Kink pulled me into the portal. I tried to resist, but she was stronger and she had caught me unaware. We fell forward across space and emerged from the portal onto what appeared to be an asteroid. I began to panic. Even the nanites in my blood wouldn’t protect me from vacuum. “Relax, Franky. Do you really think I would ever let you be hurt? This isn’t regular space. This is the Chaotic Zone. This is where the invaders are breaking in.”
I saw the war stretch out before me. Strange ships were flying, shooting, exploding everywhere I looked. They were all around us. “This is where we can get through,” Gra, the crimson man of liquid metal, said. “This is where we can get what we were promised.” Gra kneeled down and pushed his hands into the asteroid.
“See that spot?” Kink said, pointing into the distance. “See that spot where your eyes slip right past, where your brain doesn’t want to admit exists?”
I shook my head. “No.”
She thought I had made a joke. “That’s where we’re going.”
I nodded as if the things she had been saying made sense. “Ok. How?”
Suddenly, the rock around us began to shake. It tore itself from the from the rest of the asteroid and continued flying away. I assumed it was Gra in control and I assumed he knew where he was going, which I assumed was the right direction, and I hoped it wasn’t going to get us killed.
We were in the thick of it now, ships and aliens flying everywhere, explosions going off around us. The explosions were muted. They weren’t very loud, but I could hear them. Whatever the Chaotic Zone was, sound could travel in it. Of course, the nature of the Chaotic Zone was the least of my worries at the moment because that was when I saw an invader. It looked like a giant evil beetle with four wings. No, six. Two? Eight legs, no legs. It was hard to focus, to see it. It was as if there were body parts that I couldn’t see, as if they were coming in and out of reality. But what I could see was terryfing and it was flying right at us!
As it came near, Pahf flew out toward it and surrounded the invader. He changed the density of his body and solidified around it. “Got it!” Pahf declared, but suddenly he let out a scream. “It’s touch! It burns! Burns! I can’t hold it for long!”
Grow stepped forward. “Throw me at it!”
I looked at it. “What?”
Grow replied, “I said throw me!”
Without any preamble, the Origin stepped forward and ripped the fungus from the squirrelturtle’s shell. He hurled Grow at the invader. Pahf was skrieking in pain, or so I assumed. He was a creature made of mist, what did I know of his sounds or anatomy? And then Pahf was no more. Nothing remained of him to show he ever existed, not even a whisp, not even an echo.
The invader, now free, turned its sight on us. The three of us (four if you counted the squirrelturtle, though I wouldn’t have) stood ready to face it, though I didn’t know what good we could have done. Again, it charged at us and I knew that this was going to be the end, but then suddenly the creature stopped as if frozen. “I got it,” Grow said from its place on the back of the invader. “I think…It’s hard to think, but I think I’ve got him.”
“Are you sure?” The Origin asked.
“It’s so strange. Its mind…it’s not here or…I don’t know. I’m not sure I’m connecting…”
“Do you have him or not?” Kink asked coldly. No one seemed to care that Pahf ceased to be. “Can you do this or not?”
“I can. I am. I’m in control. We can do this.” The fungus Grow had attached itself to the intruder and seemed to have taken rudimentary control of it. Grow steered the invader toward the asteroid and grabbed a hold.
“To the tear, fungus!” Kink yelled.
“I know, I know,” Grow replied as he directed the invader.
“Then do it faster,” Kink shot back.
Grow’s invader dragged us through space away from the fighting. Invaders flew past us going the opposite direction, ignoring us. We approached the rip in space/time and Grow pulled us in, then everything went wrong and the universe threw up in my mind.
to be continued…