When the pain receded, the world seemed to make more sense. The vertigo was gone. The ship no longer seemed to bend at weird angles. For a second things seemed normal again. Then I remembered the fighting.
I looked up and saw Gra and Kink engaged with the Invader, but everything seemed wrong. Kink and Gra looked as if they had been flattened, as if they had been turned into paper dolls! And the Invader! I could see all of it! No longer were limbs appearing and disappearing.
I tried to pick myself off the ground, but I froze as I saw my hand. It wasn’t…it wasn’t human. It was something else! And I had more than just two! What had happened to me? What had Kink done? I yelled at her, but she didn’t seem to hear me. I yelled again and she turned around. A smile appeared on her face. “It worked!”
“What worked? What did you do to me?”
Her smile faded as the Invader regained her attention. Her weapons didn’t seem to be working be she continued firing anyway. Gra seemed to be a little more helpful, using the ship to hold the Invader in place. “You planning on helping us, Frank? Any day now would be helpful.”
I wanted to yell at her some more, but she was right, our first priority was taking care of this Invader. I turned the anger I was feeling at Kink on the creature and I charged at it. I stumbled momentarily, as I appeared to have more legs than usual, but I tried not to worry about it. I leaped at the Invader. The thing seemed surprised to see me, but it recovered fast enough to lockup. I felt a sudden wave of dread and anger at my own stupidity. My suit was gone, I realized, touching this creature could kill me, erase me from every existing! But nothing happened. I remained in existence.
But then I could feel it reaching out into my mind. It wasn’t an attack, I realized, at least not yet. It was like a handshake. A cautious feeling out. What was I? Why was I attacking it? I couldn’t understand it and I couldn’t reply. All I felt were emotions and flashes of what might have been the creatures memory. It must have been getting the same from me. Seeing visions of my life, feeling my emotions, I tried to stay in control, not give anything I didn’t want to. But that seemed to just anger it and it began the assault.
The pain was excruciating. It was worse than the worse headache ever. It was as if the Invader had reached out with his hand and began to squeeze my brain. I lost the struggle and the Invader tossed me aside.
It tore through the ship Gra was melding around it. He was in deep pain trying to bend this other dimensional metal to his will. Kink seemed to be our only hope. The lasers didn’t seem to be working so she sent a red hot plume of fire at it. but that didn’t even slow it down. Kink ejected one of her arms and it flew through the air grabbing the Invader by what could have been considered its neck. The arm exploded, but when the smoke cleared the Invader remained unharmed. The only thing it did do was get the creature out of my head.
I jumped back to my feet and grabbed the Invader. I searched its back to find some residual scar from Grow’s attachment. But there was no scar. I figured there had to be something, how else could he have controlled this monster? But I could find nothing. Either Grow had not created a hole, the Invader had completely healed from the wound in a few moments, or all traces of the fungus’ actions had been completely erased along with him. While I was looking for a weakness, the Invader grabbed me and threw me off again.
Kink ran forward, one of her right arms was now a laser knife. She buried the knife into the Invader’s chest. It let out an angry scream that I felt in the back of my head and it sunk its claws into Kink’s shoulders. In retaliation, she sliced off one of its arms. It tossed her away as if she were nothing.
And then the walls began to shake an quiver. The ceiling began to tremble, as did the ceiling. Then suddenly it all collapsed! The Invader was caught between it! The hull continued to push against it and it screamed. I could hear it in my head. Gra was crushing it! But for how long?
Then the wall behind me opened and The Origin slipped out holding a strangely shaped box that kind of resembled an asterix. It lifted the box and the world ripped apart on top of the Invader. It was shredded apart at the molecular level. The whole ship began to shake! The tear was ripping it apart and pulling it in at the same time! It was going to obliterate the ship and anyone in it! “What took you so long?” Kink sneered from the floor.
The Origin ignored her and looked at me. “So it did work.”
She nodded, picking herself off the ground. “Yes. It looks like it did.”
“What worked?” I demanded. “What did you do to me?”
“Lucky break,” the Origin said as if I hadn’t spoken at all. “I imagined he’s the only reason you’re still alive.”
“Well, we couldn’t wait for you, could we?”
“What is going on here?” I growled. Why were they ignoring me? “What did you do to me?”
“I’m here, aren’t I?” The Origin replied. “The Invader is dead. Your little experiment worked. And we have what we came for. I don’t see what you’re complaining about.”
“I can tell you what we have to complain about,” Gra said, looking completely drained. He barely had the energy to stand. “We’re still sitting here. Maybe we should get out here before more of those creatures come for us.”
“I could not agree more.” He turned to Kink. “Grab your pet Invader and let’s go.” He walked right into the tear carrying the Brane Cutter with him.
“Pet Invader?” I asked. “What did he mean pet Invader?”
Kink patted me on the shoulder as Gra followed the Origin through the tear. “You did good, Franky. This isn’t your best look, but it was effective.”
That was when I realized they had turned me into an Invader! That was why none of them could understand me. But how was that even possible? I was only supposed to turn into other humans. I’d never turned into anything else before. How had she managed to do this? None of this made sense.
“Let’s move, Franky,” Kink said. “No time to waste!” She bounced into the tear and then I was alone.
I had to follow them. I really had no choice. I walked slowly toward the tear and at it. It was the blackest, emptiest darkness I’d ever seen. I could only think this was the stupidest thing I was ever going to do, then I took a deep breath and stepped through.
to be continued…