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The Fight in the Dog

Chapter 1: coffee to go

By Madoka MoriPublished 10 months ago 15 min read
Justas Galaburda via Dribbble

In space, no one can hear you scream.

So it turns out that’s a fucking lie.

If you are, for example, holding someone’s hand while you’re in space then the contact between your pressuresuit and theirs conducts sound from one to the other.

So if — hypothetically — you’ve been thrown out of the airlock of a space elevator with your favourite barista, and you give the barista the first pressuresuit because you wanted him to be safe because you’ve had such a crush on this fucking barista like forever, but the Zhonguo gangsters throwing you out of the airlock had trapped that suit thinking that you’d be the one wearing it, and so after the airlock explosively depressurises both you and your favourite barista are hurled into the void of space and you’re holding your favourite barista’s hand when a genehacked fungus starts eating him from the legs up, well.

Then you can hear a scream in the vacuum of space.

At this point in our purely theoretical thought experiment it would get quiet for a long long time, quite a few hours in fact. Hours of silently drifting slowly away from the carbonfiber rope of the elevator you call home beneath the great gentle glow of the Earth, clutching the hand of a spacesuit containing the meatsauce remains of what could very well have been the love of your life.

I’m pretty sure his name was Tigre, but now that I think on it that might have been — actually almost certainly was — a nickname.

Lots of time to do that — think — when you’re doing the aforementioned floating-in-space-holding-the-meatsauce-spacesuit-etc-etc thing. And of course, you’re going to be thinking of revenge at that point, mostly. Hypothetically.

Then if by a million-to-one chance, literally one million to one, this imaginary example person is plucked from their introspective drift before their air runs out or they descend too far into the Earth's gravity well by a passing cargo hauler, so that they feel suddenly like they’ve been brought back to the world of the living to commit some grand scheme of unfinished business like a ghost or that crow guy from the old movie, well.

Then you’ve rather sharpened this hypothetical individual's focus to a bit of a point.

And whoever did this imaginary barista-expulsion would absolutely one-hundred-percent deserve what happened to them next, even if it was reported system-wide as ‘excessive violence,’ and ‘mass slayings,’ and — my personal favourite — ‘wanton destruction with no regard for the sanctity of orbital infrastructure.’

This is all hypothetical, of course.

Let me tell you about it.


The ship that picks us up — well picks me up, but I’m still clutching the hand of the spacesuit containing the lamentable remains of poor Tigre so he comes along too — pulls us into the airlock with one of those furtive flexing smartrope things. The outer airlock shuts but the inner one doesn’t open even after the pressure equalises. Not a great sign. First one face, then another peers in through the inner door porthole but still the inner door doesn't open. I keep my helmet on just in case they decide to vent me back out and wait, floating.

The first face reappears and clicks on the intercom. Through the speaker he says: take off your helmet.

No fucking way, I tell the face. I say: I’ve been shot out of an airlock once already today and so as you might surmise I’m not feeling too trusting vis-a-vis parties other than myself being at the controls of airlocks that I happen to be in. Besides after this recent traumatic event which I have just explained to you the spacesuit I’m currently wearing has become much more than just a straightforward and sensible piece of vacuum safety equipment it is currently also acting as a psychological aid for me at this moment, like a security blanket.

The guy listens to me say all of this and then his face moves away from the window. After a minute or so it is replaced by a third face. The intercom clicks on again.

Are you Akari Balakrishnan?

No sir.

I’m not lying because it wasn’t my real name anyway.

I say: my name is Tigre and I am a barista. This poor unfortunate person next to me is Akari or should I say was Akari as she has had some kind of terrible accident as you can see. I am just a barista and not an expert on such things so I’m not sure exactly what has gone wrong here. It could be a suit malfunction or perhaps some nefarious person has edited the waste-eating mould from the water treatment center in an illegal CRISPR lab to aggressively eat human flesh and placed a quantity of it inside her suit as a boobytrap. I wouldn’t know, being as I said merely a simple barista.

These fellows knowing my name means that their rescuing me from my impromptu spacewalk was not simple chance, million-to-one or no. The faces at the window are pugnacious and studded with piercings and so many tattoos they look like they've been vandalised. Apparently whoever threw me out of the airlock in the first place has sent people out to make certain that there was no way I made it back.

This suits me just fine for two reasons. The first is that — very simply — I would rather be on a ship than not. Out in space in an emergency pressuresuit there was very very little I could do to improve my chances of survival, whilst currently my odds are rising by the minute even if they’re still not what one would classify as great.

The second reason is that by sending out a ship they have shown that they are not very smart. They’ve given me a very very slim chance when minutes ago I had zero and that means they are not playing the odds which is absolutely something I am going to take advantage of.

Intercom click. What’s your name again?

Tigre sir.

What’s your real name.

Unfortunately sir Tigre is the only name I am known by. My parents were hippies you see.

The intercom clicks off again and I think I’ve blown it but after a minute or so of apparent discussion on the other side the inner door ratchets open. There are three meatheads in total crewing the cramped little craft and they are floating beyond the inner airlock door in a loose semicircle. They are tatted and pierced and implanted but unaugmented apart from the older, pudgier one having some naff twenty-years-out-of-style eye augmeks, big insectile jobbies.

The interior of the ship is cramped, filthy, and probably smells exactly how you’d expect a sealed environment containing three high-protein-diet bruisers to smell, by which I of course mean that it smells of baby oil and farts. Farts so thick in the air you could cut it into bricks with a knife and build yourself a little igloo, an igloo of farts. I am extremely glad to be wearing my still-sealed spacesuit.

They are all armed. Insect-eyes has got an overclocked taser-goad, lad on the right has a machete, and lefty has a spiked mace kinda thing which get points both for intimidation factor and being extremely functional against someone wearing a pressuresuit in close quarters.

The one with the eyes and the taser says: come out. I guess he’s in charge then.

There are three of them, juiced to the gills on synthetic hormones and steroids, probably wired on whichever -etamine is in vogue right now, armed, and they have me surrounded. I’m half the size of one of them and my entire body probably weighs as much as one of the six gym-and-roid-sculpted arms on display.

What I do have over them is: a pressuresuit full of semi-liquid barista and a tragic backstory involving a government lab.

I’m not going to tell you that the government lab thing was nice in any way but it does have its uses. I mentally take my hands off the wheel and with a sense almost of relief I let the rage swell up like a tide and it’s like slipping into a warm bath. Three fuckbois all lined up like a buffet and I am READY TO EAT darling. The leader is older and flabbier and his cattleprod won’t do anything to the suit so I’ll leave him for last which is good because I want to ask him some questions anyway. Machete needs to get a good swing to be a threat and he’s probably not going to be able to pull that off inside the cramped cabin while on the float. So let’s go: Mace first, then Machete, then Taser.

I float out of the airlock like a fucking crocodile and can’t help but grin. I hope that the helmet covers it.

I pop the neck catches of the suit containing the dead Tigre and wrap him in a short sharp bearhug. The helmet shoots off like a champagne cork expelled by the liquescent mass of the ex-barista within. He’s about the consistency of chilli con carne or a soupy dhal by this point. Grabbing the suit is like squeezing an inflatable mattress to get the air out.

About two gallons of barista squirts out of the neck-hole in a wobbling viscous cloud. It’s not like I can aim a suit very well but it goes more-or-less in the right direction, which is towards Machete and Taser. None of the fuckbois are wearing helmets so the smell and general ick factor will hopefully force them to take a moment of quiet reflection as they think about the life choices which have brought them face-to-face with a bucketful of partially-digested zero-gravity coffee vendor.

With the time I’ve bought on that side I go for Mace on the other. He takes a swing as I come gliding in and there’s nothing I can really do about that in zerogee except suck it up. The integrity alarm of my suit starts bleating when the spikes of the mace stick into the meat of my forearm puncturing the seal but its a good thing actually because the mace jams against the bone and he can’t pull it out so he can’t hit me anywhere vital. I land on his chest with all four limbs like a cat, legs and arms scrabbling for purchase. We spin in the small cabin, bouncing off the bulkhead and consoles. He’s strong but with me clamped to his chest there’s not much he can do, he’s got no leverage. He’d figure it out eventually and get me off and then I’d be fucked but I don’t give him enough time to do that. I’ve got a good hold of his suit’s collar ring with one hand so I headbutt him in the face with my pressure helmet once twice three times until he spits broken teeth and then I jam my other hand into his now-open mouth.

His eyes go wide and then they get a fuckload wider as I keep going, keep shoving my hand into his mouth and down his throat like a fat kid trying to get the last pringle at the bottom of the can. He stops trying to fight me in any kind of organised way and just starts flailing and I get to the point where my elbow hits the jagged remains of his teeth with my hand all the way down his throat, through the neck and into his thoracic cavity, and in a moment of transcendent kinship I swear to god I can feel his heart hammering like an engine RIGHT THERE. There’s only a few centimeters of muscle and membrane between it and my fingers. I’ve never felt such a deep connection with another person before it’s more intimate than sex it’s amazing.

Something glances off my shoulder. It’s the taser. The other two fuckbois, splattered with barista effluvia, are coming to their comrade’s aid.

Too late for Mace unfortunately but alas our little moment of unity and togetherness is broken, gone forever.

I pull my arm out of his throat with a sucking schloop and kick off from his chest like a swimmer pushing off the side of a pool. Machete is winding up for an overhead swing but can’t find enough room in the cramped cabin of the cargo hauler to do so. The mace is still sticking out of my forearm so I jam the spikes that aren’t embedded in me into the soft meat of his armpit. It’s a tender area. He shrieks but doesn’t drop the machete. I’ve underestimated either this fuckboi’s training or resolve or the quantity of drugs he’s got in his system and that’s less than great.

He lands a punch with his off hand, rattling my head around inside my helmet. I taste copper as my mouth fills with blood from a split lip or bitten tongue and I swallow it so that it doesn’t float around and obscure my vision. Fuck but he’s strong.

Taser jams his cattleprod into the small of my back and although obviously the electricity still isn’t doing anything through the insulated rubberized material it’s enough to spin me around and keep me off balance. Machete’s second punch catches me full in the ribs and I feel one give with a wet snap. He brings the pommel of the machete down on my faceplate and it spiderwebs with cracks.

The three of us are one struggling mass of zerogee combat now, a tangle of squirming limbs trying to find purchase and do damage. If one of them manages to get me in a hold then the other one will be able to finish me off like they were paying for lunch. My face is a rictus grin tinged pink, blood climbing the cracks in my teeth.

This is SO MUCH FUN.

My questing fingers find one of Taser’s augmetic eyes and honestly it’s like Christmas. I pull and twist with firm steady pressure and he roars then shouts then screams; the proper high-pitched scream of someone whose machismo has left them along with their eye. I rip it from its socket like I’m pulling the giblets out of a chicken and it comes free trailing wires and blood. Taser guy drifts off clutching his face, out of the fight.

If I was to rank the noises emitted in this brawl so far based on how unique they’ve been (in descending order) I would go: 1) pulling my arm from Mace’s neck-hole, 2) Taser's cybereye, then finally 3) the noise the barista made getting squeezed out of his suit.

Machete and I have come apart a little and he tries again to get in a swing at me with the heavy edge of his blade. I fling the eye at his face which makes him flinch, but then a globule of barista floats wobbling by so I grab a handful of that and smear it directly into his eyes. It’s a big meaty handful and even if he’s too hopped up the latest designer fuckboi drugs to care about the squik factor then at least he can’t see me anymore. I get around behind him, high on his back and take control of his machete arm.

Even with the wound in his armpit and him actively throwing up because of the biohazard smeared on his face it takes all the strength I have just to pull that arm around into a triangle choke. I’ve got one foot on the back of his head and the other knee in between his shoulderblades and I’m putting my whole body into it like someone trying to pull up a sapling by the roots. To my happiness and surprise I discover that instead of his arm crossing his windpipe it’s the blade of his machete so I think what the hell and just keep pulling. It’s not very sharp but it digs through his oesophagus and muscle pretty well because of the amount of force I’ve got behind it.

The fight goes out of him before I hit vertebrae so I stop because there are already so many globules of assorted bodily fluid floating around in here that it feels like scuba diving in a kelp forest and a full decapitation isn’t going to improve the situation.

Machete is dead, Mace is moving weakly as he gradually expires, and Taser is floating in a corner sobbing with his hands clamped over his ruined eyesocket. I am smeared with blood from everyone in the room, the three heavies and Tigre and me, the white of my emergency pressuresuit splattered with streaks of red and brown like it was psychedelic camouflage. The spiked mace is still jutting from my left forearm so I pull it out and drift over to the sobbing Taser and take a deep breath and take the wheel again. Taser is still technically a threat so I slam the mace down into his hand pinning it to the console and wink at him when he’s too scared to even properly cry out and okay jeez alright back in the box with you. I take a deep breath. I’m back in control. I say sorry to Taser and he looks even more scared by that, like I mean he’s really shaking now.

I take a minute to just breathe long ragged breaths, wincing at where it catches on the broken rib. Jesus fucking Christ but my arm hurts. There are five holes in the pressuresuit on the top of my forearm, and a little dimple on the underside where one of the spikes went almost all the way through.

I say to Taser: hey do you have a firstaid kit in this jalopy? I have to slap him a couple of times before he gathers himself enough to point it out to me. I keep wiping blood off my faceplate when I bump into floating globules of it and it’s smearing so much I can barely find the painkillers.

I shoot an ampoule of painkiller straight through the fabric of my suit because its integrity is gone anyway and I don’t want to take it off because I’ll almost certainly catch something horrible from all the gunk that’s floating around. The meatheads don’t look like they make hygiene a priority, and while my love for poor Tigre is as deep as an ocean he was a well-known cocksman and likely riddled with a medically-interesting number of STDs. I slap a patch over the holes in my suit which are leaking out little globules of blood like a lavalamp. I think one of the bones is broken too but I’ll deal with that later along with the rib which digs its claws into my side with every breath.

For now I turn back to Taser. He’s bobbing at the end of his mace-pinned arm like it’s a guyline, the other hand clamped over his eyesocket with blood bulging and wobbling from between his fingers. The poor fella isn’t having a very good day. He cowers and sobs when I float closer and says what even are you but I’m not here to talk about me I want to talk about him. Specifically, who told him my name and to go out in a shitty little smuggling hauler and keep an eye out for me drifting merrily through space after — what I assume are — compatriots of his threw me out there in the first place.

Taser bless him doesn’t know much but he does give me a name. Two names actually. One is Stallion who is the guy, Taser's boss, who told him to pootle around the volume and see if he could find a nice lady named Akari Balakrishnan who will be floating around in a spacesuit. The other name is Wink Dont Blink which is the name of the club Stallion uses as the front for his smuggling operation. I’ve never heard of either.

Taser doesn’t know why they were looking for me he just says that Stallion told him what to do and that there was a bounty.

That’s truly all the poor man knows and he’s very eager to tell me. I was psyching myself up to use his own taser on him and even do some light zerogee waterboarding but luckily there is no need. I hate doing that enhanced interrogation stuff. Part of me thinks I should do it anyway to make sure he’s not hiding anything but Taser is so pathetic and sad I just really don’t have the heart to.

I pull out the mace pinning him to the console and get him to put all the bodies into the airlock, Tigre included, and then feeling rather guilty I give him a jolt in the neck with the taser and shove him in after them. I cycle the outer lock open and don’t look as they all get puffed out into the void.

I feel kinda bad for Taser really but he would have done the same to me and a bunch of his friends did actually do the same to me not three hours ago and anyway I’m still sore about Tigre so fuck him. At least I’m thorough and didn’t make the same mistake his friends did earlier: I made sure he didn’t have a helmet.

I put the scrubbers up as high as they will go to get as much of this floating awfulness out of the air as possible. The inside of the cargo hauler looks like someone packed a medium-sized pig with explosives and then detonated it as some kind of protest against factory farming or sharia law or something, it’s truly incredible.

I familiarise myself with the console then punch in a course back to Dagas Terminal and strap in. I need to go find this Stallion guy and ask him what the tapdancing fuck his problem is.

Science FictionSci Fi

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Madoka Mori

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Comments (32)

  • J. S. Wade10 months ago

    Loved rereading this fine chapter! 🥰. Does this mean Chapter 2 is coming ?

  • Incredible first chapter. My only question is: is it reasonable to believe that the fungus would be rendered inactive & safe after only three hours time?

  • lucyjb10 months ago

    I love your mix of bold and regular text and the voice of this character is so much fun!

  • Sara Frederickabout a year ago

    I personally think that this is your best story. It's fresh and so entertaining. Stories don't usually make me laugh, but this one did.

  • Ashley McGee2 years ago

    As always a pleasure to read! That was a wild ride and if/when you get to expand it, I'd be happy to read more. I like this character. I like the frenzy. Space needs more blood frenzy.

  • Angel Whelan2 years ago

    Perfection, as always!

  • Michele Jones2 years ago

    Loved the action and the pacing. Would love to know more.

  • Loved the pace! Quite an interesting style. Kept me engaged between laughs and disgust.

  • Lena Folkert2 years ago

    Very nice new vibe from you! Well done.

  • Aphotic2 years ago

    This is the kind of insanity I’m here for. Such a pleasure to read and I laughed out loud several times. You are a true wordsmith!

  • Violet LeStrange2 years ago

    Well… shit. 13/10, four thumbs up lol. That was straight up amazeballs. You really did crank the action up to eleven, and the balance of snark and splatterpunk and spacey goodness was perfect. Good gravy when can we expect the next chapter because I need more of this in my life stat.

  • Mark E. Cutter2 years ago

    Brilliant as ever, I see. Amazing job!

  • EJ Ferguson2 years ago

    This is ruthless. And hilarious. If ever a story was gonna make you laugh AND throw up while keeping you hooked, it would be this one. Loved it, awesome work 👏

  • And I relate to the fat kid eating the Pringles. 😝 This was fantastically deranged and I didn’t want it to end

  • J. S. Wade2 years ago

    Awesome action! Wow! What’s the quote? “Hell hath no fury …”. 🤣

  • Tony Galbier2 years ago

    What a ride! This was incredibly fun and well written!

  • Made in DNA2 years ago

    LORDY! WhatEVER inspired you to write such beautiful MADNESS!? Keep it up.

  • OMGOSH! This was AWESOME! I hope this is part ofa book...and if it is, please keep me posted!

  • Loved the gory parts! Loved her shoving her hand deep into Mace's throat, gouging Taser's eye out and throwing it at Machete! I feel like she has a spilt personality and hence the normal and bold fonts. But I can be wrong. I wonder what will happen when she finds Stallion. What a cliffhanger! You did a fantastic job!

  • Test2 years ago

    This is delightful, and horrific, and hilarious, and I can't wait to see how balls-to-the-wall crazy it gets after this.

  • J. R. Lowe2 years ago

    AMAZING! I just love the blunt and barbaric humour you’ve got going on here. I think the style you’ve written in makes it so easy to visualise as well. Well done!

  • Babs Iverson2 years ago

    Bloody good!!!💖💕

  • Kat Thorne2 years ago

    As always, killing it in everything you do! Great job!

  • Chezney Martin2 years ago

    So many points for originality, I don't think I've ever read something like this! The use of slang and colloquialism was super enjoyable. Great work :)

Madoka MoriWritten by Madoka Mori

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