Monday, 22 October 2007


Illustration (c) 2007 Carl Goodman


Copyright (C) 2007 David C. Such

First published in AntipodeanSF (, Issue 113, October 2007.

A huge green tentacle dripping with yellow slime emerged from behind the quarantine bay at Star Dock Four. Jimbo lifted his 20 mm Glock Discombobulator and sighted where he expected the head to emerge. Culling new species of space vermin was always tricky; you never knew where the vital organs would be located. Still, the Glock D solved most problems.

As a pulsating glob of green flesh followed the tentacle around the corner, Jimbo squeezed off a shot. An enormous whoosh displaced the air in the dock and Jimbo was pushed back a metre by the recoil.

In the next dock, Customs officers Blake and Stoikalizky were surprised when it began raining green ichor.

"Bloody Hell," Blake said, "This is a new uniform." He tried to wipe the slime away.

Stoikalizky, a newbie, gave a quizzical look and said, "Does this sort of thing happen a lot?"

Blake shrugged, "Depends. Jimbo is responsible for keeping the docks clear of any alien life that escapes from ships loading and unloading. Quite an exotic ecosystem has built up over the years."

"I thought ships were sterilised?"

"You mean that pathetic spray they use when they walk through the cabins? Useless! A couple of years ago we had a plague of mutant star crabs. It took Jimbo months to track them all down. We lost a few good officers before he got them all."

"They didn’t mention crabs in the corporate video."


Blake was showing Stoikalizky the outer Dock area when they pulled up short of what looked like a sea of black moss. Stoikalizky was about to step onto it when Blake grabbed his arm and said, "Whoa, boy, you don’t want to join that poor soul."

A Customs officer's cap sat in the middle of the alien moss.

"You don’t think …"

"Let’s not take the chance." Blake activated his com-unit and said, "Jimbo, this is Blake, Hanger 3, looks like we have a clean up. Possible officer down."


"What do you think?" Blake asked.

Jimbo fished out the cap with a long, rod-like contraption. "I think Dawson won’t need his hat," he said, "I saw this stuff back in '24, looks like some of the spores escaped."

"What is it?"

"Well — I don’t know its official name, but I call it Death Slime," Jimbo said in slow, country drawl.

"Death Slime! You've gotta be shitting me!" said Stoikalizky.

"I shit you not."

"So how do we kill it?"

Jimbo stroked his chin and twirled the hat of the late officer Dawson. "Hmmm. Tricky," he said.

"What do you mean, tricky?" said Blake "Just do whatever you did last time?"

"I guess that will work." As he said that, Jimbo pushed the two officers onto the Death Slime.

Apparently, human flesh was toxic to the slime in large doses.

Hopefully, three would do the trick — this time.


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