The countdown began… finally I hear the words “Ignition” and I’m jerked into the air with tremendous force. My stomach ties itself in knots and threatens to fly out of my body. The air suddenly becomes thin as we leave the atmosphere. I lean back and attempt to relax, knowing soon the medicine will kick in and then I’ll be… then I’ll be… then I’ll…

I awake, gasping for air. Remembering what happened I calm down and relax my breathing. I look over to see my partner, Houyou, hasn’t awaken yet. I debate in my head whether or not I should wake him up or not before deciding not to and moving on with my life. I try to recall the events over the past 25 years… Ah yes, I remember blasting off.. and that’s about it…

I feel this tenseness in my bones as I attempt to move out of my pod, this pain… Today marks the beginning of my exercise to get my bones and joints back into shape from my 25 year hibernation. Suddenly I hear a beeping noise, I try to float over to investigate, but remember the computer technically hasn’t released me yet, my door is still locked. Oh yeah, the beeping noise is signalling the door unlocking; we can now float about the cabin.

So basically, I’ve been controlled and kept alive by a computer for 25 years while I slept. When I left planet Freilak, it was decade 409, now it’s decade 411, about to be decade 412… Wow, I wonder what’s happened back at home.

Houyou just awoke the same way I did; did I look that stupid, gasping for air?! Wow. He looks around and seems super confused, I’ll let him figure it out on his own.

Houyou and I are the first of our kind to leave our purple planet and blast this far into space. We’re also the first people to be controlled by a computer, and we beat the longest asleep record. There are probably others, we’ll be heroes when we get back to Freilak.

We got signals from a planet far into the Milky Way, we’re traveling across the Milky Way to track these signals. The SSS (Space Science Scientists) have been working day and night to complete this mission. They’ve been researching and building since decade 408. Now, Houyou and I are lucky enough to be the first out into the Milky Way this far. Our spacecraft is being guided by tracking the ongoing signals we’re receiving from wherever they’re coming from. Once we track them, Freilak will send a signal to guide us back. Simple right? No orbiting or gravitational fields involved. Wait… unless that black hole decides to get involved!

“Houyou! Black hole!”

The computer controlling the spacecraft, ACCS (Awesome Computer Controlling System), detects the spacecraft and suddenly we’re gaining speed… like faster than the speed of light. OW! This excruciating pain filled the back of my upper head after I fall into a metal box. I’ll just sit here for a moment while the skin on my face attempts to fly off. Our small spacecraft seems to be no match for the great black hole. This monster is going to devour us whole and we’ll never be seen again! No! I have to find out what that weird blue signal was we got at the end of decade 407!

The monster keeps gaining on us and using more and more force to pull us into his reach. Our tiny spacecraft tries harder and harder, just barely moving forward. ACCS activates more speed and suddenly I’m unconscious.

Woah… where am I? Am I alive? I immediately start to panic as I look around. Suddenly a monotone voice can be heard.

“Relax Gutra, you’re fine. We are back on path tracking the signal. You hit your head quite a couple times trying to escape that black hole, make sure you’re okay.”

My bottom left tentacle finds a small bump on upper head. Oh and there’s one on my lower head. And two on my middle head. Well this is fun.

“ACCS, about how close are we to the signal?”

“We should be there in about .05 of a decade. Start your exercising now.”

I pulled myself up from the hard floor and pushed the green button to turn off gravity. My tentacles move freely in the air as I take the bar to guide myself along to the exercise room. There I turn gravity back on so I can safely exercise. The small room contains a treadmill, a weight area, a bicycle, a pull up bar, and a stair climber. The walls are plastered with mint green and by the anti-gravity and gravity buttons, papers stick. My name, Gutra, is on one, and my partner’s name, Houyou, is next to it. A graph is on the papers to tell us what activity to perform and for how long. First on my list, I have to lift weights of 2 lbs for 5 lous, and then move on to 5 lbs for 5 more lous (1 Lou=15 minutes in human time).

My 5 eyes make out the weight station. The 2 lb weights are a dark shade of pink. As I pick them up, my back collapses under the weight and I find myself on the floor for the umpteenth time today. Pulling myself up, Houyou enters and checks his chart before going to the stair climber. I try to lift the pink bars again, holding onto a bar to keep me steady. I go up and down, up and down, up and down. At first, I focus on one tentacle at a time, but soon all 5 of my tentacles are lifting simultaneously. The 5 lous go by quick and I put the dark pink bars pack in there place. One tentacle braces itself as it grabs the light blue 5 lb bar. It is surprised by the heaviness once again, but I catch myself before collapsing. I repeat the pattern again, up and down, up and down, up and down, focussing on one tentacle at a time, then 16 at once. After some time, I wipe the purple liquid from my upper head and check how much time I have left. Houyou has switched to the dark pink bars and had the same reaction I had at first. I have 2 more lous to go.

After weight lifting I was to slowly walk at 1-2 kyes per hour on the treadmill (1 kye=.5 miles in human distance) for 6 lous. At first my tentacles couldn’t even support myself, so I held on as tight as I could to the support bars. I tested my gut beat (like a heartbeat for humans), to see it was at 548 beats per minute! That’s a little fast for us, the normal is 475, but not to worry, my gut isn’t used to this!

Finally, my workout for the night was finished. Instead of turning anti-gravity on, I attempted to walk to the food den using the support bars. ACCS has food prepared for us after our workout every day. Today was Yumini and Lop (that’s like pork and broccoli), yum! It was delicious! Since I had been asleep for 25 years, my sleep schedule didn’t understand me being awake, so I had to force myself to stay up so it could get used to the hours I was up. In order to do this, ACCS prepared an energy drink with mushed energy pills in it. It was supposed to account for 10 hours of energy in all. In that 10 hours I had to do different tests that ACCS couldn’t do. All my findings were going to be sent back to Freilak so they could be sure everything was working alright. The findings seemed reasonable to me but oh well. Houyou came out of the food den right as an ear splitting alarm sounded. His upper head jumped up and fell off.

“Let me help you” I laughed as I attached it back onto his middle head. Our heads fall off depending on the panic we undergo. You can be trained for them not to, but Houyou has major anxiety, and therapy doesn’t work on him. As for me, I can control mine, so if my head jumps off, that shows the situation is pretty serious.

Anyway, back to the alarm. We start screaming to ACCS even though we’re sure it’s aware of the noise. Suddenly, the air becomes thin and it becomes hard to intake air. A voice can be heard.

“Gutra and Houyou, calm down and relax your breathing, it will become easier.” ACCS advises us.

“Easier to what, NOT DIE?!” At this point Houyou’s upper and middle head jump off and start to roll away. This is when we realize the spacecraft is tilted and tilting more.

“Calm down, Houyou. You will be fine.” Two arms with nets come out and catch the runaway heads. Soon Houyou has all three of his heads. He attempts to hide his eyes, but one is still uncovered, as our eyes outnumber our arms, 5 to 4. He moves his hands around until the eye uncovered is his one bad one, so he can’t focus on anything. Then, there is no longer any oxygen to breath. The air would go into my lungs, but then my chest would feel tight; I couldn’t exhale. Houyou began crying which made everything worse for him as he sobbed he breathed in more and more air.

“ACCS what’s going on?! We can’t breathe!” I choked out.

“Oxygen mode” chimed over the intercom and suddenly I exhaled as my chest loosened up. Houyou passed out as I asked what happened, so he was out cold. Several minutes later, he would wake up sobbing and asking if we were in Lokin or not (Lokin is our Heaven). After Houyou’s middle and upper head fell off when he woke up sobbing asking if we were in Lokin, ACCS finally explained what happened.

“Oxygen levels dropped and your oxygen got cut off,” it beeped.

“Why?” I asked curiously.

“Oh, um, I don’t know,” it replied oddly.

“Well… how far away are we from the signals?” I pondered aloud.

“Still only about .05 decades,” ACCS seemed annoyed.

ACCS allowed us to sleep finally, after prying our eyes open to perform various tasks. It felt so good to lie down on the stiff as a board metal bed, pull the scratchy blanket up, rest my head on the firm pillow, and drift off the dreamland.

I awoke however long later to once again, another alarm. These are starting to get annoying. I screamed to ACCS, asking what was up, noting how my breath didn’t get caught within my chest. It explained that the alarm is because we’re running out of fuel in tank 1 and someone needs to switch the fuel intake over to tank 2.

“Why didn’t you wake one of us up?” I shouted in frustration.

“You were so sound ma’am,” it defended.

“You should’ve woken me up!”

I ran over to the control board, as my 5 eyes blurred. My eyes took in all the multi-colored buttons, trying to remember what to do. The alarm rang in my 7 ears, riaang, riaang, riaang. Over and over and over again.

Think Gutra think! What do you do? Ugh make it stop! Finally my eyes rolled over the hoil button (mixture of green and black), and I remembered! Only two arms moved, as I banged the button down, slid the guyt (pink+yellow) lever down, and moved the joystick to the right. Eventually, the noise stopped.

Since I was awake, I decided to continue my workout. Flying to the workout room, I slammed the anti-gravity and suddenly I was on the ground. Woah, my legs are jelly. I crawled like a baby to the treadmill and heaved myself up, grasping the support bars tightly. I started slowly, walking about .5 kyes per lop (.25 miles per hour), but I moved my weigh up to 1.5 kyes per lop (.75 miles per hour), until finally I was at 2 kyes per lop (1 mile per hour). When I was finished, purple liquid was drenching my torso. The towel was soaked after I wiped it all off. I moved to the weights. Dark pink again, light blue, then finally hui (pink+blue) all this took about 10 lous, finally I was done with my second session. The kitchen had prepared guyi (chicken) and pol (potatoes) with tuilop (garden salad) and potrit relk (chocolate milk) to wash it down.

Oh yay, back to various ship tests. Including tests on me conducted by ACCS. I’m ready.

First, breathing test; ACCS commands me to park myself in a regular room, and slowly decreases my oxygen levels to test my capacity and all that, I’m supposed to clap two tentacles together when I can’t stand it anymore. That test was torture, my chest got so tight after about 10 seconds of her decreasing air… maybe she was doing that test on us when the alarm went off about the oxygen levels? I clapped and heard some sort of clicking noise. Next, the sanity test. I was ordered into a small enclosed room.

First, a laughing sound could come into the room, to see how long I can stand the noise combined with the small room. Then, a sweet singing noise would come on to see if I would be able to listen to the angelic sounds in that room. Until lastly, it would be silent, collecting information on if I could stand the silence and the room. All of them would last a total of ⅓ of a lou unless I give the clapping signal before. When the laughing sound started creeping into my ears, I immediately became annoyed. My eyes stared at the white walls of the room as the laughing became louder and louder, drilling itself into my head. I clapped about a 1/15 of a lou after it started, as i just couldn’t take it anymore. The singing was calming. I sat there, closed my eyes and took in the voices, relaxing my annoyance I achieved from the laughing. The test was over before I knew it. The last test, I sat there, contemplating life, focusing on my breathing, and remembering the times when everything in my life was quiet. Once again, the test ended as soon as it started.

The final test ACCS would conduct on me for the day, is the poit (blood) test. Sitting there, with stress balls clenched in every hand, I prepared myself for the bite. My eyes closed and all the sudden a sharp pain was felt in every arm, plus my three legs, PLUS my abdomen and upper head. The bags filled with a beautiful, shiny blue and ACCS sent it into the lab to be modified. I would have to wait 4 lous before hearing about my test results and what they showed. Meanwhile, all these results were being sent via electromagnetic wave back to Freilak.

With all my tests for that day finished, I decided to enjoy some leisurely time.  My legs took my to the jikt (pool room) where I prepared to swim.  I love swimming, it gives me a rush and the cool water on my skin feels so relaxing, as if I were in no stress.  As I dove into the clear glass, I torpedoed to the other end.

Cover Bit 2

Comments (1)

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  • Gretchen Campbell
    Gretchen Campbell over 3 years ago

    really interesting story! I would have loved a flashback though. Of what happened before they launched then they waking up. It would have been a cool transition.