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Fail Safe

by Fred Looney 2 months ago in science fiction · updated 2 months ago
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Chapter 1 - Ready ... Jump

Fail Safe
Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say.

That is exploding in my mind as I see that I have landed on an asteroid without atmosphere, and I am definitely not in a space suit. All those hours of repetitive training takes over and I immediately switch focus to my second destination choice. All those boring hours that seemed so worthless have now kicked in and I am essentially on autopilot. I know that I cannot try to breathe, to do so is instant death. The refocus to my secondary destination will take only 15 seconds but with what I have done to get to and then away from the worthless piece of space rock has taken almost a full 2 minutes so far and if the secondary is also a toxic selection, then I will need to use my final fail safe. Just how long can I hold my breath, damn I really didn’t concentrate on that part of the training, never thought I would need it.

My surroundings begin to appear and as they solidify, I can smell hot dogs and bus fumes. The sun is bright and there are people, innumerable people, it is not going to be possible to not be spotted just suddenly appearing and I just hope to not port any part of me into something or somebody else! There are so many things going on, I am confused and a more than a little scared, I have never been in this situation before, and I am not handling it well. The noise of car horns and hawkers, the screams of people suddenly seeing me appear, and I make my decision and after taking a deep breath I again trigger a jump and I close my eyes tight to avoid the bright flashes that assault me when I jump, going from I don't know where or when and headed to a deserted Arizona cabin in late 1958 so I won't be on this street for very long.

Suddenly I discover that I am crumpled on the ground, I still hear all the racket from where I was, it must be echoing in my mind. The smells of mid-summer and a hoard of people with colognes, perfumes and good old fashioned body odor are clouding my mind as they crowd around me. I feel like I am still in the same place but that couldn’t be. As I try to raise my head a voice says, just sit still, this damn heat wave is trying to claim you as a victim, and you just collapsed. Sit, breathe easy, and try to relax, help is on the way. Then I feel a cool plastic bottle being shoved into my hand and realizing that it is water I twist the top as I hear a voice say, “You overheated Mack, splash a little on your face and take a couple of small sips, the paramedics are on the way.” As I blindly followed those instructions, I was quickly back to myself and realized that I needed to get away, a paramedic might find things that I would not be able to explain and then Chronos would be most unforgiving of my total lapse in following procedures and security protocols.

I responded to my new friend, the provider of water, asking to be allowed to move into the shade of a nearby bus shelter and was helped to my feet and assisted as I shuffled a few feet down the sidewalk. The sounds were no longer confusing me, and I was trying to figure a way to slip away when I heard the voice of a fellow Chronos Teammate tell me to prepare to jump to Sync Point 1 on his mark. Suddenly a bus pulled up to the shelter causing a flurry of complaints and people darting and trying to avoid being hit. At the height of the confusion, I hear “Jump” and acting purely on instinct and to a lesser extent, on my training, I triggered a jump with Sync Point 1 firmly grasped in my consciousness as my destination. As I felt the jump begin my teammate’s voice intoned that we were under attack, and we were now grouping to respond and control.

science fiction

About the author

Fred Looney

My first lifetime, I wrote in the language of computers. Now, in my "Retirement" I want to express my thoughts and feelings to other humans.

Please join me in this new adventure while I explore what I have been hiding in my subconscious.

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