Tag Archives: chapter 22

Killing Time OST – 22c – Numbers

<< 22b – Numbers

As it turned out, the secret task force folks had indeed prepped an office for me. If I ever had any doubt they came in the conference room with their minds made up, the fancy underground space erased them. Calling it an office didn’t do it justice, actually; it was a war room with projectors, a coffee machine and a bunch of office supplies.
“You spared no expense to get this thing done, did you?” I asked Eliot as he gave us the tour.
“If only it came with a descent computer.” Vexx mumbled has he inspected the available material. “This one’s not powerful enough for me.”
“We didn’t know you’d join us,” Gabriel said. The statement was pretty blunt but Gabriel’s smile was unmovable. He got what he wanted: a partnership that benefited everyone. I didn’t feel blessed but I wasn’t running for my life either.
“We’ll have the appropriate equipment brought in as soon as possible. I suspect you’ll also require a secure Internet connection?”
Vexx laughed. “If you want access to Merrilyn’s mainframe, yes.”
“Stored it on a remote server?” Gabriel asked. He was the one in charge of our direct ‘supervision’ and took it upon himself to understand everything about our dynamic. He grilled Vexx about his role on my missions thirty minutes ago.
“You could say that.” Vexx grinned. I chuckled.
“If your FBI bosses get worried, tell them the bandwidth and storage space inconsistencies will cease soon.”
Gabriel’s jaw dropped. “You stored it on our network! Don’t you have a secured server? What’s wrong with you?”
I stepped between the two men before their animosity raised enough for Eliot to assign us a new chaperon. Why were they so blind to the other’s intention? Gabriel feared the discovery of the files, which would ruin our whole operation and effectively strap me to a thousand volts. As for Vexx’s motives…
“My home is compromised. There’s no saying how long our network will be safe. Lesser of two evils, you know.” My explanation relaxed both men.
“What exactly do you need?”
Eliot made sure all our technical requests were answered before the end of the day. The heads then deserted our base of operation, leaving a handful of soldiers to guard the fort. Chief Bulk and his friends were part of that team. Their glaring stopped when I began sparring with them to work up an appetite; I let them land a few punches to win them over. I didn’t hold back against Gabriel when he joined to see if I could beat him without cheating. His Kung Fu forms were pure eye candy and his Muay Thai packed some punch. I still landed on top. By then, the guards were cheering.
Gabriel, Vexx and I had dinner away from the rest of the group so Vexx’s lack of an alternative face wouldn’t ruin his meal. Eliot had promised to fix that too.
Except for Vexx who had a couch in a separate room, we slept in a common dormitory and, amazingly enough, the lack of privacy helped me rest. I didn’t know if my subconscious refused to disturb my roommates’ sleep or if the steady breath of a dozen men soothed my worries but I woke up fresh and ready to take over the world.
Unfortunately, the world wasn’t ready to be taken.
“The analysis on the files is done but I’ll need the morning to finish the GMTW,” Vexx said. The files had transferred from the FBI server to a secret op location during the night.
“Giant Merrilyn Technology Wiki,” I translated for Gabriel. “I preferred Assassination Planning Supporter.”
“Do you need help from other people? We can ask for reinforcements as long as we keep a limited team.” Gabriel dropped a cup of coffee in front of me.
Chief Bulk and his dudes weren’t the only ones growing used to the dynamics between Vexx and me. I hadn’t played mediators between my partners for a while. On the other hand, putting out fires had kept my own uneasiness at bay. The same thing happened after I cleaned Vexx of his addiction; a good month had passed before his support and camaraderie stopped bothering me.
Adding to the team didn’t sit well with me.
“How long will the selection process take?” I asked.
“Good point.”
“It would take a while to brief them anyway.” Vexx mindlessly grabbed the cup of coffee Gabriel had just put on the corner of his desk. His free hand kept switching between folders and bits of code. “I’ll be fine. Done by one o’clock for sure.”
Vexx made good on his ETA and we gathered around a user-friendly Pandora’s box. Gabriel had a portable computer with him, ready to jolt down the plan. He looked a little too excited about this.
“Initial analysis revealed that the board has a meeting at Headquarter once a month,” Vexx said. “It’s unlikely they’ll cancel or move the next one even if they know we know. Headquarter’s a fortress and they need to address the Nightshade problem.”
Gabriel tapped a few things on his hologram. “Our moles seem to confirm your assessment.”
“Moles?” I stressed the ‘s’.
“Twenty sleeper agents around the globe for the past five years.”
“Way to go!”
Vexx’s hologram faded to a three dimensional blueprint of the whole building. I started studying it, opening up the details about the security in the various areas.
“This is amazing!” Gabriel said as he watched me go. “Can I have a data output of the whole thing?”
A few beeps and electrical wiring populated my soundscape for a moment but I didn’t pay attention until Gabriel spoke again.
“There’s a fifty percent chance you’ll take this path.” Gabriel drew on the hologram and a green line linked the roof access to an oval office in the middle of the building – the arrogance! –, avoiding the main security choke points. “Thirty percent says you’ll go this way.” Roof, down the side of the building and through the window of a currently unoccupied office. “Ten.” From the roof, to the ducts, to the office. “And last ten goes here.” From the underground garage to the target.
“So I like roofs. You memorized all that?”
“No. WWND did.” I cocked an eyebrow. “What Would Nightshade Do?”
“You’re as bad as him!”
Unaffected by my accusations, Vexx chuckled.
“They’re likely to strengthen those entry points to render your information useless.” Gabriel started looking for other ways in, ones I wouldn’t have used by myself.
“So what’s left?” I asked about.
I glared at Vexx and looked around the plan. There had to be a way.
Then I knew. I knew exactly what no one would expect from a carefully programmed assassin.
Storm the castle.

23a – iBroker Souls >>

Killing Time OST – 22b – Numbers

<< 22a – Numbers

An awkward pause, to say the least, followed the Gabriel’s relatively light-hearted intervention. Information had to sink in before the proper questions came to my mind and, apparently, my ‘allies’ allowed me to take that time.
That they expected me to kill my dad wasn’t an issue; I wanted to kill my dad. That they pushed my buttons so I would know my breaking points kind of made sense though it pissed me off. One major thing didn’t make sense though.
“Why invest so much time in me?” They did research, ran analysis and decided that I was worthy of their effort. Until now, I thought I’d have to fight to get any support. “If you want my father dead, you could send one of your men.”
“If push comes to shove, we might,” Middle Man said. It bugged me that I didn’t know their names or real faces. I’d work my way down the list of annoying things and eventually get to that question. “We need the information you fished in the mainframe, of course, but you also have a major quality.”
I cocked an eyebrow; this was black ops so my quality certainly wasn’t that I operated outside of the law. “I’m replaceable?”
“You don’t want just any assassin, do you?” Vexx offered. By the look on the faces lined up in front of us, he was right.
“This operation isn’t just about killing the head of Merrilyn Tech. We want every single person who dreams about programming people to shit in their pants.”
Gabriel looked positively shocked and so did Vexx. I smiled. “So it’s my reputation you need.”
“Yes.” I could work with that. “A crash of Merrilyn Tech shakes everyone involved. They’ll make mistakes. We’ll catch them. Then we’ll set up filters on the routes we discovered.”
“And collar anyone who tries to unearth the monster. Nifty plan!”
It made perfect sense and felt reassuring; any assassin could kill a few managers but none would leave the mark Nightshade bore. My reputation already frightened most tech cartels and industry officials. A little bit of intel manipulation and people would be convinced the destruction of Merrilyn Tech and all my murders were the unfortunate result of an experiment gone wrong. The law against human programming would pass in no time. Low-level investors would pull out of such projects instantaneously, knowing that I was still out there and hunting. The rest would, at the very least, pause.
“What about my pardon?” From my standpoint, this was the only deal-breaker left.
“Full pardon upon completion of your mission,” Middle Man said, “dependent on your continuous collaboration.” I cocked an eyebrow. “We’ll alter your father’s will.”
I blanched. Oh hell no!
“You want her to inherit Merrilyn Tech!” Vexx almost leaped out of his seat.
“Lorelei,” Gabriel turned to me. It was his plan? “Merrilyn Tech isn’t all bad. Its investments in medical domain led to a better life for millions.”
“Exterminate the vermin and maintain a clean house. It’s both my identities you need.” Contract for life or electric chair. I didn’t like this meeting anymore. “I want out of this.”
Middle Man inhaled, ready to launch himself into another high and mighty explanation.
“You can,” Gabriel blurted. “Hold the company together until the media storm passes then we can buy your shares through a shell company and put someone else in your chair.”
The faces on the other side of the table told me Gabriel ad lib on that part. And that they would listen. He passed his test; proving to me that I was predictable and proving to them that he predicted me efficiently. Did his prediction say that I would agree to this if he offered a way out? Or did he know I knew this was the best offer I would get?
Freedom was what I would have fought for.
“What about me?” Vexx’s question struck everyone by surprise. Not that I would have forgotten him, but because it implied my agreement to my part of the deal.
“I’m not getting into this without him.”
Gabriel seemed somewhat hurt. I decided to ignore it. I wasn’t sure I trusted him anymore. He knew exactly how I worked and that couldn’t sound reassuring no matter how I put it.
In a sexual context, maybe, but not in a meeting room.
“Fine.” Middle Man added. “Same deal for you.”
“Hold on!” They gave away freedom a tad too fast for my taste. “I don’t deal with people whose face I can’t see.”
“You’re joking, right?” One of the suits said. His fright was genuine. “We’d only have one more reason to kill you.”
“Sure,” I grinned, “but you only get to miss me once, champ. Quid pro quo.”
Gabriel’s crooked smile was back again, the one that meant I stuck a good one to his bosses. The one I found charming.
I trusted my skills; if they came after me using the knowledge they had of my identity, I would reciprocate. Same thing if my identities were leaked. And vice versa. The gamble might be enough to keep everyone on their best behavior.
Middle Man slid his fingers under the edge of his mask. After a nervous look at each other, the rest of the suits imitated their boss.
“Eliot Winchester, Director of National Intelligence,” former Middle Man said as if his face wasn’t recognizable enough.
The rest of them identified themselves in turn. Though unknown to me, I could have guessed their roles; most of them were highly ranked officers of the various intelligence agencies. I was pretty sure their directors knew about the task force but didn’t take active part in it as they were too obvious targets.
“Look at us,” I teased, “a real circle of trust.” My sarcasm didn’t escape anyone; we had a fragile balance of power and that was all. “So where’s my office, boss?”

22c – Numbers >>

Killing Time OST – 22a – Numbers

<< 21c – Nerves

The muffins and pastries might have been of the utmost quality, I really could tell; everything tasted like ash today. Even coffee, which had long gone drunk. I hated working without a plan or a smidgen of control over a situation. I had neither in this room and felt like I was wandering around in my birthday suit.
“Your pacing’s making me sick,” Vexx snapped.
“Sorry,” Gabriel and I replied simultaneously.
Gabriel leaned against a wall. His jitters drove my instincts crazy. These were his people and his operation. In theory. I might have overestimated my ally’s yield – not that I intended to revise my approach if it proved to be the case. We had reached the point of the game where a player had to say ‘all in’ and hope for the best.
I stifled my own nerves, sat down and began pulling off my Alice face.
“Are you sure that’s smart?”
“Your face’s revealed and they’ll request mine soon enough. I’m not dragging this out.”
“I concur. It’s a show of good faith.”
I sighed. Discussion had gone this way for over two hours now: I said or did something, one of the guys reacted to it, then the other nabbed the final word. Fade to the awkward silence. Repeat. Practice didn’t improve this scene; it only annoyed the diva.
Three hours passed before a selection of suits walked in. They all wore a fake face, which, combined with the wait, insulted me to the point where I contemplated the idea of clawing their silicon off. I understood though; I wouldn’t trust anyone with my secret identity either, if I had any choice in the matter.
They choked on their surprise when they recognized Vexx. My presence didn’t seem to upset them nearly as much which told me they had put some thought into this and came up with a short list of possible ‘Nightshade’. They hadn’t pinned me as the most likely suspect though but the cat was officially out of the bag.
“Hello gentlemen,” I said, eager to break the silence and get down to the messy business of striking a deal. Gabriel and Vexx sat on each side of me while the suits lined up on the seats in front of us. Six of them. I mobilized half the brain trust of the secret task force. If not more. Anything bigger would have attracted attention.
“Agent Walker. Miss Beyer, Mister Swan,” the man sitting in the middle replied. Vexx cringed at the mention of his real last name. At least, they left the first name unsaid. “I’ll pay you the courtesy of being blunt.” I curved the corner of my mouth, despite my instinctive spike in worry. “Nightshade is a sadistic vigilante bound for the chair. Whether you deserve it or not has yet to be decided. You’re not an asset. You’re a thorn. Remember that.”
In front of me, notebooks flipped open and pen clicked. One of them clicked three times and my smile widened.
“Liar, liar, pants on fire,” I singsang.
Vexx squeezed my hand.
“Beg your pardon?”
“I’m calling your bluff. You’re here. I bet that’s all of you. And you’re fiddling your nervousness away.” Half my jury switched their weight. “I’m the break your underfunded black ops team dreamed about. I’d already be dead or far away if you wanted me out of your jurisdiction.”
“Lorelei,” Vexx murmured in my ear, “you really shouldn’t.”
“Yes, I should,” I shook his hand off. “I get it. Assets are usually controlled and making me believe I owe you would ensure that. Not working.”
Middle Man crossed an item off his list. “Congratulations Agent Walker. Your assessment is amazingly accurate.”
“Your what now?” I felt my poker face crackle. Had Gabriel played me?
“Everything but the singing bit was right on,” another man said.
“He did say allowing for a fifty percent chance of one to two unforeseeable elements to occur prompted his prediction to ninety percent accuracy,” a woman with a British accent added. “So I’d say his estimations were perfect.”
“You mathematic-ed her?” Vexx hovered somewhere between appalled and appealed.
“Wait. Who’s under evaluation here?” My mind raced to follow the events.
“All of us,” Gabriel said. “I’m sorry.”
“What did you do?” I could hear the nerves play arpeggios with my voice. I had done it. I had lost all my chips. I should have played solitaire.
“Nothing reprehensible,” Middle Man said. “We asked him to assess the effect of the nanobots’ retrieval on your persona.”
I looked at Gabriel, almost seeing the knife plunged in my chest. He shifted but remained otherwise unfazed by my glare. Not at peace with what he did but very close to. What exactly had he done?
“I oversaw a team of scientists and psychologists. We extrapolated how the programming of the nanobots, once dampened by the human balance of hormones, would affect your reactions.”
“You reverse engineered her brain.” The ‘I underestimated you guys’ part remained unsaid but I knew Vexx enough to predict his thought. My fist closed but Vexx caught it before it launched itself toward Gabriel’s jaw. “Not cool!”
“You staged this,” I accused. Damned be my pride! Super spies never telegraphed their emotions so boldly unless they had a death wish. I shouldn’t have assumed.
Middle Man nodded. “This is our show of good faith. We could have manipulated you into doing what we want. Your father probably can as well. The nanobots’ marks are permanent and make you easily predictable. You needed to know that.”
“I’m very sorry.” Gabriel shook his head. “You wouldn’t have believed us any other way.”
This was a hell of an opening argument.
I exhaled and rolled me shoulders back. Vexx released my arm.
“That being said,” Middle Man resumed, “my points stand. You’re a thorn and we want you out of our foot. And yes, you’re a break too but one we hoped wouldn’t exist. You’re also exactly what we need to resolve this issue.”
“We’re codependent.” That didn’t feel right at all.
Middle Man smiled. I hated it. “If you father can predict you, you’ll never kill him for us.”
“But now I know.”
“Now you know.”
“And all bets are off.” Gabriel winked.

22b – Numbers >>

Unforeseen Dives – 22b – Confusion

<< 22a – Confusion

I breathed a couple of times before I released all my tethers. I pushed my personality and feelings aside to leave as much space as possible for the Ocean to submerge me. It was nice to be able to take my time again.
Rebecca’s warm presence pulsed three times at my core. I was good to go.
I filled my head with thoughts of the reader community. My acquaintances steered me in the right direction while my fear for their lives acted as my leaden weight until I reached the right depth. I scanned the waves of feelings for the red sheen of adrenaline. Not even a smidgen stained my vision. Maybe I wasn’t far enough.
It exploded in my brain.
All of a sudden I was deep in the panic. Adrenaline drowned everything else and burnt my synapses. Pain seared the too fresh scars of the New York bombing anew. The screams deafened me.
Rebecca reeled me back to calm in a matter of seconds.
“Are you nuts? What the hell did you do that for?” She yelled in my brain. She regretted her thoughts instantly; calling “nuts” a friend who was labeled mentally ill by decades of taboo was way below the belt.
“I didn’t do anything!”
“How do you call fast forwarding straight into the war’s heart?”
“I didn’t do it. Think about what you’re broadcasting, would you?”
I knew Rebecca’s reaction to fear was always violent but after the shock I just lived, I certainly wasn’t in the mood to let her take it out on me. I wanted to understand what happened too. I was sifting through the potential futures of the beginning of the war. How was I suddenly drawn so far ahead?
“Can it be a side effect on prompt diving?” Rebecca asked with a calmer tone.
“Don’t think so…” I decided to try it again.
Carefully, I explored the waters around me. Becky fed my senses with control and calm. My will steered me through the routine of all the readers in the world. They went on their merry way, burdened by nothing more than the worry of the average Joe. Definitely a pre-war setting. I pushed a heartbeat further. Then another. I perceived the sadness of loss, one that spawned across a third of the community.
It exploded again.
Rebecca was quicker this time around. I barely tasted bitterness and I was already back to safety.
“Since when are there whirlpools in the Ocean?” My partner and I choired. It described the experience perfectly. The jump ahead didn’t come from me. It originated in the Ocean itself. As soon as I came close to the problem I was supposed to investigate, a force dragged me ahead, way past the point I wanted to reach. The potential futures kept spinning and spinning around me, obscuring my radars and keeping me from my objective.
“Let’s see if the same thing happens in the non-readers’ future.”
I released my hold on the reader community and turned my attention toward the rest of the world. Those futures made one hell of a coral reef. Non-readers dominated the planet hence looking at what awaited them resembled a kaleidoscopic experience. The variety hit me hard. After a couple of minutes, I acclimated and suited up for exploration.
I knew I’d have a headache if I stayed here too long; there was only so much one’s brains could take. Even a peculiar one like mine. The density and strength of the non-reader community as a whole was the reason why we portioned out the usual dives by city.
I plunged a little deeper, carefully approaching the edge of pain that signaled the beginning of the war.
The rush of suffering assaulted me with such blunt force that I instantly snapped out of the Ocean. I tumbled down my chair, mixing panting and yelling in a panicked tune. My ears rang with a high pitch that shot stings through my cranium. Tears streamed on my cheeks. The carpet drank them up and roughened my face. My muscles trembled with the aftershock.
Rebecca probably dropped by my side in half a second but I only realized it after a while. The world was a blur, a blood-smeared blur. Survival instinct blasted me out of the Ocean. It kicked in when the smack was sudden and strong. Some people called it the psychic failsafe. It wasn’t safe. More like a last resort. If it wasn’t for Becky’s soothing presence cradling my consciousness and body, I might never have bounced back.
But I frailly did.
I heaped my senses into a wobbling pile. A gaggle of faces ogled me from my office’s door. I had just bathed in the rage of a nation and its bitterness bared my teeth.
“Out!” Rebecca growled before I launched in an endless stream of derogatory comments. The rigor strengthening my spine relaxed and I slumped against my partner, shaking uncontrollably, dehydrating my body to satisfy the demand of my eyes.
A shadow fell on me and I lunged forward before thought, or Rebecca, stopped me. I rammed the newcomer’s chest with my shoulder, causing him to lose his balance. He wrapped his arms around me. Momentum drove us down. The man deadened my fall with his body. He hushed when I burst in tears again, ashamed of the violence that wasn’t mine.
Only then did I recognize him.
Casey sweated a little and his breathlessness was caused by his run from his office to mine more than by my attack. His brain played a few sentences in loop. “I heard you yell, sound and mind. I thought my heart broke. I’m so sorry, Cass.” I buried my face in the curve of his neck and let his raw compassion flood my grazed heart.
At last, Becky and Casey prompted me up and I managed to stand.
“It’s becoming a habit of yours to catch me after a harsh dive.” I said with a crooked smile.
“It feels nice but I’d prefer you didn’t fall.” Despite the lightness of the opening and tone, the sentence was meant to be serious. “What happened exactly?”
Rebecca and I looked at each other for a second.
“There’s a hell of a problem in the Ocean.” We answered.

23a – Talk-show >>

Unforeseen Dives – 22a – Confusion

<< 21b – Party

I wrestled up all my will to get in the office on Monday. I would gladly have dwelled in the weekend’s good mood a little while longer. Who wouldn’t? I left the celebration of a friend’s hard-earned health to try and stop a war from being born.
“Talk about a hard snap back to reality,” Rebecca muttered as she dropped in the chair next to mine. She extended me a cup of coffee and hugged hers. “Where are we even supposed to begin?”
“I guess establishing our department’s modus operandi is part of our job as well. I wonder what the FBI guys are doing.”
“I’m confident they’ll come nagging soon enough.”
Half-way through our coffee, we finally decided to head for Casey’s office: I needed to know what my schedule looked like before I undertook anything.
“Well. We’re having your ‘We have the cure’ speech here on Tuesday night.” Casey flipped through a big organizer that sported my name.
“That isn’t a problem.”
“You’re live on Debbie’s Friday morning so we have to leave for California Thursday evening at the latest. Ideally, I would like to have you there Wednesday so we can get you on the radio as well.”
“When do we investigate? While we sleep?” Rebecca crushed her empty coffee cup and threw it neatly in the garbage can.
“Doing my best. Have my orders too, you know.” Casey dived into the organizer, the ruffling of paper furnishing the awkward silence. “The radio can be cancelled but the higher-ups will scold me if I do it. And they might force me to book you more next week.”
Casey closed his book and we all shrugged. The non-readers didn’t really believed Maeve’s omen. Why would they make it a priority in my schedule?
“Fine. Let’s keep the radio. I’ll see Daniel about having a desk and a chair set up for us in the Los Angeles office.”
Casey and Rebecca look at me with sheer astonishment.
“That’s my girl,” Rebecca cheered.
“You’re going to request a psychic’s working station to be set up in a FBI field office?”
“They want me to multi-task? They’ll have to do their part.”
Casey’s laughter followed us out of his office. We stopped by Daniel’s on the way over to our department. I stated what I wanted and he promised to take care of it. No arguments needed; he trusted Maeve’s vision. I knew he would fight to get my chair.
On the way out, a thought struck me.
“Daniel, is Maeve already on her post-omen time-off?”
Daniel put down the phone he had just picked up to call the people who could make my Californian temporary office happen.
“Indeed. Are you requiring her presence?”
I pondered for a moment. I wasn’t even sure why I asked that first question anyway.
“Nah. But would you let me know when she comes back? Just in case…”
Rebecca and I left after the appropriate thank you.
Our “department” welcomed us with open arms. I wasn’t sure our office deserved such a title. It was the third brother of Aaron’s and Daniel’s offices. Spacious and wide-windowed, it occupied a corner of the building. Rebecca and I shared a mahogany desk. We didn’t need two. We had a lounge like the bosses’, only a bit smaller to leave space for my chair. Obviously, I could dive without it now but sustained diving wasn’t easy without support.
The carpet’s gray brought its boredom in every office. Rebecca had argued for the original white walls but I won her over with light blue. I would have chosen something warmer but Becky didn’t budge when I presented them.
We added Rebecca’s framed poster of James Dean by Andy Warhol and my cheap replica of a Salvador Dali. We might not have the money to put some real paintings on the walls but at least the place felt homey. It definitely belonged to us. If senior management didn’t agree with that, they just had to bite their fingers for bestowing me a grand space in case a reporter wanted an interview in my work environment.
“Wanna try quick diving down our options?” Rebecca settled down in one of our couches and fixed her gaze on the ceiling.
Right, we still didn’t know where to begin. Prompt diving in potential futures to narrow down our paths could speed up the process. I complied with Becky’s demand.
Closing my eyes, I breathed deeply and released the wall around my brain. The Ocean flowed in strongly, almost drowning all my senses, and then equalized. I explored a couple of possibilities; in-depth diving, coordination with the FBI, research, calling on Maeve… Everything turned up the same conclusion: too much of a long run for prompt diving to be efficient at this point.
Rebecca listened in on my results. “Figured as much. Scuba gear?”
I nodded. She rose to prep the chair. As usual, she double-checked every wire, adjusted the inclination and powered the thing. We hadn’t done a real dive in over a month yet fell right back into our routine.
The last dive was for the New York bombing and Becky hadn’t been able to hold through it all. I knew she was thinking about it and I mentally ordered her to stop. She cocked an eyebrow and shrugged off her doubts.
I tapped the control panel and completely turned off the auto-filter. I didn’t want to miss anything and I had the strength to take it all. I shouldn’t have to go all the way to the blood bath anyway.
I laid back in my chair. The headband hummed and slowly lulled me into the Ocean. Rebecca gripped my hand and I felt her presence coating me to ease my descent. I soared in the Ocean’s waves. It didn’t ebb the same way it did when I prompt dived. This was smoother. Safer.
I pushed my thoughts and feelings aside to concentrate on the sea of futures around me. There were three main routes to explore: the future of readers, of non-readers and, to help narrow down the best approach, the future of our department’s of PSI.
Rebecca didn’t like the idea of me diving into her future.
To be quite sincere, I wasn’t intrigued about mine either.

22b – Confusion >>

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