The Sequels to Syrrah's Game SGSequels




CHAPTER 14

 

OCTOBER 6TH, 3:35 PM (2:35 PM MOUNTAIN TIME)

 

Lang watched Evan play his PSP. With intensity and roughness Evan’s fingers and attention plunged at the PSP, the poor electronic device zigzagging up, down, and sideways. But sure, it was understandable - the need to forget everything. Yet educational things could work too. “So, what about those sites Major Ko set up for you? You know, that cool NASA site, and the school sites so you can keep up with your--”

“What for?” Evan snapped and looked up at Lang. He paused the game and laid the PSP on his lap under the hull covering his thighs. “Dad. None of their communication attempts have worked. And it’s been like, what, twenty of them so far today? And those decrease events are probably not going to stop. We’re goners, Dad. Can’t you see that?”

No. Evan can’t be left with such a horrible thought.

Lang quickly searched in his mind for anything positive. “Well, now, look. We can breathe, and easily, I might add. We’re not hungry, or thirsty, or have to use the bathroom, which is actually pretty remarkable, when you think about it. And my cell phone and your PSP are still running strong. Don’t you think, if these aliens, or whatever is behind the hull, wanted us dead, they wouldn’t be supplying us with life support, and…and battery support like this?”

Evan inhaled deeply and stared down, his face calmer. “Yeah, maybe.” He looked at Lang again. “I guess I’m mostly playing my PSP because it makes me forget.”

Lang smiled. “That’s exactly what I figured.” Lang took out his cell phone and went through the process to access the base’s internal network again. “Well at least you can connect. Not only is my phone’s camera still not working, but I’m still getting ‘network error’ every time I try, even after entering the correct SSID and password like you and Major Ko suggested. I guess the hull just likes you better.”

“Yeah, maybe.” Evan cracked a brief smile, but quickly became stern, serious. “But Major Ko could send me emails and he could get mine, though mine were future dated.”

“What do you mean, future dated?”

“Like when Major Ko sent that email from his account, at 3:07 PM October 6th, I didn’t get that date. His email in my account had 1:09 AM, October 7th. You know, spam mail sometimes has future dates, so it gets at the top of your inbox emails.”

Lang looked at his cell phone time: 1:51 AM, October 7th. And his watch was the same. “That’s right. I forgot we’re a day ahead already. So strange. But yeah, I guess that’s why you received his email with a future date.”

“But the chatting wouldn’t work.”

“You mean, when you two were chatting on their server site here you could get his message, but he couldn’t get yours?”

“Yes, Dad.” Evan sighed. “I wish I could go on Facebook.”

“Maybe they’ll let you later. After more time passes by, and they feel better about things.”

“True, maybe. Or maybe as a reward for all their stupid unsuccessful communication tries.”

“They have been pretty useless, that’s for sure.” Memories fresh, having done the last one just about ten minutes ago, base time, the image of Major Ko’s communication concoction filled Lang’s mind. A flat monitor screen, embedded into that desk’s tabletop. A program consisting of a large, white rectangular text box, just above a touch screen keyboard, with two touchscreen buttons for yes or no below the keyboard. And Colonel Stevens and Major Ko’s repeated words – ‘Why are you doing this?’ ‘Is there something you want from us?’ ‘And if there is, and we give it to you, will you release Lang and Evan, and the others, to our world, alive and healthy and at their original size?’ Lang shook his head. “And I can’t believe they thought the hull would force our hands to touch buttons on that touchscreen. Or even start typing, just because the hull damaged Colonel Jennings’ ESEM machine and made our Suburban go through walls and do all those other strange things.”

“I know. Or made those things fall out of you. Seems like it just wants to damage things or mess with things, not communicate with them. I can’t believe the hull removed all the liquid helium around the MRI’s magnet, so the magnet won’t work anymore. I guess that’s why the MRI shorted out.”

“Probably. But I agree. The hull just seems interested in damaging things. Yet, it’s keeping us alive okay. But I…but I don’t like--”

“That the hull is manipulating our minds?”

Lang could only barely nod in agreement. “Right. I don’t know how they could conclude this for certain, after a brief picture from that MRI. Colonel Stevens, and his feeling the hull must understand the human brain very well. I don’t like it. Everything you, or me, or these people at the base - everything we see, hear, or touch with the hull involves the hull and the aliens behind it, by some psychic or other physical phenomenon, making our brains register it.”

“It is really strange.”

“But at least they didn’t want us to do any of that psychic communication stuff.”

Evan put his PSP away in his jacket’s pocket. “I know, right? Remote viewing. Astral projection. Freddy told us about those one time. But I think the aliens are already doing channeling on us. You know, allowing the aliens to get into our bodies and brains and communicate somehow. Isn’t that kind of what they’re doing already?”

Heat began circulating in Lang’s torso and limbs, forcing patches of sweat to wet his underarms and upper back. “No, I don’t think so. They’re not telling us anything.”

“But they’re allowing us to see the real world, or otherwise we couldn’t. Doesn’t that count?”

“I don’t know, Evan.”

Evan stood up and walked over to Lang’s bed. He jumped up and plopped down to Lang’s left, and the hull allowed the bed to bounce a few times, implying Evan had weight again. “And another thing. Freddy said one time that the secret part of our government is like thirty to fifty years ahead of us in the real world. That MRI, their flat screen monitor and computer combo embedded in the table. And some rooms have sliding doors, and others don’t. Or even some of their electronics look recent, but that’s it. I don’t know, they just don’t seem that far advanced.”

Lang smiled and the heat and sweat lessened. “Glad to see you’re talking about Freddy again. I thought he was so annoying.”

“Well, he is.” Evan frowned and glanced down. “But, like I told you guys…he does come up with some good ideas. Even some useful ones, like now.”

 “I think things are pretty advanced here. The rooms with regular doors are just older parts of the base, like Colonel Stevens said. You’re probably concentrating on Freddy’s point of view too much.”

“I don’t think so. I think everything here should be more advanced. They should have brought us to the most advanced base of all. And they most likely didn’t because we’re not that important.”

“Well, I don’t know about that. They probably brought us to a lower tech base, so we wouldn’t learn more about what they do.”

“Yeah, but Dad. Shouldn’t they have brought us to the most advanced one of all? How can they help us if they don’t?”

“Well, I…I’m not sure.”

“And what was up with that stupid pool thing? I felt like we were going into a huge aquarium.”

A shudder rippled through Lang, but he tried to keep it hidden, pushing it aside internally. “I know.” That pool. Certainly not soon forgotten. Placed right on the floor. One-inch thick clear Plexiglas sides. Dimensions of the pool probably about nine feet long by five feet wide. Tic marks showing the water level at three feet eight inches, about one foot below his new actual height, of four feet eight inches, minus all the hull and air space. Sure, his new height since the fifth decrease event. How wonderful. “I thought I was going to float, getting in the water, because of all the trapped air in here.”

“But, seriously, Dad. You didn’t move the water at all. It didn’t rise one hair above three feet eight inches.” Evan stared curiously into Lang’s eyes. “Dad. What were you thinking, when they told you to make waves with the water, and absolutely nothing happened?”

“Really weird, Evan. It didn’t feel like the water was there at all. It just didn’t exist.” Another one of those shudders almost overtook Lang, but he quickly switched his thoughts. “But why do you think the hull let you displace the water, and make waves? Or let Captain Indalo actually video record you splashing the water, yet the video didn’t pick me up at all?”

“I don’t know. Picking and choosing a bunch of things at once, the stupid hull, like Colonel Stevens said. And I think that’s why he threw that hard plastic ball at you, to see what the hull was up to, like to get it off guard. What did it feel like, for the ball to go through your hands and shoulder?”

 “I didn’t feel anything. It felt like I was in a video game, watching things happen on a monitor or TV that didn’t affect me at all. But then, that was when they got you on Indalo’s camcorder, and they were watching you, not paying much attention to me, so I decided to try to pick up the ball.” Yet another shudder struck unannounced. Lang looked down, and tried to force it away, but this time he couldn’t. “Sorry that I’m shaking. This just really freaks me out.”

“It’s all right, Dad. I totally understand.”

“But…but then things got even weirder. You know, I bent down into the water. Didn’t feel like I was in water at all, since I could hear you guys talking, like I was just in the room with you. No underwater sounds.”

“Wow. No muffled voices, like when we’re swimming underwater?”

“No, not at all. And then, when I tried to pick up the ball, the same thing happened. It went right through my hands!”

“What? Really?” Evan was getting that worried though curious look. “And so how did you end up on the floor?”

 “I, well…” Lang didn’t want to say it, but he couldn’t hide it now. “Because the ball was on the left edge, between the pool’s stairs and its Plexiglas wall, I kept waiting to feel my arm jut up against that wall, for support. But when I wasn’t feeling it, and looked in that direction, it was then I saw my arm was outside of the pool’s wall! And that’s when I lost my balance…and fell on the floor.”

“Did you hurt your back?”

“No, not really. Worse, I thought I was going to go through the floor too. I mean, what was to stop me if the thick Plexiglas wall couldn’t?”

“It was picking and choosing again.”

“I guess. And it was then, that I saw Mom, and…and, well, you know.” Lang stared down, unable to meet Evan’s worried, probing eyes. Why did it have to happen again?

“And you just saw her, not me, or Colonel Stevens when we looked down at you?”

“I guess I was reliving that time again, when we were all playing football together, on the grass. I was on the ground, laughing. Mom was looking down on me, smiling, trying to get me up, and--”

Evan sprung up off the bed and stood in front of Lang. “Dad.” Tears filled Evan’s eyes to the brim and were about to stream over, his despair plunging like a knife into Lang’s gut. “You can’t go doing that anymore.”

“Evan. Don’t cry. What’s wrong?”

“For one, we could barely get you to stop seeing Mom, and I thought you…I thought you had lost your mind. And two, if something ever happens to you, then I’m here, all alone. That’s why.”

A mountain of heavy, sense-knocking realizations fell on Lang. And there was only one steadfast answer to give. “Evan. I promise you. I won’t let it happen again.” Lang stood up and instinctively reached out to Evan, to give him a pat, a quick hug, but the repulsion quickly reminded him things were not like normal. “Damn this stuff!” Lang froze in his steps a moment. “Evan. Just…just sit down. We need to pray.”

“Yeah. Okay,” Evan said, letting out a trembling sigh. He slumped down on the same spot on the bed again, to Lang’s left, and Lang slowly eased himself down upon the bed too. They sat close, but far enough apart so the repulsion didn’t occur.

Lang bowed his head down. “Savior. Please forgive us for our sins. And please, please help us. Please keep us comforted, even with everything going on. And please give us an answer, soon, as to why this is happening. But mostly, please, please…just make this all end soon. I know you work in mysterious ways, but this is very hard to take. So please…just help us. Thank you, Lord. In your name we pray, Amen.”

Sniffling, Evan pulled his hand in away from the hull’s arm sleeve and wiped his nose and eyes, clearing his tears away.

Lang leaned over and eyed Evan with a sincere gaze. “Evan. Things will be all right. Besides, like I said, the hull seems to like you more.”

“I know,” he said, sniffling a few last times. “It got me breathing after that panic attack. And lets me get on their network, and splash the water.” He was quiet a moment. “I think what really got to me was before the pool thing. When they had us in the examining room and turned off the lights, and told you to close your eyes.”

Now this was making more sense. Of course, Lang recalled; in the dark, the hull made him disappear whenever he closed his eyes for more than a few seconds, for some reason. “I’m sorry you saw that.”

 “It was really scary, Dad. I could feel you, on the sofa, the repulsion and all, but you were completely invisible. I was the only one glowing that weird orangey glow.”

“But I was still there. I could hear you, Colonel Stevens, and everyone else. And when I opened my eyes, I was back. Right?”

Evan inhaled deeply. “Yeah, I know. Just please don’t do that thing with Mom again.”

“I promise, Evan. I will not.” Lang stared him directly in his dark brown eyes and tried to transmit calmness and assurance. “I mean that. I just have to concentrate on being here for you now. And I will.”

But Evan sprung off the bed again. He stood before Lang and threw up his arms. “So why are we waiting now for them to do that stupid darkness thing again?”

“You really need to stay calm, Evan. I just think they believe it’s another form of communication with the hull. But then again, I’m wondering if they’re hoping the hull will show me that spacecraft like before. And…and I really don’t want to see it, but, it may help us…somehow.”

“See? They’re just going to cause more damage. They’ll just get you more upset and then you’ll see Mom again!”

“No. I told you I won’t. And I mean that.”

“But do you really think you can control it? It just happens for no reason!”

“All I can do is try. And I will, Evan. I will. I promise you.”

“Yeah, all right. I guess.” Evan exhaled with a frustrated burst. “But Dad. Can I ask you something? What exactly did you pray, in the Suburban, before all this first started?”

Not this again. Evan really didn’t need to hear the truth now. “Well, I was praying for you, and me, our safety, like I usually--”

The room’s gray door slid open. Colonel Stevens slowly walked in the room, flanked by the two DFRs.

Wonderful. Here come more of those frightening communication attempts.