Chapter 7 SLIME
Pain…So much pain…
Cries in the dark were ignored in the light of his intense and all-consuming pain.
(HOST IS IN DANGER OF DEATH. INITIATING EVOLUTION.)
The pain was gone. He reveled in the lack of pain. It was so dark…could he move?
Yes, but it was weird. He moved around rocks and debris. Had the building collapsed? He could see that, with the condition it had been in. Wait, how was he moving around and THROUGH the debris? He wasn't using arms and legs! What kind of evolution was this?
Suddenly, he touched something and paused. It wasn't rock or debris from the building, it was something soft, and tasty. He knew, somehow, that if he engulfed it, he could eat it. With that realization, he was suddenly starving. Moving without thinking, he started to work his way around and along the object. Then he paused again.
Of all the senses he still had, touch and taste were it. The taste of this food was so familiar, he would know it anywhere.
'PED! What am !?!'
But there was no answer. He receded from the softness that was Olivia, and realized, he must be some kind of… slime! Why wasn't the PED responding? Had he left it behind in the debris, with it unable to follow him through the cracks? And why wasn't Olivia moving? She felt warm, so she had to still be alive.
Dustin just hoped he hadn't actually started dissolving her. Moving back along the way he had come from, he hoped to find where he had left the PED. But it was gone. What was he supposed to do? He couldn't see, he couldn't hear, and he couldn't find his damn PED! Was he doomed to lose his mind???
No, he could do better than that. Pausing, he managed to calm himself forcefully. Panic never helped him, and it definitely wouldn't now. If he really was a slime, there were two options here. One was that the PED had managed to incorporate itself into him, as a non-solid as well, or he had left it behind, when he moved through the rocks. So, to test the first option…
'PED, initiate evolution, I want eyes to see around me.'
Nothing happened. He was still in the dark, and nothing he did, seemed to have changed that. Alright, now moving on to option two. If he had left it behind, it was possible he just hadn't found it yet. It he was really a slime, he could spread himself out in all directions until he found it. Right.
Moving himself in all directions, without moving his center, was much harder than it seemed. He imagined himself stretching and it seemed to help some. He wasn't sure how thin he could stretch himself though.
There was Olivia, and there was the boy, Jake. He seemed to be still alive too, and moved a little at his touch. That was even better. Now to stretch more, in the other directions. Then he found it.
(HOST! I AM SO GLAD YOU FOUND YOURSELF BACK TO ME! I WAS SO LONELY! THAT WAS THE WORST TWO MINUTES OF MY ENTIRE EXISTANCE!)
'What did you do?' he asked, as calmly as possible.
(YOU WERE DYING, TOOK A DIRECT HIT TO THE BRAIN. MY ONLY OPTIONS WERE TO CHANGE YOU THROUGH EVOLUTION. THE NANOBOTS INTERFERED AND YOU BECAME THIS. I AM NOT EVEN SURE WHAT YOU ARE, EXACTLY. THE GENETIC CODE YOU NOW CONTAIN IS NOT IN MY DATABASE.)
'Can you fix me?' his voice may have been a little higher than it needed to be, as panic was fighting for control.
(IF YOU ARE ABLE TO GET ME OUT OF THE DEBRIS, SO THAT YOU HAVE ROOM TO EVOLVE, I CAN RETURN YOU TO YOUR PREVIOUS FORM, BUT IF I ATTEMPT AN EVOLUTION ON YOU HERE, I AM NOT SURE WHAT WOULD HAPPEN.)
'Can you initiate an evolution, so that I can see?'
(I CANNOT GIVE YOU SIGHT, AS WITH EYEBALLS, AS YOU ARE FAMILIAR TO, BUT I CAN GIVE YOU A SENSE OF SIGHT THAT SHOULD WORK WITH YOUR CURRENT FORM.)
'Then, please do so.'
The world was a series of blacks and greys, but he could now see all around him. The sensory overload took him several minutes to overcome and comprehend. The PED was wedged between the ceiling, and the floor. No wonder he had left it behind when he became a slime. He took his time, studying the situation. His blood was spilled in several areas, enough that he could easily believe he had been dying.
'PED, I need to be able to lift and move some of these rocks. Is my current body capable of that?'
(IT SHOULD BE?)
Alright, he could work with that. If he squeezed himself into a space, he might be able to create enough pressure, that it would shift things. Before he started moving stuff around, he needed to check on Olivia and Jake.
Olivia was unconscious, but breathing. She had a nasty cut to her forehead, but it looked like her scales had protected her. Her PED looked to be in one place, and besides several scrapes and bruises she would be fine if he started moving things around. In fact, having been near the window, she was actually very close to being outside of the debris completely.
Jake was in a pocket, unharmed. As he looked around, though, he very quickly realized, that if he started shifting things around, the pocket could collapse. What to do, what to do?
He needed his PED, but to free it, he risked killing the kid. And to free the kid, he risked crushing his PED. The choice was hard, but he knew his PED was more important. Maybe the kid would get lucky and survive?
Moving away from him, he returned to the sight of the PED and started evaluating which rocks needed to be moved in order to get it free. Plotting his course, he practiced moving some of the easier rocks, the ones that were in the way, but wouldn't cause any big shifts in the surrounding debris. It was far easier than he had imagined. With more surface area, he was able to push and pull far more than he had thought a slime should.
The ceiling that rested on the PED was also forming the roof of the pocket the kid was in. He knew that when he went to move it, there was a strong possibility that the kid would be crushed. He waited until the very last, to start moving it. The entire path to Olivia was clear, except for this one thing.
Right before he started moving anything, he wondered if he might be able to stretch himself enough to support the roof in the bubble. It was worth a chance. The kid knew the area, and it would make finding the military base entrance much easier.
Well, here goes nothing!