DAY 14

AMBUSH by Edgar Bajaña
Inside the experimentation chamber, Zebulon stood underneath a burning bright lamp. He held the small body of a failed newborn with both hands. The dead baby's skin was gray and dry. It's eyes were open, large, foggy and dead. It was as if the baby had died in mid-scream. He felt so bad for the newborn that his stomach hurt as he stared at it. The baby didn't even have a name. Instead, it was labeled with a row of numbers, like all the other experiments in the lab. They were also gone. "This isn't right. We could have saved you. We could have saved at least one." A second later, Zebulon zipped the up the black body bag and just stood over it with an overwhelming sense of sadness. He prayed for it's little soul and even gave it a name. It was the least he could do. A part of him felt responsible. It was his failure to act that brought him to this point. He should have done everything that he could to keep the baby alive. But, he didn't want the Captain to know about the it. It was stupid reason. There was a moment of silence and soon after, he heard his name called. "Zebulon!" He heard his name called from the dark corner of the room. He was so into his thoughts that he had not notice anyone enter the chamber. It was the Captain, Herbert West. The bastard. He appeared from the shadows, like a specter. Behind the Captain, Zebulon saw two guards in black cloaks. They were the two guards that he ran into before, when he was helping Archimedes out of the hibernation chamber. "Captain. My Captain. What can I do for you? I was just clearing up the lab." "Yes you were. I see. But your not showing me everything. Are you? Now, show me the newborn, the experiment."

Zebulon unzipped the bag and showed the Captain the dead baby inside. The Captain looked disgusted by it and quickly turned away. "Okay. That's enough." "I think we could have saved them all though. I can't believe that we lost them. All they needed was a mother's gentle touch. That was all." The Captain looked up at Zebulon with a flash of anger. "I don't care about what you think about these experiments, Zebulon. These babies are of no importance, now. What is important to me is...Archimedes. That's all. Your duty is only to me. Not to these babies or to her. Everything else is secondary to the me and the maintenance of this starship. Do you understand me?" "Yes, Captain." The Captain walked around the table and approached Zebulon. "Your post is to maintain the ship. That is all. Do you understand me?" "Yes Captain. Yes." "Some how, I'm not convinced. I don't think that you do understand me." The Captain stepped away from Zebulon and motioned for the guards to grab him. The two men in black cloaks launched after his arms and detained him in place. Zebulon tried to struggle, but was over powered by the two guards. The Captain spoke, "How can I tell you this, so that you understand? I want you to keep your mind on your duties and that's all. Your job is the ship and nothing else. Archimedes is of no importance to you." Zebulon remembered something from his past. This exact moment reminded him of when he was with the Sisters and the Organization in prison. He was a nobody. He was thousand of light years from earth and he had not changed one bit. At some point in his life, he was always under some one's thumb. "Listen to this Zeb," said the Captain. The Captain took off his glove and revealed his bionic hand. It was half metal and half flesh. His fingers and wrist moved with the help of tiny metal gears and lights. His hand was now more mechanical, then human. Out of no where, the Captain hit Zebulon in the face and broke his lip. Blood flew unto the floor. "Now listen. I want you to tell me where you got that pistol, Zebulon?"

"I put it back. I swear that I did." "You put it back?" He slapped him again and more blood splattered unto the floor Zebulon tried to explain, "there's no reason to worry about it, Captain. I just want to make it to the New World. I don't care about the pistol, the newborns or Archimedes. I swear." "And what did you see when you placed the pisto back in place?" "I..I" The Captain struck him across the face again and again. "I used it to protect Archimedes. For you." "I don't care about that. Tell me what you saw when you placed the pistol back in its place." The two guards held Zebulon's head back, exposing his neck. The Captain threatened him by revealing a sharp object that he ejected from a slot inside his mechanical hand. A secnd later, the knife began to quickly rotate. The spinning knife, resembled a drill. The Captain brought the drill to Zebulon's face. "I want you to listen to me. Tell me again, what did you see." "I saw the armory." "And?" "I saw the machines of war." "And what do you think that we are going to do with those machines?" "We are going to settle in the New World. And if the natives gives us any problem, we will protect ourselves from them. That's all." "That's right" However, Zebulon knew that the armory was going to be used for something much worse than that. The mission of the starship had changed. With the amount of war machines that he saw in the armory, he knew that the Captain was planning an invasion of the New World. The exploration part of this trip of over.

"I can't get rid of you, yet. But, once we land. I'll make sure that you never see the New World. I promise." The Captain signaled to the two guards to take him away. "Wait. Wait," said Zebulon. He didn't have the slightliest clue of what they were going to do to him. And he was scared. They grabbed him and placed him on a metal cart and tied him to it. The Captain stood over Zebulon, as he struggled and moved around on the table. They looked into each other's eyes. The Captain lowered his head and whispered in Zebulon's ear. "She's mine." The Captain was talking about Archimedes and he knew that she was starting to mean something to Zebulon. They took Zebulon away and left the experimentation chamber empty. They left the dead body of the newborns on the lab table, forgotten and alone in the dark. As he was being taken away, Zebulon thought about Archimedes. He thought about how stupid he was. He should have fought for her when he had the chance. Instead of following his heart, he kept his head down for the sake of his father's wish. Zebulon wanted to step unto the new World and just see it, so his father would be prou of him. But now, none of that mattered. The cart rolled faster and faster down the hall. Zebulon had his chance. He recognized it moment when he looked into Archimedes' eyes. If he had chosen his heart, everything could have turned out differently. He was sure of it. Back in the Control Room, Archimedes watched in horror at what they were doing to Zebulon. They had him locked in another part of the ship. She wanted to escape and help him. The evelator to the control room opened and she moved away from the survillance screen. She didn't wait for him to come to her. She walked straight toward the Captain and got in his face. "What are you doing to him? Can't you see that he's in pain?"

"Yes I know. But's it's not pain. He's being changed that all." "How an you be so cruel?" "Life out here in space is cruel. It's the only way to survive out here. Zebulon killed a man in cold blood. Does that make him any less cruel." "I was there, you made him do that. He had no choice." "No. He shot that man because, he was protecting you. And he had a choice." "Tell me what your men are doing to him?" "I am correcting him. Like any piece of hardware that goes bad. The bad parts have to be taken out and replaced with good parts. I have to do this so everything is in a good working condition. And if we're lucky, he'll be better than how he was before. It's the only way to protect the ship." "I can't stand you, Herbert." She wanted to stab him in the face. She wanted to wipe that smirk of his face. "I know Archimedes. But your feelings toward me are only temporary. With time, they will change. We will be together." "With time?" Two centuries had already passed and she was no where close to feeling any different toward the Captain. She despised him. "Now, where were we my dear." He pressed a button on his mechanical hand. It glowed red, then pink. There was some static in the air. The screens outside the control room came to life. First, there was a flash of light. Then, there was a planet that took up the entire screen. The planet shined with a crescent arc along the bottom edge. The Captain pointed at the screen and said, "Look my dear, this is the New World. We can actually see it now." The captain pressed another diode on his arm and the image of the planet changed. The new image was a zoomed in view of the planet. Archimedes could make out some of the details of the planet. In astonishment, Archimedes placed her hand to cover her mouth. She was taken back by the sight of the large planet before her. It looked blue and divine. It glowed in her eyes. Throughout mid if her life, she had only know the storm. "My God. It's water." She fell to her knees. "A whole planet with water."

"That's right my dear. It has clean water and clean beautiful air. It's our world, now. It is as it once was before the storm. And now it's all ours." "What about everyone else?" "Sure. It's theirs too." As the Captain's words echoed in her ears, she only could imagine her life with one other person. Zebulon. She saw Zebulon as the person that she truly loved. She didn't exacly know why. She saw him as the only person that made her feel whole. "Please, tell me what you are going to do, to Zebulon." The Captain turned red with anger. He slapped her and she fell to the floor. "After everything that I have shown you. After everything that I am going to give still just can't accept that you belong to me. You are mine, Archimedes." At that moment, the two guards dressed in black cloaks came in. They rushed to Archimedes and grabbed her. She struggled against them. She even spit into their faces. They held her in place, as they waited for their next command. That Captain looked up at them, "Both of you can do whatever you want with her. Just clean her up and put her in the hibernation chamber when you are done." Archimedes looked surprised at how easily he let her go. She wondered if it was over between them. She wondered if she was free of him. The Captain turned to her. " You will submit Archimedes. I will never let you go. I promise you that you will submit to me by the time this is over. To me!" The elevator doors opened and they quickly took her away. As they traveled in the elevator, the guards started to talk about her. "What is your problem woman? The Captain gave you everything and you refuse him. All you have to do is play along." "My heart is not something that can just be bought, sold or traded." "I'm sure we can change that, though. What do you think? The other guard looked her over, "I think that you're right. With the right kind of conditioning, she'll be okay with anything that Captain wants. I think we can straighten her up for the good old captain. What you think?" "Why not?"

However, Archimedes wasn't totally defenseless. While the guards were unalarmed, she grabbed a stun gun from one of m the guards and fired it. One of the guards was struck with a flash of electricity and he instantly fell to the ground. His body was paralyzed. The shock would last for only a half an hour. The other guard started to struggle with Archimedes and they both fell to the floor. He kept the stun gun from being pointed at him, while he had his other hand around Archimedes' neck. He was going to choke her out, when an electrical flash stun him. His heavy body fell over her and she lost her breath. With all the strenght that she could must, she pushed him aside. She got back up to her feet. The stun gun was still in her hand, when she stood over them, breathing heavy. "Archimedes!" She heard the Captain's voice through the speaker system. "Where can you go? There is no place to hide Archimedes?" She ignored him as he kept speaking. Instead, she started forging around for something to use in her escape. She bent over to reach inside the cloak of the guard. The whole time, she thought about Zebulon and the pain that he was in. She had to get to him. From the guards cloak, she pulled out a communication device. She brought it to her mouth and spoke into it. She had used one of these on earth. "Where is Zebulon?" She asked the high tech contraption. Instantly the machine came to life and a ray of light shined on the wall. The ray of light projected a map of the starship on the wall. Inside the map there was a glowing red dot that corresponded with her position. In another part of the ship, there is green dot that corresponded with Zebulon's position. "Who says, I'm running?" She turned the contraption off and took the elevator to the level where Zebulon was being held.

Archimedes stepped out of the elevator and did not encounter any resistance. She followed the map, carefully heading down several deserted corridor that led her straight to the room where Zebulon was be held. She was at the door when she checked the map again. She was at his location.

He was in there. Suddenly, she heard a scream from the other side of the door. It was him. she recognized his voice. The door slid open and there were two guards standing next to an illuminated control panel. As soon as they turned toward her, Archimedes shock them both with stun gun. An electrical surge swirled around them and knocked them down. They went down, but not completely. One of them was twitching while they laid sprawled on the floor. She made sure that they were down and then looked inside the room for Zebulon She saw him on a table with wires connected to his body. He was convulsing. Archimedes ran to him and tore off the cables from his body. Immediately, she unhooked him from the machine. A couple minutes later, he gained consciousness and he saw her. When he first opened his eyes and saw Archimedes, he was so surprised to see her. In that moment, he told her with little breath he had left, "All I know, Archimedes, is that before I die, your face is the last thing that I want to remember. And if I could recall it, I would have died knowing that this was all worth it." "Get up, Zebulon!" She striped away the cables. "Jesus, what did they do to you? Come on. Get up!" "I can't. They pumped me full of chemicals. I can't really move. But when they put me under, I finally realized something. I saw the truth about where we are, about the ship." "What did they do to you?" "Nothing." She thought that his response was odd. It looked like if he were in pain. "What do you mean nothing?" "Archimedes, this is a test. I'm not really here. And you are not here either." She didn't understand what he was trying to say. She needed to get him out of there. They needed to flee together. The Captain should have been trying to get inside. But, there was nothing. Zebulon grabbed a hold of Archimedes collar. "We are not really here. You are still in your hibernation chamber. And I am still in mine. But somehow we found our way to

each other. The ship led me to you. I don't know how this happened or why. But we were meant to be together. Do you understand what I'm saying?" She looked into his eyes and did not say a word. She wanted to let his words sink in. She said the words outloud, "I am still in the hibernation chamber." In a strange way, she finally did understand him. And when when it all made sense to her, everything went black.

ALSO BY EDGAR A. BAJAÑA DARK ROAD Before John Pierce became a hero to the world, he was a scrawny 15-year-old kid trapped inside the trunk of a speeding car heading down a Dark Road. EVE DREAMS AN UGLY BOY Ivan, a deformed tattoo artist, becomes obsessed with Evelyn who he sees only once on the train. Ivan must have her, no matter whose dreams he must destroy along the way. VICTORIA VICTORIA Actress. Psycho. Killer. Victoria Stern is a woman with a shadowy past drenched in blood, pursued by two private investigators, named Colossus and the Hound. Available  at Thank you for choosing to read this short story. Send comments, suggestions or feedback to:


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