Read Part I here: https://jessyburche.blog/2019/09/13/trailing-spec205-part-1/
“I’ll pay for the time” I told the pod-cab driver as I alighted; stowing the gun underneath the seat. When I got to the entrance, I sited a blue-skinned alien with red hair selling Morbin. I bought a vial of the green liquid narcotics and made my way to the scanner. The transparent scanner took my facial details and parted to let me in.
“The Club” is an alien’s hot spot. Retro music blared over the speakers as I walked through aliens and a few humans dancing. I didn’t pay attention when a robot-waiter approached to take my order for drinks. I was looking for-
I turned. Yup. There he was. Eggworm wearing his wide smile, with two of his eight arms on his tiny waist; well if worms had waists.
“Oh my gosh girl, is it good to see you” he said, curling over to where I stood. I forced a smile, staring into big eyes that made him even more ridiculous. “And how is Salim?”
“Eggworm! I see you’ve gained some weight!”
He chuckled, batting his lashes. If he weren’t a worm, I would’ve sworn he blushed. “Could be the cacti I eat. What brings you here? Do you want a drink?” he asked, leading me to the bar. LED lights swooped over the club casting shadows here and there.
“I’m good!” I shouted over the music. “I came for something else!”
“Hmmm, what is it?’
“Salim is at The Polar”
“The Polar!” he shouted, spilling the drink he had just ordered over the counter “What did he do?”
“My father had him arrested!”
“Your father is a prick!” he sniffed, “No offense”
I shrugged and held his hands. “I need to see Gloat!”
Eggworm contorted his face in a sneer then said; “She’s at the back. I’ll take you to her”
We went to the hover plates that ascended towards a booth overlooking the dance floor. Here, it was more private and cozy. Dim lighting, less drunks.
I recognized the honeyed voice once I heard it. Gloat sauntered to where we stood to give Eggworm a kiss. I stared at the “tronic stone” in the middle of her forehead. It’s fiery beam made her green-purple skin glow like a galazina star. Aside the stone, her skin and her oblong face; she looked almost human.
“And you are…”
“Salim’s girl” Eggworm chipped in.
She smiled coily. “Aaaah Salim. I had a huge crush on that man. Sweet looking thing. Did he tell you?”
I responded in the negative. Salim did tell me. He told me everything.
“So what is it?” she asked, leading us to another backroom. Here, we couldn’t hear a wisp of music. There was an orange smell in the air and big beetles in glass cases. We sat on a low red sofa behind a row of the stunned beetles. I recounted the last three hours to Gloat. She listened, rubbing her long thin blue fingernails on her lips.
“A herburg on earth…hmmm “
“Do you think it was a gift?” I asked. She scoffed.
“No. Utarion can never give a herburg as a gift. There’s a lot of uniqueness with the herburg. I’ll show you”
She pressed a point beside her ears, and the “tronic stone” sparked. The image of Utarion popped up between us – a rocky planet with its sky high stone buildings rotated slowly and then images of the herburg, one in the state I was given and another as a kill monster.
A voice boomed “A herburg is Utarion’s first and only weapon for circuit warfare. At infant stage, it is just a lizard with scales and eight eyes but a herburg is many things. It is a shape shifter and can become anything you can think of and even your wildest fears. They disappear as one thing and appear as another. A herburg’s most notorious feature is its ability to suck your ammo and return fire like a boomerang. You will have many difficulties finding this creature especially once it has its first transformation. The herburg is indestructible but can be controlled. To do so is to make a herburg your partner and to form an alliance. Utarion’s citizens have harnessed the strength of the herburg. It was this creature that helped the Lord Commander take over Utarion and make the planet their home. In year 3003, the herburg was used by Spazar militia to colonise and ultimately destroy over three million citizens of the three major planets in Utarion`s
Galactica - Planet Norgass, Criot and Balin. The Spazar anti-interplanetary militia formed to overthrow the Lord Commander and Utarion`s forces“
The images of year 3003 flash before us. In the midst of rocket missiles and space bombs, about a million herburg swarmed the streets of Bali. One minute they are just lizard like creatures, then they shift to kill monsters that slit throats and gouge eyes. Soon, the streets of Bali flooded with Balian blood as Spazar soldiers looked on at the onslaught.
“So let me get this straight” I said, as the images came to to a stop. “This thing shape shifts, disappears and sucks ammo. How the hell am I supposed to find it!?”
“Every creature has a weakness and a herburg is no different. I can’t believe I’m doing this but…” she said, shaking her head; “For Salim. A herburg likes ants or termites and nuts. Think of a place you can get thousands of it…”
I bit my lip in thought.
“At the waste pit” I said, mentally rolling my eyes. Gloat nodded. I smiled standing to leave.
“Ah, ah, ah not so fast. You’re supposed to offer” she said, stopping me. I knew what she wanted. I drew the vial from my outer pockets and handed it over. She uncorked the bottle and took a long sniff. She coughed.
“Tah! You definitely got this from that loaf outside. Ugh!” she exclaimed, contorting her face in disgust; “Still better than nothing. Have you ever seen an alien high, Lantana?”
I shook my head but told her I’ll come back to witness it first hand and then I left.
We arrived at the waste-pit a little after 4:00am. The junkyard was piled high with scrap metal, tons of plastic and computers waiting to be recycled. I went through the main path to the extreme left end with a plastic bag and flashlight I had bought at a hardware store. At a row of anthills surrounding the waste pit, I prayed not to get bitten. Then I heard a loud munching sound to my right. I turned and saw the herburg straddling an anthill.
It’s tongue was stuck in one of the holes and an army of ants crawled out from beneath it. They weren’t a match for it though. It barreled through their home with its small claws. I creeped up from behind and was about covering it with the bag when it shape shifted into a giant hog with three snake heads that snapped at my arm. I shrieked, falling to the ground. Grabbing my flashlight, I followed as it hopped on one anthill to the next. This thing was fast I had to think of something tricky. With my side eye, I sighted the biggest anthill in the waste pit and detoured towards it.
When I got there, the anthill towered over my head. I took out my lighter, whistled loudly for it’s attention and lighted the anthill with fire. I backed up as a swarm of ants scurried out of their homes. The herburg was frantic seeing so many ants he gnawed and chewed until it had enough. I quickly opened the bag and stuffed a rather satisfied herburg into it. I smiled. That was easy.