A week later, we had a small but quite formidable team. Those programmers and gamers that had not thought we were either crazy or conducting some form of psychological experiment had listened intently at what I had told them. There had been a few forays into Stasis to show them exactly what it was. To prove to them that we weren’t crazy.
Although sceptical about what we told them, I was confident that they would be up to the challenges we were about to be confronted with.
Michael and Emile had managed to gather a small army of ten with healthy payments up front and the promise of large rewards once the job was completed. Alice was not best pleased with having to pay up front, but trust was everything in the struggle ahead.
Jennifer and Cara had little to report until Cara called me early in the afternoon.
“Eric, Patrick is heading to Cambridge. It’s not clear whether he knows where you are, but keep everyone inside for now. We’ll lie low until we’re sure that we can make contact without giving you away.”
“Is he with anyone?”
“Three cars. Military personnel and a few suits.”
I relayed the information to everyone else.
“I wouldn’t worry too much,” said Emile, “He was always a frequent visitor here. Plenty of research connections.”
“I still don’t want to leave anything to chance though. We have to keep our guard up and keep our advantage of knowing what is going to happen and why.”
Emile nodded. The news had brought an air of tension into the room that had not been present moments before. What I had said to Emile resonated around everyone’s thoughts. Knowing this was a huge advantage and one that we must retain.
My briefing sessions with the programmers and gamers had initially focussed on how to control the energy in Stasis, but I wanted to fast track them onto things that I had yet to fully grasp. For the final two days I was learning and almost immediately relaying this information to my pupils.
Like I had previously, I started with the same pattern. After we’d covered rudimentary moving drones, it was time to go onto items that were far more complex. An army needed vehicles and weaponry. It was no point one person creating the same item over and over again, so the process had to be automated. I discovered that by expanding on my pollinating drones that I could develop a production line for basic objects. This Von Neumann machine took a simple design instruction as the input and would mould itself from the energy signatures available. Once it had carried out the instruction, it would send the design code back into the energy signature and the process would start again. It would carry on doing this until it reached the set number or was told to stop.
But this only worked for simple mechanisms. Something more complex required an array of these with all the outputs being fed into a a final production line. Out of this came the finished product.
In two short days, we had created small handguns that shot Von Neumann energy bullets. The beauty of these small gun being that they never ran out of ammunition. The framework of the production line for complex machinery was built, it just needed further application.
But most of all, they were ready and we had a big head start. As soon as the mass transition occurred, we would get to work on building the tools we needed to fight the opposition when it came. Patrick will blame us and the truth…well, he did not appear to be the kind of person that would accept the truth that we had to offer. He had a personal grudge against Alice for stealing the link and the research. His grudge against me was for merely escaping his grasp in Stockholm.
It was mid afternoon when we heard the cars pull up. I instantly knew that Patrick had somehow managed to track us down. Alice had also sensed this. We jumped into action. Michael and Emile secured the door.
“Okay, we need to make transitions now. Can these links be used for more than one person at a time?”
“I don’t know. They were only designed for one person, but they could be adapted.”
“There’s no time and it’s not worth risking. There’s twelve links and in total 25 in this room. Alice, Michael, Emile – you need to come with me now.”
Eight more positions. I paused briefly to think about who would be best brought through now. The sound of the door being battered was enough to make up my mind. I picked four programmers and four mercenaries at random.
“You four and you four,” I said pointing, “Get ready for transition.”
We all took our seats. Those that remained would no doubt be captured.
“Eric!” came Patrick’s positively angry voice through the door, “You have no idea what you have done.”
I knew exactly what I’d done.
Transition hit us.
Transition hit everyone