The Mandela Shift, Chapter 4

The Mandela Shift

A collaborative effort of Leila and Haylee V
(c) 2017

*Author's note:

I talked at length with Leila the other day. She is going through a rough patch right now (nothing that should concern our gentle readers, though), and I have had issues with my health and moving into a new residential care facility. She has given me the go-ahead to post the next chapter of our combined saga. We sincerely hope you like what we've come up with.

Haylee V*

Chapter Four

I wake up as an antiseptic stench fills my nostrils.

"Welcome back, Ms. Manhaus," a young Vietnamese nurse said. “You've been unconscious for the last two hours. You're at the Benson-Rhodes Medical facility in Perdition. Closest you can get to Hell without actually being there... We've drawn some blood and established an IV. The neural disrupter proved... ineffective... on you, so we requisitioned some ‘old-school opiates’ from the local veterinary clinic to help with your pain. We’ve never had to go that route with any other patient. We don't quite understand why they work on you, or even how you knew which of these outdated medicines would be effective. You're quite an enigma, if you don't mind me saying, and we're running some tests to determine why, exactly, you respond the way you do. The head nurse, Catherine Clarke, is in quite a quandary over you."

I nod my head and say a simple ‘Thank you.’ The machines that are hooked up to me look totally foreign, but I at least notice the screen monitoring my vitals, and feel some degree of comfort- something somewhat familiar amid this miasma of confusion.

"Where are the people who fixed my leg?" I ask, confused.

"Dr. Covington and Nurse Bondeaux, I mean Chance and Bethany? They're with Nurse Clarke, discussing treatment options to get you moving as quickly as possible. You realize, of course, the dangerous situation you're in," she questions. "You are now able to walk without aid, but you may want a LIMITED supply of pain killers. The roads aren't well maintained around here, and traveling will be painful as you'll be jostled around quite a bit. By the way, I'm Kim, Kim Marquette."

"Stacey, with an 'e'", I say. "So, what's the 411?"

She looks at me with utter confusion. "411?" she questions. "Well, it’s going to rain in a bit, but why do you need a weather report at a time like this?"

Now, I'm the one confused. How did she get 'weather report' from that? We're DEFINITELY NOT in Kansas, Toto, I think. "No, no, dear," I say. "I need to know my situ--what's going on, and how I can return to Hagerstown--and life as I know it."

"Hagerstown? In what country is that?" she says, typing it into her tablet.

"It's near Baltimore, in the United States?" I falter.

"You're joking, right? The United States hasn't existed in over 250 years, ever since Trump and Putin started World War III. Damn near nuked the planet, but they DID, finally, put an end to ISIS."

250 years? That DOES explain a few things. "Isn't this Earth?" I ask.

"Never heard of it," Kim stated, even more bewildered. "What state is that in?"

What STATE? Definitely NOT Kansas... "Where, EXACTLY, am I, then?" I ask in frustration.

"I've told you already. You're at the Benson-Rhodes facility. In Perdition. Calmexico. Third capital-general of the great Omoh Empire. In The United Federation of North America…”

“UNITED FEDERATION OF NORTH AMERICA? OMOH EMPIRE? What PLANET are you from?"

She looks at me with anguish. “Retah. Have you really lost THAT much of your memory? You don’t have any head trauma. We checked for that." she explained, rather exasperated.

I am SO NOT in Kansas... "Hoooo Kayyyy," I sigh. "THAT explains things! I don't know how to explain this to you, but I'm not exactly from around here."

"I never would have guessed," she snickers.

Well, at least they have sarcasm here.

"OK, I'm all ears..." She’s thrumming her fingers on her tablet.

"The world, at least as I know it, is called Earth. It's the year 2017, and there are seven continents. I live in a country called the United States, on the North American continent. Every country has a separate government, different culture(s), and different religions. While not exactly condoned or widely accepted, transgenderism IS legal, and there are groups that OPENLY support LGBT, without fear of governmental intervention. We are free to go and come as we please, to say whatever (within reason) we want, and basically pursue happiness however we happen to find it."

"Sounds like a wonderful place," Kim states dreamily while shaking her head no. Winking, she comtinues: "I'm unfamiliar with the terms you use, but it doesn't really matter. What IS important, however, is how--and even better why--did you get HERE?"

"That’s what I’m trying to figure out. But I REALLY want to go HOME."

"Well, if anyone can help you, it would be Chance."

“And maybe I can click my heels three times and chant ‘there’s no place like home?’”

"WHAT???" Kim questions.

"Nevermind..."

“Really, though, he knows things most people don't."

So, the doctor can help me. Interesting. "And Bethany? What’s her deal?"

"Well, she's a pip," Kim stated, her eyes glazing. "We did the Hokey Pokey together." With a whisper only I could hear, she added, "Her 'hokey' would poke me quite often", then she said, loud enough for anyone to hear, "Until Glibt took over and made such... activities... illegal. I really thought our love would survive, but Bethany's not exactly the type to remain... monogamous. Catherine transferred here from New Britain, and with her fuller figure and dark features, Bethany kinda went wild. When I found out about their tryst, I was heartbroken. Catherine and I have had issues ever since..."

I saw her head perk up, as I heard a female voice just outside. "Yes, Chance, I said DOUBLE HELIX! Exactly! Not a triple helix. Damnedest thing I've ever seen. AND, she has paired chromatids, 23 of them, not the usual complement of 48 chromatid strands. She looks Retan but, I don't know, EXACTLY, where she's from, but it sure as hell isn't here..."

Kim spies someone. I turn to look. I’m not sure whom she is looking at. Kim starts to look agitated.

"Beever Falls. Funny name for a town, right?" Kim diverted. "There's no beavers in Calmexico, let alone waterfalls. Did anyone ever tell you how it got it’s name?”

I shake my head.

“The town got its name from the founder's son, Clarence Beever. Seems his father, Harry, a rather rotund man, fell off his horse, killing him instantly. He was so heavy, that they had to bury him on the spot he fell. Not to mention the horse had just taken a MAJOR DUMP on him after he fell. NO ONE likes to mess with horse sh*t... The town came to be called Beever Falls in his memory- or so the legend goes..."

At that point, a stocky woman walks in. Her name tag says, ‘Catherine Clarke’, (yeah, it actually TALKED!) She’s followed in by Chance, with Bethany close on her heels. "Ahem..." she uttered, trying to get Kim's attention. "We DO have other patients here, Kim. Try to remember that."
------------------------------
Damn, what a hard-assed bitch, I thought. We have NAMES for people like that where I come from. One name in particular came to mind. And I'm NOT all that racist. Really.

"So tell me, Ms. Manhaus," she eased herself into our conversation, "Just WHO are you, really? We've done NOTHING to bring Her Excellency's wrath down upon us. I send the dissident reports nightly, containing everything I can acquire about the patients I treat. YOU, however, are NOTHING like the other 'seekers' I've seen..."

Seeker? Just who the HELL does she think I am, anyway?

"I see why the neuron disrupters failed. No MEMUs and where are you from exactly? Another planet? Where’s the rest of your kind? On a spaceship? I don't know what your mission here is, but from your genetic makeup, it impossible for you to be alive. A double helix tRNA? That’s something impossible even for the Great Omoh Empire." she said, bowing low as she emphasized the last part.

What are MEMUs? I think she meant my DNA was wrong for this planet. Yup! Not Kansas, Dorothy!

Kim interrupted. "I think can explain," she said, glancing my way waiting for my assent to continue. I nodded. What choice did I really have, anyway? Catherine WAS, after all, the most senior medical professional in the room.

Kim related my story to the others in the room, with me adding in details where appropriately. Bethany and Chance looked nonplussed by the story, having already heard something similar from me earlier. Catherine, however, turned white- not an easy task for an African American or African North American Federation something or rather. I should know, chameleonism is one of my abilities. I can blend into my surroundings and change physical characteristics at will neat trick I picked up from good ole Uncle Sam. At least when it works. I didn't know others had that ability, though...

Catherine motioned towards the bathroom, and urged us all to follow her in there- quietly. Shutting the door carefully, and ensuring the lock was secure, she began. "Sorry, Stacey, can I call you that?” I nod wondering why all the secrecy. She continues, “All rooms are monitored. Due to public outcry, public baths are the only exception.”

Do we REALLY need to see people do their business?

“What I say goes no further. Stacey, you MUST, somehow, get to New Detroit. Chance and Bethany know the way, and I'm sending Kim along to help you if any 'issues' come up. She has proven herself to be quite... resourceful... at times. I've done what I can to make you as ambulatory as possible. If you're CAREFUL, and avoid the main roads, you should be OK. Unfortunately, this means you'll have to MANUALLY travel, as the 'tubes' are heavily monitored. I've apprised Chance the best route to take..."

With that, we headed out. Next stop, Black Rock...



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