tagMind ControlMind_Hack.exe Ch. 05

Mind_Hack.exe Ch. 05


Silence filled the Holland living room, then within a few seconds of each other, Adam's parents took in deep breathes and began looking around the room in confused amazement. Nothing made sense to them. One second ago they had been having lunch at their dining room table with their son, both Paul and Sarah Holland could swear to that fact. The next thing they remember, they were both sitting on the couch in the living room with no idea of how they got there. Time had passed though, and a lot of it. The sun had long since set and the soft glow of a street lamp was all that filtered through the windows. But what shocked Sarah the most was that she had on completely different clothes. She was wearing a provocative dress that she only ever wore for very special occasions. And what's more, she felt like she had been...intimate was the word she preferred to use, even in her head.

When husband and wife realized that they couldn't get any answers from each other about the day's events or what might have inspired their many hours of collective amnesia, they began to climb the stairs to question their son. Adam had been with them at the dinner table for lunch. Maybe he knew something. Maybe he had been affected too and they should all see a doctor.

They were too confused to notice the commotion happening right outside their peaceful home. Before they were halfway up the stairs, a battering ram crashed through their front door and men in black armored gear poured into their entryway. Guns were pointed directly at Paul and Sarah, but no shots were fired. Instead, they were yanked and dragged back down the stairs then thrust onto their couch where they awoke in the first place. The armed men only knew the language of scowl, but their distracted movements and furtive glances made it clear that they were not here for them.

Paul managed a frightened, "What is going on?" He stood up as two men went up the stairs, and now his fright mixed with anger as he cried, "No! My son is up there!"

Moments later they heard the gunfire and Sarah Holland was screaming and sobbing. Paul tried to go up the stairs but was pushed down on the couch again. They stayed there for several minutes, trying to console each other and desperately hoping for some answers.

They watched helplessly as men collected every piece of electronics in their house. After what seemed an eternity of people coming and going, they were approached by a large muscular man. He did not give his name, and spoke with a curt detachment. "Sorry for this folks. We had our orders. Your son violated several government laws and was processed accordingly. A POM agent might stop by with follow up questions in the next 24 hours. We advise you be as honest and forthcoming as you are able to insure any additional investigation go smoothly so none of my guys have to come back here."

The last sentence barely registered as a gurney with a black body bag was carried down the stairs. The mother and father this time were allowed to rush to it, but were barred from following it out the door. They stood in the threshold as their son's corpse was put into the back of an unmarked black van. Sarah's cries of anguish began anew.

No lights were on from the surrounding houses, but several curtains were drawn. Neighbors peered out in wonder at the disturbance that had rocked their usually peaceful suburb. Every house knew the protocol. If the threat was contained and neutralized, every residence would have their recent video footage, captured by implants in their own eyes, viewed over the few days. If the threat was still present, it would happen in hours. Either way, everyone's not privacy was moot for the time being, but this was nothing new.

Directly across the street from the Holland's, one of those neighbors had seen enough. The elderly woman who lived there had seen the body being carried from the home. She had also seen the parents still alive and well. That's what she had been waiting and hoping for. She went to the computer she had left turned on in her kitchen and pressed a few keys. A countdown began on the computer. She pressed a few more buttons. A few seconds later, the signal square on the back of her neck became a solid light, and she awoke as if from a dream.

A sector away in another city, Kate Henderson, who had been sleeping soundly after a awaking suddenly from a bout of sleepwalking, shifted uncomfortably as if having a nightmare. Her eyes then snapped open and she flung the covers off of her small frame. She was in a hurry but she could not help take a moment to look down at the shapely figure she possessed. It was very apparent that she worked out. Her body was tight and trim. She was on the dating scene right now and wanted to make every attempt to catch the eyes of a potential suitor, someone like herself who was driven and climbing the corporate ladder.

Kate rolled her eyes as all that information came into her mind unbidden. She focused on the mission at hand and dressed quickly in what she had laid out for herself for her early morning presentation, then left her apartment and walked the flight up to the two bedroom apartment directly above her. She knocked as quietly as she could on the door. She tapped her feet impatiently, a habit she had picked up from her father when she was a little girl.

Footsteps approached, then a man's voice came through the door. "Who is it?"

Kate opened her mouth and spoke, but it was not with her high, feminine voice, but the low gravelly voice of the newly deceased Daniel Stein. "It's me, let me in." The door opened quickly and Kate walked in.

The man looked her up and down, taking in her professional outfit, a dark blue silk shirt with black skirt. "What's with the dress for success outfit?"

"It's what she had ready to go and I thought it best to deliver the news as quickly as possible," Dan answered, his voice seeming very odd from Kate's lips. "Where's Adam?"

The man drew in a deep breath then let it out slowly. "He's in the bedroom. He's been crying since we got here."

"That's no surprise, he was crying when we left too. I'll go talk to him. Go switch my voice will you. I didn't do it initially because of the rush we were in and it would be bad if I sounded like this if we got company."

"Will do big brother," the man smiled, issuing a salute at the order. "I'm glad you made it back okay."

Kate nodded and then moved to the bedroom. She knew where it was because it was a mirror of her own apartment, or at least this body's apartment. Body hopping terminology was so hard to keep straight. She entered the dark room and could just make out a lump hidden under a blanket on the bed. She heard sobbing. Kate turned the light on and approached the lump carefully as if it contained a frightened animal.

"Kid, it's me," Dan's voice said gently. "I just got back and I've got good news."

The sobbing stopped and after a few seconds a tousled blonde head appeared from under the blanket. A shaky feminine voice squeaked, "Good news? How can there be good news?"

"I don't understand it myself Adam, but for whatever reason, your parents are still alive."

"What?" The rest of the blonde came into view as she threw the blanket off. On most occasions she would have been called very pretty, but at the moment she was a scary sight with red, puffy eyes and a nose that needed a box of tissues. "How can that be? I mean, we all thought for sure..." The woman stopped as fresh tears welled up in her eyes.

"Dude, get it together. This is a good thing. You can turn off the waterworks."

"I know. I'm sorry!" the woman said between sobs. "This woman is really in touch with her emotions and I haven't mastered them yet!" She blew her nose on a corner of the blanket. "Why do you sound like yourself by the way?"

"Oh, is this weird," Dan let a low chuckle escape Kate's lips. "If you'll recall, we were in a hurry when we left. When we jumped here, I made sure you and Steph were settled, then I immediately hopped back to one of your neighbor's to assess the fallout."

The blonde made a petulant face, "Well that was stupid. You could have been caught."

Kate stuck her small pink tongue out at her. "I needed to see it for myself. If they knew the whole story, if they knew what Mind Hack could do, we'd have to keep moving. As it is, it doesn't look like they know everything yet. I would venture to say they think they've eliminated the threat when they killed our bodies. That will hopefully buy us some time."

Adam knew he should be grateful for that news. He was still reveling in the good fortune of his parents not having to pay the ultimate price for his mistakes. He reflected on the last two hours. They had been jubilant at Dan and Stephanie's narrow escape from the authorities. It was tragic that their bodies were gone, but they, or their consciousness, was intact. It seemed like a sort of win. The victory was very fleeting as they looked for an ideal host for Adam to take over. As Adam was about to be transferred into the body he was now in, his chronic self absorption waned as it finally dawned on him what would happen after he was gone. POM goons would descend upon his house and kill everyone inside. He was scared but hopeful that Dan, Steph, and himself would make it through, but his parents were another story.

"Can we... save my parents?" Adam asked desperately as his mother's fingers, controlled by Dan, hovered over the key that would transport him into another person's consciousness.

Dan frowned but mulled over possible outcomes for longer than he felt prudent. Every second counted right then, but he needed Adam's head in the game. "I don't see how we can Adam. Doing this," he motioned at Sarah's physique, " taking over someone, takes practice and we'd just be flinging your parents into it. Even if they could adapt quickly, we're not sure if they'd go along with what we know we have to do. It'd be like telling someone to climb to the top of a mountain with no experience whatsoever and saying you have to do it while people are chasing you that will kill you if they catch you. I say we leave them here and hope for the best. There's a chance they'll be seen as victims of all this."

Tears were suddenly in Adam's eyes and he began to blubber. "Like, what kind of chance?"

"I don't know, but we're out of time." Before Adam could stop the man controlling his mother, her finger had pressed the button. Moments later, Adam was many, many miles away in the body of a newly married buxom blonde. She had burst into tears immediately, causing her husband sitting on the couch next to her to startle and put his arms around her. She shrugged him off and went into their bedroom, locking the door. The husband was now alarmed and trying to figure out what to say to fix the situation.

"Baby?" Peter Smith said, very unsure as to what had caused his wife's emotional distress. "What's wrong? Is this about your cooking? I told you it wasn't that bad." For the next two hours, nothing he could say would coax her out, but he never left that door.

When Dan engaged the backup that would allow Adam to be free of his original body in order to save himself, there were now two versions of his soul crying in two different places. When the approximate two hour window had been met and Adam's backup was complete, Dan instructed Adam to lay in his bed, then finalized the transfer.

Dan had set up Adam's computer to self destruct in ten minutes, then set a very short timer in Mind Hack that would transfer him and his sister into their current bodies. They went downstairs and sat on the couch in the Holland's living room, and moments later, the Holland's came to, very confused and with many questions, right before the authorities arrived.

Dan was grateful that the message from their mysterious ally had been correct. The training wheels had come off. Since they no longer were tied to a body, they could freely transfer from one body to another using any computer. Since Dan had stored a version of Mind Hack in the cloud, he simply had to log in and run it from any computer. He then could see the dots of their hosts. Nothing appeared amiss, but again, new features were unlocked to them now as they had never utilized the backup feature like this before. He found that by clicking the dots they possessed, a gray dot appeared over it with another name, their names. Dan merely had to click those gray dots and link them to another body in order to transfer their consciousness to a new host. The best part was, as far as he could tell, only his version of Mind Hack showed their backup consciousness. He tried a version he had left on a message board for the world to experiment with, but it didn't have the same connection as the one that he was specifically running on POM's servers. He tried to ask Adam why this was but if there was an answer it was incomprehensible.

The trio had cheated death and were now reunited in the apartment of Peter and Denise Smith. Having had a full day of lying, manipulating, hacking and being shot, emotions were high. The late hour also meant the bodies they resided in were exhausted so they decided any further plans could wait til the next day. Adam was no longer crying and Dan thought about suggesting another threesome with their bodies, but then thought better of it and Kate spent the night on the Smith's couch.

As they slept, the investigation continued for the surrounding residents of the Holland household. Everyone was roused as special investigators swarmed the neighborhood. This was unusual because normally questions were not asked. All footage needed was looked at remotely from the closest POM facility and then judgment was passed. This protocol was still in effect, but this time there were people asking questions in person. It started to become clear to all involved that POM was not entirely sure what was happening. The radius of those questioned increased but nothing came to light until they came across the home of Mark and Candace Porter. It was discovered that Candace had been Adam's babysitter long ago. Once that connection had been established, they were asked if anything unusual happened in the last month, especially anything that had to do with Adam or losing time. Candace had been reluctant at first, but finally told them everything she could remember, which wasn't much. She had been watching her small child, when she just seemed to black out. When she came to, she was in Adam's bedroom with no idea as to how she got there.

When asked for her husband Mark to fill in the blanks, he sheepishly recounted an intense session of lovemaking that Candace simply had no knowledge of. When pressed, he admitted that it had been very different from their usual routine. Under the disapproving scrutiny of his wife, but more intense pressure of the agents, he confessed that his wife had behaved in a very sexually charged manner. Mark had been very happy with her randy behavior, and found it very kinky that she refused to talk. Upon hearing this, Candace informed the agents that there was not enough alcohol in the world to make her behave this way and said she just swallowed the story that Adam had given her as it seemed like she had broken the law while unawares. She concluded that Adam lied to her, but was still confused as to how she had been made to do what her husband remembered. Mark had chimed in that when his wife came back to the house, it was like she was back to her old self.

This information was relayed to headquarters, and within minutes multiple agents had pulled up the couple's footage from that day. They expected to find what they had found before from everyone involved during these episodes of signal interruption, nothing. That is indeed what they found from Candace's perspective. But for the first time, they found Mark's footage in its entirety. They watched through his eyes and he entered their master bedroom to see his wife feeling herself up with one hand and masturbating furiously with the other. When he spoke, she appeared to startle as if caught, then became skittish as Mark approached. Candace never said a word but seemed to relent to his advances, and they had fucked with reckless abandon. It wasn't until the third review that a person noted the wife behaved as if she had never had sex before. She seemed super into it, but it was not the sex that a married couple would typically have which was usually routine and methodical. It was that statement that lead to a new and frightening hypothesis as to what was happening with these signal interruptions.

Before the bodies that contained Dan, Stephanie and Adam had awoke, an early morning meeting was taking place via video conference between high ranking government officials and POM's board members. Leading the charge was a man in his late fifties named Victor Finch. He was unofficially the number two man on Peace of Mind's executive board, and by proxy, the number two most powerful man in the world. He was a driven man, always wanting to be in charge, but he always seemed to be one step behind his rival, Chance Kirkwood, POM's CEO. More than once he had tried to make a move to replace Kirkwood, but every time he had had an opportunity, he had let it slip through his grasp. What was troubling was that it had been as if he'd changed his mind, but then couldn't remember why. But this time would be different. This time Kirkwood had allowed their way of life to be compromised and he was just one of many who wanted the man's head.

Chance Kirkwood appeared on the large monitor inside the POM headquarters that was currently the hub of the mess that had been created. He was as always impeccably dressed in a navy blue suit that fit him perfectly. Even though he was still a young man in his thirties, he always carried himself with the dignity of a much older person. When he spoke it commanded the room and everyone fell silent. "I hear there's been an incident."

Victor pounced. "You say that as if you didn't already know. You were the one who has allowed this to happen. Your lack of prompt and appropriate actions have allowed this situation to spiral out of control and we still don't know all the facts. With our technology, we should practically be omniscient, and yet we have had to piece this shit show together using old fashioned detective work."

Chance's face remained placid and his tone cool. "And what did you deduce?"

Victor's face was reddening at this man's composed demeanor. "What we deduced is that someone has done the impossible. They are in our system, the one that your father created, and they are using it for something that we can only speculate at right now."

Chance smiled at the man's flustered expression. He had never liked this man. "I'm afraid you'll have to be a little more specific. I'm a busy man after all and have to put out hundreds of fires every day."

Now it was Victor's turn to grin. They had him. "This one might ring your bell. A supposed glitch was detected, right here in Sector 11. I flew here very early this morning and have gone over all the relevant data so far, and it seems a young man hacked into POM and used it to, somehow, take over another person's cyber brain."

Kirkwood laughed. "Excuse me? What do you mean took over?"

"I mean he hacked someone's mind and used their body like it was his own private plaything!" Victor continued, picking up steam. "The young man in question, Adam Holland, then shared his program with a suspected hacker friend, Dan Stein, and they experimented further. They took over the minds of a family next door to Mr. Stein, and last night it would seem, Adam's own parents. It also appears that Stephanie, Dan's sister, was recruited in their illegal activity. But again, this is all speculation based on information we have gathered because you, without the board's consent, sent a team to eliminate these three people."

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