Fantastic Voyage....In A Zombie!
“‘Hen Ties’”, McClosky repeated. “I think he may be running out of oxygen, Dr. Feinerman. He isn’t making any sense.”
“Hentai, Dr. McClosky,” said Fienerman.
“You’ve never seen hentai, McClosky?” Dominic asked. McClosky could hear the sneer in his voice coming through the speaker. “Haven’t you ever been on the internet? I could show you some when I get back inside.”
“I have seen the internet, Dominic,” McClosky snapped. “But I use if for what it was intended: research.”
“It might have been made for nerd-research, but cartoon Japanese tentacle-penises made it gp worldwide, lady. Feinerman knows what I’m talking about.”
Feinerman simply shrugged at McClosky’s stare and flicked on the monitor that was picking up Dom’s signal. The EVA’s camera was black-and-white and grainy, but the two scientists could see what he was talking about. The Proteus II had lodged into what looked like a thread of hardened blood and viral tissue. The two substances had linked together somehow and formed a series of long, thorney strings that now snaked along the late Captain Shriver’s circulatory system.
“Have you made contact with one of the strands yet, Dominic?” Feinerman asked. He was nervous about entrusting such a delicate operation to a man who was more ape than human, but he was the only one with scuba experience. “What is consistency of the substance? Is it rigid, malleable, or more....”
“I’m just trying to make sure it’s not going to start fucking me first,” Dom replied. He floated just outside the hatch of the Proteus and looked at the knife in his hand. It didn’t look sufficient to cut through the cables that the submarine had gotten entangled in, even though he knew they were less than a cell thick. Of course, his entire body was now less than a cell thick, as well. “I think they’re moving...”
The submarine shivered and groaned. Down in the engineering, near the reactor core, Vilinsky began to swear. The ship couldn’t take any more stress. Soon it would crack like an egg and the four of them would have just enough time to drown and float away before the effects of the shrink ray wore off. Then it would just get messy.
“It feels rigid,” Dominic said as he moved along the front of the Proteus, closer to where Feinerman had gotten the vessel stuck. “Disturbingly rigid. Like a bunch of Japanese tentacle-penises all tangled together.”
“Could you maybe use a different frame of reference?” McClosky shouted. “I’m recording this, you know.”
“You told me to use my own words when I came out here.”
“It’s forming a new skeletal structure,” Feinerman whispered. Both Dom and McClosky stopped to hear him. Feinerman noticed the attention and spoke up. “For years, fringe scientists like myself studied the idea of animating the dead. It was purely an exercise, really. I always assumed it would be done by introducing some kind of self-sustaining electrical charge into the body to provide locomotion.”
Dominic continued moving along the prow. “And that isn’t what’s happening?”
“No. It seems like the virus has bonded with the blood, replacing the bones of the subject...”
“Hey! That subject is my friend.”
“I understand,” Feinerman said gently. “At any rate, what if this new skeletal structure also conducted a signal? We have to get unstuck and swim to the brain, I need to see....”
An arc of energy, red and bright, flashed along strand and jolted Dom through his suit. Several tendons of viral thread contracted and pulled back through the vein.
“I think something is hap...,” was all he managed to shout before his foot caught between two see-sawing tendons of flesh. Dom tried to free his foot and hold on to the Proteus at the same time, but the pull was too strong; he was yanked away from the ship.
As he struggled, he could see three strands peel away from the rest. The thick, bulbous heads were swaying around him, seeming to study him.
“I really should have used a different frame of reference.”