Voice Module








In Memory
Sean Pettibone

Science Friction

Gliding through Alien Skies (Chapter Three)

After waking up, I found myself temporarily lost in trying to comprehend the dream's meaning. I was unable to figure out why such a seemingly odd dream would have come to me, as it apparently had no relation to anything. I was sure that she had sent me the dream, I just couldn’t understand her reasons. The light and general feel of the air didn’t feel significantly different than when I had fallen asleep. This made figuring out how much time had passed was almost impossible. I walked around her building taking in the vistas before me. What I saw took my breath away. I hadn’t been able to see this previously, but behind the mammoth machines huge mountainous rock formations tens of thousands of feet high engulfed the land in the distance. The mountains created an impressive fortress-like superstructure that seemed both impervious and secure. I felt incredibly small almost lost amongst the vastness of the planet, and very insignificant in relation to these massive landmarks. 

The air was pure clean and gentle which made breathing and thinking much easier compared to the heavy dirty air I was used to. The atmosphere's clarity heightened my awareness and focus, making my thoughts clearer, which helps to explain how vivid my recollections of the dream was, it’s impossible to describe, but the feelings of loneliness and sadness I had sensed in her the previous night began to internalize themselves inside me. My emotions were overwhelming me, imploring me to figure out the source of her unhappiness. I quickly felt that trying to help her with these emotions was the reasons she brought me here.  There was something else that was bothering me, though it took me awhile to figure out what was wrong.

After awakening from the dream and letting it fade away, I noticed that something odd had happened. Even though I had already been up awhile, it took be awhile to realize she was nowhere to be found. She had apparently vanished and left me here alone. As I wandered around the halls, I could sense that there was something going on. I went outside to search for her, assuming one of two things: either that she was close by or something unknown to me was happening.

I walked around the immediate area looking for her behind trees, in the sacred pools, in back of the buildings, by the machines. It was a futile effort because she had vanished without a trace, seemingly leaving me all alone in this strange world. As I searched for her, I watched the machines, gawking up at their huge metallic frames, marveling at this sophisticated technology and also wondering what exactly was going on and whether this was a plan of hers. 

The only thing I knew for sure was that despite the physical distance, she was somehow, still close to me. Even so, I spent a lot of time entranced by the baffling devices in the distance. I watched them as the churned with a quiet, seemingly effortless precision and purpose. I saw a rather large tower and walked over to it sensing this as an easy way to locate her– I climbed the stairs and reached the viewing area which gave an incredible panoramic of this alien world - rising before me I saw the glass structures, the machines, and the mountains behind them From this vantage. In the sky, I could see the distant outlines of a faint blue star in the northern half of the sky, peeking through the atmosphere, almost imperceptibly. Unfortunately, the one thing I had come up to look for, wasn’t here at all. A brief moment of fear came over me as I thought of the possibility that I had been tricked and was marooned there alone. My perceptions slowly began to change, the reassuring rhythms of the machines began to turn into terrifying soulless robotic motions, the shadows they cast on the ground grew darker, the mountains behind them began to become overpowered, making me feel trapped. 

I wandered back to the buildings feeling overwhelmed by this world, I suddenly felt small and insignificant, I made my way slowly through the corridors and hallways of the building where she had taken me, examining each open doorway and listened through the structure’s walls hoping to hear even a small clue that she was still there. There was nothing, no sign of life anywhere in this quiet building. I searched several levels of the structure, taking several wrong turns and becoming lost, the unceasing shadows of the machines over-running the walls, a constant reminder that they had become my sole accompaniment I returned to the room, and collapsed into the bed, a profound loneliness spread over me. The minutes dripped by like days, I closed my eyes, and tried to sleep, but I couldn’t. I just stared up through the windows, watching the machines – endlessly turning, cold and uncaring in their robotic motions, threatening with their size. The walls began to close in, I was becoming trapped inside what had changed from a frozen paradise to a chilly prison. The motions began to wear me down and I had to close my eyes, which could have helped but the shadows the machines created contrasted so strongly with the light that I could still sense them.

Suddenly, I heard a large crash, immediately followed by another, even louder. It shook the entire building – unbalancing the careful concentration I had built and shattering what little serenity I had managed to regain. As I came to my feet, another pair of loud crashes. These sounded a little bit different than those of before, more like screams of angry creatures. I ran to the other side of the building. Another large noise, now sounding even more frightening, like a screech. I continued to run, when the corner of the building I was in sustained a devastating blow, throwing me to the floor, without warning. I crawled around, absolutely terrified, my heart racing with fear. Then another loud shout, and I fell down again, lying on the ground, with a sense of helplessness. Another screech, and then an audible whimper. I had no idea what was going on, but I was terrified. 

I crouched on the ground for several minutes, absolutely still. After a while, I didn’t hear any more screams or crashes. I stood up again, my body and mind had calmed down enough for me to walk, so I slowly walked down the hall, towards where the terrifying screams came from. The sole good thing about this, was that whatever it was, I was no longer alone here, and that made me feel better despite the fact that I had no idea exactly what form it would take. I slowly made my way to a large staircase, and peered out the window. I could see the back of something’s hind legs. It terrified and fascinated me so I investigated further. As I went further down the stairs, more of the creature was revealed what looked like a giant wing much larger than I was at least 20 feet high.

After seeing this, I felt two immediate and contradictory urges: to run away as fast as possible – and the probably imprudent need to see more of this magnificent and terrifying beasts. Slowly, I walked down the stairs and reached the ground level. I stood against the wall in the hallway, trying to see more of the creature, but terrified it would notice me, I held back and couldn’t really see much more of the beast. I slowly opened the door at which point, I was shocked to see not one but two of these large creatures standing there. Surprisingly, these creatures seemed relatively calm given the roars I had heard. I was also surprised that there was no perceptible damage to the area, except for where the creatures stood, things looked exactly as they had before. Each step I took was a careful and measured by fear, with the unstable ground making each of my steps even more dangerous. As I began to slowly move further towards the source of these terrifying noises, my anxiety increased exponentially, building to the point of sheer terror and panic.

> Go to Chapter 4