Saturday, August 8, 2015

Short Story: Mind Prisoner

Mind Prisoner

The detective pulled on the shackle, dragging the milnarian into the compartment after him and pushing him into a seat. The minarian hadn't said anything since detective Rick Patton had confirmed his identity and slapped the shackles to his hands. Then all the way to the space port the alien just ignored him and watched the scenery of Altos VI slip by.

Patton usually enjoyed suspects who knew when to shut up but something about a quiet milnarian bothered him. Their species were not well known yet, they sort of showed up one day and blended into the metropolitan nature of the Star League. Their presence usually just generated a shrug.

Vaguely their green faces looked humanoid but the green antenna above their brows put them into a category with few of the known species. Unlike the varron, who are pale green, the dark green complexion of the milnarian species was a bit different. They weren't known to talk much and many people assumed they were able to communicate with each other telepathically. Or at least by touching their antenna.

They acted normal enough though. They drove vehicles, worked at shops and wrote novels just like any other species. There was also a percentage that became criminals, or were criminals before they arrived, since nobody knew where their home world was.

“Ja'vess, you don't have to stay silent. It means you don't have to talk about the crime you were arrested for.” Patton told his prisoner who was again staring at the shackles on his wrists.

“Yeah boss” it replied, finally. It's voice seemed to come from far away, like down a long tunnel with a badly tuned video player at the end.

“What would your parents think of you being a thief anyway?” He asked the alien.

The alien looked askance with its dark eyes getting glassy. The detective suddenly felt bad for asking and pulled out a cube. A holographic novel hovered above it, he had been reading this when he was sent to catch the thief. He suddenly realized that the action-adventure tome had been written by a milnarian.

“This author, Ki'vann, is one of yours. He didn't become a criminal, there are choices in life. You could have done so much better with yourself.” he showed the novel to the alien, who nodded as if he appreciated the talk.

“I gits it, boss” it said, again sounding like a recording from some old movie or vid program. It was weird but what can you do. The detective also noticed that he had never really heard a milnarian speaking standard before. On television they usually spoke their own language with subtitles or translators.

Ja'vess probably learned standard from watching old films and vids. That would explain why he talked like that.

“You'll get a fair shake in court. Just tell them you'll reform yourself and straighten up your act. A guy like you, gotta be a good model for the kids. Do you have kids.” The detective asked.

Ja'vess looked right at him and answered “I don't know nothin' about birthin' no babies!”

Detective Patton was taken aback by this but the alien went back to studying the shackles as if nothing had happened. Patton looked around the compartment but there were only a few other people around and nobody was paying any attention to them.

“I'll just deliver you to the authorities on Marco-S and everything should go smoothly.” he told the alien who was paying no attention to him. Then he pulled out a different restraint and magna-locked Ja'vess to the seat. Now he had something else to stare at while the detective tried to take a nap.

As soon as the detective closed his eyes, Ja'vess looked right at his face. His mental muscles worked overtime, peeling the topmost layer from the active mind of the detective. A western film starring himself was playing in his head, move that over carefully. Ja'vess wanted to go deep and find the unconscious mind of this human. A bit father a memory of a human female submerged in bubbly water and laughing, then she stood up.

Ja'vess nearly retched and pushed the image away. Hopefully he wouldn't vomit onto the human an wake him up. All he needed were some autonomous motor functions and some muscle control, the human might not even know what was going on. It would be better if he stayed asleep. Ja'vess used another feeler to calm the mind and keep out any signal about what was going on elsewhere.

The human was chasing someone, they were both riding on the backs of beasts, firing primitive weapons at each other. It was a dream, this running battle had to be kept going as long as possible. It seemed odd but these violent images were calming to this human.

The hand flexed. Ah, now he was getting somewhere. Soon he had the arm moving sideways from the elbow, it sort of slapped Ja'vess across the chest. He needed some better control, this would take a little more time.

Suddenly Ja'vess had the image of a boy climbing out of bed, wearing pajamas and running outside yelling for his father. When the boy reached the exterior of the dwelling, the sight of the vehicle reaching into the sky was heart-wrenching. It was a sad memory from the detectives past. The human sniffled and a tear was welling in the corner of one of his eyes, Ja'vess pushed the memory away.

Now the hand was more controllable. He was able to get it to disable the magna-lock. Ja'vess breathed easier and could move a bit more in his seat, but he was still shackled to the detective. He would need to get the detective to punch in the proper code to unlock the shackle. Once that was done he could try to hide on the ship or take the detectives weapon and...

Another memory. This time he was running laps in some kind of orbital gym because the running track was perpendicular to the floor. The track must have had a different gravity than the rest of the gym, where people were pulling gravity weights or using machines to work muscles. Above them was a big swimming pool, but the water did not fall, this was intriguing to Ja'vess. His own people had never used technology in that way before, for comfort or leisure and such.

The young detective put on a burst of speed and caught up with a female in tight coverings, Ja'vess tried not to think about that earlier image. Keep it covered! She was happy to see the guy, then Ja'vess realizes it was the same female.

She must have been his mate or was still his mate, Ja'vess reasoned. He must have a lot of feelings for this female, a lot of loyalty was felt in the dream. Although Ja'vess also felt something else from the human, sadness and regrets, when he looked at the girl.

Must change the memory. Finally something useful. A recent memory, the detective was punching a code into the shackles. Perfect. Now Ja'vess simply needed to have the detectives hands punch it into the keypad since it was DNA-locked. He got the hand to the control pad and punched in a couple of the numbers but something happened.

It was a new memory. The detective, Rick Patton, was at a funeral. A large framed portrait of the woman was next to the wooden box. She looked a bit older, small wrinkles by her eyes but the same twinkle in them still sparked for the picture. Ja'vess realized this must be a funeral rite. The detective had recently lost his mate. Ja'vess felt the sadness wash over him, the grief was becoming his own. He had to escape from these memories.

“Let's go” the detective said yanking on the shackle. Ja'vess opened his eyes and kicked himself mentally, he had fallen asleep. They had arrived at Marco-S where the authorities on this world had issued a warrant for his arrest for theft. Ja'vess hoped he had an easier time getting to the core of the judge's mind than he had with the detective.


I'll try to have another OASIS instalment soon. In the meantime, remember the tip jar... not that anyone ever does.

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