Here is the 3rd part of the new story Proud Infinity about a a guy who become stuck in a time loop. We last ended with him wondering if he could get off the planet, the story is about to get heated:
I hit my hand on the ground in frustration. Damn! Why didn’t I leave? What was keeping me around? Seems stupid looking back on it, it is not like I have any purpose here now. Okay, that settles it. I am out of here. I’ll buy a ticket and be gone in just a few cycles.
I pulled out my gun and ran my fingers over it. At least this was a good purchase before things fell apart completely. I was making a lot of credits at the time, and I spent a serious amount on the best pistol I could get without a military clearance. I caught my Strive reflected in the large barrel of the pistol and thought of that strange girl at the bar with her simplistic pictogram. The tattoo under my left eye was a straight line, followed by a perpendicular one, ending with a triangle beyond it. The meaning was that the straightest path to anything might not be a straight line. I liked to think that that inscription that had been with me from childhood helped me in my non-standard thinking of solving problems.
Regarding hers, I honestly did not think you could get a Strive that…simple. I didn’t know the rules of the inscriptions, but I had never seen anyone with a single, non-complex design, so that’s what I based my assumption off of.
I hoped she wasn’t a regular there. I do not know if I was ready to go back there anytime soon, given the size of the city seeing her elsewhere would be a low chance. Damn, she was hot too. My curiosity piqued by what exactly she was. Maybe she was with ReCorp.
I tilted my pistol just slightly to see a man obviously coming up behind me in its reflection. Strange. And not good.
I waited a bit more and when it was clear he was coming right at me I dashed forward and rapidly turned around. Nice melee attack chump, prepare to die.
“Hey punk, this is for Walo!” He did not have a melee weapon, instead his leveled pistol erupted fire that tore into my shoulder. Damn, he was good. No warning. Professional.
I let a little yelp out as I was torn to the ground. My hand holding my pistol went to my right shoulder, feeling warm liquid leak out of it.
“Ha, guess there was nothing to you, huh boy? Just a pathetic, lucky kid. I will leave you here like the rest of the trash in this shithole.” He smiled darkly as his pistol was pointing at me.
My rapid thoughts congealed and realized I had to act right now. I brought the pistol onto the man who was stupid to not finish me and pulled the trigger. The Liner pistol’s Gauss accelerators propelled the rounds from zero to maximum velocity within a very short time. The caseless rounds tore through him at a far faster rate than his chemical propellant variety of weapon. In a few fractions of a trigger pull easily over fifty rounds were out of my gun and through his body. His torso exploded apart and he joined me down on the ground, except he was now completely dead.
“Uhh…” I gritted my teeth looking at my right arm. I tried squeezing my fingers and they did not work despite the massive pain of trying. I braced myself to try harder, screaming out in pain as I tried to close my limp hand. Nothing.
Damn damn damn! Was my arm shot through!? I was not a soldier, I was a fucking scientist. How did this happen!?
My mind was racing, scared of the blood leaking out of me. There was a sizable hole through my shoulder, and while I could feel my nanites pumping chemicals through me and trying to close the hole, this was still a very serious wound. My head swam for a moment before the chemicals started calming me.
I tried ripping my shirt with my left hand, gripping hard and pulling against my body but without a strong counter force it was not coming apart. I took off my sock in desperation and started jamming it into the hole. I was oddly self conscious that I was doing this and knew I should be in massive pain but I had so many synthesized chemicals in me from my system nanites I could not even feel anything anymore. Even the panic had given away to my coldly calculating mind, distantly stuffing a sock in my shoulder.
The injury was further alarming because at every finger extension of me pushing the sock in, I would expect to find resistance of my body, such as a bone or my back. I felt extreme nausea come over me at the implication of the massive hole in my shoulder that clearly went all the way through.
When the thin sock had completely been put into my shoulder, the very idea that part of it might be hanging out the backside – bloody and dripping – was too much and I started coughing before throwing up on the ground in front of me. I was too dizzy, likely from the thoughts more than the feelings as nanites were quite capable of keeping someone fighting in worse condition that I was. I leaned forward and sprawled out on the ground.
Normally the nanities would have mostly stopped the bleeding and within a cycle or two would heal over the hole. Perhaps even now there may be a synthetic layer of skin covering a dirty sock in my shoulder…the thought of my sock disgusted me and I was sick again.
The spinning in my head slowly stopped, and the pain was distant. I pushed myself to kneeling, then eventually to standing.
“Kckk…” I coughed a few times, rubbing my mouth and eyes on my shirt and stood up, having to catch my feet a few times from being mentally unsteady. The blood and vomit where I was looked like a massacre occurred there.
I started to walk away, until realized I didn’t have my shoe. I didn’t know if I could really put it on, so merely stupidly grabbed it, grabbed the weapon of the man I had killed in self-defense, and hobbled back to my room. The few people I saw stare at me on the way back did not once ask if I was okay; I stared back with hatred. Maybe I’ll just put a round through them. In some fitting irony, I now looked exactly like the trash I despised so much.
I held my hand over my shoulder and by the time I made it back to my room, I felt a few fibers of synthetic material stringing itself across the wound to heal faster. I would not be taking out the sock, and was grimly thinking about how eventually my nanites would slowly break the fiber down within me. I would survive, but I was very worried if the nanites would be able to re-string the neurons or tendons or whatever was causing my lack of motor control. The door shut behind me and I bent down, throwing the two weapons on the desk. I stood back up as a massive wave of dizziness hit me. I grabbed the desk, trying to stay up, but then blacked out and went down.
In my daze a growing pain woke me up, and I gradually realized I was laying on my shoulder. I had been out for a while, as the room seemed darker. I shook my head a few times and felt in control of my mental facilities. Holy shit, my memories came back of what happened. I patted my shoulder, still alive. Yeah, if that was a sign to get out, this was it.
Everything was feeling okay, all things considered. Only the color of my vision was wrong.
What the? I had never been shot before, and I knew my nanites could heal me, but was this part of the healing process?
Everything was still ‘colored’ but it was like a black and white filter had been applied to everything, damping most of the color out of existence. I stood up, holding my shoulder with its synthetic skin now completely across the wound, and walked over to the window that faced the ReCorp building. Near the center it appeared to be completely binary in its color, but I thought it might just be because there wasn’t much color there anyway. Some weird atmosphere or solar phenomenon? The sky looked the same as the rest of the reduced color world.
A tug in my heart brought me back to looking at the complex. From the center of it, a huge black sphere was now there, expanding outwards. At first it was barely noticeable in its speed, but even as I watched it grew rapidly.
The next part I will describe using intuitive feelings, because any science I have would not explain what I felt. It seemed like the black wave growing was a pulse of ‘motion freeze’, that there was nothing that would be moving within it. Then the feeling grew into pure terror that even stillness would be happy to exist within the sphere. My new fear knew that this was a wave of annihilation, that every dimension, the three physical, time, gravity, and whatever else there might be would be torn asunder, reduced to nothingness. Reduced to non-reality. I knew that for an intuitive fact.
I was under no delusion that that force was beyond me, beyond the entire Solarian race, maybe even beyond the entire universe. I almost felt privileged for a moment to watch this source of destruction that would rip reality apart, but it was quickly replaced by revulsion at this deeply unnatural event. The black sphere of nothingness grew larger and faster. I would be annihilated, like everything else.
Then in the next moment, I was.