sitting on a couch and Vladimir had put a blanket around her. He was still trying to speak to her in the simplest of terms. Irina turned towards the mess hall, and it was not long before she came back with a cup of hot cocoa, which she handed to the girl.

The girl took a few sips of the cocoa, the warm liquid apparently feeling good. ”Do you have a name?” Vladimir asked again. The girl lowered her cup and looked at him. ”Kate,” she finally said. ”Kate Lloyd.”

Little did the two Russians know what that within the next few days they were to be dragged into the aftermath of two horrific disasters, and that they would be the only thing preventing a third from happening.

“With half of team gone today,” Ivan tried to explain, somewhat embarrassed by his bad English. “Is quiet, so I decide to look at meteor samples.”

Vladimir smiled as he walked over to the shelf where the samples were being kept. He picked up a rock and placed it on the table in front of Kate. At that moment, Irina happened to knock on the door. The two of them talked for a moment before Vladimir turned to Kate and Ivan.

“Apparently I have to go watch over MacReady,” said Vladimir. “I’ll come by later and see how you’re doing.”

Kate nodded as Ivan sat down with her.

***

MacReady slowly opened his eyes. He was lying on his side, facing the wall. He slowly rolled over, pushing aside some of the sheets and was surprised to find Vladimir sitting in front of him.

“What’s going on?” MacReady asked as he sat up. He tried to recall what had happened, but the details seemed to escape from him.

“You’ve been hung-over all day,” replied Vladimir. MacReady smiled, remembering the wine he’d been drinking the previous night. “We had to leave without you.”

MacReady looked at Vladimir, suddenly serious. “You left?” He asked.

“Yes,” replied Vladimir. “I went with Kate, Yuri, and Childs to the Norwegian base.”

MacReady pushed the sheets aside and started to get up. “Did you find anything?” He asked.

“All we found there were two corpses, one of whom had slit his wrists and throat,” replied Vladimir. MacReady nodded, remembering that horrific image.

“Kate also seemed concerned by the disappearance of a body,” Vladimir continued.

“A body?” asked MacReady.

“Yes,” replied Vladimir. “She said she’d burned one of those things just outside, and the corpse that they left was no longer there.”

“Well,” replied MacReady, standing up. “Copper and I did find a strange twisted thing out there that the Norwegians had burned. We brought it back only realize it was still alive, and it killed Bennings.”

“What happened to it?” asked Vladimir.

“We found him outside, partially transformed,” MacReady continued. “The only thing we could do was pour gasoline on him and light a flare.”

“We also explored a crashed helicopter,” Vladimir explained. “Apparently they actually found something in there.”

“What?” Asked MacReady.

“Yuri said...” Vladimir‘s voice trailed off, as he tried to find the right words. “He said that he found one of those things.”

MacReady quickly turned towards him. “He did?” he asked. “Was he infected?”

“We all took a blood test when we returned,” replied Vladimir. “We were all human.”

“Good,” replied MacReady, as he walked toward the door and left the room. Vladimir quickly followed.

***

Nicolae entered the main room holding a beer. Alexei and Irina were sitting at a table with a deck of cards. In the back, Miroslav was playing Pool with Pavel, the team’s meteorologist. While Miroslav was not always the most likeable of people, he was very good at Pool, and had earned quite a bit of respect on the table.

“Care to join us?” Alexei asked. Nicolae smiled and sat down with the two of them. At that moment, MacReady happened to wander into the room. The three playing Poker took no real notice, if only due to the fact that none of them spoke English and he did not speak Russian.

As MacReady sat down on a couch- the same couch he’d fallen asleep on earlier, Miroslav turned towards him. He smiled and joked for a bit before turning back to the pool table. Vladimir entered the room and sat down next to him. After a bit, Yuri walked into the room and talked to Miroslav for a moment. The large man agreed to something before putting down his cue and following him out.

Vladimir got himself a book to read, but MacReady could not stop thinking about what Yuri was up to. He knew he had something planned, but what it was he did not know.

After a little while, Irina put down her cards and left the table. She walked over to Vladimir quickly and spoke to him for a few minutes before leaving.

“What was that?” asked MacReady.

“She just wanted to know how you were feeling,” replied Vladimir. “I told her you were a lot better.”

MacReady smiled as Vladimir got up. “Irina’s going to start making dinner,” he said. “I’m going to go talk to Kate and Ivan, and then I’ll meet you in the mess hall.”

“Sounds good to me,” replied MacReady.

***

Kate smiled as Ivan brought another rock onto the table. There was something about this that just seemed really fascinating. After all, scientific research was the reason she had come to Antarctica in the first place. Then again, that was the reason why the American team had been sent to Outpost 31, and also what the Norwegians meant to do and it was because of scientific curiosity that the creature was released to begin with.

So far she and Ivan had managed despite the language barrier. Kate did her best to use the simplest of words and gestures to explain things that Ivan did not immediately get. Usually he would start to figure it out sooner or later, and he’d be quite impressed.

Suddenly there was a knock on the door as Vladimir entered the room. “I just thought I’d see where you were at,” he said.

Kate eagerly handed him the notes she had made based on the rocks. Vladimir looked at them for a moment before smiling. “This is incredible,” he said. “All this coming from a palaeontologist.”

Kate laughed for a moment before looking at Vladimir seriously. “How’s Mac doing?” she asked.

“A lot better,” replied Vladimir. “I promised him I’d meet him in the mess hall, you want to come with me?”

“Sure,” replied Kate.

Vladimir spoke to Ivan for a moment, presumably suggesting that he could use a break. He smiled and quickly left the room.

***

Yuri stepped into the mess hall and walked over to the table where MacReady was sitting, and slowly sat down with him. He was silent for a moment, unsure of the right words for what he was about to say. He got up for a moment. “I’m going to get myself a drink,” Yuri said. “Can I get you anything?”

“A good beer,” replied MacReady. Yuri smiled as he walked towards the kitchen where Irina was starting to prepare dinner. She seemed somewhat surprised to see him.

{“Can I help you?”} she asked.

{“I was just going to get a drink for myself and Mac,”} replied Yuri. {“I take it he shouldn’t be drinking alcohol.”}

Irina smiled. {“Certainly not,”} she said with a slight chuckle. {“There’s some orange juice in the fridge which should do him good.”}

Yuri smiled and thanked her as he walked over to the fridge, got two cans of orange juice, and turned back toward the mess hall. Vladimir and Kate had arrived and sat down with MacReady.

MacReady was waiting as Yuri placed the two cans on the table.

“Figures,” MacReady muttered. “I ask for beer and you bring me orange juice.”

“After this morning, I think you’ve had enough alcohol,” Yuri said with a smile as he opened his can. After taking a sip, he put it down and his face turned serious.

Yuri paused for a moment, trying to find the right words. “I found one of those things,” he said in a lower voice.

“I already told him about that,” Vladimir cut in.

“Did you mention the spacecraft we found,” Kate asked.

“Spacecraft?” MacReady asked.

“It had tunnelled under the helicopter,” Yuri explained. “Apparently it was using pieces of the helicopter to build some kind of spaceship.”

MacReady quickly remembered seeing something like that- Blair had done something very similar. He smashed up the snow-cats and the helicopter, and was consequently locked up. Once it was down to MacReady, Nauls, and Garry they’d tried to get Blair, and then it turned out that not only was he infected, but had tunnelled his way out of the shack he was locked in and used the parts from everything he’d destroyed to build a small craft.

“Now, I have a plan, but it’s going to be dangerous,” Yuri said. “It is indeed a possibility that none of us will get out alive, but neither will that thing.”

“What are you planning?” Vladimir asked, nervously.

“We’re going to have to blow everything up,” Yuri replied. “First we’re going to take out the helicopter and see to it that it stays on the planet. That just leaves the American and Norwegian camps.”

“We’re going to destroy both of them?” asked MacReady.

“Exactly,” replied Yuri. “We’re going to destroy every piece of evidence of that thing’s existence, so that nobody will ever dig it up again.”

Kate was nervous, but understood that this needed to be done. “Since this is a potential suicide mission,” Yuri continued. “I will only be taking volunteers to help me. If any of you do not wish to go I won’t hold it against you.”

“I’ll go,” MacReady said.

“Count me in,” Kate said.

Childs entered the room at that point; he saw the group together and sat down with them. Yuri explained what he had just told the others, and Childs agreed to go with him.

“I’ll go,” Vladimir said.

“No, Doc” replied Yuri, taking a sip of his juice. “Your services are essential, and if I don’t make it back, someone else will have to oversee our operations.”

Vladimir leaned back, realizing that Yuri was right. “If anyone gets back,” Yuri continued. “I’d like you to give them a blood test. If they’re all human, than you’ll know we succeeded.”

The conversation died as the five of them sat in silence. After a few minutes, Yuri got up and left the room. He walked back into his office, grabbing a piece of paper and a pencil before sitting down at his desk.

On the desk, Yuri had a photograph of his wife, which he stared at for a moment. She was a beautiful woman with long dark hair, and a large smile shown in the image. Yuri could still remember the day he proposed to her, and he often wrote whenever he had the chance. He thought about what he was about to do, and the fact that he could die in the process. The idea that he would never get to see that beautiful face again seemed unbearable, but Yuri knew what had to be done, and he started writing his letter.

***

It was still dark when Yuri woke Kate. “Come on,” he said as he left the room.  Kate quickly got dressed before following him. They quietly walked through the hall, trying not to wake any of the men.

He led her into the mess hall where MacReady and Childs were already waiting. Irina was in the kitchen preparing breakfast for all of them. There was a tense feeling going on through everyone. Yuri knew full well the risks he was about to take, and he knew that this could be his last meal. The others probably felt the same. As Irina brought them their breakfast, they ate quietly, not sure of what to say.

When he was done eating, Yuri stood up and walked over to Irina, who was sitting at a nearby table and clearly worried. He put an arm around her shoulder and tried to comfort her. One by one the others finished and left the mess hall, and as soon as he had reassured Irina that everything would be fine Yuri joined them.

The team stepped out into the Antarctic cold and Yuri led them towards a snow-cat. It had a trailer which contained explosives as well as a few precautionary supplies, namely extra fuel and provisions.

 Yuri climbed into the driver’s seat. MacReady sat next to him, and once Kate and Childs sat down in the back, they drove out into the Antarctic night.

It was not completely dark- the sun was just peeking over the horizon, allowing some visibility. Nonetheless, Yuri had the headlights turned on, and MacReady assisted him in providing directions.

 It must have taken them a long time. By helicopter it was close to an hour, while driving it would have been at least two, but they did eventually find the Norwegian camp, except Yuri drove right past it.

“What are you doing?” Asked MacReady, quickly noticing.

“We’re starting with the helicopter,” replied Yuri. “If that thing gets out of here we’ll be in a lot of trouble.”

They had to work from memory at this point, Fortunately Yuri’s map had markers indicating the approximate location of both the American and Norwegian bases. What he failed to mention to anyone was that the previous evening he spoke to Nicolae about the location of the helicopter.

More time passed, though the sky remained the same. Kate had fallen asleep, her head resting against the window. Outside of MacReady’s directions the rest of the team remained silent before they finally reached their destination.

As Yuri started to get closer to the helicopter, he brought the snow-cat to a halt and stepped outside. He opened Kate’s door and lightly tapped her on the shoulder. As her eyes opened Yuri turned towards the trailer and took out a box, which he opened to reveal flares. He brought out another box which actually contained some explosives.

He took out a flare and handed it to Kate as she got out of the snow-cat. At Yuri’s instruction, MacReady and Childs helped carry the dynamite towards the helicopter, while Yuri tried to carry the flares, and Kate provided their light. When they were close enough, he signalled for them to stop.

“This should be good,” replied Yuri. “Kate, Childs, I’ll need you two to set up the plunger. Mac and I will go plant the charges.”

MacReady and Yuri both took a flare. As Childs placed the plunger into position Yuri helped him to connect the wires. He got the necessary charge, placed an additional stick of dynamite in his pocket, and lit his flare before leading Macready towards the helicopter. He slowly worked his way inside, remembering the way in through the cockpit. As soon as MacReady was in, Yuri showed him the hole.

The two men climbed in and looked around. MacReady was hardly surprised by the cave, as he’d seen the similar one carved by Blair. Nonetheless, as the two walked through the short tunnel, MacReady was briefly shocked when the light from his flare revealed a strange-looking corpse on the ground, apparently having been burned.

“That was one of those things,” Yuri explained before continuing. Finally, their lights revealed a strange creation, some form of transport, possibly a spacecraft, made from helicopter parts.

“I’ve seen this before,” MacReady said. “Back at Outpost 31, our biologist was infected and tried to create something very much like this.”

“Really?” asked Yuri. “What did you do about it?”

“We blew it up,” replied MacReady.

Yuri smiled as he took out the charges and carefully placed them under the craft.

***

Kate tried to watch as she sat with Childs next to the plunger, but she could barely see in the dim light. It was also freezing, and all either of them really wanted was to get back to the warmth of the Russian base.

Finally, the light from the two flares was visible as Yuri and MacReady climbed out. Kate knelt down next to the plunger, and reached out towards the handle. MacReady and Yuri quickly ducked in front of the helicopter.

“Now!” Childs whispered. Kate pushed the handle down, and a loud blast emerged from the ground just a few feet away.

Yuri climbed back into the helicopter cockpit and took out his stick of dynamite. He used the flare to light the fuse and threw it into the back before jumping out.

“RUN!” Yuri shouted before he and MacReady threw their flares on the ground and ran as fast as they could back towards Kate and Childs. Everyone quickly ducked as the already broken helicopter exploded into smaller pieces.

Yuri raised his head and smiled. He let out a short laugh as he looked at his teammates. One by one the rest of the team got to their feet.

“Now all we need to do now is the exact same thing to the Norwegian camp,” MacReady said.

“Yes and whatever is left of your camp.” replied Yuri.

“Kate, give me a hand with this,” Yuri said as he reached down towards the box of explosives. Kate put the lid on and grabbed the other end.

***

Sometime later Yuri parked the Snow-Cat outside the Norwegian camp and climbed out. Childs helped him get the box of dynamite out of the trailer. Yuri removed the lid and started picking up the sticks, handing a few to each of his team. He also gave each of them a flare before lighting one himself.

“I want there to be nothing left of this base when we’re through,” Yuri said. “I don’t want another team to come here and find one of those things hidden. We might not have found one, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there. You understand?”

“Yes,” Kate replied, though she was clearly nervous.

Yuri led his group inside the base. One by one they used the flares to light their dynamite, throwing them any room they passed. The noise of explosions rang throughout the building as parts of it burst into flame.

Eventually, in all the confusion, the noise finally died, until all that could be heard was the wind. Kate lay in the snow, dazed and confused. She was on her stomach, her face in the snow. “Kate,” came a familiar voice, someone grabbed her and rolled her over, and as she came to her senses, she saw the face of Childs.

Kate struggled to sit up. As she slowly worked her way to her feet, she turned and looked at the smouldering ruins of the Norwegian base, the fire lighting up the dark night.

“Anybody else make it?” Kate asked.

Childs remained silent as they watched the fire. Suddenly a confused MacReady staggered out of the wreckage, and upon seeing them he ran over.

At that point, they could hear a familiar voice calling.

“ANYONE HERE!” it called. “MAC! KATE! ANYONE! CHILDS! SOMEONE!”

Yuri came around the ruins, holding a flare and looking around desperately as he called. Upon seeing MacReady, Childs, and Kate together, he expressed a sigh of relief. He threw his flare on the ground and ran over towards them.

“WE DID IT!” Yuri shouted with a great big smile. “WE MANAGED TO BEAT THIS THING!”

“Hopefully,” replied MacReady.

“We’ll take a blood test when we get back,” replied Yuri. “Come on.”

***

Yuri, Kate, MacReady, and Childs sat on a couch in the main room. Ivan and Pavel prepared the blood test. One by one they heated the needle and placed it into each tray. First MacReady, nothing happened. Next was Childs, nothing but smoke. They placed the needle into Kate’s blood, and the same result happened. Yuri’s blood gave the same result.

When they were done, Irina arrived with some hot chocolate. The warm liquid felt good after spending all day out in the cold. Vladimir stepped into the room and sat down with them.

“How’d it go?” he asked.

“We blew it up,” replied Yuri as he took a sip of his hot chocolate. “Both the helicopter and the Norwegian base.”

“I see,” replied Vladimir. “Does that mean we’ve defeated this thing?”

“Not quite,” replied Yuri. “We still need to look through the American camp. Maybe tomorrow morning we can take the helicopter.”

Yuri took another sip of his hot chocolate as a tired and stressed Kate laid her head on his shoulder and slowly fell asleep. He did not seem to mind; she’d been through a lot and probably could use a good rest.

“So we’re heading back to Outpost 31?” MacReady asked.

“Yes,” replied Yuri. “Tomorrow morning, I think you two could use some time to relax, and someone here could use some sleep.” He motioned towards Kate.

“Why don’t you two go get something to eat?” Yuri asked MacReady and Childs.

“I wouldn’t mind something to drink,” said MacReady.

Yuri smiled. “Sure,” he said. “Just try not to drink too much.”

MacReady smiled as he stood up and left the room. Childs followed him. When they were both gone, Yuri slowly stood up, holding Kate and carefully lowering her onto the couch. He picked up her feet and placed them on the other end before turning towards Irina.

{“Can you get me a blanket quickly?”} Yuri asked her. She was only gone for a moment before she came back with a thick blanket. The two of them carefully placed it on top of her.

{“I’m going to go make dinner,”} Irina said once they were done.

{“Great,”} replied Yuri. {“I’ve just got some business to take care of quickly, but I’ll come help you when I’m done.” Irina smiled and left the room. }

***

Yuri stepped into his office and looked at the letter he had written before. It was only the previous evening he’d written a letter to his wife, one which was no longer needed. He picked up the letter and tore it up. Then he got a fresh sheet of paper, and began to compose a new letter. When he was done, he folded it and put it into an envelope before he stood up and left.

He walked back into the main room and looked inside for a moment. Kate was still asleep on the couch where he’d left her. Aside from that Alexei was enjoying a card game with Pavel, Nicolae, and Ivan, but the room was otherwise empty. He quietly walked through the room and worked his way to the mess hall.

Yuri arrived to find MacReady and Childs sitting together, each with a can of beer casually talking amongst themselves. As He walked over and sat down with them, the chatting died quickly.

“As I’ve mentioned before,” Yuri said. “We’re heading back to your base tomorrow.”

MacReady nodded. “Yeah, you already mentioned that.”

“Yes, I did,” replied Yuri. He paused for a moment and looked around before continuing. “I’d like to know exactly what happened.”

“Everything?” Childs asked.

“Everything,” Yuri replied. “From the beginning.”

“Well,” replied MacReady. “It started when two crazy Swedes-“

“I thought they were Norwegians,” Childs said, cutting him off”.

“Right,” replied MacReady. “Norwegians. Anyway, the two of them chased a dog into our camp. That one guy I guess tried to throw a grenade at it, but it slipped and blew up the helicopter. He started shooting at the dog, trying to warn us something. None of us had any idea what he was saying.”

“Maybe he was trying to warn you of the impending danger,” replied Yuri.

“Maybe,” replied MacReady. “Whatever it was, Garry shot him. Then Clark brought that dog inside. Copper and I went out to the Norwegian camp and found a burned corpse outside, which we later learned was not entirely dead.”

Childs cut in around that moment. “That night I was woken by the alarm, Bennings suddenly ran in and told me Mac needed the flamethrower. I followed him into the dog kennel and saw some weird thing inside. It all went downhill from there.”

“One by one that thing tried to take us over,” MacReady continued. “Bennings was taken first but we found and burned him before the transformation was completed. Blair had an emotional breakdown and started smashing everything, so we had to lock him up. Then there was Norris, whose chest opened up and bit Copper’s arms off. When we tried to burn him his head separated, grew legs, and tried to escape. That was when I started to realize that its cells function independently, and I got the idea for the blood test. That allowed us to find Palmer. Then Garry, Nauls, and I went to get Blair. We found he’d been building a spacecraft of some sort and blew it up. We decided to kill that thing by destroying the rest of the base. I don’t know what happened to Garry or Nauls, they both disappeared, but I managed to light a stick of dynamite and destroy the creature.”

“I thought I saw Blair outside,” Childs explained. “I tried to go after him but got lost in the snow. When I found my way back, what was left of our base was on fire, and I found MacReady lying outside his shack.”

“That was when we found you?” Yuri asked.

MacReady paused for a moment. “Yeah,” he said.

***

Kate rolled over as she opened her eyes. She lifted her head to see Irina preparing what looked like breakfast on the card table. Slowly Kate pushed the blanket aside and got up from the couch. She walked over towards the table and sat down.

Irina had made pancakes, an interesting deviation from her usual dishes. She started eating as Irina poured a cup of coffee.

Kate smiled as she took a bite out of the pancakes. “These are good,” she said keenly. Irina smiled in response, apparently understanding what she meant.  Yuri walked into the room after a few minutes, pleased to see Kate awake.

“How is it?” he asked, referring to Kate’s breakfast.

 “It’s great,” replied Kate.

Yuri smiled as he sat down. “Irina thought she’d make something a little different for us after everything we went through yesterday.”

Yuri chuckled for a moment before his face turned serious. “There’s still one place left to go,” he said.

“Where’s that?” Kate asked as she took in another mouthful.

“The American base,” replied Yuri.

Kate looked at him. “The American camp?” she asked.

“Yes,” replied Yuri. “The camp where we found Mac and Childs freezing to death. I’d like to take a look around, and quite possibly destroy what’s left of it.”

“Like we did to the Norwegian camp?” Kate asked.

“Precisely,” replied Yuri. “If there’s no evidence of this thing’s existence, than nobody will think to try and recover it.”

At about this point, Kate finished eating her breakfast. Irina picked up the plate and took it away.

“Now I’m not going to force you to go,” Yuri continued. “I know you’ve been through a lot lately and if you’d rather stay behind I won’t hold it against you.”

Kate nodded, taking a sip of her coffee. “I think I’ll stay here,” she said.

“Very well,” replied Yuri, as he stood up. “Maybe you can give Ivan a hand with some more samples.”

Kate smiled as Yuri turned towards the door.

***

MacReady carefully navigated the helicopter through the dim light of the Antarctic winter. With some assistance in navigation from Yuri, they managed to reach Outpost 31 within an hour. The helicopter set down right outside, and one by one the three-man team stepped out.

As MacReady lit a flare, he saw that the ruins of Outpost 31 made the Norwegian Camp look like it was in perfect condition. Yuri lit a flare as they approached what little remained. In front of them was the ruins of the shack MacReady and Childs had been laying against just a few days earlier, where they could very nearly have frozen to death had the Russians not seen the explosions.

Beyond the shack there were a few frames from buildings. While the main buildings were still there, most of them had large portions burned away. As they walked towards what was left of the building, the light from the flares revealed a burned corpse lying on the ground, partially buried in the snow. Yuri bent down to take a closer look at him.

“That was Fuchs,” Childs explained.

“What happened?” asked Yuri.

“I don’t know,” replied MacReady. “There was a flare nearby, maybe one of those things got to him and he tried to burn it, or maybe he burned himself.”

Yuri stood and turned away from the body, somewhat unnerved before walking towards the main building.

They walked through what was left of the lab. Bent and broken equipment lay everywhere, along with burned tables, broken shelves, scattered papers, and holes in the wall. After looking through the next few rooms, they reached the recreation room. There was a small hole in the floor, and a large hole in the wall.

MacReady remembered this area well; it was where he had performed the blood test. He recalled the shock and panic that ensued when he exposed the Palmer-thing. The light from the flares revealed a burned and disfigured corpse on the ground, sitting against a broken shelf.

“Windows,” MacReady said.

“What happened?” Yuri asked.

“I was performing that test, the one with the blood,” replied MacReady. “Windows was standing guard with a flamethrower. We found one man who was infected, and he hesitated to fire.”

 “I guess that explains the large hole in the wall,” replied Yuri.

MacReady nodded. Childs walked over to the broken pool table, on which two other burned corpses lay. One of them had a bullet hole through his forehead; the other was missing his arms. Yuri walked over to him.

“What happened to these two?” He asked.

“That was the doctor,” Childs said, pointing at the man without arms. “He tried to help Norris after his heart attack.”

Yuri was clearly unnerved, but forced himself to keep looking. “What happened?” he asked.

“Its chest opened up and bit his arms right off,” replied Childs.

“What about the other one,” Yuri asked.

“I shot him,” MacReady said, turning towards them and walking over. “He tried to kill me with a scalpel.”

Yuri turned and continued through the base. The dog kennel was nasty, as it was filled with the partially decayed and frozen corpses of the dogs that Blair killed. From there they worked their way back outside.

They soon found another body, this one with an odd disfiguration in the arms, at the end of which there was something Yuri could not quite make out. Next to the burned remains was a half-buried gas canister.

“That was Bennings,” MacReady explained before walking away. Yuri did not bother questioning, he could work out pretty easily what happened- Bennings was partly infected, and in order to quickly dispose of him someone had knocked over the gas canister and set it on fire.

Yuri walked back to the helicopter, and climbed inside. He got out the detonator and the necessary charge.

“You two know what to do?” He asked.

“Yeah,” replied MacReady.

“Good,” replied Yuri. “I want you two to set up the detonator.”

MacReady and Childs got down on the ground and began to connect the plunger. Yuri left to plant the charges. He carried them around the building to hole in the wall of the recreational room. He walked inside, and carried the charges into the connecting hallway. He placed them down before running back towards MacReady and Childs.

As soon as Yuri got back, he crouched down with the two of them. “Do it!” he whispered. MacReady lifted the handle on the plunger, and then pressed it down. The three of them ducked as a loud explosion engulfed a large portion of the base. The structure collapsed, and a large portion of the building burst into flame.

Yuri smiled as he stood up. He got out another charge and began to connect it. This time he gave the charge to MacReady to plant. He carried towards the more intact of the two ends of the building and placed it carefully inside. As soon as he was back, Yuri pushed down the handle, and the building exploded. They repeated the process for what was left of the other buildings, and before long, all that was left of Outpost 31 was a pile of rubble.

***

Irina nervously held the needle in front of the flamethrower Vladimir was holding. One by one she placed the needle into each man’s blood. First Yuri, nothing happened. Next was Childs, nothing but smoke. Finally MacReady, just a brief hissing sound as the needle scratched the tray.

Yuri smiled as Irina put down the needle. “We did it,” he said. “We beat it.”

Indeed, it seemed that they had in fact defeated that thing, and managed to do so without a single casualty.

Kate suddenly ran into the room, Ivan close behind her. “What happened?” she asked.

“I think we defeated it,” Yuri said.

“When the rescue team arrives at Outpost 31, there will be nothing there to investigate,” MacReady explained. “If all goes according to plan, nobody will ever find that thing again.”

“Of course, that does mean we will have to keep this secret,” Yuri explained. “If word got out about this, than I fear our governments would attempt to utilize it as a weapon, in which case, we’ll all be doomed.”

“Of course,” replied Kate.

***

For the first time in months the sun had come up in Antarctica, something that did not normally happen during the winter. Three bases had lost contact with the mainland, and the clear weather finally gave the rescue team the chance they needed to investigate what happened.

Harry Davis carefully piloted the helicopter over the Antarctic landscape. His co-pilot Sarah watched for any sign of the camp.

“That’s strange,” Harry said. “I could have sworn the camp was around this area somewhere.”

“It should be,” Sarah replied. She looked down, but all that could be seen was snow. “It should be right around here.”

Harry thought about it for a moment. “Well,” he said. “Why don’t we take her down and get a closer look.”

In the back, the Norwegian doctor Jans Bolen looked through his window, looking for signs of anything. As the helicopter descended, something started to become visible.

“I think we might have found it,” Harry said as he brought the helicopter down. As soon as it was landed, the team quickly climbed out.

Jans looked at what little was left of Outpost 31- piles of rubble covered in snow. “What the heck happened here?” he asked.

Sarah walked over towards a strange object mostly buried in the snow. Next to it was a partially-buried gas canister. She crouched down next to it and cleared some of the snow off to find what it was- a corpse, one which had been burned. The figure seemed to resemble a man, but his hands were heavily disfigured. His mouth was wide open as though he were screaming.

“HARRY! JANS!” she shouted. The two of them quickly ran over towards her and looked at the body.

Jans crouched down and to get a closer look at the corpse. “That’s definitely a man,” he said. “Whatever happened they apparently burned him up in a hurry.”

“What happened to his hands?” Harry asked.

“I don’t know,” replied Jans. “It’s not like anything I’ve seen before.”

“Well, what could have happened to him?” Sarah asked.

Jans paused for a moment before standing up. “I don’t know,” he said. “I really don’t.”

 

The End

 

 


 
     
     


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