Articles - ArticlesPart Two
Somewhere below Rome Blue, two friends whisper to eachother in the darkness of a tunnel.
"Do you think the message went through?quot; one of the them says in a nervous tone.
"Don't know, I used a load of backdoors and grid relays, plus we had to erase the ID from our side. My guess, he got it."
He begins to remove the connections between his NCU and a terminal in the tunnel they're hiding.
"I hope we did the right thing, if anyone finds out..."
"Well Nick, we'd be looking at about...twenty different charges, including misuse of corporate property, treason, breach of contract and a crapload of other charges. We did the right thing, I joined the corporation to live a good life, to have a career, a future. I didn't join so that I could be accessory to cold blooded murder."
"Tom, we could be wrong, what if UC doesn't come? what if Omni-Admin find out about our warning?quot;
"If we're wrong, then the clanner got a false warning, no harm done. And our superiors won't find out. If they had received the message themselves, and tracked it, all they would get is that it was transmitted from Rome without a clear location. I don't think I could track it down myself if I tried."
"I'm just worried, I'm too young to be executed for corporate treason. I'm a bureaucrat, not an adventurer for god's sake!"
The man stops working with the connections and holds his friend's shaking hands.
"Calm down! we did the right thing. How long we've been friends?quot;
"I...I don't know...five, six years?quot;
"Yeah buddy, six years. And we've always trusted eachother, right?quot;
"Yes. But, this is different, we've never broken the rules or company policy like this before!"
"Listen, you overheard your boss talk about the coming of UC, and you could've kept your mouth shut and ignore it. But you told me, knowing what I would probably do. We both know what UC does, and how they do it. We both have friends and some acquaintances on clan and neutral ground, we don't want to see innocent people die at their hands. We agreed on this course of action my friend, we've done it, and covered our tracks. We will not send any more warnings, this is as far as we're going. Now will you relax?quot;
"You're a fixer, you can pretty much hack your way out of the corporation if you wanted, you could join the clans if things went sour. Me, I'm just another 'crat, useless to those people."
"Come on Nick, if things did go sour, I wouldn't leave without you. I'd take you with me, and 'crats are good at negotiating with traders, did you ever think of that? that is very valuable on their side, get things for the lowest price, and 'crats are also well respected as their clans need diplomacy among their own to avoid civil war. If we have to run, we'd be fine. Maybe not in the kind of apartment and luxuries we enjoy now, or the food and equipment we're used to, but we'd be fine."
He lets go of the young bureaucrat's hands and continues working.
"Alright Tom, now can we get out of the subway? these night vision goggles are itching my face, I think I'm getting a rash."
The bureaucrat look around as the fixer goes back to removes the connections between his NCU and the terminal.
"Not yet, I'll need a few minutes to put everything as I found it and then we still need to wait until the area is clear. Remember they keep sending the new arrivals down here to do pest control and clean up the underground. And don't worry about the goggles, you're not used to them, once we're out I'll give you something for the rash."
"I'm starving, we've been down here for hours!"
"Yes, but who would suspect anyone using the condemned subways old COMM system to patch into the grid? I'm hungry too bro, but we need to be careful so we're not seen by anyone. It's getting late, so the place should be clear soon. Nobody should be able to even figure we used this old terminal."
"Why didn't we bring food?quot;
"I told you I had no room for food in my backpack before we left, I put all my equipment in it. I thought knowing that, you would bring some bronto burgers or something."
"I was too nervous, I wasn't thinking clearly.â€? replies the young bureaucrat.
"Yeah, I could tell. You smiled at every damn â€˜Pol we saw on the way here, it's a miracle they didnâ€™t think you were on stims and arrested us both."
"I didn't want to look like I was doing something wrong you know."
"We're not, all you need to do is learn to relax Nick. All the stress you hold inside is not healthy. You need to learn to stay calm and realize there is always another day. You should know as a 'crat that peace comes from within."
"You sound like one of those Meta Priests in Omni-Ent, not that I don't like them, but I'm not very spiritual in nature."
"Neither am I buddy, hey can you pass me that laser cutter over there?quot;
The bureaucrat passes the tool to his friend, his hands still shaking.
The fixer begins to cut the last connections.
"But being able to be calm, helps you focus on difficult tasks, and makes your life easier overall, I've never prayed in my life but I know I can achieve anything as long as I keep a cool head, for that I need to be at peace inside."
"Why are you a Fixer? you should've been a 'crat."
"Well, I never told you this, but when I was younger I got myself in a crapload of trouble. My criminal record was so long, that if you printed it out, it would reach one of our moons, from here. I spent a few years in juvenile prison, then released when I was eighteen years old. When I was a bit older I figured the only way I could be assigned a decent position was if those records were erased. I couldn't trust anyone to do it, since I knew any fixer could make a copy of the records and screw me down the road."
"Since you didn't trust anyone to do the job, you trained to do it yourself then?quot;
"Exactly. Took me a few years to learn how to hack things. One day I just erased my past and then I managed to get a transfer to a different department and started to work my way up with a clean slate."
"Impressive, no wonder you got a better apartment than mine."
"If you want I can get you a little 'transfer' to a better department if you want."
"You know I don't like taking risks."
"Look around buddy, you're taking a huge risk right now, and to tell you the truth your place is smaller than a leet's hole. Think about it. Well, I'm done, all the connections are the way they were, terminal looks exactly as we found it. Now we have to wait a bit and we'll be out of here. I'll treat you to Baboon's, I hear they got a new waitress upstairs that is hot."
"I think I saw something move in the tunnel back there..."
"Don't worry, we can handle anything that is down here, and none of the noobs have goggles like ours, they won't be able to see us in the dark."
"T-t-tom, I think we have a problem..."
He points down the tunnel they're hiding in.
As the fixer turns around, he sees six armored and heavily armed Omni-Pol officers walking into a lighted area, wearing night vision goggles.
"Did you insured recently?quot;
Released July 11, 29477 (2003)
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