Adam's eyes flickered, becoming aware he was waking up. He felt gentle warmth surrounding his body and as he let his eyes fully open it became apparent to him this was not his usual surroundings.
Slowly moving his pupils around the large ceiling above, he saw huge shiny grey beams that traversed the width of the unfamiliar room. But there was something else between his view and the ceiling and whatever it was; it appeared that he was enclosed within it.
Twisting his neck he turned his head over to the left. A strange machine, mounted on a bulky tubular trolley was beaming a laser on to different parts of his body. The beam was coming from a triangular arm that mechanically moved. Adam followed the beam, starting at the machine, and as he did, noticed it was currently focused on his hip. It was a part of his body that was not usually on show and it quickly became apparent to him that…
He was naked!
Inside his now conscious mind he wondered why the fact he WAS naked, and everything else he had seen so far had not made him freak out. On the contrary, he thought.
This room… this place, was rather soothing. He felt at peace and it was a strange sensation that he concluded to be quite natural.
Adam moved his head again, this time looking over to the right. To his surprise there appeared to be an identical machine beaming another light, but this time on his foot.
"The pain… where is the pain?" he said aloud, but quietly.
He looked at his naked body all over seeing it was smooth and even. Gone were the lesions he had come across what seemed like hours ago now. His skin was clean, free from dirt and grime and his finger and toe nails were cut immaculately. Adam then reached up, suddenly compelled to touch his hair, with this also feeling pure and fluffy.
The two machines, one either side of him continued to whir and dart about as the two red dots caused a gentle tickling sensation on his skin. There didn't seem to be any pattern, as his eyes moved as quickly as they could to keep up with the prancing red glow on his skin.
Another thing he couldn't help noticing was how he kept wanting to smile. It was like it was almost uncontrollable not to do so.
Testing his motor responses he attempted to sit up. Once again he looked around the room but more importantly at the glass enclosure he was in. It looked so clean and clear his eyes had trouble focusing on whether it was actually there or not.
He then began to scrutinize the bed he had been lying on. It was around his length and draped in a silvery honeycomb patterned sheet. The pillow resembled a crescent moon, pure white with no visible stitching. Adam grasped it and grinned as the innards felt like the consistency of thick jelly.
Adam was wondering what to do next when he heard a loud buzz and out of the corner of his eye a door appeared to open from what he had imagined was a door-less room.
With the room being so large he could not make out the person standing at the entrance, but he felt the need to take the pillow and cover his modesty nonetheless.
"Do not be afraid," came a voice that seemed to emanate from all around the room. Again, he could not see if it was the same man that was standing still at the entrance, but whoever it was Adam was inclined to think it was coming from some kind of speaker system.
Adam watched as the man suddenly began moving towards him, a slow deliberate pace. Coming closer the person appeared to be wearing a mask. He noted the man wore a tight black looking uniform with 2 turquoise square buttons on each shoulder. He was of average size and height and wore white gloves.
As the man got to within a few feet of the glass box he pulled out of his pocket a small rectangular device and pressed a button. Immediately Adam noticed one of the machines that had been lasering him shut down. He turned his head to look at the other machine which was also now still, its beam shut off.
The man placed the device back in his pocket and stopped walking. He was now merely inches away from Adam giving him the chance to view this unusual individual in detail.
"You're curious aren't you," said the man. It was the same voice; instead it now came from behind the mask and not all around him.
"Wha… what have you done to me?" Adam asked, again looking at his fingers and legs as he sat back on the bed.
"You were dying, we fixed you."
"Yes Adam, our scientists concluded that you had just-"
"Hang on… how do you know my name?"
"Oh Adam, I don't just know your name, I know everything about you," stated the man as he reached up and placed his fingers around the back of his head. There was rush of air before he gripped on to his full-headed mask and pulled on it revealing his face.
"What the… Christian?" Adam said in astonishment, his eyes almost coming free from their sockets.
"Actually, my name is Relshek, but I'll understand if the name Christian feels more comfortable for you.
Adam got up from the bed and walked right up to the glass letting the sheet fall away from his genitals. He touched the glass with his fingers and in what felt like an automatic response Relshek did the same.
"Christian, where am I… and this box, am I a prisoner here?" Again, strangely, the act of possibly being a prisoner did not scare him.
"You will have many questions Adam, and I promise all of them will be answered. The box you are in is for your protection."
"My protection? From what?"
"Adam, for now I will tell you three things. Firstly, the box you are in contains a mixture of your planetary chemicals of Oxygen and Nitrogen which is what you breathe back on Earth. The Seco-"
"Whoa… what do you mean BACK on Earth?" Adam asked, for the first time feeling anxious.
"Adam, three things… the rest will come later." Adam slowly nodded and let Relshek continue. "The second is that while our scientists work to establish a way of letting you into our environment without killing you, you'll need to remain inside this box.
Which brings me onto the third thing. Adam we have no intention of hurting you and you are not our prisoner. As you will see by your current condition we have put a lot of things right again in your body, but there is still more to do. The robots, as you would probably identify them are here to help."
"What are they doing to me?"
"They are cleansing your body of disease, toxins and rebuilding damaged cells. You will notice that your skin looks better, yes?"
"I did," Adam agreed, once again looking at the parts of himself he could see.
"These machines will continue to do this for the next fifteen of your hours. During this time we are currently working on a way to let you breathe our air."
"Oh, so… so what would happen if I just tried to breathe it now?"
"You would die Adam," Relshek replied, an inescapable bluntness to his tone.
"I think I'll stay in the box then."
"A wise choice Adam. Tell me, do you feel the urge to eat?"
"The urge? Do you mean am I hungry?"
"Yes, my apologies. Eating is only done every one of your earth months by our people."
Adam tilted his head, a look of amazement returning to his face. "Christian, who are you?"
"As I said Adam, you need to stay in the box for now. We will meet again when all your questions will be answered in full."
Meanwhile back on the bridge of his ship, Zeka slowly paced the perimeter of the circular command room.
"Commander Zeka, All checks have been completed and we are ready to leave orbit."
"Very well Navigator Nozak, Bring the ship out and set course direct to Purity, Hyper drive seven."
"The very place Nozak, the very place," Zeka replied, forming a smile from underneath his glass helmet.
Commander Zeka went and sat down in a large seat central to what was presumably the nerve centre of the prodigious vessel. Pressing a button on his seat which contained a plethora of them, the view screen in front tuned in to the exterior of the ship and Zeka flicked through the various cameras inspecting it from all angles.
Relshek briskly walked down a maze of corridors until stopping outside an opening marked 214 Lord Kelshen of Purity. He tapped on the panel to the left of the double flat silver doors and waited. Moments later they fizzed open, with Kelshen now standing just inside.
"May I come in my lord?"
"You are always welcome, please, take a seat and tell me what you have so far."
The frail man led Relshek over to a seating area and sat down. "You may remove your mask, I have taken the B pill today and besides, at my age it might just be dangerous."
"Thank you my lord. As I wanted to talk tonight without the constraints of the mask, I too have taken the pill and pose you no risk." Relshek replied before removing his mask.
"Relshek, before we start our discussion on Adam, which is why I presume you are here, I know I would be, I have some worrying news from the science quarter."
"Please, go on."
The old man sighed. "For doons, Relshek… for so many doons I have worked on this problem and now the end is in site, not just for the project but for me as well."
"Lord Kelshen, you are not making sense, please rephrase."
"I will rephrase, I'm sorry my son. The science quarter back on Purity dispatched a message to me some time ago while we were in the pod down on Earth. I have only just managed to sit down and listen to it. It appears the phenomenon back home is up twenty per cent."
"The Solitaryarolous, it has worsened?"
"Relshek, in the last few seasons there have been over nine hundred thousand people coming out of design and incubation with Solitaryarolous. I fear a tipping point very soon. We have now one point two million incubators sitting unused. My son, there is something else."
"Yes Kelshen, what is it?"
"It is being said that due to my age it is affecting my judgements in the field of science and I should have acted sooner to fix this problem."
Relshek got up from his seat looking angry. "That is nonsense. I have worked on this planetary wide problem for three doons with you… closely with you. My lord, I-"
"Relshek, please, you know to always call me Kelshen behind closed doors, we are equal whenever you are in my environment and I yours."
"Very well Kelshen, thank you again for that honour. But I must protest that I have worked with you day and night on this project for three doons and as head of the Science quarter how dare you be questioned. High command wanted the finest scientists to lead this mission to earth to collect the child and we were voted to go overwhelmingly by our own peers, and that of High Command. You are still the best problem solver and researcher I have ever had the pleasure of working with Kelshen."
"Bless you Relshek," the frail man replied, tapping his understudy on the shoulder and smiling reassuringly. "Never the less I am an old man now and if the truth be revealed, I do feel it most days."
"I grieve for you, my lord. Are you saying that your time in science is coming to an end?"
"My son, wisdom grows over time and I am no fool. I have realised myself that this may be my last mission. The life draining energy that has gone into making sure Adam is safe and with us has been testing. The message from the Science Quarter only goes to reaffirm my already known feelings."
Relshek got up from his seat and walked over to one of the bulkhead windows and stared out into a distant asteroid belt. He looked back again and sighed. "As always Kelshen, you have my undying support."
"And I am grateful my son… now, please tell me how Adam is progressing. I am sorry I did not make it with you to the incubating room."
Relshek waved his hand. "The boy is doing well, he looks bright and is fully awake."
"All but annihilated, but some traces remain. I am very happy with the speed of repair which has beaten all our simulations… and my own personal expectation in fact."
"You have been his watcher for so long Relshek, how do you feel seeing him repaired?"
"It is like I am looking at a new person Kelshen, we don't often see a person deteriorate for so long before they are fixed."
"Hmm, well, we need to be thankful. There were times when I quietly wondered if we could save him in time."
"Agreed." Relshek nodded.
"Commander Zeka, I am picking up a vessel on the long range dish, it appears to be one of ours Sir."
"Drop her out of Hyper drive Nozak… Com officer Jarek, hail the ship."
"Yes Sir," replied the officer to the back of the Bridge. "Sorry Commander, there is no response."
"Try again Jarek… Nozak, slow to one half pulse and maintain a lock." Nozak slid to the right on a white cushioned chair connected to a rail which gave him access to three different stations – Navigation, Scanners and Tracking. To an outsider, handling one of these complex looking panels would seem impossible but Nozak floated between the three with ease, never looking like he was under pressure.
"Commander, I am still unable to raise the ship." Jarek declared again.
Commander Zeka folded his arms and stepped towards the view-screen as if he could see the far out ship millions of miles away. "Nozak, what is the ship's present speed?"
"HD 1, my lord"
"Jarek, hail High Command and request a description on the vessel, she should not be this far out. Nozak, I don't want to open the wormhole until I know why one of our ships is out here, so if we hit the deltazone then hold us there. In the meantime go to hyper drive 4 and keep a constant distance…. Weapons officer Salek, go to standby. Maybe premature, but I don't like ships who don't answer hails, especially one that belongs to us."
"Yes my lord," replied the young weapons controller, pressing a series of buttons on his panel directly behind the Commander's chair.
Adam had now been in his incubator for 5 hours when he heard the buzzer sound in the large room again. Lying on his back he twisted his head to the side and saw 2 men coming towards him, one taking rather more time to travel the short journey than the other. He decided to sit up and follow their walk to his glass box with his eyes.
"Adam, how are you?" asked Christian, arriving first.
"I've been a little sleepy but I feel fine… who is that?" responded Adam, pointing at the person over Relshek's left shoulder.
"This is my mentor and good friend Lord Kelshen."
"Why is he so slow?" Adam asked, wearing a curious look.
"Lord Kelshen is old Adam, just like on your world, people age."
"Hmm, but you both look exactly the same… or, maybe you're a bit taller."
"Yes Adam, we do vary in size, just like your kind."
"My kind? And hey, why the mask again?"
"Adam, right now it is inappropriate to remove our masks, and again, this question, like the many others I suspect you have will be answered soon."
"Why do you keep saying soon… when is soon. I've been stuck in this glass prison now for what feels like a lifetime!" Adam got fidgety as Reshek's seemingly lax tone on his situation made him irritated.
Lord Kelshen finally got to the glass box and introduced himself. Adam gave a small wave.
"It is good to meet you child, you look well," Kelshen said, his voice automatically making it apparent to Adam that he was indeed old.
"So?" Adam asked, looking at Relshek again.
"So when am I getting out of here?"
Relshek was just about to answer when Kelshen interrupted him.
"Adam, may I ask, how do you feel about being in this glass box?"
Relshek looked at his mentor for a moment before looking for Adam's response.
"How do I feel about it?" Adam repeated, not really sure what was being asked.
"Yes, does being in the box frighten you?"
Adam thought for a moment. "No, not really."
"Does waking up and finding yourself here instead of your home frighten you?"
Lord Kelshen continued. "Adam so you do not feel we are deceiving you I feel it important to inform you we are administering what you might call a normality chemical into your air supply. It is important we tell you this as it can only be used very short term, otherwise it risks damaging your brain. We plan to terminate this chemical after your treatment is concluded and you may start to feel the gravity of your new environment."
"Is that the long way round of telling me you have drugged me?" Adam asked a hint of jovialness to his tone.
Lord Kelshen and Relshek looked at each other, but Adam was not able to see their expression, although he did wonder if it was one of confusion.
Adam, with your permission we would like to try and give you another chemical which we hope will allow you to breathe our air. We would have preferred to do this when your treatment is complete but feel you may cope with it better while you are feeling the effects of the normality chemical."
Adam shrugged. "So how are you gonna do that if I'm in here?"
"We will feed it in to your air system through the grills by your feet."
Adam looked down never noticing the air vents before. "Ok"
Relshek walked away from the glass box, over to a small computer panel and pressed a button. "Science team, please tell Lord Mayleff to start the procedure, Lord Kelshen and I will monitor Adam's reaction directly from here."
Relshek walked back over and joined Lord Kelshen in front of the glass box again.
"How will this make me feel?" Adam asked, looking a little apprehensive.
"We do not know Adam, we have never done this before." Relshek replied. "I believe you commonly use a word on your world called… weird?"
"Thanks, that's quite reassuring."
Moments later Adam started to seen a thin green-blue haze begin to appear in his box. At first he didn't feel anything, but then gradually he started to feel more and more light headed before preceding to vomit against the glass of his enclosure.
"Oooh, guys, I don't feel so hot."
"Relshek, terminate the procedure, immediately." Kelshen demanded. Relshek ran over to the computer terminal and shut off the flow. Meanwhile Adam, apart from looking a little green and feeling the need to lay down did not seem to be any worse for wear, something that both relieved and intrigued the two scientists.
"I will arrange for your fluids to be cleaned up Adam and some water to be brought to you."
"That would be great," he replied, huskily.
"Adam, you will probably no doubt be aware you have not wanted to urinate for some time. This is normal as the 2 repair drones are removing fluids from your body."
"I can't say it has been top of my list of things to think about, but thanks."
"Commander, we have reached the deltazone and I am holding position." Nozak reported.
"The other ship?"
"Jarek, any luck with High Command or the ship itself?"
"Nothing yet Sir."
"What the hell are they up to… ok enough unknowns, Nozak, plot an intercept course and get me to that ship."
Commander Zeka went back to his chair and sat down while Nozak put the ship in motion again quickly getting up to cruising speed of hyper drive 1.
"How long was I out?" Asked Adam, hearing Relshek approach his incubator.
"Around two of your hours."
"Why do you keep referring to things as your… as in my? You know, I can accept a lot of things and I think I already have, but if you are somehow gonna tell me I REALLY am not on Earth anymore and you are some Alien kidnapper then I think I might throw up again. In fact, I don't think I want to know, all of this is pretty much blown my mind already."
The Scientist just looked at Adam and said nothing to allay his curiosity.
"Optimus, liquefy the incubator," commanded Relshek. Adam's glass box appeared to hum briefly before shimmering. Adam looked at Relshek in awe as he stepped through what had been solid glass and stood by the boy's bed.
"Whoa, that was awesome!" Adam cried.
"Awesome… ahh yes, one of your earth words, right?" Relshek responded, casually handing Adam a bowl of soup and a sandwich, something that just felt right out of place in Adam's mind for some reason.
"How the hell did you just do that?"
Relshek thought for a moment wondering how to answer Adam's question. "Adam, I want to explain things to you in order so that things make more sense. If I told you how I just did what I did, it would probably make no sense whatsoever."
"So don't tell me, this will be another of my questions answered later right?"
"I appreciate your frustration Adam, to alleviate that I will tell you how I did it if it pleases you?"
"I get the feeling it might reveal stuff you'd rather me not know, am I right?"
"Adam, there is nothing of your being here that we do not wish you to know, but we feel it would be more appropriate if we can fully heal you and complete our efforts to release you from this box without harming you before we do."
"Fine, and anyway, it doesn't take a scientist to work out you don't really volunteer for the Salvation Army, that much I now know."
"Actually Adam, you are incorrect. My position at the Salvation Army was quite real I assure you."
"Pfft, this just gets weirder and weirder!"
To Be Continued….
The "Deltazone" is a patch of space roughly 2.2 million square miles across. It is the catchment area for opening up a wormhole to another part of the universe. The Alien race looks to have discovered it which has allowed them to travel to Earth's solar system in a reasonable amount of time.
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