Why Are You Standing There?
You’re free of the tyranny of their demands.
You’re free of the tyranny of their demands. Why do you want to stay? It’s like you’re waiting for their permission to live. You’ve only been doing that for the three decades you’ve been alive.
Longer if you count the years frozen in a metal case, traveling through the universe without control.
Is this the life you want? Powerless to control anything except the tattoos you inked on your skin? When will you realize? Don’t you understand? They’ll never give you that.
You’ve spent your life wasting blood for someone else’s dream. Waiting for someone to give you a chance to be free. They won’t.
In that unfamiliar world, you listen to the hollow whistling of the wind traveling through tubular grass stems.
You’re free. Why does it feel so wrong? The communications device failed months ago.
“Get up.” A voice startles you. There’s no one there.
“Get up!” The voice says again, more urgently. “You need to get out of here!”
You look around, seeing nothing but the vestiges of your protective helmet and the surrounding landscape. It’s a beautiful sight as usual. What could this person mean?
“Leave!” The voice demands.
You’re so used to taking orders, you’ve forgotten how to speak for yourself.
“That’s it, keep going!” The voice urges you.
The sun never moves as you walk for hours. You’re dizzy, but you push on.
You see something in the distance. A structure rising from the horizon. What’s that doing there? You ran scans a few days ago. It didn’t pick up anything artificial.
It should’ve, considering the vastness of the structure dwarfing you. It’s a spaceship! You were on a planet uninhabited by anything advanced, only plants and fungi.
Aliens are an impossible dream after centuries of space exploration, turning up nothing more than the occasional six-legged animal or reptile.
The voice in your head snaps you back to reality. “Get on the ship!”
You’re still obeying, so you run towards the ship, jumping up the entrance ramp like a fool.
The narrow entranceway, circular and not tall enough to accommodate your lanky frame, opens out onto a large room. The machines beep. It’s eerie. Are you being watched?
You take a deep breath. The simple motion works wonders to quieten your raging mind.
You’re about to ask the voice where they are when you see them. They’re strapped to a table, unconscious and convulsing in pain.
You freeze. The person has six long, spindly limbs and a bulbous head.
Their skin is a deep blue, and what you assume are their closed eyelids are rimmed with black. There’s something familiar about them. What though?
The voice in your head snaps you out of your reverie. “Help me!” they plead. How are they speaking to you? Telepathy?
What to do? You’re not a medic, you’re an engineer. You fumble with the straps. The material is tough and unyielding, and your fingers slip. No, focus!
If you don’t succeed, the person may die. Your fingers find the clasps, and you tug. They snap open and the person falls into your arms.
They’re far too heavy for you to carry. You have to try.
“It’s set to explode!”
What is? You can’t ask the voice. A quick sweep of the strange dashboard next to the table where the person was trapped confirms the worst. The ship is going to self-destruct. In seconds.
Get out of here. The person is too heavy. You can’t leave them behind. What now?
You seize the person’s arms, dragging them along as you sprint towards the exit.
The ship is shaking, and you hear a deep rumble. You won’t make it.
The voice screams at you to hurry, but you can’t. You can only watch as the ship explodes around you, engulfing you in searing heat and light.
Everything goes black. When you wake up, you’re on a planet with steaming volcanic vents and an endless mesa plateau of varying shades of gray.
There are no buildings, no space ships. It can only be a desert.
The voice in your head is gone. The unconscious person is too heavy to carry. Find help.
You stagger to your feet and start walking. Where are you going?
The voice bursts into life again with full force, urging you forward with promises of safety.
You’ll find sanctity, but you need to keep going.
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