Monday, 8 September 2014

Survey: A First Law: Override short story - Part 2

"Another night; another bad dream" Craig muttered to himself as he crawled out of bed and slithered into his insulated work suit.

Three more days had passed since his terrible daydream on the laser control and every night his dreams had gotten worse and worse, last night had been the worst. He had dreamt of Anna, his wife who had died in the war for Earth, but she did not look anything like he remembered her. Her eyes had been hollowed out revealing blood red sunken sockets, her face covered in row upon row of metallic circuitry, and her arms were nothing more than bloody stumps that twisted and turned as if trying to reach for him with appendages that no longer existed. Recently Craig's dreams had been so vivid he didn't know if they were real or not, but this time he knew it wasn't really happening, not because of his wife but because of him, he felt a surprising level of clarity and his continuous head ache had ceased it's throbbing, that was how Craig knew it to be a dream.

Crawling out of his cubical, Craig took in his surrounds, it was 08:50 same as it was every day and the ground underfoot shone with it's usual crystal blue light, everything should have been a normal day. Craig stopped and looked up into the sky, it's cloudless bright blue sky shining down on him. So why did everything feel strange? He thought to himself.

Craig operated the Bore satellite as usual until 10:30 when it was time for a break. He stopped, kicked up his boot and lit an artificial cigarette. His eyes continued to feel heavy but he struggled with all his might to keep conscious, it was something about his dream last night, something Anna had told him; he knew he had to stay awake.

Craig didn't know when it happened, it might have been just moment after finishing his smoke, or maybe at the end of his thirty minute break, but at some point he did drift off to sleep. He was still in the dig site, but something was different, the crystal ice base was awash with blood and the bodies of his coworkers littered the ground, at least he thought they were his coworkers; they wore the correct bodysuits, but their faces were too mashed and mangled for him to tell with any certainty.

Amidst the gore a lone figure walked, or maybe floated, Craig couldn't really tell what. He could see her bare feet as they were placed carefully in front of each other, but as he looked he noticed an inch or two of clean fresh air that acted as an insulator keeping her protected from the horror that surrounded her. She wore the blue nightdress he had given her for her birthday the year before the war started and her curled blonde hair fell in locks over her shoulders. Craig knew she was dead, but he would recognise Anna anywhere he went.

Anna walked towards Craig in a manner that made no sense. He saw her walking, saw each step, how she had started over 50 feet away from him but in the space of half a second was right in front of him and held his face with her soft frozen-cold hands. He had seen every step she has made, and that each one was slow and prepared, but here she was holding him while he held her in return as if she had been here all alone.

Anna opened her mouth slowly and slightly, a whisper of a voice escaping from her delicate lips.

"You need to wake up" she spoke to him as softly as a gently wind.

"But honey" Craig replied "I want to stay here with you" and he smiled as he looked around at the piles of dead that littered the ice, each one a testament to his love. For a flash of a moment he wondered if he had killed then all, if he had stabbed them with a blade and crushed their faces with his boot.

"No Craig" Anna replied ever so softly "you need to wake up".

Craig opened his mouth to deny her once more when he saw his wife's mouth open wide, it stretched and distorted until it covered her entire face and then continued to stretch impossibly more, Craig gagged as coils of wires spilled from her exposed throat and wrapped themselves around his neck tightening quickly and lovingly before climaxing in a release of electronic synthesised noise "WAKE UP!"

Like a shot of adrenaline to his heart Craig was awake; one cheek pressed against the keyboard of the satellite controller leaving dimpled impressions on his face. His ears rang as the klaxon of his control room sounded over and over and from his view window he saw people running and shouting.

"What's going on?" Craig shouted as he leaned out of his control room to the myriad of workers around the dig site, no one responded.

Clambering out of the control room onto the frozen floor Craig grabbed one of the workers; his name was Jared and he was clearly flushed with panic.

"What's. Going. On?" Craig barked at the man who was obviously terrified by something.

There was a sudden silence, everyone stopped and spun to the east just in time to see the main complex as it erupted in a torrent of fire and explosions. From within the flames a large black metal ship began to rise, it appeared to resemble a Hydan ship but was covered in cables and modifications that it was almost unrecognisable, it was at a slight angle to him and allowed Craig to easily make out the symbol of the circles eye, the sign that this ship belonged to the rogue faction of Reborn known only as the Collected Mind.

The worker Craig knew as Jared held out a twitching shaky finger at the alien craft and began to back away. "That!" he shouted.

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

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