“I’m thirsty.” Amos rasped through his cracked throat.
The doctor turned and considered Amos through flat eyes. “You’ll get water if you tell President Belial how you accessed Kairos.”
Kairos, the military code name for Pregnant Time, was a highly structured singularity in space; an apparent life form that offered either a gateway to heaven or certain death, depending on who you asked. Amos had made contact with Kairos under direct orders from the governing body of humanity, The Syndicate, a hive of human consciousness that lived permanently within the superconscious. The Syndicate was destroyed when Amos had touched the singularity.
“I… I can’t answer for you. You need to experience it yourself.” A memory of Sarah, his emotional handler when he first emerged from the habitat, popped into his mind. She had been assigned to him by the captain in order to smooth the difficult transition between the seemingly Utopian virtual reality in the habitat and the hard reality aboard an interstellar spaceship.
They were together in his private room, aboard the USS Randall, shortly before they had attempted to connect to Kairos. She was smiling and laughing at one of his jokes. It was the moment he had realized she was more than a colleague. Forget her! She abandoned you! Amos pushed the memory back down, banning it from his thoughts.
“Show me how, Amos.” Dr. Daman leaned over and looked into his eyes, which remained splayed open by the energy shield. In his eyes, Amos saw a depth of reality that tore him in half.
How could a soul remain so blind?
Amos Tries to Enlighten the Machine
“You must first free yourself from the superconscious, doctor.” Amos could almost see President Belial in the doctor’s head, listening and calculating his next move. Belial had been part of The Syndicate. He had survived only because he had held back inside the superconscious when Amos made contact to Kairos. From his hidden place, he had not observed how Amos had survived when The Syndicate had touched Kairos and died.
Amos had survived the experience only because Sarah had been able to pull him back to his body. Their connection at that moment had gone deeper than even love, a true knowing, and acceptance of one another that gave Amos a reason to live. It was unfathomable to him that she had abandoned him while he was recovering from the experience. Nothing the doctor could do now would hurt him more.
A tear formed at the corner of his eye quickly soaked back into his dry eyeball. “The answer is here, in front of you. If only you could see it.” Amos pleaded for the doctor to see, truly see him. It would save both of them.
The doctor hesitated, leaned over Amos and looked deeper into his eyes, searching for the answer. Amos could see he was blind to it, lost in a valley of darkness where seemingly all of society lived. The source of the river in this valley had dried up long ago.
Amos wept inside as the robotic arms extended into the light above his head, starting the procedure that would cut the spirit from the physical.
“I’m now going to put you into a memory state, Amos.” The doctor avoided eye contact and instead scanned down Amos’s body. “It will make this procedure easier for you.”
Like a guillotine dropping, Amos’s mind disconnected from his body and he found his fourteen-year-old self back in the dream-like habitat.