“Again,” Smalldridge ordered, and once again Michael's frame tensed into a twisted husk. He walked up to the coiled man as the second bout ended. With his thumb, he raised Michael's eyelid. “Hello Captain Rafferty,” he said, removing the rubber guard. “Do you know where you are?”
Michael's eyes rolled into his head as he attempted to reconstruct the reality around him. “No,” he mumbled.
“Do you know who I am?”
“I am Doctor Dan. I'm going to take you to another room now. Will you come with me?”
“Yes, I know you are. It's alright, I'll make you better in just a little while Michael.”
“Where am I?”
“You're at the Air Force base. Come on now, we need you to complete an important mission.”
“I'm hurt,” Michael said again, holding his arms to his chest as the other white coats in the room removed the needles from his flesh.
“Don't worry, you won't be hurt for long.”
They brought in a stretcher and carried him over to it, at which point they began making their way to another area of the complex. A few minutes later Michael found himself in front of a mock control console, a throttle lever was between his legs and instruments indicating power output data were before him.
“Do you remember this Michael?” asked Smalldridge.
Michael nodded, and the white coats began jotting things down on their clip boards.
“Good. Then listen carefully. Bring us to Initial State,” Smalldridge said, putting emphasis on the last two words.
Michael reached out to a knob, and turned it a few clicks. He then looked to the other side of the mock console and flipped a switch. His motion began to speed up, and soon his hands were going from one end of the control console to the other, flipping switches, setting dials and finally pulling the throttle lever all the way back. “Initial State.” Michael muttered, finally resting his hands on his laps.
“Good job Michael, can you bring us to Singularity State?”
Again, Michael's hands began to move over the controls until after a flurry of switches and buttons, he grasped the throttle lever and pushed it one fifth of the way up. “Singularity State.”
“Great. That's what we needed to see,” Smalldridge said. He turned to the others. “See? No problem. Get him suited up and ready to go in thirty minutes. We'll have him in the sphere before supper time.”