Ha Pi looked at the man, a scarecrow silhouette cloaked in white. It was the white worn by a doctor who isn’t quite in charge of his senses. A doctor too determined to wear the straitjacket that ethics places upon the pure essence of science. A doctor with intellectual integrity but who was all too human.
The doctor was standing next to a man seated in a chair made for exquisite pain, a chair that swallowed the night. It looked like a dentist’s chair but it came with leather straps and crooked teeth buckles. The man was securely fastened to the reclining chair and the rusty teeth buckles were breaking through his skin causing blood to spill out onto the floor. He was wearing some sort of virtual glasses with the letters “GRR” emblazoned on the front. Despite the pain he should have been experiencing, he looked quite contented except for the fact that he was drooling like a dog on a hot summer’s day. The man was Harvey.
Ha Pi turned his gaze from Harvey to the doctor in white and answered his question.
“No, my name isn’t Alex. My name is Ha Pi”
“Ooh, you are Happy…I can fix that."
A smile, reminiscent of rusty blades and tetanus, rippled over the doctor’s face.
" My name is Burgess Brodsky”
Harvey, moved slightly and uttered a sensual moan.
Ha Pi felt an odd twinge. It was a contact high. It was reminiscent of the times when his parents and friends would be stoned and Ha Pi would get a sense of euphoria. It was a creeping sensation. A twinge in the pit of his stomach. It was a true sense of joy. He hadn’t felt joy, or, at least, this kind of joy since… when? It was a sense of wonderment that a child has when discovering the world for the first time. The taste of ice cream, the smell of a hot chocolate on a cold night, the sound and sight of a crackling fire dancing in the dark night. These experiences etched a set of broad shoulders from out of the dark shadows. They bore the casket of mirth and tranquil purpose that filled Harvey with a sense of innocence.
Ha Pi motioned to Harvey.
“Who is that”
Dr. Brodsky lips curled into a chuckle caressing a stiletto of terror out of the white light.
“That is…You know what? I never had a chance to ask him. We just call him the engine.”
A shadow grew over Ha Pi. It accompanied the groan of metal and the smell of frightened little creatures scurrying in the dark. Ha Pi had felt this before, somewhere deep in his brain. A reflection fighting to get out. A memory deep in the forest where the dead were buried.
Ghost In The Forest
“Ha Pi De Cloun!”
Ha Pi turned to see an outstretched hand. Hands can tell a great deal about a person: their work, their passion and their innate being. This hand wreaked of sweltering humid rooms with the echoes of tortured moans, the kind of screams that peel the emotions off of your skin and has you aching for a drug induced coma.
“Name is Hugo Bones. I work for the US military.”
Ha Pi turned his gaze from Hugo to the doctor in the room.
“The US military? And this clown?”
Ha Pi was pointing at Dr. Brodsky, who had, like a cell, divided and now was two. There was Dr. Brodsky and an assistant who was standing next to Dr. Brodsky busy medicating Harvey.
Hugo wasn’t sure who Ha Pi was pointing at. In fact, he couldn’t remember who either one of them were or when they boarded the RV.
“Hey, you two. What are your names?”
Dr. Brodsky strode forward confidently to shake Hugo’s hands.
“Hello Hugo, my name is Dr. Burgess Brodsky and this is my assistant Dr. Antoinette Branom. We were sent here by Albert Lorentz.”
Hugo was a little perplexed and a slight miffed. Why wouldn’t Albert contact him about this.
“Really? Well, I would like to hear that from Albert.”
Dr. Brodsky put his hands in his pocket and gave a wry smile. It was the kind of smile that sucked all the mirth from the room causing your spine to buckle.
“Yes, communication was always going to be a problem when we are in a state of entanglement. The usual applications won’t work, because we aren’t on the network.”
“Well, Dr. Brodsky, how did you stay in contact with him? And, when and how did you get on this RV? This is my rig. I am the captain and I don’t like anomalies such as yourself and your assistant”
Dr. Branom was now spoon feeding a magic mushroom mash into Harvey’s mouth.
Harvey, who had a permanent smile reminiscent of the Grinch, swallowed it greedily and moaned.
“Yes, more SASHA…more.”
Hugo looked at the two doctors. At this point, he wanted to take their heads and squish out any information that they had like toothpaste from a tube.
“Who the fuck is SASHA?!”
Dr. Brodsky was either unaware or unafraid because he stood directly in front of Hugo.
“I understand this is your RV. We don’t want to take control of it. However, we need to increase the interface between GRRLS and Harvey. Harvey likes SASHA. If he prefers SASHA to GRRLS, it will help him interface with the program. Once he is fully integrated, he will start writing a deep learning program which we couldn’t possible design without this entanglement. I must ask you Hugo, let us do our jobs. If you leave us to our work, we will get Harvey to design a new application which we can use to interface with Earth’s network.”
“What the fuck are you on about?...Earth’s network! We are on the Earth!”
Dr. Brodsky looked at Dr. Branom and shrugged his shoulders and turned back to Hugo:
“I am not sure how to explain this Hugo, but we aren’t exactly on the Earth”
Hugo went to the front cabin where Chester was sitting. The RV, which was on auto pilot, was driving along a normal super highway. Sure, it was odd that they were the only vehicle on the road, but other than that, everything seemed quite normal.
“Chester, what do you see out the window?”
Chester, who had being sitting quietly through this whole process, had been looking out the window thinking as many of us do during a long trip to Oz or Disneyland. He turned to Hugo.
“I see a long highway. I see fields of green filled with wounded grass and weeping trees. I see a sea of blue sky staring at the monster in the closet much like a lonely child huddled in the darkness. I see the tear drop sun breathing a cold fire of indifference. I see the melting dreams of consciousness waiting…waiting for us.”
Hugo looked at Chester and then looked out the window. Hugo was fighting the desire to pull out “The Gun”. This wasn’t your standard issue Beretta M9. This was a special gift from his father and mentor Hugo Bones Sr. It had special rifling to propel the custom made hollow point terminator bullets. It was a fully automatic gun capable of firing 40 rounds per second in a hail storm of murder and mayhem. Hugo Bones loved this gun more than life itself and loved using it more than having sex.
“Holster your weapon, son”
The resonating voice of his father was the only thing holding him back from decimating his crew and starting over from scratch.
“It’s a fucking highway, Chester. Nothing more and nothing less.”
Hugo felt something he never feels, a sense of being out of control. He had been lost, dumbfounded, in a complete state of misunderstanding, but he had always been in control. He didn’t like this feeling. He looked at Ha Pi hoping he could help him find his way back into the saddle.
“Are you buying this shit”
Ha Pi, who had long given up on trying to understand reality, looked at Hugo with his vacant, I’m just waiting for death, eyes.
“Don’t ask me, pal. I haven’t been part of the Earth for quite some time.”