I am so not going in there again. I don’t care if they hold a gun to my head or threaten to kill my family, friends or boyfriend. I glare at the environmental officers standing in a circle, plotting their next move, or rather mine.
The only reason I volunteered for this task was because my boyfriend and I had had a fight, the kind where one of you threatens to leave. And I did. So now I’m here just outside the blazing orange rainforest referred to by the locals as “Nefapaquim” which means “disaster comes to the earth.”
Crap, here they come. Breathe, just breathe.
“Grinray, we’re going to need you to go back in and collect more samples. And this time we’d like you to eliminate it.”
“I can’t, I–”
“You must. Think of your friends, your family; think of humanity. You can save humanity if you enter Nefapaquim one more time. Now, Jerry has programmed your course into the head of your safety gear. You’ll see your target getting closer as you go. Once you reach it, destroy it, collect samples and get the hell out of there as fast as you can before the others attack.”
I change into a fresh skin-tight, raven black, indestructable shield suit. I’m so nervous I’m unable to put the helmet on. Jerry gets it on and tests our telepathic communications. I must not speak aloud in Nefapaquim, the risk of being compromised is far too high.
I’m ready to go. I test my automatic hand laser on a nearby tree. Clean shot, the tree topples. A local dressed in a colorful feathery cape begins to sway and spin, his form of prayer for me.
I walk to the edge of Nefapaquim. I can already sense the radio-active capuchin green primates staring down at me from their safe havens high above in the abnormal blaze orange trees.
This is it. This is my last chance to save humanity.