Soon they arrived at a door labeled "D-Lab 9" and were rushed inside.
"You know," said Jesse, "If the doors weren't labeled then you could get lost in this place. Everything looks the same."
"What does D-Lab mean?" asked Jacob.
"Oh, the D stands for Dream," said Jesse.
"What kind of lab is this?" said Jacob.
"Well, it's..." Jesse started.
"Good evening boys."
Jacob turned to see Dr. Guise coming out of some kind of control room at the far end of the lab.
"Hello Dr. Guise, it's wonderful to see you again," Jesse said sarcastically.
"Don't give me any lip boy," snapped Dr. Guise. "Lab Assistants, prepare the boys for tonight's experiment."
About six lab assistants came out of the control room and led Jacob and Jesse to a set of six chairs. Jesse was placed in some kind of special chair with extra equipment, while Jacob was just placed in an ordinary chair with nothing special about it except for the arm and leg straps.
Just then four other men came into the room followed by Dr. Taylor. The men were brought over and strapped into the remaining four chairs.
Dr. Guise walked up to the chairs, "Jesse, I am sure you remember these men. We used them two nights ago."
"I remember them, you said you got them from off the streets and that they had no home," said Jesse.
"That's right," replied Dr. Guise, "tonight you are going to do just about the same thing, but this time Jacob will be joining them."
"What! No way, I won't do this if you are putting Jacob in the dream," shouted Jesse.
"Oh, yes you will," said Dr. Guise. "Besides, I just want to test a theory I have about Jacob. It's not like you can hurt him in this experiment, it's not like the one you did this morning."
"Like hell I can't hurt him, I'm projecting images into his mind!" said Jesse.
"Don't argue with me boy, you'll do what I say," said Dr. Guise.
"Bite me!" yelled Jesse.
Dr. Taylor chuckled as he helped hook Jesse up to the machines.
"Shut up Jim," said Dr. Guise as he gave Dr. Taylor the evil eye. "Look Jesse, I don't have time to play these games with you. If I tell you to do something then I expect you to do it and if you don't then this is what will happen."
Dr. Guise pulled out his gun, aimed it at one of the four men, and pulled the trigger. A deafening sound filled the air followed by a scream, but the scream was not from the man who now lay lifeless in his chair. The scream came from Jesse.
Jacob watched in horror as Jesse thrashed about in his chair screaming at the top of his lungs. A few assistants rushed forward to give Jesse an injection of the same pink liquid Jacob saw Dr. Taylor use just a few hours ago. But Dr. Guise pointed his gun at them.
"Back off, I don't want you to give him that injection. I want him to remember this, I want him to remember the pain," shouted Dr. Guise. "This is what happens when you say no to me, Jesse. I'm not like the other doctors here. I won't be nice to you, I won't give you painkillers, I won't put up with anyone wasting my time. The next time you tell me no I'll kill three of them at once, you understand me!"
Jesse couldn't respond except to nod his head as he tried to curl up into a ball.
"Good," said Dr. Guise, "I am going to go get some coffee, when I get back we will continue."
As soon as Dr. Guise left the room the assistants rushed forward and gave Jesse the injection. Soon Jesse relaxed and sat silently in his chair.
"Jesse, are you alright," Jacob whispered.
"I'll be fine Jake," said a voice in Jacob's head.
"Didn't I warn you not to piss him off," said Dr. Taylor as he re-hooked the equipment that had come off of Jesse when he was thrashing about. "Jesse, I don't want to see either one of you get hurt. But if you piss Dr. Guise off then he might hurt not just you Jesse but Jacob as well. You don't want that do you?"
"No," Jesse said softly.
"That," Dr. Taylor said while pointing at the dead man next to Jacob, "could have been Jacob."
"I know," said Jesse as tears rolled down his cheeks.
Dr. Taylor leaned forward and carefully hugged Jesse.
"Alright, are you ready to do this?" Dr. Taylor asked Jesse.
"As ready as I'm going to get," replied Jesse.
"Good, you and Jacob can talk until Dr. Ass wipe gets back, ok," said Dr. Taylor.
"Ok," said Jesse.
Dr. Taylor got up and walked over to the control room leaving Jacob, Jesse, and the remaining three men by themselves.
"Are you ok Jesse?" Jacob asked.
"Yeah, Jake, I'll be ok," replied Jesse.
"Why do you do that, why do you defy him?" said Jacob.
"Because I don't want you to get hurt," said Jesse.
"Well, cut it out! I think it's great that you don't want to hurt me but saying no to Dr. Guise always causes someone pain."
"I'm sorry, I didn't know. I've never worked with him before; I only ever work with Dr. Taylor. Today was the first time I ever met him face to face," said Jesse.
" But Dr. Taylor told you that..."
"Dr. Taylor told me not to make him angry; he said nothing about him killing people when I pissed him off." Jesse almost shouted.
"Hey, kid," said one of the three men, "all he's tryin ta say is be careful. We don't wanna die."
Just then Dr. Guise came back into the lab.
"Alright, let's get started," said Dr. Guise as he headed for the control room.
"So what exactly are we doing?" Jacob whispered.
"It's kind of like a dream but they'll be in control of it. I act as some kind of tool, I don't control the images. Just remember that whatever you see Jake, it's not real. It's just in your head," said Jesse.
Suddenly the room went black and Jacob could see nothing. Slowly light started to come back. But when it did Jacob found that he was no longer sitting in a room but was now standing in the hallway just outside of the lab staring at the label that said D-Lab 9. Jacob looked around for a moment.
"For something that's not real it sure looks real," Jacob said to himself.
He reached out and touched the wall, "Feels real too."
Jacob started to walk down the hallway but because he had never been to this part of the building he had no idea where he was going. Suddenly though Jacob found that his path was blocked. There sitting in the hallway was what looked like a lion with a human head.
"What are you?" Jacob asked.
"I am a sphinx, my name is Thoth. Who, might I ask, are you?"
"My name is Jacob."
"What's your real name, Jacob?"
"What do you mean?" asked Jacob.
"Others know you by a different name, don't they?"
"Fine, my name is Ari. It means lion, and lion is the animal name I was given."
"That's better. Alright Ari, I am going to give you a riddle. If you answer correctly then you may pass, if you answer incorrectly then I will tear you to pieces."
"Can I just turn around and walk away?" asked Jacob.
"No, that's not an option."
"Then what is your riddle."
The sphinx smiled then replied, "I am always hungry, I must always be fed, and the finger I lick will soon turn red."
Jacob thought for a moment, "What is always hungry, has to be fed, and will turn my finger red? Hmmm, sounds like Zachary. But I doubt that that's the answer."
Jacob thought a moment longer and then it struck him.
"Is the answer ‘fire'?" Jacob asked.
The sphinx smiled and then stepped aside, "Very good young one, you may go on."
Jacob very quickly passed the sphinx and continued down the hallway.
Soon Jacob encountered a man dressed in black, standing in the hall.
"Hello Ari," said the man, "I am Eon. I too have a riddle for you. If you do not answer correctly nothing will happen but if you do then I promise something great."
"Alright, let's hear it," said Jacob.
"Until I am measured I am not known, yet how you miss me when I have flown," said the man.
"Oh, that one's easy. We waste that one all the time, besides your name gives it away. The answer is ‘time'."
The man smiled, "That is correct. Let me ask you something. If you are conscious for this dream and yet you are dreaming it then what gives them the control."
"I suppose I do. Can I change that?" said Jacob.
The man smiled wider and then disappeared.
"Ok then," thought Jacob "is that what I get for answering the riddle? But how does that help me?"
Jacob stood there for awhile thinking about what the man had said. "Can I take control of this dream if I try? Is that what the man was saying? But if those in the control room are in control of the dream then how do I know that they don't want me to think that I can change it; how do I know if I really can take control from them?"
Then an idea came to Jacob, "If none of this is real to begin with then I'm really sitting in the lab and not standing here in this hallway. So I should be able to tune into what everyone is thinking."
Jacob relaxed for a moment and let the voices of others start to form in his head; soon he was focusing on some more than others. Once he was sure that the voices he heard belonged to those performing the experiment he focused on their immediate thoughts so he knew what they were going to say. Slowly he was able to piece together their conversation.
"Everything is working perfectly..."
"Nothing unusual yet..."
"No, sir, nothing; Jesse's link with the other four is stable..."
"So they still have control," thought Jacob. "Let me see if I can take it from them."
Jacob thought about changing the environment he was into a vast desert. At first, nothing happened so Jacob concentrated harder. Suddenly the hallway disappeared and he found himself standing in the middle of a desert.
"Cool, I wonder if I have control now?"
Jacob listened once again to what was going on in the control room.
"Sir, something is wrong. Jesse is having trouble keeping a stable link now..."
"What do you mean, what seems to be the problem..."
"I don't know sir..."
Now Jacob wanted to see if he could break the ‘link' that they were talking about. But he still had no idea what he was doing.
"I've never done this before. So, let's see; if Jesse is a tool then they must be using his telepathic ability to connect to the rest of us. So logically, to break the link I would need to pull those that Jesse is connected to into my world and out of his."
Jacob concentrated on that for a moment and suddenly the desert disappeared and the lab came back into view.
"Ok, what just happened," thought Jacob, "this is not what I was trying to do."
Jacob looked over at Jesse and found that Jesse was staring right back at him smiling.
"You broke my link," said Jesse.
"I was trying to pull them into my desert," Jacob said gesturing toward the three men next to him.
"That won't work without the machine behind my left shoulder," said Jesse.
Jacob looked at the machine Jesse was talking about.
"It's like a host or a place in which to create a world that others can go to," said Jesse.
Just then Dr. Guise, Dr. Taylor, and a few assistants came out of the control room.
"Very good Jacob," said Dr. Guise, "I was hoping that you would be able to break Jesse's link. You may just work out better than Jesse. The council will be pleased. Lt. Gemini, take the boys back to their room, we are done for the night. Council willing, hell begins tomorrow. So both of you get some rest."