Monday, 10 May 2010

Just Another Job


A Writer's Extreme Creativity Challenge: Write a story a day, in May. That's it: http://storyaday.org/. Thanks to Martin Newman for the seed words 'Fog. Mechanised. Lurk. Apples. Platinum. Atlantis. Assassin. Teeth. Silk. Liver. Jobsworth. Deep Sea Abyss. Solitaire. Poker'

#10 : Just Another Job

The Mi-go are as good as their word. Their fungal webs ease my pod out of Aetherspace and into regular space/time at the edge of the Sol system just beyond Pluto. 

I watch through the cabin windows as the three ten limbed space insects spin a cocoon of Yoggothian silk around my craft.

I don't attempt to communicate with them, they're here to take me to Venus. The advantages of using the Mi-go taxi service are that they don't ask questions and their silk renders us largely undetectable. I'm here to do a job and chit chat wouldn't be wise. They may reconsider their fare if they knew what I was carrying.

I'm an assassin. I kill people and things for a living, but I specialise in things. I'm in this solar system to kill a God, or something as near to a god as to make it almost indistinguishable to most of the creatures it shares a planet with: A currently dormant Great Old One entombed in a deep abyss within the planet Earth, a planet inhabited by a single type one civilisation beneath the surface and four others ranging from point six to point eight.

In theory, the target is stationary, which should make lining up a shot fairly easy. In practice, my clients would like to take control of a functioning Class M planet, so if I want paying, I need to make this a clean kill without too much collateral damage. The central nervous system of a Great Old One may make this a difficult task.

The Mi-go signal in their clicking crustacean voices that we have arrived on Venus. The cabin depressurises and I climb out of the cramped pod, brushing aside the silk and fog of their insulating web that has kept my pod protected for the short journey. I acknowledge completion of the journey in the language which will allow them to be paid and they disappear into the aether on membranous appendages.

Venus is exactly as I remember it. Venus, where plants have teeth. A misty, toxic jungle inhabited by flora and fauna that will more or less eat anything given the time and inclination. The web should keep me undetected by the planet long enough to do the hit and get out.

Unpacking the sniper rifle, and setting up its support structure and associated computers takes three hours. The hard part is ensuring that the ammunition doesn't attract attention. Handle with care.

Once set up, the job is more or less done. Everything is planned and considered, the computers do the work: locate the target within its deep sea tomb, adjust for intervening materials, solid, liquid and atmospheric, relative planetary orbits, solar wind, check for relevant space debris and pull the trigger..

Pop... Pop... Pop...

Brain... Heart... Liver...

It'll take several hours for the bullets to cross the intervening space and hit the target, and another for their payload to take effect. I'm extremely relieved to have them out of my care. If any Elder Things had found me with such ordnance, things would have became very, very bad for me. And probably for everyone I've ever communicated with.

Each bullet contained a platinum chamber housing a bio-engineered Micro Shoggoth and enough supporting protoplasm to initialise very rapid reproduction and growth on contact with the target. Handle with care: you bet.

So, that's that. Over fifty thousand years of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" and such like done and dusted: all lickety split, nice and smooth. The cat is now very much amongst the pigeons as far as the local civilisations geopolitics are concerned. Not my problem.

My problem is that I need to get the hell out of here. The Mi-Go are doubtless already on route with an assassination job of their own (or answer awkward questions about their role in this affair). The Elder things will notice as soon as the Shoggoth awake. I’m also fairly sure that the Earth and Venus talk.

Fortunately for me, the hard part was getting the artillery into the solar system and someone to pull the trigger. All I’ve got to actually leave with is my mind and no-way of tracing this incident back. I activate the self destruct on the pod (gravity collapse in ten, nine...).

I pull the needle holding mind and body together out out of the back of my neck, just as a howling noise in the upper atmosphere announces that they're here and the Elder things are early. I hope the spell keeping me in this body fails before they get hold of it, or at the very least the gravity bomb detonates.

I'm in luck. I'm out of here. Job done. Bye.

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