Sketch of nervous scene on drop deck.
Last week, I unwisely accepted a special assignment for the interplanetary news network. They wanted someone to report on the mission to the ice moon Pellor-alto–7b. When I clicked accept, it said nothing about accelerating out of orbit in an Assault cruiser alongside twelve heavily armed Pellor troopers and being briefed on zero-gravity drop procedures. I had assumed I would be watching events maybe from high orbit and not dropping onto an ice moon infested with the zombie virus alongside the troopers.
And that turned out to be the good bit!
I soon found out why we will not be joined by our mission specialist until just before the final briefing. The mission specialist is in a specially lined chamber in the ship’s hold that can withstand corrosive atmospheres. I am on the same ship as an oxygen breathing life-form. Apparently, the ship collected it from a dwarf planet at the edge of the Earth exclusion zone.
Ok, so sometimes I panic a bit and imagine the worst. I was sure that when the captain came over he was going to reassure us that it the thing in hold 4 was just some innocuous little creature that can sniff out the 8-1-8 zombie virus. Oh no, The captain was still visibly shaking as he explained the ship had been ordered to approach the Earth exclusion zone in silent running mode, and to maintain radio silence until clear. Architect Krull would prefer that the creatures inside the zone do not know about the existence of us his pets on nearby systems.
At that point the captain took a deep breath of the ships recycled hydrogen before blurting out his orders were to take a magnetometer with him out onto the surface and the creature would identify itself. He had been out there on the surface of this dwarf planet for only a few seconds when the large two legged thing appeared out of the methane mist clearing large craters in its stride, coming straight at him, before bouncing to halt in the low gravity. Then he thought the end had come, his hearts had failed with the shock, as terrible burst of pain went through him. The captain held up the magnetometer. The display showing “8-0-8 level 2 nausea field” in big letters.
So now you understand why a my never click the “Accept mission” button ever again. Not only am I on the same ship as a human, but it an enhanced nanoid-reanimation of a human.
The captain still shaking directed us to suit up, and join him on the drop deck for the final briefing with the human. I could not use my phone in the vacuum, so the sketch I am holding in the picture above shows the scene with the enhanced human not bothered by the vacuum.
You can’t imagine being that close to something so alien. Humans seem to be built backwards with their spine running down the back of the body. They just move so fast and jerkily, we all thought we were going to die at one point but it seemed to just have an itch.
For more information on humans, 8-0-8 and the 8-1-8 the zombie virus see The Brigadier and the Pit
For information on our owner’s race and the owner of the Earth exclusion zone see The God Kit