Obligation

Obligation

A Story by Scotty White
"

What if you were called to service?

"

                                      Obligation


The alarm was screaming at Alex to get up, and she was resisting it with all her might. She had already slapped her hand against the sleep button twice, and she was out of chances. The whining of her cat Aloysius didn’t help matters much. Between the alarm and the calico cat’s desire to be fed, she was forced to get her day started. She sat up slowly and placed her feet on the cold floor then quickly pulled them back under her covers.  

The cat cried again. “Okay, okay I’m up.” Alex sighed as she rolled out of the bed.  

She couldn’t remember a time in her life when she was ever so tired. Even during her time in the service she was always bright eyed and bushy tailed. Of course, those days were long behind her and now. She was reduced to pet human for one demanding cat. Well, not exclusively. She did have a job, but between that and Aloysius, she didn’t have much of a social life.

Once the cat was fed, Alex went to get ready for work. A quick shower and another debate with her image in the mirror about weather or not she should dye her hair as another grey was discovered. She would put it off another week. Yes, she could wait for one more week. She finished getting ready and walked to the kitchen.

Breakfast was easy. Cereal and juice, much like most of her days. She liked the routine. She liked the predictability, which came from her training. She turned on her small television and watched the news. It was always the same story; crime in the streets, corruption in the politics, and, while she knew the answer, she couldn’t imagine how the human race managed to survive so long. It was incredibly cruel to itself.

Alex got up, walked to her sink, and began cleaning her cereal bowl. She stopped and turned off the faucet when a story on the news caught her attention. It seemed that Omit Tech Multi Global was about to announce plans for a new power source that would change the face of the planet forever.  She was an historian. The prospect of new power seemed nice, but it wasn’t what caught her attention. It was the company’s spokesperson ‘Tobias Kincaid.’

Her cell phone rang, and she quickly walked to her dresser to answer it. “Hello? Yes, I saw. I understand. No, no I can handle it. Well yes sir if you’d like to come by you are more than welcome to. Yes the situation is under control.” She hung up the phone and nervously paced back and forth. She dialed again and held the phone to her ear as it rang. “Yes, hello. This is Alexandria. Could you please inform Dr. Graves I will not be able to come in today? I have to take a personal day. In fact, I may have to take a couple of them. No, everything is okay. There are just some family issues I need to take care of. Thank you. Yes, I will let you know. Yes, I hope everything turns out well. Thank you again. Goodbye.”

She glanced to the cat, who had decided to rub against her leg, making sure the human knew her place. Alex bent down and lifted the calico into her arms. The cat gave protest, but was soon soothed by Alex’s soft hands. “You have to guard the apartment for a couple of days. I have to go out. Now, don’t look at me like that. I’ll have Mrs. Piedmont look in on you. If you’re a good kitty I’ll bring you back a treat.” She sighed and put the cat down. “I need to find a boyfriend.”

Tobias Kincaid was a short man who had grown a little pudgy in the last few years. He kept himself busy with research and rarely ventured anywhere that would require exercise or healthy food. He had work to do. If he sacrificed a little bit of his life for it, then so be it. He placed his security badge over the sensor and walked through his lab door when it opened.   

The lab was dark with only a few blinking lights that signal the status of the computers. When Tobias turned on the light he was surprised to see Alex sitting at his chair.

“I didn’t expect it to be you, Lieutenant.”

“But you were expecting somebody, sir.” she replied.

“Of course I was. It was a matter of time before I caught the attention of The Shatterstone.”

Alex stood up and nodded to him. “Well, you caught the attention of all of us. You understood the rules. You understood the stakes.”

“Of course I did, Lt. Cole. You just don’t understand me. I’m a scientist. I need to continue to make discovery, and I can’t make discovery when all I know hasn’t even been thought of yet. Do you know how maddening it is to watch these infantile scientists with their basic equations knowing that’s all they are going to understand for generations? I just wanted to get back to some normalcy. I just wanted to be useful again.”

“Commander, it’s not our place to do this.  We are not the reason these people have made such accomplishments.  They must to make them on their own.  We have to step back and let it happen.”

“The world we live is primitive. We can make it so much better.”

“We aren’t suppose to sir. It’s not our job. It’s not why we are here.”

“We are here because of an accident. We are here because our Captain thought it would be best to chase an enemy through uncharted territory, and we ended up here. Not only did he manage to strand us in this strange time, he destroyed our only means home. We’re exiles on this planet.” Kincaid sighed as he sat down at his desk.

Alex stepped over to him and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. She understood his loneliness, his frustration, and she wasn’t able to help him. She watched him silently for a moment.

“How do you do it, Alexandria? How do you manage to stay sane?”

“I found work that wouldn’t interfere. I’m an historian. I’m a librarian. I do research to help others, but I do not give away what I know. “

“So the Shatterstone know I’m guilty. Are you here to carry out my execution?”

Alex shook her head no. “No, sir. The Shatterstone knows what you are going through, and they sent me to escort you for help. “

“What about my research?” he asked as his voice failed him.

She looked around and then back to the fallen officer. “I’m afraid it’s going to have to be destroyed. Is it all here?”

Kincaid closed his eyes, defeated. “Yes the company frowns at working from home. They wouldn’t want any of their precious products to get out before they have a chance to market them.”

Alex pulled a small device from her pocket and placed it over his computer. She pressed a few buttons and watched the device send out a pulse wave that rendered the equipment useless. She placed the device back in her pocket.

“You sent out a carrier worm to destroy the information on the net?” he asked.

“Of course. Once it seeks out all your research that is stored there it will destroy it then self destruct,” she informed him. “The Shatterstone doesn’t like loose ends.” She led him to the door. “Are you ready?”

He nodded again as she lead him into the night.

               

                                          ***

The ship was badly damaged. Fire danced through the hallways due to the failure of the gravity plating. Lt. Cole was trying to stand on her feet as the space ship rocked back and forth.  Another explosion rocked the corridor and knocked her to the deck. She tried to clear her head as she scrambled to her feet. She continued her way to the escape pods and was stopped by the short, grey alien with its large black eyes and tiny mouth.

The Alien spoke, but Cole couldn’t understand the melodic sound coming from its mouth. It reminded her of a harmonica. She did, however, understand the laser pistol in its hand.  She knocked the weapon out of the small monster’s hand when she tackled it.

The two wrestled on the ground. The vice-like grip of it’s long, slick fingers closed around her neck caused her to gasp for air. Her head grew light as the room around her grew dark. This was how the young scientist would end her life. Dead at the hands of a hostile alien while marooned a thousand years away from her home and loved ones.

The Grey squealed in triumph as it reached for the laser weapon and before it could rise to kill Cole. A laser blast hit the creature in the back, and he collapsed dead on top of Cole. She opened her eyes and gasped for air as its fingers loosened. Commander Kincaid stood above the two, holding the weapon that liberated her. He offered a hand.

“Come on, Alex, we have almost reached those escape pods.”

He pulled her to her feet and blasts from his laser defended her as they snaked through the onslaught of alien intruders into the escape pod. He pressed the button, and the ship drifted away.  Tears filled  her eyes as she watched the Commander read over their Captain’s final orders.

“What does it say?” she sniffled, cheeks hot at the embarrassment caused by her display of emotion.

“Find a quiet place and stay out of history’s way.”

She stared out to the porthole and watched as the spaceship that had been her home for the last four years exploded into a fireball that was quickly swallowed up by the emptiness of space.             

                                           ***

The nightmare woke Alex from her sleep. She hated reliving the battle with the Grey and witnessing the destruction of The Shatterstone. Her thoughts drifted back to the events of the past few days. She couldn’t say if Commander Kincaid was still alive. She could only hope for the best. She got out of bed walked to her kitchen and pulled the bottle of bourbon from under the sink. She poured the spirit into a coffee mug and sat there the rest of the night.


                            Scotty O. White

                                  5/25/2011




© 2011 Scotty White


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TJ
Scotty, this was great really enjoyed this! Few grammatical errors (weather instead of whether) and a few spot where some words could be edited out ("...walked through his lab door when it opened." in this sentence 'when it opened' are unnecessary words) but overall this was fantastic. You have a great writing style and this is an awesome story. Futuristic people with future knowledge having to pretend to be average people!! Wow there's so much story there! Please continue this!

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




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[send message][befriend] Subscribe
TJ
Scotty, this was great really enjoyed this! Few grammatical errors (weather instead of whether) and a few spot where some words could be edited out ("...walked through his lab door when it opened." in this sentence 'when it opened' are unnecessary words) but overall this was fantastic. You have a great writing style and this is an awesome story. Futuristic people with future knowledge having to pretend to be average people!! Wow there's so much story there! Please continue this!

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on June 16, 2011
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Author

Scotty White
Scotty White

Dunbar, WV



About
I am a storyteller originally from Alabama who has been spending a few years in West Virginia before he makes his way to California. I have stories to tell and I hope you will enjoy them! more..

Writing