Episode 1: Rebirth
The sound pierced a cold darkness, much like thousands of sirens blaring inside an impossibly small chamber.
It was the kind of darkness that stung, driving deep into one’s bones. He wasn’t sure how long he’d been there, or how long he’d even existed. Nothing mattered more than silencing that sound, before it drove him mad.
A disorientation gripped him. It was near to putting him back into slumber. The indecisiveness took hold next, slipping from the urge to escape and devolving into thoughts of slinking away once more into the darkness.
In spite of all this, his eyes slowly opened. His bones were sore, and a bitter taste lingered on his teeth. Harsh light sliced through the dark, morphing quickly into an intense glare that did wonders for his mood. A realization of his predicament came quickly, for while his mind pieced together the odd way the light was bent, his arms and legs found the cold resistance of something smooth and hard.
Glass. He was encased in glass!
For a brief moment he thrashed his shoulders and arms, which were lain cross his chest in the shape of an X. He quickly thought against it. Were he to break out, he must take stock of his surroundings first. What if there were no floor upon which to shatter his prison, but instead a sea of water perfect for the slow agony of drowning? Perhaps men with guns, wanting nothing more than to pry his skull apart and see his brain splattered upon the nearest surface?
He closed his eyes and steadied his breath rate. He focused on the pain wracking his head, and bent his will to make it subside just a little. The disorientation and dizziness faded somewhat, enough for him to think with a bit more clarity.
Unable to bend his head very far, he made out only a part of the room around him. The walls were paneled in a utilitarian manner. Recessed lighting cast harsh accents where necessary and a repetitive flash of red light came from outside his peripheral vision. Scattered about in a sensible way were computer terminals and the tools of medicine. So, he was in a lab, and he was some sort of lab rat. Unable to see his body, he wondered how many scars were there, or if perhaps he might one day learn that he no longer had a spleen. Looking to his right and left, he saw through the distortion of glass other prisons like his own. Long, glass tubes, attached to the floor by duraplastic bases in the same whitewashed color as the lab they called home. There must have been some kind of gravimetric field generated by the bases, for he didn’t feel as if he were standing but rather floating.
Getting out of here was going to be difficult.
Before he could finish the thought, the entire room shook and rumbled. He felt his world topple and yelped in surprise, before closing his eyes and raising hands to protect his face from the impending shatter of glass.
He landed on his side, body gripped by the sudden pain of impact and tiny stings of glass slicing him all about. Oddly, he found himself ignoring the pain like a trained soldier. It fascinated him for a moment, as did the way his mind sharpened with a natural surge of adrenaline. Thoughts and actions came to him much like the commands executed by the code of a basic computer program.
Get on your feet. Confirmed.
Get away from the broken glass. Confirmed.
Take quick stock of the room. Identify potential threats. None.
Look for friendly sentients. None.
Find the nearest piece of information.
There it was. A medical chart, lying next to the shattered remains of his glass prison.
|RANK||Undesignated – pending C.S.O. Certification and Conditioning|
So, that was his name. Jacob Kale. The rest of the chart only served to signify that he was in good health, but it didn’t state any concussions or amnesia. Of course, if amnesia was some result of whatever freak tests they were doing on him in here, it wouldn’t be on his medical chart. There was something devious about this laboratory. Though the blast had shaken most of the tubes from their pedestals, spilled the medical tools from their tables, and damaged some of the equipment, it all struck him as unsafe. Invasive. Surely the details of his predicament were locked down in one of those computer consoles.
Another blast shook the room. This one was closer, and followed by the smell of dirt and smoke. Now the resounding siren made more sense. Wherever he was, this place was under attack. He had to move fast. He had to keep ignoring the pain in his head, the dryness of his throat, the disorientation of his amnesia.
He quickly dashed from shattered tube to shattered tube, looking for other charts. They might lend a bit more to the mystery of his existence. Subject 801.A was named Charles Penor, stable, ranked Lieutenant, and listed as being loyal. Subject 802.A was named Julienne Rosalie, stable, ranked Lieutenant as well, loyal. Subject 803.B was named Robert Dalton, stable, ranked civilian.
So, it was a government research facility. Possibly military, though not by default. Throwing Dalton’s chart to the ground, Jacob knew that the next line of code was to deal with his injuries and find something to put on his naked body.
Rummaging about, he found some skin bondings and nanite salve. It took him less than a minute to fix up the worst of his injuries, during which time he whimsically thought about the level of his knowledge. He may not know how old he was, or where he came from, but he seemed to be filled with immeasurable knowledge. He knew that nanite salve was a state of the art technology, whereby tiny microscopic machines swam inside a vaseline-like salve, repairing wounds and eradicating foreign objects, germs, bacteria, and the like. He also knew that skin bondings were a form of synthetic flesh. You didn’t have to worry about digging out shards of glass from wounds, or digging forceps into a bullet wound to save a life. That type of medical treatment was archaic and, quite frankly, barbaric. Nanite salve would both clean and repair a wound, but not only that… the nanites themselves would gradually expel the foreign objects through the skin bondings, and the skin bondings would regrow to cover the healing wound and merge into the patient’s flesh. All the while, a mild anesthetic swam in the salve, making it a pain-free process. Fascinating.
Another explosion. This time, the lights flickered, and he had to brace himself against the nearest wall to keep from falling. He must move. Finding a basin, he splashed some water onto his face, slurped a bit from the faucet, then rushed for a row of lockers. It was going to be dangerous, running about in one of the nondescript laboratory uniforms he found inside. He didn’t know whether the clothing would make him friend or foe to the attackers.
“Well this is fun,” he murmured, while strapping on a pair of boots. He paused to grin. His voice was smooth, lightly accented. French, he believed, and bordering between baritone and tenor in pitch. He liked it.
The way out seemed to be a thick, metal door, painted white like the walls of the room but recessed in a reinforced frame. The red warning light was flashing from above the door, and the alarm came from a grill beside it. Beside the door was a keypad panel. Examining it closer, he identified it as the SecureTek Series 5-L security access point. The code would be damn near impossible to crack, but somehow he knew exactly what to do. The Series 5-L had a little known defect. He punched in the numbers 4 8 1 5 and hit the enter button. The panel snapped open, revealing the fibre optic guts of the device. Jacob smirked. “Idiots,” he murmured while reaching in and snapping two of the cables free. Suddenly, the lit keypad buzzed and went blank, triggering the door to open.
You know, for security purposes.
Jacob eyeballed the smoke filled hallway outside. He listened to the sounds of gun fire and shouting. He felt another shudder as a distant blast vibrated the floor.
“Here’s where the fun begins.”