“Checkmate”

Stardate 74186.5; March 09, 2397

 

Episode 53

 

Written by Chris Adamek

 

 

 

Chapter Thirty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thump-thump.

 

Thump-thump.

 

Thump-thump.

 

Alan Christopher forced his eyelids shut at hearing the constant thumping noise emanating from his quarters.  He didn’t know what was going on, and quite frankly, he didn’t want to know.  He merely wanted to cuddle with Erin Keller under the warm covers of their bed.  As far as he was concerned, it wasn’t too much to ask for.

 

Thump-thump.

 

Thump-thump.

 

He tried to ignore the noise, instead filling his mind with thoughts of Erin: her eternal good will; ethereal brown eyes; long auburn hair; perfect smile…

 

Thump-thump.

 

Thump-thump.

 

…And to Christopher’s apparent consternation, the noise would not allow itself to be ignored.  He sighed, and hoped if he waited around for a moment longer, it would go away all on its own.  It was probably nothing more than the anodyne relays chugging too much energy through this section—Commander Tompkins had said the relays were in need of recalibration—and when the computer finally realized the problem, the relays would automatically compensate for the error.

 

Thump-thump.

 

Thump-thump.

 

Or not.

 

Christopher sighed, and turned to his beloved.  “Sorry to disturb you,” he whispered into her ear.  Erin said nothing in response; apparently, she was completely unfazed by the dreadful noise.

 

Shaking his head in disbelief, Christopher phlegmatically started to make his way out of bed, but he got no further than a few centimeters before realizing such an act would be virtually impossible.  Cold, metallic restraints were clamped tight around his wrists and ankles, holding him in bed.  Was Erin playing some sort of trick?

 

Thump-thump.

 

Thump-thump.

 

“Erin!” he whispered.

 

Nothing.

 

Erin!”

 

The thumping stopped, and all around him, Alan Christopher could feel the warm ambient air draining from the room.  He blinked, and in an instant, Alan’s bed was no longer a comforting haven, but a hard, metallic gurney about as comfortable as a slab of coarse rock.  Out of the corner of his eye, Christopher could see shadowy figures maneuvering in the distance.

 

“It won’t be long now,” came a malevolent voice from above.  Alan’s eyes swiftly darted upward and immediately locked with Xi'Yor’s vivid orange eyes.  The Overseer grinned deviously, inserted an intravenous tube into Alan’s left arm, and then walked away; each step echoed throughout the dreary chamber.

 

Alan’s eyes slowly maneuvered back to the shadowy figures in the distance—only now they were standing much closer, and Christopher was relatively certain they were Elorg.  They conferred with each other for a few moments, retreated out of Christopher’s line of sight, and finally returned—only now they loomed directly overhead, consulting with Overseer Xi'Yor.

 

“…a genetic proximity detonator will suffice,” Xi'Yor said, though in Christopher’s mind, the words were slurred and distant.

 

One of the attendants nodded agreeably.  “…should we target…  and the… for…”

 

Xi'Yor shook his head.  “…anorax in the…”

 

The attendant again nodded.  “Very well…”  His pasty white lips continued to move a moment longer, but only a few of the words reached Christopher’s ears—and those that did made little sense to him.  He shook his head, hoping to clear his mind, but the second attendant quickly grabbed it.

 

“Nefet al glib,” she said.  She disappeared for a moment, and when she returned, she placed a large, grayish mask over Christopher’s nose and mouth.  “Xanthar tu nalis sir tanu?”

 

Xi'Yor’s considered the question for a moment.  “Itan,” he said a moment later.  “Gau ju sol ivranis.”

 

At hearing Xi'Yor’s words, the male attendant’s already pasty face grew even more ashen.  He hesitated for a moment and then turned to his companion.  “Renistarine,” he said.  “Blan su den.”

 

The female nodded.  Again she vanished from sight for a moment, and when she returned, Christopher could smell a noxious odor emanating from the mask on his face—a dreadful combination of skunk and vomit that almost immediately gave his body the feeling of weightlessness.  Christopher was certain that this was his chance to escape.  If he concentrated hard enough, he could simply float out of the chamber.

 

That would definitely work, and there was nothing the Elorg could do to stop him.  He swiftly closed his eyes and relaxed, allowing the horrific stench of skunk and vomit to take him away…

 

 

 

Alan Christopher’s eyes bolted open to see the familiar darkness of his interrogation chamber.  For the first time in what seemed like weeks, he had been asleep—if one could call that nightmare sleep.

 

  Though it had been awhile since he last curled up in bed on the Starlight, Christopher still had a good idea as to what sleep was like.  It was comforting.  It was relaxing.  It was refreshing.   And as he sat strapped into his cold, hard interrogation chair, Christopher realized he felt none of the above.

 

Christopher sat and stared into the nothingness for a long moment before he felt a sudden pang of pain in his left arm.  His eyes darted down to see a faint scar that he had not been aware of prior to his nap.  He sighed uneasily, and continued to stare into his uninviting abyss—and now it was perhaps even more abysmal.  Though he had no way to be certain, Christopher had a feeling that his nightmare was anything but a dream…

 

 

 

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