Mind of a Man

Set When It Is Convenient For It To Be So

Plisken silently looked down at the ground at his feet, a glass window into the lives
of the inmates below. His glass cage was suspended above the main dining area of the prisoners, or one of them at least. While it was impossible to get a sense of scale from within, this station felt large. It gave an eerie stomach turning feel that came when standing in large rooms - which was strange since Plisken currently found himself in a 10’ by 10’ by 10’ glass cube.
Below, amongst the throngs of guilt and innocent, Plisken’s gaining eyes were just able to pick out the shapes of his friends, although all he could do was silently watch them from within his cold box.
That cold… it was that strange cold from before, a heavy coldness that seemed to cling and drip from every surface, punching at you instead of cutting like a natural cold. Although there was little he could do about it since there was unlikely to be a thermostat around but also because Plisken was incapable of moving. This whole ‘Life without Life’ bollocks was pretty annoying. The contraption that Plisken was hooked up to was more or less a life preservation dock, something the rich and famous of Earth of old might have used to keep themselves alive for a little longer. And it worked, for the most part. Although it did prevent many things, like being able to move. It not only removed any need to drink, sleep, eat or breathe, it prevented you from doing so.
“Quite the masterpiece, isn’t it Commodore?” came a sinisterly cold voice from behind him. Slow and heavy footsteps echoed throughout the cube, a heavy bombardment on the silence that had prevailed over the air. Slowly the figure of Lindstrom emerged in the corner of Plisken’s eye, the tall, lean man clad in his dark robes pacing around the harness. “Yes,” continued Lindstrom, clearly in love with his own voice, “A relic from an older time, much like yourself. It has no use now, except for you.”
Plisken tried to look up and produce some witty remark but it was impossible. Somehow Lindstrom sensed the old man’s desire to talk and gave a curt nod to Jeremy, the Heart-Face Robot that had been standing guard over Plisken before the trial. The robot was already moving to a set of controls at the back of the harness before Lindstrom had nodded and was hurriedly pressing buttons. There was a clunk and Plisken’s head was released from a metal grip.
“Well?” Lindstrom said with a dark smile.
“You’re looking good Lindstrom, for a man that should be dead,” Plisken’s voice groaned as he stretched his neck.
“That last time we met you shot me.”
“That was the first time we’d met.”
“Oh, so what happened the last time?”
“We only met once.”
“Oh, that’s right. It was your daughter I met the second time.”
“Emily?” Plisken muttered quietly, although his voice wasn’t heard.
“So, I’m in possession of the greatest criminal in the universe. The committer of the Class A Crime. So tell me: what is it.”
Plisken laughed, he’d heard this nearly his whole life. “Haven’t you figured it out yet?”
“What?!” shouted Lindstrom angrily.
“Hm, never mind. You’ll get it eventually, they all will.”
“No, no, no, no, you tell me now. I might even tell you where your daughter is.”
“You don’t know where she is. If you did, I wouldn’t be her-“. There was a dull thud and the harness locked Plisken’s head back in position.
“I’ll be back when you want to talk,” Lindstrom said and strode out of the room.

“Well, did we get it?”
“No, sir.”
Two portly men sat in a small room, a large screen dominating the wall. It displayed the room that Plisken was in, along with a readout of his vital signs.
“Damn it, that man must have a mind of steel. No-one has ever withstood the Path Field. “
“Gentlemen?” asked Lindstrom, opening the door to the room and staring angrily at the two men.
“Sorry, sir!” the both exclaimed. “We got nothing.”
“Damn. We’ll try again tomorrow. I must know what the crime was.”

I bet he won’t come back thought Plisken.
“He will,” responded Jeremy.

“Damnit, the robot is going rogue, sir!” said one of the men in the room, his fingers flying across some keys.
“Man, why do we even bother using these things. The always pick up thoughts as words.”

So, you can hear me then?
“Of course,” came Jeremy’s buzzed reply.
Well be quiet then.

“Phew, seems we managed to shut it up.”
“It might be too late, the old man will definitely know we are watching him now.”
“I think he always knew. Should I report this to Lindstrom?”
“No, let’s keep this from him.”
“But –“
“No, remember what happened to Michael when he got Lindstrom Earl Grey instead of Green?”
“You know, I haven’t seen Michael in a long time, probably the day before that.”

Somewhere deep within the complex, in one of the many cells that lines the walls of the station, sat Jamie. He had his back turned against the cell door, his body hiding what has in his hands. The skilled hands deftly danced around some small mechanical parts and slowly a device took shape. He gave a sigh of relief and a smile snapped onto his face as he looked at the finished product. It may not have been much to look at cosmetically but it hopefully wound do the job well. A delicate figure tapped the device and it powered up, a dangerous noise quietly humming as the motor of a mining drill began to spin. With luck, the device would be sending out a high frequency wave across the station, being picked up by one man.

In his cell, Plisken felt a slight twinge in his arm. It was impossible to know for sure how long he had been in here but felt like days since he had felt something other than the coldness of the room, the telepathic field that blanketed his world. The twinge came again, like it was tapping against the metal of his arm. It almost seemed like Morse Code!
Plisken listened for a minute, not that he could do much else. It seemed to say: “What’s up, Jamie.”
Plisken smiled, he hadn’t been forgotten after all. There was only one way he could talk back and that was to use the only part of his body that was active: his mind. He put all his concentration into one thought (he would have closed his eyes if he could). Then there was a bang.

Plisken found himself in a familiar place, a seemingly endless white plane that stretched in all corners. This was Plisken’s ‘front garden’. Or at least that is what he would call it. It was the buffer of his mind, an area that existed between outside and inside his thoughts. It had been the battle ground of several fights, although the remains of them were faded and clouded underneath the ankle deep fog that clung to the ground.
“What the?” said Jamie as he stumbled around trying to get his bearings.
“Nice of you to drop by,” said Plisken with a smile.
“Drop by?” said Jamie slowly as he stared at Plisken in disbelief.
“Welcome to my mind.”
“Oh my…”
“Indeed. We’re through the looking glass now. I’m only able to show you this through the telepathic field in my cell. Come we shouldn’t linger here, I tend to forget things in the buffer.”
A tall red door appeared, out of no where it seemed. It was as plain as plain could be yet, in this unreal and frightening place, it was the strangest thing. Plisken pushed the door open to reveal another endless white plane. But this was different. As the two men stepped through the door and over the threshold, they were able to see all of Plisken’s mind, or at least the parts he hadn’t locked away.
Jamie looked around in marvel, taking in all the strange, strange things. Dominating the ‘sky’ was a large eye suspended above the ground, although it was hidden behind a large ring of metal.
“It’s the people trying to read my mind,” Plisken explained as he followed Jamie’s gaze, “It is easier to think of them as one large thing than what they really are.”
Jamie allowed his eyes to break away from the eye and they travelled around the plane. It was a mess of different objects all thrown around. In the near distance, just within dashing range, was what looked like a library but the doors were flung open and books were littered all over the place. There was also a cinema, an old ‘40s style cinema. A large workshop was sandwiched between these two buildings and it looked reasonable well used although the technology was slightly dated. In what felt like the centre was a long mahogany table flanked by man chairs. A red pillar box also stood close by. But the most interesting feature by far was a great sea of black that pooled around the cinema, great glooping black wave lapping at the walls. Plisken’s mind was very strange.
“Listen Jamie,” said Plisken once Jamie had stopped his eyes from swivelling around in wonder, “It is imperative that we escape from this place as soon as possible. I have a view over much of the complex. My cage moves from place to place occasionally to serve as a warning to other inmates. With that and this mental connection into the systems, I’m sure we can engineer a plan. Tell the others, we must escape before Lindstrom finds out.”
“Finds out what?”
Jamie began to fade as Plisken broke the mental connection between the two, leaving Plisken alone with his thoughts.

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