Origin #11 – Man and the Machine (Part 5)

Anna awoke the next morning feeling deeply contented, and with a smile on her face like she was some outrageously lucky winner she recalled with a blush the previous nights activities. Scott had never touched her quite like that, was love the reason why the sex last night had been so good? She knew without a doubt that Matt loved her, you can’t hurt someone that much if they don’t care for you deeply. Did that mean that Scott had never loved her, and was just interested in her for her body. A new and disturbing thought entered her head, if Scott knew how Matt felt about her, had he been dating her for the subtle indirect suffering that Matt had suffered through year after year? Her eyes widened, it was a wonder she hadn’t destroyed Matt’s love for her, or twisted it beyond all recognition.

The next morning as Anna was laying in the crook of her lover’s shoulder, with a sheet rapped around the both of them. Matt was literally blissed out, so he wasn’t paying attention to the fact that his body felt strong and well rested, with only the slightest sheen of sweat upon his brow. He missed the first time she asked, but the second time was punctuated by a soft fist to the kidney’s which he only felt the impact of. He turned his head towards the mass of hair resting on his chest and shoulder and said, “Sorry I was completely spaced out there. You said something?”

Anna, now having got her breath back used her hands to raise herself up off his chest and then to a sitting position with the sheet wrapped around her chest, as she looked him in the eye. “Matt, I need to ask you something and I kinda need you to be honest.”

Matt’s mind whirled as he thought of all the things she could want to ask him. He sighed, resigned to the fact that he was going to have to tell her sooner or later. How she’d missed the skrill attached to his wrist last night or this morning he didn’t know. Maybe she thought it was a new watch, but ultimately he knew he could trust her with this. “I’ve never really lied to you Anna, and I’m not going to start now.”

Anna wondered what he meant by that, but this was a good start. “So how did you go from fit for a student to having a body a god would be proud of in a month and don’t feed me that rubbish about you working out every single moment after you got out. You should still be tender and bruised from head to toe. Instead you have not a single bruise on you and I looked very closely.”

Matt looked at her closely, seeing that she wasn’t going to let this go. “That’s more then a single question dear. I’ll make you a deal, go have a shower and freshen up. I’ll get you some clothes, and when you get back I’ll answer your question. Ok?”

Anna scowled a little, that not being the exact answer she was looking for but she nodded. She could use a shower and fresh clothing. Besides, if it meant getting a honest answer then she was willing to put up with a lot more then a shower which would make her feel better.

Matt threw the sheets over and slipped into his discarded winter pj’s and hurriedly threw on a jumper as he rummaged in his closet for some clothes. He pulled out his old year 10 junior’s Canterbury jersey and a pair of track pants. He threw them over to Anna before saying, “While your in the shower I’ll put brekky on.” Then he left the room so Anna could shower in the en suite bathroom.

Matt walked out into the kitchen, and retrieved from the fridge the carton of eggs, a rasher of bacon, some of the mushrooms, onion and capers. Then humming contentedly to himself he retrieved from the kitchen a couple of jars of spices, salt and pepper and a couple of bottles of sauces and began to slice and dice the ingredients. He added some butter to the skillet as he diced and when it was ready he added all the cut up ingredients plus most of the carton of eggs, a couple of pinches of this spice and that spice and then a dollop or two of the sauces. He quickly stirred the mixture together before placing a lid on the skillet and then turned to start the kettle boiling. By this time he was sure that Anna was in the shower and couldn’t hear him.

“Sam, are you there?” Matt asked in a low voice to the empty room.

“Of course Matt, I have very little to do except monitor your status at the moment.” Sam replied in a half serious manner.

Matt blushed and frankly asked, “How far does that monitoring capability extend?”

Sam archly replied, “The neuro-transciever transmits both auditory and visual information.”

Matt struggling to contain his embarrassment and his emerging anger as he angrily whispered, “So you were privy to last night and this morning then.”

Sam countered in an offhand manner, “Only for the preliminaries, I had to be sure you weren’t in distress when all your vital signs became significantly elevated in a few seconds. After I ascertained that you were in no danger I discontinued monitoring the sensory feeds.”

Matt breathed a sigh of relief at that, “Good, now Anna has seen my enhanced physique and is asking serious questions. What do you advise I do?”

It took a few moments for Sam to reply, “That’s entirely your decision Captain, we need the crew and you seem to trust this woman. You could recruit her, or there are a number of non-lethal options that would solve this dilemma discreetly, or if that’s impossible some lethal methods if you don’t want her to know about us.”

Matt’s expression turned from one of thought to one of horror at the thought of having Anna killed. “No Sam, I won’t countenance killing her EVER. What I was thinking was to test to see if she’s agreeable to being recruited, by demonstrating the skrill to her and then bring her to you. If she seems unable to handle it, is there some way to alter her memories so that she does not ask these questions again?”

Sam quickly replied, “That seems an excellent low risk plan Matt. So what do you need from me?”

Matt poured the hot water from the kettle into two cups as he flipped the omelet and made the coffee. “Well, I realise that I know what the skrill is and basically how it works but I’m not sure about how to fire it. Could you access the weapons technical manual and walk me through it.”

Sam was stumped for a moment, so much for his insistence that the Captain take a weapon that he couldn’t even use yet. He accessed the relevant manuals and quickly had an answer for Matt.

“Captain, the skrill when it bonds creates a neural link between your brain and it’s neocortex. The skrill can respond to a mental command to fire or to your emotional state. But you should have begun to sense the skrill’s mind by now” Sam relayed.

“Thank you Sam, I’ll test it out momentarily.” Matt replied before mentally closing down the transceiver.

After he dished out the omelet onto the two plates and finished pouring both two cups of coffee. He walked out the back door and looked at the scenic mountainside view that soothed his soul as he concentrated his awareness on the skrill attached to his arm. That regard triggered something, for the skrill came into view fully now. The skrill’s mind reached out to his own and made it’s fairly basic but detailed awareness known to him. The skrill’s mind was distinctly alien, thinking in images, sounds and colours. It took him some time to acclimate his mind to the Skrill’s view of things, and the same was true of the skrill. It told him it’s name, h’Kel if he had to vocalise it. But tinged with a hue of iridium and accompanied by a flash of great blue grass that surrounded a roiling red swamp. It’s ancestral home if he had to guess.

When Matt showed the skrill the image of himself in the mirror and told him it’s name. The skrill pitied him, for his name had no flavour, no colour. In the minutes that followed the skrill instructed Matt in how they might work together to slay their enemies. How the skrill was the hand yet Matt was the eye. Satisfied that he now knew how this weapon fit within him he walked back inside to see Anna, out of the shower and hurriedly devouring her part of the Omelet. The skrill retreated from the visual spectrum, becoming invisible again.

He sat opposite Anna and ate his half of the food and drank the coffee with her, acting like a normal couple after their first night together. Once they were done, Anna waited expectantly. Matt stood up, taking their plates to the sink and rising them before coming back and sitting down at the table. Matt sat down and looked Anna in the face and said, “Before I begin, I want you to promise me that you’ll listen with an open mind and not react until I’m finished. Agreed?”

Anna swallowed hesitantly, this couldn’t be good. “Alright, but this had better be good.”

Matt chuckled a little, “When I said to you that I’d spent every moment since Scott had battered me trying to bulk up. I wasn’t lying, I spent the first few days resting, and after that I went on those diet shakes, extra runs, weights, protein bars. Anything to drop the flab and bulk up. I turned about three kilo’s of fat into muscle in about three weeks.”

“This,” he pointed to his muscular body, “happened yesterday afternoon by accident. I tried the heavy climb trail yesterday, I’d never been down it in my life. Of course in my weakened condition I tripped and fell off the trail, damn near killed myself rolling down the mountain. At first I laughed myself silly, as much as my freshly abused body would allow anyway. Grateful that I lived and with no broken bones, I started to figure out just where the hell I was. However there was something else stomping around in the bush with me. I thought it might have been someone walking around lower down the mountain. But that wasn’t it, and when the sounds started to sound like I was being stalked I tried to hide, but that didn’t exactly work out. So I panicked and ran to a level sort of clearing, where there was this large hole in the ground. “

“Probably happened during the big storm we had last week, the thing which I now know what it was had tracked me there. As it revealed itself and advanced, scared shitless I stepped back and fell down the hole. Now that fall should have killed me and most probably did. But I woke up, as you see me now in the bowels of a ship. A ship with a sentient computer that claims humanity settled this planet a hundred thousand years ago.”

He finished and looked into Anna’s enraged face, confusion wormed its way across his features as she burst out. “Of all the crap you could come up with, space ships, being stalked falling and dying. Come on Matt grow up, I’d have expected this from Ian. Not from you, you promised me the truth and if this pack of lies is what I’m going to get to hell with you.”

Anna grabbed her clothes from the floor leading to the lounge room and from the bedroom and was headed to the front door when a large ball of energy flashed past her coming from where Matt was sitting at the table. It struck the door and the door vanished in a flash of light and sound which bowled Anna over. Matt went to her side and cradled her as her mind tried to process what she’d just seen. The door had just been annihilated by an advanced energy weapon. Matt had an advanced energy weapon, there weren’t energy weapons in the world. There just weren’t and her practical mind shied away from the concept.

As she came around, she looked up at Matt and said in a dazed tone, “Spaceships huh, maybe you’d better start again.”

Author’s note : To be honest I’m not really happy with the whole how Matt and Anna got together thing, and I will probably rewrite it at a later date. Forgive me if it’s just a bit too forced atm.


Origins #10 - Man and Machine (Part 4)
Origin #12 - Man and the Machine (Part 6)