So, I am behind. That is reality. However, I like where this story is going. Now if I could just get the time to sit down and write a couple thousand words or so… Ah well. This chapter we get introduced to the Unseen, and we learn a little more about Samuel’s past. Enjoy.
Samuel was staying up late. For the first time ever since he had left his teen years, he was ignoring his schedule and not going to bed. The results of his experiment were just too conclusive for him to simply ignore. Suddenly things became clearer. A group of people actually existed in a parallel universe. How long had they been present? Samuel checked through ancient manuscripts. There had been sightings dating as far back as the late medieval age, but they became a lot more frequent after the dropping of the atomic bombs.
What had Rose meant by binding? Samuel sat back in his wheelchair and thought for a moment. Whatever divided the two dimensions had to be weakening for the sightings to increase in such magnitude, and there had to be some correlation between the dropping of the atomic bombs and the weakening of the field. Samuel found himself faced with a puzzle, and that was exactly what he needed.
His mind worked by conquering challenges. It was not the kind of mind that challenges itself for the sake of doing so. No, to Samuel’s utilitarian beliefs, that was counter-intuitive, but his mind was one that appreciated a challenge. It caused him to switch into a mode of careful analysis and breakdown, theory and speculation. By far this presented itself as the most intriguing problem he had ever faced.
He faced the computer again. They say the pen is greater than the sword, he mused, keys clicking as long, slender fingers swept rapidly over them. Well, the mind is greater than both.
Memories. They are curious little things. In this case, they took Samuel back in time, back into high school. Young Samuel did not have a very orthodox scholastic training. The education he first got was survivalist in the extreme, as he had to work hard to battle against the odds of his captured environment. He had adapted, of course, and thus escaped with merely being hamstrung; a lot worse could have happened.
The school Samuel had attended comprised itself of two main factions. Either you were in one of them, or you got persecuted from both sides, so really there were three factions. What Samuel had learned when kidnapped had made him ruthless, cunning, and utilitarian.
Thus upon arriving at the school, his first job had been to join one of the factions. Of course, being himself, that was not what it appeared to be. What everyone saw was their leader, on a strange and inexplicable whim, allow someone who seemed to be a weakling to join their group. He was jeered and laughed at initially, but when the students who did so were mysteriously expelled, the jeering stopped.
Everyone built up almost a religious fear of him. Anyone who even crossed him so much as a little ended up in the principal’s office and came out either so shaken they would say nothing, or were kicked out from the school entirely. Samuel seemed to have his finger in every pie. Any rumor, or spreading talk that went around the school somehow always ended up in his ears. He became his factions biggest asset and their biggest fear.
Yet, no matter how much anyone tried, they found themselves unable to pinpoint anything on Samuel. He was extremely elusive, and when new students saw him, the warnings they had received seemed blown way out of proportion. Of course, they were soon set in their right place.
Through all of this, the ten year old, for he was indeed only ten, remained dangerously implacable. No one, of course, was aware of his agenda, or that he had one at all. His different attacks, as they were known, seemed random, and more fueled by spite than anything else. If anyone had tried to delve deeper into what lay behind his tinted glasses, for he wore them even back then, they found themselves repulsed instantly.
Samuel did have an ulterior motive though, he always did. Never do something without purpose. That was one of the numerous mantras that bounced around in his head. So he had set about systematically finding and eliminating any possible troublemakers, until all that remained was the leader of the opposing faction, a blustery student known as Harry Nord.
Samuel’s influence extended to more than his own faction. He had caused consternation in its opposing counterpart as well. His reign of terror extended even to members within that exclusive group, and none dared withstand him. This naturally made those on Samuel’s side extremely pleased, but the instant any of them exercised their new superiority, the ten-year old’s punishment came swiftly and quickly.
The pride of Samuel absolutely disgusted Harry, but though the technical leader of his faction, he of all people knew best who really sat behind the wheel. Somehow Samuel had got the even the overbearing Harry under his thumb. But Harry was scared. Yes, Harry feared the remorseless mind that resided within the only invalid in their school. He had crossed Samuel, and now he an irrational anxiety gripped him.
It was obvious that Samuel was double-crossing both the factions, playing one against another for his own benefit. It was a two-player game with a third participant, and that extra was breaking all the rules. Harry realized this. Out of desperation, he had attempted to seek assistance from his sworn enemy, Grant Hardy, leader of the opposing faction. But, Grant, the blind fool that he was, had rejected Harry’s supplications, and instead reported them to Samuel.
Harry paused his musing for a moment. Samuel had so successfully undermined the authority of Grant that he had forced the master to report to the servant. He shook his head, odium towards this fiend that had entered their school overcoming all else. The thought of Samuel brought back to the present his problem. Upon hearing of Harry’s insubordination, the disabled boy had demanded an interview. A shudder ran through Harry as he thought about it.
Those expressionless glasses… Impenetrable… Unreadable…
That one word was all the distracted Harry needed to hear. He knew at that moment his fate was sealed. He looked up from where he sat, slumped against the wall. Samuel, looking as impeccably neat as ever, was smiling at him, and for some inexplicable reason, the smile made it ten times worse.
“You have a choice, Harry.”
Harry just looked at Samuel wordlessly.
“Either you pack your bags and go home quietly, or you run the gauntlet of your followers, and then get expelled by Mr. Pearson tomorrow.”
“My followers?” Harry asked pathetically. Samuel noted absently that that his victim had dark circles around his eyes; Harry had not been sleeping well.
“Yes,” Samuel said patiently. “Your followers. They know of your treachery.”
Harry pushed himself up. “And what’s to stop me from beating you up right now huh? I could hammer you to a pulp and no one would know about it.”
Samuel laughed, a genial, genuine laugh, but his voice froze Harry’s heart. “My followers.”
A group of thirty determined individuals gathered behind the boy. There was silence, then Samuel repeated his original offer.
“My parents,” Harry murmured distractedly. “They had hopes.”
“Well, crush them,” Samuel said, waving his hand dismissively. “Hope is after all no more than wishes, and wishes, when unsupported by action, are nothing more than empty thoughts.”
Slowly, disbelievingly, Harry stood up. “I’ll be gone tomorrow. Not a word from me.”
Yes, Samuel thought to himself gleefully. The mind trumps all. He stared back at his computer screen. What was it that Rose had been borrowing? Scientific books pertaining to alternate dimensions. Perhaps her guess was not very far off. Samuel rolled himself forward and fired up another series of research prompts, all related to multiple-dimensional theory. The results were more than satisfactory.
They lived in a four dimensional world of course, three-dimensional space and one dimensional time. Samuel did some quick calculations on scrap paper. Based on the Theory of Dimensionality, a theory that had been proposed exactly one year ago, the next stable dimension would be nine, followed by thirty-six, then three hundred and twenty-four. That is, according to the Theory of Dimensionality. Samuel had some doubts as to whether it was completely correct, but he saw no benefit to himself in presenting his thoughts, so he kept them to himself.
Now, Samuel thought. What should my next move be? He rolled the idea around in his head for an hour or so, considering multiple factors, such as his importance to the Unseen that Rose had mentioned, their potential capabilities, his own potential capabilities, time, location, downfalls, and consequences. The Unseen, Samuel thought to himself, a fitting name, but he was going to see them, and try as they might, no one could stop him.
Rose felt nervous, even more so than when Bradley had had her try saltimbocca alla Romana, and that had been pretty bad. What if things went wrong? Jessie’s warning bothered her more than anything else. The servant obviously knew things that he wasn’t telling her, and that disturbed the girl’s ordinary presence of mind. She could not stand being left in the dark, yet here she was, prepping herself to infiltrate Dalus Mansion and assist the Unseen in a memory wipe of its owner.
And it was all her fault. This thought upset Rose greatly. If she had not been so quick to jump to conclusions, if she had been more careful with the way she examined things. Samuel had laid bait right on the table, and she had jumped at it without second thought. Well, that’s not happening tonight, she thought grimly. Nothing could go wrong tonight. Mind-wipes were risky enough in and of themselves, but when it involved one of the Seeing, the operation became very delicate.
Rose looked over at Hercules and Ethena. They moved efficiently and quietly, occasionally exchanging words about one detail or another. Neither appeared tense or nervous. Why can’t I be like that for once? she asked herself. Seriously, Rose, have some self-confidence for once.
“Nervous?” Ethena asked, perfect, white teeth flashing in the moonlight.
Rose smiled noncommittally. “Yeah. It’s just– what if something goes wrong?”
The Unseen operative laid a hand on Rose’s shoulder, but her words of encouragement did not leave her mouth as Hercules stepped in.
“He’s in position.”
Ethena took the bulky pair of glasses from Hercules and brought them to her eyes. Shaped like binoculars, they served the purpose of magnification, heatwave-detection, long distance x-rays, and sonar. Very handy to have. Samuel was in his study, facing the blackboard, working on some new idea. She handed the glasses back to Hercules.
“Right where we want him. Couldn’t be better,” she smiled again.
Hercules was slow to be convinced. “When he is mind-wiped and has forgotten the whole incident, then it couldn’t be better. As the situation stands, there are a lot of things that could go wrong. Keep it clean alright Ethena? The Fault is right there. We won’t find a better chance.”
“You got it big guy.”
Rose watched quietly as Ethena hopped into her car and drove off. Now it was her turn.
“Alright Rose.” Hercules’ voice was a soothing, gravelly rumble. “Time to play your part. You ready?”
She tried to mimic Ethena’s dashing smile but failed miserably. Hercules’ massive hand came down on her shoulder encouragingly. She stepped forward a pace at the impact. It felt like a bullet train at top speed hitting her full in the back.
“You’ll do fine. Who knows? They might even promote you to serve a higher position in the office.”
Rose nodded, but her mind was elsewhere. The lone light emanating from Dalus Mansion seemed both beckoning and repelling. From the distance their stakeout stood at, she could not see the commanding figure that was Samuel, but just thinking about facing his marble countenance sent shivers down her spine. He had a way of staring at a person, unmoving, almost as if he was a statue, they made one feel like his eyes shone a cold laser that dissected intentions, motives, and thoughts.
Hercules was bent over a transmitter, shielding it from the strong wind that had picked up. His hulking frame was silhouetted by the moon’s pale rays as he cupped the speaker to his ear. The raging tempest made a noise so loud that it isolated Rose from any other sound. It carried her distracted thoughts away, and left her feeling quieter, and more collected. She looked towards her partner in subterfuge.
He gave her a ready sign, then indicated she should go. She started moving towards the house but he caught her arm. Rose turned to him. He mouthed something at her, but she couldn’t understand, and shook her head. Hercules missed her confusion though, he had already released her arm and was striding off. She shrugged, it probably wasn’t important anyway.
A few minutes later, she was accepted into the mansion by Jessie.
“Samuel is expecting you,” he said quietly, and stepped aside for her to enter.
Rose hesitated. This was not part of the plan. They had assumed she would have to explain herself, and not giving the carefully prepared excuse threw her off kilter. The butler remained completely silent as he shuffled along. Rose gazed unreservedly around her as she followed her quiet guide through the twisting halls of Dalus Mansion.
They passed a multitude of doors, all stern and shut firmly. Dim lighting created a moody effect, and the long shadows cast seemed to stalk them like noiseless wraiths. The atmosphere squeezed in from all around, and Rose felt a sinking feeling as they rounded a corner. Almost like a premonition of evil, it made her lose confidence in their plan. So many factors depended on the variable in the equation.
Jessie paused before a grand set of double doors and pushed them open. Rose entered, and he closed them behind her. As she stepped forward, she heard the barely-audible clicking of a well oiled lock. Samuel was to her right, stretching slightly as he finished chalking out a complicated equation on the large blackboard before him. To his right, on the wall opposite the window through which Rose’s companions had surveyed the billionaire, a large blueprint of the house was mounted.
Samuel ended his equation with a long flourish on the final number. A two, Rose noted absently, her favorite number. Obviously satisfied, her host slowly spun his wheelchair around to face her. He eyed Rose for a moment, then started speaking.
“We both know what you are here for, so let’s just get on with it. Where are they?”
It has to be said that Rose put up a valiant resistance. She went brazen, but Samuel dismantled that defense in a few words. Then she started accusing him, but he deflected the accusations easily, turning many of them around, thus leaving her feeling even more helpless. She finally resorted to an obstinate silence.
Samuel studied Rose for a minute. Then he rolled backwards slightly. She made a slight motion, but when he rolled forwards again, she resumed her original position. Slowly Samuel nodded, and a smile crept across his face. He began clapping.
“Very well played, very well played indeed.”
Then the clock struck twelve and everything happened. From behind Samuel, Ethena phased into existence and placed a sort of gun against the invalid’s head. The doors swung open violently, colliding against the walls with a resounding bang, and Hercules entered, a large rifle in his arms. Rose moved over to the windows and bolted them shut, as a safety precaution.
“You know who we are then?” Hercules’ clipped yet throaty tones seemed to light up something in Samuel.
“Yes, you are the Unseen, a group living in an alternate dimension, the ninth to be exact. During World War II however, the dropping of the atomic bombs weakened your Quasipresent Molecular Bonding Field because of the intense release of energy, and since then, it has been deteriorating, causing an increasing number of anomalies and phasing Unseen, who as they are flickering in and out of existence in this dimension at an abnormally fast rate, can only be seen by people with a mutated eye genome, and those people are known as the Seeing.
“If the QMB Field does fail, then the two dimensions will connect with drastic consequences. Since in the ninth dimension time works quite differently, the result will be a catastrophic merging of different time-spaces. Most of the human population will be decimated. Chaos and anarchy will reign. In a sense, it will be the apocalypse.
“You have come here to memory wipe me of everything I know because I am not on your side. You fear the knowledge that I have gained in relation to you and your culture since it gives me power, and thus you wish to take me out of the equation. In fact, you plan to wipe my memory by taking me into your ninth dimension, putting me in a time-sphere, then accelerating time in a negative direction no?”
Both Hercules and Ethena were well-trained soldiers, but Rose could not resist a slight twitching in her face as she struggled to battle the reality of what Samuel was saying. How did he know all of this? It had taken her months to come anywhere close to a viable solution to the visions she had been having, and even then it had required an actual encounter with the Unseen before everything made sense.
Hercules stepped forward. “Very good, Mr. Dalus. Since you have outlined so clearly for us what is going to happen, why don’t you just fall in with fate and come quietly?”
If anyone could see behind Samuel’s glasses, they would have seen his eyes flash dangerously and a glint of steel come into them, but as he still wore the glasses, all anyone saw was Samuel lean forward slightly. He gazed at Hercules who returned the favor stolidly, then Samuel spoke.
“What if I told you…that I can fix it?”