Third Section: Biogrove
Chapter Thirteen: Pawns
“Is there a way out?” Diana asked.
They had now caught up with the story and had seen the children speculating about an exit.
“Yes, there are many ways out. All guarded by Program Blue,” Reyskaw responded.
“We have to confront him. It’s inevitable, isn’t it?”
“I’m afraid so. And there’s only one person who can defeat him.”
“I’m trying to remember, but I feel as if these memories you want me to find don’t even exist.”
Reyskaw started debating with himself.
“I really don’t know if this is the right choice,” he said, anxiously, before sighing. “I can tell you, which might help you to remember. You still need to take control of the system by yourself even if I do, so I don’t know if this is the right way to handle this…”
“Tell me,” Diana commanded. “We’ve tried the cryptic way and it isn’t working. Tell me who I am.”
“You’re his other half,” he replied.
“Program Blue’s other half?”
“Yes. The A.I. in control of this facility had the ability to split itself up in order to perform multiple tasks at once. That’s the simple way to explain it. Program Blue was the half in control of the Ravagers and maintaining the signal that kept them at bay. He was also assigned with determining their threat level.”
“So what was I in charge of?”
“Maintaining the facility. You kept everything running, including security. The Ravagers were contained in another part of the science sector because of you.”
“And he took that control away from me which is why the Ravagers were spread throughout the facility.”
“Yes. He trapped you in the Great Library and stole your position. You protected yourself from his attack by creating a small fragment of yourself, which would be me. Someone to guard your memories and guide you back to them. It was a last minute decision so I’m far from perfect and even I don’t know how this place works. And I don’t know if that’s because you don’t know yourself or if you thought it unwise to give me that information.”
Diana understood. This type of revelation would normally be difficult for someone to accept, but it made sense. The Great Library was a prison. A prison designed to contain her so that Blue could have complete control. And Reyskaw knew so much more than her, and was showing her this story, because he had her memories.
“Program Red,” she said.
“Yes, that’s what they called you,” Reyskaw replied. “Do you remember?”
“A little bit. It’s fuzzy, but I can comprehend it at least. What you’re saying feels familiar, but I can’t tell whether that’s because of my memories or the story.”
“This is why you need to remember for yourself. You can’t fight against Program Blue unless you’re both on the same level.”
“I can see some of it,” Diana said. “Most of it is vague, but I can remember at least a little bit.”
“Don’t give up. I’m going to resume the story to help stimulate your memory.”
“It’s a trap,” John said.
They had come to the end of the cave and were now just outside of a metal chamber. The doors to the chamber were most likely part of some system under Program Blue’s control.
“There’s nowhere else to go,” Martha said. “We have to go forward into that room.”
The path from the stairs had certainly twisted and turned through the caves, but it hadn’t branched at all. It was clear there was only one way forward.
There was no other choice, so they all listened to Martha and walked inside. Unsurprisingly, the door closed behind them.
“I heard you complaining about your lack of options,” Program Blue said. The shadows of the room covered the speakers that he was talking through which only made his presence creepier.
“I’ve decided to give you a choice about where to go next. Now I’m sure you understand that after all I’ve done for you, you’ll be expected to make a few sacrifices for me. There are two doors that will open shortly. I expect that you will split up and send three people through one door and two through the other.”
Program Blue was intelligent. He knew that together they had a small chance at resisting him. The more separated they were, the less power they would have.
“I’m sure one of you will cry out and object shortly, so let me explain why you need to listen to me. This section of the facility deals with biology. Biological experiments can be quite dangerous, so this entire section is equipped with a poison gas distribution system. If you all try to leave through one door, well, you should be able to understand what would happen.”
“Oh, and Cara,” he continued on. “One last thing. All the way up there, in the surface library, you thought about choices. You thought that there was always a choice despite what people may tell you or what you may believe. So I imagine you’ll be happy with this. After all, this is the first real choice you’ve been given so far.”
Cara froze. The things he was talking about were her inner thoughts. Thoughts that hadn’t become spoken words. There was no way for him to know what she had been thinking up there.
“You’re lying,” Tracy said unexpectedly.
“I didn’t realize you were capable of challenging me. The others maybe, but I assumed you would be a quiet pawn.”
“That doesn’t change the fact that you’re lying.”
Everyone was surprised. Tracy had noticed something that they hadn’t. While everyone else was frustrated by their lack of control over the situation, they had stopped thinking.
“You can’t kill us.”
“I just told you about the poison gas. I’m not bluffing if that’s what you’re saying.”
“She didn’t say you were bluffing,” John said. He had just figured out the same thing that Tracy had. Program Blue was threatening them with something real, something he had control over. It wasn’t that simple though.
“You saved us from the Ravagers and forced us down here because you need us for something. You can’t kill us.”
“I understand. You’ve figured out that I’d like you to be alive, congratulations,” Blue said. “I suppose that’s logical to think. You’re not completely correct though.”
“Aaaghhh!!” Cara screamed. Her legs shook violently and gave out. Her body hit the floor and she began to seize.
Of course everyone ran to help her, but their concerned voices were drowned out by a now much louder Program Blue.
“You see, I don’t need all of you. Yes, I can’t release poison gas that would kill all five of you. What’s stopping me from killing just one of you though? Or maybe two? Three? I was kind enough to bring you all here so you could be together in your last moments. I brought you all here even if I didn’t need all of you. Now I see that my kindness has not been appreciated.”
“Stop this!” John yelled. “We understand!”
Cara was still seizing.
“Who says it can be stopped?” Blue asked. “Back to my point, I will forgive you all. As the god of this place, it is my job to be forgiving. Even to ungrateful pawns. I’ll let her live for now as long as you agree to do as I say and appreciate how merciful of an act this is.”
Cara’s body suddenly stopped. Her body was unmoving, unconscious, but still breathing.
“All of you go,” John said. “I’ll stay here until she wakes up and then we’ll go through the other door.”
“No, she’s been hurt,” Adam said. “So she should be part of the group of three. Tracy and I will leave now and Martha can stay with you.”
After the attack on Cara ended, Adam had noticed Tracy was beginning to breathe heavily. She was probably fighting another panic attack.
Martha agreed. “That’s probably the best idea. Adam and Tracy need to stay together so they can be the group of two. Cara might have difficulty walking, so we can both help support her.”
Adam and Tracy could hear the power in John’s voice. This was the best they could do in a situation like this. They had no choice but to be separated, so everyone would need to be on their guard.
“Let’s go,” Adam said to Tracy.
The two doors opened without any further commentary from Program Blue.
Adam and Tracy walked through the door on the left. It closed behind them leaving Martha, John, and Cara in that room.
“Don’t worry,” Adam said. “We’ll find a way to meet up with them.”
They were now walking through caves again, on a platform with small guiding lights.
“This is too much for me…” Tracy said. “I don’t know if-”
“You’re a strong person. We’ll get through this.”
Tears welled in Tracy’s eyes. She wasn’t sure how much longer she could last down here.
“How kind,” said the voice of Program Blue.
The door in front of them shut before they could continue forward.
“It’s a shame that I had always planned on killing off the group of two. At least you won’t have to suffer anymore, Tracy. And Adam, you won’t have to live in a world that would have rejected you.”
“No!” Adam screamed. “Don’t you dare do this!”
“My, my how you pawns resist being put to rest. This is so much nicer than what I did for the Abandoned and yet you continue to resist it. It’s time for you to rest, your role is nearly over.”
The sound of air flowing could be heard. Vents had opened up beneath them and a colorless and odorless poison began to fill the corridor. Within seconds, Adam and Tracy were coughing violently.
“I can already hear it,” Blue spoke, gloating. “No… I-I don’t want to die! Stop this!”
They couldn’t speak and were forced to listen to the evil voice of Program Blue as he taunted them. They were already nearly unconscious.
“You were the lucky ones, remember that. What I have planned for the others is far, far worse.”
Program Blue turned his attention away from them. The vents closed and the darkness began to grow. There was no longer anyone there to witness the two corpses. Only one entity knew they were dead and he was going to use that to his advantage.121
The pawns weren’t permitted to rest. Not yet at least.