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Adventure Science Fiction

Natalie pulled the night vision goggles over her eyes and scanned the stone wall surrounding the city. The snowstorm was a welcome ally because the guards were inside the guard shack keeping themselves warm. She spotted the ventilation exit a short distance from the shack and zoomed in on the locking mechanism. Relieved that it was an outdated one, she crawled back down the hill to where she left her gear and swung it over her shoulder. When she reached the exit tunnel, she picked the large lock and was careful to put it back into place once she passed through the grate door. Glancing back, she was delighted that the tracks that could give her away were already covered by the falling snow.

     The bullet grazed her upper arm and embedded itself into the concrete wall. She dove through a doorway before the next bullet left the barrel and shoved the USB drive into a pouch on her utility belt. She looked about the room for an exit and found none. When she noticed the flowing of water from somewhere below her, she located a manhole, several feet away. Knowing she'd be dead before the lid was lifted, she pulled a smoke and tear gas bomb from her belt and rolled it through the doorway. After pulling the lid back over the hole, she welded it shut and turned on a flashlight. Not knowing which way to go or how much time she had, she jogged through the ankle deep water.



     It was warm and rain splatter upon the small window when she woke up in a hospital bed she hadn't seen in two hundred years. A spot on the side of her head throbbed with pain. She knew that someone had removed the Mod chip, and sent her back to a troubling past life. A life that she had been running from ever since, despite the blocking mechanism of the chip.

     She knew there were orderlies, doctors, and nurses on the other side of the white walls and metal door. When it hit her that she was an elite soldier this time around, thoughts of escape gave her strength. There was no escaping through the window, which was four stories up. Nonetheless, she needed to be gone before she was given electroshock therapy that would steal her thoughts and memory. 

     "Ah! Clare. It's good to see you awake." Dr. Crawford said, rubbing his hands together.

     "Let's get right to it shall we."

     "There has been a mistake."

     "Well, I have the video right here." he said, pressing play on his laptop.

     Someone with long, black hair like hers appeared on the screen and was sitting on the hardwood floor of her bare apartment. Her legs were pulled into her chest, and her black hoodie was pulled over her bowed head. She raised a gun to her head and pulled the trigger. Before the gun's damage could be viewed, the video ended.

    Natalie was left speechless. Someone wanted her to suffer and disappear from society, yet narrowing it down would be almost impossible. She had many enemies and some she didn't even know. The perpetrator had to be someone high up to be able to get the hologram created and then inserted into her apartment's AI program. 

     "Your sentence for breaking code SR86 is for you to be under my care. This will help you come to terms with your crime and the consequences." he said, pulling out a syringe and injecting medication into her arm.

     "Damn it." she said, as his voice faded away and darkness started to replace the fluorescent lighting. 

     When the drug wore off, she was in the treatment room with the electroshock equipment hooked up to her. The shock made her body tremble and shake. Tension built in her head that made her scream, but the dose of electricity wasn't reduced until Dr. Crawford ordered the orderly to stop. After two more jolts, her mind was blank and her body spasming. 

     "Do you want to die?" Dr. Crawford asked, putting an unloaded gun in her hand.

     "No." she said, dropping the gun.

     "Wrong answer." he said, giving her another jolt of electricity. 

     She was confused. When she was Clare, decades ago, she'd pulled the trigger. The gun had been unloaded then too, and she was jolted for the reply.

     The next time she experienced the shock treatment and was given the gun, she pointed it at her head and pulled the trigger. She was disappointed when the trigger clicked empty. This process went on for what felt like a lifetime. She was exhausted and losing touch with reality. She'd held on longer than she had as Clare who was thought to have died, and the body was donated to science. However, the scientists learned she wasn't dead and had inserted a Mod chip into her brain, which made her into a soldier without a past.

     Natalie willed and prayed to be released from the grip of insanity that was taking a hold of her. While she was laying in bed staring up at the ceiling, the face of her boyfriend hovered in her sight. It was then that she understood why he'd done it, even before the words left his mouth. He was dying from a rare disease and couldn't pass away without knowing she would remain his. He kissed her on the lips then disappeared.

     With the bittersweet parting kiss from her beloved enemy, her strength started to return. It was only a matter of time before her sentence would be over, and she'd be released back into society. All she needed to do was hold tight to the knowledge that she'd rather die than be released. Not because of the torture she was going through. It was because the only person she'd ever cared about in all the bitter world had caused her more heartache than anyone else ever had or could.

     When she woke up, she was covered by garbage in an overflowing dumpster. The smell was rancid, and she started to gag. She clawed and crawled her way out then let herself fall to the ground. The hospital gown she wore let the cold air chill her skin. She got up and went to the entrance of the alley, wishing she had shoes and clothes. Not sure what else to do, she went to Clare's apartment and pressed her hand to the entry pad. The door unlocked, and a soldier from the future she was thrown back from was waiting for her.

     "Natalie. I was expecting you." the soldier said, turning from her to look out the window.

     "Was the mission a success?"

     "Yes."

     "How?"

     "We needed to remove your Mod chip and send you back. The data from the USB was clear about preventing the donation of Clare's body to science. You were an abomination that was never meant to be. It was the only way to end the war."


June 21, 2022 20:37

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4 comments

Paul M
23:01 Jun 29, 2022

I found this very interesting, some really compelling original concepts. I think the word limit hampers the story though. While we don’t want to spell everything out for the reader, for me there was too much missing here. Some of the confusion I felt goes with the mood of the story and the emotions of the main character, evoking that is good. I think in this case the story would work better with more explanation.

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Anna Turnitsa
01:02 Jun 30, 2022

Thanks for your helpful critique. More explanation noted for the next story I write. I've been working on this, elaborating and putting in the nitty-gritty stuff.

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Kristin Johnson
16:59 Jun 25, 2022

Were you perhaps inspired by the TV series Altered Carbon?

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Anna Turnitsa
20:06 Jun 25, 2022

Hi Kristin, No. I never watched the show. I was inspired by the short story "Jingle All the Way" by M. Collings. Thanks for reading my story. I will check out your stories.🙂

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