Master PC – Mind Magi
“I’ve known about Master PC since its inception,” Lord Greenwood said. “I was one of the many Mind Magi recruited to help get it up and running.”
“If you’ve known all this time...” started Sally.
Lord Greenwood snapped around to glare at her.
~Let him talk, Sally. He may be facing Banishment,~ I thought to Sally. To Lord Greenwood I said, “Please, continue.”
“As I said, I was involved in the program’s creation. Sandra McMillan recruited many Mind Magi, not only for our abilities but our everyday skills as well.”
Imagining the complexity of the software alone was reason enough to hire programmers. On top of that was the need to be able to implement the software on a wide variety of platforms. However, that was all well before most of the current operating systems were even dreamed up.
“I would love to know all the details of how Sandra orchestrated the creation of the software. That would make a good training program for how things might go wrong if the Mind Magi should meddle in the mundane affairs of the world. However, I’m more interested in more recent events. For instance: if the Mind Magi were involved in the creation of the program, why the need to investigate it years later?”
“Well, part of the history of the program was that it was never released as intended,” Lord Greenwood said. “Not long after Sandra’s death, the Mind Magi Council decided to pull the plug on the project and essentially bury it.”
“If that was the case, who dug it back up?”
He shook his head. “I don’t know.”
“I’m more interested in how you know everything about Ral?” Sally said.
Lord Greenwood turned and looked at her. “I don’t recognize you. What House are you a member of?”
“Sally is bound to me,” I answered. “However, she has a good point. Why would I be so important to you to find out everything on?”
Lord Greenwood turned back to me with a bit of a sneer. “As you are aware of, you were born of two Mind Magi. Something that was not permitted by our laws at that time.”
“I became a House Lord only two years after your parents’ deaths,” he continued. “The other House Leaders felt no need to pursue you once your parents had died. They felt you posed no threat.”
“Yet, due to the influence of the prophecy, you felt I was a threat,” I said.
He nodded. “Though the prophecy mentions only your birth, I feared you would be far more detrimental in the rest of the prophecy. And so far, I’ve been correct.”
I glanced at Michael. He looked about as confused as I felt. “And what threat do I present?”
Lord Greenwood pointed toward the door. “The world knows of your existence. They have electronically recorded you using your powers. Since those damned cameras are now a viable source of proof beyond doubt, and that particular bit of footage was broadcast on the air, there must exist more than just you.”
“That would never have happened,” I said in return, “if the Mind Magi Council and the rest of our society had been warned of the potential dangers of Master PC. If there had been someone to dismantle the computer and counter the imbued objects, none of this would have happened.”
“I am not clairvoyant,” said Lord Greenwood. “How was I supposed to know these kidnappings would happen, or that the program would be the tool for which it was possible?”
“You said it yourself Greenwood. You were investigating Master PC usage for the last few years. What’s more, you knew about the server. You knew that if you shut it down then the occurrences would stop. Why didn’t you shut down the server?”
Lord Greenwood glared back at me for a second. “Because the server had been moved.”
“So you don’t know where it is,” I said.
“That’s right. To say I’ve done nothing is quite incorrect. I’ve tried to warn the other House Leaders. The only one who gave it any thought was Lord Lasarge, but he let the others convince him that nothing could come of it that we couldn’t counter.”
“How many of the current House Leaders knew of the Master PC project from so many years ago?”
“Only one, other than myself.”
Lord Greenwood shook his head. “No, Lord Morehouse.”
“If he knew about the original project, why didn’t he assist with the investigations?”
“Because he was too stubborn to listen,” said Lord Greenwood. “He didn’t want to believe that someone had resurrected the project, or distributed it, for that matter.”
If Lord Greenwood had proof, I didn’t see how anyone who knew about the project could ignore what was happening. That would make Lord Morehouse a suspect as much as Fiona. “Other than informing Lord Morehouse of what was happening, what else have you done?”
“I have sought the whereabouts of the server. However, since it was originally in one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center here in New York, it has obviously been moved prior to 9-11.”
I nodded, having just discussed that with Michael. “Have you had any luck finding the server?”
“No,” Lord Greenwood said.
“And you don’t know who’s running the server?”
~He’s not any use then,~ thought Sally.
~Agreed,~ I replied. I pointed at Lord Greenwood and then at the door. “Go. Get your daughter to safety. If anyone should not be involved in what’s coming, it’s her.”
Greenwood didn’t even blink or attempt to argue. He led Jennifer to the door but stopped. He looked at her and then turned to me. “You still haven’t released her.”
I thought about Jennifer. Felt the turmoil of emotions. Remembered the few hours I had thought of her as Whisper, and then meeting the real her in our dreams. She had been through so much, but it wasn’t for me to protect her. With almost no effort, I removed the bond from her. “She’s free. Now go, be safe.”
Lord Greenwood nodded but stood there staring at me. I was beginning to suspect another verbal assault, but then he said, “I may not approve of you as a House Lord, or completely trust your existence due to the prophecy...”
“But you have kept your word. That I do appreciate.” With that, he turned and left, leading Jennifer out of the run down cinema.
I turned to the others.
“I’m not sure how much time there is until the sub-routine finishes,” I said, “but we need to find that server. Whoever is behind this will be with it because they’re not going to leave to chance anyone else getting a hold of it.”
“You mean like the governments or corporations Whisper mentioned?” Sally asked.
“Well, I’ve not heard back from my contact with the city,” said Michael. “It’s likely he’s under the influence of the server right now.”
“Get to that office and check the records yourself. With everything going on, there’s not likely to be anyone to slow you down.”
Michael nodded and walked out of the cinema.
“What about us?” asked Mr. Gilman.
I gave them the name of the hotel where Renée and Erin were staying. “Go there. They’re likely to be under the influence of the server as well. I never had a chance to inoculate them. I’m not sure what condition they’ll be in but they have a computer with Master PC on it. You’ll be able to pull up anyone without a password and manipulate them. It’s the most help I can ask of either of you at the moment.”
“You’re going to find the server,” said Sally. “What about the Dragons protecting it?”
I smiled. “I’ve dealt with the other Dragons who have actively come after me with little pain to me or them.”
Sally looked down and ran her hand over my arm where Steven had driven a knife through earlier in the day. “I know you have all these amazing abilities, but I still want you back safe.”
In an instant we were hugging. It felt as if it had been days or weeks since I had held her. So much time. So many problems. Yet the feel of her skin, even just her cheek touching mine, reminded me not only of her waiting for me, but the others, both in the two hotels and back in Texas, all waiting for the same.
I pulled back enough to look into Sally’s eyes. “You can’t imagine how much those words mean to me,” I said softly. “I’ll be okay and will meet you at the hotel when this is over.”
I could feel the pain she was feeling, felt the tear as it raced over her cheek. Reaching up and wiping it away, I leaned back in and kissed her.
“Ral,” said Mr. Gilman, “there’s someone here. I can feel him.”
I looked up and around. “Where?”
“Outside,” said Mr. Gilman, and just as quickly, the vacated cinema building seemed to tear apart around us.