Not lost upon the story was the part of the Deew – perhaps, the main protagonist for not having asked to be brought into this existence.
Alternative literary interpretation could see its impact differently however – opting to classify Boyd, Janette, and Burdlit as a similar main trio who drove the eBook and the biological weapon as the overarching antagonist. Was the obsessive captain the villain or was the whale the villain? Could a reader really be sure either way?
Classification often accompanied a box of generalization for better or for worse, but can a character be anymore summed up in ten words, a sentence, or even the popular status update than a person from reality can? It ‘would’ have been easy to say that Boyd was just some black ops operative, but was he really? It ‘could’ have been easy to say that Janette was the victim in all this, but was she really? It ‘should’ have been easy to say that Burdlit was this cliché evil alien (from a Human perspective) – he– bent on destroying all Humanity, but really, all indicators pointed toward the Space Force as being the perpetrator of any ill will.
An observer as much a participant, the biological weapon met its prime objective of obedience to Burdlit but became torn between the Carriveaua and a startling obligation to Janette. It did not much care for Boyd since the Enforcer technically stood in the way of both the operational general’s and the botanist’s aims but also because the biological weapon was competitive. Which sentient being was not – at least a little? And what was wrong with some friendly competition? For this chapter, its perspective needed to be highlighted because every triangle had lines which brought, held, and kept the angles together.
From this moment forward, these pages would become the Deew’s time to shine. Dio Qze was about to witness its gamma phase, but there was to be no lull in the proceedings like there had been between the alpha and beta phases. For the finale, what would that look like – if not blah? Presentation happened to be important, but so also was a bit of showmanship. One quarter of the planet was already under the biological weapon’s flowery control, and with Janette placing her hand on the panel (which represented one of the loan pieces of DNA Recognition/Authorization that Galaxy Bloc ever used) to open up the circular gear-shaped divider between sectors, there was simply no reason for it to stop at grabbing an additional quarter of the world – to the tune of fifty total percent when, at least, seventy-five percent was there for the taking before Boyd made his fated return. They could then, much more appropriately, battle things out for the balance of the planet. Why should Burdlit have all the fun? Plus, this would help the botanist, so everything was starting to sound like a win-win-win all the way around – except for the Enforcer, that was.
The Power Authority
Much to the dismay and shock of those troops who were on the other side of the sector that Janette had just fled from, the Deew chose to greet them with a hybrid attack – a throwback to the hours of the alpha phase in shirking out from behind the now crouched, covering, and possibly cowering botanist who obviously ducked out the way for the skewering which was to come. Reminiscent of how the biological weapon had ransacked the Inner Corridor of the previous sector while leaving a plume of a decadent garden in its wake, neither the Galaxy Bloc soldiers nor their body armor stood a chance when met with the refocused spikes of purposeful desperation or against being perforated, punched back, and otherwise shredded by a fiery focus for survival.
Janette had not seen the original carnage from the alpha phase firsthand, so the Deew almost innocently shielded her vision from the events this time around with a ruffling flow of overhead and side-winding foliage which performed much the same function as the subtle brilliance of protection from a child’s bedsheet. Both invading and attacking, the biological weapon led its own path by a needlepoint perspective that added a center-out method of mauling which fronted the soldiers by keeping them in front and then split outward to shed their dispatched remains to the sides of a dense, forested restoration. When she picked her head back up, the entire area had been blanketed in the lush rainforest-like greenery, and an inviting (enough) path lay forward.
At this point, catching up with Janette seemed to be of a superfluous misnomer to Burdlit. What then? This erratic behavior of the Deew would surely continue, and without being able to capture or kill her since the biological weapon’s unprecedented protection order for the botanist might probably still be in effect, he was limited to tracking and shadowing. The operational general visibly wilted away to his transparent state. It could still feel him though as the Carriveaua had not yet mastered personal flight to go along with their individualized stealth, so there was nothing that he could do to harm or hinder his prey which would not be detected once getting close. The feet and gravity that caused them to have to traverse its bedded foliage gave the finer points of any secrecy in advance away.
Each sector was symmetrical for the most part, implying that Janette could follow a similar track from her recollection of the one that she had just come from in order to get her to where she wanted to go: A destination of the next closest transport module. To reach the surface meant that the botanist could not only meet her own individual salvation but could then net escape (from the planet) as well. Certain other things needed to go right in order for that to happen, but she did have the Deew pulling for her after all, so in all honesty, the rest was not that far out the realm of possibilities.
Grand displays of chaos, though detestable, were often hypnotic. A discussion on the desensitization of or the sick satiation of curiosity for the masses might have been applicable here, but there was just no time. Mexico, Corinna, and Jocelin could not bring themselves to turn away from that morbid scene until six boots danced downward and dotted the window with the view of dusty, smearing tread prints of various sizes at a spacing of one meter across per pair. This was likely done to keep the Galaxy Bloc soldiers from tangling their lines or impeding one another during the repel – which was smart. When those three situated at the fixed height of a window washer’s observance (without the scaffolding) and dropped laser rifles in hand, it was time for the occupants to scatter.
Pushing off from the legs provided a taut pendulum motion that would complement the laser pulses which were being sent through the windows and would allow the troops to more easily crash feet-first through them. Once through the shards, they righted their trajectory to a rather impressive right-side-up landing that maximized offensive positioning with no stagger or loss of mobility or balance. Still tethered to the spotters up above on the roof, the initial priority turned to scanning the penthouse to make sure that the area was secure. The second priority turned to announcing themselves as Mexico and his intendants already had a bead on those three intruders (in all technicality), so the mutuality of the help that each party could provide was about to be marred by the rapid discernment of intent.
“I’m General Lise Canoy of Galaxy Bloc!” She called out. “Are there any survivors here? We need to get you evacuated immediately!”
From the tips of one LUNC and two Seor Lasers, the tension had almost come to a full-on laser fight. Communicating with eye contact from behind the barricaded cover of a sofa, an overturned yet rather sturdy coffee table which looked like it could withstand laser fire, and the doorway to one of the side rooms; Mexico shook his head in the negative to call Corinna and Jocelin off. A Galaxy Bloc general was perhaps a way out of this in more ways than one, and assisting a person of such stature could hold some hidden benefits indeed. The wheels were turning inside his mind, and hustlers like him always stayed on the grind. He already had enough money to retire comfortably a hundred aeons over, being rich – the filthiest, but part of this continuance to chase currency was for the sake of the greed. The other part had to do with seeking a way to free himself and his associates from Boyd, and that was as noble a cause as any he had ever known – still selfish but understandable.
“Me nombre es Mexico Riguez,” he stepped out from the cover of the side room with his LUNC held benevolently up in the air by his right hand and his left hand baiting more than begging caution in an attempt to not unduly startle the troops. “There are three total in my party, including myself. We’re justifiably a little jumpy in light of being shot at when coming to the planet – then of course, attacked when we touched down. ¿Digame, General – qué pasa?”
Corinna and Jocelin made it slowly out into the foreground for all to see, abandoning their defensive crouches at the behest of open relations. The Seor Lasers were conveniently absent. Anything but victims, the intendants’ portrayal of such a lie was award-worthy.
At the conclusion of shattered glass shards crackling along the floor, commotion retook up its place as the slack from the tether of the soldier to General Canoy’s left was taken up and replaced with the full weight of a spotter’s body having fallen or been thrown off the roof of the building! Sounding like a zipper being rapidly zipped up, the force of the line snatched the troop back toward the window sill – slamming into the ledge before being pulled out.
The General managed to unhook her tether upon instinct of feeling pressure on the line, but no body accompanied the pull which normally signified that her spotter was now under attack (or dead). But by whom? Or what? She then turned her attention toward herding Mexico and his intendants together in soft reassurance that the situation was somehow a controlled one.
The third Galaxy Bloc soldier also detached the tether but swung around to rush the window with the laser rifle leading the way in order to survey the latest predicament. A double take was required for taking in the look below, however that was not because of any fear of heights so much as it was associated with a cringing realization that two comrades had just been added to the raring coals of the barbequed Carriveaua ship. Glancing up toward the roof yielded no answers, but peering outward across the horizon put aside any further questions. The troop turned around with a look of terror that replaced the hope in some rather weary eyes.
Shaking her head in disbelief, General Canoy turned around to address Mexico’s query – stating, “You don’t wanna know.”
Spores. Whereas the Deew had reacted in brutish form before with animated stab and slash attacks, those antics overshadowed its true resourcefulness and (evolving) sharp nature. The residents of Dio Qze had long since mortgaged the future of their survival on evacuation to the opposite side of the planet in waiting out the biological weapon’s advance, but this assumption prayed that it had no way of becoming airborne. With no further need for or threat arising from this corner of the planet, the massive spread of botanical growth could be and was being used as a springboard for a broad new pollination attack which did not need a whole lot of effort and merely the grace of the wind to be carried to the furthest reaches of the third quarter of the world.
Not even at the Deew’s gamma phase, this transition point between the second and third phases could still prove to be its deadliest state yet ever witnessed. Again, there was no time for being afraid, but if there were, real and heart-clutching fear started with a sneeze. And then another. And a third.
The sneezing fit that the Galaxy Bloc soldier who returned from the window was going through prompted Mexico to offer, “¡Salud!”
“Are you alright?” The General questioned of the troop’s frustrated and paining face, watery eyes, involuntary lowering of the laser rifle to sneeze appropriately off to the side into a handy arm – bent at the elbow, and a laboriously disinterested stagger.
“Must be,” the soldier sniffled, “allergies,” before tightening chest pains and a set of wheezing lungs created an asthmatic panic. The laser rifle fell to the floor as the troop’s fingers clutched at what felt like a throat being strangled of oxygen, and for a species with a critical respiratory system, there was nothing scarier than not being able to breathe.
In seeing the slobbering drool from the soldier’s lips and a running stream of mucus from that troop’s nose be replaced by blood which could not be held in and dribbled through trembling fingers; General Canoy, Mexico, Corinna, and Jocelin each began to back away. Hesitant at first, they really would have wanted to help the person if they could, but the sight of a body being unnaturally bloated by an invasive force from within was getting to be a bit much to stomach – all the way around: Too much for them, too much for the victim, and too much for the Deew who would not be confined by the imprisonment of the bodily flesh.
Doing away with the matter which happened to be in the way, a miniature version of the biological weapon ripped itself out the carcass – leaving appendages limp as vines tore free from arteries and other soft areas, anyplace that the skeletal structure would allow escape. Fluids doused the floor and sprayed the foreseeable area as a pressure release that left the mutilated body completely in the clutches of the mini Deew, and it moved quickly via its own tentacled appendages to reposition itself for attack despite the weighty baggage of its appropriated shell.
Seeing the soldier’s head cocked eerily to the side with that blank unbeknownst stare and budded foliage poking outside the neck was perhaps the most frightening visual that Mexico had ever seen in his life. Sure, he had witnessed people being killed before and had killed a few himself, but those scenarios were expected. This – this happened to be something sinister, something so unfathomable that the cloud of spores which had started to drift across Dio Qze as well as inside the open window basically held the dwindling fates for the entire population of the planet hostage.
Pulses from the General’s laser rifle snapped Mexico out the funk of paralysis when she tried to zone the elusive plant in as it bounced off the ceiling, furniture, and floor with the ease of impunity. His intendants had also since joined in on the battle with their Seor Lasers completing a crossfire, and he would have too with his LUNC had not his notice been drawn away from the unobvious distraction toward the dusty set of dangers which were looming large enough to entrap them all to the troop’s same demise.