Chapter 43: Dreamless Sleep
Do Borg dream?
It was an entirely valid question, and one that Lilo felt deserved an answer; however, it was impossible to know as the drone completely locked her out during the hibernation period. She herself found it difficult to ‘sleep’ (if sleep was the right word), as the murmurings of the Collective kept her awake; however, this state of awareness soon turned to unconsciousness as the mutters became too much. Unfortunately, this did not last for long, as the same voices that had knocked her out soon woke her again. The few moments of sleep she did get were punctured by visions of her closest friends and family, mindless drones of the Borg.
And it would be her fault.
During her moments of consciousness, she found that she could open her eyelids and look around, but nothing more. It was a weird feeling, and Lilo thought it was somewhat like being told by Nani that she must see something, but not touch.
Nani’s head, horribly disconfigured by various technological attachments, floated before her; she tried to force her mind on examining her surroundings, although she had done so twenty times in the last half-hour.
She was standing in some sort of alcove, surrounded on either side by more of the same; some were occupied by drones in what appeared to be some kind of sleep cycle, like the drone that now occupied the majority of her brain, while others were empty, their occupants having long ago left in order to perform various tasks. Before her was a chain-link barrier, and beyond lay what must be a forty-foot drop to the next level. Around her, consoles beeped and glowed, and keypads glinted in the soft green light.
Sometimes, Lilo wondered if Stitch, Jumba and Pleakley had made it on board this strange vessel, if even now they were trying to find some way to rescue her…
They’ve abandoned you, or else have been assimilated, her rational side whispered wordlessly.
No, they’re coming, her hope assured her. They won’t leave without you.
Noisily scuttling along the top of the alcoves, Stitch wondered why any of the zombie-creatures below did not look up; it was as if they didn’t care, or else didn’t notice him. They just snoozed away, occasionally leaving their keeps to do something, or to check some statistic, but all in all apparently unaware of the blue furball scurrying above their heads.
This did not make sense to Stitch; after all, moments ago a group of them were trying to capture him. Perhaps they had decided that it wasn’t worth it.
And what had happened to his two cousins? One seemed intelligent; they probably made it out okay.
Of cause, a nagging voice in his brain told him, Lilo was bright too, and look what happened…
Stitch quickly quashed the voice. No-one could have been prepared for what happened to her.
But you could have saved her…
Stitch shook his head. It was no use wondering what could have been.
Spying a console, he jumped down from his perch and, with pinpoint precision, landed on his front paws. Upside-down, he could see the plans of the ship, and although the writing was confusing, he soon figured out where he was. Of cause, knowing where he was meant nothing without knowing where he was going, but all the same, he committed the map to memory and continued down the long, dark and desolate hallway.
“Hey, 419, hurry up!”
419 looked up from the hydraulics pump she was examining. 426 was anxiously standing at the end of the hallway, impatiently tapping his foot.
“Coming,” groaned 419, picking herself up. Boys…
They walked in silence for a few moments, keeping a steady pace.
“Y’know, it’s not like they’re gonna suddenly notice us,” 419 suddenly muttered, “and I’d like to investigate these pipes, they seem to be…”
“Little Girl might not have that long,” 426 retorted, folding his arms.
“426, it’s been days since we last saw her,” pointed out 419, frustrated at 426’s stubbornness. “If these cybernetic zombies wanted to… er, dispose of her, they would have done so long before now.”
“Don’t worry, I think they want her for something,” continued 419. “I mean, why not take the whole ship? They were obviously targeting her.”
“But what would they want with such a young human girl?”
“I don’t know. That’s the mystery.”
“Maybe there’s some alien soup that requires Terranians as the main ingredient.”
419 stared at him.
“What?” 426 asked defensively.
“Well, firstly, ewww, and secondly, I don’t really think they need to eat. I haven’t seen any evidence of a cafeteria, and there’s also no sign of food distribution.”
As they walked, they heard a loud gushing noise, as if the power of the Victoria Falls had been contained within the space of two feet. Looking around, 419 spotted the source: tubes, one the width of a watermelon, hanging from the next level, a gaseous mixture flowing through them like splurge through a sewer. One had sprung a leak, and massive amounts of the gas were pouring out, bringing with it a smell rather like rotten eggs.
419 nudged 426 and pointed him to the tubes.
“It looks like some kind of ventilation system,” 419 guessed. “Fascinating.”
“Ah, it must be one of them there Internets!” joked 426. 419 didn’t get it.
Walking silently with nothing but the rushing of the whatever-gas from the pipe to be heard, 419 milled it over in her head. It didn’t make sense at all.
“Maybe they want information,” 426 conjectured.
“Yeah, I’m sure we all know what they’re after is information on our clearly superior technology,” said 419 sarcastically. “And anyway, surely Jumba would be the better one to kidnap.”
426 crossed his arms and muttered something almost inaudibly soft, something that almost sounded like “let’s see if you can come up with something better.”
“Maybe they want to use her for something,” 419 postulated. “Like her DNA, for experimentation…”
“Or perhaps use her as a shield,” agreed 426. “I mean, who would shoot a little girl?”