Check out our latest Fleet Action!

 

Part of USS Mackenzie: The In-between Moments

Awake in the After

Unknown
Unknown
0 likes 104 views

The world had gone bright and then dark.  He could hear screams and shouts as he felt his body slam into the ground, gasping for breath that would never come.  He wasn’t sure how much time had passed since the Devoth officer had raised his weapon at him and fired.  Ambrose Harris picked himself off the floor, a dull ache stretching from his head to his toes.  He blinked, unsure of where he was.  A bright white cascaded around him, and the sound of silence echoed in his ears.  Where was he?  There was a heavy sense of something at the edge of his consciousness that he couldn’t identify, which frustrated him.  He wasn’t given to forgetting things or being able to figure stuff out.

“Hey, son.”

He turned to find his father, Jard Harris.  Ambrose took several steps back, “You’re…dead.  You died ten years ago.  What the hell is happening?”  He spun around, feeling like he was going to throw up.  He somehow knew the truth, even if he didn’t want to say it.

“I did.  You died, too.  That’s why you’re here.”  He gestured around, “Welcome to the other side.”

Ambrose paced around in a small circle, his mind spinning at the realization that his life was over. His present and future had been extinguished by a fanatic—a ruthless fantastic.  “Why is it so easy to accept that?”  Coming to a halt, he turned on his father.  “Why does it feel…like this?”

Jard shrugged, “You said I’ve been gone ten years.  Doesn’t feel that like to me.  It feels like it was just yesterday that I got here.”  He put his hands in the pockets of his overalls, “I work on the old farm.  Keep up the fields and tend the cows.  You want to see it?”

Ambrose wanted to feel disbelief at the situation but couldn’t muster up the emotional energy to get upset.  There was something calming about this place and the reality of what was ahead of him here.  “I guess I should.”

They walked on, and Jard mused, “I do miss your mother.  She was such a part of my life.  There’s not much from my old life I remember…or think about much here…but she’s always on my mind.”

“She misses you too, Dad.  That first year was hard.”  Ambrose blinked back tears, even as the emotions felt as if they were fading away the moment they registered in his chest.  He was starting to understand some of the rules of this place.  Feelings weren’t long-lasting – they were brief…and flickering.

The white world began to take on color as they faded into a muddy path and the distant sight of a farmhouse in a sprawling ranch.  Jard mused as the world became solid the more they walked, “I know.  I watched for a while…you all helped her…she fought hard to come back from the brink.”  He shrugged again, “I don’t look in on her much these days – ten years has given her the freedom she deserves.”

Ambrose stopped, “You…can see us?”

His father frowned, “Yes.  You, your sister, your mother…I’ve watched bits and pieces of your lives since I left.  You’ve made me very proud – both of you.”  He walked further, pushing open a gate, “Come on in.”

 

The house was massive, and the rooms were decorated as he remembered them.  There was much of what he remembered from the old house, but there were still new additions.  He pointed them out to his father, “What’s…all this stuff?”

Jard chuckled, “Living in this place has afforded me new…I guess you’d call them memories from the places I’ve visited or traveled.  Here you can go anywhere in the universe…see it all for the first or the third time…and every time, there’s something new I didn’t see before.”  He puttered into the kitchen and returned with two cups of coffee, “We’ve got damned good coffee in the afterlife.”  Jard sat down and motioned for his son to do the same.  “You’re not going anywhere, son.”

Ambrose pursed his lips.  His dad was right, and he wasn’t sure how to feel about it despite being comfortable with everything around him.  It was chaos and calm in his heart – nothing made sense while it all made sense.  “I don’t suppose anyone ever…leaves here?”

“That’s above most of our pay grades, son.  Eventually, they’ll have you set your own homestead somewhere…you can still visit.  I’ve made a few friends.  We do dinner once in a while…time’s a harder thing here.  No clocks or watches.  Just…easy living on your patch of the afterlife.”

Ambrose leaned back in the chair, “It is comfortable…and it feels great.”  He closed his eyes and fell asleep.

 

“You took your damn time.”

“Look, it took us a long time to work our way inside.”

“How much trouble?”

“We coded everything – used up every favor we had built…they’ll be waking up in the morning to a real mess.  It won’t take ‘em long to figure out what happened.  They’re gonna be pissed off.”

“They gonna be able to trace it back here?”

“We switched ships four times – scuttled each one into little bits.  It’ll take some work to figure out what we’ve done.  I say we’ve got three to five days, tops.”

“Make sure the scouts stay behind to watch for followers.  Let’s get him down below.”

“Aye, Pandora.”