On the 8th of December, 2003, a US Navy ship by the name of USS Machurio sank in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, taking all hands down with it. The ship was deemed lost after the remains were found floating around in the middle of the ocean. Since then, the investigation was abandoned after the class of ship became obsolete. But some were not satisfied by the mere knowledge that it had sunk. They wanted to know what happened.
December 9th, 1987
Midnight The USS Machurio is on an intercept route to monitor a Soviet cruisery. The captain, Francis Jorgenson, decided to do so after picking up radio signals that indicated a submarine, possibly Russian, was shadowing the cruiser.
All is well on the Destroyer, and most of the crew is asleep. But not Lt. James Lee. He hasn’t been feeling good for the past few days, and is lying in bed, unable to sleep. He has a splitting headache, and feels nauseous. Looking down at his crewmate, George, his headache only intensifies. A strange feeling overtakes him—no, an urge. He never got on well with George. He was always better than he was, and everyone knew it. Lee had it all planned out—how he would rise up the ranks and become a naval officer—but George always stood in the way. Always.
Now, he was asleep, and Lee had the opportunity of a lifetime.
Lee slowly gets up. There’s a large fire extinguisher not far from his bed. It’s so close. So tantalizingly close. He clasps it in his hands and turns to George. Still asleep. He walks over, now trembling slightly. It's only now that what's left of Lee's rational mind screams to him that something's wrong, something's very wrong, that he shouldn't be doing this.
But it's not enough.
He begins to raise the extinguisher above his head now, looking at it. Without thinking, he brings it down on George's head, a loud, wet thud. The man on the bed doesn't even flinch, so efficient is Lee’s strike. George is dead—his skull dented inwards.
But Lee isn’t the only crew member to have suddenly snapped and done the same. Across the ship, 37 other identical killings have been made, with no obvious motive. By now, the crew is falling apart. The attempts to find and catch the killers have failed.
By now, Lt. Lee and five other crewmen have left their quarters and began a killing spree, utilizing whatever objects they can find as makeshift weapons. One of the survivors, a man named Frederick Lopez, rushes to the Armory and grabs a gun. Noticing CCTV footage of Lee and the other aggressors, Lopez rushes to intercept them before they can reach the ship’s bridge—where the others have gathered.
A small group of uninfected crewmembers, led by Private Joel Ciao, find a body in a hallway. This is the body of Edward Watson, an infected crew member. Watson was shot twice by Fredrick Lopez, who was on his way to intercept Lee's group of murderers. Ciao quickly pulls the body into a storage room, where he and the other crew begin examining it. Watson's body appears to be almost normal, aside from the gunshot wounds of course.
But there is one thing that is out of the ordinary.
Lee hears Lopez’ footsteps behind him and turns. Lopez fires two shots at Lee, one of which strikes his shoulder and the second grazing the side of his head. Lee fires back, hitting Lopez twice, both times in the head, and the first person to put up any resistance falls to the ground, his life extinguished.
By now, seventy-eight crewmen lie dead, more than ninety of those on board have been begun displaying the same symptoms as Lee and the makeshift “gang”. This is not a mere mutiny—there is something else going on here. The remaining crew members, totaling twenty-six, gather in the Armory and attempt to gun down the infected.
A war has broken out on the USS Machurio.
Private Ciao and his fellow crew members have noticed one abnormal thing about Watson's body. His gunshot wounds, although bleeding red blood, are blackened, almost scorched. Intrigued, Ciao grabs some gloves from one of the nearby boxes and examines the wounds closer. He pries the wound apart, and, much to his disgust, he finds that almost the entire inside of Watson's chest is scorched, almost as if someone had dumped acid on him.
Ciao concludes, after his very messy autopsy, that Watson's organs and interior had been eating themselves from the inside out.
Frantically, Captain Jorgenson changes course for the nearest port sends a radio message telling of the chaos. The message is intercepted and broken up by the nearby Soviet ship. Lt. Lee and the other infected crew reach the bridge, but the doors have been sealed off by the captain and the uninfected crew. The captain breathes a sigh of relief, knowing that he is safe from whatever has gotten into his crew.
Or so he thinks.
Lee's "gang" has been dropping in numbers for a very unexpected reason. Some of the infected crew members have literally disintegrated in front of Lee. Their skin turned black and shattered apart, their blood evaporated , and even some of their smaller bones disintegrated into black fluid.
Lee has one main objective now. Kill Jorgenson before Lee kills himself from the inside out.
Private Ciao is in the storage room, hiding. an infected crew member by the name of Jonah Richardson found and killed one of Ciao's friends who helped with the autopsy, and now Richardson is silently stalking around the many storage boxes in the room. Ciao hears a scream and a gunshot. He knows one of his friends was just murdered, and he might be next. Ciao hears a box fall over, and realizes Richardson is getting closer. Ciao has two options, make a run for the hallway, or stay hidden.
He choses to make a break for it.
Ciao leaps up from his hiding spot and runs like hell. He's not fast enough though. Richardson shoots Ciao in the back, and walks over to him. Suddenly, Richardson seems to go into spasms, his body contorting and twisting violently. Richardson collapses to the ground, his eyes bleeding out, his skin turning black. Ciao struggles towards the door, but Richardson, in his death throes, shoots Ciao in the back of the head. Richardson stops flailing and slowly breaks apart, until nothing but a blackened skeleton and a pool of oily black fluid are left.
One of the crew members with Jorgenson in the bridge, Lt. Steven Hausman, admits to having a minor headache—and soon displays the same exact symptoms as Lee. He walks towards one of the crew members, Midshipman Joe Anderson. Hausman attempts to resist, but fails as he lunges towards Anderson. The other crew members try to restrain him, but are shrugged off as his hands wrap around Anderson’s throat. After a few seconds he is dead. Capt. Jorgensen, horrified by the scene that has just unfolded, pulls out a gun.
He shoots Hausman in the head.
At that moment, Lt. Lee and the infected crew members breach the locked doors and storm into the bridge. The captain fires at them frantically, but Lee simply grabs the captain by the neck and shoots him through the head. The uninfected crew is decimated by the infected. People are shot, beaten, and choked to death. In the end, no uninfected crew members are left alive.
Except for one.
Lt. Jorge Luis is uninfected, and he is sitting in the compartment for the missile launcher, slowly cutting away at the metal casing of a missile. Luis knows he stands no chance against so many crazed sailors, and so he is preparing to perform the ultimate sacrifice. To ensure that the others do not escape, he intends to blow up the ship.
In the control room, Lt. Lee is steering the ship towards the soviets, on an attack course. Lee has been feeling a new urge—an urge to destroy. And the closest thing to destroy is the Russian patrol cruiser.
Luis is almost done cutting through the missile casing. He has his gun at the ready to shoot and ignite the missile’s warhead.
The Russian convoy is within striking distance.
Six infected crew members head up to the launcher room, preparing to launch the ship’s entire arsenal of missiles at the convoy. Luis finishes cutting the casing, and cocks his gun, ready to shoot the exposed warhead. The missile launcher opens. The door bursts open. Luis fires his gun.
The warhead ignites.
On the Russian Destroyer Lenin, a bright flash is spotted in the distance. The Destroyer heads towards the site of the flash, but they find nothing but a few pieces of debris and an oil slick.
The USS Machurio is gone.
The exact cause of the crewmen's’ rapid descent into madness is not entirely understood. The simultaneous nature of the events seems to imply that an infection of some sort was to blame, contracted by some of the crew early on during the Machurio’s voyage. It may be that this pathogen caused a sort of psychosis, afflicting the brain and causing abnormally high levels of aggression, but this has yet to be ascertained. The recent developments leading to our understanding of the crew’s last moments have led to a number of questions:
- What caused the infection of the crew?
- Why did the disease spread so quickly?
- What would happen if the disease were to resurface, and if it were to be discovered too late?
As implied above, the first two questions can be easily answered. The other, however, is harder to answer. Such a virulent infection may result in an incredibly rapid spread, and although the disease itself may not be fatal, the actions of those infected are. In the end, it is perhaps best that the third question is not answered—that the disease which led to the downfall of the Machurio went down with the ship. However, new strains of both bacterial and viral infections are springing up globally, and it may not be long before a disease similar to this one re-emerges and reaches a population center.
There is no telling what may happen then.
Written by Palaeontologica
Content is available under CC BY-SA.
Based on an idea by Very Inked