Chapter 10: The Quiet Sleep & The Hard Wake

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"So, tell me about this...procedure."

It had been nearly a day since he'd woken from his near comatose state, Hawkins at the foot his bed, telling him that he was clinically insane. He'd taken it surprisingly well. Though that could be stemming from the fact that he'd had some kind of psychotic break. Maybe he was just tired, or it could have been the lingering aftereffects of the virus that Rogue Ops had synthesized. He'd had most of that day to recover, lying alone in the infirmary bed for most of the time. The others drifted in from time to time to check up on him.

Greg, Trent, Drake, even Enzo, surprisingly. Not Callie, though. When he'd asked, Hawkins had said that she was still away on her mission. He missed her, feeling a hollow ache in his chest. He'd slept the majority of the time, drugs perking through his system, accelerated agents that were being dripped into his body via a trio of IV bags hung around him. Hawkins said he needed to recover, the sooner the better, and he also needed to get his strength back. The procedure to get his sanity back was supposed to be very...taxing.

At the beginning of the following day, Allan had awoken bright and early, feeling physically much better. He was rested, fed, hydrated...and ready to face the new challenge. The fact that he was out of his armor took its toll on him, but it was nowhere near as bad as he'd thought it was going to be. He was generally nervous, his heart probably beating faster than it should have, and he often found himself thinking paranoid thoughts.

But he wasn't panicking.

He'd had a shower, a shave, and had changed into a fresh uniform. The shower had lasted close to an hour. That alone made him feel significantly better than he had in a long, long time. After that, Hawkins had let him have a quick meal in the mess hall. He'd eaten meat and cheese enchiladas and drank several cans of Vex.

And then Hawkins had led him to what seemed to be a private medical suite. The whole room, no larger than his quarters, seemed to be centered around a single examination table. It was orbited by an array of medical equipment and gently beeping technology. A pair of med-techs in white-and-orange uniforms waited.

"The procedure is...experimental," Hawkins replied. He motioned to the examination table. Allan lingered a moment.

"Do I need to get naked for this?" he asked.

Hawkins shook his head. "No. This isn't any kind of surgical procedure. This isn't like anything you'll have ever quite experienced."

Allan laughed nervously and laid down on the examination table. "You're making me a little apprehensive there, Director."

"You probably should be. Like I said, fifty/fifty shot of survival."

Allan looked around at all the gear and technology. "So, what's happening? Level with me. Tell me what to expect."

"That's the problem, I can't. But I can describe to you the actual procedure. Basically, what we're doing is giving you the ability to go into your own mind."

"I...what?" Allan replied, not sure he was understanding the Director.

Hawkins chuckled uneasily. "That's about as simple as it gets, I'm afraid. These machines will allow your consciousness to go into your memories, the landscape of your psyche. Something is triggering your insanity. Some singular event that you're likely repressing. You are going to search your memories for this event and...deal with it."

"How will I deal with it?" Allan asked.

Hawkins shrugged. "I don't know. It's different for everyone. Given your past...I imagine you'll shoot it, whatever it is. I don't know what it is, what it will look like, how it will affect you...it's your head, Allan. You'll have to do what makes sense to you. I imagine it will be very confusing in there. The scientists that concocted this strange thing said things tend to be...figurative. Things represent other things...hell, listen to me rambling on. I don't really know much about this procedure. It should take somewhere between twelve and twenty four hours, real time. As for how much time will pass in your head...no idea. Unfortunately, after that, you're going to need some recovery time. At least a week, minimum."

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