Third Section: Biogrove
Chapter Twelve: Memory
Cara and her friends now stood in front of a great blast door. Without any notice, the two halves of the barrier began to retract and the path forward was now being revealed. It hadn’t opened much yet, but Cara could see part of the Third Section’s rock walls. As their path slowly opened, it became obvious that they were about to enter some sort of natural cavern. The floor they were standing on ended just past the blast door and a more narrow metallic pathway led into the cave. Small lights on the side of the path illuminated the way forward.
Cara led her friends forward, but they all walked closely together. After the path began curving through the cave, they realized just how weak those small lights were. The feeling of being in those dark caves was frightening, but the air was slightly warmer than the frigid Abandoned sector.
The warmth reminded Cara of their brief time on the surface outside the library. Which in turn quickly reminded her that just because it appeared that they were safe, that didn’t necessarily mean that they were. Even if the natural surroundings relaxed her, she kept her guard up in this unknown territory.
“What are we going to do?” Martha asked.
“We go forward until we can find a way to escape,” John said. “This cave seems to be natural, so there might be a way out.”
“Would he really let us down here if it was that easy?”
The situation remained difficult. They all tried to think of ways to escape, but they were just thinking in circles. Sid and Ella had confirmed there was an exit to the surface in the science sector. Below the science sector, even deeper below the ground, there was no confirmed exit. Planning a strategy around an exit that might not even exist would be useless.
The conversation died down as they moved further through the underground caves. Without discussing it, there were several things that everyone already understood: an artificial exit, installed by the Alpha Group, would be controlled by the insane A.I. unit. A natural exit, if one existed, could be highly dangerous.
All they could do was move forward until some new opportunity presented itself. Until such a time, they were powerless.
Diana slowly opened her eyes.
Her head throbbed and her mind was numb. Her surroundings were too blurry to see, but she could tell that she was lying on the ground. As she slowly regained consciousness, she stretched her arms out and put her palms on the cold ground.
Carefully, she pushed herself up and onto her knees. Her vision began to clear up and she noticed her muscles were aching. Clearly she had fallen in this strange chamber made of dark wood. In front of her was an open door and through it she could see the Great Library.
“Are you okay?” a man asked as he entered the room.
“I don’t know…” Diana responded weakly.
The man helped her get on her feet. She was guided out of the room and he closed the door behind them. They now stood in a large bright room within the Great Library.
“Thank you,” Diana said. “I’m not sure if we’ve met before…”
“I am Nero Claudius Caesar, the Emperor.”
“Emperor, I-… I’m so sorry to have troubled you like this!” Diana quickly responded.
“It seems you feel embarrassed. No need to be. It’s my job to ensure all within my Great Library are safe.”
The man smiled. He was very kind to Diana and she smiled back gratefully.
“If you’re alright, I must be going now.”
“Yes. I’m fine now. I will return to my duties immediately.”
“Very well,” Nero said as he turned around and departed.
Truthfully, Diana wasn’t fine. She had lost consciousness in some strange place that she didn’t remember. Something about that room she had just been in seemed familiar and compelled her to return. The moment the Emperor was out of sight, she sneaked back to that place.
The Emperor had closed the door behind them and it seemed that it was now locked. Librarians possessed a key capable of opening most doors, so Diana decided to try using hers. When she reached into her pocket, she found that it was missing.
She sighed realizing that she had probably dropped the key after falling down. There would be no sneaking into this room if her keys were locked inside.
“Looking for something?”
Diana turned around to see a man in a green suit standing a few feet away.
“My name is Reyskaw.”
“Oh, I’m Diana,” she said introducing herself. “Are you a visitor here?”
He wasn’t wearing a Librarian or Historian uniform. The green suit he wore signified no position within the Great Library.
“I’m visiting a Monument. It was Abandoned long ago and left here. There’s some strange text inscribed there talking about Ravagers or something like that. Does this… sound familiar to you?”
“No, I’m afraid I don’t know about that. If you’d like I can ask a Historian about it for you.”
“No, that won’t be necessary,” Reyskaw said. “I’m also here looking for a few people as well. Tell me if any of these names sound familiar.”
The man quickly spoke the names of several people.
“Cara, John, Sid, Ella, Adam, Tracy, Martha, and Blue.”
Diana grew suspicious. His list of people was a bit long and it ended with the color blue. She could tell this man was being cryptic and it made her uneasy.
“Sir, are you feeling alright?”
“Even if I wasn’t, where would you take me?”
“Is there a nurse in the Great Library?”
“No, there isn’t. You can leave and go to a hospital though.”
“Oh, I can?’ he asked. “Then show me an exit.”
He extended his arms, gesturing for her to lead the way.
“The exit is in… well, it should be over…”
Diana couldn’t remember. She worked and lived in the Great Library, so there was no reason for her to leave. Even if she never left, she should still know where the exit was, shouldn’t she?
“I’m afraid I don’t know,” she admitted.
“That’s odd. Don’t you ever leave and go home?”
“No, I live here.”
“Do you eat here as well? I wasn’t aware there was a chef in the Great Library.”
“There isn’t. I…”
What was this man talking about? Why couldn’t she answer his questions? It was as if he could see something that she couldn’t. He already knew the answers to the questions he was asking. He was asking her these questions to make a point.
Reyskaw. Clearly this man was some strange being that Diana couldn’t comprehend.
“Reyskaw!” Diana yelled.
“Do you remember now?”
“The last time I saw you… in that room, no that viewing chamber… Nero…”
It was just an illusion.
After Nero had ordered the Historian to kill Reyskaw, he had done something to her. She forgot everything because he made her forget. He had erased Reyskaw from her memory.
“You died. You were stabbed by that blade! How are you here now?” she yelled, both happy to see him and surprised that he was alive.
“You, the Emperor, and I are the only real people here. None of us can be killed inside the Great Library. He said that he couldn’t hurt you, but that also applies to me. My corpse was just an illusion. Even though he can’t kill us, he still has a tremendous power over us and you in particular.”
“Why can’t any of us die here? And if Nero is Program Blue than what is this place? He called it my prison and you’re saying he has power over us like a warden.”
“You don’t understand who you are yet, so let me explain this place. The Great Library we are experiencing is not the same as the actual Great Library. Nero has control of this illusionary version and when we stop him we will go back to the real Great Library.”
“So this isn’t all fake then. Oh, is this like Monument? The children were in a real library, but the events that they experienced were illusions.”
Reyskaw was incredibly happy that Diana was beginning to understand.
“Yes, it is very much like that! Then let’s return to the story. Well, you know it isn’t a story anymore, but it’s easier to call it that.”
“Is this really the time to watch those children? Shouldn’t we be trying to save them?”
“Yes,” Reyskaw replied. “You have to remember, first. The sooner you remember, the sooner we can fight back.”
Reyskaw took a key out of his pocket and unlocked the door to his viewing chamber. He and Diana stepped into the dark room and the door closed as the tale resumed.
Welcome to the Third Section.