Hey, this is Phil. The old man can’t type right now. James’ orders. He was downplaying how bad the frostbite in his fingers was so he’d be allowed to type. They’ve started to blister now, and James has him bandaged up and undergoing treatment. But he’s determined to get this stuff typed up. He keeps talking about how it’s important that he gets it done and how it could save lives and all that stuff, but James just keeps saying he needs to let his fingers heal. If they’re going to.
Anyway. So to make him feel better, I promised I’d finish typing up this file he was working on before. He’s still not happy that he’s not doing it himself, but whatever. If you can’t use your fingers, you can’t type, so for now he’s just going to have to live with letting us do it for him. I might let him dictate to me later if he promises to talk slower than he usually does. And use smaller words. I’m a fast typer but damn that old guy likes his fancy vocab.
Anyway. He had some stuff typed up on it before, so I’m just going to scroll down to the bottom and finish it off.
We have stopped off in a motel for the night. It is a single room for the four of us, which means that two of us are in each bed. I am not enormously fond of these arrangements, as I am sure that you can guess. Phillip is rather larger than myself, and takes up most of the bed. [PHIL: I’m not fat, I’m just a big guy. Muscular.]
I have never slept well in motels in any case. So, for now, I have allowed Phillip to have the bed to himself while I retreat into the bathroom with one of the laptops. It is a chance to get some typing done without James complaining that I should be allowing my fingers time to heal. There is work to be done. My fingers will heal or they will not. Either way, I will continue my work.
But before I begin copying this particular document, I must stop for another preface and explanation of the circumstances surrounding its arrival in my archives. Most of the files in my care come from various Runners. Failing that, they are most likely from various newspaper articles, but some of them simply showed up on my doorstep, addressed to Archibald Donald Sullivan, Junior, and lacking any return address. Where they come from, I do not claim to know. But I have salvaged most of them, because someone considered them important enough to give to me. If they are from a more hostile source than my fellow Runners (and that is an odd phrase to utter; I have never before considered myself a Runner), then that makes them all the more important.
DOCUMENT ARK-002: UNKNOWN SOURCE
Once there was a young man.
He was a normal young man. He lived in a nice house in a nice neighborhood and had a nice family with a nice dog and a nice car and he went to a nice school and had nice friends and on Fridays he would go out on nice dates with his nice girlfriend.
And then one day this nice young man disappeared. He woke up in a cold basement tied to a cold metal table and there was a man there with cold skin and cold metal tools. And the man with the cold skin took his cold metal tools in his cold hands and set about his cold work.
The nice young man had nice eyes.
He had nice teeth.
He had nice hands.
He had nice hair.
Everything about him was nice.
And, when the man with skin that was no longer cold finally put down his cold metal tools on the cold metal tray next to the cold metal table, he was nice, too.
And none of the nice people on the nice street of nice houses in the nice neighborhood noticed that anything had changed. None of the nice people went into the cold house or opened the cold metal door and went down into the cold basement to find the young man who had once been so nice but who was now so very, very cold.
Because things were just as nice as they had always been.