“There are millions of us out there. You pass up by every day without a second glance,” Turbomaster explained in an extraordinary computerized dialect. “You are absolutely certain you want to join?”
Hesitating for only a fraction of a second, I nodded in agreement. A thin line of sweat began forming on my brow in anticipation of what was to come.
“Stand over in the turbo cubicle while your order is processed,” commanded the Master.
As I took the designated position, my thoughts wandered back to the beginning of this never-ending journey I had begun over a year ago . . .
It was dawn on a summer day in June. I had spent the entire night in abject misery, finally taking a walk along the park’s river edge. There was absolutely no reason for existence. I had turned my back on God and family and country. There was nobody left to care and nowhere I wanted to go, and I was ready to end it all. I felt the cold metal of the implement in my pocket as I fingered its steel barrel, when The Voice began anew.
“You don’t have to do this, you know. There are other options.”
My hand sucked its way out of my pocket in response as I clapped both hands over my ears. But The Voice no longer could be silenced this way.
“Just say ‘yes’ and all your pain will be as no more. Just think of what it will be like to be happy forever!”
I contemplated The Voice’s offer, the only way left to silence It. Surprisingly, the plan began to appeal to me.
“Why not?” I thought.
And even though I knew there were many reasons not to agree to the experiment, the anticipation of going through with it increased with each breath I took. The Voice, now mute, became only a distant memory. Instinctively, I knew I would never be troubled by It again.
I enrolled at Scientific Research Rehabilitation Institute the next day, electing the most difficult courses. If I was going to do this thing, I was giving it my all.
Now, several months later, with an impressive reputation for excellence, I was ready to embark on the excursion of no return, the culmination of my studies at Sci-Rab.
Turbomaster strapped my arms and legs to the sides of the cubicle and injected the anesthetic into my skull. He was so proficient in this process I barely felt the needle. The specially designed instruments sucked the gray matter from my head. An indescribable whooshing sound, and I felt empowered beyond imagination, viewing my shell from a great distance! Now my brain, I, was carefully shrunk and inserted into a miniscule spy-cam. I was now immortal.
I had chosen Camouflage Red as my Code Name. I would become one of many, all of us secretly planted in administrative offices all over the country, memorizing data for future espionage and blackmail.
What I didn’t realize until it was too late, is that immortal knowledge would eventually lead me to immortal insanity. Eventually, the mental stress would stretch me to the bursting point, when I would implode within my unit and be placed in the Sci-Lab to dissection and examination by new recruits. And what was left of me would be incorporated into The Voice for another victim.
Then, and only then, when I convinced another to listen and obey me, would I be released from captivity and recycled into a common vat of melded gray matter, stored for a future generation to release.
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