Things got worse after we heard Teddy scream. We all just took off running and shamefully didn’t notice what happened to Fry.
When we reached Suzie, she had cut one of the creatures from my nightmare in half. I froze and had to fight off urge to run, puke, or both. When I finally felt confident I wouldn’t, I looked at the thing that had been haunting me for the better part of the past few years.
It looked like a cross between a wolf, an alligator, and a human. Everything about it ate light. My eyes had trouble focusing on it, but what I did see showed that the insides were the same greasy light-absorbing substance as the outsides.
What was left of Teddy was all red with some splotches of brown. I bent over to look at him, but he was dead.
“Teddy shot that thing eight times and it just ate the plasma bolts like they were nothing. Thankfully it couldn’t defend against my sword.” That sword had been made by one of the first Sunspeakers, forged from solar alloys in the heart of Sol itself. I don’t like swords so I gave it to the assassin turned bodyguard who’d been using them for her whole life.
Hoff’s mouth was agape when she said, “This is it. This is the thing the virus was designed to kill. Except it’s not affected. The thing’s body just ignores the virus.”
Suzie sighed, “Great; an unkillable enemy. Let’s get the hell out of here before more of those things show up.” She looked around. “Where’s Fry? Adric do you have a location on Fry?” Everyone was starting to move more frantically. I could tell they were trying to act cool, but it was starting to get to them. After spending enough time around me, people develop a thick skin but this was too gruesome, even for me.
I said a small prayer over Teddy’s body and turned to Hoff. “Take a sample and treat it as the highest biohazard level. Go back to the ship and send the shuttle back on autopilot. Travis, go with her.” Hoff looked relieved and I could see her hands shaking as she took the samples. The command effectively left me alone with Suzie, something I wouldn’t mind, minus the horror show going on.
Travis nodded. He was a mild Precog; enough to be a damn good pilot but not much else. He liked the feel of a pilot’s chair and buttons to press. This was not in his comfort zone and he looked damned relieved to get out. He held his swords out and the two of them retreated to the shuttle.
“Your crew respects you too much,” Suzie said. “Leaving you behind with only me as defense in this situation is a great way to get you killed.”
“Or maybe they’re terrified and want to get the hell out of this place before they die. If I thought you’d listen, I’d have sent you with them.”
“I guess you’re not a complete fool.” She stopped and looked at the man in the cryotube. He was dressed in what looked like robes and he had a calm frustratingly smug look on his face. “He makes me think of you.”
“He gives off a feeling of power and authority.”
“I thought you said he reminded you of me?” I joked.
“I did… but there’s something missing, something cold. Even asleep he scares me. You’re warm and you only scare me in that you care too much.”
Adric’s voice cut in, “That’s really deep. I found Fry’s signal in the armory. Two levels down.”
“How do you know it’s the armory?”
“I have the ship’s schematics now. Along with how to build those engines.” He sounded inappropriately happy, considering.
Taking off her ear piece, Suzie turned to me and said, “You know he’s probably not alive, right?”
I only nodded. I knew she was right but I couldn’t bring myself to accept it. These people were my family and they far too often died for me. The walk to the armory had me less nervous than before. My enemy was here and now I could deal with it instead of waiting in horror.
When we got to the doors that would lead us to Fry, Adric told us he hadn’t moved and that Hoff and Travis had made it onto the ship.
“I’m going first,” I said and she rolled her eyes. “It’s not a macho thing. I can just take a lot of damage if it’s a trap.” Her eyes rolled again and she gestured with her sword.
The armoury was filled with swords and projectile weapons. It had been centuries since we’d used that sort of weapon. Plasma blasters were cheaper and easier to make.
In the centre of the room was what was left of Fry. Mostly his head and his earpiece. They were precariously balanced on a chair. There was no blood anywhere and the whole scene felt like it was meant to unnerve us.
Inside, I looked around and tried to figure out why he was displayed. “These things aren’t dumb. They bated us here.”
“Oh great. It’s a trap. I never saw this coming,” Suzie deadpanned.
I instinctively grabbed a weapon and a few cartridges. As I loaded the weapon, I said, “Suzie… I-”
She cut me off by saying, “Not now Hal. For a smart guy with the ability to see the future you have terrible timing for personal talks.”
“But…” I trailed off as she walked away. I followed her out of the armoury and back the way we came.
“I’ve waited two years. What’s another couple of hours?” Suzie quipped.
The lights flickered and I turned around to shoot the first creature in the head as it seemed to fly towards us from behind.
In the distant future humanity has spread to the other planets in our solar system. These stories follow Hal (a prophet for a godlike entity that lives in the sun), and his friends, as they try to make the solar system a better place.