Drifter is captured in an alternate America and must escape, with a profit if possible.
|A man adrift is what I am, lost in the endless space of the universe and beyond with no control over where I may be or be going. No name or family that I know of, I am known simply as Drifter. At the moment I seem to once more landed myself in trouble.
I woke up to find myself in nineteen fifties America, only there were a few little differences. Most noticeable of which was that it seemed dinosaurs had never gone extinct allowing raptors to evolve into a humanoid species that had become the intelligent world ruling predator humans are. Aside from that it was almost completely the same, they even spoke English.
“What planet are you from!?” my interrogator shout from across the table apparently not happy with me, “How can you speak English, how did you arrive here, and by Washington’s glorious crown do you support those damned democratic fools in Russia!?”
I said there was a FEW differences didn’t I?
“In order, no clue, I learned it, no clue, and lastly, huh?” I responded honestly.
“Rick calm down,” my second interrogator said calmly, they were doing an amazing good agent bad agent, “Let’s go over the facts that we have, you say your name is Drifter?”
“It seems fit so I started calling myself that,” I said nodding, “If I have another name I don’t know it.”
“Try test subject zero,” Rick growled glaring at me.
“You were found in an alleyway just outside of the Capitol where you were attempting to set up something,” the other continued ignoring the first, “What were you trying to set up?”
“A store just like I told you when you brought me in,” I said resting my head on my hand, “Why else would I have so much stuff with me?”
“Of what we’ve managed to sort so far has several medieval weapons of design never before seen, a dozen books of various unknown dialects, a book in English who’s content is currently being recorded, hundreds of unknown currencies, dozens of strange devices who’s purpose has yet to be determined, a robot who has yet to quit yelling at us…”
“And nearly two dozen various weapons beyond anything we can make,” Rick snarled, “Admit that you are a simple scout in an invasion force.”
That was so ridiculous that I couldn’t help but laugh as they looked at me stunned, Rick got angry when I told him as much. Rick bared his teeth and I chided him, “Go ahead Rick, take your suit off, I’ll give you a good brawl.”
“It is unknown if you carry some unknown contagion that could be devastating to our population,” the second interrogator said, “Taking off these bio suits could result in the end of our race whether you intend such or not.”
“I understand,” I said leaning back in my chair, “You guys have your safety measures despite the fact I’ve told you already that despite traveling to thousands of worlds I have yet to have carried a plague to another world. I’m more at risk than you two are to diseases.”
“You need not worry Drifter,” the second said, “We have made sure everything you’ve come in contact with since your arrival has been sterilized.”
“Yeah that’s fine, but can I please have my stuff back?”
“No chance in hell,” Rick spat, “Not only are you far more dangerous with all that material, but the things you brought to us could advance our weaponry by centuries.”
“Then can I at least have an equal amount of material in exchange?” I asked hopefully.
“No,” the second said rising, “We will take a short recess while you eat the meal we have prepared for you.”
“mAy yOUr EyEbAlls rOt In yOUr hEAds,” I called after them in routician.
“What was that!?” Rick demanded reaching for the pistol at his side.
“I was casting a spell on you,” I said rolling my eyes, “Abra kadabra.”
Rick squinted at me as if he was trying to figure out if I was lying or not but his second turned him around and pushed him out with a chuckle.
I sighed getting up out of my chair and used it to reach up to the surveillance camera, I ripped it out of the wall and pocketed it. I picked up my chair and waited. Sure enough the door opened, unexpected was the fact it was one of the things pushing a dinning cart. It was escorted by two armed guards, I decided to act anyways.
I chucked a chair at one of the guards catching him square in the head and knocking him cold, the raptor pushing the cart grabbed the remaining guard by the head and snapped its neck. Huh?
“You mind telling me what you’re doing” I asked eyeing the raptor as I took a defensive stance.
“I am Russian spy,” the raptor said, “I am here to help free you from tyranny! But we must hurry!”
“Not so fast Lizzy,” I said scooping up the guard’s weapons and ammo, “I’m not going anywhere without my things.”
“There is no time,” the raptor said nervously, “They will be here soon! I get you out before they know.”
Time to put this in a way he would understand, “Do you really want these tyrants to have access to all my advanced weaponry?”
That stopped him short, he seemed torn between his mission and fear for what this monarchy America would do with alien super weapons. Finally he sighed and said, “I see your point, but we must be quick!”
“Fine by me Lizzy,” I said relaxing slightly, “Lead on.”
“Yes yes, hurry!”
I hurried after the running lizard man before a thought occurred, “If you lead me astray Lizzy, I will use many torture methods beyond imagining on your scaly ass.”
“Yes sir,” the raptor said suddenly slowing to run down a passage he’d been about to pass, “But please stop calling me ‘Lizzy’.”
“Then give me a name,” I said leaping off the wall to help make the turn.
“I thought you said your name was Drifter?” my companion said confused.
I nearly tripped on his stupidity, but maintained my footing, “I meant a name to call you.”
“Catherine will do,” my companion said as she took a surprised guard from behind and pounded his face in.
I wondered how offended she’d be if I told her I’d mistaken her for a man, fortunately for me, my past ten experiences as a child had taught me better.
I fired two shots taking down the two guards that had come to investigate the noise; Catherine nodded approvingly before motioning me towards a heavy metal door. I started towards it as I heard a familiar voice from an adjacent door. I grabbed the key card from the dead guard and slid it through the door. Smeg, it needed a password, might as well guess. One two three four?
The door slid open, really?
“Get away from me! What are you going to do with that!? Yeah! HELP ME HELP ME HELP ME!” A familiar mechanical voice screamed as the door opened and a mechanical eye the size of a soccer ball shot by.
There was two raptor inside dressed in lab coats wearing medical mask and carrying screwdrivers. One chasing the eye ran head long into me falling back on its tail, the two looked up surprised as I cracked my knuckles and smirked. That made one pass out, apparently being threatened by aliens was still new to some, the other charged me with his screw driver in an act of desperation. A straight jab to the face dropped him as well.
“Wha-? Drifter? Where the hell where you!?!” the eye demanded angrily, “Do you have any idea what they were about to do to me!?”
“Open you up to see how you worked?” I hazard.
“Yes!” the eye shouted.
“Nice to see you too Dave,” I chuckled lifting the robot and putting him in the crook of my arm, “Since when could you move on your own.”
“Acts of desperation sometime yield results,” Dave said rolling himself in a way I’d come to recognize as a shrug, “Can you go to sleep so we can get out of here now? I’d like to be gone before the geckos with sharp pointy things come to poke through my inner bits.”
“What does the orb speak of?” Catherine asked.
“Long story,” I said looking through the room for anything of value and pocketing what I could, I missed my cart, “Might make a good book, now next room.”
We shifted to the door Catharine had motioned to before, it slid open with a few keystrokes and I saw a scientist aiming a grenade launcher at a miniature T-Rex tied to the wall as he muttering, “Preparing to test weapon 13... What are you-?”
“Sorry Dave,” I said as I dropped him and pulled back my leg.
“You son of a b-!” Dave started before I kicked him into the scientist’s head making him drop the weapon.
“Ow… that really hurt,” Dave and the scientist said at about the same time.
The scientist was quickly killed by Catherine who darted forward and snapped the raptor’s neck before he could do much else. I disapproved, but didn’t have much time to complain as I picked a dazed Dave back up and grabbed an arm full of my weapons. No sooner was this done than half dozen soldiers filled the doorway with tommy guns loaded and ready. I glanced down at the weapons in my arms as Catherine leaped over the barrier onto the live fire course. I dropped Dave and most of my salvage as I dove behind a sturdy looking something.
Gunfire and Dave’s girlish screams filled the room for a full ten seconds before silence fell for a split second, then Catharine’s pistol sounded three times before being drowned out by more gunfire. I took my chance to blind fire a clip from one of my stolen pistols, I got a few scraped knuckles and lost a small bit of my fore arm, but three more guns were silenced. Despite this I could hear more coming, a lot more.
The guns quieted as Rick’s voice shouted over the ringing silence, “Drifter and King killing scum! Surrender now and your lives will be spared!”
B.S. I’d heard that one before and nearly lost an ear a few times I’d believed it. I picked up the grenade launcher the scientist was about to play with when I came in, it would lose me some valuable merchandise, but I needed to be alive to trade with it.
I peeked around the corner just long enough to line up a shot at the crowded door and fire. The explosion rocked me and destroyed a wall or three; the crowd that had been at the door wasn’t all there anymore. I still saw what might be giblets of them scattered around, I checked the ammo shell and saw the scientist had loaded in one of my precious havoc grenades. Damn! Those things were expensive as hell! Still, should be glade the whole place hadn’t collapsed.
I wasn’t hearing much, but I couldn’t hear any approaching footsteps, so that was a plus. I found Dave under some rubble, he was obviously ranting at me but I couldn’t hear a word of it over the ringing of my ears, this just became a good day.
I noticed Catherine pulling herself upright, I helped her up and she asked me something I couldn’t hear. I motioned the same and she pointed at the small crater with the demanding look only a woman could pull off. I pointed at my grenade launcher and she shuddered before helping me gather up every weapon we could find.
Either everyone had been killed in the blast or everyone still alive wasn’t dumb enough to stick around. I managed to gather up around half my things before my hearing recovered enough to hear Catherine.
“We need to get out of here before they bomb the base!”
I had no desire to be nuked again so followed her out to the garage where she climbed in a truck and I dumped my merchandise in the back before climbing in myself. Catherine floored the pedal and my heart raced as we tore out of the base following the signs of others in a rapid retreat.
Less than a minute later I looked up and saw the unmistakable sight of a missile heading towards the base. I hoped we were far enough away to avoid the EMP and deadly blast.
The thing struck.
The air rocketed away fast enough to lift the truck off the ground, a light brighter than the sun lit our backs, a roar unforgettable filled the air; I felt the tickle of radiation and heat from the blast. The air that had pushed us was suddenly sucked back towards the blast as my eyes strained against my head and my ears tried to burst. The rumble continued as the light died and debris rained down around us. The truck sputtered to a stop and all was silent for an endless eternity.
Then eternity ended and I heard the truck sputtering back to life, thank the gods for vacuum tubes! Catherine looked back over her shoulders and muttered, “What a terrible weapon,” in flawless Russian, while I felt the unmistakable feeling of radiation on me; it was not yet at a truly dangerous level.
“Looks like we made it out alive somehow eh Dave,” Silence, “Dave?”
I looked down where Dave lay in my lap, he was completely dark. Not the slightest bit of heat or noise to say he was functioning. Hi eye which usually glowed a brilliant green was completely black. A terrible dread set in as I realized that his people had been using EMP weaponry in their wars which meant that the bomb’s…
“Come on Dave, wake up!” I urged feeling like a man on a sinking ship, “If this is your attempt at humor, it’s not funny.” No response. “Damn it Dave, wake up! You can’t just go and leave me like this!”
“It seems your robot is broken,” Catherine commented as she continued to drive on, “At least it will be quieter now.”
“Shut the hell up,” I growled glaring claymores at Catherine, “Dave’s not dead! He can’t be! I REFUSE TO BE ALONE AGAIN!”
Catherine flinched away and said nothing as I shook Dave violently as I shouted, “Wake up Dave, you wanted me to buy you a new body, how can I do that if you’re not alive to help me pick one out!?” Tears began rolling down my cheeks as I desperately willed that little green light to come back on, “Dave please, please don’t make me be alone again. You are a lousy companion, but you’re all I got.”
My heart stopped as I saw a soft green light, at first I thought I imagined it, but soon it shifted to its regular brightness and glanced around as if rightening itself. Uhg… that hurt even with all that extra shielding they put on me. Eh what are you-? Eww! You’re dripping on me! Stop it!”
“You do that again and I’ll punt you into a volcano Dave,” I whispered. Limp with relief I felt myself drift to sleep.
I woke in darkness believing the worst had happened. I was reassured by Dave.
“We’re still here,” he said rolling himself, “We’re just packed in a box with all your junk.”
I asked the ultimate question, “Why?”
“The lizard thing said something about needing to get back to the mother land and that having you out in the open would make that impossible,” Dave said simply before continuing, “I must say this is wonderful! Finally I’ve got enough time to run through all my daily maintaince procedures and calculations without having to worry about being attacked whale sized sharks with three heads. I’ve even been able to do some calculations for fun, want to know when you’ll die? I’ve managed to calculate that based on the rate of disuse degradation.”
“No thanks,” I said holding Dave up like a flashlight, “I’d prefer to be surprised.”
“Come on I’ll give you a hint,” Dave pushed, “It starts with a- ”
“LALALALA,” I shouted sticking my fingers in my ears.
“Why do all of you rib roast have to be so touchy on the subject of your own demise?” Dave asked disappointedly.
“I’ll explain it later,” I said pushing at one of the walls.
“No you won’t,” Dave said sadly as I managed to force the crate open, “You never tell me anything.”
“I told you how to tell the difference between men and women didn’t I?” I said holding Dave high.
“Kind of wish you hadn’t,” Dave said shuddering.
“Come on Dave up the brightness, I can’t see a thing in here.”
“I thought you said you didn’t steal,” Dave said judgingly as I opened one of the bags in the dark room.
“I don’t steal anything valuable,” I corrected shifting carefully through clothes, “Just the junk, discarded, or cheap of a world can sell big somewhere else, “Ooh a roll of duct tape! I’m keeping that, stuff is good for everything! Shame we used up all our supply making that boat.”
“Beats having to spend a week with those screaming howlers,” Dave commented, “They nearly corrupted all my sanity programs before we escaped.”
“Looks like your long term memory wasn’t damaged by that EMP,” I commented moving to the next bag.
“Diagnostics say that I suffered a temporary overload and my short term memory was corrupted beyond repair.”
“So you forgot you can move on your own?”
“I CAN DO WHAT!?!” Dave demanded before rocking violently and finally rolling around like he had before, “I’m free! I’m freeeee!” He rolled himself right off the edge of the crate I sat him on, “What? One of my wheels was damaged? NOOOooo!”
Dave began sobbing uncontrollably as I tried not to laugh and got back to rummaging. About an hour turned up a few soft drinks, another roll of duct tape, and around three sixty in change. I was getting hungry but decided not to drink any of the sodas, I’d heard that cola use to contain cocaine and I wasn’t risking myself to find out.
I heard the compartment opening and quickly hauled Dave and myself back in our crate where I pulled the side back up and hoped not to be noticed. I heard footsteps coming closer and stop in front of my crate when someone ripped the side of the crate out of my hands I was about to strike out when I realized it was Catherine.
“I figured you might be getting hungry,” she said quietly handing me a steak of something, “I don’t know if it’s edible to you but I thought it was worth offer.” It smelled good and that was usually enough, it tasted like mutton, “We’re going to be landing soon, we’ll ride the rest of the way there by truck to help avoid detection.”
“Sounds good,” I said handing her the tray, “Would you mind sealing this back up, there’s a hammer in that bag over there.”
“How do you know that?” Catherine asked suspiciously.
“Not important,” I said waving the question aside.
Catherine gazed at me suspiciously for a moment but took the hammer and nailed the box back up so it wasn’t as obvious I was inside. I sat there for a few minutes about to fall asleep out of boredom when the crate began rocking and rumbling. At one point I’m fairly certain that the crate was dropped, I grumbled quietly to myself and glared at Dave as he smirked at my discomfort.
It seemed to go on for an hour, rumble, shake, turn, toss, slide, and the occasional pounding. Eventually I heard a knocking from the top of the crate and kicked the side back off inhaling the fresh air.
“Sorry for that,” Catherine said coolly, “But it was the best way I could think of to get out of the Great Monarchy of America without being detected.”
“It’s okay,” I said stretching, “I’ve been through far worse. It certainly beats hanging over a lake of stomach acids for several hours.”
“What?” Catherine demanded her eyes showing confusion.
“Long story,” I said tiredly.
“One I’d like to hear,” Dave said from beneath one of my shirts.
“Later,” I growled, “I need a nap. After nearly being nuked again and tossed around in a box for an hour I need a nap.”
“Fair enough,” Catherine said hoping out of the back of the pickup, “It should be safe enough for you to sit in the passenger seat now.”
“Thank you,” I said yawning.
The truck was loud and smelly, but the peaceful landscape rolling by was enough to quickly put me to sleep.
I woke to violent shaking. I looked up to see Catherine had me by the next looking furious and scared.
“Wha-?” I started before noticing the sun over head was red and the plants were all black, “Oh god…”
“What have you done!?” Catherine demanded angrily, “Where the hell are we!”
“I don’t know!” I answered honestly, “But I’m so sorry I dragged you into this.”
“In to what!?” Catherine demanded her anger now obviously overpowering her fear.
“Now’s not the time,” I said trying to pull myself from her grasp.
“You are not wriggling out of this you Проклятый alien!” Catherine shrieked, “If you don’t answer me I swear I’ll rip you open and eat out your Проклятый organs!”
“Later!” I said sliding out of my shirt and climbing into the pickup, “Now get in before that tree grabs you!”