The Intruder waited until all was quiet and then moved out into the corridor.
The runners raced out into the corridors. Messengers were sent running to and fro from Mental to Physical to Emotion. Muscles, dormant for so long, were checked more minutely than ever before. Cells were asked if they had seen anyone, vessels were stopped at every turn and searched. The veins were honeycombed with areas that had to be tediously searched. It took time, energy and more runners than were possible.
Everyone was working double, sometimes, triple shifts. Physical was heard to comment, “Like some bloody spring cleaning project!”
It was no better in the brain area. Every thought, no matter how irrelevant, was cautiously and thoroughly examined. All the monitors were in round the clock use.
Only when that was done did Mental move to open the memory banks, an exhausting task that took his entire staff and they, too, worked triple shifts.
The subject had a lot of memories. Mental had always prided himself and his staff on their organization, but just the sight of all those files was enough to wear anybody down. When your subject is photographic, there are innumerable files to be sifted. Everybody groaned and began to open the drawers.
Emotion was having a fit. “Well, how did it happen? We don’t just have leaks every day of the year. Cracks, maybe. No leaks. What happened?”
The signal guard hung his head. “It began in the area where the other two disappeared. It was a crack to begin with, but it’s widened. There’s flooding all over the place!”
Emotion began to run.
She confronted the other two. “We’re facing a crisis of tremendous proportions.”
Mental said, “Not in my area. Clean as a whistle.”
Physical echoed him, “Mine, too.”
She glared at them. “Are you telling me you have noticed nothing? You,” She faced Physical. “You’re feeling well. No strange symptoms, nothing to comment on?”
He began in the negative position, paused suddenly and went into deep cogitation.
She turned to Mental. “You? Squeaky clean, is it?”
He suddenly felt on the defensive. An unusual position for him. He’d always been the one in control, calling the shots. His irritation showed. “Not a single alarm.”
“You’re wrong, you know.” She said calmly, almost conversationally. “You’ve missed something. Either that, or… he hits you next.”
Mental moved uncomfortably. “What’s the matter with you, Emotion. You have never talked to me like this before …”
“Interesting, isn’t it? Are you beginning to get the picture?”
He indicated negative.
She nodded towards Physical. “Look at him. Body, what is it?”
He looked up. He said slowly, “I truly did think nothing was wrong. But, symptoms… yes. I put it down to the spring cleaning task force, but…. It simply wouldn’t affect them like this. I am tired. My entire territory just wants to shut down and sleep. As though She was using an outside agent. A drug of some sort, but She isn’t. Taste buds, digestive juices, everybody has reported normal substances. I don’t know.” His voice trailed off.
Emotion fastidiously dusted herself. “I’ll tell you my crisis. The intruder has tapped the vaults.”
Mental was suddenly very alert. “What do you mean? My God, what do you mean?”
She distanced herself from him. “Exactly what I said. He’s reached the cellars. We’ve flooding from all over. We’re doing our best to clean it up, but there’s panic everywhere in my territory. Sectors are completely without leadership, ergo, chaos.”
Physical whispered, “The Unconscious? He’s broken in there?”
“My God.” Mental shuddered. “All hell is going to break loose.”
To Be Continued…
Note 1: The Intruder is copyrighted 1986.
Note 2: This is part of the AWOL Manual, “When to Lay the Weapons Down,” copyrighted 1995, renewed 2008.