She used to have crewmates.
Daniel rolled that sad fact around in his head.
Again he was speechless.
Mercifully his eyescreens broke the silence. They beeped and read Input initial voice authorization.
“Afterthought recognize Daniel Wei,” Daniel said.
“Afterthought recognizes Daniel Wei,” said the toneless voice of the ship’s default systems. It seemed so … artificial without Rachel-7’s arrogance and sarcasm.
“Repeat code phrase,” it said.
“Jeska,” he said.
“What?” she said, staying crouched behind him.
“No, that’s the code phrase.” Daniel said. “Jeska.”
“Yes/What?” Daniel/Jeska said at the same time.
“You said, ‘Jeska,'" she said.
“No, I didn’t,” Daniel said. “You did … in my voice.”
They looked at each other and fear flicked across both their faces.
A drop of green slime fell on Daniel shoulder.
They glanced up.
The creature was dangling above them, its tentacles inches from their necks.
“Jeska,” it said in Daniel’s voice.
“Again? It tricked me again?!” Daniel said, more angry than scared.
Daniel and Jeska dove out of the way as it stabbed its arms down at them.
The tentacles made a thunderous clap as they hit the ground where Daniel and Jeska had been standing.
Daniel and Jeska moved to the other side of the lift, hoping to put the tall metal scaffolding between them and the creature.
But the lift was no obstacle to their pursuer.
Rather than going around, it simply pushed its malleable form through the open spaces in the skeletal elevator and extruded itself onto the other side.
It hung above Daniel and Jeska.
Then it dropped to the ground, ten feet away from them.