We're Going in Circles

 
Art by:  Wadim Kashin

Art by: Wadim Kashin

 

Evan pulls on his strider’s reigns. The mechanical beast of burden comes to a stop, makes yawning snuffling sounds. Evan draws his probe pistol and fires into the waters. The dart zips about, collects data, and feeds it back to Evan’s mind.

“Huh.” Evan folds his arms, leans forward against the neck of his strider, lifts his pistol. The dart returns a moment later.

Kellog taps into Evan’s feed. “That the same water?”

“It’s all the same water. All of it.”

Kellog groans. “You know what I mean. Seems like we’re in the same place we were yesterday. I’m starting to think our sensors are off.”

“No, they’re on.”

“That’s not…” Why bother? Evan is too literal.

Evan taps the side of his head, a small port opens. He pulls a cord from the neck of his strider and plugs it in. “Getting the same thing as my strider.”

Kellog slides off the side of his mount. Sticks his fingers into the damp soil. Is it the same as yesterday? Hard to tell. Trying to trace the network of mycelium is like trying to map the entire universe and pinpoint your exact location on the atomic level. “I don’t know, man. We could be in the same place, but we might be a hundred miles elsewhere.”

“If only we could get above the trees.” Evan looks up and sees paper cuts of blue peaking through a canopy of green a hundred meters deep.

“I say we go back, tell them what we found—whole lot of nothing. See what they say.”

Evan nods, “Yeah, not sure what else to do. But I’m willing to bet I know what it is they’ll tell us.”

“Get back out here and keep looking. I get it, they need food to survive. We don’t.” Kellog hops back onto his strider, pulls on its reigns and turns back towards the crashed ship.

“You ever get annoyed looking out for them?”

“No. Bored sometimes. A little sad, but not annoyed.” Evan thumps a heel into his strider’s side, the machine picks up its pace.

“Sad? Why sad?”

“They’re so helpless. Without us, they’d have died out a long time ago.”

Kellog thinks that over then says, “Yeah, well, let’s hope we can find a way out of this mess for them.”