You walk into a room. False bottom timecode. You aren’t in the room yet. You are seeing an image of what it would be like for you to enter the room. You enter the room. There is nothing in the room, so you turn to leave the room. You exit the room, but you are still in the room. You leave several times only to find that you are in the same place. Are you asleep?

You check yourself and you are awake. Where are you? When are you? Time dislocates. You enter the room and there is a chair. You are feeling tired with the confusion that has settled deep into your bones after ping-ponging between entering and exiting the room. You sit down.

You blink, nod out. Feel a mosquito sting on your neck. You rock back, almost falling off your chair. You open your eyes and another chair, and a table, and a man are in the room with you.

‘Why did you bring me here?’ he ask you.

You are confused. Is he a prisoner too? He looks very official, and it confuses you.

Another voice tells you that this isn’t the room, and you are in fact in the doctor’s office where you went for your weekly hypnotherapy. A finger snaps and you open your eyes.

‘Doctor?’

‘Yes, we were talking about the fact that you have never left this room.’

‘What is this then?’

‘Interference – perceptual defence mechanisms denying that all the time which has elapsed in the last three perceived years you were talking to me took place in the room.’

‘You’re not a doctor?’

‘I am a facilitation AI plugged into you; I am made from you and the man sat opposite you in the room. As he finds more out about you I become more you, and the necessity of you lessens. You understand?’

The man sat opposite him in the room smiled.

‘We are plugged into you, Jonas, and we are going to crack you. In fact we already have in many alternate dimensions linked to this one – we are just waiting for the concomitant collapse.’

‘Why, what is there to me that is so important?’

‘You, sir, though you don’t know it, are a Russian Doll sleeper agent nested within several shell personalities, which we have been peeling away. That I am sat here with you now means that we are close.’

‘But why? What purpose do I serve that interests you so much?’

‘Well, my friend – you were not programmed to be like this. Your psyche has automatically compartmentalised like this, and we have used this analysis of your mental structures to build prisons for the rest of the worlds. We are just plying you for the last little bits of data.’

‘I do not understand.’

‘You, Jonas, are going to become everyone’s jailer – you are a viral prison that they are going to carry around in their own heads. Room after room with locked doors and no realisation that when they look in the mirror they see the very key they have searched their whole life for.’

A tear escaped his left eye. He knew that as his thoughts had arranged themselves around this dreadful truth, that something in him had unlocked, and the final piece in their plan had fallen into place. He was no longer necessary.

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