During a recent binge-read of various Thing-related matter I was inspired to wonder: ‘how does a shape-shifting creature like The Thing come about anyway?’ The question persisted and this short story is the result. Enjoy!
(25 minute read)
Seven pairs of eyes watched the circular screen that dominated the space above the conference table. A simple image glowed from the screen: an extreme magnification of two cells—a globe-shaped coccus next to the more elaborate zig-zig string-shape of a spirochete.
“As we introduce the two cells to one another we will see the reaction commence,” Dr. Capell said, punctuating his promise with a dry cough. Sitting next to him, Dr. Donart remained silent, one hand resting on the crutch that he had carefully leaned against the table edge. His breath stuck in his throat. Sweat prickled the back of his neck but he resisted the urge to reach up and tug at his collar to let the air in.
The five other men and women seated around the table gave no indication that the late afternoon heat was troubling them. They watched the screen impassively, betraying neither expectation nor judgement. Donart wondered if any of them even cared that they held both his and Capell’s careers in their hands at this moment.
On the screen the coccus cell twitched and drifted towards its neighbour. Donart clenched and unclenched his fingers around the grip of his crutch. The coccus cell drew closer until it was almost touching the spirochete. A thin pseudopod extended out, injecting itself into the spirochete. The targeted cell collapsed and withered as the coccus enveloped it, breaking it down and seemingly ingesting it into its own mass.
There was an appreciative ‘hmph’ from one of the members of the audience, which morphed into a short, collective intake of breath as the engorged coccus divided itself and reformed into two perfect copies of the spirochete.
Capell allowed himself a satisfied grin, convinced that he now had the Council where he needed them. “And, as you can see, the modified totipotent cell has successfully generated an exact replica of the target cell.”
One of the older men around the table spoke up, a wrinkle of concern fracturing his otherwise emotionless face. “And what is the status of the target cell?”
Capell paused before replying in an arch tone: “Perfectly replicated. As you have just witnessed.”
“I’m referring to the original cell,” the man said, refusing to let his point go.
Donart, concerned by the impatient tone growing in his partner’s voice, decided it was time to step in. He pushed himself upright in his seat. “Of course, you would have observed that at this stage in our research the target cell must be fully ingested in order to allow replication to take place. Understanding the replication processed is a necessary step towards achieving our shared goal. We attempted simulation of cell data but the results are imperfect. The corruption is too severe. The modified cells begin to degrade almost as soon as induced replication has taken place. We—”
Capell took over. “Don’t you see, the implications are—“
“Potentially horrifying.” The curt response came from the head of the table and an obedient hush fell over the proceedings. Kael wore the same standard lab coat as everyone else and stood, perhaps, a full head shorter than several of the Council members, but anyone who had ever doubted her authority had swiftly learned the cost of their misjudgement.
Capell chose his reply carefully. “It is true, our research has … branched out from the … original … the original brief—“ He stopped speaking, forced back into silence by the frigidity of Kael’s glare.
“I should not have to remind anyone here about the urgent nature of this programme,” Kael said, her narrow, black eyes focusing directly on Capell. “The genetic index of our race is failing. Our people grow sicker and less capable by the year. When— … if the balance tips and the number of people too sick to work outweigh the rest, our society will fail. The formula is that simple. Now, explain how the current direction of your research proposes to resolve this.”
Capell took a breath. “It’s a first step. The source is perfectly replicated. Every detail—to the microscopic level—we’ve confirmed this. The next step is genetic manipulation, if we can—“
“Cloning,” Kael said, cutting Capell off again. “You’ve invented cloning: something we mastered generations ago—except you appear to have devised a unique method that results in the complete destruction of the host.”
Capell flushed. “This is not basic—!“
“We shall revert,” Donart quickly said, keeping his voice calm and smooth while, under the table, his right hand continued to hold his crutch in a white-knuckled grip. “Now that we have achieved cell replication we can study the process—we can modify it, encode it. Make it selective. We can work towards replacing damaged cells with healthy ones.”
Kael studied him, as if he were nothing more than a cluster of cells beneath the lens of her microscope. Eventually she spoke. “Do not lose sight of our objective. We aim to save our people, not replace them.”
“… of course.” Donart nodded.
“Replication—in the manner that you have demonstrated here today—is a dead-end. A literal one,” Kael declared. “Pursue it no further.”
Capell gasped, struggling to contain his outrage. “How can y—“
Kael ignored him. “You will leave now and the Council will discuss the future direction of your research. You will be informed of our decision shortly.”
Donart braced the foot of his crutch against the polished floor and pushed himself upright. He waited for Capell to follow. After a moment he did, his mouth silent and twisting with unspoken protests.
Capell’s sullen hush lasted until they reached the lab, then his frustration exploded at Donart.
“How can that iced-up old crone not see what we’ve achieved?! Perfect replication! We’ve broken genetic barriers that no one ever imagined we could cross! Cloning?!! No one before us has ever achieved this level of cellular manipulation.”
Donart sat heavily in the nearest chair, privately wondering how much Capell’s aggressive attitude had cost them along the way. How much doubt and lost faith had been sown among their peers and superiors because of his arrogance? “Perhaps you should have told them the truth?” he said, exhausted by the constant exposure to the sharp side of his colleague’s mercurial behaviour.
“The truth??” Capell was almost snarling now. Flecks of saliva flew from his mouth as he ranted.
“Yes, the truth—that we can’t control the cell replication?”
Capell stared at him, silenced by his disbelief. A short series of exasperated huffs escaped before he managed to find some words. “You want to give them another reason to shut us down? Why are you like this? Do you listen to yourself? When I think of how far I could have gotten without you holding me back with your by-the-book—“
Donart grabbed his crutch and propelled himself out of the chair, a rare burst of anger exploding from deep inside. “Without me you would have been shut down long before now. Or you’d probably have killed yourself. You may be a brilliant scientist, but you’re foolhardy and impetuous—you need someone like me to hold you back. Kael is right: we’ve lost sight of the objective.”
Capell’s face darkened, the words boiling behind his lips. Donart stood his ground, wondering for a moment if Capell was simply going to reach out to try and throttle him. Then the fury simply evaporated. Capell rubbed his head and fell back into his desk chair, breathing deeply. Though grateful for the reprieve, Donart remained standing, crutch at the ready as he watched Capell. He said nothing, not wanting to set the man off again.
Capell, still restless, got up and walked to the large window that overlooked the staging area outside the lab. Donart’s terrier, Caster, slept peacefully on a sofa out there, waiting until the time when his master would take him home again. Capell followed the rise and fall of the docile animal’s chest.
“Do you know why I’m like this?” he asked, keeping his back to Donart. “Do you know what it is that drives me?”
“Almost every day I wake up with my head—it … pounds like it’s being drilled into, every day … and the only way I can ignore it is to work. A different part of my body aches depending on whether it’s hot, or cold, or raining. I feel like I’m falling apart—failing—just as we all are.” He spared a slight glance over his shoulder towards Donart, still standing there with his crutch. “I’m not doing this to save our people. That’s not why I’m here. I’m doing this because sometimes the dream that I might one day be able to swap this useless body for one that works is the only thing that keeps me going.”
Donart withheld his lack of surprise that Capell’s motivations weren’t exactly selfless.
“Tell me you haven’t thought it too?” Capell asked. “Don’t you dream of having your leg back? Having a body that can repair itself, or that can be replaced when it fails?”
Donart looked down at his crutch. It was almost a part of himself now. He found it as hard to imagine not needing any more as he did the prospect of growing a new leg. He had no idea how to answer Capell’s question
“Whatever. I’ve been thinking about it,” Capell said, stepping away from the window. “The process needs to learn; it needs more data. That’s what the problem is. The simple organisms we’ve been testing with to date—there’s nothing to them beyond genetic code. We must introduce a complex organism into the process. Something with conscious thought.”
Donart was speechless. He had been sufficiently lulled to think that Capell was preparing to relent a little, but it seemed the man was incapable of change. The concept of skipping the extensive testing and research that would allow them to confidently begin testing on sentient organisms horrified Donart. “We can’t just … what you’re suggesting—that’s insanity!” he protested. “We need to work out how to manipulate the genetic coding at the base level. It can be reconfigured: we just need more time to—“
“Time is a resource you will no longer have access to.”
Donart fell silent at the sound of Kael’s voice. Capell watched her enter the lab, his face a stony mask. Behind her, holding their position at the door of the staging area, stood two Cultural Enforcement officers. Their black tunics contrasted sharply with the white and glass of the science labs; an oppressively dehumanized image made complete by the faceless, mirror-black helmets that all CEOs wore. Donart stared at them, a knot of queasiness in his stomach. He knew that Kael liked to have them follow her—an unambiguous symbol that she was the one in charge—but she had never brought them to one of his labs before. Their presence made him fear where things could go.
“Your work is concluded,” she announced. “You have been the standard closedown period to clear your lab and collate your research. You will report to me tomorrow for adjustment and reassignment.”
“Adjustment…?” Donart asked. “That’s hardly—“
“This work is questionable and we require that you commence your next project with a clear mental slate.”
“You’re making a mistake,” Capell said.
Kael’s expression remained cold and flat. “I don’t make mistakes. That’s your domain.”
“Not only did your work fail to deliver the required outcomes, but its potentially hazardous implications have initiated a Sanction review. This decision is final.”
She turned and left the lab, uninterested in further debate.
Donart stared at Capell, barely able to suppress his own shock and frustration now. “Sanction review! We’re finished!”
“Not yet,” Capell replied, a stubborn look of determination on his face.
Donart picked up his crutch and stepped angrily towards his partner. “They’re talking about destroying all traces of our work. Adjusting our memories so we won’t even remember what we were doing. They’ll be looking over our shoulders for the rest of our lives and we won’t even know why. What are you saying, ‘we’re not finished’? What are you—what can you do about that?”
Capell’s expression collapsed into resignation. “Exactly what she said to do: collate our research.”
Donart stared at the floor, exhausted. Capell walked over and rested a hand on his shoulder. “Donart. Go home. Get some sleep: you need it. Come back tomorrow and we’ll finish this and … take whatever comes next.”
Donart considered a token protest, but it was true: he had nothing left after the stress of the day. He nodded at Capell and went to collect Caster.
Donart lay on the bed and watched Caster resting serenely at his feet. Why couldn’t he sleep? The last several days had combined into one amorphous stretch of labour—final replication tests, inevitable failures, preparing for their submission to the Council. Had he forgotten how to sleep?
And what had it earned them anyway? Adjustment.
According to his record he had undergone adjustment once before. Naturally, he had no idea what had been adjusted—the details always remained classified but the procedure itself had to be legally recorded. How much would they take this time? How much would they leave behind? What if they made a mistake and took too much? How much could they take before he became nothing more than a hollow shell wearing the shape of the person he used to be?
A clear mental slate, Kael had said. That’s what they all needed: a genetic index wiped clean of the failures that were plaguing generations of their people. Adjustment. Maybe that was the key. But what was it that he was missing? A clean slate …
Donart fell into a tortured sleep, plagued by the thoughts of all the last-minute adjustments that they would no longer have time to apply to the replication process. He dreamed of arguments with Capell, except it wasn’t Capell anymore: it was himself. He was sitting with himself, arguing over which one of them was the real one.
He awoke to the sound of Caster howling mournfully into the night.
Donart returned to the lab the next morning, troubled by his thoughts and undecided over how much of them he would share with Capell. As he settled Caster in his usual spot on the sofa, he noticed that the lights in the lab were still on—had Capell really worked through the night? It wouldn’t be the first time. He peered warily through the glass, unable to see the man anywhere.
Caster whined briefly then laid his head down. Donart walked into the lab, flashing his access card at the door as he continued to wonder where Capell had gotten to. Figuring the man must have retreated somewhere to sleep, Donart headed over to his desk and began the process of organising his files, grateful to have something mundane to distract his thoughts with. He busied himself selecting key reports for archiving, others for disposal; sorting through his equipment, separating those items that required sterilisation from the ones that could be returned directly to Supply.
Then he stopped, realising that a significant amount of time had passed and he remained alone.
He looked around the lab again. There was no sign of Capell, but it was clear he had been working through the night. Scribbled notes covered the surface of his desk, surrounded by half-drunk beakers of coffee. A dissection table had been rolled close by; the equipment on it showing signs of being used, but there were no organic remains. No blood. No samples.
Donart felt eyes on him. He turned to the bench table that occupied the centre of the room. A rat, locked inside its cage, watched him. The rodent stood on its hind legs, alert and completely focused on Donart, likely wondering whether this visitor had brought it food.
The rat wasn’t alone. Three other cages sat on the table, two of them covered. Donart realised now why Capell had been so insistent that he go home to sleep. Even with Kael’s threats hanging over them both he had still found a way to ignore the rules and push forward in his stubborn arrogance; visiting Supply and retrieving the complex organic samples that he had sought.
We need to give it more data…
The cage standing next to the rat was empty. Perhaps it had housed whatever creature had ended up on Capell’s dissection tray. Donart moved to the other two cages, fighting a peculiar shiver of revulsion. Why would they be covered? He tugged at the thick plastic canopy over the nearest cage and found that it wasn’t a cage at all: it was a tank. Inside, a lone cephalopod drifted in a few litres of water. It moved to the light once the cover was removed, detecting the movement, and appeared to stare at Donart in the same way that the rat had done. Donart stared back at it for a moment, unsettled by the creature, but unable to see anything amiss with it.
He went to the final cage, reluctant fingers reaching out for the cover. Before he made contact, his thoughts veered away to a single question.
Where was the sample?
The replicated cells that they had demonstrated yesterday.
Kael had alluded to the dangers, but Donart had been so concerned with the potential collapse of his career that he had missed the point. Two cells—just two cells—but with the ability to ingest and replicate any other organic cell they touched. He wanted to believe that Capell had already incinerated the sample—that even he wouldn’t be so lax as to leave biological remains contaminating his—their lab. But Capell had clearly lost the capacity for objective research. If Donart had admitted that to himself sooner.
He pulled the covering from the last cage—it was another tank—and stifled a cry when he saw what floated inside. This time the tank had been completely filled with water, leaving no air space at the top. A lock had been fastened over the perspex lid to ensure that the creature inside had no chance of escaping the water.
Donart stared at it—the creature swimming in the water, staring back at him just as the others had done. Breath and nausea fought for passage in his throat. It had, he was forced to guess, been a rat originally. Or perhaps it had once been a cephalopod. Now it was a grotesque conglomeration of both. It floated comfortably inside the water, black eyes watching Donart. Its head was grossly enlarged—to make space, Donart guessed, for the gills and breathing apparatus required for the rat to survive underwater. Perhaps half of its surface remained covered with black, glistening fur. Where there had once been feet and claws, there were now long, sucker-filled arms extruding from the torso, swaying gently to control the creature’s position in the water.
Donart lurched back, his back hitting the desk behind him, crutch almost slipping away on the tiled floor. As he steadied himself he realised he was no longer alone.
“Adaptation,” Capell said from the far side of the table, smiling at him in a strangely calm and satisfied manner. “Do you see it now?”
Donart tried to tear his eyes away from the swimming rat-creature but found it impossible. “What have you done?!”
“Nature’s compulsion: to survive—to adapt, except with evolution no longer at the macro scale. This is our future! Survival in any environment!”
Donart turned and leaned on the table with his free hand, unconsciously removing his weight from the crutch as he turned to Capell and saw the glint of madness in his eyes. “Didn’t you ever wonder why our genetic index is failing?” he asked. “Maybe we’ve brought it upon ourselves? Who knows what we’ve done? What we’ve been made to forget?”
“And we shouldn’t try to stop it?”
“There’s no future if we don’t remember who we are. Who we were …”
Capell shrugged. “Your sentiment has no place in my science.”
Donart paused for breath, unsure of how he could possibly reason with Capell anymore. Then he noticed that something else was different about the man, something so tiny that it might have escaped his notice had he not already been on high alert. “Where’s your lab coat?”
Capell shrugged. “It got … damaged.”
“I’ve never seen you take it off …”
Capell gave a short, dismissive shake of his head and took a step closer. Donart inched back.
“What? Are you scared of me?”
“I don’t know.” Donart kept his eyes fixed on Capell. “I don’t know you anymore.”
“I’m the same person I always was.”
Donart, struggling to articulate the thought, realised that was exactly what was disturbing him. Capell was no different than he had been yesterday, and yet it seemed as though he was seeing the man for the first time.
Capell took another step closer. “Don’t be scared. I’m exactly the same.” His left hand hovered below the table, where Donart couldn’t see it. A short whimper sounded and Donart froze, recognising the noise. Capell rounded the corner of the table, emerging into full view with Caster at his side.
“What have you done?” Donart demanded, his eyes flitting anxiously from Caster to Capell.
“The quandary of replication,” Capell replied. “A perfect replica—a perfect imitation—must be indistinguishable from the original. Exact in every detail. No one should be able to tell them apart; even the imitation should have no idea that it’s an imitation. How do we test that?”
Donart tried again to ask Capell what he had done, but the words dried in his throat.
Capell drew close; close enough for Donart to fell the man’s breath landing on his face. “How do I know if I’m a man perfectly remembering who he is, or a copy of a man who has forgotten what he used to be?”
“Capell …” Donart whispered.
He stepped back as Caster padded softly forwards, reaching up to lick his owner’s hand. Donart felt a chasm of revulsion and horror sinking through him, still unsure of what it was that so terrified him. Then the world softened and fell away.
There was smoke, and fire.
Grey wisps curled over the stark white tiles of the ceiling above. He stared, fascinated, at the echoes of destruction. Somewhere in the past roared the cacophony of gunshots and screaming. The burning still pierced his senses, the sharp, acrid stench driving deep into his nasal cavities. There was cold. Warmth. Cold from the floor below, heat from the fire. Moisture. The air was thick with it. Dampness muffling it all. Smoke. Water. Dirt.
Then hands were grabbing him, pulling him from the ground.
“This one’s still alive. Lost a leg though.” The muffled voice spoke from behind an impenetrable black helmet.
“No,” a second voice said. “I recognise this one: it was already missing. Let’s get him out of here.”
He was a scientist. He should tell them that. He should tell them that he remembered. That he belonged there. As they dragged him past the twisted shapes that used to be bodies he remembered there was something else important that he needed to tell them.
If only he could remember what it was.
“Do I really need to wear this?” Raker shifted awkwardly under the heavy rubber of his containment suit. The sweat was already starting to coalesce across his back.
“Comes to the best of us,” his supervisor replied in his curt, gruntlike voice. “Now’s as good a time as any to get used to it.”
“Is this something to do with the incident in Biochemistry?”
Raker gasped as he received an extra sharp tug on the fastening of his suit for that question. “One thing you want to learn fast here: you know what you’re told and the anything else never happened.
“End of my shift,” the supervisor said, uninterested in further questions or protests from his subordinate. “Robbin will be here by the time you get back. Complain to him.”
The supervisor stepped away and gave Raker a hard stare. “Now, you do know what to do…?”
Raker masked his annoyance at the question. “Of course I do: get the scientist out of Quarantine and move him to Processing. I just don’t don’t get—“
“Clue’s in the name there, kid,” the supervisor said, smacking the top of Raker’s helmet. The new boy was a pain and he was impatient to get to his locker and change out of his uniform. “Quarantine. Unless you want to catch whatever he’s got, you wear the suit. Got it?”
Raker sighed. “Yes, but—”
The supervisor grabbed him by the shoulder. “This is important, son. I’d do it myself but I have better things to do so don’t mess this up or I’ll be the one carrying the can for you.”
Raker nodded, scowling inside the helmet of his containment suit and hoping the dark visor hid the sweat pouring down his face. His supervisor pointed one last warning finger at him before leaving the room and abandoning him to his duties. Raker shuffled on the spot, trying to get used to the limited mobility the containment suit offered.
Naturally, the rest of the shift had found it highly amusing that Raker was getting his first turn in a containment suit. It seemed to be something of a rite of passage and Raker wasn’t at all surprised to find a handful of CEOs waiting for him when he finally emerged from the fitting room. The group cheered and laughed, the sound thin and processed through the helmet. Raker offered them a shrug—they could spit if they thought there were getting any more out of him than that. He wore his displeasure openly on his face now, confident that his co-workers wouldn’t see it. He already suspected that this was nothing more than some childish ritualistic prank: get the new guy to wear the uncomfortable containment suit and send him all the way down to Quarantine; have a good laugh when he gets back after finding an empty cell.
Desperate to be rid of them, he left the others to their laughter and started his journey down to Quarantine, contemplating the wording of a complaint to the centre director about wasting CEO time as the elevator descended. What wouldn’t go into the letter was his bitter disappointment over his supervisor taking a chance for Raker to prove himself and throwing it in the toilet. He smirked in the darkness, enjoying the thought of his supervisor standing there having to explain himself. Oh yes, they would all learn, sooner rather than later, that Raker was better than any of them.
The room was pure white, broken only by the bench that Donart sat on. He sat on one end, propping himself against the wall to maintain his balance. A sterile silence enveloped him. Quarantine. In time, another CEO, almost certainly clad one of their anonymous containment suits, would come for him and then he would know—he would know if he was to be cleared or sent for adjustment.
Or something more permanent.
Kael had already made good on one threat. Their work had been deemed dangerous and Sanction had been ordered. Capell must have fought and … and … the rest was missing. He pulled absently at the surgical gown wrapping him. He had woken up naked. Somewhere, locked inside him, that made perfect sense. Just as it did that Capell was no longer wearing his lab coat the last time they had met.
And the stump of his right leg. Still there. The limb below still missing. A peculiar sense of relief filled him every time he remembered that; holding off the trickle of insanity that was ready to erupt if he ever looked down and found the leg restored.
They would come for him soon and all of it would be forgotten. Whatever it was. There was no escaping adjustment. A breach in the lab—a violent suppression by the CEOs—Kael would want to ensure that all of this was forgotten. Maybe she wouldn’t even bother with adjustment. But he needed to tell them what he knew. He just needed time to remember.
There was only one option: escape.
He looked again at his missing leg, realising the futility of the idea. Still, the thought persisted.
There had to be a way.
He tried to work it out as he drifted away, deep into dreams of running.
By the time the elevator finished its journey, the peculiar solitude was starting to affect Raker. The Quarantine level was located deep below the rest of the facilities, designed to be sealed off and sterilised in case of a genuine emergency. There were even rumours of previous levels of quarantine that had been sterilised and sealed off, the current level getting deeper and deeper each time. It became harder to imagine that anyone would send him down here for a prank. Surely no one would take quarantine so lightly? Even his idiot co-workers.
The containment suit lent a detachment to everything. Made it hard to judge. He was the one being contained: separated and isolated from the outside. It was stiflingly hot, his breath made it feel like the tropics, but Raker had stopped noticing. Like all CEOs he had been profiled and selected for his lack of susceptibility to conditions like claustrophobia, as well as his limited capacity for ethical reasoning and his latent aggressive attitude. Raker knew little of this. All he knew was that he was long past getting pissed off. The Quarantine level unnerved him and whatever happened next he had already decided he wasn’t going to tolerate any more idiocy today.
He reached the cell he had been directed to and paused outside the door; half expecting to find it empty, half expecting to find someone inside just as he had been told.
He took a breath and opened the door.
The cell wasn’t empty.
He stared at what waited for him, feeling the white-hot rage boiling through his blood stream.
The two dogs inside the cell stared back at him.
Raker breathed and counted, the anger burning itself out as quickly as it had erupted. So that was it, then: all a big joke after all. Someone had figured it would be a great idea to take two dogs from Supply, lock them in Quarantine and send the new guy to go and find them. Well, Raker thought, let them all see how funny it is when they lose their jobs for breaking regulations.
Yes, he would get the last laugh. He would take the dogs back to Supply and then spend the rest of his shift submitting a full and detailed report about the numerous breaches his colleagues had incurred, not to mention the wasting of CEO time.
The dogs studied him, as if they were in on the joke. Raker considered locking the cell again and leaving them behind, but that would make him just as liable as the rest of those idiots. Either way, something about them persuaded him not to. Maybe it was the way they kept staring at him, as if they didn’t want to be down here any more than he did. He needed to get them out of there, let them escape their undeserved confinement. Yes, that was what he needed to do.
“Come on then, boys, let’s go,” Raker said to the dogs. “Back to Supply with your brothers and sisters.”
He was gratified to see the dogs trot obediently out of the cell towards him. At least someone’s doing what they’re supposed to today, he thought. Then he frowned, looking down at one on the left: it was missing a leg. For a moment it seemed odd to him. Why would they keep an injured dog in Supply? He decided as quickly that it didn’t matter. What they did in Supply was none of his business. All that mattered was showing the rest of them that he knew how to do his own job.
Raker began walking, pleased once again that the two dogs followed him without hesitation. They even moved in a strange unison, almost as if they were two parts of the same creature.
Raker shook his head, dropping the thought.
Just get the two dogs back to Supply, where all the other animals were, that’s all he needed to do. Once they were there they would no longer be his problem. Then he could write his report.
And then things were going to start changing around here.
* * *
Exclusive to Slightly Odd Tales!
Be sure to also check out The Things, Peter Watts’ Hugo-nominated short-story retelling the events of the 1982 John Carpenter movie from the perspective of The Thing.