Episode 2 Scene 7
The pain in my head’s horrendous, and my exo-armor’s in full lockdown. It’s got me absolutely rigid and has initiated a full-body scan. In terms of protection, this is fantastic. In terms of knowing what the hell’s going on, it’s completely useless. I’m utterly isolated and have no idea what just happened.
I throw an n-comm burst through my ride’s dedicated emergency channel and get a reply that almost rips my head off. There’s an immense keening of pain. My ride’s in serious trouble. I shut out the screams, compose my thoughts, and run through the crisis scenarios wetwired into my brain. I hate using this shit because it reminds me that I may not be completely human. The Deacons assure us the wetware is noninvasive, but having seen Scyther carcasses, I’m not convinced.
I locate lockdown protocol. Shit, good news: it includes a system reboot for my ride. Someone was using their big brain when they designed this. The file size is at the limit of my n-comm burst capabilities, but then they probably knew that as well. I shift the files around, concentrate, and send out another pulse. The wailing stops. Blessed silence.
I try shifting, and my exo-armor starts to soften. That’s got to be good. My internal visor display spits and fritzes itself back to life. It begins to scan the surroundings, visible spectrum only, as all higher functions are linked through the bike. Nothing looks familiar. No surprises there, and there’s no hint at what era I’ve ended up in.
I check my threat tubes for clues. My available ammo will provide approximate info on when I am, but they are set to default mode: big, chunky shotgun slugs on one side and a stock laser on the other. I sigh. The slugs I like. They take big meaty lumps out of just about anything. Kinetic energy works in any era. The laser, on the other hand, is only useful for heating your morning coffee. Decent lasers weren’t developed until well into the 22nd century.
I struggle to my feet and look around. Nothing takes a shot at me. I spot my bike about ten feet away, lying on its side. Shit, I hate bikes not standing on two wheels. I check my power indicator. Good. Five green bars show: my exo-armor’s fully charged. But how did that happen? It was at about 70 percent last I checked. Whatever cascaded me here must’ve given me a boost. Standard operational procedure in a Deacon-controlled cascade, but unheard of in any other situation. Still, it gives me the juice to get my ride back on two wheels. That ain’t happening under human power alone.
I heave the bike upright and give it the once-over. It’s a nondescript, matte black, two-wheeled vehicle, just like when it first rolled out of the shop. It, too, is on default setting. I check its power gauge: fully stocked up as well. Interesting. Another linear gauge shows me it’s about halfway through its reboot. Once it’s up and running, I’ll get on the intertemporal communicator and radio through to HQ. Hopefully the re-morph tech will also come on stream and give me an indication of where the hell I am. Until then, time for an explore.
I key the visor for full magnification and start scanning the surroundings. Nothing on the horizon and not much in between, but there’s strange-looking shit out there. As I swing around, there’s a sharp crack and the scrabbling of falling rocks. My threat tubes whir and rise. I spin to focus on my target, and, as I do so, a figure raises its hands. My jaw drops open in astonishment.
“You’re shitting me! What the hell are you doing here?”