Human hearts and human minds battle to survive against the hatred of a distant world of bigotry and despair.
I am Doctor Richard Green. The Darmuks came across the stars pretending friendship. Humanity flocked to them. Ashley, Zane and I struggled to understand the technology they offered.
Now war rages, Man against mutant beasts. Worse, the Darmuks have taken Ashley, made her a modem for their biological computer. Their mistake! I can defeat their science, and give my species a chance, but to do it Zane and I must join Ashley. We must sacrifice all we are and hope it will be enough.
Ashley opened her eyes and looked at the perversion that once was Betty. She turned the other way and saw the greater perversion that was Tannal. He spoke with a large creature with snake-like skin, yellow, slit-pupil eyes and a head like a boar. Tannal sent a surge of power into Ashley’s brain that jerked her fully awake.
“Yes, master?” asked Ashley.
“Access the information on the company B-3267 and print out their marching orders.”
“Yes, master.” Ashley mentally pulled up the files, simultaneously sending the number of Darmuks in the company and the route they were taking to the resistance.
“Excellent,” said Tannal. The boar-headed creature marched from the room.
The door opened and two filthy children, of no more than six, entered. One carried a platter of food the other a bucket of gruel. The one with the bucket paused by each of the ram units and ladled three scoops into the grey, pulsing symbiont placed over their stomach.
The child with the tray carried it to Tannal’s side and waited.
Finally the child with the bucket filled Ashley’s symbiont.
“Thank you,” she said.
“Foolish custom to thank a slave,” snapped Tannal.
“Yes, master,” agreed Ashley.
“Oh, did you know a girl named Tabitha? She would have been a year behind you in high school?” Tannal lifted a large turkey leg from the tray the boy carried and took a bite. Slaver spilled from the sides of his mouth as he chewed. Bits of gristle fell onto his fat belly.
Ashley knew what was coming. She smelled this gruel before. “Yes, master. I tutored her on computers.”
“You didn’t do a very good job of it. She fell below her quota in the data processing division. You can apologize to her as your symbiont feeds you.”
Ashley kept the scowl from her face. She remembered the golden light she once shared with Richard and played the game of survival.
“I am sorry, Tabitha.”
The symbiont on Ashley’s belly pulsed.