And there they all were. The ghosts of his childhood friends. His muscles felt sore and tingly, and he got a moment of nausea at the feeling of zero gravity. It had been at least fifteen years since he had been in zero g.
Zombie Lisa landed on his legs lightly and hugged him tightly.
“Skumby! We didn’t know if you’d ever wake up! I mean cock fuck!”
Ted put his arms around her weakly and coughed.
“Zombie Lisa? This is a nice dream… I was thinking about you guys just the other day.”
Ted looked around at the kras, “Hey! You’re all here! Not dead or anything.”
He pushed himself to sitting, and almost lifted out of the life support pod.
“Woah! Zero g! Been a while.”
Black Elvis and Vince were next there. Elvis greeted him with a lengthy handshake. Vince awkwardly patted his shoulder.
“Glad you’re not dead krasy!”
“Yeah man… We were, the girls were worried.”
Ted looked around again while high fiving Syrge and tousling Scroot’s hair.
“That girl has feathers. Hot though. Weird dream.”
Zombie Lisa started talking fast, and as she spoke the life and color seemed to drain out of Ted Vermillion’s face.
“Oh man you missed so much! After you helped me escape, it turns out Vince stumbled ass backward into some crazy military implant tech that is slowly driving him mad, but now he’s a cunt crunching killing machine, killed like a hundred PIGS, and he met The Fabulous Blue Kay, porn star and all around bitch, but she’s okay I guess, and Syrge played some archive footage on the black wall and now we’re so dangerous they can’t even kill us, and we’re camping out in the downstem wild! I’m a hunter! Hey!”
Lisa finally stopped when she noticed that Skum Bunny looked horrified. He reached up and felt his top knot ersatz ears. When he realized they were still there he let out a short quick sob. He turned and looked into his reflection in the top of the life support pod. He saw his freckly face with its upturned nose and stupid buckteeth. He almost laughed. It had taken him years to grow into something that didn’t look like a caricature. Everyone around him was quiet and staring at him. He took a breath.
“So. You are all alive. That’s good, I guess. I saw you all die thirty something years ago. Except Scroot, he was stuck in a cage in a lab, I think. I don’t know how I can be here. I have a wife… kids…”
Kick Herald stepped up next to Black Elvis. She leaned in and looked into his eyes.
“I think they put him in a program. With drugs to dilate time. He could have lived a whole life subjectively in a few days. It’s a rehab technique. They must have thought you weren’t a real danger. They just wanted you out of the way. If you had a wife… was it Lottery Winner? Colony Ship? School Teacher?”
Ted pulled himself out of the pod.
“I WAS on a colony ship! I had a farm on Laredo. I learned to swim… The wind and the storms… Vent this! This can’t be venting right! Hamleting venters!”
He pushed himself into the air and reached for some vines. He was weak and off balance. He missed and crashed into a tarp near the food net. His kras were making noises and coming toward him. He took a fierce steadying breath and turned on them hissing, “Stay the vent away from me!”
He pushed himself more carefully this time out and away from the kras. Pulling himself along by vines and branches. He could hear Lisa screaming.
“Skum! It’s dangerous here! There are some crazy predators out there!”
Ted Vermillion, Skum Bunny, turned back and looked at her.
“They just destroyed my entire family and planet. How much more dangerous does it get?”
And he disappeared into the green.
Blue Kay heard a signal from the computer.
“Hey! Downloads are done! We can have fire! And Lisa! A bathroom!”
The kras turned to stare at her silently.
“What?! I got us a toilet!”