I only have a few minutes to tell you all of this. I can already see the cars pulling up across the street. The men have yet to get out, so they are still trying to get approval to enter. But with the little time I have, I need to tell someone. Maybe you can avoid making the same mistake as me.
No one would have thought it would be some random Wednesday which would lead to all this turmoil. It was a simple mistake. I was walking home from the coffee shop after spending some time out on a date. As I was walking, minding my own business, I noticed that there was a USB drive on the ground. Not some destroyed and crushed on, but one that looks more expensive and one which seems like it just fell on the ground. Being the good citizen I am, I looked around the group of people standing waiting for the light to change and the pedestrian light to change to try and see if someone in the group looked like this would belong to them or could be theirs.
Woman, mid 40’s, in casual dress with her 5 year old child, he is wearing a bookbag : Not likely, why would some mother be carrying something like this when she was just going to pick up her son. Her son shouldn't have something like this, so he is also a no.
Skater guy, ripped jeans, destroyed shoes, and beanie : He barely has a wallet on him, why would someone who is doing a sport where you fall all the time be carrying something so delicate
Tourists: Generally they are more likely to be carrying too much cash, expensive jewelry, and bags than a single USB stick. Maybe it is one of them, but I do not want to offer it to no one in particular and be an accessory to theft.
Old man, late 80’s cane, overcoat, and cap: I seriously doubt he even knows what a USB stick is and would be even less likely to be randomly carrying it with him.
That is when the light changes and I see the person who most fits the item. A man, undefined age. Full black suit, black overcoat, black fedora, sunglasses (even though it is overcast), expensive briefcase.
As everyone walks, I try to catch up to him and ask if it is his USB, when we get to the other side he is gone. Now I am not saying I lost him and he took off. It was a literal straight line we all walked. He was in my sight the entire time before he went to turn the corner and walked behind the pole holding the crosswalk sign. In that maybe 1 second of time, he was gone. I checked down both sidewalks. Maybe he chose to pick up his pace and I just missed it. But no man, no all black suit, nothing.
How could he have done that? Not that I am super interested in everyone else’s lives, as life in the city makes you worry about yourself and only yourself. Otherwise you go broke from helping everyone else. But I need to know what this man was. I do have this part of him.
But looking into it would be an invasion of privacy right? I mean, this could be his confidential record, medical documents, divorce papers, irreplaceable photos or files. So I should not look into it. So I don’t.
When I get back to my apartment, I place my keys, wallet, and pocket litter into the bowl on my counter as you enter. I also placed the USB stick into the bowl. I will turn it in tomorrow to the police or whatever. Maybe I will go back and just give it to a store nearby. With that I go about the rest of my night. I make dinner, I watch YouTube, I talk to my cat about life and his daily struggles. It is only when I get to bed that the itch to know comes back.
So I lay in bed, the thought of the unknown eating at me. I mean it would be so simple. Just boot up my laptop, plug it in, and see what pops up. I wouldn’t take anything or steal something. It would be strictly investigatory. That is fine. I am doing it to give the person a better idea. So that's what I do. I set up my laptop on my kitchen table, power it on, and push the USB into the slot. These were the final moments before my life ended, my old life that is. One of stability and commonality. Before I had to go on the run.
As it loads, I get the normal notifications “Checking Device for Viruses” and “Scanning”. But before it can open into my file explorer my desktop changes. A strange symbol appears and a chat box or conversation shows up on the screen. The symbol looks like something caught between a corporate icon, a sacred geometry piece, and some decorations off the US currency.
The conversation which at first looks like an old one, stopped and simply remained open before it was shut down springs to life.
Blue: Is it done?
I look at it. Is what done, I ask myself. Who is Blue? I know I should ignore it, I have no need to get involved in this. I am just going to remove the stick and move on with my ordinary life. But as I reach to the side of my laptop, the chatbox once
more shows a new message.
Blue: Do not remove the USB. It would be smarter to just read and nod.
What does the computer mean? I know my webcam is covered. I literally bought one of those covers and krazy glued it closed so it stayed that way.
Blue: Read and Nod!
I nod out of reflex.
Blue: Good. Now how did you come into possession of this drive?
You: I found it on the ground and I was going to return it when the guy disappeared
Blue: He disappeared how?
You: One moment in front of me the next just gone.
Blue has left the conversation.
With Blue leaving I think it is safe to leave and just go to bed. This is all a bad dream and tomorrow will be normal. I yank out the drive but the computer does not change. It does not even throw a notification that it was even removed. Instead a video pops up and auto starts. I try to close it but no command will stop it, close it, or let me minimize it.
“Access Code 58114
You have been noted as a non authorized user and have been deemed a threat”
The video flashes this message before exposing me to images and sounds which hold no meaning. Think of the Ring video. But as it finishes, I look around and see everything is different.
I know that is super common, but I mean it. I was not in my apartment anymore, I was in some room surrounded by vials, experiments, and people. There are boards with writing on them which appear to be formulas and equations, but none of it makes sense. Then I see it, the people, all the people, tied up and with tubes coming out of them. I can faintly hear it too
“We need to clear the slate, we have an invader, someone lost their drive and some stranger has it.”
“Who does not matter. We have already dispatched the team to eliminate the person. He knows too much”
I can tell you I knew nothing at the time, since then I have learned so much.
“The experiments need to be disposed of.”
“Just…just kill them?”
“DO NOT call them that. These are not people!”
“You are right. They are the next step.”
“Do you…do you see that?”
Whomever I am able to see this through is spinning around and their eyes are moving rapidly. Whatever that video did, I am able to see through this person’s eyes. I can hear what they hear. And now they know it.
I will add more later if I can, the person in the car nearest the door just got approval to kill. He is kissing an image of a little girl, I think it's his daughter, and getting ready to get out. They know I know. They know I can see.