[Estimated reading time: 6 minutes]
I looked at Block as if he had grown an extra head. I think this was justified, the man had just claimed that we had traveled two thousand years into the past. The airplane around us suddenly seemed to close in on me.
The pressure kept changing, making my ears pop, and I wondered when this vehicle we were lock in would settle down somewhere.
We did just that in mere seconds, then the crew was up out of their seats and filing out of the two exits the aircraft had. Meg came over to me and freed the stretcher, then moved it toward the closest outside bulkhead, pushing it over the raised lip and dragging it down a ramp.
We were on a cement tarmac, an air-control tower on the other side of the runway. It was a sunny morning, in contrast to the late afternoon we had just left. The acid rain was replaced by sunny skies.
[Estimated reading time: 2 minutes]
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.
[Estimated reading time: 4 minutes]
A torch of bright light sliced into my prison and scattered sparks all around me, over me, and what felt like through me.
My consciousness was fading in and out, the shower of sparks jolting me awake one moment, then lulling me back into non-existence the next.
After an eternity of this the light ceased. Seconds or minutes later, my formerly-mobile-now-stationary prison was wrenched apart, steel tearing and popping, clear plastic shattering and giving way to a strong wind that carried with it acrid smoke. Cold rain fell on my face and my lips and after a moment I tasted oil.
A swarm of hands reached into the gap and tugged at my body, nimble fingers running over the dark mesh suit I wore and pulling on wires and tubing that stuck out of me at odd places. Then I was lifted up into the light.
[Estimated reading time: 5 minutes]
I was. I am. I am somewhere.
Awareness is a long uphill climb. I stumble a few times along the way, of course.
My head is rolling around, flopping this way and that, and I find it impossible to stop that. But at least I’m aware that I have a head. This was not always the case. Before this, minutes or hours or days or years, when I wasn’t, I had no body, I was a thought suspended in gel.