Echoes of the Stars
- Chapter Index:
- Prologue (Current)
- Chapter One
She hurt everywhere. Why did it have to hurt so much?
Pain surged through her chest; and she felt as though her rib cage shrank twice as small, compressing her lungs and making it hard to breathe.
She consciously wanted to reach out for something –anything to grab onto and make the pain go away– but she was only vaguely aware that she was lying down. Movement wasn't possible.
Pain again –why why did it have to hurt so much? Her legs erupted in fury, feeling as though they were on fire. The serum, or whatever they injected into her, was circulating through her body, and now spreading like wildfire in a dry season.
She wanted to scream so badly, but her throat was too scratchy; her mind on a high from the pain and administered drugs. The two made her light-headed and only mildly capable of holding consciousness.
Voices –voices again. Some familiar, some not. Someone said something about a knock out and more drugs, but the rest of it was garble and she was in too much pain to really care.
Another voice said something about a Firearm, and suddenly Anna remembered; memories flooding into her deranged mind. She was a test pilot; this was the surgery to make her suitable to pilot a machine. They called it a Firearm, a giant lumbering machine used in war. They stood about 14 meters high, some bipedal, some on four legs; weapons protruding from every viable angle, but mostly humanoid in shape. They were cold machines, always chilling to look at and cold to the touch. Since their introduction into the Earth War, they had done nothing but destroy. The sundered and broken planet Earth was the tangible proof of that; borderline uninhabitable, it was a miracle it didn't come apart from the interior after the explosion of nuclear bombs, shell-based Firearm weapons, and contamination from pollution. Its surface was in terrible shape; landscapes torn apart and old relics uprooted from their centuries-old places, the air unclean and grey, nearly clogging to a healthy human's lungs, thick with the exhaust of early Firearms and black smoke of wreckage.
Pain again– the short spike of a needle punctured her upper arm and a cold fluid entered her bloodstream. It cooled and calmed the fire burning in her chest and legs, but it did not help the ache she felt afterward. It was as if someone made her run a marathon in 20 minutes, sucking all the energy she had out of her and leaving her wrung out to dry. She felt used and abused, but the doctors said this would leave her feeling exhausted.
Dark shadows moved from behind her eyelids, and she was once again aware of being moved. Faintly, she could hear the sound of the voices again, discussing amongst themselves how the operation went, and what to expect once Anna recovered. Groaning, she tried moving her body, but her eyes were still much too heavy to get a response. Her fingertips twitched only slightly, half-awake, much like Anna herself.
A particularly large shape leaned over Anna's body, and she could practically feel the body heat from it. She heard the deep chuckle of a man's voice, and felt one of his fingernails tap her forehead, repeatedly. A distant part of her warned Anna she hated this man, and the familiar feeling of anger and disgust roused her from her reverie, pulling the fragments of Anna's scattered mind back to the surface of reality.
"Welcome back Miss Haskell," the man said with cheerful musing, "No time for sleep now, your father is waiting, and your new Phantom Firearm is in the process of fending off intruders."