“That doesn’t sound too hard,” Henry said.

“The battle cruiser is on the other side of the docks from where we’ll have to land. Ideally, you’ll be able to sneak across the docks without being spotted. However, they’ll be looking for you. If any of them see you, they’ll kill you on sight. There are 1500 Peri soldiers down there, and any one of them would be happy to be the first Peri to kill a human. They would consider it a great honor.”

“Great. Let’s get this party started.”

Artemis guided the ship through the asteroid belt and approached one of the larger asteroids. It was a massive chunk of rock, almost the size of a dwarf planet. The entire surface was covered with buildings and machinery.

“The military base takes up the whole damned thing?” asked Henry.

“No, only a small portion, about 100 square kilometers. Most of what you see is the mining facility: the mines, the slave quarters, the refineries, and things like that. You don’t have to worry about any of that. Just get from one side of the docks to the other, get on the Kirasu, and plug me in. Then I can take you back home.”

“Sounds like a plan. I like it,” said Henry.

“Do you trust me, Henry?” Artemis asked.

“Huh? That’s a weird thing to ask after we’ve gotten this far…”

“This ship contains a Peri flight suit. It would be very beneficial. The suit is made out of a biochemical gel and nanotic robots, or nanites. It will protect you from harm, even metaphasic weapons such as the Peri use, and it will protect you from environmental toxins. It will also allow you to blend in with your surroundings. The nanites in the suit have the ability to heal any wounds you might suffer, and they will cleanse and strengthen your body from the inside-out. The nanites can also be used to create melee weapons and simple tools in your hands.”

“Uh-huh. And what’s the catch?”

“Once you put it on, it becomes a part of you, and you won’t ever be able to get rid of it. It will cover your entire body, and even get inside of you. The process is quite unpleasant, from what I understand. If you don’t trust me, then nothing I say will convince you that it’s safe. So, do you trust me?”

“Let me have it.” A console opened under Henry’s hand. Inside, he saw a thick, black, gelatinous mass. It reached up towards his hand, which Henry quickly jerked away. “Is that stuff alive?” he asked.

“Trust me, Henry.”

Henry lowered his hand, and the black gelatin reached up again. It touched his hand, and then began covering it.

“Hey…this isn’t so bad. It’s cool to the touch and just a little slimy. It’s almost pleas—Gahh!”

The gelatinous mass covered his hand and slid up his arm, it went under his shirt and slid over his chest. He felt the black slime crawl down his stomach and into his pants. “Hey!” he said, but the slime didn’t stop. It felt like a million tiny spiders crawling all over him, encasing him in slime. The black slime crawled up his neck, and started to encase his head. Henry felt it getting inside his mouth, his ears, and his nose. He couldn’t breathe. He tried to scream, but the slime crawled down his throat. His heart stopped as the slime encased it, as did his lungs. Henry had never panicked before, but he was now. He was fighting, struggling, clawing at himself to get the stuff off of him, but to no avail.

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