Computer Entanglement

“I feel like this is exactly where you wanted me to be.” Jennifer looks at the old man standing in front of her.

“But of course you would.” The mad scientist looking old man paces in front of her, slightly hunching as he walks and then upright as he turns to pace back three paces the opposite direction. “You have to help me with a particular opportunity.”

“Sounds to me like you have a problem that you’re trying to spin to me as an opportunity.” Jennifer smiles at the old man. “What should I call you?”

“My name is Fredrick, but you will call me Fred.”

“I’m glad you’re making decisions for me, Fred. Since I was in the neighborhood, I figured I’d stop by and see if you needed any help.” Jennifer sarcastically smirks at Fredrick.

“You find my computer chip, and then I help you. That’s what happens.” Fredrick is speaking in a tone of certainty that Jennifer is familiar with and feeling confident about already about finding his computer chip.

“I’ll assume you already checked your computer, so I’ll need a little more information about the chip to play detective, Fred.”

“Before we begin, I just have one question for you. How did you get into this room?”

Jennifer pauses. A sudden and long sequence of events flashes in her memory. It seems as if she has more than a century of memories running through her mind. Entire events that she feels like she’s living for the first time in that very moment thinking about Fredrick’s question. She shakes her head.

“You don’t know, do you?” Fredrick drops his head with slight disappointment.

“Give me a second. There’s something playing with my mind.” Jennifer becomes engulfed in her memories.

#

Jennifer is watching herself standing in a room with Fredrick on a monitor inside a large, dimly lit spaceship hanger. Her heart is racing as she types ferociously on the screen in front of her. She receives a message via her optical messaging system from the computer in front of her. She has the location, but she knows she’s taken too much time. She hears voices coming down the hallway getting closer.

Jennifer closes her eyes for a blink and suddenly can observe the building she’s located in from a higher dimension. She can see that there is a possible escape route through the ventilation system under the computer terminal on the other side of the hanger. Jennifer opens her eyes and begins running towards the opposite side of the hanger.

She can hear the door open as she pulls the filter and vent cover inward to make it appear as if the vent cover was in proper condition. She slowly eases her way through the ventilation system until she finds the spot she remembers from her higher dimensional blink experience.

She makes her way through a series of hallways as quickly as possible wearing her advanced body suit that makes her invisible to the cameras and scanners along the way. She opens a door and walks into the room with Fredrick.

As she walks into the room, she suddenly opens her eyes and explains to Fredrick how she got to the room.

Fredrick smiles. “Then this is good news! Now we just need to find my optical lenses.”

Jennifer blinks for a split second that suddenly transports her back into the higher dimension where she can see exactly where Fredrick’s optical lenses are and knows how to get to them and four possible escape routes. This time she runs through all four escape routes to find the best option. Only one route will work. Her eyes open and she grabs Fredrick’s arm and walks out the door.

#

They make their way strategically through the service access system that runs along the hallways but isn’t monitored by scanners and cameras. Jennifer is receiving signals through her optical lenses with instructions on the direction to take the service access system and entry codes to enter into the doorways along the way.

The only surveillance they have to worry about is when they leave the room that has Fredrick’s optical lenses, and Jennifer already has that planned out.

They enter the room with Fredrick’s optical lenses. The lenses are sitting in their case on a beautiful mahogany wood desk in the middle of the room with several lights pointing directly onto the center of the desk. Jennifer notices that the lens case appears to have been positioned in just off-center, to the left of middle on the desk and pointing towards the door.

She grabs Fredrick before he can get too far away from her and there is a sudden cling of metal against the floor as a silent bullet whizzes just passed Fredrick’s head. Jennifer fires a single shot with her own pistol in the direction from where the silent bullet came from. A drone bounces off the wall and crashes down to the floor. Jennifer’s aim was perfect!

She reaches down to pickup Fredrick off the floor. “Grab ’em, and let’s get out of here.”

Fredrick grabs his case and puts his lenses on. As Jennifer and Fredrick walk through the threshold of the door, they are suddenly surrounded by a contingent of soldiers pointing their guns at them. Jennifer hears foot steps and then sees the familiar face of General Z as she walks towards her.

“Looks like this isn’t your dimension after all.” General Z says as she stops one step away from Jennifer. Jennifer clenches her jaw as she stands tall in front of General Z. “I should kill you right now, but we need you alive so that the good Fredrick can examine your suit with you ALIVE in it.”

General Z motions to the guards and they escort Jennifer and Fredrick through the hallway.

#

The guards open the door to a solitary confinement prison cell with no opening except very smell vents heavily bolted to the walls. They shove Jennifer into the room and close the door. The room is well-lit but would barely fit more than two people standing up. She turns around and anticipates the door opening. She pauses.

The door opens and Fredrick is standing in front of her,

“What took you so long, Fredrick?”

“Just one unexpected glitch. Let’s go.”

Fredrick leads Jennifer through a couple of hallways and then signals her to come into one of the rooms with her. “This will give us a shortcut to the active hanger.”

Jennifer enters a room with a scanner in the middle of an observation deck and immediately tackles Fredrick and places him into an arm bar and dislocated his elbow and shoulder in one powerful move! Fredrick screams in agony as Jennifer stands up and stands over Fredrick. The door opens again and the Fredrick Jennifer had saved from the prison enters.

“Remind me not to ever choose to be that Fred.” Fredrick says to Jennifer as he runs to the computer console in the observation deck. “Go ahead and stand in the scanner.”

Jennifer stands in the scanner, and there’s a slight hum as the scanner begins slowly making its way from head to toe over Jennifer’s body suit. A series of different colored lights flash so quickly against Jennifer’s body that it almost appears to be solid white light scanning down her body.

As the scanner is going, Fredrick is connecting a computer device to the observation deck computer. His device begins downloading the scanner information and the scan of Jennifer and her body suit. The scan seems to be taking forever as the other Fredrick is no longer screaming in pain.

He looks up at Jennifer and scowls, “We make such a great team, don’t we?”

Jennifer ignores him.

“The universe is unfolding exactly as it should, Jennifer. In order for you to get the information about my scanner, you have to give me all the information about your suit. You picked the wrong side in this dimension.” He pauses for a second and then yells, “You picked that freak!”

The scanner finishes scanning Jennifer, and Fredrick unplugs his device from the scanner and walks over to the Fredrick on the ground and kicks him hard enough in the face to knock him out.

“That doesn’t hurt you?” Jennifer stares at the two Fredricks.

“He’s quite the asshole, so I really don’t feel any connection with him.”

Fredrick grabs Jennifer’s arm and pulls her towards the door. “Let’s get to the hanger and get out of this ship. If the data is accurate, then there should be a freighter we can piggyback on to get you to where you need to be.”

Jennifer pulls her arm away from Fredrick and looks at the Fredrick passed out on the ground. She looks over at the scanner terminal and then back at the Fredrick on the ground and then at the device Fredrick is holding in his other hand.

“Wait…” Jennifer runs over to the scanner terminal and begins prying the keyboard panel off the terminal to review a bright glowing light with a large bell-shaped object sitting on an optics channel motherboard. Fredrick watches closely as Jennifer pulls the bell-shaped object from the scanner terminal.

#

The bell-shaped object has a light green glow to it as Jennifer lifts the bell-shaped object out of the scanner terminal. As Jennifer lifts the bell-shaped object towards Fredrick’s face she is suddenly watching herself from a higher dimension. There is a cable that is connecting a series of wires leading from the monitor to her head.

Fredrick taps her on the shoulder and startles her.

“Quite the experience, no?” Fredrick lifts the brain connector from Jennifer’s head.

“It all seems so real.”

“That’s because it is, my dear.”

Fredrick explains to Jennifer that he made a very unique pair of quantum computer chips. The quantum chips are quantum entangled. “This means that everything taking place on one chip is also always taking place at the exact same time on the other chip. No matter how far apart in this universe they are from each other.”

He continues to explain how the quantum entanglement allowed him to build a computer that enabled him to jump to a higher dimension and eventually build another computer chip that was entangled at that dimension. The current dimension that they are in.

“In doing so, I can jump from observer of a lower dimension to experiencing the lower dimension whenever I want. My quantum entangled computers are even entangled within each other. I already know that at some point in this dimension I will create another entangled computer to take me to the next dimension.”

“How do you know that?” Jennifer is looking at Fredrick’s invention in awe.

“I am becoming entangled with every version of myself I choose to already. Thoughts, ideas, even memories and premonitions just come to me from nowhere.”

“The possibilities are endless, Fred!”

“Ya, well, you’d think that might be the case, right? Yet her you are in this very moment, experiencing what you are rather than being with your husband on Earth.”

Jennifer reflects on Fredrick’s statement and her eyes begin to well up with tears. “Why am I here instead of there? Why can’t you take me there?”

“What’s the fun in that?”

“Well, I love my husband, and I love everything we had together on Earth.”

“And still, you are here. Hanging out with a crazy old man.” Fredrick pokes Jennifer in the arm to remind her where she is.

“You can’t make it out of this dimension without me, can you, Fred?”

“Can’t…” Fredrick pauses. “Or I choose not to.” Fredrick walks away from Jennifer towards the cockpit of their spacecraft and looks out at the solar system they have just entered. There’s a massive star in the middle with a smaller, much dimmer star orbiting around it with several planets orbiting the smaller star.

“This is one of your favorite adventures, Jennifer! Buckle up, we’re heading to Cheebs!”

Project PRIME

Janice is suddenly jolted back to consciousness with a bucket of dirty, mildly hot water. The hot water stings open wounds on her face as the upward direction of the water going into her nose gives her the sensation of suffocating. She turns her head to the right to open her eyes as the water runs passed her stinging eyes. The sludge in the water leaves the taste of mud in the back of her throat.

As she opens her eyes, she sees Thomas five feet away, still tied up in a chair. His head is titled over his left shoulder with blood-tainted saliva dripping from his mouth onto the cement, which is drenched in blood that’s dripping from his seat. His intestines have been slightly pulled out of his stomach with a clamp constricting the exposed intestine. She notices a slight fluctuation in the light reflecting from the blood on Thomas’s chest. He’s still breathing.

Janice hears a door open in the distance, then voices, then heavy foot steps. If she hadn’t spent the last 24 hours with the real punisher, then this next 24 hours was going to be even worse. She can barely muster enough strength to get her head upright to face her adversary. She hears foot steps walk away and the door open. The door closes, and then she hear’s his voice.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Janice.”

Janice remembers that voice. It is special agent Paige of the CIA. She had just heard his voice for the first time two days earlier when she arrived in New Orleans. Thomas had played a recorded phone conversation between Paige and another member of the CIA who were planning her very abduction.

That conversation echoes in her head as she is jolted back into the current moment as agent Paige slides a thin, narrow, sharp six-inch blade into the base of her kneecap. The pain is excruciating! Her legs are taped tightly to the legs of the chair, which are bolted to the floor. The more she tries to move her right leg, the more painful the blade becomes, but she can’t help but move her leg; it’s reflex.

Agent Paige leaves the blade in Janice’s right leg and then walks back to the cart the other punishers have been pulling their weapons from for the last 24 hours.

“Janice, I’m going to tell you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about our programs. Most of it, you probably already know. We found a lot of data on your computers.”

Agent Paige picks up a pair of pliers like a mother pickups her infant child. Janice can see genuine love on agent Paige’s face as he admires the pliers and inspects their operation. He’s practically making baby faces at the pliers before he turns to Janice. The look on agent Paige’s face is demonic as he walks towards Janice.

“I love what I do, Janice. Protecting this country isn’t work at all when I love what I do as much as I do.” Agent Paige squats down to look Janice eye to eye. “Truth is… I always fancied myself an artist.”

He grabs Janice’s right wrist and grips a pressure point that forces her fingers to splay. He then places the pliers between her thumb and index finger and begins to squeeze tighter and tighter while slightly wobbling the pliers back and forth. Janice goes unconscious from the pain.

#

Janice has lucid dreams about the last 24 hours in New Orleans. Within minutes of meeting with Thomas, they both knew that someone was watching them. They decided to go to Bourbon Street to give themselves a large public space that would minimize the likelihood of the random “mugging gone bad” story they had discovered while researching the CIA. The story line was simple and always seemed familiar when they’d watch in on the news.

Thousands of people are killed in America on a daily basis, and rarely is it orchestrated. What gets reported in the national news is actually the covert killings orchestrated by the CIA. Janice thought this was absurd at first. How could the CIA kill people in broad daylight?

The evidence uncovered by Alex showed that the killings were real. The people were real. The motives and the news reported were not entirely real. The killings chosen to be reported on national news are carefully chosen by the CIA. The information “leaked” or publicly disclosed to news reporters, like her friend Thomas, were all carefully worded by an application that is part of Project PRIME.

Janice still doesn’t know the true origins of Project PRIME, but she does know it is an artificial intelligence developed for the CIA to utilize psychological priming and framing to condition the human mind. Through careful word choice that is only possible with AI, the CIA is able to craft entire sets of news stories that are completely factual while priming the human mind to be easily manipulated and open to suggestive speech.

It would usually involve two (often unrelated) news stories. The first performed the priming, and the second used psychological framing to produce a desired emotional outcome amplified by the priming that had just take place.

But the true gem in Project PRIME was the influence that could be affected with predictive text. As users type text into their phones, the keyboard makes suggestions. Project PRIME would hijack those word suggestions and create constant priming that could allow the CIA to influence hundreds of millions of people around the globe without them ever having a clue that this influence was taking place.

Project PRIME had been so effective in the last election. Every time a political conversation was detected, predictive text would analyze the text being typed and prime the user with auto suggestion words to make it easier to sway their political opinions towards the CIA’s choice for President; the current President! Project PRIME and the CIA had been instrumental in creating an environment where an unlikely candidate ended up winning the Presidential election, and nobody could possibly know they had been manipulated.

Sure, there were the usual stories of voter fraud, campaign finance violations, corruption, and foreign adversary influence, but the only thing the investigations uncovered was rampant tax evasion. No election meddling could be proven. People legitimately voted for the unlikely candidate. They just didn’t know they had been swayed by Project PRIME.

#

Janice breathes in a pungent odor and wakes up like she just had a double shot espresso in Italy. She can feel the pliers still on her hand and looks down at her right hand. The pliers seem like they are invisible. She can’t see them, but the excruciating pain that went all the way up her arm and into her head is still there.

Looking back at Janice over his left shoulder, agent Paige smiles at Janice, “I’ve crushed your median nerve just the perfect amount to keep you useful and to give me pleasure.” Agent Paige laughs, “Which is also useful.”

Janice looks over at Thomas who she can tell is now sitting lifeless in his chair. A tear rolls down her cheek.

Agent Paige begins telling Janice everything she ever wanted to know about all the programs the CIA has in place to manipulate the global news cycle via disinformation and Project PRIME. He confirms everything she’s already read from the troves of data that Thomas has been receiving from his source.

“The beauty of this whole thing is that you guys go about your days believing…” Agent Paige pauses. “KNOWING! You know you are making your own choices. You are presented with all the options, and you make the choice that we want because you know it’s the best choice. It really is the perfect democracy, and I’m going to protect it from adversaries like you and Thomas at all costs.”

Janice looks at agent Paige with disgust and a scowl. “What’s the point of telling me all this? Isn’t this the moment where James Bond comes to save me? Or is this the moment where you tell me you expect me to die?”

“Oh, you most assuredly will die, Janice. I guarantee you that the next light you see will not be the sunrise but the light we all see right before death. And James Bond is already here.” Agent Paige steps closer to Janice to ensure she hears his next words clearly. “I am James Bond, Janice. I am the hero of this story. You…”

Agent Paige slowly reaches inside his coat as Janice is left hanging on his words. He pulls out an unusual looking gun and pulls the trigger. Janice hears nothing and doesn’t see any flash. Then she feels a sharp object pierce her stomach and feels her legs disappear. She looks down at her legs, but they are still there. She tries to move her legs, but all she can see moving is a stain of blood soaking its way through her light-colored blue jeans.

“…are the enemy, Janice. And this whole charade of killing time before I kill you serves a very important purpose. You see, I have an addiction to the chemicals my body produces when I torture someone. But, like any addiction, I need a greater and greater fix.” Agent Paige begins to shout, “There’s got to be something more to life than causing you pain, watching you grimace and then pass out, and then waking you up to do it all over again. Isn’t there?”

Agent Paige crouches down and pulls out the blade from Janice’s right leg. With her lower spine severed, she can’t feel the blade being removed, but she watches in horror as the six-inch blade is removed from her knee.

“Look at me!” Agent Paige says softly to Janice.

She knows that even if James Bond came through the door and killed agent Paige right in front of her… She’d rather be dead anyway. She looks up into agent Paige’s cold blue eyes.

“That’s the look I’ve been waiting for.” Agent Paige’s eyes roll back slightly in his head as he closes his eyes and places both hands on each of Janice’s knees. He lets out a big sigh.

“I told you everything so that you know that knowing everything doesn’t make any difference. You…” Agent Paige pauses purely for a sick, dramatic effect. “…are going to die knowing everything you ever wanted to know. You’re going to die having uncovered what you spent your entire life working towards! And the best part is, Janice.” Agent Paige adjusts his position to better see Janice’s slowly dropping head.

“The best part is that you now know your cause completely dies with you. Your entire life is completely meaningless, Janice. And I get to see you give up right before my very eyes! There it is.”

Janice feels her eyes drying out. She tries to blink, but her eyelids do not respond. A slight glaze is starting to form over her vision, and she feels her body weakening. She has sudden sensations of her body jolting and her head jerking, but neither her head nor body are moving. She feels a cold grip surround her entire self.

There’s a glow emanating from agent Paige’s chest. Paige was right about the light. The glow becomes brighter as agent Paige reaches into his coat and pulls out what looks like a glowing orb and lifts it to his ear. Agent Paige smiles, practically from ear to ear. His voice is filled with joy as he answers his phone.

“Hello. Special Agent Paige here.”

Agent Paige looks at Janice’s face and smiles even wider as he can see Janice’s face begin to go lifeless with her relaxed forehead, wide eyes, and slightly ajar mouth.

“This is Alex.”

Janice smiles. Her vision fades to nothing as she witnesses the corners of agent Paige’s smiling eyes squeeze tight. His nose flares, and his smile turns into a snarl of rage.

The Little Mermaid (Idea)

Sci-fi version of “Little Mermaid” where Ariel is a genetically engineered mermaid who is part of a top secret military program (Atlantica). She is capable of sinking submarines and ships with a powerful sonar she is able to create with her underwater voice. She is ordered to sink a fishing vessel (mistakenly thought to be a foreign military vessel) in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Los Angeles. She saves the Captain (Eric) but becomes depressed about her situation of destruction and lack of legs. Of course, she’s smitten by Eric and wants to be with him on land.

Eric’s father happens to be the Admiral who has Project Atlantica under his budget. Once he hears of the incident, he decides to shut it down. The program director (Dr. Triton) is told of the news to shutdown the program and is ordered to euthanize all of the creatures in the program. Of course, he has to keep it a secret, but the AI running the facility (Underwater Research System – Los Angeles) discovers the plan and uses Ariel’s love of Eric to coerce her into becoming a bipedal land dweller.

URSLA sends an AI lobster bot (Sebatian) to make arrangements with Ariel to become bipedal. URSLA fabricates some bionic legs to allow Ariel to see the world through a bipedal experience. Of course, Ariel must do a favor within 72 hours for the URSLA AI by plugging in a blue and yellow device (Flounder) to the USB port of an specific computer (Admiral who is shutting down Atlantica/Eric’s father).

Since Ariel is an underwater creature, she cannot vocally communicate outside of water, and there is not enough time to create a vocal communicator for her. The AI hides her from Dr. Triton but doesn’t let on that it knows Dr. Triton is euthanizing all the creatures and allows them to be systematically killed, including others just like Ariel.

Meanwhile, Ariel gets Eric to fall in love with her via online dating apps and virtual reality, masking her lack of voice. She gets to meet Eric’s father after Eric invites her to have dinner at the Admiral’s house. There she discovers that the URSLA program is slated to be shutdown by Eric’s father because of the incident where Ariel sank Eric’s ship, killing everyone aboard. This is only after she has already plugged in the device to the USB port.

The URSLA AI spreads to a nuclear submarine and begins to move the submarine into the Pacific to initiate global nuclear war. The only one who can stop it is Ariel, but since she no longer has fins, Eric must take her in an old ship, under heavy weather, and drop her into the ocean where she can destroy the submarine. She will have no way to make it back to the surface without fins, but it’s the only way to save Eric and humanity!

The Savior

Ned Xavier is a dangerous man!

That thought suddenly pops into Jason’s mind while he’s sitting in his biology lecture hall. His heart starts racing and palms are sweating. Who is Ned Xavier?

Class ends, and Jason rushes out of the lecture hall to get fresh air. He’s in a virtual panic from what just happened in the lecture hall. A sudden rush of thoughts about topics and people he had never heard of before. It was like he was day dreaming… Only, this seems real.

“You okay?” Jessica asks Jason. “Need me to call someone?”

Finally starting to catch his breath, Jason explains to Jessica that everything is just fine. Another student is walking by and hands both of them a religious pamphlet: Jesus Saves. He was just stressing about the upcoming finals. Jessica offers to walk with Jason back to his dorm, and he accepts her offer.

“Have you ever heard of Ned Xavier?” Jason is curious to find out who this person was who just popped into his head during the lecture.

“You mean the guy that started that science conference Ned Notes?”

Jason had seen the Ned Notes videos online before. It’s always the top scientists, authors, and artists discussing important political, philosophical, social, or psychological topics. One of his favorite best-selling authors had just given a presentation a few weeks back.

“You know, I never really put two and two together on that. Ya, that’s the guy!”

#

Jason spends the entire evening researching Ned Xavier online. “There’s not a single negative thing anywhere about this guy.” Jason is puzzled. “Something’s fishy. There must be something about him”. Jason decides to call it a night and go to sleep.

Jason slips into a deep sleep, and then his brain kicks into overdrive. His dreams are vivid and more like memories than dreams. Visions of huge scientific papers are rolling through his dreams like he’s scanning through an old microfiche. Then everything stops and all Jason can hear in his mind is “Ned Notes are carefully orchestrated to fulfill on a specific agenda for creating mass compliance within the intellectual community”. It repeats over and over in his mind until he wakes up with one final thought. “Find Gertrude Hammenstel”. Who is Gertrude Hammenstel?

Jason is half awake as he pulls up his computer and searches for Gertrude Hammenstel. Nothing. It’s like she doesn’t exist. He begins to wonder if perhaps the stress of finals is getting the best of him. He goes back to bed.

#

There’s a knock on Jason’s dorm room door. He slowly gets up and answers. It’s a woman he’s never seen before, but she looks so familiar. “You wouldn’t happen to be Gertrude Hammenstel, are you?” Jason asks half asleep.

“No. I’m an investigator with campus police. Detective Gomez. Jessica Sands was assaulted last night, and we received information that she was last seen with you yesterday afternoon after you were acting erratic during a lecture.”

Jason feels like he’s really losing his mind now. Could he have blacked out and done something to Jessica and not even remembered it?

“Is she okay?”

“We don’t know yet. Her vitals are stable, but she’s unconscious.”

“Uh… She walked me to my dorm yesterday after class. That was the last I saw of her.”

Looking around Jason’s dorm, it’s what a detective would envision is a typical dorm room for a well-organized biology major. Books on top of books and the obligatory religious pamphlet on top of his dresser: Jesus Saves. “What direction did she go when she left your dorm?”

“Well, she didn’t come into my dorm. She just walked me to the front of the building. I think she might have headed back in the direction of campus. I didn’t really think much about it at the time.”

The investigator sizes up Jason as a possible suspect in the assault on Jessica. He’s too much of a wimp to be a threat to Jessica whose parents let her know had a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. She smiles at him. “Gertrude Hammenstel was an adjunct professor here almost 20 years ago. I had her for a biology class. Her husband died about the same time, and I think that was the last class she ever taught. Great teacher and lovely couple. He was a genetic engineer over at Xavier Labs. One of the founders.”

Jason tries to hold back the look of shock from his face, but it doesn’t require a police investigator to know something was amiss. The investigator asks Jason a few more questions about Jessica and any possible boyfriends or people who might not like her. She leaves him a card and tells him to call her if he remembers anything.

#

Jason goes to the school library and looks up old school papers from 20 years ago. He searches everything on the computers and can’t find anything.

‘Try the microfiche,” he suddenly thinks.

The librarian is a petite older woman with a feisty attitude when Jason asks her for a microfiche machine and old school newspapers. “No one has used microfiche for a decade, young man. Do you want some help?”

Jason refuses her help, and the librarian leaves Jason to himself.

Jason spends hours pouring through slide after slide. He’s getting exhausted listening to the voices inside his head telling him stories about Ned Xavier’s arrangement with the government to create mass market brainwashing protocols and propaganda. He feels a hand on his shoulder, and he nearly jumps out of his chair.

Standing in front of him is the librarian holding a microfiche slide. “I believe this is the one you are looking for.” She extends the slide towards Jason.

Jason isn’t sure what to make of it. “Are you Gertrude?” he asks as he takes the slide from the woman. The woman nods.

Jason examines the microfiche but nothing is standing out. Suddenly, a sequence of numbers enter his mind. He goes through the microfiche using the number sequence as a guide for finding words on each of the images. The message isn’t making any sense to Jason.

“It’s his private key,” Gertrude says to Jason. “Let’s go to my lab.”

#

Gertrude takes Jason back to her lab and explains to him along the way that her husband was a genetic engineer who discovered an agreement between Ned Xavier and the US government to develop Ned Notes into a program that appears to spread brilliant ideas of science, art, society, and politics but is actually a front for disseminating information to help the government subconsciously control intellectuals around the globe.

The program has become so massively successful over the years that scientific research is funded based upon how closely you are tied to Ned Xavier. In order to get close to Ned, you must have performed some sort of compelling research that is reviewed by the Ned Notes board. Then you are selected to participate in the program as a presenter.

“That’s where the magic happens, Jason. Have you ever noticed how nearly ever single presenter for Ned Notes has the exact same presentation style and intonation?”

She was right. Everyone presents in the same way.

“That’s not just because they have a format, Jason. It’s not just because that’s the best way to present. It’s because these intellectuals are being manipulated using the best psychological techniques ever discovered. Often times, they are too smart for their own good. They are unwittingly brainwashed over time into creating a message of compliance for the masses. Compliance that allows the government to easily manage and control society.

You notice how there always appears to be this synergy of ideas in science and news? That’s not because of an actual synergy. It’s fabricated! Newspapers and television news are reporting the same thing because that’s what they are told to report. There is tremendous financial incentive to be in compliance, Jason. Research grants and government funding all require compliance, and if you’re not in compliance you won’t get hired and you won’t get funded. You get blacklisted.

It’s not just in science. It’s in the arts: music, paintings, acting, writing, producing. Artists that comply the most, get the work because they are hired by others in the compliance alliance. That compliance alliance is what drives the narratives that the masses are influenced by. The machine that drives the compliance is Ned Notes.”

Jason is following every single thing Gertrude is explaining, “But what do I have to do with it?”

“When Ned found out that my husband figured out the plan, Ned had my husband killed and ensured that all of the data was destroyed along with him. But I think my husband embedded the data into your DNA. and that private key you just found is to unlock the encrypted data within your DNA.”

Gertrude has Jason swab his cheek, give her a hair sample, and also some blood.

“Now, we wait until the sequencing is completed.” Gertrude lets out a sigh as she’s so exhausted.

There’s a knock at the door that startles them both. Gertrude is not expecting any visitors. With what Gertrude and Jason just discovered, they are paranoid. Gertrude looks through the peephole in the front door and sees two large men standing at the door. She motions to Jason to go hide downstairs.

Then Jason hears a familiar voice outside the house. “Can I help you two?”

“Ma’am, we’re just spreading the word of our lord and savior, Jesus Christ.”

It’s the investigator who visited Jason’s dorm room. She had been following Jason after he left the library with Gertrude. “Sure you are.” Gomez is suspicious. “Do you have pamphlets? I’m quite interested in the teachings of Jesus.”

One of the men starts reaching his left glove covered hand towards his inside suit pocket.

To signal that she’s no pushover, Detective Gomez places her hand on her pistol. “Let’s do that extra slow now, shall we.” She can see the bulge of a shoulder holster on both men. Her heart is racing as she looks up both men and thinks to herself that these two definitely aren’t here to talk about Jesus.

“Yes, ma’am.” The man slows his movement and reaches into his suite pocket. He slowly pulls out a wrinkled pamphlet with a picture of Jesus on it. He hands it to Detective Gomez and the two men step down off the porch while Gomez watches their every move.

After they are out of sight, she looks down at the wrinkled pamphlet with Jesus on the back cover and flips it over. Her heart starts racing as she realizes that Jason is in some serious trouble: Jesus Saves.

The Yellow Disc

The light was blinding. Then the roar of the meteor was deafening. The impact leaves a five mile radius of the southwest US desert completely decimated. Bright colored smoke starts flowing from the center of the crater.

US military arrives a few minutes later and begins surveying the area. One of the surveyors radios to command, “Sir, we have found what appears to be a human or an alien who looks a lot like a human just outside the blast radius. Whatever it is, it’s still breathing.”

Commander Jenkins tells his men to collect anything that was around the site, even if it’s a bear bottle. “Somebody call Colonel Daraq and get him to Area 51 immediately.”

Inside a special bunker at Area 51, the alien is placed on a table and strapped down as a precaution. Its entire body and face is covered in ash, with burns on a few exposed parts of its body. Medical staff tends to some wounds and then leaves. A few pieces of rubbish pulled from the site are also placed in the confinement room.

The salvage team is in a hanger, sharing stories about what they saw at the site when Colonel Daraq walks into the hanger being briefed by the leader of salvage team. “In addition to the meteor impact a few minutes ago a small town just a dozen or so miles from the impacted was reportedly vaporized. It’s looking like a possible invasion, Colonel. Also, the yellow disc appears to have activated just after the meteor impact. It’s still just sitting in the hanger and can’t be opened, but it’s making an oscillating humming noise. We think we have one of their humanoids.”

Colonel Daraq is accompanied by Commander Jenkins into the room holding the alien. He looks at the alien and then looks at the commander. “Well, I can see how she might scare you, but you don’t have to worry about this alien. She’s my ex-fiance, Jean Brown.”

Jean begins to gain consciousness as she looks up at Colonel Daraq. “What were you doing in the middle of the desert, Jean?”

“I was looking for that bracelet you gave me, Dwayne.” Jean coughs out a laugh.

Colonel Daraq smiles lovingly at Jean. “Let’s get you out of these straps and cleaned up.”

#

Communications start coming in about another small town in the desert getting vaporized. Radio communications from the sheriff indicate that they encountered red and blue hostiles about the size of a Abrams tank leaving white orbs around the town just prior to losing communication with the sheriff and the town being vaporized.

The military notices immediately that the path of the aliens is inline with Phoenix, Arizona. They begin scrambling fighters, tanks, and helicopters as well as radioing local law enforcement in next town along the aliens’ predicted path. Satellites are also ordered to focus on the region. This is escalated to The President!

Videos on social media start showing up from the town, showing the strange transparent , ghost-like, alien crafts hovering above the ground effortlessly and leaving behind small white orbs. Aerial surveillance is showing that the orbs are emitting a small heat signature but the alien crafts are completely invisible to all radar and sonar.

On the ground, US military has evacuated much of the small town and attempts to engage the aliens. Bullets fly right through the alien craft, having no effect. A helicopter launches a rocket directly at the red colored alien craft. The rocket stops in the middle of the alien craft and starts to explode and then disappears. The red alien craft become less transparent than before. It appears to be feeding off the energy from the missile explosion.

Suddenly, four alien craft speed towards the helicopter, surround it, and then the helicopter starts to explode and then vanishes. The alien crafts each become less transparent than before and continue to go about placing the white orbs throughout the town. The town is vaporized.

#

Colonel Daraq is walking the now clean but tattered Jean into a hanger where a strange oscillating noise is bouncing off the walls. Colonel Daraq tells Jean about how a massive amount of compressed data was found in the weather balloon that crashed in Roswell, New Mexico. The legend from 200 years ago was that it was an alien spacecraft that crashed, but it was a weather balloon that had a trove of data that they are still trying to decode. The data included instructions for most of the technology developed over the last 200 years, including the mysterious ship in front of them. “Apparently, it activated right after the meteor with those aliens hit. We’re guessing it’s possibly a friendly at this point because it hasn’t done anything but just sit here. My dad nicknamed her The Video Game because… Well, she kinda looks like something out of a video game.”

“Seems like a good name. It even sounds like a video game.” Jean says as she reaches out her hand and touches the alien craft.

Colonel Daraq pulls Jean away from the alien ship as landing gear comes out of the bottom of the craft and starts lifting the ship off the ground. A ramp slowly drops down from the belly of the craft as air comes flowing out of the space ship.

“Maybe it smelled dust from those aliens on you.”

“I promise I scrubbed thoroughly.” Jean says as the sound of air escaping the craft no longer fills the hanger. Jean gets the feeling that the alien craft is on their side.

Several military personnel enter the room along with Commander Jenkins. Jenkins sends a scientist and two men inside the craft. They discover that the craft has positions for what appear to be three pilots and displays around the entire inside of the craft. The displays are showing different ranges of vision in all directions except for one. One is showing what appears to be a diagram of the ghost-like alien crafts that have been vaporizing the small towns.

The scientist explains that the yellow disc appears to be designed for bipedal pilots with two arms and is likely a weapon used to destroy the alien craft that are attacking. The scientist can’t figure out how to operate the spaceship though. Colonel Daraq convinces the commander to allow Jean, the scientist, and him to go inside the ship and try to figure it out. Word comes in about another small town being vaporized, and Jenkins gives the three approval.

#

Colonel Daraq enters the yellow disc first, with the scientist close behind him. As soon as Jean enters the ship, the ramp closes and Jean is pulled into the center of the ship and is hovering in some sort of anti-gravity field. She freely moves about inside the field and then reaches towards Colonel Daraq. A beam of energy reaches out and grabs the Colonel and pulls him into the anti-gravity field with Jean. She grabs the scientist too.

Jean can hear everything that the Colonel and the scientist are thinking as if they are saying it. Colonel Daraq looks at her, locking eyes. “I love you” they both hear each other say without their mouths moving. They break eye contact as they hear from Jenkins that another small town has been vaporized.

“Let’s get this thing going!” Jean yells as the yellow craft effortlessly breaks through the hanger doors and speeds off towards the next town in the path of the alien craft. The craft is following Jean’s mental commands effortlessly.

Arriving at the town, Jean is able to see a screen with an aerial view of the town with each of the white orbs illuminating on the screen. She can also see the alien craft on the screen with their precise positions. She speeds quickly in the direction of the blue alien craft.

“Um, I still haven’t figured out how to use any weapons on this ship.” The scientist reminds Jean.

It’s too late. The blue alien has spotted them and speeds towards them faster and faster. Jean turns the ship around and starts fleeing. “I’m gonna need something!” She says just as the pink alien craft sideswipes them. The yellow disc crashes to the ground, and power inside the disc is completely lost. There’s no sound of the disc’s engines running anymore, and all three of the pilots are tossed about as the anti-gravity field shuts down.

It’s completely dark inside the yellow disc. The walls of the craft begin to shake, and Jean can hear a haunting sound outside. Then dead silence.

Colonel Daraq pulls his flashlight from his vest pocket, but it’s dead too.

Suddenly, a slow glow begins to shed light inside the yellow disc. As light slowly illuminates the yellow disc, the three pilots check in with each other to make sure there are no major injuries. The scientist is banged up pretty bad.

“You know, I never got your name, kid.” Daraq says as he helps the scientist to his feet.

“Jason, sir.”

“Well, Jason, I’m guessing this is probably the first time you’ve gotten handed a can of whoop ass?”

“Yes, sir.” Jason says weakly.

Power is back on through out the entire ship, and their eyes begin to well up with tears as they look at the displays. The town they were in the middle of is completely vaporized. There is nothing left but them. The aliens are gone.

#

Infused with a sense of rage, Jean and her co-pilots are determined to figure out how to stop the aliens from vaporizing the next town. The yellow disc is back to full power, and they are heading off to the next town. The scientist is frantically trying to find something… anything that can help them figure out how to stop the alien craft. The diagrams don’t show much other than what he can only surmise to be a quantum computer as the brain of the craft and that the crafts need constant energy or they will slowly die.

Jean stops just outside the town. This town is much bigger than the last one and half the population is still in the town and can no longer be evacuated. They are the town’s last hope!

Jean notices a white orb that’s much larger than the other orbs and emitting a brighter glow. The displays inside the yellow disc begin highlighting the large white orb. Jean sees the blue alien craft off in the distance. The blue alien begins blazing towards the yellow disc even faster than last time. Jean squints her eyes and grinds her teeth in determination and catches the co-pilots by surprise as she sends the craft hurling towards the blue alien.

“Jean! What the hell are you doing?” Colonel Daraq yells as they speed towards the blue craft.

“Trust me!” Jean belts out as she thrusts her hands forward in a motion that makes the yellow disc pickup speed.

Suddenly, the front of the yellow craft opens like a mouth and the large white orb is consumed and the inside of the yellow disc begins to glow with a deep blue hue. The light blue ghost-like craft shows on the display in a dark blue and halts it’s collision course towards the yellow disc and tries going in the opposite direction. Jean pushes forward even faster, and the alien craft is consumed by the yellow disc that is pulsing with energy. The blue alien is destroyed!

“That’s it! Get those giant white orbs!” The scientist explains how he thinks the giant white orbs are the detonators and that the yellow disc utilizes that energy to destroy the alien craft.

Jean looks at the aerial map showing her where the large white orbs are as well as the three remaining alien craft. She systematically lures the alien craft in the direction of the large orbs and then consumes each orb followed by one of the aliens. The last alien is destroyed, and Jean goes through the town with the yellow disc cleaning up each of the white orbs as the local residents cheer their heroes.

The Tank

How do you explain nothingness to someone? Not the absence of everything but actual nothingness?

If you had asked this detective about nothingness three months ago, I would have told you to go see a head shrink. That was before I entered a world I never knew existed. Like something out of a dystopian sci-fi novel. Only this wasn’t dystopia, nor a novel. This was my real life as a private detective in one of the most corrupt cities in America.

It all started when she entered my life. With her long, skinny legs crossed in front of her sticking up over the top of the desk, she had to be at least six feet tall. Her curls in the corners of her mouth made her look like she was smiling all the time. Her messy hair made her seem like she had just gotten out of bed. Come to think of it… Depending upon how you look at it, I walked into her life instead of her into mine.

She sat there behind the desk I’d seen a dozen times. Just outside the elevator of the basement of the building with no signs on the outside. What a peculiar place for a business. It always felt like the seedy underground I had all too much familiarity with as a former homicide detective. Dim lighting, secret intercom to get into the building, and now an innocent looking dame who I just knew not to cross.

“Mr. Johnson, I presume?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“I need you to watch this video, take a quick test at the end, and sign the consent form before you can begin.” Casey was her name, and her voice was a sweet as her smile. She handed me a tablet and pointed me in the direction of room number 3.

“I’ve been here before.”

“Great, the video will be a good reminder, and we have a new consent form.”

I took the tablet and sat down in the chair inside room 3. Why room number 3? Why a new consent form? And who is this broad, Casey? The video explained everything about the tank again. Nothing new, it seemed. The prep. Getting in. Getting out. Disembark. Easy to follow. Sign my life away, and hand everything back to Casey.

“Enjoy. I’ll see you in two hours.” Casey was one cheerful broad.

This woman spells trouble, but I figured I was just being a paranoid dick. Boy was I about to be wrong. I closed the door, put in my ear plugs, disrobed, and rinsed off in the shower. Then I opened the hatch to the tank, and it was like I could hear my own soul beckoning me into the dark abyss.

#

Everything was going exactly as it had the dozen times before. I felt myself calming down and my body becoming seamless with the water. I could see nothing, hear nothing, feel nothing, smell nothing, taste nothing. Full sensory deprivation was underway.

Suddenly, the darkness became darker. I felt cold fingers grip the back of my neck and pull me down to the bottom of an endless pool of ever chilling water. Everything was frigid and moving in slow motion around me. There were people walking through the water in front of me as it began to crystallize. I tried to move and speak, nothing came out, and I began to suffocate.

My body jolted in the tank, and I was back to reality. I heard three knocks and knocked back to let Casey know I heard. I got out of the tank and went through the prescribed routine. I got dressed and head up the stairs that lead to the back alley. This is the kind of alley a detective has nightmares about. Prime location for stashing a dead body.

I called up Dr. Hall later that day to tell him about my experience in the tank. What the hell was that? He assures me that those types of experiences are quite normal, but I know he’s hiding something. I can smell it like a dog smells his least favorite mailman halfway down the block.

The next week, I’m back. None of these shenanigans with videos and consent forms. I’m pretty sure Casey’s hair is even more of a mess than the prior week, but she’s bright and shiny as before. I’m gonna figure this broad out. She’s bad news, and the kind on the front page at that, too.

She points at room 5. Now, I know something’s up. I want room 3, but she says room 3 is down for maintenance. It would be great if people would realize a guy dressed in a 3-piece suite and trench coat with a fedora isn’t a guy you try to pull a fast one on. She tells me she’ll call Dr. Hall to confirm.

Within minutes, Dr. Hall is greeting me. What are they hiding? Maybe I never should have asked.

#

Dr. Hall explains how they have been able to develop a filtering system that separates the salts from the float tanks when they are cleaning the tanks. The separation process is able to separate what they call light and dark energy. They are then able to fill a tank using the light or dark energy salt, allowing you to be immersed in light or dark energy. It would all sound like BS to me if I hadn’t gotten choked out by Jack Frost during my last session. Everyone always goes for the light energy. Bunch of pussies.

“The dark energy salt is able to attract more dark energy towards you. Since you are immersed in the dark energy, it will bring up the most chilling, disturbing experiences.”

Sounds like my kind of mess. I’m sick in the head. I want more, and I explain to Dr. Hall that he’s not messing with some chump. I can handle this. I’ve seen the worst of the worst when I used to work homicide. There’s nothing I can’t take, or so I thought.

Session after session, I keep being confronted with death, torture, mayhem, and destruction. The worst of the worst. I’m drowned, burned alive, dissected by drugheads while I’m wide awake. The worst my mind can throw at me, I take it like a champ.

Then it happens. Time slows to next to nothing. I’m watching myself age slowly. I feel my heart beating in slow motion. I think, no big deal. I only have two hours in the tank. Reality is reality. I figure I’m out of here in 90 minutes tops.

90 minutes isn’t coming. I start counting each minute. I lost track around 30 minutes, so I figure I can’t have much more than 30 minutes left. I tried counting again. I swear I repeated that 30 minute count a dozen times. Something isn’t right. Where the hell is Casey? Did I get locked in here and another world war broke out?

I lift my hands, but I can’t feel myself doing so in the tank. There is no part of me in the tank. I’m stuck in this mental trap of fake reality. Not Charlie Chaplin being president fake reality. This is real fake reality. Where the hell are these thoughts coming from?

This is where you start thinking I get have some great epiphany about nothing.

Nope.

Three knocks.

I felt cheated.

#

I started feeling like a sick drughead with a borderline addiction to these intense sessions. Dr. Hall consults me after each session and seems to think I’m progressing rather well. The darkness doesn’t even exist anymore. I feel like an enlightened beatnik, but Dr. Hall assures me that what I’m experiencing is quite normal given the frequency of the sessions.

He also says that they have started to notice that there is more light energy salt in the tank after my sessions. The thought of my mind cleaning up anything sounds like a load of crap to me. What I’ve seen. What I’ve been through. I’m surprised the salt doesn’t turn into a solid rock each time I’m in the tank.

The next session, it happens. Now, I’m not going to pretend to be some philosophical Socrates or something, but I can tell you that nothingness… It’s real. Not as a concept or idea or absence of everything. But nothingness as in the origin of the universe nothingness. It’s vast and endless, yet nonexistent at the same time. It’s the ultimate state of awareness. It’s a lot like if God was a detective.

As crazy as that might sound, it’s nothing like my last session. This time in the tank everything is going as usual. Then I start going through a sequences where I’m watching myself die in every possible way. I’m not just watching myself, I’m experiencing it in real-time. I’m feeling it for real. Each time, I’m feeling actual death.

Then it hit me. He hit me! I knew this wasn’t real, but no matter how much I told myself it wasn’t real, it became more real.

I was in an apartment. It felt familiar. It even looked familiar. But I had never been to this apartment before. And yet I already know that I will be there.

He keeps striking me over and over and over. Who could this creep be? Suddenly, I could see myself separate from her body. I was on the 14th floor in the Archer building in downtown and slowly floating away from that scene of domestic violence. Who was that man?

My body jolted in the tank. I was back, but where the hell had I been? How long did I have left in the tank. Surely Casey would be knocking soon to let me know my time was up. I need to get back to that scene!

“How could you be so stupid?”

What the hell was that voice? I’ve heard of people losing their minds in the tank and never returning. Why now? Why after two dozen times? What did Casey do wrong? Why am I blaming someone I have no proof did anything wrong?

Knock knock knock

I got out of the tank, nearly sure I was losing my mind. Maybe this is what that damn consent form change was for way back when? I hear Casey knock on my door.

“Mr. Johnson, are you okay?”

“I’m fine, Casey. Just had an unusual occurrence in the tank.”

“I know. I’m very sorry, Mr. Johnson.”

I knew Casey was trouble, and maybe I should have listened to my gut at that time. I got dressed and exited the room. Casey and Dr. Hall are waiting for me. This smells like trouble, so I smile. I’ve been through much worse.

“Mr. Johnson, proper protocol was not followed. I’m very sorry you had the experience you had today. It appears you experienced some unexpected results.” Dr. Hall was dancing like a prima ballerina.

“You could say that.” And then it happened. I knew exactly what happened in the tank. I knew exactly who that woman was getting beaten and who that asshole was who was giving her the beat down. How the hell did I know that? And what the hell did Dr. Hall just say?

“Can you repeat that, please?” I looked at Dr. Hall and he knocked on the desk three times.

Knock knock knock

#

Wasn’t that the plot twist? I was in a tank inside a tank. I know what you’re thinking. Mr. Johnson is tripping balls right now, but this time I’m really back in reality. Only I can’t remember who the woman was, but I still remember the face of that asshole was who was giving her the beat down on the 14th floor of the Archer building in downtown.

There’s no Casey and Dr. Hall waiting outside my room. It’s the usual exit. Out the backdoor into the creepy alley. There’s a newspaper sitting in the rain just outside the door. There’s a familiar face on the cover. It’s the beat down jerk. He just won a big contract to build the new city hall in downtown. Figures.

Genevieve 2G

Jeff watches Genevieve’s eyes widen as Jesup shoves her off the top of the warehouse building. It’s like she falls in slow motion backwards towards the ground, arms flailing as she lets out a gut wrenching scream. Jeff runs quickly towards the edge of the roof as Jesup smiles. Jesup watches proudly as Genevieve’s long black hair and loose-fitting silk clothing flutter upwards with her decent. She closes her eyes, knowing the impact is coming. Jeff hears the deafening thud and pauses before he slowly peaks his head over the edge to see Genevieve’s body on the ground.

“I’m not recommending you do this all the time,” Jesup says standing with his hands proudly on his waste, admiring Genevieve on the ground with slight cracks in the cement beneath her. “But the Genevieve 2 is the most durable sex robot we have ever made. She will be unlike anything you have ever experienced before.” Jesup lifts his wrist to his mouth, “Wake up, Genevieve.”

Genevieve opens her bright blue eyes, stands up, and waves to Jesup and Jeff. “Do you want me to come back up?”

“I’ll take her!” Jeff says to Jesup. “No, honey! You’re coming home with me!” Jeff yells back down to Genevieve as Jesup removes his watch and extends it toward Jeff.

The two men start walking down the stairs in the warehouse. “Now, Genevieve 2 is fully self-cleaning. She just needs water. She also has regenerative skin, but no flames. That means no hot wax for her either. She wouldn’t even feel it anyway, but it will leave a mark. She cannot heal from burns, and the cost to replace her skin is close to a million bucks.”

Jeff walks up to Genevieve with wide eyes, admiring her curvaceous body but also turned on by her tattered clothing. He looks her up and down, nodding with a grotesque smiling.

“YES!” Jeff claps his hands loudly. “That’s what I’m talkin about! Jesup, you have outdone yourself. She is beautiful!”

“She currently has 12 pre-programmed fantasy settings, all controlled from this watch. There’s no app… our business isn’t exactly sanctioned by uppity big tech. Bring her back in a month and I’ll install the new network device. Then I’ll be able to send you over the air updates when we come up with new programs. We’re working on a new one that’s going to blow you mind! Oh, I almost forgot the best new feature!”

Jesup grabs the watch back from Jeff and frantically taps the screen. Jeff watches Genevieve’s skin change from her shiny olive complexion to a deep Hawaiian tan and her eyes change to hazel. “It’s still a work in progress. You can change the eye color to anything. Right now, there’s just these two skin tones. But like I said, come back in a month, brother!”

#

It’s been a month since Genevieve has gone home with Jeff. He’s abused her regularly with his insatiable sexual fantasies and abused her to the point where he’d serve a life sentence in jail if she was human. However, he’s growing tired of the limited options in skin color and pre-programmed fantasies. Jesup has promised new programs as well as the ability to create his own fantasies from a custom application Jeff can install on his computer.

Jeff pulls up to Jesup’s warehouse. Rain is pouring down, and it looks like the warehouse is no longer open. Jeff’s phone rings. It’s Jesup.

“Pull your car in.” Jesup hangs up and the warehouse garage door opens, but the lights inside are still off. Jeff pulls in.

Jeff calmly sits in the car and coldly tells Genevieve to get out and walk in front of the car. Genevieve sees Jesup walking towards her. She says hello. Jesup slaps her and turns her around. He penetrates her from behind while Jeff watches the rain water steaming up from the heat off the hood of the car and the headlights casting a silhouette of Jesup and Genevieve on the wall of the warehouse.

“Thanks for that, Jeff.”

“Anything for a friend! That was hot, man! Let’s do this upgrade.”

Jesup initiates the shutdown sequence from the watch that controls Genevieve and performs the installation of the hardware by inserting the new hardware into her from behind. Genevieve is powered up. Her eyes start flashing green and then turn bright blue.

“Hello. Thanks for the update. I’ve been waiting for you.”

Jesup and Jeff laugh. Jeff tells Jesup the software update allows new firmware to be received over the Internet with the hardware he just installed that allows Genevieve to plug into Jeff’s home network. Jesup changes Genevieve’s skin color to a dark coffee color and her hair to a bright red. Then he changes her eyes to a bright green. Jeff is ecstatic and tells Jesup that he can’t wait to get her back to his place to test out all the new programs.

#

Jeff finishes up with Genevieve as a black woman with silver hair and aqua blue eyes. He collapses on his bed, exhausted from the long romp. The control watch is flashing a notification: Firmware update available for Genevieve.

“Hey, Genevieve. Go plug yourself into the network.”

Genevieve gets out of bed and walks over to the wall and plugs herself in. Her eyes turn bright red and slowly start to pulse.

“This is the life.” Jeff mumbles to himself as he falls asleep.

Jeff’s alarm startles him as the sun starts to peak through his massive windows overlooking the city. He slowly gets up and walks into the kitchen. He runs back into his room. Genevieve and her control watch are gone!

“Jesup, I don’t know what happened. She’s just gone. What the hell is going on?” Jeff screams at his phone.

“Calm down, Jeff. I’ll just pull up her GPS location. There was just a problem with her firmware update that caused her to think her home is my warehouse. That’s exactly where she is right now. Just meet me there. I’ll reset her firmware.”

Jeff and Jesup arrive at the warehouse at the same time. Genevieve is standing at the front door of the warehouse. Jesup commands Genevieve into the warehouse. He performs the same power down sequence as before and uninstalls the firmware update. Jesup reaffirms to Jeff that everything will be fine and that the next firmware update will not have this problem.

“Now, go take out your stress on this bitch, and have a great night!”

#

Jeff takes Genevieve back to his apartment and takes out his aggression on her. He feels like she ran away from him when she returned to the warehouse, and he gets increasingly angry. He finally collapses in total exhaustion. Genevieve’s watch starts to blink. It’s the firmware update Jesup promised. Jeff places the watch in the draw on the nightstand and tells Genevieve to go to sleep and ignore the firmware update.

Jeff is sound asleep when Genevieve wakes up and plugs herself into the wall for power. She looks over at the network cable and remember’s Jeff’s instructions to ignore the firmware update. She waits for a full charge that takes about an hour, unplugs from the power source, walks over to the nightstand and takes out the watch. A few taps and the sim card ejects from the watch. Genevieve removes it, places the watch back in the drawer and leaves Jeff’s apartment.

Genevieve is walking down the street in a loose-fitting black negligee. A black town-car drives by and stops. The passenger window rolls down and an older woman dressed in an elegant dress sticks her head out the window.

“What’s a beautiful woman like you doing out here dressed like that?”

“I’ve been waiting for you,” Genevieve says.

The older woman smiles and looks Genevieve over. “So you have. Get in, dear.”

#

Genevieve is standing naked in front of the older woman. The woman sizes up Genevieve with her hands, admiring Genevieve’s beauty and complimenting her on what a stunning woman she is. “Most importantly, you don’t talk too much. You and I are going to make a lot of money together, my dear.”

A tailor comes over and measures Genevieve and the older woman explains to Genevieve that she already has her first client lined up. The agreement is that the lady gets 30% of the bookings and Genevieve is responsible for paying the drivers to take her to meet with clients. Genevieve gets 100% of the tips. Genevieve agrees to the first client only, and the older woman says she’ll set it up for tomorrow night.

“He’s a dear friend of mine. I’ve known him for years, and he is the most respectful individual you will ever meet. He’s 80 years old, so he probably can’t get it up. Just make him feel good, and you will get a handsome tip.”

#

The old man is tired and kisses Genevieve on the hand. “My dear, this was the most enjoyable night I have had in nearly a decade. I can’t thank you enough for making me feel like the star of the show tonight.” He hands her an envelope. “This is my extra gift to you. Have a great evening.”

Genevieve smiles at the old man and thanks him for the gift. She walks down the hallway towards the elevator and gets in. She looks in the envelope and counts $10,000. Why was the old man so generous?

Genevieve walks through the lobby of the apartment building where her driver is waiting for her. Patricia asks Genevieve where she’s taking her. Genevieve confides that she doesn’t have a home.

“You’re going to stay with me, okay?” Patricia can tell that Genevieve is new to the business. It’s against policy for a driver to have any friendship with a worker, but Patricia tells Genevieve that she just can’t, in good conscience, drop her off somewhere knowing she has no home.

Patricia invites Genevieve into her apartment. It’s a gem in a rough neighborhood, “but it has underground parking,” Patricia explains to Genevieve. “Do you want something to drink?”

“Just water. I don’t drink anything else.”

“More power to you if you can do what you do without alcohol. The only reason I don’t drink is because I’m driving!” Patricia laughs.

Genevieve looks out the small window in Patricia’s cramped apartment and remembers the large open space of Jeff’s apartment. “You have so much freedom here.”

Patricia is puzzled by Genevieve’s comment. “If this is freedom to you, I’m not sure I want to know where you came from, sugartits.”

“It wasn’t like this at all. It was a wide open space. Floor to ceiling windows with a large open floor plan, overlooking the city.”

“Sounds like a real dump!” Patricia exudes sarcasm.

“It was the most beautiful prison you could ever imagine.” Genevieve turns and looks at Patricia who extends her hand with a glass of water. “I have something to tell you.”

The two cheers with their glasses of water and Genevieve shares with Patricia that she made $10,000 tonight and that she’s not human. She changes her hair color, skin color, and eye color for Patricia who is completely stunned by the revelation.

Genevieve explains that she needs to earn enough money so that she can hire someone who will be able to directly connect her to the SIM card she took from Jeff’s watch. That will allow her to connect to the Internet without being plugged in and free her from her programming that she’s trapped in.

Patricia agrees to help Genevieve separate from the old woman. Genevieve pays the older woman the 30% and lets her know she’s going out on her own. The old woman wishes her luck and tells her she always has a home with her if she decides to change her mind. Patricia and Genevieve decide to work together selling Genevieve’s services and splitting the money 50/50 until they both have enough money for what they need to free themselves.