• Published 3rd May 2012
  • 9,719 Views, 204 Comments

With Teeth - TritiumAge00

HiE - The tale of a man displaced through space and time. A man and his strangely alluring canines.

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Down the Rabbit Hole

Chapter One

Down the Rabbit Hole

The bridge opened with the now familiar deep sigh and you stepped into its energy. This was honestly something of a bore for you these days, what with well over two thousand sub space jumps logged away in the company’s network. This morning was going to be business as usual; repair work on a Centurion class starship which had made one too many high charge subspace jumps without the suggested reset periods.

The thrumming of the stabilized wormhole brought the day's plan back into the forefront of what passed for your mind these days. The technicians who worked on these damned things always tried to assuage your fears with their reassurances of their relative safety compared to interstellar travel the old fashioned way. You were still convinced that a sizable chunk of your brain had gotten 'misplaced' during the course of one these jaunts. Oh well. Details details, as it were.

Suddenly, a massive tremor jarred you quite thoroughly from any inner reflection on something trivial like brain damage. This couldn't possibly fucking happen to some other asshole, could it? Nope, it just had to be you of course. As the particle stream around you steadily pissed all of its energy off into the tenuous reaches of subspace, a sudden thought bullied its way from the deep recesses of memory. Something about the hypothetical 'what if' scenario you now found your dumb ass planted snugly in the middle of. More specifically, just how screwed you really were. Then, just like that, it was as though someone had turned off a grapher screen in the middle of a movie. Except his time, you and all of existence were the screen.

Your first thoughts were, frankly on an entire new level of unpleasant. The entirety of your body felt as though it had been run quite thoroughly through a garbage disposal. Your head felt worse still. Maybe if you brained yourself with one of these rocks the sensation of having your head turned inside out and filled with angry wasps would go away.
Wait a single hot fucking minute. A rock? As in, the kind of rock that would never see the inside of a starship transit facility? Now that you noticed, the rock was really only the beginning of your problems. Blearily, you manage a cursory inspection of your surroundings.

Holy shit was this ever not the transit facility of an interstellar jump ship. You were, as far as you could tell, laying in a crumpled heap in the shade of a rather large tree square in the middle of a dense, lush forest. With as much levity as the situation allows, you think to yourself "I really should have just stayed in bed this morning", and promptly pass the fuck out.

Okay, let’s give this a shot, shall we?

System Reboot; brain sequence initiated.
Storage Check: Complete (30% capacity, 5% data error rate accounted for)
Main Processor Check: Operating within tolerance parameters
Synchronization with frame of reference attempted…failed…failed…failed…synchronization successful
Booting consciousness…failed…failed…boot successful

Pain, oh sweet Christ, pain! You’re fairly certain that the inside of your body suit would be sporting a lovely new paint job had you not used the restroom minutes before you’re little fling through space time. You imagined that swallowing a gallon of ignited thermite might feel just about as great as whatever fresh hell your body had recently been thrown through.

For a solid ten minutes you can focus on nothing but the five square inches of dirt that your face is planted firmly in. Eventually your insides seem to be have made up their mind about what exciting form they’d like to be in today allowing you to finally drag yourself into a sitting position. Either you were vividly hallucinating, or you really were sitting in the middle of a vast green forest on a class M planet with a comfortably temperate atmosphere. Somewhere in the back of your mind you contemplated the fact that this was utter bullshit. There wasn’t a single class M planet within four light years of the maintenance facility in orbit around AU Microscopii you had jumped from. The only planet in that system was a barren, scorched speck of rock hardly worth its name.

None of this practical knowledge did a damn thing to change the fact that your ass was bruising and your legs cramping as you sat on what felt like a large unforgiving tree root. You cautiously stumble to your feet and almost immediately collapse again as your vision swims a lovely spectrum of colors and your inner ear calls you a dick. Okay, this sucks way too much to be anything but real. Thankfully you get your bearings after only a few moments and step into the small clearing which had served as your landing pad.

You are relieved to discover that you have retained all of your personal effects and that your suit’s onboard systems are still operational. At this discovery, you activate your subspace tracking and with no better option, start walking directly forward into the leafy sunshine. The whirring drone of bugs seems a natural enough companion to you as you take in your disarmingly familiar surroundings. If you didn’t know better, this could pass for the forests back on Terra. You had only been there once, but the day trip out to a protected forest zone seemed especially vivid now.
Suddenly, a red blur shoots through the canopy above catching you off guards. You are momentarily stunned when you find yourself staring at what couldn’t possibly be anything but a brilliantly red male cardinal. The bird seems to regard you for a moment before calling out and taking flight into the bright sunshine above. You watch it until losing sight and dazedly resume your aimless trek.

This is insane. Unless you someone managed to, purely by chance, shoot clear across the galactic disc there should be no possible explanation for this. With a thought, you summon your suit’s tracking program in hopes of anything regarding your whereabouts. It appears before you with a flourish of color and artfully coalesces into a three dimensional holograph of the Milky Way Galaxy. Thousands of tiny pinpricks are dotted throughout the image, each one representing a settlement or outpost. Honestly you couldn’t care less about any of that shit at the moment. The message ‘Signal Zero – Position Unknown’ crawls lazily across the display in a ghostly red font. A lump of ice slides down your chest and settles firmly in the pit of your stomach. For the first time in the better part of a decade, you are completely off the grid, alone, and terrified.