As a scientist I should know better than make assumptions. Especially about someone who was willing to grave rob for meager wages.
The wages were a gratuity, his real earnings was the knowledge of human anatomy and galvanism. Now I didn’t always treat him the best, but science is careful work, he needed to learn how to use those meaty fingers of his and shuffling gait in away that wouldn’t run our experiment.
Our experiment. I had considered him my apprentice. The only person privy to my work. The only person who would share my success. The only person other who would be part of being of an amazing discovery.
The exploration of the solar system had been a boon for humanity. It opened up colonizing Mars and asteroid harvesting in the belts of both inner and outer space, solving the problems of scarcity of resources and overpopulation. As humanity’s presence in space increased, they went forward with their typical egocentric focus thinking they were the only sentient beings in the universe.
In 2062 the remote exploration scout class ship Stoker found a ship they designated Arkivol I orbiting near Saturn. Inside they found twenty humanoid bodies in a cold stasis.
The crew brought them on board the Stoker and found that they were in an advanced stasis; their blood levels well below what humans would consider normal levels. When other attempts to revive the beings from the Arkivol failed, Doctor Renfield, chief medical officer of the Stoker, tried a human plasma infusion to awaken the life forms.
It worked; Doctor Renfield’s infusion revived the crew of the Arkivol.
“There were routine logs entered by Lieutenant Renfield for most of the rest of the journey. He reported an illness spreading across the ship until he and the crew of the Arkivol were the only ones remaining. The ships logs of the Stoker end about a week before they arrived at Brasov station, sir,” the ensign said. He stood at attention across from the glass desk, watching the man sitting behind it, waiting for further instructions. “Captain Harker?”
Ryleigh found herself in a part of the woods she had never seen before.
She had been skipping along the creek chasing a bullfrog who was winning the race when she’d tripped on her untied shoelace. Brushing the dirt and leaves from her already scabbed knees, she noticed a hole about her size in brambles that formed a perimeter around the creek.
The frog long gone, and having gotten bored with the game anyways, she ducked through the portal and followed it into the woods.
As she moved deeper into the passage, it got progressively darker as the thorns weaved between each other, nearly blocking out the sun. She never got scared, or at least admitted it to herself, because she could see the light at the end of the tunnel ahead of her. Even though it was a constant beacon, it felt like it never grew closer until she found herself stumbling out into the cool afternoon sunlight filtering through a thousand leaves above her.
Ten miles back, Brianne passed a highway sign of a deer crossing that someone had graffitied over, saying: “Do NOT pick up the hitchhiker in the red coat.” She hadn’t thought much of the sign, given that she’d seen ones suggesting that she should avoid anal probes with an alien on it and a bigfoot is watching you sign. It seemed out in the middle of the desert where there was little threat of getting caught by the police was the place to let your shitty art skills fly.
She barely remembered the trip. Must have been driving on autopilot.
Blinking the chilly rain from her eyelashes, she tried to remember what had led her here. When she was a child, she had come to the forest to walk the trails with her parents. In her mind’s eye, it was a sunlit picture. Today though, the sun was obscured by dense fog, making it impossible to tell the time. The water in the air settled on her face. She wiped the chill on her cheek away with the sleeve of her hoody.