Petrolea 10a

Chapter 10

Feroza wished she could feel the wind on her face as she fell.

Encased as she was by the inviolate shell of her environment suit, she could only watch the onrushing constellation of Fusillade Wyrms. They hung as if suspended in syrup, buds of metal and plastic that bloomed into amorphous flowers as she approached.

They reached for her, but Feroza tucked her arms and legs together and dove past them, toward their home and symbiotic master. The Leviathan swelled in her vision, less organism than factory; a mobile Berg. Although it could no longer fire Fusillade Wyrms at her, the flexible trunk could bend up and back and open beneath her. Feroza stared into that abyss and cameras stared back at her.

The human interlopers had finally met their match. The harvesters had been harvested. Where Feroza might blame greedy humans for choosing to obliterate an irreplaceable community of life, she could not blame this giant machine for performing its function, this animal for following its instincts. The destruction of Xanadu Base was a tragedy and a folly, like a little boy sticking his arm into a laundry press.

They didn’t understand mechanoids and their behavior, but Feroza did. The mother Dragon would dive to catch her. The attack in the aerie had been a fluke, a malfunction of the slave-factors Victor used to control her. Given her own free will, the Dragon would recognize Feroza as her child. She must.

Victor had less faith. “Ay, mierda! I mean ¡miércoles! Move, you stupid animal! Dive, dive faster. Dios mío, líbrame de ecochicas paracaidistas. You crazy woman! When this is over I will tie you down–¡pucha!

He went on in this vein, but Feroza’s plan had worked. The Leviathan’s airspace was far above them now; it could not fire its Wyrms at such high angles as this.

Meaning that she, along with Victor and the Dragon, would be safe. Safe enough to die on the Leviathan’s back or back in the aerie or somewhere else when Victor finally ran out of things to kill and use to prolong their human lives. Maybe it would be better if the Dragon did not see Feroza as her child. If she let the human brood-parasite fall into the gaping maw that opened below.

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