Push The Limits
Finally, Friday! However, the last day of the week was
not too exciting. Everything was usual, even scary: it felt like a Thursday.
He could now easily go home and do all his homework, but he still retained a
small bit of sanity. Slowly he strolled home and got to the computer, then
called Chloe. He felt as if a veil were covering his eyes: the reality was
distorted, worries were gone, and fun lay ahead. Yet, that was mixed with his
ongoing goal-PI. He has gone too far to stop now, and now, either alone or
with Chloe, he would go to the place on a map. Luckily, she was going with
It was 5:59. The elevator door opened, and he stepped
out. He was about to ring the doorbell, when his watch beeped and the door
“It’s six… Wow. How the heck did you—”
“You’re not the only one who likes to be on time,” she
interrupted. Suddenly, he grabbed her wrist and looked at her watch.
“Black leather. Wow! And it’s exact… Who are you?” he
“Who are you
?” Their watches were synchronized to
half a second. They both smiled.
“This is so weird.”
“Going to a place I don’t even know, just because I found
a map on a floppy in the back cover of an illegal book. What the heck?”
“You don’t like to curse, do you?”
“Not in person.”
“Do you curse in animal?”
“When did you find out?” he gasped in fake surprise.
“I’ve known it the whole time.”
“O, my! I must eliminate all witnesses. Nah, I’ll keep
“Thanks so much.”
“I’m going to run down. You take the elevator.”
As soon as the elevator door started to close, he darted
downstairs. As the doors were opening, she saw him, pointing at her.
“Gotcha.” She glared at him.
He shook his head. “How do you
want to get there?”
“I don’t know. Why?”
“Do you like walking?”
“Okay.” He smiled. “Let’s walk.”
“How are you?”
“I’m good. How are you?”
“Well… Yeah. I mean, nothing happened today. I turned
in the report I had to do.”
“Why do you ask it so weird?”
“Enallage. Just want to talk to someone.”
“What do you mean, ‘What?’”
“Enallage? What’s that?”
“Same thing as a transferred epithet. You said, ‘Why do
you ask it so weird?’. You made weird refer to me as opposed to ‘ask’, as it’s
supposed to be.” He continued to look straight ahead. She looked at him, and
almost immediately, he looked back at her. She turned her head, but he
continued looking at her.
“Looking at you, I know.”
“Why would you?”
“Just want to.” She smiled.
“Not too many people like to look into people’s eyes.”
“Doesn’t it become so annoying, sometimes, to try to see
someone’s eyes to tell him or her something?”
“O yes, I know that feeling,” he smiled.
“Then how are you, and what’s new today?”
“I’m good, I think, and nothing’s really new.”
“‘Cause I wanna know.”
“I just do. Is that okay with you?” she smiled.
“It’s Friday, and I think it’s pretty cool that I’m going
to this place with someone I don’t know very well. I’ve had a strange week.
My identity was erased. Call any info service, and I won’t be there. But I’m
not at all scared, it’s kinda cool. I wanna talk to someone, but I can’t find
“You have friends?”
“Of course. But there’s something… missing.”
“I don’t know. It’s like they don’t know what I feel.”
“Like what you think and the way you think it?”
“It’s that weird feeling. You think something and you
know it’s true. And you’re always right.”
“Whenever you call someone, you know that the number is
going to be busy, or that he or she won’t be home.”
“Or, when you see a friend, you know that he’s sad.” He
raised his eyebrow. “One of the things about it is that you can’t hide
anything. If you do, the other will know.”
“If the other is understanding enough, she or he will keep
“Otherwise, she or he will assume bad things, and it will
lead to loss of trust.”
“Ouch.” She looked at him with a warm glance. He smiled
at her with a tired look in his eyes. “And you just wish you could talk like
that with all your friends.”
“Or just meet someone who does.”
“Now, tell me.”
“It’s the people in school. Some of them are very
annoying. And friends… No one seems to know what’s going through my mind. I
mean, I am going to this place, with you… How many do you think know that?”
“Whom did you tell?”
“All those who asked. Only one.”
“Why don’t you just tell them?”
“I don’t work like that. I’m a Leo, remember? Leos need
attention. If anyone were to talk to me for about an hour, they’d know.”
“Why an hour?”
“Because if they talk less then it means they aren’t
“Maybe they don’t have time.”
“How come I always do, then? That’s the thing with me. I
can’t associate with anyone I know. Well, you…”
She smiled. “Me?”
“You know more than them.”
“Yes.” He smiled.
“And there it is.” He looked on the map again. “Yup.
What is this place?” It was a building with a few doors. However, the map
pointed to neither one.
“This mark… Where is it, exactly?”
“It’s not that door, but not this one. It must be in
between…” He suddenly stopped.
“You all right?”
“I see it.”
“Look. The mark is not at the house. It’s about 20 yards
“Yes, so you’re saying…”
“There.” He was pointing at a shaft, not really a shaft
but two grated doors leading down, a rectangular manhole.
“You kidding me?”
“Do I ever?” He came to the metal doors and bent down,
then opened one of them. “See?”
“Don’t go there! It’s a hole in the ground!” But he was
already climbing down the ladder.
“Oh boy. What am I going to do with you?” She came to
the opening and looked down into the blackness; slowly, she put her feet on the
handle of the ladder and started to descend. “See anything there?”
“Not really… This goes down pretty low.”
“Just don’t slip into the sewer.”
“I mean it.”
“Thanks. You too.” Suddenly, his feet found flat
ground. He waited for Chloe to climb down.
“So where are we?” she whispered.
“I don’t know, but this is cool.”
“Well, don’t you ever want to climb down…”
“Oh. Well I do.”
none'>“Okay, they’ll eat you first.”
none'>“Okay… Only there is one problem: there’s nowhere to go.”
none'>“What?” She walked around three times, her hand feeling nothing but
concrete. “You’re right. Where are you?”
none'>“I’m down here... Nope, it’s a sewer, all right, and the water goes down
none'>“What is there?”
none'>“Gratings leading to pipes.”
none'>“But there must be something down here!”
none'>“Maybe it’s not down here after all?”
none'>“Maybe it’s...” They both looked up at the same time.
none'>He started to climb up.
“There’s…” They both gasped because of a sudden beep.
“What’d you just do?”
“I think I pressed a button… Hey, look!” A dim beam of
light was coming from a pad a few yards above the floor. She climbed up to his
level on the left side of the ladder.
“Wanna call someone?”
“This isn’t a phone.”
“Oh. What is it, then?”
“How am I supposed to know?”
“Well, you know that it’s not a phone.”
“Oh, be quiet!”
“It’s a door, and this is the lock.” He looked at her.
She was as excited as he was; he could see it in her eyes. “You’re pretty.”
She smiled. “Thank you… That’s not what you usually say
to people in sewers though, is it?”
“I’m not a usual character, am I?”
“Not at all.”
He grinned. “So what’s the number?”
“Since this is a lock, a number would be a key.”
He saw the same idea flash in her eyes that has just
visited him. At the same time they started saying the seven letters:
“Don’t you just love that?”
“Saying things at the same time?”
“So, on the phone, it would be 9-7-7-8-6-8-9… Backwards,
it’s 9-8-6-8-7-7-9…” The device emitted a loud buzz.
“Now what? You okay? Sam?” For a few seconds, he
started into the nothingness with his eyes half-closed; then he opened them
“Add or subtract?”
“Remember, they never use the number. Add or subtract?”
“Subtract.” They both smiled. “9,778,689-657,218 will
be… O man!”
“Okay… 174,121,9.” The device emitted a high-pitched
quiet sound. “Alright! Gotta write this down… 9,121,471… Looks like a phone
“O stop it!” she smiled.
“Oa-ky. So it beeped… I guess we have to do the other
“You’re good.” She smiled and dialed the number. The
device emitted a similar noise, and the door clicked.
“Yes! Give me five.”
“Don’t do that!” She poked him in the ribs.
“Why’d you do that?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, then…” He then poked her.
“Aah, don’t poke me!”
“No you won’t!”
“Yes I will.”
“Okay, fine,” she sighed.
“Aren’t you scared though?”
“Yes,” she paused.
“It’s hard to explain. I don’t usually go to sewers and
open doors, so I think I should be scared, but...”
“It’s weird... It feels...”
“Feels like nothing’s going to happen, right?”
“Right.” They both smiled.
“Then, let’s go.” They slowly crawled into the dark low
passage. The only sources of light were the open door and his watch, which had
lighting. Slowly, they walked along the wall, feeling their way. He could
hear their breaths and knees on the quiet metal surface. Somewhere, nearby, a
drop of water hit the floor. It was getting darker as they went around a
corner. She was crawling behind. Soon there was only the light from his
watch, which he used sparingly.
“My shoulder scraped something…”
“Let me see… It’s a way out!”
“Anything else along this way?”
“No, there’s a dead end.”
“Okay, then, I guess, open it.”
“Okay.” He slowly felt the “doorknob” and turned it.
Bright light shone in their eyes, making then squint. The door swung downwards
like a ladder. Soon, their eyes adjusted to its brightness, and he peeked
outside to explore. “Man!”
“What is it?”
“I don’t know, but you better look at it.” He climbed
down the “ladder” into the light.
“Wow! What is this place?”
“I have no idea! Wanna go in?”
“Don’t be.” He got out from a gray air shaft. The room
was filled with rows of control panels. There were neither people nor
surveillance cameras. He safely walked around the floor and then told Chloe
that it was safe.
“What the heck is this place?”
“I don’t know… These are certainly computers, but what
are they computing?”
“What if someone comes in?”
“This is so scary! But…”
“Tell me, please… What do you think of this whole thing?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I… I’d rather be here than not.”
She smiled. “Me too,” she said after a pause.
“Want a hand?”
“I was just about to—”
She smiled. “Okay…” He extended his hand and she took it,
jumped, and landed softly onto the floor. The floor was covered with white
linoleum tiles; the air in the room was damp. None of the computers looked
useable for they had neither keyboards nor mice; other tables seemed to serve a
purpose known only to those who created them. There were two doors on the
opposite sides of the room. Florescent lamps illuminated the bright
surroundings. A quiet steady buzz reminded Sam of a laundry room, a laundry
room with sophisticated washers and dryers. He suddenly said, “How the heck is
this place related to PI?” Indeed, nothing in here, save the computers, seemed
useful. He unsuccessfully tried to make sense of what they said. Something
was inhibiting him from trying to find the truth. Normally, he would try
everything to make any change, but today he wanted the computers to remain
intact and their intrusion to remain unknown.
Strangely, Chloe seemed to have more understanding of
machinery than did Sam. Oblivious of him, she walked around trying to make
sense of what was written on the screens. She noticed his confused expression
but continued walking around the room.
“What do you think this is,” he asked after a long pause
“If only I could read it.”
“You look like you can.”
“Somehow, all of it looks familiar. I don’t know how.”
“Let’s go to another room.” They walked to the sliding
door to the right. As they entered another room, they noticed the sudden
change in atmosphere: the cool air actually seemed fresh, while the room itself
was uncomfortably scary because of its quiet. Indeed, they could barely hear
their footsteps on the rubber-like blue carpet. The room led to at least four
other smaller rooms, all of which were dark and even more mysterious. He tried
to open the doors, but found only two of them open. He came into one and
subconsciously started looking for a switch. There was a panel next to the
wall. There were small screen, a tuner which didn’t do anything (he checked),
and a few buttons. He pressed them to see what would happen. One of them
suddenly turned on the light. He looked around and saw a strange-looking bed.
Indented, was a figure of a person, as if someone invisible were already
occupying it. Over the bed was the other half of this “coffin,” together, the
two could conceal a body. He pressed another button. The two parts turned on
and moved closer together. The small screen showed the picture of the bed,
with a cryptic message blinking on a red background. He walked towards the
bed, which now looked more like a table, and tried it. It was soft, so he
decided to lie down. When he did, he suddenly felt very relaxed and sleepy.
The other part started to move down, but it stopped to leave him enough room to
leave. A sudden line of blue light started to scan him from his feet up—he
felt as if he were photocopied—and back. The rays felt warm and comforting.
He felt extremely tired for no apparent reason. He just wanted to close his
eyes and sleep…
When he opened his eyes, the machine was just turning
off. He got up feeling refreshed and happy; the door was open, and he could
leave. He turned off the light and went into the previous room. Chloe was in
the other open room.
“You scared me!” she gasped. “Hey.”
“What the heck is this place? I’ve just been
“The room next to this one… There’s a table, you lie on
it, and it scans you.”
“It scanned you?”
“Yes,” he smiled. “Watch out for evil twins! It wasn’t
so bad, actually. You know, I think this may be some kind of a lab. That was
probably some… Weird new scan. What do you think?”
“And the computers hold the databases?”
“Yes… But… Damn, I don’t get it.”
“How the two are related. If there’s research, then how
is it related to PI?”
“Let’s look in more rooms.”
“What’s this one do?”
“I think if you press some button over there the helmet
“Did you try?”
“Yes…” she said shyly.
“I don’t know. It feels really weird.”
“And that scan thing feels refreshing… Hey, wanna go
there and I go here?”
“Okay. To turn it on, press this button.”
“Okay, and to turn that on, let me show you…”
He returned to the new room with a helmet. What the
heck are these dials?
He turned a few of them, but nothing happened on the
little screen—there was a similar little screen with a big circle, to represent
the brain, he guessed. He pressed the button and sat on the soft reclining
chair, then put on the helmet…
He felt as if he immediately fell asleep. He saw dreams,
the strangest dreams he has ever seen. He was fighting at one moment and
playing baseball the other, then he was flying and ducking under a tree
branch… Again, he felt so sleepy that he, surprising himself, ignored those
dreams and started to slip…
When he woke up, he felt entirely different. He felt like
he was standing under a bridge, and thought, like a fresh new stream, were
flowing through his head. He’d never been filled with so many thoughts at
once. He felt hope and sorrow, joy and sadness, but, most of all, freedom.
When he closed his eyes, he could imagine anything he wanted. He hurried to
tell Chloe, but she wasn’t in the scanner room.
He walked to their first room and proceeded to the door to
the left. This door led to the stairs, leading to a small office-looking
room. There were about eight useable computers; Chloe was exploring one of
“Hey–” he started.
“You scared me. This, this place…”
“What about it?”
“Come here. Look.”
“What the heck? What… What is that?” He nervously
looked around. No cameras, no people. “That—”
“That looks a bomb.”
“No kidding… I don’t like this place.”
“They have so many files that aren’t supposed to be here.”
“And I doubt that this is FBI headquarters.”
“I was just about to say,” she chuckled.
“That helmet thing… Everything feels so weird now.”
“But it feels like I can understand everything much more
“And faster too. Thoughts just flow—”
“Like a cold stream under a bridge.”
“O my God!”
“Can you read my mind?”
“I don’t think so…”
“You just did. Exact picture.”
“That’s… I can’t find the word.”
“I think I know what you mean.” They both smiled.
Suddenly he was filled with a wonderful happy feeling… He
looked at her and saw the exact same expression. “Do you think that we’re…
connected somehow?” For a split second he thought that he should add more to
make himself clearer, but she replied,
“Yes, I do. Do you?”
“Yes,” he added slowly. “Yes. My God! This is...” They
both smiled and looked at each other.
They were interrupted by a slight noise. It was coming
from the other end of the room.
“What was that?”
“Uh-oh. That sounds like someone.”
“Let’s get out of here.” They started towards the stairs
in front of them, quietly enough to hear the door slam.
“We’re in trouble.”
“Not necessarily. You go first.” They ran to the
control-panel room and then to the air duct. “Go.”
“It’s too high.”
He put his hands together. “Stand on my hands.” She put
her foot on his hands and pushed herself up; grabbed the door of the air shaft
and climbed it. He was following closely behind, afraid to turn around. Head
first, he squeezed himself into the shaft and turned around. As he was closing
the swinging door, he saw a shadow about to open the door on the left—he slowly
pulled it shut and turned the knob. Without making a noise, they crawled a
long way back to the door, from there they reached for the stairs, closed the
door shut, and only then did they exhale loudly.
“That was scary as hell!”
“What did you see behind?”
“I saw someone about to see us if we were three seconds
“I can hear my heart beating.”
“I can hear mine.” They, she first, reached the top of
the ladder and got out from the sewers. He closed both doors and suddenly
hugged her. Expecting her to pull away, he was surprised to find her standing
still, with her arms around his neck.
“Just wanted to hug you,” he whispered. “You don’t mind,
“No. That was so scary!” she said, after a long pause.
“It’s all over right now.”
“Yes,” she smiled. He felt a sudden wave of warmth on his
back as he heard her say that. He didn’t want to go—and neither did she, so
like that they stood for quite some time, after which they headed home,
discussing and commenting on their unusual adventure. He walked her to her
door, where, again, he gave her a warm embrace, after which, having said Bye,
he hopped down the stairs and then to his apartment.
He woke up with only this thought on his
mind. Extreme pain
. He could not move any part of his body without
wincing. Even breathing was painful, let alone trying to sit up. However, his
head felt light and rested, as if he went to sleep at 9 and woke up at 7. With
much effort, he sat on his bed; with even more effort, he stood up and walked
to the shower. Having dressed, he walked to the kitchen and looked at the
clock—it was 9. Whoa, this is early. God, the pain!
He dropped to the
couch and turned on the TV. Nothing but junk. Anything interesting?
He walked around the kitchen, muttering “I’m hungry, I’m hungry not.” He
decided that he wasn’t; so he went back to his room and dropped onto his bed.
He wasn’t at all sleepy, but he wanted to rest. As he was about to put on the
headphones of his CD player, the phone rang.
He tried to sit up but it was too painful, so, again, he
dropped on the bed.
“Get the phone.”
He lifted his head with his elbows and rolled to the side,
put one foot on the floor and then another, and stood up, leaning on the wall.
Thus, walking along the walls, he got the phone from the kitchen.
“Sam! I didn’t wake you up, did I?”
“What are you doing?”
“Well I was lying in my bed.”
“So I woke you up?”
“No, I was already awake. I’m tired and so sore!”
“Tell me about yesterday.”
“You’re back already.”
“We didn’t get back too late, but I was tired, so I went
to bed early.”
“No wonder. Yesterday, it was so great! That place on
the map, it pointed to a sewer, but halfway into the sewer there was a door to
an air shaft.”
“You’re kidding me, right?”
“Do I ever?”
“That shaft led to I don’t know what it was, some sort of
a computer room of a research facility. There was a scanner bed and a
“They scanned your brain!?”
“Seems more like cleared it up.”
“But the best part it this: Chloe uncovered the files of a
“WHAT? How did you know it was a neutron bomb.”
“The drawings were labeled, ‘Neutron Bomb.’”
“Yes. But then there was someone, so we got out just in
“How come she discovered the files?”
“I... I don’t know. I actually thought she would be in
the photocopy room.”
“The bed with the blue lights... But it was so weird. I
don’t get it. It was cool though. I was there, with her...”
“I can imagine.”
By four o’clock that afternoon, his mind was awake. His
muscles were sore, very sore, but still he wanted to do something. Thus he
started doing his homework. His eagerness surprised him a little, and
surprised his parents quite a lot. His parents, especially his dad, did not
understand him. He wrote programs and drew pictures and composed poems; they’d
seen some; but he knew that they didn’t share his enthusiasm. Sometimes, he
could live a program. He skipped many a breakfast, creating multiple lines of
code to perform an elaborate task, and all they saw was a boy playing on a
computer. When he created an unreal world containing his personal experience,
very rarely did they have the time to read the first two pages of the story.
He knew that they loved him and he loved them too, but when it came to
discussing something of his life, he turned to his friends who were always
there for him, friends who read his stories and talked to him whenever he had
problems, friends who were thinking the same way as he did.
He was doing his Calculus homework when his mind wandered
off in thought of yesterday’s adventure. When he imagined putting on the
helmet, he suddenly looked at his paper. He was done. He looked at the
clock. He was done in fifteen minutes. Usually Calculus took him a good
half-hour, but today he seemed more awake that before. Wow
. He moved
on to his language translation. He was lucky, because it was easy: he knew
almost every word, so he was done with it in another twenty minutes. Wait a
minute... Next was Physics, but he was good at math, so he knew how to solve
those problems. No way! How the heck do I know how to do this? I’ve never
done this before. Yet, it’s so simple!
He was done with all his homework
except for English: he had to read a few pages of a boring novel. Having
nothing better to do, he decided that since he was tired the only thing he
wanted to do was to read. He opened the book and started reading. Word by
word, he set his whole mind into descriptions of places and people and things.
He didn’t notice that he was reading much faster than he started, and he only
stopped at the end of part II. An hour passed. He could not believe that he
was reading for the whole hour. For a second he wanted to pinch himself, but
when he moved his arm he was well-aware that he was not dreaming: the pain was
real. He was done with everything he had to do. He felt empty. He always
prioritized: he did what was most important to him first. That was why he
usually stayed up until midnight doing his homework: creating worlds and making
programs was much more important to him than re-doing the things he already
knew. It was not very often that he did not have anything to do, but today was
such. He slowly walked to his computer and checked his e-mail, then checked
his programs. There were only two that he wanted to finish. He loaded one of
them and looked at the code, and then started typing. Commands were coming to
his mind; he didn’t even have to think about names of variables and functions.
He was done with one of them and felt uninterested in finishing another. All
that he wanted to do, he did. He was bored. He wanted to create something, not
finish something, anything, just to know that he had something to do. He could
not live without a goal: he immediately turned lazy. He had to want to do
something; when everything was done—he was happy about it for a few days but
then immediately he wanted more.
Luckily, his parents were going out that night and he
happily joined them. It still hurt to walk, but he gladly got out of the
house. After a long walk in the park (his parents were walking along a
concrete path, while he was lurking between the trunks of beautiful ancient
trees), they went to a restaurant and then back home. Having nothing better to
do, Sam went to sleep.
The next day was less painful and more exciting. He woke
up and was very eager to go somewhere. He called Ashley and they decided to go
to the movies. Although his legs still hurt, he allowed himself to jump over
“Yay! I love to jump!”
“Yes you do. Weren’t you sore, though?”
“I was, but I feel better now. Whee!”
“You’re crazy.” He took a few steps and leaped gracefully
over a rather tall sign. “Be careful.”
“I am. I think.”
The movie was not the best one he has seen, but it was
not the worst one either. It had a sense of humor but a poorly developed plot,
and he didn’t like it. On the way home they briefly discussed it and then
separated. He came home and called Chloe, but she was not home at the moment.
He spent the rest of the day reading and watching TV.
Although the next day was Monday, he did not feel tired.
The pain in his limbs was almost gone, and his mind was still very sharp and
clear. He quickly got up, took a shower, and then, after a breakfast, got to
school. Because his first class was computers, he got on and started working
on his program. He wasn’t bothered by people passing him by as he usually
would be, because he was so into his program. As he read the code, he
unknowingly analyzed every single statement. Two or three times he deleted a
few lines and wrote new ones, without paying any attention to what he was doing
to the program. After the roll call, he finished two functions, then rewrote
two others he made before. Then he decided to add more options and more user
interface. He did not know that he was already done with the program, for he
fixed all the bugs, for now, he just wanted to make it better. His imagination
went on to adding frames to options to make the look prettier. For forty
minutes, he was coding more and more statements without testing his work once.
Then, in an instant, he finished a function and stopped. He did not want to do
any more, all his creativity was gone, and he ran his program.
“Seven hundred lines!?” It was only then that he looked
at the number of lines he added that single day. “Holy cow!”
“When the heck did I write so much?”
“You were typing like crazy today.”
“Well, I was typing a little fast, but that many lines!?”
“Let me see your program... What’s this? How... Man,
you have too much free time!” His program was pretty.
“Let me test it. What do we need to enter? 1, it works.
2. 3. 4. 5. 10. 20. 500. 10,000.” He opened his mouth. “10,000.
20,000. What?” He was looking at a long list of numbers that appeared on the
screen. “What? Come here, test this program.”
“Okay, what do I do?”
“Read the directions.”
“Hmm, very nice. So I want ‘E’ and the number 5. 10. It
“Try a large number.”
“50. 100. Seems right.”
“No, a large number.”
“10,000. How the hell?”
“Please tell me.”
“I must see your code. What the? That’s it? It took you
five lines to make this function? Mine’s about thirty! What the? How did you
“I have no idea, but I like it.” He smiled.
“Hey, Ashley, guess what happened.”
“I made my program work about four times as fast. And I
don’t know how the heck I did it.”
“What do you mean?”
“It must be my lucky day or something, because it all just
came to me. I just wrote what I thought I should have, and it worked.”
He wasn’t used to having nothing to do after school. It
was too early to go home, so he went to the track. Some of his friends did
track that year, and he himself liked running. He walked along the rail and
sat on the bench, watching the freshmen struggle over hurdles.
“Hi Sam, what’s up?”
“Lots of things. How are you?”
“I’m good. How are you?”
“I’m very good.” He smiled. “Like running?”
“Can I jog with you?”
“I’m just warming up.”
“I’ll warm up too, then.” They ran two laps, then sat on
the fake grass and stretched.
“Wow, you’re flexible,” she said as she saw him touch both
knees with his head. He smiled. “I wouldn’t be surprized if you beat all of
them. Oh, how is Pi, by the way?”
“It’s... I don’t know. I didn’t do anything with it for
“Nothing else to do with it. There are other things right
now, like my mind. I think very clearly now.”
“You’re just smart,” she smiled.
“Hmmm. Hey, I wanna sprint some,” he added when they were
done stretching. “Are you going to sprint too?”
“Will they let me? I’m not on the team.”
“The coach doesn’t care.”
“Yay!” He got in a group of people. By two, runners were
called to race each other a hundred meters and everyone was timed. Soon it
would be his turn. “I don’t have spikes.”
“Don’t worry, most of them aren’t good runners.”
“But I ain’t one either.”
“Yes you are.” He sighed. It was his turn. He was
paired with a sophomore he didn’t know. “Runners, take your marks.” He got in
the blocks. “Get set.” He lifted his body and started to rest it on his
fingers, however, before he was stopped, in a split second, he bent his elbows
and rested his weight on the palms of his hands. “Go!” As the gun shot and
the sound reached his ears, he felt as if he lost control of his body. It was
more like he set himself in “autopilot”, very suddenly pushing off the blocks
and off the ground. He jumped forward and started running, his arms and legs
swinging with exceptional sync with each other. His shoes did not have spikes
and he felt his feet constantly slip the ground. He was running mostly because
of his initial impulse, but it was already faster than he ever ran. He kept
gaining speed even through the finish line, stopping with some effort.
“12.0 and 13.7.”
He turned around and saw that everyone was looking at
him. By then “12.0” reached his consciousness and he started to walk back.
“12.0. 12.0. No way.”
“Sam, good job! You should be on the track team!”
“If you had spikes...”
“I wanna try the high jump. Wanna go there with me?”
“Okay.” He headed to the mats and got in another line.
The current height was 5’4”. He remembered last year: his record was only 5’,
and he has not jumped since then. When it was his turn, he took a few steps
running to the pole and jumped. He raised his arms and tilted his head back,
then kicked his feet and then landed on the mat. Even in his flight, he felt
that he was 6’ in the air. He got up and looked at the people staring at him,
turned around and walked away.
“This is wonderful!”
“That scanning machine, remember?”
“Well, I don’t know how, but it enhanced my muscles!”
“Today, I ran 100 meters for 12 seconds flat.”
“I did! And I high jumped at least 6 feet in the air.”
“Are you kidding me?”
“No. I did. Do you have lots of homework? I want to get
“Don’t you have any?”
“I finished it.”
“Sorry, but I still have a lot left. Call Chloe!”
“She isn’t home.”
“Oh. She isn’t home much, is she?”
“No. Strange, doesn’t it seem so?”
“And now, I must go. I’ll talk to you later.”
He wanted to do something. He was full of energy and
enthusiasm; he felt freedom rush through his mind and body. He wanted to go
outside and do something… But what? He realized that at the moment, he did
not have any long-lasting plans. He found the secret of PI; he knew the code.
Now, possessing strange powers, he could not use them. Run? Jump? For what
As he tried to find a goal for himself, he could not find
any. Every night, he would work on cracking the secret; but now, now… What
would he do now? What did he want to do now?
He headed towards the library. Maybe meeting Chloe would
provide him with some answers, or at least something to do. No matter how hard
he tried to come up with something he would like to do, he could not.
Suddenly, he imagined a scary picture of nothingness: he was surrounded by a
black veil of fog, which he could not penetrate. He could almost reach
something that was very close, just beyond the fog, but it would take him time
and energy to reach it… Even though his body flourished with strength and his
mind soared above clouds, his motivation, suddenly, disappeared—to nowhere.
His view was suddenly obstructed by this strange vision.
He tried to blink to shake it off, but it has nested deeply within his
consciousness. He could feel the sudden pressure, the sudden blinds over his
eyes, whose source he could no identify. What the heck?
weakening him: as he was strolling towards the library, he could feel the
arousal of a battle in his mind. Whom was he fighting? He could not tell; he
could only feel the repression that he wanted to eliminate. But to get rid of
the problem, he would first have to identify it. What was it?
He realized that it started a few hours ago. He couldn’t
talk to anyone since then… Why not? He tried to, but he just couldn’t feel
the connection to people. He was blocked from them; none of his emotions could
get through the invisible shield on the back of his head…
Or was he imagining everything? What shield, what
connection? How much of this was he making up? His mind liked to wander into
the unknown worlds. But were those worlds based on reality? And how did he
make this so complicated? Complicated, why was everything so complicated?
Every aspect of his life seemed connected with everything else, building an
intricate network of relationships between his moods and emotions… But who
made it, anyway? He was trying to discover the creator of this spider web, in
which he trapped himself, but all fingers pointed… To himself!
Why, he thought, why did he make it so complex? Who
needed this? It was so simple, so simple that he would have never believed
it… Of what, or of whom, was he afraid? He didn’t know; he feared something.
But why, why must I fear? I am the master of my emotions. Why can’t I
control them? But I can’t, can I? I mean, how can I control my emotions? But
who else does? I am the only one who can make myself either sad or happy; why
can’t I do it now? What has gotten into me?
He could feel a foreign
thought lurking through his mind. How did it get there? No, it must’ve been
his. Why was it there? But the problem was getting rid of it.
And how did he manage to weaken himself in 10 minutes? He
was walking up the resounding stairs and along the soft carpets of the library.
“Hey, Sam, didn’t expect to find you here!”
“Well, here I am…”
“Are you alright?” she said after a slight pause.
“You seem faraway…”
“What is with me? What just happened within the past
hour? I have gone from being happy to being trapped by my own mind, as if
someone has infected my mind with a virus that slowly blocked my thoughts from
going into a certain direction.”
“What’s the direction?”
“My imagination is blocked. As I try to gaze into the
future, I see nothing but a blank screen. I feel like there is no future, but
everyday routines that will go on for eternity.”
“When did you become such a poet?” she smiled.
“Another thing is that I can’t find a reason to smile.”
“Why look for one? It comes naturally.”
“Not when you try to take control of the lowest parts of
“But why would you want to do that?”
“To prevent myself from… I don’t know! I don’t want to;
I want to give in and live my life for a day or two, to not worry about the
outcomes of any of my actions!”
“Do you worry?”
“Subconsciously, yes! Whenever I close my eyes, I can
feel that somewhere in the back of my head there is something that prevents me
from relaxing. Like there is an imminent event for which I have to stay
“Go to sleep. You’ll wake up.”
“But what if I don’t?”
“Then the event won’t require you to wake up. Answer
this: do you think that any of it is created by yourself?”
“You are how old? And what have you to worry about? You
think that in the next few years you will go to college, get a job, get
married, get kids, and completely change your lifestyle. You worry that
everything you do now will go to your résumé, and that you cannot make any
mistakes. How old are you? Now, look ten years back. Look at how much you’ve
changed and how much you’ve learned, how many skills you’ve acquired, and how
much you’ve suffered. As you get older, things will gradually get more
complicated, but so will you. Whatever you feel now will go away and you will
laugh at it two months down the line—why must you even worry about what will
“Do you think that if you don’t have the will to wake up
one morning, then the rest of your life will be lost forever? No!”
“Do you think that the point of life is to have a goal?”
“I understand that you are weakened, although only you
keep the secret of its origins, but you will get strength as soon as you get
your mind to relax. I mean to stop thinking and to observe. You do not
have to enjoy, by no means! Still, submerge into the present without trying to
control it: with so many variables, you won’t have any time left to reap the
benefits of this perpetual struggle.”
“All right, who are you and what have you done to Chloe?”
“So you’re feeling better, I see.”
“You know so much about me!”
“Just as much as you know about me.”
“You’re saying that we are so alike that most of—”
“Yes.” They both smiled.
“Thank you,” he said after along pause. “Thank you so
“You’re truly welcome.”
“Truly… How little honesty and truth is left! With the
world fast-forwarding for no reason, true intentions get lost on people’s
carelessness. Why is it like this?”
“That’s not the question.”
“But we already have changed it—between ourselves.”
“Don’t you just love—”
“How we can understand each other.” At that moment, for a
split second, he let his mind join hers. They were looking into each other’s
eyes and holding each other’s hands. Time has stopped and embedded the present
into a giant crystal made of happiness, vanishing with every heartbeat. Soon,
they were back to reality, having forever captured this magic moment.
The week was lazily passing by. Since his classes were
easy, his mind was relaxed. Every day, he would come home and quickly finish
his homework, and then take a stroll or watch TV. Yet, for most of the time,
nothing seemed a challenge to him. He was bored. He called Chloe, but, as
usual, she wasn’t home. Always busy, he thought, why couldn’t I be that busy?
I won’t be so bored then… But hey, she isn’t usually busy on weekends.
“Hey, it’s me! Am I calling too late?”
“No, it’s ok.”
“What are you doing on Saturday?”
“Nothing that I can think of…”
“Wanna go see a movie?”
“All right! I’ll call you then, on Friday, if you stay
“Ok, ‘cause I think I will stay home on Friday. But
“If you’ll have to go? Of course!”
“How are you?”
A sudden burst of joy lit his soul. It protruded from her
image—not her surface but her complete person—and spread through his mind. To
him, it was no secret: she interested him and evoked a feeling of belonging and
respect; he wanted her to feel the same. Somehow, in his subconsciousness, he
knew that she did feel the same, for at least she shared with him some aspects
of her personality that no one else knew. Then again, he continually kept
blindly stumbling into a closed door: although they freely exchanged their
shared tastes and interests, she was reticent about her free time. Sometimes,
he felt that she was busy all day long up to his phone call; other times, she
always seemed to be relaxed and deliberate. He could never understand that; however,
not all people are the same, he thought, and he could easily overlook that
aspect of her, for he himself was probably far from perfection.
He was absent-minded in school. He even slept through his
classes, because he knew that once he glanced through his book he knew the
material very well. His life was slowing down: with improved abilities let him
rest, and it is rest that he needed for such a long time. Mostly, however, he
was waiting for the Saturday to come.
He ran after school, improving his time to 11.5 seconds,
worked on his high jump and hurdling. However, soon these activities became
boring. He needed a challenge. Furthermore, with his imagination soaring and
his strength progressing, he could not ignore the idea of training himself. For
what? He did not know; however, every day, he would jog and run, stretch and
do flips. Suddenly, he felt as if he had acquired a new toy: he tried to do
something and he did it, and that gave him joy and excitement. He did
round-offs and cartwheels, front flips and back flips. Of course, he first
asked people to teach him; upon seeing his progress, his friends could barely
believe that he had never done any acrobatics earlier in his life. He would
kick punching bags and throw and catch racquetballs from surprisingly close
distances. His reaction time was at its peak; he was overflowing with energy.
Consequently, he would often share his enthusiasm with his friends, cheering
them up and helping them through hard times. Overall, he was happy.
Saturday! He was filled with a sense of excitement. As
if he had recovered all his strength during his few hours of sleep, he was full
of energy and will. He woke up early and decided to play a computer game, for
he had nothing else to do. Finally, he called her and set off to leave.
He rose to her apartment and knocked. She smiled as she
opened the door.
“Hi. You didn’t ask who it was.”
“I didn’t have to. No one else knocks like you do.”
Indeed, he would often beat the rhythm of a famous song of everyone’s door. He
“Ready to go?”
“Of course.” She locked the door, called the elevator,
and turned to the stairs. “You aren’t going to run this time?” she asked.
“No, I’d rather be with you.” They both smiled. When
they were walking along the street, he took her hand in his. They were talking
about everything, including his new accomplishments and the side effects of the
scan he received in the underground lab. At times, it seemed to him like she
was the only person who cared. He put his arm around her shoulders and they
continued to stroll, chatting carelessly. Just as they were almost at the
plaza, they heard an unusually quiet click.
“What was that?”
“You heard it too?”
“Yes…” Suddenly, he felt a strange tingling sensation in
the tips of his fingers and on his face. “Do you feel something?”
“A little tingling…”
He was opening his mouth to reply, but another force
overcame him. Unconscious of his actions, he pushed Chloe to the side and
behind him, and at the same moment he saw a dark figure jump from behind a
corner and point a knife at his chest. It took him a few seconds to realize
that his life was in danger. He finished opening his mouth and looked up.
“Give me all your money, and no one gets hurt.” Only now
did he notice that they had ventured into an alley away from the main street.
As he began reaching for his wallet, he felt Chloe’s hand clasp his tightly.
He, too, held her stronger, but at the same time, as if it were coming from her
through their hands, he felt a surge of not energy but concentration.
Instantly, he felt in control of the whole situation and inhaled deeply with
his eyes close.
“Hurry up, damn it!” Sam managed to put fear on his face
to appease their attacker, and at the same time as he blinked again, he dashed
back and grabbed the attacker’s arm with his left hand. He moved it towards
the wall, and, after releasing Chloe’s hand, turned around and performed a
skillful back-kick, slamming the attacker against the wall. The attacker dropped
the knife and backed off a few steps, putting up his fists. By now, Sam was
fully conscious of his actions.
“You want to fight me?” he asked. He heard no reply.
“Why do you want to fight me?” Suddenly, the attacker charged with a high
punch. With no effort, Sam raised his hand and once again clasped the figure’s
arm and kicked his shins, lifting his legs to ensure a certain fall. By now,
the attacker was enraged. He tried to kick and punch but Sam ducked all of
them. He then grabbed a broken bottle from the nearby trash can and swung at
Sam. At the same time, Sam did something he never attempted before: he jumped
forward and landed on both hands, somersaulted, and projected his feet at
attacker’s chest. The attacker landed on his back; stood up, and started
In the meanwhile, Sam walked back to Chloe and looked at
her. They stood silently in an embrace, and then he whispered,
“Are you all right?”
“Yes, I think so… That was…”
“Yes, I know; and I never knew how to fight before.”
“Were you scared?”
“A little, but then… It’s a completely different feeling,
but I was in complete control over my actions… The feeling of freedom was
amazing! But… How?”
“It’s so cool!” They both smiled. Soon, they resumed
their walk. Filled with joyful energy, both of them were truly happy to be
together. They liked each other, and with a feeling of freedom (and some
leftover shock) they felt wonderful. They sat in the middle of the theater and
she cuddled close to him. The movie was exciting, and with every surprise, he
felt her slight gasps. The held each other’s hands and heard each other’s
He got home late at night and could not fall asleep for a
long time. He had a wonderful time, and knowing that she would be there for him
made it even better. He didn’t want the day or his joy to ever end; but he
didn’t want to stay up either. Thus, reluctantly, he went to sleep, but not
after adding a large passage to his story.
The next day, again, he had nothing to do. He called his
friend who wasn’t home. He called Chloe, but her parents said that she wasn’t home
either. He wanted to do something, but he had nothing in mind. But where has
the endless quest for a goal gone, he wondered. Haven’t I always wanted to do
something? Instantly, he answered his own question: he had a set of abilities
that he needed to explore and perfect. He went outside and jogged and
stretched and jogged again, to be in the most awake state. As he was running
to the end of the park, a sense of adventure overcame him once again. He was
now walking among the trees, hearing occasional footsteps and remnants of
conversations. He was alert and aware of everything around him. And now he
wanted to use his abilities. But what would he do, ambush strangers to show
off his fighting technique? He did, however, want to do something similar—use
his skills to learn.
The only place was the lab. What was the best that could
happen? The worst?
However, it wasn’t remotely dark, and he didn’t feel like
climbing into sewers in broad daylight. But there was a building nearby that
surely had an access to the underground floors…
Soon, he was inside. It was a common set of business
offices and other suites. There were an information desk and a set of
elevators, and nothing suspicious about it. However, the elevators did not go
below first floor. Then how did those people end up there, through the
sewers just like us?
There had to be a way. He checked the stairs, but
they led down into a concrete wall with no apparent secret entrances. Maybe
someone’s office had a secret elevator? Or how would one get downstairs?
“How would one get downstairs?”
“What do ya mean, downstairs, there is no downstairs
“Not for you, unless you have a special pass. It’s only a
storage area, so I don’t see why you’d want to go down there.”
“Just wondering. Thanks!” So there
basement! But where?
How silly, to be in such a place for no good reason,
looking for a hidden basement. What am I, a comic detective?
That was how
he felt: with no plan, he was wandering aimlessly around a corporate building.
Yet, he had nothing to do otherwise, so why not?
Well, of course! If there is a warehouse, then there
must be loading and unloading!
He went outside and walked to the opposite
side, looking for a garage door. He found quite a few, all of which were
locked. Great! Now what, I knock?
But he had to get in. Maybe he
would pick a lock? But he’d never done it before. Steal a truck and pretend
to deliver something? Too hard. Examine the doors? He looked closely at all
the doors. On one, he noticed a small gap between the door and the doorframe.
He looked closer and saw that the door was not bolted but closed by a simple latch.
He looked around. No security cameras. He took out a paperclip that he always
carried around, bent it, and then pulled the latch. It moved a little. He
rotated the paperclip and pulled a little harder. With effort, he depressed
the latch and opened the door.
Inside, he was overcome by a foul smell of oily rags and
rotten food. It was a typical dim warehouse with large crates resting on some
large shelves. In the end, there were doors leading to the business part of
the building and to another room or the warehouse. He was surprised that he
did not see those doors, but he was more interested in what was below him.
Some doors, once again, were closed, others he opened only to find other rooms.
He remembered the approximate location of the sewers, and
the distance he traveled rightward. The stairs, however, were to the left,
and, adding the distances, and reversing left and right, he walked
approximately fifty yards to the right.
The only door he saw was old and rusty. However, a nearby
keypad attracted his attention. It was a 10-digit pad, covered with oil and
dirt. He looked closer to find that some digits were cleaner than others.
“Brilliant!” He pressed the first and heard a click. The second did nothing.
He pressed the first one again and then the third, and after trying for a few
times, he heard a very loud click. The door was open.
It wasn’t nearly as rusty as it appeared. In fact, it
didn’t screech at all. The floor was neat and clean. He closed the door and
proceeded downstairs. It was so quiet that he could feel his heartbeat. Near
the end of the flight of stairs, he looked around the corner. He was in the
end of a long hallway with many doors and intersections. He quietly walked
from door to door, peeking inside. Strangely, he did not see anyone. It was
quiet, except for the incessant buzzing of some machinery. He went around the
corner into another similar hallway, when suddenly he heard a door open. He
quickly jumped back and waited, crouching. Quiet footsteps approached him. He
wanted to retreat or hide, but he could not do either one, as he was in a wide
opening, hiding behind a corner. The footsteps were slowing down and becoming
quieter, pausing and planning an attack. He saw a shape jump in front at him
and look above his head. He sprang up and clenched the other person’s wrists
and pointed them upwards, using other arm to protect himself. Thus they stood
for a second, when the person sighed,
“Phew, it’s just you.”
“What do you mean, just me?”
“Well, you are not one of them.”
“Wait, I haven’t seen you before… Who are you?”
“I’m… Me. But who are you and what is this place?”
“You don’t belong here. How did you get in? Do you work
for them, huh? Answer me or I’ll shoot you!” Sam skillfully clenched the
weapon of the guard and held it high above his head. “O no! Now you’re going
to shoot me!”
“I am not going to shoot you! Now could you please tell
He was interrupted by a deep voice, saying, “What seems to
be the problem here? And who are you?”
“Nothing, Mr. Stanley,” mumbled the guard in a shaking
voice. “Nothing at all.”
“And who is he?”
“I don’t know, he just…”
“How did you get here?”
“Through the door,” replied Sam.
“How did you find the door?”
“I looked around…”
“Have I seen you before?”
“I really don’t know.”
“Do you know that you can get into serious trouble for
being here? Who sent you?”
“No one sent me. I found this place by myself.”
“Long hours of researching…”
“Do you think things should be simple or complex?”
“Umm… What do you mean?”
“Well, do you think the world is simple or complex?”
“Well, just hear this: don’t ever confuse simple and
complex. Simple things should always be simple, and complicated things should
always remain complicated.”
“You can’t work on them until you further understand
them. If you take a complex thing and make it simple, then you’ll miss most of
it. If you take a simple thing and turn it complex, then you’ll keep adding
modifiers to fit it, and go crazy.” He smiled.
“Yep, and it all comes from my personal knowledge.”
“I see. But tell me, why do you mention it?”
“Well, it all started from that class I went to. And a
bunch of people tried to turn something simple into something complex.”
“What’s the class, and what did they do?”
“Well, remember the lab we discovered? That’s where the
class is. I found it! I found the entrance. And it led me down the stairs,
and into a classroom. The teacher was boring, but at the end I got to use the
mind and muscle machine again. I know that it can’t read my mind, it can only
give me images. But one thing that really got me was the fact that they turned
something innocently easy, life energy, into the study of your anatomy.”
“Do you believe in it?”
“Well, is it simple or complex?”
“Simple, of course.”
“And they are confusing us. There is something fishy
about it. But I’ll find out more really soon. How have you been?”
“Okay… School still gives me a whole load of homework.”
“And you like to be in the library.”
“It’s a really nice place to be.”
“I still don’t understand why you don’t like being at
“Sometimes I just feel like going elsewhere…”
“Yeah, I don’t want to stay home for a long time now
either, because I finish everything and have nothing to do.”
“Now, does everyone remember their assignments?”
“Oh, yes, Sam, I forgot to tell you last week. The first assignment
will be today. We have a practice lab with some data on a computer. The
assignment is to copy that data onto a disk and bring it here.”
“What’s the point of it?”
“Well, for one thing, it will teach you about teamwork.
Also, ever heard anyone say that the best way to learn about computer security
is by hacking?”
“Well, it’s like that. We made an agreement with the
company I mentioned the last time that they don’t call the police, and warn
their security. So, the time has been predetermined; but don’t take this
“It sounds really exciting. So, what are the exact
“They are all written… Here. But basically, this is the
building; on the fourth floor there is a computer system, you need to access it
and download the files from this directory onto a disk. Return back here, and
it’s the end of the assignment.”
“Okay… So we all meet where?”
“Here, at 7. Wear something dark. Remember, it’s not
like you are stealing, but it is a training zone. I’ll explain the meaning of
this assignment in more detail when you return.”
He tried to call her. He wanted to call her and tell her
about this strange assignment that he was about to receive. He was always a
master at noticing the slightest changes in everything he could observe. And
something didn’t make sense.
He always wanted to reconcile what was said with what was
done. And often, so often, the two complemented each other… Yet, he could
never ignore things hidden from the unaware eye. He never understood why he
had to look through everything so carefully; he had not known himself to be a
perfectionist; but he still observed.
When he could not explain something, he turned to his
friends for help. Sometimes, they told him what to believe, sometimes—to
listen to his heart. However, he never based his judgments on opinions; and
when there was a lack of facts, he stopped investigating until the need arose
And now, he had to investigate two things. One was his
mysterious assignment. The other was Chloe.
He wanted to turn to her and to tell her all his worries,
because he knew that she, of all people, would understand him. He was quite
skilled at being alone, analyzing himself and telling himself that everything
was going to be okay. He was never afraid of showing his emotional side—only
no one wanted to see it. Then he met her… But she was busy.
He would never ask her to talk to him rather than do what
she was doing; that was his nature. He tried to call her, but she was never
home. He left her messages and wrote her e-mails, but she seldom responded.
Her apartment was 3 minutes away from his; she barely had 3 minutes in a day to
write a simple hello.
He was alone. He had always been alone. Only now, he was
helpless against it.
He was walking down the cold street. He was used to
feeling his skin shiver as the wind blew into his face and hair. However,
today the air was different. No matter how much he tried to hide his face from
the chilly wind, he could always sense the smell, the smell that mysteriously
brought him back into his childhood. For the first time in so many years, he
felt a strange nostalgia for the times he walked back from school. The memory
was as vivid as if he were still carrying a 6th-grade backpack and walking in
the snow. The sun had set a long time ago; the street was some distance away
from the main road. Cars and buses luxuriously rolled through between piles of
dirty snow, random voices and laughter carried across the wind. And far away,
illuminated by infrequent streetlights, a boy was sliding on the ice and
running into the humps of cold crunchy snow. He would stop and pick up a
handful of it and mold it into a ball, and throw it not far from where he was.
He was wearing brown boots and comfortable pants, and a warm jacket with moist
mittens. The mittens had frozen bits of ice on them and his fingers were
freezing, but he didn’t care. In fact, he could not think of anyone who
cared. As he was walking, he was foreseeing his future, his long excursions
along beautiful lakes, through snowy mountains and sweltering deserts, admiring
the beauty of untouched nature, and having no one to listen to him. Now, he
was walking to the classroom in the basement, about to receive a strange
assignment. And for the first time in many years, he realized that he felt
exactly the same way. He wanted to talk to her, to discuss his situation and
to hear her opinion, to know about her life and to tell her about his… But she
He approached the building. He was ready, ready to do
what he was told. He had a mission, which he did not know very well, because
he did not really know the insides of the building. On the fourth floor, he
needed to hack a computer. Well, not hack, but access. He could do that. He
wanted to see what it would be like. Besides, there was no risk involved,
because the mission was just a practice one. Still, he had an uneasy feeling
about it, but he did not want to turn back; he continued walking into the
Half the people were already there; they were all waiting
for the other half. In the meanwhile, he decided to use the muscle and mind
machines for the third time. He turned both settings to the maximum level and
relaxed, as his brain was flooded with images and cleared of all extraneous
thoughts; and as his muscles were relaxed and fed godly energy. When he was
done—this time, it did not take very long—he found that the group was almost
ready to leave. He was quiet—he did not want anyone to know his thoughts. He
was willing to try; but he could not commit to something unknown. Nor could he
commit to something that he did not like.
They were ready. They reviewed the plan, which, by now,
almost made sense; and agreed to meet there in a half-hour. He slowly walked
towards the building. They were divided into groups, each with a different
mission. His group’s was to take those files. Others had to do something
else, but he was never told what. Fourth floor. He talked to his group. They
were as confused as he was. They decided to scour the building for hidden
entrances, and regroup in 15 minutes. He was alone.
He was walking along the wall and looked up. There was an
open window above, on the second floor. It was difficult to reach. He jumped
on the ledge and looked around. He could grab onto the curves of the building,
but it was too risky. He continued examining the place, and noticed that the
windows were very narrow—small enough for him to jump and stick his legs to
both sides of the cement pane. With a little effort, his hands grabbed the
window, and, opening it more and pulling his body up through the opening, he
was able to drag himself inside.
He looked around what looked like an office. A computer
terminal, a chair, a desk with lots of papers, carelessly lying around; nothing
attracted his attention. He walked towards the door. It wasn’t locked from
the inside. He twisted the handle and slowly opened it. The second floor
turned out to be the first floor for those entering from the other side of the
building. He went down the stairs, and noticed the first video camera. It was
located really close to a large climbable column; he climbed up, and unplugged
a wire from the camera. He went to a window and unlatched it, peeking outside
to call his group. They were already waiting for him, and so they were now
climbing quietly through the window.
Getting to the fourth floor was a bigger challenge.
Although the stairs were opened to the first and second floors, all the other
doors required a keycard, which no one from the group had. They went to the
roof; the roof was closed, and the entrance was guarded by an emergency alarm.
“What do we do now?” No one knew. Suddenly, Sam had an interesting idea. He
walked down to the second floor, and summoned an elevator. All the above
floors required similar keycards; however, he was more interested in the
opening on the roof of the elevator cabin. He twisted the handle, opening it,
and climbed up. Fourth floor
. He grabbed the cable and started
climbing upwards. His hands were hurt by the slippery metal of the cable; but
he continued to climb. On the fourth floor, he jumped to the thin ledge of the
elevator doors. One of the group members had a thin metal rod; as he tossed
it, Sam caught it and used it to open the elevator doors. Everyone followed.
As Sam looked around, he noticed another camera. As it
turned away from him, he ran and quickly unplugged its wire. He recalled the
diagram of the fourth floor that he saw earlier—he could not remember where
he saw it; but as soon as he tried to remember it, he could see it vividly,
like a déjà vu or a flashback from a cold nightmare. He went along the long
hallway and turned left. He approached the computer room. The main terminal
was inside. The door was locked.
Why is the door locked?
He stared at it with
surprise. Why could he not get in? Why would he get in? He was not supposed
to be there; did anyone want to let him in? Would things be better if he did
get inside? Would anything change?
And why was he in the building, anyway, following the
orders of someone he did not even know? But if not follow orders, then how
will I come up with ways to live? It’s either listen to others, or live
autonomously; yet, have I the potential to do what I want to do?
Of course, I can do what I want to do, because I am the
master of my life.
He examined the door. He could not pick the lock—he
did not know how. He tried to slide the metal rod to unlatch the locking
mechanism, but the gap was too narrow to do that. Were there any other ways
into the room? He looked at the ceiling—standard removable tiles. He put one
foot on the doorknob, pushed off, and soon, lifting a tile, ended up in that
narrow space between the fake and the real ceilings. After crawling on his
knees, he ended up above a large desk. Removing a tile, he peeked down.
Another camera. He crawled towards it and unplugged it from the back, not
letting it ever see him. He jumped down on the desk and tried to open the
door, but it was locked from both sides. He approached the computer terminal
and turned it on.
He expected some unknown operating system to prompt him
for the password, like computers did in all the movies. Instead, it was his
everyday, encrypted, password-protected, hackable system. It required a
password. He took out his pocket-knife and got under the table. He unscrewed
the case in the back of the computer, took it off, and temporarily removed the
battery. (“How dusty!” was his first thought.) After putting it back in and
restarting the computer, the password was no longer required. He took out a
disk and inserted it into the drive. Before any operating system could load,
his program ran. It allowed him to access the drive, decrypt it, and copy all
files. After finding the necessary files, he started copying.
He looked outside; most of his group was gone. They
must’ve ventured off somewhere
, he thought, continuing to observe the
copying. Suddenly, he heard some ruffling noise outside. He ran towards the
windows, but still saw nothing. He wanted to get out, but he had to wait for
the disk. “Come on!” he said loudly. It was almost done. He was looking at
the screen, waiting for the “done” message to appear, the same message he saw
thousands of times, the same message that just rushed into his brain and
disappeared almost immediately. He was used to seeing it every day for so many
times, that he started ignoring it altogether. Now, however, it was his signal
to leave. He removed the disk from the drive and turned off the computer and
looked up to locate the source of the sudden cracking noise. Someone was
falling thought the ceiling! The person landed gracefully and quickly turned
around. Sam saw something in the hands of the stranger and grabbed both wrists
with his hands—the disk still in his right—and looked at the person’s face, his
They continued to stand in this awkward position, Sam and
Chloe, staring into each other’s eyes. No one dared to say anything; no one
was willing to move. The expression of both of their faces was that of
surprised disbelief, relief, and slight shock. Priceless time was slowly
passing by. Their first reaction was to be close, but there was an unknown
force between them. Something was not right
. They were on the opposite
sides of the same canyon, with a thousand-foot drop between them. They wanted
to be together, but they could not, not at this place, not at this time.
“Hi,” he said in a low voice.
“Hi,” she replied, in a similar voice, with a hint of a
“Life is so amazing,” said he, widening his smile.
“Yes, it is.”
“You’re here to get this disk I am holding, aren’t you?”
“You know me so well!”
“But I can’t let you have it.”
“Neither can I,” she replied, trying to reach it as he
held it high above his head, his elbow bending. “What are you going to do?”
“I don’t know. What are you
going to do?”
“I don’t know either, but you don’t have much time.”
“Do you need the disk, or do you just need to take it away
“Does it really matter?”
“You don’t need it either, do you?”
“Of course not.” They never fought. Aside from trying to
grab each other’s arm—Sam usually succeeded—they made no progress to their
“There is only one solution to this problem,” said Sam, as
he turned around and broke the disk in half. “Each of us gets a half of it.”
They both smiled. Suddenly, a key was turning inside a
keyhole. Sam turned around and saw the opening door. He jumped on his hands
and landed on one foot—second still in the air, landing on the chest of
intruder and pushing him away from the door. He signaled “bye” to Chloe and
darted off towards the stairs. He somersaulted over the railing and ran down
to the first floor, and ran outside. After running for a while, he let himself
slow down and walk. He was still holding half of a disk in his right hand. He
put it in his pocket and started thinking.
Chloe was involved. The mere thought of that completed
the circle of mysteries, and intensified his disbelief. Was it real? How
could it be real? He could not believe it, for it was too strange, too
coincidental… Or was it?
He went home and sat at his computer, putting the broken
half of the disk away to the pile of things he randomly chose to keep.
Everything finally made sense, but he was too tired to think of it. He put on
some relaxing music and felt his mind drift, thinking of some pleasant and
exciting thoughts about the summer vacation, increasingly pleasant, random, and
deep. He was asleep.
He woke up in a few hours with a strange thought, “See
me.” “See me?” he said out loud. He looked at his watch—it was almost
midnight. Who wants to see me?
He instantly remembered his adventure,
and his encounter. He wanted to see Chloe, and so, putting on a warm jacket,
he headed outside. The elevator rose to the 38th
floor, and he
stopped. Should he go?
Would she want to see him? He wanted to see her; he needed
to talk to her. His hand rose. He was nervous. What would he say? What
would she say? His finger pressed the smooth white button of the doorbell.
The door opened. She was standing on the porch, her expression as confused as
his. He walked towards her, and before she had a chance to follow her instinct
and back up, their bodies locked together in a warm embrace. Thus they stood,
oblivious to everything around them. Their cheeks rubbed, and he pressed his
lips against her neck. He felt her lips on his cheek, as they continued to
slowly turn their heads, until their lips met and time froze in a passionate
They dropped down onto the couch. Sam took Chloe’s hands
in his, and sitting this closely to each other, they watched TV. The movie
that Chloe was watching was a funny comedy, and so they snuggled tightly and
laughed together. Neither of them was thinking about the events of the
evening; instead, their attention was concentrated on their being together. A
strange change occurred in Sam’s mind. He felt as if he were passing through a
threshold, on the verge of a new phase of his life and his existence. His arm
was wrapped around Chloe’s shoulder; she filled his heart. He was happy; and
he knew that she was, too.
The movie ended. They turned towards each other and
looked into each other’s eyes. They spoke, though it was unnecessary: they
merely strengthened their belief of almost complete compatibility of thoughts.
Sam told Chloe about his assignment, and she told him about hers. They talked
about the organizations, and her long-lasting involvement in one of them. He
was surprised how deeply her assignments threaded her life; yet, this
was what he could never comprehend, this was the missing link, the solution to
all of the subtle puzzles that he noticed but could never solve. He told her
that; she just smiled. He examined the expression on her face, every curve
around her eyes and her mouth, her head, slightly turned downwards, her breaths
and her sight. He felt as if he could read everything—everything that she
wanted him to know.
He extended his hands to feel a familiar barrier, the dark
barrier that prevented him from knowing her before; and this time, it was
gone. She wore no mysterious smile that indicated hidden thoughts; she was
concealing nothing from him. This level of openness overwhelmed him; but he
welcomed being so close to her. He was happy, happier that he has been for a
long time. He was with her. They were together.
It was late, but they did not want to go to sleep. In
fact, his parents trusted him as long as he told them where he was and how to
reach him. He wanted to stay, and there was no reason for him to leave. He
“Did you really need the disk, or did you need to prevent
me from taking it?”
“It would be nice if we could have it; but the important
thing was to not let your group learn the information on it.”
“What is on it?”
“I don’t know.”
“Want to find out?”
“Yea, but… How?”
“Well, you could
go back there again, decrypt the
encrypted hard drive, and copy the files onto your system… Or glue together
the two halves of the disk…” He was smiling.
“Did you keep your half?”
“Did you keep yours?”
“I asked you first.”
“You kept it, too.” They both smiled.
“But how…?” He grinned. “You didn’t… O no.”
“You told them that the only disk was destroyed. And the
guy who entered (did I hurt him too much?) was the witness. I told them the
same thing. No one knows.”
“And no one will know. Right?” They looked at each
“How important to you is our friendship?”
“Why do you ask?”
“So that you know that I won’t tell anyone either.” They
continued to gaze at each other. They smiled and hugged.
“So where is the disk?”
“In my pocket. Here it is.” He walked over to her
computer and inserted it into the drive. She moved a chair close to his, and
watched as he quickly opened the files. They were pictures and diagrams of
high-power weapons and laser guidance systems. Sample computer code showed
algorithms for computing an intercept path for a parabolic trajectory. Text
files derived solutions to astrophysical equations about concentration of
charge and its dispersions. Blueprints illustrated dimensions of sample
rocket-projected missiles, and the launching pads. It was a big bunch of
“Wow. What do you think of it all?”
“It’s a lot of weapons.”
“I am glad that I did not give this
“What is going on, anyway? You can pretty much guess that
they don’t tell us.” She smiled.
“It’s a long story that I’ll have to tell you later; but
basically, there are two organizations. One wants to take control over
everything. That’s your group.” They both smiled. “I am in the second one,
and we want to stop your group and protect the everything they want to
control… But without actually saying anything to anyone. It’s kind of like
being the unknown advisors, as opposed to incremental tyranny.”
“Yea.” They smiled.
“How do your parents feel about my being here with you at
3 in the morning?”
“They trust me.”
“I like your parents. They seem nice.”
“Well… You know parents.”
“Of course. Are you tired?”
“Yea… Are you?”
“Yes. I guess I should go now.”
“I guess so.”
“What do you mean you
“Well, I am not kicking you out…” He noticed a shade of
red appear on her cheeks.
“Then, I’m staying. If it’s okay with you.”
“It is, but I didn’t know you wanted to stay.”
“I’d feel so lonely at home…”
“Like I’d feel if you left right now.” They both smiled.
Night was descending into their minds, and, too tired and sleepy to think, they
only wanted to lie down and sleep. She lay on the edge of her bed. He lay on
another edge, and took her hand in his. They moved a little closer, hugged,
and fell asleep, under a warm calming blanket. Both of them were smiling in
their peaceful slumber.
It was a sunny Sunday afternoon. The air was calm and
cool; the wind was gently rustling the curtains. The eager sun, playing with
the curtains, left dancing sunspots on the white and blue cover of the bed.
The weather was perfect, and the lightness of the day lifted the spirits. Sam
and Chloe, having had a delicious breakfast, were sitting together, examining
in details the contents of the disk. They already saw most of the secretive
materials, weapon designs, human augmentation canisters, and nanoprobes;
yesterday’s designs were nothing compared to those they uncovered today. This
overabundance of information was extremely valuable, and extremely dangerous,
if it fell into the wrong hands.
“Can you please explain to me the whole ordeal?”
“What do you mean?”
“You must know more about these organizations than I do.”
“I do, but there isn’t that much known about yours.”
“Tell me all that you know.”
“Okay. Your organization has been around for quite a
while. It’s called Majestic. It had quite a few names, but Majestic seems to
fit it the best now. They feel superior to others: they are the elite, those
who know and control the most covert aspects of governments and corporations.”
“Whoa. Sounds crazy.”
“Yea, it was hard for me to believe as well… But
actually, if you think of it, it makes sense.”
“Wait… I think I remember… Let me think. Majestic 12?”
“Yes, you heard of it?”
“No way! I know they were here since the initial UFO
landings. I thought they would be gone by now, after all that’s happened…”
“So did everyone else, but they became even more
secretive. They are like the tip of the iceberg: people know they might exist,
but no one knows exactly how prevalent they are in our everyday lives.”
“What are they trying to accomplish?”
“No one knows that. Your branch, as we know, is used for
recruiting purposes. After that, the recruits run simple and advanced
errands. Our prediction is that they are trained to be servants of Majestic,
advancing in ranks and nearing the top. However, little is known of this.”
“It sounds cheesy. Maybe I should explore a little more.
They certainly do have some secretive elements, however, why do they need it?”
“No one knows that either.”
“You know what? Tuesday, what are you doing?”
“I know I’ll have homework.”
“I know I’ll be free, and I’ll try to go into the lab and
find out more stuff about it.”
“Don’t worry, I will.” They smiled and hugged cheerily.
Later in the day, they went strolling in the park. Their
careless chatter was tying the threads that waved through their souls. Never
was either of them nearly as happy with someone else. They stopped in shops
and stores, drank tasty refreshing beverages and slurped rich and sweet ice cream.
They were finally together, and they were not about to give each other up.
They walked foot in foot, their arms around each other’s waists. The
destination did not matter to them; what mattered was the overarching happiness
The sun was sinking into the horizon, and it was time for
them to part. They didn’t want to; but on the other hand, they lived so close
that they could see each other any time they wanted. They hugged, and kissed,
and went their separate ways. He jogged up to his apartment and lay down on
the bed, smiling, as the warmth of his room filled his body. He has finally
discovered true happiness; and he wanted nothing more. A familiar chime woke
him up from his dreams. His computer informed him of a message he received.
He walked closer and sat down, quickly reaching the text of the message. As he
glanced over it, a shiver ran down his back and his shoulder blades. It was a
warning, a threat. It was written in a cold and an unwelcoming tone that he,
once again, should desist of all further activities that involved the
organizations. He called Chloe and told her about it. She was also confused
about it, but suggested him to dismiss it. He tried to check the IP address of
the message, but realized that the way it was sent, it had no return address.
He only knew that someone continued to watch him.
The next day was quite uneventful. He sat through his
classes, understanding everything but barely learning anything new. He went
home and relaxed, took a nap, did homework, watched TV (which he has not done
for a long time), and went to sleep after reading an interesting fairy tale.
As he was reading it, he remembered the warm days of his childhood, and
smiled. Fe felt nostalgic for the times when everything was simple, where he
did not have to sacrifice his effort to accomplish something. Then life became
harder, and more challenging, and he welcomed that change as well. Finally, as
his mind settled in this world, he picked the things he liked and did not like;
but the things he liked were too easy, and the things he disliked were too
tedious. And now, he was without direction, without a goal for the future. He
was lost, lost expecting a change to wake him up from his slumber. In truth,
he was simply enjoying his easy conditions of living.
First part of the following day was just as uneventful.
He went through classes and did his work early. After getting home, he rested
until the darkness descended upon the windy city, and called Chloe. Since she
was not home, he sat at his computer and typed a message. He felt a bit
displaced, and also excited. The warmth of the weather cheered him up; the red
sunset gave him hope. He started typing.
“I am going ‘researching’ (as you always are) to the
facility. I will remember to be careful, as you asked me earlier. And I also
want you to know, in a more general sense, that no matter what happens, I will
always come back to you. It has to do with a thought that I had lately, and
it’s been there quite frequently. I feel in control over certain aspects of
life. For example, I can sometimes predict how events will put themselves in a
sequence, how people will act, what options I will have. And I know that I
will always be able to return, or to break loose, from all the chains that
might surround me at the moment. I don’t know whether you feel the same, but
it is a good and light feeling.
“Also, please know that I enjoyg being with you and that
it makes me happy, and also that I want to see you after I find everything
out. So be ready tomorrow.
He pressed the send button, and the message was decoded
into binary ones and zeroes and delivered almost instantly, using a few packets
over TCP/IP, over the high-speed network. There it was received by Chloe’s
computer, which immediately responded to its server (she did not wish to run
her own), asking it that the blob of binary trues and falses be erased from it,
for it was delivered safely and verified using the 128-bit checksum. A small
icon in the corner of the screen flashed three times, not having anyone in the
room to notice it. He looked around and searched for things he might have
forgotten, and headed outside.
He was briskly walking to the base. The plan was fresh is
his mind. To avoid any encounters, he would enter through the sewers. The
passcodes were stored in his memory. He would hack into the system and
retrieve as much information as possible, and leave, possibly copying some
files. He remembered the floor plan, and even the possible hiding places. He
approached the drainage, opened the grating, and descended downwards. He
reached the familiar pad and entered two sequences, which still worked.
Frankly, he was a bit surprised, because he expected the codes to change by
then, but the door opened and he crawled through the air duct. He reached the
door and unlatched in, and quietly jumped down on the floor. He was inside.
He went towards the doors and turned left, and approached
the room where Chloe was the last time they were down there. There was no one
in the room. He sat at a computer and started typing. The terminal was very
easy to get into; and soon, he was accessing all the hidden files and
documents. To his disappointment, most of the documents described the actions
of this office. It recruited the potential “agents,” and trained them to work
for Majestic. Only references revealed some information about the higher
level. He learned that higher-ranked agents control the activities of certain
small organizations. Only by extrapolation, could he see how, by adding the
effort, did they manufacture anything they wanted to. The network of
connections allowed all imported parts to be combined locally.
“So they needed the disk to distribute the production and
merge it all together later.”
“That’s right!” announced a familiar voice. Sam quickly
turned around. “You figured it all out, on the lowest level, of course. I
presume that you did manage to sneak the disk out after all. Don’t worry, the
information on it is almost worthless to us.
“To make an analogy,” Mr. Stanley continued, “think of an
internship. It is doubtable that any student alone can make a discovery;
however, their assignments are necessary for training, and minimal beneficial
effects. They usually research a small, almost disposable, part of the
problem. The professor, instead of hiring lab assistants, gets the same
results, and a trained student, who will contribute to the field later. It is
a well thought-out plan.”
“But you’re not researching anything. You are controlling
“I am not, and neither are you; nor does this facility.
To tell you the truth, you know much more than all those who work here. They
know about a branch, their branch, that executes.”
“Then what do higher branches do?”
“It is not up to us to know. The more you know, the more
powerful, and therefore dangerous, you become. Tell me, Sam, how much do you
want to know? Join us, for good, and you’ll have it all. You have the
potential. No one here has been able to experience three doses of mental and
physical enhancements, and have results as high as yours. When those machines
were created, the highest setting was half of what it is now. As you might
have guessed already, I was monitoring your progress ever since you discovered
the discrepancy in PI. When you were about to visit us for the first time, I
intentionally amplified the machine. Of course, I was not expecting your
friend Chloe to use it, but, as you can tell, it barely had any effect on her.”
“Was there any damage?”
“Damage? Of course not, it only refreshes memory and
implants a new one, while scanning the old.”
“So you know all my thoughts?”
“Your mind, Sam, is unique. The simple thoughts are
usually conversations and words, sometimes pictures. Yours consists of movies
and concepts. While movies are easy and boring to review, trying to understand
a concept is like reading a binary file-you’ve tried that before.”
“What about her mind?”
“Her mind accepted only what she wanted to know. Yours
accepted almost all that there was. And because you are wondering about her
thoughts, there is nothing valuable that we sought in her.
“I know you still do not understand. Be one of us, Sam,
and you will.”
“What if I won’t be?”
“It’s a chance of a lifetime. Why will you give it away?”
“Why would I want to resort to terrorism and warfare as
the solution to world’s problems?”
“Terrorism? Hardly! We threaten certain corporations
into giving us supplies and other resources, but that’s about it.”
“But to what end? Suppose you have it all…”
“We do have it all. Remember the site you visited that…”
He chuckled. “That erased your records from every legal authority in the
world? You say control, you say power, no, that’s not what we are after.”
“Societies. Modern societies are crumbling to pieces.
With the influx of technology, humans are eliminated from the picture. Life as
we know it is crumbling to pieces; there needs to be someone to set things
“And Majestic is doing that, with the help of technology,
in exchange for what?”
“Occasional services, but mostly the feeling of power.
They think they control us—and to an extent, they will. But we’re nothing to
them; that’s why they are ‘taking care’ of us. Join us, share with us this
“I can never be at peace with myself knowing that I
promote tyranny over the whole world.”
“Are you rejecting us?”
“It is quite unfortunate, and ironic in some way. To
follow the examples of great classics of literature, to gain instantaneous
conscience, to spend your life rightly
, and to wait for a single
moment!… ‘Readiness is all!’ claims Hamlet. But is he right? Can one live
for a single moment of enlightenment?”
“No, and that is where the Eastern beliefs come into
“Exactly! You are a brilliant fellow! There is a life
after enlightenment, here on earth, when you apply your knowledge and bring
change to the world. That is what we do, and, unfortunately, that is not what
you will be able to do.”
“I will tell you what you want to know. But since you
already know too much, you pose a threat. We can’t allow that.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Nothing at all. Remember, you already exist only in
memories of those who love you. You saved us the trouble of erasing your
identity, digging your own grave. We don’t kill, it’s too brutal, too
inelegant. We believe in letting you control your own future.”
“So you’ll let me go?”
“Yes. But before you do, here is the explanation you’ve
been waiting for.
“As you know, Majestic 12 was established as a government
organization to protect all the evidence of alien activity. It later became an
independent organization, but its secrecy remained. We began experimenting,
first with alien life forms, then trying to communicate with them. After a
long time of deciphering their brain waves, and they—ours, we understood that
they would make us their trade partners. They would provide us with
technology, and we would manufacture it for them. We were once exposed, but
luckily, stories were so twisted that people started thinking that we do
bioengineering modifications. People are stupid; people are sheep who want to
be controlled! If we inspire them with fear, they will do what we tell them to
do. We tried that, once, but later realized that it is much easier to make
them do things for us, without their knowing it. And so, they live their
everyday life, and work for us.”
“Doesn’t anyone know?”
“Barely. Your friend’s organization does, but it poses no
thread to us. We can shut them up in a matter of days.”
“But to what end?”
“We control to illuminate this society. When we point
them in the right way, they will understand what it is all about. There will
be no murders, no disobediences—everyone will know what to do, and how to do
it. It’s a simple idea, but it can only work on a global level.”
Sam was sitting on the chair and pondering all that he’s
just learned. “It all makes sense.”
“I am glad I was informative. Now, it’s time for you to
leave. Follow me.” Sam stood up and walked towards the door. Mr. Stanley
walked into a small room that reminded Sam of a sterilization chamber.
However, as Mr. Stanley proceeded to the next room, all the doors suddenly
closed, leaving Sam trapped inside.
“Hey!” he yelled loudly.
“Don’t worry, this is necessary,” replied Mr. Stanley, and
pressed a few buttons. The scanning machines turned on, and blue light covered
Sam’s body. As he squinted, he felt that he didn’t want to open his eyes any
more. He was fast asleep, as his body dropped to the floor. He could barely
hear the voices of those carrying him. The workers strapped him to the chair,
and set the correct helmet mode. He could no longer hear someone’s voice,
saying, “Make sure he stays here for a while.”
Part III: The Screen Behind The Mirror