::He was falling.
No wait, he was…. No, he was definitely falling.
The sun was shining, and the smell of freshly cut grass lingered in the air. Flowers of all colours danced in the gentle breeze as he walked along the path, his daughters arms around his neck as he carried her along.
There were couples and families scattered about here and there enjoying a picnic or just lay in the sun. People on skates or bicycles zipped by every now and then a couple of dogs barked and yapped as they chased each other about, whilst their owners watched as they flirted back and forth.
He looked her, giving her a big grin and a kiss on the cheek::
Maxwell: Love you, squidge.
Amelia: Love you too, Daddy! ::Her little arms tightening in a hug::
::They walked over a stone bridge, it’s three arches spanning a sparkling blue river that on their left opened out into a lake where little boats and pleasure craft bobbed about on the tiny waves, and birds circled overhead.
He realised she was staring at him, and he smiled questioningly::
Amelia: Daddy, are we dead?
::Before he could answer, an immense pain blossomed just above his heart and he fell, losing his grip on….
On who? There was nobody there? He was lay face down on a threadbare carpet in a grotty room somewhere.
He could hear the honking and stop-start of road traffic, and the slashing rain that hammered against the windows. The pain in his chest was still there, and breathing seemed hard. Should breathing be hard?
He wasn’t sure…
Picking himself slowly from the floor, he looked around the quite frankly disgusting room. There were discarded food wrappers all over the place, and countless little packets, dishes and hypos on a filthy coffee table.
There were three sofas arranged in a ‘U’ around it. One sofa had a young couple under a blanket on it, the girl dribbling and the guy muttering some utter gibberish about giant hamsters.
He put a hand to his chest in the way people have always done. As if simply touching it would make the pain go away. The occupant of the second sofa was a young woman, totally naked but for a single sock. She held a half-dispensed hypo in one grubby hand and was sprawled out in such a way as to leave no shred of modesty.
Maxwell looked away to the third sofa.
And his heart skipped a beat.::
Maxwell: oO Karey!? Oo
::Her arms were scored with countless old marks from razor blades and needle pin[...]s. On the sofa by her feet lay an old style manual syringe, a single drop of glossy pinkish liquid beading at its point. He reached out to brush the greasy hair clear of her face, when a second pain exactly like the first exploded square in the middle of his stomach. He doubled up, and dropped to his knees.::
::Opening his eyes, he jumped slightly as he saw… Who? Marla? Mayra? Mirra? That was it! Mirra! She was the…? She was the? It was medical. He thought. Maybe?
He looked down at the bridesmaids dress she wore and beamed at her.::
Maxwell: You’ve done the hard bit lass! Erin’s here the now, and you just need tae walk in behind her. ::A smile:: Stop her tripping on that wee dress ae’ hers…
::The blonde woman in the long flowing bridal dress looked on the verge of a meltdown as she stood before him, chewing her bottom lip over and over::
Erin: I can’t do this, Max. It’s too much!
Maxwell: Of course you can! He’s in there now, twice as scared as you are!
::He offered her his arm, guiding her to the door of the little church in…? Somewhere? Did it matter? He’d been asked to give her away at the ceremony and he felt truly honoured to do so. He wasn’t sure why her father wasn’t performing this traditional role, but he wasn’t going to be insulting and refuse the part he’d been offered in this wonderful day. They paused at the church door.
His stomach and chest hurt, and he wasn’t sure why.
He squeezed her hand in a “Ready?” question. Getting a gentle nod in return, in they went.
The priest was waiting, and with a grin, clawed at his skin to reveal a familiar blue face and a maniacal laugh. It was only then he noticed he was stood on his own. A group of people he knew but couldn’t place were all bound and being beaten by men with green skin. Orions? Here? He pointed a finger at the blue woman as a third pain blossomed in his shoulder. He cried out in agony. The blue woman laughed. The green men all drew long knives, pulling back the heads of his friends.
Blackness engulfed him, and he heard a voice.
Voice: Taelon! We could really use those doors to be closed right about now!
::He wondered what the point was? The church was on fire, his friends all lay in motionless heaps, the Orions gloating over them. He couldn’t move, the trio of hurts were too much.
His limbs wouldn’t function.
Was he being dragged….?::
Maxwell: ::He let out an agonised groan:: Anybody get the number ae that shuttle….?
Lieutenant (JG) Arturo Maxwell.
Starbase 118 Operations.