The darkness swam about, intermixing with the new sensations. It was different, the darkness. It wasn’t as cold as it had been before. It was surprisingly warm this time… and soft.
Moving his arm, he found it felt stiff. Both his arms felt stiff, and so did the rest of his body. He was tired too. Yawning, he smacked his lips a few times, stretched and rolled over onto his stomach grabbing at the pillow under his head.
He was free. Free of the constriction that he had only known subconsciously. It was a nice feeling.
Without warning, though, the darkness changed. He felt no urgency or fear, though. There was a muffled swoosh of air and soft thumps that moved about. Then the darkness surrounding him started to lighten. It was a soft light. Not the like the harsh light he had felt not too long ago.
He buried his face in the soft embrace of the pillow, trying to block out the light. He didn’t want it to become like it had before. All he wanted was to sleep.
A hand touched his shoulder. “It’s time to wake up, sir.” The voice was soft… that of a woman.
He grunted into the pillow and turned his head just enough to expose one eye. Working his eyelid he blinked, trying to focus on who was bothering him. The fuzzy blue formed itself into the shape of a woman with shoulder length black hair wearing a white uniform with a small red cross sewn above her name-tag. The letters looked familiar, but he couldn’t make out what they meant to him.
“I really need you to wake up if you are feeling well, sir,” she said again. “We need to ask you a few questions and do a few tests to make sure you’re alright.”
Thinking hard about what she said, he finally pulled the meaning from her heavily accented words. Prying open his other eye, he rolled over and sat up in one fluid motion, startling her.
“Oh my. You must be feeling better.”
He did a quick, sleepy survey of the room, taking in the bed, the monitors and sensors off to one side, the door and the two chairs in one corner. He was in a medical ward.
He felt the weight then on his wrist and he lifted it up to look. Around it was a silver circlet no more than a few millimeters wide and just small enough that he wouldn’t be able to slip it off of his wrist.
“We tried to take it off of you, but we couldn’t figure out how. It was they only thing you were wearing when you were brought here,” she said with a small smile.
It took him a moment to decipher her words, but he got her meaning and looked down at himself, lifting the covers off him. He was wearing a thin white gown and he could feel that it laced up in the back.
“If you are ready, I can get the doctor now.”
He looked over to her and smiled a big smile, not understanding a word she said. The language was so familiar to him, but he just couldn’t understand her as she butchered word after word of it.
She nodded and left him briefly, returning with a tall man in a white lab coat with graying stubble. He poked and prodded, using the sensors and recording readings from the monitors beside the bed all the while talking in the same butchered way while the nurse stood off to the side and took notes quietly with a polite smile on her face.
When the doctor was finished, he pulled up one of the chairs from the corner and sat down in it next to the bed. “Alright, you seem to be in excellent physical shape. There was no harm done it seems from your ordeal. Let’s see what you can remember.”
Rolling his eyes, he decided he was done trying to decipher their butchered way of speaking. “What is wrong with you people? You’re not saying anything right,” he said.
Both the doctor and the nurse looked surprised, completely taken off guard. They looked toward each other. “This wasn’t anticipated. Do we have a linguist on call?” he asked the nurse.
“Yes sir, I’ll get him immediately.” She quickly turned and left through the door. It slid open and closed with a whoosh of compressed air as she passed through. She returned just as quickly with another man, this one slightly shorter wearing a set of nice casual cloths with a name-tag pinned to his shirt.
“What language is he speaking?” he asked the doctor as he pulled up another chair and sat down next to him.
“I’m not entirely sure. It almost sounded like English, but I’ve never heard anything pronounced in that manner before.”
“Well, let me speak to him.” The linguist turned from the doctor. “What is your name?” he asked in the same butchered way.
The words were slightly easier to understand, but it was more because it was a simple sentence. So he answered with a shrug.
"Do you remember anything before waking up here?”
He had to think about that one for a moment and then when he understood, he shook his head. There was nothing. No name, no memories.
The linguist turned to the doctor. “Well he obviously understands what we are saying.” He turned back. “What language do you speak?”
Thinking he could try and mimic the butchered parts of their speech, there was only one thing he could do. “English,” he ground out, trying to butcher the word in the same way that they had.
“Well, there you have it I guess. That’s something I have never heard spoken, ever. It sounds like a dialect of Ancient English. But they don’t teach how to speak that. He can understand us though. Please proceed with your questions then, doctor.”
The doctor turned in his seat. “Let’s start with what happened just before you arrived here…” The doctor asked about a crash, about being brought in by something called a dekk. Then went into where he had come from–where was home? Was there any family? What was the date? What planet were they on? What knowledge did he know?
All these questions were answered with shrugs or shakes of a head. He had no knowledge of where he was and no idea of who he was. He just was. He knew that and English. But he was slowly starting to learn the way they butchered it enough that he would be able to speak the same way they did.
“Well, it looks like you have a amnesia or a form or it. Hopefully it would be temporary. I would like to keep you under observation, but I don’t think there would be much of a point in it. Your memory will return or it won’t. You’ll need a place to stay though…” said the doctor.
“Who brought me in again?”
The doctor raised his eyebrows in surprise and then looked down at the tablet computer he was holding. “A dekk by the name of Lonn Rel. Rather gruff fellow.”
“I can stay with him.” He smiled.
“Well as the only responsible party that knows about you, I can authorize your release to him, but from there, you will be on your own.”
The doctor shook his head and typed something into the computer and then pulled out a stylus and signed on the screen.
Within the hour, they had him fitted out in a set of slightly too large clothes from the lost and found and gave him two slips of paper. One with an address and a name and the other a letter from the Amber Colony medical administration.
He stepped through the sliding double doors in this used pair of shoes and looked up and into the bustle of the grungy city and the amber tinted sky beyond it. His eyes were alight with excitement at the suddenly new prospect of freedom before him.
They had told him that he was on Amber, in the colony proper. The name meant absolutely nothing to him and that excited him even more. It was a new place to explore with new feelings and experiences. All of it totally foreign to him.
They had also told him that as soon as he was out of the hospital, that he was to find the address on the paper that they had given him. Smiling, he lifted the paper and looked at the address, the circlet on his left wrist glinting the in sun as he did.