The colony. Chapter 5: Three Months Before

Published on August 24, 2019

The colony. Chapter 5: Three Months Before


    Raytnov slept lying on his back. If you look closely, you could see the subtle movements of the eyelids - this was the phase of REM sleep. He slowly woke up, and the discomfort was getting stronger. The whole body ached from being in an uncomfortable position for a long time. But most of all, my head ached. Lord, how much could you drink in one evening? What was this party, where and with whom? No memories at all.


    He opened his eyes with difficulty. Only a white ceiling with thin parallel stripes of black color appeared to the gaze. Raytnov turned his head to the left, then to the right and realized that he was in the bath. Now I understand why the body hurt so much. But how did he manage to sleep in the bath? What did he drink, and, most importantly, how much?


    Grabbing at the edges of the bathroom and overcoming pain, Raytnov forced himself to sit down. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a figure to his left and quickly turned to face her - it was a young girl dressed in a white uniform of a researcher.


    “Good morning, Alex,” her pleasant voice sounded, and a smile played on her lips.


    Raytnov said nothing and was a little embarrassed.


    - Welcome to the planet Demetrion! - the girl continued, - I am your virtual assistant and I will answer all your questions. But first, let me introduce you to the course of the matter and tell you why you got here.


    A smile never left her mouth. “Girl, are you in your mind at all?” Thought ranged in Rytnov’s head, but the language still did not obey. The virtual assistant continued:


    - You feel bad, and your head breaks - this is a side effect of artificial hibernation, in which you stayed exactly a month. To your right you will find a vessel with a recovery solution - take it, and you will get better.


    Raytnov turned his head in the direction indicated. From a round hole next to his hand a small bottle with a clear liquid, like water, was pulled out. He unscrewed the cap and took a small sip. The taste of the solution also did not differ much from ordinary water, and Raytnov greedily drank the entire contents of the bottle. The effect began to act almost instantly - at least, now his language was obeyed.


    “Why don't I remember anything?”
    - Do you remember. But these memories are hidden in the depths of your subconscious, and several days have to pass in order for your consciousness to access them too. Typically, the process of memory recovery takes from one to three days.


    - Working days? - said Raytnov.


    The girl smiled even wider:
    - Sorry, I did not understand you.
    - Never mind. So why am I here?


    The effect of the solution was gaining strength, and now Raytnov was beginning to think and notice the details around. He looked around again and only now realized that he was not in the bath at all, but in the hibernation capsule. The capsule was in a small room with rounded walls that looked more like a cell. In addition to the capsule and hologram inside the cell, there was absolutely nothing.


    “As I said, you actually remember everything.” Could you tell me what your specialty is and what did you do on Earth?


    “I ... I am a research associate,” Raytnov hesitated a bit, but he immediately continued more confidently, “yes, I do research on soil and rocks.”


    - That's right! And here, on the planet Demetrion, you are a senior explorer. Your mission will last two years, and then you will return to Earth and provide the commission with the results of your research. I am more than sure - they will be amazed!


    “Yes, I'm starting to remember something like that,” said Raytnov, raising his hands to his face and feeling his beard. She is already quite impressive, for the month of sleep has grown even stronger, complementing the image of his master and giving him an even more hangover look.


    - I see, you already feel better, - the girl smiled again, - I will not take your time further - the head of the expedition will tell you about the rest. He is already waiting for you in the audience with a welcome speech. You can leave your cell and follow the blue signs - the rest of the colonists will also be there.


    With these words, the hologram disappeared, and the cell door opened. The pain was almost completely gone, but the discomfort was still there. Raytnov got out of the capsule and immediately stretched, flexing his stiff joints. He was wearing a white T-shirt and soft white pants. There was no shoe, but the floors were of a pleasant temperature, so walking barefoot was quite comfortable.


    Raytnov walked out of his cell and into a large round room. Across all its circumference, one after another, doors opened and people started to leave, and someone was already standing in the center of the room and looking inquiringly around. All were dressed the same.


    - Hello! - Raytnov heard a voice next to him and turned to its owner.


    A short young boy with red hair and lots of freckles smiled at him. His beard, just as red, grew unevenly and stupidly stuck out in different directions.


    “I am Marcus,” with these words he extended his hand.
    - Alex. Very nice.
    - Mutually. Do you remember too little?
    - Yes. Well, at least my head began to pass.
    - You say it right. Well, let's proceed to the presentation?


    Both headed along the blue line to one of the doors, which was wider than the others. She led into a straight and rather wide corridor without branches. It ended with the entrance to a large square room, similar to the audience. Behind the podium there was already a man in glasses and in a dark-gray uniform of a research assistant. He had a thin face, and his hair was neatly arranged on the left side. It was difficult to determine his age by appearance, but offhand it could be given for 30-35 years.


    Raytnov crossed the threshold of the audience and only then noticed that on either side of the entrance there were two black uniforms. One of them politely greeted and smiled.


    “And these two are already in shape,” remarked Marcus, who was walking alongside, when they had moved away a little from the entrance.


    Raytnov nodded silently. He turned around and saw that the smile on the face of one of them was gone, and he no longer greeted anyone, but only looked at the man standing behind the podium.


    Five minutes later, all the colonists were already in the audience. People in black uniforms exchanged a couple of phrases and turned inquiringly to the podium. Then one of them went to the door closing button and pressed it.


    - Good morning, and I'm glad to see you all here! - the man behind the podium began his speech, - my name is Angus, I am a doctor of science in planetology, and I am also the leader of our expedition to the planet Demetrion.


    He paused and looked around at the colonists.


    “And you, my friends,” Angus continued, “have already become great explorers.” Your names will forever remain on the pages of history, because you are the first colonists and explorers of this planet!


    In the last sentence, he raised his voice. Someone in the audience clapped uncertainly, but he was immediately supported by someone else, and then the third. The audience was applauded. The doctor was clapping too.


    - And my applause is for you! It is a great honor for me to work shoulder to shoulder with scientists like you. But, more to the point. The hologram next to the capsule has already introduced each of you to a short course of work, and I want to spend another five minutes to personally tell you what we will do in the framework of this expedition.


    Angus stretched out his hand and pointed at the entrance to the audience with the words:


    - Take a look at this door. Just above it is the name of the base on which you are located.
    “Alpha,” Marcus read out loud.
    “True,” the doctor replied, though he could hardly hear it. Marcus said the name of the base is quite quiet.


    Angus continued:


    - I am now at the station “Alpha” and will work on it most of the time. In total, our colony has three bases: “Alpha”, “Delta”, and “Port Demetrion”. The latter is the cosmodrome, from where we will fly away in two years with a lot of new and extremely useful knowledge. If you saw a name different from Alpha above the door, it means that you are on a different base and you see my projection in real time.


    - Can i ask you? - sounded a female voice in the audience.


    “Of course,” the doctor smiled, “but not now.” The purpose of my appeal to you is to inform you about our mission. All specific questions - then, when you get a little comfortable and your memory is restored after hibernation. And I allow myself to continue.


    He adjusted his glasses.


    - At the moment, we are interested in two branches of research. The first is the study of the rocks and soil of Demetrion. This will allow us to better understand the formation of this planet, and, importantly, to discover rich deposits of natural resources.


    He looked around the colonists again with a quick glance and met eyes with Raytnov.


    - The second branch - a completely different plan. We have to thoroughly study the anatomical structure of the ancient inhabitants of this planet, now extinct. Name them - the Titans. Today, there are many fossils, and we need to accurately determine their age, lifestyle, and more. And, as a bonus ... we have to grow one of them in an incubator!


    The audience was again filled with applause.


    “But I dare not hold you long.” I understand that you just came out of hibernation and need to rest. Before you finish your greeting, I will outline your next steps.


    He paused for a moment and continued after establishing complete silence:


    - The audience in which you are at the moment, looks the same on all bases. You will be able to go out through this door.


    He showed the direction with his right hand. The door was opposite the one through which the colonists went inside.


    “Opposite the audience are residential buildings,” the doctor continued, “a path leads from the entrance to them. This is also identical on all bases. Each base has six residential buildings with five rooms in each. At the information desk near each building there is a list of people living in it. To get to your room, just stand in front of the door, and the scanner will begin the identification process.


    Angus adjusted his glasses again.


    - The rooms have all the necessary amenities - a bed, a desk, lockers, a toilet. You will also find there a uniform and a working tablet. Over the next week you will need to familiarize yourself with all the materials that are in your tablets. Nevertheless, I recommend you to relax today and just get to know each other and walk around the base - the information will be hard to assimilate on the first day after waking up.


    He paused again, looked around at everyone and continued with a wide smile:


    - Well, when you change clothes and be ready to go out, I invite everyone to the dining room for breakfast! At each base, the canteens are at different points, but I am sure it will not be difficult for you to find them! I have it all, thanks.


    Someone began to applaud again, but Raytnov hurried to get out quickly. The weather was warm outside, and it was pleasant to breathe the pure air of a virgin and untouched planet. Especially after many years of living on an overpopulated and oversaturated Earth.


    A large, well-kept lawn spreads out before the audience, and even the grass here seemed greener and brighter. The lawn was divided into two unequal parts by a wide and long track with a rubber coating, which led just from the audience to the residential buildings. People were already walking along the path - they passed by Raytnov and set off to follow the instructions prescribed to them. Some got acquainted and communicated with each other, others were more comfortable to go separately from the main mass.


    The sun was still quite low above the horizon, but it was already pleasantly warming. Raytnov went off the track to the grass, which was soft and pleasant to the touch. He looked around and noticed that the base was rectangular in shape. The audience behind them, as well as the residential buildings in front, were located just in the corners of this rectangle. To the right of Rytnov, the lawn quickly ended with a fence that surrounded the base around the perimeter. To the left, he stretched much further and gave way to a helipad closer to the other end of the base. Rubber tracks ran along the lawn and led to other buildings.



    Looking around, Raytnov headed toward the residential buildings, which stood in two rows of three each. He walked along the grass along the path and eventually rested on hull number two and immediately found himself in the list of residents.


    “Lucky,” he thought, “no need to look for a long time.”


    The outer hull door opened, and Raytnov stepped inside, hitting a small straight corridor. He had two doors on each side, and the fifth door was at its far end. Alex saw his last name on the fifth door and approached her. The scanner under the ceiling woke up and got down to business, and a second later it blinked with a green indicator. Door opened.


    Raytnov went inside and found himself in a small rectangular room. To the left of the entrance were a bed and a desk, on which lay a tablet and some kind of bracelet. On the right side was a small locker and a door to the toilet.


    First of all, Raytnov decided to take water procedures and tidy himself up. Cold shower after thirty days of uninterrupted sleep a little cheered. Raytnov girded a towel, walked out of the dressing room, and looked in the locker — the uniform hung neatly on a hanger, and light shoes stood on the bottom. On one of the shelves were several sets of underwear.


    Deciding not to dress yet, Raytnov reached the desktop and took a tablet from him, on which a greeting and an offer to get acquainted with the materials of the expedition immediately appeared. He caught a glimpse of the headlines: "Our Mission," "Who the Titans are," "The stages of scanning the planet," and many others. Raytnov chose the first available one to read the content diagonally, and an article about the scanning steps opened:


    “The scan included many stages - from band scanning as early as the discovery of the planet in the last century to a full probe scan seventy years later. Probes for several years worked in orbit, studying in more detail the local nature and fauna. It is thanks to them that absolutely all more or less large life forms on the planet Demetrion were discovered. ”


    Before reading it through, Raytnov put the tablet in place and picked up a bracelet, which turned out to be a simple electronic watch. In any case, the rest of his functions were unknown to him.


    Out on the street, he again gladly took full air. Then he looked at his watch - it was 9:15 in the morning. Well, it's time for a hearty breakfast and a cup of cappuccino. Raytnov looked around again. To the residential buildings adjoined two tracks. One of them was already familiar to him and led to the audience, while the second stretched along the entire length of the lawn and rested against the helipad. Behind her and a little side stood a hangar, and he was just in the opposite corner of the audience from the audience. The hangar doors were open, and two rovers stood inside.


    “Apparently, there is a technical wing there,” said Raytnov, and went to the audience along the familiar path. Reaching her and turning to the right, he heard a voice:


    - Alex! Alex, wait!


    Dr. Angus was just leaving the audience.


    “I never had the chance to meet you personally before the start of the expedition, but I heard about you,” the doctor extended his hand with these words.


    Raytnov extended his hand in response. His handshake was strong, perhaps even a little uncomfortable for the puny doctor.


    - Thank you. Unfortunately, Angus, I still don't remember much, so ...
    “Of course, of course,” the doctor interrupted him with a smile, “you don’t remember me yet, I understand that perfectly well.” Do you follow to the dining room?
    “Yes,” said Raytnov, “right there.” And it’s very opportune that we met, since I don’t know at all where she is.
    - Oh, it's in the corner. I woke up three days earlier than yours, so I managed to get a little comfortable here. Dining right on the course, let's go.
    - And what is the reason for your earlier awakening, let me ask?


    Raytnov noticed that the doctor hesitated a little with the answer.


    - Of course. I woke up earlier in order to organize my short report in front of all the colonists. We needed to check the broadcast and the quality of the holograms, besides, I myself also needed to move away from hibernation and recall some of the information. In general, purely organizational moments.
    - Clear. And those people in uniform?
    - This is the expedition support team - they also dealt with various organizational issues. They have already gone to the base “Port Demetrion”, from where they will depart to Earth in the coming days.


    The doctor and Raytnov walked along the path, leaving the audience behind. On the left side of them were buildings with panoramic windows, and inside stood various laboratory equipment. The lawn on the right ended, giving way to the helipad, next to which there was a radio tower. They were already approaching the dining room when Raitnov turned his attention to the strange building in front, opposite the landing and next to the hangar. It was very low and had narrow windows, shuttered. Apparently, most of this building was underground.


    “This is a bunker,” said Angus, following the directions of his colleague's look, “by the way, you can also go through it to the dining room.”


    They went a little further, left the lab behind them and rested in a small building near the bunker. This was the dining room, and it was located in the last, fourth corner of the base.
    Inside the dining room was quite spacious. There were exactly eight tall rectangular tables, each of which could comfortably accommodate four people. Along the length of each table were static bar benches, and at both ends stood high bar stools that could be moved. There were very few people in the dining room - most probably decided to soak in the shower for a long time or simply to relax and calm the headache.


    Raytnov approached one of the five machines for ordering food. Having recognized the person approaching him, the machine gun woke up and displayed an interactive hologram with possible variants of the morning dishes. Rytnova was a little embarrassed by the list of acceptable orders, because each of them contained in its title only the words “Breakfast Room” and the number from one to five. Without thinking, he chose breakfast number one. The machine gun rang, displayed the inscription “please wait” and started the timer - 30, 29, 28 ... After half a minute the machine gave out a tray with a large portion of bacon and vegetables omelet, as well as two toasts.


    “Not bad,” said Raytnov, out loud, “but tomorrow we'll see what's in the second.”


    The doctor, who had lingered a little at one of the tables, approached a nearby machine gun, heard this remark and remarked:


    - I follow the same pattern - today I will try the fourth. By the way, machines support voice control, if you prefer. Number four, please.


    A timer also appeared on the doctor’s automat, but this time the countdown began with 35 seconds. Raytnov took the tray and headed for the coffee machine. “Any coffee in 10 seconds” - read the inscription on it.


    - Cappuccino, please.
    “Cappuccino,” the car repeated, and Raytnov ran a timer on his watch.


    The knives, crushing coffee beans, rustled. Ten seconds passed, but the drink was still not on the tray. Only two seconds later, the car pulled out a glass with the words “Done”. Raytnov took it and felt the pleasant warmth in his palm.


    He walked over to the table where the doctor was sitting. There were also two toasts on his tray, but the main course was fishcake with lettuce leaves. Raytnov sat opposite and asked a question:


    - Tell me, Angus, what a strange period - a month? Where can you fly in thirty days?
    “Oh, this is an interesting question,” the doctor answered meaningfully, “do you have any suggestions?”


    Raytnov thought for a second.


    - Maybe. But I would like to hear what it really is, and not to guess.
    - Well, good. Indeed, Demetrion is located one hundred eighty-nine light years from Earth. Thirty days is not enough to get here.


    The doctor adjusted his glasses again.


    - The fact is, my friend, that we got here through a wormhole. But in order to distort space-time and create this wormhole, it was necessary to first accelerate to the speed of light. Actually, most of the time we just accelerated, and then braked. And hibernation was necessary in order to transfer the effects of this jump without harm to the body.


    Raytnov took a sip of coffee, digesting the information.


    “You will be able to get acquainted with all this information a little later,” concluded the doctor, “it is in your tablet.” There everything is described in detail.
    - Be sure to read. I myself can not wait to remember everything more quickly, - with these words he began the meal.


    Having finished with breakfast and already getting up from the table, Raytnov asked the last question:


    - Tell me, are there sports equipment?
    - Of course. The part of the lawn that is next to the audience is nothing more than a sports field. It is equipped with a mini-football gate that can be pulled out from below, and you can also hang a volleyball net there. Also in the laboratory building has a fully equipped gym.
    “That's good,” said Raytnov, and turned toward the exit from the dining room.


    “Alex, and one more thing,” the doctor stopped him.


    Waiting for the interlocutor's questioning look, Angus continued:


    - I look forward to when we can work shoulder to shoulder in full force.


    A smile played on his lips.


    “Thank you, Angus,” Raytnov smiled back, then turned on his heel and left.




    - Take a look at this door. Just above it is the name of the base on which you are located.
    “Delta,” Gordon read.


    He waited until the doctor’s speech was over and headed towards the residential buildings in search of his room. He was not lucky - the first five buildings, to which he approached, did not contain his name in the list of residents. Entering the last building, he did not even look at this list.


    Taking a shower and dressing, Gordon went in search of the dining room. Delta was quite similar to Alpha, but did not have a bunker or a helipad, but it had a larger hangar and more rovers in its location. The dining room was right next to the hangar.


    Gordon walked along the track, at the same time getting acquainted with the base, and ran into a small sports ground. More precisely, it was the same lawn, but one colonist had already figured out how to make the horizontal bars and parallel bars move out. This colonist had a strong build and made another approach, and Gordon had already counted more than fifteen pull-ups. Having finished the approach, the colonist moved away from the bar and began to stroll around, recovering his breath. Noticing Gordon staring at him, he approached him with a smile and extended his hand:


    - Hello! I'm Barney.
    - Hello. Gordon.


    Their palms met at the bell of a handshake.


    - How can you do this now? - asked Gordon, not hiding surprise.


    “I don’t know,” he answered gaily, “I just don’t get hurt.” As if he had fallen asleep in the evening and woke up in the morning. And the morning should start with what? That's right - with charging!
    - Well, you're done! But I'm afraid my head will explode if I start repeating after you, ”Gordon remarked with a laugh and continued the search for the dining room.
    - Well, see you later! - With these words, Barney jumped on the horizontal bar again and started the next approach.


    It did not take long to search, and after five minutes Gordon had already eaten his breakfast number five. Next to them sat a young dark-haired boy named Isaac. He was rather tall, but he didn’t seem thin and puny. He ate as befits a real esthete - a knife in his right hand, a fork in his left. At the same time, he constantly looked to the side, where a slender black-haired girl with a beautiful face sat lonely at a table.


    Gordon noticed the direction of Isaac's gaze and encouraged him:


    - Yes, good. But you are also handsome, your face is smoothly shaved, your eyes are blue - do not be shy, come!
    “I have green eyes,” Isaac disagreed.
    “Yes, it doesn't matter,” Gordon said, “or do you have other disadvantages?”


    Isaac laughed and looked at the girl again, while at the same time meeting his gaze. She smiled back. Gordon slapped him on the shoulder and headed for the exit from the dining room. Already leaving, he turned around and saw that Isaac was already sitting next to the girl, and they were talking animatedly about something. Gordon smiled and headed towards the horizontal bars - he wanted to negotiate with Barney to spend tomorrow's exercises together.




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