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Part of USS Rubidoux: Prompts & Developments

Perception is life, life is perception

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Falling though inky blackness with the fall ending with a soft landing into a layer of powdery gray ash-like substance was a surprise for Isshan Bacshi, as was the sensation that coursed and flowed over his skin, a sensation that shifted between a warm sunburn-like though to ferocious and focused heat as it waxed and waned over his form. Only now was his memory of the event catching up. He remembered the open diagnostic panel connected to the main EPS power taps. Then the surge that sent electrical energy arced across two contact points and traveled toward and then through him. 

That action prompted a massive reaction, as he remembered being thrown bodily backwards, this progress arrested for the moment by the rail around that catwalk, the sharp pain into his lower back. 

The momentum gained as he rotated around, then over, and off the catwalk into empty space.

Shifting both arms, sliding them up and down in a sort of flapping motion in the gray dust. He closed a fist around a clump, it felt dry, abrasive, of varying consistency, familiar yet he couldn’t place where from.

Shifting a little more, managing to prop himself up, with his elbows in the dust behind him. Looking up the blackness was no longer total, pinpricks of light punctuated it, scattered across it. 

Then for a moment the catwalk itself appeared above him bathed in the red lighting, at the railing leaning over and looking down he thought he saw Racshaw, her face and the concern on it seemed to loom larger for a moment. 

“Comander! Commander Bacshi!” The voice was hers, but had a muffled, slow, far away quality to it, as Racshaw and the catwalk she stood on felt like they were drawn into the distance. Then Racshaws form shifted, the antennae were gone, the hair became almost black, and a second pair of arms seemed to morph out of her existing limbs, the drawing away continued to fade.

A gray lower border, which wiggled and climbed and ducked, just like a mountain range, now cut across the lower section of the pinpricks of light. These themselves seemed to have a sort of order and formation to them, an order he began to recognise, taurus, pisces, gemini.

The constellations, as seen from the moon. He was on the moon. Now standing he spun slowly around to find his bearings. His vision settled on the familiar sight of Tycho City, his city of birth, forever a place he thought of as home. He gazed upon it for a while, scarcely believing he was back so soon.

Then the terror of the realization. He was on the surface of the moon with no EV suit. He should be dead, or gasping for air. The very thought caused him to hold a breath, hold it until his lung burnt, hold it until the piercing sensation stabbed his chest, he let out a gasp, before sucking in and then out again. He’d started to run, although not remembering actually beginning, he was now running along the surface of the moon. The low gravity remained true, his bounds were exaggerated, long, but continuous. The morphed blue head loomed out of the black, in an apparition-like manner. 

“Run Isshan! Keep running, good son!” A voice boomed around and through him, warm yet urgent in tone. From memory it sounded like a meld of his great uncle, great grandfather, and grandfather rolled together. The disembodied head gained an ornate red and gold headpiece, and for a moment Ishaan was sure he saw a pair of fangs grow before it faded once more. 

His progress towards the domed moon city, seemed out of proportion to the effort he was putting into the run. Only marginally closer, Ishaan was beginning to tire. It was now a pole with a loop appeared alongside him at arms length away, it floated, kept pace, then suddenly flipped, then moved in. The loop caught his arm. The pole shot forward and upward. Ishaan was dragged with it. His feet left the ground for good. The surface suddenly became distant. He floated above for a moment. Then down, and down, dropping into the city.

He dropped straight into an open area he did not completely recognise. A room like space with almost all white walls. In the center was a workstation, a solo workstation with a chair raised off floor level. Enclosed on two sides, in a flattened oval shape superstructure. 

Isshan walked towards and stepped up onto the raised platform. The holo-displays sprang to life. Numbers, wave form diagrams, comparison traces, flow patterns. He sat down slowly.

“I remember this. Veras System, Fourth planet.” Ishaan recalled.

“Of course. This is your reality. Your perception of the world.” The voice was back, now physical form this time, just the voice that boomed in his mind.

“Am I dead?” Ishaan asked pointedly, the question that had begun nagging at him the moment he’d seen the catwalk from below and had to be asked.

“What is death but a change of perception?” The voice challenged. “You now perceive a world you wished to know more of in the way you interpret best, if you wish.” The statement came across as both a fact and an offer.

“I can revisit former places, re-explore and delve deeper into the subject matter of times gone by?” Isshan questioned, ever the scientist, he sought to probe and understand. Even if this was a dream, even if these were the failing moments of his consciousness, he pushed for more and more understanding.

“For now. But if perception is reality and reality is perception. You have only to learn how to perceive a way to relate the known to the unknown.” Came the response, a response that felt tricky, but also raised a possibility. 

Placing hands in holo- control spaces, he manipulated the display, exploring the information being thrown at him. It felt actual, precise, empirical. Then came the shock that started in his chest and coursed over him once more. It came again.

“They are trying to save you, Ishaan. Those you call friends. They value you in their reality, in your shared reality.” The voice stated warmly, but without leaning or intent, pure presentation of fact.

“You must choose Ishaan Bacshi. Commence this new journey with a new perspective, or return to your former and continue your work there.” The voice laid out a pair of options, each one punctuated with a shock.

“I choose….” The science officer Ishaan Bacshi began.

  • Ishaan

    Chief Science Officer