4 – Duplicity
A voice rang from the sky, “The Makers cannot know that you know of their machinations.”
It was Eugene.
Sean looked up and listened intently, “I will mask your journey to them as long as the game progresses. The multiple back-up files will allow me to do this. You must make appropriate decisions as you go along the game. There is a map in your back-pack that I have marked. Try and stick to the route. There is also a stopwatch in your pack. You are not supposed to be equiped with one, but you will require one – try to use this as discreetly as possible. It shows the amount of time you have before the virus overrides the system – which is, at present, three days. You must destroy the virus before time runs out. There are kits for healing lying around all over the Forest. Good luck.”
Eugene watched as Sean nodded and began to climb up a tree to consult the map. The CPU sighed, shaking his head.
Stupid, stupid Vegies! he thought.
Of course, what he hadn’t told Sean was that he too was an unconscious subject. He had been ever since he was a child – according to what he’d heard the Makers say. He wasn’t supposed to wake up, but he suddenly had regained his consciousness – and for some time now. He put up with the gaming company ever since he’d woken. But he soon began to envy the Vegetable Subjects. At least they’d got to live a life, from where they’d left it – completely near-dead.
Eugene was sick of them.
He was sick of watching the Vegetables play out a life before they were terminated at the end of a game.
He was sick of doing everything the Makers told him to do.
He was sick of being used.
But there was little he could do. He had overheard the Makers recently, and he was hurt by what they had said.
They’d said: “If Eugene wakes up, we’ll have to kill him. A conscious human mind is too unpredictable. He could wreak havoc on the system. We’ll lose all our work, but we could easily start again with another unconscious kid.”
It was for this reason – another thing that he had not told Sean – that Eugene had created the virus. To put an end to the Maker’s business and put an end to all the Vegetable Subjects. And that would be the end of that. The CPU watched as Sean climbed out of the tree, following the route that Eugene had marked on the map. Little did Sean know that he was walking to his death. Either way he would be. In three days time, the Makers would review their new game The Highwayman, and terminate Sean anyway because they had no need of him anymore.