Name: Nnandez Godson Aniagudo
Description: A Nigerian revolutionary tries to free his people from a government mind control device.
I held my breath as a soldier walked right past me oblivious to my presence there. I felt my heart pounding in my chest and was almost sure the soldier heard it too. But then he walked right down the corridor as another was coming in his direction from the other end. I left my position on the wall and quickly made down the corridor towards the command centre. As I had done on the countless occasions we had practised for this, I counted the seconds in my head. I had counted twenty seconds now. In five more seconds, system admin 2’s session would be up and he would have to exit the command centre. Which would be my time to get in.
I counted down from five and, as expected, the electronic security doors that I had positioned myself beside slid open and the bespectacled system admin who, like the soldier before him, couldn’t see me, walked right past me and down the corridor. By this time, the soldier coming from the opposite end was already close. Before the doors could slide shut, I slipped through them into the command centre, taking a moment to glance behind me. The soldiers continued their patrol normally. I hadn’t been seen.
I padded into the command centre, trying to take in everything at once. It was exactly as Halial’s remote vision had shown. At the opposite end from the door I had just come through was a large screen that filled the wall. I could see charts on the screen but I didn’t know what they meant. I didn’t care. My focus was on the stand at the centre of the room on which a white object that looked like a helmet rested. Halial’s mind control device: The Cerebrio.
I took a step towards the Cerebrio. Nothing happened. Then I took another. Then another. Till I was within a foot of the white object. I wasn’t sure if I could take it. It would probably be secured one way or another.
“You are right” A voice boomed from all around me, startling me. “If you touched it, you would have triggered a nerve gas that would paralyse you instantly.”
Who was that? I wondered, alarmed. Was it Halial? How was he speaking to me?
“It is not your three eyed friend”, the voice boomed. “I am System Admin Zero.”
System admin zero? But there were only three and the numbering started from one. And Ade had sounded so sure about…
“Your friend knows only what I showed him. You know only what I allow you to. Even your three eyed friend can’t quite tell reality now that he is within my domain.”
What was it talking about?
“I know you’ve met Halial, the Ipsenshian, who returned for the Cerebrio he lost here when his craft flew by in 1978. He has also told you how he found out that the government of your country has been using it to control the minds of the people and prevent them from revolting. You intend to return the Cerebrio to Halial and free your people’s minds.”
So far, it had been strangely accurate.
“All that has happened and all you have seen are not real. You are still being controlled by the Cerebrio. We needed a means to capture the Ipsenshian and used you to great success.”
Halial? Captured? No……
“In ten seconds, the nerve gas will kick in. Your memory of the Ipsenshian, the Cerebrio and the command center will be wiped. You will remember nothing of all that has happened in the last month. You will go back to life as you know it and shall have no memory of this place whatsoever….”
No…it wasn’t possible. This wasn’t happening….
I heard a hiss as the nerve gas began to kick in. I covered my nostrils with my hands, still completely invisible but I knew I was still inhaling it. And sure enough, I began to feel woozy and disoriented. My legs felt weak and my knees buckled. Everything went black as I fell to the ground . I was unconscious.
My eyes opened slowly at the brightness before it. My laptop screen with the words “Mindless Control of Nigeria’s Resources and Peoples” printed across a document editor page I had been typing. I yawned and stretched. How long had I been asleep? Then I remembered. So it was just a dream. Yet it seemed so real. Just a dream.
Or wasn’t it?