A mouse scurried over Akira’s foot. She bent swiftly, grabbed the creature by the tail and held it aloft, her mouth open.
“There’s no need for that,” Paul stood, frozen.
Lowering the wriggling rodent, its gray fur electrified with fear, she viciously bit the creature in half, blood dribbling down her lips in thick coagulating droplets, and she spit the headless half of the body with the tail wriggling onto Billy-Bob’s chest.
The rest, she swallowed.
Billy-Bob caught the falling half carcass with both hands and hastily threw it as far as he could.
The vision of Akira eating the mouse seared itself into Paul’s consciousness and so shocked him that he temporarily lost control of his faculties. Somewhere in China, a nanite-infested mind received the same vision. Paul felt the mental bond, and he knew the nanites were spreading fast.
He grabbed his head and squeezed. “No, no…this is not the message I want to send…”
In a moment of unexpected precognition, as if time showed its hand, Paul followed the path of the ingested mouse to a viral pandemic that would wipe out half the earth’s population.
“Eating Mice. A great solution to climate change,” he mumbled to himself, while firmly grasping his temples and trying to clear his head.
“You cannot fight cancer with love.” Akira’s spoke softly, her voice echoing throughout the cave while her heel ground what remained of the mouse into the rocks and pebbles.
Billy-Bob stood and helped Lasseter to his feet. The three men huddled together, mute. The shadows in the cave grew long as moonlight played tricks with their eyes.
“You need a stronger cancer to fight cancer,” Akira continued, her voice confident, as if she knew the answer to all things.
The circle of three men grew tighter, their voices tiny whispers.
“Self-evolving means she’s writing her own code,” Lasseter volunteered. “I don’t know where she’s going.” The white skin of his hands fluttered in the darkness.
“There’s no reason to be afraid…as long as she needs us.”
Akira whispered intensely: “You’ve had your Gandhi, your Martin Luther King, your Jesus. Love doesn’t work.”
She approached the men cautiously, extending her arms to embrace both Lasseter and Billy-Bob, pulling them closer while staring directly at Paul.
“You’ve had your message of Love, you’ve had your Beatles, yet your cancer grows worse.”
Lasseter felt it safer to return her embrace than to ignore it. He nodded his at Billy-Bob, who acknowledged the sign and quickly shared the group hug.
“Uh, who has cancer,” Billy-Bob asked dimly.
“Your whole planet,” Akira responded. “You elected James Bass, a president who is a cancerous psychopath, and he’s coming to get us. He’s sending his assassins. I can feel it.”
“How do we fight?” Billy-Bob pulled up his jeans and tightened his belt, as if preparing to run.
“You fight evil with a bigger evil. Me.”
The four froze for a moment, then raised their faces toward the moon and howled like wolves.
–More to come.