The sickening crunch of his bone splintering reached his ears just a few fractions of a moment before the pain did. Combined with the cloud of chalk white powder in the air the resulting confusion was almost overwhelming. Unfortunately it was quickly washed away as Gideon’s nerves coursed with liquid fire. His leg throbbed with a pain that threatened to rob him of his sanity.
Despite the white powder filling the air, Gideon’s vision burned white with searing pain. A high pitched shriek that sounded more animal than human clawed it’s way out of Gideons throat. Wildly he failed his arms, beating and clawing anything within reach as he violently searched for some way to cope with such overwhelming pain. He involuntarily twisted and jerked his body as if he was having a seizure, as he tried to free himself. He only succeeded in wrenching his leg against its lower pinned half, sending new blossoms of stabbing pain up his leg, and finally overwhelming his already overtaxed brain.
Time seemed to slow down to a crawl as he felt himself passing out again. Oddly he did not feel the horrid pain radiating up from his leg anymore. As he lay there, his vision slowly closing into a tunnel, he watched the white powder fall all around him. It reminded him of something his mom had told him about once called snow. He had never seen snow before, but his mom had told him about the beautiful white powder that fell from the sky and lightly coated everything it came contact with.
He thought he remembered her telling him that snow was cold, this stuff did not feel cold. Of course Gideon was not really sure he could feel anything at the moment. In the last seconds of consciousness he had, just before his vision tunneled completely shut, he wondered where his mom was and what she was doing.
When Gideon woke up the air was clear of the white powder and his mouth tasted dry and starchy, like wet bread. Blinking his eyes sent flurries of the little white motes into the air. His mind was slow to clear, but the deep throbbing pain radiating from his right leg was helping to sweep the haze away. He quickly remembered the pain from before, how it had made him feel like his head was going to pop from too much going on in it.
His back and left leg were uncomfortable from the awkward position he had been tossed into. Eager to move into a more comfortable position Gideon gingerly propped himself up, being especially careful not to move his right leg as he remembered his wild thrashing and the white hot knives of pain it had resulted in.
White dust cascaded down and off of him in sheets as he surveyed the chaos surrounding him. The white dust around him spread out a good thirty feet around him and was covering everything in that area. Looking down at his legs he groaned in frustration as he saw the heavy plastic crate pinning his foot to the floor. His leg did not look good either, the portion he could see that was not buried beneath the box was much bigger than his other leg. He did not know what the meant, but he was pretty sure he was not good.
Very gingerly he tried to pull his leg from beneath the box, but quickly stopped when his efforts were rewarded white hot streaks of pain shooting up his leg. He collapsed back to the floor panting from the pain. After catching his breath he slowly sat up again, this time he pulled himself up as far as she could. Straining he reached down and tried to push the box off his leg, but it was too big and heavy for him to move. He laid back down and tried kicking it a few times, but that just ended up making the pinned leg hurt more. The pain from his leg was beginning to cloud his ability to think again, all he could do when he tried to think of a way out was think about the horrid pain radiating from his leg.
In the pain induced haze his mind slowly drifted to other memories he closely associated with pain. He remembered the time he had jumped off the swings while copying his friend Harry. Harries landing had looked rough, but he was fine. Gideon had not been as lucky, he was carried away from his landing covered in cuts and bruises. His mother had been quick to stop his pains though, she had healed him with a touch and then removed his ability to feel pain. Even then it had not hurt this much.
He wished his mom was here to help him now.
Tears started freely flowing from his eyes, mixing with the white dust on his face and making a kind of pasty liquid that clung to his face. Gideon wept out of frustration and fear, he missed his mother and wanted to be comforted by her now.
“You appear to be experiencing emotional duress, is there anything I can do to assist you?” The sterile voice that had been following him around asked.
“My leg hurts, I don’t know what is wrong with it, and I’m stuck” Gideon managed to get out between sobs.
“Your recently recorded biological data would suggest that you have broken a bone. Unfortunately I am not equipped to perform medical duties. However, there are state-of-the-art medical facilities in the aft of the ship that are still operational.”
“But how can I get there if I’m stuck here.” He groaned as he fell back to the floor, sending up a cloud of the white dust.
“I will be happy to send a transport to retrieve you.” ViVi replied.
“You don’t understand!” frustration seeped into his voice as his patience gave away.. “Im still stuck under this heavy box that I can’t move, what good is a transport going to do me?.”
“There is equipment onboard designed for performing heavy lifting, however I am not able to interface with it.”
“Well that doesn’t help much.” He pouted.
“I apologize for my inability to assist you. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.”
He fell backwards again, feeling defeated. This ViVi lady was no help, and he did not like her nearly as much as Alice. Alice was always very nice and patient with him, he had grown to like her quite a bit. He wracked his brain trying to think of someway to free himself. The first thing that came to mind was levers and fulcrum points, his dad had explained them to him a long time ago when they had gone on a hike together.
Taking another look down at the box he decided that even if he could find something to use as a lever, there was not enough room for it to be effective. Quickly discarding that idea he started thinking again, he looked down at the box and examined it. Pulling himself up into a sitting position again, he began inspecting the box pinning his leg down. Gingerly pushing on it, he tested it weight. Wincing in pain he decided it was definitely too heavy for him to move un-aided.
His mind came up blank, he could think of no way to free himself from the box. He lay back down in his bed of faux snow, the defeat from earlier feeling more real now. His leg was beginning to bother him again, all of his moving around had irritated his broken leg. He decided to lay still for a while and think, he really wished his mom or Alice was around to help him, or even Harry and Sara. But it did not seem like any of them knew where he was. He wondered how long it had been since he had tried to leave the school with Harry and Sara. He suddenly felt very lonely.
“Hey….Vivi, are you there?”
“Yes Gideon, I am here. What can I do for you?”
“Could you talk to me?”
“What would you like to talk about Gideon? My databases include a wide variety of topics.”
“I could list the subjects I have knowledge on, but that would take quite a while.”
“Ok, that sounds good, I’ll tell you to stop when I hear something I like.”
“Very well,” the sterile robotic voice replied before it launched into an alphabetical recitation of everything topic in it’s database. Gideon was only half listening to her, all he had really wanted was the sound of someone else talking, something to make him feel less alone, besides there was something familiar about her voice.
He was unsure how long he had laid on the floor listening to her endlessly list the subjects she could speak on. He was fairly certain he had fallen asleep for awhile despite the constant deep ache that radiated out from his leg, her droning voice had a sedating quality to it. Rubbing his free foot along the smooth side of the box he was reminded of his current situation. Deciding he should shake off his sleepy state and work on freeing himself again he did his best to stretch without disturbing his pinned leg. Awkwardly twisting his body and arching his back while he worked the sleep from his body changed his view of the room.
He had not noticed it before due to how the bags behind him propped him up, but there were mountains of things hanging from the ceiling! Huge stack of food crates and various other food storage items clung to the ceiling in a chaotic and disheveled state, mimicking the state of floor below them. Terror gripped him for a moment as he expected everything from to come crashing down on top of him, but a tiny whisper from the back of his mind told him that the objects were held firmly in place by gravity plates.
Gravity plates! As if it were following a trail of breadcrumbs his mind jumped back in time to shortly after he had left Earth. He and his mother were exploring the ship before his father had put them both into the simulation, and they had come across a room just like this one, but it had been filled with farming equipment. An AI named ViVi had explained to him that the equipment was held fast to the ceiling by gravity plates embedded in the ceiling. A wave of hope swept over Gideon, he knew out he could get out.
“ViVi, stop.” Gideon said.
“You would like to discuss Planet Px-112c?”
“No ViVi, I have a question for you. Have we met before?”
“That is correct, precisely two thousand, two hundred and five days ago your father introduced us.”
“Do you remember when you turned off the gravity plates for my mom and me? So we could play in the big empty room?”
“I do recall this event, I recorded it in my localized memory database.”
“Can you turn off the gravity plates in this room?”
“I am able to do so yes.”
Not even a second later Gideon felt the weight of the heavy plastic crate on his aching shin dissolve. His leg burned with pain as the pressure was removed. Quickly he kicked the box away from his leg and he pushed himself off the floor and into an upright standing position.
A glance down at his leg presented him with an ugly sight, his shin was bowed backwards at an unnatural angle and his leg was a sickly mixture of blues and purples. Despite the pain in his leg he was overjoyed to be free from of the floor and the box. A slash of fear crossed his mind as he considered the implications of his experiences since he found himself in the strange room with the amber floor light. A glancing down at his wrist he saw a silver band, gently glowing with greens and blues. His fears confirmed. He did his best to push those things aside, his leg was a much more immediate problem.
“ViVi, can you still send me a personal transport unit to take me to the medical areas of the ship?”
“It is waiting just outside the small entry hallway, in the large transport hall.”
“Thanks.” Gideon replied automatically, he was already busy working to gently maneuver himself towards the entry hall. He was trying hard to not think about where he probably was, but the evidence for where he was not was becoming fairly convincing.