We had reached the airfield without any incident and were now cruising above the Bay of Biscay. I was sat with Alana and a sixtyish looking man with slightly wild grey hair. He struck me straight away as an academic in Physics.
“Mr. Deacon, I am Professor Patrick Nelson. I discovered Stasis and I am afraid that you are in great danger due to your unfortunate situation. Before I continue as to why, you need to know what Stasis is.”
I recalled what I had been told after my first year in Stasis and recited it from memory.
“Yes, yes. I am aware of the definition of Stasis,” he replied impatiently, “But as to what Stasis is intended to be, I am sure that you had the wool pulled over your eyes. A social network it may be, but the intention is that it will be used by everyone in some glib attempt to preserve the planet and mankind by selecting sets of people to live in harmony for five days before they are returned to Stasis for the next 360. It is the ultimate form of resource management. And although it may well sound like the solution to all of the planet’s problems, we cannot form a Utopia from a draconian dystopia that is built on a sinister foundation of lies and deception.”
“But I am the only person there. How they can control the world’s population going in and out of Stasis?”
“I believe that they are in a final roll-out process of a secure remote link that will not fuse with each person. It will be a direct link between the outer level of Stasis and everything else. All they will need is to give it a trigger code, human DNA in this instance, and the link will take every human being into Stasis and ‘improve’ them.
“However, we also understand that they will sequence into this a series of ‘null’ codes with the genetic sequences of those that do not want returned. We also fear that as they strive for their blinkered version of perfection that they will have also put in whole batches of null codes so that they could effectively wipe out populations of people that meet certain criteria.”
I took this in with careful consideration. “So, I’m in danger because you think that they could send a null code with my sequence on?”
“That is what we believe, yes.”
“But what about the link that I have fused inside me?”
“Ever since they discovered that this had happened during the initial transition they have been working on a way to code it out.”
“Why not simply kill me when I came out of Stasis?”
He sighed, “Because you were their living subject. Eliminating you would have put their progress back to square one and they would have had to use another test subject. You are exceedingly lucky that this year is a leap year – something that they are still unable to account for through your link. The direct link is purely based on your entry point into Stasis. Yours was first and foremost based on the time and then on location. This threw the system on a leap year in the initial programming of the link. They thought it would just pull you out a day early, but it failed to and left you in odd locations.”
“But when I first came out of Stasis I was in a different location.”
“Yes and no. You were not in the familiar location of your office, but you were in the room that was built where you spent your working life at the time. After your disappearance and your manager’s unfortunate arrest, NoTech was shut down and replaced by the Centre for Social Networks and Community Diversity. This charitable organisation was essentially a front to keep you and Stasis away from the public eye. The first leap year incident caused a media frenzy, but as you know, no sooner as you had arrived that the CSNCD goons were able to get you back to your static transition point.”
As far as I could interpret the situation, I had to return to my former place of work and captivity and allow Stasis to take me back. I did not appear to have any other option. I was beginning to think that Patrick’s grim appraisal of the peril that I was in was actually terminal.
Before I could speak, Patrick spoke again. “There is one option though. You have spent enough time in Stasis to learn how to make the transition independently. There is no reason whatsoever why you should not be able to. The link downtime that I am sure you will have been told about theoretically should not apply now that you are fully written into Stasis.
“You should simply be able to make the transition and ensure that your whole bodily make-up is on the periphery of Stasis so that it supersedes any attempted null code that targets you.”
“Well, it should simply be a matter of calculating where your entry point into Stasis is at any time during the next few days and ensuring that you are at that location. The transition should then be automatic once you are at that location. Luckily, we have three additional locations to use along with the known static point to be able to triangulate a transition point for you.”
“You will go back to Stasis and learn how to control it to ensure that humanity is safe from the enforced cleansing that they are about to be subjected to.”
“So, you evidentially trust my morals without actually being aware of them?”
For the first time since our conversation started, Patrick paused. Blind trust is something that I find hard to come by, but Patrick was seemingly prepared to accept his perception of my moral compass unconditionally.
“I am now working on the assumption that you trust that my ethics and morals match yours. To the tee. If I was in your shoes, only desperation and necessity could lead me blindly down that path.
However, I can see that those two preconditions both apply here and that you have no option but to trust me. And likewise, I have to trust you. I have to trust that you have nothing to do with this CSNCD and that you are telling the absolute truth about them simply to save humanity. And that I have to for my own self preservation.”
Patrick looked me in the eye with a demeanour of exasperation on his face. I could sense that he was growing tired of my non-committal attitude.
“Eric, we have to move fast on this. Of course we will not force you into something that you are not complicit with but in our eyes you are the only option.”
Here I was, out of time yet securely anchored to it. And with a plethora of questions to ask and decisions to be made I just had to skip along and glide into the next set of circumstances as they came.
“Okay. Let’s get me back into Stasis.”