Project Cardinal

I woke up and couldn’t open my eyes.  A light warmed my eyelids but while I tried to pull them apart I wasn’t strong enough as there was something keeping them closed.  I didn’t know where I was, who I was, what year I was in and found that my legs and arms were secured to a bed preventing any kind of movement, but despite all this I felt an immense sense of calm.  My shifts in the bed must have been noticed as a few seconds later a woman’s voice said, “He’s awake, get the doctor.”

The voice was assertive but soothing, I knew I had heard it before but whatever time that was felt foreign and from another life.  At the very least from what she said I knew I was a man, but how old and what I looked like would have to come later.  For now while I couldn’t see I could hear and smell everything around me; the hum of the light making my eyelids look red, muffled voices behind some kind of wall, and a slight scent of perfume as one pair of footsteps stopped at a door that quickly opened and left the room while the other came closer to my right side.  There was a sound of fabric softly meeting legs as the perfume smell came closer and the woman knelt by me, then her voice spoke and said, “Good morning Rouge, I’m glad we get to meet again.”

So my name must have been Rouge, or at least that’s what I was being called now.  I could swear it was something else, but instead of answers a haze filled my mind with vague memories.  As I lay there turning my name over I heard the door open again followed by footsteps ending in front of my feet.  “Alright Rouge,” it was a man’s voice drawing out each word with precision, “Nurse Geneca, it’s time.”  Then the nurse brought her hands to my face, I felt the texture of powdered gloves with a smell of chemicals as her fingers pressed lightly to the corners of my eyes.  There was a lift of pressure and after a moment of resistance whatever held my eyes shut was lifted.  The voice of the nurse at my side then confided gently, “You can open your eyes now Rouge.”  Hoping that seeing the world around me would end the haze I had found myself in I opened my eyes, and the new freedom along with every color in the room was beautiful.

I met the eyes of the woman Geneca who had set me free; she was young with dark hair that fell down to her shoulders in waves.  She and the doctor wore light blue uniforms and as she undid the charcoal straps holding my arms and legs she gave me a slight smile.  The doctor was older with white hair and then walked to my side with a glowing device that he used to emit a soft green light into my eyes, after a moment he was satisfied and stepped aside as if to let me see the world.  There were all sorts of intricate tools on a table beside me, a mechanical being colored silver was where the doctor had been and made more analyses of my body before disappearing through the door.  I sat up a bit and saw I was wearing a shirt and pants made of a crimson cloth, brighter than any other color I had seen yet.  Through the window I saw sunlit clouds flanking a cyan and yellow sky behind hundreds of cars flying in both directions.   The feeling of wonder wasn’t something I remembered having before, that was a haze and these visions colors came through lucid and clear.  The doctor then spoke again, “Rouge how are you feeling?”

I didn’t know how to put it into words, every breath felt sweet, every sound melodious, and every sight a mending of textures and colors with each detail unique from the last.   “I feel…” I paused as I looked around again and breathed the air, “like I’m alive for the first time.”  I then looked over to the doctor who had picked up a rectangular device from the table beside me and made a note with enthusiasm.

He then said with a smile, “Glad to hear that Rouge, sounds like our improvements worked out perfectly.”

I searched my mind for an answer but again found nothing, so I asked, “What improvements?”

Then a second voice at the end of the room answered, “A chance for you to see the hope and beauty in the world that from what I believe you hadn’t seen before.”  The man was younger than the doctor but still looked to be somewhere in his 50s, unlike the others however he wore a suit and tie which would be a simple black and white if not for having a tie the same color of crimson I was wearing.

The man in the suit went on, “Doctor Flannikan and Nurse Geneca here have done a great job, and through this connector right here,” he tapped a finger to a device at his temple, “I’m linked to what you’re seeing right now and wow.  It.  Is.  Beautiful.”  He had a look of achievement as if a great project had been completed, but while I knew Geneca and Flannikan were my nurse and doctor I had no idea who this man was.  The man must’ve sensed this as he answered my unspoked question, “Rouge my name is Savillon Miller and you’ve been a special project of mine for oh about six months now.” I then noticed the patch on the pockets of Geneca and Flannika that said Project Cardinal as he continued, “Your name used to be James and like many others you only saw ugliness and suffering in your life, but now with the new bright vibrant way you’ll be seeing the world I thought the name Rouge would go well with all those colors you’re going to enjoy, don’t you think?”

At that moment was another clouded memory where someone was calling me James, but as fast as it came my mind changed back to the world around me and he went on.

“Rouge this is your chance to be reborn and live more fully than you could have ever imagined, that’s why I want to now welcome you to your world and life thanks to Project Cardinal.”  As he had been talking, Doctor Flannikan had handed over his device and the man called Miller had taken his place at my side.  There was a roughness in his voice but also a sense of confidence and knowledge, as if he had learned many lessons over the years but each one had come with a part of his youth.

I didn’t remember becoming a part of any of this but with how I knew it was different I had to believe something had happened, so I had to ask, “Mr. Miller?”

“Please, call me Savillon,” he answered.

“Mr. Savillon,” I said making a note to myself, “how is all of this working and changing the way I see world?  Why can’t I remember anything when all of this now is so bright and vivid?”

He knelt at the side of the bed as he picked up the bandage that had covered my eyes, “Rouge all of your questions will be answered in time, but for now all you need to know is we’ve given you enhancements so you can see how beautiful the world really is.”  He then picked up a mirror and said, “Here, I want to show you something,” putting it into my hand.  “Take a moment and look at who you are.”  I lifted the mirror to my face and I must’ve seemed baffled as Savillon said, “That means your implants are working, you’ll learn to control them in time I promise.”

I looked to Savillon and then back to the mirror but saw the same color, my eyes were glowing a bright green and I was about to find out why.