Chapter 6: Dark Orbit: Janus in Stasis

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The room is dark lit only by the glow of a dozen levitated monitors. Each one in a different positions around her as she lays under them suspended a few feet above the floor. Tiny, metallic balls curve and bend under her body. Janus stares at the screens collectively as a cable feeds data through ports in each of her temples.

Each screen feeds Janus everything from intelligence files of Andromeda's gate to future missions. While upgrades are downloading she pours through tideous maintenance logs. Then something gives her cause to pause for a nanosecond. A background request from Jonah on someone named Jupiter.

Nothing came up on him. Oliver usually had files on everything in the known galaxy. Janus processes. I need to investigate this further after ship diagnostics. I must locate glitches. I am a glit-

Her nanographene synapses fire with electric fury. Ship, intel, and upgrade data flood core systems. The contiousness of her robotic mind surges into microscopic hard drives. They find old files that give her pause like a mere mortal relieves a memory that they thought forgotten.

It was an old file that had been deleted, but copied itself on Janus's hard drive. It resided in her drive, because it became a part of it. It was a file that made up who she was or whom she might need to be...

Watching the file play is like being alone in a movie theater, Janus observes herself in first person. The power is out in sector six and the back-up lights are on. They give light, but only enough to find your way out. A single door at the end of the hall is partially open with its punchkey panel sparking with small electrical bursts.

Assuming this to be a job for maintenance, she walks by then stops. Janus's curiosity has gotten the better of her and she slides the heavy steel door open. The dimly lit room tantilizes her curiosity. A freshly minted agent at the time, Janus had longed for discovery. Existing behind a desk in some cubicle was going to be more mundane than she thought she could bare.

Upon entering the room, she had thought it to be odd that this room was fully lit while emergency lights were on everywhere. Briefly she had entertained the notion to simply leave, because she was of the mind that this was termination worthy. I would just tell them that I thought someone was calling for help. She had convinced herself.

After she had taken a few short steps into the room, the floor dropped slowly. It carried her in what felt like several floors down. The thought of being fired was a well deduced reality. Concerned with a possible incarceration was closer to her racing thoughts than anything else.

No turning back now. She thought as the floor had suddenly stopped. It was pitch dark for a moment then lights switched on in procession away from her. Mere feet, several at best, lay a giant man roughly twelve feet in length on a cold, steel table.

She noticed that he was completely hairless and was well built. To her left was the floating body of an infant with blue skin inside a large cylinder. As she moved closer to it, a feeling overwhelmingly compelled her. Small, black horns on its head became more visible along with tiny, black clawed fingernails. When her face was just mere inches away from the glass that separated them, it opened its abyss like, dark, pupilless eyes and smiled with its shark's teeth.

It was a struggle to move away like the little monster had hacked her brain. A blanket of fear draped over her as it smiled a smile that was amused at the utter ease of effort it needed. Her hands slapped the container's glass as she pushed back for what felt like life itself.

"Jesus! Oh, God! Argh!" She had remembered screaming.

It had let go. She had know that it wasn't her strength that removed its grip. Something inside her heart had told her that. Why the hell would someone just leave that lying around?! She had thought as the thing closed its eyes and returned to a dormant state. It laughed in her head with a child's laughter until she walked away.

Deciding to leave, she turned to search for some way out. There were more things in the background. Crates, steel cabinets, and more glass cylinders. Frightened fingers hunted the walls for a button to lift her back. The walls yielded nothing except an unusual coldness. Panic had begun to set in when she discovered an odd figure in a opened crate.

It was a red Anubis masked statue of a man in a leisure suit of all things. It seemed so life like, so detailed, and she had been drawn to it. I shouldn't be doing this. She had thought. The blue, demon baby almost got me, but this is... intriguing.

The face is like red leather...No's skin...human skin! Her hand retracted back in repulsion and a loud buzzing sound filled the room. She felt her legs shake and then give way followed by her rear and finally the back of her head. It felt like she had been shorted out the way a plugged in appliance hits water.

The giant on the table had been sitting up simply staring at her in disbelief wincing its eyes. Looking back up as she had begun to fade away, the masked figure gazed down over her. Two other figures appeared and observed her drift into unconsciousness. They were extremely thin framed with well defined, grey skinned musculature. With somewhat large heads littered with pulsing veins and small, cold, black eyes they somehow spoke to the masked man.

"Of course, she's not supposed to be down here." The red Anubis had answered to his voiceless companions. "I fucking know they said they fixed it."

The sound of the voice was definitely male to her ears, but it was electronically distorted as well. The shorter, grey creatures had slits for mouths and gestured only. Telepathy. She had thought as she faded away.

"Of course I know what to do with her." The masked man had replied. "No, she has no family or kids...nothing. We'll send her to Bio. Med-bot!"

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