Monday, March 01, 2010

SEED, Part 4

(Serial fiction, sci-fi)

Just joining us? Go back to Part 1.

At first, when the room went completely dark, Jax's body sizzled cold with terror.

He could scream. He really could. But he knew the voice was listening. So he roped that scream tight in the center of his chest and held on.

"You are needful," the voice said.

Jax flinched when something touched his lips in the dark.

He hadn't heard anything approach. He couldn't see a thing.

"Drink," the voice said.

Again, an object met his lips. He puckered and sweet water flowed into the cotton of his mouth. He hadn't realized how thirsty he'd been until the liquid washed over his tongue and soothed the cracks in his throat.

He gulped. Greedily.

He sensed minerals in the water. Something fragrant. Alluring.

The cup pulled away. Drips ran over his chin and down his neck.

"Eat," the voice said.

This time, Jax was ready. When softness touched him, he carefully bit. The sweetness of fruit exploded in his mouth. He almost laughed. Ripe, full fruit was so rare and expensive. He grinned as he chewed.

Pleasure. That's what it was. Glowing, dancing pleasure.

The meager light flicked back onto his body, but the rest of the room remained dark. No one was near him. No obvious source of the food.

"What is the tactical objective of the SEED program?" the voice said.

Jax stopped chewing. "What?"

"What is the tactical objective of the SEED program?"

"Tactical?" Jax said. "I don't understand."

He waited for an explanation.

None came.

"The SEED program is over six hundred years old," Jax said. "You know that. Everyone knows that." He licked his lips. "People learn about it in school. It's a chapter in science class. But no one cares really about it anymore. Not really."


The lack of communication unnerved Jax. He knew the voice was there.

"We still receive scientific data from a few of the pods, even though they're so far out. The rest are either gone or out of range. That's why the program is still funded. Barely. It's a scientific program. There's only six of us anymore. Five plus me."

"You are the Director of the SEED program."

"Yes," Jax said. Then a thought made his gut sink. "Wait. Are they here too? Do you have the others?"

What were they doing to his people?

"SEED is a tactical program."

"Why do you keep saying that?"

"SEED is a tactical--"

"Do you mean war?" Jax said. "Is that what you mean?"

The euphoria had worn off. He felt hot and clammy. More and more uneasy.

"What is the tactical objective?" the voice said.

"You know the objective! The whole world knows!"

No reply.

"It's survival!" he said. "You know how the Earth was four hundred years ago! You know how everything was falling apart!"

The voice was faster now. Less patient. Emphatic.

"The SEED program was launched during a period of war. SEED is a tactical program."

"No! No, that's wrong. SEED came before the war. SEED was the last thing the world did before it all fell apart."

"The SEED program caused war."

"No! It was the last and biggest pan-national project before the war. The costs were huge, but it was something that gave everyone hope. That humans would go on. That Earth wasn't all there is. Especially after we ruined it. That this wasn't all there was ever going to be."

Sweat poured from Jax. He felt feverish. Wired.

"What are you doing to me?" he said, looking down at the tubes in his arms. "I don't feel good! What are you doing to me?"

He shook his arms, but the tubes were secure.

"Are you drugging me again?" he yelled. "Why are you asking me these questions? Who are you?"

Now it felt like ants were marching all over his skin. And biting.

"WHO ARE YOU?" he screamed.

The tone and inflection of the voice never changed.

"What is the tactical objective of the SEED program?"

On to Part 5.
Back to Part 3.


DILLIGAF said...

Oh yes oh yes. I am becoming a SEED addict here!

By the way old bean. I've entered another writing comp. I'd appreciate any feedback from you especially. The entries have to be posted on your own blog so mine's there now.



Karen said...

This is goooooood!

SzélsőFa said...

oh, i like it, too!
it seems that although the story (part 4) takes place in the future, it is about something mankind is doing right now. now this is fantastic.

Bernita said...

Cold sweat nice.

Unknown said...

I am loving the tension and creepiness of this series. Your word choice is perfect!

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Great descriptions. Dare we even guess what the objective is??? Glad to have found out what SEED is. Compelling!!

Anonymous said...

Four Dinners, I have to get over there and check out your entry. Thanks for continuing to be on board with this story!

Karen, thanks!

Szelsofa, yes, quite a bit in the future. Glad you're into it!

Bernita, I'm being kind of hard on this guy.

Maybe Genius, I appreciate that. :) I want the words to be seamless and intense at the same time.

Kaye, hmmm, something is definitely afoot here. The pieces aren't matching up...yet. ;)

Aniket Thakkar said...

I love the concept here. One main storyline unfolding in each vignette. Each piece reminds me more and more of Ghost in the Shell. Waiting for more.

the walking man said...

Moving it along at a nice pace Jason. Jax should not be asking so many questions or giving so many answers until he understands his tactical situation better.

Anonymous said...

Aniket, thanks! I need to check out Ghost in the Shell. :)

Walking Man, yeah, Jax is totally on his heels. Thanks for the pacing feedback!