Alto"s Journal

Alto"s Journal

A Story by Stephen Mayo

This was supposed to be Alto's story from when he became a promethean up to the present day of New Horizon. I hit a wall, textually and emotionally, and I'm not quite sure how I'm going to finish this


            Twisted metal and shredded fiber glass surrounded me. Broken glass dug into my side, pain fighting against the numbness that was spreading up my spine. Pieces of ice, and what used to be a car, held me pinned in place. Something was heavy against my side, making it hard to breathe. I couldn't look down to see what it was, nothing wanted to move right. My vision wavered, blurred by the pain and the bright emergency lights drawing nearer. I fought to turn my head, desperate to see the front seat where my parents had been. My panicked mind tried to focus. They were okay. They had to be okay. But the last thing I saw was a wall of ice.


            Descending Cold, that's what they call it, a poetic little name for something that can cause so much pain. It was a more common problem back in the early days of Deep Aquilon, chunks of ice breaking from the ceiling and falling to the city floor below. The occurrence has dwindled since the diamond ice* initiative. Now it's rare, but still holds the potential to be just as devastating when it happens, but I'm getting ahead of myself.


            ASTI's Applied Science Convention, a yearly event where ASTI and it's partners can showcase their work to colleagues, prospective employees and students. I went every year, kind of hard not too when my parents were commonly among the speakers. My father, Dr. David Merrimac was a prominent surgeon and cybernetic technician. My Mother, Dr. Emily Merrimac, was a geneticist who trained at the Hershey University before moving to Aquilon and meeting my father.


            This year, they were giving a joint speech on their latest project for ASTI. Most of their research was still classified, but the presentation on blurring the line between synthetic and organic was still a good piece. At least it was the first time I heard it. As my parent's sounding board, I had been forced to sit through the whole presentation at least a half dozen times by now. I was more interested in checking out the runner exhibit. It was usually a small exhibit run by a couple of the younger researchers, as more of a hobby than anything official. I liked to check out the latest rides. I was looking forward to testing out the latest products from GlacialCycle when the accident happened.


            The whole thing happened so fast that it didn't even have time to register in my mind until I was stuck and bleeding, most of my body crushed beneath pieces of ice and car. Someone at the hospital explained it later, I was so dazed I don't remember exactly who I was talking to. Apparently a piece of new construction came loose, pulling away from the anchoring points in the glacier above. The ice that broke free fell ten stories before landing on our car. My parents were in the front seat, they were killed instantly. I woke up two days later in the hospital.


            I know I dreamed, but what I dreamed is a complete blur. It's like I can almost reach the memories, but every time I nearly grasp them, they become as insubstantial as a shadow and fade back from the light. I remember pain, loss and a sense of disembodiment, but I can't pin anything down exactly.


            I couldn't talk at first when I woke up, couldn't breathe, or at least I was afraid I couldn't until I noticed that there was an oxygen line hooked to the tube running down my throat. I remembered the accident, remembered the wall of Ice. I tried to sit up and ask for my parents, and that's when I noticed the bandages. Where my left leg should have been, was a bandaged stump ending mid thigh. My right leg was wrapped all the way down, as were both my arms. After the initial moment of panic, I became acutely aware of the fact I couldn't feel my toes or fingers. My breath came harder, fighting against the tube in my throat. My vision started to speckle with little black dots swimming around the room playing to the beeping of a heart monitor that was going off like crazy. I was on the verge of passing out again when a gentle hand landed on my shoulder.


“Calm down son, it's going to be okay. Just take deep breaths and try to relax.”


            I hadn't even seen him enter the room, but I recognized him once my vision cleared. Dr. Alex Winters, my father's old intern. We didn't know each other well, but I had seen him around enough to know he was a good person and close friends with my dad. I blinked away the last fleeting dots in my vision and caught his eyes as I tried to speak. Nothing came out. He seemed to know what I was trying to say.


            “What happened?” His voice was kind as he explained the wreck and I had vague flashes of hearing the story while they worked on me earlier. His voice held genuine sadness when he got to the part about my parent's. Then he started in on my injuries. About half my ribs were broken. My right lung had been punctured by a piece of Ice, but luckily it was only minor. My left leg had been almost completely severed during the accident and there was no chance of saving it. My right leg wasn't much better, and I would likely lose it just below the knee. Both my arms had been shattered and suffered nerve damage, they were going to attempt repairs, but DR. Winters didn't sugar coat it for me when he told me how well that was likely to work.


            “You're gonna be taken care of. We had you taken to the employee wing of the ASTI hospital for treatment. We'll figure out what to do. The company is getting all of your parent's affairs in order. You'll be fine when you get out of here.”


If you ask me, I'd rather have my parents than their money.


* * *


            I spent the next week laying in bed just trying to get back my strength. There were streams of endless nurses, physicians and specialists running about checking on every inch of my body, every little piece hooked up to a monitor. There were too many people for me to register them all during the times when I was barely awake.


            After that first week, the doctor's decided I had enough of my strength back to begin the lengthy process of salvaging what they could from my limbs. After a lengthy prep session, I spent seven hours laying on a table as doctors and nurses began cutting away pieces of damaged tissue. I was under the whole time, but I dreamed.


            The dream started out how most do, in the middle. I was walking, to someplace I didn't know or understand. The landscape around me was barren, rocks and snow interspersed in odd patches. Something was ahead of me, something I had to reach. As I walked, the air became colder, patches of scoured rock eventually gave way until all I could see was white. My body was getting colder, as if ice water in my veins was pooling in my hands and feet. There was nowhere to go back, so I pressed on.


            I stumbled often, as my limbs started to fail me. Legs numb from the cold refused to take steps, hands could barely rub my arms to keep them warm. Over and over I fell as I tried to move forward. Scrapes and cuts on my hands and knees barely had time to bleed before the blood froze over. Still, something was ahead of me, and I needed to get there.


            My lungs burned from the cold air, throat raw and cracking with each breath. My feet stopped moving, sending me tumbling forward once again into the snow. My arms were so heavy and numb  that I couldn't put them up in time to cushion the fall. My face hit hard, blurring my vision and sending little motes of light racing about wherever my eyes looked. I tried to move my legs, but they refused to respond. Tried to wiggle my toes and felt nothing but cold. Ever so slowly, I managed to slide my arms out ahead of me. With one last push, I heaved myself forward, and felt my head land on something soft. I tried to turn my head and see what it was I had found, but the edges of my vision were already going black.


            Bright light shocked me out of my dream

© 2012 Stephen Mayo

Author's Note

Stephen Mayo
this is part of my writing for New Horizon (

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Added on November 27, 2012
Last Updated on November 27, 2012
Tags: Alto, New Horizon, Promethean, Aquilon, Cyborg


Stephen Mayo
Stephen Mayo

Billings, MT

Been a while since I updated this. At the moment I'm writing for the New Horizon RPG ( I'm also working on a few personal projects whenever I get time. more..

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