There were three of them this time, two to hold him down and the third to give him the shot. Last time only two had come he'd managed to kick free and break one of the orderly’s collarbones. He did not fight them this time however. In their immaculately clean white coats the doctors followed them in and waited for the drugs to take effect. There was a new doctor with them today, the usuals were there; Adams, Turner, Blacier, but the new one was younger than the others. An intern? Or Med Student, perhaps?
After several minutes Dr. Adams spoke, "Feeling better today Aldrick? Hmm, yes. I see that you're not fighting anymore, is that a sign of progress?"
The sedatives in the drugs made his head spin, but he laid it back against the white padded walls and grinned at them. "You know as well as I do that there can be no progress. There's nothing wrong with me at all."
"Hmm, yes, well, you have been saying that since you came to us four months ago, and yet, here you are, still insisting in these delusions of yours. We simply can't let you back into main stream society, or heaven forbid, back to the military, with something like that, now can we?"
For the first time since they had come in, Terrence Aldrick, formerly of the United Earth Military Science division, noticed that the young doctor was smiling at him. Dr. Turner noticed his sudden concentration on the young man and responded, "Oh yes, this is Dr. Fullert, Aldrick. He's a specialist in post-war therapy, he thought maybe he could be of some assistance to us in helping you."
He kept his gaze locked with that of the young doctor, glad that the drugs were helping to suppress his senses. After a moment of silence Dr. Fullert spoke in a soft, lilting voice that, nonetheless, filled the room. “Yes, of course, I’ve come to help in anyway I can. The recent war you took part in was the first ever interstellar war waged by humans, and it has brought with it a whole host of special mental injuries. If you could, I’d like you to tell me what is wrong with you, in your own words.”
A drug induced throbbing was making it hard for Aldrick to concentrate, but with as much scorn as he could muster, he responded. “I told you there is nothing wrong with me. I am perfectly sane, it’s everyone else that is in danger.” He decided that he would make one last effort to try and tell the truth on the off chance that the young doctor could do something with the information. “You’ve read my file? You know my background?”
The doctors shared a brief glance with each other and the regulars nodded for Fullert to continue. “Yes, of course. You were part of a team in charge of countering the Scalorian multi-dimension array. Something went wrong in the testing phase and soon after you were brought here and discharged by the UE forces.”
Slowly, making an effort against the effects of the drugs to clear his mind and stay conscious, Aldrick nodded. “Yes, that’s true, but do you know what any of it means? Of course not, neither did we, not really. The damn lizards used some type of weapon that caused damage in multiple dimensions. Nothing physical, but it would turn a man’s brain to slag, steal the life right out of him. We could grasp the general concept, once we captured one of their weapons, but a defense against it? For a while we were stumped.”
Dr. Fullert nodded. “I had heard rumors of their strange weapons, and the vids of course would show men toppling over like wheat when they were hit, but I’m by no means an expert. You must have found something that worked though, we won the war and the Scalorians have been grounded on their home planets.”
Shaking his head Aldrick responded. “No, we never found a way to counter it. Not after what happened to me. Near the end they just sort of…stopped using the weapon. Stopped using most of their advantages actually. We would have won in the end, of course. We have more man- and firepower than they did, but they could have held out a lot longer if they hadn’t given up their weapons. No, after what happened to me, they knew there was no way to actually counter the weapon.”
“But why would they give up such an advantage? They must have known we couldn’t counter it.”
The throbbing had intensified in Aldrick’s head. Everything seemed to be spinning out of control around him. “Oh, they knew, but you see, we weren’t really fighting the Scalorians at all. The Scalorians were just what we could see. I told you their weapon was multi-dimensional? Well our attempt at a counter was too. We created a field that would rebuff anything outside our dimensions, but it backfired.”
The other three doctors were looking anxious. They had heard Aldrick’s wild ideas and delusions before, but Dr. Fullert leaned closer to him, the expression on his face eager. “Is that what happened to you then? This anti-dimensional field caused the delusions?”
Nodding, he went on. “It didn’t work like it was supposed to. We were preparing to test it with one of the captured weapons when our research base was attacked. It was a light raid, but during a critical moment. I was inside the field, calibrating it to the test settings when the blasts set off the weapon. I wasn’t killed, but I wish I had been. When the raid was finally fought off I began to see things that shouldn’t have been there.”
“The delusions then?” Dr. Fullert had taken several steps closer. “What did you see?”
Taking a deep breath, feeling himself losing the battle with the drugs Aldrick tried to finish quickly. “It started with the vids, I saw the pictures of the Scalorians and there was something out of place. Our cameras picked it up, even if human eyes couldn’t see it, the extra dimensions. The Scalorians weren’t really our enemy at all, but atop each of them was a parasite, residing in this extra dimension. Like a slug on their scalp with a single eye stalk. No one would believe me no matter how hard I tried to convince them. The field had somehow interacted with their weapon and allowed me to see into their dimension.”
The other doctors interrupted at that point, stating that it was time to go and an appointment could be arranged later. They had other patients to attend to, ones who were showing signs of improvement.
Aldrick put out his hands to keep them. “One moment only Doctors, you must believe me. Before I was sent back to Earth from the front lines it got worse. I began to see the parasites on humans as well. Those who had been in close proximity to the lizards and their masters. People I had spent years working with suddenly undergoing extreme shifts in personality because they were no longer themselves. They passed for human, but they were no longer in control. The creatures realized there were going to lose the war, and decided to change sides. I tried to warn them, but they discharged me, sent me here. You must warn others! Tell them! Warn them! Before it’s too late!”
He was screaming now. The drugs were beginning to pull him down into blissful nothingness. The three regulars were shaking their heads. One by one they left the small padded room followed by the orderlies. Only Dr. Fullert remained watching the eyes of Aldrick flicker and struggle to remain open.
“My dear, dear Aldrick. It is terrible what has happened to you. I truly wish I could help. Unfortunately, it is far too late. Far too late for everyone I’m afraid.” And the doctor walked out of the room, Aldrick could just barely make out the eyestalk peeking out from under his hair before blissful darkness took him.