Sunday, 20 November 2011

Chapter 28 - Learning to focus

We shared breakfast in the morning and while eating the full English I gave the Friar my answer. ”I will do this job for you, when do we get started?”

“Soon.” He replies “First we must locate the target and when we have Lazarus you can do your thing. In the meantime we have planning and you have preparation  to do.”

I finished chewing the mouthful of egg and bacon, washed it down with a gulp of sweet  tea. “Preparation? “ I ask. “What preparation do I need?”

Ah, that odd little smile again.

“You’re about to try to break into the mind of probably the most powerful person on the Earth. You have remarkable strengths, but your gifts are unrefined. Using relatively simple methods we are able to confine you.”

“Have you been able to enter my mind since you met me?”

He knows the answer, I don’t bother to reply and continue with my breakfast.

“Have you been able to travel with your mind beyond the walls of your cell?”

Again I do not need, or bother to reply.

“As a Champion you should be able to breach either of these barriers. We know you have the strength, now we have to give the technique to match. If you can’t enter my mind then you have no chance with his.”

“Now I know what you are thinking.”

I’m sure that he does.

“You are thinking that once you have the skills you can then force your way out of our custody and break the deal.”

Ok, maybe he does know what I’m thinking.

“I think it is fair that you should now that while you were being transported here, a devices was implanted in your body. It is a simple tracker that is continuously being monitored. No-one here knows where it  has been placed. The people monitoring your location are at a different facility and we have no direct contact with them. Should they see you moving beyond the parameters that we allow then a team will be dispatched to take you down.”

“This time there will be no attempt to capture or restrain you. A sniper will take you down from a mile away without you even knowing the bullet is on its way.”

I contemplate this for a moment and then nod in understanding.

The Friar continues. “Now we know that you may be willing to take this chance, so you should also be aware that the whole team that you will be operating with have the same skills as Hammond or myself. You will be able to subdue some of us, but not all of us quickly enough to escape”

I can see that they’re taking a big risk with me, they would rather have spent more time breaking me down, making me more pliable before using me. They don’t have that luxury and that is to my advantage, but now is not the time. I’m actually quite interested to see what I can find in the mind of this Lazarus.

The real danger will come when we are done, if they have no further need then they will take me down immediately. Friar Francis isn’t stupid so he will know that I suspect this. I think we both have interesting times ahead.

So that morning the Friar begins my training.

“To master the ability you have, you need to learn two things. The first is how to measure the power you project. You need to learn how to control it.. The second is how you can use symbols to focus the ability.”

“You’re already on your way to mastering the first problem. In the short time we have known you, the force that you put into your ability has changed. You have learned to probe, to tease before charging in with all your might. We’ll help you develop that further. To do this we’ll give you some items that you can practice against.”

He places a box on the table in front of me. “Inside this box is an item, I want you to tell me what is inside the box.”

I look at the box, the wood has been well polished, and it is dark and rich. I can see no ornamentation or markings of any kind on the box. I reach forward to touch it and the Friar snaps, “Do not touch the box! Examine it only with your mind.”

I lean back in the hard chair and expand my awareness, it wraps around the box. I can feel the barrier that encloses the box, fractionally larger than the box itself. I probe at the box, rippling my presence against it. The barrier feels uniformly smooth all around it. I press against it, but I can feel no give in it.

“I can see you have surrounded the box with your awareness. “ The Friar says. “You can feel that it is a single item, there are no gaps, or weaknesses. Try again to find a blemish.”

With my mind, like finger I rub over the barrier. Even at the edges it feels smooth.

“You’re seeing things as you would with your eyes, they are big and clumsy. Focus only on feeling the barrier, but make the probe much smaller than your finger. The nature of the universe is that nothing is perfect, it is the imperfection that you seek.”

The probe from my mind shrinks, I try not to visualise the box. Closing my eyes, I build the mental of the box with only what I can sense with the probe. It still feels smooth as glass.

“Focus smaller. Nothing is solid, there is a gap to be found in everything. The denser the shield, the smaller you need to become to find the gap. Once you have the gap you have found the weakness. Find the gap in the box.”

I narrowed the probe, making it smaller. I reduced the focus so there wasn’t a box, just an edge. I pushed in tight and there it was. A dimple, the tiniest fraction of the whole had a depression. I zoomed in tighter on this dip, a dip smaller than the troughs on a CD.

Inspiration hit me, I created another probe searching alongside the original, moving in closer I found another dip. I repeated the process until I had several probes all touching tiny faults in the barrier of the box. With the probes all in place I pushed, as I pushed I focused the tips to be smaller while still putting more of myself into the tips. I could feel the skin of the barrier parting, as it weakened I pushed in more probes. Then one of the probes pushed through, the physical box proved to be no impediment for me, I was already smaller than the gaps between the atoms.

With this I poured my awareness into the box allowing it to fix. Still I didn’t look just allowing my awareness to form a negative shape of the box’s interior. I looked at the shape my mind had taken.

“It is a cross, a silver cross with a roughly cast Christ hanging in his usual torment.”

I am rewarded with a smile, it almost looks genuine.

More time has passed than I realise, we break for lunch. In the afternoon there is another exercise. He provided me with a new box, a new puzzle. This time there is a pattern in the barrier, I must discern the pattern.

I follow what I learned that morning. I narrow the probes to find the gaps. Finding the gaps proves easier this time, but I can see no pattern, just a chaotic mess. I pull back, re-examine the problem. I am assuming the pattern is on the same level as the flaws in the shield. My thinking is flawed, that wouldn’t make sense. The flaws are a natural thing, the denser the barrier, the smaller the flaw. The pattern must be a deliberate thing, it wouldn’t be at the same level.

I enfold the whole box with my awareness. I subdivided the surface into probes, splitting them smaller and smaller. There was too many, I couldn’t focus on each one. My thoughts became overwhelmed by the number of them.

“Don’t try to control each probe, let it do its own job. Concentrate on the whole” More advice from the Friar.

I pull back, allow the probes to keep dividing, I follow the advice the Friar had given. When the probes find a gap it stops dividing. Most are long and then,  I see that some are shorter and wider. I withdraw the long probes, leaving just the shorter ones, I look at the pattern.

“It’s a fish. A fish symbol like you see on God-botherers cars.”

I receive another smile and another puzzle.

That evening I probe at the cell walls. There are multiple barriers, all meshed together. It would be difficult and time consuming to penetrate, but not impossible. I have less success on trying to find the tracker implant.

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