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      "I'll just have to see that." Erick said and then he returned to taking in the landscape, signaling an end to conversation for the moment.

      "Since you obviously wish an end to our discussion, I would like you to think on two questions: 'Who ARE you?' and 'What do YOU want?'"

      Who am I? I'm Erick Rossovich. A graduate of the Institution who is about to enter into a world that looks much different than I had imaged.

      What do I want? I don't know.


      As Erick continued to contemplate those two questions, he grew more troubles with his answers or lack there of. He tried to focus on his impending adventure of going cross-country, but 'Who are you?' and 'What do you want?' would not stop ringing in his ears. When they reached Nanyuki, Erick decided that he would wait until morning. He had planned to set out immediately and sleep under the stars, but he needed a clear mind, which he did not have at the moment.

      Nanyuki was more like what Erick had expected of Africa. It was small and many remnants of the local culture remained. There were signs of the times there as well. Many people were outfitted with VR gear and because of a steady tourist trade there were a number of the modern conveniences that Erick had also seen back in Nairobi. They settled on a hostel and secured a pair of rooms. After a silent dinner in the hostel's small food center, Samuel bid Erick a good night and Erick went to his room.

      Erick went to unpack a few items for the night from his bag when he noticed that one of the side pockets was partially open. He knew he hadn't opened his bag since he left the Institution and couldn't recall having packed anything in that particular pocket, but it being open bothered him until he had to check it. He slipped his hand inside the pocket and his fingers discovered something.

     Erick pulled it and recognized it as a typical VR program disc. It was no larger than an old silver dollar, but much thinner and lighter. At first Erick simply thought it was one of his own discs that had somehow been misplaced. He turned it over to see the program name, but there was no label. Instead, a cross had been scratched into the plastic surface.

Absolut Paradigm

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