General Science Fiction posted March 17, 2015

This work has reached the exceptional level
What happens after you win?


by giraffmang

Pulp Fiction Contest Winner 

The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.
The author has placed a warning on this post for language.

Episode 42 : Awakening


Five years previously, a NASA astronaut, Anders Bolt, was catapulted through a wormhole into another galaxy. The galaxy was in the grip of a tyrannical power known as 'The Dynasty', and governed with a ruthless hand by Daulton, a mystic of unknown origin. Bolt was able to draw together a band of former enemies and lead them in bringing about the downfall of 'The Dynasty', and the death of Daulton -- or so it seemed.

Over the next five years, Bolt began a downward spiral as it became apparent that defeating a power was one thing. Establishing a new system was something else. The old contentions raised their head again in the galaxy, and old rivalries re-established leading to instability and war. Disillusioned, Bolt went into seclusion, leading many to believe he was dead.

* * * * *

Anders Bolt opened his eyes after another heavy night of drinking. It took quite some time before he could fully focus, and just for one minute, all seemed right with the universe. Then he remembered, who he was, and where he was. The hammering in his head started soon after realism gate-crashed his moment of serenity. He started to rummage through the multitude of empty bottles littering the floor, seeking something to help dull the woodpecker in his head. He would have fallen to the floor, if he was't already there. Still fully dressed, just like many nights before, he had no idea how long he'd been wearing these clothes. Eventually his hand alighted on a not quite empty bottle of alcohol. He glanced at the contents briefly before uncapping the thing. More green stuff, how he longed for a simple beer. How long had that been?

Anders pushed himself into a seated position before swallowing the quarter bottle of foul liquid in one massive gulp. He belched, wiped his mouth with a grubby, once white sleeve, acutely aware of the rasping of his beard against the shirt material. He rubbed his eyes several times until they were able to focus on his surroundings. He stretched out his legs, feeling his muscles protest strenuously. The crick in his neck yelled at him for some assistance. He rolled his head several times in response. He attempted to run a hand through his long, greasy hair but the tangles and matting captured it mid stroke. He grunted, and stood up after several aborted attempts. He inched over towards the only chair in the small room. He sat down and swivelled it round to the control panel. He flicked a switch which opened the viewing screen before him, unveiling the darkness outside his small starcraft.

He struggled to focus on the instrument panel, but to no avail. The woodpecker was working double time inside his skull. Anders rubbed his eyes, and neck but nothing was helping. He couldn't remember how long he had been drifting along like this. When had Melody left him? He couldn't place when. Six months? Eight? What was it she said? Couldn't bear to see him do this to himself. What did she expect? What did anyone expect from him anymore? After all he had done, and for what? What difference had it made?

Anders made sure the autopilot was still engaged, and set off in search of breakfast. Anything liquid would do. Stumbling haphazardly down the corridor, bouncing off the walls as he went. The ship was lurching too much. Even in his stupor, Anders instinctively knew something wasn't right. He turned to head back to the cockpit, just as the external hatch hinges blew in, he threw himself to the floor as the hatch itself came flying inwards.

He tried to get up from the corrugated metal floor but a boot on his back prevented Anders from doing so.

"Don't move."

Anders heard the sound of multiple pairs of boots running through the ship. Through the open hatch he could see he had been docked into a larger vessel. He was in trouble, and he knew it. Pirates. They were rife in the galaxy, since the defeat of the Dynasty, who had ruled with a ruthless hand. With no strong hand in charge, there were pockets of lawlessness scattered around. He must have drifted into one of them, or the pirates were adventuring further afield.

"What is your name?"

"Get off me, arsehole." Anders growled in response.

He felt two sets of hands slip under his arms and he was dragged to his feet. It was a shame he couldn't actually stand on them, letting the guards take his weight.

"Answer me, you disgusting wretch. Look at you. Have you no self-respect?"

"Piss off." Anders slurred, in response, through clenched teeth and matted hair.

"Let me explain something to you. You are on board the pirate ship, Voltane. I am sure you have heard of it. I am Captain Arbor."

"Whoopee-Do. Am I supposed to be impressed? You're a jumped up little Nazi." Anders lifted his head up high enough to look at Arbor in the eyes.

"What is a Nazi? Do you not know what kind of danger you are in?" Arbor retorted.

"Firstly, it would take too long to explain. Secondly, you don't scare me. If you want to kill me go ahead. Give it a shot."

Arbor un-holstered his weapon and pressed it to Anders temple. Without another word, he pulled the trigger. Nothing happened. Arbor was infuriated. He pulled the trigger again and again, but with no difference in the result. Arbor slowly removed the weapon from its resting place on Anders's head. He did not appreciate the grin on his prisoner's face. He turned the weapon on one of his own men and pulled the trigger. The pirate blew apart, smearing blood and tissue across the wall of Anders's ship.

"That's not possible." Arbor muttered, "These weapons work on all life forms in the galaxy."

"I'm not from round here, arsehole. Your weapons don't work on me. Something to do with DNA, apparently," grinned Anders, feeling much more sober now.

"It can't be. You can't be him?" Arbor stuttered.

"In the flesh. Champion. Hero. Saviour of the Galaxy. Killed the Bad Guy, got the girl, lived happily ever after, and all that crap."

"Where have you been?" Arbor asked, not feeling quite so confident.

"Inside one of those bottles rolling around on the floor. A destination I intend to return to, once you let me go." Anders stared at Arbor now, steely-eyed. He may be older, dirtier and out of shape, but he could pull it together if he had to.

Arbor studied the man in front of him for a moment. "It's not that easy. Someone still wants you. There is still a sizable bounty on your head."

"If you don't let me go, you won't have a head left by the time I'm finished."

"Brave talk for a washed up old man. You can barely stand on your own two feet." Arbor sneered at Bolt, turning to one of the guards, he commanded, "take him to the cells, and clean him up. He stinks."

* * * * *

Anders came to lying on the metal floor of a small cell. His arms were shackled by some kind of manacles bolted to the floor. There was nothing in else in the room. No furniture of any description. He didn't know how long he had been there. It could have been hours, or days. At least the woodpecker in his head had migrated to some other poor bastard. The aches and pains seemed to have subsided from his joints too, only stiffness remained. His hair was wet from the last hosing down they had given him. He ran his hands through it and let it fall against his back as he propped himself up in the angle of the walls. The walls were polished metal, dark and ominous. The only deviation in the uniform nothingness of them was a small panel on one wall. It was blinking red. Anders slowly moved toward it. A red beam of cross-hatched light shone out into his face, followed by a resounding flat mechanical throb.

A retinal scanner, this will be harder than I thought.

He darted back from the door as a loud hissing sound emanated from it. The door shuddered and slid sideways as two guards entered the room. One of them trained his weapon on Anders, while the other approached him, carrying some clothes in his arms.

Anders looked at the armed guard and said, "You do realise that is pretty pointless."

The guard looked unsure for half a moment, before smiling and reaching behind his back. He withdrew a large shining scimitar, and shrugged his shoulders.

"Yep, that'll work," offered Anders in response.

The other guard threw the clothes at Anders. "Put these on, now."

Anders pulled on the black trousers, before extending his hands towards the guard, who looked at him quizzically.

"The shackles? I want to get dressed. Idiot."

The guard signalled for his colleague to cover him, as he stepped closer to Anders.

Anders held out his arms obligingly to have the shackles unlocked. The armed guard stepped closer, brandishing the scimitar at shoulder height, ready to strike if necessary. Anders waited until the key was inserted into the lock of his restraints until he made his move. He maintained eye contact with the unarmed guard, measuring up the other in his peripheral vision. He took a deep breath, yanked his arms away and kicked the armed guard as hard as he could in the testicles. Anders could have sworn he felt them pop. He caught the sword in his outstretched hands, spun around and severed the head of his other captor in one smooth motion. The guard's body fell to the floor, pumping out copious amounts of blood, as his head bounced out into the corridor.

Anders turned quickly removed the shackles from his wrists, and noticed that the guard had fallen on the tunic they had brought for him.

"Not much bloody use now." he muttered as he bent down and retrieved the gun from the writhing guard. He grabbed him by the chin, thrust the weapon under his it and said, "Remember, this thing works on you. Where is my ship?"

The injured man gestured to the left, "Stairs. Two flights down. Hangar bay, Red Five."

"Thanks," said Anders, just before he broke the guy's neck.

He looked at the two men and realised that neither were even close to his size, "Shit, I just can't catch a break today." He uttered before heading out of the door and turning left, still bare chested, and shivering. Anders paused at the severed head propped up against the door. He bent down and ripped out an eye, "Just in case." Then he started running for the Hangar bay.

To be continued...



Pulp Fiction
Contest Winner


Written as a homage to the old Flash Gordon serials but with more of an anti-hero vibe to reflect the change in his character.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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