Perception? Sure, but some things are universal…
The pain! Oh… bad! Mind racing… Slow down… catch consciousness…, I’m alive but I have been badly injured! Ahhh… I should not dwell on that at the moment, the messages my body is sending are enough. Rest! Sleep is the escape…
So…, still here! Ohhh… yes, still here… as is the pain, ah…, where is here? Yes, now I have it. A ship…, on a ship…, I am …in some kind of a containment facility much like ours? Like ours? This is an alien ship! I am confined aboard an alien ship!
Then…, we lost our ship? Yes, yes, that’s it… we were attacked by a group of alien limpet ships… I remember the Mazer cutter burning a path into the control room… then a horde of small flying robots… those bizarre shaped space suited fighters…, shot me…, my right side… the pain!! The Captain setting the destruct codes… but we didn’t, we couldn’t have? I would have been vaporized along with the ship… pain! I… sleep… rest… sleep…!
I have been dreaming… How long have I been out? No way to tell in place like this…, this alien ship! It is not a dream! Would that it were! It’s all still as it was before… But what was it I dreamed? I was… I had been down by the river with other youngsters and we were…, no… it was a class of some sort and I wasn’t paying attention. I remember the day, the color of the sky, the shapes in the clouds, the scents… I got up and flew away…
…To here, must have passed out again… more dreams… Oh…, this place… so like my own facility. I would have offered the same to you, whatever, whoever you are. Healer…? …Jailer? I can have some small hope you are the former but I can clearly see that you are surely the latter! I doubt you have any more medical resource for my kind than I would for yours. ‘I couldn’t save it!’ we’d both say. Then we’d say ‘What does not survive becomes a specimen.’ isn’t that it? Even so, wouldn’t it be amazing to be the first to study an alien, alive or dead? Still, I suppose there is some honor in being someone’s first specimen of an alien. I am destined to a sort of unwanted immortality I guess. A medical sample…! Ahh…
…Now, there was a miserable thought to sleep on, and since you are not here putting me in jars now, I can only assume your have subjected me to every possible non-destructive test possible while I was out. If you can recognize that I am conscious, you will soon join me, I am sure. You will be frightening…
I remember the things in the jars at medical school… sometimes I see the flayed corpses of our learning… I remember wondering what they would have thought if they knew what we did to them? Now me…! But I already know!
…I’ve… been gone again… Good, you still haven’t come for me while I’ve been conscious, although I know you have been here and observed me… I feel your alien eyes! Dreaming again… Ah… friend pain; still helping me awaken… to this…
…Ohh! …Jailer! I suspect you think you will kill me if you try to treat me… but you may as well try; the pain will take me soon enough anyway… The dream… where was that…? It looked as if it was… but that couldn’t be… the wrong color and too many… then…, then… I was in the navy and assigned to my first ship but I went into space with the wrong one… it was really this one…! No…, that can’t be right…
…The sounds of your entrance fits into my dream, …I was outside ship in deep space but I had forgotten my suit and I was naked to the universe and waiting for the lock to cycle, but it turned into an elevator and it was stuck between floors and the doors were rattling… …you are coming! You are in the isolation lock, wearing puffed up suits of something transparent. Your heads have the wrong symmetry… Do you really eat our bodies as the ratings so fervently believe? Surely it cannot be; I would have already been consumed. I am too weak and injured to taste good… surly you know I would be toxic to you?
…I must have fainted again. You are gone now. I did not get to see you close up. Perhaps it is just as well, what I could see was ugly enough. You seem to have done nothing more to me or for me. I am very weak, I will die soon. Oh…, but these dreams… again, …I was young but now down by the sea… peaceful; so much life there… so little here… Will I ever see the sun again? I think not… Will they put the jars in the sun…?
…Weak…, the pain has faded somewhat but I think it is only because I’m so far gone. I hear the sounds of evening, the night winds call me…, yes, now… I will escape with them… Are there winds in space? Where…? Where do they…?
“Let’s get this done with, that thing will give me nightmares!”
“We just need to get the cover sealed on the tray and move it into the vac-freezer. It won’t take long. They wouldn’t let the ship medicos touch this alien, it’s to go back by courier for study at the Academy.”
“Good for them, I wish they could come get it themselves, right now! I don’t even want it on this ship. Let’s get on with this! Look at it will you! A monstrosity! I’m glad it died. The hate from it! It wanted to jump up from that table and kill us all. I could feel it!
“With half its side burned off like that? I doubt it.”
“We were lucky, that’s all. We got it first.”
“Well that’s what enemies do for each other isn’t it? Kill or die? We were lucky to get everyone off that alien ship before it exploded!”
“I don’t know how the limpet marines got this one off with them? I’ve head all about what these things can do.”
“Sure, except that this is the only one that’s ever even been seen in the flesh, if this thing is flesh, so how do you know? We don’t even know if one of us has ever been captured by them. No one’s ever come back, that’s for sure!”
“I know what I’ve heard. These things are taught to kill when they’re little. They just get better at it as they get older. They thrive on it. This one would have killed us all if it could have, that’s why we have to beat them!”
“Maybe… Save the world from the aliens, right?”
“That’s why we’re here isn’t it?”
‘So we’re told.”
“Save the world and go home! That’s what I want.”
“Sounds good to me, but I’ll bet that’s what it thought too.”
“You get to believe what you want, I know what I see!”
“True enough, you get what you see.”
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