October 2011 Archives

Smith and Wesson

Chapter Five: Back to Earth

By Douglas E. Gogerty

"Sir? Sir?" came a voice in the escaped convicts dream.

It took him a while to realize that it was not a dream. Someone was prodding him and calling him sir. Slowly, 235218 regained consciousness. He opened his eyes and saw a beautiful woman before him. He rubbed his eyes a little bit, and found out she was not as attractive as he first thought. She was still lovely, but the years in prison and his sleepy state played tricks upon him.

"What is it?" he said eventually.

"My name is Linda Carlson and I am the Earth Travel Coordinator. I understand you wish to see me?"

"Um... Yeah! I need to get to Earth."

"Very well, if you follow me," she replied.

She had some sort of jetpack with her. She just jetted down the hallway. The escaped convict had to use the railing along the wall to follow. It was a lot more work than what she was doing, but he managed to make his way to her office.

"Let me see," she began as she opened a form on her computer. "What is your name?"

"2352... Oh! Name. My name is Daniel Wesson."

"Could you spell that?"

"Huh?" he replied still foggy from sleep. "Oh -- d. a. n. i. e. l. w. e. s. s. o. n."

"Okay Mr. Wesson, what is your reason for going to earth?"

"My ship malfunctioned and I managed to eject before it burned up in the atmosphere. I fortunately made it safely to the hotel here. I have some vials that need to get to Earth."

"So?" responded Linda. "Business then?"

"Yes."

"Thanks. Who is your employer?"

"Employer? Er -- uh -- Vandelay Industries ... v. a. n. d. e. l. a. y."

"Excellent! How long have you been offworld?"

"I don't know? Is it relevant?"

"We need to know for the gravity-reinstitution process -- roughly."

"Let me see -- 25 to life..."

"What?"

"About 20 years."

"More than 5 years. Thanks. Deep space or low earth orbit?"

"Deep space -- I guess."

"We need to be sure on these things."

"I was in orbit of another planet in the solar system. Thus, I was not in low earth orbit -- if that matters."

"I see -- yes -- thank you. When would you like to go?"

"Immediately."

"The process takes several weeks."

"Weeks? It is important that I get to earth as soon as possible."

"Your business is urgent?"

"Yes! Very important. Lives at stake."

"Why did you not say so in the first place? That is another form entirely."

Daniel and Linda filled out the new form. Fortunately, there was room in the expedited return program. Which meant that no one had ever used it in the past. In fact, this procedure was rarely used that no one currently at the hotel had any experience in the expedited procedure. Nonetheless, the station personnel welcomed using it.

The escaped felon was ushered into a small capsule. They informed that he would need to strip and gave him a smock to wear. They placed his belongings in a small box that attached to the outside of the pod. They informed him to enter and sit. He could barely move in the small space. Once inside he was strapped to the lone seat in the small pod. They told him to hold his breath and the pod filled with liquid. He was about to the point where he could hold his breath no longer when the liquid drained out of the pod.

A technician opened the pod door and gave Daniel several injections. They made his body ache and his head swim a little bit. However, he knew this is what had to be done.

Once the injections were finished the pod was ushered into a simulated gravity environment. The pod was attached to a bar, and the machine was switched to the on position. Naturally, the spinning made Daniel nauseous. Via an speaker in the pod he could speak to the gravity-reintegration people. He spoke of his nausea and was told that it was normal. When the gravity simulator stopped, someone opened his pod and took some blood. After several minutes he got more injections and then simulator was run again.

The dry heaves reminded Daniel that he had not eaten in quite a while. He was somewhat happy about that. He did not know what they would do if he lost his lunch or breakfast. He asked but the technician told him that he did not really want to know that.

More blood tests and more injections continued. The process went through a few more iterations. After each round, he felt more strange. The injections had some weird effect. He forgot to ask about side effects, but he knew he could not wait a couple of weeks before returning to Earth. He could disappear on Earth. He would be discovered if he stayed in the hotel. Thus, he tried not to think about side-effects. He could deal with them.

"Okay Mr. Wesson, we need to get you to Earth now."

"Now?"

"We need to get you in gravity as soon as possible or we would have to repeat the process."

"Let's go!" Daniel responded anxiously.

"First, hold your breath."

"What?"

Before he could react, the pod once again began to fill with some sort of liquid. He held his breath as long as he could, but the liquid stayed. He knew he held his breath longer this time. He wondered why they had not drained the pod.

His lungs began to burn. The liquid stayed. He pounded on the doors. The liquid stayed. He could hold out no longer. He exhaled and inhaled. His lungs filled with the liquid. He started coughing, but he realized he could breath in the liquid.

His entire body began to tingle as he sucked in breath after breath of this liquid. The coughing subsided, and then the pod began to drain. The air filling the pod seemed cold and dry. It induced him to cough some more. The liquid he inhaled came out with each cough. Finally, the pod was empty of liquid, and he felt weird. However, he found that he could breath normally again.

Just as he felt comfortable. The pod began moving. The pod buzzed down the corridors and came to a stop at an airlock.

"Good luck on Earth," the technician told him on the communicator.

"My stuff?" exclaimed the escaped convict.

"Your belongings have been attached to the outside of the pod. They have been scanned and deemed safe. Once you reach Earth, you will be able to access them. Pleasant voyage."

The pod entered the airlock and was lowered via the space elevator to earth. 235218 had made it to Earth. His escape plan worked. Now what?

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Smith and Wesson

Chapter Six: Smith Meets Wesson

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Alias Daniel Wesson was now on Earth, but he did not know what to do next. He did not know anyone. He was alone in a strange place. He only had his pack of vials which were filled with water. He had no identity. He had nothing. On the other hand, it was not like this was an unusual circumstance for him. He ended up on The Rock because of his actions to get money. Once again, he would fall on his old ways.

Daniel crawled out of his pod. It was more difficult than he thought. He was used to micro-gravity, and he could not just pull himself out. He had to struggle against the Earth's gravity.

The treatments continued to make him feel odd. His brain felt a little scrambled. Further, with every movement he had to wrestle with this strange thing called gravity. It all felt very strange. After crawling out of the pod, he had to rest. He wanted to attempt to stand, but it was going to take quite an effort. His muscles felt strong enough for the task, but he simply was not used to using them.

After a short rest, he pushed himself up to attempt to stand. He realized that so many things he would have to relearn. He thought about the last time he stood or walked or any of it. It had been over 20 years. He was simply not used to making his muscles push against Earth's gravity. They just would not work like he wanted.

With the help of his pod, he finally stood. He felt a great triumph, but he fell as he attempted his first step. He used the pod to get him up again. He held onto it as he attempted to hark back when he used to walk and run and wander around on Earth. He could not remember how it was done. It had been a long time. He told himself that it would be just like riding a bicycle. He could not remember what that was like either.

He took another tentative step while holding onto his pod. His arms were used to holding onto things. Further, they were strong enough now to fight against gravity. Thus, he managed to take a couple of steps while grasping the pod. He decided not to celebrate until he could walk comfortably.

Walking started to come back to him. His muscles responded naturally, and he began walking independently of the pod. His head began to clear. He hoped that it was a good sign. He did not need to have his muscles revert to their micro-gravity state. That would be bad.

For several minutes he did not stray far from the pod. He wanted to be sure he could get up without it should he fall. He practiced simple actions. He sat on the ground. He stood up without the pod. He jumped. He ran in place. He did all of the activities he could think of. Once he was done, he did them all again.

He wondered what the people would think if they saw him doing these things. Then he thought it must be common here. He would not be the only one coming back from space who needed to get used to gravity again. Then he realized what he was wearing. The simple lightweight smock did not conceal much.

He looked in his pack and found that his space suit was not among his effects. Instead, there was a pair of pants and a shirt.

Damn! he thought. That suit was very hard to come by.

He realized that the clothes provided would be much more useful on Earth. Further, he had no intentions of returning to space. Thus, he finally welcomed the switch, but he did not feel it was an equitable switch. Then he noticed a credit voucher in the bag. He had money! Now, he smiled broadly at the exchange.

The next order of business was to put the clothes on. Getting dressed was another adventure he did not anticipate. Nonetheless, he finally was dressed in Earth-like clothes. He was ready to face Earth.

Daniel did his list of actions in his clothes. He felt ready to go, so he jogged away from the pod. However, he was struck by some anxiety and raced back. He chastised himself for treating the pod like a security blanket. He would need to free himself from its siren call. When he felt comfortable again, he decided to walk away from the pod slowly and to not look back. Before he knew it, he found himself in the center of New Vegas.

He wandered around the city looking for opportunities. However, the citizens were very guarded. They clearly did not trust strangers. Further, he could tell those that were not afraid of him were looking at him as a mark. The city had changed a lot in the years he had been in space. So, he continued to wander around.

Eventually, he found himself at a little diner. He was hungry. He talked to the waiter, and heard that Zephenia Smith was the richest man in town. He confirmed that with a few others. Therefore, he decided to make Zephenia Smith his target. With enough money, he could lose himself somewhere a long distance from the space elevator.

It was dusk when he found himself at the store. He laughed when he read the sign Protected by Smith and Wesson. He chuckled as the Wesson name he had chosen was from that very firearm manufacturer.

No gun would help Mr. Smith, he thought.

The store was still open, but it would be closing soon. Daniel walked in confidently. He closed the door and began pulling down the security gates.

"What are you doing?" asked Zephenia.

"I am helping you close up," Daniel replied.

"Why?" asked Zephenia with a quizzical look on his face.

"Oh that?" answered the escaped convict. "Well you see this is a robbery!"

"What?"

"Oh yes, I am going to take your money from you."

"Smith! Wesson!" shouted Zephenia.

Daniel heard some dogs barking. He thought to himself that Smith and Wesson must be dogs.

"Ha ha!" Daniel laughed. "Your dogs won't help you!"

"Dogs?" inquired Zeph.

Just then, two robots shot out from nowhere and grabbed Daniel. He tried to struggle against their grip but was unable to free himself.

"Let me go!" he shouted. "If you don't you'll be sorry!"

"I will? Hmmmm." Zeph responded. "I really do not think that is true."

"I have connections! I can get things done!"

"Once again, I doubt that to be true. If you had connections, you would not be wearing such shabby hotel clothes."

"I..." Daniel began but could not think of anything further to say.

The police arrived. They took a blood sample from Daniel. They were astonished that his identity was not in their records. After some checking, they found out he was 235218. A prisoner who was presumed dead. He was returned to his cell.

That is the story of the only person to successfully escape from The Rock.

The End

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The Amnesiac

First Entry

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Date: Unknown

 

Greetings to anyone who reads this. I have just awakened from sleep, and I cannot recall anything before that moment. In fact, I do not even remember going to bed. As you can see, I know how to write, but I do not remember learning this skill. I do not know my name, or where I am. I am a proverbial blank slate.

If my memory is erased every night, how would I know? Thus, I am writing this diary of my experiences. If I awake tomorrow without memory, I can refer to my writing here. I will explore my environment with you and note the things that I see.

First off, I have a nice portable electronic device on which I am able to take these notes. Thus, I have some sort of experience with this type of device. I guess that is a plus. There is a date noted on this device, so I will include it in future entries. I will assume that it is correct, because I have no reason to doubt it.

My living space is rather small. It consists of a tiny sleeping chamber which accommodates a bed for a single person. The room is slightly larger than the bed itself, and it contains no windows. With the door closed, the chamber is completely dark. The bed consists of a lying surface and a lid. There are a series of wires and tubes running to it from a receptacle in the wall. I was covered with a blanket when I awoke, and the lid lifted easily. I was not strapped to the bed in any fashion.

There is a separate living area. It is spacious in comparison, but by no means is it massive. There is a crudely constructed small metal table in the center of the main room flanked by two chairs. I find two chairs to be odd. From the appearance of the bedchamber, there does not appear to be room for another person to live here. Thus, why would I need a second chair? In my brief search, I have not discovered anyone else; although, I have not ventured outside my living quarters. Perhaps, I will have a visitor later.

Along one wall are storage places. The cabinets and drawers are built into the wall, and sit on each side of a wash room. I searched through them and they are mostly empty. I did find a few articles of clothing in one of the drawers next to the wash room. Upon this discovery, I washed myself and put on some clothes. These clothes were made of some sort of synthetic fiber. They were soft to the touch. Further, they fit my quite nicely. It appears that they were made for me.

The washroom was quite small. It contained a tiny toilet built into one wall. It would barely accommodate someone sitting upon it. There was a very small sink on the wall across from the door. Behind the door was a very small showering space. The bathroom door doubled as a door for that space.

After washing I continued to explore the storage area. I found another drawer which was not empty. It contained some eating and food-preparation utensils. All of the utensils seemed very crudely formed; however, there were enough eating sets for two. Everything appears to be arranged for two people, but as of yet, I have not seen another individual. I am becoming hopeful that someone will show up soon.

On the opposite side of the storage area, is the kitchen space. Directly across from the wash room sits a small counter with a sink in the center. On one side, there is a cooling device. Currently, this device is empty. I wonder what its use is if there is no need for food to be chilled and stored. It does have a dispenser of cool water and ice if desired. I went back to the cabinet with the eating utensils and found two glasses. I filled one of them and placed it upon the table.

On the other side of the sink is some sort of cooking device. It has two burners on top and warming cabinet beneath. Above this stove hang a few crudely formed metal pots and pans. Obviously, these would be used to prepare meals. With the refrigerator empty, I looked for something to eat.

I found some sort of freeze-dried food in the cupboards. I was capable of reading the instructions on their packages, so that is what I prepared. The instructions were simple and I could follow them without difficulty. The meal itself was not noteworthy.

At the top of the wall, is a glass ceiling. This lets in the daytime light and allows me to see out. In my opinion, the sky seems odd. It seems a little more purple than I remember. However, I do not know why I think that. It could just be my brain playing tricks.

There are lights that line the walls when the sun goes down. Thus, I do not have to rely solely on the sun for my light. I tested the fixtures, and they do work. Hence, my home is equipped with functioning electricity. How and why I know this is a mystery. I find this entire situation interesting.

In my state, I dare not venture outside my house. There could be untold dangers outside my front door. I am going to wait to see if my memory is wiped out the next day. If I retain my memories, I may open my door. I am not sure if the outside environment is suitable. It appears that my home is sealed against the elements. If my memory is gone, then I will know I am not alone. Someone or something is removing my memories, and I will investigate why. For now, all I can do is wait.

 

End Entry.

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A Bottle of Elixir

By Dwayne MacInnes

I remember as a child, when visiting Grandma and Grandpa O'Brien's, there was this old bottle that sat over the mantle piece of their fireplace. It was made of clear glass in the shape of many bottles of supposed medicinal purpose from an earlier part of the 20th century. It was a quarter full of some brownish liquid. It had a cork stopper which prevented the liquid from escaping. The simple paper label on the bottle proclaimed the liquid as "Dr. Harrison's Elixir".

This was an odd item to be found in my grandparent's home. Especially since Grandma O' was a devout teetotaler and alcohol was forbidden in the house. Whenever I asked about it, grandma would mention that it was a reminder to Grandpa O' of his past. Grandpa O' was just as elusive when I queried him. He responded to my questions that it "had changed his life forever".

So, there the story stood for decades, a mysterious bottle sitting on a fireplace's mantle full of unanswered questions. However, I noticed that not once in all those years did the contents of the bottle change. It was always a quarter full.

It was about a year after Grandma O's passing that my grandpa caught me unawares one day by saying, "Jimmy, my boy, do you want to hear the story about that bottle of elixir?"

I of course nodded my head. I was sure the story was not all that great. But the fact of it remaining a tantalizing mystery all these years only added to its aura. I sat down on the couch as grandpa reclined in his chair. He looked up at the bottle and pointed at it as he began speaking.

"There was a time in my life when I was out of control," he said as his eyes took on a glassy look. "I was a slave to anything that would get me drunk."

He glanced over at me and smiled, "Now this was before I met your grandmother. She would not tolerate any drinking as you well know. But over the years in trying to mask my drinking problem I turned to elixirs. It was easy to say I had a scratchy throat or some pain in my shoulder.

"It is well known, that elixirs were just a gimmick to help a man sneak a drink. That bottle there represents my favorite choice, Dr. Harrison's Elixir. It had a nice smooth quality and tasted a bit like cherry brandy. Well, to be truthful it probably was just cherry brandy," Grandpa O' chuckled to himself. "Sometimes I miss that taste, but my love of your grandmother was one of the two reasons why I never went back to drinking."

I was now leaning forward on the couch trying to catch every word that grandpa spoke. He looked over at me again and smiled.

"I will now tell you the second reason why I gave up alcohol. It was back in the forties and I used to stay out late visiting all the bars in town. Now for me to get home to my place outside of town, I had to pass by the cemetery on Rosehill. You know by the old Picken's place, right?"

I nodded my head. The old Picken's place had been this old abandoned mansion on top of Rosehill. It was abandoned even when my grandparents were children and it -- of course -- was said to be haunted. I suppose it didn't help that it was directly across the street from the Rosehill Memorial Cemetery.

"So, I was stumbling home one fall night. The wind was blowing the leaves around my feet and the full moon lit my path down the broken road. I had my coat pulled close to my body to help keep in the heat. I would occasionally take a slug from that bottle to help fortify me against the elements and then I would shove it back into my coat pocket. My sole purpose was to get home and to bed.

"That was when I heard a large crack emanating from the cemetery. I figured it was a tree branch breaking but as I turned I saw this coffin sticking out of the ground. It was standing upwards as if the caretakers left it there leaning against the headstone.

"The wind blew the lid open to reveal that it was in fact empty. I was about to turn and continue my trek home when suddenly the coffin 'hopped' towards me. In surprise, I stumbled backwards and fell on to my rear. What I saw could not be real. I have seen many things in my drunken state including a pink elephant or two but never a hopping casket.

"With a bang, bang, bang the death box hopped towards me. I jumped up to my feet and ran. The box continued to follow with its bang, bang, bang. I unconsciously ran through the old gate leading to the Picken's place. I figured that I would be able to secure myself inside the house. The casket never gave up its pursuit. I would look over my shoulder and see the box hopping after me. Its lid flapping as if the welcome me into its interior.

"Soon I had pushed myself through the old door, its rusty hinges protesting against being open. I quickly shut the door and secured it with the old chain-lock. I could still hear the bang, bang, bang of the casket hopping up the walkway. I looked across the musty and abandoned room for anything to reinforce the door. However, before I could find anything the front door exploded in a cloud of splinters. The coffin was in the doorway, again its lid opened to reveal its empty interior.

"With a scream that would put any of those horror movie girls to shame, I bolted up the old rotted staircase. Occasionally, my foot would break through the steps, but I was moving so fast that I am almost certain I was flying. When I reached the top of the landing I looked down and watched as the death box hopped up the stairs with a bang, bang, bang. It was destroying those steps that remained intact after my ascent.

"I was completely frightened and my mind raced through a cloud of horror and alcohol for a way to escape or stop this supernatural monstrosity. I grabbed the newel post and tossed it at the coffin. It bounced harmlessly off the lid not even leaving a dent on the wooden surface.

"I ran down the hallway and into a large room. I again quickly shut the door. However, there was nothing to secure it. I frantically, looked around the room for anything that I could use to stop the box. However, it continued its hopping with a bang, bang, bang, down the hall towards me. All I found was some rocks on the floor that kids over the years had thrown through the windows. The moonlight filtered in through the broken windows and a quick glance out them revealed a sheer drop of over twenty feet to a stone strewn ground below.

"With another crash the unholy sarcophagus had exploded through the door. In a frantic state I began to throw the rocks at the box as it now slowly slid towards me. The lid creeping open as it relentlessly approached. I retreated back to the window and continued to throw rocks. They only bounced harmlessly off the casket.

"As the box was a mere five feet away I ran out of rocks. I was now faced with the choice of jumping out the window or being consumed by the casket. I unconsciously retrieved the bottle from my coat. The box was now almost upon me. In desperation I threw the bottle at the death box it flew past the lid and landed inside the casket. Suddenly it stopped.

"I must have fainted because when I came to in the morning I was on the floor of the old bedroom. There were rocks all on the opposite side of the room and my bottle of elixir on the floor where the coffin was before I past out. However, there was no sign of that evil death box.

"The first person I ran into when I left the Picken's place was your grandmother coming home from church. I can tell you honestly that I have never let a drop of alcohol past my lips since that night."

I was a little shocked by my grandpa's story. It was too much to believe. He must have noticed the look on my face because he got up from his chair and walked over to the fireplace. He grabbed the bottle of elixir and looked at it for a minute.

"But, how did your bottle stop the coffin from getting you?" I finally asked.

Grandpa tossed the bottle to me and I caught it. "Read the label," he stated.

The label simply said, "Dr. Harrisons' Elixir: a Coff Re-med-die." The words were written phonetically. In finer print below, with a folksy type of grammar, it proclaimed: "Gar-un-teed to stop you a coffin."

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Recent Comments

  • Douglas Gogerty: Thanks for the kind words Kerry. I too am very read more
  • Douglas Gogerty: Thanks Christian! I too had a DOS computer. read more
  • Christian: A great story, i remember my first computer with DOS read more
  • Kerry Glasscock: Good story. I love that Dwayne. nice work! read more
  • Douglas Gogerty: Thanks Susanne. You are correct, the OS of computers has read more
  • Susanne: Nice read, shame computers havent improved several years later (mainly read more
  • Douglas Gogerty: Hey Rushan! Sadly no, I do not have one. Thanks read more
  • Rushan: Nice work.do you have that kind of one?thanks.. read more
  • Douglas Gogerty: Thanks Joyce. I appreciate your kind words. We do have read more
  • Joyce: Douglas, I just want express and my true admiration before read more

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