Written by Carl Malcolm
Mission Specialist Tanaka battled against the gravity, one foot in front of the other. His breath fogged the inside of his helmet. It felt like he was wading through honey, and the ground he walked on fluctuated between solid and liquid, crunching and sucking with every step.
Light broke upon the metal around him. It shattered into a harmonic rainbow, a chaos of colours dancing and clashing, brawling and embracing each other. At odds with the strong gravity, great globules of mercury blossomed into the air, rising from the ground and floating like bubbles on a careless breeze. Tanaka watched it all with a lazy smile.
Static buzzed in his ear, “Tanaka, please report.” His commander called over the radio, a slight quiver in her voice. “Have you retrieved the samples yet?”
The samples! He was here to get the samples. He couldn’t even remember why they were so important, something to do with fuel? They’d flown millions of miles for them, into unchartered corners of the universe, he’d left his family behind for them. He shook his head and huffed; it all seemed silly to him in the moment.
“Tanaka, report.” The quiver was gone from her voice, replaced by outright panic. “Jin, answer me! Don’t look at the lights! Jin?”
He laid down on his back and watched the colors dart around. He wore a vacant smile on his face, oblivious to the shouts coming over the radio, and the burning sensation on his back as the liquid metal burned through his suit.