First time here? Start from the beginning
Also, check out Unknown Transmission for the other half of the story.

Pod People

February 19th, 2018

Spegg is wrapping me up in light green plastic. He’s got a big roll of it, like the kind they use when they’re crating up boxes on pallets. He’s wrapping me up. Around and around and around and around. I’m a plastic mummy. He’s got the Nanoblack all up in there, too. He whispered some bullshit and the oily substance stiffened and stuck hard to my body like burned glue.

Whatever’s left of my head gets it, too, but he leaves me a little slot to see out of and another one to breathe out of, which is kind of pointless because while I can see just fine, I’m pretty sure I’m not breathing.

Spegg is whistling while he works. The melody is a little off, but he’s whistling “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”, the American Civil War song, better known by American children as “The Ants Go Marching.” I’m actually curious which version a transgenic fish from 167 years in the future would actually know. Or if it’s something entirely different.

I let the thought go. Spegg has me in a modified fireman’s carry and we’re going out on the ice. He’s whistling something else now. I’m not sure what it is. We’re outside Shakleton’s hut. There’s a pod out here. It’s silver and black with four rows of black fins running along the top like dorsal fins. It’s sleek and perfect and shiny, seemingly untouched by the elements. A slight haze is visible around its perimeter.

Spegg waves his hand and a small hatch materializes. Part of the shiny exterior just falls away into the haze and the pod’s interior is visible. There’s a simple silver chair in the center. Metallic and sort of leathery, somehow, and nothing else. Some edges are visible, where control panels might appear, but it is largely void of detail. Spegg slides me in on the floor behind the command chair, then follows me in and takes a seat. He waves his hand again and the hatch disappears. A few more gestures and the walls fall away entirely. There’s nothing left but the glow of a few instruments. Otherwise it looks like we’re sitting outside in the snow.

There’s an almost distant whirring sound as the ship lifts off the ice without the slightest jolt.

A Man Hole

February 16th, 2018

“This is wild,” Spegg says. He’s eaten his way through the dead man’s chest and he’s sitting in the hole. “It’s more comfortable than you’d think. I mean, you’re probably looking at me right now, thinking: ‘Gosh, that looks really uncomfortable.’ But it’s not! It’s really not. It’s quite nice, actually. Quite nice.”

Spegg is staring at me, as if he’s waiting for me to respond.

I blink my eyes.

“I thought you might say that,” he says. “I’m gonna keep him outside so he won’t spoil. Nice and cool. The good stuff is mostly gone anyway. Just bones and a bit of shoulder meat left now. And the head of course.”

He stands up and tries to brush himself off. Droplets of blood spray the floor. “Gah, I’m sorry, Wayne. You know, I’d planned on using the lion’s share of this guy to fix you up. Sheesh. I guess just couldn’t help myself.

“Oh, well! There’s more where that came from!

“How’s the new leg feeling, anyway? Can you move it yet? Yes? No?” he says, jiggling it. “Oh yeah, that’s the stuff. Nice color, too. You’re gonna be hopping around in no time.

“Oh! I just thought of something fun! What do you call a big hole in the middle of a dead guy? A man hole!” He laughs, and it sounds like someone is gargling a fish.

Fun All Around

February 15th, 2018

SONY DSC

I’m awake again. The room is dimly lit by a lantern in the corner. There’s a body on the floor and a streak of blood leading from it to the door. One of its legs has been hacked off.

“You’re finally getting a leg up in the world.”

Spegg is standing next to me with a shit-eating grin on his face. He points. “Your new leg, stupid.”

Where just a bit of my old leg had recently been there is a freshly installed new leg, complete with curly black hair and a large tattoo of Steamboat Willie covering most of the thigh. Nanoblack is swarming around the junction between the new leg and my old stump.

“The ‘Black can take care of that tattoo for you if you want, but I say we keep it. It’s cute, right?”

I’m still unable to speak.

“It’s cute,” he says again.

I glance back at the dead body, scanning it for other Disney-themed tattoos.

“Oh don’t worry about him,” Spegg says, following my gaze. “He bled out pretty quickly after I took the leg.” He cocks his head. “You gotta do it live, you know. It’s brutal but it actually pretty fun if you don’t think about it. Fun either way, really.”

Spegg takes a quick breath. “Well, I could use another sandwich.” He takes out a pocket knife, opens the blade, and sits down criss-cross-applesauce next to the body. “Fun all around.”

Speggs Like Us

December 8th, 2017

spies

The TV is on.

Was I asleep?

There’s a movie playing. It’s “Spies Like Us,” with Chevy Chase and Dan Ackroyd. It’s at the part where they dress up like aliens to spook the Russians and take control of the ICBM. Spegg is sitting on the stool and watching it and eating a sandwich. He’s laughing. He’s actually laughing.

He’s covered in blood.

It’s cold.

I’m fading.

Nanoblack

November 28th, 2017

Spegg dips his finger into the syrup where my chest should have been and holds it to the light. “But this black shit will keep you whole for now.” The goo drips down his long, bony finger. It stiffens, then leaps from his knuckle back to the exact spot he’d taken it from. “Can you believe I only had a few grams of this stuff just a few hours ago?”

From the side table, he retrieves a small, empty zip-top bag. I quickly recognize JAXA’s five-pointed star logo printed on the label. Spegg squints at it. “Na-no-black. Self-replicating nanobugs. They can patch up almost anything,” he says, then flaps the bag between his fingers. “Another fine product from JAXA’s skunkworks. Hey, just like me!” he adds, then crushes the bag in his fist.

Outside, a curtain of snow slides off the roof, briefly darkens the window, then lands on the ground with a thud. Spegg glances at the window. “Finally starting to warm up around here.”

After a moment, Spegg turns his attention back to me and pats me on my one good knee. A spike of pain shoots up my leg and suddenly the Nanoblack surges toward the spot and appears to boil around my knee until the pain subsides. Spegg titters mischievously. “Sorry about that, brother. That probably stung a little, ay?”

He tosses the crumpled zip-top bag back on the table. “Anyway, this sorcery will keep you alive until we can find you some replacement parts.”

Replacement parts?

Spegg appears to notice my reaction and smirks. “Well, these bugs can hold you together but they’re not going to grow you a new heart or a fancy pair of legs. We’re going to need to find you a few donors.”

He stands up and kicks the stool into the corner. From his pocket Spegg removes a remote control, presses a button, and a large flat-screen monitor against a far wall flickers to life. A video feed appears on the screen, what looks like footage from a security cam. It’s positioned from a high vantage point, probably atop a telephone pole, and the scene is a wintery industrial town, bustling with thousands of people. But it’s no regular town. We’re looking at McMurdo Station.

“Behold, the last livable city on the planet,” Spegg says. “And our hunting grounds.”

All The Dead Things

November 23rd, 2017

My eyes are open. I’m in a cabin, lying on a bed, on a bare, ancient mattress, surrounded by old, wooden crates nailed to the walls. The crates are stacked on top of each other, crammed with packages and jars and disintegrating, rusted cans with faded labels that read, “corn flour”, “wholemeal biscuits, and “cabbage”. At my left there is a large, wooden crate with “SYRUP” printed on it in all caps. An ancient iron stove is crouched at the foot of my bed, its metal chimney rising up from its oven and poking through the roof. Ruined clothes hang from the ceiling on lines suspended by narrow, iron hooks.

I know this place. I totally know this place. But I have no business being here. This is Ernest Shackleton’s hut.

What the actual fuck.

A face ebbs into view. A gray, oblong face with a thick, bulbous nose, and nasty, ragged teeth. And those eyes. Those, giant, dumb eyes.

Of course.

“Hello, Chikushou.”

Fucking Spegg.

I try to grab him. Try to grab him and do all kinds of horrible, violent things to him and that face of his…. but nothing… nothing happens.

“Don’t try to move,” Spegg says. “You’re not whole yet.” He passes by the window, momentarily casting a shadow over the room, then gestures at my body. Or what remains of it.

I look like fucking road kill. Like the butcher had a go at me, but toddled off halfway through the job. Almost nothing is recognizable. Unless you count head cheese and ground chuck as recognizable. Okay, a bit of my leg is sticking out of the mess. And my right hip. That’s there. I spy a heel, and that little bony nub that sticks out on the side of the foot? What is it? It’s like your foot’s elbow. I dunno. But I still have one of those. Everything else is missing, though. Missing, or just meat.

But there is something else down there. Something else mingling with what’s left, something that makes no sense whatsoever. Something filling the gaps between the bits of meat and hip parts and foot elbows; something thick and black and shiny and syrupy. And it’s moving. Like, undulating. Like it’s doing some kind of work. And there I am, just checking it out… as fucking Spegg looks on with his big, fat eyes.

What the fucking shit is this shit?!

“I saved what I could,” Spegg says. “But I had to cut away all the dead things.”