DISCLAIMER. This work can be confusing. This is on purpose. Read slowly, do not get frustrated, and go with the flow!
In the western spiral of the Ark nebula, somwhere near timespace coordinates 1175Dapple, lives a small, barely habitable moon, orbiting a slightly bigger but totally inhabitable planet.
The moon's name is Lec, and until one hundred years ago it was un-noticed, an unwanted by-product of the spread of human civilization.
But that was before Paradise.
The population had been under 1000. 534 men. 412 women. 24 children. And professor Kirl Ardenan, inventor of Paradise. Paradise brought Lec's population increase to 3 billion, people swarming in like fools in a gold rush. Lec is home to the only Paradise in the universe.
Paradise is the name of the only functional multiple augmented/alternative reality machine. in other words, you live multiple lives at the same time, all based on your mind, all conjoured up into a mass of lies.
Truth. You slowly breath in and out. Freedom. You remember when you were put in, and the wires attached to your head. Victory. You are finally out.
But who are you? A question, festering at the back of your mind, erupts into full consciousness. You can remember how to speak, and you assume you can read and write but apart from that you know nothing. Wait, you can remember more. You remember a hospital. But that can't be right. You were on a desert island, with; bacon? You struggle with the idea for a few seconds, before realising. Paradise. You have been in a Paradise machine. Slowly, so as not to stress your stiff joints, you look around at the room you're in. A metal box with a door, reminiscent of a cage.
Then you realize you don't know what you look like. Hair colour? Age? Height? Gender?
You stand up and look down at yourself. You are male, on the wrong side of 50, and you can feel a small beard growing on your chin, rubbing on your coat. Your clothes are shabby but well kept, hard-wearing denim trousers and a brown coat just a little on the small side.
"Once more unto the breach," you mutter to yourself, finally realizing that nothing will get done unless you do somthing, and head towards the door.
The door slowly opens at your approach, sliding sideways into the wall, to reveal a narrow metal corridor, leading to another metal door. halfway along, a broom cupboard sits in the wall. Slowly you open the door to the cupboard (noticing that this one is manual) to discover a number of items all wraped up in a bundle. A pack of cigarettes, a pair of fingerless gloves, and finally a Colt revolver.
You stare at t in horror as waves of memories flood through your mind. In shear agony you scream and crumple to to the floor. You lie there, a shivering wreck until, slowly, you pass out.
Why have you killed? Who have you killed? For killed you have, you know it, you can remember the fountain of blood from the twin bullet holes; a beautiful cascade of dark red blood. Who are you?
Ouch. Ouchouchouchouch. A numb pain lies on your body where you hit the cold steel floor, invading your sleep with its harsh attacking sting. Unwillingly raised to consciousness, you peer around with a slight feeling of deja vu. You are in the metal corridor again, so, stirring yourself into action and ignoring the pain, you stride to the far door, which opens at your approach into yet another metal box of a room, containing another door and a window. A window into space. The view spans thousands of stars, a twirling flying dance of shivering light. Slowly the truth of the matter sinks in. You are in a floating metal box. In space. Dozens of questions spring to mind. How? Why? When?
You are a man. In a flying box. With a gun. You must escape. You don't know who you are, or where you are, but you know you don't want to be here. And, empty of any other thought, your brain latches on to this idea with a vengeance. Hobbling slightly, you stride to the door. It fails to open. Angrily, you step back and fire three bullets into the lock. You didn't even know you had brought the gun with you. Purposefully you walk through the now unlocked door, into a sparsely furnished bedroom. You walk straight through, to discover a kitchen. again you storm through the room, which leads to a corridor (a door on the side leading to the toilet) which in turn leads to a flight deck.
An escape pod! A small hatch at the side of the room leads to an escape pod, a small but totally functional ship, with concentrated supplies for a month. And from the depths of your memory, you know how to pilot it. You enter, and have soon found the controls. Slowly you disengage the docking clamps, activate the A.P.U., and use the secondary booster engines to pilot a safe distance from the ship. Finally you turn the pod, and look at the mothership for the last time. Which means you can see the huge red stenciled letters on the outside.
"PRISON SHIP ALPHA-7D6. CLASS A PRISONER (MURDER)-PARADISE"
And you know who you are.
And you wish you weren't.
And there is only one way not to be.
Somewhere, in the vastness of space, a red light winks thrice. And a silent explosion rips through the dark, like fireworks on Guy Fawkes day.
You are no longer who you don't want to be.
This short story is a continuation of my previous work, This Other Eden, however both are fully functional stand alone short stories.
The titles come from the This royal throne of kings" speech in Richard the second.
I wrote this in second person, because I wanted to. I have read over 30 books in third person (solo adventure game books), but it is not everyone's cup of tea. However I am not going to change it, so please don't mention it in the comments!