Ignoring the thrashing creature, Daniel followed the blood trail.
He felt grimly certain what he’d find.
And around a nearby stack, in the center of a thick pool of blood, lay Jeska.
A seven-inch gash marred her thigh. She wasn’t breathing.
“No!” he screamed.
“No!” he heard the creature scream behind him.
Daniel ordered his augmem to activate his medic proxy app, and then remembered the augmem wasn’t working.
His medicloud was only tailored for his personal biosig. Without the augmem's proxy app, the medicloud could not repair other lifeforms.
The best it could do was fix their appliances.
He moved to her side and felt a mild electrical shock as he touched her skin.
He ignored the odd sensation, chocking it up to terror, and checked for a pulse.
She had none. Her skin was cold as ice.
She was dead. And she was still so beautiful.
Daniel felt his heart turn to dust.
The creature must have killed her immediately after her last message.
“Daniel?” he heard the creature call behind him. In the voice of the woman he had loved.
Daniel stopped thinking.
He stood, his robe stained with the Jeska’s blood, and ran back to where the creature had fallen.
Daniel saw that it had finally freed itself and was now watching Daniel from a rusty pipe on the Afterthought's lower hull.
“Daniel?!” it screamed in that perfect, infuriating mimic.
“Stop it,” Daniel said.
It jumped down, landing ten feet in front of Daniel, and resumed circling him.
“Daniel!” it screamed, and Daniel was sure it was mocking everything Jeska meant to him.
The creature stopped circling and reared back to pounce.
Lowering his shoulder, Daniel charged.