Characters in this post
View character profile for: Cassandra Jones
View character profile for: Jay Chrysler
View character profile for: Dr. Artemis K. Pritchard VI
View character profile for: The Pritchard Skuttlings
View character profile for: Jason Tanaka
View character profile for: Thomas Plisken
View character profile for: Fergus O'Malley
View character profile for: Pickman
Not a fun guy
The day was not going well.
“Oh for fuck’s sake” Cass snapped “There’s more of them”
As the group skidded to a halt, the troop of mushrooms busy raiding the bank of vending machines at the intersection, all stopped and turned to regard them.
Several of the fungal phalluses were already starting to display the attributes of the things they had consumed - there were weird-looking nutty chocolate flavoured ones; aromatic coffee scented ones and even insanely giggling truffles that had been on the euphorics from the drug vending machine.
Nobody could quite figure out what was going on with the Funglings that had consumed the ‘chicken’ soup.
“Wow...” O’Malley said, in astonishment “Would you look at them”
“No time” Tanaka tugged at his sleeve “This way”
The sound of chittering and hundreds upon hundreds of tiny pursuing feet echoed down the corridor behind them.
“Move!” Cass yelled.
'Then that is all you, nice and safe from the toadstool menace. You know what, I'll take a swig to save myself too.'
Before he could do so, there was the distant rumble of shouting from down the corridor.
'Tanaka, get a move on!' Thomas could here Cass shouting.
'Don't worry, team!' shouted Thomas drunkenly, 'I'll save you.'
Lurching forward, he staggered in the direction of the shouting, closely followed by Jay, who was wondering what just what Cass had managed to get herself involved in this time
Rounding a corner, they saw Tanaka sprinting down the corridor towards them, ahead of Cass and a couple of breathless looking scientists.
“No!” Tanaka yelled a warning “Funglings! - The other way!”
“‘S Okay” Thomas hefted the bottle of moonshine in his hand “I’ll sort them out”
“No, you won’t” Cass said as she ran past him “Jay - Move!”
Knowing better than to question her, Jay turned on his heel and hurried after her.
“This stuff’ll do the trick” Plisken said, confidently uncorking the bottle.
“No it won’t” Pickman gasped, red faced, as he too ran past.
The sound of chittering and the thunder of hundreds of tiny, little feet on the floor preceded the massive swarm of Funglings that surged around the intersection, like an indecent tsunami. Scrabbling over one another in their eagerness for human flesh, the terrifying truffles cascaded down the corridor, towards Thomas. He just had time to mutter “Bugger” before Jay caught hold of him by his shoulder and hauled him around.
“Run” he bellowed and dragged Plisken away, down the corridor after the others.
Ahead of them, Cass sprinted ahead and wrenched open a maintenance hatch.
“In here” she pointed into the gloomy tunnel beyond.
“Are you kidding me!?” Tanaka demanded.
“This floor’s on lockdown - We can’t get out and we’re going to get eaten alive if we stay out here; this way we might stand a chance of getting to another level”
For a moment or two, Tanaka looked like he wanted to argue the point, but one glance at the rapidly approaching swarm of Funglings wasmore than enough to change his mind.
“Gangway!” Pickman and O’Malley shot past them into the service tunnel, closely followed by Jay and Plisken, leaving Tanaka looking at Cass.
“Last chance” she said.
He darted inside, leaving Cass to follow and pull the hatch closed behind her.
The Funglings hit the other side of the door with a thud, a moment later; the sound of angry chittering and scratching growing to a creschendo outside until it abruptly ceased a few minutes later.
“Do you think they’ve gone?” Pickman asked in the nervous silence that followed.
“I dunno” Cass said sarcastically “Shall we open the door and see?”
“You do realise that they’re probably using these service tunnels to get around the ship?” Tanaka rounded on her.
“Of course I do, I was just hoping the rest of you were too dumb to realise it too”
“In any case” Jay interrupted before things got too heated “This has bought us a bit of time. We should try and make it to a safe deck and wait this crisis out”
He turned to Cass “You spent more time in these tunnels than I ever did; how do we get down to Security?”
“Assuming the layout’s the same here, there’s a reclamation sump about a half klick that way” she pointed “There should be a service elevator near there; we can take that, or failing that, there’ll be ladders”
“Okay, everyone!” Jay slipped naturally back into command “You heard her. Let’s move it out!”
Turning back to Cass as the others started off towards the sump, he grinned at her “Nice lab coat; you do know those buttons are a bit - uh... gapey?”
“I got caught short by these frigging Funglings” Cass wasn’t in the mood for Jay taking the piss “This was all there was at short notice.” she pushed past him to follow the others “If we have to go down the ladders, I’m going first...”
High-pitched squealing filled the air as the group got closer towards the reclamation sump; the sound intermingling with the deep bass rumbling of machinery.
“Is that what I think it is?” Tanaka muttered “I knew we shouldn’t have come down here”
Cass nodded “Funglings are probably getting flushed through into the sump, but they shouldn’t be able to get out. We should be able to make it across to the elevator without any trouble”
“All the same,” Jay cautioned “we should go softly-softly in there, just in case”
The squealing got louder as they approached the sump; as did the rumbling noise, which began to sound a lot less like machinery and a lot more like something entirely different indeed...
“My God, just look at that thing” O’Malley breathed as they crept out onto the gantry above the sump.
In the semi-darkness just below them, wading about in the effluent filling the sump, was a massive Fungling. Easily four metres high, the huge beast dipped one of huge hand into the foetid waters and dredged up a fistful of it’s shrieking kin. Tipping back it’s glistening purple head, it opened it’s giant maw and, raising the hand, crunched down on the little Funglings with a rumble of pleasure, silencing them with horrifying abruptness.
“I’ve seen some weird shit in my time,” Jay whispered “but this has got to up there with the best of them”
“The size of the thing makes a chap feel quite inadequate” Pickman quavered “It’s a monster”
“I know - It’s wonderful, isn’t it?” Artemis startled them all by descending out of the darkness above and down into their midst “Little Artie and I tracked it down here half an hour ago. We’ve been trying to figure out how to take a tissue sample from it, without it killing us”
“Little Artie?” O’Malley sneered “How typical of you Innovative Sciences cranks to refer to your wedding tackle in the third person”
The Dwarfs ‘legitimate’ Science Department had always maintained a healthy rivalry (or antipathy, depending on how you looked at it) with Innovative Sciences.
“He means his son, you twat” Cass rolled her eyes.
“You do know that Artemis is a girls name?” O’Malley pressed on, undeterred.
“I’m well aware of that, you troglodyte” Artemis snapped, his monitors blazing with anger “My eldest son proudly bears my name, as I did of my father, upholding a long and noble Pritchard family tradition”
“If you ask me, it just shows a lack of imagination” O’Malley smirked.
“My son” Artemis said, haughtily “Is already a far greater scientist than you or any of your Science Department amateurs”
“Guys,” Jay said wearily “this really isn’t the time for this”
“Yeah, -” O’Malley started, but Cass cuffed him over the back of his head
“Shut up” she hissed “That thing can hear us”
Sure enough the giant Fungling was peering up into the gloom, trying to discern the source of all the commotion.
“It can’t see us” Jay whispered “It can’t have great eyesight”
Raising an arm, the Fungling swept a hand up towards the gantry, it’s fingers passing little more than half a metre beneath the Dwarfers.
“That was way too close” Tanaka hissed
Jay held up a hand, urging silence “Let this thing calm down” he murmured after a moment “We need to cross this gantry to get to the service elevator. We can’t...”
The creature interrupted him by howling in pain.
“Dad, Dad!” little Artemis shouted as he buzzed onto the gantry “I got us a sample!”
“See!?” Artemis yelled, triumphantly “I told you he was a better scientist than you!”
“For fucks sake” Cass snapped “Shut the f-”
Roaring in fury, the Fungling lashed out at the gantry above it.