Part 45 of an original tale that delves into the unexplored realms of the human mind. Hired by her lover to find a raven haired beauty, Benjamin Bering must avoid the local police as well as the agents of a nonexistent government agency who are after him and the woman. There are just two problems. The woman is in a coma and her body has been stolen. (Part 1 can be found HERE.)
I was still trying to fathom the implications of the hand written speech when the intern walked into the screening room.
He nodded and tendered a cursory greeting, "Mr. Bering, please bear with me while I prep you for the screening process." He winked and motioned for me to sit back in the chair.
"Why do I have this uncomfortable feeling that I'm about to undergo a root canal?" I asked as I positioned myself in the chair.
He didn't respond right away but began typing commands from a keyboard and watched with interest the data that appeared on a monitor. He turned and gave me a thumbs-up gesture. "Good. We are not being monitored at the moment."
Though I resisted at first, he pulled the piece of paper from my hand and proceeded to refold it. He glanced at the monitor and then tucked it into my shirt pocket. "I was watching you and Vickie. Your performances were excellent. Gates was watching also and apparently he was satisfied too, for he disconnected from that camera the minute you entered this room."
I patted my shirt pocket, "This "Power of One" speech ... It was written by Gates?" The intern nodded as he concentrated on his work. I continued to prod, "He's actually planning on giving this speech?"
"Mr. Bering, while I can detect when he is using the cameras, I cannot do so when it comes to the hidden microphones. Talk about the weather, or sports, or world news, but avoid any mention of Gates and anything to do with this place." He began to press the attachments of the wires to my temples before adding, "Once all the connections are made, we will be able to converse freely."
I watched him as he attached similar wiring to his own temples. He then flipped a couple of switches and there was a momentary flickering of the room's lights. I winced as a burning sensation seemed to course through my brain. When the heat subsided I was left with a tingling flutter within my skull.
I closed my eyes and thought to myself, 'What in the hell is happening in my head?'
'It's nothing that will harm you, Mr. Bering.'I forced my eyes wide open and stared at the intern. He had spoken to me, but I had not heard him. He spoke again but his lips did not move.
'I can move my lips if it'll make you feel better.'It took a another minute or two before I finally accepted the fact that we could communicate mentally. Even though I had observed on the discs Michael and Michelle apparently exchanging thoughts, I had until that very moment been skeptical that such a thing was possible.
'Just concentrate on forming the words in your mind instead of saying them aloud.'
I thought, 'You mean like this? You'll hear me ... er read it?'He held up a finger and reached into a drawer beneath the computer station. He produced a hypodermic needle and a small bottle containing a clear fluid. He then drew the contents of the bottle into the needle.
'Loud and clear, Mr. Bering.'
'Incredible!' I thought.
'You're going to inject me with that?' I shouted mentally."Mr. Bering, this will help your brain to relax during the screening process," he said out loud. "In a relaxed state we are able to monitor your brain wave patterns and the computer will search for similar patterns which makes the matching process almost flawless."
Then I received mental words from him, 'I have substituted a solution of sugar water for the real drug. I injected your friend Susan with the same thing.'I felt a momentary sting when the needle pierced the skin of my neck and the liquid was released into my blood stream. Once again he spoke verbally, "It will take about five minutes for the drug to fully take affect. In the meantime you need to close your eyes and relax. It will be over before you'll realize what has happened. In about thirty minutes we will have the results of the match."
I directed a question to his mind, 'What was the purpose of the real drug?'There were so many question I had for Dave the intern, but I felt there wasn't enough time to "mind" them to him. I was uncomfortable as it was, just knowing he was inside of my head.
There was a long pause before his thoughts were received, 'It was designed to erase your memories when the link to your brain and the computer was secured. It was an especially strong dose that Gates' chemist prepared. I suspect the two of you would have ended up as mindless vegetables.'
'That would effectively eliminate us as witnesses,' I projected to him. 'By killing our minds, he would have committed a bloodless murder.'
He nodded to confirm my remark, 'Only the dead shall bleed.'
'I can sense your discomfort, Mr. Bering. This process is indeed invasive. I liken it to that classic fear of being naked in a crowded room full of people who are completely dressed. You are no doubt concerned that my presence in your head may have more to do with snooping and prying rather than serving as a means of communication.'He turned and began moving his fingers across the keyboard. He struck the 'enter' key and faced me again. At almost the same instant that the lights began to flicker I felt the burning within my brain again, and as before I could feel a tingling sensation inside my head.
'They say that there's comfort in numbers.' He looked up and the ceiling and spoke out loud, "Susan, are you with us?"I was stunned to perceive Susan's thoughts. I cleared my throat and replied, "Yes, Susan. It's me." It took me only a moment to realize that she couldn't hear my words.
'Yes, I'm here, Dave. There's someone else ... Ben, is that you?'
I concentrated and replied again, not with my voice but with my thoughts, 'Yes, Susan. Welcome to my brain!'Though I could sense his presence, Dave distanced his thoughts from our own and allowed Susan and I to exchange private thoughts. It was during that mental union that we realized just how strong our love for each had become. While our physical contact and verbal words had established our mutual attractions, our telepathic link revealed just how devoted I was to her, and she to me.
Dave entered our thoughts, 'I'm sorry, but I have to interrupt your privacy. There isn't a lot of time before Mr. Gates activates his software installations. I am aware of the questions you have. I will attempt to answer them.Susan and I shared a sense of foreboding of what was soon going to be happening. There was going to be chaos throughout the Check Mate facilities when Gates initiated his program. It wouldn't be long after that when King and a contingent of the Feds would be arriving on the scene. They would in turn be followed by Brock O'Day, Rosie and Michelle.
As you now know, I am Tommy Tsunami, the one who placed that cryptic poem in your mail box. The fact that you are here means that you solved part one of the riddle. As for part two, you have to solve it on your own. I cannot help you.
A mental block of some kind, probably the result of a post-hypnotic command, prevents us from even mentioning anything related in any way to the riddle's solution. That cryptic poem was as close as I could come to revealing an answer. I cannot even confirm what question you'll need to ask. '
I didn't know if it had been planned or if it was an ironic twist of fate, but all of the principal players were about to be assembled in one place at the same time. Above all else, there was the specter, an omnipresence of one who would be hosting the unlikely reunion.
(To be continued in part 46, on Monday 5/4, with Two For One: Double Cross.)