MRR

 

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A Science Fiction Thriller

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p. 1

MRR With each new second he became more convinced that he was at least alive and standing somewhere. The terror he had experienced as the procedure began remained with him and he still fought sheer panic. I am Mrr, he said to himself, mostly for reassurance. I am Mrr. I am not afraid. As each additional moment passed without death, he felt a little better; his fists started to unclench. He still had a tingling in his nerves and some paralysis, but the overpowering sense that his demise was imminent ebbed. He kept his eyes closed tightly as his fear eased even more. The cool breeze on his face helped him focus and adjust to a totally new reality. It took a full three minutes for him to feel strong enough to move. To his relief, his body did respond to instructions. He tested his legs then crouched down, digging his fingers into the cold floor which moved as he pushed it—an odd sensation; it is not hard. In the last few minutes, terror had changed to panic then to fear, but as the remaining apprehension left him, other thoughts took its place: his new environment became clearer and he needed to adapt. Mrr © 2015 Timothy Freriks

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p. 2

As the sensory and physical issues resolved themselves, he suddenly realized: Domm! It actually worked! He stood and sniffed the air, pure, without a trace of Benzotharicaine vapor. How sweet. How full and thick. How interesting, he thought as new odors—some pleasant, some not— interfered with the experience. Although it would violate a CATOS 78, he dared to breathe it all in deeply. A few more minutes passed and Mrr began to feel more comfortable, almost normal. The paralysis had left him and feeling returned to every part of his body. He heard noises, odd sounds that he had never heard before, which he considered to be another encouraging sign. It was time to discover if he could see. Mrr opened his eyes, cautiously at first then fully. The tension that had held his skin tight started to relax; he could see in the semi-dark. The first thing he identified was a plant, exactly like the drawings on the artifacts. Leaves, real leaves, green leaves, were moving gently in the slight breeze. He looked around and saw many very tall plants, ‘trees’, he remembered—a different kind of plant. They appeared to have smaller trees attached to them all the way to their tops. These were covered with leaves. So many plants! Mrr © 2015 Timothy Freriks

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p. 3

Plant. The revered word. Such a beautiful factory! He looked around in the moon light. It was true: plants with leaves were everywhere; trees were real. He absorbed the wonderment for a moment and then forced himself to calm down and evaluate the situation like a scientist. Observation one: the transformation had been a success; he was alive in a place other than the Dome. Presumably, he had been transported to the target time-place: 1988. He functioned, able to touch and feel, hear, smell and see things. Observation two: he looked down at his body and took inventory, testing his muscles and his other senses. Everything had come through intact. He was, however, quite naked. His fellow scientists had been afraid that the synthetic fibers of his skin suit would deteriorate in the trip or meld to his skin. He looked at the test cloth lying next to him. It had materialized properly; an excellent third observation: fabric could survive. He studied the evening sky: deep and rich, a dark blue of a different color than he could ever remember seeing in the EnviroSimulator. The moon was brilliant with whites and greys. Mrr © 2015 Timothy Freriks

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p. 4

More beautiful than the simulation designers had even considered possible, the imagination couldn’t have been better than the reality. The air was so clean and he paused, searching for the ancient word: natural. But he began to feel a chill and he knew he would have to find shelter. Not accustomed to temperature changes, he knew he would have to find local clothing very soon. How he would do that, no one could counsel him with any authority. So little knowledge remained to guide them. Slowly, the naked man looked around, again marveling at the situation: he truly had appeared outside, outside in a different world, in a real atmosphere, on a low hill above what the scientists had hoped would be Warminster, Pennsylvania. The glow and sparkling lights in the distance were very much like the simulation, so his next important assumption would be that he had appeared at the proper place. Mrr remembered the Enabler and his left hand went to his right forearm, securely positioned in a special pocket made from skin. When he felt the device’s comforting presence, he breathed a shallow sigh of relief—it was important to confirm that electronic Mrr © 2015 Timothy Freriks

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p. 5

instruments could survive the process. Opening the pouch, he withdrew the tool, examining it in the moonlight. It hummed quietly, intact. The operating light glowed, its four-inch length looked solid. Good. So far Chael's predictions were accurate. He looked around and pointed the Enabler at a large rock. After setting the function selector to ‘warm’, he released the disable switch and pressed the activator. Without a sound the rock began to glow and within seconds it cut the chill from the air. He replaced the device and turned his attention to the mission. Marge Morrison loved the outdoors. Her house sat two miles from any residential development and about five miles from civilization if, of course, you considered Warminster to be civilization. She had lived here with her parents for twenty-two years, her husband for another sixteen and with herself for the last four. Her long career as an emergency room nurse was behind her and the best years, the ‘stressless’ years, as she called them, lay ahead. Marge was content and happy. She had the woods and its Mrr © 2015 Timothy Freriks

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p. 6

creatures and her special garden, the books from the Book of the Month Club, her inheritance, and occasionally, when either of them felt the need, the company of Bill Macklin, the charming and mysterious U.S. Senator who lived about a half-mile away. Being widower and widow, they shared a comfortable relationship of convenience, a good feeling of mutual enjoyment; not love— Macklin thought he was getting too old for that anyway. For him, love equaled sex, reserved for when he visited his home and when she needed it. She had grown up in the late 60s’ free-love generation with hippies with hair braided with flowers, peace signs and hiphuggers. That seemed great at twenty, but at forty-two, not much remained of that Marge; perhaps buried by the years of providing daily care for a long stream of injured people. No, not much remained, except maybe for the marijuana on the porch that she grew for her occasional enjoyment. As was her habit, she nestled into her favorite tree swing in the dark, watching the moon and listening to her friends, the owls and the crickets, before she went in to bed. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the breeze as it caressed her long brown hair. Her long, trim legs were curled up under her. The odd sound, a peculiar humming Mrr © 2015 Timothy Freriks

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p. 7

and soft pop about twenty minutes before had slipped from her thoughts. A sudden movement and odd sounds nearby startled her. She did not expect any bears in late spring—they were all off raising cubs. Maybe it was her friend, Bill, trying to sneak up and surprise her, as he loved to do. She lowered her feet to the ground and peered into the darkness, keeping very still. Mrr had to sit down twice in his short journey. The dizziness was expected due to the heavy oxygen content, but Imoth and the other scientists had said he should adjust within hours. Just ahead, he saw what he assumed to be a contemporary living quarter, a ‘house’, and it appeared to be deserted. As he cautiously moved forward, his foot struck an exposed tree root. Losing his balance, he fell and put out his hands to stop his momentum. It wasn’t enough. His knees and arms hit the ground and slid in the light coating of mud. His forehead impacted with a rock. Stunned, he collapsed fully onto his stomach in the dirt. It took a few minutes for him to overcome the shock. His hand went to his head where he felt…pain? He didn’t remember the last time he had felt Mrr © 2015 Timothy Freriks

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p. 8

pain; accidents like this simply didn’t happen. He struggled to sit up then looked at the wetness on his fingers. Blood? His mind tried to analyze the mechanics of feeling pain and seeing blood, but it was difficult; he simply didn’t have any frame of reference. It took another few minutes, but Mrr finally stood and listened to the night. After a few minutes, satisfied that nothing was disturbed, he started to move again to the house to investigate. He walked with carefully measured movements, graceful in their efficiency. Although she had begun thinking of Senator Macklin more and more lately, a naked man was the last thing Marge expected to see. She shook off the idea that it was her imagination and stared at him through the moonlit darkness. The man moved smoothly to her bedroom window and looked in. She knew that if she stayed quiet, he might go away, but then again, he might go in the house and rob her. Had he been clothed, it might have been easier to decide what to do. Her first instinct had been to run to the house and grab the shotgun, but he was in the way. As she squinted into the darkness, Mrr © 2015 Timothy Freriks

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p. 9

she thought she saw blood on his face. Perhaps he had been hurt. The clinical nurse in her engaged, pushing out for the moment the concern about his nakedness. The man might have been in an accident and needed help, but until she knew more, she decided to sit quietly. Marge watched as he made his way to the back door, about forty feet away. He seemed puzzled. He didn't reach for the doorknob, but instead stepped to the door and waited, then stepped back, and stepped forward again. He seemed confused and frustrated and he put his hands on the door then repeated the step back step forward, movement, as if that would open it. He looked around and started moving in Marge’s general direction. Her alarms went off and when he stopped and turned to face the house again, Marge rose without a sound and moved to a tree, climbing silently to the first branch. She tried to blend into the forest. He started walking backward toward her, scanning the yard as he retreated, then stopped ten feet from Marge. From the back, she could only see that he was a tall man with lean legs that supported broad shoulders. His dark hair was cut strangely: long on the sides but short from his forehead to the back of his neck—like a reverse Mrr © 2015 Timothy Freriks

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p. 10

Mohawk. As best as Marge could tell in the dark as he looked from side to side, his thin, straight nose protruded well-sculpted from his pale skin, and his mouth was full and wide. He certainly appeared to be a handsome man with a gentle look and bearing. She guessed his age in his mid-thirties. He turned to face her way and she involuntarily looked at his private parts then snapped her eyes back to his face, embarrassed. From this close distance, she could now see that he was covered in streaks of mud and blood had streamed from a cut on his forehead. He then again turned back to look at the house. Perhaps he was a camper who had an accident, lost or robbed. As she tried to determine the extent of is injuries, her concentration on her perch lessened and her foot slipped its hold on the bark of the tree. She fell loudly to the ground. Mrr spun around and looked at the woman in the darkness. There was a long silence as they examined each other. He stood perfectly still, heart pumping from being startled, then from anxiety. The first moment of truth had come for him and he hoped the language experts had reconstructed the American vernacular properly. They had very little history to examine. Mrr © 2015 Timothy Freriks

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p. 11

“Hello,” Mrr said. “I am sorry for my appearance. I hoped to locate some clothes at that house over there.” “Uhh...that’s my house,” Marge said slowly as she rose and tried to arrange the strange situation into some sort of order. Her first impression after actual contact, strangely, was that he seemed harmless. Damaged, but harmless. “Did you have an accident?” she asked. The word accident was unfamiliar. “You’re bleeding.” “Yes. I feel pain. I am sorry.” Although his voice sounded full and smooth and pleasant—even soothing—he had a very peculiar accent that she couldn't place. The man did not seem to be seriously injured, but he still needed attention. She scanned his body for other wounds, but again felt a bit embarrassed at where she found her focus and forced herself to concentrate on his face. “Don’t you have clothes?” she asked. Mrr was relieved that she seemed to understand him. “No, they were...lost. Do you have any clothes?” How does someone just lose his clothes? She shook her head. It didn’t matter, really. The man needed help and Marge was a sucker Mrr © 2015 Timothy Freriks

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p. 12

for people who needed help. “Yes, actually, I haven't thrown out much of my husband's clothes. Maybe something could fit. What happened to you?” He didn't hear the rest of the question, absorbed in trying to remember the word ‘husband’. Husband? Mrr knew he had learned that word in his studies, but unfamiliar concepts were hard to remember. “Husband?” he said, his head cocked slightly to the right. Then he remembered: people used to live together to have their own children. Husband and...he couldn't remember what the woman was called. His training was so rushed and so incomplete; so little time to prepare for the mission, and so little information to draw from. “Yes, he died a few years ago, long before his time, but I still have some of his clothes.” Died before Transition? Although the circumstances were certainly peculiar, something in his manner made Marge feel unafraid, at least less afraid than she had been. Was it gentleness? Whatever the reason for his predicament, he was obviously a lost and needy soul. “Let’s go inside. You need some medical attention then I'll find you something Mrr © 2015 Timothy Freriks

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p. 13

to wear.” “I thank you,” Mrr said, smiling, unsure of the word ‘medical’. Marge motioned to him to walk to the house and she followed, cautiously. As she opened the door and entered, Mrr stopped and stared at the knob, touching it and turning it, as if it were a totally foreign object. He caught her looking at him, stopped, and followed her inside. When she turned on the kitchen light he stood in the doorway with a total lack of self-consciousness about his nudity. My God. What a magnificent man, she thought as she scanned his lean, hard body in the light. Stop looking at his dick, Marge! A swimmer? Maybe not; he lacked much muscular definition, but his chest was large. his skin, flawless. His legs were thin but, overall, he was beautiful. I may have to call Bill tomorrow. She forced her gaze away and went to the bathroom to collect her first aid kit and a wet towel. Then she went to storage room, opening it and pulling boxes from its depths. Out of the corner of her eye she saw him staring at everything, touching the table, the upholstered chairs, as if he had never seen them before. Amnesia? Maybe. She had seen it before in post-traumatic patients. Mrr © 2015 Timothy Freriks

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p. 14

She found some underpants and a pair of jeans and a checkered blue shirt. Harry had been a little shorter and stouter than this man, but they would suffice until he left and found his way home. She watched him examine everything as she returned to hand him the clothes. Marge cleaned the wound and handed him the towel. He stared at it then at Marge then back to the towel. He reminded her of a lost puppy she had rescued once. “Wash yourself up,” she said. After a moment, he seemed to understand and rubbed away the dirt. She couldn’t help but watch as Mrr awkwardly tried to put on the clothes. As crazy as it seemed, it was as if he didn't know how to wear clothes. He struggled first to understand the concept of underwear. Marge had to coach him, barely concealing a giggle, but underneath the novelty concern grew again. But the nurse in Marge kicked in and she started to help. As she helped him button his shirt, she touched his body. Its warmth unexpectedly aroused her. Whoa. Where did that come from? She tightened the belt as far as it could go and when he was fully dressed, they sat down at the kitchen table, those lost-puppy-eyes leveled at Mrr © 2015 Timothy Freriks

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p. 15

hers. “I am sorry to have bothered you. But I am grateful.” His odd manner of speaking was rhythmic, yet clipped. He looked so pathetic in the droopy shirt and pants which were six inches too big at the waist and three inches too short. She had to suppress a laugh. “At least the shoes fit,” she said, pointing to his feet. Mrr looked down, understood, then smiled and nodded. “Shoes. Yes. They are…hard, but good.” She sat back. “My name is Marge, Marge Morrison.” She stuck out her hand. “Let’s start over. Who are you? What happened to you?” He stared at her hand, puzzled, then at her face, then back to her hand. Recognition came suddenly to him—‘handshake’. He took her wrist in his hand and shook it. Unable to keep herself subdued this time, she laughed. What the hell? His gaze, startled and lost, rose to hers. “Is something wrong?” he asked. “Who are you? Where are you from? What happened? Can I Mrr © 2015 Timothy Freriks

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