Just Like "Lost"

I woke and they were gone. Yohan  sat in a corner, staring at me. "For Pete's sake, man, can't you stay up for a few hours?"

I sighed. "It was a long day."

Yohan stood. "We should go to the messaging room today," he suggested. "Maybe ask for some early food-drop." He rummaged in our bags. " 'Cause we're out."

I scratched my head. "It was half-full yesterday-"

Yohan cut me off. "And that's why you should stay awake, eh?" His expression turned from a false, strained grin to hard stone. "They stole the chow. Along with any other freaking thing worth of value."

Oh, crap. Of course this was my fault. I had given Lisa and Jane the benefit of a doubt, and along with the fact I screwed up the first watch? Couldn't blame Yohan for blaming me. I stood up beside Yohan. "Then to the messaging room it is."

I hadn't gone to the messaging room for a month. Oh, this was gonna bring back memories.

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Lisa and I both got off the airplane and jogged into the airport. 

"Better hope the Langoliers don't catch you," I joked.

"What?" Lisa asked.

"Never mind," I said. Apparently she didn't get Stephen King reference.

As we both strolled towards baggage claim, we were stopped by three men. One was in a business suit with clear glasses, another in a turtle neck with jeans, and another guy with a leather coat on and sunglasses. The business suit guy flipped an I.D. card. "US gov. Are you  Ms. Lisa Smithson and Mr. Weismann Peare?"

"Call me Al," I corrected.

The man frowned. The turtle neck guy intervened. "Peare's middle name is Alfred. He goes by Al. He's the right guy." The man turned to us. "Hello, Ms. Smithson and Mr. Peare. Please, follow us. We've already collected your baggage."

"Before we go, I'd like to at least know your names," Lisa insisted.

"Sorry; totally forgot," the turtle neck guy apologized with a well-timed facepalm. "I'm Terrence Bates. Dr. Terrence Bates."

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 Well, Dr. Bates, let's see if you answer, I thought as I cautiously opened the door to the messaging room. It had the musty smell of an ill-used room. A fine layer of dust had settled over everything. There was a slight breeze of air as pressure equalized between the hall and the room.

"It's clear," I said with a heavy sigh, stepping inside.

"Good," Yohan said, following.

The place reminded me of the Lost underground chamber with that one computer module in the center, with other random equipment on the edges of the room that blinked and did random stuff. Except the computer was off, and all the equipment too.

Motion sensor detected me and suddenly everything whirred back to life. If computers can be alive.

Which, according to Dr. Bates, they can.

I waltzed to the center of the room and sat in the metal chair in front of the booting-up computer monitor. My fingers hesitantly rested on the keyboard. This is stupid. Nothing ever happens.

The messaging room had been set up as a means of rudimentary communication between the facility operators and us, the test subjects. The first few days we could strike up a little chat maybe. Then protocol changed, apparently. It became one-way: us to them. Couldn't even offer some freaking words of encouragement or something. After a while, everyone just gave up at it and didn't bother. That was about the time when this place began to turn to hell.

It booted up. There was a little green arrow to signal where to type. Otherwise, the screen was black. These guys really were some fans of Lost.

"Type," Yohan said. "Might as well, now that we're in here."

"Yeah," I said.

I have a little request, I wrote. Enter. My finger punched.

I waited a few moments. Nothing. You couldn't expect them to answer at all, much less be alert 24/7. I moved my fingers to type in the next line.

Then, it answered. This is Dr. Bates. We need to talk.

I really hadn't been expecting that.

The End

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