Tuesday, November 3, 2015


I don't know what to do. My existence wasn't the epitome of comfort yesterday, but today, it was turned upside down. I am scared and confused. So why am I still keeping a diary? I don't know. Maybe I'm hoping if I write it all down, the events of today will make sense. Maybe I still believe that meticulously jotting down my thoughts will aid in my recovery. Maybe it's because I have nothing better to do.

Today was moving day. A nice four hour drive to Poughkeepsie. We were supposed to leave at eleven. This left me pack up my belongings. My belongings, in this case, included this journal, a worn-down pencil, a picture of my family, and three fantasy books. They were supposed to have a different dress code there, so I didn't bring any clothes besides the ones I was wearing.
I was led onto a small bus, and introduced to my traveling companions. There were two other M.A.D.S making the move with me. There was Daniel O'Connor. I knew him from the volleyball tournament. He seemed stable enough, at least on the outside. But I'd heard a rumor he tried to build a nuclear weapon. And he was bad at volleyball. There was Norm Baxter. Look. I know that I released a genetically modified virus into a populated area. I know I'm no saint. But I also know that Norm Baxter is the devil. He had been committed a year before I was, so I saw it on the news. His thing was kidnapping people, and switching their body parts. He didn't have the time or interest to screen for things like blood type, or sew everything shut, so most of his victims died in agony. Actually, they all did. But not before providing some useful data.
Watching over our merry trio of crazies was Doctor Vendman. Then there was a driver named Phil Roberts, and six security guards named Antonio Barrera, Louis D'Monica, Caldwell Jones, Rosie and Justin Beck, and Galloway Smith.
The drive started off uneventful. I talked with Daniel. Vendman watched us the way a shrink watches his patients. Norm watched us the way a serial killer watches his potential victims.
"Read anything interesting lately," I asked.
Daniel looked at me. "I keep trying to read, but no. I can't focus. Lose my train of thought after a couple of sentences."
"Sorry. Must be rough. So, think they have a volleyball league in Poughkeepsie?"
"I estimate the probability that they have a volleyball league at the Poughkeepsie Detention Center for Persons Affected by M.A.D.N.E.S.S. at 0.2 percent."
"It is certainly higher than that. There is easily a fifteen percent chance that they have some sort of competitive athletics. Given that, volleyball is one of the most likely options."
We bickered for a few minutes, arguing about probabilities. Norm licked his lips. Did I mention that I found him creepy?
Who am I kidding? Nothing important happened on that bus. The important things started happening when we got a flat tire. The driver pulled over. "We have a spare," he said. "Louis, you want to help me change it?"
I imagined them changing the tire. The bolts all fitting together so nicely. I wondered what the optimal thickness was. "Allegra, Daniel, I think you are letting your minds wander." Doctor Vendman to the rescue. And as fate would have it, that was the last thing Doctor Vendman would ever say. There was a round of machine gun fire, and within four seconds everyone on that van who didn't suffer from M.A.D.N.E.S.S. was suffering from five or six bullet holes. Some sort of robot man, appeared out of thin air, walking towards us. He punched through the bullet-riddled windshield and entered the bus.
"What is that," Daniel asked.
"How does it work," I replied.
Norm just cackled. Creep.

The robot man disassembled itself. It wasn't a robot man at all, just a non-robot man wearing mechanical armor. And a gas mask, and it looked like he had a robot eye.
"Daniel O'Connor, Norman Baxter, Allegra Complex. Your sentences have been commuted." I'll admit, I wasn't paying attention to what he was saying. I had spent the past two years of my life studiously avoid thinking about science. I hadn't read a science fiction book. I hadn't used the internet. I had done my very best to forget what I knew, eidetic memory or not. Now a cyborg comes in with some sort of mech suit that could make him invisible.
"You all have spent years in unjust prisons. You all have been persecuted by minds to small to comprehend you. Today. I set you free."
The man talked like he was wearing a respirator. Like he was Darth Vader. Which he basically was.

Oberon wasn't the first MAD. He was the eighth. Fourth to be diagnosed in the United States. Everyone thought he was amazing. Every month I'd read about him designing this or that space station for NASA. There were rumors that he was involved in everything from stealth planes to weather prediction to cybersecurity. Very well-founded rumors.
After Topeka, the government made all the MADs in their employ take a series of mental stability tests. Oberon didn't pass the tests. And he didn't take rejection well.
For almost a decade now, he has been a renegade. When a chemical accident burned his lungs out, he mechanized his breathing. He adopted a similar strategy when one of his eyes was shot out. And when he burned off one of his hands.
He argued that MADs were smarter and better, and should reign supreme. He like to prove how much smarter and better we were by killing people who disagreed with him. And now, he was standing in the broken wreckage of a bus, preparing to make a broken wreckage of my life.

Oberon walked up to us, snapping our handcuffs like they were toothpicks. Interesting. He must have replaced his muscles with servos. What was powering them?
"I suggest the three of you begin your new, creative lives. Your neurotypical oppressors are dead. Now spread your wings and create."
Nobody moved. "The three of you are incredibly unresponsive."
Daniel was the first to speak. "What if we don't want to leave?"
"Why would you want to stay in a burned out bus? But regardless, I plan on blowing it up in about four minutes."
Clever. The authorities would think that the three MADs had perished along with the other eight passengers. There would be no manhunt.
"You know what Daniel meant," I said. "We don't want to be unleashed into the world. We want to get better."
"Better? What do you mean by better? Humans cowered in the dark for ten thousand years before one of them thought to make a lightbulb. Does that sound better? There are children starving in the mud, because the unaugmented mind can't figure out how to feed them. But we could reach the stars. People like us, we have the power to change the world, our brains flying through theories the greatest neurotypical genius couldn't crawl through. So tell me. Who is better?"
I knew better than to respond to that. Daniel didn't. "It hurts. It hurts when I think about three things at once. It hurts when you walk up to me, with your mechanical armor that must house an artificial intelligence, and how did you make it invisible? And how did you connect your mechanical eye to your brain? And don't tell me, it hurts."
"It hurts because you fight it. It hurts because neurotypicals tell you to think slow, that using your mind is dangerous. But if you drop the inhibitions they have forced upon you, you will see that your beautiful, brilliant mind was meant to be used. Now GO!!"
The three of us didn't need to be told again. We grabbed our worldly possessions. We looked at the corpses. And we ran away from the bus. I could feel the heat of the flames at my back as the deafening explosion knocked me off my feet. I got up, and kept on running.

Somehow, we managed to stay together. So we were faced with a decision. "I say we go to New York," Norm suggested. "Plenty of people there."
"B-Boston is closer," Daniel replied.
"Thirty-four miles," I said. "That way."
"How do you know that," Norm asked.
"How can Daniel take the cube root of a twenty digit number?"
"So it's settled," Daniel said hopefully. "We're going to Boston?"
"We are," I asserted. I thought through my mental map. It had been years since I had consciously done that. "There is a town four miles that way," I said, pointing away from the road. "The people investigating the explosion will stick to the highway, they won't investigate," I struggled for the name of the town, "Spencer."
Its interesting that we chose to stick together. I didn't especially care for Daniel, and I actively disliked Norm. But the three of us had been locked away from the world for years, before being thrust into it. We weren't quite ready to fly solo.
So we walked. I tried to enjoy myself. It wasn't the rain-forest, but it was my first time walking through nature in years. We got to Spencer, and together we deduced how to pick pockets. We called a cab, and arrived in Boston.
Right now, I'm in a chair in Boston's cheapest flea-bag hotel. I'm staring at a digital clock, figuring out how it works, while a psychopath literally sharpens in knife next to me, and a man who wanted to sell a nuke attempts to talk himself out of trying again. Part of me wants to steal a phone and call the police on the three of us. We're dangerous. I'd rather spend the rest of my life in the most boring cell in Poughkeepsie than have another death on my hands.
Should I visit my family? They must think I'm dead. But if I tell them I'm alive, they'll be criminals if they don't turn me in. They might be locked up just as long as me. I don't know what to do. I hope I know in the morning. If Norm doesn't kill me first.           

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