tagSci-Fi & FantasyA Rare Commodity

A Rare Commodity

byscotjock1©

Iridium, a precious and rare mineral found only in space, and in just twenty individual humans on Earth as of 2013. Capable of improving human skills, and abilities as well as space travel of ships, Iridium also allowed those twenty chosen individuals to safely use Cryogenics. To be frozen safely without being harmed due to the Iridium in their bodies, whilst those without it died from exposure to the immense cold temperatures of the technology. One of these rare, and chosen twenty bearers of the Iridium in their blood was James Anderson. A simple man, with nothing in his life until the fateful day he was chosen for a blood test and found to have the rare mineral in his blood.

He was given a choice, to live and be studied by scientists to explore and unravel the potential of the Iridium in his blood, or be placed into an early model of a Cryogenic pod, and survive the process due to the Iridium. Where and when he would awaken to was never discussed, it was simply called an adventure. That day he was placed into the Cryogenic pod, he was scared, he was even frightened. He didn't know if he would even wake from this pod ever again, it could have become damaged and he would die from the damage. Nothing was certain, and asked when he wanted the pod to open and release him, James chose the date of 2113.

From the current year of 2013, James had chosen to be awakened 100 years in the future. This was something only imaginable in films, television or even literature yet he was living a dream most would kill for. But he knew only nineteen other people like him existed, and until they solved the problem of the Cryogenic technology it would kill anyone without Iridium in their blood within seconds of the pod being sealed. An adventure awaited James, and he would soon discover how much the world had changed from the day he went into the pod.

7015 Years Later, The Year 9028AD, Solaris Space, Former Human Republican Space, Abandoned Space Frigate Coronis

It was cold, hell it was freezing. I could feel it creeping up my body, down my throat and to my lungs. I wanted to cough, I wanted to rub my chest and warm myself up. This was an ungodly cold, unnatural and my body slowly moved and as I awoke from a dreamless sleep, I fell forwards and in darkness I hit the floor hard. The cold floor felt metallic, and slowly I tried to open my eyes. They wouldn't open. Was I blind? I feared the worst, had I lost my sight. I felt naked, I remembered going into this pod naked other than a pair of thin underpants. I strained, trying to pull myself onto my knees but I had no strength.

Was I dead? I wondered. I was about to shout, scream out even but maybe I had lost my voice as well. Then I heard a robotic sound, perhaps it was some sort of machine.

"We have the package, he's the only survivor in the pod. He's alive, but he's finding it difficult for his senses to return. Prepare the Med Bay on board, and we'll bring him in." The voice called out.

I forced my eyes open, god it was fucking painful. As if I was lifting a car with a child's arm, the strain alone was painful in its own right. My vision slowly returned, and the blurry shapes came slowly into focus. The voice had come from a human, or at least they looked human. They were standing over me, wearing some computerized, body suit in metallic design. It was bulky, and in places looked to store items. They stood over me, and as I looked up they were wearing some sort of mask, the slits of where their eyes would be was bright blue in light. Below where their mouth would have been was some form of respirator, and their breathing was loud and rough through it.

Holding myself up, my eyes moved across and I saw they had a weapon in their arms. It looked menacing, a long rifle, curved at it's end and sleek steel in design. It looked menacing indeed, and I was afraid to move suddenly and give the person wielding it a reason to shoot me dead.

"Are you... are you human?" I asked, my voice breaking and just barely my words came out.

I assumed the person was a soldier, and they said nothing as I felt my eyelids weigh down and I collapsed into darkness once again hitting the metallic floor. I awoke a time later, as I opened my heavy eyelids once more I found myself on a warm table on my back. I looked down and I was covered from my waist down to my feet with some form of a blanket, blue in color. I looked around me, and my surroundings resembled some form of medical room, perhaps I was in the Med-Bay the soldier had mentioned earlier on in front of me.

I didn't know where I was, nor who the people were who had found me. Had there been a fault with my pod, had I awoken only a few hundred years since I was put inside? I didn't know, but that person I had seen wielding that menacing weapon didn't make me feel good about my rescuers. I was too exhausted, I could barely lift my arms, even if I did get to my feet I was likely to collapse once again. I heard the sound of a mechanical door, and I looked up and saw the same person who I had seen earlier on with the weapon walk in with the mask still on their face. They weren't wielding their weapon this time, at least that was a good thing.

However the fact that they were a soldier meant that they didn't need a gun to kill someone, and I flinched as they moved closer to me on the table. They said nothing, as they came to a stop only a few meters from the table I was laid on. They breathed hard a few times, and I feared they were going to kill me. But if that was the case, why was I in a Med-Bay being treated? I was mentally preparing myself, to simply throw myself from the table onto the floor and make a last-ditch attempt to crawl to the door the soldier had come through.

All of a sudden the person staring down at me, moved their right hand to their neck and I flinched. The person slowly pressed some sort of latch on their neck, and there was the sound of air being forced through a tube, and the soldier pulled at the mask and slowly it came loose from the suit they wore and slowly the mask came off to reveal its wearer.

It was a woman! Not just a woman, she was gorgeous. With brown, braided hair, it came loose as she pulled the mask fully off and held it to her side in her hand. She had piercing hazel eyes, and brown, ebony skin. She wasn't smiling, nor was she making a face of aggression towards me.

"Relax, I'm not here to hurt you. If we were going to kill you, we wouldn't have brought you on board to our Med Bay." She said simply, in a strong, confident tone.

I was breathing hard, hell I was even sweating as I felt beads of sweat on my forehead.

"The gun, the one I saw you with...." I said stuttering, and she nodded acknowledging my observation.

"We're a salvage crew on board this ship, we come across pirates often and when we find salvage we need to come prepared. I'm not a soldier if that was what you were wondering, I am the security chief on board this ship." The woman explained.

I was at ends here, what ship was she referring to? Pirates, what the hell was she going on about? My head was swimming, either simply from the state my body was in or it was the drugs the Medical staff had given me.

"What ship? Are we at sea?" I asked slowly.

She smiled, and it was intoxicating but she composed herself.

"We're in space, we are a salvage crew in space. You're on board the Osiris." She explained smiling.

I looked at her hard, my eyes dropping to my own hands on my lap.

"How long were you in that pod for? When were you placed in Cryo-sleep?" She asked me slowly moving closer to my table, most likely observing me.

I sighed, and felt some difficulty breathing but I simply put that down to being in the Cryo-pod for so long.

"I was placed in the pod, back in 2013." I said simply, waiting for her to tell me the date it was today.

"By the gods, you've been in that pod for well over seven thousand years." She said, genuinely surprised with her mouth agape.

I immediately swung my head back and forth, not accepting what she was saying.

"That's not possible, no way. I was only meant to be in the pod until 2113!" I said, getting agitated.

She looked at me hard, and her face softened.

"The year is 9028, you've been in Cryo-sleep for exactly 7015 years I'm afraid." She said trying to slowly ease the revelation onto me.

I was breathing hard, and I laid my back against the table fully taking what she had said fully into my mind.

"What went wrong?" I asked slowly, my eyes were no longer on her but on the ceiling of the room.

She pulled from a pouch on her suit, a small handheld computer and pressed her fingertips against the screen a few times.

"According to our technicians on board, they checked your Cryo-pod and found that a fault was caused from weapons damage on the ship your pod was on board." She answered me, taking her answers from whatever was on her computer.

I looked back down and centered my gaze on her eyes.

"My pod was on board a ship? But when I was placed in the pod, I was on Earth." I said cautiously.

She put away her computer, back into the pouch on the back of her suit.

"You're unaware of this, but Earth is gone. It was turned into an inhospitable crater, from the civil wars fought after the First Republic fell in the year 4080. Since then its now just a floating lump of rock, we can't even land on the planet now without taking the chance of burning up the Osiris in the atmosphere. They probably moved you off-world, unaware of who you were or what they were moving. Either this was before the Civil Wars or just before the planet became uninhabitable." She answered me, reciting passages of her own history unknown to me.

None of this made sense, so if Earth was gone where was the Capital planet now. Who was leading humanity now? If my pod was on board a ship, when they found me then how was the ship damaged?

"The ship you found my pod aboard, was it involved in some battle?" I asked.

She nodded, and looked me in the eyes.

"Most likely, the ship we found you on board was a frigate called the Coronis. Our records show that it was involved in the immediate evacuation of Earth immediately before 4080. The weapons damage to the Coronis points to the ship actually being damaged as they tried to flee the planet, at the time the atmosphere around the planet was a war zone between rival groups, and factions. It seems likely the Coronis was left to drift through space, and over the next 4048 years it eventually drifted into the atmosphere of the planet Solaris." She summarized.

"What is Solaris?" I asked slowly.

"It's a dead planet, still habitable but it's out of the reach of the current human space government, the United Colonial Federation. The frigate simply drifted further and further away from the planet, and from heat signatures of any ships analyzing it would simply show it as floating metal. Not worth checking out, but we did since we're a salvage crew. Anything is of value to us, so we checked it out. We're on our way to Solaris now, its a planet known to shelter thieves, pirates and smugglers. It's the reason the UCF don't have any power in this region of space, it's controlled by criminals. But we make do with who we can, and do business with who ever has the credits." She explained, and she saw that it was hard for me to comprehend.

She sat down on a nearby bedside cabinet I assumed had medical utensils and such inside, her ebony skin shone from the ceiling lights above us both.

"I'm Aisha, what's your name?" She asked me gently.

My mind hadn't fully gone, so I was able to answer her simple question.

"James, James Anderson." I shivered from the cold of the Med Bay.

Aisha nodded, and she slowly put her hand behind her head and untied something, all of a sudden her braided hair came loose and it was clear they were dreadlocks. She was stunning, and the fact that she was trained to fight and protect me was an even more alluring prospect.

"How many are aboard this ship, the Osiris?" I asked slowly, my words felt heavy in my throat.

"On board the Osiris, there are twelve of us as a whole salvage crew including myself. That twelve is made up of five technicians, four pilots for flying the ship, and three security guards including myself. I am the head of security on board." Aisha listed, watching my every move.

I didn't say anything more, my throat was dry and in pain and to speak was causing a rush of pain through my body.

"I'll let you rest, our medical officer will see to you. I'll be back once were in Solaris space." Aisha said with a faint smile.

I nodded, saying nothing as she she stood and she left the room with her mask in her hand. The Med Bay door closed behind Aisha, and I breathed hard as my whole body felt like it had been struck with a car, and I couldn't breath. It was Aisha's revelations, and where I was now. In the year 9028.

A Few Hours Later, On board The Osiris Salvage Vessel

A few hours had passed since meeting Aisha, and I had been seen to by the medical officer. A young Asian man, who used some sort of robot to check my temperature and such. It looked like a round cylinder, with lights blinking all around it and various tools sticking out on robotic arms. I did freak me out slightly, but the medical officer told me to relax, and that this was one of most advanced robots on the market.

The medical officer, a Mr Wong was also one of the vessel's technicians on board. He was quickly done, and told me that Iridium in my blood was evident from the robot's scans before leaving me alone in the Med Bay once again. I felt alone, I had nothing in common or connection with anyone aboard this ship, or in this world. I felt like an outsider to this world, everyone I knew and what I knew was now 7015 years old, and long gone. I slowly felt my eyes close, and I felt close to sleeping once more when the Med Bay door opened again, and Aisha walked in followed by an older man, in a military flight suit, and with some form of rank symbol on his shoulders.

He had short gray hair, and matching thick gray beard. He was tall, but he looked like he had seen a lot in his life. He didn't have a friendly expression on his face, as he looked at me hard and then at Aisha standing next to him, without her mask, and her dreadlocks now rolling over her shoulders, and the suit.

"We risked entering pirate space for a goddamn cryo-pod, and a relic from before the Republic. How by the gods do we make a profit of credits from this guy?" The older man asked, his face a fury of emotions.

I felt like I was a plague victim, that even addressing me was not worth this man's time. I assumed he was the Captain of this ship, being that Aisha seemed to wait until he was finished asking his question before responding. She turned to him, and her dreadlocks gently swung around her neck.

"He has Iridium in his blood, Dr Wong told me the medical bot found the mineral in his blood upon his checks. He can use the old Republican technology, we found aboard the Coronis. We found weapons, and equipment that is useless without someone with Iridium in their blood using it. He is the last person in space, the last human actually with Iridium in his blood. His existence is impossible we were told, anyone from the Republic days with Iridium in them was long gone dead. Iridium cannot even be found on any planets now, the mineral itself is extinct. He is worth more than anything we found on board the Coronis." Aisha defended me.

The Captain grunted, and turned to her.

"You better be right about that, Aisha. Because we're about to land on Solaris, we need something from the Coronis vessel that can pay for our repairs and such or we're floating without gas from here on." The Captain threatened her, and he stormed out of the Med Bay.

Aisha whispered gently to herself.

"Yes, Captain."

She turned to me, and slowly moved towards me on the table.

"Who was he?" I asked gently.

Aisha forced a smile, she was a beautiful woman.

"McAdams, our Captain aboard the Osiris. He's angry about our find aboard the vessel you were found on, he doesn't see the significance of your existence as the rest of us on board do. Iridium as a mineral went extinct soon after the fall of the First Republic. Then eventually those with Iridium in their blood died out, and now its extinct making any of the technology created by the Republic useless as only those with Iridium in their blood can access it. We found a cache of weapons on board the Coronis, Republican in design. That means only you can use them, and if you can show a buyer what that weapon does, or that piece of equipment we can sell it to a collector perhaps." Aisha explained to me.

"But that brings a risk, if those we plan to sell what we found on board the Coronis knew about your existence, then its not beyond some to try and capture you in order to access forgotten Republican technology." Aisha warned me, and telling me I think worried her personally in some way.

I looked at her hard, she was worried I could sense it.

"Who would we have to worry about, who would try and kidnap me to make me use old Republican technology for them, down on Solaris?" I asked her.

Aisha moved closer to me, and leaned against the same cabinet she leaned against earlier on.

""The Smuggler's Guild are quite powerful down on Solaris, they would know of clients Universe wide who would pay their entire wealth to have someone who could use old Republican technology. Not to mention the planet's local crime lords, if they saw the profit in you then they would attempt to capture you. Then there are the rogue UCF generals, who have fled to Solaris in order to evade punishment by their leaders. They would see the profit to be made in someone like you, either way I'll make sure that the common knowledge of who you really are is restricted to us on board this ship. We'll be planet-side on Solaris within the next hour, so I found some clothing for you to change into." Aisha said pushing off of the cabinet, and she moved over to a shelf nearby and pulled from it a simple t-shirt, and what looked to be brown leggings with pouches and such on it.

"These are to put on beneath your survival suit, similar to mine but basic in design. You need to wear these underneath, to keep yourself warm. These suits are good at everything else, except keeping the wearer warm. Blame that on those that made the suits, I once heard the best survival suits were made by the Republic, before their collapse." Aisha smiled, and she put the pile of clothing and the metallic suit on top of the cabinet.

She nodded and said no more, as she turned and left me alone in the Med Bay. I sighed, and feeling strength in my arms and legs more than I did hours before, I slid from under the blanket over my lower torso and I was naked with my cock swinging left to right, as I got off the table. I moved over to the cabinet, where the pile of clothing was. Slowly I started with the thick leggings, with the pouches on it and slid them up my legs all the way to my waist and tied them in place. Then came the thin, simple white t-shirt and I pulled it over my head and onto my upper torso. Then I looked at the survival suit, and I was astonished.

It looked metallic, and plates of the metal were padded like armor but also flexible beneath it with some other form of material holding the whole thing together. I opened the suit from the back of the neck, and it opened up down to the waist before the lower part of the suit. I pulled it on and I felt like the survival suit was clinging to my skin, becoming a second skin almost. As I pulled the suit up to my neck, it immediately sealed shut around my neck without me doing a single thing. The suit was tight, but comfortable at least, and it was a survival suit. There were lights all over the thing, bleeping and on the wrist of the suit was a small computer, I assumed the wearer used to interact with other systems, and computers.

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