Web of Chaos
The next morning. Inside an old closed-down store, two young men, Lel and Erwin sat around poking at their PADs. Lel’s drone unfolded a few times to have a seventeen-inch screen as he used the base for game controls.
A knock sounded from the back door. “He’s here.” Erwin got up dumping a small bag of chips on the ground. Indifferent to the spilled chips, he put his PAD away.
Lel had his PAD fold back up and put it in his pocket as they hurried to the door.
Opening the door, Erwin saw Joe carried a large helmet.
“Here.” Joe shoved the helmet into Erwin’s stomach.
“Umph… What’s this, Sir?”
“It’s Rephaim exo-armor. We’re unloading it. You and the new recruit can keep an eye on it.”
Lel didn’t say anything. He carried some of the exo-armor and hid it behind a dusty pile of vintage clothes.
Getting all the pieces in the building, they buried them with some more clothes.
“You’ll stay here and guard this place newbie,” said Erwin punching Lel in the shoulder in a light-hearted manner.
“Come on.” Lel tilted his head back and bit his lower lip.
“Only following orders. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure ya get into action real soon.”
Joe and Erwin got in the pickup truck and drove off.
Once they had left, Lel wandered over to the Rephaim exo-armor, took the helmet, and strolled back to the front room. He put it down on a table and sat down studying it. A minute later he got out his PAD, had it unfolded, and played a game.
With the local authorities not being the fastest to get an operation going, Gill sat waiting in his car. Having his car pull over to the curb, he opened a window. A small drone flew out and up into the sky. On his display, he observed a twenty story building two blocks away from him. Between larger apartment buildings and towering skyscrapers, it had one entrance on the front.
A black truck hovering twenty feet above Gill flew past at high speed. Video Gill received from his drones showed three more trucks flying in from different directions. One landed on the roof of the twenty story building. The other three were in front of the building at different levels.
Piling out of the truck on the roof a SWAT team formed a semicircle. A silver squid-like Sepiida drone about six feet long came out of it. It stood on its tentacles, and a glowing yellow Dunamis crystal came out from the center where the legs met. The Sepiida lowered its main body section closer to the roof, and the Dunamis cut a circle through it with ease. The circular slice fell into the building, and the drone put its tentacles together, climbing down into the hole. The SWAT team jumped in one by one.
The other trucks hovered out front, opened their rear doors, and backed up to windows. The SWAT teams blasted the window frames, kicked them in, and leaped.
Gill accessed the Sepiida’s system and could see what it saw. The SWAT team was unaware of the level of access he had in their government systems.
Inside, the drone floated down the hallway. If any residents of the building used to be out in the open, they were sure to be hiding after all the noise.
Following close behind the Sepiida the SWAT team had one member covering their backs.
The drone scanned right through the walls, locating people. Using its metal appendages, it pushed a door cracking it into pieces; many metal locks broke off the door and fell with clunks to the floor. Wrapping its tentacles around the door frame, it pulled itself and floated into the room.
The SWAT team poured into the room. Cowering in fear in a corner, a family of a mother and three children screamed, tears running down their faces.
The mother stretched out her arm. She held a rectangular PAD out for the SWAT team to see its screen.
That evening, humans and Chrysomallus played a ball game in the street. The area was far from skyscrapers but covered with identical apartment buildings for miles. Rickety foldable old tables with some food and drinks stood on the sidewalk.
Speeding down each direction of the street in pickup trucks, the G.E members raised their weapons and opened fire on the small crowd of partygoers.
Screaming the partiers looked about in fear. Some ran for their lives; others tried to hide. Getting hit some fell while others got shot but still ran. Confused in the sudden chaos many ran one way, turned, and ran back; caught in the crossfire.
Carrying a crying baby, one Chrysomallus got shot in the back and fell knocking a woman in a wheelchair over and dropping the baby. Rolling across the hard cement, the baby screamed louder.
The Chrysomallus screamed. “I can’t move.”
The baby crying, the woman from the wheelchair crawled over to the baby. Grabbing onto it with one hand she dragged the baby and herself down some stairs to a cellar entrance.
Tears fell from the paralyzed Chrysomallus woman’s eyes. “Help me, please.”
Out of sight the woman held onto the baby and put up her PAD as close as she could to the touchpad. It verified her ID and opened the door. She pushed the baby in and pulled herself in. More shots rang out nearby, and she shut the door. It locked.
Screeching to a stop, the G.E members got out of the trucks. Some scrambled after the easy targets out in the open. The many screams faded away one by one till no more could be heard. Others G.E booked it to the apartment buildings and put bombs in front of the entrances, blowing the secure apartment buildings’ doors right off.
All the people outside slaughtered, the G.E rushed into the buildings. One G.E member tried to kick a door in, but that didn’t work. Blasting the locks the next kick got the door open. No Chrysomallus were inside, but the G.E opened fire on the family anyway.
Door after door, person after person, the G.E exterminated anyone they came across. Alarms sounded from devices on their wrists, and they all ran back to the trucks piling in and speeding off into the days growing darkness.
A minute later the living heard sirens. Red and blue flashing lights descended from the sky as police cars flew to the massacre.
While going over the intel he had gathered from CCTC databases, a news alert showed up on Gill’s display. Watching what the news-drones filmed, Gill saw the police blocking off the area and a bunch of bodies in the distance.
He accessed the CCTV camera databases covering the area. He scanned through for vehicles coming and going from the site of the massacre. Telling his car to head there, Gill sat back and continued his search as it drove.
A call came in, and Gill answered.
“Hello Gill,” said Maylis.
“Hello Maylis,” said Gill.
“Saw the news. You’re not going to get yourself killed are you?”
“I’ll be careful. This tech in my head gives me a significant advantage.”
“Until you run into someone else with it. Or someone wearing exo-armor.”
“Yes. We need to stop the G.E before they get their hands on something like that.” Gill knew full well the G.E had an Arkvee somewhere.
“It’s… just that Sydnie needs you. Anlon has an army. He doesn’t need you.”
“Earth needs this to be taken care of. We don’t want Sydnie growing up on a violent, dangerous world. Sooner or later we’re all caught in the crossfire. You know that.”
“I’ll be careful. There are plans in place.”
“Bye. I’ll call in the morning to talk to Sydnie.”
“Bye,” said Maylis ending the call.
Later, Gill made it to the scene of the massacre and showed his PAD screen to the first police officer who stopped him. The officer let Gill past and pointed him to the one in charge. Walking over to the other officer, Gill showed his ID again.
The officer looked at the screen, looked left and right, then back at Gill. “Look, Agent Rune… word has gotten around that an Agent of Jovan Anlon has been showing interest in these G.E punks, but come on. That last call, I’m guessing you made, and no G.E.”
“Yes, that was me. I apologize. I suspected they had found out and cleared out. However… after this, we should have enough to go on to find a major base of operations.”
“Why is Anlon involved in this? This is our jurisdiction. We don’t like being bossed around out of the blue for unknown reasons.”
“How many humans were killed?”
“Then it looks as if you’ll be a hero if we take down these G.E around here. Anything you can give me?”
“Yeah, some video from the upper floor windows. They were wearing masks as usual. I’m sure they burned their clothes after as well.”
“They always make a mistake eventually. Especially with new recruits. And I want the information on the vehicles anyway.”
Alone in a small dark room, the tall and broad Snorri rubbed the back of his long neck with one hand.
“Snorri is the best there is. Snorri is professional. Will stay out of trouble. Humans will not know… And Snorri will bide his time… Snorri will wait… Snorri’s Selrahc family will be pleased with Snorri…”
Snorri left his room, wandered down a hallway just big enough for him to fit, and walked out of the front of the apartment complex he lived in.
A dark blue car with the letters PMC on the side pulled up in front of him. The back door facing him opened and he forced his large body inside, rocking the car as he struggled. The door closed and the self-driving car drove off.
A nonstop ride, the car took him to the Philadelphia Municipal Court. Shaking the car as he pulled and pushed, Snorri got out and stomped into the Courthouse.
Walking over to a security officer, Snorri held out his PAD showing them the screen. “Snorri is here to go to jury duty.”
“Over in that line,” said the officer pointing to a winding line of people surrounded by low dividers formed of holograms.
Snorri lumbered through the light barriers ignoring the designated path. The last person in line inched forward as much as he could upon noticing Snorri came up behind him.
The line progressed fast, and Snorri showed his PAD screen with the jury duty summons. They let him walk through the scanner.
Inside the jury duty area, an employee asked for his name and to see the jury duty summons. She scanned the screen on Snorri’s PAD and instructed him to fill out the information form on his Personal Assistant Drone if he had not already and to take a seat. Snorri headed into a large room with many people inside. He looked for a place to sit. Seeing two available seats on the end of a row a little ways back, he trudged over and sat in both.
Waiting for half an hour, he wondered why nothing had started yet. He had shown up at the assigned time. Shifting in his seat, he also straightened his back.
A court employee came in. “A list of fifty names have been randomly selected. Check your PADs and if you have been selected ok it. It will tell you what judge you have been assigned to. Leave that screen open, you’ll need to remember.” She walked out.
Ten minutes later she came back. “Fifty more have been selected. If you have not already been assigned a judge, check your PADs.” She left.
About half an hour later she came back. “Ok. Anyone assigned to Judge ____, line up in two lines up against this wall.” She pointed to her left.
After all fifty people lined up, someone else came to get them. They filed out of the room.
Things went on like that for hours. Sore, Snorri shifted his weight and waited.
Fifty people came back and sat back down.
Snorri was finally assigned and got his hopes up things would be moving along for him. An hour later he was told to line up against the wall. His group got led out of the room to another room, and he waited again but with no place to sit. They had to line up in a few lines of people in number order.
The woman who brought them to the room got each person to upload the form they filled out to her PAD. She left.
Fifteen minutes later she came back and called out a list of numbers assigned to people. The woman told Snorri and others to go back to the waiting room. She led the ones who got picked to the courtroom.
Back in the waiting room Snorri sat down in two seats in the front row. Not long after an employee came in and told everyone left, they could go home.
Getting up, Snorri felt as though he had wasted his time for nothing. He wondered what the point was and there had to be a better way. Kind of angry, he felt it was stupid that he came. Being registered as a citizen had not seemed to ever have any real point to it to him.
On her way home Wendy saw some young men harassing a boy. Not thinking much of it she kept walking. One of the young men hit the boy, and Wendy stopped. She shuffled over to them, biting her bottom lip. “Hey, leave him alone.”
Stopping, the young men looked at her. Smirking, one of the young men got in Wendy’s face. “What’s that? I couldn’t hear you.”
“Leave him alone.”
“What? Didn’t your momma teach you how to speak up?”
Placing herself in front of the boy, Wendy glared at the young men and had no idea of how to respond verbally.
“Well, speak up. It’s hard to hear you,” said the young man.
“I’m speaking as loud as I can,” said Wendy in her soft voice.
“Well, it’s not good enough.”
“I’m not going to let you attack the kid. You’ll get hurt one way or the other if you don’t leave us alone.”
“Ok, tough bitch. You think you’re the cops.”
Stepping forward, the young man lifted his chin, frowning and glaring to intimidate Wendy. A mistake on his part as she did not hesitate to uppercut his angry face. With a crack, she felt pain shutter through the thin bones in her hand. The young man fell over dazed.
The boy took the opportunity and ran away from the bullies.
Fighting back her tears, Wendy walked off. The other young men did not stop her. While walking away, she tried to open her fist. The attempt hurt too much, so she left her hand curled up.
In the old closed-down store, Lel had his PAD’s screen fold back down and put it in his pocket. Getting up he grabbed the Rephaim exo-armor’s helmet and exited out the back door. Looking around, making sure to look behind himself, he opened the trunk and threw the helmet in.
Late that night, Erwin came back. “Awe, ya missed it! All over the news, shit. Sheep died like sheep, baa.”
“Yeah, I know,” said Lel.
“Come on. The armors still here right?”
Lel approached the hidden pile and removed some clothes, showing a leg and torso of the exo-armor.
“Cool. I’ll take my new buddy out for a drink to celebrate our victory over the sheep. Baa baa,” said Erwin laughing.
Tracking the G.E who fled the massacre, Gill’s AI programs found useful information from CCTV databases east of the attack. Earlier, the G.E members who left ahead of the SWAT raid had traveled north. Those two lines converged on a spot narrowing down Gill’s search area.
Searching the local CCTV databases for the area, Gill used AI to calculate the most likely places capable of hiding an Arkvee. Once he had the information, he sent drones over to ID anyone in the area.
A good long wait later he got a hit. In front of a decrepit house, one of the vehicles he tracked had been spotted earlier in the day. It was in one of the few areas in the Northeast United States with trees. He had gotten the hit from a citizen’s car camera. They must have signed up to share their data with the county. Gill hoped it wasn’t a trap as he set a program to find the identity of the car’s owner.
Redirecting his drones to the house, Gill sat back and loaded his gun with a small red Dunamis crystal as his car made its way there.
The car pulled up to the house. Gill had not seen anything on the drone’s cameras the whole way. No visual signs, no heat signatures, no movement, no communications, encrypted or otherwise, nothing on scans, not even any cars driving by.
Getting out, Gill crept up to the front door as some of his drones circled the house. Pulling out his Falchion gun, Gill scanned through the door for any metal, explosives, or energy signatures which might have been on the other side. An old door, Gill grabbed the handle, turned, and opened the door with a sudden shove. Holding his Falchion out in front of himself, he barged in.
In the center of the room laid the G.E man Gill spied on using the man’s PAD, his head chopped off.
Copyright Conrad Brubaker 2018