xJAYMANx > Sub-Matrix
* 3 *
The next day, I was instructed to take on another chase... another part of the cold city, but the same escapees... Outside the Alcove Road supermarket, an old woman in a long grey coat noticed a black sportscar screech out of the snow-plowed parking lot. Bracing for the searing agony, I transformed the woman-- or did I? I don't remember...
The next thing I knew, I was blinded by light-- an overwhelmingly bright white light. So bright! (-- Did the pain knock me out? --)
"No," a clear female voice answered my thought. It seemed to come from all directions at once -- from the left, the right, forward, behind, above, and below -- but it wasn't deafening.
I was confused. "No... what?"
"No, the pain didn't knock you out," she said. "We brought you here."
"The Analysis Construct," a deeper male voice responded. "We brought you here temporarily to analyze your malfunction."
"Malfunction? What malfunc-- You mean my arm?"
"Not exactly. But yes, the symptom is demonstrated in your arm and hand, specifically during transformation."
"I know," I said, and looked to my hand. (-- Huh? --) But it wasn't there.
The male voice seemed to read my thoughts. "Your virtual body has been temporarily disconnected during the analysis. The analysis of your primary program will be complete in a few moments."
The moments seemed like hours. And then--
I was instructed to take on another chase... another part of the cold city, but the same escapees... (-- What a second! What's going on? --)
Outside the Alcove Road supermarket, an old woman in a long grey coat noticed a black sportscar screech out of the snow-plowed parking lot. (-- Deja vu --)
Bracing for the searing agony, I transformed the woman-- (-- Why is this happening again? --)
And there was no pain. No pain. No pain at all.
I pulled out my weapon (-- everything seemed so slow --) and with a renewed focus, I aimed at the driver through the driver-side window. I squeezed the trigger. The gun fired. The glass shattered into a thousand slow-dropping pieces. And a thousand drops of slow-flying blood splattered the inside of the windshield.
The sportscar skidded and smashed its passenger side into a parked pickup truck. With the passenger door jammed against the crashed truck, I aimed at the trapped escapee. She pulled out her weapon and shot at me.
The bullets floated towards me, one by one (-- they seemed so slow --), and I easily dodged them. Walking up to her, step by step, I kept my aim. In her helplessness, she put down her empty gun, and raised her gloved hands in surrender.
Just an arm's-length from her skull, I kept my aim. I squeezed the trigger.