"Zachary…can you hear me?" said Dr. Taylor.
Zachary slowly came to and opened his eyes, "Yes daddy, I can hear you; did it work?"
"I’m not sure yet, I still have to bring his systems online," said Dr. Taylor. "Go ahead and sit up if you can; although we went really slow at first we are running out of time now. That procedure drew a lot of energy from the main power grid; someone is bound to have noticed."
"Ok dad," said Zachary as he propped himself up on the table he was on.
Zachary reached up and felt the back of his head, sure enough, there was a small somewhat soft object there now but surprisingly enough it didn’t hurt.
"Hey dad, why did it hurt Jake so much when they gave him Cobie but not as much for what we just did?" asked Zachary.
"Because I took my time and was careful not to hurt you," said Dr. Taylor from his workstation. "Dr. Guise didn’t take his time with Jake and caused a lot of damage in the process."
"So what all will this device be able to do?" said Zachary. "You said that he wasn’t anything like Cobie."
"He’s a log-based oversoul guardian and neuromapper, but I’m afraid that I don’t really know much about how he works," said Dr. Taylor. "You see we designed him before we designed Cobie but this device, which we like to call Logan for short, works on a different level and has a different purpose; Logan was designed to stop aging and keep people from dying. Ultimately the project was abandoned though because we were afraid that the device would give its user too much power over their own genetic structure."
"Does that have something to do with this vat of silvery liquid you dunked me in," said Zachary referring to the pool of liquid that was off to the side of the table he sat on.
"Yes, actually," said Dr. Taylor. "That vat of liquid is a special chemical that helps link Logan to the rest of your body. Whether you see it or not that silvery liquid is now permanently embedded in your skin and it acts as a conduit through which Logan will help you use him."
"Exactly how will I use him?" asked Zachary.
"I’m afraid you’ll have to figure that one out on your own Zach," said Dr. Taylor. "We never implanted Logan into anyone before but I would imagine that he works a lot like Cobie does in terms of interface. Only he’ll know exactly how to help answer how to use him. I’m removing the program blocks that Cobie has so Logan won’t have any limitations."
"Ok," said Zachary.
"I’m bringing him online now," said Dr. Taylor.
Zachary suddenly found himself no longer sitting on a table but standing in the middle of a large white room. Standing in front of him was a small, really cute, blonde haired boy that looked to be about his age. The boy smiled when he realized that Zachary could see him.
"Hiya Z," said the boy. "I’m Logan! So what do ya think? Am I cute? Don’t worry, you didn’t create this form for me, I chose this form when I realized how I wanted myself to appear to you."
Zachary giggled, "Sure, you’re cute! It’s nice to meet you Logan."
"Well at least I know I’ve been paired with a good person," said Logan. "I thought they were never going to use me and I was afraid that when they did I was going to be paired with someone who had a bad soul; I like you though, you’ve got a good soul."
"So what exactly will I be using you for?" asked Zachary.
Logan smiled, "All kinds of things! But what we do is up to you; together we can save others and ourselves from dying, or we could use the environment around us to fool others, we can stay young forever and spend eternity searching for beauty for although we are both dead to the world we are alive for the journey and what we can do has no bounds but what you can imagine."
"That’s a lot to offer someone who has nothing," said Zachary. "All I have are my friends and what you promise sounds like more than I could hope for."
"But we can do it," said Logan. "The only limitations we have is what you can think of; because you’re so smart though all of what we can do won’t be hard to learn."
"Is optimism part of your programming?" said Zachary.
Logan tilted his head, "No, why? Who I am is not limited by any kind of programming. I’m probably the closest thing to a computerized soul that exists and I make all of my decisions based on what I think not on what I’m told by programmers."
"What about what I say?" said Zachary.
"You’re different," said Logan. "You are the soul bearer and I am your assistant, if I were to not listen to you then I would have nothing to do."
"You just said that…" started Zachary.
"I’m contradicting myself, I know," said Logan. "I’m allowed to do that though aren’t I?"
Zachary smiled, "I don’t see why not, I do it all the time."
Logan closed his eyes for a second and then looked right into Zachary’s, "We have a lot of work to do; don’t we?"
Zachary’s smile slid off of his face as he nodded his head.
"I’m sensing that you are emotionally bound to a fair amount of other children," said Logan.
"Those are my friends," replied Zachary.
"I’m also sensing that you are linked to one of those others," said Logan. "His name is Jesse."
"I have a mental link through him," said Zachary as he began to smile again. "He knows me, all of me completely."
Logan frowned, "And you approve of this?"
Zachary giggled, "Take a deeper look at me if you have to ask that question."
Suddenly Logan’s eyes lit up, "Oh! Ok never mind then."
"I care for him just as much as I do my brother but…" said Zachary.
"In a very different way," said Logan. "I understand now Zach. But what else I understand is that we have a lot of work to do; Z if you want to save all of these people, if you want to save all of your friends, then we have to work quickly and we have to get them out of here."
Logan looked around, "It looks like you’ve given me plenty of space to work with."
"Hey!" said Zachary. "I use more of this space than most people would."
"I know," said Logan. "I’m just kidding. I think it's time we get started though; time for you to wake back up."
As soon as the last word left Logan’s mouth Zachary once again found himself sitting on the cold metal table he started on.
Dr. Taylor looked up from his console, "Did it work? It says he’s online but I can’t tell, I’ve been locked out of his controls now."
"You can tell him not to worry, I’m up and running," Zachary heard Logan say in his head. "I locked him out of my controls."
"He says he’s working just fine daddy," said Zachary.
Dr. Taylor smiled, "Good, not a moment too soon. If you leave now then you should be able to quickly catch up with the others."
Zachary carefully slid off of the table and walked over to Dr. Taylor.
"What will happen to you though daddy?" asked Zachary.
Dr. Taylor knelt down and hugged him, "Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine so long as you get out of here unharmed."
"I’ll take care of it Zach," Zachary heard Logan say. "I know just what you’re thinking."
"I sent the others to get a few things, if you go through the back of the lab then you should be able to catch up with them Zach," said Dr. Taylor. "I’ll go and get Jacob and Jesse and meet you and the others in hanger five."
"I’ve got their computer hacked already Z," Logan said. "I’m downloading a map for us, do you think we need anything else?"
"Take everything they have," thought Zachary. "Everything."
"Zach just in case something does happen, tell Logan to download file T01001101 from my personal files, I’m sure he can get into the computer mainframe," said Dr. Taylor as he led Zachary to the back of the room and began opening the door.
Dr. Taylor bent down and hugged Zachary again; then he reached inside of his lab coat and pulled out a pistol, "Zach, I want you to take this with you just in case. You’re going to be needing it more than I will right now, just get safely back to the others and get out of here. But Zachary, I need you to promise me something; whatever happens, don’t come after me and if I can’t get Jacob and Jesse to hanger five then you have to leave without us. Don’t risk coming back into the compound to save us."
Zachary started to protest but Dr. Taylor held up his hand, "Please Zach, I know I haven’t been all that great of a father; if I was then you wouldn’t be here at all, you would be at home and everything would be perfect. I’ve let you down Zachary, I’ve let you and your brother both down and you don’t even know how much right now; one day I hope you’ll realize just how much I could have done and didn’t do because I was afraid for my own well-being. One day when that happens I hope you will forgive me for not being the father I should have been; I really don’t deserve for you to call me dad or daddy, I haven’t earned that right. But if you do nothing else that I ask then please at least listen to me now, don’t come after me if something happens."
Zachary shook his head, "I already know most of what you haven’t done dad but who is anyone to tell me whether you deserve the title I’ve given you? You are all I know…"
"You’ll know what I really mean someday Zach but for now thank you, that really does mean a lot to me," said Dr. Taylor as tears started to form in his eyes.
Zachary leaned forward and kissed Dr. Taylor on the cheek, "Don’t cry daddy…"
Dr. Taylor pulled Zachary into a tight hug and then as he let him go he reached over and opened the door, "You have to go now Zach, there’s no more time to waste."
"Don’t worry too much Z, we’ve got him mapped now," Zachary heard Logan say as he slipped out the door.
"What do you mean?" thought Zachary.
"It’s been an hour!" shouted Julian. "Something must have happened!"
"Calm down Julian," said Kollin. "I’m sure everything is fine, Zach only got back forty minutes ago. Dr. Taylor will make it with Jesse and Jacob."
"I don’t know," said Micah. "Julian has a point Bjorn, it shouldn’t be taking this long for Dr. Taylor to get back."
"We can afford to wait a little longer," said Samuel.
"Shut up, all of you!" shouted Julian as he picked up his weapon. "I’m going back in there to get them, if we keep waiting like this then they will find us and kill us."
"Jules," said Zachary. "My dad told me that if he didn’t get back then we should leave without them, he said it was too dangerous to go back in there."
Julian looked up at Zachary and was quiet for a second.
"Zach, I don’t like the look he’s giving us," Zachary heard Logan say. "He’s not thinking clearly."
"You know how to find them," Julian said in a cold detached tone. "You’re going to help me find them."
"Julian, no one is going back in there," said Kollin. "If all of you think we’ve waited too long then we should do exactly as Dr. Taylor has instructed."
Julian ignored Kollin, "You’re going to help me get Jake back." Julian pointed his gun at Zachary, "I won’t leave him behind, I won’t leave without him."
"Julian! Are you crazy?" shouted Isaac. "Put your gun down."
"Julian, just think about what you’re doing," Kollin said calmly. "Are you really willing to shoot Ari’s brother to get what you want?"
"We have to go get Jake and I’m not going in there alone," said Julian.
"Fine Julian, then we’ll all go," said Kollin. "Just lower your weapon."
"He can’t hurt us Z," Logan said to Zachary. "We can make that weapon come apart before he even pulls the trigger."
Julian slowly lowered his gun, "Please Kollin, please…Jacob is all I really have."
Kollin sighed, "Ok. Everyone, we are going back in, I know what Dr. Taylor said but Jacob is one of us and we can’t just leave him behind."
"More like Julian would have a mental breakdown if we didn’t try is what he means, right?" Logan asked Zachary.
"More or less," thought Zachary as he picked up his pistol.
"Dr. Hagar, where are we going?" Jacob asked as they loaded him into an elevator.
Dr. Hagar didn’t answer for a minute and just stared off into space. Finally, he spoke, "I’m so sorry Jacob. You don’t deserve this, none of you deserve anything we’ve put you through."
Jacob waited for another minute, "Dr. Hagar, please at least tell me where we are going. If you’re sorry then don’t you at least owe me that?"
Dr. Hagar looked down at Jacob and then replied, "I’m sure you know what you are to the council Jacob; I’m sure you know that you are a tool to them. They intend to use you to unite humanity under one consciousness, creating a collective that they can govern and take care of. They hope to eliminate everything that’s wrong in the world, they hope to solve humanity like a puzzle."
"It sounds like you almost don’t approve," said Jacob.
"I approve of the goal, but I don’t approve of what we have to give up to get to it," said Dr. Hagar. "Dr. Taylor was right humanity must give up free will if we do it this way, but it’s too late now."
The elevator doors opened and Dr. Hagar pushed Jacob’s chair out of the elevator. They slowly made their way down the long white hallway in front of them with only the sound of Dr. Hagar and their escort’s footsteps to keep them company. When they reached the end of the hall the walls seem to almost part for them. There before them was a large white room with nothing in it but some equipment in its center.
"What is this place?" gasped Jacob.
"This is the cryostat chamber," said Dr. Hagar.
"They are putting you into a frozen sleep sir," Jacob heard Cobie say.
"Through this machine, the council will be able to amplify your telepathic ability to reach every living person on the planet," said Dr. Hagar. "You won’t feel anything though, you’ll be asleep for all of it; it’s the rest of humanity that will have to suffer."
Lab assistants rushed forward and took Jacob’s chair from Dr. Hagar. They rolled him up to the chamber and then started undressing him.
"Sir, they don’t know what they are talking about, you’ll still be somewhat conscious in that chamber if they are using your mind," Cobie told Jacob. "You’ll be able to feel everything that all of humanity feels."
But Jacob didn’t respond, he knew that there really was no hope for him now. He would be put into this cryostat chamber and he would never get out.
The lab assistants picked Jacob up and carefully lifted him into the chamber itself and onto its bed.
"Sir, do you want me to set up a repository for you?" asked Cobie. "If I do then you will at least still be able to hear your own thoughts."
"Yes Cobie, thank you," Jacob whispered.
"Excuse me?" asked Dr. Hagar. "Did you say something?"
"Sure. How do you sleep at night Dr. Hagar?" Jacob asked. "You sound like you hate this just as much as I do doctor, but yet here you are watching them load me into this thing from which I will never emerge."
Dr. Hagar looked Jacob in the eyes and replied, "I don’t."
The lab assistants then stepped back and pushed a few buttons on one of the external consoles. Suddenly the cryostat chamber began to hiss loudly and a glass case came down from the ceiling and enclosed the chamber. The external control console began beeping after the seal was locked.
Jacob then watched through the glass as Dr. Hagar pulled out his own pistol and put it to his head. Jacob closed his eyes but suddenly felt pain shoot through his body as he felt Dr. Hagar die.
"The repository is set up sir," said Cobie.
"Thank you Cobie," said Jacob.
The external console started beeping faster and then sounded one long beep…the glass of the cryostat chamber was now frosted over with ice.
People in this world act as if freedom is a right they are born with, that it’s something that they don’t have to fight for anymore. They assume the same for free will. They lie to each other, they steal, they cheat, and they kill. I feel it all, I feel all that is and will ever be humanity and for now, I’m just overwhelmed. It’s too much, too much to know everything that they know, to feel everything that they feel.
Everything from childbirth to depression, sex to death; every time someone breaks someone else’s heart I feel what they feel, every time someone kills another human being I feel both the hatred and pleasure from the one and the pain and finally death from the other. From my point of view, it’s easy to see the horrible monster that lives in this world but I can also see the beauty in this beast. There are things that are worth suffering for, worth dying for; one of these is love, but it’s the only one that’s important enough to remember. There’s also not enough of it, there is too little of it to at least numb the overwhelming feeling that is caused by everything else. Dr. Guise is right, the world is a horrible place and it needs help but am I it? It’s been three seconds since that last beep went off, ten seconds since Dr. Hagar ended his life.
The pain is starting to dull a little, I think most of the world is realizing that they can hear what their friend is thinking.
The pain is getting stronger again, worse than before. I feel what they feel as they all panic. It feels like someone has set my body on fire and then stuck a knife into the base of my skull, the pain alone is overwhelming now; everything, every feeling is still there yet all one. I want to scream but I can’t…
It’s been a minute now…the pain is still there but it’s not so bad that I can’t feel myself, that I can’t still define me. If it wasn’t for that repository that Cobie set up then I wouldn’t still be here but the voices are getting louder; I can hear all of them, every single one of them. I can’t hear Cobie anymore, all I can really hear is everyone else. Billions of them; please make them be quiet…
I can barely hear myself anymore…I am Jacob…Ari…the lion…son of James Taylor…brother of Zachary…
The pain…the voices…I am Jacob…I must remember…someone help me…please…I am…I was…Jacob…
End of Part One
So, what do ya think? I left a large part of that undefined, didn’t I? Don’t worry, you’ll eventually learn what happened with everyone else, I promise. That will have to wait till part two though. Yes, there will be a part two. I’ve really enjoyed writing part one and thank you to all of you that have given me feedback and support all through these fifteen chapters.
For the last 15 chapters, we have watched Akeentia create a different perspective of a world that is not much unlike our own, but at the same time totally different. He has fused many different ideologies into a story that captivates the reader.
With his descriptiveness he managed to singularly make a point that has been always heard but seldom listened and understood. The children are the future and our saving grace.
I can't wait to see where this story goes next. For some reason I feel as though I am a puppy on a leash waiting to see where my owner takes me for a walk next.