I was running low on air- too low to keep up the volume and length of my scream. These rogue frequencies were going to kill me. My head, chest, and throat burned, but I barely made progress—what a shot in the dark!
Who was I kidding? I couldn’t keep up. The pit of my stomach knotted, and I was about to become part of the problem. This sinking feeling mumbled something about dying horribly, giggled, and ran away to pluck flowers for my grave.
As if it didn’t concern me, I smiled and waved goodbye. But nobody saw that in the darkness.
The infrasound pings were continuous. “We’re leaving together, but still it’s farewell. Maybe we’ll come back to Earth, who can tell.” Big distorted cone-shaped reddish fields zeroed in on Shepherd and me. Final Count-down? It echoed in my head. “Will things ever be the same again?” Was this a count-down?
Tampo was preparing something. If it were a sonic boom, it’d mess with the whole plan. “…We’re heading for Venus…” Hot?
I had to focus.
What to do?
I was running out of time.
Venus was hot. My mines went through my head. So hot! Cricket put on a black leather jacket, blew me a kiss, and smashed out the guitar solo from the final count-down on a snow-white electric guitar.
Somewhere near me, sparks showered the mess. Explosions!
Those were some very persuasive frequencies to confuse the nanobots inside Shepherd. The mines would blow a new asshole into the satellite and free us of the air, the mess, and Tampo too.
I had to tell Mother.
Right on cue, he floated towards me, and I saw the utter shock on his face. Blood dripped down my chin, and I got red on Shepherd too. I must be nightmare fuel.
At this rate, she’ll be gone in about fifteen minutes, or a lot faster if I fell silent. Cricket’s 80ies rock optimism faded with her Bon-Jovi hairstyle. I felt it through the thick calm she intoxicated me with – this was terrible news.
I couldn’t save Shepherd.
I couldn’t save Mother, nor the sample, not my host, not even myself.
Even with Cricket-
I won’t be able to save anybody.
I had no chance to feel more sorry for myself because Mother saved the day: He effin’ blew us up.
Yeah, I felt the moment he decided to do it, and I needed some precious seconds to be happy about it.
The mines I planted earlier detonated with oomph. The walls made out of different alloys tore like wet tissue paper. The light, though, the light made me see everything like an x-ray picture.
I knew the light and the radiation would flood the mess. It was more than I could take: explosion, decompression, flashes of Bayard’s high-energy weapons, and projectiles. Po shot at something. Terrible news! It was the millisecond of the calm before the storm of reality crashing together upon Mother, Shepherd, and me. “You’re in the army now. Ohuh-oh, You’re in the army. Now. Hand grenades are flying over your head.” Cricket army crawled in my peripheral, so I grabbed dirt too.
I released all of the air in my lungs, hoping it was enough to survive this.
Still, I wasn’t fast enough with putting on my eye patch or helmet. Unable to brace for the overwhelming intensity, I only threw my arms up to shield my face from the mind-melting peak of it. I got hit with blinding light, heat, flames, debris or furniture, and possibly Mother himself slamming my helmet on.
As if I gazed into a supernova, I screamed, wished to be born a snail, or not born at all. Then, finally, Cricket jumped in and dulled me and my senses.
The next thing I knew, I floated like a toy soldier thrown into the air in a near-perfect vacuum. Mother hung to my left, and Shepherd slowly spun to my right. Inertia held all of us in a deceptive embrace. Just a blink of an eye was enough to break the illusion.
Sounds and blaring alarms went off right in my ear. Unfortunately, Mother’s voice barely surpassed the oxygen alarm telling me of my impending doom. I caught his cussing and name-calling; he went on about how he’d end me if we survived this.
My gaze slid off of him. There was a gaping hole in the side of the satellite. Ice and scrap shrapnels missed Shepherd, Mother, and me. My body felt heavy as a rock; I couldn’t move a finger.
Mother swam towards me, with his positioning jets sputtering. He looked livid, his scowl barely hiding homicidal intent. Good! Anger always made him creative, and I was freshly out of ideas and crickets.
Above us, Bayard eclipsed, a goddess ready to squash us like ants. I was relieved to see her in one piece. Fluids froze to avant-garde spikes shards from the inner walls of the mess. Something hit the satellite from above, from the other side of an ice field—debris flew in a different trajectory. “A new player joined the game.” Cricket chirped.
The sinking feeling from before came back with the flowers and was ready for a funeral.
I slowly nodded and felt myself slipping away into the blessed darkness, that made me painfully aware of the easiness of letting go.
Just letting go.
part 12 / part 13 / part 14 / part 15/