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“You are? Oh, crap.” I could hear him say as the darkness blocked out my view completely.
The next thing I was aware of was being covered in what, I was pretty sure was alien blood. It was purple and slick and disturbing. I looked forward and saw Conva body parts everywhere. The floor was a biological debris field. I started to feel nauseous but then I realized I was still Super Me. I was big—six or seven feet tall. My skin had scales the size of poker chips. Some were shattered with bruised gray skin underneath. My fingers were elongated and thick, with my nails extended and tough—perfect claws. My hands hurt—like I’d held onto a rope too tightly while sliding down it in gym class. I turned, and looked behind me to see Julio holding a mean looking rifle, his face spattered with purple, with the white of his eyes looking up at me with great hesitation. That hesitation made me feel shame, out of control, and I felt nauseous again. I turned away from Julio and tried to vomit, letting the urge have free reign but something was literally stopping me. I stuck two of my clawed fingers down my throat and tried to encourage myself.
“Little Jacob, that won’t work,” Hu said.
“What do you mean,” I growled, completely unintentionally. Julio cleared his throat nervously. “During the fight you generated a abdominal plate that must be anchored to your skeleton in a way that is stopping you from bending enough to allowed you to—“
Before he could finish, vomit exploded out of my mouth, around fangs I only then noticed. I looked over at Julio who had managed to back out of the way of any of it splattering. He looked up at me with an awkwardly embarrassed and grossed-out face.
“Sorry…” I growled. Apparently, at that moment I was incapable of speaking without growling.
Definitely bringing a towel next time,” Hu said, quickly adding: “We’ve got to get outside to take the readings your sister wanted.”
“I don’t think they were for my sister…” I started clearing my throat, hoping that it would
somehow get rid of the growl a bit.
“Are you OK?” Hu asked.
“Yeah, I just wish I could stop growling! It’s really annoying!”
“It’s OK but let’s do the science stuff and get out of here!”
Jill had given us two devices to use in the FED. One was to take general readings on the spot and the other we were to leave powered on and in active mode so it would take readings until we come back for it.
From the barracks we were able to find an exit out onto the purple mountain. As I stepped outside, a blast of wind hit me in the face and if I hadn’t known better, I’d be sure I was on the side of a mountain back on Earth. Well, my Earth. Not this weird purple-tinted planet. I stepped forward and felt the purple grass between my toes. Yep, my shoes were shredded.
“Good. They have dirt here,” Julio said from his knees digging a hole for the leave-behind device by the wall.
“Why don’t you morph back to normal?”
“My clothes are gone.”
“Oh yeah, right. Well say the word and I will say the words to help you wind back down.”
“Yeah, don’t do that yet.”
Julio was already using the bring-home device to gather data.
“That’s for Dr. Green by the way.”
“The data we’re getting with those devices, man. It’s not for my sister.”
“Oh yeah—the doctor whose name can’t be mentioned.”
“Have you heard it?”
“No. No one will say it for me.”
“Ask her. She’ll say it for you. I bet she misses hearing it.”
“You know I’m a doctor.”
“Is that your surprised growl? It’s true—I went to school for it and everything.”
“Now you sound surprised in yourself.” He smiled with pride. I tried to smile myself but based on Julio’s reaction to it, I was not successful. “Sorry—did that not look like a smile?”
“Uh, no. Might want to practice that in front of a mirror a bit before you try again.”
“Doctor Julio, huh? That’s kinda cool.”
“Almost done with the bring-home device.”
I nodded and looked out over the slope and the purple ocean and the purple city. I felt that wind again and couldn’t help but take a deep breath. As I did I got such a high off of it. It was like every cell in my body took a huge hit off of an oxygen joint.
“So much oxygen in this atmosphere,” I said.
“You can smell it?”
“I guess I can.” I inhaled again and I could tell the air had been changed slightly. I tried to focus on what was different. What had been added to it? I inhaled again and the difference scent was stronger. “Hey Hu, we may need to go.”
I suddenly recognized what the change was—I had a flash of a scent I’d smelled on that Conva ship. “They’re coming!”