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Mindworm, Part 7

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  • Mindworm, Part 7


    I was furious.

    How could I have been so unaware? (Actually, stupid was a more apt expressions, but stupid to me carried connotations of fondness and approval, as when I would suggest something to Sarita and she would respond **Oh, don’t be stupid, Little Hatchling**, usually accompanied by a ruffling of my tendrils.

    But I was furious with myself, with Lal, and most of all with Yang.

    Yang had surrendered to Lal, who had accepted his abject offer of turning The Hive into a vassal faction.

    I had been unable to control events. The war had been running smoothly, and we were advancing Base by Base through the Hive territory. Then, at the perimeter of one of the larger bases, Lal had received a comm-link call from Yang.

    In person, I could have prevented Lal’s acceptance of Yang’s groveling offer, through some subtle psi pressure. But, of course, I could not monitor electronic communications, and was totally unaware of the messages passing back and forth.

    When Lal announced the ceasefire, I had thought it to be just for the purpose of bringing fresh, more advanced troops into the front lines, but when the subservience pact details were released, and when I understood their full implication, I was like a worm possessed.

    My vengeance was going to be thwarted.

    Or was it?


    I convened a virtual meeting of my Mindworm army – virtual in that it was through our linked consciousness. All were Demon Boils now, but they deferred to my leadership as I was the firstborn, and as I had developed the closest bonding with Sarita.

    I outlined my plans, and each signaled their approbation and moved to their assigned positions.


    Pang was wandering home to his living cell after a night out on the town in Great Clustering. He had been to the new holotheater just built with the approval of the new peacekeeping governor. It had been showing a holorecording of a new Gaian artist, Velociryx, a wonderfully gifted musician. Haunting melodies interspersed with foot stomping up beat neo-rock music. He had drunk one too many fungal gins, but had thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

    Some light cloud cover masked the moons of Chiron, although Nessus could be faintly seen when the clouds shifted. He wondered why the Peacekeepers weren’t mining on Nessus. They had the technology. They were rumored to have more than 200 satellites orbiting now.

    A cloud drifted over Nessus.

    Something in the shadows of a building caught his eye. He turned to look.

    And froze, terrified.

    “It can’t be”, he muttered to himself, breaking into a cold sweat. But the more he looked, and focussed, he could make out the shape.



    I huddled in the shadow of the building intensely concentrating, and projecting a narrow beam of psi energy right into Pang’s mind. The image was of Sarita, in her full battle gear, with the adapted helmet with the sensory probes pulsing, and for added effect I was projecting a vision of red eyes, with a sight that Pang believed was boring into his soul.

    I couldn’t speak, but through intense concentration could make Pang believe that he was hearing speech.

    “I’ve come back for you”, Sarita said. “We have some unfinished business, you and I”

    Pang saw her unshoulder her neural probe and flick it on with one hand, while a flamegun appeared in the other. I held him transfixed in a psi lock, paralyzing him with fear.

    Sarita brought the flamegun up and pointed it at Pang’s legs. “You won’t be going anywhere after tonight”, she said, as she cut his legs from under him.

    I probed the neural synapses till I found the link, and severed it with a narrow bolt of psi-energy.

    Pang felt the flame scorch his legs, and collapsed to the ground, whimpering, as the pain racked his body.

    I moved closer.

    Sarita stood over him. “I don’t have your laser knife”, she said, “but you will wish I had”. She drew circular motions around his temples with the neural probe, and he screamed in agony.

    Except he didn’t scream. I had found the speech synapses and had severed their stems, so his scream was soundless.

    Sarita said “Pang, justice must be done. An eye for an eye”.

    Nooooo…. Came the silent shriek.

    I possessed his mind. His fingers went to his eyes, clawing uncontrollably, until his night went black.

    (As he knelt on the ground, face contorted, sightless eyes imploring, silently screaming I thought that this might make a good advertisement for The Dream Twister training course all the peacekeeper units were now put through)

    Pang keeled over on the ground.

    I moved in.


    The drones found his body next morning, lying baking in the morning sun, with Mindworm larvae happily infesting his brain.

    Three days later, in Manufacturing Warrens, Ota Kyi’s body was found, in similar circumstances.

    The next week, a young technician’s body was found in Workers’ Nest

    Then, mysteriously, on a routine patrol mission a needlejet crashed, engulfing its pilot in a particularly fiery death.


    Across the Planet, in the peacekeeper bases, the underlings were puzzled. This morning the Base’s Chief Production Manager had abruptly ordered a change in their production objective, and usually in circumstances like these they were consulted, and it was a consensus decision what base improvement to build. Strong arguments were routinely put forward both for and against, and the debate was spirited.

    But not this time. The Chief had simply given them new orders, and that was that. Grumbling, they went about rearranging production schedules, mineral and energy supplies and contracting with suppliers to follow the new guidelines.

    Parts of half completed orbital satellites were stripped down for their mineral content, and each base for a short while was in total disarray.


    Chairman Yang awoke with a splitting headache. As he popped an analgesic tablet he had this nagging thought at the back of his head.

    It was like a voice, whispering insidiously in his mind.

    **I’ve only just begun**