“He looks like a cat but I couldn’t find anything similar in the DNA database. Very odd. We have anomalies falling out of the sky by an unknown mechanism. He appears to have some sort of infection and is extremely congested. Leave him with me for a little while and I’ll run some tests and work out a treatment plan. You saw another one of these things over there?” asked Dr. Sophia while studying us carefully.
“A huge one. Big enough to ride like a horse. It was only there a second before it disappeared into thin air. We need to take good care of that cat….or whatever he is. I have a strong feeling that he is important for some reason. He feels familiar……like I know him somehow,” I explained while digging through the quicksand that anesthesia had made of my mind. Those alarm bells are going off again but I can’t quite get to them.
“We could put you two in one of the empty research stations in the Biolab. Ideal location for anomalous creatures of unknown origin and it doesn’t get much more anomalous than you two,” chuckled Ensign Cole while shaking his head.
“I think that would be a good idea,” said Dr. Sophia. “We need to keep an eye on both of you until we figure out what is happening. I’ll load Zap-Zap with medicine for your new cat friend. Make sure you both take it easy,” she said while attempting to remove an extremely lively kitten from the wall it had started climbing. “The brain scan shows significant damage and signs of elevated immune response. The damage appears to be healing rapidly though. Your brain is making all sorts of new connections which is a good sign so we’ll continue with the same treatment.”
“Do you have any thoughts on why waffles or where the waffles come from Doc?” I asked her hoping to get a response.
“In my time on this ship, the questions have always outnumbered the answers by a large margin,” she said with a dry smile normally reserved for butlers. “Your appearance here has furthered this problem.”
“My current working hypothesis is that we are all dead,” I said again hoping to knock some more information loose. “It’s the only thing that makes sense at this point.”
“The testing machines say you are alive so I’m going to trust those measurements,” she said while doing a poor job of hiding the fear I saw flash across her face. She may know more than she is letting on.
“What if you were dead and then now are alive? That would also be a possibility if you accept that death is more of a location change and not total destruction of self. I think the trouble would be figuring out which state you were in currently,” said Ensign Cole with an arched eyebrow and a smile.
“That is the trouble with being dead. How would you know? I remember thinking about this in my other life. There were people using simple technology to contact the dead. When some of the scientists passed away on our side, they joined a group of scientists using more advanced technology to contact the living, from the realm of the dead. Those they called dead seemed to have a better understanding of what was going on and better technology than we did. So yes, I would say being previously dead would be one possibility.”
“You could also be in both places at the same time and not know it. We could organize a seance and attempt to contact the other you. I don’t think we’ve ever had a seance on the ship. Could be good for morale,” replied Cole now with all his wheels turning. He is watching Dr. Sophia, almost studying her, as she inspects the small kitten we found.
“What would I say to myself if I wasn’t sure which one of us was dead?” I asked while attempting to navigate the storm of questions racing around inside my head. Dr. Sophia was now glaring at us. She was doing a pretty good job of expressing her displeasure with our current distractions, non-verbally, with just a hint of menace.
“Let’s head up to the bridge and find out where we are heading next. I can introduce you to our pilot Jerry while Doc fixes up your new friend,” Ensign Cole interjected with a nod towards the door.
As we walk back towards the elevator my thoughts are racing again. Why would fear be the first reaction from her? Does she suspect something is wrong or does she know something we don’t? Dead is still the most likely answer. It would explain why all of this seems so familiar. Shadows of a former life forgotten, played back, as the weight of the soul is taken. Is Toynbee waiting for our arrival on Jupiter right now?
Something has to be organizing these synchronicities. They can’t just be happening by themselves. Internal force or external force is the first question. Maybe the reason all of this works like it does is because it is all happening in the dreams of some outside force much greater than human minds can imagine. We are all God dreaming and that’s why we always say that “it worked out just like it was supposed to” or that we “were right on time”. Living, dead, heaven, hell, the transcendental object at the end of time, and everything else in between all stacked together in an interpenetrating symphony of connection that is mostly filtered out by our mechanisms of perception.
“She doesn’t do well with the unexplained. It scares the crap out of her and there is no shortage of it on this ship. She does best with tangible things she can measure and control. Brace yourself. We are going to meet Jerry and he’s a trip,” Cole said with a laugh while shaking his head.