"Adam, we can't, your Dad is in the house!"
"Yeah, and we're in the tent, just do it will you!"
"Ok, pass me the cooking oil."
"Can I lay on my back, I wanna look at you."
"Okay but hurry, if we get caugh-"
"Adam, Stuart… dinner in five minutes!"
"Shit, your mum!"
"So hurry up then."
"Jesus, this is so turning me off… can you guide me in, I can't see where to… ahh that's better."
"Are you in?"
"So fuck me!"
"Shhh, keep your voice down, Ad!"
"Sorry, I just want you, it's been a while."
"Yeah and we finally get to do it, a tent in your back yard was not what I had in mind."
"Just give it to me, I want you so bad."
"Kids, didn't you hear, dinner is almost rea… What the fuck is this?"
"You dirty fucking assholes!"
Adam drew in a deep breath and shot up in his bed, sweating. His heart was racing, his hands trembling. Tears had begun to form in his eyes as they darted blurrily round the room.
He was safe again.
Getting up he wandered to his bathroom and took a piss before splashing his face with water. He leant on the basin trying to calm himself down when there was a buzz at his door. Adam shook his head and tried to act as normal as possible before pressing the door release button just outside the entrance.
"They let me out, fuck Adam, fifteen hours in that damn box, can you believe it. Loving this drug shit they give ya, have you had it… hey thanks for coming to see me earlier it really broke the boredom."
"How did you know where to find me?"
"That weird guy with the mask showed me… man you look like you seen a ghost!"
"Sage, they all have masks… and thanks, I think I just have."
"Is it ever a different one?"
"Guess not, so are you gonna invite me in… oh and hey, my pad is so cool, I just been there. Oh, but you have loads of earth stuff here, mine all looks like alien shit… still good though."
"Yeah well, they were expecting me so they made… arrangements."
"Still standing out here Adam."
"Well come in then!"
Sage walked passed Adam and started looking around. Adam noticed his usual cockiness was still present even on the Normality drug he had only recently stopped being supplied. He knew Sage would start to feel the effects of coming off of it soon and wondered if his fellow human would remain so confident once he realised just what exactly had taken place.
"Yeah?" Sage responded, still poking around.
"Will you stop for a moment and look at me?"
"Sure, what's up?"
Adam shook his head. "Sage, do you know where you are?"
"Yep, I'm on a spaceship run by guys in masks going to their home planet apparently."
"And can I ask how you feel about that?"
"Yeah, how does what has happened and where you are make you feel?"
Sage creased up his head and shrugged. "Pretty weird, but ok I guess, why do you ask?"
"I have been asked to make sure you settle in ok. I wanted my first question to you to be the same as the first question to me."
"Yeah, I'm fine, you can chill."
"You do know that you will star-"
"Start to feel different once this drug they give me wears off, yeah yeah I know that already, I have been told."
"Well, just so you know."
"So, they seem to be pretty tight lipped as to why you are here… what the fuck happened man? I was coming to see you and then BANG I was strapped up like a tin'a sardines. Oh and then the police came and hauled me away saying I killed three guys, yeah that was fun."
"You wouldn't have found me Sage, I was already gone."
Adam's mood had slowly been declining since Sage had arrived and he was now becoming irritated by his presence. He'd hoped for some reason that his experience here would have changed him. He didn't know why it would, or why it even should, but he felt disappointed nonetheless.
"So what's the plan?"
"Yeah like their plan. Why have you become the victim of a REAL alien abduction?" Sage asked, wiggling his fingers spookily.
"We have a mutual benefit."
"It that your way of saying fuck off Sage and mind your own business."
"I wish they had killed you, you know?" Adam suddenly blurted, casually.
Sage took a step back, dropping his jaw. "Huh, where did that come from?"
"You stand here in front of me and the more I look at you the more I regret saving your ass. You are a horrible selfish rapist who only gives a fuck about someone when you are in for a fuck."
"Whoa, Adam, stop man, where is all this coming from?"
"Where is all this coming from? Let me tell you because I can now. I was really ill Sage, so ill in fact I was going to die."
"Adam, you had a bad cold man… a fever, don't you think you are being a little dramatic?"
"A fever?? Sage, I had advanced HIV! They said I had a month, maybe even weeks until it was too late and what did you do?"
"What did I do?"
"You fucked the shit out of me! When I felt so bad I could hardly stand up you fucked me until I was bleeding from the fucking ass, and you walked out that day and didn't give me a second thought. So please, I know our circumstances have changed, but that still happened, and no matter what do you from this day on… no matter what you say, that day will ALWAYS have happened, and the days before that."
"HIV? Shit man, I didn't know. I just thought…"
"You didn't know because you didn't ask. I didn't know either, but I still told you I felt bad and crappy and you just tossed my feelings aside."
"Man, that's heavy shit. So… oh my god, that means that I could have-"
"Thinking about you again?" Adam interrupted.
"Well wouldn't you if you knew someone you had fucked had HIV and you didn't use protection?"
"Have the virus."
"Wow, that's good news!"
"Yeah, lucky you huh?"
"How do you know?"
"I asked Christian while you were being decontaminated."
"I see… so, uh, what should I do?"
"What do you mean?"
"To put this right?"
"If we were back on earth I would have said nothing and told you to get lost, but there might just be hope for you if you take guidance from these people. You need to change Sage, in a big way. You could even say you have been given a second chance to do just that."
"You mean you aren't going back to earth?"
"I'm not, but I can make sure you do. Back to Heidgate, on the streets with those other assholes. Cold, alone, hungry, sickly and dirty."
"Hmm, this is kinda heavy man, can't we talk about something else?"
"See, this is what I mean, Sage. You have no inclination of what a selfish bastard you are do you. I really would like them to pull your brain apart and find out the exact time when you became like this."
"I'm just Sage, Adam, I've always been like this, I can't help who I am."
"NO! You haven't, you were once this sweet and caring guy who used to stroke my hair and hug me on those cold nights we spent in Heidgate. You used to tell me that you would look after me and make sure no harm came to me. Instead I ended up alone in that fucking laundrette while you went off and fed yourself and hustled for food in exchange for sex. When did you become so cheap… when did the world suddenly orbit around you?"
"Fuck off Adam, I was surviving… we were all just surviving. We all have our history, we all have skeletons in our closet that led to us being in Heidgate… and we all could have done things differently so we didn't end up there."
"You make it sound like I deserved it."
"No, not at all. But as your repeating dream keeps reminding you, you made your choice that day when you let plucky Stuart fuck you up the ass that fateful day and threw away your family over it."
Adam looked totally shocked for a moment by Sage's last comment before taking a swing at him, with his fist ending up in the wall instead.
"You fucking asshole, how fucking dare you!" Adam shouted. "Get out!"
"See, your angry because you made a mistake you can't put right. How does it feel?"
"Don't play that one on me. I made one mistake. How many have you made? How many times did you have to kick me in the guts mentally and physically before you realised you were making mistakes?"
"And you say I'm selfish. All I've heard so far is how much I have hurt you!"
"And you fucking have Sage, that's all I ever remember… my Dad smashing me against a wall and you smashing me up the ass, what a fucking shit life!" Adam said passionately before bursting into tears and falling to his knees.
Sage stepped towards him and sighed.
"Get up and give me a hug!" he demanded, looking down at Adam.
"Fuck you, I thought I said go!"
Sage sat down on the floor in front of Adam and gently reached out to him. Touching him lightly with his fingers he tried to pull him by the shoulders into his arms but Adam resisted, pulling away.
"Come here you asshole, stop fighting me." Sage said, trying again. This time Adam let himself go into Sage's grasp and quietly wept in his arms. Sage delicately stroked his hair like the old times and hugged him tightly. He knew that their environment was much less harsh than the last time he'd done it but hoped the gesture would remind Adam that the person he said was dead was in fact still around.
Adam sniffed and pulled back a little looking at Sage's face. "You know, there were times when I thought I was in love with you and you shattered those emotions to pieces."
"Why didn't you ever tell me?"
"Rejection maybe… I was scared of rejection. Because of the way you were I just thought you'd make fun of me."
"Adam, you're a hot guy, even more now than ever. For the record, I never would have made fun of you, I just never knew that's all."
"How is the normality drug?" Adam asked, noticing a subtle change in Sage's personality.
"Wearing off, but I still accept where I am."
"Don't you wanna freak out, I know I did."
"Haven't really had time to think about it have I?" Sage said, smiling lightly.
"Hmm, guess not. You better go anyway, I really need to sleep."
"Want me to sleep with you… like we used to I mean?"
"No because I know what will happen."
"No chance, you hate me remember? Besides, we don't have a sleeping bag, it wouldn't be the same."
Adam rolled his eyes and got up. "I'm going to bed, you can join me if you want, just don't think I am inviting you in my bed for sex."
"Adam, I know this is gonna sound strange coming from me but d'you know what? I don't really feel like it."
"I'm almost more worried by that," Adam replied, wandering off back into his bedroom area. Sage shrugged and then followed.
"Commander Selona, we are approaching the deltazone," declared the navigator, having taken over from Nozak who had gone to rest.
"Thank you Jelto, I will alert Lord Zeka to take us through the wormhole, please drop to half pulse and hold your course."
"Yes Sir, coming out of hyperdrive now."
The Trandor slowed and dropped into sub-light cruise speed causing a shock bubble to appear around the ship, as was normal whenever this happened.
"Bridge to Commander Zeka, we are at the deltazone, would you like to assume control?"
"I'll be right there Selona."
Deputy Commander Selona went back to the command chair and input a log of his current time on the bridge adding a short report on what had happened on his watch. It had been an uneventful shift for him and he was glad to be getting back to his quarters for some rest.
A few minutes later Zeka and Nozak appeared from the elevator and walked over to Selona.
"Ahh, my lord, efficient as always, the bridge is yours and I will take my leave."
"Thank you Commander, enjoy your rest, we are half way home."
"Thank you Lord Zeka, good night… Lord Nozak." Selona bowed to them both and left the command room with Nozak replacing his equivalent at the same time.
"I can't quite believe it Nozak, we are half way home."
"Yes Commander, I can almost smell the air."
"Indeed… ok slow to one quarter pulse and prepare the ship for the wormhole."
"Yes Sir, right away."
Nozak rapidly shifted between his three stations pressing buttons all over the place while Lord Zeka keyed in some unknown information from the arm of his command chair.
"All departments, attention please! We are about to pass through the wormhole and continue our journey to Purity. Please discontinue all but essential work and return to your quarters." Commander Zeka announced over the intercom.
"My Lord, I have reconfigured the bow deflector panels and redirected the pulse exhaust diffusers. Autoplate shielding has been moved into place on decks three, six, seven, twelve and fourteen… and all sectors are now reporting shutdown and have returned to their quarters."
"Very well, Nozak take us home,"
"Aye Sir, full pulse… engaging the wormhole in 4…3…2…1… wormhole opening now Sir."
"Steady Nozak, bring the speed down a little."
"Dropping off ten per cent Commander… slight fluctuation to the port, I am correcting."
"Course correction, three one seven point four to three one eight point nine."
"Nozak, increase power to the Triton dish, I can see some instability on my chart."
"Yes Sir, I recommend increasing speed to full pulse again to punch through the static or we may get tossed out."
The Trandor was now four minutes into the wormhole and being buffeted severely by static charges. Zeka and Nozak worked together keeping on top of the many calculations and corrections that always had to be made such was the complication of traveling through a wormhole.
Nozak was now making almost nine course corrections every minute and the ship was thrown left and right and sometimes upwards, the result like someone being punched under the chin. Although Puritans well understood wormholes after many years of research the procedure was still fraught with danger. Stray too close to the outer edges of the tunnel and it could collapse. At the same time it was very hard for even the most experienced Navigators to hold a steady course.
Commander Zeka let out a small chuckle causing Nozak to turn round and look at him.
"Haha, its ok Nozak, I was just thinking… going through these holes is the only time I really see you have to work hard."
Nozak smiled and turned back to his stations, quickly making yet another course change."
Sage awoke suddenly, the whole room around him humming and vibrating with frequent bursts of jolting. "S-s-shit… Adam… ADAM!"
"Huh, what… what is it?" Adam replied sleepily, half opening his eyes."
"Fuck, something's wrong, can you feel that… oh my god is this gonna be like a really horrible plane crash?"
"Sage, calm down… you shoulda been here when we almost got blown to bits by another ship. Let me see what's happening."
Adam got out of bed and walked out into his living area, almost being pushed into the wall when another jolt hit the ship and he lost his footing. He went to his door and pressed the button to open it. Peeking his head outside, first left then right he saw the corridor was deserted. Only a gentle blue flashing light at various positions along the hall could be seen. Adam pulled his head back in and let the door close.
"Well?" Sage asked, his eyes wide.
Adam shrugged. "Dunno, maybe its turbulence… you know, like you get on a plane."
"Well I don't fucking know Sage, I'm not Steven hawking!"
"God, I think I'm gonna a have a panic attack, it won't stop!"
"Oh hold on, I got an idea… Optimus?"
"Yes Adam, how may I assist?"
"Uh, the ship is like humming and stuff what is it?"
"I do not understand humming and stuff, please could you rephrase your question."
"Oh, uh sure, well the ship is vibrating and moving in different directions, please can you explain?"
"Adam, who the fuck is that guy?"
"He's a computer Sage, pretty cool huh?"
"Man this place really is fucked up!"
"Adam, the Trandor is currently travelling through a wormhole. The sensations you feel are due to static charges hitting the ship, I assure you this is quite normal. Can I help you with anything else?"
"There, see Sage? He says its normal, now will you calm down?"
Sage shook his head. "And I thought Siri was high-tech."
"Yeah you know the computer voice on iPADS and shit?"
"Never had one."
"Oh, well it's this really cool-"
"I don't think I care Sage, that's all steam powered compared to what's here. I'm going back to bed."
"Yes bed, why would I wanna sit here and be rattled to… hang on a minute, Optimus said we were going through a wormhole, right?"
"That's what I heard."
"Oh my god Sage, that means… that means we are half way to their world."
"Yeah, their home planet, Purity."
"I really wished I'd been filled in a little more before they decided to let me stay alive."
"Hey why don't we take a look on the multicom?"
"The multi com, it's like this TV thing but much better. We can see what purity is like… Optimus, display Purity on the screen."
"Please define Purity, Adam."
"You know, Purity, your home planet?"
"What you are asking is for the planet Purity, is this correct?"
"Yes Optimus," Adam replied, looking over at Sage and smacking his forehead with his hand. "Pfft, can't believe he don't know his own planet." He let out a small giggle.
"Adam, I am unable to locate the planet Purity, please redefine your search, for example, please specify galaxy planet is contained."
Adam looked at Sage and frowned. "Hmm, that's weird."
"What?" Sage asked, coming towards the still blank multicom.
"How can Optimus not find the very planet he was created on?"
"Are you sure you got the name right, I mean, could you have misheard?"
"No… no way, Christian has mentioned it hundreds of times, they are even called Puritans… their species I mean."
Sage shrugged. "Maybe this computer you said is so great ain't so great after all."
"I got another idea, this should jog his memory," Adam said, rubbing his hands together, grinning. "Optimus, please state current destination of Trandor?"
"That is restricted information."
"That is restricted information."
"Hahaha, he thought you didn't hear him, now that's funny," Sage declared, giggling.
"Shut up Sage, now I'm getting worried. Optimus please contact Christ… Lord Relshek and tell him Adam Smith wishes to speak to him."
"Unable to comply, all non-essential ship communication currently is unavailable until vessel is through the wormhole."
"Man, and you were telling me to chill out, look at you, you look like your about to flip out."
"Sage, something is very wrong, I don't get this."
"Well, this thing will be out the other side of this worm thingy soon right, and then you'll be able to speak to one of the masked dudes, we just gotta sit tight."
"What if it's all a lie, Sage?"
"Yeah, like, what if all this is like some sort of abduction and they are going to do experiments on us!"
"You know, I could imagine myself saying something like that, but you?"
"Sage, look at the facts, we have a computer that cannot locate or recognise a planet he was apparently built on. That should have been the first piece of information that was programmed into him for fuck sake."
"Well if it was the first then maybe he forgot."
"Sage, this ain't no time for joking… Optimus, what was last planet the Trandor visited?"
"Uranus, gas planet of the star Sol."
"Optimus, what was our destination once leaving Uranus?"
"Deltazone beta, wormhole twenty four B"
"Hmm, now we're getting somewhere… Optimus, what is our destination once we are through wormhole twenty four B?"
"That is restricted information."
"Fuck! WHY is it?"
"Unknown." Optimus replied, monotone.
"Adam, just leave it will you, you're just gonna create a nightmare in your head that might be just this box of wires tripping out!"
"No Sage, something is wrong, we are being lied to… by someone!"
"So what are we gonna do, just press the stop bell and get off?"
Adam shook his head, dismissing Sage's comment. "Time to put some science into this… Optimus, please place a picture of the earth on to the multicom screen."
Adam and Sage watched as a ultra-high definition model of their home planet appeared.
"Now create the Sol star system and place the Trandor's position at Uranus when we were last there."
Optimus carried out Adam's request by creating a working model of the solar system before putting a miniature model of the spaceship in the correct position.
"Adam where are you going with this?"
"I don't know Sage, but I got to try something. If we are being deceived then I want to be ahead in the game."
"The game? Fuck man you almost sound excited now."
"Far from it, I'm shittin my pants, but I need to know what's going on, and somehow I don't think we'll get the answers by just asking."
"Just don't go all paranoid on me ok, I had enough of some of the people I used to hang around with doing that shit after smoking weed all night."
"Yeah, whatever… Optimus, plot a course line, not to scale from Uranus to deltazone beta. Good, now place degree coordinates on the screen and then place another line showing zero degrees."
"Unable to comply, this unit of navigation is not recognised by the Trandor and so cannot be used to plot course."
"Huh? I don't get that. Explain?"
"The Trandor uses the standard unit of degadons to navigate."
"Hmm, degadons, what the hell are they I wonder." Adam said, looking once again at Sage, who just turned his lips down.
"Maybe they are like degrees, ask him."
"Yeah… Optimus, show me a circle and inside place the lines of three hundred and sixty degadons."
Adam watched as Optimus drew a circle on the multicom, but was dumfounded when the lines only covered part of the circle.
"Sage, you've shown flashes of intelligence, what am I missing here?"
Sage stepped closer to the screen and looked closely, rubbing his chin. "I wish the ship would stop jumping so I could concentrate."
"Just think will you."
"Ok, ok." Sage scratched his head and then clocked his fingers. "Got it… Optimus fill the circle with degadons." The screen remained as it was causing Sage to ask again. "Is it deaf or something?"
"Let me try… Optimus, fill the circle with degadons." This time the computer complied. "Maybe you need to be registered or something. Christian had to give me access."
"Great, a computer that ignores you… you don't get that back on earth."
"Shut up… Optimus, how many degadons are in the circle."
"One thousand, Adam."
"That's it Sage, that's the way they do it here… instead of three sixty, they use a thousand to get the complete banana."
"Well done Einstein, but how has this helped us?"
"Watch… Optimus, re-plot the course from Uranus to detazone beta and place the degadon course on the screen, then show the angle… no not the angle, thee um, the position that zero degadons would be."
"Hmm, that kinda looks simple enough, so we are travelling out that way," Sage remarked, gliding his finger across the plot line that had been drawn.
Adam moved close to Sage's ear. "Now let's see if we can trick him," he whispered. Sage frowned and shook his head.
"Optimus, using the plot line from Uranus to deltazone beta, carry it on through the wormhole and using the ship's destination course show me a picture of all planets within range."
"Unable to show planets until you reveal what your destination is to be, Adam." Optimus replied. Sage started to smile.
"My destination is the same as the Trandor's destination, so show me all planets in range at the end of the Trandor's destination.
"Unable to comply, the Trandor's destination is restricted information."
"Grrrrr!" Adam growled. Sage fell into a fit of laughter.
"Aft…after all that, he… he done you good," said Sage, laughing really hard now.
"Fucking smartass computer."
There was one final jolt and moments later the ship fell quiet again with the ride now feeling smooth. Adam and Sage looked at each other and both took deep breaths and let them out.
"I am sooo glad that has stopped," Sage said, falling into a nearby seat.
"Me too, time for some answers… Optimus please contact Lord Relshek and tell him I would like to speak with him."
"Yes Adam, one moment please." A few seconds later there was a crackle.
"Hello Adam, are you ok? I should have warned you both about the wormhole, my apologies."
"Christian, what planet are you from?"
"What planet?" Adam repeated.
"Purity, you know this already though, I don't understand why you would ask suc-"
"Let's try that again. What planet are you from Christian and no bullshit this time."
"Adam, I am a Puritan, from the planet Purity, are you feeling-"
"Grrrrr LIAR!" Adam screamed, making Sage jump.
There was a brief silence.
"Adam, I am coming to your Quarters, I can explain."
Autoplates are large plates of metal like skin that can be mechanically pulled over vulnerable parts of the ship. They are made of a material that closely resembles titanium. Due to the violent nature of wormholes Purity's vessels have these reinforced "autoplates" to protect weak areas that may be at risk in turbulent parts of space.
The Triton dish is a large device that is able to manually trigger a wormhole. Named because of it's bowl like shape the Triton dish is built into all long range Puritan space vessels.
A degadon is a unit of plane angle measurement similar to a degree which the Puritans use to navigate. There are 1000 degadons that make up a circle. In simple terms, 180 degrees would be the equivalent of 500 degadons
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