“Did you intend to kill him?” He asked Windy, who sat on the rail of the ship’s aft, weave a braided rope out of an abundance of nylon twine.

“I wind up killing most people I meet.”

“Why?” He asked

“Why? Have you even been lucid this whole time? There are no good people in the world anymore. None of us are. There’s blood on all of us. So yeah, I was gonna keep him, and if I had to kill him–”

“To eat him?”

her eyes darted at him and she was on her feet defiantly standing.

“I’m not a cannibal.” She said.

“I–”

“Interview’s over. Get the fuck away from me.”

He stood isolated by his desire to connect with her, crashing against her contempt.

“…Before I cut you.” She said.

Peter stormed down into the cabin.

“I don’t know what he did for you, but that kid’s gonna get you killed.” She said.

“He’s fine. Just shaken up.”

“When we dock, you and the toddler are finding a new boat.”

“You know how to sail this boat?” I said

“I wouldn’t steal a boat I couldn’t sail.”

“So you just played along?”

“It seemed more important to you. Besides. This is your mess.”

“Yours too, now.” I replied

“No.” She said. “No, it’s not.”

She watched me off and on, inconspicuously. Her short and wreckless mahogany hair framed her dower Japanese features. Her dark eyes on me, summarizing my value, memorizing my face.

Beneath the surface of the water, something big swam beside us and did for some twenty minutes.

Peter returned to the deck, and pointed out something curious in the horizon behind them.

I saw the carrier dead ahead. The chase was in full swing. 

The pursuing scabs gained on us, but not fast enough, as one of the last of AI’s lucid beasts, a sea dragon, allied with me and here we are.

Some scabs boarded. They’re all dead. The beast is cloaked and could be anywhere on the ship. It could want anything at all. These beasts have as much in the way of intuitive reasoning as any one of us, sometimes clear, sometimes clouded.

Though we’ve made it this far, we entered into dark waters, and a fleet like this could mean community, and it might be a compound. 

The ship gently swayed to starboard and a small splash into our raucous  wake hushed like running water.

Something pounded the hull of the ship which could have just been a hard wave, until the eruption of a Mod halfway down the throat of the massive synthetic eel.

They shot up from the water beside us, struggling in mid-battle. The human was a Body Mod. From the looks of him, he’d been surgically modified with an early grade exoskeleton with four mech arms that grappled and clawed and beat at the beast in mid flight, exercising futility.

It made two more leaps and as it descended, it whipped the surface of the water with the Mod’s torso, shattering his bones, before allowing him to slip out of its ‘mouth’, to vanish on the ocean floor.

My hope faltered just a little bit.

We were in the worst kind of unsafe. Mod’s have a pretty accurate reputations for being thoroughly insane. 

“We need to go faster, Windy. Any thoughts?” I asked her.

“Was that a mod?” She also asked.

“A big one.”

“How long do you think? Until the next?”

“Not long enough.”

And I was right. The next one was already on the ship.

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