Machines of darkness part ?
The chamber was carved from the natural grey and green bedrock of the planet. The rock walls had been cut with a precision that only a high powered plasma beam could accomplish. All surfaces were smooth and flawless, with no trace of tool marks. The chamber was deep and narrow with an arched ceiling. Small, dim, lights were evenly spaced along the entire length of the room. Four rows of opaque, grey exam tables were separated by two aisles. Two were head to head in the center and one against each outer wall. There were hundreds of them in this chamber, all coated with a fine layer of dust. This was just one in perhaps thousands of similar chambers scattered across the planet. All designed for one dark purpose.
Waade Hyatch lay in darkness, his head pounding with pain. His mind fuzzy and on the edge of conscientiousness, trying to recall what was happening to him.
“I need to get up” he thought, and struggled to do so, but found that he was being held firmly in place.
“What is holding me down?” thought Waade. Forcing his eyes open, he looked down and saw it was the bed restraints; he was connected to the machine. He remembered being attacked from behind; he was hit on the head with something hard, like a rifle butt. ” frecking cowards!” he spat to the air. The pain in the back of his head throbbed just then making it hard to think. Someone had dragged him to one of the extraction tables and forced him on it Waade knew the restraint bars set automatically when life energy was detected, his energy now. It had started already; he could feel the machine siphoning his life away. “I’m a dead man” thought Waade. Once the machine started, it couldn’t be stopped.
Waade continued to drift in and out of coherent thought as the metallic arms of the bed squeezed him in a deadly embrace. There was a slight vibration and soft electric hum in the air. The sound was almost comforting, soothing .The bed was warm and inviting, like the builders of this abomination wanted their victims to be lulled like a child in his mother’s arms.
Waade was just about to let him-self slip into warm, dark oblivion when the pain came. This was a pain like he never could have imagined. Nothing in his past experience could compare to this. He convulsed as the pleasant warmth was replaced by searing heat over his entire body. Inside, it felt as if a thousand knives shredded organs, muscle and bone. His blood turned to acid and burned unmercifully through his veins. No single part was spared from the agony.
He could hear a voice through the pain, “I am sorry Waade”. Pain, heat, pain, on and on it went for what seemed like hours.
“It was not supposed to be like this. I never intended to harm you or anyone for that matter. But my circumstances changed and I don’t want to die, I won’t die Mr. Hyatch. Thanks to you and the others” A shadowy figure gestured towards the nearby tables where several bodies or what was left of them lay. “If what the science techs said is true, I will never be sick or old. I will be immortal”
Waade forced himself to look where the figure pointed knowing what he would see. There taking up several extraction tables were the bodies of his team members. Beyond he could just make out the missing science teams bloating and rotting bodies. “We didn’t know how to work the machine, not even sure of its purpose, till we found the A/V files.” The vaguely familiar voice continued to tell of the race
that created the device and how very thorough they were documenting the local inhabitants’ reactions to it. ” Each species needs to be calibrated to match the life energy of the recipient.” The voice went on but Waade didn’t pay attention, it was just background noise.
“I should already be dead, why am I not dead like the others?” Waade thought, through the red haze of pain.” End this!” he screamed
Then he thought of Lynne and Jahy, his beloved family. He knew that they were waiting for him to come home. Needing him home, Jahy didn't have much longer before...
He blocked out that last thought, he would not go there. Holding the image of his family in his mind, Waade was able to focus his thoughts. He realized that he could still move his hands. Pushing through the pain and numbness creeping through his mind and body, he forced his hands to move. Slowly, inch by agonizing inch he moved his fingers that felt like they were filled with molten lead. He found his belt and followed it down, afraid that it wasn’t there. “Yes!” he thought with excitement as fingers touched the clasp of the plasma cutting tool. “For my family” he thought,” For my friends” Waade had a chance to escape and was going to take it.