TEN - STABILIZING
Date : 7098 A.D.
"Fuck," he murmured. He would have yelled on that word, but right now his head ringing with immense pain. It's like someone slammed on a tuning fork and placed it into his grey brain porridge, sending high frequency waves echoing between the brain mass.
The memory ended. That's all the servitor could give.
"Fuck," he said it again. His ears were bleeding. He felt the warm red liquid dribbled down to his jaw. He never thought that memory implantation and retrieval could be that bad. But wait, he noticed something. His weight had increased a lot and an invisible force was pressing him against the cushion. He looked at the display board and digested the data feed.
"Fuck," he said that for the third time.
It wasn't the memory implantation and retrieval process that hurt him. It was his shuttle. He was descending too fast: turbines error on both sides. And now losing altitude wasn't his best day at all. His shuttle was still in hypersonic speed. He needed to slow it down or else he would not land on Earth, but smash on Earth.
"Hello? Do you copy?" he picked up a communicator and spoke through it, hoping to reach the servitor to assess the damage or possibly send a rescue probe to save him. But all he could hear was a static buzz on the other end. He checked the antennae.
There was no antennae. All of them had snapped during the atmospheric entry. It could be one of the Near-Orbit Nexus hubs grazed on his shuttle and resulted in such damage. He gasped in for air. He felt he was being threatened right now.
Wait, he had parachutes for the shuttle. He raced his fingers across the display board and issued a command to release sequential parachutes to slow down his ever-speeding shuttle.
He felt a jerk. His body sank into the cushion once more and then relieved and then held back again. The first parachute deployed, but it was torn because of the wind currents and some unexplainable dust particles. Most probably the particles were part of his shuttle debris. Second set of parachutes deployed. And that held the shuttle for some time, reducing its speed to supersonic. He steered his shuttle so that he could round the Earth again and again to wait for speed reduction instead of head-smashed on the hard ground.
Mental calculation revealed that by the fifth set of parachutes, he could land safely. He noted his mind with the word 'safely' but not 'properly'. It would be a hard bounce and crash on the rainforest ground. And fortunately, he did it. The nose of his shuttle came off and the wings were horribly snapped off.
He stepped out of the shuttle and let himself into a deep silence, thinking the way to repair this shuttle and fly back to where he came from. He looked around. Yes, a few kilometres from where he stood, there would be the black vehicle he intended to explore. Maybe he could salvage some metal parts for his shuttle repair.
He began to walk to the black vehicle.
His holographic watch told him the time was 3.42pm when he arrived at the big black vehicle. It was strangely militaristic. Four pair of six-foot diameter wheels jutted out from left and right side, making it to have a total of sixteen wheels. There was no window but crystal blue line streaked at parts where there should be headlights, door and rear lights. The line glowed and dimmed periodically. And he could hear the engine hummed.
The vehicle was alive.
He touched the vehicle. It was smooth and cold. Very, very cold. He could see some frost accumulating at some parts of the vehicle.
Suddenly, a door appeared. It was very dreamy the way it opened. First, he saw a darker rectangle faded into his vision and then the rectangle eased away to reveal its contents.
He was very shocked. Almost four dozen humans were nested inside and they were all naked and asleep. He thought of the cryogenic sleep, or suspended animation. This people survived for how long? He wondered.
Then, one of the most seductive woman woke up. Black-brown hair and fairly tanned skin, she was quick to adapt. She removed the wires attached to her mind. Her breasts were covered in tiny icicles and as she walked, frosty air emanated from her.
There were forty two of them in the vehicle, including the woman who just awoke. So that's why the machine told him that there was a sentient being with impressive mind mass. It was an accumulation of all forty two humans inside.
He stepped back as she stepped out from the vehicle. She carried thin rectangular electronic device and he guessed it was some kind of tablet computer.
"Place your palm here," the woman had a very strident tone.
He was utterly surprised. He could not say anything. He saw another guy woke up. His naked physique was impressive. He took out a gun. and walked out from the vehicle as well.
Shit. Why didn't he bring his own gun as well?
"I do not like to repeat orders, mister," the woman warned. "Place your palm here or Reiv is going to shoot you."
He saw no choice. He stretched his shaky palm to the woman. He didn't know what he wanted to do. He kept staring at her voluptuous breasts. He wanted to touch her iced breasts and nipples. Maybe his palm was warm enough to...
The woman grabbed his hand and pressed it hard against the tablet. He felt something prickled into his skin and saw the tablet not only scanned his palm prints but also taken blood samples from him.
Few minutes or seconds later - he couldn't be sure - an alert noise interrupted the atmosphere. The woman stared down at her tablet and she trembled ever so slightly. He swore he could see her breasts pulsed.
"Shoot him," the woman said.
Before he could say or run, the man raised his gun and fired.