Mar. 31st, 2011

Pestle (9)

Mar. 31st, 2011 12:14 am
Ninth part. A hair late. I blame the DDOS attack.

I woke up shouting something in a strange language. I got hold of my brain. Slippery devil.

"How long have I been out?" I asked. My mouth was dry and my shoulder hurt like a bastard.

"Around eight hours," Lopez answered. They had made me comfortable on some kind of a palette. My vacuum suit was missing. There was a great big black blob on my injured shoulder.

"What the hell is that?" I growled, trying to focus my eyes on the greasy stuff. Lopez sucked on his teeth.

"That was Swami's idea," said Lopez unhappily. "He took some of that black tentacle shit and wrapped you in it. He said it was an ideal immobilizer and burn protector. He did something to it so it wouldn't spawn or squeeze you or whatever. Creeps the shit out of me, dude."

"Swami needs to save his mad science shit for the dead bodies," I said. Still, despite the pain, the rest of me seemed active and mobile. I sat up gingerly and stretched. The palette was made out of bloody vacuum suits. Wonderful.

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Tenth and last. A little longer than usual but I needed to wrap up all ends.

The cold white beam of Pestle's heart burned up through the open Round Door, just as it had done when the Sirrip died. Muskie licked his lips. "Okay," he said, "who's going first?" But he said it to nobody, because everybody else had already stepped through.

Or, rather, rolled through. It was a matter of kneeling by the edge of the door, reaching one's entire body and arms through the hole (while squeezing one's eyes shut against the blinding light), grabbing handles on the far side, and rolling through. The disorientation associated with changing apparent gravity fields was cancelled by the body roll, and standing up in the new environment seemed perfectly normal. Swami pressed a closure switch and the door segments hissed closed before the sphere separated.

The interior of Pestle's main body was hollow. It was a massive void in space, so large that it was difficult for the eye to properly scale what it was seeing. We were standing on a hill of the same fine-grained rocky material that made up Pestle's exterior. No, not a hill – a long moraine that extended in a perfect line and stretched up at the edges. It was the inside of the groove – a narrow waist in Pestle's cigar shape that gave us a commanding view of the interior.

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