A man in a black robe stood silently, gazing at the sunrise through a huge, panoramic window. Behind him, a door creaked open, and another man stepped in, this one in red. The first man, oblivious to the intrusion, continued to stare at the rising, glowing star.
The black-robed man slowly turned away from the window. “What news do you bear, Trajan?”
”Everything is ready. The few sent in to infiltrate the target are standing by. They have found the match for the project. His name is Dr. Stephen Augustus. He is considered one of the best with science and technology.”
“Good. With our knowledge and his technological genius, we will be able to create a device to aid us in our plans. Is the Space-Skimmer also ready?”
“Yes. The disguising chips are operable, too.”
The man in black turned back to the window. “The dawn of a new era is upon us, Trajan. Soon Earth will be ours; a thriving metropolis to complete our kingdom. With billions of more beings at our disposal, and more land, we will be unstoppable!”
“Yes, it will truly be amazing. Shall we depart for the Skimmer? The others are anxious for us to leave.”
The two men walked out of the room, and as they did, the light of the rising sun bathed the room in blue.
Randy Morrison swore under his breath. How had he not seen that guy on the roof? He clicked a button on his controller and went back to the menu screen. Only three more games and he would unlock another skin-suit. If only he could convince his mom to let him-
“Randy Jonathan Morrison! I told you to get off that thing an hour ago! Shut it off NOW!”
Randy slammed his controller down and flicked off the TV. He wheeled his wheelchair up the ramp to the living room. His mom stood there, hands on her hips. ” There was an extremely important scientific breakthrough today. The lead scientist is making a formal statement about it, and I thought it would be a good topic for your science essay.”
Randy sighed and wheeled slowly into the living room, where the TV was on. He sat and waited for the commercials to end. Soon, a reporter came on, accompanied by a gray-haired, nicely-dressed man.
”With us today is now world-renowned scientist Dr. Stephen Augustus. Dr. Augustus has recently invented a tiny device that makes controlling things such as cars, lights, and devices with your mind possible! The possibilities are enormous with this technology. This device is implanted into the brain, where the neurons interact with minute-“
Randy stopped listening, stupefied. This was amazing! Brain technology like this could make handicapped people-like himself-free of problems! It would also make everyday life easier in general. This was going to change the world drastically!
The news report switched to a loud and shaky video, which made Randy snap back into reality. It was footage of thousands of people jostling each other for a spot in an extremely long line in front of a large building.
“Pandemonium has broken out all over the world. Almost everyone wants an implant.”
A different video showed people waving signs and yelling, throwing a device in a bonfire.
“On the other hand, there are some who dislike the idea and feel threatened.”
An older man came on, talking to a reporter. “I don’t like those brain gadgets one tiny bit. I’ve seen to many science fiction movies where something always goes wrong with stuff like this.”
Randy rolled his eyes. This tech was really going to help people. Hey, maybe Dad will get one for me; he’s a surgeon, after all! he thought excitedly. Randy wheeled quickly into the next room to talk to his mom.
*** Two years later
“Dr. Augustus.” The eerie voice sent chills like centipedes skittering up and down Stephen’s spine. “You’ve done well. Most of the world’s population now have implants.”
“Thank you, sir.”
Dr. Augustus swallowed. The Master’s dark chambers always made him uneasy. Especially when his enormous chair’s back was facing Dr. Augustus.
“I want to ask you something, Dr. Augustus. Is the reverse effect of the implant blocked?”
“What do you mean?”
“Could anyone control the person through the device?”
“No, sir! Codes that only I have access to- which are in a secret compartment in this briefcase- protect the device from being hacked. I will adjust the implant to make it impossible, though.”
The Master turned his chair to face Dr. Augustus. “I need a copy of those codes.”
” Sir, I don’t think that that would be wise-”
“Do you doubt my intellect?”
“N-no sir. But I feel strongly that a copy is too dangerous…”
While Dr. Augustus was speaking, the Master reached into his pocket, pulled out a syringe filled with pink liquid, and rose from his seat. “Dr. Augustus. Give me the codes. Now.”
Sweat trickled down Dr. Augustus’s forehead. “No.”
The Master revealed the syringe and lunged at Dr. Augustus, stabbing him in the chest. Dr. Augustus went slack, his body hitting the ground with a dull thud. Quickly, though, Dr. Augustus stood up, standing as still as a statue. His eyes were pure white, paper white.
“Dr. Augustus,” the Master said calmly, ” get the codes and give them to me.”
Dr. Augustus bent down and grabbed his briefcase. He opened it, pressed a spot on the bottom, and then a portion of the bottom slid open. He grabbed a data drive and handed it to the Master.
“You are released,” the Master said.
Dr. Augustus immediately slumped to the ground. In a few seconds, he staggered to his feet, starting to stumble backward toward the door, but the Master was too quick. He yanked Dr. Augustus back.
“Wha-what kind of monster are you?!”
The Master smiled devilishly. “You think I’m just a power-hungry maniac….”
He reached into his suit and ripped out a tiny chip from his chest. His form rippled. Dr. Augustus just watched in terror as the nicely-dressed, muscular man became a huge… creature. Purple skin crossed with gray veins. Glowing blue eyes. A crooked smile. But worst of all were the four insect-like arms.
“…but really, I’m more than that.”
Dr. Augustus screamed as the Master laughed maniacally, his twelve fingers clutching at Dr. Augustus’s neck.
Randy sat, stunned. How could this have happened? Who would be so evil? The same four words kept ringing in his ears: Stephen Augustus is dead. A police report said the cause of death was most likely murder, someone jealous who wanted all the power and money. But the case was still being investigated. Hopefully the murderer would be found soon and brought to justice.
The Master, back in his human form, sat in his large chair, looming over twenty nervous scientists, engineers, and technicians.
” Gentlemen, it is time for a new plan. I have the codes that lift the protection on the implants. To work, the human eye must perceive the code. Find a way to broadcast the codes across the world. I want everyone who has an implant to see the codes.”
” But sir, doing that is dangerous! We haven’t tested and gathered enough research to-”
” Dr. Phellins, I want it done by tomorrow.”
“You know that by doing this, you’re possibly risking the lives of most nations’ leaders, not to mention several billion people.”
“The operation will work.”
” Even if it does, you’ll have power over-over peoples’ minds!”
“You’re a little slow on the uptake, Dr. Phellins.”
“You’re a monster!”
“LISTEN!! You will have one day to ready the operation. If you fail, there will be…consequences. Do not fail me.”
*** One day later
Randy cheered. “First place again! I could do this all afternoon! I think that implant helped!” Suddenly, an error message flashed on the screen: Error 2.6 Apha Sleet End 000 Violate. After reading the message, a coursing pain filled his skull. His head jolted once, and then he blacked out.
The president sat in front of a computer screen in the Oval Office, making himself a cup of coffee with his mind. A message blinked into existence. The president frowned. It was a secure network. How could an error have occurred? He wrinkled his brow and read the message:” Unsecured network 2.6 Alpha Sleet End 000 Violate? What does that-”
The president clutched his head, grimacing. His head twitched, and then he was unconscious.
A woman walked across the train station platform, texting on her phone. All of a sudden, the app crashed. A notification read Would you like to report glitch 2.6 Alpha Sleet End 000 Violate? She chose No just by thinking it. A few seconds later, a horrible headache hit her. She fell to her knees in pain, and could see others around her doing the same. What’s going-
She never finished her thought. Her head jerked, and she fell senseless to the ground.
The Master watched on monitors the reactions of the people. He laughed with an evil hysteria. It was working! Soon he would have full control of the world, and he could send for some of his own people. He typed in his first command to the enslaved part of the human race.
“Randy! Shut that stupid game off and come upstairs!” Randy’s mom yelled. He’s always on that game. He’s been on it even more since he got that mind gadget. I thought he’d use it so he would get out into the real world, not the electronic world, she thought furiously. She stomped down the stairs to find Randy sprawled on the couch. He looked asleep. Deciding to let him stay that way, she flicked off the TV and headed toward the stairs. Before she could, however, a voice stopped her.
“Randy? Sorry I woke you, honey. Can you-”
She cut off when she saw Randy. His eyes were pure black. His expression was vacant. She screamed and stumbled backwards. He smiled and stood up.
“We must obey Master now.”
Mark Johnson whirled around, looking at all the collapsed people in the mall. He knelt down to feel one’s pulse. It was weak, but still there. Suddenly, at the exact same time, all the people on the ground rose to their feet. Mark stared in horror. Everyone’s eyes were pitch-black.
“Hello.” Everyone was speaking in unison, even over the loudspeakers.
“We must obey Master now.”
Mark screamed, but didn’t run. He was paralyzed with fear. The people stood still. Them their heads swiveled toward Mark. Then Mark finally snapped out of it and ran. He sprinted out of the mall, down the street, and into a Starbucks.
Black eyes and vacant expressions met him. He stumbled back out the door and ran. He kept sprinting and sprinting and sprinting. But everywhere he looked it was the same. Black eyes. Blank expressions. Silence. It all threatened to swallow him whole.