Small Worlds Part 203

Everything froze as the roar of the Tyrannosaur echoed in the Typhon’s chamber. Even the serpents that were surrounding Crystal were paralyzed for a moment as something deep and primal told every living being in ear shot that death had arrived. Now that’s what I call a bloody distraction, Crystal thought as the snakes began to retreat from her to strike towards Isabel. The Typhon’s anguished bellows still filled the chamber as the tyrannosaurus rex bit down again on another mouthful of snakes, tearing them off like they were paper. Or I suppose it should be a tyrannosaurus regina in this case, Crystal thought.

The absurdity of the thought snapped her out of the paralyzed trance she’d fallen into, and she started to leap among the platforms to reach where the control panel should be. At least, depending on when this thing was built. And how well I remember it. Crystal couldn’t remember what she’d done before ascending to godhood, but she was pretty sure she hadn’t been an engineer of any sort. Probably. But there was an odd sense of familiarity to the arrangement. Only it was less open. There should be a catwalk here connecting this platform to that one…She was so certain of the catwalk’s presence, she almost took a step into empty air.

Get your brain in the game, love, Crystal thought savagely, trying to dispel the memories.

To ground herself in reality, she glanced back at where the Tyrannosaurus was battling the Typhon. Isabel had managed to reduce the number of snakes sprouting out of the Typhon’s back dramatically, but the remaining heads had bitten her hundreds of times. Blood was running freely and staining her feathers. Each individual wound was a mere pinprick to the massive bulk of the Tyrannosaurus, but their cumulative impact was wearing Isabel down. The Typhon, meanwhile, was slowly beginning to right itself. Inch by inch, the muscles in its back were straightening, and Crystal felt a sudden pang of fear. If that wanker gets upright, Isabel’s going to fall. If she has to shift, all that venom…

Crystal leapt to the next platform, lowering her personal gravity to make the distance easy to cross. Given how low Lunar gravity already was, it was an easy leap. And it’s why the Typhon is standing up so easily, Crystal realized. Fifteen tons of furious dinosaur probably would have snapped the Typhon in half on Earth.

Let’s fix that, yeah?

Crystal landed on the platform and rolled to stop her momentum, then reached out and grabbed threads of reality to twist Isabel’s gravity. The Typhon howled in surprise as Crystal coxed gravity into believing the Tyrannosaur was back on Earth.

Already doubled over as it was, the Typhon’s spine didn’t snap at the impact. Instead it was driven to the ground, flat on its face, and Isabel took advantage of its surprise by bringing jaws that could have crushed the femur of a brachiosaurus down on the Typhon’s head with a sickening crunch. The Typhon screamed in agony as Isabel’s jaw strained, but it didn’t snap under the pressure. Isabel began to worry her jaws back and forth, wrenching at the Typhon’s neck.

With a sickening squelch, the head pulled free from its moorings.

Crystal jumped up in the air and let out an excited whoop. “Bloody hell, love, that was beautiful!” she shouted. “Disgusting, but beautiful.”

Isabel dropped the Typhon’s head and bellowed out a roar in response. Crystal could only imagine the pain she was in from those bites. Okay, get to Isabel, neutralize the poison, and-

Tendrils were emerge from the ruined stump attached to the Typhon’s head, a spiderweb of red lines that connected the head back to the body. As soon as they reached the stump, they began to drag the head back towards the body. “Isabel!” Crystal shouted, pointing at the attachment point.

Isabel glanced downwards. Seeing an expression of surprise so similar to a dog’s cross the face of one of the deadliest predators to have ever lived would have been funny if it wasn’t so dire. Isabel began to stomp at the tendrils as the Typhon laughed. Without lungs the sound carried none of its power and instead was just sounded like slabs of meat the size of mattresses being slapped together.

Crystal threw out a twist, a solidified blade of air to slice through the tendrils. They reconnected as quickly as they were severed. More tendrils were forming along the Typhon’s back, reaching out for the detached serpents and closing the Typhon’s wounds.

Isabel started to stomp on the red lines, trying to sever as many as she could. The legs of the Tyrannosaurus, so good for slashing into the Typhon’s back, were pathetically geared for this task. I should have known better, Crystal thought bitterly, casting her eyes about the chamber. If it was that easy to kill, my people would have done it millennia ago. She saw where she thought the kill switch would be, and leapt again, propelling herself towards the spot.

There was a console there, one that somehow still functioned after all this time. Letters in a language Crystal hadn’t seen since her Nascent period flashed across her eyes, and she reached for the touchpad that controlled it. Crystal shifted her hands back to her Lemurian fingers to better manipulate the screen.

“Hello, Crystal,” the screen read in Lemurian the moment her fingers made contact. “It has been thirty million, two hundred and twenty-three thousand, one hundred and sixteen years, four lunar cycles, two intervals, four days, seven hours, twenty five minutes, and twelve seconds since your last login. You will need to update your password. Please enter your old password to proceed.”

Crystal stared at the screen in growing horror. The realization of how long she’d spent around that black hole as time itself was bent was nearly enough to make her scream. The fact that she was somehow still in this computer’s database was terrifying.

But on top of that, the idea that Isabel’s life, and the fate of the world, required her to remember a password was more than she could bear.


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