John awoke to the sound of a vicious, howling wind, which escalated in a heartbeat from a shrill whistle to a roar. The cabin - his cabin, it must have been - was illuminated with a fierce orange light that seemed to come from everywhere at once. There was a jarring crash, and John scrambled out of the cot in an effort to put his feet on the deck. His mind clearing, he realized the gravity of the situation. The Acheron was undergoing reentry.

       Shielding his eyes, he could see that the porthole had become a brilliant white disc, flickering occasionally as what must have been pieces of the outer hull were blown past it in the inferno. Starting to his feet, he knew he must get to the bridge, but realized he didn't know the way. The familiar presence of the implant was no longer there. But it did not matter anyway, because there were no bulkheads. John was trapped.

       Then, there came a voice. He turned, surprised, and saw a woman in a flowing white gown. Her name was Ellen. He did not know why.


       The voice did not suit her, though it was familiar, somehow. John could not remember where he had heard it before.

One has awoken.

       He knew he had. Somewhere, where?

Don't disturb him.

       John opened his mouth to shout amidst the great noise of the dying ship.

       "Disturb who!". The words sounded funny. The porthole cracked and shattered, becoming a jet of white flame. The woman remained impassive, inches from being incinerated.

Concussion. Not severe.

       And then, in that moment, a connection was made somewhere inside John's brain. An answer to why the voice was so familiar - he'd heard it all his life. It was his own.

The End

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