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Archive for the ‘Sci-fi’ Category

Sci-fi – Part three


2010
03.30

Entry by Eva Schultz (13 April 06)

It wouldn’t do at all, going back without even seeing the unit for myself. By the time we reached Mission, my leg would be healed, and even though the higher ups would believe what had happened, I knew there wouldn’t be an overflow of pity for the able-bodied engineer standing before them. It’s a lot easier to pity a bleeding man.

Sophie jammed the last of the recovery pack into the compact steel case and shoved it away. “Okay, let’s see about getting you to a more secured area, if we can.”

“What are you doing?” I said, indicating the pack. “We can’t leave any evidence that we were down here.”

She rolled her eyes at me as she stood. “You’re just like my dad. You old guys – you always think the game still works the way it did twenty-five years ago.” She noticed her bloody hands for the first time, brushed them together in a worthless effort to clean them, and finally settled for rubbing her palms against the backside of her canvas jumpsuit. “Come on. Give me your hand. The painkiller should be enough to let you manage a brief walk, if you lean pretty heavy on me.”

“Should be?” I echoed with a wry smile, and I was relieved when she mirrored my expression. If I could get her smiling, perhaps I could get her trusting me again. A kid like Sophie, especially trying this hard to prove herself, tended not to listen.

I seized her hand and couldn’t restrain a groan as I stood. Painkillers may be good, but they don’t dull the bizarre sensation of skin and tissue rubbing in directions they shouldn’t. “Okay,” I said. “I guess we can come back for the case later. Let’s head for the control room.”

Sophie started us down the hallway, allowing me to lean against her and hop on my good leg. “I told you, it’s surrounded. We’ve got to make for that backway escape that you talked about in the briefing.”

I stopped hopping, and my greater height and bulk forced her to stop. “That backway will take hours, if I can even find it again. Besides, the unit is the only thing we came for. I’m going to the control room.”

“Are you crazy?” she snapped. I could see that any goodwill I had been earning was now forfeit. “We will die here. Don’t you get that? If we can make it to the surface, we may be able to locate a signal beacon and modify it to call the Mission for rescue. If we go anywhere near the control room, they’ll just cut us down. What good will that do?”

I met her gaze. “Even a one-legged guy as old as your dad could get into that room before they processed what was happening and reacted,” I said, and I could see from the dawning look on her face that she knew it was true. And she knew what I meant.

“But you’ll have no way out,” she said in a small voice.

I tried to look like that didn’t bother me – maybe she was too young to read an old man’s poker face. “I’ll destroy the unit,” I said. “It isn’t as good as getting it back up and running, but it’s certainly better than letting it sit there defenseless for them to find and use against us. I’ll get in, but I won’t get out. But that’s what it’s going to take.” I let go of her shoulder and propped myself against the wall, holding my bad foot slightly off the ground. “I’m going. If you want to get back to the surface, I certainly understand that. Just don’t interfere with what I’m going to do.”

A strange look crossed her face, and I realized she wasn’t looking at me. “Sophie?”

Her eyes widened. “I don’t hear anything,” she said.

I tensed, listening. There wasn’t a sound from up the stairs. The thumping, the inevitable movement of death coming down to us – it had all stopped. We stared at each other, as silent as our pursuers.

Sci-fi – Part two


2010
03.30

Entry by Ken Guy (27/02/06)

Ready? I thought, how? I didn’t want to voice my thoughts but apart from her usual small daily issue of ammunition we had nothing to frighten them off.

If I hadn’t got spooked things may have been different. I got frightened and crapped out when one lunged at me. I didn’t remember the stairs when I ducked into the doorway. Those steep steel stairs designed to separate the groups and prevent their easy access. Could they come down them?

“Do you think they can get down the stairs now? I mean did you see any inkling that they know how?”

“Huh” Sophie grunted, “Why else do you think I’m worrying? I mean apart from the fact that you dropped the communicator when you fell, and we are out of contact 20 floors down and you got a broken bone sticking through you skin, yes I think they can get down here. They’ve had enough time to learn”

I pondered what she said. It was no good arguing about it, if she thought they could get down here then maybe they could. They were acting differently that was for sure. Yet Sophie thought that they were still being given Blue. Surely if that were the case they would have remained as docile as ever. I understood that they had been weaned off Blue years ago, once everything was up and running efficiently.

And if they were still getting Blue how did we get them to produce more over the years. If they became too docile with Blue they did not move around so much, and production would drop. I put this to Sophie and in her worried state she got angrier than I’d ever seen her.

“Of course they are getting Blue, they are hooked on it. Or something else like it. Why else do you think they are milling around all over the place. Not because they have been weaned off it that’s for sure. They are waiting for it and getting more and more impatient for their fix and they will come down here somehow, just to see if we’ve brought some”

I couldn’t answer that, Sophie was the physiologist I was just an engineer. And an old one at that! It was a long time since I had been in this unit and I had hoped never to enter it again.

When I was part of the team designing it so many years ago we little thought about what was going to be used to power it. We had our brief and worked to it, that was all. It took a while to come together but really it was quite a simple set up all told, and when it was completed we four in the team were feted and made to feel like hero’s. Just for doing our job. It was great for the city, first unit like it in the world. And it supplied all the needs of the state for all those years despite the population growing tenfold.

Sophie spoke again, maybe she was thinking she’d upset me

“Sorry, I shouldn’t have snapped like that. What with your leg and all we got to do something fast”

I wouldn’t argue with that for I was getting very weak and woozy. My pack, where was my pack. I slurred the words a little

“I dropped my pack down here somewhere. Its got a kit in it”

‘Why didn’t you say something before? Where did you drop it? Maybe it’s broken”

Before I could answer Sophie was off at a run. First she searched around the stairs where it should have fallen, then, with a shouted “No” she was off up the first flight. My mind was beginning to wander and I was drifting in and out of clarity. In the kit was my salvation. I must pray that it had not been damaged even the tiniest bit for it must work at full power to clear up my wound.

In the far distance I could hear her feet on metal floors like an old broken eletraphone sticking on notes before rushing on with the unidentifiable tune. They were getting fainter so I supposed they were getting further away, or maybe the power was dropping……Like my eyelids……

I came too to pain, a deep throbbing in the whole of my leg right up to my hip. I wondered if my renovated heart could stand it and I wanted so much to go back to where I had just come from.

“Thank the Lord you’re awake. I heard a thump and it sounds like at least one of them is on his way. I don’t know if it’ll survive the knocks from the stairs but it could make a cushion for the others to follow”

I reached down to the pain and was surprised to find the tourniquet had been removed. I tentatively felt lower and felt the hole where the bone had been sticking through.

“I still got to bandage that” she said, “But at least you are back together”

Sophie had blood on her face like it had been sprayed with a gory fountain. Her arms were smeared red beyond the elbows and the bandage she as unpacking was slowly becoming red and white.

“Lay back so I can finish you off. It says on the pack that a bad break like you had will take a good two hours to knit, and then not strongly. The flesh is already healing but I want to cover it in case we have to move fast. Don’t try to put too much weight on it yet. It won’t be back to normal for at least twelve hours”

I heard a thud and a moan from above. I looked into Sophie’s eyes and she nodded.

I marveled at her composure. Sophie had just wrenched my broken leg into place and fixed it so it would soon be like new. Now they were on the way down and she was stuck with an invalid. And I saw no fear in her eyes.

“I’m sorry for getting you into this. It’s just that I have been so inactive lately, and I am out of practice”

“Well let’s face it you were retired after all. I don’t know why it should come down to you though they must have plenty of engineers”

“I said the same and they told me this was a special case. Said they needed someone who knew the unit intimately and could pinpoint the problem. Guess I had better get my brain into gear and start working on it.

Sci-fi – Part one


2010
03.30

Sophie was five minutes, ten at the most, but I can’t tell you how long that felt in that freezing room with its puddled concrete floor. At first I could focus on nothing but my leg, but when the blood soaking the tourniquet began to darken, my heartbeat slowed a little and I began to think of other things. Like how the hell we were going to get out of there. My addled brain couldn’t get any further than the question though. It had been a long time, long enough to forget how to think under pressure like this.

She came back, breathing hard from the effort of necessary speed, and I felt bad for wondering in a moment of weakness if she’d leave me there. Believe me, I wouldn’t have blamed her this time.

“It’s surrounded,” She said, not minding about the echo; we wouldn’t be heard way down here, which of course was partly the problem. She flopped down against the wall next to me. There was a new cut on her arm that she hadn’t noticed, and I opened my mouth to tell her, then thought better of it. I let her get her breath before asking her what had happened, but there wasn’t much to tell; apparently she hadn’t got far.

“I’d been hoping maybe they didn’t know about those stairs, God, no one ever uses ‘em, but…” She threw her hands up helplessly, then looked at me with something close to an apology. “They’ve got around you know. Everywhere.”

I’d been trying not to think about that little fact but I knew it might help to know why. What had happened to them?

“S’ok, you’ve got guts I’ll give you that.”

“For a girl?”

“Of course for a girl.” I tried a smile. “Any more ideas?”

“I’m all out.” She looked at me, a little surprised. “Shouldn’t you be the one to come up with the genius plan anyway? I mean you are the one who’s been here before.”

“Not like this. Last time I had the whole team with me, we were in and out in under an hour, this is completely different and you know it. I mean, Christ…” I looked at my leg in despair. “I don’t understand Sophie. They’ve changed, wouldn’t you say? Do you think they’re acting differently?”

Sophie considered this for a moment, then began checking her pack for more ammunition pretending my words didn’t affect her. The funny thing was that she had been saying this exact same thing right up until the point we found ourselves sitting ducks on floor zero-twenty.

“There’s a perfectly decent explanation and you know it,” she said with more conviction than I’m sure she felt. “Here’s a for instance. When’s the last time they had their Blue?”

I looked at her in disbelief as she rummaged in her pack, frowning with concentration.

“You know we stopped giving them that crap years ago, Soph.”

“Oh, is that what they told you?”

“What, have you been reading too many conspiracy sites? Of course we did – why do you think this round has been so hard? Jesus, usually they don’t even look up, don’t pay any…you know…attention. None at all. Let alone…” I looked at my leg. “Something’s going on, and it’s not what you think, it’s different this time.”

She wouldn’t look at me, and again I wondered if she’d heard. We sat for a full minute without speaking, then a sound like the slamming of a door made us both jump. My skin went cold as I realised it was a door banging open.

Sophie looked me full in the eyes. “Well, it looks like they’re paying attention now,” she whispered shakily, “so we’d better be ready.”


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