When we last left Gillian Bean, her lifeless form was rolling towards a viscous slurry of primordial bacteria, jellyfish, and brightly colored plastics. Read about it here.
Hanna adjusted her night vision scope. Even the pale green light of her goggles wasn’t enough for her imagination to transform the slimy ooze into an ocean. And it did nothing to eliminate the stench. But still, she was here on a rescue mission and had to remain focused.
She crested a sand dune following the coordinates to the last place Gillian Bean’s feed had emitted a signal. Out of the corner of her eye, she glimpsed a flash of human flesh, a calf and part of a foot to be exact. One blink later, the limb had been obscured by thousands of gelatinous tentacles, sliding over the flesh, sinking it even deeper into the goo.
Dang. Hanna cursed silently. She looked away. Rescue was out.
She brought her forearm to her mouth and shook it once.
“Hanna, here,” she said.
“Speak,” a gruff voice barked back, amplified through her skin.
“She’s gone. I watched the last of her disappear into the ocean. No sign of the feed. Over.”
“Why didn’t you pull her out? Over,” the voice replied in a critical tone.
Double dang, thought Hanna. She had to carefully control every reaction now, even physiological ones so they wouldn’t be broadcast through her feed. Truthfully, she hadn’t wanted to wrestle Bean’s body from the sludge of faceless, invertebrate organisms.
This was her first “rescue” mission. The training had been extensive, but now confronted with reality, she was unclear what exactly was supposed to have happened. Surely Bean’s body would have been…something…
“I was too far away. It was by chance I even saw that much of her before she was gone.” Even as she said the words, Hanna knew she should have made more of an effort, or at least made some effort, instead of watching in petrified horror.
“Is that so? Interesting thing, #0076382,” the voice replied, referring to Hanna by her rank number. “Your feed is projecting a rise in body temperature and an accelerated heartbeat. It’s not a hot night. Over.”
“Check. I was moving fast to get here. Moving to phase 2 of the mission. I’ll check in from Bean’s residence,” Hanna replied quickly, hoping that would be enough to end the conversation.
“OK #0076382. We’ll be waiting. Over and out.” The transmission went dead. She took a deep, shaky breath, and started to follow the coordinates towards Bean’s home.
**Read previous segments of the story here: