Carapace

Pilot opens its eyes and looks. There is a deep plum, bluish haze in the reaches of his space, good. Color was returning. He took a deep breath and felt his elevator’s eyelids closing again as he settled into a cocoon of returning consciousness. Calming himself, he recounted his existence to date. He didn’t know how to get back on the right track of the timeline or even how to look for it: his elevator no longer responded to requests to go to any other floor. On the other hand, he had got to know this present reality enough to know he was no longer in imminent mortal danger.

On the other, other hand, while this present reality seemed to present no imminent life hazard, he was reliably informed that every single person here was sentenced to death, whether they belong here or not. This told Pilot that if he did not find a way home, it might be the death of him. Death in itself held no fear to Pilot. In his training, long forgotten in specifics yet still held in principle, he knew that he had faced many mortal situations in his past, and knew he had seen something of death. No, it wasn’t death that frightened Pilot, it was the terror of not reaching home, first. It was being left stranded, unprepared and unknown that moved him now.

Looking again, Pilot could see that space, still darkened, was lightening up. The purplish haze he had seen earlier was gone, replaced by a greay light. Pilot sighed, then taking a deep breath, and calming himself once more, he pulled back his cover and swung his frame 90 degrees on two axes simultaneously, ending up in a sitting position on the edge of the bed with his feet on the carpet. The adroit movement was surprising to him even now, considering the overall condition of his situation, yet it was something he was glad to be present to and even gladder to possess..


Sunlight streams through a two-story wall of glass into the neutral toned environment of modern luxury. It sweeps across a gallery with light colored, commodious modern furnishings including a cool white leather settee, and settles on the deep chocolate brown of the floorboards, made of real wood and cunningly finished to seem hand-finished. The sun warms the floorboards, reflecting off gleaming white cabinets and countertops in the kitchen, and softly warms doorways made of brushed aluminium and frosted glass. All is order and peace in the environment until glancing around, the body was seen.

Sprawled across the gleaming floor in a heap of smooth plastic limbs and body bits lies the Elevator. Helter skelter. Mannequin-like in complexity and design, the Elevator’s beauty is overshadowed by its awkward positioning. Legs and arms akimbo, the mannequin struggles to right itself but it is unable to, or to get its feet underneath it. Pilot struggles to operate the controls but the body remains helplessly immobile, like a tortoise flung onto its back.

Time passes, causing long low shadows from the white plastic hominoid shape to sweep across the glossy floorboards. The sun rises and sets ten times, a hundred times, unknown times more. The figure stirs once more.


Pilot does not recall precisely how long it had taken to right the Elevator. It still pulled to the left, and while still inoperable as far as selecting a different timeline, he had discovered it could transition to other lines within this time frame. Just not by pressing a button, as Pilot has been accustomed. Instead, it took a completely different, manual approach in which Pilot directed the perambulatory circuits to walk upright and outside the steel security doorway. Outside, there were many other doorways, all facing a long, tall and narrow hallway. High above, huge pipes and circuits carried the floodstream of the building in ceilings made of concrete, above an echoing floor of polished cement.

Pilot learned how to negotiate the exit doorways and stairs and was able to move easily about—if still in the same tortuous time-space, there were other lines here as well, like the street, the beach, the forest or the mall. Pilot also discovered there were spaces in this time-space that catered specifically to Elevator’s needs. For instance, just a few minutes “walk” down the “street” in a specific direction, Pilot had found a box where he could take Elevator, and by pronouncing some mantras and sharpening his cards, he would be brought a plate of hot stuff that helped Elevator function better. None of this brought Pilot home, but it sustained him in its search.

Much still to find.

Finger pressing an autopilot button in a self driving car. Composite image between a hand photography and a 3D background.

Published by Mark Brand

Mark is a writer, author, producer and inventor. He focuses on brands and commercial technology architecture.

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