Impact. It was an impact. The hull twisted and groaned with metalic stress as the deck shuddered. Emergency lights strobed on as the hull breach alarm's distinctive low-pitched tone reverberated through the corridors of the warship.
Samantha Ren, a marine aboard Great Beacon Runner-14, a Farlease-class light cruiser, clutched the support railings of the bulkhead as the vessel shuddered. She was almost thrown to the ground as the artifical gravity generators cut out momentarily and abruptly restored moments later. Runner had been struck by an alien object; a pod of sleeping Radacri. But they would not sleep for much longer.
There wasn't any time to think. Samantha clutched her MX-1A standard issue marine carbine as the sound of stressed superstructure echoed eerily through the bulkhead corridor; other crew members picking themselves up off the floor and looking around, as if they were following something moving beyond the interior paneling of the pressure hull.
This was it. They heard the stories, they knew what happened to ships that were boarded by the aliens. You couldn't help feel the fear; knowing your life would soon be violently and brutally torn from you. But Sam was a solider, a Federal Marine. She was going to do her duty - because that's what her father did before her.
Gesturing to the disoriented personnel, Samantha leveled her carbine beyond the bulkhead. As the groaning from the impact on the ship's superstructure began to subside, she knew exactly the next course of action the captain would take. The only chance they had.
Turn off the lights.
During the early stages of the war, UTN Naval commanders and crews noticed how the Radacri swarm fleets would always follow the local star's light, and avoid the shadow of planetary bodies or stellar objects. It didn't take terran scientists long to understand that the Radacri biological system relied on direct exposure to electromagnetic radiation to survive.
The space-faring insectoid species had somehow managed to survive out in the depths of space by traversing the solar wind between systems, even non visible radiation like Infrared and X-rays seem to sustain their organic forms. Testing on captured Radacri drones indicated the species enters a dormant, hybernation-like state upon being exposed to darkness for extended periods of time.
They had trained for this. If the Runner's crew were to survive, they must seal the vessel and hide in complete darkness, for the Radacri drones would not survive for long. Any light, be it from ship-board lights to FIMD rifle muzzle flashes and fires; would provide energy for the aliens.
Samantha gestured for the crew to get on the floor, to hit the deck, to remain silent and still and hope to the Founders of Eridonia that it wasn't too late. Before they could react, the lights shut off with a metalic clanking sound as the breakers disconnected, compartment by compartment. The marine placed her finger on the trigger of her rifle, slowly flipping the weapon's safety mechanism into the disengaged position. She would only have seconds to react if she were to come face to face with one of them.
In total darkeness, she could hear crewmembers grappling on the railings and shouting. She squinted even with her eyes closed. "Please be quiet", she thought, over and over. If there was a divine being; now would be the time for their intervention.
The hairs on the back of Samantha's neck stood on end as it hit her. A cold breeze, a strange smell like nothing she had ever experienced before. There wasn't even any screaming. There wasn't time to take in what her sense had picked up. In one last act of defiance she squeezed the trigger; the blue-ish green muzzle-flash of superheated helium plasma illuminating the final moments of the Marine's service to her Nation, and humanity.
Great Beacon Runner-14's hull was never recovered after the battle of Stone Water's Crescent. Her crew of 143 where never seen again. Their names are enscribed upon the Last War Memoriam erected atop the ruins of the Eris Tier IV, Eridonia.
Lieutenant Samantha Elani Ren, UTNS Great Beacon Runner-14, Marine Division, in Service to the Federal Navy, Terran Way of Life, and to Humanity.
3993 A.D - 4022 A.D