There are a lot of ways of staying awake during a long trip. This might be one of them.
What a Rush – Moving Pictures
Norrand started to doze off: His eyes fluttered open and close, his head drooped to his side, his head dropped forward so far it almost hit his Control Circle. Suddenly his head snapped back up, and his eyes got wide. He slammed his foot down hard on a metal plate to stop. Norrand pitched forward a little. Only his safety belt stopped him from going through the front glass.
“I need to find a way to stay awake,” said Norrand. “It’s been three days since I have gotten any sleep.”
“Did you ask me something?” Chara, the female voice of the computer, asked.
“No, I didn’t. I was just talking to myself out loud again,” answered Norrand.
Norrand got up and went through a sliding door behind him. That lead to a thin corridor with three doors on either side of it. And one door at the end. He went through that door. Norrand now stood in a very large, but full, cargo bay. “Maybe I can’t find something in these metal boxes I found on that barren moon I crash landed on.”
After searching through those boxes for about half an hour Norrand finally found something. “What’s this?” He turned the small flat metal circle over and back over again in his hand. One side had writing on it. The other side was a shiny silver with circles within it.
“It reads ‘Rush – Moving Pictures’ on this side of it,” said Norrand. “I wonder what that means.”
Norrand took the metal circle back to the Control Section of his spaceship. “Chara I need to you to scan this for me.” He placed the metal circle down on a flat metal armrest between the two chairs up front.
A red beam started at one end and went to the other. Going under the metal circle as it passed by it. “It’s a Data Storage device of some kind. I have never scanned anything like it before,” said Chara.
“What kind of data is on it?” Norrand asked.
“It’s called music,” said Chara. “I’m not exactly sure what that is. I’ve never heard of that either. It’s not from this part of the Universe. How it got there I don’t know.”
“Neither do I,” said Norrand. “There’s one way to find out what music is.”
Norrand got behind the controls and started traveling again. Once on his way he said, “Chara, scan that music and tell me how to access the data.”
Chara scanned the metal circle with the red beam again. “You access it by pressing a ‘play’ button.”
“How do I do that?” Norrand asked.
“You can do it on your own,” responded Chara. “But it’s faster if I do it for you.”
The front glass was replaced with a white screen with writing on it. At the top of it were the words ‘Rush – Moving Pictures’ and right under it were seven uneven lines with words and numbers in them. The lines included: Tom Sawyer 4:35, Red Barchetta 6:11, XYZ 4:27, Limelight 4:22, The Camera Eye 10:58, Witch Hunt 4:46 and Vital Signs 4:35.
Beside each line, next to the number, as a small triangle border pointing away from the numbers. Suddenly the triangle darkens and shrunk a little next to the line ‘Tom Sawyer’ was on. Then the white screen disappeared. And a loud noise began.
As Norrand listened to the loud noise that sounded even louder than it was echoing around the Control Section Norrand thought out loud to himself. “What is a Tom Sawyer? I don’t understand what this music is trying to say to me. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”
“It might help you to understand it if you read the words to the lines,” said Chara. Her voice sounded very clear right next to Norrand’s ear. “I can access the words if you want me to.”
‘Tom Sawyer’ ended. And the White screen with the lines re-appeared. But only long enough for the next music line ‘Red Barchetta’ could be selected. That happened after each music line ended.
“This music sounds like it’s about a Transport of some kind.” Norrand commented on after the music line ended.
The next music to be accessed was ‘XYZ’ but there’s no words to this one. Only loud noises. “How come there are no words with this one?” Norrand asked.
“I can’t answer that question,” said Chara. “Because I don’t know why there aren’t any words for it either.”
‘Limelight’ was the next music line to be accessed. “I have listened to this music and I have read the words to it. It sounds, and reads, like it’s some kind of entertainment.”
The next music that got selected was ‘The Camera Eye.’ About halfway through that music line Norrand commented, “I don’t know some of these words that have been spoken. What is a New Yorker, Manhattan, England, London and Westminster? Are they names of people, places or things?”
‘Witch Hunt’ got selected next. “What is a witch?” Norrand said just after the music began. “I don’t think it’s a place. It doesn’t sound like one. So it must be a someone or a something. But which is he?”
Only one music line that hadn’t been accessed yet. And that’s ‘Vital Signs.’ “This was another one I didn’t understand. I read it several times on its own. And like the others, except that one, I read the words to myself while the music played.”
After ‘Vital Signs’ ended there’s dead silence. “That music did keep me awake. But it also distracted me too. Maybe there’s some other music in those boxes that can keep me awake until I get home.”
“Norrand never got the chance to find that out. He dozed off just after his last comment out loud. Only he didn’t wake back up. Norrand crashed landed again. But this time it was fatal,” said Chara as a smoking pipe stuck out of Norrand.