Race You Back to the Elevator!
Ensign Cole yelled at me and then rocketed out of sight. The rocket bike surged awake underneath me as I smashed the gas pedal. Chasing him down brought a welcome pause to the thoughts racing through my head. I kept my altitude for as long as possible and then dropped out of the sky in front of him right before the elevator. I can see Zap-Zap waiting for us and waving his arms. The speed is both wonderful and terrifying at the same time. I have no desire to become a bug splat on the side of the Biolab, but at the same time, I don’t care. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt truly alive. I can feel that deep down, somewhere just out of reach. There was a time when fear ruled me and that time is gone now. I brought the rocket bike to stop right next to Zap-Zap as a cup of coffee floated towards me.
“Time for your medicine!” exclaimed Zap-Zap while spinning furiously.
The emerald green glow of the coffee was still visible as I reached out to grab the cup. What the hell is happening? I’m having the time of my life but have absolutely no idea what the hell is going on. I just got a magic cup of coffee from what appears to be a robot monk, after racing across a giant anomalous landform form that shouldn’t exist, with a belly full of ghost waffles that came out of a brain scanner. It feels both alarming and yet familiar. I can’t explain it, but it feels so natural like this is what I’ve always been doing. But how could that be?
“Dammit! I can’t believe you won on the first ride,” proclaimed Ensign Cole as he shook his head and caught the coffee cup floating towards him. “The guys in the lab are going to give me crap about this. I can feel it.”
“It was weird. I just knew how to beat you. It felt like I was on autopilot if that makes sense?”
“I can’t wait to see what the brain scanner picked up. Try to keep a journal of how your feeling and we’ll see if that helps us learn anything else. Use the allnet pad in your room to record anything you feel is important,” he said looking puzzled.
“I think it’s already been doing that on its own. Dr. Sophia said it was reading my mind.”
“Excellent. Would you like to go see where we found you?” he asked as we stepped into the elevator.
“Yes, and thanks for making the elevator even more terrifying. Like elevators aren’t already scary enough. If we can even call it an elevator,” I said to him hoping to learn as much as possible. He just smiled at me with that same calm look he always has. There is a zen-like quality about him. Like he’s seen so much shit that nothing surprises him. If he acquired that demeanor on this ship then we should expect more turbulence.
A door whooshes open in front of us and there is a long, triangular hallway stretching out ahead of us. After a few minutes, we reach the other side which turns out to be the abandoned freighter they found me in. We enter a large room which looks like it was designed as a central area for staging cargo. It’s so quiet in here. There is something haunting about this empty ship. The silence hangs in the air and threatens to cave in around you. The hair on my arm starts to stand up. At the same time, I hear a beep in my pocket.
Cole reached up to touch the shield on his lapel, cocked his head for a minute, and said, “Keep me posted”.
“Did something happen?”
“They just picked up another one of those signal bursts right before we came through the door,” he said looking worried now. “We may not be alone.”
Gift from the Dark Unknown
An intense feeling of deja vu shoots through me and just for a moment, I can hear the rhythm of everything. The music at the center of the inner workings fo the universe. You can tap your foot to the song that sings us into being. I can see all the matrix puzzle pieces sliding together at exactly the right time. Everything is where it should be. How can I be so lost and yet exactly where I need to be? With that thought, the cosmic curtain comes crashing back down and I’m left again to play the part of the oblivious observer.
Something brushes against my ankle and a thousand panicked alarms start sounding in my mind as invisible ice machines begin regulating my blood supply. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a gigantic black panther, big enough to ride on, right next to me. It’s sitting on its haunches looking down at me with piercing yellow eyes. Deja vu and terror come crashing together as I try to get my mouth to verbalize a warning for Cole. The words do not come and the giant panther vanishes right before my eyes.
I look down at my ankle and there is a tiny jet-black kitten with yellow eyes looking up at me while rubbing on my ankle. I reach down and pick up the kitten which is small enough to fit into one hand. As I hold it up to get a better look it reaches out, bites me softly on my face, and then immediately falls asleep. The words still aren’t making it to my mouth as I turn towards Ensign Cole.
“Absolutely impossible. There is no way that cat was on this ship yesterday,” he said to me with a shocked look on his face.
“Did….did you see the giant one?”
“Yep, also impossible,” he mumbled while the fear was busy putting roses in his cheeks.
Behind his head on the wall is an engraved metal plaque with the number 22 on it. This cat must be some kind of gift from the dark unknown. Or a byproduct of the resonance of the dark unknown inner workings of all things. The number is clearly a sign that something strange is at work here again. “Is this hanger bay 22 and is this where they found me?”
“Yes it is, why do you ask,” he said with his head cocked again.
“I think we found what we came for,” I said heading back towards the door with a handful of cat.