Blood and Fire

Free Blood and Fire by David Gerrold

Book: Blood and Fire by David Gerrold Read Free Book Online
Authors: David Gerrold
suggested quietly.
    â€œI suppose we could try that,” Berryman replied, just as cautiously. He switched off the scanner. He turned slowly, observing the behavior of the wavicles. They danced in closer ...
    Korie and Berryman exchanged a glance.
    â€œDo you want to try and catch one?” Korie asked.
    â€œDr. Williger will have my hide if I don’t try.”
    â€œDon’t make assumptions!” Williger’s voice came rasping into their helmets. “I’m more likely to skin you alive if you put yourself in unnecessary danger.”
    â€œDo you want some of these things or not?” Berryman retorted.
    Williger didn’t reply immediately. She was conferring with Captain Parsons. Finally, her voice came back, “If you can get one in a bottle, fine. If not—don’t.”
    Korie said. “I don’t think they like the scanning fields.” To Berryman, he added, “Try turning your helmet scanners off.”

    â€œAnd then what?”
    â€œAnd then, I think, we’ll find out whether or not they’re trying to get to us. Look, there’s more of them than ever. They’re certainly attracted to something—probably us. But the scanning fields are keeping them at bay.”
    â€œDo you think they can get through our suits?”
    â€œThey shouldn’t be able to. We’re Class-X certified.”
    â€œSo was the Norway .”
    â€œMm. Point taken.”
    â€œBut if they can get through our suits,” Berryman continued, “then we have to assume we’re already contaminated.”
    â€œThere is that too,” Korie acknowledged. “But I think, in the interests of knowledge, that we need to know just what the hell is going on here. How safe is it to proceed?” Korie switched off the scanners mounted on his helmet. The wavicles swirled inward toward him, but none actually alighted on his suit. Korie and Berryman looked at each other through the faceplates of their helmets. Neither had an answer to the unspoken question.
    â€œIs it the scanners? Or the suits? Or a combination of the two? Or something else?”
    Without being told, Wasabe Shibano reached up and switched off the scanners mounted on his chest and back. For a moment, nothing happened. The wavicles continued to swirl just beyond arm’s length.
    â€œOkay,” said Korie. “I think we’re safe. It’s the suits.” He nodded forward. “Let’s get the log and get out of here.”
    And then—as they moved, so did the wavicles. Suddenly agitated, they danced like a seizure of fireworks, like exploding fireflies—they bounced and twinkled and flickered and suddenly began alighting on all three of the starsuited figures, outlining each of them in faint sparkling luminescence.
    â€œOh, shit—” said Berryman, uncharacteristically.
    Korie didn’t say anything. But he was thinking it. My second miscalculation. The price on this one is going to be high .
    Only Wasabe Shibano remained unaffected. He held out his hand in front of his helmet, staring at the unexpected radiance. The effect was ghostly and magical. The strange glow was reflected in his helmet pane and his eyes were wide with awe.
    Korie looked at his own hands then, as did Berryman. The three of them looked at each other—in amazement as well as horror. All of them were gleaming with a myriad of twinkling points. They looked enchanted .
    Their communicators were chattering in their ears unheard. Tor’s
voice, Williger’s, Brik’s and Captain Parsons’—“Korie! Answer me! What’s going on over there! What’s happening!”
    â€œIt’s all right,” Korie managed to say. His voice cracked. “We’re ... surrounded. But we’re not being hurt—”
    â€œGet the log and get out of there. That’s an order ,” snapped Parsons. “No! Forget the log. Just get out of there.

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