It was three days into my journey that I first spotted a tail. I pretended not to notice, and carried on as if nothing had happened. I was deep inside what I knew was enemy territory. The area I was in at the moment seemed to be commercial military. The just a short space of time since the mass transition a burgeoning economy had grown up in this area. When I first entered Stasis all those years ago, I never thought that one day I would walk through a Stasis weapons fair where money was exchanging hands.
I listened to the chatter on the streets and it seemed that rumours were heavy of impending attacks from the West and that all the neighbouring zones around this one needed to defend themselves in any which way they could.
I carried straight on through this zone and into the next. I was instantly uncomfortable here as there seemed to be a right wing political element to the the commercial military one. I knew my tail had followed me through the boundary crossover.
I was building up a feeling for how Stasis had been built up after the mass transition and wondered what other zones consisted of. I snapped this thought from my head and focussed once again on my goal of tracking down Patrick.
I was about to make a crossover out of what could easily become the Fourth Reich given half a chance when the inevitable happened. My tail approached me followed by another five men that had joined him in this zone.
“Mr. Deacon,” he said in a gruff authoritative voice, “My employer has been expecting you.”
“I have no doubt that he has. I have been looking for him for a long time now. He has a lot to answer for,” I shouted loudly in mock protest.
My tail and the other men looked at me oddly. The first seeds of my weapon had been sown. They looked around at other people that had stopped to stare at what they hoped was a developing scene, giving them all glowering looks to tell them to move along. And then the killer blow just as they were about to move in and bundle me away.
“Why did he bring us here? WHY? Spread the word peo….” I was cut off mid-sentence by an incapacitating jolt that seemed to make my body explode from within without an external reaction. But unless they repeated that for each one of the 100 or so onlookers, then my little drop in the ocean would send ripples that would only get bigger as they got wider.
They took me through a neighbouring zone to another zone that had been manipulated into rolling Alpine-esque hills. I vaguely remembered creating this scene a few years earlier, though I am positive that I did not create the rather clichéd and imposing monstrosity that sat at the centre. It vaguely resembled an Alpine castle, but it was a clash of so many styles that it contradicted any kind of imposing purpose that I assumed it was created for.
I was hauled inside and was the victim of another cliché as I was taken down into the dungeon on the castle. In the centre of the room was a hovering metallic plate that I soon found myself digitally bolted to.
As the group of henchmen left the room, Patrick entered the room.
“Mr. Deacon, so glad that you could drop in for a chat.”
“Nice to see that you’re keeping a low profile Patrick. I really like what you’ve done with the place by the way. It’s so, well, you.”
He ignored my sarcasm and ploughed straight into his accusations. “You really did get into bed with the wrong people. They have costs me millions, perhaps even billions and ruined the chance for immortality. The chance to eradicate disease. Alice has got a lot to answer for.”
I laughed. “If there is one person that should not play God, it’s you. This is not about immortality or the well-being of humans, this is about power and money. Your clients will be buying into an exclusive health club and you will be the Lord of War for the highest bidders in the military.
“No Patrick, you are sadly deluded if you think you are doing this for ‘the people’.”
“And what exactly has Alice done to save humanity?” he barked in reply, rising to my bait.
“She saved us from you. She saved us from your twisted version of society where the rich stay alive and the poor die. She saved us from a permanent state of war where the winner is the one with the biggest credit limit.”
He’d heard enough of my accusations and sent a jolt through my body that was far more painful to the one I had received earlier. I needed to fight this somehow. The pain was all in the mind as the coding sequence of the jolt was tune to the perception of pain. I tried to block it off, but it appeared that I was in lock-down I had to grin and bear this no matter what Patrick did.
“This will not stop until you tell me where Alice is.”
“I have no idea where she is.”
Another jolt. I screamed in agony.
“I swear I do not know where she is. I’ve not seen anyone I know since the mass transition.”
With questioning me this time, he sent another agonising jolt through my body. I had nothing at all to tell him, but he was seemingly not prepared to believe my protests and carried on for another hour. By the end of it Patrick seemed as tired of my screams as I was of tired of being shocked and he decided that he would have to attempt to coax information that I did not have out of me another way.
“You’re a resilient bastard, I’ll give you that. Well done for trying though. I’ll have to try it the longer way and directly extract it from your memory structure.”
Patrick approached me, a helmet type device in his hands. He placed this over my head and I instantly felt all parts of my mind being probed. All my memories being stripped out. The whole painless process took several hours, after which Patrick removed the helmet and left me alone in the room still strapped to the metallic plate.
It was morning when Patrick returned, bursting into the room in a fit of anger.
“How did you do it??? HOW?” he screamed at me.
“Do what?” I replied.
“Don’t fucking play innocent with me. You know exactly what I am talking about?”
“Patrick, I can assure you that I do not know anything.”
“That’s exactly it. You know nothing. You have nothing in there. No memories of anything at all. Nothing about Stasis. Nothing about your time outside of Stasis. NOTHING. The only thing that I found in there was a coding sequence.”
He was shaking his head in sheer disbelief. I had no idea how this had happened. I thought about it closely and realised that I could not recall anything other than the last few days, but Patrick’s contraption had not even picked any of this up.
“I guess that you don’t know anything about this sequence either.”
“My guess is as good as yours.”
“Well, if it’s some kind of weapon, then we’ll both be destroyed by it. But, it doesn’t seem to have the makings of that. No. It appears recursive. Could this be some sort of map back to your friends?”
I stared at him blankly as he looked down at me. I offered a mild shrug from my position lying down.
“No. You really don’t know what it is, do you? There’s only one way to find out.”
He ran the sequence.
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