Broken Dreams and Other Fallacies

A story set in the GURPS TRANSHUMAN SPACE universe...

Carl woke to a hand on his shoulder, rocking him gently.  "Hey, mister."  a woman mumbled, nearly incoherent through her tears.  "Don't be dead.  Oh please don't be dead."

He groaned and tried to open his eyes.  His left opened to blurry red sand.  The right wouldn't open.  Blood had seeped along the eyelid, sealing it shut.  He was sweating profusely and the headache was like the throbbing of two enormous kettle drums right behind his ears. His vision swam as a wave of dizziness and nausea washed over him — a good sign of a concussion.

His hands spasmed unintentionally and the woman offered a little yelp, then shuffled back away from him.  "Oh, Jesus, Thank God.  I thought you were dead."  Carl heard the scuffle of dust as the woman scooted back.

Carl tried to move himself to a sitting position, noting the cool air on his chest and legs as he did.  Blearily, he drew his fingers up to his eye and picked at the dried blood, until he could open his eyes and focus.

He was naked. Not that there was anything wrong with that.  Except the last thing he'd remembered, he was in the S.I. Officers lounge after the Red Duncanites hearing at Lagrange 5.

Carl drew his hand up over his forehead and through his close-cropped brown hair.  It was slick with his sweat and crusty in parts with the dried blood.  He felt like he'd been in a mother of all bar brawls.

The woman was naked too.   Maybe five feet tall, blonde, with a pinched face and puffy lips, skin blotchy from crying.  She was in good physical condition — like a dancer or a gymnast.  She didn't sport any obvious body modifications, but she was thin enough that she could have come from a lighter-gravity.  There was a heavy abrasion along her left side, on her cheek and shoulder, where the reddish dirt they were on had gotten into the wound.

"Where..." Carl began, but it took a moment to get the saliva going again, to ease his parched throat.  "Where the hell are we?"

The End

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