All things ReBoot are property of Mainframe Entertainment. All other things are property of their respective owners.
No, the song is not property of anyone. Except possibly me. As far as I know.
I've deliberately inserted several Gothic elements in the story. Can you find them?
Comments, criticism welcome. MiSTers especially.
Timeline: This takes place sometime in January, 2500.
Rating: Same as always.
Sarah tapped out a code sequence on the laptop.
>>Accessing Admetus Database.....
>>Access Denied. Class 9 Security Required.
Sarah grinned to herself. This was almost too easy.
>>Access Granted. Welcome to Admetus Database.
Sarah typed out a command.
>>Initiating Project Alcestis...... Standing by. Awaiting further instructions.
Almost too easy.
Susan eyed the plate dubiously.
"Bacon, eggs, sausages, cheese," she noted. "Hardly a balanced breakfast."
Nick shrugged. "I eat what I like."
"And you don't mind the fat? Incredible."
"Anyone notice something wrong with the comm systems last night?" Kathy asked. "I was planning to do some research, but all the lines seemed to be engaged."
Ril shrugged. "What time was this?"
"Around twenty-three hundred hours."
"Doing a bit of last minute work, were we?"
Kathy pouted. "Don't make it any worse than it is. I didn't get a wink of sleep last night."
"Maybe you should try doing your work earlier next time," Peter suggested.
"Asking Kathy to try doing her work earlier," Nick commented, "is an exercise in futility."
"Why you-" Kathy swiped Nick across the head.
"I wonder where Sarah is," Crysta said, to avoid any further violence.
"It's not like her to miss breakfast," Nar agreed. "If only for the coffee."
"Speaking of the coffee," Nick said, holding his cup some distance away, "what did they do to it?"
"They made it decaf," Susan said simply.
Nick made a face. "That figures."
The PA system beeped. "Alpha group, please report to the Prime's office as soon as possible."
They stared at the intercom, then at each other. Finally Kathy shrugged. "I suppose that's that."
"At least you're spared from handing in your last-minute work," Kavi said.
"Out of interest," Susan said curiously, "did you finish it?"
"Didn't think so."
Nick tripped, and cursed the carpet that wasn't there.
Prime Jennings looked at him past steepled fingers. "It's known as budget cutting, Nicholas. Live with it."
Susan looked around. The Prime's office, originally spartan, was now almost completely bare. The Prime's desk, his chair, his console, the window, and one wall monitor were all that survived. There weren't even any filing cabinets in sight.
"What prompted it?" Ril asked.
"A mixture of bureaucratic kindness and bureaucratic idiocy. The Council wanted to try building a few official shelters for refugees. So they requisitioned all they could from the various Principal Offices and Command Centers. Evidently, the thought of reaching into their own pockets never occurred to them."
The Prime leaned forwards, resting his elbows on his desk. "I have a favour to ask." He took a deep breath. "Cadet Sarah Descan appears to have disappeared."
There were several reactions to this news. Kavi looked indifferent; Kathy, Nick, Crysta and Nar looked faintly worried; Ril and Peter looked very worried; and Susan knew that there was a confused expression on her face.
"Normally, this would be known simply as cutting classes," Prime Jennings continued. "But given the fact that Sarah never misses classes, and also the fact that she has totally vanished from the scanners, I think that this would be cause for worry."
"Vanished from the scanners?" Nick sounded puzzled. "I thought they had been upgraded recently to-"
"To be able to detect biodampened life-signs," the Prime finished for him. "Even so, we can find no trace of her. I ran several sweeps; she showed up in none of them. I called up the locations of all the cadets and Guardians; nothing."
"Almost as if she disappeared from existence?" Peter said quietly.
"As unwilling as I am to admit it, yes, that is so." Prime Jennings paused. "There is something she left, though." He opened his desk drawer, and took out a diskette.
Susan blinked. "Isn't that the undelete software?"
"I believe so. I ran a check on it; it's been copied. Probably onto Sarah's laptop."
"And what are we supposed to do?" Kavi said suddenly.
"I want you all to help find Sarah. The situation does not warrant any official searches to be conducted; but even so, I'm still worried."
"Any other clues?" Kathy asked.
The Prime shook his head. "You're on your own."
Nick backed away. "Hey, calm down..."
"You BUGGED Sarah's KEYTOOL?!" Peter looked like he was about to perform an extremely violent action in the vicinity of Nick's head.
"Calm down! At least we have a clue as to where we're supposed to go, right?"
Peter subsided enough to admit the validity of the statement.
"Where is Sarah?" Crysta asked.
Nick shrugged. "As far as I know, she's still somewhere in the Supercomputer. Somewhere in the east sector. I'm not too sure, but it appears to be an old abandoned warehouse."
"Another old warehouse," Susan groaned. "Why is it that we always end up in some old abandoned warehouse?"
"Aht-serat," Nar said. "We go where we're told to go."
"Whether we like it or not," Kavi added.
Peter shot Nick a glare. "We'll talk about this later." He stalked off.
Kathy nudged Susan. "Any idea why Peter's so worked up?"
Susan shrugged. "Maybe he's still a bit lovesick. Kora's still somewhere out there, and Peter can't really get her out of his mind."
"And that relates to Sarah how?"
"Damned if I know."
There was something strange about the warehouse.
Nick noticed it immediately. "Anyone notice..."
"What?" Susan asked.
".... that the inside is much bigger than the outside?"
It was true. The entire thing was one big windowless empty space, with a sole staircase set in the middle of the floor. It led down.
"Zip, light," Kavi ordered. He shined the beam down the stairs.
The darkness swallowed it up.
"Damn," Kavi muttered. "What now?"
"We go down," Peter said firmly. He walked to the staircase, and immediately disappeared from view.
Crysta blinked. "That was fast. I think he fell down the stairs."
"Peter?" Kathy called down. There was no answer. "Uh oh."
"Double uh oh," Nick corrected, adjusting his goggles. "I'm reading only seven life signs now."
"Damn," Crysta muttered. "I'm going after him." She stepped down into the darkness.
"Interesting," Nick commented. "Six life signs."
"Do you suppose that this place blocks scanners like a biodampener?" Ril suggested. "It probably explains why Sarah seemed to have disappeared."
Nick squared his shoulders. "Though it may prove to be our doom," he said dramatically, "let us descend into the murky gloom, risking the thread from Clotho's loom-"
"Cut the poetry," Kathy said. She too disappeared into the darkness.
Nick looked crestfallen. "Nobody understands me," he complained. He proceeded down the stairs.
Nar looked at Ril. "Shall we?"
"Sure." They went down together.
Kavi grunted, and walked down the stairs without a word.
Susan looked around. She was alone now. Her psychic powers didn't seem to be cooperating as of now; her head felt clear.
Susan walked to the stairs. She took a deep breath, and stepped on the first step.
The darkness enveloped her.
"Peter? Sarah? Anyone?"
Kathy walked on. "Damn it.... where in the Web are they?"
She walked on, and on. In fact, she would probably have walked right into the gaping hole in front if she hadn't stopped in time.
She stared at it. Some time ago, the darkness of the steps had given way to fluorescent lighting that was badly in need of repair. The intermittent lighting cast long shadows on the walls.
Kathy, of course, was the only one creating the shadows.
There was no sign of anyone else. The dust on the floor was undisturbed. Kathy's footsteps echoed through the empty corridor.
Damn it all. She couldn't have taken a wrong turn; there was only one way from the stairs, and this was it.
And now there was this damn great big hole in the middle of the floor.
Kathy shone a light down. The beam stopped somewhere in the gloom.
Kathy cursed. There was no conceivable way to cross that gap.
Kathy walked over to the keypad. It was set on the wall at eye-level; inconspicuous as it was, it had been through sheer luck that Kathy's eyes fell upon it.
She contemplated it for a moment. Then, she pressed the large green button on the side.
A laser bridge began to form. Kathy stared at it, and took a deep breath.
She stepped on it.
The bridge held.
Kathy released the breath, and began walking quickly to the other side.
Unfortunately, when she was halfway through, the bridge chose that moment to disappear.
Kathy had exactly three seconds to scream, before she blacked out.
Peter felt sickened.
He had entered a large room of some sort. If there was a stereotype of the Mad Scientist's Lab, this would be it. Instruments of unknown functions hung from the walls, and the ceiling was arrayed with rows and rows of bright fluorescent lights.
There was even a large operating table in the middle of the room. The straps would suggest that the patient would most likely be unwilling to be operated on. Various unpleasant-looking operating implements were arranged around it.
But worse of all were the bodies.
Cylinders of some sort were arranged in a neat order along the room, each cylinder two and a half metres tall. They were filled with some sort of greenish liquid that bubbled, and inside each cylinder was a person.
No, person was the wrong word.
A more appropriate word would be......
There were eight of them in all. A person walking through the room would be greeted with the sight of the members of Alpha group floating in the cylinders, minus one. For some reason, Sarah's clone was not in the lab.
Peter walked towards the cylinder that held his own clone. It was simply floating there, in the green liquid. Whoever made the laboratory was evidently a stickler for details; the uniform the clone wore was exactly the same, down to the tiny tear on the sleeve.
He felt another wave of revulsion. He spun around, and came face to face with a floating globe.
It was simply a round object, blue in colour, no bigger than an apple, with a small red light on its front. A tiny camera protruded below the light.
Peter dropped into a fighting stance. The globe had been hovering there.... for how long? Since he entered? Whichever it is, Peter was certain that the globe was an observation device. Something which the twisted owner of the lab used to keep track of the experiments which went on here.
"Who are you?" he shouted to the globe. "What do you want from me?"
The globe floated backwards a few metres. The small red light on its front blinked once, twice.
"What is this place?" Peter tried. "What sort of a laboratory is this?"
The globe whirred, and disappeared from view. A voice came from the opposite end of the room: "It's an experiment. A very complex experiment. Though I expect you can understand it, if I told you."
Peter gasped. That voice..... it was...
Kavi stared at the walls.
It wasn't the fact that they dripped slime. It wasn't the fact that they were organic.
It was the fact that the walls were staring right back at him.
Kavi shook his head in disbelief. He had somehow managed to miss the point when the floor turned from plascrete to this peculiar sort of webbing. He had only noticed it when he stepped on something that squished.
He didn't have the courage to find out what he had stepped on. So he ran, on and on, until he saw these eyes stuck to the walls and ceilings.
They were rudimentary eyes at best. Large and shiny, they stared unblinkingly at him.
Kavi waved a hand in front one of the eyes. There was no reaction.
He steeled himself, and walked past that section in the corridor.
The eyes tracked him. He didn't care. Whoever was watching him had evidently created these eyes. In that case, Kavi felt that one Guardian cadet wasn't going to present much of a threat to it.
He walked on and on, down that gruesome corridor, until he heard the sound of breathing.
He stopped in his tracks. The first thing he thought was that he had somehow stumbled into the Hall of Lungs.
However, he revised his opinion when he heard something new.
Someone was singing.
It was a nice female voice, singing softly. Kavi listened for a moment in disbelief.
I wish that you are here with me,
I long for you for ever and for ever.
Nothing seems the same without you,
I am complete only when we are together.
So far apart we seem right now,
And farther apart we grow day by day.
Even so, I still think of you fondly,
Somehow, our love will find a way.
Maybe, after I am gone from this world,
After my spirit from my body has flown.
Maybe, I will meet you again,
Then I won't have to spend eternity alone. o/~
Kavi shook out of his reverie. He knew the voice, and he knew the song. He had taught it to her so long ago.
Kora stepped towards Peter.
"I've missed you," she purred.
Peter gestured around him. "What in the Web is going on?"
"It's an experiment. I told you that."
"An experiment? In what?"
"I could explain it to you." Kora smiled. "But I won't. It'll be pointless."
"Tell me," Peter said. "Are they-"
Kora shook her head. "Your friends are still alive. At the moment."
"Then... how did these come about?"
Kora leaned towards him. "It's a secret," she said.
Peter frowned. "Look, I don't know what's going on, but I have to find-"
Peter blinked. "How did you know?"
The virus closed her eyes. "I know quite a bit. Sarah Descan. My, my." She opened her eyes. "Your new girlfriend."
Peter shook his head. "It's not like that. She's my teammate, and I have to find her. Plus, she's my friend."
"Wouldn't you like her to be more?"
Peter stepped back. "I don't know where you're getting these notions, but they're not true. I still love you, no matter what-"
"As do I." Kora laid a hand on his shoulder. "Peter, I know how much you care for Sarah. You may not know it yourself, but you love her. And even though I know how jealous I may sound, I will not let myself be forgotten so easily."
Peter started to voice his puzzlement, when he suddenly felt something cold creep from his shoulder. He stared in horror as the cold touch of Infection rushed through his body.
"Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned," was the last thing Peter heard. "Especially when I'm the woman."
There were several reasons for that happening.
She wanted to get someplace else very quickly. She wanted to find out where the others were. She wanted to find Sarah and Peter. She wanted to find a way out of here.
Of course, the large mechanical monster chasing her was a factor.
The chase had started innocently enough. Crysta had walked down the only path from the stairs, and walked down the dim corridor. There were various glowing bottles of some unknown substance, which her keytool could not identify.
At least they provided light. Not enough to light the way fully, but enough for Crysta to avoid bumping into the walls.
Then she had stumbled over a large button set in the ground.
The button was large, large enough for two people to stand on. There was also a footprint on it.
Judging from the size of the print, it was Peter's.
Crysta did what she though would be obvious.
She stepped on the button.
There was a grinding noise, and then a section of the wall detached itself, stretched out to form a huge robotic creature, who then turned its glowing yellow eyes onto Crysta.
The monster was over two metres tall, with chicken-walker legs and wide feet. Dust cascaded off it, revealing a symbol engraved on its left torso.
Crysta noted the incredible array of weaponry visible in the dim light. Something told her that there were many more guns and launchers hidden in the gloom.
The monster whirred, then said in a synthesized voice, "Target designated. Identified: Crysta Xandi. Crime: Treason. Orders: Annihilate."
Crysta chose that moment to fire a beam at the monster. It deflected harmlessly off.
The monster whirred. "Target has initiated hostilities. Preparing to counterattack."
The resultant blast from the missile left a huge crater in the ground, Crysta barely getting out of the way.
She had only one course of action.
Which was what she was doing right now.
Being large, the monster couldn't really move very fast in the narrow corridor. But Crysta was fast tiring, and the monster was relentless.
This would be very bad.
Crysta suddenly tripped, and went down. The monster clanked to a stop, and it stood over her, silently.
This would be very, very bad.
The monster aimed its left arm at her. Crysta could see the missile in the barrel, just waiting to be fired.
"Target lock acquired," the monster said. "Preparing to fire."
Crysta shut her eyes.
The organic corridor gave enough light for Kavi to see the figure standing in the middle of it.
It was a female Khatran, of rather slender build, with her back turned to him. Even so, Kavi could not have mistaken it for someone else.
"I'm so glad you're here," Lucia said. "You have no idea how long I've been waiting for you."
"What happened to you?" Kavi said in disbelief. "I thought you were-"
"Part of the Apocalypse? Maybe. Then again, maybe not."
Kavi felt unnerved. "What do you mean?"
"What seems real?" Lucia said, seemingly off on an unrelated topic. "Often, what we think is reality is only an illusion. And what we think is illusion.... is most likely reality."
"Just.... what happened to you?"
"Nothing." Lucia turned around. "Nothing important, that is."
Kavi blanched in horror.
Lucia was holding a gun, pointed straight at him.
"Lucia... how... what..."
"I found something more worthwhile than simple material pleasures," Lucia said in a calm voice.
"Why? It's simple. I used to be so lost and alone. You gave me something that I could treasure; love. It made me feel better.... but only for a while. I found that I felt miserable when you weren't around. However, I soon found something much better than the love you gave me, difficult as that may be." Lucia aimed the gun at Kavi's heart. "I found hate. I hated the world for what happened to me, I hated the Apocalypse for doing what they did to me, And I hated myself for being so helpless. But most of all, I hated you. For loving me so much."
"Lucia..." Kavi looked desperately at her. "Don't do this. This isn't you, and you know that."
She smiled an incredibly evil smile. "I do love you," she said, just as she pulled the trigger.
Nick turned down the light gain in his goggles.
He had no idea where the others were. This was the only route from the stairs, and the others should have caught up with him by now.
The fact that they hadn't irked him. It irked him a lot.
Now he was in a corridor with these bright white fluorescent lights, he had no idea where he was, his was the only life sign he could scan within a kilometre's radius, and he was NOT a happy man.
The lights dimmed.
Nick adjusted his goggles again. This was better.
Nick detected a heat signature. Ah, finally, some signs of life.
He ran towards it.
Then he stopped.
And looked up.
It was a giant computer, filling the entire wall. At least, Nick assumed that there was a wall behind the computer; if not, then the computer would have to be confiscated under Obstruction of Traffic.
The computer was active.
Nick tentatively touched a key, and the large screen immediately filled with words.
"Lessee... last entry..."
Nick grinned ferally. This was a piece of cake.
He reached out to touch the keyboard...
>>Anti-hacker defense established. Objective: Eliminate hacker. Method: Electrocution.
And then there was nothing.
There were many things worse than being trapped inside a garbage chute.
At the moment, however, Nar couldn't think of any.
He had simply walked down the corridor, together with Ril. They had encountered a branch. Ril suggested splitting up. Nar reluctantly agreed.
Now he was beginning to regret that decision.
One trapdoor later, Nar found himself in a musty and smelly garbage chute. In the stygian gloom, he could make out various heaps of unidentified substances. The darkness prevented him from seeing what was above, but he estimated that the ceiling was quite high. The walls were slippery, and coated with some sort of grease.
"Great," he muttered. The smell, though not overpowering, was definitely one that he would not care to experience again in his life.
He had seen something like this happening, in an old holovid. It had been very old; it had been made sometime in the twentieth century. Now what was it that happened in that holovid...
A clank reverberated through the chute. There was an unpleasant whirr of machinery.
There were, indeed, many things worse than being trapped inside a smelly, filthy and cramped garbage chute.
One of them would be to be trapped inside a smelly, filthy and cramped garbage chute that turned out to be a trash compacter, which was currently trying to compacting the garbage.
Nar had the uncanny feeling that whoever had dropped him here was playing with his mind. As of now, however, the problem that was foremost on his mind were the walls, which were closing in slowly but inexorably on him.
"Somebody? Get me out of here!"
He continued this for several more minutes, until it was clear that nobody heard him.
There was one thing to do.
Nar aimed carefully, and fired.
Perhaps he would not have done that, had he remembered what happened in that old holovid.
The energy beam ricocheted around the compacter, revealing them to be made of ceramic. Nar dodged the beam as best as he could, but slipped on something at the end and fell face-first into the slush.
At least it's a quicker way to go, was his last thought, just before the beam hit him.
Earlier, she had walked down the long corridor, only to find herself suddenly in sunlight again. She had no idea how she ended up there; when she looked back, there was no sign of the tunnel she had been through.
She had wondered where she was; everything was so familiar....
Then it hit her.
She ran to the stream. The water was as clear as she remembered it to be. Off to the left.... the north, there were some distant mountains. To the south, there was the unmistakable sound of children's laughter.
Susan collapsed onto her knees.
"I'm back," she mumbled. "I'm back... home?"
She looked around wildly. There was no sign of any construction work going on; this was evidently pre-Dian Industries Freymarind.
And with the sound of laughter, it would mean that this was pre-Apocalypse Freymarind.
But that was impossible.
Susan shook her head, as though to clear it of dust. Freymarind was changed, permanently. This had to be an illusion of some sort.
When Susan saw the girl, she knew for sure that it was an illusion.
The girl was sitting at the edge of the stream. She was picking flowers, and making a chain out of them. She had black hair, blue eyes, and was wearing a red dress with a unique design on it.
In other words, this was the Susan Gwyndel of twelve years ago.
The girl looked up. "Hello," she said, without any trace of surprise or fear.
Susan hesitantly walked over to her, and sat down beside her. "Hello," she said uncertainly.
The girl looked askance at her. "Don't be shy. It's not like I'm going to bite you or anything."
Susan forced a smile. "It's not that. It's just that.... this is so unreal."
The girl shrugged. "Reality is what you make it out to be." She pressed a flower into Susan's hand. "If you think it's real, then it's real."
Susan looked down at the flower in her hand. It felt real enough. "So.... how did I end up here?"
"You don't really need to know that." The girl finished her flower chain. "All you need to know is that you can stay here as long as you like."
Something tickled the back of Susan's neck. She tried to ignore it. "I.... suppose so. But... will I be able to get back from here?"
"Why would you want to?" The girl leaned back, looking at the stream. "Back where you came from, it's a hard life. You're haunted every day by memories. Why not stay here? After all, if life hadn't dealt you the bad hand, this is where you'll end up." She lowered her eyelids. "Besides, Mother and Father are still here."
Susan immediately felt a pang. She hadn't seen her parents since.... that day. It had gotten so that Susan couldn't even remember what they looked like.
She was tempted. God knows, she was tempted. But something stayed her.
"What'll it be?" the girl asked. "Staying here and remaining happy for the rest of your life, or going back to that dark and dismal world of yours?"
"I....." Susan couldn't decide.
The girl looked directly at her...
... and in that moment, Susan knew.
There was something.... evil about the girl's look. At first glance, she still seemed like an innocent child, but now Susan could see a sort of... hunger.
"I'm sorry," Susan said, "but I cannot. I can't afford to lose any chance I have of seeing my friends again, for the sake of a fleeting illusion. Whoever you are, you've lost. You can't keep me here. I refuse to believe that this is Freymarind; the Freymarind that I know was destroyed long ago." Susan took a deep breath. "Besides, you did say that reality is what I make it out to be. And this is definitely not the reality I make it out to be."
The girl laughed. It was a beautiful tinkling laugh, made all the more sinister by its apparent innocence. "Is that so?" The girl stood up. "Then I suppose you will recognize..."
A sharp stabbing pain shot through Susan's mind, and she collapsed. The girl's last word was said in a voice Susan hoped she'd never hear again.
It was the voice of the Zed which controlled her when she returned to Freymarind.
"Never underestimate your opponent.... especially when you know that your opponent is capable of striking from within."
This time, the voice changed. It was now more feminine, but with the same evilness as the voice of the Zed.
This is it, Susan managed to think. This is the real thing.
"A pity I have some other matters to address. But remember this, human; I am Nemesis. And you," the voice began to fade, "are no match for me. I will spare you this time. The next time we face each other, however, I will destroy you."
There was a final sharp agony, then nothing.
Ril looked dispassionately at the lone figure standing in the room.
She had seen her friends collapse suddenly and fall unconscious, before they even stepped on the first step of the stairs. The stairs themselves had led down to a single small room, totally bare. It was a simple cube of sorts, made of plascrete, and lit by a single lamp on the ceiling.
And in the middle of the room, was a Ledrite.
The Ledrite wore totally black robes. His boots were black, as were his gloves. He stood at average height, and no other details could be discerned in the dim light.
The Ledrite spoke first.
"You are different from the rest," he said.
Ril nodded. "They think I don't know. But I learnt quite a few things from watching Nick."
"You are searching for your friend."
Ril nodded. That statement required no answer.
The Ledrite continued, "She arrived here an hour before you did. She's a strange one as well; I could sense hate and anger from her."
Ril sighed. "Sarah's like that. So.... can't you bring my friends back?"
The Ledrite shook his head. At least, that's what the movement of the hood looked like. "Nemesis likes to play around with people. Usually before she destroys them. But this time, she'll simply give them a good scare, and then release them."
"And you?" Ril asked.
"I simply do not find it necessary to display my power in such a childish test of will."
"That's one way to put it."
"Wait a while, and they will awaken. In the meantime, I believe you may find these of interest." The Ledrite held out two items to Ril.
She took them both. "A message cube and a microchip." She chuckled. "Nick will be so peeved when he finds out that Sarah managed to find and remove his bug."
"His ego will suffer a severe blow, I'm sure." The Ledrite nodded towards Ril. "And now, I must take my leave."
"By the way," Ril said, "what's your name?"
The Ledrite paused. "I am known as..... The Wanderer."
"It suits my purposes." He disappeared.
Ril shrugged, and activated the message cube.
"I am sure you are all worried about my disappearance," Sarah said in a calm voice. "I am sorry for making you fret, but there is really no need to worry. I have voluntarily disappeared from the Supercomputer, as there is something I need to do. I have left the undelete software for your use, and this message cube for an explanation. Although, I fear, it is not much of one.
"All I can tell you is that I will be back. I know that this is not much of a reassurance, but it is all I can give. I must say, I was surprised when I found out how much all of us really had in common. I'm sorry, Prime Jennings, but I had to hack into a few databases to get some information. I'm sure you can excuse me.
"Until then, I wish you all a fond farewell. We will meet again; I promise that."
The hologram derezzed; the message cube became inert.
The eight members of Alpha group sagged in their seats. Prime Jennings had somehow managed to acquire several chairs for this very occasion; the medics agreed that all of them had suffered major shocks, and standing for the duration of the report was out of the question.
"So we're dealing with a mind-controller here," Prime Jennings said.
Nick nodded. "A powerful one at that."
"What can we do?" Peter asked.
Prime Jennings shrugged. "We do nothing. That's what Sarah asked us to do in the message cube. And I believe that whatever she tells you to do, you follow."
This elicited a chuckle from Kavi. "Always the leader. Even when she's not around."
"So we just sit here and wait?" Susan asked. "That's all we can do?"
Prime Jennings nodded. "That's all we can do."
"I don't like it."
"Neither do I, cadet. Neither do I."