by Jeff C. Carter
Everyone in the morgue was struck silent by Beebe’s announcement. Lancet’s heart skipped a beat and he felt a fleeting kinship with the dead body laid out nearby.
“If the angels did cause the riots they must have used those spinal parasites to boost their psychic signals,” Anansi stated confidently, “Is that why you brought us inside Sheba? Their signals can’t reach here?”
Lancet frowned. He was irked that Anansi was putting things together faster than he was.
“That is correct,” the wizard finally sparked to life, “Although we have taken other precautions as well. We cannot assume Sheba is secure, merely furthest from the signals. We know a good deal about this thanks to the late Mr. Jon Valljon.”
She indicated the body on the slab. Dr. Kes peeled back the side of Valljon’s head and exposed a cratered brain, filled with tangles of gleaming circuitry and the oily tendrils of a dead parasite. “Luckily for us he had a standard servant control implant in his head long before he was infected. Not only was the chip ultimately able to override the parasite’s control, but we were able to pull memories of the alien transmissions directly from his brain.”
“Control implants allow me to monitor the hostile aliens in secret. They will also protect you from coming under their control. Pavlovon will fit you each with such a device,” Beebe said.
The wizard hefted a sinister gun with a long drill bit and smiled obligingly.
“You can’t be serious?” Councilman Moab gasped.
Lancet thought about the agonized look on Valljon’s face as the implant shut down his brain. Everyone took a step back from the wizard. Even Anansi’s smile was replaced by shock.
“I’m sorry, but this is not a request. Any one of you could already be under alien influence. Until we know for certain I cannot allow any of you to leave Sheba,” Beebe said.
Lancet knew this was just a step towards Beebe’s master plan. He knew that they would have to fill this morgue a thousand times over to make it a reality. If he was going to commit himself to this cause then he must be willing to start with his own body if necessary. “I’ll go first.”
Pavlovon lifted the drill and aimed it at Lancet's right eyeball. The wizard's face was blank again, her thick black goggles staring somewhere else entirely.
As the drill bit veered closer to his eye Lancet saw a cluster of needles jutting out, as thin as the woman's own silvery hair.
"Try not to move,” she mumbled.
The drill plunged forward with a sickening crunch.