“What’s up Cassandra,” asked Dilek.
“The alarm went off over an hour ago. Phil was declared dead by torture. I’m going nuts to see how we fix it. From the looks of it, this is BAD.”
After the second hour elapsed, Cassie waited by the crystal temple built to store the A-11. At the center of the crystal temple was a round, stainless steel column that went from the floor to the ceiling with a window display built into the middle. The window slid up and down to allow access to the A-11 when it materialized.
She stared at the watch display, her mouth turned downward and her eyebrows and eyes listless.
“I fucking hate this part,” she sighed.
The A-11 chamber was still empty. She checked the time.
“Damn, that life of Phil must have REALLY sucked. I haven’t seen it go this long for awhile. Must be a lot of suffering to process. FUCK! Phil these were your own people for crying out loud.”
She stared at the chamber not blinking. It didn’t blink either.
“Come ON! Appear damn it!”
After a long ten minutes, she walked out of the A-11 shrine and strode outside and looked up at the sky. There were 15 bright points of light in the night and three moons. Nothing else. The crystal shrine shone brilliantly in the light of the three moons. The third, just passing out of sight over the northern horizon. She turned around and looked at the shrine. As she peered through the crystal doors, the column and it’s chamber remained empty.
She switched back to looking up.
“On a clear night you can see forever, and GOD is it boring.”
Phil walked up.
“What?” he asked.
“It’s bad,” she said. “You’ve had worse, but not … this.”
“This was no God, no demon, no advanced life form, it was your own kind.”
“Bfft,” said Phil. “So?”
“It’s been over two hours and the A-11 has not returned to the chamber.”
“Yeah, I’m worried.”
“You don’t think the A-11 was hijacked do you?”
She laughed. “God, sometimes you are an IDIOT. How many MILLIONS of times with how many hundreds of users has this happened again? The time lag is just indicative of how severe the experience was. The more suckage, the longer the A-11 takes to come home and THIS is a record. It’s not just harsh, it’s emotionally important to you.”
A low-toned bell went off repeatedly inside the shrine.
“There it is now. It’s here. Let’s go.”
Cassandra walked back into the crystal shrine and marched up to the chamber. She pushed a symbol beneath the chamber and the glass slid down revealing the classic A-11 wrist watch with a faux leather watchband with the clasp penetrating the third hole on the band. She took out the A-11. Turning, she walked out of the door and made a right toward the main building. It was tall, wooden and looked like someone deliberately made a building to look just like a church for the express purpose of it being anything but that.
The sealed, big doors whooshed open. Cassandra walked down a hall with Phil trailing behind. Cassy’s twirpy gait and her swooping short, straight red hair clicked and swooped like a clock in motion with her yoga shoulders pointing to the sky. Her blouse had a hole cut out exactly between her shoulder blades. Red embrodriary outlined the hole that revealed her skin beneath. Shining through the hole was a tattoo of a symetrical plus sign with a circle around it against the backdrop of a starburst.
Phil shambled behind. His gait not so certain. Cassy turned around.
“Oh, DON’T be a pansy. I haven’t seen one of these in a long time. THIS should be BIG! Come ON. Somebody has to be the you that feels everything EVERY you feels! Hurry, the A-11 can’t hold onto these with complete clarity forever, it has other things it must uphold. We have 20 minutes.”
Phil walked behind, straightening up a little, but not much.
The hallway opened to a room with a glass ceiling that was domed with golden-plated arches dividing the ceiling into eight sections. In the center of the room something like a dentist chair with a circular end table next to it. On the table sat two one inch disks a half inch thick. That was all. Other than that the room was empty of everything else but the light from the moons and fifteen planets streaming in from above.
“How is the weather on Dizang?” asked Phil.
“Hot. Muggy. Gaudy. You know.”
“It looks pretty tonight. I see it’s bluish tones clearly.”
She turned sad.
“Small talk? Really?” she said. “This is really going to fucking hurt you know. This may take you over.”
He walked over to the chair. Sat down. Put his hands on the arm rests and waited – practiced, but unprepared.
The metal shackles circled his wrists. He started to tremble and swallow. Cassy placed the two disks on his two temples. They naturally adhered to his skin firmly.
Tapping the surface of the A-11 Oracle, Cassy looked at Phil. Phil deciphered her command even though he knew what it already contained…
“Show Phil all known manifestations of his lives on record and finish them off with the incarnation termination he just went through. Give him complete, lifelike experience of each memory.”
The A-11 Oracle surrounded Phil in a blue light and on it’s surface Cassandra could see the lives it remembered streaming in.
“See you soon, feeler,” she quietly whispered.
She walked five steps from Phil and beheld him go through his lives. Once, the A-11 hijacked his brain for the download, his eyes stopped functioning regarding his surroundings. A blue dome around him as he dreamed his lives.
Cassandra went outside and looked up at the sky again.
“I sure wish we didn’t choose to be the furthest away from the center of the big bang. We’ve left the light of our universe behind. Sure we’re invisible, but … sigh.”
She went back to check on Phil and when she found him, there he was in the same position as she left him. She pushed a button to release the restraints.
Phil sat up.
“You …. okay?” she asked.
“Yeah, never better,” he said. “Um I could really use a smoothy right now, I know it takes you fifteen minutes to make them, but could you? The replicators just cannot copy your smoothy genius.”
“Sure. I’ll do it right now. See you in fifteen.”
She left briskly. Phil waited until she was gone and walked over to the replicator in the wall on the right side of the building. He spoke to the replicator.
“Make me a large nylon zip tie that can bundle a circle six inches in diameter.”
WIthin twenty seconds, a nylon zip tie was printed in the replicator. Phil took the zip tie, fed the feeder through the hole, placed it around his neck and pulled as hard as he could. The nylon dug deep into his neck as the clicking of the zip tie made its trademark sound. He collapsed on the floor unconscious.
Cassie peeked around the door, sighed, and taking out her wire cutters from her pocket walked up to Phil, cut the zip tie making his neck bleed, and massaged his neck and cried softly as he came to.
“I’m not that stupid, you know,” she said. “You’re the feeler, THIS is your job.”