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A Worse Idea 126

Prometheus stopped just short of Randy, pulling his body up so that he was floating. The flames of his jet boots kept him several feet off the ground.

“Katie,” Prometheus yelled, his suit amplifying his voice to make it even louder. “You have to go back to the prison.”

Many miles away, on the coast of California, the programmer worked furiously to alter Randy’s source code — his very thoughts. Randy had so many questions about who he was, about whether he should just give in to Prometheus.

But the programmer erased those thoughts. Randy, quite simply, wasn’t allowed to have them.

And so, standing before Prometheus, Randy opened his mouth to speak. He wanted to say that he gave up, that he wasn’t even Katie.

But instead, when he opened his mouth to speak, all he could say was, “Prometheus.”

He wanted to say more. Instead, he twitched.

Words he didn’t recognize came tumbling out. “I want to live.”

Despite their alien nature, the words comforted Randy.

“I don’t want to hurt you,” Prometheus said. “No one wants to hurt you.”

“I…” Randy couldn’t define the sensation in the pit of his stomach. The idea that someone wanted to kill him — something was trying to kill him.

Of course, he never would have guessed that it was his own hidden thoughts that wanted him dead — his own suicidal impulse that he was trying and failing to identify. The programmer was working on Randy’s mind such that Randy couldn’t understand the emotions underlying his hidden thoughts.

And so, fearing for his life — desperate for a life that he simultaneously hated — Randy projected his emotions onto Prometheus.

This man wants to hurt me, Randy thought. This man wants me dead.

And so, he bent his knees.

With inhuman strength, he lept into the air.

He swiped at Prometheus’s leg,

grabbed it,

and pulled the both of them down.

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