Everything was a fog.
I felt like I had to be awake, but I couldn't open my eyes.
It wasn't my alarm, and I didn't feel the usual sensation of waking up in a bed, in some far-flung guest room in some corner of the galaxy.
What is that? . . .
I think I recognize that beep. But how -
"I think he's waking up, doctor."
I DO recognize that voice, I think. It sounds like Chantelle, but it can't be. She's working for the university in Sol. Where am I?
"Vitals seem to be good. Looks like he'll be with us for a while."
Then something impossible happened. A huge, monstrous head, like the one I'd seen in artist depictions of a crocodile, broke through the floor, opened its gigantic mouth, with all those teeth -- wait, when had I stood up, and when had I opened my eyes?
Its mouth snapped shut on a frantic, clucking, squawking chicken, like the one I'd seen in the hologram show at Spirit. Hundreds of squeaking, squealing rats scurried away in every direction, some escaping it and some not, and then the huge beast drew itself up through the floor, looking somewhat like a long, plate-armored tube, opened its gaping maw and sprayed fire all around, working its way toward me as Chantelle and the doctor, accompanied by what must have been three squads of guards, fled in terror, screaming, leaving me all alone in a huge hangar. I began counting the teeth on whatever growling, roaring, hissing, angry creature it was that was about to eat me . . .
Right when I instinctively looked up, a load of hull plating fell on top of me from above.
Suddenly, I was wide awake, in a hospital bed, struggling against a respirator, my right arm immobilized and tied to some sort of brace, my left arm restrained, probably because of all the equipment attached to it, the pressurized air ignoring my need to breathe out and scream, a soft, gentle hand, suddenly pressing lightly against my shoulder as the whole room swirled into a misty fog . . .
I don't think my eyes ever actually opened.
Silence , , ,
Strange but familiar sounds, seeming to be in some sort of a cycle.
The click and hiss of the respirator were unmistakable as the pressure rose and fell in the air I was forced to breathe. There was a foul taste to it. All around me, everything seemed cold, rigid, mostly hard, metallic . . . I struggled in vain to raise my head and look around as a dark, dimly-lit room began to come into view.
"So, tell me about Dorie," a deep, unfamiliar voice inquired.
The room swirled again. My heart was pounding, my mind racing, my head throbbing. Pain, everywhere, that was all I could feel.
Someone is pounding on the wall.
What is that?
I'm in my guest room. What's going on?
"OOVRAY la poor!!" a rather loud woman's voice screamed outside, sounding like a Gaulish accent. I struggled to emerge from the drowsy fog that seemed to overwhelm me. Something bad was going on.
"Wee, mas your." Definitely Gauls. I think that means "Yes, Ser."
The door sprung open, and with a lot of rattle and clatter, armed and armored soldiers stormed into the room. An angry, but rather majestic woman seemed to be their leader. "Say zay sicko shone etron jay!", she barked out. They knocked me to the ground, roughing me up a little in the process.
"Allay! Lana vet nettar day pah!" she yelled impatiently.
They hastily began to drag me toward the door.
"Copy Ten." a younger man asked, pointing at my things around the room. "Sah pro pree yet - "
"ALLAY!" she thundered as she pointed toward the corridor. It must mean 'get going,' because the two who were dragging me out really picked up the pace. They clearly didn't care what they bumped me against.
As we reached the shuttle bay, I realized I was being deported. I was thrown against the wall as they made their arrangements.
"Excuse me, I think--" I began, immediately interrupted by her.
"FAIR may la bush!" she shouted at me, like an order given to an unruly soldier by his commander, as she swung some sort of baton at me. That one hurt.
The next thing I saw was a lovely young flight attendant patting the side of my face, almost slapping me. It must have taken a little extra effort to awaken me.
"Ser, we need to disembark and take on new passengers. Do you have any baggage?"
60 - Hospitality