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Science Fiction Adventure Romance

Somebody famous wrote 'the eyes are the window to the soul', so I suppose that’s why I caught a glimpse of a beautiful world when our hamburger-shaped In-SECTs (Independent Secure Eye Containment Transporters) brushed past each other in the highest layer of the atmosphere and my eyes met hers.

I say ‘brushed past’ but it was actually more like me veering wildly off course as a result of pressing my control stick too far forward and almost careening into another drone, the one that had the initials RL glowing green on its digital display. 

“Watch it!” the digitised voice of the eyeballs’ female owner blared from the speaker on the bottom part of her unit, which really did resemble a burger bun base, the complement to its more rounded top, which was covered in dozens of blinking, sesame seed-like lights. “Stay in your orbit.”

The iridescent, emerald green irises of those disembodied eyes, floating together in the aqueous humor sealed within the transparent mid-section of the unit, the ‘patty’ if you will, weren’t new to me. I’d seen them before, on the big screen, in magazines, at red carpet events and award ceremonies, but never this close up and never with them looking at me directly. The comforting sensation of belonging that surged through me as those inky black pupils sucked me in wasn’t new either, it reminded me of what I’d had with Melissa, what had been stolen from me and what I hadn’t felt again, until now.

Which was unfortunate.

RL was annoyed, and that was understandable. Having been auto-piloted up here from Earth, well spaced out in single file, we were now in the ‘free roam’ portion of our tour, a million dollar sight-seeing expedition to Earth’s outer atmosphere for a ringside view of this year’s Lyrid meteor shower, and the last thing anyone wanted was an idiot in a cubicle a hundred kilometres below crashing his In-SECT into theirs. 

In my defence, this was my first time controlling one of these things and even with the twenty hours of training I’d received, it was only natural to get confused by the controls, especially when I couldn’t see them. Notwithstanding the fact there was a bulky visor over the top of my face, there was also the small matter of my eyes not being in their sockets, instead broadcasting the sights they were seeing to my brain via the cables connected to my optic nerves.

Yeah. I know. It’s extreme. Removing your eyes so they can be put in a drone and flown places your body can’t go, to witness sights you wouldn’t otherwise be able to see, but, you know, if you’re rich and famous and in search of a new experience…why not?

I didn’t exactly fit into that category but I had my connections and a need to be on this trip today, so I’d decided to go all in. It wasn’t that big a deal. The initial operation to install the node connectors on the optic nerves was done under general anaesthesia and the procedure to disconnect/reconnect the eyeballs was quick and painless, if a little nauseating. Watching your surroundings move while your body remained motionless was unsettling, but you got used to it. And being able to visit the bottom of the ocean or the frozen heart of the Antarctic or the inside of a toxic volcano certainly seemed to make it worthwhile. 

The tours were chaperoned, well organised, (expensive), and up until today perfectly safe. Unless, of course, your eyes got lost because some newbie piloted his drone into yours and caused you both to drift off into the deepest, darkest reaches of cold, black space.

“Sorry,” I said, in my soundproof, cushioned cubicle on Earth, the word being picked up by the mic attached to my visor and emitted from my In-SECT in the mesosphere. “It’s my first time flying blind, so to speak.”

“I gathered that,” the Oscar-winning actress replied, and I couldn’t help but use the control stick in my left hand to rotate my eyes so they could follow her. “I bet you adapt quickly though. I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it.”

The cables holding my eyeballs in place and transmitting what they saw back to the receptors in my sockets allowed them to move within the oxygen-supplying fluids, and I almost immediately made them turn back the other way when I found her eyes had swivelled too and were looking at me. 

But I didn’t. That was my usual MO, surprising to many, since my job put me front and centre with the wealthiest and most beautiful people in the world, but I was an introvert and didn’t enjoy attention. Maybe that’s why the job suited me. Because I got to stick to the shadows, observe proceedings from afar, keep quiet while watching for dangers. Nobody interacted with me. I was a Suit with dark shades and an earpiece, a background character until needed and then back to being nobody again. 

Here it was different. Here I was just a pair of eyes looking at another pair of eyes without judgement or baggage. And I loved her eyes, instinctively trusted them. There was a kindness in those eyes, the same kindness Melissa’s had held. I'd never expected to find that again, and to find it here, of all places, was cruel.

'The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away'.

Yeah. I'd heard that one before too.

Against my better judgement I found myself moving my control stick to the left, gently this time, turning my drone so I could follow her through what our guide had called ‘noctilucent clouds of ice crystals’. Distant stars twinkled in the compressing dark outside the mesosphere and the green and blue surface of the earth spread out like a painting below.

“Pretty cool up here, huh?” I said, coasting my drone up to hers. “You handle the In-SECT well, guess this is not your first time?”

“Do these look like virgin eyes?” she replied, eyeballs twitching behind reinforced polycarbonate plastic, irises sparkling like jewels. I imagined her smiling in her cubicle as she teased, wondered which one she was in. I’d seen her briefly in the waiting room when I checked in, dark glasses in place, attention anchored to her phone screen, oblivious to all, but I was taken to be prepped for travel then and lost sight of her. Literally. 

“It’s my third time, actually,” she went on, turning her attention to the blazing white meteors that were drawing close, carving their way through the heavens. “I’ve done Everest and the Antarctic. This is my first off-world experience.”  

“Everest sounds cool. I guess I started out big. Never intended to try something like this but the opportunity came up so…”

“Go big or go home,” she said, in a sing-song manner, her In-SECT moving ahead as she started gliding towards the rest of the group, the guide and the other four tourists. The guide had rounded the others up and his grey eyes were now shooting us daggers, tilting his unit repeatedly in a ‘come hither’ gesture. “So who are you? You looked very mysterious in the waiting room before, standing in the doorway, all broody.”

“How do you know that was me?” I said, at the same time thinking ‘she actually noticed me’ as a lump caught in my throat and my face flushed. Lucky she couldn’t see that, or the beads of sweat on my brow.

“Well, you’re male, there are only two males in this group and I know you’re not Mick Savage because Mick Savage has a thick Irish accent and is an absolute di-”

“Hey, youse two!” a distorted voice shouted from ahead. “Get over here will yez, you’re gonna miss it! Jesus, Bex, I heard you were a maneater but that’s just plain cruel flirtin’ with a fella whose body is a million miles away! Givin’ the lad blue balls! And I don’t mean his eyes!”

“See what I mean?” ‘Bex’–actually Rebecca Lake–said, rolling her eyeballs in the cutest way. “Total dick. He’s asked me out at least a dozen times but I’d rather date a real man, you know, one who does something worthwhile rather than strut around and batter people half to death in a ring. Which brings me back to you. What’s your name, Mr. Mystery Man, and what do you do that you’re able to afford a trip to…”

A sudden cry cut her off and we rolled our eyes forward again to see Mick the Dick’s In-SECT dropping away from the others, plummeting like a rock through the atmosphere, his voice box shouting expletives as veins of electricity danced around it. 

“Shit!” the speaker on the In-SECT holding our tour guide Cole’s eyes spat. “Control, switch to automatic, get them out of here, I think we’re being…”

A ball of energy tore through a thin layer of polar mesospheric clouds, dragging a geyser of ice crystals with it as it lanced towards Cole’s unit. “Damnit,” the tour guide cursed, just before the energy blast hit, extinguishing his unit’s lights and flight capabilities and knocking it out of the sky.

“Jesus,” Bex’s unit issued, lurching towards the others. “Who the fuck is shooting?”

I took a breath and sighed in the comfort of my chamber before pushing my control stick forward, pulling on its trigger to accelerate. It was happening, like the informant said, and as much as I was glad I hadn’t wasted my time and Elron Grey’s million dollars, I was upset. 

Because Rebecca Lake’s eyes were truly stunning.

I chased the starlet’s In-SECT, closing the distance between us and the others, knowing it was a waste of time. Three more energy blasts ripped through delicate, night shining clouds and impacted with the units circling ahead, units that held the eyes of a platinum-selling Ukrainian artist, a world-renowned Japanese pianist, and the CEO of the world’s most popular social network. The lights on all three went dead as soon as they were hit and they dropped, the owners of the eyeballs in them screaming.

My drone was hit next and then I was falling, the images I was receiving flickering and fading in and out, lines of static appearing across them, like I was watching an old TV. 

I played with my control sticks, confirmed what I already guessed, that they no longer worked. It didn’t matter. All going well, I wasn’t going to need them anymore. The important thing was there was still a connection, however weak, and I could see, albeit not as clearly. 

As I plummeted through the heavens, watching clouds shoot past in flicker-vision and my surroundings brighten with the In-SECT’s passage from mesosphere to stratosphere to ozone layer, I found myself hoping Rebecca got away. If the overseers on Earth took control of her unit in time and guided it to safety, that would make what was about to happen that bit more palatable. 

I didn’t care about myself. Or Mick the Dick. Felt slightly sorry for Cole and the others but not as much as I would have for Rebecca if she was with us. You can call me selfish or self-serving. But maybe reserve judgement on that.

I fell for what seemed like an age but was only about thirty seconds, the world spinning as my drone spiralled down. One bad thing about seeing through eyes that weren’t connected to your body was that closing your eyelids did no good, so I couldn’t look away from what I was seeing, couldn’t hold the nausea at bay. 

I had to lean forward and vomit, praying I’d bent over far enough to avoid getting puke on my control deck. The cubicle was sound proof but I knew at that moment there was a lot of commotion outside, the overseers were monitoring everyone’s feeds so they knew what was going down, if not quite understanding why. 

I knew why.

By the time I’d finished puking, my In-SECT’s descent through the ozone layer and entrance to the troposphere was complete, placing it about twenty kilometres from the surface of the planet–and between two hovering, military grade choppers. Their spinning rotor blades whipped dangerously close to my drone as it fell between them, dropping into the net they held, secured from door to open door, coming to rest there.

It tumbled and rolled along the net’s fine mesh, bumping into the other drones that had been caught, all five of them, Mick and the others’ panicked voices barely audible over the roar of the blades. I made eye contact with Cole’s grey irises for a moment as we rolled side by side, saw the fear in them, the confusion, but then they spun away to be replaced by a pair of brown ones, Mick’s or one of the girls. I hadn’t gotten close enough to any of them to be able to match eyes with names. It didn’t matter. As long as they weren’t…

Another jolt forward as the helicopter on the left dropped lower, creating a slope on the net, a slide to take us down into its maw, and then I was rolling alongside a different drone, and I cursed when I caught a glimpse of the emerald green eyes floating within.

Damn.

We tumbled together into the chopper, seven incapacitated In-SECTs, able to see, hear and speak, but not move. The visuals being received by the transmitters in my eye sockets had cleared up. When my unit came to a halt on the greasy metal floor, I saw the booted feet of several individuals scurrying around, gloved hands snatching up the units. Somebody slid the chopper door shut and I was able to hear what was said.

“Woo-hoo, we got ourselves Mick Savage’s eyes here, boys! Come on, Mick, what ya gonna do, knock us out with a roundhouse, ‘paint an Irish bruisin’' on us?”

“Fuck, Savage, I’ve got Mariko Ishi… Nishi… whatever the fuck her name is! Biddings up to a hundred mill on her!”

“Davina Somerset here. Hey, bitch. You fucking ruined Trender, you know that? They’re probably bidding on your eyes just to burn them.”

“Rebecca Lake! Loved you in ‘Loo Loo Land’! We’re gonna get the most for yours for sure!”

“I got Olena Kravchenko and…MD? Who the fuck is MD? This one’s not on the list, boss. There’s only supposed to be five and the guide.”

I the fuck was MD, in the hands of a pasty-faced beanpole trying to look impressive in combat fatigues that had never seen action. Pathetic.

“Give me that,” came a voice from behind me, and I was moving again, passed from one pair of hands to another, the hands of the man I’d come to find. “Can’t be more than five. Our info is top notch.”

I’d always expected the moment I finally came face to face–or eye to eye–with this bastard would be epic, something truly cinematic, an encounter worthy of the classics, like Clarice meeting Hannibal, Bond meeting Blofeld, Luke meeting Vader. It was actually incredibly anti-climactic. He just appeared before me, a normal looking, middle-aged guy, in combat fatigues like the rest of them, dark hair gelled back, smattering of stubble, black-rimmed glasses pinching his nose. 

Nothing special.

“Who the fuck are you?” he asked, lifting my In-SECT before his face for a better look. “How did you get on this tour?”

I could have told him. I could have said I was Melissa Grey’s bodyguard, the guy he’d caught by surprise and shot in the back, the guy he’d left for dead before taking his client, his best friend, his love, the guy who’d been able to do nothing while he held her for ransom, collected ten million dollars from her father then killed her anyway, the guy who’d failed and spent the next ten years trying to hunt him down until finally getting tipped off that he was going to do this, here, today and making it his mission to stop him.

But I didn’t. Because what would have been the point?

Instead I looked past him to the In-SECT in the hands of another, the In-SECT belonging to Rebecca, the In-SECT with the dazzling green eyes that were staring at me helplessly but still sending waves of calming comfort. 

“I’m sorry,” I simply said, and then, in my chamber, I pressed the extra button I’d been supplied with.

I didn’t see or hear the explosion, not past the initial rumbling and first flash of light. I was thankful for that, thankful for the dark that descended. 

I’d seen enough. 

My eyes were gone but that didn’t bother me, I knew what I was giving up when I decided to do this. It was a small price to pay to take out the most prolific kidnapper, trafficker, hijacker and all-round scumbag of our time. And finally avenge Melissa’s death.

My only regret was having to sacrifice Rebecca’s beautiful eyes.

It wasn’t long before the door of my chamber was opened, before a staff member was helping me out, reassuring me everything was going to be okay, not actually knowing what had happened. The others were coming out too, also being guided by staff members, I heard Mick shouting about suing, Davina asking what happened her eyes, Mariko and Olena crying. 

I took a step forward and bumped into someone.

“Watch it,” she said, her hand coming up to push me away. “Stay in your orbit.”

“Sorry. It’s my first time walking blind…so to speak.” 

A pause. Her hand pressing against my chest softened.  

“I gathered,” she said, after a moment. 

No matter what decision I’d made, gone through with the plan or not, she would never have gotten her eyes back, none of us would.

“I bet you adapt quickly though.”

This way, at least they wouldn’t suffer, see things they didn’t have to, be abused. 

 “You’ll get the hang of it.”

Her hand dropped down and took mine.

Rebecca Lake’s eyes had taken me into her soul and I felt like I would stay there for a while.






May 26, 2023 23:24

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17 comments

Sarah Xin
02:43 May 30, 2023

Very cool! I'm impressed by the concept / world building (if that's what it's called), and I liked the repurposing of the beginning conversation at the end. Fun read!

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14:44 May 30, 2023

Hey Sarah! Thanks! Glad you Enjoyed. I love writing cinematic style pieces to be honest, it's kind of my thing. :)

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Keith Domican
07:25 May 29, 2023

Really fun and engaging romp, well done!

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14:44 May 30, 2023

Thanks bro!

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Aeris Walker
00:19 May 28, 2023

Man, what an action-packed adventure! Cinematic and engaging. Favorite line: “Distant stars twinkled in the compressing dark outside the mesosphere and the green and blue surface of the earth spread out like a painting below.”

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07:25 May 28, 2023

Thanks Aeris! High praise coming from someone of your caliber. I enjoy writing adventure yarns like this. Its my 'thing' i suppose. Glad you enjoyed!

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Mary Bendickson
05:11 May 27, 2023

Out of this world, Derrick!🌌 Yes, I think this was more hopeful positive ending.

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11:27 May 27, 2023

thanks Mary...ill be honest I was hoping nobody would read it yet...i was running out of time to submit it yesterday and it wasnt properly edited, i had a bit to do on it. but i submitted it anyway know id have time to edit it before it was approved! Which I have now done. So feel free to read again,,,mainly the ending has been expanded on.:)

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Annie Persson
17:27 Oct 24, 2023

This is great! I really like the concept of the "eye tour", and I thought it was a great interpretation of the prompt! I like how you told the backstory at the end after hinting at parts. That was a really nice touch. All-in-all, I think this was a great story. :)

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J. D. Lair
15:43 May 30, 2023

Brilliant concept and very enjoyable read!

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18:20 May 30, 2023

Thanks JD. Very happy with this one myself. ! Glad a few people are finding it 🙂. The main character was originally called JD lol but changed it to be MD so it wasn't so obvious from the start it was a name. MD could mean doctor so went with that.

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J. D. Lair
18:35 May 30, 2023

True! I was think doctor myself when I started reading. :)

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14:56 Jun 06, 2023

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14:56 Jun 06, 2023

I NEED AN URGENT LOVE SPELL CASTER TO BRING BACK MY EX LOVER My Husband broke up with me after 9years of relationship. It started from small misunderstandings after which he told me that it would be good to take a break, which I think turned into a breakup. He no longer looks for me, he blocked my number and people said they saw him with another woman, this brought tears to my eyes because we are about to marry, I searched for help when I came across this spiritual man called DR ABDUL who have helped many people having relationship problem, ...

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14:56 Jun 06, 2023

I NEED AN URGENT LOVE SPELL CASTER TO BRING BACK MY EX LOVER My Husband broke up with me after 9years of relationship. It started from small misunderstandings after which he told me that it would be good to take a break, which I think turned into a breakup. He no longer looks for me, he blocked my number and people said they saw him with another woman, this brought tears to my eyes because we are about to marry, I searched for help when I came across this spiritual man called DR ABDUL who have helped many people having relationship problem, ...

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14:56 Jun 06, 2023

I NEED AN URGENT LOVE SPELL CASTER TO BRING BACK MY EX LOVER My Husband broke up with me after 9years of relationship. It started from small misunderstandings after which he told me that it would be good to take a break, which I think turned into a breakup. He no longer looks for me, he blocked my number and people said they saw him with another woman, this brought tears to my eyes because we are about to marry, I searched for help when I came across this spiritual man called DR ABDUL who have helped many people having relationship problem, ...

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14:56 Jun 06, 2023

I NEED AN URGENT LOVE SPELL CASTER TO BRING BACK MY EX LOVER My Husband broke up with me after 9years of relationship. It started from small misunderstandings after which he told me that it would be good to take a break, which I think turned into a breakup. He no longer looks for me, he blocked my number and people said they saw him with another woman, this brought tears to my eyes because we are about to marry, I searched for help when I came across this spiritual man called DR ABDUL who have helped many people having relationship problem, ...

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