Day 350 – Meditation in the Backwaters of Outer Space – Part 13

Word count: 866

“Seven, six, five…”
“No! Wait! Er?”
Jack scrambled for shelter as the robot poised to shoot. Then, quite abruptly when time was at the utmost essence, a hand yanked him through a doorway and two and a half seconds later all Jack heard was “Intruder alert! Intruder alert!”
“Oh crap, he’s at it again,” the man who had saved his life yelped and scurried off out into the hallway. “Time and time again! Really? Do you think that you’re going to get upgraded to Class A Software by flailing your alarm systems every time a bit of dust lands on your sensors?” The man yelled at the robot out of sight.
Jack kept precautious and stayed behind the door, listening to the electronic whines that were the robot’s reply. Jack pictured its head lowering in shame.
“Now, what are you going to do about it? I can’t just keep on ignoring this. The Captain can’t be arsed with robots who just want to look good.”
“This system must apologise,” the robot said, “We will not trigger our alarms unnecessarily again.”
“Good, now stand still whilst you scan our new crew member,” the man peered round the door way, “Come on Jack, get scanned. You’ll be able to pass through our sensors then.”
Jack surreptitiously ventured back out into the hallway. Barely had he the chance to ask who, what or why than he was thrown in front of the giant robot that had until very recently being aiming its gun at him and was forced to let it scan his face. Terrified, Jack was released after a few seconds and turned what attention he had to spare towards the man.
“You’re human,” he remarked.
“Technically. It was a small accident with a test-tube apparently. My parents put it behind them long ago.”
Jack did not want to ask any further questions, “Erm, what’s going on?”
“You’re being equipped for ship duties. The captain cannot be bothered going back to Earth and won’t let you go free because of some mandate he has with the guy he lost the bet to, so you might as well earn your keep while you here.”
“Oh, right.” Jack did not want to think about not going back; but then again, did he really feel that affectionate towards the place? He thought of Regina and winced: perhaps not. “Where to?”
“Well we’re stopping off at Hades Gamma for supplies – but between you and me it’s because that’s where most of the black market dealers are and The Captain is not one to pass up a bargain…”
The man led Jack back into the room he had first dragged him into. It was a giant room – almost like an armoury, except the only thing there was to arm was clothes.
“What is this place?”
The man stepped forward, opening his arms as if to hug the room, “This is The Wardrobe!”
The climax was not quite what Jack was expecting – he was hoping that he was mistaken and that this was really some inter-galactic war room.
“I love clothes, don’t you?”
“I’m, yes, I wear them,” Jack replied, feeling more uncomfortable than he had done with the robot threatening to kill him.
“Now, time to pick your outfit – I’d say at least three to be honest. We don’t want you having nothing to wear…”
“Actually, erm, I don’t know – well – what’s happening?”
“But I just said?”
Jack was heavily confused, despite the explanations. On board spaceship – got it. Captain lost a bet – got it. Hundreds of millions of light years away – almost got it. Requirement to wear some sort of uniform – no comprende.
“I think I need to speak to the Captain?”
“The Captain?” a sultry female voice snapped the air with her sarcasm. “Why the heck would you want to do that?”
Jack spun round on his heel. A beautiful human girl was standing in the door way.
“Another human?” Jack asked with surprise.
“A proper one this time, yes,” she swaggered into the room.
“What are you doing here?”
“I hitched a ride, like the others. Plus the Captain allows me certain… privileges.”
A screeching came on the tanoy, “Forbid Tanya! Don’t let her speak! Shut her up! Shut her up!”
Screeching returned briefly before a further announcement, “At ease. At ease. Everyone calm. Got it? Or I’ll open the air lock. I mean, er, a shit…”
“God what an irritating plank,” Tanya growled to herself.
Jack was still as confused. He thought for a second he might even prefer to spend the rest of the waking day picking out clothes.
“So, erm, what are you here for?” Jack plucked up the courage to ask her.
“You. Someone on Earth’s trying to contact you and they won’t shut up…”
“Erm, okay….” Jack was lost – who knew he was here?
“Oh don’t worry, it’s not your family. Some strange fellow…. Henrick or something. Either way it’s odd. And he wants you.”
“So you’ve come to take me there?”
“Yep, just before I head back to Earth again… final mission there. Anything you want when I’m there?”
Jack pondered for a moment before coming to his final decision, “A slice of sanity?

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~ by S.G. Mark on September 20, 2012.

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