2. Communication

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Chapter 2 – Communication

A holographic model of a human brain floated above a tablet on a filthy desk. Steam rose from a cup of coffee set atop a thick neurology textbook. Hastily bound research papers covered the surface of the desk, each with lines of text covered in yellow highlight.

As Flynn sat on the chair before the desk, he became aware that he was dreaming. This was an old memory, but a persistent one. He had spent many nights in this very room, both in reality and in his mind, surrounded by overcrowded bookshelves and printouts of restricted research.

A red light began blinking in the holographic image. Flynn looked to see the implant indicated as a flashing red circle embedded within the cortex of the brain. His brain. The device boosted his learning and language acquisition – that much he had figured out. Yet there was more to it, something even his father hadn’t known when the device had been placed in his son’s disabled brain.

A loud click echoed through the room. Flynn spun, scanning the bookshelves that lined the walls around him. As he turned, a shadow emerged in the space between the shelf behind him and his chair. Four black spidery arms rose from a shadowy black form. Flynn jumped from his chair, and the scene dissolved.

 

He was sitting on the edge of a bed. Darya Fitzgerald sat next to him, one arm draped over his shoulders. Flynn smiled. Was he back home?

His hope dimmed as he looked around the small, pristine bedroom. There were no pictures on the walls, just a uniform light green paint and a single large window looking out on the evening cityscape. Another memory. The walls had been repainted blue and covered with Darya’s painted landscapes when Flynn had last seen this room.

“They will understand,” Darya said, “You didn’t ask for this implant – you were too young. Please, Billy; you shouldn’t have to hide it.”

Flynn found himself shaking his head, acting out the memory. “They’d have to let me go. I could probably avoid prison, but The Observer can’t keep me if they know I …”

Darya gasped, and Flynn spun to find the source of her distress. They both stood as the shadow stepped through the doorway. As it approached, it resolved into a bulbous black body on four spidery legs. Four arms were folded tightly around a sharp beak on top of the round body.

“Understand?”

The voice was empty and robotic as it carefully enunciated each consonant in the word. Beside Flynn, Darya screamed, and the sound shattered the dream around him.

 

Bright lights surrounded him. Disinfectant stung his nose as he became aware of bodies on beds around him. A feminine form in blue scrubs walked between the rows of beds, but didn’t look his way as he turned his head to watch her pass. Not a dream. The lights were too bright, the smell too strong … and the pain that grew in his head was all too real. He groaned as his headache worsened.

Understand.

The pain in his head diminished as a faint voice spoke – the same robotic voice from his dream. The nightmare creature materialized next to his hospital bed. The nurse on duty still didn’t turn to him, and no one cried out in surprise. Only Flynn tried to sit up, but a belt of tight fabric dug into his chest and held him in place. The being crouched down before him, bringing the clicking beak on the top of its head level with Flynn’s eyes.

Understand. Implant.

“What are you?” Flynn said, his hoarse voice scratching at his dry throat.

Observer. Understand, please?

A nightmare creature – begging for understanding? Flynn breathed deeply, analyzing his own fear. So far, the creature had done nothing to threaten him besides merely appearing. Its sharp claws were folded against its head – perhaps that was its equivalent of raising empty palms before a stranger?

Flynn’s thoughts were interrupted when the nurse finally walked over. She walked directly into the creature, its glossy black form vanishing as she passed through it.

“Mr. Flynn, you should not be awake,” she said.

Flynn stared at her. Had she not seen it? Was he a madman, kept here for his own safety?

“The Medbay computer is running a diagnostic on your implant,” the nurse said. She walked to him and put a comforting hand on his shoulder. She held something in her other hand, and spoke as she pressed it against Flynn’s arm, “You need to be asleep. I don’t know how you managed to wake up, but I must sedate you again.”

“I had a …” Flynn began. He felt a prick in his arm as the nurse drew her hand away from him. He swayed, but tried to continue, “… I had a dream …”

“I gave you a stronger sedative. It’s unlikely you’ll dream now – please rest, Mr. Flynn.”

Something … something important. He had to tell her … what was it? Flynn opened his mouth, but darkness claimed him before he could find the words.


– End of Part 2 –

Copyright 2015-2017 TCC Edwards, all rights reserved.

Part 2 last updated on 2016-03-27

 

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