More Barium: 9/6

This one’s a bit short. As before, it picks up immediately after where the last one left off.



I dive between two people pulling little trolleys loaded up with goods, earning more yells and cursing.

“Hey! Watch where you’re going!” The person behind me shouts after us as Cesi follows through the gap that I made. We’re booting up our glasses, trying to find the closest emergency evac route even while we dodge and weave through the crowd.

“Kip, they’re headed your way, get ready!” It’s the same person who was sticking their head in the vents earlier, somewhere behind us. I can only guess that it means that they have more people waiting for us up ahead. My map suggests turning and waiting for an elevator up ahead on my right, and I frantically dismiss that option. Waiting will get us nowhere. Cesi bounds ahead of me, seeming more at home in this stupid gravity, and then suddenly there’s a crackling noise and I can see Cesi buckle and fall. It looks terrible. She tries to get her hands up in time to catch herself before hitting the ground, but they’re moving too slowly, streaming what looks like a clear and sticky gel from her arms to her chest to her legs, all around her suit. She smacks into the ground with a thump.

“Cesi!” I duck a little as I rush towards her, and feel something whizz over my head with another crackle. There are yells behind me but they’re drowned out in my concern for my sister. I can’t pay attention to them.

Her eyes are rolling a little, not focused right. She hit the wall, I mean floor, pretty hard. I reach down to grab her and pull her back to her feet, but the gel has already hardened, like some kind of super-epoxy holding her limbs in that strange shape and sticking her to the paneling beneath her.

My hands just slip off her, and it feels like I’m losing my sister. Trying to get a grip on her is like trying to hold onto lubricated glass. “Cesi, come on!” Her eyes still aren’t focused.

Hands grab me from behind, and I twist and wrench away from them. “Cesi, Cesi,” my voice sounds weird, not coming out of my throat quite right. There’s hot water running down my face. The hands grab me again and I can hear the voice that’s been talking for a while now.

“Calm down kid, don’t hurt yourself.”

I twist again, and one of my hands hits something and there’s another shout behind me.

Then there’s a crackle and something hits me hard in the side, splashing all over me and now my arms are slowing down and now I can’t move them at all.

“Jesus, kid.” There are people standing all around us, looking down at me and Cesi where we’re stuck to the floor. “You should have listened.” They look angry, or tired, or they’re just watching me. One of them has a big puffy face. Maybe I hit her.

Somewhere beyond the ring of bodies I can hear someone saying, “Please don’t create a crowd, this is official station business. Please move along.”

I open my mouth to scream that it’s not official, that it’s not okay. Someone covers it.

There’s a sprayer that someone squeezes, misting sections of the super-epoxy where they’re holding to the floor, and then we’re still stuck in this clear hard stuff and being lifted onto wheeled pallets. They throw a tarp over me, and I get carted off in the dark.


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