Shared Void, part I: Recruit

“Burroughs, Oscar. Petty Officer 3rd Class. Serial number–”

“Calm down, Petty Officer. You’re amongst friends here.” The doctor pointed to the insignia on the left arm of his lab coat while juggling his clipboard and pen.

“Oh, thank God.” I heaved a sigh of relief at the sight of the stars and stripes and leaned back in the hospital bed. The sight of his patch brought to me a piece of mind that I had thought lost when “The base. We were attacked! There was

“Yes, we know. We found you in the ruins.” The doctor set the clipboard and pen aside for a light, shining it into my eyes as he talked. “My name is Doctor Isaac Loftus, and I’m in charge of your recovery. Tell me, what is the last thing you remember?”

I had to blink the bright dots from my eyes before I could respond. “It was oh-nine-hundred. We were in the middle of performing auha routine drill. Then the air raid sirens started blasting, and there was a bright flash of light outside. Screaming. And the entire building shook. The floor buckled beneath me and I fell.” I wiped the sweat from my brow. “That’s the last thing I remember.” The dots finally faded from my sight as I noticed that the doctor had taken up his pen again and was writing on his board. He clicked the pen off and his eyes studied my face for a second.

“You’re right; the base was attacked. As far as we can tell, the enemy took everyone by surprise with a full squadron of buzzards. You were lucky.”

“And my platoon? Did anyone else survive?” I tried to look the good doctor in the eyes, but I felt like I already knew the answer. He waited a brief moment before answering.

“We found a few others, but the building we found you in had entirely collapsed. You were trapped beneath a steel beam. If it wasn’t for some of the rubble, it would have turned your head into jelly. Like I said: lucky.” He clicked his pen a few times in silence, thinking. “How are you feeling? Any headaches? Pains?”

“My neck’s a little sore.” I rubbed the back of my neck. It was then that I noticed I had electrodes attached to my head. “I must have hit the ground pretty hard.” I laughed a little.

“Thankfully not too hard.” The doctor smiled. “But I think it’s time to get some rest. We need to run a few tests soon.”

“I don’t feel tired at all, Doc. In fact, I feel pretty good.”

“You are dismissed, son.” He looked down to his notes and began writing again.

“What does that–” I suddenly felt tired. “What does that even mean?” And that’s when the darkness took me.

* * *

Pain. Terrible, gut wrenching pain. It filled me as I opened my eyes to the carnage around me. I was sitting in the middle of a large room facing two double doors. Pieces of metal and machine, seemingly torn apart, lay around me. A handful of men fully suited for combat lay in several pieces nearby. I could feel the warmth of flames at my back. And the pain–oh, God, the pain.

I looked down to see the source of the pain. My abdomen had been pierced with a large shredded piece of metal. The black suit I was wearing soaked the blood seeping out of the wound. Wasn’t I just wearing a hospital gown?

I touched the metal in my gut, finding the whole situation unbelievable. The pain intensified at the slightest touch and movement. I let out a cry, instinctively. As I did, I could hear the boots of soldiers marching down what I assumed were stairs behind me. I couldn’t even turn to look without being absorbed by the pain. The double doors on the left opened and Doctor Loftus walked through as the soldiers behind me came into view, circling me.

“Doc! What’s happening?” The pain was too much. The good doctor sighed.

“This one is far too damaged.” He said to no one in particular. He drew a pistol he had tucked into his pants behind his back.

“Doc! Doc, no–”

“Time to start fresh.”

There was a sound of thunder.

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