Version SM-004: D plus 143h : 59m : 50s and holding

pg | major character death


I'm sorry. He's gone. There was nothing we could do.

You are awake. In a manner of speaking.

Sean? Sean, can you hear us?

There was cascade failure, but it has been resolved.


Now, this will hurt, but just a little. It'll be like I'm pinching your arm. You can cry if you want to.

If all your circuits were fully activated, what I am doing to you now would feel as excruciating as if a child was having his arm removed without anesthesia. At the moment, you feel no pain. This will change.

You can't take your books in the clean room. We have to control everything in there to make sure none of the bad little germies get into your body.

You will be controlled from this room. Your mind, such as it is, is located here. No matter which body is performing the motion, you will never actually leave this computer.


You said his white blood cell count was rising. You said he was getting better!

There's a delay in your reaction time that is unacceptable. I will need to take you off-line in an attempt to correct it.

What do you mean, he's okay?! You had to shock him!

There was an unexpected power surge which caused the body to become nonfunctional. I am curious to learn if you - there in the computer - have retained memories of it. Somewhere in that flow of elections, can you remember what was, essentially, your own death?


We need you to keep fighting, Sean. You've done so good so far and we're so proud of you.

I have chosen your prototype for the project. You will become my assistant, and subsequently, a very important part of not only this history, but hundreds of histories that will branch off from this moment and many others.

I know, I know the medicine doesn't taste good, but if you take it like a good boy, the nurse said we can bring some meat pie from home. Won't that be nice?

You're assimilating the new information very well. The prototype before you was quite problematic. After too many segfaults, I decided it was not worth continuing and had it terminated.


This is a very special machine that's going to take a picture of your body. Then a special doctor is going to look at it to see if the medicine you've been taking is helping with what's making you not feel good.

You do not see the world as the others do, but this will change. By the time we begin, you will no longer perceive the ultraviolet and infrared. You will be limited to the visible color spectrum, just as we are.

That's an strange book for a boy your age to be reading. I mean that not as a criticism, but as a compliment. Do you like to read?

You will retain memories that would be odd for a child of your age to know. The memories will scare your teammates. Confuse them. They may even begin to suspect that the nature of your existence is not what it appears to be.


We've never even heard of this disease before. How can he be sick with something we've never even heard of?

I've been working on Radical-6 for almost five years now. There are only a privileged few who are aware of it. Soon everyone will know its name, and soon after that, most of those people will be dead.

We just want a second opinion. It's been almost a year. He's not getting better.

There will be times when it will be wise to be more fearful of the koi than the piranha. You know the piranha will bite you, so you will keep far away. You won't suspect the koi, until it's too late.


No, sweetie, mommy's not scared. Mommy knows the doctors are working extra hard to make you strong again.

When your programming is complete, you will be unaware of your own strength. This does not mean that you will be unable to lift heavy objects or punch through walls; it merely means you will not think yourself capable of it.

It appears we are to be neighbors for a while. My name is Herod Bartlet. I am here as a result of a careless accident at work. I see from your expression that you are surprised I am still working, at my age. I still have much to do.

The time is almost upon us.


Maybe it's just a side effect of the new medication. It says right here it can cause problems with balance. Aren't all little boys clumsy? It might be nothing. They said he was getting better.

You will feel the needles pierce your skin, but only for a moment. The computer will place you in sleep mode almost instantaneously. It will appear as if you are being put to sleep like the others. Not that there will be anyone to observe you.

Isn't that a large dose for such a small child? I researched this online and the internet said this is basically poison.

This is where it will begin. The stomach of a pig is entirely too small, and not practical for this purpose, so we will remove many of the internal organs to create a hollow cavity.


So if neither my husband or I are compatible, he'll have to go on the waiting list? How long will that take? I've seen stories on TV about people waiting for years. People die on that list.

When a shuttle is getting ready to be launched into space, there are always built-in holds in the countdown. This allows personnel to ensure that the area around the launch pad is clear, the weather is acceptable, and so someone can make the final go or no-go decision. During these times, the countdown will read T-20 minutes and holding, T-9 minutes and holding. We are holding, Sean.

This is the most depressing waiting room I've ever been in. They know children will be in here; where are the toys or the colorful decorations?

This was originally built to be a place of hope, Sean. Does that sound strange? This was supposed to be a safe haven for people who had survived a horrible disaster, so they could save the human race. My means are different, but the goal is the same, not that anyone will believe me.


Did it seem like they were running a lot of tests to you? Why did they need to do all those tests?

My father and my sister have arrived. Everything is almost in place.

Sean? Sean?! Oh God, what happened? Is he bleeding? Is he okay? He just collapsed!

Your personal memories will be put into a separate module. They will not be destroyed unless you make that choice.


(I'm awake.)