The Gluon Amplifier
Greg Pattersen took a chance for the mere image of a distressed women in a thick fog. He donned a spacesuit and allowed a monstrosity of a franken-ship to collect him as it destroyed the beach and all around it. He had to find her, had to find the secrets behind the monster ship, and had to survive. More
The fog ate the white sanded beach, a giant amoeba, undulating over the water and sand. The setting sun shone dimly through the its swirling mists and provided no warmth to offset the chill wind that blew across the sand. Huddled under his hood, Greg Pattersen jammed his balled fists deep into his jacket's pockets as if that would make him warmer, as if that would make his life whole again. He had Parkinson's Disease, the only known case in the twenty-third century. What an honor! And all they did for him was give him a neural-implant to ameliorate his symptoms with deep brain stimulation.
The beach he walked, lay on the little used, reconstructed coast of post-earthquake southern California. He thought he was alone but against the thick gray of the fog, eddies of color suddenly coalesced into the face of a young woman with long hair the color of ravens and brilliant green eyes. But what drew his attention was her mouth. She was speaking to him, but he could hear nothing.
Her face was drawn tight with stress, tears of desperation falling freely from her eyes. She was begging him for help. He could see the words formed by those perfect lips, “Help me. Please.” Her face, her pleas cut through the miasma of his despair and filled him with desire. A desire, beyond his loins, a desire to help her. It felt good to want something again. He pointed to his ear and shook his head, mouthing, “I can't hear you.”
Surprise crossed her face, but she smiled through her tears and bent down out of his view for a moment. Then she raised a hand written sign.
[Go to the military surplus and buy a used spacesuit with full oxygen tanks and attach as many electronic gadgets as possible. Your life depends on it. Please listen to me! Come back here tomorrow at midday and WEAR THE SUIT!]
Buying the spacesuit had been the easy part. Now that the Mars and Ganymede colonies were booming, and the transport ships were all equipped with short range transporters, thousands of spacesuits had become instant surplus. Walking on the beach in a spacesuit was the difficult part. He was glad the air conditioning system worked now that it was midday and he was standing on the beach staring at the horizon through a space suit visor. Why? Because the image of a beautiful young woman in a cold fog had told him to.
Without warning, the woman’s face appeared against the inside of the helmet's darkened visor. She smiled and held up a short hand written sign.
[Now I must ask you to do something
very hard. Look out at the horizon.
But don't be afraid. You will live.
When it comes - let it take you!]
As suddenly as she had appeared, she was gone, leaving him staring at the horizon with a growing anxiety. Then he saw it. The largest ship he had ever seen just became visible at the horizon, barreling over the water, pushing a thirty meter bow wave before it. Greg watched with fascination as the distant ship sped toward him. His fascination turned to fear and horror as it got closer. The ship must have risen three hundred meters above the water and was composed of twenty or more large ocean freighters attached to each other at random points and orientations. He could not even guess how many meters were below the surface. As it got closer, he also saw trucks, cars, and even airplanes grafted here and there over the monstrosity's surface.
The ship's bow wave picked him up, pushing him up over the dunes and over the first several rows of houses as the ship came ashore. His suit protected him from drowning while being swirled around under water and from the tons of debris choking the water. The bow-wave water drained away as the ship slowed and stopped leaving him lying amongst the debris of a shopping center. He watched the ship, looming over him, spin in a great circle, moving across the land as easily as it had crossed the sea, buoyed on a cushion of air. It was a hover-craft.
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