Mimic and the Journey Home Space Shifter Chronicles, Book 2
James David Victor
I. Through the Wormhole
1. Space Age Slip N’ Slide
2. Some Semblance of a Plan
4. The Great Unknown
5. Old Dog, New Tricks
6. Creating a Void
7. Bon Appetite, it’s Dinner and a Show
II. The Journey Home
8. Waking Up Lonely
9. Progress is Progress
10. Over-hyping the Finale
11. Memories in Gridlock
12. The Plan in Action
13. Nice Place for an Epilogue
Copyright © 2017 Fairfield Publishing
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Except for review quotes, this book may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the written consent of the author.
This story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual people, places, or events is purely coincidental.
Through the Wormhole
Space Age Slip N’ Slide
I leaned back in my seat, my heart beating to its own personal fiesta while the rest of my body was on cruise control. The whole situation was surreal. In a very short couple of hours, I had gone from a janitor and maintenance worker on a government-contracted mining vessel in deep space to a fugitive on the run with an undiscovered life form that had the ability to shapeshift.
“Ay, you guys remembering to breathe back there?”
My gaze turned to Gonzales, who had turned the pilot seat around after putting us into autopilot. Or at least I hoped she put us on autopilot. Otherwise, our escape would be a short one.
“I do not necessarily need to breathe,” Mimic said flatly.
“I’m fine,” I answered just as shortly. “Just catching up with everything that’s happened.”
“Right? It’s been a bit of a rush, hasn’t it?”
Alerts suddenly sounded and I looked to the flashing lights. “What does all that mean?”
“Nothing good,” Gonzales answered tensely, whipping around to grip the controls with pale knuckles.
Ciangi cleared her throat and her bright eyes flicked back to Mimic and I. “Now, I could be wrong, but that sound usually means that we’re being targeting by another vessel.”
“I’m guessing you don’t mean targeted with hugs and good times?”
There was a ripple in one of the displays and then a brilliant beam of green cut through the utter darkness of space. Our little stolen vessel tilted to the side, away from the onslaught, but not before it scored our underbelly.
Alarms went off in earnest, and what little calm was in our merry band of misfits fled immediately. Bahn unbuckled himself and ran over to the meager weapons array and Ciangi turned herself to the controls that handled…I didn’t know what. But it was something important, I was sure.
“They’re rounding for another fire!” she said, reading off a display that I couldn’t make heads or tails of.
“They’re certainly choosing a strange movement pattern. They definitely could have blown us out of existence about three times over.”
“That’s because they don’t want to blow us up. They want Mimi,” I said, using the nickname I had given her.
“That is unfortunate,” the alien said dryly. “I do not want to be wanted by them.”
“Don’t worry, we’ll make sure they never lay a hand on your again.” I assured, patting her shoulder.
“It is not their hands I am worried about. I have read much during my time in your quarters. I have learned what terrible, malicious things your species has done to those that are different, in the name of science or progress. You’ve killed your own planet, and now you trawl through space looking for new worlds to destroy.”
“Wow, harsh,” Gonzales grumbled instead of the several expletives it looked like she wanted to say as the ship dodged yet another blast.
“Apologies. I know that you the individuals had no hand in it. But you, the human race, most certainly did. Your language doesn’t seem to have much of a way to easily say which one I mean without some sort of drawn-out explanation.”
“That’s Common Tongue for you. There’s twenty words for what you’d never care to say and only one word to mean twenty different, important things.”
“Could we put the linguistic discussion on hold until after we survive this,
“Oh right. That’s probably a good idea.”
“They’re closing in! I think they’re going to try to drill us!”
“Are you kidding me? That’s clearly a forth date activity. They haven’t taken me to dinner yet.”
“Gonzales, is now really the time?”
“Why not? If we’re going to die, I want my last words to be a hilarious pun.”
“They’re firing again,” Bahn shouted over the two. “Stop bickering and start with the evasive maneuvers!”
“Nah, I thought I would just keep flying in a straight line,” Gonzales snapped back, jerking the ship downward then into a tight spiral. My stomach churned and I was definitely feeling an uncomfortable mixture of being overwhelmed and terrified. I didn’t know how to fly a ship. I didn’t know how to handle the weapons array. I didn’t even know how to decode the different readings on the dozen or so sensors that Ciangi was staring at.
I was useless, and the only thing I could do was hold onto Mimic’s hand and pray we got through the attack.
But how could we? We were outgunned, out-engined, out-everythinged. There was only one way the battle was ending, and that was with us dead and Mimic in captivity, destined to be poked, prodded and experimented on for the rest of her life—however long that might be.
“Wait!” Ciangi called.
“Not exactly the type of situation where I can do anything remotely similar to waiting.”
“There’s another asteroid belt up ahead, about three times more dense than the one we dug Mimic out of! We can definitely lose them in there.”
“Won’t they just go around them and wait for us to go through the other side?” I said quietly, wincing away as blinding green shot across in front of us, resulting in a wild buck from the ship. “We can’t just sit in there forever. Eventually, they’ll have backup here.”
“That’s true if we were going to stay in the field. But on the other side, there’s a wormhole. One that previous research vessels have studied enough to know that it’s stable, even if they’re not sure where it leads.”
“Are you suggesting what I think you’re suggesting?”
“Impossible,” Bahn said.
“What is impossible?” I asked, feeling completely out of the loop in the daring rescue that I had started.
“She wants us to go through the wormhole. A wormhole, mind you, that no one has ever gone through before,” Gonzales said, jerking the controls again and making us slam against our restraints. “Heck, not even a machine has made it through to the other side yet.”
“Do you know another way to make sure we don’t have our butts handed to us on a deeply fried platter?”
“Is that a custom among your people?” Mimic asked. “I do not recall reading that.”
“It’s a saying,” I clarified.
“Ah, I see. More Common Tongue play on words. One day I will catch on.”
“Yes, you will. But only if we survive this. So, I say if this wormhole is our only hope—even if it’s a super shaky one—I say we grab it with both hands and get us out of here.”
“Fine!” Gonzales snapped. “But everyone better hold onto their giblets, because I’m about to try to navigate am asteroid belt without a kinetic sensor.”
“Wait, this ship doesn’t have a kinetic sensor?” I cried.
“It’s a simple transport vessel. Of course it doesn’t have a kinetic sensor.”
“What is a kinetic sensor?” Mimic asked, head turned towards me curiously. To give her credit, she seemed completely calm about the situation, which was more than I could say about myself. “And why are we saying it so much?”
“It’s a mechanism that’s used for space navigation that involves sailing through large amounts of debris or other possible collisions. Very useful for a mining vessel to have.”
“But not so much for a tiny transport ship.”
“Don’t worry,” Gonzales said, somewhere between sarcasm and blind optimism. “I’ve got this in the bag.”
“I just— You know what? Never mind. Just hold on!”
I complied, and just in time. Gonzales swooped upwards in a tight circle, giving me a brief feeling of weightlessness, before she slammed downward and to the side.
Large rocks appeared across the windshield, dotting space like little brown flecks that were rapidly becoming bigger. I couldn’t even count half of them before we were past them, more green bolts shooting past us as we delved into the thick of it.
My thoughts couldn’t quite process all the dips, dives, turns and tumbles Gonzales took us through in our wild escape. I didn’t even know how she was managing. Occasionally, we scraped against the side of one of the floating space rocks, causing us to ricochet this way and that, but no one said anything when we did. We were all waiting with bated breath, seeing if we would survive the absolutely impossible.
My fingers wrapped through Mimi’s as we hurtled through. The blasts of the mining ship grew less wide and searing as we gained distance, and as the seconds passed, a tiny sliver of hope began to form in me. Maybe we would make it. Maybe we weren’t about to be forcibly boarded and executed in the name o ...