Crystal blinked as her eyes clear and the robotic voice said “cleansing complete. Radiation neutralized.”
A lump formed in Crystal’s throat. Isabel… She’d believed this entire time that the security protocol to deal with the Typhon would be something rooted in divine powers, but the Lemurians who built this facility weren’t gods. They were beings of science and had found a scientific solution to the problem. One that killed every living creature within the chamber.
The dome retracted and Crystal wiped the tears burning on the edge of her vision. I never should have brought her here, she thought with a fierce anger. Crystal knew that was foolish – she would have died against the Typhon without Isabel’s help – but the fact remained that if Isabel had remained behind, she’d be alive.
Crystal forced herself to her feet again. She just wanted to sleep, sleep for years, but she wouldn’t let Isabel have died for nothing. I’m sorry, she thought, looking over the edge. If the staff of Ra didn’t hold the key to saving the world, then…then she’d deal with that later. It has to help, Crystal thought, knowing how irrational that conviction was. But she didn’t feel she had anything else to hold onto.
The Typhon’s body was unmoving, the tendrils that connected its head and snakes to its body laying discarded on the ground. Tumors had formed at the edges of the wounds. The radiation must have caused it to be unable to regrow. It was an effective method of control, Crystal had to admit. Irradiate everything to hell with neutrinos. The beam must have blasted out the far side of the moon, given how insubstantial the moon was, but at close proximity they would be dense enough to have killed pretty much everything not protected by one of those domes.
The Tyrannosaurus that had been Isabel was…Crystal’s forehead furrowed. Where the bloody hell is it?
As if in response to the question, a lump began to form on the floor, a lump that grew rapidly until it was a young woman, looking tired and bruised, but very much alive. “Did we win?” Isabel shouted up to Crystal.
“Isabel?” Crystal asked, her jaw dropping. “How…what…how are you not dead?”
Isabel flashed Crystal a grin. “Water bear! I heard your warning and shifted to it. Expelled most of the poison too, although I cycled back through the woodrat to make sure.”
Crystal started to laugh, feeling the tears forming again. “You scared the bloody piss out of me!” she shouted.
“I thought those snakes got you!” Isabel countered. “Fair’s fair, right?”
Crystal could only laugh, right up until the shaking caused her arm to give her another reminder how very broken it was. It was hard to see through the tears, but it looked like Isabel was grimacing.
“How badly are you – you know, screw the shouting,” Isabel said from the bottom of the pit. “Can I get a lift up?”
“I couldn’t lift a piece of paper up here, love,” Crystal countered. “I’m completely drained.”
Isabel nodded and turned into a hummingbird, flitting her way up to the platform. Crystal watched the tiny jewel of a bird flutter up and hover in the air before shifting back to Isabel. “Damn…what happened?” She motioned to Crystal’s arm.
Crystal shrugged with only her good shoulder. “I kind of ran out of power while going forty sliding along the ground. Real physics weren’t particularly kind to me when the power dropped.”
Isabel winced in sympathy. “Stay there, let’s get you a sling.” She pulled off her shirt.
Crystal’s Hungers were in full effect, and she had to fight the urge to stare as Isabel ripped a strip off the bottom of the shirt before replacing what remained of the garment. “We’re going to need to move your arm back up,” Isabel said, flushing faintly as she noticed Crystal’s gaze. “It’s going to hurt.”
“Right,” Crystal said, getting her focus back on the task at hand. “Can you help with that?”
Isabel nodded and stepped forward, looping the strip of cloth over Crystal’s neck and shoulder. “You’re going to need to get it properly set when we get back to Earth. If it heals badly…” Isabel looked up and met her gaze. It seemed she was as aware of how close they were as Crystal was. “Well, you’ll probably be fine. Divine everything, right?’
Crystal smiled. “Too bloody right, love. Let’s get this over with?”
Isabel nodded and gently placed her fingers on Crystal’s injured hand. “Clench your good first. It’ll help.”
The blinding pain of having her arm lifted to be placed in the sling completely killed whatever mood had been building. Crystal threw her head back to scream at the agony, and following Isabel’s advice caused her hand to clench so hard it dug deep furrows of blood in her palm. “Sorry, sorry,” Isabel said repeatedly, pushing Crystal’s arm into the sling and then giving it a careful tug to make sure it was straight. “Sorry,” she said again as Crystal’s pain levels went from unbearable and wound down to agonizing.
“It’s alright,” Crystal panted. Sweat beaded her forehead, and she felt like she was about to pass out. Against everything her body wanted to do, she forced herself to smile. “Just need some food, some drink, some sleep, and some fun. Then it’ll heal right up.”
Isabel nodded and gave Crystal a mirror of her reassuring smile. “Absolutely.” She pointed down towards the bottom corner of the room. “We should get down there. I saw a doorway when I was fighting the Typhon. It’s the only other door I’ve seen in here, so it has to lead to the staff of Ra.”
“Right,” Crystal said, tearing her eyes off Isabel to follow the direction of her point. “Any idea how to get down there without me blacking out? I can’t lower myself, and I don’t look forward to riding you with a broken arm.”
Isabel flushed at the choice of words and coughed. “I’ve been thinking about that. I’ve got a T-Rex, so I’m guessing I have some kind of sauropod. I can get my head up to the bottom of the platform, you step on, I lower you down.”
Crystal nodded. “That makes sense. But first?”
Isabel looked at her, and Crystal reached out to take Isabel’s hand. “Last time things were desperate, and I didn’t ask. But I’m Hungry, and if anything’s waiting, I need any kind of strength, and beyond that I’d bloody love to kiss-”
Before she could finish the sentence, Isabel leaned forward, carefully avoiding Crystals arm.
There in the Typhon’s chamber, on a platform built by a species thirty million years gone from this earth, they kissed – and for a moment, Crystal forgot about everything else that surrounded them.