Another day. Another terrible, terrible day. I don't know what time they woke me up. My mental clock isn't working anymore. But I do know that some time this morning, two robots came into my room, shot me up with that horrible, horrible drug, and offered me some bread with butter on it, and a bottle of orange juice. I would have thrown it in their face, but I was starving. I ate it all up, as I felt my mind slip under the influence of Quionizine C.
I imagined the food traveling through my stomach, slowly being degraded, digested by the toxic environment. It felt almost autobiographical. I thought about the robotic guards. I wondered how they kept balance. They seemed very top-heavy.
My hands were trembling. Why? Was it simply fear? Was it a side effect of the Quionizine? Was the issue localize in my brain, or some other part of my nervous system? I stumbled along, as the two robots guided me to my torture chamber. I passed what looked to be a laser. I wanted to touch it, to take it apart and see how it worked. The terminators held me back.
I saw other strange chambers, filled with experiment I didn't even understand. But how I wanted to understand them! I struggled against the terminators. I wasn't struggling for freedom. I wasn't struggling to save every single MAD from annihilation by a terrifying virus. I was struggling because I wanted to see what that satellite-looking thing was for.
I was in a laboratory. I was under Dalton's control. Working on his problem, doing his will. I tried to stop. I wanted to think about something else. Anything else. I tried. I designed elevators, and tried to derive an equation for heat flow in the sun's corona. But I was always drawn back to studying a virus that would only affect MADs.
I was so frustrated. I hated Dalton so much. I wanted him to suffer for what he had done to me. I wanted to hurt him. But I couldn't. He was in Brazil, probably surrounded by a secret service detail. I was in a basement in Silicon Valley.
But my brain had found a problem, and it demanded a solution. Maybe I couldn't hurt Dalton himself. Could I hurt something he valued? No, I was locked in a room with nothing but a bunch of interacting white-boards.
Could I hurt the terminators? No. The walls, the ceiling? Pointless. Slowly, of course, it dawned on me that there was something in that room that Dalton cared about. Something he needed. Me.
When did I realize that I wanted to die? I don't know. I don't remember. But the more I thought about it, the more desirable death seemed. I could leave this hell, and be free of Dalton forever. I might stymie Dalton permanently, or I might delay him. But I would certainly be better than being will unwilling tool for however long it would take him the complete his virus.
I would be saving millions. With one death, with the end of one useless, pathetic, miserable life, I could be a hero.
I had made up my mind. I would do it. It was merely a matter of how. Could I smash my head against a table. I pictured it cracking like an eggshell, my overgrown brain pulverized. But I calculated how hard I would need to hit my head to provide a quick painless death. Impossible.
It is anatomically impossible to strangle ones self. I needed a knife. What if I could smash open one of the terminators. They were made out of steel, so it would take a lot of force. What sort of machine could do that? How could you calculate the force needed to break a metal bone? Or a real bone? With a real bone, you could use a virus. How would you make a virus to only affect MADs? I walked up to a whiteboard, only to catch myself. I began to cry. Was I this far gone? That I couldn't even focus on committing suicide. I felt the tears running down my cheeks, warm. I tasted them. Salty, but I knew there were other chemicals. Tears contain immunoglobulin, a protein that my virus would need to get past. Perhaps if it degrades immunoglobulin, catalyzed by chemicals only found in the brains of MADs. An impractical idea, to be sure, but worth investigating. I began to work it out. Then, I came up with a better idea. And another one. Then, I started working on two more ideas. My head hurt as I tried to switch back and forth. I don't know how long I worked on Dalton's problem before I realized what I was doing.
I took a step back. My hands were shaking. My senses of time and space, once so reliable, were now gone. My vision was blurring, and my memory was fading. Dalton had tested Quionizine C before. He knew what affect it would have on me. And yet he was willing to drive me into the ground for a chance at his bioweapon.
A robot brought me lunch. A sandwich. Not a useful tool. Unless I could find away to unbind the proteins. Then I could make so many things. A poison would be easy. I could make steroids. I could probably rearrange the sandwich's component to make a small animal. Although it would probably be dead.
Could I make a virus? Of course. What about a virus specifically designed to NOOOOOO.
I needed to focus. Could I hang myself? I had clothing. Would it support my weight? Probably, but what would I hang myself from? And the machines would notice me turning my shirt into a noose.
I could refuse food and drink, and try to starve myself. But that would take a long time, and I would be detected and foiled.
How closely monitored was I? Was Dalton watching me 24/7? Of course not, he needed to sleep. Or did he? The right mixture of chemicals could remove the need for sleep entirely. Dalton could probably accomplish that. And maybe he did decide to always tune in to the Allegra Complex show. Have a live video feed, showing faintly in his glasses. Or maybe he just receives up-to-minute notifications. Or did rely on his AI terminators to monitor me? Or some combination of the above?
I pictured all that data flowing around the world. How, exactly, does the internet work? How much would it cost to replace all that copper wire with fiber optics? Could fiber optics be made more efficient if they moved to a higher frequency of light? You would need a different medium to transfer them. And such a medium would need to fit so many other criteria. I started imagining it. But I also wanted to know how you could treat cancer with a specialized virus to attack tumor cells. I tried to think about the two complex problems, but it made my head hurt so much. I just wanted it all to end.
Eventually, the drug wore off once again. I could have fallen to sleep in the laboratory, but the robots moved me back to my room. One of them offered me my diary and a pen. And an idea struck me.
I've been writing this entry, diary, trying to work up the courage. The willpower, to drive that pen into my eyeball, to lacerate my brain and to end my life.
My fingers are tightening around the pen. I feel the anticipation. Any word I write might be my last. I will put an end to Dalton's madness.
But I know I can't. If I were going to kill myself, I would have done it by now. I'm not strong enough. I'm not strong enough to fight Dalton's influence. I'm not strong enough to end Dalton's influence. I wonder how he would react if he knew what I'm thinking. He would probably tell me that everything that has happened to me, all my suffering these last two days, has been necessary. He would tell me that if I were to simply cooperate with him, there would be no need for these horrible, horrible drugs.
Should I give in? Should I raise the white flag, and tell Dalton that I'll work for him of my own volition? No. No. I need to fight him! I need to see my family, and tell the world what Dalton is doing. I need to stop this! I need to escape!
What was I thinking? I did better than I thought I would. I rammed into one of the robots. We struggled briefly. It was much stronger than me, and much faster. But eventually, it was on the ground. I returned to my feet. As the machine tried to get up, I turned around, to face the other robot. It grabbed my arm, vicelike. I struggled against it, but my adrenaline was already gone. The machine barely registered my movement. "Alexander Dalton has said that if you try to escape more than once, you legs will be broken." The machine spoke in a Dalton's voice. I hate that man so much. "This has been registered as you first attempt."
The machine lifted me up, and dragged me into my bed. "Stay put," it ordered. It then turned and helped its partner to its feet.
The other machine disappeared briefly, returning with a zip tie. My arms were bound to the bedframe. I barely bothered to struggle. I am tired, and defeated, and Dalton isn't going to use a zip tie unless he is sure it will hold me.
I'm writing this part of the diary by dictation. I'm speaking out loud, stuttering, struggling for words, while a metal man writes it down. I don't know why. I guess I just want part of today's entry to be written by a steady hand, a sure hand.