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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