Chapter 2: The Ω Institute

reality check-cHis name was Ruggam and he had an unusual cellular configuration; he was a human being written by the will of 46 arcane chromosomes. According to the numerous test results, his fierce and implacable army of bubbles had been invaded by deadly bits of ribonucleic information.

Was it the result of evolution? It seemed like there was a microbiological war going on. He’d never know for sure, it was another absurd coincidence in the infinite series of events that allowed him to live.

The lugubrious optimism in his attending physician was enough motivation to start his own bibliographical review. After he consulted the sciences developed by those who came before, he ratified the news: 93% of his cosmic experience was already over. His expiration date was approaching with demonic celerity; supposing the average evil spirit:

  1. Exists
  2. Is capable of faster-than-light travel (among other malignant abilities)

He was alone in a big house that was no home. He loathed every single technological application, including ELISA. After closing the electric circuit hidden in the walls, a tungsten resistance began to glow within each light bulb.

I’m finished” – Ruggam thought as he scanned his ugly facial features in front of the mirror. He interpreted the face reflected by the rectangular crystal as that of an upset and dazzled Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

Since he was a teenager he considered himself someone incomparably special and he finally had solid evidences that justified his arrogant belief. He was part of a very eclectic club that only produced three million memberships on a global scale per year. His official membership arrived later than he would’ve liked, but now he knew which statistical minority included him and, unfortunately his place wasn’t with the geniuses or the long-lived.

Life’s message was clear enough: “fuck off with your stupid dreams of shit”. There would be no becoming senile while submerged in entheogens. Swarms of nameless babies? Never. He would not become the owner of skyscrapers and international firms. Goodbye to his harem of marvelous and mute monozygotic twins.

Soon the carbonic reasons he had to believe in his own existence would be decomposing 6 feet under… IF they got rid of his corpse –ignoring who, calculating when– in the traditional fashion in that time and place.

Would his swollen carcass deserve a funeral, or would it be chopped apart by a blind robot? Would taxidermy be considered? Lately he couldn’t answer most of the questions formulated in his cerebral cortex.

He’d known about his ill fate for a week. He briefly considered giving up on his normal routine to dedicate himself to ludic activities, but once he accepted he was about to experience death, having fun was not ok. Besides, he knew he was an unregenerate sinner that deserved every infection in the book.

The medical wizard mentioned how most people die ignoring when the countdown of their last 1000 breaths begun. Nobody is ready to receive unsuccessful cardiopulmonary resuscitation maneuvers. Thousands more marched firmly towards the same circle of hell and only a handful of folks got to know how much time was left.

What a luxury!

Knowing he’d die soon invalidated his previous priorities. Suddenly it was impossible to ignore the ineffable affability in every ecosystem. His recently revived conscience was unbearable. He wanted it to be just a nightmare, he didn’t have the resources necessary to avoid the psychological self-flagellation.

He had more than a decade of experience as a hit man. His hands were stained permanently by other people’s blood. Blood he’d shed for money. He’d killed a colossal crowd in the name of affluent conspirators in whose presence he’d never been. Nukes, guns, knives, everything was at his disposal. His generous bosses rewarded him with huge amounts of virtual silver that –up until that week– had sustained vivid illusions of absolute well-being.

In spite of the saddening contents of his lucubrations, he was surprised by the rush of emotions. He’d sworn his difficult upbringing had permanently desensitized him. Had he regained his soul? Not by a long shot, but it certainly was a start.

His shift was about to begin, his reflection disappeared when he turned off the lights. With dilated pupils he walked a path he had memorized. He left his mansion earlier than usual because he wanted to drive slowly and contemplate a world that no longer welcomed him.

He entered the stable where his means of transportation were napping. These were the possessions he’d miss the most (despite cursing the birth of the scientific method). A red internal combustion pony car vigorously neighed once Ruggam injected gasoline in 6 of its 12 throats. Ignoring the potential horsepower under the hood, he made his way towards the road. The speed-o-meter indicated less than 20% of the output was being used.

According to him, it was too late to rectify his path. Any altruism from this point on would be pretentious hypocrisy. He was tired of feeling sorry for himself and frankly he never had any reason to assume himself indestructible.

The seriousness of these news didn’t alter his perfect assistance record. The Anonymous Society assigned him to this project because there were enough stars on his file.

He enjoyed his job as nocturnal overseer at the institute. Ruggam had been trained in a similar facility a long time before. His job was to supervise the guards, these students were highly valued by The Anonymous Society. They couldn’t let their guard down, despite being on an island that wasn’t on the maps. There were several underground organizations with which TAS waged a secret war the media didn’t talk about.

The Anonymous Society had conducted social experiments for more than 3 centuries; by now they already knew what traits to look for in an effective and obedient warrior. The racial variety in the Omega Institute was a faithful reflection of the amount of power TAS had.

Though he drove as slowly as he could, the 100 km. displacement felt very brief. He parked in the usual spot and smiled when he remembered what a full moon implied in this school. He made a brief detour to punch in and have the electronic judge emit its certificate of Ruggam’s punctuality. He didn’t want his own supervisors to notice something was different.

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