Dice, 3

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I looked around and saw that everyone was floating inside a white-walled hangar. I was strapped into the harness, so couldn’t move, but everyone else reached out to caught hold of the strands of cloth that were attached to the walls around us.

Meg pulled herself down to the closest wall and quickly shed her weapons and backpack, pressing them against dark crosses that closed around the assault rifle and the pack. She then turned toward me and pulled stretcher in the direction of a door.

As she turned me I noticed there were blue-textured seats attached to one side of the hangar, and it was into these that the crew strapped themselves.

Meg exited this compartment, pulled me through a bulkhead and into a smaller room with a long spot where she could attach the stretcher. She pulled in chains and hooks and attached my conveyance into the floor of the ship, then went and found a blue chair for herself.

I listened as commands rung out through the space, each of the crew apparently assigned a task. There was a loud countdown from ninety, but after the first two digits someone turned down the volume and the voice whispered the slow downward progression.

I looked around, tried to catch someone’s eye, but it looks like the crew was concentrating. They barked clipped instructions and questions to each other, seeming to be quite a hurry.

Close to the fifteen second mark there was a wave of relief and the crew appeared to be done with the breakneck pace of their work.

Everyone buckled in during the last few seconds, an act that looked routine and boring to the crew, but I could not help and wonder just what the hell we were counting down to.

At zero the sensation of falling had ceased and the stretcher pushed up at me with a sensational force. We had gravity again.

The flight was mercifully short and smooth, just a few minutes spent in a plane descending, the pressure slowly building in my eardrums. I watched the crew celebrate, for just a moment, before they plunged into their various comm devices. There was a lot to catch up on, it seemed.

I remained tied down and for a while just tried to breathe, trying to accept that what I was experiencing was not normal, none of it. I had woken up inside a four-story mechanical beast and was now teleporting, traveling in space? What was going on.

“Hey, guys, what’s the story? Where are we? Are we in Pittsburgh yet?”

“Not yet,” the survivor named Block said, still not bothering to tear his eyes away from the comm devices, not even bothering to look up at me, “Pittsburgh doesn’t get built for another two thousand years.”

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