Saturn Outpost IX
By Thomas G Schmidt
Omega R-12 woke with a start from his short restless night of sleep. 4 ½ hours of sleep would have left most Saturn Outpost IX centurions exhausted and drained but not Omega R-12. He had developed the ability to function regularly with little or no sleep. Not that his job was that demanding. Who would dare to attack Saturn Outpost IX?
Omega R-12, known as “Zak Bakersfield” to his family, was one of the new breed of outpost soldiers. Trained by the government for 10 years before finally being placed at Saturn Outpost IX, Omega R-12 was one of the most versatile of the outpost soldiers with specialized training in both laser and electron pulse advanced weapon systems. The Omega class of centurions were in fact perfect soldiers in every way.
The Omegas exceeded all of the previous classes of centurions in one other key characteristic. The new government “mind management” programming all Omegas received made them quick strike soldiers who never questioned their directives. They were programmed to strike back immediately whenever confronted at the outpost by possible danger. Rapid interstellar communication (RIC) from Earth to the minds of the Omegas helped to keep them focused on their singular mission.
The RIC system required the Omegas to be purged of their personal memories so they tended to no longer remember who they had been in their past life. But Omega R-12 was an exception. He could still vaguely remember his family and some early life in Delran, New Jersey. At least he thought those memories were true. But he couldn’t be certain. Perhaps they were just false memories planted in his mind by the government.
Constant RIC transmissions made Omega R-12 less and less confident of those faint memories. That is why Omega R-12 kept the yellowed sheet of paper that he treasured so much. It was a simple genealogy tree for the Bakersfield family, a sheet of paper given to him by his mother more than 15 years ago. Illegal on Saturn Outpost IX, Omega R-12 kept it hidden in his small bunk area on the outpost.
Yawning slightly, Omega R-12 looked around as he rose from his bed. The camera system above his bunk looked like it was turned off. Perhaps a quick look at the yellowed sheet was possible before the start of his shift. Stealthily, he opened the hidden compartment under his bunk and pulled out the sheet. Soon he was mesmerized by the details on the sheet and he lost all sense of time. The quick peek that he had planned became an extended viewing of the genealogy tree. And then without warning, the alarm went off.
Looking up, Omega R-12 could see the warning lights on the camera system flashing as an audio message came on. "Drop the item and move away” was the repetitive command being broadcast to his bunk area.
The response was quick, like all reactions at the Saturn outpost. Omega R police class soldiers descended upon the bunk and one with flaming red hair grabbed the offending sheet of paper.
“Who gave you this?” demanded the red haired Omega R soldier. But Omega R-12 refused to respond. In truth, he was not completely sure who had given him the paper.
“I said who gave you this?” The red haired police soldier grabbed Omega R-12 by the shoulder and shook him. But Omega R-12 continued to be silent.
A tall blonde man in a black jacket arrived just as the red haired police soldier was starting to get physical with Omega R-12. The tall man looked around and then questioned the red haired soldier.
“What’s the crime?”
The red haired soldier raised the yellowed paper and replied. “Personal memory sheet,” was the quick and brief answer.
“Give that to me and take the Omega unit to our solitary area for reprogramming.”
As Omega R-12 was escorted out, the tall blonde man glanced at the yellowed sheet. He sighed as he recognized the information as a simple family tree. He folded the paper up and walked back to his office just a short distance down the barren white painted hallway. Inside the office, he opened his file cabinet and gently placed the aged, fragile paper inside an unmarked folder. As he placed the folder back in the cabinet, a second folder caught his attention. It was a simple black folder, non-distinct.
Looking around and checking the camera system in his own office, he decided to take a chance. Opening the folder quickly, he found a simple family tree outlined on another yellowed piece of paper. The paper simply said “Briles Family History”. He quickly put the paper back in the folder and returned it to the cabinet. A quick look at the camera system confirmed the camera to still be off. He exhaled and walked over to his desk. He sat down and then he cried.
- - -
Tom Schmidt is a Chemical Engineer working in medical diagnostics in upstate New York. He has had a variety of short stories published in the past on websites such as www.short-story.me, www.fartherstars.com, www.short-humour.org.uk and www.overmydeadbody.com. He is currently working on the “Paul Garigan Crime Mysteries”, a collection of short stories centered around a Malibu based police detective which he hopes to publish in the future.
Thursday, January 12, 2017
Saturn Outpost IX
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