Faerieland: Part 6

Nothing happened for a long time after that. I never did learn exactly how long. All I knew for sure was that I was grateful that at least I’d gotten to eat before being shut up in a doorless and windowless room.

Okay, that’s not all I knew for sure.

I also knew that my room had breathing holes. They were on both sides of the top of my cell. The cell wasn’t much more than six feet tall. I could touch the ceiling, and had during my initial few minutes inside.

I couldn’t see at all. The cell had no light.

A little bit of touching around the inside of the cell had found that the breathing holes were across from each other, allowing for the possibility of a breeze. After a little more feeling around, I found a rock cylinder that jutted out from the wall. From the hole in the middle of the seat, I realized that it had to be a toilet. A basin next to it included endlessly flowing water.

That wasn’t good news. Granted, it indicated a level of consideration, but it also indicated that Earthmover planned to keep me there long enough that I might need to poop.

It wasn’t a wide room either. I could almost reach the other side by sitting down on the floor. That meant it couldn’t be much wider than three or four feet. I was just under six feet tall.

Beyond that, there isn’t much to say.

Hours later, my butt hurt from sitting on rock. Earthmover hadn’t provided cushions, and maybe it wasn’t reasonable to. At the same time, could he really keep me in here without at least visiting and explaining why?

Keeping someone in a personal prison was almost certainly illegal.

Of course, if he was confused or even controlled by faeries, no court would convict him, and honestly, he wouldn’t deserve to be.

Unfortunately, it could theoretically be worse than that. He could be controlled by the Dominators. Allied with the Nine, but basically mercenaries, the Dominators specialized in mind control. Each one specialized in different methods.

At least that’s what I’d been told. All the information about them was suspect. In order to learn anything new about the Dominators, you’d have to interact with them somehow. If you interacted with them, they’d get the opportunity to interact with you too.

Worse, if they interacted with you and you didn’t know it, you’d have no idea that you might be compromised.

Of course, it was simply more likely from all I’d seen that the faeries were behind this.

On the other hand, if the Dominators had ever gotten Earthmover, or more likely Adam alone, they could have converted either of them into an intentional or unintentional agent.

I considered researching Dominator tactics, checked my phone, and discovered again that I couldn’t connect to cell towers, wi-fi, the Alliance gate network, or the inter-dimensional location network.

I hadn’t seriously expected to connect to the last two.

A baritone voice came through the breathing holes. “Sorry.”

Adam’s voice.

“I spend far too much time apologizing to you.”

Not sure whether it would be better inside or outside the cell, I made a snap decision. “Can you get me out of here?”

On the other end of the breathing holes, a breath turned into a sigh. “I can, but I won’t. That’s why I’m down here. I’m apologizing because I had you put here, and because you’ll be staying until it’s all over.”

“Okay. Why?”

“I wish I could explain everything to you, but I can’t. I’m not some movie villain who’s got a deep need to explain his evil plan. I’ll tell you why I’m keeping you out of it though.”

Feeling the cool rock against my back, I said, “Sure.”

At least that might give me something.

“First off, I like your dad. He seems like a genuinely good guy, and a good shrink. Second, you’re honest. That means you’re not connected to the Nine, and I don’t have any reason to hurt you. I will if I have to, but I don’t want to.”

I stood up and spoke upward. “Wait. The government in Turkmenistan is connected to the Nine. Is this about taking them out? Because I wasn’t planning on stopping what’s going on over there. The only way I’d intervene now is if it looked like a lot of people were going to get killed.”

Through the breathing holes, Adam’s voice became louder. “I’m not going to go into that right now. What you need to know is this: The Nine are in more places than you know. Even people you trust have knowingly worked with them. If you did decide to intervene, you might be killed by people you didn’t even know were your enemies. That’s why I’m keeping you out of it. We’re going need all the uncorrupted people we can find.”

“Are you saying that people in the Stapledon program are working with the Nine?”

No one replied.

11 thoughts on “Faerieland: Part 6”

  1. I’ve been imagining this scene or some variation on it for a while. How truthful Adam is being, is of course anyone’s guess.

    On another note, you know what else I wrote today? A short history of web fiction. If you have any interest in that, take a look…

    http://forums.webfictionguide.com/topic/state-of-web-fiction#post-20335

    Plus, of course, please vote on Top Web Fiction if you’re willing:
    http://topwebfiction.com/vote.php?for=the-legion-of-nothing

    That said, adding a link from a trope Legion uses to Legion’s entry would be every bit as useful…

  2. Which means Adam at least THINKS he’s responsible for all this mental domination.

    Which has got to break sooooo many laws they’d not only toss his butt out of the program, they’ll lock him up as well.

  3. I don’t recall if you ever revealed before that the Dominators are actually an alliance specializing in different methods of mental domination, but it’s a very interesting reveal. The way they’re simply referred to in-story as “the Dominators” makes them seem like an undifferentiated group, but it’s a very different picture if they’re actually an alliance of (the equivalent of) the Mad Hatter, Dr. Psycho, and Dr. Hugo Strange. Though given how secretive they are, maybe none of them had a long enough “solo” career to be considered separately.

    After this experience, maybe Nick will get a little more paranoid and start keeping some super-science devices constantly on his person. He got caught really off-guard here.

  4. Is this the scene where he’s ‘prevented from fighting’ and everyone dies?

    Is he going to be nuts and consider changing his name to War by the time he breaks out?

    1. Club: At the beginning of the novel where they fought the aliens, the League prevented aliens from tricking anti-super terrorists into placing neutron bombs all over the world. They did it by destroying the bombs in St. Louis.

      Nick might not have gotten involved if Rachel hadn’t gone to Infinity City and the parallel League members hadn’t visited. He probably would have been told to stay out of it if he’d discovered the problem and told adults, but hadn’t flown there.

      Thus, at least one version of that future has been avoided.

  5. @Matthew: You’re right. A couple blocks of nanites about the size of cell phones would be easy to carry on his person and he could have a controller with pre-programmed settings for tools ranging from simple to complex. I’ll bet he’s wishing he had a hammer and chisel about now 🙂

  6. I just realized. If Nick checks his phone for connectivity, that means that he has his phone. And that means he does have light, because I think a flashlight function is pretty standard on all smartphones.

    So he wouldn’t have to investigate the cell by feel. He could look around.

  7. Even if he hasn’t got a flashlight function, a backlit screen provides pretty usable light if your eyes are dark-adjusted.

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