6. Incarceration

Waiting

Monday, January 18th, 2010

I watched Spegg, for the next several hours, turn the science lab into a tapestry of organic bewilderment. I kept still, silent, and reserved, even as the heat in the room grew more and more stifling. At one point Spegg paused and brought me a small bowl of snow, then continued, without speaking, with his work. The snow melted easily and I drank everything, knowing full well that it would evaporate if I tried to ration it.

Nearly all the stock equipment in the lab ended up on the floor, save the glassware, replaced by things I couldn’t comprehend. Using the tissue from the elephant seal, Spegg created a boiling, steaming mess of science, doubling, tripling, the size of the tissue inside what could only be described as an incubator, a luminous, spherical, crimson womb that pulsed and contracted like a giant’s disembodied heart.

The dead elephant seal began to smell, much worse than the typical, overpowering stench of bodily waste that they often coat their bodies with in the wild.

“Your turn,” Spegg said suddenly, and shambled over to my prison with the silvery device in hand. He clicked the end, the wormy tendrils wriggling out. I screamed and kicked at the cage, but I had almost no room to move, and my will had dissipated in the withering heat. He snagged my leg, stabbed the instrument into my flesh, and removed it a second later with little ceremony.

I clutched my calf as he walked away, breathing hard, dumbfounded. It hadn’t even stung.

Spegg took the device, slid the tip into a knobby bulge near the bottom of the throbbing incubator, and with a click, injected my tissue inside.

Breakfast

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Spegg brought me a hotplate, a steak knife, and another bowl of snow this morning. No words, no explanation. He gestured to the cord and then an outlet on the wall next to the cage, and walked away. I immediately drank from the bowl and slumped back against the cage bars. Taking a small clump of snow, I touched my eyes and temples, my forehead, and exhaled deeply before swallowing the rest.

I dropped my gaze to the hotplate. It was from the kitchen. “What the hell am I supposed to do with this?” I said, kicking it with my heel.

“Eat,” he sniffed.

“Eat what?”

“You have food,” he said, examining the disgusting, throbbing womb on the counter top.

“Are you blind, you bastard?!” I screamed, grabbing the knife. “There’s nothing here!”

Spegg bolted across the room, grabbed my hand through the bars, loosed the knife from my grip, and stabbed it into the seal’s carcass.

“Eat!” He demanded, his long, translucent neck bulging with purple veins. He sliced off a chunk of the seal’s flesh, showed it to me, then shoveled it into his mouth.

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” I scowled.

Spegg sniffed, buried the knife in the seal’s back, and turned away.

“You psycho!” I reached through the bars, yanked the knife out, and lobbed it at him pathetically.

Spegg twisted around as the knife clattered harmlessly on the floor. “Chikushou,” he breathed. “Use your hands, then.”

Skymap

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

The mass of tissue, the womb-like thing that Spegg had created in the science lab, had slowly stopped pulsing and throbbing, contracted, and formed into a lifeless ball of muck, roughly the size of a softball. Spegg largely ignored it now, and had left the room for a while and returned with a long tube of golden foil, like a roll of wrapping paper.

My stomach ached and I turned my attention back to the elephant seal’s carcass. I hadn’t touched it, and Spegg hadn’t bothered me about it again. I guess he figured I’d eat when I got hungry enough. And honestly, the idea was slowly becoming less and less repulsive. I eyed the hotplate, the fresh injury Spegg had given the seal, and sighed. Fine. I had to eat something and if this was all I got, then so be it. I untwisted my body from the fetal position I’d been keeping to ward off the hunger pains and slid up onto my knees in the shallow cage.

Spegg had unrolled and spread the roll of foil on the counter, and as I reached through the cage bars to plug the cord into the wall I watched as he drew his fingers along the right side of the foil, which sparked and gave life to a luminous three dimensional display that sputtered for a moment, then suddenly projected a seemingly solid map of the stars directly above and around the golden sheet.

I leaned forward and let the cord fall out of my hands. With his bony index finger, Spegg tapped on a region of the universe and a model of an alien spiral galaxy sprung forward with a flash. I gripped the cage bars and stuck my face between them as Spegg tapped on various places in the galaxy, colorful nebulae and clusters of stars and planets whisking by his fingers as he swiped them away and zoomed in deeper and deeper, farther in to one of the galaxy’s spiral arms to a region of the galaxy dominated by a perfect, black sphere that bent and distorted the light from the nearby stars as if they were circling a drain.

“Oh my god,” I gasped.

Spegg turned his head. “You know what this is, Chikushou?”

“Of course.”

“Good,” he replied, clenching his fist. “We will go there.”

My mouth dropped open. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

Spegg said nothing and removed what looked like a tiny, white remote control from his oval case. His eyes were calm and his mouth set in a long, thin line as he engaged a mechanism on the device with his thumb. The room filled with a terrible buzzing—the sound of a thousand bees screaming in my ears. The muscles in my arms twitched, my jaw snapped shut, then suddenly my body went numb and I collapsed onto the cage floor. I breathed hard, paralyzed, as Spegg gathered the acetylene torch and started cutting through the door.

Medicine

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

A shower of sparks sprayed into the cage as the acetylene torch bit and sliced through the door. Spegg squinted, guiding the fiery blade through the weld, the metal popping sporadically as the seal  broke open.

When it was done, the giant fish pulled the door open and dragged me out by my feet into the middle of the room. I felt nothing as I laid there paralyzed, the deafening noise of his device blaring in my ears.

Spegg stared down at me, his massive black eyes reflecting my own, the abrasions on my face, my dry lips.

“I will spare you, Chikushou,” he said, licking his tiny, pointed teeth. He took from his case a small white tube, unscrewed the top, and squeezed a dollop of white paste into his palm. “But you will help me find my people.”

The hell I will, I thought.

Spegg leaned in and rubbed the paste into the knife wound in my arm, dabbed a little on my face, then slathered it on the bite on my calf. Unable to move my neck, I strained to watch as the burnt flesh on my shoulder slowly lightened and the wound began to cleave, little sutures of pink tissue bubbling up from the edges of the cut and fording the gash like little fleshy tendrils. Seconds later it was closed.

Bad move, fish.

“Good,” Spegg said and showed me a syringe filled with pink liquid. “And this should make you a little more… obedient.”

I leaped up and grabbed the fish by the throat, wrestled the syringe out of his hands, knocked him to the floor, and beat him in the face until his bulging eyes burst open and spewed intraocular fluid all over the room. I tore at his flesh with my fingernails, ripped off his arms, his legs, his head, dug my fingers into his chest, rip—

Spegg jabbed the needle into my arm and plunged the pink syrup into my vein. I took a deep breath. Spegg’s long face brightened into a wide smile and he reached over and clicked the button on the white remote. The noise stopped.

I sat up.

Halcyon day

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

The lab was trashed. Glass was everywhere. Broken equipment littered the floor. My clothes were wet with sweat and I pinched my nose to ward off the stench from the dead seal. On the counter was Spegg’s weird experiment. Once a throbbing, living womb for god knows what, was now a dark, lifeless, crimson shell.

Spegg grinned at me. The long faced, translucent skinned, big-eyed nightmare in a black jumpsuit and human shoes who had destroyed my lab, my antenna, and imprisoned me for days. I hated him. I don’t know why he had released me, but it was a mistake. And whatever crap he had plunged into my veins… well, it wasn’t working. I felt no different.

I glanced down. My Taurus .357 was lying next to the busted spectrograph, just a few steps away. I continued scanning the room, acting casually. Spegg just stared.

I was a few feet closer to the gun than him. I didn’t care how fast he was. If I could get a handle on it, it was over. My eye twitched. I felt a sudden surge of adrenaline tickle the hairs on my neck and harden my fists. Spegg cocked his head. I sprung.

Diving forward, I snagged the weapon from the pile of junk, wheeled around, and snapped the hammer back. Spegg hadn’t moved. I leveled the sight between his big black eyes and smirked.

“Die you disgus—”, I started, but my heart instantly slowed and suddenly all of the tension and adrenaline and hatred and fury just simply vanished and I found myself drawing a long, deep breath, my muscles relaxing… letting go, calming, steadying, retracting. I paused for a moment, gawking at Spegg, and whispered, “—teh,” unable to finish whatever I had been saying.

Spegg licked his lips.

I lightly fingered the weapon’s trigger, caressing the thin grooves in the curved metal. They felt nice. The gun itself was warm and heavy in my hand and the soft rubber grip felt satisfying and perfectly weighted. A lot of thought had gone into the design. The precision, the power, the simplicity of it all. I thumbed the hammer, squeezed the trigger, and uncocked the weapon with a satisfying clickclack. Beautiful.

“We will get to work,” Spegg said.

I glanced up, scratching my head. “Yes… um, of course,” I said.  I gently laid the gun on the counter, careful not to scratch it.

“The egg will hatch soon,” he added, gesturing toward the hardened, crimson womb on the counter. “We must get it to water.”

Over easy

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

I don’t know what the hell Spegg injected me with, but I’ve never felt anything like it. I don’t feel drowsy or out if my mind; I feel quite normal, actually. But in the event that I experience any kind of aggression, disturbance, or distress, my thoughts and emotions are gently replaced with a momentary, but overwhelming, wonderful state of bliss. So wonderful in fact, that I’ve caught myself trying to get upset just so I can feel it again.

As we were walking down to the water this morning (Spegg refused to ride the snow machines) I asked him to say something insulting to me, like that “chikushou” word he always says, but he just sniffed and ignored me. I hate to be ignored ;)  Ahhh.

At the shore we planted the marvelous egg in about six inches of chilly mud and then I chased the penguins around until Spegg told me we had to go back. He says we will find his people soon. I can’t wait to meet them! We’re going to see a black hole!!

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Spegg says there’s a problem with the ship. He says there’s not enough power to achieve escape velocity and if we don’t boost it, we’re not going anywhere. :(

But Spegg’ll figure something out. He’s really smart. Oh! He let me play with his golden map today. Soo cool! It’s not just a map, it’s a computer too! All this future stuff is on there!!

LOVE SPEGG!

Bacon and Speggs (lol)

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

I told Spegg he should be a professional wrestler! He’s fast, he looks cool (I mean he’s got a head like a fish! How cool is that?), and I bet he’d draw some huge crowds. Anyway, I told him that and he didn’t even blink! He just looked at me with his serious face and said that he doesn’t have time for that because he’s going to build an army of transgenics and take over the world! LOL. Spegg is hilarious. I’m gonna get me some baconnnnnnnn. Hey, where’s Buzz? Buzzbuzzbuzzbuzz.

I can’t think of a good title for this post!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Spegg told me that before he came here he was orbiting a large black hole and that he actually intercepted the “Spegg” signal I sent out from dish #20!  WeIrD!!

And you know what is even weirder? He said that from his ship he detected many other ships exactly like his own orbiting the same black hole. He thinks there was some kind of space/time disturbance caused by the black hole. That reminded me about Dr. Alfieri and the crazy rift in space/time here in Antarctica and when I told him about it, and how everything always happened 18:57:09, he scratched his fishy chin and called it a “sign”. I asked him what kind of sign and he just grinned and said, “a good sign.” (haha, what is that)?

Oh! I also showed Spegg all the transmissions I received from the Shinkai Maru 5 but when I asked him about Maxim Akihiko Broussad, he got real quiet. I think he’s mad!! =O  (he should take some of this pink stuff!)

Homecoming!

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Speggy is going to send another transmission today at 18:57:09!

He said that if he can get a message to the other pods that he saw orbiting the black hole, that he may be able to guide them over the event horizon and bring them to Antarctica! He said that each pod probably contains another Spegg just like him. He said that they are “his people” and its time to “bring them home.” There are probably hundreds of pods out there, he thinks, maybe more—maybe an infinite number of them!

Oh man, I bet Buzz is gonna go insane if a bunch of new Speggs show up. I tried to go outside to find him, but Spegg stopped me and said that outside was “out of bounds.” I haven’t been out in I don’t know how long. I don’t even know what I’ve been doing for the last few days. Shit, I’ve got to stop this. Spegg is going to use the array to contact an army of transgenics and bring them to present day Earth? I’ll blow this goddamn station to hell before that happens.

Oh! I’m getting hungry again!! I wonder if Spegg likes cheese?

Mindslave

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

This is the first moment of clarity I’ve had for days. There are certain things I cannot think about and I won’t risk describing them here, lest I morph into—I can’t even say it. The very hint of distress will activate the substance that I have been injected with.

Yesterday at precisely 18:57:09 Spegg broadcast another transmission to the exact coordinates that I sent the original Spegg message. In the new message he described in detail his plan to build a race of transgenics and enslave the human race, and directed any and all LMO’s who received the message to immediately steer their pods across the event horizon and into the black hole.

I can write nothing further nor contemplate any consequence of this without jeopardizing  my state of mind.

Buzz

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

This isn’t a good sign.

Technical Core
Sun 1/31/2010 11:57:39 AM

Strange reunion

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

I didn’t see it before, but it is clear now.

I’ve encountered a ghostly Buzz three times today. The first time in the tech core, another time in the kitchen, and once in the rec room. Each time he just stared at me, head cocked, then vanished moments later.

Another dimensional rift has opened. And it’s a direct result of the transmission Spegg sent yesterday. Just as it was the day after I sent the first transmission when the team from McMurdo vanished before my eyes.

And tonight, at 18:57, a very solid Buzz appeared in the office and jumped into my lap, slathering my face with wet kisses.

But it wasn’t Buzz. Not exactly. He was thinner than he should be, his eyes smaller, and sported a deep black stripe that ran from the top of his head and thinned out and lightened across his back. But he seemed to know me and I played it cool, scratching his chin and holding him for the 60 seconds that he remained. Then he began to fade, with a chorus of frantic whimpers, and suddenly my arms were empty.

Moments later Spegg stormed in, sniffing the air like a goddamn animal, and I felt the tingling of the pink serum kicking in.

Tanjoubi

Monday, February 1st, 2010

This afternoon Spegg took me down into the valley and several kilometers further to the cold shore of the Southern Ocean where we had stowed the egg a few days before. His mood had changed since the morning. He smiled as we walked, his jagged teeth stacked like white razors behind his lips, his lanky gait easily managing the rugged desert terrain. There was a bounce in his step and he whistled a high-pitched tune—full of sharp corners and feverish, screeching arpeggios. I did not recognize the song, nor the style, and the high notes stung my ears, though I did not reveal my distress.

I kept my eyes low, struggling to maintain Spegg’s pace as I sank into the crusty, old snow, my ankles wrenching with each step. We crossed the foothills and descended into the flats which stretched for a few hundred meters and ultimately gave way to the icy chop and towering, pointed bergs far out into the sea. As we neared the coast, I saw what I thought to be a wide swath of black sea trash littering the shoreline.

We continued to walk, and as we got closer it slowly became clear that the mess was not rubbish, but instead hundreds of penguin corpses, rent and scattered in heaps of red and black all along the icy shore. They had been savaged—their bodies, their heads, their bones torn asunder, some partially eaten, and others merely destroyed—as if whatever predator had gotten its fill, and murdered the rest of the birds for sport.

I held my mouth.

Spegg grinned broadly and patted me on the head. “Chikushou,” he said. “You are a father.”

Soliloquiorum

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Spegg and I walked the frozen shore southward, following the trail of death. The egg he had created from the tissue of the elephant seal and a snippet of my DNA had finally hatched. And it was hungry. I stepped around a pile of remains and trailed a few paces behind Spegg, who was focused—his nose in the air—on a little cove in the distance.

His earlier words played in my head as I watched the tide paw at the eviscerated body of an emperor penguin, then retreat with a small helping of loose feathers and viscera. “You are a father,” his toothy sneer flashed in my head.

I set my jaw. I’m not the father of this monster.

Spegg straightened up and pointed at the cove. “I think he’s ahead,” he said. “Oh, you will remember this day, Chikushou,” he added, bounding forward.

I felt a wall of rage bricking up behind my eyes and struggled to push it away. Stay calm. You can’t win like this. The pink shit Spegg had injected me with was aggressive. Anger, fury, frustration were all things of the past. If I let them get the best of me, the serum would take over and render me a fool.

I spied a penguin’s severed head fidgeting in the water between a couple of small ice chunks, its eyes wide and blank. I shuttered and looked away. Then I saw Spegg… who was literally skipping along joyously. He even took a couple steps to the right and booted a dead penguin.

I must have growled or something because he wheeled around and sniffed at me.

“Stop dragging your feet, Papa,” he said.

That was it. I bent over, snagged a fist-sized rock near my feet, and raised my hand….

My pulse beat fiercely in my temples, the full power of my anger throbbing in my jaw and my whitened knuckles. But it didn’t vanish. It raged on. I held my stance, arm cocked, the cold stone digging into my palm. Spegg eyed me intently, and drew a wide smile. Suddenly, for some reason, I didn’t want to kill him. I hated him, but I didn’t want to kill him.

“What are you waiting for, Chikushou?” Spegg said, arms akimbo.

“Nothing,” I said, and walked up to him. I took the stone and plunked him in the chest. “Don’t ever call me Cheekshoo again, Fish.”

Spegg nodded, wiping off his chest. “The Lilith has bonded with you, Wayne Robertson.”

Next: Chapter 7. Upheaval