Back at the beach, the doctor was explaining how it appeared some kind of organism had forced itself in through the noses of the victims when the Plucky Badass Girl shot him. It happened faster than anyone could quite comprehend, and without provocation. Everyone stared puzzled at the doctor, who, himself looked just as puzzled, staring at the wound that had appeared in his chest as if by magic. Then, while he keeled over, Plucky Badass Girl shot the Security Chief. Everyone remaining panicked and ran as the Doctor flopped around on the ground, screaming. Plucky Badass Girl picked up the trumpet case clumsily with one hand, and continued to shoot, somewhat more randomly now. She cocked her head, listening. Distracted, she grew closer and closer as the man expired, closer, tuning out all that went on around her apart from his distress, her face nearer to his, intimate, more intimate by the moment, mouths close, open…
The Pretty Young Girl clobbered the Plucky Badass Girl with a rifle, swinging it like a baseball bat. She screamed profanities - surprisingly funny ones under the circumstances - and continued to bludgeon the now-ex marine viciously for several minute, stopping only when her victim’s head fell off.
Back on the ship, The Navigatrix went white at the news of how quickly the situation on the ground was deteriorating. She ordered the Pretty Young Girl to have the newest corpse bagged and taken to the shuttle immediately. Whatever parasite that could have done this was undoubtedly still in the body. Pretty Young Girl dickered with her superior by wireless. It was a bad plan, she thought, for a variety of reasons. The Engineer was tending to the Security Chief, who had a bullet lodged in his left bicep. He was in an enormous amount of pain, and his arm had curled into a useless chicken wing, but otherwise he was functional. She pulled three space suits out of the un-drowned shuttle, and ordered her two remaining men to put them on before they started monkeying around with Plucky Badass Girl’s body.
Back in the unnamed, unmanned city, the snakes were filling the Meat Factory. They piled in atop each other, forming a living carpet a foot deep, then two feet, then three. It was some time before Trumpeter really understood what was going on. Too scared to move, he couldn’t really bring himself to look down through the grated floor, and when he did, he saw silent, dead-eyed yet strangely inquisitive faces of two of his shipmates looking up at him from a rising tide of serpents. He wished he hadn’t looked. He wished it had simply taken him, killed him without knowing. He jerked to his feet, and looked down again just in time to see the wall of writhing horror sweep over their faces like they were sinking slowly in water. Higher they came, another inch, another foot. They were hissing and coiling and striking high enough to hit the grating itself. Trumpeter clambered up on the metal handrail as they swept over the catwalk. He balance-beamed his way to a pipe that led to the ceiling as the things grew close enough snap at his boots. So close now. He wondered how deep they must be piled now. Twelve feet? Fifteen? No! No, no no! Don’t think like that. Don’t think at all, Trumpeter, just climb!
And so he did, achingly upwards, never noticing how dim the light through the transom windows had gotten. He’d almost made it out when he looked out the window and saw that a mountain of the things had completely covered the outside of the building. He nodded in resignation, and then just hung there for a moment, until their pressure shattered the windows, and they began tumbling in as great, writhing cataracts of horror. His bowels, bladder, and stomach all gave way at once as the ophidian wave broke over him.
The Pretty Young Girl and her two remaining men decided to abandon all their crap at the beach and make their way to their original landing site. They didn’t actually have anything to carry bodies in, so they’d stuffed the bulk of Plucky Badass Girl’s corpse in another space suit, and sealed the neck up airtight with a leak-patch kit. They actually found a container the size of a hatbox, but it wasn’t airtight, and it seemed somehow more appropriate to keep the severed head in a helmet, so they did. They