Jen held her wife close, resting her head on the womans shoulder. The room around them was dark, and silent but for the sound of their breathing.
“Jen?” The silence broke.
“Yeah?” She replied, wishing she didn’t have to. She didn’t like that tone.
“Will you promise me something…?”
“No.” Jen replied automatically.
“What!?” Her wife looked at her incredulously.
“You were going to ask me to do something after… I won’t promise anything.”
“…I just want you to be happy.”
“I will be, because you’ll still be here. You aren’t going to… die.” She’d had to pause, it might as well have been a physical impact for all the pain it caused her to say it.
“How can you be so sure?”
“I just am.”
“But.. just in case…”
“In case nothing. It’s not going to happen.”
“But if it does… I want to know you’ll be happy.”
“Then you’ll just have to live and make sure.”
Her wife pulled away a little, Jenn just held her closer. She wasn’t letting go that easily. But then the connection was cut, and the room around her faded back into the more familiar setting of their bedroom in Pennsylvania, and she was alone. ‘Damn that woman.’
She had just settled back in to go to sleep when the doorbell rang. She brought up her mesh overlay to check the identity of her visitor. Three visitors, all with government quick tags, could be a lab, but she didn’t recognize the numbers as being inside the normal researcher range. She took a few moments to get some semblence of dressed then answered the door.
“Mrs. Cruise?” A man in a formal Air Force uniform asked her politely. He probably didn’t have to ask, her civilian quick tag would have shown him all the information he needed.
“Yes? May I help you?” She asked, trying to keep some guard to her expression.
“We have immediate need of your expertise. You are an expert in evolutional mutations in microbiology, correct.” It wasn’t really a question. “Rest assured you will be well compensated for your trouble, and we believe you will find the situation very… interesting.”
She paused for a moment, “How well compensated?”
He smiled slightly, “I’m glad you asked. You’ll be given a working salary of four hundred thousand a year, and have a stake in whatever products or research evolve from this project. It’s difficult to estimate what those could be worth, but if I were to hazard a guess, the amount coming back to you would be upwards of a hundred million.”
Jen felt her knees go slightly weak. The salary alone was enough, but everything else sealed the deal. “I’ll take it.”
“Good, if you’ll follow me to the car, ma’am. I’ll explain the situation during the drive and we’ll get you set up with a military nanite injection.”
It was a couple hours of driving before they let her out in front of the currently grounded airplane. Something had torn a hole above the wing, and she could only assume the red streaks in the paint around it were blood. She took a deep breath and steeled herself, it wasn’t like she hadn’t worked around dead bodies before… it was just that the last time had been in med school.
The stairs up into the plane creaked every other step, and once inside the smell was over powering. A major broke away from a couple forensic investigators and walked up to her. “It’s good to meet you Mrs. Cruise, or is it doctor?”
“It is doctor, though I try not to shove it other people’s faces.”
“Well, Dr. Cruise, there isn’t much I can tell you about what happened here. We were kind of hoping you would be able to tell us. What I can tell you is, it’s a biological life form, and has very long, very sharp claws.”
“Have you collected any samples of foreign tissue or bodily fluids?” She asked, easily slipping back into her field research days.
“We did manage to collect some of a black substance from behind one of the chairs. Other than that, we haven’t got much to go on. There is an eye witness back at the terminal, but she doesn’t seem to be talking.” As he mentioned that they stopped in front a latrine with a ragged hole in the door. Inside a woman lay slumped over a sink, half naked.
“This is where you found her?”
“I think I have an idea…” She picked up a coat off the floor, and opened the dead woman’s purse pulling out a bottle of perfume. “Let’s go see this witness…” She pulled the coat on, it was a bit bloody, but the sleeves were still unstained and it fit almost perfectly.
Just tying the thread into some of my other writing. Can’t say I was really planning this when sat down to write it yesterday, but it seemed like a logical enough progression.