Categories > Original > Fantasy > Tradewinds 04 - "Tranz-D"


by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

the holding cell, Max's new clothes

Category: Fantasy - Rating: PG - Genres: Fantasy,Sci-fi - Published: 2008-10-16 - Updated: 2008-10-16 - 1068 words - Complete

Max awoke to a dull ringing in his ears.

He rolled over, nearly falling off of whatever he was lying on. As he rolled back, just in time, it all came flooding back to him. He sat straight up, looking around frantically.

The first thing he noticed was that he had no idea where he was. The second thing was that he was all alone, wherever he was, and this calmed him somewhat. Lastly, much to his relief, that he no longer had to listen to that piercing alarm anymore.

When he saw Bandit curled up on the bed next to him, his relief was multiplied by the sight of his old friend. For his part, Bandit lifted his head in idle curiosity, the settled back in. Seemingly content that his boy was alright.

He still felt somewhat hazy, but the last thing he remembered was getting shot. Yet when he tried to examine his wound, he discovered that there was none to speak of. Then he realized why he was on pins and needles earlier: the guards had hit him with stun shots.

Max knew what it felt like. It had been years since his days of training in the Islands, but he still remembered the last training session his uncle Angus sat in on. How he had stunned him without warning. When he woke up, he saw that Dad wasn’t amused. All Angus did was shrug and crack his peculiar smirk. They’ll have to know what it feels like sooner or later, or something along those lines. Good old Uncle Angus and his Be Prepared For Anything spiel.

Then a flash of insight.

…Capture and hold… The guards’ words drifted back to him. Those machines were designed to capture rather than kill interlopers. He wondered if Justin knew that. How many guards he had “killed” so far.

It dawned on him a moment later that the guards might return at any time, and he decided to take stock of the situation before anything else could happen. The room he was in was of moderate size, with a pair of what had to be the most comfortable beds he had ever slept on. He spotted an alcove with a computer and several compartments built into the wall.

Most of the compartments had what appeared to be glass panels, and it only took him a second to spot his power pistol inside one of them. He sprang to his feet and made a bee-line for the compartment, trying to open it and finding it locked. So he stepped back and gave the clear panel his hardest kick, and Bandit looked up from his catnap apprehensively.

The panel didn’t even crack. Max kicked it several more times without even putting a dent in it. Whatever it was made of, it was transparent as glass and hard as steel. He tried hauling on the handles, and it didn’t take long to realize that it would take a strength greater than any human possessed to wrench it open.

That was when he noticed that his laser sword wasn’t in the compartment. Wasn’t in any of the clear compartments. Even as he searched again, trying to keep calm, he found himself picturing Justin’s old friend Trevor running around with it…

Then he realized that it was still stuffed in his pants pocket, and Trevor vanished in a puff of vindication. For whatever reason, the guards hadn’t searched him beyond his gun and pack. He then fired it up and went to work on the compartment panels. Years ago, Dad had told him that, aside from strong energy fields and a couple bizarre exceptions worthy of tales in and of themselves, he had never seen anything that an energy blade couldn’t cut through.

The panels, whatever they were made of, may have resisted his previous efforts, but they were no match for Max’s blade. In addition to liberating his gun, he also found his pack, and some other gear. Boots with strange buckle-straps (a little small, but as long as he kept the straps loose, they fit okay); pants, lightweight, with lots of pockets (too short, but his new boots reached high enough to conceal this); no shirts, but he found a jacket to wear in this place where the air was as cool as night in Paradise. After ransacking all of the cabinets, most of the other items he found were either of no immediate use to him, or whose use he could not discern, but on some instinct, he pocketed several mysterious plastic cards and a wad of various-colored papers with a blend of familiar and unfamiliar words and symbols, which he was fairly sure was used as currency in some places, at least according to all the stories he had ever heard. Happy just to have pockets again.

Though he was uneasy about the idea of stealing, he also had this growing impression there was no one here to steal from anymore.

Standing off to the side of the door where he could get the jump on anyone— or anything— that entered, Max put on his new clothes and organized his things. He had originally been uncomfortable with the U-553 clothes he had appropriated from the Cyexians, but over the years he had simply gotten used to them, and now he was more than happy to be rid of them. As he stuffed the tattered scraps into a compartment, he saw the computer terminal in the same alcove as if for the first time.

He had only heard stories about computers, but he decided it might be worth a try.

The screen lit up even as he reached for the keyboard. TRANZ-D SEKÜRTË DREKTRË, the screen read in glowing green characters. Like the controls on the closet door, Max found these symbols difficult to read because they were both so similar, and yet so different from anything he had ever seen.

He quickly discovered that pressing buttons made the corresponding symbols appear on the screen. The only problem was that the computer didn’t seem to like anything he typed. When he stumbled upon a listing for MAPS/SKËMATIX, he became determined to get at them, though he knew this might take a while.

Max would spend more time thinking than typing before he got anything useful.
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