The team, including Chief Hitchens, continue hearing the banging noise coming from below decks and resolve to find it. They continue making their way back down, searching the ship as they go. As they walk down the halls, they hear a noise coming from an overhead vent. Raven gets a boost from Ichthus, and with her guns drawn pops her head into the vent. With a scream she falls back, both pistols firing wildly into the ventilation duct. A tentacles shoots out after her. Ichthus wrestles with the thing and he can swear he feels life force draining out of him. He finally hacks off the tentacle with his machete and the thing pulls back.
They continue on until they reach the engine room, which they find locked. They are unable to breach it, so they resolve to return with the portable oxy-acetylene torch to cut through the lock. On their way back up, they are confronted with a terrifying sight. As Ichthus comes up a flight of stairs, he sees the hallway absolutely filled with people in Navy uniforms. It appears to be the missing crew. They speak, but they speak as one and refer to themselves as one, as though they were all part of a single consciousness. It tells Ichthus to take it to the shore. Ichthus tries to negotiate, but he hears a yell from behind. He turns to see Chief Hitchens, clearly now one of them, or part of it, however you want to describe it, with one tentacle wrapped around Raven’s neck.
Priest attempts to attack Hitchens to free Raven, but the Hitchens-thing has the upper hand, and he knocks priest senseless against the bulkhead. Ichthus, feeling he has no choice, agrees to pilot the ship back to the coast. He figures he can try to draw the trip out as long as possible, and hopefully the BPRD chopper will arrive before they make it to shore, and hopefully with reinforcements.
So the team find themselves back on the bridge, and soon the ship is underway, and they are being watched by one of the things, or the thing, which first takes the form of Hitchens, then at Ichthus’ request, takes another form.
TO BE CONTINUED