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We disembarked from the train then watched it trudge off into the distance, leaving us on our own.
Our leader studied our small crew of vampire hunters for a moment, then led us into a nearby catacomb. "We will sleep now, and begin on the morrow at 4:00 am. Since none of us have alarm clocks, we should all simply go to sleep thinking about 4:00 am, and hopefully someone will wake up then."
He pointed out one of a number of empty wooden coffins that lay in the catacombs. "To make sure we don't get found, we must sleep in the coffins. We'll nail them loosely shut so that nobody will inspect too closely." I pointed out that I was too claustrophobic to be nailed inside a coffin, and he explained how the nails would be loose enough that we could get out on our own, and grudgingly demonstrated it.
I was just being nailed in a coffin several chambers away, one of the last to be so, when news came, and the guy nailing me in removed the nails and pulled me out. There were six newcomers to the catacombs, and our leader was concerned that they were not what they appeared to be.
An extremely disorienting conversation followed, one which I can no longer recall. I do remember at one point noticing how high the sun was. I ran around the long way into the chamber where our leader was. I pointed at the clock on the wall and the sun, pointing out how they were out of sync. The clock was strange, the left half was white and the right half was black, as if it was two different clocks from two different places. Even as I explained it and he looked at the clock, the clock hands suddenly spun rapidly, catching up to match the sun, and then they slowed down to match the sun's movement, still turning far faster than the hands of a normal clock. As if time were passing quickly--or as if our minds and bodies were being slowed down.
Our leader scrapped our mission then--they were clearly onto us and planning something nasty--and we got the hell out of there and off that wretched planet.
After a slow windup and a long hyperjump, we popped out into free space in a far-off star system. A voice crackled over the radio--not just a woman's voice, but the woman who had been with the six strangers. "Looks like we're in the same boat," she said. "I managed to kill their leader before I got away, at least; I don't think they'll be after us. Mind if I join you?" If we could have been inside the cockpit of her craft, we might have known not to trust her--there was something ominous there, and clues that she was lying abounded.
But we let her join our ragtag fleet--a few small one-man craft and our larger, spindly cargo hauler, which looked more like a frame than a ship.
We landed at a nearby spaceport. One of the men, a short, mulish-looking fellow, donned a black cloak with a black hood and set off to sneak around and see what he could learn.
We found our way to a drinking establishment close by. I spied a display of meat. "Mmm, meat!" I walked over to study it closer. "Are you selling this meat?" I asked the proprieter. "Are you buying a sub?" I looked around and realized that the meat was part of a sub-fixin's area of the place. "Could be," I said, although I didn't really feel like having a sub. Just meat.
I got back in line to get a drink, and when I got to the front and tried to talk to the proprieter, he just got flustered and angry with me. Eventually I noticed the people around me were just grabbing cups and filling them from a nearby soda fountain, so I did so myself, bewildered over not paying.
I sat down with my drink and several of my companions, looking around the place. A sign commented about the six drinks available: "#1,3,5 are only to be consumed within the establishment. #4 is not served after 11pm." Huh.
Time passed. Most everyone else had made their way off to do something or another. I went to a window and looked out. There was the spacedock, a large freighter and then, on the other side of it, our cargo hauler. I watched the tiny people skittering around the dock, doing various things, as if they were ants.
Then, on a platform rather close to the window, a fellow in a gray hood and cloak on an intervening platform pointed at our craft dramatically, drawing my attention. A sturdy-looking fellow in heavy battle armor approached him, following the gesture, studying our ship. I looked around the room and located my only fellow crewmember, and called him over. He looked out the window where I was pointing, considered the situation, then donned his black cloak & hood (for it was the mulish-looking guy) and leapt out the window to get a closer look.
Then a new man approached the one in gray--tall, regal, flowing hair, a bright blue cloak. The gray one gestured at the ship, and they talked briefly. Then the one in blue just studied the ship. The gray, ever watchful, looked around the place, then suddenly turned and said to the tall one, "I've been hearing about a strange dark shadow only seen momentarily sneaking around the place. I think I've just seen it myself." So saying, it launched itself forward in hot pursuit of my black-cloaked shipmate.
The one in battle armor came back, talking briefly to the man in blue. I drew back from the window then so as not to draw attention to myself, since they might actually be looking for us and not really our ship.
Eventually several other of my associates returned, but nobody was visible out the window anymore. I recounted the story. One of the men, on hearing the description of the man in battle armor, said, "That was the Captain of the Guard. We've got a problem if that one's after us." I went on, and asked who the fellow in blue might be, commenting that it seemed the Captain of the Guard looked up to him.
"That sounds like it would be General Luke," the man replied. "And that would spell big, big trouble for us."
We went to some rooms we had rented. I had a small apartment all to myself. Soon after settling in, one of the other guys from the bunch came over to chat. While we were talking, my vidphone "rang". I got up to answer it, but my visitor said, "Don't answer that. It could be the authorities looking for us."
Fortunately the vidphone was mounted sideways in a niche, so I was able to lean around and see the screen edge-on without getting in front of the camera. (For all we knew, the authorities could see through the camera without you approving a vidphone call, or even before you picked up.) I saw it was a call for me, by name, requesting a video connection, with the caller unnamed. I let it ring.
Sometime later, another call came, and I checked again, but it was the same thing. My visitor departed, and I settled in to bed.
Before I could fall asleep, someone materialized in the room in front of me, riding a warp board. He hopped off and looked at me. "What are you doing here? I just rented this room."
"It's my room already."
"They said it was unoccupied. You'll have to get out, I've got proof. Here's my authorization." He handed me some stuff. I looked uncomprehendingly at a pile of Kool-Aid packages.
After some time passed, I decided given our situation it wasn't worth making a fuss. "This looks perfectly valid, you're right," I said, handing him the Kool-Aid packages back. "I'll just get out of here."
When I connected up with our leader, he considered this situation and decided it was time to depart. "We'd better go as spiders."
Moments later, all thirty of us were charging down a street heading for the spacedock. Most of the thirty were in spider-like forms--not spider sized, more like weird alien creatures, but with long, spindly legs and making chattering noises as we went. There were a few cats, as well, and one dog, a golden retriever. I was puzzled about the dog for a minute until I realized it was a real dog, the pet of one of the other guys.
Then something went wrong.
The next moment I could remember, we were in a cafeteria of sorts. There were four of us--three of the members of the gang, including our leader, and me. But I had forgotten who we were. I only knew our current names: the other three were Mozart, Bach, and Brahms, and I was named Hayden. The other three were having a private conversation, and I attempted to get closer to hear it, but they shooed me away. Wait, I was a fly buzzing around them, and they didn't realize who I was!
The place had thinned out until it was just the four of us, and I approached them again. Again, they tried to get rid of me. "Don't you know who I am," I cried? "I'm a bug."
Our leader nodded. "Yes, we've been amnesiac for five years, and I rather suspect you're some sort of bug, spying equipment from the authorities."
No, no, I thought, that's not what I meant. But what did I mean. What had motivated me to say that?
And then I woke up.