With both incarnations of the creature seemingly dead, the surviving crew jettisoned the bodies of their deceased mates.
The new captain summoned the others to the bridge.
He counted four faces. Tired eyes. Cracked lips. Bleeding nostrils.
With a weary countenance and heavy sigh, he brought one thumb back into his own chest.
“Five,” he said softly.
A flicker of curiosity sparked in the otherwise cold expressions facing him.
“Our computer has rerouted us directly to Earth. Considering our losses, there is no need to resupply elsewhere. We have more than we need at this point.”
“And?” the former commander asked suddenly and sharply.
“No scan detects even a trace of that – whatever the hell that was – on the ship. Even the remains in the galley aren’t reading.”
“Thank God,” someone muttered.
“However, the same scans are repeatedly counting four of us. I’m counting five. I’m open to solutions to that discrepancy.”