Across The Universe

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Chapter 23 (v.1) - 23

Submitted: July 19, 2018

Reads: 61

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Submitted: July 19, 2018



This was it; the supras gathered in twilight around the nourished field that surrounded the hub.  This that the proof they needed, proof that their hopes hadn't been empty, proof that the future was long and survivable.  The plants had more than taken root, they were flourishing after a week of doubt and wilting.  Some were now knee height, rising up after creeping along the ground, an unknown factor giving them the strength to stand on their own.


Earlier, the humans had come out to witness this event, but eventually they filtered back inside, their suits weighing heavily on their frames. 


As the sun dimmed on the horizon, a celebration of sorts began spontaneously.  Whooping, Nymadawa leapt in the air, his fist leading.  People danced and spun around the patches of green, grabbing each other and swinging around in dizzying circles.  Max grabbed Daisy around the middle and picked her up, spinning as she screamed in surprise and delight.  The sound that came from her was echoed and turned into a cry of triumph, as they discarded various items of clothing to bare their deformities, changing them in an instant to badges of what they had survived and conquered.


"We have changed to the tide!"  Lee yelled at the tops of his lungs.  "We have done the impossible!"


Swirling through the air, Margaret landed and faced the plants, shouting, "This is our planet!"  The cry stopped Max momentarily, and he watched his people leap and cavort in the light of the rising moons.  This was their planet, yes, he had no doubt about that, but something in him made Max believe that the humans weren't included in Margaret's declaration.  This was their planet, they were designed for it, created just for Terra Mage, and they were to be the planet's caretakers while the humans assisted occasionally only as their suits allowed.


It was a moment that lead Max to the end of his humanity, something he had been battling with for a long time.  Turning slowly, he saw that the supras' leash was tied solely to what they could survive with or without, where as the humans tether was a limited distance from the hub.  This was their planet.  The humans need them, but it wasn't in anyway a symbiotic relationship.  All that the supras needed was each other and the plants.


One by one, they stopped, falling down exhausted or sitting before the fall, and they slept beneath strange stars, as night pushed on into a new dawn.


It was the shriek of terror that woke most everybody.  Pushing himself to his feet, Max watched as a few people ran, vaulting the garden to put as much distance between them and...  There is was again, this time, it was less wary than it had been when it came face to face with humans.  The saiga creature shook its head and made a peculiar sound that was halfway between a calf's complaint and a pig's whine.  It looked around, the points of its mouth mulling a little before stalking forward to sniff at the plants.  That was more than Lee could stand, and he picked up someone's abandoned shoes, chucking them at the creature, before running at it, yelling wordlessly.  The creature reared and danced back a yard then set down again.  It made a disgusted sound and shook its head again before trotting a safe distance away to watch them doubtfully.


"What the hell is that thing?"  Was the question repeated by almost everyone in some shape or form.  Daisy and Max just exchanged a glance before silently accepting the fact that the creature truly did exist.  They didn't have to let the novelty wear off this time like the others did.


"I'll go in and tell the others so they can observe it," Daisy said, sounding bored, as she went past the others.  "You make sure Bob doesn't kill anything."


Max was baffled.  "Bob?"


She paused and looked back at him.  "It's what you called him," she said, jogging back to the hub.


The saiga-thing circled, more cautious than before, its split nose wiggling in opposite directions, whenever it came too close, someone would make a sharp noise and it would startle.


After a few minutes, Max had enough of waiting and went back into the hub.  Stepping out of the airlock, he heard the screaming.  Looking around, he saw a group of people surrounding the medical centre.  Jogging over, Max looked for a friendly face to explain what was happening.  Pausing, he looked in the centre, horrified as he watched Ortega seizing on a bed, screaming, spraying blood out between clenched teeth.


enough time had passed that Max was able to lie to himself that it wasn't so bad being reformed by the serum, but witnessing Ortega's suffering, he knew that it wasn't true.  It was hell, and Ortega was walking through it so he could feel the wind on his face again.  It was a steep price for freedom.


Ignoring the muted chatter of the humans who were observing the doctor's transformation, Max looked for Charlie, Goethe, Daisy, anybody who could explain why this was happening now, and why Ortega wasn't in a sealed unit.  Max had helped build an isolation room for exactly this purpose, and yet...


"It's your job!"  He heard and saw Daisy talking to Kline, a guy whose job Max wasn't sure of.


"Well, you get it, and we'll-"


"We don't have the equipment or protective gear," she argued.  "It's trying to eat people.  No one's going near it without protection."


Max began walking towards her, when he saw Goethe rushing towards the medical centre in a hazmat suit, careless of the people he shoved out of the way.  Going back to the centre, Max watched as Goethe went through the hastily erected sanitation curtains, through to the door proper, to check on Ortega's stats.


"He doctored himself," Charlie said, making Max jump.  He hadn't noticed the man standing there.  "He was saying last night that he couldn't take it any more, and Ari said he'd start prep for it tomorrow, and I guess that was too long for him.  It's hitting him bad."


Turning back to the scene, Max agreed it didn't look good, but it was hard to tell if it was actually worse than what it was.  He watched as Nunia and Goethe worked together, putting a line into what remained of Ortega's lung, and a tube down his throat to siphon the gore away.  Then they gave him a sedative, and Max wondered whose benefit it was for.


"How long has he been like this?"  Max asked, as Ortega went limp on the table.  Nunia leaned over Ortega, cleaning the viscera off his face.


"Less than an hour," Charlie answered, crossing his arms.  "He's got about another twenty to go.  At least he'll be unconscious for most of that."


"And they want us to go through that," Niemand said, jumping into their conversation, shaking his head.


Charlie turned to look at him.  "No.  No one wants anyone to go through that... well maybe you, but that's just because you're a miserable fuck," he said.  "It's the aftereffects that are wanted, you freakin' idiot."  Niemand turned away, flipping Charlie off as he walked away.  "Oh, oh no!  That just wounds me!  How ever am I going to recover from being insulted by a loser?"  Charlie faced Max and rolled his eyes, stopping as he saw several people walking through with suits on.  "What's going on?"


Quickly explaining, Max told him about the Terrian saiga, and he found himself jogging alongside Charlie, who wanted to see the thing first hand.  Waiting as Charlie got ready, Max told him what it was like sleeping under the stars there, at Charlie's behest.


"I might just have to suck it up and get the shot," Charlie said, locking his helmet into place, his voice tinny as it came out of the speaker in the front of his suit.


"You should," Max told him.  "You change for the better, and it sure as hell beats being locked inside."


Charlie was a silent for a moment as he hit the button for the airlock.  "Yeah, but I'm not certain about the potential deformities," he said, and Max looked at his own unshod feet, wiggling his toes.


"At least I'm not allergic to the sun," he shot back, a touch bitterly.  Deformed meant that they were in a way that was unnatural.  As far as Max could see, any and all mutations placed them exactly where they were supposed to be.


"I'd rather stay human," Charlie said, and Max swallowed.  It was harsh hearing that come from someone, especially someone he considered a friend.


"This is better," Max told him, looking ahead as the outer door slid open.

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