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Cheap Goggles: Chapter 2

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The smell of burning wood and plant material fills my nostrils. My ears are ringing so badly I feel like my thoughts are inaudible. I attempt to reestablish my bearings, but I find it difficult to focus my vision. My body feels overheated all over, as if I have been out in the sun for too long. As the world begins to focus I realize the general devastation around me. Most of the nearby trees are knocked over, the large oak I had originally hidden behind has been reduced to a small pile of ashes.

“What.. was that..” I mutter to myself. I begin to check myself over, checking for any bodily injury. My goggles are still in tact, satchel seems a little cooked but the contents inside prove unharmed. It’s after I reach my hand down to my side to check my pistol when I realize my arm is still on fire. I find myself feeling slightly confused by this before realizing how much of a problem it is, “Oh damn!” I shout as I begin frantically swatting at my sleeve with my opposite hand. My gloves have been burned down to my flesh, leaving only patchwork pieces of leather and cloth. My jacket seems relatively unharmed, save for the right sleeve being almost completely burned away, and a few minor burn holes here and there.

“Attention life-form.” a mechanical voice surprises me as I adeptly unholster my pistol in a very fluid way, swinging it from side to side within my view. As I pan my vision upwards I notice a metallic looking object floating nearby the once great oak tree.  A perfect sphere appears made out of black metal, around a foot in diameter, with a few strategically placed lights that almost give it a face. “Life-form, I regret to inform you that because of your presence the experiment has been deemed invalid due to contamination.”

I furrow my brows a bit, keeping the iron sights of the pistol aimed squarely on the floating sphere, “I’m sorry?” I say, not really knowing what else to say at that point.

The sphere lowers in altitude hovering about shoulder height with me, I find it disconcerting how silently the thing moves about. The lights of its “face” begin moving around, “The Northern Alliance is conducting military tests in this area, regrettably the tests will have to be rerun again thanks to your interference.”

I re-holster my sidearm giving the sphere an irritated look, “Well, I apologize for walking Mr. Sphere.”

The sphere’s lights suddenly change to red as an angry-looking face appears, “DO NOT REFER TO ME AS MR. SPHERE, LIFE-FORM, I AM..” the mechanical voice suddenly lowers in volume, “I am experimental bot SX-28.7, and I would appreciate it if you would refer to me as such.” the sphere says proudly, electrical face returning to a more calm looking shade of blue.

“Well, Mr. SX-28.7 I would prefer if you didn’t refer to me as “life-form”.” I say in rebuttal, “Also, I think this ‘Northern Alliance’ owes me a new jacket.” I say, displaying my destroyed sleeve.

A light emits from the sphere as it scans over my now bare right arm, and over the entirety of my jacket, “How does SX-28.7 know one did not destroy his own sleeve?” the mechanical voice asks hovering back in front of my face.

I blink uncomfortably at the closeness of the bot, “Why would I burn my sleeve?” I ask.

The sphere revolves a bit, as if thinking, “Perhaps this life-form is just maladroit.. clumsy, slept too close to a fire?” the bot offers.

I begin to feel increasingly irritated as I decide it pointless to argue with this thing, “Never mind. I guess I will just be on my way then, nice to meet you Mr. SX-28.7.” I say as I pivot around and begin to walk off in the opposite direction.

I immediately bump my forehead against the barrel of a rifle. Multiple cloaked forms suddenly appear from around the brush to the sides of me. A handful of black cloaked individuals, all wielding similar looking rifles, aimed squarely at me, approach slowly.

SX-28.7 hovers down to my side, “I’m afraid this life-form will need to come with us for debriefing.” it says.

I raise my hands above me, shaking my head, “Fine fine..” I mutter, what a miserable day I’m having. One of the cloaked figures moves forward swiftly and retrieves my pistol out of its holster, also removing my satchel.

“If you’ll come with us, life-form.”

For a moment I consider trying to fight for it, but from the looks of it, these folks are definitely not messing around. Besides, if they can do that to an oak tree, I don’t really want to know what they can do to me. “Right right.” I say, as I begin following the group of dark cloaked men, all with faces hidden behind dark scarves surrounding the lower half of their faces.  They lead off deeper into the woods, I follow closely, goggles fogging up with each breath I take.  First thing I’m going to do when I get out of this mess, is buy some decent eyewear.


Written by andrewsnafu

February 25, 2010 at 1:27 am

Cheap Goggles: Chapter 1

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It always feels cold here.  Even with so many layers.  I take another puff of my cigarette, my hands are freezing, as I scan the area around me.  As I exhale deeply my goggles begin to fog up.  Should not have cheaped out on the goggles.  At least it keeps the wind out of my eyes, even though I can’t see very well for half of every breath I take.

I glance down at the ground, my boots crunch softly on the frozen landscape.  I always feel like I’m going to slip and embarrass myself, at least there aren’t too many people around maybe I could get away with falling on my butt.  At least I didn’t cheap out on the footwear, seeing is fine, but not being mobile provides a greater danger to my safety.

I raise the cigarette to take another puff when a loud thud startles me from off to my left.  My hand instinctively drops to my side grasping the handle of my pistol, didn’t cheap out on that either.  My breathing begins to increase, the goggles fogging up with each large exhale as my eyes dart from left to right trying to find the source of the sound.

“Woah there!” a gruff voice shouts from in the distance.  “Damn it I said woah!”

I blink uncomfortably wondering if the voice is referring to me or something else.  Can he see me?  My attire isn’t exactly camouflage but..  I barely have time to finish my thought before the loud sound happens again, closer.  Suddenly I recognize the sound, galloping.  The brush ahead of me shifts violently as a large horse comes bursting through.  Broken reins streaming behind it, well that explains the sound I suppose.

My heavy breathing continues, each time the foggy lenses clear the horse keeps charging towards me.

“You’ve got to be kidding me..” I mutter to myself as I begin dashing back towards the treeline.  Boots crunching loudly on the ground with each step, satchel banging against my side.  It won’t run into the tree, just need to get to the treeline.  A large oak comes into view and in one swift motion I orbit around and drop down behind it.  Taking refuge behind the large oak tree I continue listening for the sound.  It’s still getting closer, louder.  Suddenly, the large oak I had taken refuge behind shakes violently with a large thud.

For a moment I’m speechless as I peer around the side of the tree.  The horse teeters about drunkenly and collapses to one knee.  It really did run into the tree..

“How stupid can you be Frank!  Running into trees, for goodness sake!”  The apparent owner of the horse approaches.  Frank neighs quietly still clearly disoriented.  “Not only that you seem to have given this fellow here a fright.” the man glances at rubbing a gloved hand over his full beard.  “Sorry about that stranger, Frank isn’t the smartest horse around, but he’s the strongest if that means anything.  Name’s Joe by the way.” he finishes as he extends a gloved hand.

The grin on his face is oddly comforting, and he doesn’t seem armed so I get to my feet shuffling forward to shake his hand.  “Allen.” my muffled voice doesn’t travel well through the scarf.

“Nice to meet you Allen.  Well, Frank let’s get you back to the convoy, never knew trees would be your great weakness.  Safe travels Allen.” Joe says grabbing the broken reins of Frank and begins leading him off in the direction he had come.

I wrinkle my nose a bit, well that was uncomfortable.  Pivoting around I make back towards the treeline when another large sound knocks me off my feet.  The sound of collapsing tree branches begin to surround me, ears ringing from the shockwave of the explosion.

“What the..” I begin to think to myself, quickly becoming disoriented, before the world suddenly goes black.

Written by andrewsnafu

February 10, 2010 at 11:42 pm