Saturday, April 26, 2008

Call

A sequel-vignette-of- sorts based on the Scifi movie,
Alien Resurrection...

CALL

23.10.2312

Annalee Call’s lifeless, naked body is before me on the cold slab under a clean white sheet. Three weeks ago a fellow surgeon, Simon, and I brought her remains here from a dramatic recovery when her Trans-craft module went down. It’s now my job to bring her back to life after the examiner has had her under his grubby hands all this time. The brass upstairs wants me to change her internal configuration from a new schematic they sent down here to the bunker. It would squelch her judgment facility. No way! I use the word "her" and I’ll use "she" from here on out instead of what the plain tag on her toe reads:

'Droid. Series Lm7. Diagnostic NC.'

NC means natural causes. Natural causes my ass.

Normally, Simon and I aren’t involved with rescue and recovery. We were returning from a conference on Synthetic Metabolism In Android Structure from over in Sector 12. Hell, we weren’t coming straight back. There’s this pub over in 12, you see,….well, never mind. On the way back we picked up a faint distress call in our headsets. It was in an area nobody had a business being in. It was on Earth, that iced-over abandoned sphere in the Milky Way. After homing in on the distress signal, we touched down in a frozen tundra ablaze in a white out. Donning our insulated blizzard suits and yellow lenses, we ventured out with the tracking scope. In no time at all Simon found Call’s module and tapped me on the shoulder and pointed. It was less than a kilometer North from where we had set down. The module was empty and charred. It was easy to see what had happened. The entire wire harness from a hole in the wall leading to a maneuvering rocket had melted. It was still warm. We looked at each other. There was hope.

Reconfiguring the tracking scope for a radial search, we trudged on in the blinding storm. Forty-two meters southwest of the module we found Call partially buried. We raised her body, frozen in the fetal position. Only limp was her hair. Underneath her in a dugout were two small children sleeping like dogs in a heap. You can imagine our joy. This is no ordinary ’droid.’ She had altered her body temperature to save them and she perished trying to keep them warm and awake. Retrieving the memory disk from under her left breast during surgery, I found this sound fragment with three shivering voices from a undamaged block on the disc:

“Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb.

Mary had a little lamb, it’s fleece was white as snow.”

24.10.2312

Surgery has gone well. There was heavy deterioration in her chest cavity, possibly from a previous shoddy patch up job. Like any other profession, the last repairman was an amateur. I was struck by the color of Call’s skin. I believe I saw that color in a book I have back in my room. It’s called ‘pearl‘. In-between white and cream. Back when Earth was inhabited by seawater oysters, these little creatures produced pearls. When they were removed the oyster died. During surgery I re-inserted the salvaged memory disk in a protective and impenetrable film so that Annalee will never die. The stiletto remains in her arm for good measure. I ignored the new scheme and fully expect to be court-martialed for failure to follow orders. I ran into Ellen Ripley, a friend from years ago, in the corridor today while on a smoke break and after mentioning my case she has promised to testify on my behalf if needed. I hugged her and thanked her.

“I’ll do what I can,” Ripley said.

“Then please testify for Call instead of me,” I said.

11.11.2312

The seven member panel has dropped all charges against me. Simon and I went for a drink to celebrate. We were quiet. Across the room, smoke hovering above, Call was in a poker game cleaning up.

“Pearl,” I said softly.

“What’s that?” Simon said.


2 Comments:

Blogger Blog Princess G said...

Mmmmmmmmmm. Haunting, imaginative, full of yearning and so vivid. Thank you Phil, for sharing your writing with us.

4/28/2008 7:54 PM  
Blogger the drifter said...

Thanks, G. :)

4/28/2008 11:40 PM  

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