This one’s a bit of fan fiction.
Prize: Free copy of both the 1st and 2nd installment of The Outer Pendulum to whomever is first to guess the inspiration. Leave a comment with your email address and I’ll send an Amazon gift right along.
An Ode to Planet:
General Skye III stepped out of her rover and onto the dust riddled, orange clay of the Sunny Mesa. She walked to the edge of the cliff, the pebbles crunching softly under her boots. The air was crisp. Clear. Dry. She plucked a toothpick out of a wooden case on her belt, brought it to her chapped lips, and bit down on the dull end.
The mindworm commander approached from behind and joined her at the edge of the precipice.
“You were never welcome here,” it said, its accent strong, having just learned the dialect of the Gaians only a year ago.
General Skye slid the toothpick to the corner of her mouth. “But now,” she said as she looked out towards the smog-covered Morganite industrial complex. “Now you are nothing without us.”
The mindworm commander fluttered its wings and shook off a layer of dust. The red pedals surrounding its face curled up and exposed a hollow opening in the center of its seemingly nonexistent head. Behind several rows of flesh-stained teeth, a dark layer of muscus led into the depths of its seven foot long, parasitic body.
“Are your forces ready?” asked General Skye.
“Yes, madam. I have assembled a division of probe worms and four airborne squadrons. The bulk of my boils will make an amphibious attack from The Great Barrier Lake.”
“Good.” General Skye spat out her toothpick and spun around towards her impact rover. “This planet will finally be what my sister and I had first intended.”
“Yes, colonel?” She struggled to face the creature, only glancing at it out of the corner of her eye. No matter how much she loved and cared for nature and the indigenous lifeform, it still terrified her to no end, often appearing in her nightmares, crawling into her bed and infesting her mind.
“You turn on us and you’re next.”
General Skye shivered. She started walking away, trying to stay strong and unafraid. But it did nothing. She remembered their first attack. Standard weapons had no effect. The mindworm boils overtook the base in an instant, burrowing into the brains of every soldier and causing even the most elite, willed and psi-trained grunt in the Gaian marine corp to lash out in a fit of homicidal then suicidal dementia.
“Don’t worry,” she said. “Our years of peaceful coexistence should be enough to prove our worthiness as an ally.”
“We’ll see, Madam.” The colonel turned to face his boil. Hundreds of thousands of tiny mindworms crawled back and forth across the plateau, some stacking up on one another to create a tangled bramble of bristles and fins, all combining into a few platoons of highly mobile units. The mindworm colonel slithered onto the roof of the impact rover.
“Today, men, will be the day we retake our planet. We stand before the last surviving enemy faction. They have drilled their thermal boreholes into the depths of our earth. They have constructed their heathen condensers to bring their filthy rains down upon our land. They have erected networks of factories to build their machines to defend themselves. But we know their weakness, men. We know the way into their feeble minds. Let this day be their day of reckoning for all the crimes they have committed against our world. For he who casts the first stone is with the greatest of sin.”