Thursday, July 11, 2013

Prompt: Right place. Right time. Wrong dimension. Part 1.

Henry pulled the lever and held it down, leaning back in the capsule while he counted. Eleven this time. Lucky snake eyes. Why not?

He pushed the lever up with a thud and watched the di-chro-locator spin down, the three number panels slowing from a black blur to individual numbers. The Donsalvians tempered their elaborate sense of justice with a great sense of humor. It was easy to appreciate when your lifespan measured in the thousands of years rather than a few decades, of course.

They were also, unfortunately, great sticklers for their baroque laws, which all Donsalvians began to learn in utero, during their twelve year gestation. They had tried to modify the training systems for his use, but they only gave him migraines. Even his handler hadn’t been able to prevent his simple blunders on the few occasions of freedom he had won or wheedled.

The court had acknowledged that their sentences were not fair to someone with such a small fraction of their lifespan. They modified them proportionately. But they would not – could not – waive his responsibility to follow the letter of the law. Every single one. He never had a day of freedom that didn’t result in another sentence. The court did at least grant that his sentences should be carried out within the scientific compound, so that he could continue to work with the think tank brought together to rebuild his capsule and send him home.

If only they could find it. As they learned to communicate externally with Henry, then to share knowledge via external sensory perception, the scientists realized he was not the dumb animal they had first believed. Their frames of reference were farther apart than any of them could imagine. Whatever the confluence of the wild storm that brought his mangled capsule to Donsalvian space and shores, he did not recognize a single star system in any of their navigation records.

It was only by chance that Peeehuuullbia had been sitting quietly at her research station near Henry’s quarters and began humming a tune so familiar to him, he raced out to join her. Shouting the notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Henry grabbed her loose tentacles and swirled her around the room. She blushed blue and purple and slid away to put a table between them. He hadn’t realized the purpose of those tentacles before. That cost him another sentence for indecency, although she refused to accuse him of sexual assault.

Peeehuuullbia spent weeks digging through the audio records until she found the one that contained the music she had enjoyed so much. She brought it to Henry, and he cried as he listened to the Voyager Golden Record. Surely, now they could send him home.

If only they could figure out where that was. And when it was. And intersect the right dimension. Which, as it turns out, is harder than you might think.

Dogs in house
Houdini, Brindle
Time writing:
40 minutes
July word count:

No comments:

Post a Comment