Swapna's Subtle Subterfuge

Elizabeth followed Anya to the buffet style food serving area. She picked up a tray at the end, and continued on down the line. Elizabeth had a lot of questions to ask, but Anya was too far ahead. She was also too busy choosing an entree to speak to just then.

When they had chosen their meals, Anya led her to a small table that would only fit two diners. Elizabeth appreciated the privacy so that she could find out just what was going on before she went to the examination.

"I have a lot of questions. First off, who is Daria?' Asked Elizabeth.

"She's our top examiner. She's tough, but she's fair."

"Define tough, better yet, define fair."

Anya laughed. "She'll just ask questions that will determine how high your I.Q. is. I know you've already been tested, but you've only been rated by what was considered "normal" parameters. No one here is normal. You wouldn't even be here unless you had already tested well above Albert Einstein."

"So what happens when my I.Q. has been established?" Elizabeth began to eat her meal. She hadn't realized how hungry she was.

"You'll be asked to solve some manual, mental, physical, and psychological puzzles. From those results your applicable aptitude will be determined."

"You mean, what am I good at, and how can Jason use it to his best advantage?" Elizabeth said bitterly.

Every time she thought about Jason she got mad at him. she couldn't for the life of her figure out how she would eventually end up married to him.

"Well, more or less, I guess. You're just given tasks that will best utilize your abilities." Anya said as she stood up and collected her tray.

"I think I just said that," Elizabeth said irritably as they deposited their trays in an an upright tray receptacle.

"You really should try Yoga," Anya commented as they walked towards the door. "You'd be surprised how well it keeps down those nasty moods."

As they left the kitchen area, Elizabeth noticed that there were vast areas of grass and flowers. There were a number of large stone and brick buildings that ranged around these green areas.  Now she knew why they called this place "The Campus."

It looked just like one of those famous Ivy League universities. The only thing that differed was the wide open sky. There was none. There were just large expanses of glass or Plexiglas domes. The entire campus was indoors.

Anya led her up a set of wide stone steps that had a high open archway at the top. There was no door. They passed through a  marble floored foyer with potted plants and comfy divans scattered here and there.

They entered a  hallway with hardwood floors and paintings that appeared to be done by old masters, along both walls.

"This is the gallery," Anya said. "All of these paintings were done by our residents. A couple of them are mine."

Elizabeth nodded and tried not to look anxious about the upcoming examination. She didn't know why she was nervous, she had always tested well, but she didn't trust Jason. She didn't know what his plans were. This examination could be just a way to fry her brain, for all she knew.

Anya opened the oak door and walked in. The room looked like a living room . There was a 52 inch flat screen T.V. hanging on the wall like a painting. It was currently turned off. There was a sectional couch and a coffee table, and a couple of easy chairs with foot stools.

A young woman about 5 foot 5inches tall, with long brown hair greeted them as they entered.

"Hello, Anya, nice to see you again. Hello Elizabeth, I'm Daria. Have a seat and we'll get to know each other a little before the examination. Anya, I'll see you later."

Anya nodded and left. Elizabeth followed Daria to the sectional couch.

"Give me your hands, please." Daria said, presenting her own hands, palms up.

Elizabeth placed her hands in Daria's and immediately noticed a slight tingling sensation. Puzzled, she looked at Daria, who was staring at her intensely.

"All you have to do is answer my questions without removing your hands," Daria instructed.

Elizabeth nodded, still puzzled. Every time she moved or dallied on a thought, her hands would tingle a little.

 "Now we begin."

 Daria started out with a few simple quantum physics questions which Elizabeth answered easily. Then she went on to more complex problems involving the folding of space and time. This  was called creating a wormhole, which is what Elizabeth thought of as a black hole in space.

After about an hour of questions that Elizabeth had  no trouble answering, Daria turned her body toward the flat screen T.V. hanging on the wall. When Daria moved, both pairs of hands did not lose contact, so Elizabeth was forced to move sideways too.

The T.V. was now turned on, and the screen was filled with a multicoloured spiral that pulsed in and out with music that pulsed in and out as well.

Elizabeth tried to look away, but couldn't.

"What is the full layout to this campus?" Daria asked.

Elizabeth's mind immediately filled with sophisticated blueprints that scrolled down through her mind's eye like a page on a computer. As soon as the blueprints reached the end, she could see  them roll up into a giant tube and disappear.

As the tube disappeared, her hands tingled, almost burned. Daria asked another question that Elizabeth didn't think she knew the answer to, but did. Somehow the answer popped into her mind, and disappeared. Again her hands burned.

After this process had occurred twice more, Elizabeth realized that Daria was somehow transferring information from  Elizabeth's brain to her own through their hands. The information that she didn't know she had, was probably all of the material that she had downloaded from Swapna.

Daria wasn't frying her brain, she was sucking it dry!!

With herculean effort, Elizabeth tore her eyes from the mesmerizing screen, and pulled her hands away from Daria's.

Daria closed her finger's around Elizabeth's wrist, but she jumped backwards. Daria gave a high pitched squeal as her hand came off!

Elizabeth was a few feet from the door when she realized that she was still holding one of Daria's hands! She stopped dead in her tracks, and stared dumbly at it for a second. She screamed and threw it on the floor.

As soon as the hand hit the surface, it began to crawl quickly back to Daria's wrist, which now had a number of sparking and sizzling wires hanging from it.

"Wha...  what are you ?" Elizabeth choked on the words, completely flabbergasted.

"I'm an android."

Daria calmly  began to twist her hand back on. The wires of the hand and the wrist fused together as soon as they touched each other.

 "Jason programmed you to suck out my brain!" Elizabeth shouted at her.

"No he didn't," Daria replied. " Swapna did."

The End

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