Martin was howling uncontrollably. There was no one around to help him. His grandpa could hardly breathe and he is going to die in any second. Martin knew that his grandpa had a heart disease. “No! Grandpa, please don’t die.” He yelled hysterically “Don’t worry, Martin. People come and leave. But before I die I want you to have this,” grandpa handed him a black stone”It has no power in power in it, but will help you in your hard moment…It only works once and you will know when the moment comes.” But remember...,” he tried to say something. Emergency car came and took him away. That was the last time Martin saw his grandfather.
It was raining outside and rain drops fell on the asphalt making big splashes. There was silence on the street and nothing could disturb it till that moment. Nobody on the whole city had the courage to go out into this weather. No one, except for one person. A boy ran under the rain. He had already made four and he planned on a few more.
Today was a great opportunity to go running. Summer Olympic Games were on TV and the whole world was at home watching them. People were too busy to spy on him. Martin ran through Oliver Street, and then he turned right on Sony Boulevard, then right on Gateway Circle which was pretty big and took pretty long to move across, Panasonic Avenue, Motorola Street... He stopped to catch a breath and he was almost at his house. He looked at the watch on his leg. He made an improvement in his speed and now he could run seven miles in only thirty five minutes. It is two thirty in the afternoon and that is the time the games are supposed to finish.
He went through the back yard, opened the door and silently went into his room. Martin took his invisible suit off and realized that it wasn’t as transparent today; he must have not soaked it enough in the solution. The room was almost empty. He only had a bed in the middle of the big room and a night stand with two books on the top. There were no computers, video games, not even multiple TV sets, like his sister who Mandy watched them for hours in her area. Mandy is a sophomore of Compcreek High School, just like Martin. Even though they are brother and a sister they are nothing alike. They never get along. Mandy doesn’t understand why Martin doesn’t want to have a TV, computer or other machines in his room.
He took a shower, sprayed special deodorant over his body to remove the smell of rain and sweat, and then went upstairs to say hi to his relatives.
“Honey, have you seen my new fat burner?” Ms. Joe asked Mr. Joe while finishing her seventh piece of pizza. She had already eaten a bowl of fries and now it was starting on brownie. It looks like she is feeling sick, but the game had not finished yet, so she had to eat something else.
“I ate the last one. Do you want to call the store so they could deliver us some more of that fat burner through e-mail?”
The Lubes were undefeated football team that won Natiscs by 40 to 1. His mom loved football and now she was cheering for them.
“Hi, Martin, come watch TV with us. You are pretty late. It is almost the end of Games. This team is great.”
“They have good programmers”, Martin sat on the sofa and waited for the end of the games. The only thing he liked to watch was the marathon. Running Olympics are supposed to be the last and they have just started. Virtual runners are on mark, got ready, and went; now it is commercial time. “Hi dear citizens, our new development is pump muscle messengers. Looks and feels just like the muscle clothes you are used to wearing and now they can be delivered right to your house by our new fantastically fast virtual messengers. Call now and you get half of percent free!”
“I need to talk to you, Mari”, said Ms. Joe not taking her eye off of the screen. “Your teacher sent me an e-mail. She is very concerned about your development and behaviors in PE class. You know that it is prohibited by law to do physical sports. Why aren’t you doing all the things your classmates are? When I was your age we didn’t get to make our own sportsmen or play games on the internet during the class. If you don’t understand something you can always ask me or your teacher.”
“I am sorry”, that was all Martin could say because commercials finished and the competition was back again. They were about to announce the winner as a loud noise came into the house. Someone was knocking on the front door. Martin’s mom opened the door. Robot policeman was staying in front of her.
“Hi, Ms. Joe. I need Martin Joe whose birthday is December 9th 2083. Where is he? You have been doing physical sports prohibited by the law of our government. You have to come with me boy!” Martin was hiding behind the stand. The robot came into the house and clutched his hands. He grabbed the boy and roughly put him into the car.
His mom was shocked and it looked like she had lost her speaking ability. She was just standing there staring at the robot taking Martin away and neither she nor Martin knew where.
They came to a big building that had a sign on top VIRTUAL PRISON OF COMPUTERVILLE. Two large humanlike machines came and took Martin out of the car. They put handcuffs on his wrists and threw him in the office room. What Martin saw surprised him. An actual person, not machine, sat there. He was dressed in all black and smoking large cigar. “Your name is Martin Joe if I am not mistaken. And you have made an unacceptable crime. We have been watching you for pretty long time.”
“Then why didn’t you get me earlier? Why did you wait so long?”
“We have been waiting for you to get good time at your running. And today you have accomplished it. There would be no purpose of punishing you if you didn’t have anything to loose. But now you have reached fast speed at your seven mile run and we can make a deal. I have a new machine that can take us back in time. Since you are a good runner I give you an opportunity to prove it. I put you into virtual reality for two hours and you have to stay there and win the Olympic Marathon. Your biggest enemy is Pheidippides. He is a great runner and he would be the winner of Olympics of this year. If you come first, then you are released. ”
“And what happens if I don’t win?”
“Then you get trapped in prison for the rest of you life and live with all the other athletes that wasted their time doing physical exercise like you.”
“Before I tell you my decision I have one question for you. Why do you not simply place me in jail? What is your benefit of giving me a deal?”
“It is not of your business and don’t ask dim questions if you want to have chance to be released from jail. Are you going to help me or stay in jail?! Hurry, decide. The time is our time is short.”
“Ok,” said Martin hesitantly
“I knew you and I will have an agreement.” Officer told Martin to follow him. They went into a different room. The room looked something similar to a chemistry lab with little bottles on the shelves. But there was one big object in the middle of the room. Officer uncovered it. It was a time machine. Martin knew what it looked like from fantastic novel he had read when he was younger.
“This is where you are going to be sitting to go back in time,” said officer pointing at machine, “And once you are in Olympics you will no longer be in the same room, but in what I call virtual reality. In order for us to communicate you will have bug placed in your brain which will allow me to read your thoughts. If you take it off you fail, which means you will go back to reality and get in torture prison. Get in machine. I will take you exactly two hours back in time so you have time to prepare. Oh, no! Hold on, I will be back”
Officer left to go get remote for time machine. Martin was looking the room carefully. He had a feeling something was wrong. Then he saw a document on the table. He nervously looked around then took it and read”
“Dr. Razrushi director of the laboratory. Martin Joe-the last athlete left on Earth and isn’t computer slave. March second, 2099 five thirty p.m. These are the reasons for my plan Athletes just waist their job working to sweat in real life. They can get much more benefit doing it in virtually, in computer games. They can live their whole life doing exactly what they want to do without sweating and all that hard work and give and entertainment to those who don’t break rules.”
And then Martin realized why doctor needs to place a bug in his mind. If he is the only athlete there, then all the other athletes must be in computers-virtual reality already. He got in the machine and felt something hard in his pocket, it was his grandfather’s talisman “It has no power in reality but, will help you in the trickiest moment…It only works once and you will know when the moment comes.”
Now he understood the meaning of his grandfather’s words. This was the moment that would change his life forever. He was no longer afraid of the future.
Officer came back with the remote and placed little bug in Martin’s ear which moved up his head and finally got in his brain. Now he realized something, what if officer discovers his plan?
He got in machine and put electrical helmet on. He was trying to make his mind blank, but it was difficult to concentrate because of the loud noise and cold rushing through the body. It was a time tunnel. He held on to his talisman really tight. Suddenly he heard boom. Martin was no longer in the machine. He was in the other world. He saw an area where Olympic Games were supposed to take place, but why was everyone running away from that place, and toward him? “Please, help us” said girl who looked like his grandmother, “You are the only one who can do it”
“Why me?!” Martin was totally confused
“Because your grandpa was the last athlete on the planet and you are the one who knows how to get us out of here.”
Martin had virtual clothes on, virtual shoes, everything he had from reality disappeared. Boy remembered about the talisman in his pocket. He put his hand in his pocket and saw the talisman was still there. Why didn’t Razrushi take that away from him? There must be some power in it, the one stronger then computer. He took the talisman out and realized it had something written on it. Boy and girl read it out loud THE POWER OF PERSONS MIND RATHER THEN MIND OF COMPUTER WILL WIN. LAST PERSON HOLDING THIS STONE WILL CHANGE HUMANS FOREVER.
Boom! The talisman exposed the difference between the sky and earth could no longer be seen. Martin fell on the ground and looked around. It was dark and the ground was rough. There were no signs of human existence. He had on real clothes, shoes, watch. He looked at his watch with horror in his eyes. It read December 00-00-00!