I woke up dazed … on a heap of something that smelled distinctly like garbage in the back of an alley. Bleary eyed I gazed around, nothing looked familiar. I don’t mean I didn’t recognize the street or surroundings, I mean nothing looked familiar. The buildings were all weird and geometric looking, there was stuff flying about overhead and this weird buzzing in my ear that sounded like coms offline. I went to scratch my ear and felt some kind of weird implant there, as I tapped on it the static cleared and voices started to come through but they weren’t speaking any language I knew – where the fuck was I?
I drew myself upright and started to really look around – it was like stuff I’d seen in science fiction movies or read about in books. I thought wow, this is the most intense and realistic dream I have ever had. I tried to remember the night before. Did I drop? What was I doing? What day was it? My mind blanked. I looked down and saw I was wearing some silvery type garment that looked like one of those thermal blankets the paramedics use, but it didn’t crinkle or rustle. Actually it felt kind of nice and it enveloped my body almost like a second skin. It had a little flap in front of my mimsi but otherwise, I could have been naked.
It seemed like it was early because there were no people about, although the light insinuated it was not early in the morning. I looked up and saw there was some kind of dome above us and this was creating the light, everything looked like it was LED lighting but there were no obnoxious billboards – only blank spaces of black everywhere which confused the hell out of me. After taking in my surroundings I realized one, I felt like I was starving and two, there was no people or animals or anything around … It was like this world only had me in it. I was trying not to freak out entirely because I knew that wouldn’t help but fear was slowly creeping up from my ankles and enveloping my whole body, my lip started to quiver and I wiped back tears angrily. What the fuck was going on?
I looked around to see if there was anything by me that could give me a clue, that’s when I spotted the silver knapsack lying crumpled beside the (what I could only assume was) garbage heap. I say assume because it was the strangest mish-mash of “garbage” I had ever seen. It had a kind of rotting smell but it was not a small I was familiar with, it smelled less fleshy and more chemically if that makes any sense. All of this was very confusing and disorienting. I grabbed the knapsack to see if it held any clues. The bag left me with more questions than answers. It was filled with little contraptions of different shapes and sizes all seemingly sealed up vault tight. I took one and turned it around slowly looking for clues as to what it was. As I touched a surface suddenly a blue box lit up, I touched it and it beeped “incorrect scan, please administer again”. Okay this was some next level iPhone shit right here I figured so I put my thumb on the screen. Sure enough it started opening into a fucking virtual reality computer screen! Mind blown. I think I just sat there for two minutes with my mouth open.
I looked in awe at the screen and tried to surmise how this thing worked and see if I could glean some information about what had happened. Memories were zapping in my brain in fits and starts, disjointed bits and pieces of a much bigger jigsaw puzzle. I had no idea what the big picture was. Every time something flashed through it was like a jolt that physically hurt, like electrical impulses … electrical impulses … that’s it, I had been playing a virtual reality game when this happened and … it was in this world! Oh my fucking gawd I think I crossed over! I looked at the reflection in the screen and sure enough, I had blue skin, pink and purple dreadlocks and a wicked angular face and body – I was my avatar. Okay this had to be a dream, “wake up, wake up, wake up!” I screamed. This brought two weird looking rolling robot looking thingies speeding towards me. (Kind of like this – will get a better image later … this hair is horrible, but I digress.)
“Good day Echelon Three and how may we assist you? Do you need medical assistance? Let us perform a scan please.” And with that before I could answer they took out this scanner thingy and proceeded to scan me from top to bottom. What the fuck was an Echelon Three and what were these things? Okay, yeah, I was familiar with the setting and my avatar … errr me I guess now, but that’s where it ended. This was not the game and I’d never seen these things before.
“Errrmmm hi! I seem to have hit my head and I don’t remember anything. Could you please give me some information, like what my name is and how to get home?”
The other robot thingy that had been just hovering there spun around on it’s axis so suddenly I jumped.
“No memory? This does not compute. I will have to access my database. Your name is Echelon Three, you live in the upper delta quadrant of Simling Four. You can request a hover transport to assist you to your quarters.”
“Yeah, okay, that’s terrific and how exactly do I do that?”
The robot thingy paused, I swear it looked like it was tilting its head quizzically at me almost as if dumbfounded. Yeah well, join the club buddy. This wasn’t exactly my idea of another day in paradise either. Why couldn’t I have woken up on a beach with techno music in the background and lots of lovely scantily clad people instead? Oh fuck, I wonder what the hell my body looks like under here. Oh my gawd, what if I can’t have sex anymore! The robot thingy brought me out of my panic attack.
“Any requests or desires you have can be initiated by interfacing with your personal online computer.” Okay, at least this was something, I knew what that was. Interface, okay if it was a thumb scan, maybe there was voice recognition but how did I address it. I looked at the screen, cleared my throat and said officiously, “computer, arrange for transport home”. Nothing happened, figures.
“Ummm excuse me … (what the hell did I call this thing?) … as I said, I’ve lost my memory so first of all, how do I address you?”
“We are Helix, all manner of our forms respond to this, there is no differentiation between one or the other.” Okay, so I guess they operate en mass, hmm wonder if they’re like cyborgs all interconnected? Okay Groove steady on there Chiclet, let’s not get off course.
“Okay … Helix. So ummmm how the … how do I get home.” I had to resist doing air quotes when I said this. I had no idea what the political climate was here. Who knows, it might have been seen as a sign of aggression. Everything around me kept altering and shifting, the buildings, the surroundings, it was this fluid environment that quite frankly was making me queasy. I just wanted to get to some place static so I could think. Also, I really didn’t want to wretch right now which is all I would do because also I was fucking starving. Oh, shit, I didn’t even know if this blue thing could eat … this was getting more and more complicated. Okay but if I felt hungry that had to mean I could eat right? Helix once again brought me back from my panic.
“What is home?” Oh fuck.
“Okay, where do I reside?”
“I am not familiar with this phrase.” I sighed rubbed my brow and tried again.
“Where is the Echelon Three storage facility?”
“You can get to this by interfacing with your computer.” Arrrrggghhhh!!!
“And how do I do that exactly?”
“You place your thumb in the prompt, put your eye up to the retinal scan and make a verbal request.” Oh, of course, why didn’t I think of that – as if. I hoped this worked because I was exhausted as shit and fucking petrified. Although I’m not sure this pod or whatever the fuck it was I was going to be taken to was going to make me feel any safer but it was better than sitting in the middle of this street, well not really a street, more like this static holographic image that maintained while everything else shifted around me, except my immediate vicinity. It was like I was in some weird graffiti alley on Queen Street with exceptional art I might add, but it only existed until I could not see it … if that makes any sense.
As lovely as the imagery was I still didn’t know what was going on and obviously Helix had limited function and brain capacity. I’d call them assistant drones or something … at this point I really didn’t care to clarify this or any other points I just wanted to get somewhere “safe”.