When Dana walked back into the big room, he felt like he was wearing pajamas. The clothes were lightweight and soft against his skin. Vicky had already returned. He walked over in front of her. "What’s your plan? You going to keep me here til spring thaw?"
She smiled as she shook her head. "I hope not. Even though you are a liability, I have things I need to do. Staying here in the safe house for ten years is not a plan. I will be out monitoring your world and your science until the ship returns. I must plant receivers or as you know them, bugs, to transmit information from strategic areas."
"And me?" Dana figured he was going to end up dead before this was all over.
"You may accompany me if you like, when the time comes. I really have work to do right now, so make yourself comfortable. If you need anything ask Umba." Vicky turned and walked through the wall and out of the room.
Dana decided to follow. He hesitated when he got to the wall and it didn’t change to transparent. He put his hand out and pushed on it. It was solid. He felt along the wall pushing, but nothing was happening. "I’m in a prison."
"You are in a research safe house, designed for contingencies if a Rious is stranded on your world. Evaisa is working in the lab. Because you do not think in Rious, I am to open the portals for you. Do you wish to go to a different part of the lab?" Umba had walked up behind Dana to explain why the walls weren’t opening for him.
"The woman won’t mind?" Dana was wondering if it was a trick?
"You may call her Vicky. Evaisa said you may go any place you please, except outside or back into the log cabin. Not because she is afraid you will escape, but because it isn’t safe for you. The cabin is not heated. You would probably freeze to death. Outside the snow is six feet deep. Again, you would probably freeze to death." Umba patiently explained.
"I have a snowmobile…," Dana was thinking of escape if he could get the snowmobile going.
"Your snowmobile was destroyed. Evaisa, said it had a tracking device on it. When you didn’t return that first day a search party was sent out for you. The snowmobile was driven off a ridge where it crashed and burned. Your clothes were scattered around the wreckage. The rescuers would think you had been wounded and the animals dragged you off."
Dana’s eyes were getting bigger and bigger as he listened to Umba explain his death to the search and rescue party. "It wouldn’t work. They take any clothes back and do a DNA sample they will know it wasn’t me."
"DNA sample will prove it was you. Blood was splattered over your clothes and the DNA will match exactly." She was giving him the smallest detail of his faked death.
"You can do that? Match DNA?" Dana didn’t believe it.
"Evaisa can. Reports of your demise made the news the forth day. Your district has paid its respects in a ceremony. Evaisa recorded the events for you if you care to see them." Umba patiently waited for an answer.
Dana felt sick to his stomach. No one was searching for him any longer. To the world, he was dead. He wondered how long it would be before she made that a fact? "No, I think I’ll go sit down for awhile."
"As you wish. Do you wish entertainment or news? The receiver is capable of six hundred and ninety one of what you call television channels from all over your world." Umba led Dana back over to the divan where Eve had been sitting when he thought she was watching television.
"I don’t care. I’m not really interested in anything at the moment." In a funk, Dana flopped down on the divan.
"I will be available if you wish for anything." Umba walked over to the wall and passed through it.
"I’m dead! Everyone thinks I’m dead! I have to get out of here. No one will be looking for me. I have to escape." Dana stewed as he worked on an escape plan. There was a small problem with working on his escape plan. He had no idea how the place he was a prisoner at functioned. He had no provisions for making it to town once he made it outside. That left a lot of holes in his escape plan.
Dana walked the room and slept, and walked the room and slept. He had no idea how much time was passing, as there were no clocks. Days maybe? Weeks possibly? The rooms were constantly bathed in light from some source. It wasn’t bulbs because the whole room, including ceiling, walls, and floor were light. Out of boredom, he started following Vicky around. She didn’t seem to mind. She was constantly working on something or monitoring some program. Dana found out if he was right next to her when she passed through the wall, or one of those portals, he could walk through with her. If he was a couple steps behind, the wall was solid.
He was following her when he misjudged the distance and for the twenty-eighth time, he was blocked. He kicked the wall. "I’m tired of this. I feel like I’m on a leash. Stupid wall, open up!"
Vicky stepped back through. "Think in Rious. It’s more than sound; it’s a mental thought projection. Think and project, efate."
"Efate?" Dana looked doubtful as he talked to the wall.
"No, you only voiced it. You have to mentally project the thought. You may voice it too until you get the feeling for it, but project. Think of an opening as you project your thought. Efate." Vicky was looking at Dana but the wall became transparent and then solid again.
Dana stared at the wall. "efate…"
Eve nodded her head. "You almost had it. The equipment doesn’t understand almost. With a portal it either opens, or it doesn’t. Try again, efate."
Dana closed his eyes and concentrated on seeing the wall open in his mind. "Efate."
When he opened his eyes he was amazed to see the wall transparent. "I did that?"
"You did. Not bad for someone who isn’t used to mind projection. If you get caught someplace and can’t get back, call for Umba." Vicky stepped through the portal and it closed behind her.
"Hey, wait for me." Dana concentrated on the wall again. "Efate."
It opened up and he stepped through it. Vicky was already gone to one of the dozens of other rooms scattered throughout the complex. Dana thought about it for a second and decided this was the chance he had been waiting for. He turned and made it back through as he headed across the big room toward where Vicky told him the cabin was.
He tried his new skills on the wall and was rewarded with what looked like a tunnel leading into the cabin. He stepped through and the wall closed. It was more than dark. Dana felt his way down the walls toward the cabin. Something brushed his face. A curtain. That first day, Vicky had pointed toward a curtain inside the cabin and said it led back to the cave where she kept food stores. He pushed it aside and slowly edged forward in total darkness.
His reaching fingers found the table in the middle of the cabin. Slowly he moved around it by feel and reached for where he thought the door should be. He had to keep reaching but he finally found it. He pulled it open and felt the mind numbing cold settle into his bones as he reached his hand out to feel packed snow. The tunnel he had dug earlier had either collapsed, or Vicky had packed it back in.
Franticaly he pushed at the snow and it gave under his hands. He fell forward into the tunnel. The snow had settled down at the bottom against the cabin door. Dana pushed his way up the tunnel until he came to the end. Try as he might he couldn’t push out. He tried clawing with his hand to pull the snow down.
Dana screamed up the tunnel. "HELP! I’M TRAPPED! SOMEONE HELP ME! HELP! ANYONE PLEASE HELP ME!"
Finally chilled to the bone and exhausted, he gave up and slid back down to the cabin. "I’m dead. No one knows I’m still alive."
The little cabin was flooded with light. Dana was blinded until his eyes, accustomed to the dark, adjusted to the light. Umba was standing there holding a light. "Would you like to go back to the shelter now?"
"NO! I WANT TO GO OUT!" Dana pointed up the snow tunnel.
"That would be foolish. It is nighttime and the temperature is forty-one degrees below zero. You would freeze to death in less than fifteen minutes." Umba stared at him.
"I don’t care. I want out of this place. Don’t you understand? I want out!" Dana was looking for the shovel he had used the first time.
"Evaisa said you wouldn’t understand. As you wish. Please move away from the door." Umba was walking around the table.
"No, you can’t make me go back." Dana was determined he would fight it out with her.
"I do not intend to make you go back. I am going to open up the tunnel so you may go outside as you desire." Umba had pushed Dana back as she stepped up to the tunnel.
She shined the light up the tunnel and stepped back. "You may leave now."
"You think I’m stupid enough to start up that so you can shut the door behind me and leave me there to freeze to death trapped in a tunnel with no way out." Dana wasn’t moving.
"The tunnel reaches the surface. I will go first." Umba stepped into the door and disappeared.
Dana was sure she had crawled to the end. He took a look and it was pitch black at the end. Either it really did go out, or Umba had disappeared into thin air. He started crawling up the tunnel. It seemed like it went forever before he stuck his head up above the snow. The stars were out and he could seen trees and snow all around him.
Umba was waist deep in snow standing beside the opening. "This is what you desired?"
"I’M FREE!" Dana was already trying to run. Each step he was up to his waist in snow. He could not get up on top of it. Finally he tried rolling and was on top, but when he went to stand up, he buried down to his hips. The snow wasn’t supporting his weight and he was getting colder and more exhausted with each failed effort.
Exhaustion and hypothermia did him in. Dana had given it his all. He closed his eyes, as he needed to rest. When he opened his eyes, Umba was standing beside him and he was in his room. "I couldn’t escape."
"The snow is too deep and it is too cold for you to be hiking. You should have known that. Would you like some soup?" Umba stared at him.
"You brought me back?" Dana wasn’t sure he was glad to be alive or not. He almost wished he had died out there.
"No, MVU carried you back. I could not, as I also was not properly attired for moving in snow that deep. If you do not require soup or attention, I will return to my duties." Umba stepped over to the door and waited.
"Thanks, I can take care of myself." Dana rolled over on his back to stare at the ceiling.
"You were not doing a good job of taking care of self six hours earlier. Evaisa said, when humans become emotional their rational thinking is lost. You are the only human I have come in contact with. I must agree with her. Logic and emotion don’t seem compatible in humans." Umba walked out of the room.
Dana slammed his fist into the pillow as he rolled over to face the wall. "They should have let me die."
Time passed. Dana had no idea how much time, which was as maddening as being a prisoner. He would follow Umba or Vicky around to kill the boredom. The two women were always working on or with equipment he had no concept of. He figured part of his problem was the information on the equipment, or on the monitors was Rious.
He was following Vicky as she stopped in front of the big monitor on the wall. "Would you like to watch television? Umba mentioned to you we could receive six hundred and ninety one television channels."
"Why not? I seem to be as useful around here as a pet fish." Dana was ready for anything to occupy his time and his mind.
The monitor flicked on and he was looking at a Spencer for Hire rerun. "How do I change channels?"
He held up his hand. "Never mind, think Rious. I’m afraid I won’t be able to remember six hundred numbers in Rious."
"You would if you wanted. It seems you either don’t care to learn or you refuse to learn my language and writing so Umba fixed you up what you call a remote. We also have needs for mechanical controls at times. The concept is not new to us." Vicky motioned for Umba.
Umba walked up to Dana and held out what would seem like a very simple remote control. "Up arrow scan will switch channels every minute going up to the higher numbers. Down arrow scan will switch going down. You press any sequence of numbers and the channel will come on the monitor."
Dana gladly accepted the remote. "Thank you."
"You are welcome." Umba turned and followed Vicky out of the room.
Dana pushed the scan and the stations started changing every minute to a new channel. When a news channel came on, Dana hit stop and stared. It was a station in Hawaii. When the woman news anchor gave the date, Dana choked. He had been in captivity for more than sixty-one days.
He found it hard to believe it wasn’t longer than that. With no way of knowing day from night it seemed like…? Certainly more than a couple months. He had to escape, but he had to make sure when he did, he was prepared. He had to let the world know about these aliens who were watching humans.
Days turned into weeks as Dana watched the monitor to keep his mind occupied and keep track of time.
Evaisa was watching him as the woman turned to smile at him. "You think she’s pretty?"
"Yeah, I mean, she’s okay. Where did she come from?" Dana couldn’t take his eyes off the woman. He had been sitting on the divan watching CNN news on the monitor when Vicky and the woman walked in front of him.
She was a stunner to say the least. Beautiful high arched eyebrows, blue eyes, small upturned cute nose, high cheekbones. Her soft platinum blond hair framed an angelic face as it lay softly on her shoulders and accented her abundant breasts.
She was wearing a black knit sweater dress with a turtle neck collar. Long silver dangle earrings, long multi strand silver necklace, and silver bracelets emphasized her stunning beauty.
Dana’s eyes darted down the sweeping curves of her body to long sexy legs. She was standing on four inch stiletto black heels. She put her right hand on her right hip and smiled at him.
"Is she another one who was left behind?" Dana’s mind was racing, trying to figure out where she came from? If she came in then there must be a way out. All he had to do was find her transportation.
Vicky’s eyes danced with delight as she shook her head. "No, she is a project."
Dana’s heart fell. "A project? You…, you made her?"
"I had something to do with it, yes. She meets your approval?" Vicky was staring at him as if she was trying to read his mind.
"A damn bot! I’m looking at a damn robot!" Dana growled as he pushed up off the divan and headed for his room. He couldn’t believe it. He almost had an escape plan, but if she didn’t come in from the outside he was no nearer to escaping than he was that first day.
Umba walked up to the blond and studied her. "This is the design that turns men on?"
"No Umba, this design is what Dana desires. Not all men would see the same desires in a female form. After studying Dana, while he was watching the monitor, we have designed his idea of the sensual woman." Vicky looked over at the room where Dana had gone to sulk. "Integrate them."
Vicky headed back to the lab in another part of the complex. A soft hum filled the bedroom Dana had gone to sulk in. He never heard it as his mind shut down.
"Follow me." Umba walked over to Dana’s room with the blond walking close behind. She stepped into the room where Dana was stretched out on the bed.
"Undress." Umba walked over to the bed and removed the clothes off the comatose Dana as the blond undressed.
The blond padded softly on bare feet to the bed. She looked down at the body before leveraging herself up on the bed and lying down on her back on top of Dana. Slowly, ever so slowly, she began sinking down into his body.
Umba kept watch as the blond absorbed Dana into her own body. Seconds changed to minutes and became hours as the last of Dana was absorbed into the blond. And Umba watched with the patience of an android, never moving, only watching.
Dana woke with a ringing headache. "Ohhhhhhhh. Someone stop the bus. I want off."
He put his hand up to his head and brushed the hair back out of his face. "Gotta get a haircut. I’m starting to look like a damn hippy."
With a lot of effort he sat up in bed and swung his legs off the side without focusing his eyes. "I’m in serious pain. What in the world did I do to deserve this?"
Pushing his hair back out of his face with his left hand as he held his balance on the bed with his right, he stood up and finally focused on Umba who was watching him. "I have one big fucking migraine and it has affected my hearing. You got any aspirin?"
She slowly shook her head. "We have no need of chemical addictives. Your pain will subside in one of your cycles you call a week."
"A week? My head is killing me along with everything else. I don’t have any place on my body that isn’t screaming in pain. How about a stiff drink?" Dana closed his eyes to try and deal with the pain.
"Fermented juice is not in our food stores. I can supply you with a substitute. The chemical composition of alcohol is not a complex molecule bonding. Walk to the divan and I will have MVU bring you some." Umba backed up to the doorway as it opened.
"Sure." Dana pushed off the bed with his right hand as he headed past Umba for the divan. The sooner he made the trip the quicker he would get that drink. Something wasn’t quite right as he walked to the divan, but his pain fogged brain couldn’t figure it out. Something wasn’t quite right when he sat down, but his mind was in too much pain to care about whatever it was. Something wasn’t quite right when box floated over in front of him and held up a glass and he reached out to take it.
He was bringing the glass back to his lips when his mind found a clearing in the pain fog. Dana’s eyes snapped open as he stared at the arm and hand holding the glass. The glass dropped out of his or her hand and shattered on the floor. Dana’s eyes had followed the falling glass. It disappeared under his vision as two perfect female breasts blocked his downward view.
"Noooooooo" He grabbed his throat with both hands. "Nononononononono" The sound was coming from him even if it wasn’t his voice. "Nononononooooo"
He sprang up to his feet not thinking of the broken glass. Luckily, MVU had already pulled in the shards and the liquid.
Dana looked down at her body. NOT HIS BODY, BUT HER BODY!!! "Noooooooooo"
"Why?" Her eyes were pleading as she looked at Umba. "Why?"
FROM THE EDITOR. I know some of you have gone elsewhere to read the whole story in one chunk. I hope knowing what happens won't deter you from commenting or hitting the kudo button. Barbie and I thank you for reading and for your comments and stuff.
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