Okay, Ashley, let me start with telling you what you told me:
‘Hey, Michael… are you okay?’
You stood there, right in front of the cell’s door and from the look on your face, I could see you were worried.
‘I... I don’t know. What happened?’
‘You don’t remember?’
‘No... What happened?’
‘What’s the last thing you remember?’
‘I... I was in my bedroom when Lieutenant Brown knocked on the door...’
‘That’s the last thing you remember?’
‘Michael... that was two weeks ago...’
‘No... that... that can’t be... two weeks...’
‘You really don’t remember anything after that?’
‘No... no, I don’t... damn it! What happened?’
‘Let me try and explain. About three hours ago, they came for you and... shit... I don’t know what they did, but... this isn’t natural’
‘Wait... who came for me?’
‘They did... those soldiers.’
‘No... no, Michael... Brown’s... he’s dead...’
‘What?! What the hell happened?’
‘Well, the enemy... they came and took out Point Loma before we even knew what was going on... that was four days after Brown came to you and asked if you were back to normal.’
‘He took you to Nellis air force base, remember?’
‘No... I don’t remember... go on...’
‘Brown ordered everyone under his command back to the base after Travis base had been completely overrun, that’s when I arrived.’
‘Ashley, what happened?’
‘About a week ago, we received information that the enemy was coming for us...’
‘Wait, who’s the enemy again?’
‘We don’t know, but they speak English...’
‘No, they don’t have an accent...’
‘Seems that way... look, we knew where they were setting up camp and after we came to see doctor Sanford, Lieutenant Brown ordered our unit to go take a look, but... well, they weren’t there... They attacked two days later, and Brown... they captured him and then they... they executed him...’
‘Michael, you decided to try and find them and gather intel... You and Tom planned a successful Op and we found out what they were after...’
‘Well, Ashley? What was it? And... why did we go see Doctor Sanford?’
But you said: ‘I’m sorry, Michael... I think it may best if you don’t know...They may be listening... so it may be safer...’
And, Ashley... well... you were right. We were almost immediately interrupted when the door opened and four masked soldiers came in. I got up and charged them, but got hit in the face with the back of his gun. They took you, Ashley, and left me alone in my cell. I got up and banged on the door.
‘No! Let her go! Let me out of here! Damn you!’
But it did not matter and for three hours, I sat there... all alone. Didn’t have a clue about what was going on, but I knew they had done something to me... something more than just wipe my memory.
It took God knows how long before you were brought back to our cell. I suspect that they did the same to you as they did to me and that that is why you can’t remember anything from the past two weeks either...When they brought you back, you were unconscious. They took me as soon as they dropped you to the ground.
I remember that I tried to struggle, but they were just too strong. I remember that we walked past large cellblocks. I remember that I saw the faces of the people in them; they looked as if they were decomposing. Their faces were almost literally melting from their skulls. It was terrifying.
After the cells, we got to an elevator. We descended until the door opened and another hallway stretched out before us. We walked for another minute or five, before we arrived at a door with two guards in front of it. They opened the door and pushed me through. I saw a dark room with a curiously looking chair that I, somehow, knew to be a neural-manipulation chair. They strapped me down onto it. I couldn’t move a muscle.
‘So... how are you feeling?’
‘Who are you?’
‘That doesn’t really matter, Michael. Shall we begin?’
‘Initiate neural manipulation sequence two.’
Another man said: ‘Initiating sequence two.’
‘What are you doing?’
A large capsule came over the chair and two rods planted themselves into my temples. I don’t remember much from what happened then, but I do know they were looking for something.
‘Sequence two complete’, someone said.
‘Good. Hmm... that is interesting. Michael, you’re still awake.’
‘Shall I sedate him, sir?’
‘No, I think it’s time for us to have a little chat with him.’
‘Very well, sir.’
‘How do I get it, Michael?’
‘Don’t play games, Michael. I really am not in the mood.’
‘I’m not playing games, damn it!’
‘Stop it, Michael. It really is in your best interest to work with me, here.’
‘I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about! I don’t remember anything from the last two weeks!’
‘I know that, Michael, did you think we were oblivious to the way this machine works, hmm?’
‘Then how can you expect me to answer if I don’t remember?’
‘Well, I need you to think, Michael. You, no doubt, have seen the condition the people are in while passing them in the holding cells.’
‘I have. Victims of the RCV, right?’
‘Yes, they are all victims of the Retexens Cutis Virus.’
‘What about them?’
‘Well, my superiors are very displeased with you, Michael. You and your military. But I guess you already figured that out. Your question is, no doubt: ‘Why?’ Well, that is simple. We want back what your military stole from us.’
‘What are you talking about?’
‘The cure, Michael. The cure.’
‘Think, Michael! Think!’
‘I don’t remember anything!’
‘I don’t remember!’
‘Sequence two complete’, I heard someone say.
‘Welcome to the real world, Michael.’
‘What? This already happened! What the hell’s going on here?!’
‘No, Michael, it didn’t really happen. Our conversation from just now? Well, that was just in your head, I’m afraid.’
‘I look forward to our next talk, which will be... very soon.’
And that’s when I was given an injection. Next thing I knew, I woke up here.
‘You mean just now?’
No, Ashley, you were still unconscious for quite some time.
‘So, what happened next?’
You didn’t wake up, at least not before they came back and took me with them again. They took me back to the room with the chair and they started sequence three.
‘Hello again, Michael.’
‘You won’t fool me again. Not this time. I know this isn’t real!’
‘How very true. Amusing that you think I’d try to deceive you a second time. No. I merely want to have this little chat with you.’
‘I’m not telling you shit!’
‘You know, that’s what I hate most about soldiers, the rigid thought patterns. No room for doubt.’
‘Then why do you try?’
‘Because I don’t need your cooperation, Michael. How about you tell me who your spy is?’
‘Spy? What spy?’
‘You know the answer, Michael. Just tell me.’
‘I don’t know who the damn spy is!’
‘I see. Let’s try something else. Tell me... why did your unit survive?’
‘Our attack, of course.’
‘I... I don’t know...’
‘Because you’re immune to the Retexens Cutis Virus, Michael, that’s why!’
‘Yes, Michael! Your military thought they could steal our research for a cure and then create their own cure from it.’
‘I don’t understand...’
‘They were right, Michael! They found a cure! And instead of giving their research back to us, they decided to test their version of it on several military units, Michael, including yours!’
‘Yes! They experimented on you, Michael! Most units died immediately because of the experiments, others were even less lucky, but a few... yes, only a few, actually lived and were cured from the RCV.’
‘No... they wouldn’t...’
‘Yes, Michael... they would... and they did! They stole. And they experimented on humans before the cure was even remotely ready. Now, we’ve only come to reclaim what is rightfully ours.’
‘You killed Lieutenant Brown!’
‘We had to send a message!’
‘Damn you! Why do you even care? Now that the cure has been found, everyone can get it, no?’
‘Perhaps, but the military must be taught that they can’t do whatever the hell they damn well please!’
‘I don’t care! You didn’t have the right to launch a full assault on your own countrymen!’
‘And they didn’t have the right to take our research for themselves!’
‘Only they didn’t, really. Did they?’
‘What? Of course they did!’
‘No, someone gave it to them. You told me yourself when you asked who the ‘spy’ was.’
‘An insignificant detail, but yes. The military should have refused the spy, prosecuted him!’
‘Your superiors would have charged for the cure, wouldn’t they? While the military would just give it to people! You’re...’
‘Sequence three complete.’
‘Get him out of here!’
That’s when I got back to our cell. I saw you were awake, but your eyes were blank. You didn’t have a clue what was going on.
‘And that’s when you started explaining what happened, right?’
‘Okay, thanks for bringing me up to speed. Now what do we do?’
We’re going to get out of here, that’s what.
Can you fight?
‘Yeah, I think so...’
When they next come for us, we take them down. We’ll hide right next to the cell door, that way they won’t see us when they come in. We’ll take them completely by surprise.
‘I hear someone coming.’
‘We have a breach! We have a...’
Are you okay, Ashley?
‘Yeah, I’m fine.’
Good, let’s go.
‘There they are! Open fire!’
‘There’s too many of them!’
Let me try and get behind them.
‘Okay, but hurry. I’m low on ammo.’
‘You drop it, Michael!’
What? I don’t think so...
‘I’m so sorry, Michael.’
‘As I said, drop it... or watch her die.’
Fine... damn it!
No! Ashley! You bastard!
‘Take him to Pearson.’
‘Hello again, Michael. That wasn’t very smart, now was it?’
Damn you, you bastard!
‘I think there’s no longer any point in keeping you like this either, Michael.’
Fuck you! You’re going to kill me too? Well go ahead, you shit! You killed Ashley! Why the fuck would you do that? I surrendered. God…
'Don’t worry, Michael. I won’t kill you.'
You still need me…
‘Do I now? Well, I already got quite a bit from you. That chair you’re in right now actually served a double purpose. You see, it allowed me to analyse your thoughts when you tried hard to remember something, for instance, I know you know who the spy is and that’s exactly who can help me get my cure back. I’ll say hello to doctor Sanford for you.’
‘Yes, well... it’s not like you’ll remember anything anyway. And I’m afraid we’re not done yet, I still need some things from you. Initiate sequence one!’
‘Sequence one completed.’
‘Hello Michael, my name is David Pearson. I know you’re confused right now and I’ll explain everything in time, but for now you should know... you’re safe.’
© Copyright 2017, Julien P. Estourgie. All rights reserved.