The Sceptre: Chapter 1
Posted By: Aragorn918<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 02 December 2001, 3:23 am
The plush interior of the escape pod was there for more than one reason, as Scott Edwin realized when he felt his head jerk sharply and thud against the soft headrest as the pod launched from the shuttle. He opened his eyes slowly, and the first thing he saw was the Grandis Corvus, and in the distance, the gigantic Covenant Battleship. Suddenly he remembered everything, and was hit with a fresh, but less acute wave of fear. He looked down, embarrassed, and saw the wetness between his legs. He looked up quickly and tried to hide himself, then remembered he was alone.
He looked out again and saw a wave of single-man fighters heading straight towards him then realized they were after the Grandis Corvus. Watching the shuttle again he lost hope. He knew that a ship with such a weak hyper drive could never overpower a Covenant warship's hyper drive over-ride systems. He sighed deeply, then sat up sharply and gasped, held back by his seat belt. The "slow, sluggish, weak" Personal Transport Shuttle suddenly vanished in a blinding flash, leaving behind a glowing blue after-image, which faded slowly.
Astonished, Scott gazed around blinking. The wave of fighters was within 100 meters now, and the fighters broke off and turned 180 degrees, then regrouped. Obviously the Covenant were as astonished as Scott was.
Just then a low, continuous beep sounded, and Scott looked up. He saw a small display above him, which read, "Destination locked on: Departure countdown commencing." Scott's hope rose again, then he remembered the Covenant's hyper drive over-ride again. He gripped the edge of his seat, knowing it took several seconds for them to lock onto a target, and prayed that the pod would jump into hyper space before they could get a lock. The console continued to beep, and Edwin saw the countdown reach "3--- 2--- 1--- Commencing."
Bbbzzzooooooooo... the lights faded out and Scott's mouth opened wide in horror. After a few yearlong seconds, the lights flickered on again, and his head was thrown back in his seat as the pod commenced its jump. At the exact same moment, the regrouped fighter wave opened fire on the pod, but the energy weapons crackled through empty space, and the pod was gone. Someone on the Covenant ship screamed in rage.
When Scott Edwin woke up again he blinked, remembered, and looked down. Or rather, he tried to look down, but couldn't, because he was lying on his back. He then attempted to sit up, and found that he could. As he sat up the bed he was on squeaked, and he saw that it was covered with white sheets and a thin white coverlet. He pulled the thin blanket off and saw, to his relief, that his soiled clothing was gone. He was dressed, instead, in a thin, white dressing gown, the kind you usually wear in a hospital.
Scott looked around, expecting to see a TV hospital room, with curtains dividing several beds lining the walls, and nurses scurrying around helping delinquents eat and sit up. Instead he saw that he was the only occupant of the room, and besides the noises of his movement the room was silent. The room's walls were whitewashed and devoid of decoration, save a small, square window opposite a nondescript white door.
The door opened and in walked a nurse. Again, Scott fell back on TV clichÈs, expecting to see a girl in a short skirted, candy-striped red and white uniform with the perfect hourglass body and deep red lipstick, but instead he saw a plump, growly woman in her late 40's wearing a loose-fitting white smock-like shirt and matching pants. He expressed no little amount of inward disappointment, but shrugged it off. After all, it's just a nurse, he told himself.
The nurse was looking unconcernedly at a clipboard as she entered. She didn't look up until she was standing beside the bed, but if she had expected him to still be lying down and sleeping or unconscious, she gave no sign of it. She looked up, frowned, looked back at the clipboard, then nodded in apparent satisfaction. Motioning to Scott to stand, she turned and began to walk back towards the door. Scott stood slowly, but didn't follow. He narrowed his eyes, confused. The nurse turned and grunted, then came back and started to pull him by the hand. He resisted, but she pulled harder.
Finally, after a viciously weak tug-of-war, the nurse let go and pointed to a piece of paper on her clipboard. It was a note, which read: Bring patient in room 116 to Examination Room. Be gentle; he is most likely traumatized and may resist. Underneath the writing was a scrawled, unreadable signature.
Scott sighed and reluctantly let himself be led out of the door into a quiet hallway. As he followed the nurse past several white doors identical to his, he wondered what the note meant. Traumatized? He wasn't traumatized, just wary and curious. He had a right to suspicion, and anyways, who wouldn't be suspicious of an apparently mute, overweight, unattractive nurse that tried to lead him out of his hospital bed and held his hand? This was the kind who went for the throat! This was a disguise!
Scott began to pull away, he needed to make a break for it and escape the evil secret agent in disguise! The nurse tugged his hand sharply, bringing him back to reality, and he shook his head. Wow, if I'm not traumatized, I'm crazy! Secret agent in disguise... Pull together Scott, or you'll have your pilot's license revoked for insanity, and after only one mission, too! This train of thought brought his mind back to the mission, and he pondered the events for a while longer as he followed the nurse into an elevator.
When the elevator doors opened Scott and the nurse stepped out into a much busier, more stereotypical hallway. The people bustling by gave no more acknowledgement of Scott's thin, flappy hospital apparel than a quick glance or a twitch of their eyes. The nurse immediately plunged into the fray and Scott found himself struggling to keep up with her as she stepped around wheelchairs and stretchers, and deftly dodged hurrying doctors and paramedics.
Eventually, after several confusing twists and turns, Scott noticed that the people were thinning out; then after another turn and through a large set of wooden double doors, they were in a hallway as empty as the one they had started in outside his room. The difference was that his hallway had been completely white, with linoleum flooring, whereas this one had several modernistic paintings hanging on soft red walls, and red plush carpet. It looked like a hallway that led into psychiatrist offices.
Scott heard the nurse grunt again, and realized that he had stopped to take in the view of the hallway. The nurse was standing impatiently holding a door open, and beckoned Scott inside. He stepped forward apprehensively, and peered around the corner of the door. The office inside looked much the same as the hallway it branched off of, with a rich oak desk and a thickly padded chair. There were some cupboards along the left wall that matched the desk, and several diplomas and plaques hung above them.
Scott stepped into the room and looked around in admiration of the richness of the room. Then he heard a voice. "Hello, Scott Thomas Edwin. We have been expecting you."