Part 4: Chapter 16: Barrier

I strengthened the barrier. It was now encoded to ten layers deep. Something had gotten through the single barrier and we were still attempting to locate it. We did not even know what it was. Whether it was a communication beam or whether it was a weapon was unclear but since it had entered it had gone into stealth mode.

We were now sweeping everything looking for anything that could be considered as foreign code. The barrier had not worked as it should have done. It was almost as if the object had rewritten the code of the barrier at the point of entry to not record the pattern of any code that attempted to or actually succeeded in penetrating it.

Another failure and my abject feeling of disappointment was affecting the flow of information around the network with the Tech team.

Chill out. Relax or disconnect. It is affecting the collective flow. That’s better. Where have we looked? Everywhere. No sign of it? None. Impossible. Something came through. Yes. Have we looked everywhere? Yes. Are we sure? Positive. In every person? Yes. In every building? Yes. Even in every piece of equipment. It is not here.

The flow stopped momentarily. I felt a rush of new thoughts but familiar memories. Eric had tapped into the network somehow and was feeding off our recent thought processes. His thoughts dominated the flow. It was like the Tech team and I were now secondary to Eric.

Have you looked inside the node?

Silence.

No.

The connection was broken. Eric had disconnected us all from the collective.

Sorry about that,” said Eric, genuinely apologetic, “I had to get your attention somehow. The node is your key for this. If you have looked everywhere that it could possibly be, there is only one place left and that is inside the node.”

We did not think about the node,” I replied, “We did not think that the node could be entered.”

I found a way,” replied Eric, “Or rather, I was taught a way by the being that once held you prisoner. You taught it a lot without realising it.”

Eric showed us the way in. It was amazingly simple yet not something we would ever thought of due to the simplicity. I guess there was no way to programme an Occam’s Razor procedure into a collective thought process.

This node should be empty. Other nodes contain the energy signatures of all those that were assigned to the zone that the node was created in. Our transition was not part of the mass transition and others were locked out. Any code that is in this node that is not part of the nodal structure will be your intrusive code.”

I entered the node as Eric had shown me. It took me no more than ten seconds to locate the code. I encased it in an energy cage and exited the node.

So?” questioned Eric.

It’s human.”

And it has no charge, right?”

No charge. It’s neutral.”

Then perhaps we should wake it up, don’t you think?”

Perhaps,” I said, with a degree of uncertainty.

Before we do so, there is one thing that we must do.”

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