(Serial fiction, sci-fi)
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She saw light.
At least her brain registered light.
She watched it, but it didn't mean anything. Light. Not light. Halos between the two. You must be conscious of a thing before it has meaning.
She blinked, and the light came and went. But this time, she felt the blink and connected the squeeze with change in the light.
The concept of distance hatched. A sense of close. The beginning of me, and a sense of not me. An observer and the observed.
She watched the light sharpen and become curious colors. There were designations for those differences, she knew, but her brain forgot the concept of words. Not "red" and "green" and "blue." Just this one being different from that one, and both floating higher in her mind than the third.
The third color was sky and water, but the images drifted like husks. Disconnected, wordless dreams. All was new, haunted by the ghostly tinge of familiar.
She squirmed and felt confined. She coughed, and her lungs felt thick and wet.
The coughs turned to gagging. She expelled globs and struggled to move. That's when the explosive seals blew. SEED4611's hatch flung to the side, and metal clanked on the floor.
She sat and gasped a breath of air. The immense importance of that first breath, and all the hours of training anchored onto it, finally sliced the veil over her sleeping consciousness.
The information hit her like a light in a dark room.
She was an Eve Officer on a Second Earth Elopement Device. The S.E.E.D. program. The fact that her hatch blew meant that the pod had landed without her help. Or aborted. Or never left Earth's orbit in the first place.
Hello? she tried to say. But the croak just gurgled in her throat.
She saw that someone had disassembled the pod. Computer boards chained by ribbon cable were spread on a metallic table. A glowing hose linked the array into the wall with colored lights. It looked like a servicing. Or maintenance. Had something gone wrong?
She cleared her throat again. Tried to loosen her stiff vocal cords. But another sound pulled her attention to the other side of the room before she tried to speak again.
A flash of light exploded, and her body stiffened.
A raspy sound like rubbing rocks and sand approached. And a hum. Almost musical.
Two shapes were converging on the pod.
She would have screamed if she could've broken the paralysis.
Especially when they touched her.
On to Part 8.
Back to Part 6.