The Implicit Denial of Infinity

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Chapter 15: Garage

Kai woke to find herself on a stretcher left on the floor of what looked to be a vast garage, with no visible attendant. She wondered if this was vaguely where lost packages ended up when the mail system misplaced them. She most definitely felt like a piece of missing mail at this point. Slowly, Kai sat up and rubbed her temples, looking down to find herself strapped in by what looked like a seatbelt. She looked around once more, then moved to unfasten it, standing up without further difficulty.

This was certainly bizarre.

Resisting the urge to call out a greeting, Kai moved away from where her stretcher had been left, and out into the gloom. The room was just dark enough that she couldn’t make out much save for a few rows of tall shelves and three large rectangular fixtures against the wall opposite of her. These fixtures gave off a dull light, and as they were the only thing within this place that could even be remotely useful, Kai moved toward them. She walked at a rather brisk pace, turning her head from side to side as she moved, consumed with the thought of something lurking in the shadows. Nothing emerged, however, and she reached the fixtures without incident. Upon closer inspection, they were far larger than she had initially thought: each was about five feet tall and just about three feet across. The bottom of the thing sat just below her ribs, and was clearly meant for use by something much taller than she. Her proximity did not help with the identification of these odd structures, though the source of the light became clear. Strips of some sort of luminescent material lined the sides of the metal fixtures. Kai traced a finger along one of the lighted strips, tilting her head. It did not react, nor was it even the slightest bit warm to the touch. She assumed they were just for lighting, but had nothing to back this up. She turned her gaze to the front of the panel, which was made of a smooth metal. It too was cold, and did not react to her touch in the slightest. Sighing, Kai moved to run her hands downwards from the highest point she could reach along the edges toward the bottom of it. Her fingers caught a small lip along the bottom of the machine, and she dropped down to a crouch to investigate. She couldn’t see much, but it did look like some sort of button. She stuck her finger up into it, and was rewarded by the fixture humming to life. Standing once more, Kai looked at the front of the panel, which had come to life. Text scrolled across the screen in a language she did not understand. The text remained for a moment before being replaced with an odd symbol, one of two hands with crossed wrists, an unfamiliar flower hovering above them. This remained for only a second before it was replaced by a light green screen with a few rectangular strips, all with variations of the unfamiliar text scrolled across them. Kai’s brow furrowed as she moved to touch the screen once more, which yielded no result. She reached under the device once more and hit the button again, and was rewarded by the device shutting off. Having no other ideas with what to do, she stepped away from it, back toward the center of the room. Frustration gnawed at her stomach, as she turned in a circle, having no idea what to do. Was this some kind of sick joke?

Slowly, Kai turned in a circle. The room was frustratingly empty, and as such, she was at a loss for what to do. Part of her wished someone would come for her, and put her where she was meant to be. As strange as it sounded, the knowledge that her actions had no influence on what happened here had been her only comfort. Now, there was a new element of choice. She knew there was the potential for escape. There had to be. Why else would the universe give her this chance? If her captors intended to release her, surely this wasn’t the way they would do it. There was too much potential for her to damage their equipment.

Unless of course, they’d removed everything valuable for this very reason.

Slowly, Kai sat down against the wall. She felt as if she was being toyed with. Was there some kind of motive behind this, or was it an administrative oversight of some kind? These people didn’t seem to be the most skilled. Part of her wondered if this place was completely made up of the newest possible people in this field, or if perhaps this species had no idea how to interact with hers. All of it was bewildering.

The sound of grinding metal caused her to lift her head, Kai squinting as she looked around. The main door she could see remained shut, ruling it out as the culprit of the noise. She wished it had been. If the door had mysteriously swung open, and set her free, Kai thought she would immediately have become a believer in some deity. The girl slowly stood, keeping her movements as small as she could. If anyone had come looking for her, there was no doubt they would be better equipped for a dark environment than she. Her frustration was building. Why wouldn’t they just come for her already? She took a step forward, and then another. She was alone, it seemed. A pit formed in her belly. Something was wrong, and though she couldn’t put her finger on it, she wanted to flee.

“Hello?”Kai didn’t know what to do aside from call out, and she was answered only by a faint creaking sound. Her mind moved back to the rumble she’d felt through the floor. Slowly, Kai crouched to the ground, resting a palm against the floor. She had thought this was the lowest point of the facility, but she now wasn’t sure. Was this creaking the predecessor to the rumble?

This, of course, was her final thought before an explosion rocked the compound.

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