Friday, June 30, 2017

Key Rehashed

"We can't let anything get into the wrong hands," Brian said as he reached for her pendant. He studied it for a moment, then let it drop.

Amanda knew what he was insinuating. "Zenthan had assured me that I would survive," Amanda said, devoid of emotion.

"What if he's wrong?" Brian asked.

"I don't think he has ever been wrong," Amanda said, "Even if he was, I don't think I would care, either way, I will be dead."

Amanda woke up and sighed.

Zenthan, she thought as she grabbed her necklace and looked at it. Zenthan was an artificial intelligence computer that she created years ago. The same AI that designed the warship that would eventually save her life in one last explosion.

Then Amanda looked around her and realized that she was still on the boat. She knew she slept for a few days, so by now, she should be in a hospital or at the very least a hotel. She figured she would know sooner or later.

"The key," she thought. "They have no clue."

"How long have you been awake?" Todd asked from the door.

Amanda jerked her head up. She was so deep in thought that she didn't notice Todd until he said something.

Todd stepped into the room for a moment and stopped.

They looked at each other for a moment. Finally, Amanda got out of bed, practically leaped over to Todd and threw her arms around him. He wrapped his arms around her.

"So you aren't angry?" He whispered.

"In short, no," Amanda responded, "I didn't know then what I know now."

She could feel Todd's relief.

Someone approached them and cleared his throat.

"Hello, Todd, Amanda," The man said, "I'm Master Chief Taylor. There is something I need to know."

Todd and Amanda looked at him but didn't let go of each other. He was an older gentleman, dressed in his well-decorated officer's Uniform.

Todd looked at Amanda in her eyes and said, "Do you remember what happened to Zenthan?"

She had a hard time bringing herself to say it.

"He's - " Amanda started, "He's gone, destroyed."

"My life's work," She said weakly. She noticed that the officer appeared to be relieved.

"Both Roger and Brian were all in a tiff over it." The officer said. "They were implying that the weapon could destroy an entire planet."  He laughed as if to dismiss the idea.

"Well, theoretically, it could," Amanda said flatly.

The Officer stopped smiling.

"Well," he said, "I'm glad that is no longer a problem anymore." Then he changed the subject. "You will be in the conference room in 10 minutes, right?"

Todd nodded.

"Yeah, we'll be there," Todd said.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Amanda was tired but conscious on the way home. The soldiers and the others got into a little boat, which took them to an aircraft carrier. On the way there, the soldiers described the scene as they congratulated each other for a successful mission.

The soldiers got to Todd and Brian first without raising any alarms. When they got to the room outside of where Amanda and Roger were, the captors immediately turned their guns towards the insulated room, trying to kill them both.

If it weren't for Roger's quick thinking, they would both be dead.

They reached the navel carrier boat. Amanda looked up at the side of the ship. She could see the name of the ship emblazoned on the side. As they passed the massive wall of steel, Amanda thought it reminded her of something, but she couldn't think of it at the moment.

Amanda looked at Todd. He was watching the soldiers navigate the boat onto the floating dock. She knew that she needed to talk to him, but she needed talk to him alone.

By the time they docked the boat, Amanda felt a little better. She was able to stand up on her own, with some help. So a few of the sailors on the Dock helped her and the others off the zodiac boat.

She looked at Todd again. This time he was looking at her.

"I'm not angry," she thought.

He looked relieved, but before she could do anything else, the medics arrived and started asking questions. Two of the medics took Brian out on a stretcher.

"Do you feel pain? Are you hurt?" One asked her.

"I'm fine, physically, anyway," She said.

"She needs to rest!" Roger shouted from the boat. He was the last one to get off.

"No, I'm just a little beat up," Todd told another medic.

"Well, we should check for internal injuries, just in case," the medic responded.

Amanda thought she recognized the medic working with Todd. She turned to Roger.

"How many of us are here?" She asked.

"The ones that are not born here?" He responded as he walked over. Then he shrugged.

Amanda started to feel dizzy again and started to lose her balance. Roger caught her and repeated to the medic, "She needs rest."

The medic motioned for a stretcher and one rolled up next to them.

It wasn't until they rolled the gurney to the medic bay before Amanda realized the significance of Roger's answer.

Saturday, June 24, 2017


 "Why? Why would you do such a thing?!" Amanda yelled at Roger.

"Do you realize what is going on?!" Roger yelled back and pointed to the door. "He's giving away our city!"

"You think we will exist long enough to hold onto it?" Amanda asked.

"Who do you think has caused our demise?" Roger asked quietly.

Amanda sighed. "You are reformable, but I was told to sentence you to treason and execution."

Roger sat down. "The counsel?"

Amanda nodded. "They're afraid," She said, "It's why you couldn't get support."

"What are you going to do?" Roger asked.

"I will go to the counsel for banishment," Amanda said and held up her hand to stop Roger from responding, "There's a place you can go that seems to be ideal for us. I recommend you head that way."

"What? You are not going to do anything?"

"Todd's right," Amanda said, "Things are already in motion. There's no stopping what is coming now."

At that moment, something grabbed Amanda and pulled her away. The images around her began to distort and bend. She knew something was wrong and began to struggle to keep the images.  Roger reached through the distortion and grabbed her hand.

Amanda woke up gasping for breath. She was still on the floor. Roger was holding her up with one arm while grasping her hand with the other.

"Wait," an unfamiliar voice said, "You can bring people back from the dead?"

"I wasn't dead," Amanda still gasping for air, "yet."

She looked at Roger who put his forehead to hers. Just behind Roger, she saw Todd. He looked relieved but didn't say anything.

"She'll need someone to carry her," Roger said.

"I got it," one of the soldiers said. He pushed past the other men. Roger put Amanda down and got up. The soldier picked Amanda up and headed out the door.

They were going home.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Culprit

There was a long awkward silence. Amanda was too weak to speak. Roger seemed to be waiting for something. He stood by Amanda, leaning on the table facing the door.

Suddenly, Amanda heard a loud thud outside of the wall.

"They're here," Roger said.

"Who's here?" Amanda asked.

Roger didn't answer right away. He continued to look at the door.

"The navy seals," Roger said, "I work with the US government. They're here on a sting. I am their informant."

"It was you who made that website and spread the rumors?"


"And was you, who sent Brian with that guy to come after me?"

"Not exactly. Brian was only supposed to track you. Sometimes people act on their own accord."

Amanda was baffled. "At least try to learn your lesson?"

"No it's not like that," Roger started. There were muffled yelling and more loud, sharp sounds from the outside.

Roger grabbed Amanda and threw her to the ground, using himself to shield her. Some bullets pierced the wall and insulation. The Door wasn't attached to anything. It blew out completely, sending bits of Styrofoam and a plastic polymer everywhere.

The noise stopped.

Roger got up and made his way to the door.

Amanda was still weak and could not get herself up off of the floor. She could see Roger carefully make his way to the door. He opened while standing off to the side.

"Get on the ground!" Amanda could hear someone shout.

Roger put up his hands and lowered himself to the ground.

A man, clad in black and body armor, carrying a rifle comes around the corner. He looks at Amanda and walks over.

In spite of all of the armor and gear, she knew that she was safe.

Sunday, June 18, 2017


Roger sat down in the chair across the table from Amanda.  Neither of them took their eyes off each other. Finally, Amanda said, "I saved your life."

Roger didn't say anything. He seemed surprised.

"So, your memory returned," Roger said.

"Some," Amanda responded. "Most of it is still vague."

"Your tumor," Roger started and stopped. Amanda could sense his concern.

"It's still there," Amanda said sadly, "I may have stopped it from growing, but I don't remember how to get rid of it."

There was some silence.

"Please figure it out soon," Roger said. He sounded disappointed.

Amanda gave him an odd look. Then she looked back at the door.

Roger sighed. "I'm sorry I put you through this. I had to find out if our tech could get into the wrong hands."

"It was you with the website and the rumors," Amanda snapped, "And you put my friends and me in danger. Doing the wrong thing for the right reason is what …" She stopped. She didn't know if she should go on.

Roger looked fearful. "Is what?"

"It's what lost our city," Amanda whispered.

Roger slowly stood up. He was visibly upset, but not surprised.

"Then it wouldn't have mattered what we would have done. You were doing the right thing, weren't you."

Amanda was too weak to her hide her emotions.

"No," she said. "The right thing would have been to bring up a challenge."

"You didn't?" Roger asked. "Why?" He sounded as if he was genuinely curious.

"I didn't do what I needed to do because I was afraid," Amanda said weakly then paused for a moment, finally processing what happened. Then after thinking a moment, she scoffed. "I am just as bad."

Roger walked over behind her and untied her hands.

"It's almost over now," Roger said.

Friday, June 16, 2017


Two large men came down the stairs and picked up Amanda from either side.

She could hear Todd begin to struggle.

"It's no use," Brian said to Todd, "It's too late, now."

Amanda felt Todd's heartbreak, but she couldn't let him know that there was still hope. She needed the calm man to be on her side first.

They took her to a room that was apparently modified. The walls were too thick. Even then, the padding wasn't sufficient to block out all energy noise, but it was enough to keep the other two from finding out anything.

They sat her down in a chair. She didn't put up much of a fight. Instead she let her eyes droop a little, conveying non-responsiveness to her handlers.

Amanda looked past a third man, and she could sense his panic.

"Now all of you leave," The calm man said.

"Wha-" the third man started, then stopped.

"You did enough already," the calm man said, "You need to get out so I can do my job without distractions."

The third man glared at him and left.

The calm man picked up a large block that was made of a foam-like material and put it in front of the door. It fit perfectly.

Amanda noticed that the foam blocked most of the energy from the outside. Now she had her chance.

"What is your name?" Amanda whispered.

It was an odd question from someone who was nearly a vegetable, but the calm man answered, "Just call me Roger -"

He stopped and looked at her shocked. In his mind, he saw the two of them standing in a similar room where she was the interrogator. He wasn't thinking of it. Someone pushed that image into his mind.

She remembered.

She remembered Everything.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Grave Truth

When Amanda came to, it appeared that she was out for only a few minutes. Brian was still looking at her, and she noticed the ringing wasn't as loud, but it still made things hard to hear or focus.

Amanda closed her eyes and concentrated on the ringing. Gradually, it quieted down. She replayed the attack over and over in her head. She didn't dare to think about the dream, knowing what would happen if she did.

She looked around. It resembled a living room or some form entertainment room.  She tried to look up the stairs, but the daylight that shone through the stairwell aggravated her headache.

"Where are we?" Amanda asked Brian, "What happened?"

Brian looked disappointed, but then he responded weakly, "A group of men attacked and kidnapped you and Todd. Now, we are on a boat. Rather, we are on a large yacht." He coughed. "Someone paid a lot to get you here."

"But what happened to you?" Amanda asked him.

Before Brian could answer, they heard from the top of the stairs.

"Three of my men are dead!" on voice yelled angrily.

"I told you it was unwise to approach her," another voice responded calmly. "It's likely you sped up the process. She probably will never remember where she put it. What's more, she'll probably be dead in a day or two.

Amanda recognized the voice, but only some of her memory returned. The rest was still vague at best.

"What are you talking about?!" 

"Your men, confronting her against my advice, sped up the tumor. She has no control over her energy and isn't able to heal herself. The tumor that killed us off is going to kill off the only hope we had for survival."

"But you can heal it."

"No, she is the only one who figured that out. Well, before you practically killed her."

There a loud yell and suddenly some gurgling.

"I did what I could, but you refused to listen to me," the calm voice said among the gurgling, "You chose to go against what I said, and now there are consequences."

The gurgling stopped and then there was a gasp for air.

"I may be able to extract some of her memory," the calm voice said, "but if there is too much damage, I may not be able to get anything."

"Then we go down," the other voice growled, "and we get that information."

Amanda heard Todd sputter. He was awake.

"No," The calm voice said, "All three are awake. The other two will block me. Bring the girl up into the padded room."

Amanda finally remembered who he was and realized that she would have to remind him.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Vault

Amanda heard Brian sigh. After a moment of silence, he said, "The Natisiens should be done filling the vault. We need to be there to see it sealed."

Amanda agreed and followed Brian down a corridor to the underground cavern that housed the vault.

Two 7ft guards stood guard on both sides of the entrance. When they saw the pair, they immediately stopped talking to each other and stood in attention.

Brian and Amanda went into the vault. Flat crystals lined both walls. In the center were more of them above some storage containers. Light from the back of the room filtered through the crystals and created patterns of rainbow colors on the wall. All of their records, their mathematical and technology secrets stored here. All, except for one.

"We can't let anything get into the wrong hands," Brian said as he reached for her pendant. He studied it for a moment, then let it drop.

Amanda knew what he was insinuating. "I was assured that I would survive," Amanda said, devoid of emotion.

"What if he's wrong?" Brian asked.

Amanda remembered not caring. She remembered how she was no longer angry with Brian for his past deeds. As a matter of fact, she no longer cared about them.

In the next moment, Amanda was watching a large wall come up to her. The front of the vehicle that she was in crumbled. Flames engulfed the window before her.

She woke up. She was sitting upright and realized that her hands were tied behind her back. She looked to her right and saw Todd, unconscious. He was also sitting on a chair with his hands behind his back.

In front of her was Brian, looking worse than Todd, except he wasn't unconscious. Instead, he stared at her, as if waiting for something.

Amanda couldn't hear him. The ringing in her ears was too loud. She passed out.

Saturday, June 10, 2017


Amanda looked past the blue lady. Then back at her hand. At that moment, she knew what she had to do. The ringing in her ears was unbearable. She tried to look up at the box, but everything seemed to be darker.  She forced herself up with great difficulty. None of her limbs wanted to move.

A random flash of light. It was as if someone shined a flashlight into her eyes and moved on.

Amanda took a couple of steps. It was as if she was in a slow motion sequence. Her mind was going at normal speed, but her body moved as if someone slowed the video down.

Another random flash of light.

Amanda knew that she didn't have much time, but she couldn't reach the box. Each step seemed to get her nowhere. Her breathing was labored. Her footsteps echoed as if they weighed three times more than they did.

Then, she had a revelation. "It's just a dream," she told herself out loud. Then she closed her eyes and made herself closer to the box.

She opened her eyes, and for a moment, the ringing stopped, and she could move freely again. Right in front of her was the clear box held the pulsating orb. It was much smaller than it used to be.

She looked around and saw that she was still in a huge underground cavern. Over to her left, was the vault, wide open. It was still massive, and a multi-colored glow emanated from the opening as if a light was passing through a prism.

On seeing the vault, she became afraid again, and the ringing started. She realized that she would have to face what is in the vault or die.

She slid the flat crystal into the box and the box dissolved. The pulsating orb hit Amanda in the chest, and she fell back into blackness.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

His Face

Amanda, for a moment, could only see his face. Todd's scruffy look transform to a clean shaven and short hair Todd. Then it would transform back again.

Where did she see him before?

She remembered when they first met. Todd had a cast on his arm. At first, he tried to convince Amanda that he was doing some "sick" moves on the skateboard. When Amanda rolled her eyes, he finally confessed to tripping over an uneven part in the grass while bringing in packages from the delivery truck.

He covered his face with embarrassment.

"If only I lifted my foot higher a half of inch," He moaned.

When he removed his hands to reveal the clean-shaven version of Todd that was backlit by some bright light. He put both of his hands on her arms.

"You can come with me!"

Amanda began to panic. She knew that she couldn't go with him the last time, but this time, she will follow. She didn't want to lose him again.

He said something else, but this time she couldn't hear him. Her ears were ringing, and it was getting louder. She tried to get him to repeat himself, but she couldn't speak. He talked again. She couldn't hear him.

He then dropped his hands and walked past her. She turned to follow him. She tried to follow him into a corridor, but all she saw was a glimpse of him as he turned a corner at the end of the hallway. She ran to try to keep up. As she rounded the corner, she saw the vault.

It was larger than she remembered it.

She stopped and stared. She remembered it. She remembers its construction, but she couldn't remember why or where it was

The ringing was now painful. Amanda dropped to her knees and put her hands over her ears. She began to see spots of white light as if someone was shining a flashlight in her eyes.

"You can't delay any more!" A voice said. In spite of the ringing, she heard it loud and clear.

She turned and saw a figure standing over her. She knew it was the blue lady. Just beyond the figure was the orb. It was small but still there. She looked down in her hand; there was the flat crystal.

Then another memory surfaces. Amanda remembers going through this before: The extreme tiredness she felt, how everything seemed dark before she passed out, the flashing lights, and the ringing in her ears pointed to one fact.

She was dying.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Traumatic (Backstory)

"I'd put her at the age of 16," The Doctor said. "She's cleared to go whenever you're ready."

"So no one came to claim her?" The woman asked. She was writing something down in a folder of paper. Leaning up against her leg was a bag that had "Rutland County Department of Children and Families" emblazoned on the front.

"And you haven't found anything in the missing children database?"

"No, no we haven't," The detective said. He was "Tragic."

All three of them looked through the door at a girl who seemingly was too busy playing video games to notice.

"No one reports her, no one claims her," The detective said in a lowered voice, " and no evidence of foul play. So her family doesn't want her, and she obviously doesn't want to go back."

"Wait," the doctor said abruptly, "Are you saying that you think she's faking it?"

"Well," the detective said as he leaned back at the reception desk. He's seen a few cases like this one when he worked in the Bronx. "Not exactly."

"If she saw something traumatic enough, she could have repressed that memory," The social worker said.

"Dissociative memory," The detective said.

"I know what you are getting at, but I've seen her brain scans," The doctor said, "she has a lot of evidence of brain damage. It's possible that the damage may not have any bearing on her memory loss. It's just," The doctor trailed off.

"Just what?" The detective asked.

The doctor waved off the detective, "I really can't explain it until I consult with the MRI technician again. There are some unexplained anomalies, that's all. It's why it took so long to release her. They seem to be healing, and as far as I can tell, there are no serious long-term effects."

"Perhaps it's both?" The Social worker said, "If she had a family, they didn't bother to report her missing, or maybe they couldn't report her missing. The damage could reinforce it?" She ended the last sentence with a question when she remembered who she was talking to.

The doctor shrugged and was about to respond when the detective put his hand up to stop him.

The detective nodded. "No, you're right. My next move was to check the murders in the neighboring states. It is possible that the damage could have been done during that time. She may have been able to get away before, well, the perpetrators could get to her. Perhaps if I can find how she got by the lake as she did, we may be able to solve this case."

Then he chuckled, "And to think, I transferred to Vermont to get away from murder cases."

"Well, if she saw a murder, it certainly wasn't here," The social worker said, then sighed. "Criminals are too high on heroine to kill each other here."

The two men murmured in agreement.

"Well, I have more work to do," the detective said just before leaving, I'll keep in touch."

The social worker looked at her notes for a few minutes and then said, "Shall I go introduce myself now?"

When there was no answer, she looked up to see the Doctor looking intently at the girl.

"What is it?" She asked.

"What kind of trauma would cause someone to want to forget what happened?"

"For everyone it's different. It depends on what the person affected thinks is traumatic," The social worker paused and thought for a moment. "The only case I had that worked with turned out to be pretty bad."