Jacob felt numb as he started to wake up. As he started to open his eyes he came to two conclusions. First, the room he was in was very bright and second, he had a pounding headache. The last thing that Jacob remembered was being lowered back into that tank of water.
"Now where am I?" thought Jacob as he started to sit up.
Jacob propped himself up on his elbows and looked around the room. He was in a room filled with beds and medical supplies. At the far end of the room stood Dr. Guise, Dr. Bender, and a man dressed in black that Jacob had never seen before. He could clearly see that Dr. Guise was happy with what the man was telling him. Jacob really wanted to know what they were talking about so he tried to clear his mind so he could listen to them and suddenly felt a sharp pain at the base of his skull.
Jacob fell backward and as his head hit his pillow he suddenly found himself standing in the middle of a large empty white room. While Jacob had no idea what was happening he was at least relieved that the pain was gone.
"Okay, now where am I?" thought Jacob.
He looked around but there was nothing to see; just empty white space.
"Hello?" Jacob shouted. "Is there anyone there?"
"Yes sir, I am here," said a voice from behind him.
Jacob turned around to find a lion cub sitting on the floor about five feet from him and nothing else.
"I am here sir," the cub repeated.
"Lions can't talk," Jacob said as he started to back away. "What are you?"
"You are right sir, lions can not talk but I am also not a lion," said the cub. "You just see me as one. I, sir, am your Task Manager. I am here to help you file information in an orderly fashion."
Jacob looked at the cub with a confused look, "What do you mean?"
"You mean they didn't tell you about me?" asked the cub. Jacob shook his head. "Okay, I suppose I have some explaining to do then. I am the device that they put on the back of your neck. I'm not supposed to tell you exactly what I will be used for in the future but I can tell you my basic purpose. I was designed to act as a tool to help your brain store information."
"I don't have a problem remembering things," said Jacob.
"You don't really need me yet but as you do more and more scans of people you might have trouble organizing the information and storing it correctly," said the cub.
"Are you the one that caused that sharp pain in my neck?" Jacob asked.
"Yeah, that was me," said the cub. "I really didn't mean to hurt you; I think that they tried to integrate me into your body too quickly."
"You're the one that attacked me on that boat!" shouted Jacob.
"Yes, I suppose that was me," replied the cub.
"Should I expect any more knives being shoved into the back of my head?" said Jacob.
"I don't think so," said the cub. "If you do feel any more pain from me then it's not really me causing it, it would be them trying to add something I don't know how to use."
Jacob looked around, "What's the large room for?"
"This is where I will live and where all the file indexes will be stored," said the cub.
"If you say so," sighed Jacob. "Do you have a name?"
The lion cub looked confused for a second, "Should I have one sir? I'm just a Computer-assisted Organizational Backup Interface Emitter, sir; they never thought to name me."
"Well it would make it easier for me if I had something shorter than that to call you besides ‘hey you' don't you think," said Jacob.
"I suppose you are right sir," said the cub. "But they did not give me a name."
"Well…how about Cobie?" said Jacob. "That's sort of an abbreviation of what you are."
"I suppose that works sir," said the cub. "If that is what you want to call me then that is my name."
"Okay, then your name is Cobie," said Jacob. "So, what am I doing here?"
"Well I assume you tried to use your telepathy," replied Cobie. "And that would land you here because I haven't finished setting up your filing system yet."
"Well, how long will that take?" Jacob asked.
Cobie tilted his head to one side, "Give me just a minute sir and I should have it set up."
Suddenly the room was filled with boxes of all different sizes and colors, each one set about four feet apart. Then the boxes disappeared and were replaced with hundreds of file cabinets.
"Alright sir, your file system is set up," said Cobie.
"Nice filing system," said Jacob sarcastically.
"This is just the way it looks to you sir; your mind is trying to produce an image to represent the system I have set up," said Cobie. "Trust me, it looks nothing like this."
"So can I use my telepathy again?" asked Jacob.
"Yes sir," said Cobie. "Go ahead and give it a try, if anyone is in the room that is. I should be able to help you gather more information then you are used to getting."
Jacob closed his eyes and tried to relax his mind. When he opened his eyes Jacob found himself standing in another white room.
"Okay, where am I this time," Jacob stated more than asked.
"This is where we take in information, sir," said Cobie as he walked up and sat next to Jacob's feet. "We made it to this room because we are in a room that contains people. Focus harder and images of them should appear in here."
Jacob did as Cobie told him and instantly full body images of Dr. Guise, Dr. Bender, and the strange man in black appeared in the room.
"That's good, sir," said Cobie. "Now try and read their minds."
Jacob tried to just focus on what they were saying but suddenly he felt like he was locked to them and an overwhelming surge of information started to flow into his mind. It almost felt like his entire head was on fire. He wanted to scream.
"Just relax sir," Cobie said gently. "I am adjusting the intake stream as fast as I can. I suppose I wasn't as ready as I thought I was."
Slowly the burning feeling subsided and Jacob could hear his own thoughts again. Or he at least thought he could but suddenly the room changed and Jacob found himself standing somewhere he had never seen before.
Jacob was standing in a large grassy front yard in front of a large two-story house. There was a tire swing hanging from a nearby tree and several toys were scattered all over the place. Everything, though, seemed washed out; everything seemed faded and devoid of color.
"How do I know what all of this is?" Jacob asked.
"I am processing the information and adding it to your vocabulary and definition database," said Cobie.
"What is this place?" said Jacob. "What's going on?"
"This is a memory from one of the people in the room, but I don't know which one yet," said Cobie. "I am still processing that. And we don't seem to be getting anything from the man in black. This must be from the mind of one of the two doctors, sir."
"Do you know why I am seeing this place?" asked Jacob as he walked toward the house.
"No sir," replied Cobie. "If I had to guess I would say that somehow your mind relates to this memory in some way. Your mind still processes faster than I do, I just organize it and allow you to access the information."
"You also have me take in everything about them," said Jacob. "All I wanted was their immediate conversation, not their whole life."
"I'm sorry sir but that was the way I was programmed," said Cobie. "They want you to do that."
Jacob walked up the steps of the house with Cobie trotting close behind him. Slowly he grabbed the handle on the front door and threw open the door. He looked inside and saw no one inside. Suddenly Jacob heard a scream.
He turned toward where he had heard it come from and witnessed a young boy, about his age, being thrown across the kitchen. Jacob ran over to the kitchen door and was just in time to see a large, muscular man pick the boy up and hit him.
"When I tell you to do something boy, I expect you to do it," bellowed the man as he delivered another blow. "You understand me you piece of shit!"
"Y-y-y-yes sir," cried the boy.
"And I don't want to see that stupid, worthless, bastard friend of yours here again either," yelled the man. "Understand!"
"Yes sir," said the boy.
The man hit the boy in the stomach and dropped him to the ground and then kicked him for good measure.
"I'll make a man out of you yet, Paul," said the man. "There's no way in hell I'm going to have a piss poor sissy ass fag for a son."
Suddenly Jacob knew exactly who the boy was, it was Dr. Guise. Dr. Paul Guise. Jacob watched the man leave the room and then turned his attention to the boy on the floor. Jacob suddenly felt really bad for Dr. Guise.
"Hmm…" said Cobie, "it's kind of downhill from here sir. I've finished sorting these memories; care to see anymore?"
Jacob reached up and wiped the tears from his eyes, "No Cobie, I don't want to see anything else."
"Shall we move on then sir?" asked Cobie.
"Cobie, what happens to him?" Jacob asked while still staring at the boy on the floor.
"I thought you just said you didn't want to see anymore sir," said Cobie. "Did you change your mind?"
"NO!" said Jacob. "I don't want to see anymore I just want to know what happened to him. I want to know why he is so mean now."
"Hmm…let me try and give you a summary," said Cobie. "It seems that this same thing went on for years, sir. He tried to become the man that his father wanted him to be, I suppose he lost something important along the way."
"Yeah, his soul," whispered Jacob.
"Are you ready to move on sir?" asked Cobie. "I finished sorting the memories of Dr. Jane Bender as well. Do you want to see any of her memories or do you want me to just integrate them and keep them filed?"
"I'm done Cobie, I don't want to see any more memories," said Jacob.
"Very good sir," said Cobie.
Suddenly the house, the boy, and everything else were gone and Jacob was once again standing in the white room with the images of Dr. Guise, Dr. Bender, and the man in black.
"What about the other man," said Jacob, "anything on him?"
"No sir, somehow he seems to be blocking us," said Cobie.
"I wonder who he is," Jacob said to himself.
Just then the images faded and Jacob felt himself being shaken awake.
Jacob opened his eyes to find Dr. Guise and Dr. Bender hovering over him.
"Hello Jacob," said Dr. Bender. "How do you feel?"
"I've been better," Jacob whispered.
"Well at least his sense of humor is intact," said Dr. Bender.
"Jacob, we attached something to the base of your skull and you need to be aware of its existence," said Dr. Guise.
"You mean Cobie?" asked Jacob.
Dr. Guise looked confused, "Cobie?"
"He's a Computer-assisted Organizational Backup Interface Emitter, right," said Jacob.
"Has he already been talking to you?" asked Dr. Bender.
"Yes ma'am," replied Jacob.
"Good, then if he has already set himself up then we will send you back to Jesse now," said Dr. Guise.
Dr. Guise motioned to Dr. Bender to get the assistants and soon it was just Jacob and Dr. Guise.
Dr. Guise grabbed a hold of Jacob and shook him, "The computer will help you set your mind up to do some interesting things but stay the hell out of my mind or I'll show you the meaning of the word castration you understand me?"
"Yes sir," said Jacob.
Dr. Guise let go of Jacob just as Dr. Bender and a few assistants and guards came into the room. Dr. Bender got a wheelchair and brought it over to the bed.
"Jacob, I have to warn you that you might not ever be able to walk again," said Dr. Bender. "A few unexpected things happened when we were implanting the Emitter. Because we had shut down most of your motor functions most of your nervous system was not damaged but when your body started to go into shock and spasm like it did you ended up damaging some very important nerves."
Jacob was shocked, "I can't walk?"
"Now don't panic," said Dr. Bender. "Your nervous system may end up healing completely, we don't know yet. So you may still be able to walk; we'll know more tomorrow after you've gotten more sleep. Okay?"
"Yes, ma'am," Jacob said softly.
The assistants picked Jacob up and gently placed him in the wheelchair. As they rolled him out of the room Jacob heard Cobie's voice in the back of his mind.
"Jacob, sir, I'm sorry…"
As tears started to roll down Jacob's cheeks he whispered, "I know Cobie, I know."