Imposter Syndrome, Part Two: Fun With Virtual Reality

The door to the prison chamber opened nearly eighteen hours later. The light nearly blinded Selena, and she had to blink several times to clear her vision, before catching sight of the purple-haired figure standing in the doorway.

"Sleep well?" Carolyn asked mockingly, full well knowing what the answer to that question was; one look at her captive would reveal the red-rimmed eyes, the exhausted look that lined her face. That, and of course the video camera in the corner that had been recording her every move.

"You damn well know what the answer to that question is." Selena spat, glaring up at her captor. "You've likely been watching me all night!"

"No, I have better things to do with my life than sit around and watch the captive all night." was the reply. "No, I was planning what I'm going to do with you. It has to be something deserving of what you've done, after all."

"I thought you were dead!" Selena shouted, not yet making a move to get up from the corner of the room in which she laid. "I reside almost ninety years in your future!"

"This is, of course, no excuse for what you've done." Carolyn said, taking a few steps towards her captive. "One way or another, this was going to catch up to you."

"Catch up with me? You are dead in my time!" Selena screamed, getting to her feet. "You expected me to believe that time travel was real?"

"I expect you to stop raising your voice to me." Carolyn retorted, in the same tone of voice as before; there wasn't even the slightest indication that she was annoyed.

"Oh, so you're commanding me now?"

"No, that was merely a suggestion." came the purple-haired woman's reply as she pulled a small remote out of the pocket of her lab coat. She held it up. "Now this might be a command. Sit back down."

"Screw you!"

Carolyn merely shrugged one shoulder and pressed the button on the remote. Instantly, Selena was struck down with a bolt of lightning, fired like a projectile weapon from a spot right above the video camera.

"Are you willing to take commands now?" Carolyn asked, twirling the remote in her hand. "Or must I turn up the voltage a little?"

"How… the hell… did you do that?" Selena asked weakly, struggling to raise herself up onto one elbow.

Carolyn did not answer, instead opting to walk out of the room, slamming the door shut behind her, leaving Selena alone and in the dark.

Over in a corner of the room, Fusion sat at one of the lab benches, typing on a laptop. She said, "I still don't understand why you won't let me film this and put it online. This would be frickin' hilarious."

"Because, if it was to be filmed and put online, it would be all the more evidence to be used against me in the event that the police catch up with me."

"What are the chances of them catching you?" Fusion asked, putting her feet up on the lab bench. "Only I know that you're hiding out here, and I'm not talking, am I?"

"It's simply a chance I cannot take."

"Whatever you say." Fusion said, dropping the subject. "I'm just saying it's a lot faster than having me sit here and type up everything that's happening."

"At least if you're doing that, nobody will believe it's actually true." was Carolyn's reply as she walked into her office. "Now I'm going to go and plan what to do with the two-bit future hack, so I do not want to be disturbed." Without another word spoken, she slammed the door behind her.

xxxxx

Several hours later, Carolyn threw open the door to the prison chamber where Selena still laid, shielding her eyes from the sudden light.

"You're coming with me." Was all she said, snatching Selena up by the collar of the lab coat she still wore, lifting her into the air.

"Like I have much of a choice…" Selena muttered as she looked around helplessly, wondering just what the purple-haired figure had in mind for her.

Before long, the two of them entered a strange room; it was massive, completely empty, the walls painted white, with the exception of a window on one side that looked in on what looked like a control room.

Carolyn threw Selena unceremoniously to the floor, before leaving the room. She reappeared several seconds later in the control room, pressing a button on the wall. Selena jumped as her captor's voice came over a recessed intercom.

"Looks like you get to play guinea pig to my latest experiment."

"And what experiment would that be?" Selena asked, betraying only the slightest hint of the fear that had overtaken her.

Carolyn did not reply as she began typing commands into a control panel, and all of a sudden the entire landscape of the room that Selena had been thrown into changed; no longer was it an all-white chamber, but it appeared to be the inside of a cage of hungry tigers. All of which were looking at her with a hungry look in their eyes.

"Trainer, are you out of your freaking mind!" Selena screamed as she backed away from the tigers, not knowing that they were merely virtual reality constructs; for the moment, entirely harmless.

"Perhaps." was all Carolyn said as she typed several more commands, and the virtual tigers charged towards Selena, who screamed in terror. "But at least I'm not the one who's locked in there with them."

Selena could not respond as she ran, screaming, away from the tigers that were hot on her heels. One of them pounced, and Selena thought this was her end.

Suddenly the landscape of the room changed again, into a war zone, with what appeared to be thousands of armed soldiers, all aiming at her. Selena dropped to the ground, her hands over her head.

"DON'T SHOOT! DON'T SHOOT!" she howled. Meanwhile, Carolyn was in the control room, a satisfied smirk across her face. Not only did her virtual reality wave generator appear to be working perfectly, but she got the satisfaction of seeing the two-bit impostor cowering for her life.

The landscape changed once more into a zombie-infested New York, with dozens of the brain-craving monsters lumbering towards Selena, who screamed and ran away, finally coming to the very corner of the room, where she ducked down and threw her hands over her head once more.

"LET ME OUT OF THIS INSANITY!" she screamed. "LETMEOUTICAN'TTAKETHISAMYMORE!"

In the control room, Carolyn nodded. The simulations definitely had an effect. She typed in one final command and the room reverted to a white-walled chamber. Selena laid on the floor, wide-eyed and trembling, and appeared to not have even noticed when Carolyn lifted her into the air with one metallic arm and hauled her out of the room.

"Out of your mind…" Selena muttered, just loud enough for Carolyn to hear. "Completely out of your mind…"

"Well, nobody ever accused me of sanity." was Carolyn's retort as she threw Selena back into the prison chamber. "Expect to be subjected to another experiment later. I've got several of them that I could use you for."

"YOU CAN'T DO THIS TO ME!" Selena screamed, desperate. "H-How can you even consider this! I am nobody's guinea pig!"

"You are now."

Without further comment, Carolyn slammed the door shut, ignoring Selena's screaming.

"I hope you got that documented." she said aloud, knowing that Fusion was sitting several feet behind her, still typing.

"I got every blasted second of it."

-To be continued…