It was 5:30 in the evening on a warm sunny day. Torin, a young man in his twenties, was fully relaxed, laying against a tree on the edge of a clearing with a gentle breeze blowing against him. His eyes closed, he was managing a delivery of supplies on a simple delivery mission through his link. The signal stopped an he opened his eyes. “What the…”
Torin came to consciousness. He could not see around him, and his limbs felt too heavy to move about. His link was online, but his mind was a bit too drowsy to use it. Nothing appeared to work with the link. Torin laid there, physically and mentally tired.
A womans voice appeared to be talking to him. He started to make out what she was saying. “Are you up dear? Can you say anything?” Torin tried to speak, but could only get out, “uuhh…” To this, the woman was delited and pressed him further. “That’s fine dear. I am one of the staff here at the Tach Facilities. My name is Ormina. Your in one of our recovery units. Don’t worry, you will be just fine. It will take some time to come to your senses. What is your name?”. Torin tried to move his head towards the direction of her voice, but soon gave up. “s, s, s…” He was too week to move his tongue even. “Tell you what dear, I’ll let you rest a bit more and check back on you in a little bit.” With that, light footsteps could be heard fading away.
The room was quite except for machines. A respirator could be heard with each breath. A couple of monitors were measuring heart beats. He soon identified his with a slow heart beat. It could almost be controlled to speed up or slow down with his thoughts. He tried to focus on something else. Although his arms felt heavy, he tried to move them about. He was not making much progress and focused on his fingers instead. At this moment, he realized that one felt particularly different.
After some time, Torin was able to move his finger an free it from the odd sensation. “Oh dear, we must leave that on.” The familiar voice was followed by his finger being pressed against something. “Can you speak yet?” she asked. “Yesssss….”, he said – his voice in a slur. The nurse, Ormina, was delighted. “That’s great news. Let’s try getting your name, shall we?” Torin took a deep breath. “Tornnn”. “Torn? Is that your name?”, she asked. “No. Tor”, he said and took a deep breath, “in. Tornn…”. The warm voice of the nurse comforted him. “Ah, I see. Torin is your name. I see you are still a bit weak, but the good news is that you are recovering quite quickly. You’ll be alert in no time at all.”
A mans voice with confidence came to and asked “How are you doing Tarin?” Torin could feel the mans hands feeling different parts of his body along with hard instruments. Ormina’s voice was heard in response, “He is just coming to. He still needs quite a bit of time.” “Nonsense, I need these folks to clear out of here ten minutes ago. We have people waiting.” At that moment, blinding light shot through Torin’s left eye and he let out a yelp, quickly followed by the right eye. “He is stable an his pupils are fine, throw him in a chair and free this bed up.”
Torin knew that his eyes were open, but he could only see remnants of the bright light in any direction he looked. Out of the side of his eyes, he could spot medical equipment in a dimly lit room. “I’m sorry dear. It isn’t normally like this, “ Ormina said, gathering her nerves, “with everything that has happened recently, we are overcrowded. Let me help you up.” The bed started to raise his upper body up an forward, while his legs went down. The bed stopped an Ormina asked him to scoot.
The doors burst open at the end of the hall and Tarin spotted two beds coming in with patients in them. The man from earlier cursed an said, “We’ve only got room for one, take the other down the hall. Ormina, hurry up with him and clear that spot!” Tarin felt as if he had just fallen into a chair next to the bed an was quickly carted to the next room.
Tarin sat and waited. He was still tired and drowsy. A man had taken him from Ormina an carte him through a maze of hallways. He now found himself in a room with quite a few others who appeared to be in the same condition as he was. Towards the front of the room, people were more vocal and a few were walking about speaking with each other, and a dialog between them could not be understood as to who was speaking to whom.
“How did you hear of that? I can’t see the cloud.”
“People are saying it was the Isscha working with the Lerrque.”
“100th times a charm!”
“Five signatures. All were the same.”
“I just don’t see what they have in common with each other.”
“What if I’m still alive?”
A door slammed shut and a loud voice could be heard over the chatter. “Listen up people. I am here to get you up to speed on recent events. I’m only going to say this once and there will not be any questions afterwards. My name is Hald Turkal. You are at the Tach Facilities in the Voruz station in Untomu. Many of you believe that you were just at Mosuw. For those of you who do not know, Mosuw was destroyed two months ago. Normally you would have ended up in the Tach Facilities in Essdar, Sampolu, or Faom. Essdar was destroyed in the aftermath, and the other two facilities have reached full capacity. Your signatures were transferred here through emergency protocols from Essar, or from the other two that couldn’t handle the surge.”
Hald paused. “My link …”, someone started to speak. “I said no questions!” Hald called out. “Now, for most of you, this process should be like clockwork to you. The only difference is that we are running you through the system a bit quicker and cutting corners to meet the demand. For the rest of you, it’s probably the experience of your life. As you have been instructed during your link orientation, your signatures are to be stored in the cloud and continuously updated at all times in the case of events such as this. You died. Welcome to hell, heaven, or what ever you wish to call it. However, it is the same place you left. Your signatures are now within new tachs that were the best resemblance of your previous tach. Due to the nature of this event, you may find a few parts here and there that just don’t seem rite. Fill out the appropriate forms and a tach facility will contact you. Until they are available, you’ll simply have to deal with it.”
Hald looked around the room. No one spoke, but everyone had questions on their face. “We don’t know the details of what had happened. There is still an ongoing investigation. The area is unapproachable for the investigators. Everyone an his brother appear to be claiming this as their own demonstration of power. There are rumors, and speculations. You’ll be able to find out all you like once your links are authorized to connect to the cloud. You’ll be called later for authorizations. That is all.”
Hald left the room and it immeiately became a buzz with everyone talking about the inccident. Tarin felt relieved that there was a reason why he couldn’t use his link. “First time?” Tarin looked up an saw a short man of a heavy stature. “Yes.” he replied. “The names Belath. I’ve been through this myself a few times. One of the staff here owes my group a favor. If you stick with me, I can get us through this quick and we can be off.” Tarin sat there. After a few moments, he explained, “I can’t get up.” Belath looked him over. “Nonsense. It’s all in your head.” He move the chair forward a bit and then lifted it to dump Tarin to the floor. Bystanders took notice. “Hey what are you doing?”. Tarin rolled over and Belath leaned over an pulled him up to a sitting position. “Relax, I know what I’m doing.” Tarin was furious. His heart was pumping quickly and he tried everything he could to get up an take his frustration out on Balath. “See? He’s up an standing in no time!” Balath said. A woman came from behind Tarin and put his arms around him. “Take it easy buddy, he’s just getting your blood floowing so you can wake up.
Balath made good on his promise. Balath, Tarin an two others who Balath knew were called first to be authorized. Tarin was taken into a small room that appeared to be the size of a closet. The walls were bare except for an interface on the wall opposite of the door. He was asked to place his face into the visor and look into the field. When he did so, metal arms came across and restricted his head from moving. He felt a warm sensation move up and down his body a few times as he watched the display show a model of his body. “Signature confirmed. 97.3% tach match. 0.03% abnormalities found. Parameters within acceptable range. Authorization granted.”
A sudden rush of information flowed throughout the link.