He fiddled with the radio, got a spotty music station and settled back to just hold a gravity hole two meters away and not think about how much he'd love a hot meal and a soft bed.
Didn't quite drift off, didn't drop the gravity hole, nor fall off his tentacle-ends bench.
Changed Oxygen bottles. The Earth was definitely getting bigger. "All right. One more bottle, then I'll coast. Nap a bit. Get ready to figure out how to get down to Earth." He eyed the blue and white globe. "And . . . everything's in a counterclockwise orbit . . . well, all the big stuff . . . so I really want to insert myself on that side, not this, so I'm not hitting anything head on . . . not that I'm going to orbit, mind you, and hopefully will be well below orbital velocity by then . . ."
He shifted his gravity hole a bit and changed the angle the squid was pulling at him.
Tuned into news and heard all about problems the military was having with Squids that blew up like a mini-nuke when shot. "I'm going to regret doing this."
He tuned back into the USSF channels. "Is SF 23 still in orbit?"
"This is SF 23. Captain Hendricks speaking. Identify yourself."
"This is Will Furnace, AKA Doctor Inferno. Is Ernie Snead aboard"
And a familiar voice. "Will, what the heck are you doing out there!"
"Enjoying the view, I'm picking up ground transmissions that sound like the troops are having trouble with the Squid's exploding. That one in Las Vegas that I beat up? There was a top compartment with something that must have been controlling it. I managed to lobotomize one of these big ones by shooting it just below the top rim. Pass that on, if you can, to the ground troops. They might be more successful with snipers from a distance."
"Ground Control to SF 23. Do you have a location on the sender? We need an attack plan."
"Hendricks to Ground Control. Sender is currently out of range but approaching at ten kilometers per second. He should enter attack range in half an hour."
"Well, I knew I was going to regret breaking silence. Good grief, don't you have enough trouble already?"
"Ground Control to Doctor Inferno. Cease your attack and deactivate your robots, immediately! "
"They aren't mine. Stop being an idiot. I've just told you the only method I know of to stop them without an explosion." Did Hendricks say ten k per sec? Then I'm below orbital velocity, I just need to get a little slower and I'll be able to get down there. All I have to do is dodge a few missiles, this time with nothing to hide behind and . . .
He was smashed down into the bench as the tentacle cage supporting it collapsed and he had a bare moment to snuff his gravity hole before he hit, hit the squid off center, spun off, grabbed the strap of his net bag as it snapped . . . It slipped out of his grip but it had slowed, he should be able to find it, if he could stop spinning.
Preferably before I barf in my helmet, not that there's much in my stomach . . .
He threw both arms out. A gravity dimple in front of that one, and behind the other and . . . No! No! The other way around! Bloody God, I'm tired!
But the spin slowed, and yammering on his radio started making sense.
". . . hit a slower moving sphere from behind. Delta Vee was small, and might have been survivable. We're tracking multiple returns. The sphere hss opened so there's at least one squid out there. Possibly two or three. We can ID the open sphere, and we believe the fourth large object is Inferno."
Will stifled a groan and wiggled his jaw to turn off the radio. Pulled open his coverall and peeled awkwardly out of it. Spotted his netted oxygen bottles and tossed the coveralls the other direction.
Right. Gravity hole over there to pull the bottles to me . . . not too fast. He grabbed and hugged his air supply. And slowly rotating, spotted the sphere . . . and the squid emerging from it.