FROM THE TALES OF MOON MOUNTAIN • BUZZ BERRY
Mere inches away, a barbed vine slithered back in recoil to a phaser blast. The Botanist rolled backwards from the sentient flora, stopping on a knee and stabilizing himself before placing another shot into the plant - and several more into the foliage surrounding it.
A stillness fell over the fungal forest.
Mushrooms the size of skyscrapers gave off a pungent fume - one that caused severe skin and eye irritation when exposed. Even taller still stood large bulbous stalks, reaching into a burnt sky and swaying ever so slightly in the planet’s atmospheric wind.
The Botanist peered through a fogged mask, breathing slowly through the apparatus while scanning the forest for signs of movement. Satisfied his quarry was scared away, he reached for his pack and pulled out a silver node.
He grunted as he placed it on the ground, giving it a tap. An augmented representation of the surrounding forest flashed out and appeared before him. The planet’s name hovered above; BZZ41514, a planet known for nothing outside of its hostile atmosphere.
The Botanist suspected that would change soon given his presence there was one of a professional nature. He sought a small alien fruit rumored to be in the system. This part of the galaxy was known for exotic vegetation that provided lucrative research materials for pharmaceutical companies back on Earth. The fruit didn’t have a name, but the Botanist had taken to calling it the Buzz Berry, named for its home planet. While it was only a rumor, the Botanist had a good feeling about this one. The only question was… why the hell had no one gone after it before?
As he scanned the map a faint hum started ringing in his ears. It seemed mechanical at first—distant—but growing louder. He closed the map and slung the backpack over his shoulder before scanning his surroundings, weapon poised. On the horizon he noticed a black mass, small at first but growing larger. As it grew closer he could see it was not a singular mass but several winged beasts all humming in unison. A look of fear crossed his eyes.
Not space bees...Of course it’s space bees... God I hate space bees.
Before he knew it the swarm was above him, several diving towards his current position, stingers extended. The Botanist waited until they were close, skirting to the side at the last second and plunging a hooked dagger into a meaty thorax. He felt himself whisked off the ground so fast it jarred him, pulling another hook out with his alternate hand he sunk it into the insect and hoisted himself up. He could see they were returning to what appeared to be their hive - hanging from one of the towering 'shrooms above. When he got closer he could see, spurning from the edges of the hive - a bright red and blue fruit, pulsing with juiciness.
The Buzz berry...it's real...
As the bee flew past the fruit the Botanist released his grip, plummeting towards his prize. He landed and scooped as much of the fruit as possible - stuffing it in his pack before shouldering it, clicking the small red button on his belt and leaping from the fruit backwards, guns drawn. As he fired into the approaching swarm, the ground rushing towards him and his ship rushing toward him in the distance, he smiled slyly. The world would know the truest of forest berry flavors soon - and his fortune would be sewn in a delicious nectar fit for kings.
Enjoy the nectar of kings, the BUZZ BERRY: