It was Patrick.
“I knew you would find me,” he said forlornly from inside the cage we had resurrected him inside, “I knew you would bring me back.”
“You’re lucky I have a heart,” said Eric.
“Why did you come here?” I asked.
“There was nowhere else to go. They were turning against me. After the crack in Stasis and after all the machines you let loose, I was was overthrown. They had lost faith in me.”
I could tell that Eric did not trust him one iota. For him to come running to us claiming that it was the only place that he could come in a vast expanse did seem strange to me.
“So you will help us close Stasis?” Eric asked, very bluntly.
In a flash, Patrick’s forlorn look turned into one of sheer anger. He was a defeated man yet he would continue to fight until all hope had run out.
“Never!” he shouted, “That is not why I came here. I came here to plead with you. To offer an alternative. My associates no longer trust me and I cannot work with them any longer, but you must be able to see the advantage of Stasis. Stasis cannot be closed. Must not be closed. For the sake of humanity!”
We both laughed at this this contradictory hyperbole.
“For the sake of humanity,” began Eric.
“Stasis must be closed,” I finished, “And I’m saying that as someone that has to remain here. Someone that cannot exist in what you know as reality. This IS my reality here.”
“Then there is nothing more that can be done for you. You have lost. This ends here.”
Patrick disappeared and the barriers came down. This had been nothing more than a ruse to attempt to reason with us. An infiltration clone that had been implanted into our node with a real time link in an attempt to see things from his point of view. It had failed and he was now going to destroy us. The only thing that he knew how to do.
We were being overrun. Thousands upon thousands of enemy troops rushed into Blue. The surprise attack caught our forces off guard and the first few waves were cut down in their tracks. This was not going well.
“EricToo, I need you and Three to build that accelerator now. I’m going to network with the Tech team and probe Alice’s mind for the details of the experiment. How long do you need?”
Not long. An hour, said Three, answering for me from everywhere but nowhere.
“You’ve got half an hour.”
We got to work, or rather, Three got to work and I just acted as the builder to the architect of its designs following every instruction in more than a fine detail.
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