I wake up and find myself lying in a fetal position supported by, what feels like, a soft, warm mattress with a beautiful subtle scent that tickles my nose. I feel restful as if from a very deep sleep. My fingers stroke the surface trying to identify its texture. My ears pick up the sounds of water trickling nearby. Well, time to get up…
I begin to bark out an order for the days VidNews and breakfast, reaching out for a dressing gown and stop, realising in shock that I have no memory of what a VidNews is or a dressing gown or who or what would make me breakfast.
It is the thought of breakfast that helps me to reluctantly move from the comfort of this wondrous bed. I open my eyes and, as they get used to the morning light, I find myself under a tall red rough barked tree in a wood with golden fronds hanging and swaying in a warm pollen filled breeze. The sky is maroon with wisps of golden cloud. The moist air rises from a huge body of water about 50 metres below the hill where I stand, a path gently wends its way down and through grassy knolls to a flat orange-sanded beach. The coastline seems to stretch from horizon to horizon. It is only when my gaze move across this alien landscape that I notice two spheres in the sky. One is large, blue and covered in a greenish pattern denoting a type of geology, which may signify life. The other, a smaller white/grey, sphere which could be a moon and doesn’t seem to have any noticeable texture to its grey countenance. I realize that this feels like an alien world to me. I don’t know where I am or even who I am.
I jump up in panic, frantically trying to grasp any fragment of memory from the surrounding countryside, something that may seem familiar, a building, an animal or the plant life… anything! But there is nothing. Just an emptiness inside my head where years of memory and history should be.
I try and stay calm. There is a lot I don’t know. Make a list of facts. 1. I assume this air I breathe is mostly made up of oxygen. 2. I am humanoid. 3. I am… alive.
A good start. I search my face for scars or any indication of identity in the muscles and bone structure of my skull. I have a straight, unassuming nose, a mouth surrounded by a few days of beard growth. Smallish ears. Thin unassuming eyebrows. An adult male. My hands move up to my hair. Soft, short, about 5mm thick all over. I then feel my arms, two. Not too muscular, but fit and lean as are my two legs. Humanoid, bipedal, these words escape me before I realize their meaning. What am I wearing? I touch my clothing. I am totally enclosed in a one piece, tight forming, suit. It is fixed from the ankles to just under my throat and is seamless. No joins or any signs of their construction. Almost like a second skin. It is made of a beige, synthetic weave that feels firm but also yielding to the touch. There are straps and various pockets over my torso and thighs, which hold nothing of interest and have yet to reveal their use.
Nearby lays a backpack with two panels, about an inch wide, either side of a large pocket on the front. The left panel houses five blue lights, the right houses five red. I am hoping the significance of these will come to me when, I assume, my memory returns.
Inside the backpack is a pair of shoes, to my size, and, like the suit, seamless and form fitting. Also enclosed is an instrument that I know to be called a multi-tool. I don’t know why I know this but this gives me a deep sense of relief to know something in an otherwise empty head. This multi-tool, a Rezosu B-323, can be upgraded and has the ability to store elements, chemicals and data. I let my hands move across its hard textured surface. As if by instinct my hands press and hold buttons, switching it on and releasing safety protocols. Without a second thought I immediately point the tool at the landscape to scan the surrounding area. Nothing happens.
The tool makes a dull pinging sound. A symbol on the small screen at the top behind the trigger starts flashing. It is in the shape of a helmet with visor on the front. This symbol must denote that I need to be wearing some kind of head device to interact with this tool. Yes! That’s it.
I look around and immediately see a small globe sitting a few feet away from the pack. I pick it up. A space helmet. As with the multi-tool, I know this helmet to be a type 3 Organico Field Helmet that gives symbiotic links between host and a multi-tool.
It seems quite large and cumbersome, elliptical and totally without buttons or straps. It has a visor of a reflective metallic material large enough to cover the eyes from ear to ear. I tentatively place the helmet over my head with the visor in front. The helmet starts to shrink and move in quite an alarming way. Before I feel my skull should start to crush, the helmet settles and massages itself to the shape of my head. I also feel the neck of the suit become warm and stretch itself over a lip at the base of the helmet. It is then that I realize that I cannot see a thing through the eyepiece. Total darkness. I start to panic. I try to pull the helmet up with both hands, and then when it doesn’t budge, I try to press my fingertips under the visor to lift it away. I then think of the multi-tool. I feel around on the ground for it and quickly press where I remember the flashing screen to be several times.
At long last I hear a different ping and a buzz then words appear before my eyes. ‘Contacting Rezosu unit B-323, interface set at 75%, 80%, 95% 100%. Blink, blink, blink… Welcome to Organico Field Development Hardware. Thank you for your purchase of this, the best in Gallactic Exploration Support. Please connect this unit to a central hub for immediate firmware update F21-GHJ-K76. This firmware is necessary to give optimum support in a lifetime of guaranteed state of the art field technology. Blink ‘Yes’ to update or ‘No’ to continue to sensory connection’. I am at a loss to know what to do next. My eyes dart from side to side. The two words flash before my eyes. I then think to stare at the ‘No’ and blink tightly.
Before my eyes open again there is a sudden rush of sharp ambient sounds through the helmet. There is an overwhelmingly varied amount of sounds that my brain tries to process, sounds that my ears couldn’t possibly hear otherwise. It is as if I can hear the planet move, life below the surface and distant sounds of movement over the horizon. The sound seems to become clearer as my brain gradually gets used to the amount of information it is processing. It is only then that I open my eyes and I can see again! The visor is gone. My hand moves towards my face but is stopped by an invisible force. The visor is still there but totally invisible. There is a haze like flicker and information starts popping up on the edges of the screen. At the top left appears a word Kharak-5. Is this the name of the planet I am marooned on? Are there others like me in the surrounding area?
To find out I put the tool in scan mode and press the multi-tool trigger. This time a shining pulse shoots away across the landscape, covering everything in a golden glow. On the horizon four red diamond shapes appear denoting, I assume, places of interest or import. Above these shapes shoot red columns of light toward the sky. There is also a white column of light representing… A SHIP!
If I could head for this ship it might hold some clues about who I am or, at least, where I am and why I am here. I start my way towards the column of white light. It looks like it could only be a few hundred metres away. A small bottle of liquid in the pack reminds me how thirsty I am. But the visor! How do I eat or drink? I experiment with the bottles neck, moving it slowly towards my mouth. With great relief the bottle carries on towards my mouth and I drink hungrily. With half of the container depleted, I close the bottle opening and ready myself for the walk to my first goal in this land on Kharak-5.
The pack fits tightly but well balanced on my back and I at once feel more relaxed having something to focus on. It is while walking that I discover that there is life all around me. Small blue insects with parachute type wings open and close as they bob through the air. Small purple and yellow striped furry mammals scatter through the long grass. Further up a steep incline I can see a four-legged horned animal moving along the steep rock face with ease. A group of birds… no, flying reptiles are startled by my presence and glide across the water to a green leaved forest in the distance. I watch fascinated, my arm rises and I point the multi-tool in their direction. With a quick scan I find they are called Apterix-B354. I feel a sense of great satisfaction and the need to catalogue all species on this planet becomes overwhelming. I stagger at the force this need has in me, but try to focus on finding the ship, which must be closer now, over the hill ahead.
I notice a temperature gauge bottom left of the visor which states that it is 26°C and rising. The time (planet wise) is 08:32 and sunset will be at 18:56. Plenty of time to get to my ship, find a water source and some kind of food, and a possible shelter for the night.
Although surrounded by life, I still have this powerful feeling of being deeply alone.
Maybe the ship would have some clues or information about… me.