John’s SciFi Space Short Story
“I am possessed,” Cain said out loud to himself as he stood in the deserted docking bay of Babylon space station. But to understand Cain’s statement, we must start this story 24 hours earlier.
Cain, a dockworker on the Babylon space station orbiting the planet Euphrates, busied himself unloading the latest freighter to arrive. After hauling a load of machine parts into the warehouse on the anti-gravity (agrav) sled, he wiped his brow as he gazed into space through the nearest porthole, daydreaming as he leaned on the crate. He wondered what life was like on Tigris, the next planet farther out. It was a tropical planet and specialized in luxury. Only the richest afforded to live there and even a holiday cost a fortune. Cain heard the night-life was something to die for, with the most exotic women to tempt anyone. He sighed. He couldn’t even afford that on his salary.
“Hey! Cain! Stop dawdling. We have a ship to unload,” Kransky, Cain’s boss, said. Cain called him Old Cranky when out of earshot.
“Yeah, yeah.” Cain straightened and plodded back to the ship’s hull.
The huge cargo hold yawned at him as he entered until Cain saw only one crate remained to move, which immediately brightened his outlook. His shift would end and he could head for the bar to relax and socialize. His pace quickened as he headed for it. Activating the agrav pallet under it, he started pulling it from the hull.
The agrav power pack glitched as Cain pulled the crate over the threshold from the ship to the station and one corner slumped, the container tipping off onto the floor and cracking. He stared at it, horrified over Old Cranky’s rebuke, knowing he’d receive the blame for the mishap. With a quick glance, he noticed his boss was otherwise occupied, so he prepared to move the crate onto the pallet again. But as he grabbed it, a black cloud escaped through the crack, engulfing his head in its putrid odor. He gasped and spluttered as he retreated from the contaminant. A light-headedness overcame him for a moment and passed, but his stomach became nauseous, leaving him with a need to rest. Since his shift would end when he completed storing the crate, he soldiered on, up-righted it and hauled it into the store.
“Finished,” he told Old Cranky.
“Right… you look pale. Everything alright?”
“Yeah. Just tired. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
At least he didn’t comment on the crate. Bet he’ll notice and pull me aside when he sees me next. Cain shrugged the anxiety away and left, heading for his cabin on the residential level to freshen up before making his usual bar visit for the night.
Where am I? Moloch felt disorientated as he tested his surroundings. His bonds had snapped and his freedom confused him. The neural network he occupied took some getting used to, but he gradually navigated the pathways throughout the gray matter of his host. Once he understood where he was, he gazed through unfamiliar eyes.
The physical world was unlike any he had ever observed. Was I held in bondage for so long? Is this what Earth looks like now? Wondering if he could influence his host’s movements, he attempted to direct it to an opening. Amazed and satisfied, he sensed the host obeying his command and stepping to the window. When he stood before it, Moloch reeled with uncertainty. Where am I? Where’s the ground and the sky? Why do I only see stars wherever I look?
The growing confusion welled up to a fury within him. The great tormentor has removed me from my domain. He’ll rue his decision once I’m finished with this place.
Cain stumbled. A sudden tiredness overwhelmed him. Maybe I worked harder today than I realized. Once inside his apartment, he staggered to his bed and collapsed, descending into a deep sleep.
A convolution of souls wove throughout each other as Cain jerked and moaned, an internal battle being waged for control within his consciousness. Pain flashed across his face often. His sense of self screamed for existence and an intruder fought to take over his body for its own purposes. After many hours, Cain settled into an undisturbed slumber before waking at dawn, Babylon time.
Refreshed, he prepared to return to work until he remembered today was the premier super league football match at the space station. Babylon having entered a team into the competition, the league officials consenting to them hosting games at the station arena, and today was the first such match. The entire station had closed with a public holiday for the event, with only essential personnel on roster to keep the station running. Cain had scrounged the funds together to buy a ticket for the match and eagerly looked forward to the spectacle. He had a front-row seat for the game.
Re-ordering his focus for the day, he left for the cafeteria for breakfast and headed for the stadium afterward, expecting a large crowd and a long wait to enter the arena, and his expectations didn’t disappoint him. With his attendance at the game assured, he just had to wait for the play to start. The stadium organizers had expected the milling crowd and had arranged a day’s continuous entertainment to keep the spectators occupied until the game started soon after midday.
Cain settled in his seats moments before the start of play. He arched his head and scanned the crowd, noting a full house, as expected. The commentators spoke up the tension for the start, Cain sensing his own suspense building.
As the commentators counted down the seconds, Cain felt his body being taken over by something. He stood and outstretched his hands, streaks of blue light emanating from his fingertips flashing through the stadium. His eyes bulged in confusion. What is happening?
To be continued…