Amphipoda

📅 Published on May 29, 2021

“Amphipoda”

Written by Grant Hinton
Edited by Craig Groshek and Seth Paul
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 17 minutes

Rating: 9.75/10. From 4 votes.
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The world was small, like a tiny blue and white marble whirling on a sheet of black glass. Peppering it like glitter were thousands of stars.  Lunar Module Pilot Marcus Windthrope witnessed it all from the exterior of the International Space station.  Sweat beaded his brow, even though the Novak liquid cooling suit kept him at an even temperature.  The reason he was outside was a fist-sized hole in one of the panels of the solar array.  What had made it, he didn’t have a clue.

Docking Module pilot Brian “Rockstar” Evans came through the comlink with a metallic buzz. “Do you think Maranda will let me take her out tonight?”

“She is a cardboard cutout, Rockstar,” Marcus said, probing the hole.  “I don’t think she will care.”  The impact had damaged the panel beyond repair.  Sparks burst out from the speckled glass, the metal ribbons within changing color with the slightest move of his head.  He used pliers to extract the offending object: a frost-encrusted ball.  “You’ve been up here way too long, buddy.  You know that, right?” he said with a grunt.

“Ouch, man.  Just ouch.”

“Just saying.”

Silence fell as Marcus moved the pliers around.  The object was spherical but slippery as hell.

“Come on,” he said through gritted teeth.  The pliers spread out.  He pressed the button again, and the claws slowly retracted around the object.  This time they stayed.

“Hey, Mark?  N.A.I. is picking a quick-moving shower of debris.  Might want to wrap this up and come inside.  The system is readying to boost out of the impact zone.”

Marcus pulled the ball out of the array, the pliers shaking in his hand.  “W-what the hell?”

“What is it?  I can’t see.  Bring it up to the camera.”

Rockstar watched the monitor as a white-shaped orb roughly the size of a tennis ball came into view in front of the backdrop of Earth.

“It’s not a rock; maybe just space hail.  But hold on, what’s this…”  Marcus twirled it slowly around.  The sides were encrusted in ice except for a ridge that looked like Pac Man’s smile. He wiped at the first covering the translucent section.

“Is that…argh!”

Something slammed into Marcus’s shoulder.  He lost his handhold and fell away from the ship just as the International Space Station’s N.A.I. went berserk.  The ISS shuddered as the boosters engaged.  Blue fire propelled the massive station forward.  Marcus somersaulted away into the void of space until the end of the safety rope snapped tautly.

Rockstar screamed through the comlink.  “Fuck!  They’re already here!  Incoming meteor shower!”

The meteors peppered the ISS.  Scores of them pierced the hull at multiple points, sending showers of sparks out into space.

“Rockstar?”  The sweat on Marcus’s brow was now tinged with fear.  “ROCKSTAR?”  The comlink whirled with static and then…

“BRIAN!  COME IN!”

The International Space Station exploded and joined the shower of meteors falling to Earth.

* * * * * *

374 nautical miles off the coast of Western Australia, Dr. Jessica Moriarty gently moved the joystick to an aged subterranean drone.  Deep below in a sea of calm, Atlas’s mechanical arms moved in response.  Tensions were running high.

“Careful,” warned Captain Omar as he stroked the fur of the dog at his side.

“You’re going to bottom out,” snarked Lachlan, the ship’s technician.  They watched the monitor as a mechanical arm holding a glass capsule edged nearer to the amphipoda.

“I’ve got this, just relax.”  Moriarty blew a strand of hair out of her face.  “Just let me…”

The small crustaceans bobbed an inch off the surface of the ocean floor.  The capsule wobbled slightly.  The video link shook as Atlas bottomed out and stuck the rock bed below.  The amphipoda skittered away.

“Damn!”  Moriarty slammed her hand down on the console.

“I told you,” Lachlan said, pushing away from the chair as Moriarty stood up.

“Don’t you dare start with me!”

Lachlan hid his snigger as Moriarty stormed outside.  Captain Omar gave Lachlan a glare that told the young copper-haired man that he was pushing it too far.  He threw his hands in the air in defense.

“Wipe that smile off your face, Loche.  Go get Mavis from the engine room and both of you get Atlas back in the dock.  Rusty,” he said, turning to his dog.  “Bed.  Good boy.”

Omar knew she would fail.  He hoped she was different, but for all her academic prowess she lacked one thing from the beginning.  He wasn’t sure what that was, but he knew she didn’t have it.  Maybe it was why he had taken her on board.  She reminded him of a younger, less-worn version of himself.  Unpredictable, reckless, but extremely talented.  He shook his head as he watched her fume at the night sky.

He was deluding himself; he knew why he had taken her on board.

Captain Omar closed the sliding door of the bridge and waited in the warm air for her to acknowledge him.  The night was heavy with the mugginess of summer, and the wind gave it no release.  It was a still night.  One without clouds.  One where you didn’t know where the ocean ended and the sky began.  Omar saw her shoulders slowly relax and took a step towards her.

“A wise man once said: if you bend it, you mend it.”

She shot him a frustrated glance.

“What the hell were you thinking?  Even Numbnuts could see you were bottoming out.”

“I had it.”  She said it to the ocean, letting the nonexistent wind take away the edges of disbelief.

Omar patted her on the shoulder, then rested a hand on the ship’s rail and looked up into the stars.

“No, you didn’t have it, or it would be in a capsule on its way to the surface.”

He looked at the billions of twinkling stars; one seemed to explode with brightness.  It didn’t matter if he spent a thousand years on the ocean; it would never stop him from feeling insignificant.

Moriarty had the good grace to blush.  Omar saw it out of the corner of his eye, but kept his gaze on the heavens to alleviate her embarrassment.  He didn’t want her to feel too bad, just enough that she didn’t fuck up again.

A star blazed a trail across the sky.

“Persistence is a good thing, Moriarty.  It’s got you where you are now, but you can’t just power through everything.  You need to learn some patience.  Some grace.  Some finesse.”

“It’s not grace or finesse I need, Harry.”  The captain’s eyes widened at the use of his first name. Truth be told, she was the only one he allowed to use it, although she didn’t know that.  Moriarty shook her head and sighed.  “Maybe I shouldn’t be here.”

“Don’t get your panties in a wad.  It doesn’t suit you. You’re part of my crew; that makes us family.  But know this, I didn’t pick you for your pretty face.  I picked you because of what’s in your head.  You’re a tough one.  Like your dad.  And a problem-solver to boot.  Your problem is, you can’t solve your own problems.”

“And what’s that then?”

“You worry too much about what everyone else thinks.  Fuck them, get it good on your own.  If we don’t get results today, bah!  We’ll try again tomorrow.  But?”  He paused, cocking his ear to one side, his eyes scanning the darkness beyond the large ship.  He paused for so long Moriarty nudged him.

“But what?” Moriarty followed his gaze but saw nothing of interest.

“What?  Oh, yeah, we do need results, or we’ll all be hung out to dry.”

Moriarty looked at him as the words settled in.  She knew the grants were slowing up.  This was the fourth expedition, and still no results.  If they had the crustacean, then maybe she would have something.  Something was better at getting more grant money than nothing.  A thought occurred to her.

“Why did you let me pilot Atlas when Lachlan is the controller?  Did you set me up for a fall?” she asked.

The captain kept his gaze fixed on the ocean.  A puzzled expression settled on his face.  His eyes drew tight like they did when he was looking for dangers out at sea.

“Because everyone should learn to use Atlas,” he said out the corner of his mouth, his attention still on the ocean.  “And it would look better that your name is on the papers.”

“Okay, next question.  Why did you take me on board?” Moriarty demanded.

The captain turned to her, settled a hand on her shoulder, and sighed.  “Because I heard about a young lady that was getting straight A’s at University.  Her professors were astounded by her progress until some douchebag thought it would be a good idea to manhandle her.”

Moriarty heard the lie.  She knew him better than that.  Ever since she was a small child, she had been a part of the sea.  Her father sailed with Omar when they were young.  She, in turn, sailed with her father.  She may have only seen the weather-beaten man before her once a year when he returned from his home in Cyprus, but she remembered him.

“You’ve been keeping tabs on me, haven’t you?  When did my dad ask you?  Two months before he died?  A week?”

“It wasn’t like that.”

“So it was because of my dad!”

“No, it wasn’t.  I meant what I said.  You showed promise.”

“The only promise you made was one to a dying man.”  Moriarty dashed away a stray tear. “You didn’t need me on board.  You took me on out of pity.”

The captain turned back to the open sea.  His attention once again strained against the lapping water.

“You know, I thought you were different…”

“Shut up, will ya!”

“No! I will not shut up…”

“Shut up!  Listen.”

Moriarty strained her hearing.  The waves lapped against the hull with a steady tattoo.  The boat creaked with the gentle movement of the waves.  And at the edge of that peacefulness was something completely out of place.

Something whizzed beside the boat and thundered into the sea.  Omar turned.  Another whizzed past, the splash of water from its impact sprayed over the boat.

“Is that hail?  There aren’t any clouds in the sky!” Moriarty said, frowning skyward.

The sound grew nearer.

“It sounds like whales feeding, but it’s not daylight, and they’re not this far south this time of year,” said Omar.

All of a sudden, a single lump of hail the size of a tennis ball smashed into the roof and fell to the floor.  It was closely followed by another.  And then another.  Hail began to pelt the boat. The frozen rocks ricocheted off the metal, smashed glass and penetrated plastic.

“Inside!  Now!” shouted Omar.

The noise was deafening.  Moriarty cowered under the captain’s chair, Omar stood rigid by the control wall, his gaze swinging from damage to damage.  Lachlan raced up the stairs, Mavis at his heels.  He shot them both with a worried look.  Rusty barked from under a chair.

“What the fuck is happening?”

And as fast as it came, the shower vanished.  Glass peppered the cockpit like bioluminescent algae.  The perpetrators littered the floor, each one a frost-covered sphere of white.  Lachlan picked one up and rolled it in his hands.

“That’s some hailstones, Cap.”  He threw it to Omar.

Something bugged the captain.  Sure, it wasn’t having a hail storm at sea; that happens.  But it didn’t happen from a cloudless sky.  As he rotated the ball in his hand, he nearly dropped it.

“Jessica?”

Moriarty hyper-awareness kicked into overdrive.  He never called her by her first name out of respect, even if he had a weird way of showing it.  To hear her first name meant something bad. Moriarty came to his side and peeled the hail from his fingers.  Lachlan picked up a few more and passed one to Mavis.  The brown-haired woman lifted it into the light of the ship. Something pink and vaguely shrimp-like glowed within.

“What are they?” she asked, looking at Moriarty.

“I-I don’t know.  They look like amphipods, but the thorax and abdomen are different.”

Moriarty moved through the ship.  The crew followed her through the metal corridors.  She opened her study door and rooted around for a few seconds until she found a leather-bound book.  She threw it on her desk.  “Look here.”

Moriarty scrambled through the pages.  “The legs are typically laterally compressed, but these aren’t.  And this one has sixteen sets of uniramous appendages opposed to eight.”  She rapped at the book.  The crew crowded around her shoulders.

“The mouthpiece would normally carry six, which are used as accessory mouthparts; the next four pairs are directed forward, and the last three pairs are directed backward but this one,” she held it over her lamp.  “This one has all of them facing forwards.”

“It’s like space shrimp!” exclaimed Lachlan.

As Moriarty rotated the sphere, Mavis went rigid.  A short sharp bark of pain escaped her lips. She dropped the hail and fell to the floor, withering, all thought of the strange creature lost. Lachlan pulled her onto his lap.  Concerned lines etched into his normally mischievous face as he parted her waves of brown hair.

“Mavis?” Lachlan said, slapping her cheeks lightly.

“Quickly, Loche, take her to the med-room.  Moriarty, go prep the EM unit,” Omar said, moving quickly toward the door.

Moments later, Mavis lay on the ship examination table.  Her skin was a pale shade of yellow. Lachlan paced, chewing his already non-existence fingernails while Moriarty examined a slide under the microscope.

“What is it?” Omar asked.  Moriarty stood up, grimaced, and then moved aside to allow the captain to look.  Omar moved into the vacated eyepiece of the microscope and examined the blood.

Moriarty flipped through more pages.

“I don’t understand.  The cells are morphing.  It’s changing out the red and white blood cells.”

Omar stalked back over to Mavis.  Lachlan moaned, his head down in the crook of his arm. Omar prized the frosted sphere from his hand.

“What are you doing?” Moriarty asked, following him out to the moon pool – a large pool of water at the center of the room ringed around with diving equipment.  A submersible vehicle sat off to one side.  Moriarty grimaced at the long scratch and dent on the undercarriage.

“Whatever this is,” he said, dropping it into a fish tank, “has the answers.”

The sphere dissolved slowly.  The creature within awoke with the water.  It poked its head out through the crack and pushed, the crack widening rapidly until it broke through.

The fish in the tank swam to one corner as if knowing that a predator now stalked the water.

“You gotta be shitting me!” Omar stepped back as the creature attacked the other fish.  The multitude of legs extended out like snakes and wrapped around its prey.  The fish fought to be free.  The creature pulled.  The fish thrashed.  As they drew near, the body split and opened like a Venus flytrap.  Rows of razor teeth clamped on the fish. Soon they stopped trying to look through the blood.

“I-I’ve never seen anything like it before.  Not even a shark is that ferocious.”

Morality backed away.  Rusty barked at the glass, and the creature turned in their direction.

“It can see us.”  Omar approached the glass tank and tapped a finger on the side.  The shrimp-like creature rammed the glass again and again.  Omar stepped back as a crack appeared.

“It’s gonna break it!”

With a loud crack, the glass split asunder.  The water pooled at their feet and slipped into the moon pool.  The creature thrashed on the floor.  Slowly, its spasms decreased.  The pink skin turned blue, and then to black.  The thrashing stopped.  The creature died.

“So oxygen kills it?” asked Omar.

“That or something in the air.  At least we know they can be killed.”

Suddenly the moon pool started to boil with bubbles.

“What the hell?” Omar crept toward the edge and looked down into the bubbles of water. Another space-shrimp burst up.  Its elongated legs came inches from his face. He scurried back.  The shrimp fell to the floor and withered in pain. Rusty barked and gnashed his teeth. The creature thrashed and then went still.  The pool simmered down.  The creatures underneath the water whipped around, but none broke the surface.

“Down boy!” Omar commanded. The red-haired dog whimpered and crept close, intent on sniffing the stranger thing before it.  As he drew near, the thrashing ceased.

“Rusty,” growled Omar.  “Away!”

Rusty nudged it with his nose and sniffed.  Finding the creature dead, he then turned away. Just before he turned completely, the creature came back to life.  The body split apart, and the hideous legs scurried together.  Moriarty stood frozen in shock as the legs clamped around the dog’s face and pulled it off its feet.

The moon pool burst to life again.  More space-shrimp jumped out as if a call to arms had gone up.  Each extended their legs like an interlocking chain.  Rusty slipped across the watery surface toward the pool.

“Rusty!  No!”  Omar made a dive for him, but it was too late.  The dog disappeared over the edge and into the moon pool.  The water bubbled furiously and clouded red.

“Damn it!!”

“Captain!  Get back!” Moriarty warned.  The lights flickered and died as the engines groaned to a halt. Plunged into eerie silence, the two watched the edge of the water.  The bubbles ceased. The emergency lights clicked on, illuminating them in an anxious red light.

Omar got to his feet and wiped himself down.  Moriarty didn’t need the lights to see the cast of his shoulders.

“Damn dog.  Why didn’t it fucking listen?  Now the engines have gone.  That’s all we need,” said Omar.  “Go grab a light, will ya?”  He turned, not waiting for Moriarty to catch up.  He opened the hatch to the corridor leading to the engine room and disappeared.

Moriarty saw his once-proud shoulders slag with grief.  She knew Rusty had been a part of the crew longer than anyone on the ship.  He might not have shown it, but the death of his dog had earned those creatures a one-way ticket to Hell.  And if Moriarty was right, Omar would be the one to lead them there himself.

They sat in the rec room.  Lachlan hunched in a chair asleep.  Exhaustion had finally taken him. Moriarty had sedated Mavis.  With her condition stable, she would be fine until further medical help could be found.  Omar had radioed a distress call while the ship drifted.  They had found the reason the engines had died, and it wasn’t good.

Omar sloshed a glass of brandy around, his attention somewhere else.  Moriarty hunched over her books.  She hoped that an answer would be somewhere in one of the volumes, but all that was forthcoming was a headache.

“Argh!”  She slammed the book closed.  “There’s nothing like these things here on earth, unless somehow…”

“What?  They came from space,” Omar barked with laughter.  Lachlan woke, groaned, and covered his ears.

“…I have a theory,” she let his comments pass without reaction.  “Maybe an Amphipoda egg stem migrated to the surface.  A storm came along and whipped them into the stratosphere. They condensed with the clouds and fell as rain, somehow evolving along the way.”

“I think space shrimps are more believable.”  Omar topped up his glass and then collapsed into a chair.

“As long as those things are in the water and we are here, they can’t hurt us.”  He poured a small amount on the floor and raised his glass.  He grimaced as the brandy burnt his throat.

“I know you’re grieving, Harry,” she said, coming to his side.  He looked her defiantly in the eyes, and then the look slipped as if his resolve died.  “But you’ve gotta pull yourself together, man.  You’re the captain.  It’s not worth getting drunk over.  We need you.”

Omar closed his eyes and nodded.  “You’re right,” he said, sliding the glass away.  He kicked off his seat from the counter and stood.  “Listen up,” he said, clearing his throat.  “Ok, Loche….”

They turned to where the young man was asleep but found only an empty chair.  Then the sound of a metal door banging reverberated throughout the ship.

“Oh, shit!  We’ve got to stop him!”

They raced down the corridor to the med room.  Behind the glass window, Mavis stood backed up against the wall, her hands wrapped around Lachlan’s chest.  Moriarty pushed the door open.  Mavis hissed.

“He’s ours now.”  She spoke with a thousand voices.  Each one was as wet as the sea.  It was as if her vocal cords had liquified.

“Wooo, Mavis.  Calm down.”  Moriarty raised her hands.  Mavis’s skin was almost translucent. Beneath, in intricate detail, were the fibers of her muscle and the hollow tubes of her veins.  Her blood was completely see-through.

“Fuck that!  She’s gone!”  Omar opened a box on the wall, snatched out the flare gun, and pointed it at Mavis.  Lachlan eyes rolled in his head.

“You kill us, he dies, too.”

Moriarty bridged between them.  “Wait.  Look.”

They hadn’t noticed the steadily growing pool of blood around Lachlan’s feet.  Or the numerous tentacle-like appendages that burrowed into his sides.  She was feeding on him.

“He’s already dead!”  Omar shot.  The flare whirled toward Mavis.  She threw the body of Lachlan at the flaming shot and charged them.

Moriarty was bowled over by the impact.  Her head came away slick with blood from the metal walls.  When she looked up Mavis stood over her.  A cut ran from her pubis to her chest.  The tentacles that they had seen slipped back into the void.  She cocked her head, white eyes drawn and pale, and regarded Moriarty.  Mavis dived forward, grabbed her foot, and ran down the corridor, dragging her along.

Moriarty knew where she was taking her. Soon the moon pool came into view.  She skidded to a halt.  The water bubbled again with the space-shrimp, each one eager to taste flesh again. Mavis shook like a rattlesnake.  Her appendage snaked out to the water, as if tasting the air. When she turned back, Moriarty saw the monster she had become.  Another gunshot rang out, and Mavis flew away, the red flare buried deep in her head.  Moriarty coward as the flare exploded.  Wet pieces of body slapped around them, along with chunks of skinless fat.

“You alright?” Omar said, helping Moriarty to her feet.  She wiped her hand against her head. The blood still tinged her fingers.

“I think so.”

The ship suddenly shuddered.  A loud groan ripped through the vessel like the metal protesting to an extreme amount of force.  A siren filled the air.  Red strobe lights began to blink on and off in unison with the alarm.  The ship was sinking.  It started to list.  The groaning continued like a discombobulated whale song.  Omar knew instantly what this meant.  And when he turned to face Moriarty, he knew she understood too.

“What’s the plan, Moriarty?”

She looked at him incredulously. “I don’t know!  You’re the captain!”

They exchanged puzzled looks.  Moriarty spoke out.  “Well, the engines are screwed.  The ship is sinking, and we’ve just been added to the menu.”

“The ship might be fucked, but we can use it to blow those motherfuckers out of the water,” said Omar, motioning toward Atlas.  “We’ve just got to get across to Atlas.”

“But it’s a one-man vessel!”

Omar grinned at her.  She saw the play of wickedness dance in his eyes.

“No,” she said.  “I won’t let you.”

The water crept over the edge, and the ship toppled over a little more.  Moriarty placed a foot on the side rails. Omar pulled himself up to match.

“We don’t have a choice.  We get to Atlas.  You get on board and dive free.  I’ll open the fuel lines and douse this old bitch with so much gas that you’ll see the explosion from space.”

The Captain pushed the flare gun into her hands.

“I promised your father I’d look out for you.  I’ll let the old bastard know that you made him proud.”

Tears washed Moriarty’s cheeks.  If truth be told, she missed her father terribly.  But he had driven it into her to be strong, to hide her feelings because they made you weak.  She wished he hadn’t.  She wished she had told him she loved him.  But she hadn’t.

Omar reached over to a storage box and prized the lid open.  Inside he found a can of aerosol cleaner and a lighter.  He tested it with a few sharp bursts of flame.  The space-shrimp that had drawn near darted away.  With his make-do flamethrower, Omar jumped down into the rising water.  He turned, grabbed Moriarty, and swung her onto his back.  With each step, he shot out a clean jet of flame.  The creature whirled around the edges. None dared the fire.

“Open the hatch!”

Morality leaned over.  Omar cried out in pain.  Through gritted teeth, he stepped forward.  The water turned red as flesh was stripped from the bone.  The flames sprang out, and the water fizzled.

“Get it!”

“I can’t leave you!”

“I’m already dead.  Now go!”

He slammed Atlas’s lid closed as Moriarty’s worried eyes watched him leave.  Moriarty clicked the controls, and Atlas came to life.  The water rose.  Hundreds, if not thousands, of the space-shrimp crowded around her, legs pecking at the glass of her hull.  She dived into the inky blackness of the Indian sea.  Like a billowing mass, the creatures followed her down.  She couldn’t see behind her, but they rammed and crashed into the side of the glass, shaking Atlas until suddenly, they stopped. She sped away in a whirl of spinning propellers.

Twenty feet clear of the sinking ship, the lights of the sub resurfaced.  Moriarty’s breath fogged up the glass.  She didn’t open the hatch in fear of the creatures returning.  In the failing lights of the moon and the headlights of the sub, she watched as Omar stood on the side of the ship.  In his hand was a lever.  It belonged to the fuel dump valve.  But, that wasn’t all that had changed. His torso was ripped asunder.  The tentacled appendages of the shrimp creatures creased the air through the wound.

Omar was dead.

“Shit!” She kicked out in the cramped confinement.  Tears clouded her vision.

Omar knew what she had only just realized.  He spread his hands wide, his chest cavity rippling in the wind.  The space-shrimp jumped out of the sea and attached to his tentacles.  They billowed and warped, each one adding to the mass that was Omar.  Moriarty’s knees shook.

The hatch popped and hissed.  The wind whipped about her face.  All thoughts of survival were gone.  She was in the middle of the Indian sea, scared and alone.  By the time a rescue team made it to the coordinates, the ship would be long gone, along with her and any trace of the Nautilus.  She cocked the flare gun and squinted through the rain.  Omar was gone, hidden in the mass of tentacles and crustaceans.  The colossal creature roared.

“How’s this for fucking finesse?”

Moriarty fired.  She watched the flare arc and then dip over the creature and waited for the explosion.  But nothing happened.  To her dismay, the creature kept growing.

Rain pelted Moriarty’s face.  Suddenly, the boat lit up.  The explosion rocked the sub, sending her back into the cockpit.  Moriarty gripped the controls as a huge wave washed over her. Pieces of the boat rained down around her.  As she gazed up, one of the creatures landed in the cockpit.  She screamed and was about to pummel it when she stopped.  The thing was dead, its pinkish body slowly turning grey.

As the last of the debris fell, the night calmed.  It was quiet.  Moriarty breathed a sigh of relief.

* * * * * *

Two days later, Moriarty sat in the straight back chair, fidgeting.  The gentleman across the large desk held the capsule up into the light.  She glanced out the seventy-first-floor window.

“That’s quite some tale.  If I was an ordinary man, I would, at this point, scoff, call you a lunatic, and have you thrown out.  But I’m not ordinary, and you’re not a lunatic.”

“So, you do believe me?”

Moriarty had her reservations about this man and the company he kept since her abduction two days ago.

“Of course I believe you.  Why wouldn’t I?”

Moriarty denied him an answer and instead turned her attention to the capsule and the alien creature.  The man watched her expression change from mild displeasure to rage.

“Why the fuck do you want that thing, anyway?”

“Because it can answer that ultimate question.  Are we alone?  And the truth is, no, we are not.” The man sat back.  “You look troubled.”

“That thing,” she spat, “killed my friends.  I should have let them all sink to the bottom of the ocean…”

“But you didn’t.  Why?”

Moriarty deflated.  It was true.  She had saved it.  The scientist in her wouldn’t let the opportunity pass her by, despite the things killing those closest to her.

“I’ll tell you why.  Because you’re a scientist.  You should be proud.  You might live to see the birth of something great.”

“Are you letting me go or recruiting me?” Moriarty asked, her eyebrows raised.

“Recruiting, of course.  I’m sure you wouldn’t like the other option.”  He glanced at the two men that had brought her before him.  They came over and untied her hand.

“Doesn’t look like I’ve got much of a choice,” she said, rubbing at her wrists.

The man nodded his head.  The sunlight gleaming off his shiny bald head.  “See, you are a smart girl.  Now, let’s make history.”

Rating: 9.75/10. From 4 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by Grant Hinton
Edited by Craig Groshek and Seth Paul
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Grant Hinton


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Bleeders: Book 2, A Rising Storm

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