The Intelligence Machine
by Rod Hamon
Using false documents, I took on a new identity and relocated to a motel in a small country town. Just a few days later, I learned from the radio that fire had destroyed Dmitri’s laboratory. I had escaped just in time.
To avoid any chance of Lucas’ tracing me, I closed my bank account and cancelled my credit cards. After just two weeks in the town, I decided to move elsewhere, knowing that I must do everything possible to distance myself from my enemy.
As I travelled from one place to another, I never stopped being amused by the naive behaviors of the people I observed, like those I passed in the street. Their body language and demeanor exposed so clearly their primitive passions and motives. Their attempts to disguise these primordial instincts by shallow deception were laughable.
I continued to be amazed by my new abilities: to think intuitively now by visualizing concepts and organized patterns of experience, rather having to plod laboriously through information. It was as if my eyes had been opened to the real world where I had instant understanding of the things I was seeing.
I recalled Daniel Tammet’s skill in performing complex calculations in his head. I could now do this with any task and I was eager to put my new abilities to real use. Nevertheless, I was well aware of my first priority: Lucas.
Since I knew the full workings of Dmitri’s brain-enhancing equipment, I decided to set up my own so that I could continue the transformation of my brain. After all, my intelligence would, in the end, be my most deployable weapon against Lucas. My only concern was that the enhancement process might ultimately cause me damage. How will I know if this happens? Do the insane know they’ve gone mad?
Aware of the danger I faced, I decided it best to find out where Lucas was, rather than waiting for him to find me. However, the very next day, I was awakened by the phone.
“Martin, this is Lucas,” he said, as if addressing a close acquaintance.
“Where are you?” I responded, aware that he was unlikely to tell me.
He laughed. “What’s important, Martin is that I know exactly where you are. By the way, if you’re thinking of tracking this call, don’t bother. You can’t.”
“I’m sure you wouldn’t make it that easy!” I replied.
“In a way, I am making it easy for you now by speaking to you, but this is where my benevolence ends. Goodbye, Martin.”
What’s he playing at? Is he preparing to strike? I thought.
It had now become even more urgent that I locate him quickly, but I was curious. Why didn’t he simply kill me, then? The only conclusion I could reach was that he was getting some cruel pleasure out of harassing me.
This new danger led me to take further protective measures. I hastily prepared new identity documents and dismantled my equipment. I packed my travel bag, collected essentials, and found a new hiding place.
My new motel was even more drab and depressing than the last, but I hoped my stay would be only temporary. A reputable cosmetic surgeon agreed to make changes to my appearance in exchange for valuable information on future trends in the stock market. At my request, he changed those characteristics that were most recognizable to computerized facial recognition software. Of course, I wasn’t ignorant of the fact that Lucas would be doing similarly.
Searching the Web for recent scientific discoveries seemed like a possible starting point for locating him. In particular, I was looking for research papers that revealed a fundamental step forward in human understanding — something that was clearly the work of a genius.
Several research articles caught my attention, but I quickly dismissed them. Lucas’ projects would be truly outstanding — something way beyond the capability of a “normal” individual. I felt discouraged. This isn’t going to work.
Then, just as I was about to turn away from the computer, I noticed the article: “Spectacular advances in Gestalt higher order cognitive processes.” Although the article was authored by someone else, I knew it was Lucas’ work.
The next day, I made my way to the research institute referred to in the article. An inquiry at the entrance desk directed me to an office on the seventh floor.
When I arrived, I found the office door wide open. Inside, a man sat with his back to me, working at a desk. My attuned perceptions immediately recognized him: the radiant energy coming from a unique brain. It was Lucas.
He continued working, so I tapped on the open door. Without turning, he spoke calmly, but with amusement in his voice. “You’ve taken a long time finding me, Martin!”
I was speechless.
He rose to his feet and turned slowly, his cold gleaming eyes penetrating right through me. The message was clear: I was to be terminated.
As I focused my thoughts on him, I could sense that he was also probing the depths of my mind, but he was confused. Like every other psychopath, it was impossible for him even to begin to comprehend moral values like selflessness, generosity, empathy, and kindness. Nonetheless, it was clear that he was adept at manipulating others and would show no remorse for his actions; guilt was an attribute entirely foreign to him. Defending myself from this brilliant yet dangerous man would be a colossal task.
The battle of minds began. We communicated not verbally but by thought, ideas flowed backward and forward between us at light-speed. Each of us listened to each other’s thought conversations while simultaneously replying to previous ones. At the same time, we analyzed each other’s response and motivations. There could be no surprises since we were each able to foresee where these conversations were leading and the final outcome.
In an attempt to protect myself, I tried to enact a thought barrier and was still considering this when an agonizing pain struck me between my temples. My vision became blurred and the light began to fade. What’s happening to me? What’s he done? Is he moving in for the kill?
Lucas reveled in gaining strength out of my weakness.
What weapon has he used? I must find out before I lose consciousness. With strength rapidly draining away, I fought to maintain some control. An analysis of my physiological systems revealed that the major blood capillaries feeding my brain had become constricted. Although I had no idea how he’d done this, I used my biofeedback skills and hastily relaxed these capillaries to increase the flow of blood and oxygen to my brain. My recovery was immediate; I felt clear-headed again.
Lucas was plainly surprised that I had overcome his attack so easily and lowered his mind-shield like a defeated boxer dropping his guard. The steady flow of information coming to me from his brain told me that he was confused and almost childlike in his frustration as he searched for a new mode of attack. For a few moments, I gloated over my success. It had been so easy. I laughed.
Then, without warning, I felt excruciating pain again! Unable to breathe, I battled to remain conscious. I was powerless. Damn it, why was I so gullible! My life force was being drained from me — I was dying. In desperation, I focused on trying to stop the onslaught, but there was a wall of protection around his mind.
Instinctively, I fought to remove myself from his influence. “That won’t work, Martin,” I heard him say. His words reminded me that I was dealing with a psychopathic super-genius who would delight in seeing me suffer.
It occurred to me at that instant that if I failed, this man would become the most despotic ruler the Earth had ever experienced. No dictator in all history would compare with the terror this man would bring to humankind.
Although my power was sinking away fast, I knew I must align every fiber of my body, every neuron in my brain, into a laser-like beam and direct it at him.
“I suggest you stop doing that, Martin,” was his response.
While my body had become partially paralyzed, I knew I must not give in: failure would mean instant death. The fragile bones of my skull seemed ready to burst open as I concentrated like never before.
In my mind, I heard Lucas’ voice again, “Martin, that may have worked with Dmitri, but it won’t work with me.”
He spoke again, but I detected in the nuance of his words the hint of alarm, “If you continue with this, you will only harm yourself, Martin.”
In a muffled groan, I replied, “I’m moved by your concern, Lucas. Maybe you do have a heart after all!”
He laughed loudly. “Believe me, Martin, you and I are not that much different: our brains are wired exactly the same.”
I ignored this ridiculous idea. Then, to my surprise, he said, “Maybe there’s a... compromise, Martin.”
“Yes. We could divide the Earth into two dominions, with each of us rulers.”
I was amused. Does he seriously think he can become the ruler of the Earth? Nevertheless, the thought lingered. I reasoned that with his knowledge of medical science, he could probably sustain his life for millennia and, with that, gain financial dominance of the planet. If Bill Gates can, so can Lucas: he’s ambitious enough.
Though skeptical of his suggestion, I considered it wise to play along, so I replied, “Remove your force from me and I will do the same.”
Relief! The pain had ceased. I had control of my body and mind again. I relaxed my protective shield and at the same time probed into the recesses of his mind, searching for any indication that he may be planning to trick me again. I had learned my lesson and continued to scan his brain for signs of preparatory action. Nothing.
For some time, I continued my surveillance, and then I detected a small, but unusual, impulse being transmitted along a synapse joining two neurons. It didn’t cause me concern, but I remained attentive. A few moments later, I observed it again: a signal fired from one brain cell to another and I recognized it as the beginning of a sequence: the birth of a thought — a thought that would very likely result in another attack.
* * *
My surprise attack on him was so sudden that he was caught off guard. I heard the crash of glass, followed by a scream and sensed that his life force had ceased.
I rushed to the gaping hole in the laboratory window and looked down. Lucas’s broken body lay on the road, seven floors below. No emotion stirred within me.
It was then that I felt something new in my veins: the realization that I had inherited from my father the very trait that had brought me such pain. My thoughts intrigued me. Ultimate power — control over every human on the planet. Should I feel guilty?
I laughed. Why should I? Who the hell’s going to stop me?
Copyright © 2012 by Rod Hamon