Chapter 7

Part 2:
Chapter 7

Someone, someone he knew- touched him on the arm. The soft fingertips holding onto his own his skin made him aware of it.

Vincent looked beside him on the couch to see Jess sitting beside him.

They were on a couch of a dark lit room. Light from a screen shone on a projection movie. Where were they now?

Vincent was looking to her as she sat beside him on the couch of the lounge room… a movie-play blaring in the background with other faces watching it while Jess was buried inside him.

The fingertips brushed his arm towards his fingers. Her hand squeezed tightly around his. “Don’t let me go” it said. He tried to gently push it away, but it got tighter, so he gave in.

But there’s something you have to do…’ he thought to himself.

She curled up next to him, and he felt her skin as his arm circled around her arm.

“Don’t let me go,” she whispered on his chest, her head buried into his tight grasp.

“I won’t…” he said back, brushing her hair softly.

A gentle tug on his heart, the memory of something else-… Her squeeze tightened onto his chest and held him in place.

‘At least we have this moment…’ and he held her there gently brushing her skin with his fingers.

It could have been a second and millennia… he wasn’t sure which:

‘But there’s something that you need to do…’

And the dream vanished.

Vincent woke up with cold sweat. He did his best to wipe it off with the back of his hand and brush it off onto the bed.

He didn’t have time for heartbreak. He would turn his heart to stone instead.

He closed his eyes and took one deep breath. Despite waking up in the same place many times, this was the first time he’d felt so alone.

He started to pack his bag and began to remember something about a dark room and a T.V. He closed his eyes again tightly and opened them to see his real surroundings. He didn’t have the time to worry about what the dream meant.

Instead he began to focus on the next task. He packed the bag.. He looked over the gear. It took him a while longer than normal- maybe his mind was elsewhere. He noticed his thoughts drifting and consciously focused on the task at hand.

All there… he thought. He took the bag, pressed a button that zipped it up, and then slung it over his shoulder.

He didn’t have time to look back or second guess his decision- so instead he looked at his watch.


The real reason for his leaving was so not to disturb anyone, but his goal was to take the first train from the closest area- area 3.

He left quietly, as curfew was from 11 to 5- he would have to sneak through the halls one last time. He opened his door quietly and closed it behind himself one last time.

He’d been twelve years with the Underground… while unofficially, he was still fulfilling the last task given him by the commander- he still felt as if this was his last day here. Even still- looking around, it didn’t resemble a home to himself anymore. All it was was a collection of memories he’d rather not think about.

He walked down the halls toward the hangar area overviewing the plan. The earliest transcontinental train left at six. He’d ride there on his bike which, the nearest station would take an hour. Including the security check and getting situated he’d have to leave pretty soon.

Tech and he decided telling the others that it was a ‘personal decision’ would suffice for the need. He thought that trying to come up with something else would be too complicated to cover up. Considering it was a decision that was sporadic, they figured if it so happens that someone does ask, they’d say something about him not liking the new leadership and leaving it at that.

Vincent looked at his watch and relayed through the schedule in his head. Right on time. His internal clock pretty much counted by the second what he needed to do.

Vincent walked down the halls to the hangar for one last time while brushing his fingers on the walls and letting the twelve years run a course through his thoughts. He went inside an empty hangar this time when he knew it was clear, picked the keys to his bike and then went over to his bike.

He brushed his hands along the contours that made it, threw his foot around it and started it up. After a quick breath he left.

Beep. Beep.

Reggs Martinez slammed his hand on the alarm from the side of his bed. He was a man of force and structure. If there was a way to move a mountain, he’d be the one to say, “Force! Will! and a good schedule!  Five AM. Another time came to mind – when he was an unruly youth. He and Sozo had a couple bikes and would drift all over the terrains… that was a different time.

He brushed the thought away.

Instead he got up on his feet and let the bed fold into the wall. He put on his nice pair of slippers and walked through the illuminated path toward the bathroom.

This room was special. Sozo had had it before him. It was designed with the most up to date technology that the territory could come up with. Only the commander had it.

He laughed when he remembered joining up with the resistance against the bandits. Back then he and sozo had been given a small bunk of a large bunker.

he looked at the mirror as it illuminated on his face.  Grey hairs had grown into the lump of hair on his head. His eyes were older. Aged crinkles drew into the corners, but with some force. His face was sharpened by experience.

He kept up the details – trimmed nails, crisp uniform. A professional appearance was as important as timeliness.

As he looked into the electronic mirror that allowed him close-ups of parts of his face to shave, he began to think about the challenges he was about to encounter. Not that the challenges he’d faced were ever that hard with a little bit of elbow grease. But this one would take thinking outside himself to accomplish the goal. He hadn’t really wanted the office. Sozo had gotten him a position of leadership in the Underground when things had gone to shit in his life.

The ex-wife saw to that. But maybe if he could prove to himself his worth, he’d know for sure that she’d been the one mistaken. He started by maintaining his place. Over the course of a couple years, his ingenuity and determination drew him into the realm of the council. He began to have his own opinions- he truly believed that if things went his way, that it would solidify the strength of the nation.

He couldn’t dare call himself a good man. He didn’t try to lie to himself. He joined the Underground mainly for the thrill and the free drinks. His problems started when he actually turned out to be good at acting out operations. He went from being a rebel to a hero overnight as he and Martin Sohon singlehandedly attacked a group of bandits and saved a town of citizens.

He didn’t like the fame that he received, but he couldn’t argue with the added benefits of a gained social hierarchy. He had to clean up his act a bit as he gained responsibilities.

His two failed marriages were a better reflection of who he was. His ex’s saw him for who he was, drunk and rash and faithless. His only long-term relationship was with the recently murdered, Sohon, who’d been also alongside him during the conflicts with the bandits up to now.

Now, he’d killed his only friend, Sohon, for the one thing he’d believed in since he was that unruly youth. He wished in a way he would have died young in some glorious battle, at least he wouldn’t feel this darkness. Was he wrong in his motives? He didn’t have time to worry about it. But he couldn’t ignore the one detailed fact, he’d grown old.

He went into his private bathroom associated with the commander of the Underground. He washed himself, shaved, and suited up. Now he had to prove he made the right choice by succeeding in the conflict as leader of the Underground.

The president of the ‘sector seven’ Allied nation sat in the virtual center which linked up to the other leaders in a holographic room.

“What is the status of your situation?” the ‘sector three’ representative spoke.

“Code blue,” the president responded. Different colors represented different situations. Code blue meant that the problem was internal and would be handled within its own sector.

“We recognize that your economy has been put onto bare essentials,” another member spoke.

“Yes it has, repairs have been put in the works, the city has been put on the bare essential function. While the citizens have been somewhat restless, they have been explained the situation and relieved due to our action on the front.

“Exactly what steps are being taken?” the ‘sector four’ leader said.

“I have put General Csaon (‘Say-on’) in charge of immediate sweeps. The rebels will be handled by any tactics at his disposal. They are nothing more than a group of vagrants and should be smoked out soon.”

He paused, “…He has agreed to certain regulations- direct harm to townspeople is in violation of our agreement. While the details must be kept discreet, a full military effort is working. As we speak, the rebels are being taken prisoner now.”

“Do you think the problem will be resolved soon?”

“Yes, I do believe so,” he only wished his words were as true as he tried to let them believe they were.

“The council is adjourned,” the sector two elected representative spoke. One by one the images disappeared from inside the room. The ‘sector seven’ president signed off too and found himself sitting alone. The president rubbed his temples to release the small headache that was growing under his head.

The strife with the territory had come from years of unregistered conflict while he had only just been elected to save them. He had been on the verge of starting negotiations with the prior Underground leader, General Sohon. If successful- it would have brought peace to the territory, which held a great value to him.

His own plan had been to foster a peaceful environment between the Allied world and the countries surrounding it. But years of playing the aggressor had left the territories restless. And by the looks of the situation it seemed some other Elites had dug their hands into the dirt and wanted a war.

After all, not everyone suffered from war. Some even profited.

He himself would have to do everything in his power to maintain peace within the territory. For one, he didn’t believe the sector had the means to control the territory through force. Secondly, he understood that the territory was made of people. He’d come from humble beginnings himself.

He kept his own view from public opinion, attempting to maintain a good appearance with the people. The general perception of the territory was a bunch of lawless barbarians.

As he exited his office, his aide was outside the door to escort him to his next meeting.

“Everything’s ready sir,” he said as he saluted.

The president nodded.

He followed the aide as he was directed to the meeting room with General Simms. Upon entering the general greeted him and then updated him with the movements of his men.

“The team is in position,” he said.

“I authorize the counter-strike,” the president said, “Proceed.”

Vincent parked nearby the automobile section and walked to the entrance. It was still dark, but there was a small crowd of people gathered inside of the building going their way.

“Tech, can you hear me?” he said on his com on the side when he sure it was a clear coast.

“Supz…vincent, yeah, I’m up,” Tech said.

“placing device,” Vincent said.

Vincent heard tech yawn on the other line.

Oh geez. Vincent thought.

“Approaching entrance,” he said on the com.

“all systems are good,” Tech said.

Vincent walked through the entrance bay and placed a small disrupter on the detector on the side as he passed through.

“Just a minute,” the guard said.

Dammit Tech, Vincent though.

“All right,” the guard said. “You’re clear. It just took a little long to load up your data.”

After he got into a quieter zone he heard Tech on his com.

“sorry about that man,” Tech said. “I’m still a little tired.”

“Forget it,” Vincent wasn’t going to dwell on it. He went to the line leading up to the doors of the train, “the signal’s going to cut out.”

Vincent walked through and stepped onto the train.

“See you man.”

“Later,” Vincent replied and turned off the com.

He got a look around the cabin. A row stretched on both sides. The wall had a sort of lighting and was made out of some sort of plastic. He looked at his ticket that said 12C. He walked up to his seat and sat down. In front of him was an on board computer and visors which would connect to a multitude of entertainment files.

Why do they need all this? Vincent thought to himself trying on the visors and soon taking them off.  Vincent decided to look out the window and soon his mind began to drift.

He wished in a way he would have been stopped earlier. At least then, he would have been noticed. As it stood- he felt invisible. He closed his eyes, and waited for the train to start.

Jess heard a knock on the door from her room,

“Who is it?” she asked matter-o-fact.

“It’s me, Michael,” Michael returned.


She got out of the room after picking up her things and opened the door.

“Hey,” she said as she greeted him with a smile. He’d been leaned against the side of the wall and picked himself back up to look at her.

“You up for a walk to the cafeteria? They’re sending me off to a base soon.”

“Uh, of course,” she said. He waited for her as she got her coat and followed behind him shutting the door.

Jess looked at Michael as he had he was leaned up against the wall.

He had a comforting stance. Something about him was steady and reminded her of safety. He wasn’t awkward or anything about it.

They entered into the cafeteria.

A few glances came from the people they knew as they walked in together. A smile from Sally, an eyebrow raise from Jadon, a slight frown from Tech.

Jess looked up at Michael who either didn’t notice, or didn’t think too much about it. “So,” Michael started, “I’ll see you at the table.”

He kissed her on the forehead.

“Alright,” she replied safely.

She got her food and walked through the line. She looked for Michael. Michael had already sat down. She sat beside him in the open spot.

Sally gave them a little grin and looked down again.

“Hey,” Tech said.

“Hey,” she replied.

After a little time passed, Sally asked Jadon, “Where’s Vincent anyway?”

“He’s gone,” Jadon said.

Jess’s ears perked up as she listened to the conversation.

“When I woke up this morning- I noticed that all his stuff was gone. His bed was made. He must have left at night when I was asleep.”

Jess raised her eyes in shock.

“That seems sudden.” Michael replied.

“Well, yeah,” Jadon said. “He’s been part of the underground since he was eight.”

“Seven and a half,” Jess interjected.

Michael looked at her with an inquisitive glance.

“Why did he leave, do you think?” Sally pondered to the table.

Everyone had a shrug kind of look, except Tech and Michael. Tech seemed to be looking down and Michael had a more far-away look.

“Maybe it’s because of the new leadership,” Big Mike suggested.

“Do you think it’s because of Michael and…” Sally cut off as Jadon nudged her.

Jess didn’t want to be the one responsible for him, but if he’d wanted to pursue something, he should have done it. She gave him more than one chance and the past weeks she’s felt like a second wheel.

“Was there something between Jess and Vincent?”

“Nothing ever happened between us,” Jess said quietly.

Michael went back to eating. Jess noticed it was a little slower and more thoughtful. Michael was kind enough not to push the issue despite how it probably appeared to him. Instead he said something else.

“So- I’m heading to the north-eastern sector on assignment,” Michael informed them.

Jess knew that it would be like this- even still. Michael seemed a little down about it too. He tried to be positive, “Yeah, I guess they need extra recruits with the high alert and the Allies.”

Whether or not he was leaving – she would be needed elsewhere.

“Yeah…” Michael seemed a tad unsure of himself as he spoke to Jess, “so I owe you that date we talked about when I get back?”

Jess reassured him with a sly smile.

Michael smiled back.

“Well, I gotta go you all…” Michael said looking at the time and standing up with his tray.

“later dude,” Jason waved.

Tech nodded, with a reassuring thumbs up, “you got it!”

Sally gave a pursed smile.

Jess got up as he did, “uh…”

Michael smiled as she got up. He waited for her to get her tray. She quickly tried to pile everything on hers as he gently took the tray from her and stacked it on his own.

They walked to the dish pile and placed them through the conveyor together and then walked out.

(Perhaps Michael garners the attention of Sally early – after having saved her…)

Robert Penn-worthy (penny-worth) held up a finger to his secretary as she entered. His look went from annoyance to astonishment as the man she escorted stood on the side.

He immediately closed the display call and politely offered a seat.

“Hmm,” the man spoke, “you seem busy.”

“I’m sorry about that,” Robert replied, “it was just the secretary of affairs about some menial things.”

The man pondered a bit, “the secretary of affairs…I accept your apology.”

Robert motioned his secretary to have drinks delivered. She quietly left.

Robert was a politician. He lived with the elites and supported legislation ‘for the people’. In reality – he put on a smile and told people what they wanted to hear. Or else slander his opponents.

It was fairly sized but small to what he was used to in his own elite status. He gave his current attention to a well-dressed man sitting across from him. A simple black suit and tie worn by a handsome middle-aged man. Only really one memorable feature stood out from the man, a piercing dark look from his eyes. They seemed to stare into his soul.

If Robert had been more attentive of the man, he may have felt a sense of discomfort, but he was easily susceptible to the charms of flattery and pleasant speech.

Robert felt a little shiver from the icy grip the man held as they shook hands. Despite the nuances that warned Robert of some sort of hidden agenda, the man before him always seemed to have the upper hand in the foreknowledge of events, which had established him as Robert’s head advisor.

“You must step up in front of parliament and the council about this whole sector seven debacle, Robert.”

The man had, by now, taken the couch in the side of the room and helped himself to the treats on the table.

“It’s important that you do so as soon as possible.”

Robert being cautious in regards to his own political status responded with doubt:

“It’s not a popular subject at the moment. The other Allied sectors don’t want to be involved in another sector’s conflicts because of all the expenses it requires to fund its support.”

The man in black countered, “By supporting it now, you’ll become the forerunner in the campaign to stop it. When one Allied sector  falls, the fear will spread as the rest feel the sting of it in their pockets.”

“How do you know that the sector will fall?”

“Trust me.” He said with such confidence, that Robert couldn’t help but nod.

The man paused for a moment and then smile before asking, “How do you like the sound of prime minister?”

“I like it a lot,” Robert said pondering the sound of it with deep contemplation.

“Good,” the man said and got up, “I think you’re the right person for the job.”

Vincent sat in his seat in the back row of the long transcontinental train. He wasn’t quite sure what to expect from it. He’d heard about it, but never seen it from the inside.

The train system functioned in similar design to the electromagnetic railway in sector seven except for the fact that it was supported to skirmish underwater. On top of it was a buoyancy plate so that the actual cabin out looked the ocean from in the walls. The sea life whizzed by as Vincent looked out of the window at the underwater sea life.

He was heading to sector 2, in which he had no idea what would be there. He couldn’t help feeling a sting in his heart- anger, guilt, sadness and maybe a tinge of jealousy.

 Get yourself together. He said to himself.

“How are you sir?”

“Ok,” he said with a failed attempt at a grin. He gave her a look that said ‘I tried… you can leave me alone now.’

Instead, she gave him a sympathetic look. Something in her face said that she understood.

“Ah, not doing so well huh…” she took a beverage in a cup and placed it in his hand.

“Well let me give you this ‘spiced fizzy’. It’ll cheer you up.”

He kept his look down from her and to the beverage she handed him. It didn’t seem too bad.

“Heh…” he replied as she stood there for a moment seeing if he liked it…

After trying it… he smiled and she gave him a smile in response.

Everyone else who she passed by seemed to completely ignore her and even treated her with an annoyed short attitude.

Even still- she treated them as kindly as she’d treated himself.

Thinking about the fact that she had to maintain this attitude day in and day out – imagining how routine it could be – he couldn’t imagine enjoying it…

When she came around to the back of the train again- he figured he’d talk to her about it. She did her rounds and ended up close to him in the back putting away some dishes through a sort of automated wash system.

As her eyes caught his, he figured he’d ask

“How do you maintain such a good persona?”

“You like it?” she smiled.

“I think it’s unique,” he responded trying to think of the right way to respond.

“Well, you’re sweet.. Uh, mainly because it’s my job.”

“And what about when you’re not happy?”

She leaned in close so no one else could hear, “I fake it.”

He watched as she walked on to the next customer- and smiled.

“Have a nice day sir,” she said as she turned her head.

He sat back in his own chair. Something about that phrase seemed to be the something he needed. He’d put on his own smile, he’d just keep pushing through it. Despite being hurt, for now he’d ‘fake’ it.

It seemed that the train users were for more of the middle classes. Lower class wouldn’t need to travel and higher class would have their own transport. Businessmen and women using the train travelled in between the sectors for trade.

He looked outside. At this point – the train looked outwards into the ocean. The train went much too fast to notice the details, however as the train started to slow- he was able to catch a better view. Windows looked out into the oceanside. A whale, some sharks. It was a new thing to see oceanic life as he’d never done before. Under the ocean using a clear tube- perhaps this new assignment would give him some perspective just like this .

Eventually the train came to a stop at the Iceland Sector Station. This stop was along the way, built for easier transit and upkeep of the train along its extended route. A new group of people arrived as some of the car got off some got on. It seemed that Europe was the major destination of travelers rather than the Icelandic mid-stop.

The next stop would be Greenland and finally Europe.

The initial fascination wore off. A couple more hours passed between stops with which he used to gain some rest.

He put down his head as he sat in the corner- the motion carried him to sleep.

He began to feel another shift in the accelleration during the train slowing and the final stop. He looked around to see the masses of people he’d been riding with get up and out of the train.

He picked up his bag and slowly followed the rush of the crowd.

As he was leaving he caught a last look of the stewardess.

“Hey,” he said to her, not sure what else to do, stopped in place.

“Hey,” she smiled, “I’m free on Saturday.”

She handed him her info.


“you’d better head…” She said and he looked around to find he was the last one on. She gave him a wave as he left and he headed out.

He tucked it away in his pocket Anyway… he thought to himself, trying to get focused on the mission at hand again.

He took a quick glance back as the doors were shutting and saw her smiling face at him.

He then turned his attention toward the crowd. and he headed out from off the train onto a large platform that laid beside of it. He looked at the architecture-  The walls were covered with electronic advertizements across the whole length of the wall. some form of white plastic or plexi laid behind it.

Looking upward he noticed that escalators scaled high up into different layers of different buildings above him.

It was astounding to him how high up the buildings went to. If there was a top to this train station he didn’t see it. People passed by him as he stared upward.

“come in Vincent…” Vincent could hear in the hustle of the crowd from the com on his ear.

He noticed a small entrance at the end of the first level of escalators. seeing as the rest of the people were going up it, he assumed that would lead him someplace less crowded.

He stepped on the escalators and it led him up to the exit.

As he entered through the entrance he found himself in a large room with multiple levels and vendors and people on discs flying upward to different exits.

This must have been the center of commerce, the focal point of all trade.

He saw four buildings that stood up from this room with advertisements all across their walls.

He saw holograms of provocative images to entice the citizens. he noticed some people flying up on discs, but a majority seemed to choose another form of transportation. Large wires with vehicles travelling across them stretched from one building to another at different heights.

He felt small. No wonder people moved around here like cattle, however, he had a mission and wouldn’t let this phase him.

The pinnacle of civilization, Vincent thought- to Vincent it was annoying to look at. Flashing lights and images didn’t impress him. This was a central hub of destruction.

In the very center was a booth, with many holes and vendors that waited on people there. INFORMATION’ it read in big red circling letters around its round top.

He noticed a stand with maps next to it.

“oh! a newcomer i assume,” a vendor said as he noticed him. Vincent looked at himself, black clothes that seemed more suited for burglary didn’t match the scene of showy outfits that surrounded him.

It seemed that the people here also liked to put on a show. everyone so focused on themselves on the ouside, distracted with attractions, there was no time for them to develop themselves into upstanding citizens. He wondered if there was a lack of character here, and perhaps that’s what appealed to the girl on the train.

He walked up to it and took a map from the booth.

“hey wait,” the main stopped him, “that’ll be ten zen.”

Vincent tossed him a coin of the common currency and left to find a quiet spot.

A blinking dot showed the location the map was at now. It seemed the map was digitally enhanced to show the grid of the surrounding block.

He tapped on his com, finally ready to respond underneath an archway that was on the outskirt of the center.

Tech was on the other line.

“Hey, Tech,” he said as he heard Tech,  “give me a minute ok.”

He made sure that noone around him was paying attention and then opened up the channel to talk. He’d have to make sure this was a secure line, Tech warned him that frequencies were limited, however he’d have to keep communications somehow, tech made sure to scatter the channel as he spoke as long as he told him what channel he was on.

“Ok, I’m here.”

He could hear Tech itching to respond, it seemed like he’d been waiting to communicate…

“How is it there? I’ve always been highly interested in the technology of the head sector.”

“loud and obnoxious… and it’s straining my eyes,” Vincent replied dejectedly, “yeah-i think you’d be interested in it.”

“Sounds interesting..,” tech said with a smile in his voice. Vincent couldn’t see it, but he could tell it was there.

He followed the map out towards an arrow pointing to an exit. It seemed that he’d be surrounded by buildings everywhere. Any form of nature would definately be manmade and limited.

He looked up at the skies, Natural light barely hit the streets as the skyscrapers were just that. Wires stretched all over with moving vehicles going from building to building. From on the street, he felt like a small bird looking at the top of the trees from the bottom of a forest, except with a lot less space.

He noticed he was in the shadows of the surrounding skyscrapers. It must have been dark at the bottom a majority of the time, the shadows seemed to overcast pretty much everything from their heights which literally reached up to the clouds. the bottom also seemed to have the most questionable shops and clubs as lights illuminated entrances into a bar on about every turn.

“So how do you like London anyway?” Tech asked.

Vincent replied, “I don’t know yet… i’m just gonna do what i have to do, i’m already sick of it.”

Vincent looked at the grid on the map, it seemed that it only took up a small amout of the city, after the initial exits he’d have to find his way on his own.

“I should probably start by looking for a place to make camp, got any suggestions?” he continued.

“that’s a good question; I see a few places that you may be able to go to based on the police database of recent deaths and missing person’s report, there’s a few rooms available in the residential district a couple miles west of your location,”

Vincent would be making systematic camps in the time it took for missing person’s to file through the paperwork and reassign the housing to new citizens- until he could find a permanent solution, unless it didn’t take that long for him to finish. He wasn’t sure how long it would take him, right now he was just doing his part to gain a grip on the situation.

“I’ll do that as soon as possible, but first things first, have you been keeping track of the signal of the mysterious man?”

Vincent had placed a tracker print on the man’s jacket that he’d been able to sneak his way to in the America’s. While undetectable, it would last only so long. He’d probably have another hour before the signal would no longer work.

but if he found where he needed to go within that hour, it wouldn’t matter.

“The location the signal is coming from is the government district. It’s about a quarter mile east of your current location.”

“thanks man, don’t mean to sound pushy,”

“It’s quite all-right, I’m not as much of a pushover as you may think. I just come across that way because I’m such a nerd.”

“Haha,” Vincent said, “Alright. Thanks.”

Vincent looked around the city. Busy people brushed by him. He would have considered them rude and started thinking about the way he would dress, perhaps they’d think he was out of place.  He looked a little out of place in his clothes but he wouldn’t worry about that now. He’d only brought the one pair of non-uniform black ones.

He overheard different accents and he noticed the same green tone in people’s eyes; the same far-away from the drugs that dulled the mind. Anything that allowed for productivity was legal in this environment.

Mindless drones, Vincent thought: just like the sector in the Americas. How easy it is for them just to give in- but to do more than acknowledge it would require care. Vincent didn’t care; instead of pity, he just felt extra anger and disdain for the people who chose to live their lives this way. It’s an individual’s fault.

As he worked his way down the government section on the walkways, he circled the perimeter of the government sector. A section of surrounding smaller buildings all conducive to certain aspects of the government and one larger building in the center which held the common working offices for all the politicians. He scoped out the main building.

37 levels, multiple guards, single main entrance, perimeter checks. I’m going to need to become someone with access into the offices…

As he tried orchestrated the plan to gain access into the building as a worker he noticed a man walking towards the building. Sharp suit- soft features, level 3 shoulder marking: born in politics, elitist family, and well known- pride, easy mark.

He quickly walked up to the politician.

“Hello, sir,” Vincent spoke. “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you!”

“Uh,” the diplomat replied. “What’s your name young gentleman?”

“I’m just an unimportant laborer; I just wanted to have the honor of shaking your hand,” Vincent replied.

Vincent put forth his hand to shake it; the politician took it and smiled, “each role is important.”

Vincent smiled back. “Thank you, sir.”

He stood there for a moment and just watched him with a smile.

“Well if you don’t mind, I’m heading inside;” the politician spoke, “boring political stuff.”

“Certainly,” Vincent replied.

Vincent watched him enter inside through the security grid and then spoke on his com.

“Identity cloned.”

“Nice- I wouldn’t ever have recognized you like that. That was pretty pro,” Tech spoke on his com.

“Alright, I have the perimeter scanned- now I’ll get ready.”

’s old home in the housing district of the city. He’d probably have the place for a week up to a month if necessary before it got cleaned up and reassigned to another family. Those who fell off the grid were generally running away or dead which meant he wouldn’t have to worry about the real ‘Matthew Dubbins’ coming back: either way would work for him. Or he could kill him… haha, assassin joke.

As he got to the building with his unit, he walked through the doorway and went up to the unit.

He walked into the hallway and approached the entryway of his apartment building. On it was a scanner, which would relay the visitor or tenant approaching, generally a safe way to protect people in their homes. He carefully attached a delayer to the device and then quickly opened the door and broke off the lock. He then attached a ‘relayer’ that told the device that it was still closed so as not to alert the authorities. As he looked around he took in the layout. A considerably small place fitting for the status ‘Matthew Dubbins’ had held in the system.

His one room had one bed, a desk, and a small box of it split into a two parts, a kitchen and restroom.

Despite the mess and the smell, he actually considered himself fortunate that the place wasn’t in total shambles. Most of the housing units were broken places where the Allied youths would party, trash, and then sleep in their own filth.

He took a quick look around the room. It seemed he had left in a hurry. Open drawers and scattered clothes on the ground. No indicators of valuables or personal belongings indicated he must have had to run away from something and come back to retrieve only what was necessary.

He gathered more details from the walls and the devices scattered around the room. Early twenties, drug user, interests in technology and it seemed black market gaming and net stuff. He seemed like a loner, which gave Vincent a sort of empathy for him feeling like a loner himself.

Just looking at the place made Vincent uncomfortable and sad. He started clearing up the clothes, followed by a quick cleaning of the house. Looking at the devices, he though he may be able to use some of it. After everything was clear he set out his own things. The technology devices he brought.

He put his stuff on the table and organized it. He then felt like writing, and seeing as he now had access to a network device, he got situated and then started writing out into the mass storage that was the dark-net.

For the first time in a long time, he let himself think about Jess, and as he wrote it all came out,

We were younger then…

A time when I thought that there was more
Now that we’re older and I have to move on
I won’t forget you

Your hair often covered your face
And would hid your eyes
but if anyone had seen them the way I had
they would know there was a beautiful soul inside

And they’ll haunt me in my dreams
And tonight’s going to be a lonely night alone
And all I believed then won’t let me go

And when I wake, if you saw me, you know
I haven’t forgotten you’

He closed the lid to the device. He got into a newly cleaned bed and let himself doze off into the nighttime. I haven’t forgotten you, he thought before drifting off into easy sleep sleep.


While the night’s events drifted into later hours, the morning was not as forgiving. Despite the time spent up later than usual, individuals were still assigned to wake at the same times.

Michael looked at the schedule, he was to go from debriefing to

after a quick breakfast, he headed towards the briefing hq where he sat in with others assigned on border patrol.

Michael looked foreward at the units commander as he spoke. Most of the commanders were in charge by merrit. All of them had been involved in one conflict or another- mainly during the time with bandits- thus their command was due to combat experience.

A quick tactical debriefing outlaid the plan. Michael and a group would be part of the border patrol. They were there to gather intel about enemy movements and provide support if necessary. Until further orders were given they were to play strictly reconissance.

Second strike was confirmed as a strike on transportation, but would be held off until the enemy had expanded it’s forces among the border.

Part of the debriefing included what to expect. Since the Underground was labelled as a terrorist group and not a military force, sozo was going to make them pay for it.

It was a safe strategy.


Michael walked together with Jess to the port base. As he got to the doors, he noticed a lot of talking. it seemed like a lot of people were leaving off as well.

Michael met up with his assigned unit from the Underground.

“Hey I’m Michael,” he stuck his hand out to the unit leader.

“Oh the wimp who requested not to fight- just stay out of the way and let us take care of it,” J said not shaking it..

Michael took back his hand. Anyway, he thought.

“I’m Warren,” another of the group of four on his team said and shook his hand.

“Rachel,” the one girl of the group said, “I take care of electronics.”

“J. by the way,” the leader of the group said.

“Cool.” Michael said looking at him with a nod. “does J stand for anything?” He asked.

“yes- it does.” J. said without expounding further. Michael waited for a punchline.

“Nobody knows.” Warren replied.

“Well, let’s get in.”

Michael looked back to see Jess standing outside of hangar smiling.

“See you, Michael!” Jess said as she waved.

“Michael’s got a girlfriend,” Rachel said curiously

“Looks like it,” Warren replied matter-o-fact.

“How’d a wuss like you get a girl like her,” J said.

“that’s what i want to know,” Warren said.

Michael waved back. Instead of getting in the car, he ran up to her and gave her a hug. Then she kissed him on the lips for a little while until it was over.

“We’ll go out for Slurrpees soon ok?” He said with a large smile. He caught up with the group. She waved again and he got his last look of her from the backseat of the vehicle and they started to take off.

Micael figured he’d give it a go at being sociable- although J. was probably a lost cause.

“so… what are we gonna do?”

A few dodged glances at him from the guys, a couple smirks.

“Nice job man,” Warren said.

It started to get a little awkward until Warren pointed out something in the window.

“Hey guys, it’s the spot…” He pointed out

The spot, it turned out, was a bunch of trees. Michael thought he could make out a pond.

“What’s that about?”

“It’s a spot where we go diving. a few things happened there. I’ll tell you a story about it I guess.”

The ride was relatively quiet to start. Michael stared out the window for the main part of it and looked at the scenery passing by as they traveled through all the towns.

Rachel started asking Michael questions.

“You grew up in one of these towns then? What’s that like?”

“It was relatively dull, but it had its moments. My dad kept me on top of things,” he replied.

“What’s it like having an Allied commander be your father?” Warren asked.

You know, growing up hardly even recognized him as an ‘elite’, the way the elites are now. But he taught me a little about it,” Michael thought before responding, “You know- not all the Allies have the same ideas that the government gives. Some of them sympathize, especially in the elite class. It’s mainly the elites that have access to more information than the government gives them.”

“But aren’t the elites the ones responsible for the government?”

“The Allies are run by businessmen, not the elites. They just happen to be the more ambitious and smarter people within the system.”

“Yeah, I don’t like them,” J. said to Michael with a tone that said to end it. How could Michael get the people so attuned to see the Allies as an enemy to realize anything else.

The ride got somewhat quiet from then. Michael spent most of the time looking out the window. His town was in fields and green trees on flatter land. This terrain was more mountain ranges. They were going along the tops of them.

Warren told a few stories about himself.

“…and then the dog started chasing me. So I had to dive into the pond, cookie in teeth,” warren said, “and long story short, that’s why it’s not good take the cookie from Mrs. Panda’s cookie jar, at least without permission.”

As the vehicle approached the edge of a steeper hill, the team parked the vehicle and got out.

Michael looked outside, but didn’t really see anything.

Where are we?” Michael said.

“We’re here,” Jay replied and got out of the car.

Jay explained the situation to Michael.

Along the ridges of the hills were certain posts where they could scout out the trails below. It was their responsibility to scout out the area, making sure that nothing happened below.

He waved to what Michael wasn’t sure what and then a few people came out of an underground sort of cavern.

He turned his attention to the people.

“Status update?” he asked them.

“Nothing much going on. Seems like the normal activity for the Allied fort nearby. the town is lame as ever.”

“Alright, thanks,” J replied. “Well, let’s get going guys. You all are relieved.”

Michael watched as four people got out leaving the cavern and Michael’s group went inside. They did some quick sort of handshakes as a tradeoff kind of thing.

“Alright newbie, let’s show you how it’s done.”

J took hold of a device and opened up the doors with it. they went inside after the other team left and took the car.

On the inside was a small room. in the room was a connected computer system which showed the whole layout of the woods that the fort was responsible for.

“Restroom’s in the side room.” J pointed.  “As you can see, there are bunks on the sides. Whatever’s in the storage room for food. We go to the town nearby to restock and when we take our time off. Generally, we need someone watching the monitor at all times, and we like to take it in shifts. I’ll stay with you for a little while and show you how it all works. Then it’s all you. I’ll be heading to town for a while.”

Michael looked at the screens then at J, “what if something happens?”

“heh. If that happens, well we deserve to get locked up, but we don’t need to now. It’s enough just to have someone monitoring,”

J showed Mike the basics, the controls, the different areas that they watched and then left him there.

Michael felt a bit taken advantage of, but decided to make the most of it.

Michael sat in the chair and looked at the monitors.  Trees. Mountains. The outskirts of the eastern front- but he was here for a reason- whether or not he felt it was best spent with his time here. This was going to bore him to death, but it was his job… and as long as it was, he’d maintain a watchful eye.

A couple hours passed. He used the restroom. he read up on different things with the books that were there. He couldn’t drift off, so he gave himself time to exercise and study and write and such.

Eventually the team came back.

“man i’m pooped,” J. said.

“yeah. it’s too tiring goofing off like that.”

“well, good job Micael,” J said. “you enjoy yourself a good nap, we’ll take care of the night shift.”

Micael looked at all of them. it seemed like they were trying to put it all on him while they goofed off- it wasn’t what he had in mind trying to help out the towns in the north-east.

“aren’t we supposed to help the towns as well?”

“yeah,” Rachel said.

“well, honestly, what can we do?” J. replied. “it’s enough that we’re just watching over them, and we don’t need more than one person doing that, so the rest of us should just take it easy.”

Micael didn’t like it. tomorrow he’d help out with the town’s contruction or whatever it needed.

“well, give me a chance to try…” he said.

Next thing tomorrow he’d go down to the town. He didn’t care what the others were going to do.

“Mission details, operation Candy Rat is successful.”

General Simms asked for a status update from the command post in the central command room.

Different people were working on certain parts of the command center.

“Sir,” the one taking care of watching the details on the allied and rebel forces said, “It seems the initial scanners have found a few rebel groups in these sectors here,” he pointed to a map.

“ok, adjust the defenses along the towns accordingly. Let’s set up the defensive is along the paths on the way to setting up posts at these locals. he hated that he couldn’t take advantage of this and calculate an attack, but the President said that he didn’t want to ”

“alright, order the surgical strike team here.”

A couple hours passed of this until his leader of the special operations leader came to inform him of the mission.

“Sir, update on the black ops forces. The strike team in the central district was able to take a group of rebels hostage. It seems two of them come from the Underground base.”

“Alright, great…” this would be easier than he thought if they’d already had access to the main base, “Prepare the negotiation chambers.”

“Yes, sir,” he saluted.

Previous<-II—-> Next


Author: jackpennnovels

Hey there. I'm a 28 y/o aspiring author - looking to inspire youth and entertain the masses with fantastic stories. i enjoy travelling the world and understanding different ways of life- and my second dream would be to help others understand what it's like to live in different parts of the world- in the hopes that cultural exchange can open the eyes of those who've had theirs shut for so long.

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