DATE: Fri 09 Jul 2021 22:53 By: HexDSL@Posteo.net

Denouement // Part 1 - Science fiction By HexDSL!

A Science Fiction novel by HexDSL.

Right dudes. Now “A Hunters Garden” is drafted (final compiled version still to come) I instantly started working on my next “big” project. That sci-fi that has been rattling around my head for a while.

I will be finishing this, its a hard commit just like the last one was. It may take a while… A long while… But be done.

Just like when I made the first post of the last long work I need to preface this by saying:

This is a work in progress pre-alpha draft that I’m writing and posting. It may require “patching” later and there maybe inconsistencies as we go. All of that will be fixed when its edited into one document once its all done.

I am Dyslexic and while I try to fix all the worlds to make them real good… I will fail to do so. If you want to wait for the final edit before reading, I encourage you to do so!

It feels good to write sci-fi at last.

Any questions or commentary should be emailed (hexdsl@posteo.net)

Well. Here’s part one…

Awake.

I remember once accepting my own mortality. On my death bed in 1986. I was an old man reflecting on my life filled with idle regret and ghosts of missed opportunity.

I also remember being a very young man in the nineteen nineties fighting with a stranger in a bar, wondering if it was worth it.

Both memories were fragments of larger moments from fleeting dreams and broken promises. Moments of reflection that stuck in my mind as seemingly important but ultimately little more than sparkling reflections on the wall time.

I could also remember the storm. Standing in the middle of a cloud of rage and dust, with with the street around me covered in purple lightning and grey smoke. I remember watching as everything it touched changed and grew or faded and crumbled. I saw a man run out into the street. His whole body turned into a ghostly echo in front of my eyes as the purple lightening came for him. Yet I was untouched by it.

I remember thinking about my theory and wishing I had some way of recording it. Not that I could remember what the theory was or even what I would record.

It was the blue lightening that came for me. Amid the purple and grey a single bolt of blue was thrown just for me. Like Zeus himself had reached out and grabbed me.

Then there was silence, darkness and pain. Flashes of moments and a jumble of images.

I opened my eyes and a woman was looking at me. Her face was close to mine. As she came into focus I saw her smile widely. I was lying down and she was leaning over me with her lose blonde hair falling over my cheek and reminding me of something I couldn’t quite place. I was struck by her beauty. Her eyes were a deep green and her lips a subtle peach. Her skin was pale and flawless.

After a few moments she stood straight. Her face leaving my vision. I looked up from where I was lying and saw her odd dishevelled overalls that looked alien on such a perfect form. “Kay! He’s wake!” she called across the room.

The ceiling was entirely made of a single white light source and as I struggled to sit up I swept my vision around the room. Everything looked confusing and didn’t make any sense to me. The room was large with some futuristic looking beds each side of where I was lying. The carpet was tiled matt white and there were assorted machines on wheels dotted around. There was a window into an office to my right.

I was dizzy and struggling to keep my self from rolling off of the bed which I was assuming I was on. The blonde woman put a firm hand on my shoulder and fixed me in place with surprising force. She tapped some buttons on the wall behind me and the back of the bed quickly lifted to support my desired sitting position.

Another woman was on my left now. She was shorter than the first with tanned skin and black wild hair in a messy bun at the back. She was wearing a doctors coat that was unbuttoned. Underneath her white coat I could see a skin tight grey outfit of some kind that looked like it was made of a metallic fabric. She wore glasses with lights and button on the side of the frame. As she looked at me I could see little flickering screens in her lenses. She stretched out a hand and as she did a green ball appeared in her palm.

“Relax Jon, I just need to check your brain activity” she said calmly and professionally. The green ball in her palm buzzes and little threads of purple and red light shot out and began to move across my head. They moved like fish nibbling away at something. The little strands flickered and pulsed as they appeared and vanished in quick succession. I was surprised by this but didn’t feel like I was in any danger.

“Where am I?” I asked. The doctor tapped the side of her glasses and one of her lenses flashed blue for a second or two. “You are in the Earth embassy on Central Prime.” she said in a distracted tone as she continued examining me with her lights and glasses.

“I can’t remember how I got here.” I said a little frantically. “That’s okay Jon. You were involved in an ‘Event Storm’. We expected memory loss” she replied. She gestured with her hand and the threads of light vanished. She gestured again and the green ball in her palm vanished too. She took off her glasses and slid them into a pocket in the lapel of her coat.

She turned to the other woman and said “It’s as we expected. No memory of anything since the original storm, and his memories of the pre-storm are a mess right now.”

“What does that mean?” I demanded. Infuriated that she was telling someone else rather than me.

“I’ll go and process these scans. Give me a few minutes.” The doctor said to the other woman. She then started tapping on some device on her wrist and walked to the office at the side of the room.

“Hi Jon.” said the blonde woman. “What’s happening?” I asked. The woman sat on the side of my bed. I adjusted my position to give her more space. “Jon, there was something called an ‘Event Storm’ and you were in the middle of it when it hit. It’s not the first time you have been in one and like last time it has rest your memories.” She sounded serious and sad. “Reset my memories?” I asked. She smiled at me with a sadness. “Right now its a jumble of things but we expect you will remember your old life in the nineteen eighties.” I reached back in my mind trying to piece together the fragments. I new my name was Jonathan and I knew I was some kind of researcher. I could remember small moments and the occasional face or interaction but nothing that flowed in any order. “I don’t understand” I said.

I thought about the lights and the green ball and the flashes of images I could remember. “Am I in the future?” I asked, well aware of how absurd that sounded. The woman made a thoughtful face and shrugged. “No. Your in the now. But from your point of view, I guess you are.” She said still seeming to be mulling over the question. “did I time travel?” I asked again hearing the inanity in my voice. She answered that one with far less consideration “No. You lived your way here.”

The woman smiled at me with a hint of that sadness again. “I promise I’ll fill you in on every moment you missed but right now I have to tell you the important stuff” She looked over at the doctors office and then at me. “My name is Elizabeth. Libby. I’m your wife.”

I actually felt my eyes pop open widely in surprise. “My wife!” I exclaimed.

She chuckled to her self at my response before continuing. “I know the memories you do have are from a version of the nineteen eighties that are nothing like the actual decade was. Things are going to be hard for you. So you should know that were not on Earth. Humans are not alone in the universe. I’m a non-organic life form and you’re functionally immortal.” She said it all fast as if she was desperate to get the information out. Her little monologue was so well worded and so surgically delivered that I assumed she had practised it. My instinct was to laugh but I could tell from her expression that she was serious.

I had nothing to say in response. I felt the colour drain from my cheeks and I stared at her while I searched the fragments of moments that I could recall. I remembered being an old man, I remember being on my death bed but that memory was older. I remembered moments and fractured images after that. I suddenly got a wave of panic and looked down inspecting my hands and arms, I pulled at the hospital pyjamas that I had only now realized I was wearing. Desperate for a moment. I was young! I silently thanked whatever god was watching over me and breathed a sigh as the moment of panic passed. I was young.

Libby was looking at me concerned. I felt I owed her an explanation. “I… I have a memory of being very old.” I said worried that I sounded insane. She grinned at me widely “I have no idea what he storm did to you Jon but you have never, and will never be old!” I felt a suspicious eyebrow raise and asked “because I’m immortal?”

The doctor arrived back at my bed “Yes. Your immortal.” she said casually. “To be clear. You absolutely can die. But not from gas, poison, radiation, asphyxiation or age. You are one of only four humans alive who are what we medically refer to as ‘bio-static’” I listened to her casually delivered words and had no idea what they actually meant. “Bio-static?” I queried. “Yes. Its medically very complicated and I’ll be happy to go through it with you at some point” she said as she put on her glasses and looked closely at my left, then the right eyes.

“How did I get this way?” I asked. The doctor put away her glasses and took a device out of her pocket. The device looked like a tiny black rectangle with a flickering screen floating in front of it. She pressed some buttons on the device as if noting down her findings. “You? No idea” she said off handedly. Then she realised she was being a little rude, a little distracted and added " Something happened before the first time you lost your memory." she said.

“And the other three?” I queried. “We were born this way” She replied. “We?” I asked.

She looked at me awkwardly. “Err, Jon. I’m not just your Doctor. I’m your granddaughter.” she smiled and gave me a little wave. “Granddaughter?” I exclaimed in a questioning tone, instantly turning to Libby, who had already said she was my wife.

Libby shook her head “Oh, I’m not her mother!” she quickly said. It was obvious that she was amused by my assumption. “Believe me you’ll realize just how absurd that thought is pretty soon!” she added with a cryptic smile.

The Doctor put away her note taking device and stretched out her hand “I’m Doctor Ka’ona Michaels, or ‘Kay’ to my friends. Its nice to meet you again grandfather.” I shook her hand.

I looked at Kay intently, desperately trying to remember her. She was beautiful and confident with an aura of sincerity that seemed to leak out of her as she talked. I wondered about her mother.

“How long have I been…” I searched for the right words “Out of it” I asked. “Two months” Libby returned.

Kay nodded to Libby and gestured to her office. With that she walked away. I guessed to give us a sense of privacy. I followed Kay’s lead and thrust a hand out to Libby “Jonathan Michaels. Husband and father as I’m told. Its nice to meet you Libby.” She batted way my hand and hugged me. She sniffed for a moment and then buried her head into my chest. “I thought you were lost” she said obviously not able to hold her feeling together any longer. I hugged her back, it seemed natural and welcome. “I’m so sorry. I don’t know what to say” I whispered wishing I had some memory or insight to make her feel better.

She took a few sharp breathes as if fighting back tiers and held me tight for a few minutes. I had no idea how to act but she had told me she was my wife, so I just carried on hugging her. She eventually separated from me. From her face I wouldn’t have known she had been crying. She still looked perfect. I was struck by a feeling of awe for this woman. I may have had no memory of her but I knew in my soul that I loved her.

“Are we?” I stumbled for a moment “Are we okay?” I asked suddenly realising that she way not feel the same way about a husband who didn’t know her now. She laughed at me through those sad eyes “You’re Jonathan Michaels there’s no one else like you in all of the universe. Memories or no memories. You’re still you Jon!” That did make me feel more at ease. Whatever sort of person Jonathan Michaels was Libby loved him and that filled me with an ineffable confidence.

A beeping sound came from her arm. She turned her wrist and positioned it in front of herself so she could see her inner arm. A bracelet she was wearing flashed and a black line zipped out from it and seemed to trace its self down her inner arm. The line blinked for a moment like an old TV set and a screen appeared hovering a little above her skin. She pressed some floating buttons and I realised it was some kind of projection. A few moments later a woman’s face appeared on the projection. She looked like Kay, my doctor. She woman’s lips were moving but I couldn’t hear anything. “Yeah, He’s only been awake a few minutes” Libby said. The woman on the screen spoke some more, she seemed like she was walking. “First thing in the morning, I promise!” said Libby.“I’ll Tell him. See you in the morning Jo” and with a gesture of her arm the screen vanished.

“That was Jo. Were going to go and see her tomorrow” Libby explained. “I guessed” I replied.

“Joanne is Ka’ona’s mother.” She added for clarity. “Oh! So that makes her my….” “Daughter.” Libby added.

Kay, came out of her office again, hand in pockets and yawning. “Okay Jon, as expected all your cans came back clean. The memory fog should go away over the next week. As expected your medically perfect. You can go. I’ll catch up with you tomorrow for another few basic test. But there’s no reason to keep you here.”

She yawned again and added “Libby. I can’t ethically let someone with no memories go running around Central. Can you sign to say you’ll look after him? I know you will but its got to be official.” Libby agreed to this with no hesitation. Kay started shuffling back to her office obviously exhausted.

So what do we do now?" I asked. “You ready to meet the world?” Libby questioned a little excitedly.

I hadn’t been really thought much about the hospital pyjamas I was wearing until Libby passed me a bag with some clothes in. “These are mine?” I asked. She nodded then like a sudden wave of realisation she stood up “I’ll go with Kay and sign the release forms.” she said as she pulled a curtain around the bed and left. I was pleased she had left. I knew it was a complicated time for both of us and I wouldn’t have felt right getting changed in front of her. We may be married but to me she was just a very attractive stranger to me. I took off the hospital shirt and inspected my torso. I was muscular and toned. I had a lot of scars over my chest and arms. They didn’t look ‘fresh’ so whatever happened to me must have been a while ago. My left arm had massive scarring and markings above the elbow, it struck me as electrical burns but I had no idea how I knew that. The lower arm was in excellent condition though without a blemish on it. I looked at my hands. The left was smoother than the right, it actually looked newer somehow. I Had no idea what medical science was capable of so I flapped my hand open and closed for a few seconds and decided I would ask about it later.

I took off the hospital trousers and saw that my legs were as scarred as my arms and torso. I had obviously “seen some action” at some point and it had messed me up, physically at least. I thought about it, I didn’t feel like a soldier or warrior. I didn’t feel like the sort of person who would wind up all scarred and battered like this. When I thought about that I realised that I didn’t feel like someone who would wake up in a hospital room with no memories either. I agreed with myself and opened the leather hold-all that Libby had left.

The clothes inside weren’t what I expected. There were some trousers that felt and looked like denim but had no weight to them to speak of. They also seemed to stretch then I tugged on the material but they really did look just like denim.

There were socks, just socks. I inspected them. Socks don’t often surprise you I don’t suppose. They were black. Seemed like cotton.

The next item was a shirt. It was far more basic than I expected, the material was a simple grey cloth that like the jeans had very little weight. It was quite thick with long arms and had a lace up neck. It reminded me of a pirate shirt. I put it on wondering if I was a pirate.

The next item was a jacket. It seemed well worn and actually had a weight to it. It was brown and made of some synthetic material with a delicate silver weave running through it. It had a fabric hood that seemed to not quite match but in a pleasing way. I slipped it on and it was obviously mine, it fitted perfectly and the signs of wear lined up with my elbows and shoulders perfectly. There was even repaired patch of material on the left arm that lined up with my ‘newer’ arm section. I smiled, I didn’t remember this jacket but it felt like mine. It was comforting.

At the bottom of the bag was a wallet and some boots. The boots were rugged and hardy but had no weight. I put them on, they did not feel like boots. They felt great. Foot wear seemed like a solved problem in this new world.

The wallet was a simple vinyl fold. There was some computer chips that were the same size as credit cards and some ID on a flippable transparent flap. It stated my name ‘Jonathan Michaels’ and job ‘Event Research division’ The photo on it was of a heroic looking gentleman with a lush brown pony tail over his shoulder and a square jaw. I checked. I had no pony tail. My hair was scruffy and long but not as long as the picture. Not even close. I was relived that at least I was able to recognise my own face still. The wallet also contained green card with a number on it. I flipped it over and in tiny writing it said “Central Prime First Bank” Guess it was how I paid for things. I slipped the wallet into a pocket on my trousers.

I was about to zip up the bag and noticed something I had missed at the bottom. It looked a little similar to the bracelet that Libby had been wearing but much more chunky and somehow retro feeling in my hand. It was thick and black with a silver ring around it. It had two big buttons on the side. One seemed to slide. I put it on. The silver ring lit up and spun with blue light for a few seconds then dimmed to an ambient glow. Guess it was working.

There was no mirror in my little curtained area but I did feel like I was dressed correctly.

I put the hospital pyjamas on the bed in a neat pile and decided I didn’t need the bag. I left in on the bed. I figured Libby would tell me if we needed it.

I took a few deep breathes before stepping out of the curtain. I still wasn’t scared, I felt safe with these two wonderful people but I knew that I had a lot to learn and figure out, and it was all the other side of that curtain. I was daunted by the thought of it all. I stepped out and felt ready. Libby was still in Kay’s office. I walked over there and realised that I felt great I guess Kay was a good doctor.

As I walked around the doorway I tapped the wall to let them know I was there. Kay was sitting down with her feet on her desk. I noticed her skin hugging uniform went from head to toe. Her shoes were formed into the single garment. She was still wearing that same medical coat but most of it was on the floor, her glasses were slid into the pocket on the coats lapel. Libby was sitting on the edge of the desk. Looking nervous. They both looked up at me as I came in.

“Well You certainly look like your old self” Libby said with a smile. “Maybe the new you can get better dress sense” Kay added, with a good natured grin that morphed into a yawn half way though.

Libby took my hand, it felt natural. She guided me out of the room. The corridor outside was generously wide and had the same lighting that covered the whole ceiling. There was a plush light grey carpet and pale blue walls. I couldn’t see any windows but there were paintings on the wall every few meters. The painting were mostly space scenes and cityscapes.

There were other people in the corridor all wearing uniforms that were similar to Libby’s overalls but far tidier and more formal. They were all talking to each other and walking to their destinations, not really paying much attention to Libby and I.

I was gleefully drinking in all the sights, sounds and smells of the corridor. It was the only place other than the ,medical room that I had seen in this new world, as far as I could recall. We walked down a few more corridors passing more people as we went. We came to a large open area that seemed to intersect multiple corridors. There were quite a lot of people milling around chatting, a few talking to their screens on their arms.

The room had large square beams that I quickly realised were elevators. We walked towards the closest one and Libby made a gesture that seemed to be intended to call the elevator car.

I was suddenly startled by a man across the room, he was pale and had red eyes. The startling thing to me wasn’t initially his complexion or his eyes but it was that he had a large pair of wings tucked behind his back. He was talking to what looked like a robot of some kind. A humanoid figure made of what looked like lots of metallic balls, one larger ball for a head. “Is that normal?” I asked quietly gesturing towards them. Libby looked over at them and then back at me “Those are called people! You will see a lot of them” the doors opened and we stepped into the elevator. The doors closed. There was a screen on the wall, Libby tapped the button that said “Street” and the Elevator started to move up. “People have wings and metallic friends?” I asked. “Some people have wings and some people are Metallic friends. Yes” she replied. I shrugged. Didn’t ‘feel’ right but she seemed to be unphased by the sight so I accepted it.

The elevator seemed to be moving very fast and the momentum was a little jarring to me. Suddenly with a bump it stopped. “Ready?” Libby said and took my hang again. The doors opened.

I was stunned.

I stepped out of the elevator into the street. It was dark and it was raining heavily but the neon blues and purples of the sky lit the street beautifully. The buildings were tall and some had holes in them with little shuttles going in and out of them. There was music playing and people everywhere. All dressed drastically different. The whole street was a flood of neon soup with sounds that seemed entirely alien but incredibly exciting. Libby tugged my arm and gestured for us to step back as a truck of some kind approached. It had no wheels but was floating on a cushion of rich blue light. It hummed as it went. “Welcome to Central Prime Jon” Libby said wryly.

We walked down the street through the rain for about ten minutes. There were shops and food vendors and people of all different shapes and sizes. Some were pale people like the one I had seen by the elevator, some with wings, some without. Some were normal humans like Libby and I and some were metallic robot looking things. There were even some sort of elf like people around who all seemed to be in a rush to get somewhere. I was entertained enough by a corridor just a little while ago and now this street way a wonderland to me. Lobby gestured into a large well lit double doored building. “our home” she said. We walked in through the glass doors. As the doors closed behind us the street sounds vanished entirely. I looked back through the glass and smiled to myself. Whatever the world was, I wanted to see more of it.

Inside the room we were now in, a robot sitting behind a desk blinked at us. The robot looked like it was made of old pipes with one large eye on a stalk instead of a head. “Hows it going Doors?” said Libby as she began to mess with her soaking hair. “Ah, hello Elizabeth!” said the robot. He had no mouth but his large eye flickered as he talked. “Jonathan! Welcome home!” He said “Thank you” I replied.

The foyer was quite big with marble flooring and old brass lights. It seemed nice but very old fashioned compared to the rest of the things I had seen. Libby was ruffling some of the rain out of her hair. I went over to the robot “What are you?” I asked as I looked closely at his eye. “My name is Doors” He replied. I prodded his eye, it was some kind of projection floating above his pipe neck. “And I see you did not in fact retain your memories sir.” he said. “Oh my gosh! I’m sorry Doors.” said Libby quickly pulling me away from the robot. “Jon! Don’t poke people!” she said sternly. “Sorry” I said to the robot.

Libby apologised again. Pulling me towards an elevator. The doors opened as we got close but there was only a blue shimmering light behind them. We stepped in and was instantly stepping out again into another large room. We were up high and there was a large glass window across the one wall. There was red sofa against the window that was a large ‘U’ shape with a coffee table in the middle. The table was piled with little rectangle screens. The room also had a large fireplace that seemed to throw out no heat but looked like a real fire and the luxurious carpet was fluffy and black.

Libby kicked off her boots. “Welcome home Jon.” she smiled but for the first time it seemed genuine. “We live here?” I asked. “Some of the time.” Libby replied.

I walked over to the window and stood in awe of the city below. It was a myriad of colours and lights. There was shuttles of all sorts of shapes and sizes moving between buildings. One of the roofs below had a glass dome on it with a whole forest inside. My eyes panned all around it. I slowly looked up. It was hard to see the sky when we were in the street but now we were high up I couldn’t not see the two huge moons above throwing down that purple light as blue clouds passed it and actual space ships flew across my vista. “…” I opened my mouth to say, something. To simply note the scope of it all but I had no words that would be fitting for this.

Libby tapped me on the shoulder “When you’re done basking in it, kitchens through there, find something to drink, or eat or whatever. I need to get changed.” I nodded, happy to do as I was told. After a few minutes I wondered into the kitchen felling partly like I was in shock and mentally exhausted by my first hour in this world.

The Kitchen was a far smaller room than I expected. It was well lit and there was only a single counter top with a few cupboards and metal square on the wall above it. I looked at it blankly for a moment then waved my hand at the metal square. A screen appeared, floating in the air. “Uh hu.” I muttered to myself. I pressed the button that said ‘Beverage’ then scrolled up and down the list. I was more playing with the list than actually trying to select something. It had some kind of pressure to it. I was pretty sure it was just a light projection of some kind but it had a sort of resistance to it in the air. I could still pass my hand through it but it felt like passing your hand through water, except without the wetness. After a few seconds of entertainment I noticed a button that said “Favourites” and pressed it. The list was split into ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ I decided on cold. There were only three options saved. Water, Iced coffee and something called ‘Elix.’ I pressed that one because I knew what water and coffee tasted like. I wondered what ‘Elix’ was and blankly considered how strange it was to not know ones one ‘favourite’ drink. I selected “x2” from the list, the list blinked out of existence. The hole made a humming sound and the back of the metal square slid open and there was two open bottles with ‘Elix’ on the labels. I picked them up and looked at the labels. ‘Elix’ was advertising its self as being an ‘alcoholic wine from the Elven forests of old’ I took a draught from one of the bottles. It was sweet and dry tasting with a warming after effect. I liked it.

I walked back into the main room as Libby came out through a door at the far side of the room. She was wearing purple silky pyjamas and had her hair in a simple ponytail. I was stunned at her beauty again and felt myself freeze up as I looked at her. She sat down on the sofa and looked over at me. I realised that she must have noticed me staring at her and was suddenly very concious of it. I walked over and sat down on the near to her but not close enough to feel intrusive. “Apparently I like this Elix stuff” I said as I passed her one of the bottles. He looked at me blankly for a moment “Oh! You got me one?” she said with surprise. “You don’t like it?” I asked. She shook her head. “Do you want me to get you something else?” I asked. She looked way nervously.

“Jon, I need to tell you some things” She started playing with her hair nervously. “Kay said I should bring you here and try and show you everyday, normal things. To see if anything comes back to you.” I nodded, that made sense to me.

“She also said I shouldn’t overload you with information right away” she continued. Still nervously messing with her hair.

“You don’t have to tell me anything if you don’t want to. We are seeing Kay again tomorrow right? And this Joanne” I said. Trying to make her worry less. All I wanted form her was friendly company until I could remember something.

Libby took the bottle from me and put it on the coffee table. She leaned forward as if she was about to unload a lot of information. I was very interested in what she was about to tell me but got distracted by a strobing light that flashed across the window, “GET DOWN!” I screamed as the window exploded into sand as the shuttled engines fired into the glass.

The sudden change in pressure between the very high up outside and the climate controlled inside caused all the air in the room to rush out and the cold take hold almost instantly. I was disorientated and between the sounds of the glass shattering, the engines and the high altitude windows that I was not exposed to I had no idea what was happening for a few seconds. I felt a hand on my shoulder and looked up. Libby was there standing tall in those purple pyjamas unaffected by the situation. She helped me to my feet and started dragging me towards the doors we arrived through.

The shuttle rotated around so the front was even with the window, it opened a hatch of some kind. Libby tapped some buttons and the doors opened. I think she was about to toss me through the doors when the shuttle fired some sort of beam weapon at the wall and Libby pushed me to the ground. The rolled out the way of the beam and it totally destroyed whatever technological magic made that doorway work. The light blinked out and I could see that all that was really behind the doors was a small cavity and a series of now broken electronic panels.

I had no idea what to do so I listened to my survival instinct and crawled as fast as I could towards the fireplace keeping low and wishing that the apartment had stairs. I peaked back towards the shuttle as something was coming out of it. Down the ramp that was now entirely open a small square truck looking thing was rolling down on a single tank track. The sides of the truck had large barrel like things on it. It spun around above its single track and I realised it was tracking Libby.

It began to fire what seemed like regular bullets as she rolled and jumped to stay slightly ahead of its movement. “CALL DOORS!” she shouted at me as she dodged and jumped. I ducked back behind what was left of the fireplace pillar. Was there a phone? An emergency button? I looked around as best as I could from where I was, I looked over at the kitchen door and wondered if the panel in there could call for help.

I heard a cracking and then Libby screamed, I peaked out of the fireplace again to see that she had been hit and some kind of tether had grabbed her. I wanted to help but I had no idea what to do or even how anything worked. I couldn’t just hide and do nothing so I stood up and showed myself “Hey! Whatever you are! You missed me!” I called stoically hoping that the distraction would let Libby get free. “What? NO! HIDE!” screamed Libby as the tank like top of the killing machine turned towards me. Libby grunted and jerked her body. She pushed closer to the machine and grabbed its large truck like form. She screamed with exertion. The thing actually started to move and rotate. She kept pulling and grunting as its motor started to smoke. With one final push she leaned towards the window and pushed it out. She was still attached by the tether and was dragged out with it. “NO!” I called as I dashed towards the window. To see her and the tank vanish into the neon soup. The shuttle rotated as if it had noticed me. It didn’t matter much to me now. Was there any way Libby could have saved herself? Was there something down there to catch her?

A sound came from behind me, I turned to seethe broken cavity of the entrance flash with electrical glory and suddenly force its self into life. The Light came on. I turned to make my escape as a figure stepped through. It was the pipe like body of ‘Doors’ the robot from the lobby. “I am glad you are well Jon. Please get out of the way.” He said as he dropped down to all fours like a huge dog. I stepped to the side and the projected eye that made up his head vanished. It took me a moment to realise what I was seeing, I was just putting it together when The barrel that was Door’s neck fired a white stream of energy that flowed into the shuttle and clean out the back of it. Doors scurried towards the shuttle without stopping the beam. The shuttle sparked and something at the back exploded. The beam stopped and the shuttle fell out the sky like it was a cloud that had suddenly been turned into a brick. It made a whistle as it went down but we were too high up for me to actually hear it hit the ground.

“Libby! She pushed a tank out of the window!” I blurted through a face full of emotion and fear. “Really? How heroic!” Doors said as his head blinked back into existence. “She was dragged out with it! She’s dead!” I screamed. Doors stood up again regaining a humanoid form.

“Sir, you are getting a call that may make you feel better.” he said pointing at my arm. I hadn’t realised but my bracelet was pulsing and buzzing. The ambient blue light was now a spinning red. I lifted my wrist and pushed the sliding button. A black thread shot out of it and a screen blinked into existence above my wrist. It quickly formed into Libbys face. “Jon! I saw what happened. Doors Shared is vision with me.”

“Libby!” I barked in shock. “I was about to explain to you before that happened. I’m fine. Kay is one the way and so is Joanne.” she said with an urgent tone. “HOW are you still alive?” I asked franticly. “I’m a non-organic! My body is synthetic. I have spares!” she said with a comforting smile.

Something inside of me was a combination of relived and terrified.

I flipped the button on the bracelet. The screen blinked off and the little black thread retracted. I sat on the floor as tears fell down my cheeks and I realised how cold I was. I looked over at doors who was now standing guard next to me. I lay down on the floor and breathed a deep sigh. Wherever I was. Whatever had happened. I was definitely not equipped to deal with it.

..