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I climbed through the doorway I’d just blown open and immediately found a ladder. I climbed up it and found two more doorways. One went back in the directionI’d come but over the hold. The other went in the opposite direction. The good news was both were left open. I guess they didn’t expect me to, well, do what I did. They probably thought that I was the insurance company office assistant that even I thought I was up until a bit earlier that same day.
I stepped through that doorway that let me keep going is the same direction. It led right into what looked, to me, like a cockpit. I could see right through the windshield to the stars beyond.
Is that even the right word for it? “Windshield”? That makes no sense since there is no wind in space.
Whatever you call it, it was kinda stunning because the thing curved around about thirty percent of the round outside of the ship. It was like a panorama view. Well, not “like” but actually, literally.
Looking at the controls I could see nothing that made any logical sense as to like how to fly this thing or shoot any weapons it might have.
I started to get antsy. I started thinking about how dumb it was going up there like that. How would an alien ship be easy for me to fly?!? Why was I suddenly feeling so confident about alien technology?!? I mean, alien technology! I had zero experience with it beyond two summers selling some of it when I was a kid!
Wait a minute… that experience wasn’t nothing. I decided to take another look at the dashboard.
Nope. Damn thing still made no sense to me.
Then I started getting antsy again. The antsy quickly evolved into anxiety. Then my brain felt like it was locking up again. I could feel sweat starting to bead on my forehead and I started to get even more frustrated. My eyes darted around the console in front of me. I placed my fingers on various buttons but was just totally sure I was about to do something horrible again. At least I wasn’t blacking out again. So, maybe I wouldn’t totally commit a massacre this time. Maybe if I–
I stopped thinking and just started pressing the buttons that, somehow, deep down, I felt like should do things.
Wouldn’t you know it–the entire dashboard lit up and a bunch of augmented-reality-style graphics popped up in front of me. I got excited that I had gotten so far, but then I heard what I would politely describe as a computerized fart sound as all the flashing and moving lights froze and turned red. Something that was definitely an error message flew right at my face but stopped a few inches short. I knew it was an error message because it was red, flashing slowly, and had a symbol on it that was like an exclamation mark, only it looked more like a shocked face. There was also some text in some language I did not recognize.
I tried pressing some more buttons but every time I did, all I got was that stupid computerized fart sound over and over. That error message also kept flying at me over and over.
The whole experience was getting really annoying!
I stared at the floating error message and, specifically, the alien words of the error message.
“So, I can’t do anything more because…” I said to myself. “…something is missing. I’m doing something wrong or I’m not doing something. It’s probably not about pressing a button… maybe it’s a key? Or a pass? Or something else that everything needs to go? Like a thumbprint on a locked iPhone.
Then I noticed a little circle in the corner of the message that had another character inside it. Bot the circle and the character were white, unlike the rest of the alert. I touched it with my finger and an animation appeared in it’s place that showed a sort of round-looking thumb drive thing being inserted into a port somewhere. “So, that’s what I need to do. It’s a car key that looks like a rod-shaped thumb drive. Fair enough.”
I looked down at the dashboard and found the port. Then I looked across the dashboard for the round, thumb-drive-looking thing but could not find one anywhere. I looked behind me at some shelves and cabinets built into the wall opposite the, uh, space screen? Whatever, I’m just going to keep calling it a windshield.
Still no luck. Where could that thing be?
Then it hit me. It was probably on one of those guys I’d killed…