The Operant Unconscious Project

Chapter 12 - Shattered Vision

Zachary fell through the vent that he had been trying to get open and right into someone's waiting arms.

"Calm down Zach," Zachary heard Jesse say. "Here Jacob, take him."

Jesse quickly floated down to the bed and passed Zachary into Jacob's arms.

"I'll be right back," said Jesse as he propelled himself back up to the vent using some unseen force. Zachary saw him move his hands around as if he was fighting something in the air which was followed by the shrill sound of something crying. Jesse then closed the vent and came back down.

"What was it?" asked Jacob.

"A Scuttle Dog," said Jesse. "It's like a mutated dog bred for hunting humans."

"Did you kill it?" whispered Zachary.

"I broke its leg," replied Jesse. "Did it bite you? If it did we need to know, it's a poisonous creature."

Zachary shook his head, "No, it didn't bite me."

"Good," said Jesse. Jesse suddenly smiled, "It was really nice of you to drop in Zach, maybe next time though you can use the door."

Zachary giggled, "I'll try and remember that."

"I'm just glad that Cobie woke us up in time," said Jacob as he hugged Zachary tighter.

"Oh Jacob," said Zachary suddenly remembering why he had gotten out of bed in the first place. "Are you ok? What did they do to you? Everyone's been so worried about you."

"I'm ok…," Jacob started to say.

"Those bastards crippled him," interrupted Jesse. "He'll probably never walk again."

Jacob sighed, "Well I was getting to that."

"What did they do that for?" said Zachary. "I thought they needed you for something."

"They wanted to implant a device into the back of my head," replied Jacob. "He's supposed to help me do whatever it is that they want me to do."

"He?" said Zachary. "Is that Cobie then?"

"Yes…" said a voice in Zachary's head.

"Cobie you stay out of Zach's head," said Jesse. "I'm the only one permitted to go there."

"Oh protective of the few that love you are you…"

"Cobie you will stay out of my brother's mind, I don't want to know him like that," said Jacob.

"Yes sir…"

"Thank you Cobie," said Jacob.

"I take it that he only listens to you then Jake?" asked Zachary.

"I think so," said Jacob. "But he's not telling me everything that he knows; he says that he's not permitted to tell me what's going on."

"I don't think I'd trust him then," said Zachary.

"Jake doesn't really have much of a choice though, the thing is drilled into the back of his head," said Jesse.

"It's not nice to talk about someone if they are still in the same room…"

"Sorry Cobie," said Zachary.

"Well now what are we going to do," said Jacob. "I mean I love having Zach here because now I at least know he's safe but he can't stay here."

"I think he can stay here for the rest of the night," said Jesse smiling. "I don't see how that would hurt anything."

"The others will worry about him though," said Jacob. "Especially Julian."

Jesse looked somewhat disappointed, "Ok. I suppose I'll take him back then."

"Thank you Jesse," replied Jacob.

"Don't I get a say?" asked Zachary.

Jacob looked down at Zachary and replied, "Not this time Z, I don't want you to get hurt because of any of this."

"But Jake, they're going to kill the rest of us anyway," said Zachary.

"What?" said Jacob. "Where did you hear that?"

"I overheard Dr. Guise and Dr. Taylor arguing about it, Dr. Guise said that the council was backing him on this," said Zachary.

"It seems that the more I hear about this council the less I like them," said Jacob. "I had a feeling that they would do something like this one day."

"Why would they do that though," said Jesse. "I thought that all of the boys had a purpose, at least that's what I was told."

"They do, or did," said Jacob. "Zachary I need you to go back and tell the others, tell Julian that he was right about this place and that it's time."

"Time for what?" asked Zachary.

"Time to get out," replied Jacob.

Jesse looked at the clock on his wall, "If I want to get him back then I need to do it now."

"Wait! Jacob, what is Julian right about?" asked Zachary.

"He'll tell you Zachary, just get going," said Jacob. "Oh and don't mention the Scuttle Dog to Julian, he'll freak out."

Zachary didn't look happy about having to leave but he hugged Jacob one last time and then got up off the bed to join Jesse at the door.

"They aren't going to be happy about this," chuckled Jesse as he reached for the door handle but just before he touched the handle he closed his fist. Zachary heard the sound of metal being crushed and a second later the door popped open. "That will make five doors I've destroyed in the last three months."

Jesse opened the door the rest of the way and then looked out into the now dimly lit hallway, "Come on, there's no time to lose," said Jesse as he took hold of Zachary's hand and pulled him out of the room.

Jesse led Zachary quickly past many doors and then made a sharp left.

"Do you know where you are going?" whispered Zachary.

"No but you do," said Jesse. "I'm using your memories to reconstruct a map that I'm using to get you back."

"But I've never been to this section before, how could I know enough for you to do that?" asked Zachary.

"You remember much more about where we are then you realize Zach," said Jesse. "You remember everything, and I do mean everything. I think that they made you that way."

"I don't doubt it," Zachary muttered to himself.

"Nor do I," Zachary heard Jesse's voice say in his head. "And I'm so very glad they did."

"What do you mean?" whispered Zachary.

"Well if they didn't see the need then they wouldn't have made you in the first place, I'm just glad that they did," said Jesse as he pulled them down a hallway to their right.

Zachary smiled to himself and thought, "He likes me."

Suddenly Jesse stopped and pulled Zachary close to him, "Don't move and don't make a sound."

Just as Zachary was about to ask why two soldiers walked around the corner but they acted as if they didn't even see the boys and just kept walking. As soon as they were around the next corner Jesse grabbed Zachary's hand and started off again.

"I don't understand, why didn't they see us?" asked Zachary.

"Because I didn't let them," said Jesse. "You find it very easy to trick simple minded people into only seeing what you want them to see when you're a telepath."

"Have you ever done anything like that to me or Jake?" asked Zachary.

Jesse smiled, "I knew you were going to ask that, but I said it only works on simple-minded people. You and Jacob are the two smartest people I know, I would have to be much more powerful in order to do the same to either of you."

"Is Jacob that powerful?" said Zachary.

Jesse stopped again but this time the soldiers were already in front of them; Jesse quickly reached out and pushed at the air. Suddenly both soldiers were lifted up off the ground and thrown into the wall.

"We're almost there," said Jesse. "And I think you already know the answer to your question."

"They wouldn't want him over you otherwise," said Zachary.

"Exactly," replied Jesse as he continued to drag Zachary down the hall.

"Do you already know everything that I overheard tonight?" asked Zachary.

"Of course I do," said a voice in Zachary's head. "I will always know everything you know now."

"Oh," said Zachary.

"Are you ok with that?" asked Jesse. "I won't do it if you're not, although it would really hard to block you out because of the kind of connection we have."

Zachary thought for a moment, "Actually I think I'm ok with it, just don't go finishing my sentences."

Jesse smiled, "If I did that then there would be no need for conversation."

Zachary stopped causing Jesse to stumble, "What did you say?"

Jesse looked confused, "I said that if I were to finish your sentences then there would be no need for conversation."

"When they had you go into my mind using that machine, would they still have been able to do everything you did if you were unconscious?" asked Zachary.

"I don't really know, I suppose if they had some control over my unconscious mind then they might, why?"

"What if they had something like Cobie implanted into you?"

Suddenly Jesse realized what Zachary was getting at, "They're making Jacob into a tool."

"What would they use him for though?" said Zachary.

"It would have to be something that would help humanity as a whole; Dr. Taylor said that what they were doing would be used for helping humanity," said Jesse.

Suddenly the dim hallway lights started to get brighter.

"Damn, we're out of time! Come on," said Jesse.

Zachary followed Jesse around two more corners and then found himself looking at the door he knew was his. Jesse reached out and this time punched in a code.

"How do you know the code for our room?" Zachary asked him.

"It's another thing I got from you," said Jesse. "You watched Dr. Taylor enter the code a few days ago out of the corner of your eye."

The door popped open and Jesse pulled Zachary into the room with him. On the other side, he found Kollin and the others up all looking very worried.

"Zachary!!! You're back!!!" shouted Julian as he rushed forward and engulfed Zachary in a rib-cracking hug.

"I have to go now Zach," smiled Jesse. "If I don't get back soon I will be missed."

Zachary managed to peel Julian off of himself and then hugged Jesse, "Thanks for getting me back safely. Keep in touch."

"Always…" said a voice in Zachary's head.

"Don't forget what Jacob told you," said Jesse. "I have to go now."

"Right," said Zachary. "Oh, what's the code?"

Jesse paused as he was stepping out of the room, "Oh right, it's 348512."

And then Jesse was gone.

"What happened," Kollin asked Zachary. "Did you find Jacob?"

"Jake's fine," said Zachary. "On my way I overheard Dr. Guise say that he was going to kill the rest of us. When I told Jake that he told me to tell Julian that he was right about this place; Julian, Jake told me to also tell you that it's time. What did he mean by that?"

Everyone looked at Julian who now looked very white, "We've outlived our usefulness, and like Kevin, they are going to just wipe us out. We have to get out of here."