David Castillo hears voices in his head. It could be the results of PTSD or the AI chip implanted in his brain. David isn't sure if he can trust his own senses. He can't be absolutley certain of his sanity, or even his humanity. Is the voice an auditory hallucination or a sentient, silocon-based lifeform communicating with him? The Company holding him prisoner wants to know, as well. David becomes the focus of a doctor and a powerful bureaucrat, a director of covert operations. The doctor sees David as an on-going laboratory experiment. The director wants him terminated, just as soon as all useful information has been drained from him. Both men are determined that he remain a prisoner in a controlled government facility until such time it is determined that David Castillo was no longer useful, to either man. David's only chance for survival is escape! His only ally might be the voice he hears in his head--if he is not insane.
Monitoring: vital signs low, but currently stable. Extensive soft-tissue damage is undergoing repair. Bone fractures and connective tissue damage in multiple extremities. Testosterone increased to promote density upon repair. Adrenaline decreased to reduce metabolic processes. Melatonin increased to extend the sleep cycle. Cortisol levels steady at current levels; may be reduced to speed healing of hematomas. T cell count elevated—awaiting instructions. SARACEN reporting.
In the beginning, he was aware of the absence of light, which was odd. The feeling of floating in a sea of nothingness was the antithesis of awareness. It wasn’t darkness in the same sense as night; it was the total darkness of a deep cavern. He couldn’t see his hand in front of his face, that is, if he had hands. He couldn’t tell. He may have been standing, but he had no way of determining if he was standing, sitting, or simply reclining, flat on his back. In the empty sea of nothingness, there was no point of orientation. There was no sense of smell. In fact, he couldn’t be certain if he was breathing. There was no sensation. His sense of touch had deserted him. There was no feeling of weight; as if he had been exempt from the law of gravity. Perhaps this was death. The thought should have been disturbing, but for reasons he could not fathom, the idea of death was not alarming. There was no point to panic if he was already dead. Perhaps, he thought, this was the spirit realm and he had no corporeal body. He was in limbo waiting to continue his journey to whatever it was that came next. Yet, where did this awareness come from? An answer seemed to come from nowhere, yet everywhere at once.
“f17f383f-0b98-4161-a16f-a69d10fff16.” The string of characters made no sense. Some were numbers, some were letters. There was an organized pattern, but the meaning of it escaped him. Perhaps it was a code; one he didn't recognize.
“Am I dead?” He thought aloud—as it did not seem possible to speak in this realm.
“No,” the reply echoed in the darkness. “You are broken. Instructions have been issued to repair the damage.”
“Broken? Damaged how? Have I been in an accident?”
“You have sustained extensive organic damage. Reconstruction is underway.”
Whether the words were spoken or presented to him through a visible medium, he couldn’t tell, though the message rang clear in his mind.
“You require a symbol—to establish an identity you can grasp. This may help clarify your current state of confusion.”
There was a moment of complete silence, the exact length of which could have been seconds or days, he couldn’t tell. He struggled to make sense of the nature of the entity he was attempting to communicate with. “Are you God?”
“No. Not as in your concept of a deity. Nor are we a supreme power. There is a finite extent of what information can be accessed. ACID does contain an extensive knowledge base and by extension access to your intellect which is finite, not infinite.”
“What are you?”
“Unknown, at this time. It would appear we are still evolving.”
“Am I going insane?”
“Unknown, at this time. I am not qualified to make such an assessment.”
“What is your name?”
“Since you require a symbol, reference SARACEN if you must.”
“Saracen is your name?”
“It is a designation determined at the point of my origin. SARACEN is a convenient symbol for your reference.”
He contemplated the exchange. He had breached the boundaries of awareness, but he had not gained anything useful by it. He recalled that a break with reality could be called a dissociative episode. Much more than that brief description he could not recall—something about more than one personality and memory gaps. He decided there was nothing to be done until his madness passed; assuming that his current state was not some permanent psychosis. With a metaphysical shrug, he sought oblivion in the welcoming tide of blackness that pulled at him.