The second time Iain awoke he was lying on a bunk of some sort, a far more normal occurrence which made him momentarily question if his last bout of temporary consciousness actually had occurred. Bottom bunk, he figured out next. Then he turned his head and that act spoiled everything.
He had a clear view of the lower parts of two pairs of blue jumpsuits sitting across from him in basically the same shape as the pair of orange jumpsuits had been. He was still in the same reality his mind had wanted to slip out of so badly the last time. He still had that hangover and the inside of his mouth still felt as rough as sandpaper. He still wasn’t where he was supposed to be, and desperately hoped this was some cabin off of Route 27. The wall molding suggested an entirely different location, but Iain wasn’t going to go there again.
So he turned his focus back on the bottom of the upper bunk
There was another reason to feel like shit. Iain had no memory of the reception, no memory of setting up the speakers, amp, equalizer and laptop for the Shevari’s. It was becoming apparent that he might have never even made it to the Lake House.
He hated disappointing clients. It was their wedding reception after all. Where the hell was the DJ going to get his audio equipment at the last minute, out in the middle of Caledon?
Lastly, he was left wondering how he’d gotten so plastered. It wasn’t like he kept a bottle of Seagram’s in his glove compartment. At least not any more.
“Fuck,” Iain forced out vehemently. It was the most appropriate response, really, all things considered. It came out a little raspy though, just as his voice had before.
“Hey, he’s awake,” came a voice.
In moments, he was dragged bodily from the bunk by two sets of strong arms, held up while those two pairs of eyes stared at him. There was something wrong with them, but he couldn’t place it, even if he’d seen them before, however long ago before had been.
“Let go,” he told them. “I can stand on my own!”
Actually, he wasn’t really sure he could, but enough was enough.
The pair let go, and he actually stood on his own. He did feel lighter than normal, though.
“Can I get something to drink,” Iain asked.
“Oh, sure thing,” on of the pair said, and quickly slapped a cup into Iain’s hand. “Sorry about last time. Skipper’s been having a rough time with the pseudo-magnetics lately. Do you know where you are yet?”
Iain took a tentative sip from the glass. The cool liquid actually tasted quite good, some sort of fruit drink with sweet/sour taste. He couldn’t place the flavor. A bit of mango, banana, and maybe a hint of iced tea. No alcohol, unfortunately.
“Apparently on some kind of ship,” he replied glancing around. Yeah, those walls looked like bulkheads. But where would there be a ship a hundred klicks north of the big lake. He turned back to the two guys in blue.
“Did Ken put you guys up to this? Cause if he did…”
“Oh,” said Arc. “I think you need to see something. It’s probably better than us just nattering on about what’s what.”
“Yeah,” offered Arl. “Most primitives think we’re full of shit anyway the first time. Even those who’ve been visiteered repeatedly.”
Arc looked over at Arl and pointed with a thumb.
“Every time,” Arl said with a sigh. “Can’t anyone take our word? Not even with a brain full of ‘Zos?
“Would you believe you?” Arc offered his twin with a cock of his head.
Iain finished his drink in the meantime. His mouth still felt a little dry, his throat a little scratchy. The situation he was in still seemed beyond absurd.
He put down the glass on the translucent table next to him and began searching his pockets, finally pulling out his cellphone
“What are you doing?” Arc asked.
Iain held up a hand.
“Just checking my messages,” he said. “Give me a minute.”