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Several hours had passed in calming silence as the battered escape pod spiralled through the glimmering black abyss of space. Dr Greene was drained, and his eyes were growing heavier by the minute. Ivy's eyes were glued to the porthole.
"When... When do we arrive at Vand?" Greene asked with a yawn.
"We're not going to Vand."
He looked at her with an apathetic unchanged sleepiness, then away. "Where, then?"
She knelt down to him. Her face told a thousand secrets with a single expression. "We're going to your people. It might not be...home, but it is as close as I can get without prosecution," she said as she sat back up and continued staring into the frosted fogging window. It was growing cold, but the doctor was too exhausted to worry.
"Get some rest, I'll wake you before we arrive." she said as he began to close his eyes.
His mind began to fade into a dream...
He was in his car again, driving along the very same road that he was taken from. Chills ran down his spine as he turned the corner of a cliffside, nearing his abduction point. Deja vu overwhelmed him, so he pulled over. Not this time.
Throwing the sedan into park, he lifted himself from the vehicle and looked around, waiting. The light that had pursued him before had begun its progression toward him. He squinted in his rectangular-framed glasses as the light grew in intensity. It was time to face the unknown.
The light had come to a dead stop roughly 100 meters away. He gritted his teeth in angst, and suddenly an awe-striking voice erupted in his head.
"Come to the light, Ian."
Without another thought, James began stepping toward the light. He felt nothing but pure awe, as if even death was no longer a variable. He had lost complete control of himself as he stepped closer to the blinding shine.
"Come to the truth."
The voice sounded like God, like the roar of a thousand waterfalls channeled into a single mind-bending vocalization. It was terrifyingly hypnotizing. Greene looked down, and shook his head in disbelief. He had walked off of the cliff and was now floating toward the light... It again called to him.
"Come to life."
He was now not even ten feet away from it, suspended miles above the forested base of the mountain.
"You must find yourself, there."
Jim was turned around, as if submerged into the throes of a whirlpool, and the entire world he knew was replaced with outer space. He was literally breathless, and began to choke on his own breath. What was assumed to be a star began to grow in size, revealing it to be a massive planet as it approached. It was monumentally incredible, but obviously synthetic. He marveled at the expanse of logistic networks and defense systems laid out across its surface. It was an entire ecosystem of technology.
"Go there. You will find yourself, and your way home..."
Everything began to fade to an overwhelming blackness and his eyes began to open.
Jim fumbled around for his glasses. Everything was a bright blur.
"Lie down." A masculine voice pushed him back down, he was again suddenly breathless. He was beginning to panic about what was even real anymore, his heart raced. How was he to survive if he couldn't see? The voice hovered over him as he lied there, breathing heavily.
"I'm going to give you something you gave to us all, Greene... Eyes to see."
James blinked and the blur sharpened to an ultra-definition panorama of a white room. A man stood next to his bed, sporting a pure white overcoat—a fellow doctor.
"You should give it a few days to get used to, but once you've got it down there are no limits to its modularity," he said as he reached out to shake Jim's hand.
Everything was so intensely detailed. As Jim looked around, blinking, he saw heat signatures, measurements, a full heads up display of his bodily data and coordinates for other destinations. He reached up to feel for glasses but, nothing. The fellow reached further out, gently clasping his trembling hand.
"It's called SeerSight. It uses technology reverse-engineered by Alkaphirans to visually and seamlessly access the NeT. If any of these terms are new to you," the doctor rambled as he finished making some final adjustments, telepathically guiding Greene's browser to a search engine. It came as surprise to Greene that Google was still undying champion of the information world. "...You can access a full range of information in the onhand Codex." Suddenly a plethora of images popped up before James' eyes. Pictures of what must've been Alkaphirans flooded his view. Their bodies were long, pitch black, averaging at 10 feet tall. Their faces bore iridescent masks with simplified, emoji-like expressions. They appeared on cave paintings, sculptures, hieroglyphics... and religious idols. He read 3 articles about them simultaneously, as if downloading them into his own memory. It was a massive augmentation to the tangible reality that Greene was accustomed to.
"Wow, this is some next level shit," Jim said frankly. The fellow doctor turned to him with a grin. He was as generic and natural as they come; unlike the pirate bunch—pale skin, brown hair, eyes to match. He helped Greene from the medical bed and to the elevator door. "The name's Harvey, Harvey Goldwater. Don't worry about payment, just get to the Mass Codex for DNA scanning." Greene walked into the elevator and as it began to shut, Harvey hit the call button on his earpiece.
"I trust our precious cargo is tuned and ready?" The voice in his ear was rigid; cold like a siberian tundra, but sleek and feminine—sharp as a whip.
"He's on his way, I'm sending you the tab."
Greene could see the whole city in its entirety as he descended the BioMech Center of Sensory Augmentation. Staring deep through the concrete walls, he scanned the expanse of wiring, screens, moving bodies, etc. All he needed was to wonder, and data, like an ocean, flooded into view.
He was quickly becoming exhausted from the intensity of it all. The elevator reached ground floor and James exited with haste. A waypoint guided him to a nearby helipad. The sky was becoming a deep purple and blue.
A large gunship lit up the helipad as it landed before him. Ivy was inside, her glowing red hair was hard to miss. She looked at him with anticipation. He began to pick up the rotation speed of each rotor on the gunship on his HUD, then blinked them away. "So this is what it's like to be a spaceman," he thought to himself. With an excited spring he leapt up into the gunship. It was all cutting edge design: the cockpit, the seamless accelerative thrust, the glow of the rotors as they took off... That's when he noticed that he wasn't on a planet; the entire city was on a fixed rotating track with a holographic sky. The entire environment was a projected algorithm within a fixed space—in this case, a halo amidst the darkness of space. He couldn't believe what he was seeing, and how it all worked. He leaned up toward Ivy and let out an ecstatic shout:"Where are we going next?!"
She gave a slight smile, and pointed at the gunship's windshield. Coordinates from her HUD immediately uplinked visually to spread their coordinates. It was a crisp, detailed hologram the Milky Way galaxy. A small dot appeared she tapped the image.
Her hand swept across the millions of stars as each one zoomed in and out of view like water particles in a puddle of glowing water.
"We're going here."
Their itinerary took them far to the east of the galaxy from where they were, which was central and vaguely south. She pinched as she held the holographic star between her index finger and thumb, then flicked a blown-up image of the exact same mechanical planet from the Doctor's dream.
"I believe that's the one."
He sat there, yet again struck with awe at how his world was now so blatantly connected. He glared conspicuously at Ivy as she smirked.
"SeerSight has many perks."
As the gunship began to dock on a much larger mechanized carrier, Greene spotted a red and black insignia on the entry doors. A browser window popped up next to it as he blinked curiously:
Looks like you're wondering about this image:
The ship was hoisted into the bay by a massive mechanical arm as the wings and other extendable parts of the gunship folded inward.
"This place is completely mechanized, just like—" her hand clasped around his mouth. "Let me do all the talking, alright?" She said with a tight-lipped smile. Blinking rapidly, she tapped into the ship's coordinate system. From Jim's perspective she had dove, descending deep into the mind of the ship. The tangibility of something so abstract as the web, or "NeT" as they called it was so vibrantly satisfying to him.
A red portal opened up beside them. They walked through as their biological data was seamlessly transmitted to the hull of the massive carrier. The entire ship rocked as it prepared for a warp across the NeT. Back and forth, back and forth the very air swished and swayed in an energetic molecular dance.
"This should be fun." Ivy said, grasping Greene's hand with an ambitious glow in her eye. He was already sweating, his SeerSight developing a visual representation of a tesseract, with them centered in the inner cube. The cube rocked back and forth, swinging the inner cube to the furthest point backward possible, then catapulted the two and the rest of the ship forward through spacetime.
Nauseous and fatigued, Greene had come to a sudden eccentric thought.
It looks like you're thinking about Earth:
His eyes slowly began to fill with tears as he blinked to find out more.