Episode 2 – Chapter 15

Laura could feel Janicka’s anxiety as she entered the Captain’s office. He was sitting behind his desk when she walked in. He stood at her arrival, and extended his hand.

“Hello, I’m Captain Peterson.”

“Janicka Bauer.” she shook his hand. “What’s all this about?”

“One of my staff noticed what you’re wearing around your neck. It’s a memory recorder isn’t it?”

“My Aunt called it a memory serialiser when she gave it to me. It’s not illegal. I just wanted to make a record of everything that’s going on. This is an historic moment.”

A memory serialiser? This was getting interesting. Finally, Laura might be able to get some answers.

“Yes, I understand that Miss Bauer. Now here’s the thing.” Captain Peterson began pacing around his small office. “There are things we haven’t told the rest of the passengers yet. You see, we were expecting to find an established colony here on Xinju before we arrived.” Here it came – Laura had been waiting for this fact to be revealed to the crew. “Unfortunately, we’ve found no colony – no evidence that the Ark ship ESS Endeavour even made it here. That means we’re on our own.”

Janicka’s mouth went dry. Unlike Laura, she hadn’t been expecting this news.

“What are we going to do?”

“The only thing we can do. We’ll attempt to make a life for ourselves here on this planet, but we’re starting from scratch. It will be hard – a lot harder then we’d anticipated.”

“What does this have to do with me Captain?”

“I want you to serve as an official historian. I want you to use that memory serialiser to make official record of important decisions and events. You’ll be given access to the highest levels of our new government. Do you think you’re up for the challenge?”

Janicka nodded. “I can handle it Captain.”

Peterson smiled and returned to his seat. “Good, because I have your initial assignment. You see, our first order of business is going to be to try and feed all these people. It won’t be easy. Now our scanners picked up a rich source of fruit trees several hours walk from this spot. I’m sending a group out to collect as much as possible and bring it back. It won’t go far of course, but it’ll be a start. I want you to go with them Miss Bauer.”

“I’d be happy to. But Captain, if the food is so far away, why didn’t you land closer?”

“The Phoenix is a big ship to put down. This was a suitable landing spot. It had a large enough clearing to accommodate the size of our ship, close to fresh water and other necessities. Food a reasonable walk away was not a bad deal.”

Janicka nodded.

“While you’re fetching the fruit, we’ll have other people trying to catch us some fish. It will be a simple meal, but it’ll keep us all alive.”

“I’ll happily go along on this trip Captain, but I would make one request.”

“What’s that Miss Bauer?”

“I’d like somebody to come along with me. His name is Kenneth Baily.”

Peterson smiled. “Consider it done.”

 * * *

Neal had been given a clean bill of health half an hour or so ago, but because of his close relationship with Laura, he had been allowed to stay close by. Laura’s condition still hadn’t changed. Physically, her condition was stable. Mentally, things were looking very strange.

“This device appears to be putting a lot of strain on her brain,” Doctor Heroux said. “If this goes on too much longer, the trauma might begin to cause her brain damage.”

“Then for goodness sake just remove it Doctor.”

“I’m not willing to do that yet Neal. It could cause her untold damage if I do. She could end up a vegetable.”

“But you say it’s causing her damage right now.”

“Yes, but at the moment the risk of extreme damage by removing the device outweighs the small amount of trauma being caused by leaving it. As time goes on that may change, and I’ll have to take drastic action. I’m just hoping that there’s another way.”

“So what are you doing to find it?”

Marcelle gave him a scolding look. “I’ve already called Chief Engineer Henderson to come down from the Endeavour to assist me. This is not just a medical problem, it’s a technological one. He might have some insight.”

Neal let out a frustrated sigh. “I don’t get why someone would build something like this. If it’s sending information into her head then surely it isn’t supposed to cause damage like this.”

“Her mind is resisting what the device is trying to feed it. It seems the more she fights, the more damage it causes her.”

“She’s probably seriously confused. She doesn’t understand what’s going on or where she is. It’s no wonder she’s resisting the images.”

“Well, she is demonstrating physiological indications of a REM sleep state, but assuming you’re right, how does that help us?”

Suddenly Neal had an idea. “What we need to do is help her understand her situation, to tell her to stop fighting against the process. Maybe if she just lets this thing play out, the device will detach itself voluntarily.”

Marcelle screwed her face up in thought. “You could be right.”

“Now you said this device is sending images and sounds into her mind. Why don’t we try to tap into the system and send her a message of our own. If I could talk to her, I’m sure could help.”

The doctor shook her head. “Again, it’s just too risky. We don’t know how the device will react if we try to tamper with it.”

Neal gazed at Heroux with the fire of determination in his eyes. “I’m not prepared to just stand here doing nothing and watch her die Doctor.”

“Mister Speawood, you are in this tent at my sufferance only. I can have you removed in seconds if I want.”

Neal lent forward. “I love her Doctor. I want to fight for her, and I want you to fight for her too.”

Marcelle’s face softened somewhat. “Look Neal, I’m not giving up on Laura, and I promise to do all I can to help her. I need you to just be a little patient and wait. When Henderson gets here he can look at the technology and help us understand the risks we are facing. Can yoube patient until then?”

Neal nodded slowly. “I’ve been patient for a very long time with Laura. I guess I can wait a little longer.”

 

 

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About Adam David Collings

Adam Collings is a writer of speculative fiction who works as a software engineer during the day. He lives in Tasmania, Australia with his wife and two children. Adam is currently working on a science fiction novel.
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One Response to Episode 2 – Chapter 15

  1. Pingback: The Colonists Episode 2 – Chapter 15 | The Collings Zone

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