Bunny Shell: Volume 1-Issue 3

Jason’s heart rate skyrocketed. If she was a part of an Eremmian insurrection faction then he was no guest; he was a prisoner. He tried to jump off whatever surface he rested on, only to find he was being held there by energy bands. “Dammit! No!”

She rested a soft hand on his chest. “Calm down, Jason. Just calm down. Everything is going to be all right.”

“Who are you? Release me, now!”

She sighed. “I’m afraid I can’t do that, Jason. But you know that. As to who I am, my name is Dr. Masami Winters. This isn’t the first time we’ve met though.”

Tempo pulled at his semi-transparent fetters fruitlessly. “I don’t know any Dr. Winters.”

She looked down at the floor, her frown betraying a feelings of guilt. “I know. Just know that I’m very sorry for all I’ve done to you. I just wish what I’ve done to you was end of the sins I committed in the name of Society.”

Jason stopped his struggling for a moment. “Done to me… what do you mean?”

Dr. Winters winced. “The sleep training. The mental conditioning. The experiments we performed on your mind to make you the perfect little soldier. The top brass was really impressed with your aim when you were young, but your emotions were getting into the way. You wouldn’t kill. So I used a regimen of virtual training sessions to deaden you to remorse and regret. They loved that… my god, you were only twelve. I was such a monster.”

Jason squinted. “I remember those.” He shivered. “Though I don’t remember any women being there.”

The woman took a deep breath. “Regardless what you remember, I was there. Again, I’m sorry. I’m going to do something that will fix all that, though. It’s going to take a while, but when I’m done it will take away all the pain the SOC has caused in your life.” She sat down and looked Jason straight in the eye. “And, in time, you’ll begin to atone for your sins, just as I’ve been atoning for mine.”

Jason snorted. “I haven’t done anything wrong. I’m just…”

“A tool of Society? Yes. I know. I programmed that creed into your head. Therein lies the problem though, Jason. This so-called ‘Society’ is nothing but a collection of serfs buckling under the weight of the elite few who tell us what it is that the ‘Society’ needs. A person should be able to live their life without worrying if some government stooge will swoop in and tell them Society needs them to do something else somewhere else. A person deserves more from life. They deserve to be more than a mere ‘tool.’”

Jason grit his teeth. “It’s an honor to serve as a guard against the forces that would destroy Society.”

“Don’t lecture me with platitudes I filled your head with. If you hadn’t been snatched away from your parents when you were seven, can you honestly say you would have freely joined the hell that is your life? Can you honestly tell me that you don’t wish you could be somewhere else doing something else? Can you honestly tell me that you don’t daydream of being free from all the officers and sensors that monitor your every move and have made every life-changing decision for you?”

Jason shut his mouth. He turned his eyes to the ceiling and just stared upward. He hated every single decision that his superiors had made for him. He wasn‘t tired of his job, he hated it. He always had. “Tell me, Jason. Do you wish for something more?”

He closed his eyes. “Yes.”

Masami nodded her head and went to a drawer. She pulled out a case of iodine and lightly applied it to his left arm. “What do you think would happen if your teammates came in here to rescue you? Would you be welcomed back with open arms and be celebrated as a hero for the torture you probably went through? Or do you think someone in SIM would be more worried that you might have divulged some secret?”

The air in the room felt heavy to Jason. “They’d be more worried I gave away intelligence.”

“Would they trust you if you said you kept your mouth shut?”

“No.”

“No? Why not?”

“Because they’d want to be 100% certain.”

“Why 100% certain?”

“Because when secrets get out, someone has to pay the price. Every intelligence officer I’ve met cares more for their careers than they do a single soldier… no matter how good that soldier is they‘ll want to make sure their bacon won‘t be getting cooked. So they’ll do everything in their power to make damn sure they’re precious career is safe.”

“And how would they get that information? How could they be 100% certain?”

Jason kept his mouth shut.

“Do you think they’d hesitate to hook you up to the Wall? Would they hesitate to scan your brain to discover how to make it crack? Would they hesitate to mind-peel you, their own soldier.”

Jason shook his head. “They wouldn’t even have to scan my brain. They did that when I was seventeen. They can mind-peel me whenever they want.”

Masami reached into the pockets of her lab coat. She pulled out two bottles, a brown and green one. “Jason, it’s time for you to make a decision. This may be difficult because you are used to people making decisions for you.” Reaching into her pocket once more, she pulled out a syringe. “I am going to inject you with a sedative; which sedative I inject you with is your choice.”

She picked up the brown bottle. “Your first choice, is a lethal dose. It will put you into a light coma and then disperse through your body. It will focus on the heart, causing it to stop beating. Cause of death will be myocardial depression. It will be a peaceful, painless death. If you truly believe that you have done no wrong and that the actions you’ve taken in the name of Society were done for the right reason, then I suggest this option. You’ve already admitted that going back to your old world is certain death caused by painful mind-ripping by the very people you‘ve been serving. I don’t say this to scare or manipulate you, but to acknowledge the grim reality that I offer a much more dignified demise than ‘Society’ ever will.”

She put down the brown bottle and picked up the green one. “Your second choice is a different kind of sedative. It would put you into a very, very deep coma that you won’t wake up from for a month or two. During that time I would be doing everything I can to undo the damage caused by all the experiments on your mind and body. I’m not going to lie to you; the results of what I will be doing are both shocking and confusing. You will wake up a very different person than the one you’ve come to know throughout your life. Who that person is, I cannot say. But I can say that person is someone that you have desired for a very long time.”

“Afterwards, you’ll become a member of the Eremmian resistance, helping us to undo the damage that the Society Oversight Council has done to this nation. You will be asked to help us in some very…” She paused, mulling over her words. “… unique ways. I cannot spare all the details now, but rest assured that you will be piloting your remodeled shell for some of your tasks.”

Tempo scoffed. “Sounds no different from what I do now. Take orders from others. Do their dirty work and do it on their schedule.”

Masami shook her head. “I admit there are similarities. You obviously can’t be given total freedom. As a member of the Eremmian resistance your actions would have a direct consequence on your fellow members. Secrecy is paramount for us. You will have to obey your orders for everyone’s safety. You will have to do things that I know you will not initially want to do. But there are key differences.”

“You won’t have someone dictating how you will spend every hour of every day. You will be able to make friends. You will be able to have relationships and feel the full range of the emotional spectrum. You will be more than a tool. You will be a person.”

Jason shut his eyes and shook his head. “Lies. It’s all lies. A soldier is a tool. through and through. Doesn’t matter what side of the war you’re on… you’re being used.”

“Hey, look, your entire life people have been lying to you. I get it. I know. I’ve been there. But look at me.” Jason’s eyes refused to open. “Jason. Please. Just look at me.”

Jason held his breath. After a few seconds he let the air out and looked at her. “What?”

She kept her eyes locked onto him. Her look was one of someone begging for forgiveness. “I am not some sort of trained agent in the field of deception. I’m a doctor and a scientist. Please, just look into my eyes and tell me I’m lying to you.”

Jason looked. He looked long and hard, inspecting her for any hint of deceit, artifice, or guile. He looked and looked. He could find nothing but sincerity. He turned away and stared at the wall. He licked his lips. “When you say I won’t be the same person, what do you mean?”

“I mean that that every government agency with high enough clearance has your picture, your fingerprints, your voice, your retinal scan, your dental records, and your DNA on file. The SIM can one up them all. They have your mental scan on file with a mind-peel solution ready and waiting to crack it. We have to change you to the point that all those things are worthless.”

“And exactly how do you plan to do that?”

“The physical stuff is simple to fix, but very expensive. The first step is an age regression treatment.”

“Age regression treatment? You have to be kidding me. Only the elite can afford those. Getting five years shaved off costs, what, a million mylets? Where could you possibly get a hold of that much money?”

“Actually we’ll be attempting to shave off roughly a decade and it will costs about eight-million mylets. Do not concern yourself with cost. We are well aware of the costs. As I was saying though, it starts with an age regression treatment. That is followed by a genetic makeover.”

“Okay, so that covers the physical changes, but how the hell do you plan to make a brain scan invalid?”

Dr. Winters smiled. “The mind is my area of expertise, Jason. It’s complicated. But I assure you that I am not exaggerating that you will become the person that you have desired. More importantly, my methods will invalidate your old brain scans. Thus, any device that tests for identity based upon brain scan will no longer read you as Jason Lightfoot. It will also make certain that the SIM’s mind-peel solution they had on you is null and void. They would have to rehook you up to the Wall again and spend another four days scanning your brain to get another one. In that time we could attempt a rescue.”

Jason turned away again and laughed, “Break into the Wall? You’d be walking into a death trap.”

Masami sighed and rubbed a hand through Jason’s hair like a mother. “I’m not saying it will be easy. I’m not saying I have all the answers. I am saying you can be happy. You can find purpose in your life. You can make up for past mistakes. I’m trying each and every day to make up for mine. Let me help you. And while we’re at it, help us.”

“I can tell from your tone,” she continued, “that you think there is something gravely wrong with this world. You’re far from the only one. But before now you had no idea what to do about it. It’s true of everyone who feels oppressed by SOC. They see the corruption, faults, and ineptitude all around them but think there is nothing they can do about because they are just one person. You have a chance to make a difference. It’s your choice though. What’ll it be?

Jason turned over and stared at the bottles. The brown one. She was right when she pointed out he wouldn’t be able to go back. All that was waiting back for him there was the joy of being mind-peeled and dying when his brain finally ceased to do anything but fire synapses randomly. It sounded suicidal, but the brown bottle didn’t sound awful at all. To be done with the drudgery of the world wouldnn’t be terrible. But…

He hadn’t truly lived yet. If he ended his life now all he’d be doing is turning off a robot. Ending the existence of a being that only operated inside the confines that other people set for him. He did want more. And “more” was exactly what this woman offered. Was the promise of a better, freer life worth the risk of trusting a rebel to keep her word?

“All right.” Jason bit his lip so hard he could feel it start to bleed. “I’ll take you at your word. But I warn you, if it turns out that you are lying…”

Masami ignored his thread and gave him a huge hug. “Oh thank you, Jason. You have no idea how much this means to me. You won’t regret this. You will be happy when this all said and done. I promise.” She stuck her syringe into the top of the green bottle. Pulling up on the plunger, the tube filled with a clear liquid. She pushed the needle into his arm. He didn’t allow himself to flinch at the pain. A soldier was built to handle far more.

She pushed down and he felt the cool liquid pass into his blood stream. “Okay, please count backwards from ten.”

“Ten. Nine. Eight. Seben. Sicks. Fibe. Fourshhhh….” His eyelids grew heavy. His tongue felt like it was the size of a muffin. Jason had never experienced a drug that acted so quickly. He drifted off into dreamland, wondering what would happen when he awoke once more.”

Before he fully drifted into unconsciousness, he heard Dr. Winters voice whisper into his ear, “I will see you again in a few weeks, Jason. Well… the new you. Anyway, sweet dreams, child.” The last thing Jason remembered before falling asleep, was the warm lips of Dr. Masami Winters kissing his stubbly cheek.




5 thoughts on “Bunny Shell: Volume 1-Issue 3”

  1. Well at least Jason knows that there is more to life than following orders. Now we will see how he likes himself when he wakes up.

  2. “Dreeee… Bwoooo… Unnnn…….”

    The two bottles remind me of the red and blue pills from The Matrix.

    If you had to choose between certain but painless death and a second chance under who you thought was your enemy… At first glance it’s a hard choice, but I think you did a good job at showing how Jason made his decision!

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