Chapter Eighty-Four

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Everything happened so quickly that I didn't even have time to fully process it.

One second, I was being held captive by four guards, with my hands behind my back as the video ended. The next, I'd pulled away and attempted to escape, only to be shoved into the cold tiled ground. 

I couldn't see anything anymore but the polished black shoes of the guards who had been holding me. I couldn't move an inch.

But I could feel my heart beating way too fast.

The last words of the video rang in my ears like an anthem. We have conquered death...we have conquered death...we have conquered death...

It wasn't the idea that had me horrified, it was what could be done with it. The idea itself, out of context, seemed like a beautiful miracle I couldn't even wrap my head around. I almost wouldn't believe it...if I hadn't already seen so many unbelievably odd things. The Equator itself was odd.

And in a way, it almost made sense.

It explained why everything in the training complex had seemed so secretive. It also explained the need for procedures...and why we had to be there for so long before anything began to happen...

But that was merely the good side of it.

The bad side of the idea was the amount of power it could give someone. Just having the ability to take away the one thing everyone feared could cause anyone to do anything. It could cause desperate soldiers to shoot innocent teenagers. It could cause people to abuse and imprison others.

It could cause a lot of death.

And after that flooded the thoughts of what that could possibly mean. If death stopped, reproduction would have to stop to make up for it. Then, the same exact people would forever exist on this Earth, never to die. Because of that, wouldn't it make sense then, that they would never be able to progress? No new people, would mean no new new anything. It was too much to think about. And I didn't want to think about it. I told myself it had to be fake and stopped myself from going too far. I didn't want to imagine anyone having that power.

I heard sharp clicking heels come rushing across the room and towards where I was lying on the ground. It was impossible to look up and see who it was from this angle, but I had a good guess it was Dr. Conway. I heard her mutter something sharply to the guards, and I was lifted up off the ground until I was upright. She glared down at me, her stormy gray eyes filled with irritation.

"If you make this hard for us, it'll only be harder for you," she stated, after a couple seconds of quiet loathing.

I wanted to spit in her perfectly made up face. "I'm not letting you do whatever it is your planning on doing with me!" I shouted, knowing that raising the level of my voice wouldn't change her mind. I was panicked, and couldn't think of anything but escape. Yes, maybe the idea of immortality had come favorably to my mind, but this was different. These people had held me captive, and were freaking me out with their endless videos and explanations and deaths. It didn't feel right. They were a false beacon of hope, summoning hopeless survivors to their borders just to force them into a life they didn't ask for. A life that seems beautiful at first, but slowly reveals its darker interior the farther on one goes. And the second I'd seen a hint of that darkness, I'd turned and run.

I'd internally hated myself for the months where I hadn't trusted anyone or anything. Months where I turned people away. For that one time I hadn't turned away when it came to Jadyn and Axel, there'd already been hundreds of others when I had. And maybe it'd done me well. But mostly, it had seemed to hurt others.

This time, I was proud of myself and my distrust. Even though I'd ended up here, at least I was awake.

Dr. Conway was unfazed by my resistance. She looked at one of the guards and whispered something, presumably an order to just get whatever it was over with. She seemed to want nothing to do with me. To her, I was an annoying pest, taking away time from her busy day. To her I was nothing.

I felt the guards grab my arms, and knew there was no way I could get out of this.

"Can you at least tell me the truth?! Why is this happening? What do you want with me?" 

Maybe she heard the hopelessness in my voice, and decided there was no harm in answering. But I was surprised when she did.

"The video told you the truth. We cured mortality. We found a problem and fixed it. Then we created the Equator to host all of the treated, a heavenly place where we all can thrive and enjoy ourselves. It's a simple device really. And after one's been through procedures, it's nearly painless," she explained. Her face had become phlegmatic, and for a moment, I almost wondered if she was merely a robot ordered to do the Equator's bidding. "Our entire body really exists on the basis of electrical impulses. We found a way to harness these electrical signals, and convert our personalities and our entire selves into something much simpler than a brain and a body. Just like how computers used to be massive, we compressed humanity into something smaller. A chip. Located behind the ear. It remains there and transports the soul of the person into whatever body the chip is attached to. The only problem would be if the chip was detached and never again reattached to a body."

I found it difficult to understand. It was like jumping thousands of years in the future and learning of some new foreign technology. "And what happens if the chip is detached?" I asked, feeling familiar dread begin to clot my thoughts as it hit me why she may have added that part.

"I guess you'll find out."

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