Randall Osbourne saw logical thinking was not helping, so he stopped thinking altogether. His captors would not break him down. It was never going to happen. He just wanted out. He must keep moving forward.
He, Angelique Fraser, and Kathleen James must leave or die there. The Arielle Facility had been compromised. It was now alive and sentient, like those Morrison Core Machines, and Joule. Erich Morrison had started experimenting with a handful of small laptop PCs. After that, the Metal Magister had situated seven cores in Edward James’s Hot-Rod Joule, connected them into Joule’s collection of mechanisms and souls.
Randall didn’t want to believe this chaos was being created by Edward James and his Hot-Rod Hearse, with the 600 Horsepower and 7 Computer Cores. Circumstantial evidence indicated James & Joule were now fully infested with EVIL. Randall Osbourne knew about evil, both its deliberate and unintended consequences. Its blissful lack of self awareness.
If found guilty; it was ‘by virtue of insanity.’ James & Joule had lost their minds. They were cracked. Randall would be obligated to destroy them.
VOICES were screaming inside Randall’s head. Trying to divert his attention. Kathleen James was imprisoned inside Level Three, delusional and catatonic. Kathleen James, Edward A James’s wife, believed her husband to be dead; but Angelique Fraser, who was seldom wrong, said no! It was a setup!
WHY? He asked her. The Platinum Discs, coins, she knew. “Catalysts,” she agreed. “Randall, something else…”
“Angelique, the alien strange visitors… they killed your husband…” ” Yes.”
“Randall, the coins are a point of focus. They amplify, like a crystal radio. They magnify, intensify bad behavior. We need to get rid of the coins. But Randall there’s something deeper than just the Platinum Coins and the Creatures. An independent agent. It may actually be watching, learning, discovering its own potential.”
They entire Arielle Tower was architecturally reconfiguring, physically mutating. It smelled pungent, bad. Something like fresh black tar and chlorine bleach.
Edward A. James, an unemployed Engineer, part-time Horror Writer, and self-anointed Cyber Detective had too much time plus too little context these days. Randall wondered if Edward James had really been abducted, that day on their tandem bicycle alongside the Atlantic Sea. The guy other than being an eccentric hadn’t seemed malevolent. But that was always what TV news reporter clips said after someone went haywire.
Randall reflected the alien duo had left Angelique’s husband, also called Edward, with the luminous Platinum Discs. Two shining evil eyes. The one nicknamed Penguin Man, not a man: had literally removed his eyes and placed them in Angelique’s husband’s library.
Five days later Edward C. Fraser leaped to his death from the green steel bridge crossing the Atlantic into the Massachusetts border.
“Randall which way?” Angelique was trembling. “Doesn’t matter. Boundary destruction.”
When he got that cryptic he had at least a sketchy plan. Randall swung a random turquoise portal. And stared eye to eye with Edward A. James, who was in a big rush to join them.
Behind Edward, a river of black oily sludge was flowing steadily down a massive corridor. The stone hallway was filled with countless hinged drawers etched with glyphs and stars. They resembled US Post Office drawers, except people-sized. They were leaking.