This wasn’t my first Travel, like everybody else I’ve jumped many times before; so I could tell the difference – and this time, everything about this experience was different.
Was it me or was there a glitch in the system? Something I’ve eaten? Maybe I deactivated a protocol by mistake or missed important instructions? I didn’t know for sure. All I remember is that “the bliss, awe, and glory” didn’t kick in. I was worried because I just spend all my Credits on this Travel!
I’ve heard that some people have a specific genetic indisposition, and are slower to encompass the effects of the Timequilizer. I was hoping this was my case. I waited patiently for the familiar buzz to take over but instead, I felt soberly awake, and a little noxious. Maybe I just needed another shot?
Are you feeling alright?- I asked my red-haired companion.
Yes, I feel great, totally great! Everything is just so …. perfect – she said. And you?
Oh, I’m … super cool – I lied.
I couldn’t understand why I am not experiencing her bliss. I got flashes… but nothing permanent. That’s OK – I told myself. After all, the experience was guaranteed to be pleasurable and safe, so I was sure … I will be OK.
At the Terminal life was booming, but I felt disinterested. Instead of throwing myself at the cocktail bar, I walked over to the window and looked down at the empty streets way below.
I could spot not a soul. There was no movement whatsoever. The birds in a distance and a wind blowing randomly some trash around were a sign the City was still somewhat breathing. Instead, life was booming indoors, and as expected, everybody was hanging out inside. Here, at this moment, life was easy and vibrant and we all looked young and acted graciously. The food, drinks, gift shops and entertainment were readily available – all for free. Despite this relaxed atmosphere, something was still seriously not right with me.
I’ve spent years working for the Credits to pay for this trip. Since life was revolving around making the Credits and spending them on the Travel anyway, there was nothing strange about it. The junkies would make a quick jump just to get high for an hour or two, but the right way to travel was by making it last and making it count. How far and for how long would you go? Well, that depended on the number of Credits you have got to spend.
The Timequilizer that makes the jump possible was still not working on me. I didn’t feel relaxed and I was worried I won’t be able to make the jump. Everybody around was hanging out having a jolly good time. But I was noticing some details I have not paid any attention to ever before. The Terminal was small compared to the size of the building, it looked kind of empty. There were abandoned hallways and dark corridors no one entered. I started to explore feeling distracted and curious. I found an elevator and stepped in, the door closed behind me and I was unexpectedly taken down. I was getting panicky when the elevator stopped and the door opened. I was in a dark and stuffy basement, poorly lighted, windowless, and dusty.
The vibe was ominous and my heart pounded so hard I thought it might jump out.
I was going to immediately get out but I heard something. A humming. Voices? Are there people in here? Intrigued I followed the sound. I stumbled upon a chamber lighted with dim candles, filled with dressed in black men praying with great intensity. They seemed to be in a state of a trance, and their prayer sent a shiver through my spine. The God they were worshiping didn’t seem to have the qualities of all-loving-father, but a demonic dark power. The men were repeating some formulas, bowing back and forth in a sitting position evoking demonic energies in this bizarre state of trance. Just a few steps further a group of women was praying in a similar manner. They were young, attired in white gowns, pale with foggy eyes. They were in some strange amok, hypnotized or drugged. Their lips were moving even if their prayer was a quiet one. It was all very scary and creepy. I noticed many boxes of Timequilizer sitting around. What were they doing here?
To my terror I realized that the men were filling them up with the energy of this dark prayer. They were spitting the demonic poison into the only drug that was allowing us to Travel safely! I was shivering and almost throw up.
I was frantically looking for the elevator when suddenly I stumbled upon a priest followed by a young boy. I looked the preacher in the eyes but I couldn’t tell what was his intention; is he saving this boy from the occult or is he delivering him to them? I could not read his intense expression nor his mind, and I knew I had to stay away from this. Finally, I found the elevator and stepped in all shaken up, hoping my absence went unnoticed.
The people in the Inner City seemed unaware of the dark magic taking place in the basements below, and didn’t ask any questions about things happening around them, either. And things were strange.
How come we are only served desserts to eat? I’ve asked a couple sitting next to me waiting to depart for their honeymoon. They were perplexed, why wouldn’t you want to eat a delicious dessert? I was dying for a bowl of salad, a steak, but no matter what I ordered I kept receiving treats instead. After my initial enjoyment of the elegantly served chocolate cake, I felt tired of mild flavors and wandered how come nobody else felt puzzled about this strange phenomenon. I was suspecting there was no real food available and the choices in the menu were fake. Just like our life in the Underground City! I was astounded by my own observations and appealed. What was wrong with me? I kept noticing more discrepancies. The gift shops were always temporarily closed, but there was never anyone to reopen it. No one minded at all. I stepped away from the Terminal, into a dark corridor. I stumbled upon a woman feeding cats. I have never seen so many cats all at once! They had to be some of the last living felines! People were afraid of cats and considered them to be a vermin like rats but worse. Extermination and lack of care whipped out almost all of them. I was not afraid of these creatures or the old woman. I walked over toward her – I wanted to talk to her. She got frightened at firs and then surprised.
You can see me – she said…
Of course, I can. Her question surprised me. But then, a young couple went by, they jumped at the sight of cats and run off … they didn’t even see us.
The woman expressed her love for the creatures and we talked for a while. She was very saddened about the way the life turned out and then she strolled away, loyally followed by her horde. Whatever she was feeding them, those weren’t the leftovers from our diner.
The Travel was a fairly advanced technology that most of us wouldn’t know how to explain, invented by the military, and adapted to serve as a sort of spiritual technology. It soon became a modern marvel, the way of life, and a saving grace.
Simply, a mind and body were jumped to another reality, an alternative universe where all the pleasures, adventures, and dreams could be realized and lived. Each time you travel, you’ve got to choose a new look to protect your identity and personal information – another great bonus!
The Travel was the name for the whole experience, your access to the Inner City, through the Jump, and the off-world adventures. We were transported to our chosen destination via vehicles called the traveler’s baskets – an uncomfortably tight little vessel. It holds only two people at a time in a standing position with little space for anything else. That ensures no one is smuggled in and out, and that nothing can be brought back – nothing more than mere sand on your feet. Anything you bought, build, found, stolen, in any of your visited realities had to remain behind if you were to come back safely. Following all the rules was critical.
I was here with my friend to do a go on a round trip, but that destination was no longer on my mind. The pictures of the occult rituals and the half-asleep people around me were burning a thousand questions in my soul. I wanted to know more. I was on fire. I needed to see how far does this lye spreads.
So I’ve done something no one ever has done before me – I’ve chosen the control rooms. I’ve traveled through many realities, unfolding the truth about the ways of control and enslavement of humanity. Yet at one point I found myself in a particularly beautiful place. I was mesmerized by the emerald mountains covered with deep dark forest, rapid rivers, waterfalls, the sun was perfect and the air crystal clear. It was heaven. I paused and pondered this magnificent beauty.
But what was that? A fire! The woods were ablaze and the flames were fast approaching. It was a huge devastating force rapidly swallowing all that existed.
This perfect place was about to become my grave, and I didn’t think it was a coincidence.
I was no longer an obedient member of society. But there was still some time to escape. I looked for my traveler basket ready to hop in, hoping I can leave before it’s too late. And just as I was about to take off I got knocked down by a man who appeared out of the blue and pushed me out of my vessel with a great force. That might have been the only basket around available. Normally, in a moment like that, the vehicles are guaranteed to be delivered to the omnipresent stations so the travelers can get back to the Terminal or to choose another destination. The man looked like he has been living in this place for quite some time. I’ve heard of such things. He was one of those people who broke the code and didn’t return to our reality. How long was he here 4 maybe 5 years? He needed the basket for his wife and a son. Still, I was furious that he would try to steal my vehicle and I punched him solidly. He tumbled down. More people started to gather in panic. The program was collapsing, the fires were devouring the land, and the return station still had no vessels available. I felt bad for the men, I punched him pretty good. I walked over to help him get up. He reached his hand out and looked me in the eyes. In that instant the recognition washed over both of us with such a force, I was almost knocked down off of my feet and the world around me swirled with great intensity. He was my long lost love. I was his.
We didn’t recognize each other of course. But the love we felt for each other was running deep and far in time and space. In a flash, we remembered our past lives together, our true love story, our deep connection on a soul level. We were to never find each other thanks to this artificially orchestrated separation, the debilitating distancing forced upon us and enslavement disguised as freedom of choice. We knew what we have to do. And we had to do it together. Time was running out. Finely many loads of baskets appeared, one after another, and people readily jumped away. I looked at my Man and my heart was breaking – we will part our ways again. We will look different next time, and finding each other will be close to impossible!
I will find you!
How? – I cried. He took my hand and placed in it beautiful green crystal.
This gem is found only on this planet, take it and hold it and don’t let it go. I will know it’s you when I see it.
Then we jumped.
I was back. A reality where the only thing that mattered was the Work and the Credits. It all seemed like an alien planet. I looked up, the sky was dark, a layer of smog and clouds created an impenetrable barrier. I could not even see the tops of the buildings. I’ve returned to this reality knowing exactly what to do. I knew I have to find him and bring all this shit down. I knew exactly what to do, where to go, and how to destroy this lye. I walked into a darkness to redial a destination and jump into the place where my love was. And then …
I woke up again…
…this time in this reality next to the men from my dream.
The fight goes on…