The Final Design

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The Final Design

Post by Hank001 » Wed, 21. Feb 18, 18:02

The Final Design (An X3 Story)
by Hank001

Noises don't wake me that often, but then again, not many things at this point wake me. I guess too often this point is that point...
This noise managed, it it got me up. That sardonic streak in me (that's about the only streak I have left) had me thinking it managed to wake the dead. Close enough at this point... Being almost at THAT point. Talk about it I suppose is pointless, but life, nearing it's end in this manner is all sharp points. All tending to poke into me physically as well as mentally... I stop my mind from wandering long enough to start dealing with external factors. Like the noise.

My hospice nurse obviously snuck out and that's fine with me. He needs a life besides waiting for this charge to kick the bucket. The noise fairly shook the house. Otherwise he'd be checking it out... Would he or is... No Stan's professionally quiet... Better check this out...

Okay so trying to get out of bed was a bad idea. That's a given when your body is hooked up to external hardware. I'd had enough experience to know that disconnecting was the easy part. Connecting myself back up to the tubes was not in the cards, but something told me that noise... which stopped with a sort of spinning down sound. Reminds me of two things. The sound a turbojet makes on cutting off and the sound I make pulling out my catheter. The IV in both arms were child's play. They inserted shunts in my wrists, all I have to do is twist, lift and wipe off the blood that inevitably leaks from the damn things.

When I put my legs over the bed and sat up waiting for my head to stop spinning. I noticed Stan my nurse didn't turn off my computer. Not that it hurts anything, it's on standby, but if I bump the mouse it turns on and then has to wait for it to time out again. It probably annoys it. So I shut it down while my head clears...somewhat.

Then I hear what must be someone on the porch. Either my nurse Stan coming back to his station after tomcatting around or whomever was responsible for that noise outside. Either way I'm starting to think that getting out of bed might not be the wisest decision I ever made. In part for the fact that if it was Stan then he's got some work putting everything I'd unplugged back in place. And if it's not Stan then what the hell am I suppose to do about it? Spit at them?

I hear the front door opening, but no key rattling in the lock. Not a very good thing to discover, that you're hearing is about the only sense you still have left in the pantheon of senses, and that you'd just as well not have that sharp a hearing that you can almost see what's playing out downstairs.

The person (only one) coming in and not bothering to turn on the light either and it's as black as pitch... is it? Yes it is. Regular clocks are usless to me and the only one I can read has the time projecting on the wall large enough for God to read if he needed to. And it's earlier than I thought when I woke up. Still it's just after 11. That means Stan's right in the middle of whatever his nocturnal perambulations are that take him out of the house at nights when I'm suppose to be sleeping. And he has to turn on the lights to see far enough inside to turn on the stairway lights and always turns off the foyer lights and locks the door...and I'm hearing none of that. Just footsteps.

I know too much from just sounds. Like the soft padding in the dark stairwell without hesitation, just an almost leisurely pace right up to the landing. Okay so whatever housebreaker is out in the hallway padding towards my room has exceptional night vision. I almost envy them. Almost.

I'm still in this muddled meditation when the door to my room opens. I turn my head, but a hell of a lot of good that does when the least of my heath worries was macular degeneration robbing my vision. "Hello whoever you are." I say because I can't quite think of anything more snippy at the moment. Might as well make acquaintances.

"I take it you're Jeff?" A sort of voice that means male, fairly (but not too) young and semi-benign in tenor asked.
"Well you got the right place at least. And who are you Young Man?" I asked and heard him coming further into the room and almost heard his neck bones move when he looks around.

"Call me Julian. Julian Brennan."

Right... The name makes immediate connection.

"Okay and I'm Ban Danna, Hi Julian, how's your dad?"

"Wrong question and I suppose you're not suppose to believe me. Believe the ship I had a time parking in your yard."

Well at least that explained the noise, but then again didn't at all. "And you're ship uses whatever that was that spun down when you cut power?" I asked, just for general information because the sound was both familiar and strange.

"That's the field generator I suppose, it doesn't make noise except in atmosphere. It startles me too when I forget I'm landing on a planet. That doesn't happen often and getting outside... well it's just plain weird, makes me think I'm going to decompress."

I want to laugh and start to and find out once again that laughter is painful so I stop. It also makes me light headed again and I start to sway in bed.

"Hey don't fall over." The man says and I feel gentle hands keeping me upright. "You look terrible. I'm in time at least. Now how am I suppose to get you to the ship?"

I almost want to laugh again if I was able and not starting to get slightly nauseous. "Son, I don't know where to begin on that one. And why would you want to drag me to that noisemaker you have out in the yard?"

"To get you out of here before anyone sees us..." He starts and stops in that tone I know means he's pondering all the points he's just skipped. A fault of youth that he started out at the end and not from start to finish. Always in a hurry Youth is. A paradox to me since age sould be in a hurry and youth has much more time.

"Look, Julian, just skip to the part where I'd want to make such a trek out to your ship and what happens from there." I tell him by way of suggestion.

"You don't die. How about that?" He tells me, now close enough while holding me upright on the edge of the bed that I feel his breath on my shoulder.

"That's good. Not dying is sort of on my bucket list, but as I've heard it, life is the one thing you can't get out of alive, if you get me."

"How about not dieing right now then. Look, I have to get you off Earth for that to happen Jeff." He told me.

Again I don't know quite how to parse that past the gaps in the data.

"You mean, if you are whom you say you are that you have a cure for cancer and all the other crap I'm saddled with and for some odd reason you've blown right out of a fictional storyline in a video game and wound up on Earth in the far past to pick up a dying old man? Sure. Fire your writer is my advice."

Julian laughs for a moment and says, "You have most of that right at least. Only you're not up on a few points there. First I'm older than you are, we just don't age as fast. Second this isn't my Earth, it's yours. My Earth is a couple Earth's over... well I guess it's hard to explain."

I come back to myself enough to know that if I had the IV's still attached I'd be pressing the button for more meds. And way more than I'd need for the pain.

"You're talking that old Alternate Universe plotline? Worked in the Star Trek franchise only because the fans wanted something to happen and everybody was tired of dealing with Marjole and Frakes. What else was J.J. going to do?"

"Well I don't know what that means. I only know you're suppose to come with me because your a starship designer." He says and that has me chuckling, pain or not.

"Right. They had a movie called Flight of the Phoenix that..."

"Look Jeff we're a little pressed for time here. Can you walk?"

No I couldn't but at eighty five pounds I got carried quickly. What do you know, there's a strangely familiar looking starship in my front yard and it completely crushed my ornamental sumac tree. No big loss the tree. I find that in the depths of time I forgot the name of the ship type, but somehow that is the least of my questions as I'm tossed in a jump seat while though the bulkhead that sound is heard spinning up and soon the slight wobble as the ship rises off it's... whatever it landed on besides by tree. I feel around the jump seat.

"No harness?" I ask.

"A what?" He asks in return from the 'front office'.

"Harness, seat belt, straps whatever." I prompt.

"If we needed those we'd be in trouble. We're already past your atmosphere. You know it really stank down there. What is it your dumping into it down there?" He asks.

"Everything that you can burn or spew I'm afraid. For a second there I thought you were talking about me."

"Well I wasn't going to mention it." He says and I almost laugh again but the pain is starting to become my penultimate concern. "Julian" Starts talking and from experience I know it's not to me since his first words were were a call sign:"Argon One"

So designing starships? Why not. That used to be fun until not much became fun except not hurting. Not hurting would be fun too. I start thinking of a few designs I'd never quite put down when the ship obviously lands...

The coroner put away his data pad and told the hospice nurse, "I'd say the time of death was shortly after midnight. Around the time he obviously disconnected his IV line. Blood on his left hand says that much. Delirium. I've seen that before in these cases."

The nurse takes out his cell phone. "I have the next of kin, his sister on speed dial. She lives in Michigan. It will take her a day to get here, but she's his executor."

"Executrix, and I'd say that's a good idea. We'll take him to the county morgue. Thanks for getting to us Mister Hayes."

"That's my job. Nice guy, but man it was eating him up. He should have gone long before now."

"I've seen them go from over medication. And a few like him that passed like this trying to get away from it. They never can, but they try." The coroner told the nurse as the paramedics came in with the gurney. "At least he died smiling." The nurse said.

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