(Continues from Rantipole in Space with a POV change from 3rd to 1st person. The same fellow is narrating. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.)
As the cryogenic process kicked into high gear, I slipped down into nightmares. The drugs switched on the highlights reel reminding me how I’d ended up in a runaway spaceship with a mutinous AI chip in my head. My journey had begun at a desk in mission control.
On a glass pane four feet wide, a projector projected four workspaces. Circuitry wired into the glass had made it touch-sensitive. In front of me, a flat surface had spanned the width of the pane holding it upright. It had housed the bulky wires, microchips and other gadgetry connecting his console to the mainframe and the intranet.
I’d approached my space-age cubicle while juggling a steaming cup of joe and two crullers. Peeling off from the pack of drones, I’d headed down the narrow lane to my high-tech work space only to be confronted by an office bum. One of those crisp-shirted, blazer-and-tie office superstars–you know the type. He won merit citations and never seemed to leave the office.
One of those creeps had accosted me minus his citation squad. He’d handed me a datapad while babbling on about how I had to look at right then. Office bum had shoved the ultra-expensive techno-wonder at me and there my juggling skills had failed.
The coffee had spilled, and one of my crullers had tried to escape. My coffee fell right on a thick cable and caused it to spark. Fate had a good laugh at my expense when my laces tripped me up. I headbutted the expensive display cracking it but not my head thanks to a metal plate in my skull.
Electricity had lit up my nervous system frying my neurons until someone had the forethought to shut off the power. Through it all, I’d remained conscious if a bit twitchy. No black curtain had dropped and at the time I’d been disappointed.
Medics had arrived in record time and taken my vitals. They’d shaken their heads, pocketed their probes and left me in a lab-coated swirl. As I sat up, the medical school wonders trooped back to the lift disappointed my swan dive into circuitry had resulted in only minor injuries.
My manager had rushed over, his pipe cleaner legs a gray blur as he sprinted around translucent workstations. Skidding to a halt, the clean-cut Dexter had helped me up and walked me to the nearest lift. His gums had flapped the whole time blabbering on about release forms. We reached the clear tube of the lift or the flume as the glassy-eyed interns call it. Dex had whipped out his datapad and stabbed at its screen to pull up the requisite forms.
Still feeling disconnected, I bobble-headed my way through the corporate ritual, applied my thumb where directed. Once I finished absolving the company of any wrongdoing, I stepped into the lift. A voice asked me my destination, and I muttered something. Air pushed down on my shoulders and my cotton-stuffed head. Was the plate in my skull vibrating?
Ah the beauty of hindsight, it reveals in perfect clarity my stupidity. I should have done a starfish impersonation and demanded a visit to the infirmary. But instead, I let the corporate machine usher me off to accident-landia. You know, the place where mishaps happen off-campus where the company can deny all culpability. Had I clung to the gray and blue carpeting, I would have saved two lives and changed the course of mine. But instead, I rode the air currents to my doom.
To be continued…