Is this one of your stupid jokes, Rains? What do you mean with, ‘Decker isn’t Decker?’ He’s hooked to E-bed 2, in quarantine, thanks to you. Care to elaborate? He raises an eyebrow. I know the doc doesn’t approve that I ripped off the seal. The best I could do, to trigger the alarm.
I shake my head, but plunk down into the seat, the doctor offers me. He tries to look me in the eyes. I know perfectly well, that what I’m about to say is just crazy… Doc pushes a cup of fresh coffee over to me and glances down his watch. This all – it sounds batshit crazy, even to me.
Look doc, I’m… I don’t know. I – I just – I have to tell someone. Makes me feel less…
Disoriented? Distressed? The doctor offers. I know he means to be helpful. But…
This is a report. I keep telling myself. I have to warn everybody. Doc Wellington has to keep his cake-hole shut. I tell him, before I let the Captain in on this… Whatever this is.
I can’t meet his gaze. Those eyes, they accuse, they see through, they strip you bare.
I nod and take a sip from the freshly brewed hot dark liquid. My mouth burns… This is a report. It will burn less when I talk. I need to get this out of my system.
You know, some hours ago… Down on Chimon, when Decker knocked himself out, and I had to haul his heavy ass back?
The doctor nods.
I… I think something happened to Decker. Uh, he said some very weird things… Some, uh, really disturbing stuff… I don’t think he was himself.
The man sitting opposite me fixes me with his blazing eyes. Even though I’m not looking at him, I feel two hot spots resting on my cheeks. As if two wasps had decided to sting me simultaneously. Just freaks me out. He harrumphs politely and folds his fingers into a praying gesture.
Well, delirium is a very strange mental state. He begins explaining, but this is bullshit. But this is not that easy. It can spook anyone. I don’t like how he shrugs. There are documented cases, where people started speaking tongues, even ancient greek or latin… His patronizing smile turns my guts. And it was a most stressful situation. Acidic taste seeps on my tongue, and I force my stomach back down. I shake my head.
THIS IS NOT WHAT I MEAN! Not at all. I nearly left him on the surface! I have his full attention now, he leans forward. I nearly left him on the surface, because he freaked me out.
The solar storm damaged the engines of the landing pod, upon reentry. And the com. The landing wasn’t optimal, and it’s my fault, that we both, mostly Decker got nearly killed on spot. He, uh, rescued us -me – and got his oxygen tank damaged.
My hands leave the cup alone and I raise them, palms up. Shrugging palms.
First, everything was normal. Well, as normal as being stranded in a volcanic eruption zone on an unstable planet. Normal apeshit crazy stuff. The man in front of me scoffs. A sense of humor is always a good sign. That’s what they tell you in the military. A residual coping mechanism, when everything else is beyond repair.
Got him into the nearest pick-up area. That was when his oxygen got down into the red zone. He said he won’t survive this. He said, the drugs aren’t working properly, that something was wrong. Then… I swallow.
Then, uh… He screamed! He screamed for three minutes straight. It, it was, uh nauseating. It must have hurt so badly. He screamed for his mother… I – I-
Take your time… It must have been hard to listen to a man dying.
I cannot hold back, to my surprise – I sob.
Uh, he said, he is going to enjoy this. And that I will enjoy this too.
He’d make me…
Color code: Captain Edward Wong; Lieutenant Marius Rains; Lt. Anatol Decker; MD Oscar (Oz) Wellington; Dr. Samara Frazer; Crewman* Proto Septimus;