Serialized Science Fiction.

The Nanovampire
Tom Haynes

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patsy, a pilot down on his luck. He ran a charter from Galveston, but he had a wife there and one down here. Business had been good until he took the second wife, now he was struggling. I used $5k to entice him into a late night run to the US. He thought I was smuggling drugs, I even showed him the coke. He could be DEA, but they wouldn't touch me until he touched down.

When the nails started to spot, I went out and did the preflight check with him, I told him I wanted to learn to fly. I made sure the tanks were topped and a little bit after sunset, we took off. I let him meander a little on the way NW and then asked him if I could try some level flight. He tried to say no and I said I'd like to do it every time I chartered him. That settled it, the $5k had been spent and he still had to placate the first wife.

He turned the stick over to me and I kept it mainly level. After he relaxed, I asked him for a drink. As he leaned over the seat to get a cold one, I flipped the autopilot on and had a warm one. I didn't want to leave any real forensic evidence, so I made sure not to eat him, not even a finger. I turned the lights off, I didn't need them, and headed in a more northerly direction, for New Orleans.

The flight was pretty much uneventful, until I caught the Navy plane dogging my trail. Turning off the lights had paid off, I had a witness. The body had cooled, so the thermals should register only myself. I waited until I was four nautical miles from the coast and I dove down, juking like I was trying to loose some imagined observer. After I had leveled out, I engaged the autopilot to take the plane west, propped the real pilot in a normal position, and propelled myself out of the door. The plane would crash sooner or later and the fishes could have a meal.

I tucked myself into a cannonball, covering my bag, the contents of which were inside several layers of garbage bags. To be honest, I didn't care about the wealth represented by the drugs, it just made it a little easier to get started on my own hunt for my makers. I was more concerned about the PDA surviving the strain. I balled up in order to look more like a large bale. I knew the Coast Guard would have a cutter here pretty soon, so I braced for the impact and a quick recovery.

The fall hurt, I jumped about two hundred feet off of the deck, I didn't want to risk the plane crashing too close by and it felt I was going through concrete when I plunged into the ocean. I felt my back break, which was my worst fear, and I just kept sinking. I had counted on them neither seeing a chute nor a metallic echo from a tank. I'd seen the La Quebrada cliff divers easily do the 136 feet into the surf, so I made sure to go from a higher height. I had meant to straighten out at the last minute, but my timing was off and I landed on my back.

My contingency plan kicked in and the mites started to work on repairing my back. Once the numbness started tingling, I started swimming North, I had learned to tell direction from the magnetic fields. I had practiced in the bath tub, so I knew my friends could filter the oxygen out of the water. I never even felt the cold.

It took me three hours until I finally dragged myself up on a beach. I'd done better times in Triathlon events, but then I trained for weeks and I was unencumbered. My clothes were dry and as I put them on, I felt the shakes, I needed to eat, I had to repay my friends. I knew I should have eaten the pilot, but I needed a body in the wreckage to throw off the hounds.

While I can will my body to change, I have to know what the critters can do in order to ask them. The only way they communicate with me is if I'm in mortal danger or if they are hungry. I get the feeling they live off of me until either they poison me for them or I run

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