See? Nothing unusual. The doctor pats me on the shoulder and goes back to the only occupied e-bed. I go through the scans of Decker’s insides, from head to toe for the hundredths time. Brooding over it won’t help. Chalk it up to delirium. Trust me. He turn and flashes a big bright smile. I’m a doctor. Continue reading “med bay snippet #4”
Part 1 – “SAFE ATMOSPHERE” – here
Part 2: published here
I’M THAT KIND OF GUY
It’s no fun, being tied up and dragged behind a vehicle at breakneck speed.
In case you’re wondering, and want to try it yourself – DON’T! Contain your beer-fueled impulses, folks! Don’t kid yourselves, I only make this look easy and enjoyable!
“Fenrir, jam all outgoing signals and patch that in.” The message started with the familiar Strix United jingle and the main screen on the bridge went blue.
“No! Kill the video feed, show me the transcript!” Captain Rains’ orders overwrote the AI’s standard routines, and it did as it was told. The message projected unto the analysis screen. It started scrolling down as he read it. “HA!” He slapped the console in a fit of joy. “Gotcha, Wong.” The AI encrypted the message again and took it from the screen.
The captain leaned back in his seat and was very much pleased with what was coming. He closed his eyes and started thinking of all the gruesome details of his revenge. A smile slowly sprawled over his face, like the legs of a bird spider.
“Fenrir, start recording the signals broadcasted on the designated frequencies. Bounce Paine out of his bunk, and make me coffee.” Rains yawned and ruffled his blonde hair. He started thinking that he’d never get the chance to redeem himself. “Revoke all level B 20 permissions for Brack’s ID. Remove his login-history and cancel his pending requests. I won’t have him butting in.”
“Yes, sir,” the AI answered in a flat tone. The coffee machine came to life snorting and gargling like a choking man.
Minutes later a tall shadow, Lieutenant Paine, appeared in the doorway bubbling drunken zombie words. “Swhyamupnwhuusresponsble.” Rains pointed to the brewing machine. “Thankgd,” he shuffled towards the coffee, arms stretched out to welcome the dark burnt scent.
“I’m bored.” Rains said, as if to himself. Paine turned around eyeballing his captain. “Aren’t you sick of being stuck out here, freezing your dick off? Wanna go for a hunt instead?” That got his attention, he forgot his curled fingers in front of the full coffee can.
“Any hook?” Paine swallowed, they were Sleipnir’s emergency backup, but he was definitely interested. The captain behaved quite unusual, for the first time in six months, he seemed genuinely happy about something. Never a good sign. He inched his way towards the captain’s seat. Being forced to tail Sleipnir for half a year has been agonizingly boring, he admitted. For the captain it must have been hell, shadowing and monitoring the man who destroyed his life. This was going to be fun.
“No hooks,” Rains smirked, “and no survivors…”
Only hours later, just before virtual sunrise on Fenrir, a distress signal reached the ship, triggering the alarm.
“This is Sleipnir. Fenrir, do you copy? This is an emergency!” The male voice came in over all frequencies.
Rains punched a button and the alarm died.
It was dark and cold on the damaged Sleipnir. The AI on the ship scanned the nearest area, tracing every course it would be able to take. It did its best to power the life supporting systems. Both of its humans were safe for now. It calculated the possible surviving ratios and decided not to show the results to its captain.
“They are receiving the message,” it said instead.
Captain Wong bowed his head, buried his face in his palms. This was the worst possible thing to happen.
“Doctor Wellington’s vitals are stable. No signs of internal hemorrhage.” The AI scanned for the other AI in the vicinity. It sat on the northern hemisphere of Vesta, waiting for orders. It would take two hours to get to its current location.
Wong coughed slightly, with the smoke filtering through the ventilation. At least none of them was dying.
“C’mon!” He waited. “Mayday! We had a critical accident!” No answer. Where was the cavalry? Wong’s stomach froze to a hard icy ball. “We need emergency evac! ASAP!” He looked at the unconscious doctor. He hit his head pretty hard. “Our oxygen will last for three hours. Fenrir! DO YOU COPY?” The com remained silent. The instruments showed, that the transmission has been received.
Captain Rains sat alone in the dawn of the bridge, feet on the com console. He grinned and folded his fingers.
“What will you do now, Wong?” He chuckled softly. Behind him, a door slid open and closed. He felt someone, most likely Paine, move through the darkness. That was a man to his taste, a bad soldier but a good mercenary. Rains harrumphed and manned the mic.
“Fenrir here. That’s a no-can-do. Make yourselves comfy, cause that’s where you’re gonna stay.” Fenrir’s AI showed a simulation of Sleipnir’s position on the main screen. “We meet again, Wong.”
A gasp filled the air and the aether. “Rains? Is that YOU?!”
“Captain!” Brack shouted from wherever he was running towards the bridge. “Captain! Emergency!” His thumping feet nearly reached the doors. “Captain!” With a whoomph he seemed to collide with it. Rains rolled his eyes and sighed. The door skid open and a big hunched over shadow panted in the doorway.
“This is a distress signal. DAMMIT! MOVE YOUR ASSES OVER HERE!” Wong screamed.
“What did I tell you about second encounters?” Rains asked casually into the mic. Over his left shoulder Paine’s hand held out a cup of steaming coffee.
“Donno, I wasn’t listening. I was busy humping your mom!” Wong barked. The low growl in his voice couldn’t hide his despair.
“This is payback.” Rains shook his head. He took the cup and was surprised it was one of Paine’s.
“Captain, why are we ignoring emergency calls?” Brack breathed horrified.
“Stop pissing.” Rains stared into Brack’s confused face. Scans showed the vital damage to Sleipnir. Paine poked a finger at the analysis screen. “That’s their problem!“
pic: from movie: Prometheus
– 1 –
I slouched on my bunk and stared at the ceiling hologram revolve. It was the boiling ocean throwing itself against the rocks of some shore. It was Kageshima’s time to watch the sea. In about one hour I would change it to the starry night sky over the Sonoran Desert. This was relax time, after a 25 hour shift on the transporter taking us to the mining regions in the asteroid belt.
With us I meant, Ivanov, Rico, Kageshima and me. Captain Rizzo would remain on board. Five men wedged into a tin can floating through the black emptiness of the space, heading towards some expensive rocks and dirt. The journey we just started would take seven months.
Kageshima was moving, and I watched him start his tai chi exercises. Eyes closed, concentrating on his movements, his muscles worked under his soft skin. I pulled my prosthetic leg in, so he’d have enough space.
I heard he had a fight with drunk Rizzo. It ended with calling names and a bloody nose. No doubt it was self defense on Kageshima’s behalf.
Rizzo was doing the job for over twenty years, and he was lonely. The booze must’ve killed enough neurons that he’d try to hit on Kageshima. On a ship like this, there wasn’t much else to do than drinking, and facing the one eyed snake. And Kageshima had a distinctly feminine appearance, small and slender, long lashes over dark almond eyes. That old fart went insane over any trace of feminity.
“You’re officially classified as liquid, Kintaro.” I told him, and decided to watch his back from now on. Rizzo wouldn’t dare to pick a fight with me. I’d break him in half, with my pinky.
“Sumimasen, sorry?” He turned to me confused.
“You move like a bengalese tiger.” I stated and meant to be appreciative. Kageshima pulled a sour face instead.
“Ian, don’t say that.” Did I hit a nerve? Why was he stressed? “Did Jefferson set you up? He did, didn’t he?” His black eyes glistened, his cheeks boiled.
“Rico?” I shook my head. “What do you mean? Set up?”
“Nothing in special, just curious.” Kageshima lied. He was bad at it! Why would he lie? What was wrong? “You two know each other for long?” He asked carefully. I had the feeling that I needed to be wary, for some reason. Kageshima sat down, beside me.
“Well, yes. We already worked for five years together. On Gorgo Beta. A mining ship. He saved my life.” I patted my prosthetic left leg. “I was sent out to repair one of the giant waldos, and Rico was instructing me. Somehow, I got my security line tangled up in the hydraulics, and when the gear slammed back into motion, the gripper went online… You can imagine. It caught and yanked me into the grinder mechanism.” I tapped my left prosthetic arm and eye. “It tore my arm from its socket, ripped my leg straight off.” Kageshima’s eyes lock on mine.
“So… Rico’s your best friend.” It sounded flat, as if he was stating it to himself. He looked at me and smiled. It was a sorrowful smile, the saddest I ever saw on a man’s face.
“Yeah…” That was a strange reaction. “Come on, he’s the funniest guy. You’ll like him, once you get to know him.” I tried, but Kageshima stood up.
“Let’s talk later, Ian.” He said and resumed his exercises.
– 2 –
There was a killer on board. I had seven month to unravel his identity and to pin him down. I went through the received data from the ministry. The profiles of Rico Jefferson and Ian Dervall were promising. I could rule Ivanov and Rizzo out, after today’s incident. Rizzo really thought I’d be defenseless. He won’t make the same mistake again.
I shared my room with Dervall, a huge afro-american cyborg with sand colored eyes. He occupied the lower bunk, I had the upper. A quiet man, with the average of ten words and two facial expression a week.
My first thought upon meeting him was, that he was Jefferson’s brute lap dog. The way he followed him everywhere, like a shadow. Gaining his trust was most important. I started with him, and see where it takes me.
I knew he and Jefferson had a history together. They worked for five years on the same mining ship, most likely side by side. It was that time, when Dervall had his accident, leaving him a ruin of a human being. I’ve read the log data and the surveillance feed transcript on that accident. It was fishy. Someone had it altered. I wondered why though…
On the ceiling, the ocean hurled and splashed against rocks. It was the comfort holo for the passengers, designed to keep us happy. Depression was common during these long flights. I chose it to soothe Dervall’s alertness to my actions. Monotony was a cyborg’s weak spot.
I used the time for tai chi, to let my thoughts fly. A clear mind is a most effective mind. “You’re officially classified as liquid, Kintaro.” Dervall said. I mustn’t let him know that I was capable of killing him with bare hands. My moves could betray me.
“Sumimasen, sorry?” I managed.
“You move like a bengalese tiger.” He added a gummy full teeth smile. Did he see through?
“Ian, don’t say that.” I hoped not. It’d be very inconvenient if he sussed me. “Jefferson set you up? He did, didn’t he?” I tried.
“Rico?” He shook his head confused. “What do you mean? Set up?”
“Nothing in special, just curious.” I thought of his pain and suffering. I sat down on his bed. “You two know each other for long?” I looked at what was left of him, lining of scar-tissue ripping his perfect dark skin to ribbons, stitched up with nearly skin tone prosthetics.
“Well, yes. We already worked for five years together. On Gorgo Beta. A mining ship. He saved my life.” He patted his prosthetic leg. “I was sent out to repair one of the giant waldos, and Rico was instructing me. Somehow, I got my security line tangled up in the hydraulics, and when the gear slammed back into motion, the gripper went online… You can imagine. It caught and yanked me into the grinder mechanism.” What if that wasn’t an accident? What if it was a cover up for something else? Dervall tapped his left arm and eye. “It tore my arm from its socket, ripped my leg straight off.” Did he even remember how it happened? I doubted that.
In his eyes, I could only see the dullness of a man under heavy medication. “So… Rico’s your best friend.”
“Yeah…” He furrowed his brows. “Come on, he’s the funniest guy. You’ll like him, once you get to know him.” I bet! Something told me that Jefferson was a dangerous man. I had to be very careful about this.
I stood up. “We’ll talk later, Ian.” My body went on with the exercises, but my mind raced.
This short story was an assignment for HWWF 2015. The task was to interpret a dialogue from two different points of view, and that the characters talk about a person not present, lighting two different sides of that absent character.
this is an assignment I’m working on and thought of sharing with you guys-
also content warning: strong language
„Where’s – the horse?“ The words. So hard. To speak. Heavy. My eyelids are heavy as stonework. I swat at the light in my eyes and the fingers forcing them open.
„What horse?” The light hurts. Who’s voice is that?
„That kicked me. Somewhere…Chest” Sighing. „Proto?“ The light and fingers retract. The floor is spinning, so I have to hold tight.
Above me, a silhouette fogs up. „Don’t you scare me like that, EVER again!” I know that uniform, that shape. A captain-shaped uniform! Huh… What’s he doing here?
I’m soaked and flat on my back. „Still on the ship, aren’t I?”
„Aye. Still on board of my Sleipnir.“ His words fall on my stomach, their weight make me nauseous. My head is empty. Think! What am I doing down here? Something went wrong. Dosage? Anaphylactic reaction? Why am I wet?
„Oriented to location. Now tell me your name.” I obey.
„Oz. I mean Oscar Wellington. Doctor.”
„Good. Who am I? Don’t roll your eyes, you know the drill. Location, person, time, situation.” Yes. I know the drill.
„2198.“ I don’t have to think. „You’re the captain. Edward Wong.”
A disappointed shade crawls over his face. Or is it anger? I can’t tell. „Do I have to run a drug test on you? Were you high, or what?! How do you explain THIS?” He waves at me, the destroyed electronics and scattered data sheets on the floor. „Why were you locked in, and floating facedown in that tank? Spill it!”
Everything’s smashed… I sit up. Just look at that mess! My work! „I-I dunno.” Six months research! What happened here? “Wires?” What am I hooked up to? A defibrillator unit… „How many shocks did I get?”
“One to 250 and three to 310 Joules. Jumpstarting you wasn’t easy. I might have cracked or broken some of your ribs.” He looks at his hands, as if they were bloody. “It looked like you wouldn’t make it.”
„Explains why I feel like a schnitzel…”
Eddy’s eyes search for mine. I can’t stand the look. „Who did this?”
Why was I fully dressed, if I was doing a hibernation experiment? “I’m sorry—„ I start pulling off the electrodes of my chest and back. “I can’t remember. All I know is… I was testing new chemical compounds.” My first accident ever. Cardiac arrest is not an option… Strix Genome won’t be pleased with my near-death-experience… Of course, this is not the first accident with hibernation research anyway. CPR is taking long, which means that my electrolyte metabolism is off balance… Where is my safe guard? Where is Proto?
“You mean, you did this on purpose?!” Eddy bellows. “You little prick! You asshat! You were DEAD! No breathing! No pulse! What do you call that?! Fuckin’ power-napping?” Oh-uh. That shade of red can’t be healthy. A human volcano is going to spit a ball of anger right into my face.
“Eddy, I’m sorry.” He grabs my torn shirt and pulls me up to his face, lips tightening.”- Really sorry. Okay?”
“–NO! What if I hadn’t pulled you out in time? Or the liquid destroyed your lungs? There are no prosthetics on board! And you are THE doctor. IDIOT! Even downloading and printing would take nearly half a day!” He lets go and turns to leave, but has some powder left. He’s not done. „Where’s your lapdog? Where is Proto? Isn’t it supposed to watch your back? PROTO? Where are you hiding, you little shit?”
“HE is doing research. I sent him.” At least, I think I did.
The captain turns to the surveillance panel in the medical unit. „Don’t make me laugh! Babe? Who’s on board?”
„Captain, Edward Wong. Doctor, Oscar Wellington. My robot pilots, ninety-six maintenance robots, and my neural hub.” The Sleipnir answers in a flat tone.
„See?” Eddy gives me the I-told-you-so-look. „Where is Proto?” he asks.
„Proto is – not on board.” WHAT?! „His suit is – not on board. Scanning… Scanners are jammed.” Another I-told-you-so-look.
No! Where is Proto? He is priceless! He is a being between an AI and a human clone. A miracle, if you ask me. For the captain, he’s just an AI, in a meat suit…
With a soft purring of the Sleipnir interrupts. “Warning. Warning. Collision imminent.”
“What the hell is going on?!” The captain shouts sprinting out of my lab.
pic by Nasa, the black knight satellite
The screen flickered to life. A simulation of the landscape hidden under the thick blue methane and helium clouds unraveled itself. My custom navigation grid stretched over it, and listed all promising magnetic anomalies in the partially viscous crust. Areas of seismic instability stretched further into the polar regions. That was what the analysis program showed me in the lower right corner. I threw out my right index and thumb and the writing faded away. I did not plan to stick around to witness any crust activity.
Through the bull’s eye the surface seemed so peaceful and lush blue. It reminded me of Earth. The upper atmosphere showed a relievo ribbon of white clouds further to north to our orbiting position.
What bothered me most were the atmospheric pockets and the wind velocity, unpredictable and vicious. Even the CPU had problems showing me depressurization timely. Scooter was approaching faster than the simulations showed. Something was off. I had less time than calculated. That peacefully looking blue under me was deadly. It was ready to tear me and my glider to shreds. If anything went wrong, I could only hope for a fast death. Continue reading “SCOOTER”
A Chuck Wendig prompt - create a character
Ah, is this gonna be one of those interviews? I’ll have none of that. Thanks.
Of course I know what you wanna ask! ‘Sex, age, job, full name and shoe size? Pimples on my ass?’ Well?
I’m a time traveller. Obviously. Did I just stutter? Could you stop wasting my time? You know what?
Shut up! I’ll talk. I tell you something people never ask. I travel through time. Yes. I sounds insanely badass and mysterious, but it’s horrible.
I can’t shake off the wooziness. I’m nauseous nearly all day. Can’t eat or drink too much, cause I throw up. I have to eat a lot of sweets, so my brain doesn’t crash after a jump.
My hands shake whenever I get stressed, and I’m stiff in the morning. Not the good kind of stiff. My cold joints hurt, my back aches and it stops when I’m moving. So I have to move. Constantly.
I have to run, jog so I can walk properly.
Nightmares are my routine.
How’d you feel, if you’d forget your daughter’s first steps, or her birth? Yes, I’ve been there. Seen her, laughed with her, hugged her, nuzzled with her and sucked in her sweet scent… Tell me, would you trade those memories? For money? For some egomaniacs, who plays war-safari and kill, without risks? Cause they’ve got privilege, ‘n enough money to buy themselves the right to kill people.
I want to throw up, every time I see one of those sleek suits.
It’s a disease. The doctors call it temporal multi-sensorial memory runaway. A special kind of retrograde amnesia.
But you’ve heard of time traveller’s disease, haven’t you?
There you go. Now do something with that!