I am on my way to my second attempt at a first travel. It freaks me a bit out. I received a letter from the lottery telling me that my tests didn’t show anything abnormal. Thus, I was invited to book another travel session which would be considered my first. The All Space Travel Lottery team have given me their apologies for the frights I got, and wished me a good one this time.
“We have decided that you will be tracked by our best specialists, those who have investigated your case. You are in the best hands.” If they say so.
And here I am again in front of their building. I don’t know what I have to do this time.
– Look who’s coming! Our chimeric girl. She seems to hesitate. What is she doing standing like that in front of the door?
– Zoom in so I can see her.
– Here you are.
– Ooh, she’s stressed; that’s not a pretty face. I think we’ll have to condition her a bit before starting, or she might spin out of control. Our equipment is state-of-the-art, but this is a first with a chimeric being inside. Abilities from an unknown species mixed with human emotions: that could be explosive. I have confidence in our gene analyzer for the gas composition, but I have to say, I worry a little about what is about to happen .
– You’re not alone. If we’ll have to do a second emergency stop, chimaera or not, the adventure will end this time. She is not a laboratory rat we could test endlessly.
– I agree. Let’s give her a chance. But it has to work. Well, she’s made up her mind. She’s just crossed the door.
– Miss Smith, do you remember us?
– You are the two operators from last time. (So THEY are the best specialists.)
– The two scientists.
– The two scientists (sigh).
– We’re happy to have you again for your first trip in space. Our apologies for last time. As we have suggested, it was an extremely rare gas issue, nothing to worry about. A defective injector which should never have been there. A mistake of a service technician. He doesn’t work for us anymore. Procedures have been reinforced. We can confidently say there will be no issues today.
– So reassuring (let me go home).
– You don’t look reassured.
– The memory I have from my last trip is not that good. Do you remember?
– Don’t worry, you’ll be the third person to use this capsule since its repair. No problem at all. Only satisfied travellers.
– Brilliant. I am relieved. And where did they go?
– We don’t know.
– You didn’t proceed with the debriefing? Down there, they told me there will be one after the session.
– We didn’t oversee those trips. We came especially for you.
– Why? Are you being punished?
– What a strange question. We’re doing the post incident control. It’s the procedure. And we hope you’ll have better memories to share this time. Ready?
– Yes, I am suddenly impatient to lie down in your stuff…
– The space travel unit.
– We are going in our glass bubble. You know how to enter the chamber.
The two men in the glass bubble
– She’s a real pain in the neck, isn’t she? “Are you being punished?” Us? Punished? Who does she think we are?
– Calm down. It was just teasing. Remember we are facing a wonder of nature.
– A quirk of nature.
– And gullible; “You’ll be the third person to use this capsule since its repair.” Nobody can take this one but you, girl. It is your own gas mixture.
– She’s waiting!
– Here we go!
A few hours later
– So, Miss Smith. I can see by your smile that the trip was good this time.
– Frankly, it was fantastic! But I have the sensation of having seen everything in disorder.
– Really? Tell us.
– When the gas came–when I suppose it came—I arrived in a world under blue light. As if the sun, or something, hadn’t succeeded in rising. I think it was a planet called “Midnight”. I recognized the beings with red luminous eyes. There was a crowd of people. They were assembled, literally gathered. From where I was, the crowd created waves: front, back, right, left, and the crowd spoke with one voice. It was plaintive. That got to my guts. I suddenly felt so sad and I wished I were elsewhere. And believe it or not, I popped elsewhere.
– You’re kidding? You mean that you succeeded in changing planets on your first trip?
– Do I look like I am kidding? After that, I ended up in a downpour. I really don’t know where I was. I had to go into a house to see anyone, because outside, there was nobody at all. It seemed to be mealtime. They were a sort of blue humans with big orange eyes.
– Certainly Tridolians.
– I was on Tridolia? Me? I am so honoured. Few people go there. But it is not finished. I felt embarrassed watching them eat, so I wished to be elsewhere. And guess what? I ended up on Proxiterra.
– Yep! I have been where I always dreamt of going. And I spent the rest of my time there. I flew with the Falcons, hunted with the Forestians, swam with the Waterians. Well, if I can say it that way. I spent a great day watching them. You have to see them working with crystals. I was so amazed. I went to the Falcon Nest, to the Rainbow Fall. And I visited the underwater fresco. I will never forget it. I can’t wait to go back.
– You came back at the first signal though.
– Really? I didn’t pay attention. Time is completely forgotten up there. I’ll have to be more careful next time. Maybe I could’ve had enough time to go somewhere else. In any case, gentlemen, I am delighted.
– We can rely on you for another travel then.
– Will you be there for the controls?
– We will. For all 12 travels. We’d like to do a little routine check-up for our archives now. We are going to lead you to the 4th floor. You’ll just have to enter the cabin for a few minutes. Just lie on the couch there and let yourself go. We’ll tell you when you have to come out. All data will be automatically taken.
– What are you going to record?
– Same things as during your trip. We are scientists, don’t forget, and we are actually looking for post-travel effects.
– Up to now, we haven’t gotten that much. But according to protocol we have to take some sets of data.
– Oh, ok.
– Let’s go.
– I’ll follow you. Remind me your names…
– I don’t think we ever told you.
– If we have to meet twelve times, it would be a good idea…
– Smith and Smith.
– Really? Are you related?
– No more than with you.
The two Smiths together.
– So what do you think? We wipe out everything except Proxiterra.
– Sure you want to?
– Well, this girl behaves like–we really don’t know yet–but not like a human being. She goes where she wants, as she wants, when she wants.
– Yes, more or less She seems to have attended funerals at “Midnight” before going further to Tridolia. The gas composition has to be changed maybe.
– Oh no. We’ll keep it just as it is.
– And then, she turned back, to end up on the nearest inhabited planet. She clearly did an interrupted spontaneous return procedure. Strong! And this, all while unconscious.
– Is it a good idea to let her go on? We won’t be able to play with her memory for a long time.
– If her life is not in danger, we have to let her go wherever she can. How many hybrids are there on Earth? We have no idea, but we have one we can watch. And we have to protect her from other humans. If she were noticed, God knows what could happen to her.
– Oh, you’re completely right. We’ll content ourselves with partially wiping out her memory. Almost nothing.
– You perfectly understood what I meant.
– I’m afraid I have! But I don’t like it.