We have been in uncharted territory for 3 days now, and despite what the Exos have told me, I’m getting concerned about the remaining levels of oxygen. It won’t be long before we pass the point of no return, although even if we did return, my life would be forfeit due to my “contamination”, and Dana probably couldn’t expect much better.
“Where are we?” Her question startles me out of my self reflection.
“I wish that I knew. I’m following the instructions of the Exos.”
She gives me a look, someplace between scorn and fear and says, “You expect me to believe that you are in communication with a micro-organism?
I wish that I could have taken back my last sentence. It was a complete slip-up to tell her that they can communicate telepathically with me. Now she thinks that I’m insane. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she attacks me and tries to commandeer my ship.
How much farther before we get to where we are supposed to get those supplies?
One more day, based on your reckoning of time, and we will be there.
I decide to take a risk and tell Dana at least part of the truth. “You already know that the Exos have a cumulative group intelligence? Since they have entered my body, I have discovered that they have been able to connect with me in a way that, yes, we can communicate.”
“Either that, or insanity is a side-effect of Exo-Itis” Great. She’s a comedienne…or worse, she’s serious.
“They tell me that within a day we will arrive at a place where we can gather supplies. Are you willing to trust me that far? If we don’t arrive someplace with the promised supplies within 24 hours, you can lock me up and take this ship wherever you wish.”
“I don’t know how to fly your ship. How would that help?” At least I won’t have to worry to much about a mutiny!
It’s about 21 hours later that we arrive at a small asteroid. The Exos direct me to leave the ship, so I suit up. “Do you want to come too?”, I ask, and am rather relieved when she declines. I wait for the airlock to cycle, step off of the Raw Potential, and follow the almost step-by-step instructions of the Exos. I arrive at a small cave and step in. I normally would not do this, as caves on an asteroid can be rather unstable, but the Exos assure me that I run no risk. A few step in, I am surprised to see a light source coming from deep within. Not a steady light, but neither does it flicker. Rather, it is a slow pulsing, as if from something alive
The light comes from a related micro-organism as you would call them. We suspect that if your human scientists discovered them, they would call them Exo-0002. There are tens of thousands of types of Exos. We can all communicate with each other, and we can all help each other out. But the bio-luminescent ones are not why we are here. Come further in.
Eventually we get to the back of the cave where I see that the floor is covered in a slowly moving gelatinous ooze. The Exos tell me that this is yet another of their cousins. To my amazement, the gelatinous ooze coalesces into a shape that I can only describe as an overly fluffy bunny rabbit.
We wanted the Exo-0003s to present themselves as something that you would find non-threatening, and from the images in your mind, this seemed like a suitable shape. You humans might think of them as the equivalent of an alchemist, as they are able to manipulate objects at the atomic level. They will come with us and convert space debris into oxygen as well as edible substances to sustain you. Come. It’s time to return to your ship.
The prompt that I am writing to is “fluffy bunnies” over at Inspiration Monday. And yes, I do realize that this is turning out to be one of the weirdest sci-fi stories ever. But I figured, “who doesn’t want to read a story that includes space-bunnies with alchemical abilities!!”