Chapter 48 Genocide
"I should probably check the surface out, before everyone heads down," said Dustin to Granny, glancing at Olivia and Jake as they mingled with the other Uz'En.
"That would be good. Have you noticed the obsession they have with the planet?" she asked quietly.
"I'm wondering if it has something to do with the mushrooms she mentioned."
Granny nodded as Dustin slipped out of the room. Pulling the nanobots around him, he exited the ship through the airlock and flew down to the surface of the planet.
Nanobots flew around, searching for abandoned ruins to tear down for building blocks for future use. All three of the military bases had already succumbed to their attention, and Dustin was sure any ruins from the natives had probably fallen as well.
As he landed in a natural clearing, a strange sight spread out before him. Vines were growing visibly, covering everything in their path. Other plants, bushes and trees, were also growing at a visible rate.
"What is going on?" Dustin wondered, stepping away from some of the Vines that had reached his feet. They didn't try to follow him, which was a relief, but the overall plant growth was disturbing.
As he explored, he came to the conclusion that this sun must be super nutritious to the plants. After struggling with the random fluctuations of the last sun, they were all exploding with growth. This wasn't a bad thing, short term, but if it continued, he would have to figure out what to do to slow them down.
Determined to find the mushrooms that Olivia had mentioned, he returned to the crypt he had left her in so long ago, and started scanning for anything dangerous. Halfway down the ladder, he started to pick up spores that, no doubt, had to come from the mushrooms.
(NEW GENETIC MATERIAL DETECTED. ANALYZING.)
(THE MATERIAL APPEARS TO BE MIND ALTERING, CAUSING THE INFECTED HOST TO EXHIBIT EXCESSIVE FEELINGS OF PROTECTIVENESS TOWARDS THE SOURCE OF THE SPORES. THE LONGER THE HOST REMAINS IN CONTACT WITH THE SPORES, THE MORE INFLUENCE THE SPORES HAVE OVER THE HOST.)
(IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED THAT YOU AVOID CONTACT WITH THE SPORES AT ALL COSTS.)
Dustin cursed under his breath. This was why Olivia was so adamant about saving the planet. There was no way he could safely bring anyone down to this planet until he could purge these damn mushrooms and all of their spores.
Sending out the nanobots, he ordered them to hunt every spore and destroy them. With the swarm proceeding him, he made his way through the tunnels. The mushroom colony was in chaos when he arrived. The nanobots were tearing into the mushrooms themselves, sending them running in panic, trying to get away from the pain. It reminded him of people running away from a swarm of bees.
The mushrooms looked demonic, with glowing eyes just under the mushroom cap. Olivia must have already been under the influence of the spores when she got this far, to have thought they were beautiful.
As he traveled further, he found small snails eating the smaller mushrooms and he wondered if the excessive amount of radiation from the other sun had harmed the snails, allowing the mushrooms to spread so much.
By the time he left the underground tunnels, every spore was destroyed or in the process of being destroyed.
Flying through the military base, that had indeed been gutted by the nanobots, that the underground tunnels led to, Dustin burst out into the sun, and viewed the surrounding landscape. He could see animals moving through the rapidly growing brush, eating as fast as they could. As he flew over head, he could see far more animals, then he had thought he would. The radiation must not have wiped out as much of the animal life as he had thought.
Dustin flew around for a while longer, before deciding where to land the ship, then flew back up to the ship.
As he entered the airlock, Granny was waiting for him.
"Olivia and Jake are acting weird, any ideas on why?" she asked, watching him carefully.
Dustin sighed, "They're infected with spores that are messing with their minds."
He sent out nanobots to destroy the spores, and followed behind them quickly. Granny followed at a quick trot.
By the time he got to the cafeteria, where they had been, both of them were on the ground, spasming. Everyone had backed away from them in fear, as Dustin rushed to their sides. They didn't calm down until Granny got there and touched them.
"Their minds are all messed up. Get them to the medical bay and off this floor," ordered Granny.
"What's going on?" asked one of the men, as Dustin had nanobots pick them up and rush them off.
"They were infected with spores from a plant on planet. I just killed all the plants so they're not a threat anymore, but now I have to get them healed."
"It's not contagious, is it?" asked a woman from the back, who was holding on to Howell.
"No, you're all good."
Dustin rushed to the medical bay, in time to see Granny move from Jake, to Olivia. She checked the baby, Kit, who seemed to have slept through it all, then started touching her head. It really looked like she was giving Olivia a scalp massage. After a few moments, she began to wake up and Granny stepped back.
Dustin shook his head. Caring about someone was hard. He wanted to wrap her in bubble wrap to keep her safe.
"What happened? I was talking about something to someone, and now I'm here?"
"You were infected with spores from mushrooms, and they were messing with your mind, but don't worry, I destroyed them."
Olivia looked at him for a moment, probably running through her memories, before groaning in annoyance.
"Stop messing with your spirit. It can't handle me messing with it so much," grumbled Granny, as she left the room.
"Did you really jump an entire planet to a new solar system, just because I asked?" she asked, looking at him from the corner of her eye.
"Why not? We needed a home anyway, and this one seems to work out just fine, after a little bit of genocide."