The softness of her voice almost made me feel like we were lakeside in a cabin somewhere in the middle of Montana, overlooking the mountains on a cool fall morning. It almost made me forget about the fire, the dust, and the paranoia. Constantly watching your six, always feeling like you walked into an ambush.
“Brenton, wake up.”
My eyes open for brief second, then I close them to adjust to the light. I see her sweet face, parallel with mine as we lie in bed. I open my eyes again. The blue in her eyes in the first thing I notice, a strand of her long red hair across her nose, her cheeks rosy and lips full.
“Morning, baby,” I say to her.
“Brenton, you need to wake up.”
“I’m up, babe, I’m up.”
“Brenton…you need to wake up….. WAKE UP!” she screams.
In a flash, Brenton sits up straight, in a sweat, breathing heavily. He looks around and peers at the unfamiliar room. He rubs his face and pauses when he feels the bloody gauze taped to his eye.
“What the fuck,” he says.
The room is absolutely disgusting, and the noise of traffic outside travels through the broken glass of the single window. He’s sitting on a thin, bodily fluid stained mattress, needles all over the floor, pills scattered, and even some blood splattered on the wall.
“You okay man?”
Brenton is startled by the voice of a strung out older man, leaning against the wall to his left. The man is so dirty himself, that he almost camouflages into the room. His gray beard is frayed, scabs on his face, and clothes dirty and torn.
“Who the fuck are you?” Brenton asks.
“What you talking about, Brenton man.”
“How long have I been out? Shiiiiit!”
Brenton scrambles to his feet, and wrestles around the room collecting his belongings.
“Where the hell am I? God damn, I must have glitched again….. ahhh where the hell is it?!!!!” he yells.
He sorts through all the crap all over the floor.
“What are you looking for?” the man asks.
“My video transponder, where the fuck is it?”
“You’re trippin’ out, man”
“I’m not tripping out, man. I fucking glitched again, do you know the consequences of time glitches?! I could wake up in a parallel dimension, or in a black hole, or even dead! Why am I explaining this to you?! Who the hell are you? Where am I?” he panics. “I need a time scroll… I mean… a newspaper. I need a newspaper. Where is my video transponder?!”
He gives up, grabs what’s his and rushes out the room as the older man passes out. He hurries down a curved set of stairs and rushes out of the building into the street. He halts at the edge of the street as he’s almost hit by a car. It honks at Brenton as the foot traffic behind him passes cautiously. He’s ragged, he smells. He runs down the sidewalk and finds a newspaper kiosk. He rummages through his pockets and finds some change. He pays the kiosk and opens it to pull out a newspaper.”
“October 24, 2019.” he says aloud. “Thank the commander. I’m still here.”
He takes a deep breath and tries to regain his composure. He begins trying to gain the attention of some of the pedestrians walking the sidewalk.
“Excuse me. Excuse me!”
Finally a man in a business suit stops.
“Can you tell me how to get to a Best Buy,” his emphasis in saying the store name is wrong.
“You mean, a Best Buy,” the man says it correctly. “Go down 5th, turn onto Broadway, it’s on your right. The food coop is a couple blocks down as well.” The man says, insinuating that Brenton may be homeless.
Brenton runs in the direction. A few minutes later he reaches the Best Buy and walks in, he is greeted at the door by an employee.
“Welcome to Best Buy, can I help you find something?”
“Yes…. uhm. Do you have a Plasma Radiated NX-3700 Transponding Jettison with Dual Covalent Longevity Atom Amplifiers?”
The employee stares at him for a moment….
“I don’t believe so.” He answers.
“I didn’t think so,” Brenton sighs. “Where is your audio and video equipment?”
Moments later, Brenton is outside near the loading dock of the Best Buy, fiddling with wires. He tears the rubber off and hotwires an iPad. He begins typing in code on the screen, does a couple of hack moves and his face appears on the screen, the camera turning on. He presses and holds the volume buttons along with the display button and then taps them a few times.
“Log: The 24th of October, the year is 2019, eleven hundred hours. I’ve misplaced my video transponder, I can only hope that this transmission reaches the base. I have made contact. I have signed a binding contract with High Octane Wrestling, and as predicted, I have been slated for the opening match at the fourth episode of Chaos to face Austin Bishop. It will be tough, but I have trained for this. My time in simulation and sparring hours in the combat room should prove effective.”
“This is it. This is the beginning of it all. We have the opportunity to plant the necessary seeds to put actions into place that could stop the oncoming war, save our species, and have the lives we all dreamed of having. It’s truly amazing. However, I have noticed the glitches are happening more frequently. Measures have been put in place in the scenario where glitches became present, but the amount of times it is happening now is alarming and feel I need to relay my concern. I’m waking up in places I don’t know, and losing memory on some of my actions. It also seems as if the eye I lost in the Battle of D.C. is regenerating itself. I fear that these issues may compromise the mission. I’ll continue on with the goal of mission completion, but I would like to relay to the commander that I have accomplished all tasks thus far, and I’d like my people to know that I’ve given my all. And finally to my darling wife…. I love you. In the scenario where I do not make it back…. know that I love you.”
He wipes a tear from his eye and composes himself.
“Our research on target one is affirmative. He indeed is a man they call the Godkiller, and as we suggested he naive enough to believe that gods even exist. If he ever had even an inkling of an idea what the future holds, he would know that there is no God. Unfortunately, I believe this past glitch may have altered the timeline as it appears, and I cannot confirm at the moment, that Bishop was involved in a murder-suicide. If this is the case, I may not be facing Bishop at all and possibly somebody else which would make Phase 23 irrelevant. My fear is that if this is the case that Phases 24 through 30 could be compromised as well, giving me a unclear vision of the timeline. In that case, I would have absolutely no way to figure out what do in order to prevent the wars… and we ‘d still be doomed. Nevertheless, I will continue on as if the mission is still clear. I will defeat Bishop, and continue on the path to become HOW LSD Champion, as that will set forth motions to Phase 31. Cross out.”
Brenton leans against the building and takes a deep breath and walks off screen.
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