Dia thorpe (origins part.., p.1
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       Dia Thorpe (Origins Part 5), p.1

           W Bradley
Dia Thorpe (Origins Part 5)

  W Bradley

  Copyright by W Bradley

  It’s a peculiar feeling, not knowing who you are through the loss of memory. This feeling of peculiarity is accentuated when you meet an alien and don’t become overly concerned for your safety.

  It had been weeks since the day I met Gheid, who apparently came from a planet called Kad. At the time I’d thought I wasn’t as afraid as I should have been because I didn’t really have anything to live for. Soon after I couldn’t shake the sense I recognised Gheid’s species; the jet black skin and noseless face. I had seen one of his kind before. The more I thought about it, the more I believed I knew of him and of the planet Kad.

  I found myself lying awake most nights, desperately trying to break down whatever mental boundaries were stopping the access of those memories which would confirm I was right. I had no success however. I slowly resigned myself to the fact I would have to wait and hope my mind would heal of its own accord.

  Gheid had been friendly and polite. In the short time I had known him I had learned of his species’ presence on Earth and of his personal desires to return to Kad. However, each time I had probed him as to why he wished to go home he would shrug off the question. I could sense there was a meaningful reason. Something more than home sickness.

  He had been stabbed moments after our first meeting. I couldn’t have just left him where he lay, but I doubt his looks would grant him access to any hospital and even if we could have got through the doors, past the screams of fear and into the care of a willing doctor, he wouldn’t have known any more than I knew about Gheid’s anatomy. Therefore I made the decision to take him to my flat, clean the wound with alcohol and attempt to close it with a needle and thread. He hadn’t seemed to be losing much blood, so I felt the stab wound would be easy to recover from.

  He left within the same day he could stand again, claiming he wished to check on family he had here on Earth. Not believing his story I had followed him to a house which he broke into. He emerged some time later with a small black cube in his hands. I followed him to the countryside where he placed the cube in the grass and touched the top. That was the last I saw of him.

  I woke up following another restless night, one month after Gheid’s departure and I immediately shuddered, something which had been happening quite frequently recently. I rolled out of bed and opened the curtains. The sky was clear and blue, not a cloud in sight. Good. I dressed myself and left the house, heading towards the doctors for my biweekly check-up. It would be the same news as always. I expected no different.

  I rounded the corner leading into the alleyway I used as a cut-through; the same alleyway in which I had awoken with no memory some time ago.

  There was a scuffling sound off to my left as I passed an old metal fire escape. I dismissed this as a wild animal of some kind and continued onwards until the ‘wild animal’ made a strange sound. It was a pure sound. A single, perfect, unwavering note. I turned to face it but could see nothing. I stared, franticly seeking the source but still saw only empty space. I moved towards the sound with only my ears to guide me and the volume increased. Suddenly the note altered to that of a higher pitch but I moved closer still and the pitch changed again, then again. Then the alley became a perfect white.

  I woke, for the second time that day, on my back, looking into a bright blue light above my head. I was no longer in the alley. I knew that immediately, but somehow this fact didn’t seem to concern me as it should, as if this sort of thing happened frequently.

  I sat up and looked around the new space. The place was clinically white, not at all comforting. I made out a door in the far wall so moved towards it and on into the bright corridor beyond. I followed it, taking lefts and rights at random, not really knowing where I was aiming for; I didn’t particularly want to find an exit as I didn’t yet feel endangered, nor did I want to stay in any one place.

  Soon I came to a room of interest. Strangely, of all the reactions which could have come forth, curiosity won out and I hurried within to explore. It seemed to be a control room of sorts, at least, there were panels of dials and what looked like touch sensitive pads, but what caught my attention most was the hologram-like text in the air before one of the consoles. It appeared to be a list, at the top of which was my name.

  As I stared at it in disbelief, a video materialised in my mind. It was a video of myself standing over the dead body of a woman I didn’t recognise with a man I also didn’t recognise. I appeared to be happy. I shook my head and closed my eyes to break the connection with the video. My view of the room returned just in time for me to drop to the floor, narrowly avoiding a large object which smashed against the wall behind me. I lifted my head slowly over the console, looking in the direction from which the object had come. There was a being, not human, running across the far side of the room. It appeared to be unarmed so, my instincts taking over, I sprinted at the thing. I caught it hard on the shoulder sending it spinning to the ground. Before it could recover, I threw myself on it, pushing my elbow into its throat. I hoped it breathed through its mouth, if at all. It choked; a good sign.

  “Who and what are you?” I demanded, releasing the pressure slightly to allow it to talk back. It choked again then replied,

  “I… Am a Prooth. My name is Pelran. For what purpose have you captured me? You are a human are you not?”

  “Captured you? I have not captured you. I woke in this place minutes ago. You mean… You didn’t bring me here?”

  “I may have brought you here inadvertently. It was not my intention. Please… Release me. I will not harm you.” I allowed him to sit upright against the wall, but remained wary.

  “You have been imprisoned here?” I asked, “For what purpose?”

  “My species are at war with the species which built this ship.”

  “Ship? Where are we?”

  “I do not know. Only that we are in a ship built by the Saerg and that we are likely in danger as we speak. May I?” He pointed to the centre console where the text hovered. I nodded. He fiddled with the dials and touch pads until the image of a map appeared in the air before us.

  “This is a map of this ship. The two shapes in the centre are our life signs. So unless the life signs of the Saerg are masked, which I doubt, we are quite alone and are thus safe.” Pelran then made the map transform into a language of text I couldn’t understand. He studied it for some time before speaking again.

  “We are under the Atlantic ocean. The commander, who was the only Saerg on this ship, was killed by a human who escaped with one other man. There was one other human and a being I do not recognise also imprisoned here, yet there is space enough on this ship for hundreds of prisoners. It appears the Saerg’s intention was to study you humans. His kind does not see what our kind sees in you and they intend to find out-”

  “I’m sorry,” I interrupted, “What do you see in us?”

  “My people are fighting a war.” Pelran turned back to the console as he spoke, scanning the text as if he’d reeled off this speech a thousand times. “We will not give in to the Saerg. We will use any means necessary to win. Certain humans have the ability to help so we ask those humans to aid us. Occasionally we find one who is willing.”

  “That doesn’t answer my question. How can we help? We are not as advanced as you apparently are.”

  Pelran did not reply for a moment. He was staring at the ground. When he looked up, he looked deep into my eyes and said, “Dia?”

  “How do you-” I began, but I had just recognised the list hovering before the console; I had almost forgotten the footage I had seen of myself.

  “This is not good…” Pelran muttered to himself. Then he turned back to me. “The Saerg have somehow
obtained a list of the people on Earth we know to have certain genetic advantages. Other Saerg will be on their way to discover the fate of this ship. We have to act quickly. Dia, will you help me? Help my people?” I considered whether I trusted the Prooth. Naturally I wanted to help, to make new memories if the old ones refused to return, but could I trust Pelran? His story certainly made sense to me though I knew it shouldn’t.

  After a few moments I nodded. Pelran abruptly turned to the console and within seconds the image of an empty hospital room appeared to my side.

  “This ship does not abide by the same rules of time as the rest of space. When you go through this portal, you will be transported to that hospital room on Earth but it will be weeks in the past. Find Michael.” He showed me an image of him and continued. “Stop him before he kills a man named Jarl. I will come back for you, Dia. Trust me.” I stared at him. His ugly alien features showed nothing but an unfaltering seriousness.

  “I’ll… I’ll do what I can.” I managed to say before walking into the portal.

  I appeared in the hospital room and felt immediately anxious. Something was wrong. Something hadn’t worked as the Prooth had intended or maybe I shouldn’t have trusted him. The room wasn’t empty. There was a man in the bed and the layout was completely different to the image Pelran had shown me. I sensed a presence behind me. I began to turn, but it was too late. I felt the scalpel blade slice into my throat, first breaking the skin, then cutting into my veins and arteries and finally gashing deep into my trachea. Immediately I knew I was dead; this was the end. I choked on my own blood as I stared at my murderer. It was Michael. I allowed my eyes to close and felt the life leave my body. My final thought was of the last words Pelran had said:

  “Trust me.”

  I woke in an alley. No. ‘The’ alley I had woken in once before, only this time I had memories of the past events. My hand flew to my throat; there was no slash in it.

  “What the…” I muttered out loud. It wasn’t a dream, I knew that. It was too vivid, too real; the pain and the terror had both existed minutes ago. I looked around from where I sat, slumped against the wall. This wasn’t just the same alleyway. I was in the exact same location as the last time I woke here. Had I been killed before that time too?

  “I’m sorry, Dia.” Came a gruff voice from behind, startling me. The voice belonged to Pelran.

  “Are you OK? Do you have your memory?” He asked quickly.

  “Pelran…? You… You told me to trust you.”

  “And you are OK are you not? I regret that you had to die but the delay you provided was enough to save Jarl.”

  “Jarl…? He’s alive? You knew I’d be killed?!”

  “Yes I did and I am truly sorry but your death saved Jarl’s life and he has agreed to join the Prooth.”

  “Could you not have caused another distraction? Anything? Why did I have to die?”

  “I could have, but then you wouldn’t have been killed and you wouldn’t have been resurrected here. Have you not figured it out? You have only died once, Dia Thorpe. Just once. You woke up in this alley prior to this time with no memory because the events you are now remembering had not happened yet-”

  “Wait… What the hell are you talking about?”

  “When I met you on the Saerg’s ship, you hadn’t died yet. There was a paradox. I needed you to die in the past, before you woke in this alley the first time, in order for you to have woken in the alley when you did. If this hadn’t happened, the events following would not have led you to me.”

  “That sounds…”

  “I know. I will explain the science behind it some time. Now what of you, Dia Thorpe? I came back for you. Will you join us against the Saerg?”

  It should have been too much to take in. I should have laughed at how it sounded and set off sprinting for the hills. However my mind felt almost relaxed; at peace with the universe as if here, in amongst this confusion, was its rightful place. The cross-over of time lines was too much for me to understand right now; I would have to consider that at length later. For now… Did it matter if I trusted Pelran? Did I have to choose a side in an alien war this minute? My options, when simplified, seemed to be twofold:

  Go with him and choose a side when I learned if I could trust him and his kind.

  Or Stay here on Earth, knowing what I know. Knowing that there is a war across the universe I could have helped in.

  Do something? Or do nothing?

  “It is your choice.” Pelran said soothingly. I looked into his alien eyes and a slither of excitement came from somewhere, deep inside me, rapidly spreading through my body. I smiled at the extraterrestrial.

  “Thank you.” I finally replied. “I’ll help.”

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