Things Left Undone Book 3, Chapter 3
The Mysterious Fungus
All that was left of the jet bike was a series of bubbles that popped sluggishly out of the thick green/brown mud.
"Oh, @$#*!!!" Sydney swore. Enraged, she kicked the mud, and sent a large clod through the air. It landed about twenty feet away, and was absorbed back into the earth. "I hate this place!! All you can see is mud, gnarled trees, the shells of buildings, the eternally green sky, and that twice-damned glowing fungus!!"
Johnny, meanwhile, was mourning the loss of his precious jet bike, which he had spent over a century fixing up. He dug frantically into the mud, but couldn't make a hole that wasn't immediately filled back up by the molasses-like mud. When he stood up, his metal arms were stained green.
Krono was silent and sullen.
"That was our only way of getting back home. We're gonna be stuck here until we die!! And I had so much more I wanted to do with my life!!" Lucca yelled. She was pacing around as well as she could, being hindered by the green glop below. "There's gotta be some way..." She stopped pacing and cradled her chin in her hand, deep in thought. "Crono, Marle, Ayla and Glenn should be somewhere around here, right? This is where Karter sent them, or so he said."
Sydney sighed. "Yeah, but this world Karandash could be huge. And we have no idea where they are. They could be right under our feet, for all we know."
Krono cleared his throat. "Krono not know bout everyone else, but nasty sky giving me headache."
"Yeah, I noticed that too." Lucca said. "If only we knew what was causing the air to be so bad. We might be able to preform some good deed, since we're gonna be here for a while."
As one, they turned to watch as one of the pods on the glowing fungus grew, then burst, spraying reddish powder into the air. The powder was carried on the hot breeze, up into the green haze above.
"Oh, gross." Johnny, who being a robot wasn't easily moved by human emotions, summed up their thoughts very well. "I'd assume that your lovely funguses over there are causing the green skies, babe."
* * * * *
Shortly after, Lucca had drawn her bandanna around her mouth and nose, and was approaching the nearest tree. It, like everything else in this ruined world, was covered by the fungus. With a knife, she scraped a small amount into a steel cup. She returned to her friends and set the cup onto a nearby rock.
"What now, oh scientific genius?" Sydney stared at the fungus with a disgusted expression on her face.
"Now, we kill it." After a moment of silence, she looked up and asked, "Any ideas?"
Krono gestured towards Sydney's bag, which was filled with unusual but useful items. "I bet we find something in bag."
After shuffling through it for about a half hour, they had assembled a few matches, a vial of poison, several pairs of gloves, a set of syringes filled with various colored liquids, salad tongs, and lunch for themselves.
Although they weren't particularly hungry, they ate the salt pork and bread, all the while testing the various items on the fungus.
Lucca picked the fungus up with the tongs and held it suspended in midair while Sydney held a lit match to it. It smoldered, but didn't succeed in doing anything but turning a spot dark green and sending acrid smoke into the air. The second test, with the poison, didn't go much better. Having no mouth to pour it into, Sydney poured the vial right onto the fungus. It didn't do a thing. "Not that it would have done any good if it had worked," Sydney remarked. "That was all I had."
Finally, they were nearing the end of their bright ideas. Only one syringe remained, filled with a thick black liquid. Sydney, munching on a piece of salt pork, leaned over the fungus to get to the syringe. She drew back when she heard a high-pitched squeak, like you hear when you burn live branches.
The fungus had a large black crater in its side! They looked about, trying to find out what had caused the damage. Lucca's eyes rested on the last piece of salt pork. Krono grabbed it first. "No. Krono want! He still hungry!"
"No, Krono, I'm not going to eat it. I think I know what hurt the fungus." Krono gave Lucca the pork, and as everyone watched, she dropped a piece onto the fungus. It shrank back, finally shriveling into a dry, black lump.
"It's killed by pork!?!" Johnny remarked.
"No, not the pork, but the salt on the pork!" Lucca said triumphantly.
"You mean it's like a slug!" Sydney said, finally catching on.
"Sydney have more salt in bag?" Krono inquired.
"You bet!" She reached into the bag and emerged with a large hunk of salt, about the size of a basketball. "I knew this would come in handy someday." she muttered, half to herself.
Soon, with the aid of Lucca's mallet, they had busted the salt into powder and had given equal amounts to everyone.
"You're aware that we don't have nearly enough to cover this whole planet." Johnny said.
Lucca turned to him. "Well, we can make as much use out of it as we can. Use it sparingly. It only takes a little bit."
With that, they all spread out and began to kill the fungus.
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