Stockholm, I’d never been before. Always wanted to. Had always planned to. Had never got round to it. Like most things in my pre-Stasis life.
The jet had landed at a private airfield outside of the city and Patrick and Alana had taken me to a black Mercedes slightly off the runway. I had one question to ask that I had not previously taken the opportunity to ask as of yet.
“Who is financing all of this?”
“That’s something I can’t exactly go into detail about,” said Patrick, “Let’s just say that there are a lot of people with the financial clout who would rather keep their bodies and their businesses.”
“From that I’m assuming these will be some of the richest people in the world who would stand to lose everything with the social engineering that the direct link to Stasis would cause.”
Patrick’s silence confirmed my suspicions. “Eric, I can understand your concern. I had to make concessions somewhere to make the necessary progress required in tracking you down and finding you in order to stop what I believe Stasis is being engineered for. I’m not proud of some of the associations I have made, but you must believe me when I say that my primary concern is for the future of humanity as we know it. If the direct link to Stasis is allowed to become fully operational then humanity loses. We will effectively become slaves and prisoners in something that you know all too well does not adhere to what it means to be human.”
He was right. Stasis was not something for humanity. In my position as a reluctant chosen one, I had to determine my plan of action to operate quickly once inside Stasis to allow non-locational transitions .
“How long will I have inside Stasis?”
“As you’re hijacking the entry point we have to assume that the programming will remain and that you will fall out of Stasis in 360 days time and you will be anchored to the entry point we have calculated in Gamla stan, the old town of Stockholm. You will therefore have one day of Stasis time.”
“Wait, I’m not altogether confident about your usage of the word assume there.”
“It’s something that you have to be prepared for. The link may be programmed to a predetermined date of July 1st as your exit date. As you’re going to enter Stasis two days earlier than previous years, this will give you….”
“8 extra minutes to be prepared for. Which also means that I need to be prepared to return to my standard exit point, obtain something sharp, cut the link out of myself wherever I decide to ‘move’ it to and reprogram it without them realising what I am doing and without them killing me first now that I have reached a point of planned obsolescence in their eyes. Right?”
“Very astute Eric. We’re obviously hoping that it does not come down to that course of events though.”
“I think you can add an infinite factor of hope from my point of view.”
There passed a few moments of silence between myself and Patrick. I was uneasy about my part in all of this, largely because I was unsure that I could actually achieve everything that was expected of me. Failure was simply not an option.
For the first time since we boarded the jet, Alana finally spoke after getting a brief but permissive nod from Patrick, “Eric, there’s one thing that you need to know for this transition. You’re not going to be alone. We’ve detected energy signatures that are synonymous with Stasis transitions. If you succeed in returning and you find yourself at the CSNDC then you’re going to have to perform everything in under five minutes and make a transition straight back into Stasis.”
That changed everything somewhat. I looked at Patrick and the expression on his face suggested that he already believed that we had failed. What Alana had told me was something I believed he wanted to hold back from me out of fear that it would distract me.
“Patrick, I swear that I will do my best to put a stop to this. Over the years I’ve learnt a few things in Stasis. I have one advantage over anyone else: experience.”