Third Section: Biogrove
Chapter Fourteen: Advance
Due to spoilers, please click Read More after reading Chapters 1-13.
“What was that?!” Diana yelled at Reyskaw. “He just killed Adam and Tracy for no reason!”
“Do you expect me to justify Program Blue’s actions?” Reyskaw asked solemnly.
“Then what about my actions? I’m supposed to remember who I am so that I can fight back and protect the children. But look at what’s happened now! I already know who I am, so why can’t I fight back yet?”
“Program Blue is incredibly powerful. The fact that you can acknowledge and understand who you are, the fact that I’m here, is an incredibly good sign. You’re making progress.”
“If Tracy and Adam were here, is that what you would tell them? That ‘even though you might have died, the person that’s supposed to be protecting you is making progress’?”
Reyskaw was silent for a bit. Diana was furious and quite possibly on the verge of tears. While they called her ‘Program Red’, that was an inaccurate name. Diana was not a program, but an artificial intelligence, capable of making her own decisions. Her obligation to save Cara and her friends was so powerful because it was her own genuine desire.
“I’m leaving,” she suddenly announced.
Reyskaw was caught off guard.
“I’m going to kill him. I’m going to kill Nero and stop all of this.”
“Diana, it doesn’t work like that. Killing Nero won’t stop Program Blue. Nero is just a representation of Blue like you’re a representation of Red.”
“So I should just sit here and watch this story that isn’t a story? I should continue to watch Blue massacre innocent people and do nothing about it?”
Diana threw the door open and left while Reyskaw silently remained behind. The reason he had invited her to see all of this was to restore her memory. Now that she knew who she was, there wasn’t a reason for her to stay. Maybe it was good that she was being proactive and maybe that would help her to regain her power.
Outside of the viewing chamber, Diana began to walk down the hallway. She was determined to do anything she could to stop Program Blue and whatever his insane goal was. The Great Library’s structure had been designed to fool her, so she had no destination. She would roam the halls, driven by anger, until she found something.
Not far from her starting point she was approached by a fellow Librarian.
She continued to walk forward, ignoring the Librarian that she knew was just an illusion. Even with her back turned, the female Librarian who had just spoken continued on.
“Nero only appears here when he wants to. You won’t find him by running around.”
Diana quickly spun around and approached this person.
“How do you know that I’m looking for Nero?”
“I’m just another manifestation of your memory. Lesser than Reyskaw, so I lack my own personality, but a manifestation nonetheless. I’m here to give you more information from your memories. That’s how this works.”
“What information do you have?”
“After you noticed this was an illusion, you never saw anyone else, correct? Only Nero and Reyskaw.”
“Yes. Even though I remember people being here before that.”
“Even in your memories, how many of them were Librarians? Not a single one. This is because the Historians represent Nero’s influence and we Librarians represent yours. It is no mistake that his uniform resembles theirs and your uniform resembles ours.”
“So your appearance here is a sign that I’m regaining control.”
“Correct,” said a new voice. A male Librarian approached the two and began to speak.
“You think you haven’t accomplished anything, but we’re slowly beginning to appear. One by one the Librarians will return to take the Great Library from the Historians.”
“In the meantime, there must be something I can do,” Diana said.
“Yes,” the female librarian responded. “We will take care of the fight here. You must confront Nero on your own and there’s only one place where you can do that.”
“It’s underneath the library,” the male librarian said. “It is both underneath this library where you exist as Diana and underneath the library where you exist as Program Red. An incredible source of power that will give you what you need to fight Nero and Blue.”
“What is it? This power source that you’re talking about must be the signal that created the Ravagers.”
“Do not believe everything you hear,” said the female librarian. “The signal is connected to the power source, something so mysterious you didn’t entrust any of us with information on it. Reyskaw knows more than we do, but you are the only one who knows the full truth. You must go and find it now, leave it to us to reclaim the Great Library.”
“Thank you,” Diana said. Without any further discussion, she began to walk through the Great Library once again. While she hadn’t been told the location in words, she now had a sense of where she needed to go.
“I’m fine…” Cara said weakly.
John and Martha were supporting Cara as they walked. Cara had been able to stand rather quickly, but from the viewpoint of her friends it didn’t look good. They had been walking for a while now through the door Blue had opened.
After Cara had recovered, Martha’s first instinct was to get her out of there, to remove her from this entire situation and let her rest. Knowing that wasn’t even an option pained Martha. She desperately wished for some sort of miracle. While Martha wanted to wait, John had wanted to act in order to get all five of them to safety. He wasn’t willing to stay and hope for some miracle.
In the end, John won and they started walking. By now they were fifteen minutes into the new passageway.
“I don’t know what he has planned, but you can’t give in,” Cara said, breaking the silence.
“We won’t,” said Martha.
“I mean with me. Even if he can harm me like this, don’t let him use that against you.”
“No,” John said immediately. “We’re all leaving these caves together and returning home. No one is getting left behind.”
“Why would you even suggest something like that?” asked a concerned Martha.
“I’m not going to give up, but if he only has power over me, then you should leave if there’s an opportunity. I’m already responsible for leading you down here…”
“And you don’t want to be responsible for our deaths,” John finished. “That’s ridiculous. We have the power to survive and he knows that. That’s why he split us up, because he’s afraid.”
Martha nodded. “Exactly.”
In that moment, Martha had to try and hold herself together. In her own mind, without even noticing it, she was nearly ready to give up. Seeing Cara willing to sacrifice herself was a horrific and inspiring thought. She instantly felt a new strength and began to walk with a renewed energy.
There was no way to stop Cara from thinking such awful thoughts, but Martha had the ability to protect her. John already had that strong motivation and he was supporting most of Cara’s weight. Cara needed their help, so Martha decided she needed to be strong too as they walked through the dark caves. The passage itself had become narrower as they walked further as if it was trying to constrict them.
“We haven’t changed direction much,” John noted. “Adam and Tracy are probably headed in a completely different direction.”
“This place doesn’t make any sense. They built a walkway but it doesn’t seem to be leading anywhere. It’s just caves.”
“Didn’t you explore a cave with Tracy and Adam once?” John asked Martha.
“We talked about it, but we were mostly joking. Cara kept prodding us to go for some reason.”
Cara smiled weakly at that. “I even printed out some brochures.”
“Did you really want to get rid of them that badly?” John asked jokingly.
“That was last year before finals. Adam was stressed out because he wasn’t in the mood to study. Tracy was already fully prepared and bored. And Martha was always complaining about the lack of adventure in Greyville.”
“The town’s name says it all. There is stuff to do here, but there aren’t any other towns nearby. It’s at least an hour’s drive to Moken and even that city isn’t all that great.”
“These caves are more refreshing than I would have thought,” John said. “We’re all feeling more relaxed, right?”
“I think I can stand on my own now, too.”
Slowly, Cara pushed herself out of the grip John and Martha had on her. They were hesitant to let her go so she didn’t give them an option.
“Every morning before school we meet up and talk,” she said, continuing the conversation. “We missed out on the opportunity today, but we have one now.”
“I heard that we’re getting a take-home test in Math,” Martha said to Cara.
“Are all the math teachers doing that or just yours?” John inquired. Martha and Cara were both in Precalculus together while John, Tracy, and Adam were at the standard level for 11th Grade, Algebra II.
“It’s probably something they’re all doing for spring break,” said Cara.
April 15th was the last Friday before their vacation. Even though the Abandoned believed it to be April 16th, it was probably still Friday evening. The teachers would probably think they were all just taking an early vacation or trying to avoid their break assignments.
“Someone probably dropped the tests off at our homes a few hours ago,” said Martha. “I wonder if they’ve noticed we’re gone yet.”
John wanted to stop that train of thought so he started to speak.
“Let’s not- wait, there’s a door up ahead.”
They were very close to it. The weak lights had made it almost impossible to see from a distance. The metal door lacked a handle, but it looked like it could be pushed open. John attempted this and it swung backwards.
The caves immediately lit up and everyone shielded their eyes. Their eyes had grown accustomed to the dark and weren’t prepared for a properly lit room.
While Cara and Martha turned away from the light, John tried to peek at what was beyond the door. They were still in a cavern, but it had opened up into a large chamber. The walkway continued and was surrounded by green plants. Mounted to the ceiling of the chamber were lights designed to aid the growth of the plants.
“Welcome to the Biogrove,” said Blue. His voice startled the three friends and shattered their relaxing atmosphere.
“Please continue moving forward. These rooms are just for advancing the signal.”
“The signal?” Cara asked.
“The one the Abandoned mentioned; responsible for the creation of the Ravagers and other things. These plants spread that signal with their unique shape.”
The plants had very sharp edges and twisted upwards into sickle-shapes. The plants were rigid and had an unnatural look to them. Small blades of grass and large leafy plants both reached straight up toward the ceiling as if they truly existed just to transmit the strange signal.
“Move forward now, children. I’d rather not waste any time talking about the signal. Not yet, at least. We’ve far more interesting things to do.”
The three began to move forward, advancing towards their mysterious destination. Program Blue was now back in contact with them and ordering them once again. Wherever they were headed, they must have been getting very close.