Deep space: the CREW of the deep space navsat maintenance ship Hoshuu Maru struggle to repair their meteorite-damaged ship. As they pass a nearby planet, they discover the abandoned hulk of the Czarina Ekaterina, a long-lost Eur-Russian research vessel stuck in a decaying orbit around the planet. Hoping to secure fuel and parts, the Hoshuu Maru's captain, MACK, orders that they dock with the Ekaterina.

The crew enters the space hulk and discovers carnage: all the air blown out, frozen blood, destroyed control consoles, jury-rigged crucifixes, painted warnings in Cyrillic... and no bodies. The ship's last logvid is damaged, showing soundless images of panicked crew members on the bridge. The crew concludes that space madness or a homicidal mutiny may have occurred.

In the cargo bay, the crew discovers large containers holding mineral samples from different planets. They seal the Ekaterina and restart her atmosphere generators, filling her with breathable air. As they get to work scavenging for spare fuel and parts, THINGS stir in the mineral containers, awakened by the influx of oxygen.

The audio track of the Ekaterina's ship's last logvid is repaired. Mack and crew are bewildered to hear the Ekaterina's captain desperate accounting of something loose on the ship, something he calls "the Upir". He warns the future logvid viewers not to repressurize the ship but instead to crash it into a sun to prevent the Upir from ever reaching Earth... then the logvid goes to static.

The Maru crew decides to finish the repairs quickly... but it's too late.

Something is loose. Something needs to feed. Something wants to get to Earth.