There’s a worm at the bottom of my garden, and his name is…


I lay in the fungus patch, trembling. The sunlight felt warm and friendly as Chiron’s twin suns beat down. I was aware of noises and smells – the soft rustling of the fungus strands as they shifted in the breeze, and the rustling they made as the touched and separated and twisted round each other as the breeze randomly dictated. I could feel the energy coursing through my myriad cells. I was a hatchling, recently emerging to the sunlight and just now exploring my sentience.

I opened my consciousness, and was aware of Planet, part of Planet and yet lying here within the fungal patch on Planet. My consciousness was expanding and I sensed a thousand murmurings within my being, ten thousand, hundreds of thousands of murmurings: **too soon, too soon…needs more time…must be aware …danger….must warn….don’t attack…find brothers….**

I lay, absorbing it all. I was alive, aware, and part of the great consciousness of Planet. I sensed my physical presentation to the world. Dozens of small worms, 10cms long, massing together and drawing strength and energy from each other into a collective sentience that was psi-linked to thousands of others across planet's crust and to Planet herself.

The noise intruded first. A harsh strumming that set my cells vibrating. The voices murmured again, this time with more urgency, more insistence, and with more clarity. **this is dangerous….destroys sentience of brothers…..need to be reinforced…help is coming….use time to focus psi-powers…**

Focus psi-powers? I rode the waves of Planet’s collective consciousness and tasted the victory as a mindworm halfway across Chiron attacked and destroyed one of the alien human invaders. I sensed the power being used. I turned my attention inward, and focussed on a fungal stalk. I heard its anguished psychic shriek as its infantile cognizance was possessed by my psi probe. I toned down, and the tortured stalk again began waving in the breeze. So this was my psi-power?

I lay in the fungus patch, trembling, as the alien vehicle appeared on the perimeter of the patch.

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MY2179, Foxtrot Zone.

“Sanji, we’ve got us one”, Venkat yelled excitedly as the recon rover lurched over the rocky terrain towards the fungus patch. They readied themselves. The last attempt had been disastrous, almost costing them their lives and the rover in the process, and necessitating a diversion to a monolith to let the strange healing process take effect.

Since the Peacekeepers executive had voted to pursue a Green economy, and ever since the completion of the Secret Project that had been code named “the Dream Twister”, following on the heels of the parallel, but earlier Special Project “The Neural Amplifier”, Commissioner Lal had an obsession with the capture of a mindworm. Huge bonuses were offered to the team that first caught on, and Sanji and Venkat stood a good chance of being that team.

Breaking into the Empath Song, they charged, one with neural prods at the ready, the other with a flame gun in hand..

The capture was swift and easy. “Shoot, it’s only a baby” said Venkat as they herded it back to the rover.

“Come in Sarita, come in” they comm-linked. “Yes, report.” The voice said.

“We’ve got one, a baby”, Sanji said, giving his position. “Stay right there”, said Sarita. “I’ll come out. A baby you say, a Hatchling. Wonderful.”

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I lay in the cargo bay of the rover, trembling. It wasn’t meant to be like this. My psi-attack had been unfocussed, uncoordinated and dispersed, and made in an agony of psychic pain. The two humanoids had approached my lair singing such a song whose words meant nothing to my senses but whose keening tones and melodic counter harmonies tore dissonance through my consciousness, disrupting the attempt I was trying to make to mount a concerted attack on the singers. Their neural whips had flashed and I experienced mind-numbing agony. My own psi-attack had dissipated, and I was easy prey for capture.

I reached out mentally to the rover. Coldness. Blankness. Blackness. Was it not sentient? The harsh guttural sounds made by the two aliens as they communicated with each other grated on my being, as did their smell, I felt alone, for the first time in my short existence. I whimpered inwardly, lying on the cold metallic surface of the rover, surrounded by alien smells and noises, and wished for contact with Planet’s sentience.

The wind brushed against me gently, depositing some fungus spores on my tentacles. **…..Peace, little Hatchling….** I sensed. **…….. are with you, we are one……not alone…**. Feeling comforted, I waited, and my trembling abated somewhat.

Suddenly a voice erupted in my consciousness. ** HELLO LITTLE ONE, I AM SARITA** I winced, shuddering violently, and unable to contain my shriveling into a tight knot. **Oh, sorry, ** she empathized, **I have difficulty in communicating – I’m new at this too. I’ve been sent to work with you and train you and introduce you to others we are breeding that you may train them. Together we will be a formidable force to be reckoned with on Planet**

I sensed the aliens appendage coming closer. Slowly it reached out and stroked me. I cautiously uncoiled and let individual nodes touch her skin. She was somehow inside my consciousness, and I was relating to hers. I was aware of the neural prod she carried in her other hand. I was not going to cause any trouble. I relaxed and she sensed that.

**That’s better. You and I will get along famously, you’ll see.**

I wondered what I was getting into.


To be continued…….