“I don’t believe you. You expect me to believe your puny devices can breach massive walls that our mighty war machines could barely dent?” asked the commander in his tent surrounded by his officers around the map table.
“Where I come from the weapons I and my friends wield are not the most powerful available. But they’ll do the job,” the young man said confidently.
“What were those contraptions outside?” asked one of the officers.
The officers gasped and began calling the stranger and his three friends witches and wizards.
“You risk the stake, young man.”
“No magic is involved; certainly not the works of the devil. We are men of science. The weapons we will use against your enemies are high-energy devices that produce what could be described as controlled lightning,” said the young man.
“If you want, I could demonstrate the potency of our weapons in clear view of the defenders on the walls,” said one of the young man’s friends. “It might strike fear in their hearts.”
“I’d like to see one of you gentlemen using your flying suit and allow one of us to use one of the other suits to prove mere mortals can control the contraption.”
This took the leader of the strangers by surprise.
“Will you excuse us a minute as I confer with my friends?” asked the young man.
The strangers left the tent and stood by the flying suits that looked like metallic skeletons.
“Guys, I know this is a program we are experiencing. But do you think it is real enough to allow one of those characters to fly one of these babies?” asked the leader.
“Does it really matter?” asked one of his friends.
“I suggest that we just go ahead and tear those walls down and let Sir What’s-His-Name lead his men to victory,” said another one of his friends.
“Hey, I came along to have some fun. You know. Do a little feasting. Do a little whenching. Go full Medievil,” said the last of the friends with glee.
“You know, you’re right. We’ve rented out the chambers for two days so let’s make the most of it,” said the leader. “I can show Sir What’s-His-Name how to fly and one of you three can do some target practice. Or if you want, all three of you can go out and shoot up the place. Since this is a freestyle program, just tell the guys we buried some cases of weapons outside the camp before we flew in. Have them dug up and passed out the weapons.”
“Even a small power ray beats a bow and arrow anyday,” said one of his friends.
The men re-entered the tent to talk with the commander and his officers.
“It’s been decided,” said the leader. “I’ll show the commander how to fly one of the suits and my friends will go out to where we buried the rest of our weapons. I think there are enough guns out there to equip maybe 30 or 40 soldiers that they can use when we assault the walls of the castle.”
“I don’t know,” said the reluctant commander.
“You wouldn’t have become the leader of your men if you were stupid or a coward. Using a suit isn’t too tough. Strap it on, turn it on, and hold on tight for the ride of your life. Just follow my lead and you’ll do all right.”
The men left the tent and prepared for the assault on the castle walls that was to happen the next day. The leader had the commander step into the foot controls before strapping him into the suit. The instructor stepped into the foot controls of his suit, strapped himself into the suit, and grasped the handles that stretched out from the suit as if the suit were a cross.
“Grab onto the handles and do what I do.”
The young man pushed the thumb button on the right handle to turn the suit on. The suit made a slight hum as the ionization field was emitted. The commander did the same thing.
“I’ll teach you how to fly first before I teach you how to use a weapon while you are in the air. It takes some coordination to do each operation without messing up. But in time you’ll get the hang of it. Trust me.”
“I’m going to have to. What do I do next?”
“These flying suits are very sensitive. Raise your hands slightly like this.”
The young man kept his palms down and lifted his hands an inch and slowly ascended. His student followed suit. When the men were 100 feet above the ground, the instructor lowered his hands until his arms were parallel to the ground. His student stopped ascending 20 feet above him.
“What do I do now?” the commander asked.
“Lower your hands a little until you come down here.”
The commander did what he was told and joined his instructor.
“As long as your hands are facing the ground, your body will follow suit. I’ll show you.”
The young man twisted his hands and seconds later his body was parallel to the ground. The commander chuckled as he did what his instructor did and he stared straight down at the ground.
“I feel like a kite without a string,” said the commander.
“Follow me,” said the instructor as he extended his arms like Superman. Soon he and his student were flying over the countryside at nearly 200 mph. When the instructor lifted his hands above his head, his body ascended. By moving his hands certain ways, he was able to do aerial acrobatics. His student was a quick study. They descended back to the camp 15 minutes later.
About a quarter mile away, the other three strangers showed the soldiers how to fire high-energy weapons that could easily explode large boulders. Some of the soldiers were allowed to fire weapons which pleased them immensely. There were only 150 weapons to be shared by 500 soldiers. That was why the three instructors tested each soldier to see which ones were the best shots.
While the soldiers and instructors were preparing for the assault on the castle, the soldiers manning the walls watched as two men flew above them and soldiers with charged particle beam weapons were doing massive destruction.
That night, a banquet was held out in the open for the men on the walls to watch and envy since there were a few topless women that were servants and camp followers dancing around the bonfire. The men on the walls worried about what was going to happen the next day.
What the men in the camp didn’t know was that some of the people there were spies for the king of the castle. Two of the spies were women that a couple hours before had been dancing for the soldiers. One of them had secretly watched the leader of the strangers operate his flying suit and thought she could steal one of the suits and fly it to the castle.
The woman managed to steal one of the suits and no one saw her until she was halfway to the castle. A guard happened to see her and shouted out that someone was flying toward the castle. One of the strangers pushed a woman off of him and grabbed his power ray pistol before emerging from the tent in only his undershorts. He waved his weapon like a sword at the woman until he sliced her in half and caused the suit and thief to smash into the wall.
The two other spies grabbed weapons and began firing on the soldiers. A dozen men were lying dead on the ground before the leader or the stranger and one of his friends sliced their beams through the chests of the spies. The leader was hesitant to kill the woman. But since she wasn’t real, he did it with almost no emotion.
The commander said, “All right men, let’s get back to our bunks and try to go back to sleep. We’ve got a castle to storm tomorrow.”
The men and women went back to their tents to sleep waiting for the next day. But were there others in the camp that might turn on them and change an expected victory into defeat?
In the future, experienceable program units will allow people to experience computer programs that will seem totally real. If there are medievil programs like in the story passage, future experiencers will be able to come up with satisfying endings for the story.