Based on the last part, the date is important, to an extent. A lot of what happened in the previous five parts, though, seems to be pointless filler material. The court scene in part one is important. I think the scene at the processing center in part five is also beneficial to the story. Then there is the history narrative, explaining why the birthday is so bad. Instead of a single info dump, it should probably be spaced out a little differently. I think it is important to include that information in some fashion, though. – Trasee
Waking up from a medically induced sleep, or would that be a coma, is not an easy task. Waking up from a medically induced sleep on the moon is even more disorienting. I don’t know how long I stayed in bed, just trying to focus and get myself oriented.
The bed and pillow were quite soft. A warm blanket was pulled over me. It was very comfortable, unlike the stone beds I was on in the detention centers. Even the room I was in was completely different. For starters, it was an actual room, not a cell. I was in the twin bed, with the white sheets and light grey blanket. A simple white desk with a chair and a white desk lamp was next to the bed. A small tablet lay on the top of the desk. On the opposite wall was a wardrobe and dresser, also in white. Even my hospital gown was replaced with white pajamas. The bathroom, white of course, could be seen through an open door, contained a shower, sink, and toilet.
A clock on the wall gave the time as 15:08. I had to think for a few minutes to understand that was three in the afternoon. My brain damage, combined with the waking from the sleep, made it difficult for me to do the conversion.
Once I felt awake enough, I slid out from under the covers and stood up. The action felt odd to me. I don’t know how to describe it. Almost as if I were underwater, yet without the resistance of the water around me. When I slid out the chair to sit down and picked up the tablet, everything seemed lighter to my touch than I expected.
I touched the screen of the tablet to turn it on. The image of a woman appeared on the screen, holding the tablet. She turned it around to show me the back of the tablet and pointed to a small circle in the back. “Please place the tip of your finger here to unlock the tablet.” Like the nurse, she had a kind voice and a very sweet smile. After she finished the instruction, the screen turned off. With a slight shrug, I found the circle in the back of the tablet and pressed my finger to it.
The tablet flashed to life again, and the same woman appeared on the screen, smiling. “Good afternoon Val Edelstein and welcome to Orientale Station. This is one of four science stations on the moon designed to house prisoners from earth. This station is meant for those who have been sentenced for crimes of inconvenience, such as your inability to keep a steady job. We want to make your time here as comfortable as possible, but make no mistake, this is still a prison. You will be expected to follow the rules, and if you break them, you could be sent to one of the other stations.
“There are a couple things you should know. We’re located in the Orientale impact basin, an area of the moon with a slightly denser gravity, but still half that of earth. That means it will take less energy for you to move or jump, as you’ll literally be lighter on your feet, and things here will feel half the weight as they would on earth. It will take some getting used to, but you should be adapted to the changes in a week or so.
“It would be a good idea to keep this tablet with you at all times. It contains a map of the station so you can find your way around, and will give you important messages, such as when meals are served. You are expected to stay in your room between twenty hundred hours and eight hundred hours, that’s eight pm to eight am by the earth clock. The rest of the time you are free to roam the station. If you need assistance, just contact the guard desk via the messenger app on your tablet. While the circumstances of your arrival were not ideal, we do hope that you will enjoy your stay here.”
The woman flashed off the screen, and the desktop of the tablet appeared. The date and time indicated it was Friday, May 7, 2117, and was now 15:46. A schedule of upcoming events showed that dinner was in the cafeteria from 1700 to 1800, karaoke in Jupiter Lounge from 1830 to 1930, followed by lights out at 2000.
A nice, albeit very white, room. A comfortable bed. A tablet of my own. Karaoke night even? This wasn’t a prison, this was a whitewashed resort with strict rules and curfews. If this is what it is like here, no wonder no one ever came back to earth. Who would want to leave this comfort, even if the decor was kind of plain.