Chapter 5: Big Needles

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Science Fiction

Reads: 76

I was getting hungry.

Malik and I had been in our cell for almost a day or at least, what felt like a day. It was hard to keep track of time in a cell with no windows. All without food, and we were starving.

I told Malik about my magical cereal with chocolate milk, and I could see his mouth water as I described it.

The first time we saw anyone besides each other in that cell was right in the middle of that conversation. One of the black-armored soldiers threw open the door and shouted at us to stand up with our backs to him.

Malik and I quickly obliged, not wanting to be killed.

The soldier closed the door behind him.

"State your full names please," he said in a very monotone voice.

Malik spoke up first, "Malik James Tufaro."

I followed suit, "Tanner Luke Colman."

The soldier paused for a second. I risked a glance behind me to see him tapping away at some futuristic tablet. He looked up and I quickly snapped my head back.

I heard the soldier approach me and he grabbed my wrist, "Don't try anything funny, kid. This doohickey on your wrist will instantly fry your brain at the press of a button. We wouldn't want to lose any more prisoners. This is only a temporary solution until you get your chips installed."

I felt cold metal clamp around my wrist and the soldier moved on to Malik, doing the same to him. I thought about what the soldier had said. Any more prisoners? How many had they killed?

The "Doohickey" the soldier had put on me was just a simple metal bracelet with a light stripe through the middle. It was currently pulsing green, I hoped that was good.

"Don't speak to anyone, not even each other, on the way there," the soldier griped.

"Quick question," Malik said.

What was he doing?

"When are we getting food?" Malik asked.

The soldier sounded frustrated, but responded, "You'll have dinner after your examination. After that, you and your district will be fed together twice a day in the cafeteria."

"Our district?" I implored.

"Everyone that was taken from your area," the soldier grumbled.

"What do you mean, taken?"

I couldn't see anything under the soldier's mask, but I could tell his face was turning red. "You haven't figured it out, kid? You're a prisoner on the S.T.S. Euphoria!"

My heart skipped a beat, "You're saying that I'm in space?"

"See it for yourself," he pressed a button on the wall of our cell and the previously metal floor seemingly turned to glass. I instinctively stepped back.

Underneath my feet was nothing but a gaping expanse of stars.

And the earth, which was now the size of a dime and slowly shrinking out of sight.

It was beautiful. I had never seen anything like it.

But it was a grim reminder that I was stuck. I was never going home. I could never see Halley again. Her beautiful blue eyes with the silver specks that reminded me of the stars below me.

Unless she was on the ship.

That lit a spark of hope inside me. Maybe I could see her again.

"Quit dreaming, I've got other things to do," the soldier said, snapping me out of my trance.

I glanced at Malik and thought I saw a tear roll down his cheek. I had a feeling he wasn't telling me something. I turned back to the soldier and followed him out the door.

We meandered down many winding hallways. Each door matched the next. How many prisoners were on the ship? I counted at least three hundred cells before we finally arrived at a sliding glass door labeled "Health center H89"

Inside looked like a normal doctor's office, but with a lot more advanced looking machinery. There were doctors and nurses bustling around. They looked human. They had to be human. We were aboard an alien spaceship, how were they human? Things weren't adding up.

A cute nurse approached us and asked our names, which we gave after a nod from the soldier, allowing us to speak.

"Right on time," the nurse said in a sing-song voice, "Follow me please."

We followed the nurse around the expansive office until she led us into a small room, similar to the ones at my doctor's office on earth.

A scale sat in the corner, which the nurse directed us to use. She then checked our heights, our blood pressure, our heartbeat, all that jazz. I felt like I was back at my pediatric doctor. I half-expected to get a sucker and a fancy Band-Aid.

That's when the nurse pulled out a massive syringe.

"Who wants to go first?" the nurse asked cheerfully.

Neither Malik nor I volunteered.

"Don't worry, it only hurts for a bit."

This nurse was a sadistic twisted witch! That needle was two inches long and half a centimeter thick, that would hurt for months!

Without warning, the nurse grabbed my arm and plunged the syringe into my wrist. I tried to scream out in pain, but my vision was quickly fading.

The last thing I heard was Malik's scream before I blacked out.

The last thing I heard was Malik's scream before I blacked out

"Tanner!" Zach screamed. He jolted awake, not knowing where he was.

Halley instantly rushed into the impromptu infirmary where Zach had been sleeping since they collected him from the crash.

"Halley?" Zach asked, "Where's Tanner? Where am I? Why are you here? Why am I so thirsty?"

Halley handed him a glass of water, which he greedily chugged.

"We found you in a car wreck a few streets over from Tanner's house," Halley explained, "We brought you here, to a bunker underneath the NASA building. We don't know where Tanner is, we were hoping you would know. Why were you in the car?"

Zach thought for a moment, then spoke slowly, "After the soldier dudes came out of the meteorite and zapped the president, Tanner and I drove to his family's house, only to find them getting zapped as well and teleported away with some purple light. We chased down the teleporter, it was on a truck. Then two soldiers teleported back and shot our windshield. We swerved off the road, and... I don't remember anything after that."

Halley frowned, "You don't know where Tanner went?"

Zach sighed and flopped onto the bed, "I wish I did."

The intercom crackled, "Everyone, report to the Ark immediately for boarding."

Zach shakily stood up, "What's the Ark?"

"Our ticket out of here," Halley responded.

Zach rolled his eyes, "Alright then, keep your secrets."

Halley started walking away, "You watch Lord of the Rings too much."

The Ark was the biggest spaceship Zach had ever seen. He and Halley had to walk down fourteen flights of stairs to reach the bottom of the bunker.

Zach was astonished when massive doors opened to reveal what looked like something straight out of Star Wars. He walked into the bunker and looked left and right, nearly unable to see the ends of the ship from where he was standing. Zach was going to try to count the windows, but he lost track at one hundred. He guessed there were at least a thousand on either side. At the front of the ship was a pointed nose. He couldn't imagine how many controls would be needed to pilot this thing.

"How long has this been here?" Zach asked Halley.

"Since the eighties," Halley said, "We've made thousands of modifications over the years."

"Why haven't you shown this to the public?" Zach asked incredulously.

"They weren't ready for it. This is the most advanced piece of technology ever created. People would do anything to lay their hands on this," Halley explained.

"Wow," was all Zach managed to say.

"Isn't she beautiful?" a tall guy walked up and clapped a hand on Zach's shoulder.

Zach pushed the hand off his shoulder, "Yeah, I guess, who are you?"

The guy shook Zach's hand, "The name's David, and I was talking about Halley over there."

Halley turned beet red, and not the blushing kind.

Zach pushed David away, "Back off, she has a boyfriend."

"Her 'boyfriend' is probably dead," David whispered in Zach's ear. He walked away, but not before shooting Halley a wink and I white smile.

"That guy is gross," Zach said to Halley.

Halley sighed, "He used to be a lot nicer, but ever since Tanner disappeared he's been trying to get me to date him. I've been trying to steer clear of him. We've got to board now," she said, quickly changing the subject.

"Do we have bags?" Zach said.

"Everything you'll ever need to live is on that ship. Clothing, food, water, advanced oxygen systems."

"Advanced oxygen?" Zach questioned.

Halley grinned, "It's one of our greatest accomplishments. When you breathe out, you exhale carbon dioxide. A carbon dioxide molecule is made of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms. Our systems separate the carbon from the carbon dioxide, store it for other uses, and expel the remaining oxygen for us to breathe."

Zach thought about that for a moment.

"We also use water. Do you know how they get oxygen on the International Space Station? Separating oxygen from water. We do that as well, we just added the carbon separation as well."

"We'll eventually run out of water, though, right?"

Halley chuckled uncomfortably, "Wrong, we... recycle the water."

Zach understood.

"Alright, we have to board. Come on."

Zach ran up the stairs connected to a small door on the Ark. The inside looked like that of a normal building. Like a lobby for a fancy hotel; armchairs, big couches, even a fountain in the middle. People bustled around, wheeling around massive loads of freeze-dried food and water. A desk sat in the middle of the room with a lady standing behind it.

"Names, please?" the lady asked sweetly.

"Halley Starr," Halley said, "This is Zach, I'm not sure he'll be on the roll though, since he just arrived hours ago."

The lady smiled, "You'd be surprised how fast we work, Zach's right here. Newman, right?"

Zach nodded to confirm that was his last name.

"Zach, you are room 26A," the lady said, "Halley you are 8A."

"Thank you," Halley said, then turned to Zach, "Go to your room, ask around if you need to find it. We'll spend one night here in Houston, then we'll take off later the next day. If they have you on roll, it means they have your height, so all the clothes in your room should fit you."

Zach grinned, "Okay, Mom," he said, teasing her.

Halley gave him a playful punch, then said "See you tomorrow, Son."

They both laughed. It was good to be able to joke around again.

Halley turned to go to her room, but not before Zach noticed a sparkle in her eyes. What the sparkle meant, he didn't know, but it was there nonetheless.

Submitted: April 16, 2019

© Copyright 2021 Ethan Crandall. All rights reserved.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

More Science Fiction Books

Other Content by Ethan Crandall