Web of Chaos
Getting a call from Sydnie, Gill answered. “It’s very late. Why aren’t you in bed?”
“Well I was, but you didn’t call today. So I got up and found the PAD. Mommy didn’t hide it very well. I found it, so I’m calling you.”
“I see. I’m sorry. It was a hectic day. I love you.”
“Love you… You know you really should of called,” said Sydnie running her words together.
“It’s our day tomorrow.”
“I’ll make sure to come tomorrow.”
“Ok. Don’t you forget.”
“I won’t,” said Gill using his thoughts to set a reminder on his Aivot.
Sydnie made a humph sound.
“Ok. Quietly go back to bed please.”
“Ok. I have to hide the PAD back. Don’t tell Mommy,” she said quietly.
“I won’t. Good night.”
Underground in the structure with the many support pillars, Malphas got out of the car looking pissed off.
In his exo-armor, minus the helmet, Snorri lumbered over to Malphas. “Snorri is ready.”
“There has been a delay in plans. We cannot move yet.”
“Snorri is ready. Will go now.”
“Wait a little longer. I can have you dropped off in a prime location for maximum damage if you wait.”
“Snorri was waiting.” Turning his back to Malphas, Snorri walked off.
Malphas scowled. No one walked away from him. Least of all someone who was nothing more than a lumbering brute in his eyes.
Coming back with his exo-armor’s helmet on, Snorri headed for the exit.
Hurrying over to block his way, Malphas tried to think of some way to delay him.
Malphas stood in front of Snorri. Stopping, Snorri raised his hand to shove Malphas out of the way. Before Snorri touched him, Malphas took a small step back. “I know your family name is Selrahc. The more successful you are, the more they will honor you. Your name will be at the top of the families ranking until someone else comes along outdoing you. I will make sure it takes hundreds of years to surpass you.”
“Snorri will listen. More different food and will stay.”
“Anything you want.” Malphas motioned for his driver. As the driver took a few short steps, Malphas hastened over to him. “You heard the man. Send someone out to get a variety of food.” Speaking quieter as he walked past the driver, “A large amount.”
Snorri walked to a place to sit down and took his helmet off. “Snorri is tired of it all,” he muttered under his breath. “If Snorri was rich, Snorri would not be here. Snorri would buy the best food ever.”
In the Galley, Alexander sat next to Gill with a thump and sighed. “So you’re done with your report to Anlon.”
“Yeah,” said Gill.
“We’re not looking good on those reports.”
“They keep turning out to be more capable than we figured they ever could be,” said Gill taking a bite out of a pickle.
“Did you get a reply from Anlon?”
“Yeah. He’s sending a crew to retrieve the dropship. We’ll have access to its computers soon.”
“Another small victory and a loss.”
Gill didn’t answer and ate his late night snack.
“What are our orders for the G.E we captured?”
“We keep them locked up with the other one till the end of the mission.”
“And how do we go about finding this Arkvee? Besides searching back and forth all over.”
“I had an additional plan in place before we found the dropship. Too bad Senator Bai’s reaction was to drink his problems away and hide in his house.”
The door of Joe’s cell screeched open and clanged to a stop. Walking out into the clamoring general population, he and other incarcerated G.E members grouped together. They headed to the communal bathroom and took care of business.
Finished they all followed Joe to a computer kiosk in silence. Joe held a smartwatch locked onto his wrist up close to the kiosk and downloaded the latest messages sent to him.
The group headed to the yard. Two white and dark blue humanoid Security drones with silver shield badges watched them go through the frame of a scanner.
Outside Joe leaned up against a wall. “Still no sign of Lel. Keep seeing if anyone has any information.”
Many of the G.E walked off, but four stayed with Joe.
A half-hour later large solid rust red metal gates opened and a mass of prisoners filed out into the yard.
As the large crowd shuffled past Joe, the five G.E got rushed by twenty others. Spotting the attack on the G.E, Security drones jump down off forty-foot walls landing with clangs on the cement yard.
Getting the shit beat out of him, a disoriented, bloodied Joe attempted to crawl away but could not as his arms got kicked. Confused he tried to get up only to get stomped on his back, forcing him down. With one final kick to the skull and a crack of his jaw, Joe fell limp.
Two Security drones shoved some people in the crowd so hard they flew twenty feet away; they would have sailed farther if not for hitting the other people in the way. Standing guard over the G.E, the drones waited for more Security drones to disperse the crowd.
Prisoners ID’d by the drones as the attackers, got grabbed and dragged to isolation cells.
Fifteen minutes later Medics came out into the yard. Watching their backs, they put the five G.E onto stretchers hovering an inch off the ground and strapped them in. The stretchers rose three-feet, and the medics took them to the prison’s infirmary escorted by two Security drones.
In the infirmary, the G.E members were each closed behind their own curtain. A man in a suit like Gill’s walked in. Going over and pushing the curtain back to the unconscious Joe, the man injected a small oblong tracking device into him.
Hiding inside a factory producing custom vehicle parts, Diesel walked away from the distraught owner. The man who used the Arkvee held onto Wendy.
“He’s just nervous it’ll be found out he’s been helping us. Showing up with an Arkvee on his doorstep is more than he’s comfortable with,” said Diesel as he approached.
“Well, since no one can leave till we get this Arkvee disassembled and loaded onto trucks, I’m sure none of the workers are happy. Do we even know if they are G.E?”
“Yeah. This is one of the places set up to give G.E members a cover job.”
“So what do we do with her?” The man shook Wendy.
Exhausted, Wendy had trouble standing and almost fell over from the shaking.
“Let go of her,” said Diesel taking her by the arm. He led her over to a place to sit on some plastic pallets. “You’re going to eat. Then you’re going to assist us in figuring out how to connect that black Dunamis to the Onslaught.”
“One person couldn’t possibly do that. Onslaughts were never designed to use black Dunamis. We would need the system from a Scorpion or something.”
“The Dunamis cloaks it just by being close. Even if we just glue it on, it’ll be better than nothing.”
Wendy scowled at him.
“You’re smarter than you let on. You knew how to disable it when it was connected to the ship without outright breaking the whole thing.”
“Not the same as plugging it into the Onslaught and having the function like a Scorpion does.”
“I’m going to get you access to all the parts you need. I want you to hook it up and have the Arkvee’s shell absorb incoming blasts. None of this holding it in front like a shield.”
“Your other guys couldn’t even do that for the dropship. What makes you think I can.”
“You want to know what I think. I think we got ourselves a little genius who is too insecure to know otherwise.”
Diesel laughed and smiled. “I’ll get you some food.”
Wendy struggled not to cry, though she wasn’t sure she had anything left in her to do so. Jonah was dead, and she felt alone, her thoughts more scattered, searching for some kind of comfort. At the same time, she daydreamed maybe she could understand and hook up the Onslaught with the Dunamis. Why not. Its what she does. Looks at, researches, and fixes. It’s always worked. Sometimes it took longer than others, or new parts, but still, she had never failed to fix anything.
Lel finished his meal in the prison cafeteria. Only a few other prisoners remained with him. The rest had long left to go to the yard.
Standing, Lel looked around and returned his tray back to the kitchen. Once out of the cafeteria someone walked up on him. Lel turned ready to fight.
The guy put both hands up and backed off. “Ok kid. Ok. My bad.”
Heading to the communal bathroom, Lel had chosen his timing while most prisoners were outside. Placing his towel and soap dish outside one of the shower stalls to save his spot, he shuffled to the toilet. Once done he took his ten-minute shower.
He spent the rest of his time in his cell. A bell sounded, and he hung back as others streamed over to the cafeteria for dinner. His bunkmate stepped in for a minute and acknowledged him but did not say anything. Grabbing something the bunkmate left.
A minute later a man rushed into Lel’s cell. Sitting on a stool, Lel put up his legs and kicked the man away as hard as he could. The man tumbled out of the cell, and Lel stood up. Both scrambled for the cell door and grabbed onto the bars. Lel tried to slam it shut, but the man held it open. Another man came and shoved Lel back inside the cell. Falling on the stool it broke, and Lel grabbed part of it. He swung it at his attackers. The two men stomped on him. A second later one repeatedly jabbed at his heart with a shank as the other held him down and kept Lel’s back to the floor.
Two Security drones showed up pulling the two attackers out of the cell with ease. Lel expelled one last soft breath with an odd gasp sound and died.
Copyright Conrad Brubaker 2018