The egg-shaped white objects floated in the water just out of reach of Benton’s outstretched arm. He estimated them to be about a foot long and half that in diameter on the large end. The raft, made of hastily lashed together bamboo and shoe string, rocked with his movement.
The azure water was freezing. The waves sent splashes of icy wetness like daggers at his exposed skin. Shivers slithered up and down his spine, sending him into convulsions with every jab of the frozen water.
The nearly-naked man stretched out once again, groaning in agony as he reached for the strange objects. But, as with every time before, the devices stayed tantalizingly beyond his grasp.
Dimly, Benton heard a series of low, digital beeps, almost a melody, emanate from the nearest egg. It was the same sound that had led him to the trio in the first place. Wearily, he raised his shaggy blonde head to gaze in hatred and yearning at the prize he so desperately wanted.
Overhead, the fluorescent light that beamed down upon the deep blue of the water flashed, once, twice and three times. Startled, Benton jerked his eyes upward, the bleary green orbs straining to see clearly.
Inside a control room far away, two white suited figures turned toward another, suited all in ebony, handing over piles of tiny silver disks, each encoded with behavioral modification software.
“Gentlemen,” the black suited figure intoned, “I believe it is time our subject acquired his deepest desire.”
Benton tore his eyes from the flashing overhead light to the egg-shaped objects. The three devices were motoring toward his flimsy raft, beeping heartily.
Terrified, Benton thrust his nearly-frostbitten hands into the water, trying to paddle away from the menace of the eggs.
The overhead lights stopped flashing, plunging Benton and the frozen water into darkness.
Benton’s scream echoed through the facility.
The man in black nodded, satisfied at the outcome of the experiment.