Last Week’s FFF: Celestials
Daren looked around at the wasteland that used to be his neighborhood. Destruction had consumed the cul-de-sac. The smoldering remains of homes still billowed smoke into the sky. He turned to look at the plot of land where his two-story home sat just yesterday. Now it was an unrecognizable pile of debris.
He walked over to the rubble. He could feel the warmth from the burnt out brick and wood under his feet. He kicked about the shattered pieces of his life, looking for any evidence that he had once lived here. That he had lived at all.
In the middle of the pile, his boot crunched on a piece of glass. The sound caught his attention. Looking down, he saw the family portrait. The edges were charred, but the main image was miraculously untouched. He bent and plucked it from the garden of ash. He ran his fingers over the photo. There on the page sat his wife and two year old son. They were smiling. He was there, too. So happy.
The photo was ancient. His son had gone to college the year before. Still, this was how he always thought of him. This little boy with his wild blond hair that he got from his mother. They both stood in stark contrast to his jet black tresses. His skin was tan, while theirs were both fare.
Genetics. The thought made him snicker, then fall to his knees and weep.
A wrestling sound came from under the rubble. For a moment, he hoped, then he dreaded, that it might be his wife. Instead, a small reptile poked its head out. No larger than a turkey, it made Daren’s muscles grow rigid.
The creature walked on two legs, with its useless tiny hands dangling in front, and its too big tail whipping behind it. The creatures eyes were milky, the corneas a dull red beneath. It raised its extended nose into the air and sniffed. A moment later, it had caught Daren’s scent.
The monster snarled and rushed towards Daren. Staying still wouldn’t help. He removed the pistol from his his belt and opened fire. Still, the beast came. It was nearly on top of him, mouth opened wide to insure a deep rip in his flesh. As it lunged for him, he fired once more, into the open mouth. The creature fell over, dead for good.
“You handled that well,” a voice said from behind him.
Daren spun around to see his commanding officer. Ten years his senior, he looked more like twenty. His face wore the scars of a hard life and a dedicated career. His hair had gone gray years ago, and began to show streaks of white.
“I told you, I’m out,” Daren said.
He folded the picture and put it in his pocket as he stood.
“There is no out. Not anymore. There is fight or die. In case you haven’t noticed, the world is in deep trouble.”
“Haven’t noticed? Look around. My son is missing. My wife. My wife,” he couldn’t finish.
“That’s exactly why we need you. There are a lot of people missing. Nearly everyone has lost someone at this point. And most aren’t strong enough to let it be final. We need people like you, or we’re going to lose.”
Daren walked over to the corpse of the beast and kicked it.
“You need me to clean up your mess, you mean. You all thought that you could clone these things? That you could just bring back something that’s been extinct for ages? You didn’t think that there would be dire consequences?”
“Cloning has had great success. No, we didn’t think, didn’t ever factor in the idea that if we brought back dinosaurs that we’d be creating zombies. Maybe we should have waited. Maybe we should have known that the virus we designed to reanimate their DNA would reanimate them indefinitely. But we didn’t. And yes, now we’ve got to clean this up before the whole world is undead.”
“It wasn’t even just bringing them back. It was selling the little ones as pets. You didn’t give it the proper time to figure out the incubation period of the virus. You just let them into households under the expectations that they’d eat cat food and would be domesticated,” Daren said.
“Perhaps that was the problem with it spreading to people. The big dinosaurs eat people whole. But at least the little ones are easy to kill.”
“And there’s the heart of the problem. We don’t have much of anything that can penetrate that tiny brain that rest in the huge skull of a T-Rex,” Daren said.
“We do now.”
“What? Some kind of missile? Is that why you want me? To fly a drone?”
“In a way. But not a flying drone. No, we’ve got something, a little bigger. And yes, that’s why I’m here. We need you to drive it.”
“Drive? It’s a vehicle?”
“Not in the traditional sense. We’ve built giant robots that are capable of driving a steak right into the brain of these monsters. But we have to get close enough. So far, no one has. You’re the best there’s ever been. If anyone can do this, I know you can. And if you can’t, or worse, if you won’t, then we’re all doomed.”
Daren considered the proposal.
“Let’s say I do this. Let’s say I help you take out the zombie dinosaurs. Then what?”
“Then we fight the little ones. We work on a cure for the human and animals infected. But likely, we’ll have to put them down. Maybe even anyone who’s been exposed.”
“Anyone who’s been exposed? Like me?”
“No. If you were going to turn, you’d have done it by now.”
“Alright. I’ll do it. But when this is done, you will do everything in your power, beyond it even, to help me find my son. If he’s infected, we’ll save him. If he’s exposed, we’ll stop it. And if the worst has happened, then by god, you will clone me a new one.”
Other Big Monster Fiction
A Time For Kaiju