Blinding the Eye
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Halsey stared at the monitor, jaw agape in surprise. He gathered his wit and typed into the IM window.

"You aren't joking, are you?"

Even though he was not in the room with Doctor Edward Deny, he could feel the burn of his 'I'm always serious' stare. As if the man knew what Halsey was thinking, his next message appeared. "Before you argue that we and Quaesitor have always been on good terms, and have helped each other. Picture this, what do you think we could do with two Quaesitors, or a dozen, or a hundred?"

Halsey struggled momentarily with the moral dilemma before deciding that the needs of the Insurgency far outweighed the welfare of one artificial intelligence. "Okay, I'm in," Halsey typed, "just promise me one thing."

"Name it", came the curt response.

"We leave Martin out of this; you and I know better than most about Cad's relationship with her, and about his past. This would hurt him. She gives him hope, and I don't think even he could recover from losing that, not again." Halsey waited for what seemed to be an eternity, eventually coming to the conclusion Ed had just left his office without deactivating his terminal.

Halsey was about to close the service when another message popped up on the monitor. "Don't worry, I'll take care of Caduceus." Halsey was about to tell Deny not to do anything stupid, but by the time he had sent the message, Deny was long gone. Leaving Halsey typing to an empty chatroom, again. 'Honestly,' Halsey thought, 'does no one have the courtesy to hear me out anymore?' Closing the IM window, he opened up the file Deny had sent him, and started reading his role in Grimshire's master play.

Halsey paused in front of the door. Looking left down the all too familiar hall, with its six doors and stairwell in the back. 'Odd,' he thought, looking back and grabbing the handle. 'This is the last time I'll be down here. After drawing one last deep breath, and taking a swig of mountain dew to calm his nerves, Halsey twisted the knob and pushed the door open.

Closing the door behind him, Halsey sat in the lone chair and logged into the terminal. Quaesitor's uplink opened, and a female voice emanated from the console. "Good morning doctor." Quaesitor spoke through the speaker embedded in the terminal.

"Good morning, Quaesitor" Halsey replied, trying his best to sound normal.

"Is something wrong?" Quaesitor inquired, "I'm not detecting any incoming debris on my sensors, and you sound… different."

"Different?", Halsey said, stopping his work to turn to the microphone, "what do you mean?"

"Not so close," Quaesitor whispered harshly, exasperation evident in her voice. After Halsey sat back up in his chair, slightly red in the face she continued. "Marty is teaching me about human psychology. He was even kind enough to provide me with some psych files, yours was among them."

Halsey frowned, for a minute forgetting what he had come here to do; it was him just bantering with the AI like always. "Well 'Marty' isn't supposed to share that kind of information with you, haven't you ever heard of doctor-patient confidentiality?"

She laughed at that, "that's better," she said, "there's the Halsey I know."

As the embarrassment and color faded from his face, the reality of Halsey's purpose sunk back in. "For what it's worth, and it may not be much." Halsey started to say, building up a bit of courage. "I'm sorry; but the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or in this case, the one. Still, that doesn't mean I have to like this, I'm so sorry." With that Halsey closed his eyes, and pressed the upload key.

"Hold on." Quaesitor replied, slightly distressed, "you only quote that line when you are about to do something you don't want to, what is it?" She had begun to raise her voice, "What are you sorry abou- bou- bou- bou-."

The voice seized up and was replaced by an error tone. After a few moment that tone was replaced by the soft pattering of morse code. Halsey sighed dejectedly, apparently the program was overriding so much, Quaesitor had forgotten that most of the staff preferred English to the Morse code she shared with Caduceus. Halsey scanned the dots and dashes, confirming the code's effectiveness. Nodding briefly, he minimized the chat window, scanning the array of instruments in the wall he noted that she had already begun to descend. It wasn't much, but it was a start. Halsey started up the program that would wipe his digital footprint from the system. In forty five seconds, as far as anyone was concerned, he had never been down to Quaesitor control. Standing up, tucking in the chair, Halsey activated the radio Deny had given him. "Odysseus to Olympus, Polyphemus has been blinded, I repeat the eye is blind. We are go, Olympus." Pressing an abnormal button on the communicator's base, Halsey binned the device, which began to fizzle and spark in the metal receptacle.

Placing one hand on the handrail, Halsey stopped and looked back. Behind him lay the familiar corridor, with its six doors and stairwell. "Odd," Halsey spoke aloud, to no one in particular. "This is the last time I'll be down here." Taking one last moment to take it all in, Halsey looked forward and began to ascend the staircase, returning to the primary research wing of base four.


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