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The next day, near the wall outside the dome of Solaris District, Ray sat in his cabin-like home, formulating a plan he needed to get in without much suspect. It’d be an easy choice to play as someone who he was often mistaken for in the past. A preferred choice on his part.

Protecting the district was a six-layered dome made up of polycarbonate glass. Two exits faced the ninth and twenty-seventh domains. He lived within the ninth domain which sat north of the dome. The twenty-seventh sat polar opposite of the ninth. A domain he’d rather live at.

Technically called Bionic Beings, their preferred preference was ‘bions’. He’d never admit to holding certain prejudices against the local bions, but there were considerably less, the farther one chooses to venture out down south.

A scent he recognized as anything but normal drifted up towards him. Sulfur and clay mixed in the air, as an angry mule of dust kicked up his nose. Debris layered upon an old electric power generator near the back of his home. He coughed a little, staring at the small apertures built into the bottom layer of the wall as the dust blew through it.

Brightened in the sun, near the northern exit, the rounded gleam from Primal Intelligence’s facility fascinated a glow of emitting light amongst its shadowing darkness.

Wrist raised in the air, the digits on his watch darkened against its white background at the strength of the burning sun. 

“Time to give ‘em a call,” he willed himself, unsure how he would explain to Superior Dailey that all he could get ahold of were some measly oculi reports.

He groaned; door swung open. 

On the farthest wall, a poster of a well-known hacktivist dangled upon a panel composite, pictured within contrasting shades of yellow and green. Titan Ludgate, username unknown, age of 19. One in four of the ethos group—an un-photographed boy user-named c1yd3. Another one was completely unknown, and a light-haired girl without a name.

Wanted for many reasons, but not any that would become a substantial case in any form, Ray prevailed. One thing was for certain: in Ray’s mind, he was feared by more people than the one that should have the most. Doctor Edgar Wyatt.

He eyed the receiver, tempted. His thumb hovered over the first number, but the call-o-gram prism near his worn sofa began flashing bright lights. He heaved out a sigh before waving over it’s top to answer the call… “I hate that thing.”

A woman came on, her scowl penetrating and condescending. “Superior Dailey would like an update.” Her gaze dropped towards the early 30’s phone model in his hands. “And quit playing with that primitive toy. You know how much he hates those things.”

She was right about one thing. It’s so old, it stopped working years ago. But the sentiment behind it was the real reason why Ray kept it.

Ray tossed the phone off to the side as Dailey took the screen.

“Any updates or reports on hacktivist activity?” His voice deep enough to sink any ship, yet strong enough to churn butter sent a widespread panic inside Ray. But it didn’t show. No, that would just please Superior Dailey.

“There’s no trace proving that the hacktivist group is an inside job. But I do have reason to believe their motives are not just about freeing the ones locked up. I need to get in and make our job the inside job.”

“How do you infer?”

“I believe it is all just one big distraction. No traces, or viable resources, point at them even being legitament—either that, or Doctor Wyatt is doing a great job covering it all up in order to escape whatever downfall may come of that knowledge being publicized—which begs me to believe it is all a sham.”

“The hacktivists?”

Ray pulled out the reports from his pockets. Flipped its pages.

“Not just them. All of it. Even the part where you get paid more for each nice move you make. It’s a cover up for what’s really going on.”

“I sense your detective skills kicking in. alright, I’m intrigued. Give me your thoughts.” He was eager. A bit too eager for Ray’s liking. Which could only prove the one point he is trying to make at this time.

He wasn’t about to divulge all of his beliefs, despite Dailey’s wearied gaze. “Maybe it’s a bad thing.”

Dailey’s chest bucked up. “How? Along with the many benefits lies free health care, and free energy. Victims are finally getting all the things they could ever need. Like control over their abuser. Why does it matter what they are actually doing to those monsters?”

Free energy, he twirled the meaning in the back of his mind. A grin shoved up the left corner of his lip, half-expecting that to be brought up. “Well, yeah. I guess. I mean, come on, free energy. Such a fine concept, isn’t it? Another great inventor, before our time, had that same dream once before. Nikola Tesla, I believe. But just before his plan was complete, tower finished, he mysteriously died. Didn’t he? Then, it seemed like anybody was willing to kill for the sake of money, but now, it’s for the sake of living out one’s fantasy.”

“It is a shame, though. That such a brilliant man could have such a flawed life. He went about it all wrong. Like you are. Now prove your point as to why I should allow your research on my almost perfected SOGA program.”

The Systematic Output of Guaranteed Advancement program was created in 2030, about five years after the start of Solaris, and about ten years before Primal Intelligence came through with an offer Dailey couldn’t refuse. But after then, almost anyone who was a no one became a victim of someone or something they desired control over. Wasn’t long thereafter before Primal Intelligence climbed its way to the top.

“Fine,” Ray sighed, voice thick with angst. “Then I guess I will tell you what I am really concerned about.”

Dailey folded his ashy hands on top of his paper stacked desk and gave a ‘go on’ look as if not really caring what he had to further say.

“The free energy concepts. Just how free is it?” He pulled out the papers. “If it is so free, why are half the clientèle not tapping into that source? And, if you look at these expenses, you’ll see that almost twenty-five percent of the company’s income is paid to something called Uncharted Resources. The rest is distributed amongst the clients, and their health care coverage. But nowhere on here is energy mentioned once. Even if it is free, status reports still have to be monitored.”

“That’s because it’s unlimited, and vast.”

“Yes, but if you look here, at the top, handler 001-A is making significant amounts of money, whereas the controlled 001-B’s brain activity dropped dramatically around the same time. And there are many more like this.”

“Maybe it’s nothing. Can you imagine a world where all of your desires are met, without any effort on your end? They probably just stopped thinking and started accepting. No thoughts racing through their minds or worries. Nothing.”

“The same thing can happen to a person’s mind who is fear stricken, or dead, as well.”

Dailey’s eyes lit up. “Or the hacktivist freed them, ergo everything being free on the clients end without any effort on their end instead. So now, thanks to the lack of monitoring, like you were saying, no one is the wiser if they are leeching off the benefits of the system.”

Ray curled his lips. The blocked-out names on his list were the ones who were freed or dead, but this quenched his eagerness even more. “Exactly,” he agreed. Anything to get him in that place.

“I don’t know if it’d be a good idea though,” Dailey sighed.

“They’re hiding something. And as Creator of SOGA, and the daughter programs such as NXT, aren’t you the slightest bit curious what one of your companies are up to? Without your very command allowing it to happen?”

“Alright. I want you to find out more about the ‘B’ patients, and the ‘A’ clients. But unless you plan on reaping your own rewards from the system, drop the energy case. Okay?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Have you done any undercover work before?”

He thought of a time about when his brother—his partner—had once posed as a crazy man in attempts to gain proof, or a confession, out of the doctors who were accused of intentionally overdosing patients after having them sign their life insurance policy over to the company itself.

“I can do it, sir.”

Off to the side, a matter transmitter lit up. Its sleek build, and black exterior, with a frightening alien appearance matched well with the prism. Designed by the company Starlight Electronics, they’ve coined this gem as the TransMat-3DI.

“These are all you will need. Get in, take notes, ask questions, get out. And I’ll later send someone to give you some files you may need. She’ll be hard to miss. Dailey, logging off.”

The screen narrowed into one thin, vertical, line and flickered back down into the prism box. The 3DI continued its shipment.

Chapter 3: X-Tort "Formulating a plan"
Chapter 3: X-Tort



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