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   Chapter 1 Daniel

Bactine By Paul Kater Characters: 10979

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:03


The white ceiling of the small cabin that Daniel could call his own was not any help. His thoughts kept racing around the insanity that had been the past day. It was after all not everyday a soldier woke up in a new body.

He lifted an arm and looked at the super smooth skin that Rhonda had outfitted him with. "Damn, " he said, not sounding grateful. Again he recalled the buzzing of the machines that had kept him alive, in the few moments he had been awake during the all the surgeries. Nobody had asked him if he wanted to be repaired, or be patched up. No. Someone at the top had considered he was valuable, and therefore Daniel Zacharias was to be put in the trust of Head Medical Officer Rhonda Flower, one of the leading specialists in applying Bactine.

"The bloody pirates should have shot me up so badly that they had no chance for this, " Daniel shared with the ceiling. But they had not. "Crapshot, " he told the ceiling before he rolled off the bunk and headed over to the small sink. Bactine or not, a splash of water in his face felt good. As the drops fell off his face, he stared at himself in the mirror.

"Good thing you don't know this, Malcolm, " the soldier told himself. Malcolm Zacharias, businessman and good at that, had always been on Daniel's case. His younger brother had been the one that got the good jobs, the girls, the money and- bloody everything. Daniel could almost hear the sneering voice: "Military eh? Now look what that got you. I don't envy you, older brother."

Daniel walked over to the small view port in his cabin and looked out over the barren environment. The planetoid that the military base was housed on was only a clump of rock. There was some air outside, but not enough for normal people. Not for the kind he had been. After a good stare at the never changing landscape, Daniel pounded his fist against the wall and fell on his bed again.

Slowly he tried to grasp what had gone wrong at the space freighter. He had been sent there, with a small group of two dozen soldiers, to guard the shipment of weapons. It had been a routine run. Less than that even. The weapons were not that impressive, nor was the number of them.

The schedule for guards was the normal thing, four in the cargo bay, two on the bridge, some men scattered about the ship, and the shifts were only five hours per person. And then there had been the pirate ship. It had almost dropped on top of them, out of FTL. That was either an example of excellent navigation or the biggest lump of luck Daniel had ever seen. He would put his money on the latter. They probably had gotten off course somehow and fallen out of Faster Than Light speed on top of the freighter.

He rubbed his eyes, even though there was no need for that. With his eyes closed he sensed the shuddering of the spaceship again as the pirate vessel slammed into it. The alarms that went off as the hull-breach was detected. That had killed at least four of his men already. As the rage rushed through his body, Daniel trembled. Bactine, he now knew, did not prevent that from happening. Which was good and bad.

He recalled running through the corridor, the twisted metal plating they had to jump over and the fireworks that the pirates had surprised them with as they had rounded the corner. Daniel blamed himself for that. He should have been more careful. Not being on duty at that moment had nothing to do with it.

The white and yellow blasts were all he remembered from that moment on. There had not even been pain; it had gone too fast to feel pain. He had simply been shot to bits.

"They should have left me like that. They turned me into a machine." Daniel knew that was not true but his anger did not allow him to admit that. Rhonda had done a masterly job, putting him back together, using as much of his old body as was usable, and filling the rest up with artificial things. Tendons, muscles, flesh. He wondered all of a sudden if there was anything like proper blood still flowing through his veins. Maybe, he thought, he should get a knife and see what happened after a cut.

"Crap. That won't work." A sigh escaped him. Bactine was tough. No knife known to mankind would cut through it. God alone knew where that stuff came from, but it was almost indestructible. Even enhanced kevlar was not as good as the soft tissue that he now consisted of.

"Businessman." Daniel spat out the word. His only option had been the army. His school results had always been good. Not great, just good. But somehow Malcolm had always stood in his way, taking the wind out of Daniel's sails. He was an army-man, and a damned good one. He had the new skin to prove it. Another sigh fled from the man's lips. "Man... yeah, right."

He did not dare to reach down, or even think that far. Bactine. He was a rebuilt now. Rebuilts were not fertile, so the rule was that any extraneous physical appearance was to be removed. He already hated Bactine, as his manhood had been taken off. A sharp laugh later, he wondered if there was anything left of that, after the shooting he had endured. "Maybe the pirates are to blame for making Daniel Zacharias a eunuch..."

There was a buzz. Someone at the door. Daniel said: "Come in, door's open."

Rhonda Flower stepped into the small cabin. "Hey sailor, how's things with you? Thought I'd check in on you as I am off duty now." She sat down on the only chair, her eternal camouflage outfit crumpled and smelly. As if she read Dani

el's thoughts, she said: "I know. I stink. Us rebuilts have a more acute sense of smell. Glad to see that's working well with you."

"Yes. That does."

Rhonda frowned. "That bad?" She remembered the expression of pain, anger and despair on Daniel's face as he had first seen his new and enhanced body.

"Yep." He had looked at her all the time. Now he turned away his face.

Rhonda got up and kneeled down by the bed. "Daniel. Listen to me. And look at me." She waited until his eyes were on her again. "It was not my choice, okay? You'll have to live with it. And remember what I said. You have the cable. Not many people can find such a deep and intense sexual pleasure using a mere cable. We can. I showed you."

Daniel was silent, as the memory drifted through his head. As he had been released from the recovery table, Rhonda had shown him how to use several storage compartments in his new arms and legs, and also she had this strange little cable. She had shown him how to open a connector-port in his thigh, where the cable could be inserted. At that point he had also learnt that she was a rebuilt, as she had stripped and inserted the cable in her own thigh.

"Yes. You showed me."

"And that was great, Rhonda. That's what you have to add at this point, Daniel. Because it was."

"And that was great, Rhonda, " Daniel repeated, a kind of smile on his face.

"Good boy. Now, stop sulking. Go to the gym and work out and be surprised what you can do, " the Head Medical Officer said as she got to her feet again. "And get to bed early. You'll need it the coming days, as you are adjusting to your new body."

"Yes, doc, " Daniel said.

Rhonda walked to the door.

"Rhonda?"

She turned and looked at him.

"Thank you."

"Sure. Just take care of yourself. Good luck with the retraining. I'll drop by when I can, okay?"

Then the door hissed as it shut itself behind her.

Daniel sighed once again. The gym. After all the mind-numbing running around, that was the last thing he fancied. Yet, something in him was now tickled. Be surprised what you can do, she'd said.

"Let's go be surprised, " the man told his new body and hoisted himself from the bed. He put on some sports-gear and noticed it gave him a bit of a problem. His new body was bigger, wider, more muscular than the one he'd had before all this; he barely fit in it. "Oh, great. Not only a new body, also more expenses at getting new clothes." Hardly a miracle they'd given him an overall to wear today. They should have said something.

-=-=-

Daniel returned from the gym. He felt good, so good even that he dared to whistle a tune as he strolled through the corridors on the way back to his cabin.

"Daniel!" someone called out.

Daniel turned and watched. It was eerie, he noticed how his one new eye had located the person calling him sooner than his own eye. That would take some getting used to. "Christian, good to see you."

Christian Langford was one of the men who had been along on that fatal mission. He had been more fortunate than Daniel, in the attack. The end result however, Daniel had to admit, was less so.

Christian had lost a leg, a foot and three fingers of his right hand. He moved around in a levitational chair. "Man, I am glad to see you too, Daniel. Crap, what a terror that was on that freighter. I had heard they were going to patch you up with Bactine." There was a mix of emotions in the man's voice. Relief, for seeing his mate again. Anger, as the trauma and the defeat of the attack was still so fresh and bloody painful. And also envy, to see Daniel being Rebuilt and he had not been so lucky.

"Well, they did. How are you doing, Christian? Any word on what is in store for you?" Daniel instinctively knew how his mate would feel about meeting him, about the new body. "Are they going to make you walk again?"

Christian nodded, making his floating chair rise so he was at eye-level with Daniel. "Yeah. New leg, new foot, and early retirement because of Mary and Jonathan."

His wife and son, Daniel knew. Yes, that was not a surprise. There were not that many soldiers needed these days, so people were sent off home with a good pension plan quickly.

"I'm glad about all that, Daniel. But I'm sure going to miss this life. We had many a ball together, didn't we?" Christian grinned. He held out his hand, Daniel slapped it. "Ouch, dammit man, you have to be careful with that." Chris rubbed his palm. "You don't want to go smashing up your partners, right?" He said it with a grin.

"Sorry, Christian, just was at the gym, and somehow I still have to learn more control of this... body." Daniel had almost said 'abomination'.

"You learn control, Daniel. I'm being shipped off to the hospital on Deimos 9 tomorrow, where they can fix me up. Good thing, " Christian said.

"That is indeed a good thing, " Daniel said. "I hope things will work out perfectly for you, Christian. I'm really sorry about all that happened, believe me."

Christian looked his friend in the eyes. "It wasn't your fault these Qurgons fell on our roof, Daniel. Stop beating yourself up for that. Nobody saw that coming. It was a routine flight, with routine orders."

Daniel nodded. He knew that. But still... "You're right. Take care, Christian." They shook hands. "And let's try to stay in touch."

"Sure. Always, Daniel." Christian smiled.

Daniel knew he was sincere. He also knew that it would not happen. It never happened.

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