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Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Chronicles of Stryker & Free {Slipstream Dream Episode 1}

 
In the year 2304, sentient androids enslaved mankind, as well as many other humanoids throughout the galaxy. Over the centuries, pockets of resistance rose to oppose them. These are the chronicles of one such team, who even in the face of impossible odds, fight to free the galaxy.

Slipstream Dream Episode 2 of 4


“Damn, I hate this place,” Stryker said.

Free sat in in a metallic seat. His eyes slowly closed.

“Hey, don’t power down on me,” Stryker said.

“I was only going into standby mode.”

“Standby nothing. How can you relax here?”

“I am not. I am conserving energy.”

“Fine.” Stryker sat on a small mattress and reached for the remote. “Ah!” He dropped the remote and clutched his hand.

“This is an android’s pad. Not meant to be used by organics,” Free said. “Everything electronic gives off a small electric charge.”

“Okay, I get it. Life is kicking my rear for being human. What else is new?” He squeezed his hand. “Could you turn to the news?”

Free pressed a button on his armrest and the holo-feed came on.  

Stryker leaned back and placed his arms behind his head. As he expected, the news was only stating the greatness of the Droids. How they saved dying planet after dying planet and their most recent campaign—a race of one-eyed creatures in the Beta quadrant. No mention, of the thousands upon thousands of species they have wiped out. How they only allowed humans to live because their brains proved useful. Any sensible society would call it enslavement. The Droids called it liberation.

An electronic alert startled Stryker. Why the hell did he fall asleep? He jumped up; Free moved next to the door. Stryker moved behind the metal chair. “Come in,” Stryker said.

The door opened and a meter tall humanoid turtle dressed in a tan jump suit walked through the door. In a flash, Free grabbed the creature, lifted him off his feet with one arm and grabbed his head with the other. “Hello,” Free said. “My partner has a question to ask you.”

“Y—yes.”

“During dinner,” Stryker said. “What did the skinny king tell the fat queen?”

“Th—that she should eat more. Round looks good on her.”

Free dropped him.

Cecil sat on the floor, checking his neck as if he would still be alive if it was broken. “You guys are intense.”

“We can’t be too careful,” Stryker said.

Cecil turned around and faced Free. “My, by the moons of Rangoria, you are a big one. You would have given the Gator clan a hard time—even when you were a full human.”

“How do you know that I am not the cyborg?” Free asked.

“I am Cecil of the Turtle clan, intelligence specialist. When the Delta Resistance gave me this assignment, I learned all I could about you. And after your mission on Galen, you are very popular with the resistance and the Droid Empire.”   He turned to Stryker. “Stryker, the human who escaped earth by stowing away in a container for three months. I guess you used food tablets and hydrate pills. But to stow away in an eight-cubic feet box, how did you manage?”

“It’s no big deal.”

“And Free, a human that escaped during transference.  Rumor has it that you killed an entire crew of androids with your bare hands.”

“It’s not even important,” Free said. “Show us the schematics.”

“If you were such a tough human, why did you volunteer to become an omega-level cyborg?”

“Why do you have so many questions?” Free asked. “None of this has anything to do with our mission.”  

“I just want to know who I am working with,” Cecil said. “I have been doing this too long to get killed because I was careless.” He drew his arms into his shell and pulled out two laser blasters. “Talk.”

“If you know anything about us,” Free said. “You know that we can kill you before you fire the shot.”

“Yes,” he said. “But this way, if you are working for the Droids, I will be dead before I can betray my people.”

Stryker looked to Free and gestured for him to be more forthcoming. Free’s forehead wrinkled.

Stryker sighed. “I solved equations, word problems, theorems, and whatever came to mind. I even proved the Catarians’ theory of relativity. As long as my mind was busy working on a problem, I didn’t go insane.”

Cecil pulled his arm inside of his shell. His arm returned weaponless. Now he only had the one weapon pointed at Free.

Free shook his head and folded his arm. “It’s none of his business.”

“Come on, Free,” Stryker said. “What can it hurt?”

Free turned to Cecil and glared. “Yeah, I killed a small crew of androids. That day…I lost my left arm and right eye. But three weeks before that, I lost my wife, so losing more body parts was hardly a concern.”

Cecil put the final gun away. “Yeah, that’s pretty much what’s in your file. I knew that you had lost someone important, but I didn’t realize it was your wife. I am truly sorry.”

“The password should have been enough,” Free said.

“Yeah, I don’t care what your motives were,” Stryker said. “You don’t breed trust by pulling out a gun on your brothers-in-arms.”

“My people have lived under the thumb of the Droids even longer than your people have,” Cecil said. “I have fought this war longer than either of you, behind enemy lines, and I have been betrayed by my own more times than I care to think about.” He turned to Free. “I have lost friends, wives and children. So don’t treat me like I am just some cold-hearted bastard.”   

Free looked away. “Give us the schematics. Once we have completed the primary mission, you can leave this planet with us.”

“I am needed here,” Cecil said.

“Are you afraid to be free?” Free asked.

“We all can’t split tanks with our bare hands,” Cecil said. “I do what I can—where I can.”

“Guys,” Stryker said. He waved his hands as he stepped between them. “We can have this philosophical argument some other day. Right now we have a mission to complete.”

“Yes, of course.” Cecil reached into his shell.

Free turned his forward foot toward him.

“Don’t worry. It’s not what you think.” Cecil pulled out a round disk and tapped it with the thumb of his three-fingered hand. “Besides, wouldn’t you have felt a tingle in your head if I was sincerely trying to kill you?”

Free said nothing.

A blue holographic image—highlighted with a few red dots—of a building appeared. It was shaped like an hourglass. “I worked as a carpet cleaner for six months. Stashed the weapons you ordered on the entrance level right by the elevator and in the fake plants decorating the human pens. They are all disassembled to prevent detection.  I will be waiting in the tunnels below; if you can unlock the pens and guide them into the tunnels, I will take care of the rest.”

End of Episode 2



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