Friday, May 01, 2009

The Beginning of the End


Time was distorted as I came to. Lindsay was screaming the distress call into the non-functioning microphone, but his words were stretched out, emitted at a reduced rate of speed. The effect was similar to, I believe, what the movies used to depict with slow-motion scenes. It would have been comical, if not for the dire nature of our situation. The plane, Vulture 2, was in free-fall. The aircraft had suffered some sort of electrical malfunction, and nothing was working in it. Our companion plane, the Vulture 1, was also suffering from the same fate.

I looked over at Lindsay – slowly, since it seems that all of reality was passing through a speed filtration – with a questioning look. “What the hell is going on?”

He returned my look with a confused shrug of his own. He was just as clueless as I was. He turned his attention to the plane’s controls, attempting to pull us out of our snail’s pace descent. I shifted my focus on the rest of the crew. Everyone appeared to still be unconscious. Pablo, Evelyn, and Prince were all out, but breathing shallowly. My ‘brother’ was also unalert, but that was to be expected, and just as I had hoped. A precursory glance at the cabin showed me that everything electrical had stopped functioning. I wondered if that was what had caused us to black out as well. There had been a flash of electrical sparks, and then darkness. It could have been a weapon test. Or a booby trap of some sort. We had been searching for a base, after all.

As I was turning back to face the front of the plane, Lindsay was yelling, “Brace for impact!” The plane was going down, and there was nothing that could be done about it. It was at that moment that time reasserted itself. Due to the fact that we had just spent the last who knows how long moving at a much slower velocity, when time began to flow again at a normal speed, it felt much faster. So the final seconds before impact happened almost instantaneously. There was very little that could have been done to actually prepare for the crash other than close my eyes and pray.


As I came to after the crash, time was at least flowing normally. However, I had no idea how long I had been out after losing consciousness from the plane crash – or where I was, for that matter. I could not see the Vulture 2, and I was propped up against a tree. My head hurt, and I could feel an intense pain in my left hand. As I attempted to move my hand, I saw that my fingers had been broken. My vision blurred and I bit the inside of my cheek in an attempt to stay conscious.

A few feet away, Evelyn was kneeling down, calming Prince. He was emitting a low, steady growl. She noticed I had awakened, and walked over toward me, bringing Prince with her. I detected she was limping.

“Hey,” she said, “how are you feeling?”
“Like I’ve been through a plane crash,” I said. She smiled wanly.

Kneeling down to get a better look, and grimacing a bit when she did so, she shined a small flashlight in my eyes. “Do you know what year it is?”

I said, “It’s twenty thirty-seven. August 29th. I think I’m okay, mentally, Ev. My left middle and ring fingers have been broken, though.” I raised my hand to show her, wincing slightly at the pain. "What about you? How are you feeling? And where is everyone else? And what about the Vultures?" I looked around briefly and a sense of dread overcame me. "Where is ... it? Did it survive the crash?"

Evelyn pointed off to the distance. "Yeah, it... he survived. And I doubt we would be as lucky if he hadn't. He pulled us both out of the wreckage, Connor."

Prince was whimpering at me, nipping on my sleeve, and alternately looking off in the direction Ev had pointed. The dog was obviously worried about it returning, regardless of whether it had a hero status. Using my good hand, I scratched the canine's head, trying to put him at ease.

Evelyn continued, "He is out there right now, attempting to rescue the rest of our crew. I understand your animosity toward him - I really do - but he's different, Connor. He's not like them. Not anymore. I think his actions just now prove that, if nothing else."

I looked at her, and thought of all the things we had been through in the past two years that we had known each other. She had never met my twin, Kyle. For her to suggest that she understood my situation was laughable at best. If she had known Kyle - the real Kyle - before, then maybe she would have a ground to stand on. But all she had ever known was the impostor. For the past year and a half, the fake Kyle was the only connection I had to my twin brother. That damn machine, with my brother's face and therefore, my face, was posing as Kyle Johnson. Evelyn was human, and had, of course, suffered and lost a great deal - we all had - but none of her relatives had (to the best of my knowledge) been captured by the Mim-cha, tortured, and had their identities stolen in order for them to infiltrate and murder other humans. She'd seen it happen to friends and complete strangers, but never a relative. Her family had all perished under the bombs twenty-five years prior. They were the lucky ones.

I thought all of this, and more, but said only, "His actions prove nothing but that he's following his current set of orders. He is a robot, Evelyn. It is a robot."

"That saved the lives of two people just now," she added.

I nodded. "Because we altered it's programming. But there is so much we still don't understand about them." I paused, seeing that we had hit a sort of stalemate in the debate. "Look," I said, "I'll concede that it is on our side, and is doing good things right now. But the first sign of any sort of betrayal on it's part, and it gets turned off. Permanently. I can still shoot with my right hand."

Prince began to growl harder, and barked several short, loud warnings. 'Kyle' was returning from the wreckage. Pablo was draped over his shoulders, and bleeding profusely.

We both stood and walked over to our companion. The robot said, "He requires medical attention. Promptly. We need to find a way out..." he paused, turning his head to the side, much like a dog when it hears a tone it doesn't recognize. I swore I could hear some mechanical buzzing. I glanced over at Evelyn, who looked nervous.

"Kyle?" She asked.

The bot snapped it's head up and said, "There is an underground facility 1.4 miles to the southeast. We should go there."

Evelyn and I looked at one another. "What sort of facility?" I asked, but my mechanical twin had already begun to march into the jungle, still carrying Pablo. We had no choice but to follow.

Next: The Good Soldier

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'll trust Kyle as soon as Prince does. Dogs know about this shit, as Terminator movies attest.