This is a continuation of a story begun in the post “Chapter 1. Part 1.” If you enjoy it, please like and share it with others!
CHAPTER 5: BACK THROUGH THE BLUE GOO
“…so you see, that’s when a guy named Hippocrates is going to come up with an oath that outlines the ethics of being a doctor. That’s kinda where it all starts.”
Chak was finishing giving me a history of doctors and what they were when we finally reached Brew. She was standing in front of a pile of stuff, the most striking of which was a long thin boat. It looked as if it could seat twelve comfortably with six rows of benches. It was made from a red colored wood, and had been so heavily polished that the sides could be used as a mirror. There were a variety of weapons scattered throughout the pile of gear, some of which I recognized and some completely foreign to me. Sitting in front of it all was a backpack, the opening of which was spread as widely as possible.
“Are we going to be using that boat?” I asked.
“Yeah. Ever since Mendrax turned we’re stuck with this slow outmoded transportation. Stinks don’t it,” said Brew.
Chak interjected to explain. “Mendrax was the Umbili who oversaw all of the technology for the Syllogy before he turned. When he left the Umbili realized that he had sabotaged all of his inventions in the Syllogy. Car engines were exploding, maculaters were transporting people to the wrong places and burning their hands when they did, airplanes were dropping out of the sky. It was chaos. The Umbili had to go back to square one with new builders and find new designers to build all new items. We’ve built that boat especially for this group and we’re not using any tech Mendrax had a hand in, just incase.”
I looked more confused than ever.
“Don’t worry about it. I’m just complaining about how we’ve been sent back to the Stone Age!”
“I’m just about to get everything packed up,” interrupted Brew. “Anything you need to include in the pack Chak?” Brew was rather excited about the process of packing. I glanced down at my belt where I had wedged the linear time seed for safekeeping. I pulled it out and nudged Chak in the ribs. It was the first time I had touched him. His body was hard as steel and my elbow informed me of this fact. He looked down at me and I offered him the seed.
“No, no. You keep that on your person. When we get you changed I’ll give you something to put it in.” I shrugged and wedged the seed back into my belt. “I think we’re fine Brew. You go right ahead and pack.”
“Right,” she said. She proceeded to lift the boat over her head, as easily as if it were a feather, and pointed the stern into the backpack. She muttered a few words and plunged the boat down into the open bag. Amazingly, it fit with room to spare. The easiest way to explain it would be to say that the boat shrank as she fed it into the bag, but that would not be entirely accurate.
The boat did not change shape or size, nor did the bag, but the larger somehow fit into the smaller with ease. I watched in amazement as Brew did the same with half of the rest of the pile. Four large rolls of fabric, ropes, swords, bows and arrows, stakes, a large supply of a variety of foods, about thirty different pieces of clothing, a bundle of red liquid in plastic bags with tubes on them, and much more slipped into the pack, and no one said a word about it.
I was stunned by the nonchalance with which Chak was treating the situation, and did my best not to look flabbergasted, but simply appear as if this were every day operation for me as well. The last thing to go in was a metallic green ball with strange writing printed on the outside. This was the only object that had trouble fitting into the bag. It seemed as if the ball was fighting against Brew’s attempts to force it through the opening, but eventually the flap was closed, the bag was cinched up and only a few weapons and pieces of clothing lay on the floor where the pile of supplies had previously been.
“We’re ready. Is everyone here?” she said.
Chak glanced around counting on his fingers as he did. It was weird watching him count empty spaces, since I couldn’t see anyone in the group. “Wait, where is Shishu?” he asked.
“Oh he’s waiting for us at the city gate,” Brew chimed in.
“Excellent. Then all we need to do is get Nicholas here cleaned up, and we’ll be off,” Chak said. He took a few steps back and held out his hand waiting for me to pass in front of him. “After you,” he said.
I followed his lead and walked off in the direction he had gestured. A few feet away I saw a door and Chak nodded at it. We went through. In the next room there was nothing but a silver ball on the wall and a stack of folded clothes in the corner. A suit of armor sat next to it. “When you finish getting undressed simply stand in front of that,” he pointed at the silver ball, “It’s called a shower. It will spray water at you so that you can clean yourself off. Then get dressed and put on your armor. I’ll have a sword waiting for you outside. See you in a bit.” Chak exited the room and I did as he instructed. Removing my battered Athenian armor and tattered clothes and tossing them in the corner, I carefully placed the linear time seed on top of the new clothing I was to wear. I showered and dressed.
The new armor waiting for me was unlike anything I had ever seen. For one thing, it was incredibly light. Once I had the full chest piece and armguards on I twisted back and forth to see if it would rub anywhere uncomfortably. From the inside it felt as soft as silk, but when I smacked my hand on the outside it was completely solid. There was no helmet to wear, but there was a pair of leather boots similar to the ones Brew was wearing. I slipped them on my feet and walked around. It was strange to have my feet fully enclosed, since I had worn only sandals up to that point, and I took a few laps around the room to get used to the feeling. The last thing I donned was a small leather pouch dangling from a long silver chain. Before slipping the time seed into the pouch, I examined it closely. It was about the size of a walnut and looked like a big purple diamond.
“All this fuss for this little thing?” I mused. I shrugged and dropped the seednto the pouch. I considered draping it around my neck, but thought it would get annoying, so I wound the chain around the belt inside my chest piece, leaving the pouch hanging at waist level. If I wanted to put it around my neck later I could. After this, I joined Chak in the main room where he, Brew, and Dr. Lee were waiting patiently.
“Well you look down right spiffy,” said Brew.
“It fits really well,” I said. “What is it made of?”
“It’s a type of metal that the Higher-ups gave us here in the Syllogy,” said Brew. “Think of it as gold. It’s the most valuable thing in this place. You’re wearing about half of all of that stuff that exists, so don’t get it dirty, ya hear?”
“Let’s get going,” said Chak. “Shishu is waiting after all. Not that keeping him waiting matters much.” He leaned down to pick up the bag that Brew had packed.
“I can carry that,” I offered. He laughed.
“Oh, be my guest. Thank you for being so helpful Nicholas,” he said in between chuckles. I leaned over and grabbed one of the straps, intending to swing it up over my shoulder. A completely immovable bag met my efforts. I tried as hard as I could to lift the bag, but it had such immense weight that I couldn’t get it to budge from the ground. I heard Chak and Brew laughing behind me. I turned around.
“You knew I wouldn’t be able to lift that, didn’t you?”
“Didn’t you see how much stuff I put in there? What? You thought that they just stopped weighing anything once they were packed?” Brew said.
Chak walked over and swung the bag over his shoulder effortlessly. “Why don’t you leave the equipment to me from now on,” he said, obviously trying his best not to laugh. “You just worry about that seed, ok?”
Brew trotted by me following Chak toward the exit, and I heard a throat being cleared behind me as she did. The doctor buzzed by my head and Brew and Chak stopped and looked back.
“Madam,” he said, hovering in front of Brew’s face, “I know this might be an imposition, but having learned of your quest, and feeling a great sense of gratitude toward the Umbili, I would humbly ask if you might consider me as a companion on your venture.”
She stared for a second. “You wanna come with us?” she said.
“You know how dangerous this is gonna be doc? You wouldn’t survive it!”
“All the same, I feel it is my duty to repay you for your kindness to me over the years, and would be truly grateful if you would allow me to assist you in any way that I can.”
“Whaddoya think Chak?”
Chak thought for a moment, and then he shrugged. “It’s his life to lose. He’s not going to cost us any supplies. Sure. Why not?”
“Ok doc. Chak said yes. Looks like you’re in. Just don’t get in the way, ya hear?”
“Oh thank you madam. You shan’t regret this.”
“Nicholas, pick up that sword and let’s go,” Chak yelled as he turned toward the exit again. I glanced around and saw a shiny blade resting near my feet on the floor. I snatched it up and slid it into the sheath in my armor then hurried after Chak and Brew. It felt strangely good to wear a sword again. Back in Athens my sword had always felt foreign to me, but here in the Syllogy of the Universe slipping the sword into the sheath made me feel finished, complete.
An excitement overwhelmed me as I jogged behind the two Umbili and the beetle. They opened the door and headed toward the boat I had tied to the dock. As we crossed the lawn toward the dock I glanced back at the green dome and the door we had exited, and my voice caught in my throat as I watched the door open and nearly close four more times behind me. This must be the gang that Brew had mentioned.
“Yes Nicholas, what is it?”
“When are you going to introduce me to the rest of the group so I don’t feel like I’m being haunted?”
“You’ll meet them when we get back to the drop off. It’ll be easier when we’re all assembled and you can meet Shishu then too. Don’t worry about it until then.”
Want to keep reading? Go to the next section! >>> “Chapter 5. Part 2.”