Chapter 7: PIN Politics
Artemis woke up for the second time that day in an awkward position. His head felt cold, and his ankles had a pressure on them he could not recognize. Artemis heard nothing accept the white noise from a fan above him, however there were no human sounds, no footsteps, whispering, or coking of weapons. All, he assumed, were good signs. After all, if they weren’t bothering him then he wasn’t that important. Nevertheless, Artemis knew that there must be a number of cameras on him. He decided to open his eyes. At this point Artemis was centered on one idea; the girl he had already met would not cause him harm. Artemis didn’t know this for a fact, but something told him that she wouldn’t allow anything or anyone to hurt him. What Artemis didn’t take into account, here, was the fact she wouldn’t let others hurt him, but she could do whatever she wanted to him.
He surveyed the room without lifting his head. He realized he was in a sitting position in a grey American high school desk. The desk consisted of a fiberglass writing portion, back, and seat, while the rest was mostly welded metal. Artemis had seen them before in movies so he had a funny idea what they looked like. He lifted his head and saw only darkness.
The room was about 20 X 30 ft., it was dark, and the light above him created a barrier between him, and anything on the room’s exterior. Artemis couldn’t see any solid objects in the room, though he thought he saw a bed and maybe a desk with a laptop humming away. No visible cameras, and the door he thought he was seeing, led somewhere where there was a bright light, as if the sun itself were shinning upon it just to taunt him. Other than that he had no idea where he was, or what was going to happen to him. Being as mature as he was, Artemis soon realized the only way to find out anything would be to get out of the room. First, however, he would need to break the bonds which held him. Silently he thought that perhaps this was what the enemy wanted, but that didn’t stop him from confronting the bar which attached his legs to the desk. Artemis bent down to see what was restraining his ankles. To his surprise it was only a single bar that did so.
The desk had a rack used for text books welded on the underside of the seat. His ankles had been shoved in between the bars and secured with a pole in the front. The pole was the problem. It was a thick pole which had been welded on the right side of the rack, but unlocked on the left. The unlocking mechanism was a simple shinny black spherical shaped ball with buttons and a screen; it shined painfully into his eyes that were not use to this light. Examining it, Artemis identified three basic components, a number pad, and a green button the size of a human thumb for enter, and a screen that scrolled “Please enter code to release,” crude, but understandable. Combinations of numbers began coming into Artemis’s mind, there would be no way for him to know what the password was even if it was a four digit code as the screen suggested. He though instead about possible combinations like area codes, emergency numbers, maybe a PIN? He began to type in the possible combinations he thought of first, but quickly realized that a countdown began on the device’s screen. Artemis didn’t want to know what happened at the end of the countdown, so he thought some more, before hitting in combinations.
Artemis ran through his mind what he knew about his enemy. In reality, he knew very little, except that the girl who had driven him here was somehow involved, or running the show. He recognized all of the things he had done wrong when he came out to this God forsaken place. He could have been so much more careful in his planning, he could have been more patient, but no, no, he had to come out here to get away from the lack of challenges presenting themselves in his own life. He silently forgave himself, instead, focusing on the situation at hand.
Numbers, numbers, what number would they use? Artemis thought back if his enemy was trying to make a point they would use a set of numbers that he knew something about, which would make him understand exactly how much they knew about him. Artemis tried his own area code, various PINs he had used before, as he did so a red frowning faces popped up of the screen, nothing. Then Artemis thought of something he had not thought of before. When had he been in this situation before? What was it, and when? In the Underground, with Holly, In the Eleven Wonders of the World exhibit; when Opal was trying to kill them both. At that crucial moment he had used the LEP’s own code, the equivalent of 911, their emergency number. Artemis thought about it, but these weren’t the same numbers, these were mudman Arabic numbers, but were not these number related? Of course, the idea came to Artemis, if this code was correct; it meant that this group knew about his involvement with the fairies. Another person knowing about the underground? He doubted it.
“It’s worth a try,” said Artemis to whoever was listening in. He typed in the number and held his breathe. Unlike the last couple failures Artemis was surprised to find the machine hesitating, was it thinking of what to do? Suddenly the machine lit up. Red thumb shaped images popped up on the screen, and began scrolling across it. Artemis heard a sound like a buzz saw and realized, to his horror that the pole was expanding in diameter. Artemis wasn’t sure what to do; he tried desperately to save his feet by grabbing at the poll, pulling it so it would quit expanding. His ankles, which were already under an uncomfortable amount of pressure, cracked as they were being pushed against the raw metal of the rack. Artemis screamed out, trying to wrench his feet out of the bond, but only managed to cause the desk to fall over in the struggle.