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The Antar Chronicles, Chapter 7: Sleeping Beauty
Reply to Alex ParrishPosted to the RoswellSlash mailing list June 25, 2004
Isabel, Jesse, Maria, Liz and I stayed behind as the Antarian Security Force took the fake 'Kier' and Seed off to confinement, and Kuhn and Ray back to their base to debrief them. Dr. Cur was left behind for the time being, with the expectation that he could reverse the stasis and restore Max and Michael to consciousness.
Two of the security force stayed with us to see to our safety and to make sure Dr. Cur was taken into custody after reviving Max and Michael.
Because I was busy contemplating Liz's compassion, I missed out on the beginning of the discussion with Dr. Cur about the revival process. When I came back to Earth, or rather to Maroon, there was an animated discussion going on with the leader of security, and the Dr. was shaking his head and clearly disagreeing with the uniformed Antarian. I moved in to put myself into the conversation.
"... Such a thing is highly unusual... it just isn't done. I don't know... I suppose it is possible, but there is no experience in doing this so close to initiating stasis. There might be complications we just don't know about."
"What complications?" I tried to sound demanding but not threatening.
"That's the thing -- I just don't know -- the human bodies have barely reached stasis temperature. They've only been in the carrels for 6 centi-sectors. I just don't know what such a radical change so soon would do to human metabolism."
I turned to the security man who seemed to be in charge. "Can't we get a medical team in here to see to this?" He didn't move. I was sure I had been speaking Antarian, but I thought I'd better try it again in case I had accidentally spoken English. Still, he just stood there.
Finally, he took a deep breath and looked at the floor for a long moment before replying. "Begging your pardon, My Lord Avatar, we cannot do that."
"What d'ya mean, 'we cannot do that?'"
"We are under orders not to let any of this get out to anyone on Maroon outside our taskforce. We can not risk involving locals. It would be all over this quadrant of the universe in half-a-sector."
"That's absurd!" I couldn't believe my ears. "This is the King being turned into a popsicle here. We've gotta get medical help, now!"
The two officers stood motionless. Liz tapped me on the shoulder which sent another bolt of pain through it. I think I winced. Returning to ASL, she signed, "Maybe you should ORDER them?"
I was unsure why we were signing, but answered in kind, "I don't think I have the authority. I don't think I really have authority over anyone."
"Maybe not, but it's worth a try. Besides, you, the Avatar, have MORAL authority. Larek said so."
I thought for a moment. Larek had said that the Avatar was seen by nearly the entire population as the moral authority. Maybe it was worth trying. I cleared my throat. "Do you know who I am?" Now this was a really stupid question because they had already referred to me as the Avatar. The result of this however, was that both officers hit the floor kneeling. At least this gave me a psychological edge.
"Yes, my Lord. You are Lord Kyle of the House of Valenti, Avatar to the Sacred Granolith of Antar, and Consort to his Royal Majesty, Zan VI of the ..."
I cut them off. This could go on for quite a while given the Antarians fondness for long names. "OK, OK, you know who I am. As the Avatar, I command that you get medical help in here immediately."
There was whispering at floor-level and I caught only snatches of a quick conversation, but the gist concerned the question of whether my order had enough authority behind it to 'cover their asses.' Apparently, they decided it did. Without so much as a 'by-your-leave,' they rose, smiling and the leader added, "We thank you, my Lord Avatar, we wished to do this thing but we could not disobey the orders of the council. Since you have commanded it, we are bound to do it." At the same time, the other was fingering a communication device, and then speaking into it.
I expected some kind of sirens or bells or something, but after about half-an-hour, Earth-time, two security officers entered with another blue-haired gentleman, (this one turned out to be a little grey at the temples) whom they announced as Dr. Door-Kar-Ba. His head and face were hidden under a black hood. While introducing him, one of the officers removed the hood from the obviously disgruntled prize.
"Dr. Door-Kar-Ba is this planet's leading authority on stasis technology." the officer intoned with obvious deference.
"Hey, shouldn't we be going to, like, a hospital, or medical facility, or something?" It seemed a logical course. Why did I even have to ask?
"My point, exactly. This is a dangerous procedure. It shouldn't be performed in an (I can't exactly translate the last word -- probably colloquial -- something like) 'outhouse.'" Dr. Door-Kar-Ba was obviously frustrated. Apparently he had already made this argument and yet, here he was, at the 'outhouse.'
The lead officer spoke up again. "Doctor, we've been through this before. You understand the need for absolute secrecy."
"Yes, yes, I know all that I just think that..."
He was interrupted by Dr. Cur who had been absolutely silent since Dr. Door-Kar-Ba's entrance. "Esteemed Doctor, I assure you that you will find all the necessary equipment and conditions here. I'm not some meatpacker."
"Cur! Is that really you? I heard you had gone off-world since your little problem with ... substances. Is this your work?" Door-Kar-Ba turned to Cur, who was still in 'cuffs, and then added -- to no one, and everyone -- "Well at least you've hired the best meatpacker money could buy."
"I beg your pardon?" I was unclear what he was trying to say.
Door-Kar-Ba removed his eyeglasses (I guess perfect-vision has still not been perfected) and wiped them with his tunic. "Cur was one of the most promising young minds in our field. He was one of my own assistants, destined for a remarkable career until he fell in with the wrong sort. He became addicted to a substance called 'nova-dust', a highly addictive drug which is difficult to detect, but invariably leads to loss of touch with reality, hallucinations, and eventually, death. Under the influence of the drug, Cur experienced hallucinations while controlling a mass-reanimation and was responsible for 275 soldiers from an interstellar troopship being rendered brain-dead. He was stripped of his license to practice and incarcerated, after treatment of course. We're not barbarians.
Cur escaped incarceration 4 Centicycles ago, and has made his services available to anyone who could pay him well. At least, if he was not hallucinating when he put them under, your "hee-you-manz" (that's the way he pronounced it, really!) were in very competent hands."
"I swear, Doctor, I have not used the drug since incarceration, but I am a wanted criminal. I must get by however I can. I assure you, you'll find these subjects have had all necessary precautions and the very best care in their stasis. I would not purposely take a life."
"That remains to be seen." Door-Kar-Ba replied dryly.
Addressing us again, Door-Kar-Ba continued, "The problem here is the 'hee-you-man' physiology. It is not at all familiar to us. We have only had two 'hee-you-man' subjects presented to us in our entire history.
"You've had human subjects before?" I was surprised.
"As I just said, only two: the female subject "Ah-mah-lay-ah-urr-hart" and her crew mate, a male specimen called "Noo-naan," itinerants who wandered in from another dimension and needed to be put in stasis to move on to another galaxy.
I scratched my chin, thinking to myself, "I wonder... Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan? Note to self -- ask about this later."
They both went to work. Door-Kar-Ba suggested we wait elsewhere, but I refused to let Max out of my sight again. Maybe never, ever again. Liz too. Finally, the officers scrounged up chairs for all of us and we were persuaded to watch from the other side of the room.
First, they began adjusting the machines which stood before the tubes, calling numbers back and forth to each other. They seemed to be turning some of the devices 'off' and others 'on.' Each time some kind of buzzer or alarm went off, the knot in my stomach grew and my shoulder throbbed a little more painfully. They calmly addressed each alarm as though it were expected, which it probably was. They spoke in the kind of familiar shorthand that colleagues who work closely together often develop. The result was that I understood very little of what was going on. Still, I translated as much as I could for the others. They worked at this for about an hour-and-a-half, Earth-time.
Once both seemed satisfied, Cur turned to us and said,"It won't be long now."
Then, each gently tipped one of the test-tubes on its side onto a gurney and released the head-clamp so that the body inside sank gently to the side of the tube. The gel-like substance was drained-off into waiting canisters and the top of the tubes opened with a popping sound. Each body was then inched out of its slippery tube as wires and IVs were removed one-by-one in turn. Eventually, Max and Michael each lay face-up on a separate table and, for the first time, I could actually see that they were breathing. Huge lights were moved into position over each table and turned on with a 'buzz.'
I kind-of wanted to put a towel or something over Max's middle to preserve his modesty, at least that's what I said later. Actually, modesty was only part of it. I was getting really turned-on staring at Max's beautiful, sculptured body lying stark-naked there on the table in front of me. OK, I know what you're thinking about me... give me a break, will you? Max and I hadn't gone this long without sex for, I don't know, ages. To tell the truth -- and understand, I've never been attracted to Michael for a million reasons -- but even he looked sexy to me, and I had never before seen his amazing beer-can-sized cock. I couldn't help wondering what it looked like when it was actually hard. Good for Maria. Anyway, a towel would obviously defeat their warming-lights. Finally, the lights were turned 'off' and a red blanket was placed over each.
Door-Kar-Ba stepped over to Cur and gave him a warm embrace. "You've done well. When you are... free again, please come to my lab and see me. I think there must be some way to restore you to usefulness. You still have so very much to offer to the universe. Will you do that?"
Cur returned the embrace, and nodded affirmatively as he was handcuffed and led off.
Door-Kar-Ba turned to us. "They should awake within the next demicycle or so. I'll wait right here with you."
The Buddha said, "Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."
At this present moment, all my concentration was on willing Max to be awake.
Continue to Chapter 8
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