Arrival: The Victim

After midnight, but whatever. Part 3 will be coming on Sunday still! This time round I’ve taken a first-person, present-tense approach, which I felt would work best for the character this scene is about. Think I might try mulling it over from some other angles in the future, as I’m not entirely happy with it. …and looking back at the last post, so much for dialogue! It might happen next time, though. >_>

I feel cold.

I don’t know how long I’ve been waiting, and Sarah’s assurance that she would be back in twenty minutes hasn’t been useful. Everyone on the ship talks in minutes, kilometres, years. I haven’t worked up the nerve to tell them that I don’t know what these things are. The words sound familiar, but my memory only tells me that they use the words in the same way I used to: attached to numbers, and sometimes in complex and dependent relationships that hint at a system tying them all together. Kilometres per second, joules per gram, newtons per square metre – they all sound right whenever I hear people talking about them. There’s every chance that I once knew what they meant and how to use them; I might have even thrown them around with the same abandon. Certainly, I would never have stopped to think about whether or not they meant anything to the people I used them with.

I remind myself of this whenever I grow impatient at being left here. I know that I can’t contribute anything to the running of the ship, and that this whole expedition is for my benefit. That knowledge is all that keeps me from asking for it to be called off. I certainly haven’t lost my desire to see again – I know for a fact that I want to be whole. The cost, however, has given me second thoughts.

I don’t know who I was before I woke up, and the fractured memories that come to me seemingly at random have become agonising. I can grasp them when they arrive – even use them as a window into the present where suddenly the perplexing names and places all fit together – but they inevitably slip away and I cannot force them to stay. I know that what I hear ought to make sense, but it remains incomprehensible. The crew have made it clear to me that these ghost memories will not leave me, or at least cannot be forced out of my head. They’ve also told me that the rebuilding process they can offer me at the end of this journey is one that will permanently sever the damaged machines I still have in my head; if whoever I used to be is still alive in them, then I will have forever lost my chance to reclaim my history. Sarah has always told me that I must think of myself as a new person and not as a cripple with no memories, but I can’t help but feel that doing so means I condemn whoever I have been to annihilation.

More time passes – I can’t imagine how much, but my thoughts do not move anywhere new before Sarah comes back, full of soothing words. She guides me up from my seat and helps me up onto a platform. I’m told to lie down, and as I obey I am confined and feel wetness all around me. Everything has come full circle now: I am in a coffin again, just like the one they found me in. Fear floods through me but I know it to be impotent: it has no more power to affect me than my boredom or my guilt. The only truth I have left to me is that the future can offer no greater terror than the one that has already been visited upon me.

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