Part 3: Chapter 8: Decision

The doorway opened again. Decision time. My bargaining chip had worked for Eric and he would now be able to move beyond this zone. I had nothing else to offer should I be denied what I want. What I need.

Eric came through.

We have decided.”

The pause. Why the pause?

We will allow you back in under the condition that you are locked from energy manipulation. You can have form and can interact with the environment.”

Thank you. And I understand that trust has to be earned over time. Having form will be enough for now. Energy manipulation is something that is currently beyond my capacity anyway.

I thought briefly about the pause. Eric had initially been positive about accepting me, but perhaps he thought that the rest would veto him. I could comprehend the lack of trust amongst others, but Eric’s reluctance took me somewhat aback. I tried to push the thought away, make it subside behind my emotions. I knew this would gnaw away at me and I had to keep it under control.

I only have one other condition. You cannot look like me. Or I should say that you cannot look like I do now. You’re quite welcome to the person we were before the first transition to Stasis.”

Thanks I visualised, without the sarcasm that I felt like spraying out in abundance. I will choose something different.

Now to extract you. I’m assuming that this algorithm patch will work much in the same way as it did on the barrier.”

That is correct. Though you will need to modify it so that it will seek my signature – and yes, you can just code your signature in as it will look for anything that contains that.

Got it. Search and replace, right?”

Yes. But only the fragment that is me, not your whole signature. The change could alert the sentient part of the programming and though I don’t know if it would react to the change, you would not want to risk a giant rolling ball if you get the weights wrong.

I will also need to know what form you want to take so I can build it into the extraction code.”

Us at eighteen. But make the hair longer and black. And give me a goatee beard. We never could grow a proper one.

Eric actually laughed at that. “Right. Time to get you out of there.”

The first I noticed about Eric whilst he was working on the problem was that he appeared to go into a state of trance as his mind ticked over and tackled the problem at hand. There is no doubt that he was the most experienced person at coding inside Stasis. I yearned to learn his skills but knew that I had to bide my time. It would come.

A few minutes later, Eric was ready.

Okay, I’m going to initiate the search and replace sequence in a moment. I’d say brace yourself, but I really don’t know if you’re likely to sense anything until you’re out here with your new….or should I say old body.”

The sequence started. I sensed the the programme enter the manifold and branch out. It was subtle and had I not known that it was about to invade this space then I would perhaps not have been aware of the presence. The sequence looped and mirrored around the swirling recursive maze leaving electron breadcrumbs behind to find the way out. It was quite ingenious.

I waited in anticipation as the sequence got ever closer. Ebbing. It was seconds away, I could practically feel it lapping at what I perceived as my feet. It was in. The sequence entered my weightless mass of energy and pulled me apart bit by bit replacing me with an exact copy without the thoughts, feelings or emotions. I was pieced back together in the middle of the sequence. I felt my signature get patched with what I assumed was my physical form.

Then came the flash. The sequence knowing that the job it was created to do had been completed backtracked along the electron trail. It was instant.

I stood face to face with Eric. It was like looking in a mirror, only not.

Welcome to Stasis,” he said, without a hint of irony, “Now, obviously we both cannot be Eric. I’ve been referring to you as Eric2.”

The name isn’t important, but I’m assuming that you’ve used the number two there. I’ll be happier if it’s the word too.”

A flicker of a smile, “Fine. Let’s go. It’s time you met the embryonic Stasis resistance.”


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