Motionless

Just a quick bit of sci-fi I wrote out of boredom.

Motionless. The only way to describe the wasteland of Braxis. The rolling dunes of the desert were completely without movement. From one side of the horizon to the other one could look an they would see nothing but the barren plains of grey, the desert of Braxis being not covered in sand but ash. Over the centuries since the planet’s core had burst the ash thrown up into the atmosphere had settled and compacted under the harsh winds and heavy rain storms, leaving a solid floor of darkness, leaving it motionless, or all but motionless. Slowly and tentatively something small broke the surface of the ash. A small creature, it’s fur matted and coarse carefully poked it’s head from where it had been hiding beneath the cover of ash and, after many minutes scouting the area. Broke from it’s cover, running a few feet it hid in the shadows provided by the closes dune and went to ground, flattening itself to the floor and watching. Taking it’s time the predator waited, knowing that before long it’s patience would be rewarded. Finally it’s patience was rewarded when something moved, skirting the desert quickly it darted forward before stopping. Sliding forward almost leisurely the predator moved, what it was hunting didn’t matter, only that it was soon to become food. The hunter had learnt after years of life, how to move silently but quickly across the desert and before too long it had closed on it’s prey which was still very much unaware of it’s presence. Staying low the hunter stopped, knowing that even as it closed, one wrong movement would cost it it’s meal. The ash moved minutely before it as it carefully moved again, finally it was close enough, the time to strike was now and with one surge of it’s muscles it burst forward and out of the ash, It’s huge frame exploding from the ash like a breaching whale and it’s jaws scooping up and enveloping the small rodent which hadn’t even realised it was being stalked and which managed a small, pitiful squeal before it disappeared completely into the maw of oblivion.
The Dust Devil lay on the surface of the ash,resting it’s huge frame allowing it’s scales to absorb some small amount of sunlight from the clouded sky as it chewed it’s prey a few times before swallowing. In the distance it watched a as a trio of dust clouds made their way across the desert, the Devil had seen clouds like this before, it didn’t know what caused them but it’s primitive animal intellect told it that it was best to stay away for now. Even if it moved at top speed it was no match for the vehicles on the horizon, but what else it knew was that sooner or later those vehicles would releases softer, slower targets and then maybe it could claim a more significant meals that the one it had just had. Casually the beast turned back to the ash, using it’s ram like nose to crack the surface and then pulled itself underground again. The only sign that it had ever been there being the long thin track left by it’s dorsal spines as it moved, punctuated by one larger crater before the trail continued, turning east and following after the clouds on the horizon.
Heedless of the display of nature that had just occurred the small army jeep sped on across the wasteland, it’s wheels kicking up huge plumes of ash as it did so, causing the bus that followed behind it to need to keep a good distance to it’s left in order for the driver to be able to see where they were going and the same said for the cargo truck behind that, causing the convoy to gouge a wide series of tracks out of the previously perfectly flat ash.

Phantom Limbs XIII

Luck part 13…

 

Sunday 9th September 2116

James Dylan’s audio Diary

Another morning waking up in a hospital bed, another new surgery, more new machinery added to me. I’ve made a huge mistake. I couldn’t help myself, I was on edge. And I’ve always been one that can be talked into compulsive purchases. I bought the arm upgrade. They installed it and the update at the same time, I can’t even change my mind. It’s too late. It’s built into me. What am I going to do? I needed that money. Now how can I afford to buy Mily that gift for her birthday? That play house. She wanted it so badly. I can seen her disappointed little face when I close my eyes now. It’s worse than the dreams could ever be. What have I done? And Joanna, she’ll be furious, there is no hiding what I’ve done. How can I? If there was an award for worst father of the year than it would be me. Why couldn’t Joanna have come with me? Why did she need to be so self righteous? She could have stopped me, why didn’t she take my credit ships off me? She was always going on about how she was the smarter one with money. God damn her, she always has to be so right and now she’s going to laud this over me when she did nothing to stop it happening, if she had just listened to me for once. Worst of all I can’t even go get a drink to try and calm my nerves. I can’t drink for a few days while I am taking the medication to help they systems adapt better to me. Why should I need to drink though? Why would a man ever be afraid to go back to his own home. And I bet I won’t get any sympathy from her. I’m the victim here, I’m the cripple. She’ll forget that though, forget or ignore it like my damn colleagues. Anyway better cut this short, doctor is coming.

James Dylan logged out.

Phantom Limbs XI

this wasn only originally going to be a ten part thing, guess i can’t even keep to my own guidelines.

 

Thursday 6th September 2116

James Dylan’s audio diary.

As expected Joanna flipped her lid at me again when I told her that I had signed myself up for this update but she just doesn’t get it and I was just too tired to explain it to her. I haven’t slept all night and now I am sat here, in the bar again, running up a tab that I have no idea how I am going to pay for after this update and after I buy this damned present for Mily. But I can’t lie, the alcohol at this rate is the only thing that is keeping me sane, as stupid as that sounds. Anyway the procedure is in a few days, if no0thing else I can count on Apex top be there to give me the help I need. Not like those damn, so called, colleagues of mine. I went about today and explained my situation to all of them and to a man they were all unsympathetic. They carried on asking why a man who will now be earning more than they will needs to borrow money of them? As if I hadn’t explained about how I needed the upgrade, how I need this gift for my daughter. I even brought out the big guns, I said to Phil that maybe I wouldn’t need to borrow money if I hadn’t had the lost income from a few weeks off work. Wouldn’t even need the upgrade if we hadn’t had our little accident. Then he goes off on a tangent, says that it was a ‘shitty thing to say’, apparently the truth really does hurt some people. Then the rest of the guys came along and they were there backing up HIM! One of them even says that I only got the damned promotion because of my handicap and that I should be THANKING PHIL!

Great now the barmaid is telling me to keep it down, says she’ll have me thrown me out if I keep making a racket. Apparently there is more discrimination against disabled people in this city than I thought. Guess you only see it when you’re on the other side of it. Anyway Joanna is still in a huff with me, fortunately Mily was at home again yesterday, kept the battle axe off my neck, but she is staying with a friend tonight, there is going to be a riot when I get home, maybe I am a coward for hiding here again but I just can’t take the stress right now. I need some time to myself, away from the damned job, the arsehole colleagues, the judgement, thought I apparently can’t even escape that here. Thought maybe it’s just a gender thing, there is a woman over there, bionic leg, she’s had no trouble. Keeps looking across at me like I’m something foul she stepped in. The hell does she want? As if I don’t have enough problems with nosey bitches giving me the evils.

James Dylan logged out.

Phantom Limbs X

I realised i hadn’t added the ‘James Dylan’s audio diary.’ section of the opening in since about the 5th entry in this little sage. oops.

 

Wednesday 5th September 2116

James Dylan’s audio diary.

Well I’m doing something I never thought I would do. I’m recording this from the bar in town because I can’t stand the idea of going home. Ok let’s be truthful, I’m being cowardly. I took my advance on my wages and I signed myself up for the advanced augment, the one I was talking about before that should help stop the dreams. Well I had another awful one last night. It’s always the same start, the corridor, the flashing light, Mily on that table. This time I make it to the table, I am right there, I can reach out and touch Mily, but as I do so one of those damn arms reaches down and hits my arm, smashes it clean off. The shards rain down onto Mily and she gets cut up by them. Before I can stop myself another arm hits me in the head, it shatters but I can still see as shards rain down on my daughter. I haven’t had more than an hour or two sleep in days. I just sit up all night, afraid to close my eyes. I hear you can get alterations to your body, keep you energised during the day  so that you don’t need to sleep so much. If this surgery doesn’t work I may have to start looking into that. I really can’t live like this.

Joanna was talking the other day. There is something Mily wants for her birthday. It’s like this toy house that she can sit in and play in. It has a small working TV and an oven that can actually cook theses little premade meals that come with it. An iron I think. It’s all been made safe for children somehow and I know she would love it. But it’s expensive. I mean we can afford it, especially with this new job. But her birthday is so soon, and I need this upgrade. And I can’t afford both. You see why I am hiding in the bar? Maybe I can borrow some money from a colleague, this surgery doesn’t use up all the advance. If they will stop being such jealous pricks for a moment. How can they be jealous of a guy who lost an arm?

James Dylan logged out

Phantom Limbs VIII

Monday August 20th 2116

My boss came to me today and told me that he is hiring for a new position that is opening up in the warehouse. It’s not really much of a position, not quite a foreman but still better than an average grunt. It’s essentially someone who will do half the foreman’s work for half his salary. He came to me with this because he thinks I should apply, not sure why I jumped to mind but if he thinks I should I’m not going to turn him down. Anyway why shouldn’t I be in charge of a few of the guys? I work just as hard as they do plus I have a daughter to provide for. Now I don’t want to speak too soon but I think I may have a good chance for this job, what with how sharp I’ve been after my surgery I reckon my boss would be a fool not to pick me. Better start planning my interview topics, it may be sleazy but I think I’ll ply up my injury a bit. Play the brave solider who returned to duty after taking a bullet in service kinda thing.

As for the dreams, they’re getting worse if anything, the doctor says I have a few week on an increased does of hypnocil, if they don’t go away then I can try this new drug, it’s experimental but it should allow for a more seamless blending of my own brain waves and the neural link that keeps my arm going. God I hope so. Last night I found myself in the room again. Mily is screaming and I am running towards her but now my leg doesn’t move at all, I pull and pull and suddenly it shatters, like glass, why whole leg!” I start falling forward, holding my arm out to catch myself and then I realise my arms are gone, I just have bandaged up stumps like before surgery but now on both arms. I fall towards the floor and just before my face impacts on the ground I wake up. Last night I was thrashing so hard I even woke Joanna, and what sympathy did I get? None, she blamed the arm for affecting my head. She just doesn’t understand. If she could see what I have been seeing every night.god…

James Dylan logged out.

Phantom Limbs VII

Sunday August 19th 2116

Oh hell…I just woke up, recording this at quarter past 3 in the morning. I just had the worst nightmare. So much for the hypnocil. Gonna need to go to the doctor tomorrow, I need something stronger, Or an update to the system, or something, I just can’t have that dream again. How I didn’t wake Joanna up I don’t know, I swear I was shouting in my sleep but then again she always could sleep like a rock. This dream though, I was walking down a corridor. It was dark but every so often there would be a blinding flash of white light from down the end and around a corner which would take a few seconds to fade. I keep on walking down the corridor but the closer I get to the corner the heavier my feet felt until I am literally dragging them across this cold, smooth floor. I get to the corner and I turn to see a big open room. The walls are covered in what looks like factory machinery and there are hundreds of these mechanical hands descending from the ceiling. In the centre of the room Mily is lying on an operating table, completely bound to it by huge metal clamps. She was crying.

Every now and then one of the arms would swing down with some wicked looking tool in it’s claws and it would come to rest on her skin. Then there would be the flash of white light, though Mily would suddenly be shadowed, her body twisting as her face was pulled into a silent scream of pain before the arm would move away and she would go limp again. I tried to run, I tried to do anything to get to her but for some reason all I did was stand there. Stand there and watch the torture of my daughter before me. Even when I did start moving I was slow, slower than ever. My legs seemed to be welded to the floor and every step seemed to stretch on four hours. Mily’s screaming face never seeming to be getting any closer and all I could think was that I needed to be faster. Why can’t I go faster?

Finally I woke up. There was one last flash and I was lying in bed. I need…I need to do something, get a shower…maybe. But I can’t go back to bed…not after that.

James Dylan logged out.

Phantom Limbs III

Tuesday August 9th 2116

James Dylan’s audio diary:

God damn these companies sure as hell can move quickly when they want to. Saturday I signed the consent form for this surgery and a few days later I find myself lying on a bed waiting for the surgery in the morning. I suppose I should really be nervous but the doctor has gone over the procedure with me a hundred time already, he always seems to have time and even though he finds it difficult to give me a layman’s terms version of what will happen he has reassured me every time that there is nothing to worry about. He has done as many of these procedures as he has explained it to me and he has had no complications. Joanna and Mily have just left. I don’t think Mily really understands whats happening but she was actually sat on the bed today and talking quite happily to me like old times. I don’t know what Joanna has told her but I am hoping this could be an omen of good things to come.

On Saturday after I signed the agreement the guys at work took me out and threw me a ‘happy new arm’ party. They’d even had a small collection for me which they insisted I keep even after I had told them all that I was getting the procedure for free. Sentimental bastards. Then we all got drunk and it really hit home how much, even after the accident and I was left…like this, they never made me feel like I was an outsider or like I wasn’t one of them. They really are great guys and I’m just hoping that maybe one day I can pay them back for their support. Phil wasn’t there, at the party, but I guess that was to be expected. Wouldn’t want him around the temptation of the alcohol anyway. No use him falling off the waggon just as I am climbing back on is there. Oh hell, I’m getting all sentimental over them again. Can’t wait to see everyones faces when I get back from this surgery with a new cybernetic arm. Apex even let me chose from a few styles for my new arm, they apologised that they could only offer some of the less flashy options but that was fine by me, I don’t need screwdriver fingers of data jacks in the wrist, all I want is a working limb. I did get to pick one that is made to look like it has a nice wooden finish to it thought so it does look nice. Anyway I had better get off to sleep. Long day tomorrow.

James Dylan logged out.