Awakening Prose in Orion's Echo | World Anvil


Voices.   That was the first thing I was aware of, breaking through the tranquil oblivion like a stone cast into a still pool. Someone was speaking, though I couldn't make out what was being said. It sounded distant, as if a league of water separated us. Grasping weakly at consciousness, I tried to call out, to stir...   And the second thing I became aware of was the pain.   I became reacquainted with my body as a dull ache spread through it, starting with my head and making its way down my core and out to my limbs. The ache gradually intensified as the moments dripped by, as did the voices. Though still muffled, as my sentience returned to me I realized I could neither recognize nor understand them. Still unable to move, I found the only muscles that would respond to me were my eyelids. I opened them, eager to test another sense.   I saw nothing at all, just the same oppressive, featureless darkness. The only thing that changed was some sort of cold fluid now pressing against my exposed corneas. I panicked for a fraction of a second, suddenly afraid of drowning, before realizing I was still breathing. As tactile sense surfaced above the omnipresent ache, I became aware of a breathing mask over my face, as well as IV feeds in my arms and electrodes all over my body. What was all that about…?   It occurred to me then that I did not know where I was. The first coherent internal dialog I produced was a simple ‘oh no,’ as my heart began to pick up its pace. The last thing I remembered… I was on a vast ship, bound for a distant star, never to return. Had we arrived at long last?   A loud, beeping alarm startled me. Despite the pain, confusion, and weakness suffusing every fiber of my being, at last I began to stir. So too did my surroundings: there was a quiet rumble and an accompanying hiss as the frigid fluid started to drain. The voices changed cadence, evidently surprised, and got louder- no, closer.   Though the light was dim, it nearly blinded me as the cover of my stasis chamber was lifted open. I squinted at the shapes attached to the voices; they were blurry and indistinct. One of them leaned closer, and I was able to resolve some features. Long, white hair; elegant feminine facial structure; piercing golden eyes. A pair of shapes loomed just behind them, large and white and triangular. Feathered. Were those… wings?   The person said something- a question I couldn't understand. They gently removed the breathing mask. I coughed at the first taste of stale, cold air, and the pain flared in my chest, threatening to shake my grasp on the waking world. The stranger touched my face with delicate grace, concern apparent on their own. I was struck by a thought.   “Are… you… an angel?” I managed to gasp, weakly.   My savior frowned, and said something else that was lost on me. The other voice, from somewhere outside my field of vision, gave a reply that seemed to disappoint them. I understood only one word, a name I vaguely recalled from somewhere in ancient mythology: “Mnemosyne.” The winged being nodded, and placed the mask back over my mouth and nose. Before I could protest, they placed some sort of device against my forehead, and I sunk back into dreamless nothing.   When I awoke again, a different voice greeted me -one I could understand, this time.   “Hello, friend,” it said. It was soft, pleasant… welcoming.   I opened my eyes, but the light was too bright, and I shut them quickly.   “Please, take your time adjusting to the burden of consciousness; you have been in stasis for a very long time.”   Stasis. Yes. Now that I was awake, we must have reached our destination. I noted, with relief, that the all-consuming ache was no longer all-consuming. The air was warm, and fresh. I opened my eyes very slightly, letting them acclimate to the revival room.   “That’s it, ease into the heat and light,” the voice encouraged me. “There we go.”   After several minutes, I felt able to look around. I sat up, slowly, carefully, and looked for the source of the voice. To my great surprise, I was not in the revival room… or at least, not one that I recognized. The room was small, clean, and colored in gentle pastels. I was further shocked to discover that the voice was that of a friendly-looking robot, humanoid in shape, holding some sort of electronic tablet.   “Hello!” they said, and smiled. Their smile, amazingly, was somehow reassuring. “I am Mnemosyne, your post-stasis bedside attendant.”   “H-hello…?” I managed. “What… what is… where am I?”   “Ah, let me get you up to speed. Welcome to the fifty-third century of what you most likely know as the Common Era.”   I blinked, failing to grasp the meaning of the sentence. “The what?  Mnemosyne continued. “Oh yes, it has been some time indeed, but please save all your questions for the end of this orientation. According to your chart, you have missed…” They glanced at the information on the pad. “...approximately three thousand and twenty-four years of intervening time.” They paused, and a look of concern crossed their artificial face.   “Oh dear. You should probably lie back down for this.”


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