We were still in real time. There was a day before my transition. Everyone was aware of their roles for what lay ahead. There was one thing that I had yet to cover.
“When we step down into standard Stasis time, we need to very quickly gather the signatures of the 200 others and code them into a denial command that is locked onto the periphery of Stasis. They can’t be brought out under any circumstances right now. Just don’t lock the denial code onto your own signatures. If any of us die outside of here they would be trapped as that method of coding relies on us being inside Stasis to unlock it.”
They understood. I briefed them on how to leave the code behind on the periphery and when I was sure that they could carry out the task, we all shifted down.
In a frantic three minutes, between us we copied all the signatures. I reassured all of them that we would be back to rescue them and answer their questions. It had only been just under a day in their lives and they were still in a state of panic about their predicament.
As the final minute commenced, I checked with my newly found friends to see if they were ready. I’d asked them to commence their transitions at one second intervals. Michael would go at four seconds, Jennifer at three, Cara at two and finally Emile at one second before me. This should be enough to fool the link code. All four of them were making a transition to the location I was attempting to fool the link with.
I just hoped that I was able to get there. They knew to wait for me in case I was delayed by a couple of days. This is where the trust really came in.
Michael started his transition. A blink. Jennifer went. A flash. Cara’s turn. A click. Finally, Emile went. A breath, then I started. I reached the periphery. They were all there making the transition. My plan was working. The process was slower than normal, they had confused my link and it was holding them up. My link was open to reprogramming. Even before I had had chance to trigger it, the programming had crashed. I could not exit Stasis until I had reprogrammed it. I coded my DNA into the periphery and concentrated hard on rearranging my soon to be reformed body so that the link mechanism was in my right calf. As for recoding the link. Almost too easy. The whole process took about a minute. I should be six hours behind the others.
Transition hit me.
I was out. I opened my eyes praying that my trust had been rewarded. All four were there. No guns, no additional people. I breathed a huge sigh of relief.
“Thank you,” I said with more sincerity than I had ever put into those words before.
“Don’t thank us yet,” replied Michael, “It appears that we had tracking devices inserted into us before we were sent into Stasis.”
“Where are we exactly?” asked Jennifer.
I laughed, realising I hadn’t told them. “Alaska. About a hundred miles from Anchorage. We’re safe and I’m assuming that when you were sent into Stasis that you could only come out by your own free will just not go back without a link.”
They nodded. “Okay, well I need to get this link out of my shoulder and build a proximity link that will take us all back into Stasis.”
“We’re miles from anywhere, how are you going to do that?” asked Cara.
“I just need a few components to make the necessary adjustments. I know it’s remote here, but I did pick this area for a reason. At this time of the year there will be plenty of nature researchers studying the flora and fauna, and with them comes plenty of equipment.”
“I guess that we will just have to hope that we’re not tracked down first,” said Michael.
We pressed on through the wilderness that we had found ourselves in. Converting the link should be a simple matter of reversing the field to create a bubble that would take anyone within it into Stasis. I would need to devise a mechanism for automation, a simple trigger.
After about an hour of trekking, we sighted a hut up ahead. From this distance, there did not appear to be any signs of life or recent occupation, but up close it was clear that we were in luck. Jennifer easily got us into the hut and I did a quick audit on the contents. Everything that I required was there. Most importantly some whiskey to give me some Dutch courage for the first part of my hand. I took a few generous swigs and with the penknife in hand, I made the incision in my right calf.
The knife pierced my skin, causing an initial burst of pain as the tissue underneath was damaged. This was immediately shut down and pain no longer registered in my brain. I felt that I could have done considerable damage to myself without even knowing it. If Patrick was ever able to control Stasis, then having a source to create a super-soldier that had the ability to shut off pain and continue fighting would make him a very powerful man.
With the self inflicted wound in my calf now about four inches long and an inch deep, I put the knife down and inserted my fingers into the gash. I fished around and located the link. I took it between finger and thumb and firmly tugged at it. It came free very easily and I pulled it from my calf. I quickly dressed the wound that had already stopped bleeding.
I held up the device. It was a mere two inches long and about a centimetre wide and resembled a USB drive.
“Is that all it is?” asked Cara.
“Appears to be,” I replied.
“It’s not as big as the one that we came through on,” said Michael, “though I guess that the potential field size of that would be considerable. Can you adapt this one to take us all?”
“I should be able to, though to boost the size of the field I’m going to need some kind of power source.”
There was nothing noticeable at first. No electrical equipment, no batteries. Almost in unison, we all looked above to the light-bulb Emile reached over to flick the light-switch on. Nothing.
As I was taking the small device apart, Emile went outside to locate and fire up the generator. The outer casing was a soft white plastic type material. It appeared to be quite delicate, so I took as much care over taking it apart as I possibly could.
Once the outer casing was off, I assessed the components inside. Before Stasis, I was nothing but a layman of technology. I kind of knew how things worked, but I didn’t know exactly how they worked. With whatever Stasis had done to my brain or whatever the CSNCD had hidden in the social readjustment video montages, I just knew what to do.
As I heard the generator kick into action outside and the light flicker on, I located the component that created the link. The way that the circuit was designed it sent the field in a single direction and out of the device. At the exit point from the device, this is where it would have made contact with my body and would have started taking everything through the link that it had opened. It basically created a localised conduit rather than a field with the link at the centre.
I made the modifications required to create a bubble field and create a quick switch device to activate it.
“Emile, can you turn the light off and remove the bulb please?”
I needed wires. I looked around the room and saw nothing that would do the trick. Some minor property damage would have to be performed in order to get us out of here. There was a wall socket with wires fixed to the wall around most of the way.
“Okay, I need that wire and the ends will need to be stripped.”
Michael and Emile pulled the wire from the wall as I looked around for something that would fix either end of the wire in place. As a child, I’d usually fixed things with ad-hoc mechanisms that included bits of wire, sticky tape and blu-tac. All I could find was glue and paper, but it would have to do.
With the wire eventually fixed in place, we were almost ready to briefly return to Stasis.
“Before we return, try to retain as much information about the organisation of your body as you enter Stasis. It is possible to carry a residual trace through if you concentrate. It was hard enough repositioning my link from a place within my body where I knew it was.
Holding the device in my left hand, I flicked the light-switch with my right. I felt the electricity surge into the device and as we huddled together, I clicked the switch on the device.
Transition hit us.