Sunday, 4 September 2011

3) The Drop In

You wake up. Nothing comes to mind, you name, your age, or what you’re doing in this featureless black space. You look around and run your hands over your body. You’re wearing a thin fabric that covers your entire body and there’s a curving glass plate over your face. As soon as your hand comes away from your face plate the darkness irises open and you’re suddenly floating in a field of stars, so many stars in so many colors. This can’t be real, you think. Without a basis for comparison though you accept it and lose yourself in the deep field of light pinpricks.
    After a few moments you look down and it’s still stars, you look up and the Earth is looming large. And it’s getting larger. You feel your blood rushing to your head and images come stuttering back to you, a clock, a pair of dice, a road sign in a foreign language. You’re calmer than you think you should be as the Earth continues to get bigger and bigger. You hear a sudden sharp hiss of gas and the world tilts out of your vision, the Earth is below your feet and the almost normal pull of gravity is reassuring.
    Soon the Earth is a blue green plain. You can see Africa and Europe and some of Asia. You note that you’re pointed towards Eastern Europe.
    Without warning your visor irises black again and the your flimsy jumpsuit inflates and goes rigid. Panic begins to creep in as you tumble and shake, but reentry is short enough and the visor opens again to reveal a field of thin clouds. You’re over a patchy forest and you can see a small town off in the distance.
    The suit pulls tight around you, pinching into every crevice, and you feel the slack gathering at your back. This time you know more of what’s going to happen, it’s forming a parachute.
    A beat later it deploys, you feel like you’re jerked up, but you know you’re just decelerating. You continue your descent to the trees below. A large cyprus catches your chute and it tears away. You duck and roll when you land, you suspect you’ve been trained to do this.
    You stand up and you’re in a field of wild flowers and sparse trees. It’s overcast and warm. Your visor pulls back to your collar to reveal that you had been soaking in your own stale air and body odor the whole time. The air outside is sweet and fragrant. You think maybe you’re in Slovakia.
    Feeling exposed you run off towards the nearest grove of trees. You only get a moment of rest when there’s a buzzing in your ear. You swat at it, but it only takes off for a second and returns. Angry, you move away from the tree and find another one to rest under and try to get your bearings.
    Then it stings you in the neck. The damn thing had followed you. It feels like a hot pin has been jabbed into your skin. You swing up your hand to scrape it off, but your hand freezes several inches away. You take your hand back and it’s under your control again. You try again, but its the same result, you can’t get at the damn thing.
    There’s a voice in your head, “Agent 555 do you copy? Agent 555 do you copy?”
    The piercing pain in your neck has stopped and now its just a warm throbbing. You bring your hand up to the spot and it feels like a small mole or wart. You try to scrape it off, but its well stuck into your flesh.
    The voice in your head repeats, “Agent 555 do you copy? We know the transmitter has been set. Are you there?”
    You look around and there’s no one there. It’s just you in the forest.
    The voice is louder this time, but strangely flat, “Damn it triple 5, we’re getting your readings we know you’re awake, come on.”
    With nothing better to do you respond, “Hello?”
    “Ah great. Good to hear from you. So nice for you to finally deign to respond.” the voice says.
    “Uh, who is this?” you say.
    “Damnit, I told them to double check the dose.” the voice says. “Ok, here’s the score. That thing in your neck is a receiver and transmitter. We’re talking to you from very far away.”
    “Ok, I understand.”
    “Good, at least you’re not a complete vegetable. So, what do we have to work with? Tell me the last thing you remember.”
    “Hmm, I just fell out of the sky, but other than that nothing really.” You say.
    “Nothing at all, no flashes of images or associations.” The voice says.
    “Well, I know I’m on Earth in Eastern Europe. I know I’m speaking English. Um. I know I’m wearing a Smart-Suit. I think I imagined a clock or something. But I think that’s it.”
    “Shit. Ok. Square one. That’s okay. We’ve got a backup in you somewhere. Give me a minute.”
    You wander into the forest while the voice is silent. You rack your memory for something useful. You remember the clock face from before. It’s a little after two o’clock. There’s no numbers on it, it’s black and white, and the the arms are straight lines.
    The voice comes back on, “Ok, here it is. I need you to follow my instructions exactly. Okay?”
    “Yeah, I can do that.” you say.
    The voice rattles off a complex set of actions involving clapping, squatting, half twists, and slapping different parts of your body. After ten minutes of this you’re equally annoyed and intrigued.
    Eventually the voice says, “That should be it. Give it a minute to bake.”
    You say, “What am I doing here?”
    The voice says, “I can’t tell you yet. That’s the whole point. I’m just your support. You’re supposed to know what’s going on as soon as you land. But that didn’t happen.”
    You say, “Oh. Well, how do you know I’m agent 555 then? Have we worked together before?”
    The voice ignores you and says, “Ok, it should be done. Feel around under your arm pits, one of them should have a small bump. Squeeze that out and put it in your mouth.”
    You say, “Put it in my mouth? That’s disgusting.”
    The voice says, “You want to know what you’re doing or do you want to be an amnesiac lost in a forest with no food, water, or support?”
    You say, “Fine.” The small pebble is in your right arm pit. It comes free easily and you pop it in your mouth. With it in your cheek you say, “Should I swallow it or chew on it or what?”
    The voice says, “It’ll dissolve quickly, give it a second.”
    It does and everything comes flooding back. Your real name, your training, your mission brief, the combination to the lock and the precise coordinates of the castle you’re supposed to break into.

1 comment:

  1. Grammar Nazi :-)

    And your flimsy jumpsuit... Lose the 'the'

    "We're getting your readings, we know you're awake" Added comma

    "... other than that, nothing really" you say... No need for full stop

    "... flashes of images or associations?" the voice says... No need for full stop or capitalisation on 'the'

    "Yeah, I can do that" you say... No need for full stop

    Other than that, there are a lot of full stops, which makes it read a little stilted, may wish to consider making some longer sentences with commas instead. However if this is an intentional style decision then please disregard.

    Hope this helps :-)