Ясинский Анджей: другие произведения.

Part 1, Chapter 4

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"Wow, what a weird nightmare," I thought, stretching. Wait a second, something's wrong. For some reason I'm lying on a hard surface. I opened his eyes: ugh, looks like it was not a dream after all. I looked around - nothing had changed: the mummy was still grinning in the armchair (I shivered) and on the floor next to the console the subnote's screen glowed. Sighing, I slowly got up and did some exercises to get the blood flowing and warm up my muscles. I mentally scanned my body. It seems that nothing hurts. I carefully touched the back of my head. There seems to be some kind of crust, although there is no pain. After a moment's thought, I took out my glasses, put the body-comp into record mode, and filmed the back of his head. Then I watched the recording. Hmm... looks very scary. Although it is good that the wound is healing after all. Apparently, the water really does has a positive effect on the body.

My attention returned to the mummy. Still, I wonder where I ended up... Since I am breathing easily, it means that air does come from somewhere. So, the station, judging by its dried-up inhabitant, is very old, although there is no dust in the control room But I suppose this can be attributed to some unknown mechanisms. Several possibilities lined up in my head. First, air is created by some kind of mechanism, which is probably impossible; the second is that these are the remains of air that was originally in the closed space of the station (I do not like this option, since it implies that the station can be located somewhere in space); the third option, which I really like, there is contact with the external environment. If so, I can get out of here, even though at the moment there is no real reason to leave the station - how often do people meet such a miracle, - but I still have to find a way out. Additionally, I should find a way get food, since it would be unwise to rely exclusively on this "living" water. I should also somehow let the boss know that I'm alive. At my home, nobody is waiting for me - my parents live in another city, my little sister studies at the university and lives separately with her friends. But even then I'm not going to tell anyone about this station. It's mine! I guess I'm just that greedy... I connected my body-comp to the subnote, which I took to the far end of the control room and set up its camera so that it would cover the entire room. Now at any moment I can find out what is going on in the room as well as the current stage of the decoding process. After giving a command to the body-comp to record my route and build a map along the way, I moved to the exit. As I passed the blockage of pipes I drank some more water. Interesting: I already drank quite a few gallons of water, but I still do not have any desire for a trip behind some shrubs. Why is that?

After a while, I reached the place where I woke up after the electric shock. I carefully re-examined the entire area - maybe something else got transported with me? However, apart from the pliers and rubber gloves, I did not find anything. Putting them in my bag - maybe they'll come in handy, - I went on. I walked for a long time. Along the way I came across more doors, but I could not open them. There were no forks in the corridor, in fact, there was no other way forward. It was a continuous, periodically bending, corridor. It's strange that I did not come across any air-tight bulkheads. If the station traveled in space, then they should definitely exist - it's simple logic. No matter how intricate and complex the system, there is always a possibility of depressurization, and the easiest way to deal with it is to block off such places with bulkheads. However, there were none here, or they are very well hidden.

Judging by the body-comp's map, I walked about a kilometer, when I felt a slight movement of the air. Ah, looks like the exit is somewhere nearby! After a few more steps, a dim light appeared. After turning the corner entered a corridor which ended with a door similar to the one I found at the opposite end. This part of the corridor was also all bent out of shape - as if a giant squeezed it in his palms. The only difference is that there are no pipes here, and one of the walls was torn, as if pierced by a spear. It is through this gap that the light came through. On the floor under the gap there is a knee-high pile of mud and dirt. Looking into the hole, I blinked for a while to get used to the lighting, the body-comp-generated light in the glasses is much less intense after all. The body-comp showed that the thickness of the wall from edge to edge at the hole is about twenty meters. That's one fat wall! But, after looking closely, I understood: actually there are two walls, and between them run communications and pipes. I visually inspected everything and came to the conclusion that it is possible to pass through it, but very carefully since it is very easy to break a leg. The diameter of the gap increased outside, reaching around 3 meters in the widest outer part, although it looks like I will have to crawl through the first couple of meters.

Well, I guess this is the way out that I have been looking for. I contacted the subnote to find out how things are going there. Information processing progressed slowly. It is still working on the first stage: the computer tries to determine the relationship between the symbols and the pictures, and builds up possible strategies for further processing. The fewer options, the better. Ideally, there should be one. After all, each option will have to be completely evaluated through the remaining stages of processing, and that takes time. Well at least my subnote has a hypernuclear structure, although it's a pity that there is no quantum module. This is a very expensive device - it costs an order of magnitude more than the computer itself - and it can only be used for certain types of calculations. So I did not buy it, even though I had the money. Now it would have really come in handy. After I left the room, the light in it turned off, so the camera in the subnote showed a synthesized picture, such as the one my body-comp gave earlier. By the way, I completely forgot, since I left the subnote to keep watch on the situation in the room, I can also let it signal about any change in its environment.

Now then, lets finally get out of here. Wearing my rubber gloves (they really did come in handy), so as not to cut my hands on the metal's edges, I gently squeezed into the hole. After almost falling in between the walls a couple of times, I finally got to the exit. With an inner trembling and impatience I looked out: there was a mighty leafy forest around me, the tops of which almost reached the height at which I was. Immediately from the hole began a cliff of immeasurable height... Wait a second, why immeasurable? As I looked over the edge, the computer showed a height of 53 meters [175 feet]. Hmm, the trees are mighty tall, indeed. I looked up at the sky. The sky seems to be the same as before, with some clouds floating across. The sun is normal - I felt a little better. It seems, I am on Earth after all. Looking to the right, left and up, I saw only stone. I do not understand, is the station actually embedded in the rock, or what? After analyzing the side of the cliff I determined that after some (mostly mental) preparation I can climb up. The walls are not that steep, and there are also plenty of cracks, bushes and ledges.

Wait a second! What an idiot I am! I should have just checked the body-comp's network connection right away. I even tapped my forehead with my finger. I gave the command to connect to my network operator. A couple of seconds passed during which my body-comp honestly tried to establish a connection, but it was all in vain. Hmm. I frowned in displeasure: well, maybe I am in some remote place with no connection, although there are almost no such places anymore. One can establish a connection even from the North Pole. It is understandable since people often go there with expeditions. So, I guess it is necessary to check if there are any other communication providers accessible here. The body-comp scanned all the frequencies within a couple of seconds, but gave a negative result. I sighed, as I looked at the sun distrustfully... Once again I slapped my forehead and, pulled out the antenna used to receive shortwave radio transmissions, gave the computer a command to scan all of the available frequencies for the presence of music stations, these frequencies should definitely give some result. It takes a couple of minutes, but for now I can look around. After setting the computer to calculate the route upwards based on the captured images, I began to look around. The forest was not continuous - there were some fields and glades. From the corner of my eye I noticed a spot in the sky. Turning my head toward it, I increased the image zoom to the maximum. The body-comp, although not without difficulty, managed to stabilize the twitching image and I managed to examine the bird. It was something like an eagle, but I've never seen such a species. The comp estimated the size of its wings at two meters [6.5 feet]. I shivered: I hope they do not eat living programmers... Then I returned my attention to the trees and examined them already with the zoomed image... Of course, I am no biologist, but I know the most famous types, although I have never seen a tree with leaves such as these...

Then the computer beeped. It finished scanning the radio waves, and returned some highly disappointing results: all of the radio frequencies are completely empty. I stood there for a while with my eyes closed, trying to calm down. This is just awful. I simply had no thoughts. None. I wiped the sweat from my forehead with my sleeve - it seems it's hot in my jacket, probably it's around 25®C [77®F] here. Still, it's too early to draw any concrete conclusions. "I'll just assume that this area is some kind of anomaly," I tried to reassure myself. However the uneasy feeling in my heart remained...

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