The Tale of Output34598, part-Earthling
I don't even know. I was at work. This happened. I'm sorry. Is "crack" a genre? Well, then, this is *cough* Sci-Fi. With my apologies. Also, blame Anna for reading it over and telling me to share with the world.
"If you apply pressure to the source of discomfort and rub in a slow, clockwise circle, it should ease your pain, Ray," Fraser called from the kitchen, like he had eyes at the back of his head. Ray snorted, but lifted his hand anyway, trying to do something to make it go away. Dief was staring at the turtle, and Ray zoned out, watching them both, still rubbing his neck. It was kind of nice, he thought, nice, in that vague, hazy way, where Dief was staring at his turtle like it was dinner. He'd have to- buy him dinner- before he dropped him and Fraser- at the consulate-
The pressure in Ray's neck eased up, and his head fell back against the couch cushion. Fraser's spoon clinked against his tea mug.
And that was when the metal ball crashed into his living room.
"The hell?" Ray was up with his hand on his gun in .45 seconds, with Fraser already at his side in another .2. "What the hell is that?" Ray didn't let go of the gun, though he did lower it, realizing that he couldn't just shoot at the problem to make it go away.
"I- I don't believe I know, Ray," Fraser answered, carefully scooping up the metal thing that was now lying on Ray's rug, with shards of glass glistening all around it. Ray finally got enough of his sanity back to tuck the gun back into the holster, and crouched down beside Fraser to take a better look.
"I believe it- hmm." Fraser's tongue reached out and - oh, for the love of - licked the metal thing. Ray made a disgusted face, which fell on blind eyes, since Fraser was still looking at the object in his hand. "This isn't any alloy that I'm familiar with, Ray. I believe this could be- hmm." He licked it again.
"What, what? Stop licking that, Fraser, you don't know where it's been." Ray snatched the thing away from Fraser and, scrambling for his glasses and finally getting them on, squinted. "Huh. That's...that's weird." The ball wasn't just a solid thing of metal. The middle was bisected by an indentation, and inside the indentation, a row of green lights blinked in and out. "What the hell is this?" he asked, looking up at Fraser to find a pissy expression on his face.
"As I was saying, Ray," he answered, taking the thing back, "I am not familiar with the alloy from which this was constructed. However, if my thinking is correct, it appears to be not, uhm, of human origin."
Ray blinked. "Huh? Well, of course it's not human, it's made out of -"
"No, Ray, you misunderstand. I meant, not of...Earth origin." Fraser tugged at his collar.
"Not of Earth origin."
"You're saying it's alien?"
"Fraser. That's - that's insane." Because it was.
"I do realize that, Ray, yes." Fraser looked like absolutely nothing was wrong, and Ray wanted to punch him. Instead, he sprung up and strode towards his broken window, looking out, looking up, maybe there was a goddamn spaceship up there. When he didn't spot one, he wheeled around and turned on Fraser. "This isn't science fiction, Fraser, we don't just get alien metal thingies dropped from the sky on us!"
Fraser got up and held up the ball. "I realize that, Ray, and I'm sorry that you were inconvenienced." His gestures took in Ray's agitation, broken glass, and the alien thing, all at once. "However, my expertise on metal alloys does allow for the possiblity that-"
Ray lost his patience. He snatched up the metal ball and held it up for Fraser to look at. "It's a- it's a prop, okay? They're filming something, Fraser, and accidentally threw it at my window. This has nothing to do with anything alien, okay? And, okay! Let's check! See, this button here? When I press it, absolutely nothing is going to happen -"
Ray's thumb hit the button, just as Fraser launched forward, yelling, "Ray, no!" and then the button clicked home, and everything went white.
The aliens were kind of slimy looking, and not particularly pleasant, but they did look very familiar.
"Fraser," Ray began, speaking low, out of the corner of his mouth. "I thought it'd all been a dream. Maybe this is a dream, too."
"I believe myself to be wide awake, Ray." Fraser's voice sounded strangled, which was all wrong.
"Maybe you're part of my dream. Maybe it's a recurring dream."
"I'm afraid that this is all too real, Ray."
Ray swallowed, and then the first alien spoke up.
"Ray Kowalski." The voice was hard to pin-point - it was everywhere, echoing against every surface of the chamber they were in, off Ray's fingers and Fraser's neck, billowing around them softly. He couldn't tell if it was a man or a woman. He didn't figure it out the first time, either. "It is good to see you again."
"Uh, yeah." Ray cleared his throat. "You...too. Uhm."
The alien did a weird blink thing, and then something like steam came out of the top of its head. "You are afraid."
"Slightly tense, then," the alien allowed, with a sweep of its foot. Ray, mesmerized by the movement, barely registered Fraser's voice until the repetition of his name began to grate on his nerves.
"I believe that the young lady there is waiting for your next move."
"What?" Ray turned his head, and there was, in fact, a "young lady" staring at him over a chess board, though he allowed her the "young" part, she looked less like a lady than Frannie, though not because she wore the shortest skirt possible, but because she simply didn't look like any woman Ray'd ever wanted to see. But she looked more like a woman than the first alien, so Ray stepped forward and made his next move. He'd been a kid the first time around, but he remembered the chess set like it'd been yesterday. He didn't remember the "lady", but maybe she'd grown up, too.
"That is a wise move, Ray Kowalski. We had always expected great things from you," the first alien said, and then there was a wave of sound, like a continuous clap, echoing all around them. Ray turned and blushed and ducked his head. Well, it was nice to be remembered. Especially since he damn well knew this was a dream, and he'd wake up any minute now with a bigger crick in his neck.
He turned to Fraser, who had a goofy little smile on his face, like the kind he had when Ray made like Steve McQueen with a bike and a warehouse window, and that was kind of cool, too.
Still, they'd been abducted by aliens. Even if it was a dream, they needed to get out.
"When's her next move?" Ray nodded towards the alien chick, and the guy tilted his head, steam billowing a bit higher overhead, and blinked a slow blink.
"Another Twenty Seven Earth Years, Ray Kowalski. I would like to extend my apologies to both you and Constable Benton Fraser, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who first came to Chicago on the trail of the killers of his father, and for reasons that we are already well aware of, has remained attached as liaison with the Canadian Consulate, for bringing you here so abruptly. However, that is not important."
Ray glanced at Fraser, who went red as a tomato, and grinned despite himself.
"What is important," the alien guy went on, "is that it is Time."
Ray hoped it was Time For Them To Leave, and waited almost patiently.
"It is Time that you learn the truth of your Origin, Ray Kowalski."
Ray blinked. "What?"
"You believe yourself to be of human descent, origin of Planet Earth, The Milky Way Galaxy."
Ray, who had never once questioned this obvious truth, felt himself going light-headed. Just a dream, he told himself. It's just a dream. He pinched himself, but nothing apart from pain happened.
"This is not the Truth of Your Origin, however. The Truth, Ray Kowalski, is that you were made in the Oxdrtyioi Galaxy, Planet 456TTYL, Two Star-Bursts over from her." The alien pointed towards the chick. "Your real assignation is Output34598, and you were, in fact, the last of your kind. And she is your oldest...sister."
Ray's mouth went dry. Wake up, he commanded. WAKE UP. Nothing happened.
He heard Fraser shift beside him, then he heard his voice. "So, what you are essentially saying is that --"
"Ray Kowalski, born Output34598, was made by the entity that you Earthlings refer to as 'God.'"
Ray came to after a hard slap landed on both his cheeks at the same time.
His first thought was, "Awake!" His next thought was, "The hell?!", and finally, as he looked around the chamber, felt the padded floor underneath his body, and saw Fraser looking troubled, he thought, "Not again."
"Ray? Are you all right? Ray?" Fraser's hand was wrapped around his wrist, and it was the only warm spot on his entire body. Ray trembled.
"My name is Output?" he finally managed, after licking his dry lips enough to talk.
"It...would appear so."
"Wow, that's -- pinch me."
"I beg your pardon?"
"Pinch me, pinch me, c'mon, Fraser, work with me here. It's a dream. I'd like to wake up now."
Fraser looked all concerned, like he was considering telling Ray not to be stupid, only nicer than that, but then he scraped his fingers against the wrist he was still holding and pinched.
Ray looked around. The aliens were still staring down at him, identical expressions of nothing at all on their faces.
"Not much, no."
He fell back and groaned. "Fraser, I can't be Output number Whatever 358. I'm Stanley Raymond Kowalski, born to Damien and Barbara Kowalski, Chicago native, recently divorced, a cop. I'm a cop, for God's sake. Wait. Uh."
Ray shut up and looked to Fraser for guidance. For once, it looked like Fraser had none. "I'm sorry, Ray. This must be a great shock. Perhaps you should let Ukthekjjj explain it further."
"Ukthekjjj. That is our host's name."
Ray turned his head and looked up at Ukta-ma-whatsit. The guy tilted his head, and the steam rising above him turned a pretty blue color. Ray squeezed his eyes shut and clicked his boots together. Nothing. He just wasn't waking up.
"Okay, then." He sat up, dislodging Fraser's hand, which kind of felt weird. "God is real?"
"Oh, very much so, yes, Output34598 -"
Ray raised a hand in warning. "Do not call me that. I will not respond to being called Output anything, capisce?"
Uktayuaktak nodded. "Very well, Ray. God is real. Until relatively recently, he used to preside over the Milky Way Galaxy. He was forced into self-imposed exile around the time Arthur joined the Crusades."
"God went into exile?" Ray exchanged a look with Fraser that clearly said one of the people present was unhinged, and it might have been the guy with colored steam coming out of his head.
"Correct. He was deeply disillusioned with the results of His creation, thus He decided that He would leave the Earthlings to finish up their business on their own, while He started anew. Our Galaxy was the farthest He could travel to in thought."
"All right. Fine. Whatever. How did I end up being made?" He resigned himself to waking up much, much later. Might as well get a good kick out his subconscience while he could. A beer awaited him on the other side.
"You were an ongoing experiment for Him. You see, He had long planned on making a man not in His own likeness, but in the likeness of one of His Emissaries."
"God had Emissaries?"
"I believe he means Angels, Ray." Fraser's voice sounded weirdly hoarse.
"I was made in the image of an angel? Which one?" Ray challenged, though he was kind of enjoying that part. He didn't actually mind being called 'angelic,' though he definitely exnayed on the wings.
The alien's steam turned pink. "That is not important. What is important is that it took Him many of Your Years to complete the project. Once He made the prototype, He repeated the process many times. You were sent as an Emissary to Earth. We told you that you were the last of your kind. You are now the only surviving Emissary left in the entire universe."
Ray blinked again. "What happened to the others?"
"They did not survive. Your model was slightly...adjusted, thus allowing you to live a prosperous life."
Ray scratched his head, considering this. "How was I, uh, adjusted?"
The alien smoothed out his robe and didn't answer.
"Oooookay..." Ray turned back to Fraser. "Fraser, tell me this. Why haven't I woken up yet?"
"I'm afraid the answer to that is because you are awake." Fraser clapped him on the shoulder and made to help him up. Ray scooted back immediately.
"I am not awake, Fraser! This cannot be real. Okay? I am not the... oh God, I am not the son of God!"
"An Emissary, Ray Kowalski," the alien corrected him, echoing.
"Whatever! I am not some kind of Emissary to Earth. I was born on Earth. I still am on Earth. I'm sleeping on my couch because I had a long day and my neck was killing me. If I were an Emissary, would my neck hurt? No. No, it would not. So, I am just Stanley Raymond Kowalski, Chicago native, cop. I am not Output Five Thousand Whatever, okay?"
Fraser nodded, "If you say so, Ou- Ray."
Ray lifted a finger in warning. "Do not -"
"Call you that. I understand." Fraser tapped the side of his nose, and Ray buried his head in his hands. From there, a question occured to him. "If she -" he pointed towards the chick blindly, "is my sister, how come she don't look like me?"
"Shhhtiaaalit was made in the image of Tcbghweee."
Ray groaned into his knees.
It took the rest of them the better part of an hour to get Ray up off the floor and into a chair of some kind. It vibrated a little underneath him. He began to relax.
"So, okay. Now, I've found out. Can I go yet?"
The alien nodded. "Not yet."
Ray felt like his wires had crossed. "Why the hell not?"
"We have to brief you on your Mission Continuum."
"You were put on Earth as an Emissary with a Mission."
"Well, I wasn't aware of any mission, so obviously, I haven't been doing it." He made to stand up, but it was like some kind of force was preventing him. He sagged back.
"On the contrary, Ray Kowalski. Your mission was to lead a prosperous, good life. Notwithstanding the reinterpretation of these concepts in Earth terms, so far you have succeeded. You protect Your City from Those Who Would Practice Upon Its Good Citizens, and you are a good human being. Well...a good example of one, in any case."
Ray breathed in deeply, knowing that he couldn't give a good kick to anybody's head with the force field holding him hostage. "So you're saying that my life is good and I should keep on doing it."
"There, I've been briefed. Can I go now?"
The alien lifted his foot. "Not yet. There is one matter on which you have faultered."
Ray thought he could see it coming and gritted his teeth. Fraser looked like he really wanted to escape behind the alien. "What is that?"
"The matter of your marriage. We know that it was not of your own choosing that it did not succeed."
Ray thought that if he could do the neat trick of steam-coming-out-of-head, his steam would be turning a livid red.
"However, your mission of finding a mate has to be completed, in whatever way - " The alien glanced to his right, directly where Fraser was stood a foot behind him, "- possible."
Ray felt his eyes widen and quickly looked down at his feet. He heard Fraser give a slight cough.
"All right," he told his boots. "Mission will be accomplished. Now can I go?"
This time, when he tried to stand up, he succeeded. The aliens gathered around him and Fraser and shuffled their feet in creepily identical fashion. He waved back.
"Well, it was, uh, good to meet you. Yeah. Bye, um. Sis." He nodded at the chick and watched her steam turn a pale yellow. He turned to Fraser and the world went white again.
The brilliant white light transformed to Fraser, then him and Fraser in his living room, with Dief whimpering in the corner. The room was just as they'd left it. Except they'd never left, right?
He looked at Fraser and realized he looked just as freaked out as Ray felt.
Fraser swallowed. "Yes, Ray?"
"That just happened."
Fraser nodded. "Yes."
"I'm still not awake."
"You're just as awake as you were five minutes ago."
Fraser was sitting close, which was a good thing, because Ray realized he only had so much time. "I'm going to pass out now."
"I understand." Fraser didn't move. Ray slid down the couch, bumped knees with Fraser, and did as he'd warned.
When he woke up, Fraser's arms were wrapped around him, his chest warm underneath, and the sun sat low in the sky, lighting up the dust free-floating around the room.