I slit his throat with the ease of a tuned professional as he leaned in for a kiss. With practiced movements I moved sideways to miss the blood spatter as his life blood flowed in heart beat spurts from the wound in his neck. I was sure I heard a slightly gurgled “bitch” just before he expired on the ground next to me.
The hotel room dark as you would expect a pay by the hr room to be. There was no way I would want to see a UV light near these sheets let alone sleep on them. I quickly searched his pockets and found the wallet and envelope I was sent to get. Sometimes I wonder what these poor unfortunates have done to end up dead on a sleazy hotel room floor on a god forsaken planet in the Delta system but I don’t really care!
It’s not my job to ask questions and I suppose I should feel lucky that I have a job at all in this dilapidated backwater of a planet. But then anything’s better that Shade City! That’s were I was born, mum a prostitute and dad a petty thug my childhood was spent running from drunk family and spaced out people in the dregs of society. At 10 I learnt to break and enter with dad and he taught me how to use a short blade just in case we were interrupted during a job. Most kids would be at the zoo but not me I was robbing and bashing people for money and food. I found out I had a talent for martial arts and dad sent me for lessons and by 16 I was a black belt and filled out my clothes like a woman. It was lucky I could defend myself because when the johns came around and mum was passed out they often thought they could use me as a substitute. I remember the reason I became a mercenary and although I can not remember his name I still remember the blood.
At 16 on the streets I had to use whatever I had learned to survive and it was in the dark streets of Shade that I was found by Enrique Montoya he saw a raw talent in me that I didn’t know existed. He gave me a place to live and food as long as I did as I was told. I knew a conscience was something others had and morals were something the now almost phased out god believers preached about but in the dark Latin Quarter of the city it mattered not. The Yellows and Blacks had there own space in the city but as always there was room for more trade of all kinds, drugs, synthohol, music and clothing. Nothing like a new pair of jeans to make a girl feel good in this shit hole.
So for 5 years I worked robbed and did as I was told I don’t know how many times I was raped, based and traded for goods in this time but It was the only life I knew and I could aspire to. I was promoted and was given my first big chance for being a good girl for so many years, command of a light cargo ship the “Trepid”. The drop mission to take a wooden crate to the neighbouring planet “Alpha Terra” was a piece of cake, a 2 week mission and I was to be part of the deal as I was told and my services as a woman were required to seal the deal and ensure payment.
All was good 5 days out with me only having to have one crew member detained in the ships lock up for drinking part of the synth shipment which gave him some Dutch courage and he thought I was an easy mark. His balls will be blue for at least a week so he will be a good boy for the return home. My number 2 Stens Burgen a huge man 6’6” tall and about 4’ wide with a voice like silk and a head of beautiful burnished blond hair a trait of his ancestry from earth. He was always nice to me and was on board to look after not only the shipment but the crew as well. Considering a large wooden crate was the most expensive product we had on board no-one knew shit all about it.
It was heavy and smelt like ammonia, Stens said it reminded him of the time he had to transport the dead son of Tony (the head) |Deblasio, front man of the Cartel back home. The reason he’s called “the head” is that’s what’s missing if you cross him. The box 4’ long by 2’ wide and as much deep is worth more than all the other crap we had on board. Apparently it’s going to an astute buyer of artefacts to be part of his exotic and expensive private collection. The Pilot sent a ship wide broadcast warning we were close to the Target planet and would be entering the gravitational field in approximately 2 hrs.
I decided I would use this time for the crew to relax and replenish before we were due to touch down and off the payload under darkness in about 4 hrs time. Getting into the atmosphere was easy, navigating through the many space ports and militia control craft was always difficult but we had co-ordinates sent to us from the sergeant in charge of interplanetary defence so we could navigate without being seen by anyone or anything, obviously he was a well paid part of the cartels extended employ.
I took one last walk around the hold and looked into the enclosed area where the expensive crate sat and detected a faint humming noise but dismissed it as part of the ships over riding nuances. I turned slowly to exit the stale cargo bay but the humming seemed to get louder the further I moved away from the crate, the noise sounded like a chorus of deep water lunes singing to each other on Alterius 3. I don’t recall walking back to or opening the cage door but I felt the crate cold under my hand my mind felt like it was in a fog. I recall grabbing a pry bar from the shadow board on a bench backboard painted black with a white area the shape of each item stored on its metal tendrils. The job of removing the crates lid seemed almost too easy considering it had a huge “Do Not Touch” sticker on it and a rather large bolt lock. As I slowly prised open the lid there was a sharp shift in both pitch and frequency of sound being emitted!
With a rush that seemed to go on for seconds, not a simple blink of an eye, I was staring into an intense blinding light that inflicted not just blindness but searing pain behind each eye that I thought could only feel if someone was slowly forcing 6 inch needles into my eye sockets through the pulpy flesh of the eyes themselves. On instinct I raised my right hand to feel for any gelatinous fluid that would have seeped from my now ruined eyes only to realise there was nothing. I knew I had to get away from this thing whatever it was but there was no moving, each and every muscle, tendon and ligament in my body was ridged and would not obey my own minds commands and basic instinct which was to flee. With all of my motor skills removed from me I tried to do the next best thing and scream for help – nothing not even a whimper, just the faintest quiver of my bottom lip showed any sign of my current predicament.
My left arm felt warm and wet with my next breath as if it was dipped in a vat of lovely warm Honduran oat porridge. I could also feel something moving about the base of my skull under my hair like fingers but thinner and colder as if they were looking for the “X” marks the spot on an old treasure map but these were looking for a way into my brain stem. Not pain but a cold writhing sensation and a feeling of absolute heaviness about my left arm that actually seemed to start from my left breast and lower rib cage all the way to my finger tips encasing my entire shoulder along the way. If the setting had been different I would swear it was like something making love to my entire left side torso, but as well as euphoria I also had a sense of immense strength surge through my body and then a burning thrum of pain, desire, love, hate and relief surged through my mind as if something was being born within my psyche.
I have no way of knowing how long I was out for but the cold of the plascrete floor was making its way through my clothes but some of my skin had a tingly warm feeling, damn it felt like a number 4 Grav-train hit me. I tried to stand but the fog in my head was still lifting, I managed to glance down at the left side of my body, I couldn’t breathe, I panicked an audible gasp was the only sound that exited my mouth as looked down at a mass of chitin, sinew, and what can only be described as muscle that was undulating but seemed to be attached to my entire left arm, shoulder and upper torso. A soft almost angelic voice told me not to panic and that all was well, it was not in a tongue I understood but I knew what it was saying in my mind, somehow the clicks and grunts made sense and I tried to stand. I looked at the revolting mass of cartilage and muscle to inspect any damage to what was my arm, but realised to my surprise I could still feel me underneath and strength was coursing through me I had never felt before. I had a flash of understanding and looked into the minds eye of this thing that moved with absolute ease and felt lighter than my original appendage, it’s not a growth or a devouring alien this is a bio parasite a strong one and it chose me as its host!
Stens Burst through the cargo bay doors because he heard a muffled gasp and was sure I was in some danger. His life thus far had consisted of fights, mainly for food at a young age and he progressed to the leader in his sector because of his strength and cunning. This was a talent the off world cartel had noticed, and wanted to foster within their ranks of paid enforcers. Although Stens was strong and smart he was also good to have around when you’re a women in a man’s profession, but on this occasion he was out matched.
I saw the doors burst open and then nothing but a blur as I moved with unnatural speed as if I was moving through space not within it. When I finally understood what was happening it was too late I looked down at my new accessory only to see Stens head held tightly within the three finger like protrusions at the base which made what could be understood as a rudimentary claw. It was “I was” crushing his skull and I could feel strength being drawn from him as if I was draining his life essence. I looked on entranced and disgusted then forced a “STOP” from my frozen vocal chords. It stopped and Stens slumped to the cold floor covered in damaged tissue and bone fragments, as if he had a frag grenade in his mouth and it went off.
My new friend seemed stronger and I detected a slight Ozone smell as if it had processed this hulking man as fuel for its as yet unknown powers and bio parts.
“Ah we live” it said in a low guttural sounding growl. “Danger gone, feel strong”