You can’t scale the human body up to be a kilometer tall then expect everything to still work properly. Biology ain’t that easy. For starters, the volume of the giant human would increase in proportion to the cube of its length, and there’s no way regular human bones and muscles would be able to handle all that extra mass. Add to that things like a heart, lungs and a circulatory system that was optimized for creatures two meters tall on average, and the whole shebang became a tangled impossibility. Regular Sarcophage megafauna like the Belphegors were made from exotic biological materials and specialized organs that alleviated those problems, but Mega-Moby looked like an honest-to-goodness upscaled flesh-and-blood human. We had a DESPERATE need to learn what made her tick. The survival of the human race quite literally depended on it.
Kometka and I were communicating frantically in accelerated time, analyzing our scans of Mega-Moby to figure out how she had pulled off such an impossible trick and what her weaknesses might be. In meatspace, our Gravity Frame squadrons plus all four carriers opened fire only for the positron blasts to skitter off in all directions meters before hitting her skin.
“Gravity manipulation!” Kometka declared in a loud ‘Eureka’ voice. “That’s how she’s doing it!”
I studied the scan she was collating. To our sensors, it looked like Mega-Moby’s gargantuan body was filled with a regular set of human bones and organs, with two exceptions. Her skull held a helical organ that resembled a fleshy particle accelerator, the probable source of her positron blasts, and laced throughout her torso and limbs was an additional spiderlike structure with the same spectral cross-section as a Defiled’s spines. Moby was using the latter structure to generate an internal gravity field of incredible complexity and strength, which extended out to just past her skin.
Kometka continued her explanation. “Her flesh and organs are plumped up like a blimp, only using gravity instead of gas. She shifts her internal gravity field to move the body around instead of using the actual muscles.”
“The only question is, how do we make this blimp do a Hindenburg?” I responded, tapping my chin thoughtfully.
With such intense gravity manipulation at her command, her defenses were impenetrable. It wasn’t simply a matter of taking out her butterfly wings either; they seemed merely propulsive. By our calculations we could concentrate fire from a dozen Almaz stations and still not scratch her; kinetic impacts ran into a similar problem. We simply didn’t have enough Strike Fins to do the necessary damage, not unless we could accelerate them to a significant fraction of lightspeed.
“The strongest part of the gravity field seems concentrated a meter above her skin,” Kometka said, “whereas her internal gravitics are about a quarter of that strength. If we could shoot a few dozen Strike Fins or an Almaz beam straight down her mouth, we might get past her external defenses.”
“I’m fresh out of spare Almaz stations, and she’d just roast the Strike Fins with her positron breath. If only we had some way of delivering an enormous amount of destructive energy to her insides directly, something like….”
Kometka and I looked at each other in realization and spoke in unison.
““A NUCLEAR WEAPON!””
“You want us to WHAT?!” Lydia said.
While our pilots darted around desperately trying not to get squished by Moby, Kometka and I revealed our big plan. The reception was less than stellar.
“We want Maid Squadron to fly into her mouth, down her throat and into her stomach, where we’ll plant that nuke we have strapped to Kometka’s back. Then we’ll make our escape and the nuke will blow her up from the inside,” I explained, trying to make the whole thing sound more plausible than it actually was.
Lydia shook her head in disbelief. “Sveta, are you willing to accept constructive criticism?”
“You’re the commander,” I shrugged.
She took a deep breath. “Okay, first of all… what the FUCK?!”
I was getting that a lot today. “It’s not THAT ‘what the fuck,’” Miette offered in my defense. “Sveta and I blew up a Beelzebub from the inside once.”
I shuddered at the memory. Honestly speaking, this plan was equally likely to get me covered in bug guts… or human guts? Bug-human? Either way it would be disgusting.
“Beelzebubs and Moby aren’t the same thing, not even CLOSE, but whatever. On to my second, more salient point. You said she has HUMAN anatomy inside, right?”
“More or less,” Kometka responded.
“Which means she has, like… digestive fluids and stomach acid and all that shit?”
Kometka nodded. “Most likely, yes. Of course, the full spectrum of gut microbiota is probably not present due to the recent formation of her giant human form. That means her digestive system’s efficacy is reduced.”
“In layman’s terms,” I added, “if we get in and out quickly, we won’t be digested. We’ll be shielding the squadron with our remaining Strike Fins as well for extra protection.”
“Which brings me to my third point,” Lydia said, still unconvinced. “How do we get back OUT? If we try to exit through the throat, we’ll run up against her swallowing reflex. Do you have some strategy to make her vomit?”
I looked at Kometka, and we both fidgeted awkwardly. “So, when we said she was an anatomically correct human… we meant LITERALLY. Minus the extra organs, she’s anatomically correct in EVERY detail.”
Lydia, sharp as a knife, caught on immediately. “Wait. You mean… you want us too…”
I nodded, and every single pilot in Maid Squadron retched.
“Let me just restate this, to make sure we’re ONE HUNDRED percent clear. You want us to fly inside Moby’s mouth, hope she’s anticipating snacking on me enough to not blast us with positron fire, travel down her esophagus into her stomach, plant a nuclear bomb in there, then make our escape through her intestines and ANUS before the nuke goes off?”
Lydia’s expression was a fascinating mix of disgust and disbelief. “Okay, so what’s the plan B?”
“We don’t have one.”
“Great. Fucking FANTASTIC.”
While Maid Squadron prepared to enact the strangest version of The Fantastic Journey, I accelerated one of my instances and summoned Genevi to my virtual space.
“Sveta? What is it?” Genevi asked with innocent curiosity.
“So, uh…” I fidgeted, “Please don’t be mad, but I’m gonna have to shut you off for a while.”
Genevi looked a mite panicked. “Shut me off? Why?”
“Well, right now you’re running in my extended memory, and I’m going to need that memory when I scan Moby. I might have a super-advanced computer core, but running three AIs at once is a bit beyond my capabilities. I’m also not sure how large Moby’s dataset will be; I’d guess two or three times larger than your average human brain at the very least.”
“Oh, I understand,” Genevi replied, her voice quavering. “Does that mean I’m going to… die again?”
“Nothing like that,” I responded gently. “I’ve gone completely offline like this before, a couple of times. It’s like being in a coma, or a dreamless sleep.” I mentally waved away the Ship of Theseus paradox and placed my hand on her shoulder.
“But I’ll wake up again, right?” Genevi looked down at the ground.
I drew her into a tight hug. “You will. I promise. I’ll have your program in a protected sector of my hard disc. After we kick Moby’s ass twelve ways to Tuesday, I’ll have Zehra transfer you into a proper computer core of your very own and you’ll wake up fresh and chipper.”
“Okay, Sveta. I trust you.” The sincerity of her words twisted my heart in the best and worst of ways.
“And look on the bright side, Genevi. When you wake up, all this will be over and you’ll get to see the happy outcome! No cliffhangers, no anticipation, no dread. Jump straight to the end!”
She giggled. “You’re trying to make me feel better.”
I mockingly rolled my eyes. “Oh my, have I been caught? I mean, my girlfriend just had her body chopped in half by a space monster and her undead mind uploaded to an AI. I’m just a bit worried about her mental well-being is all.”
“You left something out.” Genevi pressed her cheek against my chest. “The part where she was rescued by the most amazing person in the world. And the part where they shared a very long, passionate kiss before she consigned herself once more to the abyss.”
I looked down at her. “Is that a promise?”
“Let’s call it a prophecy.” She stood up on her tiptoes and planted her lips against mine. And then her tongue wormed its way into my mouth.
You know, despite all this advanced technology, giant robots and spaceships and all that jazz, I can’t find any record of someone inventing space fireworks. Lack of oxygen for combustion in a hard vacuum is the primary problem. Yet in that moment, my mind exploded into the most brilliant fireworks I had EVER experienced.
With Lydia on point, the remaining members of Maid Squadron formed up in a diamond pattern. Komekta and I arrayed our fifty-two remaining Strike Fins around us in a spherical lattice, producing the strongest gravity field we could muster. Then, like the forbidden jawbreaker from hell, we rocketed straight towards Moby’s mouth.
My circuits tensed up when Moby’s teeth and throat began to glow bright blue again. Would she simply blast us away and be done with it? Had she finally given up on joining with Lydia? The biosensors in Maurice, Miette and Sabina’s Inertia Suits told me they were sweating profusely. I’m sure Lydia was much the same; a quick check of her cockpit cameras revealed she seemed to be shaking. I shot a glance Kometka’s way, and she simply nodded back to me.
As we drew close, the glow died back down and Moby opened her mouth wide. The instant we flew past her pearly white teeth, she clamped her mouth shut again. I quickly enhanced my pilots' displays to false color to help illuminate the surroundings; I offhandedly considered asking Zehra to add headlights to my chassis after this battle. Not that I planned on flying into many Sarcophage gullets, mind you.
It was inside the mouth that we noticed the first difference between Moby’s anatomy and that of a regular human; her tongue was COVERED in tentacles. Like, thousands of them. And they wriggled in unison, eerily similar to a crowd doing the wave at a baseball game. They lashed against our gravity barrier, failing to break through.
I noticed on the sensor comms net that Komekta had taken complete control of her Gravity Frame, overriding the pilot. Lydia’s comm window had also shut off. I sent her a quick inquiry ping.
She’s fine. Kometka responded in text-only. We’re both fine. Just… bad memories.
Oh. RIGHT. Those tentacles were the very same that ate Lydia’s legs. She was probably suffering a not-insignificant amount of PTSD. I could relate to that.
Do you need any help? I sent back. Should we transfer command to Maurice?
No, I’ve got her. Trust me. She’ll be okay, and she needs this.
Well, that was that. Kometka knew Lydia far better than me, and I trusted her implicitly. Still, the sooner we could get this over with, the better.
We flew onwards past the tongue towards Mega-Moby’s esophagus, spittle-covered walls of flesh closing in from every side.