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BTW: The photo art and prose included in any given post are separate creations having nothing to do with each other. Duality and such …
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The first time I woke I was already violently gasping for air and convulsing, sucking wildly for enough oxygen to go on living, every muscle in my body trying to thrash about but tightly restrained from doing so; likely pulled a bunch of crap in that process but I’ve been too out of it to tell. Four guys in light blue smocks and masks were putzing about the gleaming, sterile room while I went through that and not paying much attention to me, though one of them said, “The subject seems to be suffering.” ‘Suffering’ – right.
“No he’s not,” another guy said. “The guy doesn’t know what planet he’s on. Stick a sedative in him.”
And he did. Oh, actually, I think it was a she.
The second time I woke I was conscious a split second before I began gasping, convulsing, thrashing and convinced I was suffocating. No, was being suffocated. Same four guys – at least I think they were the same four – oh, yeah, one of them was a girl – putzed about and one, the same one who’d said I wasn’t suffering before, said, “Second attempt clearly less effective – subject has already begun to build an immunity to the serum.”
“Rats did the same thing,” another said.
“Yeah, if the shoe fits,” said the first. “Sedation please.
I tried to shake my head; tried to say, “No! No!” which mostly just came out as a couple croaks.
“Subject is trying to communicate.”
First guy came over and looked at me. “Hmmmmmmm,” he said. “That’s different. Sedate him anyway.”
And one of them did.
The third time I woke up nothing much was happening. There was a bunch of tubes in me and just the one guy – oh, turned out to be the girl – in there with me, putzing and laying stuff out on trays. ‘Course I was still tied down tight as a baseball or I’d a jumped up, so I just said hoarsely, “Hey.”
She looked up, blinked, put something down, left. Came back with the first guy who’d said I wasn’t suffering. He just looked at me. After a few seconds, I said, “Want to let me the hell off this; I’m suffering.”
He said, “No. The court ordered full restraints through this process, and I’d insist on that anyway. How much do you remember? Do you remember being brought here? Do you remember your name?”
My head was actually clearing by that point. I told him, “Don’t be an ass,” and said my name. By then the other members of the team had come in and they were all standing around the table listening to me. I love it when people listen to me.
“How did you get here?” they asked again.
“In the back of one of those big, armored police transports, cuffed and chained, with an armored-up guy holding a big-ass bat at the ready and giving me the stink-eye.”
“What happened before that?”
“Before that I had to listen to that shit-for-brains judge, whom I recall cussing out.”
First guy nodded. “Yeah, that you did, right after he judged you as criminally insane.” He gestured to the others, and they all moved away and began a low conversation they didn’t think I could hear; started going on about that serum-shit and using expressions like ‘full memory retention’ and ‘light suspended state’ and ‘nature of the subject’s psyche and crap like that.
I shouted, “It was not criminal, and I am not insane! All those people were on the schedule to die, and several had been sliding. I was doing what I was supposed to do!” Shouted it just like I had in court, where everyone had also ignored me. “Look,” I tried again, “Whatever this is, it’s not on the schedule!”
They talked a little more, went about collecting vials of shit from which they extracted measured amounts of into several syringes, and came towards me. First guy held his hand up, stopping them. He said, “We’ve been put in charge of the schedule.”
I sneered, “Hell you have! What are you doing to me?!”
First guy had taken hold of his mask but didn’t pull it over his mouth yet. “We can’t send humans into deep space without perfecting stasis-sleep, or our astronauts will not survive. And we can’t perfect stasis-sleep without human trials. I’m sorry, but this is what your conviction has wrought.” Then he pulled his mask over his mouth, as did the others, and he said to them, “Please proceed,” and stepped out of their way. They moved towards me. Crazy thing was, I didn’t truly start to feel helpless until I looked into the eyes of the woman and recognized that she was on my schedule.
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.