I died. No seriously, I died. I was on top of my dead body, lying motionlessly. Actually, I was seeing some twitches on my body. Another casualty from the devil itself, cars, the bringer of death. In front of my eyes, two big red words flashed:
For all I knew, I was in some hell of its own, forever resting among my dead body, doomed to my fate. Though, there was a helmet on my head, with wires and the sorts hanging all over. I heard a futuristic-sounding door make a ‘woosh’ behind me. Someone, whom I assumed rich because he was wearing a business suit, walked towards me. A little too casually for meeting someone who was essentially dead. “Good evening, Mr. Tes. I assume you have a lot of questions.”
He knew my name. I nodded.
“Okay, before you bombard me with it, let me brief you on what’s going on. You’re part of our military service, going into World War 5. The world you were just in was all a lie. It’s accelerated, and when you were supposed to die from old age in the ‘world’, you would have been ripe for digital inputs of training. However, there was a technical error which altered the order of all things. The person that was meant to perish was switched with you, so you’re about 5 years too early.” Wow. This is insane. What if I’m in another fake existence again, tested to see my loyalty. Too many questions, just let the man speak.
“Currently, you’re 20 in the 25-year project. We are currently setting up a replacement shell for you, to fill up the last 5 years.” I smirked, “As if I’m partaking in any more of this. I’m leaving.” Mr. Insane CEO informed me, “You can’t. This place is impenetrable, and as impressive in keeping people out. It’s more secure than a maximum-security prison.” I replied, “Yeah, but there’s one flaw that cracks open your plan.” He grinned, “And what would that be?” “I had free will within the stimulation. You didn’t brainwash me, and I chose to be in the special operations unit as my occupation.”
Finishing, I sprinted towards him, tackling him and putting him in a chokehold, strangling him. On Hindsight, it is somewhat embarrassing that I died on a car crash, instead of on a mission, though the car was malfunctioning. Soon enough, he stopped struggling, simply lying on my body. You could’ve sent a representative. I grabbed his access card, allowing me near-total control of this damn building. Except for the security. The alarm started wailing in seconds, blaring out commands, “Subject 30-402 has breached containment. Terminate.” Should’ve known. With such technology as to create an exact stimulation of life, at least they were on track of when their CEO died. I ran through the doorway, scanning my surroundings. Want to know my objective? It’s quite simple really. Survive. Wow, it’s a heaven for Scientists back in 2018. The future. Countless doors with keypads or card inserters. A laser-enforced grid that vaporizes anything it touches and requires a voice recognition to shut down. Well, there goes my intricately formed plan, which required a healthy dose of luck and everything to be on my side.
I went to a door named ‘30-401, Jos Lan’, unlocked the door with the keycard, and what I saw did not surprise me. A male with a helmet strapped to his head, a large screen showing what was happening in his head. However, one thing stood out. The environment he was in looked like the nineties, with old-looking clothes, and older looking people. I ripped his helmet off, which was the worst decision I could’ve made then. Instantly, he started foaming, his eyes bulging. Dying, for real now. At least, as real as I knew, which was none at all. I left him there, as I moved on to another room. ‘30-400, Alex Mason’. It seemed he was a military medic. Perfect. I carefully shut down the simulation, and I caught his falling body. After orientating himself to the surroundings, he asked, “where am I?” I replied, “welcome to hell, buddy. Don’t ask too many questions. I need your help, especially if I get shot.” “Whoa, you know I’m a medic?” I groaned, “Too many questions.”
I briefed him on what I knew, his past existence a lie and me escaping this facility. We observed the only direction we could go, the giant laser grid of death. We were stumped, and with the security getting closer by the second, I’ve just about lost all hope, until Alex gave me a good idea, “We could go by the ventilation system.” I was about to go along with it, just as another idea struck me, “They should have some system in place to prevent that.” Back to square one.
Suddenly, the grid shut down, and someone from the other side shouted, “Put your hands up!” Great. I whispered, “Fake the surrender.” Alex nodded. As they were about to put some terribly stereotypical futuristic handcuffs on us, I lashed out, striking the first guard in the throat, likely breaking his jugular. He dropped to the ground, gasping. The second guard started raising his rifle, when Alex tackled him, snapping his neck. Jeez. “Get their uniforms, we’re going to have to blend in.” Soon enough, we looked almost like the guards that had tried to capture us. We hid their bodies and made our way through the grid. “Does it seem odd that they didn’t put a tracker on their guards?” Alex replied, “Maybe, it might’ve been silent. We should be alert.” Well, that would have been what he said if he wasn’t shot through the chest mid-sentence.
Damn it. I held his falling body as a meatshield and used him to block the incoming bullet hell. Sorry. He took the first few bullets well, but on the thirty-something shots, he started tattering and the guards were relentless, spraying his body down. There were at least five guards, and sooner or later Alex’s body would start to crumble under the literal hundreds of bullets pelting on him. I raised the rifle I picked up from the first fallen guard and started spraying on them, taking down three. Swiftly, I shot the remaining two and started to run. I knew, if I wanted a chance to live, I needed more help. Meaning, I needed to shut down the helmets and convince every one of them to fight by me. I wish my team was here.