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Corporeal Passage: Chapter 25: Adam's Apartment

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Winter Camp / Media / Fiction / Corporeal / Corporeal Passage: Chapter 25: Adam's Apartment

Corporeal Passage: Chapter 25: Adam's Apartment

by Jeff Rand

Danielle followed Adam, directing Ethan and Leu through the wall passage into the apartment. The trio entered a large pie-shaped room overlooking the sea. The room stretched at least 50 feet to its curved exterior of floor to ceiling lightly tinted glass. A beautiful wooden floor with intricate swirls cushioned their feet as if it were padded carpeting. The high wooden ceiling had multileveled patterns.

"Welcome to a more typical Teran residence," said Danielle. "I will give you a tour, while Adam prepares a meal with the groceries. I hope you like root crops."

Ethan knew that Roman Catholic priests had taken a vow of poverty and wondered how Adam could live in such luxury as a youth pastor. It made no sense for people in Tera to be so wealthy.

Danielle led the guests to a wall in the large living center. There Adam faced at least 200 compartments of varying sizes stacked in several columns. He was emptying contents into selected compartments from the tubs he had just purchased. Danielle explained that the storage unit served as a combination refrigerator/freezer/cupboard. Each food item was stored in its own compartment for optimum environmental conditions, including temperature, humidity, and other atmospheric requirements. She noted that most items were raw ingredients, but there were a few convenience items in biodegradable packaging. Even the beverages were either thick syrups or solids to be mixed with water. Not since Ethan had learned of the habits of George REA Thomas during the Winter Camp 45 Plaque Hike, had he known of such organization for foodstuffs.

The room was spacious. Its furnishings included a large round table under a chandelier decorated with what appeared to be precious stones. Other furnishings faced the large window overlooking the sea and were surrounded by a variety of ornamental potted trees and shrubs. Danielle moved to the opposite wall where there was a row of small rooms for toilet and health functions. There was even a chamber for pet care, although no animal had been observed in the apartment.

Back along the entrance wall at the inner circle forming the room, a hallway curved counterclockwise into the rest of the apartment. Danielle explained that the apartment formed a semicircle at the circumference of the building and that there were five smaller room sectors filing the space outward from the hall. The first room, closest to the living center, was the hobby room and would be typically used as such in others' apartments.

Adam's hobby room was filled with tools and crafting materials. Dozens of dioramas were displayed in the room, featuring unfamiliar architectural structures in unrecognizable landscapes. However, on the table in the center of the room, was a work in progress, resembling the famous statue in Rio de Janeiro of 'Christ the Redeemer.'

The next sector room was elongated in a modified pie shape. Rather than having a window wall, the exterior wall curved and featured a robust splash of patterns and colors. Along the wall to the right was a cabinet and shelves holding an assortment of possessions before abutting a strange furnishing that looked like a torture bed.

"This is Adam's sleep room," said Danielle. "But you may use it after our meal, Mr. Rein."

"Danielle, you can call me Ethan. If what you say is true, you are old enough to be my mother." Looking at the piece of furniture, "Is that a bed?"


"It looks like padded chicken wire. How can you possibly sleep on that? Where are the blankets?"

"Why would you want blankets?" she replied. "The environment of the room will be controlled to optimize your sleep pattern. You should wear only minimal clothing to maximize comfort and allow for good air contact with your epidermis. This will give the nanites the best access to your flesh to conduct their cleansing and healing activities."

The next room was a guest bedroom but had no bed. It did have the cabinet and shelves. Beyond the place for the bed, there was a desk and chair. This room did not have the decorated wall but extended all the way to the window wall now overlooking the pond far below in the center of the building complex. Danielle led the guests into the room beyond the desk where there were two loungers facing the window. However, the wall on the right ended just past the desk, providing a clear passage curving back to the living center. The left wall extended all the way to the window, but tucked back in the bedroom was a wedge-shaped bathroom. Danielle explained that either wall could be extended to the window, restricting access to this sector. Of course, if the left wall extension was opened, then access would be permitted to the next room along the window corridor. Further, a room space could be reduced with its own exterior wall as was the case with Adam's sleep room. This could allow others to enjoy the entire window corridor without impediment.

Danielle turned to Louis, "This will be your room."

"Where's the bed?" he asked.

"Oh, it has been put away," responded Danielle, walking over to an open space in the shelving unit. She pushed a button on a panel. The floor opened to allow the padded chicken wire to rise into place.

The next room would typically serve as a bedroom if the family had the full complement of two children. This was not the situation in Adam's apartment. The room's walls extended all the way to the outer window, and it was filled with equipment for water adventures. Plainly, Adam was a diver. However, an item on the wall caught Ethan's attention.

"What's that which looks like a pair of wings?" Ethan inquired.

"It's a pair of wings."

"Why does Adam have a pair of wings?"

"He likes to open a window space and jump into the pond. The wings help him glide to the right spot far below. He told me he can open a window space in the living center and glide all the way to the sea."

The final room served as a storage and work room. Ethan wanted to know more about the unusual objects in the room, but Danielle ushered the guests back to the living center for dinner.

Adam had already prepared the meal and set four places at the table. Each setting featured a sea creature with a large bulbous head in the center of a plate surrounded by a collection of colorful tubers and other vegetables. Ethen suspected that Leu had selected this delicacy and wished he paid more attention to his son during their trip to the market. Regardless, he would say nothing and placed his hands on top of his head in proper Teran fashion awaiting grace.

Following dinner, Ethan and Leu were directed to a small room adjacent to the pet center. "This is where you will be scanned for your clothing," Danielle indicated. "We want you fitted sooner rather than later. Adam and I have already selected outfits suitable for your age group."

Ethan had concerns about Danielle's ability to be humorous at his expense but hoped that Adam had the maturity to make a better decision. He guessed that Adam could be close to 100 years old.

Although it was still midday in Tera, Ethan was ready to retire to Adam's sleep room and attempt to rest. First, he used the bathroom for a sonic shower; then put his clothes back on. He was not going to be half naked on the torture bed. At least he could sit in a chair if it didn't work.

He touched the panel next to the bed for the system to measure his temperature and other vitals so to adjust the environment. Already he had changed the chromite-covered walls to pastel shades of blue rather than the psychedelics he had first encountered. Then he crawled onto the padded mesh. As he laid onto the bed, the edge against the wall rose to pillow height. It was remarkably comfortable. "The effects of less gravity here inside the earth does make a difference," he thought.

"Good afternoon. It is time to get up," the voice came from a head peering into Ethan's room. He knew the voice, but he sat up and reached for his glasses. Leu was approaching with the face of a feline resting on his shoulder. However, Ethan did not recognize the cat with its black and white features. Thomasina was tabby colored.

"Meet Bart. He is Adam's pet tree cat," said Leu, as he placed the animal on the floor.

Bart stood upright on his long hind legs. When standing, though quite thin, Bart was nearly four feet tall. He proceeded to jump on the bed cage with Ethan. Now in a sitting position, more typical of a cat, he extended his front paw. Rather than a normal cat's paw, it looked more like the hand of a monkey, but with only three fingers and a thumb. Bart reached to Ethan's side and began to pull on his shirt.

Leu felt obligated to speak, "He thinks you are going to bed and wants to help you undress. Certainly, you didn't sleep in your clothes."

Ethan glared at his son, "Just get him off me."

Leu grabbed the tree cat, placing the feline back on his shoulder. Bart moved to Leu's back and placed his front legs around Leu, as if he were a small child riding piggyback. Then he surprised Leu when he moved his paw hands to cover Leu's mouth.

"I guess he doesn't want you to be speaking any more evil," quipped Ethan.

Leu had to remove the cat's paws from his mouth, "I think you may be interested to see a lobotomy."

Ethan sprang from his bed and followed his son into the living center. There they found Danielle sitting in a chair. Both hands were strapped holding her palms down. A device that looked like a fancy ice pick sat on a table next to her.

Pointing to the device, Leu offered some explanation, "This is an orbitoclast. When Doctor Mengele returns from the bathroom, he will be using it to perform a transorbital lobotomy."

Ethan turned towards Adam who was standing next to Danielle, but Adam did not understand the exchange. Ethan was about to release the hand straps when the doctor approached. "This must stop!" he shouted at the doctor.

Adam reacted quickly and pulled Ethan away before he could get into a confrontation with the doctor. Ethan turned to defend himself and attacked Adam. Although Adam was much taller than Ethan, he was surprised by the strength of this small person. When Ethan shoved his stomach, Adam fell to the floor several feet away.

"Mr. Rein, please stop. I have been joking with your son telling him things that weren't exactly true," cried Danielle. "Prior to leaving Zero Node, I watched historical films on some atrocities. I learned about Doctor Josef Mengele's experiments on humans in Auschwitz. I thought it would be fun to use his name with Leu, but Leu really didn't understand its significance. Then I learned about Doctor Freeman and his invention for poking into eye sockets to perform transorbital lobotomies. That is not the purpose of the device on the table. I think it is intended for implanting a subcutaneous chip under my fingernails."

Ethan paused to settle his nerves. Although Danielle was actually much older, she had the temperament and maturity of a teenager. Even in the short time she had known much younger Louis, she must have noticed that he was maturing quickly and would soon be an adult. "I understand," Ethan said. "You need to know that words have consequences. I am sorry that you had to grow up after your parents died."

Ethan walked to Adam to help him to his feet. At the same time, Danielle said something in the Teran language which explained the situation to Adam and the doctor.

The doctor turned to Danielle to perform the procedure. He held the device in his gloved hand and shined a light across its length, presumably as a means of purification. Then he slid the device pick under the middle fingernail on her right hand. Danielle winced a bit, but the doctor was quick to withdraw the probe. He performed the same act on the left hand. After the scare, Ethan was pleased to see the procedure performed without incident. However, he was surprised to see the nails on each of Danielle's fingers turn to a shade of light pink.

Danielle said something to the doctor and then turned to Ethan, "Now I will be able to travel outside the centrix without an adult chaperone."

When the doctor removed his gloves, Ethan noticed that his fingernails were a shade of light blue. Feeling embarrassed about the scuffle, Ethan stuck his tongue out at the doctor, who responded in kind. Then the doctor said something else to Danielle which caused her to lower her head as if ashamed. "He scolded me," she said to the two guests. "He is Eli's friend and came here to help us. I did not know how to offer a real Teran apology."

The doctor exchanged words with Adam before the two left the apartment.

"Where are they going?" asked Ethan.

Danielle responded, "Adam is going to the market to get your clothing. I will be here with you to prepare for the journey next day. It may be dangerous for us if you are discovered when we travel to my relatives. Unfortunately, we will not be able to hide you as we hike into the country. Folks must believe that you are Teran children. Leu, since you will be a toddler, you must behave as such. Typically, young children in these parts run around without clothing. But I think Adam will bring you some play clothes that will be acceptable. Ethan, you look like a boy going through adolescence and will dress appropriately."

"What about our faces?" asked Ethan.

"You will wear hats to shade your face," she said, while handing them each a jar. "You will use this cream to remove any facial or chest hair that confounds your youthful appearance. When you have done this come back to me. We will work on your voices and other mannerisms."

Ethan and Leu had already learned a few Teran customs, such as the tongue greeting and to speak in a feminine voice. However, Danielle instructed them to keep quiet around others, and utter 'Ho' as a form of 'hello.' It would be good if their concentration was easily diverted, too. Also, they best not appear overly strong, as was noted when Ethan shoved Adam.

The parent sun was setting (or the orb was being extinguished, as Ethan imagined) when Adam returned with the new play clothes. When the guests tried them on, they were dressed in colorful shorts reminiscent of an Austrian family from the last century.

Adam made a light dinner and lowered the transparent walls curving around the living center. The group sat to watch the junior sun make its path to oblivion as it spilled into the sea. A pleasant breeze wafted into Ethan's face, and he wondered what would prevent him from walking over the now exposed edge of the room and falling hundreds of feet to the ground. The group remained for some time after the second sunset before it would be time for both Terans and guests to find sleeping accommodations.

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