“This is insane…”
Voices argued above Arkay. He was only partially aware of where he was and what was going on. All he knew was that he hadn’t taken his daily medication, and that worried him more than everyone talking above him. Finally, someone decided to see how Arkay was doing.
“Are you alright?” Eskay asked as he laid a thin, tattered blanket over Arkay.
Arkay rolled his eyes. “N-no, not really… H-how long was I u-unconscious?”
“About a day. According to our guesses, it’s Thursday now.”
In a panic, Arkay tried to sit up, before realising he was nearly too weak to do so. “I h-haven’t t-taken my meds in…”
“A while, I know. Can you tell me what you normally take? Do you know?”
Arkay shook his head. He’d always just accepted whatever they gave him, having given up on wanting to know what was wrong with him. It was always something new, and Arkay just wanted ot all to go away. “Only a vague idea… All I know is that they changed my monthly insu-doses to daily ones.”
“When did your medics do that?”
“Two weeks ago.”
“And you’ve been without your doses since Friday… Oh dear…” Eskay lowered his head, knowing Arkay was in trouble. “You know…”
“T-that I will die slowly as my body c-converts muscle into energy r-rather than sugars and fats, releasing acids that will eventually cause my organs to f-fail? Medics all told me that…” Arkay sat up properly. The other Ksa were all still arguing, ignoring them. It was just him and Eskay for now. “W-what are they talking about?”
Eskay sighed. “Veekay insists that Vice General Elkay is still alive. We just need to communicate with him somehow. Wouldn’t be an issue if we weren’t underground and hadn’t been given power dampeners. The only telepathy that beats a power dampener is Comatic Sleep Talking.”
“Comatic Sleep Talking?” Arkay shuddered. “D-doesn’t that mean going into a coma to speak to someone else who m-may also be in a coma?”
Eskay nodded. “Pretty much. Very dangerous. There’s a worryingly high chance that you don’t wake up from your coma, or if you do, it’s brief and you end up falling asleep again. I can’t believe that Veekay is insane enough to try it.”
Arkay didn’t reply for a moment. Eskay glanced at him, then realised what Arkay was probably thinking about.
“No, Arkay, you can’t. You’ll probably die.”
Arkay smiled. “You really worried about me dying, when I haven’t had my medication for nearly a week? I’m pretty certain those drugs didn’t just include insu-doses, but things like anti-rejectants too…”
“That doesn’t matter. You deserve the right to live the rest of your life properly, not have it cut short by Veekay’s insane idea!”
“Oh, what life?” Arkay growled. “This life? A life where we’re stuck in a fucking hole of cold death, waiting to be eaten by whatever the fuck is down here?”
“But your life outside of here…”
“Yes, my life inside that damned hospital where I regress into a kid again and watch as everyone tries to keep me alive for as long as possible. Stuck in a room of people just as condemned as myself. Some life that is. Eskay, I am going to die soon no matter what. I might as well put my slither of life to good use. If it means dying so you all go free, so be it.”
Eskay hesitated, then turned away. He didn’t want to do this, but Arkay was right. “F-fine. I’ll mention it to the others.”
“No need.” Arkay struggled to his feet, then called out to all the other Ksa, grabbing their attention.
“What do you need, Arkay?”
“I have found someone for your insane Comatic Sleep Talk idea.”