• Subject: 431

    Status: Captured.

    Escape Duration: 1 month. 8 days. 16 hours. 24 minutes.

    Man captured with 431. Taken into custody. Has possible use.

    Information on Captured Man: Acquired and placed below.

    Name: Nicholas Brown

    Age: 28

    Gender: Male

    Height: 5 feet, 10 inches

    Weight: 192 pounds

    Hair: Brown

    Eyes: Brown

    Ethnicity: Caucasian

    Occupation: Accountant (terminated)

    Relations: Mother (California), Father (deceased), Sister (Wisconsin), Brother-in-law (Wisconsin), Niece (Wisconsin)

    Threat: Minimal.

    These facts were not new. I had gathered and placed the data on Nicholas Brown myself. He was an average man, one who was easy to explain as missing, if and when it came to that. There were a million ways an average man can go missing, and most didn’t require me to do anything but let the police figure it out themselves. Unless, of course, they came to close to the truth. They wouldn’t though. The police were average men, just like Brown.

    I have no interest in the average, the everyday, the ordinary. I don’t know how people manage to stand themselves when they’re nothing more than a rat in a maze with no end, forever running into dead ends, only to turn back around, not caring where they go. People with dreams no bigger than getting a raise or starting a family. How boring, useless and pathetic can a life be? How can one stand to be ordinary when it takes little effort to be extraordinary? Or…a little luck.

    Subject 431 did nothing to become extraordinary, expect be made, but she would never be forced to run in the maze hoping to find the cheese. And I was going to make sure she got the cheese; whether she, or Brown, wanted her to or not.

    A smirk pulled my thin lips across my equally thin face. My body never filled out like those of most boys do at some point in their lives. It never bothered me. Some see my bony face, rail thin body, big blue-gray eyes and washed out blond hair as creepy or unhealthy looking, but it’s only helped me in my chosen career. After all, when one gets a promotion because he killed his predecessor, looking creepy or unhealthy isn’t a bad thing. Looks matter little in the world. Its power that makes the world turns. All I’m doing is seeking some of it and 431 would get it for me.

    My eyes moved from computer screen to TV. Two cheap sets, probably from the first wave of color TV’s. One, on the left, showed 431, chained in the room designed just for her. She hung limply, currently offline for safety reasons. Her slim arms were hanging from the short chains that were retractable and actually had some slack, but it wasn’t wise to allow her much room. The rest of her body just dangled. Her legs hit the floor, bending a little onto it. She couldn’t sit. Definitely couldn’t lie down, but she didn’t need too. Her room was designed just to make sure that she couldn’t get out. Small speakers graced each of the four corners and a single, very noticeable camera was on the opposite wall. The door was hidden in the design of the wall and even a trained agent told where it was had problems noticing it. It didn’t matter. No one could get out from the inside. The room had nothing but her, a small toilet and a slot designed to drop food down, both near her. It had the style and grace of a medieval dungeon brought into the modern world.

    The next screen held less interest to me. It was Brown’s cell. Brown, in my opinion, was good for just one thing: testing 431’s loyalty to her short time in the real world, where Brown tried to taint her with humanity. Subject 431 had no use for humanity, and it was my job to see that she lost it. I understandably ignored Brown and his lightly furnished and far less secure cell. It wasn’t nice, but he had a bed, toilet and food slot. He also had no chains, but I doubt he was grateful for the experience. It was his fault. He was the one who took 431 in.

    The time to awaken 431 was here. Turning away from the screens, I closed the information on the computer before leaving the room. The walk down the hall was short. Though I passed a few people none of us felt compelled to acknowledge the other’s existence. They didn’t want The Ones in Charge to think you had bonds that you did not have. One recruit did stop me though.

    “Sir, he’s yelling again.” He was new. You could always tell the new from the inept. The inept didn’t have the military snap to their motions and they certainly didn’t have fear in their eyes. This one was really new: the fear lingered, hungry, and ready to take this boy’s heart anytime he let his guard down. They were good at inspiring fear in the new recruits. A good recruit had only one meeting with The Ones in Charge, a bad one had two.

    “So shut him up.”

    I had no patience for the new, the young, or the scared. Many were scared to breathe without someone telling them to.


    My eyes followed his hand, which hovered over his gun. As much as I wished I could shut that damn Brown up permanently I knew there was someone better for the job.

    “Keep him alive,” It was all the dismissal he’d get, and I moved on, needing no more distractions. Brown had shown a purpose during re-acquiring 431. She was very protective of the human. He would be her final test. The worm that would lure her back to where she belonged, with The Ones in Charge, with me.

    “Yes sir!” his voice was already fading as I turned a corner that lead me quickly to my destination, a simple door, no knob, just a key panel on the side. I tapped the code in, then pressed my thumb against the fingerprint scanner that doubled as an enter button. Satisfied that I was indeed myself, the doors slid open just long enough for me to step in before locking 431 and I in the room.

    No more escapes would be made this time.

    I grabbed under her chin. It rolled slightly in my hand as I trapped it. I leaned close and whispered.


    The word was a nonsense word of course, but to 431 it programmed her to awake from the death-like state she was in now. She jerked awake. I was pleased enough with her programming to let her head pull its way free. I stepped back enough to look her over. She still wore the stupid clothes that Brown had given her. We hadn’t had a chance, or need, to exchange those clothes. Besides, it might make her think a few hours have passed since her capture instead of the near week it had been. Preparations were needed before I could awaken her.

    “Who you?” she demanded. She tugged on her chains as I retreated. She looked harmless, but I knew better. “Where Nick?” she demanded in the odd half-language she had. I was impressed; she didn’t have any knowledge of speech when we lost her. Then again, she could have had a grasp of it by now if Brown had put effort into it.

    “Who I am isn’t important.” I was careful to speak slowly and precisely. I wanted her to learn how to speak properly. “The real question is: who are you?”

    “I Gwen!” Her voice was a snarl as she launched her body at me. If it wasn’t for the chains she would have had her hands in my eyes.


    “Of course.” I would let her have her delusions for now. “But what are you?” I watched the confusion, the doubt enter her eyes.

    “I…I Gwen.” That would be enough for her. I could see the resolve entering her mind, and I was disappointed. She would cling to a four letter arrangement rather than opening herself to her great destiny.

    “You pretend to be Gwen.” I sneer the words at her. I would force her to see reality. “But I know the truth. And you will know the truth too. Someday you may even accept it; not that you’ll have the choice.”
    Once again I grabbed her chin. I wanted her eyes on mine as I full filled my promise. I told her who she was.

    ● ● ●

    Two days passed before I returned to 431. This time I brought something special, something to remind 431 who was in charge, and what she was. She was not Gwen. She was Subject 431. I had given her time, to think over, to debate, to doubt and, unlikely but possible, to believe.

    I carried the CD in my pocket and brought a CD player with me, shifting it a little as I tapped the code that would let me in. I ignored 431 at first as I stepped into the room. The air almost killed me. It was a wool sweater on a sunny spring day. Rotting food, both pre- and post- digestion, clung to the air the way a mistress’s perfume clings to the married man’s jacket. It was a room that if you opened your mouth you’d puke and if you kept it closed you’d die.

    I tried ignoring it. If 431 could stand it, than so would I. She may be stronger than me but she didn’t have to know it, at least not yet.

    “What you want?” Her voice held less fight, but a strong will was there. I expected both.

    “For you to see and accept the truth.” My reply was genuine. If she simply accepted who she was, all of this would be gone in an instant, and she’d have the world at her fingertips. Life would dance for her, instead of the other way around. She would be extraordinary. “Who are you?”

    “Gwen.” The reply was tiresome, but expected.

    I put the stereo down and plugged it into the outlet that was there for this single purpose. I pulled out the CD and placed it into the player.

    “That’s what I thought.” A soft click announced I had pushed “play” as I stood back and turned to face her. The soft classical music playing from the speakers probably didn’t sound ominous to her, but when I leaned in and whispered “Luntax,” her whole world changed.

    Her face went slack as her subconscious was brought to the surface. It was this state I enjoyed the best. This word, unlike Solark, put her conscious in rest, like a deep dream, but her unconscious was awake, present, and ready to learn. It was in this state that we would destroy Gwen, and bring Subject 431 to life.

    ● ● ●

    A week passed as 431’s training had commenced. She stayed in her unconscious status during all of it, or a form of unconsciousness. Her body was awake, but her mind was not. It forced her to blindly obey all orders. It was a powerful and dangerous condition. Anything taught to her in this state she would have programmed into her unconscious. That is how we taught her the commands “solark” and “luntax”. She had no sense of loyalty in this mode. She followed any order, from anyone. But programming her unconsciousness was worth the risk. Her training had to be natural so why not teach it to her nature?

    It was difficult to keep her in that state. She needed a constant sound. It was always easier if the sound was calming in the beginning, one that naturally relaxed mind and body. Music is an obvious choice. It was easy to be sure that 431 always listened to some form of classical music throughout her training. I chose Mozart.

    She learned fast; she was programmed to. She only needed to be taught things once. Brown continued to bang about his cell, yelling about such things as “rights” and “the police”: average things.

    I watched 431 as practiced her motions again and again. Perfection in every move.

    I smiled and glanced over my shoulder to where a recruit hovered. I had called him down since he was in charge of watching Brown.

    “Recruit!” The word snapped out. He had been there for half an hour now, but I didn’t feel like rushing this next part. I have been waiting for it for so long.


    “Make sure that Brown is fully lucid and bring him to training block B. It’s time for the final test.”

    The recruit ran off to obey my orders.

    I moved 431 to training block B myself, telling her to practice before I went to talk to Brown for the last time.

    The recruit brought Brown in front of the room where I waited. He had changed in his short time here. He was a little thinner, hell of a lot dirtier, and now he had a nice beard growing. His eyes were the real difference. They had grown hard, full of hate. I just laughed though, useless emotions, useless changes.

    “So this is how your treat your damn sister?” Brown spat at my feet, and I chuckled, remembering that stupid lie I told him to get him to bring 431 one back to me.

    “You were the one who believed me,” I replied. My tone and smile were the same, simple and smug. I invited him to take a look inside the training block, letting him see a shooting range, and there 431 emptied a gun into the shooting dummy, each shot landing in the same spot as its predecessor.

    Perfect. She was perfection, or she would be. Once she passed one final test.

    “Gwen” I heard Brown whisper as he approached the window. I turned. All that change in his eyes had left. He was the same scared, lonely man he was when I caught him. Pathetic, I thought. He’d die the failure he lived to become.

    “Not anymore,” I smirked at him and turned to open the door, revealing 431 reloading the hand gun easily. She turned, face blank and unresponsive to ether me or Brown.

    “Perhaps you’d like to talk to your Gwen,” I sneered to the man who stood helpless on the other side of the room. He could not approach her. Probably thought this was some sort of lie.

    “Gwen,” he whispered, taking a step forward. The look on his face was so hilariously pitiful. I turned, ready for that last test.

    “Solark” I said. I watched as her face filled with personality. Not Gwen’s personality. 431’s personality. As I approached her, she turned, saluting once like a good little soldier. “Now, 431, why don’t you tell Brown here who and what you are”

    This was necessary, and I would enjoy it. I would enjoy watching him die not believing that science can beat his pathetic feelings.

    “I am,” Her voice was low and neutral. 431 had no need for feelings now. “Subject 431. I was created for a private organization for the purpose of disposing of people or objects no longer useful to those that have created me. I am trained in various forms of fighting, killing, and skilled in the fields of psychology. I have one purpose, and that is to serve my creator. My life, and my death, will be dedicated to The Ones in Charge.”

    “No…No! You’re Gwen!”

    Brown didn’t believe, and I didn’t expect him too. 431 was smart and she refused to believe, clinging to that name as if it actually changed who she was. Names were nothing but a form of identification. Who really needed a name? He walked forward, ignoring me now, “You’re Gwen. I found you. I helped you. I taught you to read. I’m Nick! Remember me!”

    “You’re pathetic” I said. “Dispose of Brown 431. They no longer have a use for him.” I departed. I didn’t need to watch. I only needed to listen as I approached the door.

    “No, no, Gwen, no. You can’t. Gwen you ca-“ A gun shot cut off Mr. Brown’s last protest, but it wasn’t his body that hit the floor.
    I could feel the bullet ripping though my tissue and planting itself into my lung, forcing the air to leave as I gasped, helplessly for air. I looked up even as my vision faded. 431 stared down at me, the gun still in her hand as she turned it to aim at my head. She could have done this shot first, we both knew it but she had one last thing to say to me.

    “I am Gwen.”

    She pulled the trigger.