“My God.” Mental shuddered. “All hell is going to break loose.”
She laughed bitterly. “It already has. Take a look at Physical’s territory. Of course, it’s tired. Memories, experiences that have never seen the light of day are being let out and are running rampant. And, you, Brain, are you sure you’re not feeling the effects? What about memory capacity?”
Mental froze in mid-motion. Slowly, with great effort, he said, “In point of fact, I had put it down to our cleaning the memory vaults, but it doesn’t account for it.” He looked at the other two. “We have lost photographic capabilities. I had to resort to having everything written down. It never occurred to me that the system is simply overloading.”
Emotion looked at him. “I am sorry, Brain. This gives me no pleasure to prove you wrong. It’s funny. I have always felt squished by you, yet, I am so very sorry to see it happening to you.”
He looked shaken. “I can’t understand it. I never saw it coming. What’s happening? What is happening here?”
The three looked at one another. Physical spoke heavily. “Well, I’ll be the first to say it. We are facing a breakdown if this continues. The system cannot hold under this pressure, and I am very much afraid it will be all territories, not just one or two. Any ideas?”
For once, Mental did not respond, did not move forward to take command. This was felt by the other two and hit them quite hard. All three were being shaken to the core of their very foundation.
Emotion cleared her throat. “As I see it, the best we can do is unite, truly unite and be friends. Work together for once. I mean,” She said hesitantly, “we are getting nowhere by ourselves. Yes, we are experts for our own territories, but the problems are overlapping. Dangerously overlapping. It’s that overbalance that will be our downfall. I know in my area that memories are knocking into one another, files are interchanging and interlocking. Quite simply, She is being overloaded with all this old stuff She was never allowed to examine before.”
Mental glanced up warily, but kept his mouth shut.
She smiled. “No, I am not blaming you, Brain. I think what you did was right at the time. Perhaps, we just let it go too long. Too much emphasis in certain areas and too little in others. Her foundation was essentially good. She’s weak in her structure. It’s the structure we must fortify and maybe in some places, tear down. I know, at least for me, I will need your help. Will you help me?”
Both Mental and Physical nodded. “What do you need?”
The Intruder silently applauded Emotion and melted away. It was time to go back to the cellars.
The King of the cellars was a little gnome-like creature. He was a carpenter of sorts. In one of their conversations, he’d chuckled and said, “Well, there wasn’t much else to do, you know. I needed a hobby. So, since I am the collector of trash and odds and ends, I decided to do something with it.”
He was at his bench, as usual. He glanced up when he heard the Intruder and calmly continued to whittle. He moved a little ways down the bench, so the Intruder could have some room. “Well then, how did it go? Are they routed?”
The Intruder shook his head. “No. They’ve done much better than I would have thought.”
Unconscious looked intrigued, but skeptical. “How’s that?”
“They’re realizing the seriousness of the situation and have decided to unite.”
“Huh!” Unconscious grunted. “That’ll be the day.”
The Intruder laughed. “No, no, they’re scared to death. Literally. It has dawned on them that this is affecting their subject and as such themselves.”
“Aye. They are facing implosion.” Unconscious said with satisfaction.
The Intruder glanced at him curiously. “Are you angry?”
Unconscious made a dismissive gesture. “Heck no. That’s their job — to keep me in line, I mean. They are just excessive in their zeal. I am here for a purpose, you know.”
“Aye.” Said the Intruder agreeably.
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.