<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN"> <!-- saved from url=(0038)http://www.vttbots.com/nemesis_2d.html --> <HTML><HEAD><TITLE>Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Nemesis 2, Chapter 4</TITLE> <META http-equiv=Content-Type content="text/html; charset=unicode"> <META content="MSHTML 6.00.6000.16587" name=GENERATOR> <META content=document name=resource-type> <META http-equiv=author content="Michael Bailey"> <META http-equiv=description content="Chapter 4 of Nemesis 2, A Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea novelette."> <META http-equiv=keywords content="Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, diving bell, Irwin Allen, fanfiction. Admiral Nelson, Captain Crane, Seaview"> <META http-equiv=distribution content=Global></HEAD> <BODY> <P> <TABLE width=725 align=center> <TBODY> <TR> <TD> <P align=center><FONT size=7><STRONG>Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea<BR><FONT size=6>"Nemesis 2"</FONT><FONT size=5><BR><FONT size=3>by Michael Bailey</FONT><BR><IMG height=11 src="nemesis_2d_files/fanbar.gif" width=419><BR><BR>4<BR><BR></FONT></STRONG></FONT></P></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE> <DIV align=center> <TABLE height=0 cellSpacing=0 width=735> <TBODY> <TR> <TD width=731 height=1113> <TABLE height=0 cellSpacing=-1 cellPadding=0 width=735> <TBODY> <TR> <TD width=733 height=548> <TABLE height=0 cellSpacing=-1 width=725> <TBODY> <TR> <TD width=234 height=282> <DIV align=center><IMG height=225 src="nemesis_2d_files/nemesis_crane_parlor2.jpg" width=222><BR><FONT size=2><STRONG>Crane glanced over his shoulder as if<BR>suspicious the wallpaper might come alive.</STRONG></FONT></DIV></TD> <TD width=14>&nbsp;</TD> <TD width=469> <P><FONT size=4>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Robin watched as Crane sat fidgeting in a rickety antique chair, bit his lip, then resumed his stare across the library table at Nelson.&nbsp; Nice snarl, she thought.&nbsp; He's trying to keep from laughing.<BR> </FONT><FONT size=4>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Crane glanced over his shoulder as if suspicious the wallpaper might come alive.</FONT>&nbsp; <FONT size=4>&quot;This place is a creep show,&quot; he said.</FONT><BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <FONT size=4>Robin had the feeling too, the suspicion that the moment she looked away from something, it might move.&nbsp; She surveyed the hulking room, its murky walls rising maybe a dozen feet overhead, supporting a ceiling of dark wood panels and crossbeams; at its center, a massive ornate chandelier dangled from a central medallion. <BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The brass fixture shed points of dim, yellow light.&nbsp; Brownout, she thought, then realized it was more like some force was </FONT></P></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE> <TABLE cellSpacing=-1 width=725> <TBODY> <TR> <TD width=501 height=262><FONT size=4> sucking light from the room.&nbsp; She shivered at the shadows that snaked from the baseboards.<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Dusty shelves scattered along the wall brimmed with half-seen books.&nbsp; Tapestries hung between the shelves.&nbsp; A dark floral bouquet, its colors, she guessed, muted by time.&nbsp; A lion holding a lance before a field of flowers.&nbsp; A rearing unicorn speared through the chest, woven blood stretching belly to fetlocks, the faded beast mourned by a pale sun.&nbsp; On the wall behind her, a bird sitting in its tree-hole, stared out on black and purple sky dappled by shooting stars. <BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;I don't like this place,&quot; she said.&nbsp; &quot;What now, Harriman?&quot;<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;We're here to see Bill.&quot; &nbsp; Nelson drummed his fingers on the tabletop.&nbsp; &quot;Martells better show his face soon.&quot; <BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; At that moment, the room's huge door swung open and Dr. </FONT></TD> <TD width=15>&nbsp;</TD> <TD width=201> <DIV align=center><FONT size=2><IMG height=200 src="Graphics/nemesis2_lion.jpg" width=200><BR><STRONG>A lion holding a lance</STRONG></FONT></DIV></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE> <TR> <TD height=560><FONT size=4>Martells stepped through, behind him, a tall middle-aged woman dressed in black.&nbsp; She swept into the room, dipping her head almost imperceptibly.&nbsp; Robin squinted at the woman's long face and flowing gray/black hair.&nbsp; My God, she thought, Cher minus the Botox and dye.<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;My wife and research assistant,&quot; the doctor announced, averting his eyes for a second, as if he were nervous.<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;Doctor,&quot; Nelson said, &quot;we've traveled a good part of the day.&nbsp; We'd like to see our friend.&quot;<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Dr. Martells nodded stiffly.&nbsp; &quot;Understood.&quot;&nbsp; He extended his arm and beckoned them toward the door. &quot;Follow me.&quot;<BR> <br> <BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The group huddled around the comatose Bill Harlow who lay heavily blanketed on an ancient-<BR> looking gurney.&nbsp; The small room's walls were covered half way up with dirty white tile and cluttered with medical equipment. &nbsp; All green and chrome, Robin thought, another era.&nbsp; She turned her focus to Dr. Martells and the woman.&nbsp; What are these people doing here?&nbsp; What is this monstrosity, she wondered, glancing around the room and picturing in her mind the structure's eerie facade.&nbsp; What's it doing here in the middle of nowhere?&nbsp; And how'd Bill get here?<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Nelson cleared his throat and pointed at Harlow.&nbsp; &quot;What's wrong with him?&quot; <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;He showed up at our door early this morning,&quot; the doctor said, &quot;out of his mind.&quot;<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;Out of his mind?&quot;&nbsp; Crane shook his head.&nbsp; &quot;He's in a coma now.&nbsp; What happened?&quot;<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Dr. Martells reached toward his jacket pocket, then stopped and frowned.&nbsp; &quot;That's what we've been trying to figure out.&nbsp; He acted desperate, mumbling gibberish.&nbsp; Then he collapsed.&quot;&nbsp; The doctor pursed his lips and squinted at Crane.&nbsp; "We're not hiding anything, Captain.&nbsp; We contacted you.&nbsp; I don't--"<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;Gentlemen,&quot; Nelson interrupted, and addressed the doctor.&nbsp; &quot;Any theories?&nbsp; Ideas?&quot;<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Dr. Martells shrugged.&nbsp; &quot;Nothing yet.&quot;<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Nelson pressed a hand to his chin as he studied the recumbent Harlow.&nbsp; &quot;You say he mumbled nonsense before he collapsed?&nbsp; Like what, for instance?&quot;<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;Take a look at this.&quot;&nbsp; Dr. Martells lifted a laptop from a nearby cabinet and handed it to Nelson. &quot;We took bloods and elementary readings earlier today.&nbsp; Looks like it's been several days since he's eaten.&nbsp; And his temperature was below normal.&quot;</FONT></TD> </TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE> <TABLE width=732 height=0 cellPadding=0 cellSpacing=0> <TBODY> <TR> <TD width=446 height=280><P><font size="4">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;Below normal? Nelson said, &quot;how much?&quot;<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&quot;Over 11 degrees.&quot; <BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;Good Lord!&quot;&nbsp; Nelson's eyes shot wide. &nbsp;<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Robin shivered.&nbsp; She pulled her arms close to her side and gazed down at Harlow's inert form.&nbsp; &quot;How's he doing?" <BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;We've got his temperature back nearly normal.&quot; Dr. Martells said.<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Arms crossed, Nelson rubbed his hands on his coat sleeves.&nbsp; &quot;Was he properly dressed?&quot;<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;Yes he was.&nbsp; But... &quot;<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;But what?&quot; Robin said.&nbsp; Dr. Martells tented his hands and flexed his fingers.&nbsp; Spiders doing push-ups on a mirror Robin thought and almost laughed.<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;It hasn't rained here in days," Dr. Martells said.&nbsp; "There</font></P></TD> <TD width=10>&nbsp;</TD> <TD width=276><DIV align=center><FONT size=4><IMG height=250 src="Graphics/nemesis2_robin_gaze.jpg" width=272><BR> <FONT size=2><STRONG>Shivering, she gazed down at Harlow's inert form.</STRONG></FONT></FONT></DIV></TD> </TR> </TBODY> </TABLE> <TABLE height=0 cellSpacing=-1 cellPadding=0 width=733> <TBODY> <TR> <TD width=731 height=2849><FONT size=4>are no lakes or streams anywhere nearby.&nbsp; But this man--fully dressed when he showed up here--he was soaked to the skin.&quot;<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Nelson's brow furrowed.&nbsp; &quot;Sweat?&quot;<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The doctor shook his head, raised his palms.&nbsp; &quot;No.&nbsp; He was soaked.&nbsp; Like he'd just climbed out of a river, clothes and all.&quot;<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Nelson ran a hand down the back of his neck.&nbsp; &quot;You said he was mumbling.&nbsp; Mumbling what?&quot;<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;Can't be, he said, can't be.&nbsp; He repeated it over and over--can't be.&nbsp; Something about them being dead--all of them.&nbsp; On the bottom.&nbsp; And then-- &quot;&nbsp; <BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;Yes?&quot; Nelson prodded.<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;He mumbled something about--&quot; Dr. Martells glanced at the tall, black-clad woman, his face drawn in question.&nbsp; &quot;What was it he said?&quot; <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;Enemy,&quot; she said.&nbsp; &quot;Something about an enemy.&quot;<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;Right,Dr.&quot; Martells said, still looking unsure. <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;Enemy?&quot; Nelson said.&nbsp; &quot;Or nemesis?&quot;<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;Now that you mention it, Admiral--&quot; <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Robin felt her heart slam in her throat.&nbsp; &quot;Nemesis?&quot; <BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;Yes, I'm sure that was it,&quot; Dr. Martells said, &quot;yes.&quot;<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Nelson set his hand on Robin's shoulder.&nbsp; She felt a shudder run through her bones, as if she might loose control and slip to the floor if not for his touch.&nbsp; &quot;Harriman.&quot;<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;Easy,&quot; he said, and turned, squinting, to the doctor.&nbsp; &quot;Is there something you're not telling us, Martells?&quot;<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Dr. Martells rocked on his heels.&nbsp; &quot;Such as?&quot;<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;I asked you,&quot; Nelson said.<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Stuffing his hands into his jacket pockets, Martells hauled out a pipe and tobacco pouch. &quot;The answer is no.&nbsp; And I don't much like the implication.&quot;<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;Well I don't much like traveling half-way to Timbuktu to find one of my men flat on his back in a coma. &nbsp; You say you're trying to help.&nbsp; Am I missing something?&quot;<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;I've left nothing out, Admiral. &nbsp; And your friend will be best served resting.&nbsp; At least until morning.&nbsp; Then we can talk about what comes next.&nbsp; You could probably use some sleep as well.&nbsp; Do you mind if I smoke?&quot;<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;We're under your roof, doctor.&quot; <BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Martells unzipped the pouch and proceeded to load and tamp his pipe.<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Robin stared down at Harlow lying on the table.&nbsp; She winced, thought of the two of them months before, naked, helpless, lying prone in a dead submarine stuck in the arctic ice.&nbsp; Every past horror seemed poised to rush back on her.&nbsp; &quot;Shouldn't we get him to a doctor?&quot; <BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Martells struck a match, applied it, and drew on the pipe several times.&nbsp; &quot;I <STRONG>am</STRONG> a doctor.&quot; Amaretto scented smoke rose from the bowl and clouded the air.&nbsp; &quot;I suggest we get a night's sleep and pick up in the morning.&nbsp; For your friend, it's a matter of rest, I think.&nbsp; It's been a long day for me too.&quot;<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Crane groaned, leapt to his feet, and was just opening his mouth when Nelson waved him off.&nbsp; &quot;Seems reasonable," Nelson said.<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The doctor's black-clad wife stepped forward from the cloud of pipe smoke and beckoned.&nbsp; &quot;I'll see you to your rooms.&quot;</FONT><BR><BR><BR> <TABLE height=0 cellSpacing=0 width=725> <TBODY> <TR> <TD height=542> <P><FONT size=4>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Crane turned the key in the admiral's room door; Robin heard the lock snap into place.&nbsp; <BR> &quot;Not to state the obvious,&quot; Crane said, &quot;but something funny's going on.&quot;<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Nelson perched on the edge of the bed, staring at the blaze on the grate.&nbsp; &quot;For all that flame,&quot; he said, &quot;precious little heat.&nbsp; I keep expecting gargoyles or ghosts when I turn a corner.&quot; &nbsp; He leaned forward, lifted the bed skirt, and scrunched down to peek beneath.<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Robin leaned back on her hands next to Nelson, her fingers pressed into the bed's thick quilt.&nbsp; &quot;Bill's not in a coma."<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;Huh?&quot; Crane said.<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Nelson sat up, his eyes turned hard, gleaming.&nbsp; <BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Crane stared too.&nbsp; &quot;What makes you say that?&quot;<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Good Question, Robin thought.&nbsp; How do I answer?&nbsp; How do I explain the link created by Nemesis.&nbsp; &quot;I could just sense it.&nbsp; He's not in a coma.&quot; <BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Nelson closed his eyes and frowned. <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Robin knew the knowledge of the tie between her and Bill and the scars they shared from Nemesis still bothered him.&nbsp; More importantly, she knew that what bothered him most was that he was bothered at all.&nbsp; Admiral Harriman Nelson, retired, was supposed to be above that sort of thing-- bigger than that.&nbsp; &quot;It's OK Harriman, really.&quot;&nbsp; She lay fingers over his tensed hand and squeezed gently.&nbsp; &quot;After things settle down for the night, I think we should pay Bill a visit.&quot;<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;My thoughts exactly,&quot; Nelson said.&nbsp; &quot;I want another look at the test results and Martells' notes.&nbsp; You think you can make any sort of contact with him?&quot;<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Now he'd gone and done it--placed another layer of responsibility on her.&nbsp; But she knew it had to be tried.&nbsp; They couldn't linger at this hulking pile just waiting for Bill to regain consciousness.&nbsp; She would have to lay herself open again--risk the danger and worst of all, the memory of Nemesis. <BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;No watchdogs about,&quot; Nelson observed, &quot;and I'd be surprised if there was any sort of surveillance or alarm system.&nbsp; How about three--no, make it four hours from now?&nbsp; Two AM sounds like a good time for skulking.&quot;&nbsp; Nelson smiled and winked at Crane.&nbsp; &quot;I think we could use a bit of sleep.&nbsp; You and Robin can retire to your rooms and set your alarms.&nbsp; We'll meet up in the </FONT></P></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE> <TABLE height=0 cellSpacing=-1 width=725> <TBODY> <TR> <TD width=410 height=222> <P><FONT size=4>hallway at two.&nbsp; If we bump into Martells or Morticia,&quot;--Robin couldn't help but laugh--&quot;then we'll just tell 'em what we're doing--no hard feelings.&quot;<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;Sleep it is,&quot; Crane said.<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &quot;Goodnight,&quot; Robin said.&quot;&nbsp; She and Crane headed for the door.&nbsp; Nelson set his alarm, slid his legs up on the end of the bed and eased his head onto the pillow.&nbsp; &quot;Pleasant dreams.&quot; </FONT><BR> <FONT size=4>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The latch snicked closed.&nbsp; Standing next to Crane in the hallway, Robin wondered if Nelson would bother to get up and turn the lock.&nbsp; She certainly would.</FONT><BR></P></TD> <TD width=8>&nbsp;</TD> <TD width=301> <DIV align=center><FONT size=2><IMG height=200 src="Graphics/nemesis_sleep.jpg" width=301><BR><STRONG>"Pleasant Dreams."</STRONG></FONT></DIV></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE> <P align=center><FONT size=4>***** </FONT></P> <P><FONT size=4>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Everywhere, silence, darkness, and from it, awakening consciousness.&nbsp; Robin knew it was all in her mind; information being fed directly to the base of her brain. &nbsp; She sensed it, drifted among the stars, saw the pathways the alien machines had taken from their home system, experienced their massing of knowledge as they moved.&nbsp; She felt the pain of civilizations wrecked by the machines' blind search for data, marching outward through the galaxy. <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Where am I? <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; She edged back toward the shadows. <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; No--don't want to know.<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Darkness and isolation.&nbsp; She sought unconsciousness; no such luck.&nbsp; Distant light filtered through dark curtains, pressing closer.&nbsp; Atoms, molecules, physical structure materialized around her.&nbsp; She could delineate walls, ceiling and floor.&nbsp; A room.&nbsp; Some kind of navy vessel?&nbsp; A submarine?&nbsp; Conduits.&nbsp; Storage. &nbsp; Bulkheads.&nbsp; A huge motor.&nbsp; Several hatches.&nbsp; It was a submarine.&nbsp; But extending from these familiar features were what appeared to be tentacles of some kind. <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Biological or machine?&nbsp; Couldn't tell. <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; It seemed like the two forms had somehow been piled one atop the other.&nbsp; Grafted?&nbsp; Wires and cables of a totally alien nature snaking from the bulkheads, walls and mechanisms of what she now definitely recognized as a U.S. Navy nuclear submarine. &nbsp; What class?&nbsp; Again, couldn't tell.<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; No....no....no.... <BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Robin saw that in the center of the room, a man and woman lay cupped in form-fitting platforms.&nbsp; Their naked bodies, arms to their sides, were completely covered with an inch-thick layer of semi-transparent green gelatinous slime.&nbsp; The stinking goo dripped from the narrow runners that led from the gray ceiling overhead, down through the muck coating the bodies, and into their nostrils.&nbsp; The stuff covered everything, including the worm-like wires that emerged from the floor and led to various appendages of alien looking tissue. <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; What?&nbsp; Life support?&nbsp; Yes, this all seems to be part of some kind of machine. <BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Numerous fine wires ran from nearby walls and plugged into their heads, some disappeared into ears (was that a trickle of blood?)&nbsp; Others led into their skulls through tiny holes bored into the temples, while some entered at the base of the neck. <BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The basic familiarity of the room fought with the totally alien aspect of the slime-coated forms lying on their support pads, invasive wires and tubes emerging from many parts of them; the Medusa's snakes gone wild.&nbsp; Foul!&nbsp; It was all foul and hideous.&nbsp; She needed to throw up, but couldn't.<BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Then came realization. <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Oh God! That's me. Oh my dear God! <BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; It was she lying alongside Harlow, embedded in a nightmare web of hundreds, perhaps thousands of oozing metallic tendrils.&nbsp; She sought release from consciousness.&nbsp; Any way out, even the oblivion of death, but there was no escape.&nbsp; She could see up-close the wires leading into her temples and the base of her neck; sickening!. <BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Robin knew where the knowledge of the machines and their journey from the stars to earth had come from.&nbsp; It had been fed to her.&nbsp; This room, the apparatus she sensed, the biological shoots leading into her skull and Bill's, were all part of an information interface.&nbsp; A bridge between an alien machine and human consciousness. <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; She needed more than ever before in her life to scream, but the body she saw covered in putrid alien glop, wires and tubules sticking out everywhere--her body--could only manage shallow breathing.&nbsp; She still had control of some rational part of her self.&nbsp; With it, she might yet be able to cause trouble for her captor.&nbsp; For now, for what could be an eternity, a scream lay trapped, not in her throat, but in her mind.</FONT></P> <P><FONT size=4>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Dripping with sweat, Robin lay on her side in bed and surveyed the shadow-laced room.&nbsp; Shaking, crying, heart pounding.&nbsp; Again, the damn repeated dream.&nbsp; The dreaded memory of her confrontation with Nemesis.&nbsp; That made six--six times for the repeated dream.&nbsp; Jesus, God! The sixth time in the last week.&nbsp; In every instance, the dream had been the same.&nbsp; A mental stripping, a murderous baring of her soul, each night's relived horror a spur to confront that which she never wanted to deal with again.&nbsp; She glanced at her travel clock.&nbsp; The numbers glowed 1:17. Time to kill until 0200 when she would rendezvous with Lee and Harriman. <br> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; One thing was sure--she wouldn't be going back to sleep.</FONT></P></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE> <BR> <TABLE cellSpacing=0 width=725> <TBODY> <TR> <TD> <DIV align=center>******</DIV></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><FONT size=4> <P><STRONG>I'm working on chapter 5.&nbsp; Promise.&nbsp; <EM>Mike</EM></STRONG></TD> </TR> </TABLE> </P></FONT> <DIV align=left></DIV></DIV> <DIV align=center> <TABLE cellSpacing=2 borderColorDark=#ff0000 cellPadding=6 width=364 bgColor=#cccccc borderColorLight=#ff0000 border=2> <TBODY> <TR> <TD width=342> <P align=center><IMG height=18 alt="bluebul.gif - 266 Bytes" src="nemesis_2d_files/bluebul.gif" width=16 border=0><FONT size=5> <FONT color=#000000 size=4>Return to <A href="http://www.vttbots.com/nemesis_2c.html">Nemesis 2, Chapter 3</A><BR><IMG height=18 alt="bluebul.gif - 266 Bytes" src="nemesis_2d_files/bluebul.gif" width=16 border=0> Return to <A href="http://www.vttbots.com/fanfiction.html">Fanfiction Central</A></FONT><FONT color=#000000><BR><FONT size=5><FONT color=#000000 size=4><IMG height=18 alt="bluebul.gif - 266 Bytes" src="nemesis_2d_files/bluebul.gif" width=16 border=0></FONT></FONT><FONT size=4>&nbsp;Return to <A href="http://www.vttbots.com/page1A.html">Main Page</A></FONT><BR></FONT></FONT></P></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></DIV> </A> </BODY></HTML>