Sunday, June 1, 2014

Here to There

There was a flash of light.  Time slowed and thoughts melted away until there was nothing else.  It stretched and enveloped.  There was no touch, taste, or smell.  It consumed everything. Endlessly filling the void left behind with itself.  It was everything and nothing.

Then just as quickly as it began, it was gone, and we were there. There was a sense we had just hit a brick wall at Mach 1, and suddenly we were ourselves again.  Everything and nothing were gone and the yawning gap left behind was replaced with our fragile bags of meat. Private Waters retched and drained his lunch on the polished metal floor.  The others stumbled and leaned against the walls and cargo either dizzy and seeking balance or just looking for something solid to touch to prove they were still alive.  It's the same every time.

A stocky man with a clipboard and an ill fitting grey jumpsuit covered in stains approached them then.  He wrinkled his nose in disgust at the smell of Waters' shame.  "There's always one in every delivery," he said with a sneer and a shake of his rapidly receding hairline.  He gave the rest of them a snort and glanced at his paperwork before continuing, "I'm a busy man, we've got to get these supplies off the landing pad before the next delivery.  The exit is that way," He gestured vaguely in the direction he had come from. "I haven't got all day," he added gruffly when no one made a move to leave immediately.

"Well.  That's fucking frontier hospitality for ya,"  growled Private Jacobs while grabbing his gear and rifle on wobbly legs.  "Get it to-fucking-gether Waters.  We trained for this for a month back at base," he shot over his shoulder as steadied himself and took a few practice steps. Then,with a final snarl, and a rude gesture to the Technician that so rudely greeted them, he strode out of the Receiving station without looking back.

Sergeant Kandrini watched him go while clutching the handrails mounted on the wall.  "That one is going to be a discipline problem," she thought.  With a final squeeze of the cool solid metal she pulled herself upright and looked at the others.  "Squad!" she barked.  "Let's move it!  Get your gear and line up outside.  Private Timball help Waters get his gear.  Move. Move. Move."

With a practiced calm she watched them.  Combined with her words it had an amazing affect.  While no one had so much as moved when Jacobs stormed out.  Now they were moving like the soldiers they were trained to be.  The unreality of Point to Point matter transmission across 10 light years and coldness of their greeting were quickly forgotten and shortly the last of them marched out of sight, and all that remained were the Sergeant and the Technician.

Next: Part 2

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