From Another World...

by ff_b

Commander Mantodea, sole survivor of the star cruiser Kamacuras, adjusted his flight jacket against the frigid, arctic-type wind and surveyed the forbidding environment before him. He realized that his survival was contingent upon finding shelter, and fast; even in an environmental suit, heat and energy would be leached from him quickly, ensuring a frigid death within hours if he failed. The amounts of time and energy required to bury his crew mates would be prohibitive, so Mantodea quickly donned an e-suit, seized survival gear and a side arm, and ventured out into the frozen wasteland.

The crash landing of his craft onto the uncharted planet from drive failure had not allowed for selection of a more hospitable landing site, and while a more controlled descent and better location would have been preferable, Mantodea counted himself fortunate to have survived at all. Visibility was poor as wind-lashed snow howled into Mantodea's visor, but he doggedly plodded towards what sensors suggested was an artificial structure some distance ahead. Within an hour the tiring commander was within visual range of a strange, smooth surfaced enclosure of some kind whose hard contours appeared to have been organically secreted. As Mantodea searched the apparently seamless structure for an entrance, multiple crab-like creatures each about the size of dogs scrabbled up to him and began ripping at his environmental suit with hard pincher-like claws at the end of jointed appendages. Fearing that his suit would soon be compromised, Mantodea drew his side arm and unleashed short bursts of white energy into each of the crustacean-things besieging him. They made clicking and high-pitched shrieking sounds before rolling onto their backs, their appendages flailing wildly before becoming motionless. In death, the crab-things emitted a foul stench, their blood pattering green against the driven snow.

With retreat impossible at this point, Mantodea's investigation returned to his exploration of the structure's organic-appearing surface wih increasing desperation. He was rewarded at last for his efforts by triggering some kind of touch panel which made a dull humming sound and swung a large, rectangular-shaped door vertically open. Venturing cautiously inside the structure, the Commander observed a number of insectoid creatures barricaded behind a hastily thrown together wall from behind which they pelted him with objects and apparently were attempting to drive him onto a metallic floor grid which his sensors alerted him was dangerously electrified. Retreating a slight distance, Mantodea conducted a sensor analysis which revealed the interior atmosphere to be quite breathable.

Very well, then, thought Mantodea, I can dispense with the environmental suit here! Quickly stripping off the suit and regaining by that effort the legendary speed and fighting capabilities of his species, Commander Mantodea moved swiftly among his assailants, applying his spiked, jack-knife forelegs with blinding speed to crush his adversaries or break them in two, occasionally skewering a neck. Although highly evolved, Commander Mantodea remained a praying mantis, a formidible insect hunter. Rotating his alien-like head almost completely around to verify that his enemies had been decimated, the Commander began to dine on their remains, hungry from his long ordeal and in need of replenishing his energy.

Perhaps, thought Mantodea, this wretched planet might be a suitable outpost for the Xilien race after all...