|The Grey Journal - Part II, Come Back Down
Author: TheSanctuarian PM
Second half of 'Here I Am', Come Back Down continues the journey of Grey, Ben and Allison on their quest for finding the answers to questions which have been plaguing them for years on end. Come Back Down continues the events after 1985, but also touches on the character's histories. This instalment fills in gaps the first novel left open, but leaves more answers left to find.Rated: Fiction M - English - Adventure/Sci-Fi - Chapters: 18 - Words: 33,710 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 01-21-13 - Published: 10-16-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3066100
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
September 1983. Pillinger, Tasmania, Australia.
I'm losing track of the days. Everything is different. Twisted, broken, and fragmented. I need to focus, I must keep counting, keep working on a salvation... I can't...I just CAN'T focus! Goddamn it, I will find a solution, I can't remain like this.
I need to get back to the manor, back to safety, sanctuary. I feel like I'm losing my mind, last time I had Stanford to solve it for me using the neural block, but that isn't an option this time. My head feels unfocussed; I'm tired all the time, the natural flow of energy feels like it's around me and not in me...it's frustratingly exhausting.
Ben...Ben can do something, anything...Damn that blasted experiment! What was I thinking? I'm trapped, stuck in a place worse than before. I'm here, but not. I'm unsynchronised, alive...but fading, dead. I don't know where... but as to how I can't... WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!
I felt the burn of the bullet pierce my heart, my cybernetics set to work to bypass the wound, I was losing blood. They were closing in; I never knew they could be so capable. The predator thugs moved in on my position, I was holed up in a cave above the cape; I was not going to go without a fight. The bullet hadn't exited and was stopping the heart from healing itself. My circuits were capable in fuelling oxygen to my body with my heart damaged, without them I'd certainly be dead. I felt the blood surge through my veins; it caused me to gasp suddenly. I was healing, just not fast enough.
They were in earshot now; I could hear their voices calling for my execution. The leader, Rex Johnson...he was right outside that door. I armed my pistol, three rounds left - Enough to kill four men... if I'm lucky, I didn't feel lucky. I tried to stand, to ready for my encounter, I was pushing my luck... think about it, Grey... you've been shot through the heart, you can't run into a fire-fight. I was wrong. I knew I could.
I held that gun to my chest, bleeding everywhere... running at 23% capacity? No problem. Dying of blood loss, I leapt from the cave mouth, vaulting over the cover stone I used for cover. I landed with a crunch, I felt the pain rush from my knees, but forward I marched. The men didn't know what hit them.
BANG fired my first shot, impacting the soldier in the shoulder. He was down. BANG went the second shot within milliseconds - killing the second soldier outright. The third man...Rex. I marched to him; he pulled out his Desert Eagle and fired at me, impacting my ribcage shattering my three remaining unbroken ribs, and puncturing two vital organs. I fell to my knees, dislocating one of them as I fell. I couldn't help but sob to myself, the damage I had suffered would have killed any normal man, I should be happy... I watched him walk up to me; I was in so much agony at what just happened, he grabbed my hair, forced my head to look him deeply into his eyes. I felt my rage build again; I watched as he took his gun and placed it on my temple. I looked straight in his eye... I took my revolver and stabbed him in his gut, twisting the blade upwards; I fired the last remaining bullet into his chest and watched it exit through the top of his head - causing a splatter of brain to dirty the tree behind. The bullet fired out of the barrel, pierced his chest and perforated up through his throat up through his mouth where it punctured his brain... He should have suffered for longer.
The soldier behind me agreed, as he recovered from his shot to the shoulder...he took his sidearm and fired several shots at me before dying himself... I had no choice...but to die.
I couldn't take that, dying at the hand of some unnamed wingman. Not today. But I knew I couldn't fight on. I grabbed my gun and unfastened the blade and took it to my arm. I drew a laceration from the inside of my elbow down to my wrist, throwing my knife aside I pulled away at the skin to reach the wiring inside. I felt my way around the muscle and tendons causing my hand to twitch violently hindering my progress. I felt it, a small switch on a circuit board. I knew it was dangerous, but I was sure I'd be okay. I said my prayers and flipped the switch and felt safe to collapse on the floor. I hope it won't be a mistake.
I can only blame myself, Marg always warned me that it wasn't to be messed with, but she never got around to removing the conduit from my arm. It was originally designed as a stealth system to be used for reconnaissance and assassination missions. I knew it was a mistake to activate it, but it got me the time I needed.
Revenants are unique, and unlike usual cloaking devices, ones which bend light around objects using EM generators, the Revenant cloak is essentially a reverse form of the Craon device; the system was to essentially revert themselves back into ghost-form and back again at will. Stanford refused to work in it any further because she believed the system to be too dangerous or 'unpredictable' to continue. She was right; I have no control over it anymore. I must make my way to Grey Manor; Ben will know what to do.
Present day: February 1986. Windsor, United Kingdom.
"For God's sake, guys. I'm not doing this in the hallway!" The bullet was out, but we needed a sterile environment. I had Kiff lying on the stretcher, and I was kneeling on the bed with him keeping pressure on the wound. Allison and Elliot were carting us to my lab in the east wing. Kiff was in rough shape, his pulse was weak and his face pale, and he was no longer conscious. We were running out of time. "Come on Kiff!"
We rushed into the lab and pushed the stretcher next to the operating table.
"Get ready to move him. On three, one…two…three…lift."
Kiff's wound was badly wrapped but the worst of the surgery was done; now we just needed to clean and seal the damage from the surgery. I couldn't lose him, not now. I looked at him…his warm, cheery face now dull and lifeless…his wavy locks were flat and dripping with blood he'd been laying in…Oh, Kiff…
"Ben!" cried Elliot "What are you doing?"
I refocused and set right to work. I flushed the wound with antiseptic, and began to suture the bullet hole shut. It took a few stitches but I was able to stitch it together. I looked at him, and rolled up the sleeve of my left arm. I took a syringe from the table, removing the cover of the needle, I inserted it into Kiff's jugular vein and holding the needle securely, I removed the syringe whilst keeping the needle in the vein. I took surgical wire and fed it onto the needle into the vein and made a small incision to allow the entry of the catheter. Keeping calm, I began to thread the catheter onto the wire and into the vein. I retracted the wire and removed it and placed a syringe containing saline solution to test the catheter. Success. I began the transfusion using my own blood…via a bag on a drip, I took blood from my own arm and had it rushed into Kiff.
Now only time will tell.
I left the operating theatre in tears, I took off my gown and threw it to the side of my office. I wasn't ready for this, I'm not Stanford… I'm not. I left my office and made my way to the common room. Allison came up to me in the corridor and put her arm over my shoulder. I buried my head in her neck and couldn't let her go.
"Allison…I feel like I've failed." My tears were drowning my speech, I couldn't think straight. "I feel like there is nothing left to do for him but wait."
"Ben, you noo it's not truu. Kiff is ah fighter. He w'll love it tae see yoo again."
"He's been so wonderful to me since day one"
"Aye, well… He's certainly liked yoo sence dae one" This caught my attention, I was curious as to what she meant
"What do you mean, Allison?"
"Ah…Its not mae place tae sae, but…" she sighed formally. "Noo. Ah mustn't. Wait for heem to git better, and yoo'll see."
I couldn't help but be curious, but Allison was right. I didn't want to hear anything that would mean little should Kiff not get better. We walked slowly back to the lab to check on Kiff's progress.
It took me a while to reawaken. The bodies were all gone, undoubtedly removed by the predator reinforcements, I was so glad it worked! Overjoyed that the stealth system worked to success, I checked my vitals. I was still a long way from healthy; there was a lot of irreparable damage.
I snapped a stick nearby to help me walk, but the pain was still insatiable. I used it as a crutch to hobble down the path from which I came, but I was getting nowhere fast. I felt my hand start to tremble, and then I shuddered, and felt myself fall. It was odd, the pain faded away completely.
It took me a second to realise my fatal error. I was so angry at myself; I was ghosting. Ghosting is a phrase first coined by Stanford in 1953 when we first started working on the cloaking device. She described it as the Revenant fading in and out of synchronisation with the common reality, jumping between Ghost-form and full Revenancy and in some cases off the map all together. This was her nightmare, me losing control over my cybernetics.
The different phases of ghosting are variable, I'm trying to control it, but even when in my Revenant form; I'm completely without my cybernetics. Oddly enough, all my personal effects are in the same state as I, and change as I do... I possess a knife and the broken stick from my first jump, but I cannot pick up outside objects, not even door handle, when in Ghost-form. It's frustrating me. I have taken to spending most of my corporeal hours carving a cane from the broken stick. It's helped keep me sane.
I have made significant progress making my way to Grey manor; I'm currently near Pillinger, Tasmania, a few miles south of the town. Without flight, I will have to walk, and without human contact...It will me a long journey. On the plus side, I can travel regardless of which state of being I'm in. I've been timing the different phases...it's not looking good. I literally evanesce after the Revenant-phase, everyone around me freaks out. And magically reappear when my time as a ghost is over. I feel a tingling sensation and simply fade in and out; the term 'jump' doesn't make sense.
I'm heading to my outpost here in Pillinger, the Hildegrid©,Hildegard's central mainframe and storage of her main consciousness. With luck, I can access her directly at the Hildegrid© and contact Ben at the manor...I need to get there or I'm not safe. I need my situation rectified.
I sat by his bed and stroked his hair with the back of my hand; I felt his wavy locks in between my fingertips and sat there, tears rolling down my cheeks. I looked him in the eyes, and kissed his forehead. The sound of the heart monitor beeped contently the last flicker of hope I had left.
The blood transfusion was successful, and curiously enough had caused a previously unforeseen circumstance. Kiffy's blood had mutated as a result of the transfusion. His blood work came back as a genetic match to mine, yet his DNA was completely his. Kiffy was becoming a chimera...a human-revenant chimera. I had no idea that this could happen, there was nothing in the Archive to back it up. A transfusion from a revenant to human is completely undocumented... Stanford used Grey's blood for injected use to slow down her Huntington's disease, but never performed a full transfusion. We have no idea what risks this could pose to Kiff.
I never like leaving him, but Allison is right; I may be a Revenant, but I still need sleep, food and fresh air. With Kiff no longer in the kitchen, Elliot has been making himself useful trying to prepare meals...and frankly, it's another reason why I'm eagerly anticipating Kiff's revival.
It's been six days since Kiff's transfusion, and other than blood tests there's not much change I'm noticing, Kiff is still unconscious, but his vital signs aren't within normal range. His body temp is lower than normal, his pulse is low and his body's metabolic rate is lowering itself. His colouring is better, breathing is slow but steady... brain scans shows perfectly normal brain function, as if merely asleep...but this contradicts everything my medical knowledge is telling me, he's responsive to light and pain stimuli, but just won't wake.
I talk to him, keep him updated on what's happening...I told him about Elliot's terrible cooking, about Allison's maternal pact to force me to eat and sleep even when watching over him. I thought myself silly, but if he reacts to light and pain...then surely he would react to sound too? There's nothing left I can do for him except wait for him to wake up. I've been searching the Archive for anything on Kiff's condition, and I believe he has gone into hibernation; literally a deep sleep which is causing his body to heal much quicker than normal, but the healing process could be due to the Revenant DNA from the transfusion. On a hunch, I examined his blood work again, and after running the tests three times, his blood showed a ratio of 4:1 in Revenant to human DNA... Kiff's human DNA is being overwritten.
Allison came by just as I broke into tears again, but stayed just outside the door to hear me be brutally honest with Kiff, even if he couldn't hear a word I said...She heard me say what I've never said before, even if it weren't aimed at her, she accepted it and didn't pass any judgement on the matter at all...That was the best thing about her, if it didn't affect her, she didn't pry. I'm glad that I didn't have to hide my concerns anymore, I may have been the team's shrink...but when I needed a shoulder, everyone was there for me. Allison talked to me about it, because I asked her to, and she said that I shouldn't be so worked up by it, it's natural to be frustrated by these things. I hope that Kiff wakes up soon, we have lots to talk about.
I wasn't there when it happened, Allison was. I got the call on my pager and rushed down to my lab, I couldn't stop to take a breath, I couldn't focus on anything other than getting to my lab...Run, I said.
I tapped in my security code into the lab door, and it slid aside gracefully. I charged in... There he was, sitting on the patient's bed...smiling at me. I took one look at him and sighed.
I was lucky to be solid by time I reached the Hildegrid station; I pulled off the boards blocking the entrance and forced my way into the well. I looked down at the murky depths of the well below, if it were full, the water would break my fall. If it were empty, then I'd be in more pain than I was currently. I looked around and vaulted into the damp hole. Wonderland here I come.
I walked for a few hundred feet before reaching an iron gate, chains wrapped around it denying me access. I had to bide my time and wait for my next ghost phase to start, after time I felt the tingling sensation and passed through the gates with no trouble. I'm starting to see perks in this phasing ability.
I rephrased and opened the door beyond. I was now at the heart of the Hildegrid, now I could set to work.
"Sorry, were you expecting someone else?" He quizzed me.
"Grey? You've been gone for four years! Where have you been?"
"Four? Dear God... No wonder you're surprised." He looked around and saw Kiff lying in bed "What happened here?"
"Ah can explain thaat. Yoo hae been gone fur four years, in your absence Ah hae been head of your network, Ah...We thought yoo were dead, sae we carried oan without ye." Grey turned to Allison, pointing his finger at Kiff.
"That still doesn't explain what happened to Blake."
"Aneska is what happened, she broke in about two weeks ago, and during her interrogation she shot Kiff."
"The bitch, I'll kill her!" Grey raged, thumping his fist down on the desk...causing no noise at all.
"Noo need. Ah put a knife in her myself."
"Oh...well, well done." Grey looked surprised at Allison's capability. "Look at you, you're a woman now...you've done brilliantly here as head, I'm tempted to leave it to you still, even with me here."
"How did you get here, anyway? Well, where have you been?"
Grey faced me, shook his head and paced about for some time. He was clearly debating something, whether or not to tell me something.
"I...I activated the Eldridge device."
I looked at him in disbelief. "That's a myth. Stanford's notes describe it as...nonsense."
"Not quite, it's real. And although it was never used on the ship, it was used for something smaller. I.E...me."
"Did it work?"
"Of course it worked! Just not...correctly." Allison seemed to be getting frustrated at her lack of knowledge on the subject.
"Wot are yoo goan oan about?!" throwing her hands and shrugging. Grey looked at her, and smiled.
"My dear Allison, we're talking about the power of invisibility."
I'll admit I was confused, I didn't know anything of the Eldridge device other than it's abandonment after Stanford considered it too dangerous to continue as a viable cybernetic design. It appears her and Grey worked on it and eventually made a working, but malfunctioning prototype...Grey was playing with fire, he may be in over his head with this one.
"That doesn't explain how you got here. The manor is sealed, and we've put in security doors after Aneska's attack two weeks ago."
"Ah, now that's a curious one... I reached the Hildegrid in 1983 but I couldn't use it to communicate due to the absence of cybernetics, so I tried something much more complicated. With my body being unphased every so often, I took advantage of that, and used Hildegard to absorb me in energy form and send me across the planet wirelessly. I'll admit, it had its risks, but I was able to transport my entire consciousness over here...but you can imagine just how much data that is, it took me quite a while to get a secure connection but I began transmitting on a secure channel, as a consequence... Hildegard received a few temporary upgrades...she was probably a bit more sassy than usual."
"Wow... now that's-" I was interrupted but Grey fading away into thin air, he literally vanished without a trace."
"No, I didn't see...but I know what you mean. Grey is stuck in Limbo, and can't get out. This could be problematic."