The Warm World, My Cold World
Eriaslooked around the area and only saw the exit to another corridor and a door that was labelled as ‘Storage’. Without thinking much about it, he wrapped his arms around Zsally’s chest, making her shriek softly, and dragged her into the storage. He was lucky it opened with only a press of a button.
Erias also collapsed on this bum while his arms still wrapped around her chest. After he realised it, he let go and apologised indifferently. Zsally didn’t mind as it was necessary and apologised for suddenly having lost strength in her legs. They kept apologise for each other’s actions but in the end, they only giggled.
Some strength has returned to Zsally’s legs and she was now able to walks, but across the door, Erias could still hear people speaking, although he can’t decipher what they were talking about. So, he decided to just wait in the storage room while waiting for them to leave.
Meanwhile on the outside, five people were overlooking the scene beneath them. A man who looks haggard as if he just woke up from a hangover only wore a shirt, slacks, and fluffy slippers. Another man looked and dressed completely opposite of him with styled hair and a nice suit and coat. A woman stood beside the rough looking man, writing things down on her clipboard. The remaining two looked like those below with suits, holding guns and standing a bit further back behind them.
“Mr. Koldner, they are the new immigrants for the second and third divisions.” The neatly dressed man pointed towards the space beneath them. “Over there are also the other orders for the biotech, simulations, and cleaner’s department.”
“Mh-hmm.” Kristoff Koldner, the haggard looking man nodded in acknowledgement. “Lisanna, inform each department to inspect their supplies after it has undergone general inspection.” He spoke to the woman beside him.
“Understood, Mr. Koldner.” Lisanna Sbrojvya, secretary and close aide of Kristoff, listed the things he said and made note of it.
“Mr. Berthlam, what are in those cube shipping crates? I don’t remember seeing anything in the orders or requests being that large.” Kristoff pointed at the far end of the space as he asked Avas Berthlam, a shipper of goods and products to and from Avurgaevs and the capital.
None of the others could properly see what he meant, and even the soldiers, who were at the backs, couldn’t help but lean closer to see what he was referring to.
“Um… Let me confirm with my colleagues.” Avus walked a bit away and contacted someone through his earpiece.
As he was talking, Kristoff gazed on the amount of people below, especially those with the rings. They are called restraining collars, or collars for short. They have been made in order to rob someone off their conscience. Once attached to the neck of residents, the test subjects, they are nothing more than dolls that can be controlled remotely. There were still a few that managed to escape the car but were immediately caught by the soldiers below.
Avus has finished talking to his colleague and informed Kristoff.
“My colleague says that the largest container that was brought in contains the… System Core Center-Change Code?” He was unsure of it even after hearing it multiple times.
“…Ahh. I’ll inspect that myself.” Kristoff spoke after a pause while making a confused face upon hearing Avus’ words. “Alright, let’s head there now.”
As they were about to leave, Lisanna approached him and asked what that thing is?
“System Image Core and Legacy-Centralised Interchangeable Code, or the SIC-LCIC. Or just call it LCCC, Legacy-Centralised Core and Code.” Kristoff described it a bit as he slowly walked the path they came from.
“What does it mean, Mr. Kristoff?” Lisanna further asked but Kristoff didn’t answer as it’s main use was confidential. His mouth was sealed even more when there are people like Avus and the two guards around.
The two guards who trailed behind them had also left the scene and now, no one was on that platform and path besides.
Erias and Zsally, who were still inside the storage room, stuck their ears to the door, trying to listen if there were voices still in the area. It was difficult to judge as the area was noisy because of the events happening at the ground. But when Zsally judged that no one was present, she immediately pressed the button and the doors open. Erias panicked a bit and even shook Her back and forth, speaking out his complaints, he noticed that no one was really on the path besides them. After Zsally directed a smug smile at Erias, she was pulled by her arm as they left through the other exit.
As they continued down the corridor, there were multiple doors with labels that lined the walls. ‘NRW01-151B, ‘RWSTEM-DAR03’, ‘NLWMC-011-060 ==>. There were lots of different signs they didn’t know the meaning of. But they followed the path they have been following the entire time. Even if they wanted to enter a room or through a different corridor, the door wouldn’t open. There was something like a small box beside the door that had squared you could touch. But every time they press those things and a green button, the lights above the door would flash red, and then back to white. They got bored after the second try and continued walking.
At the end was a wall but strangely enough, there was a bright greed button at its side that also has an ‘Open’ label below it. Without thinking much, they pressed it. The wall opened at the centre and the panels were pushed to the sides slightly, having a space of about a metre only.
After they exited, the doors went back to its original position and looked as if it was part of the wall. It had no buttons or any other labels on it, as they were searching through.
“Wait, I know this place.” Zsally said. She ran towards a certain pathway, turned on a corner, and found people walking to and fro. “See!” Erias started to tear up upon the sight of other humans like him.
Zsally was perplexed by his sudden actions. She didn’t know what to do until she spotted someone who she knows.
“Ah! Sis!” She called out to a woman who had straight red hair. It was more maroon that it was ginger.
Although Zsally calls Esther her sister, they are not related. It was because of them having almost similar hair colour that makes them stand out like a sore thumb. And they got along pretty well to the point Zsally just started calling her ‘sis’ because she acts like an elder sister towards Zsally.
“Zsally?” She saw Zsally who was waving her hands at her and headed for their direction. “What’s happened to him?”
“Dunno. He suddenly became a cry baby.”
“I’m not!” He shouted at Zsally and she just laughed lightly.
“So, what were you reading at the back?”
“The back?” Erias asked, confused at the question. He turned back and saw a ‘Library’ sign from where they came from. “Oh, um, just read some… books…”
Esther was taken aback by his sudden words and actions. She turned towards Zsally who is most likely to tell the truth. But even she was perplexed as she didn’t want to answer truthfully. Her words were filled with stuttering and her eyes constantly floated about. Esther had enough and dragged the two back to the library.
The three sat at a table, isolated from other people.
“So, what is it that the both of you are hiding?” She leaned closer to the two, whispering.
“Did you see some kind of ghost?” They shook their heads.
“Did hear someone say bad things about you?” They shook their heads.
“Did you see something you shouldn’t have seen? “They nodded once and immediately shook their heads.
“Spill it! This woman loves gossip as much as she loves her younger sis!” She leaned even further still until her body was lifted by the table. She noticed that the other people were looking over their direction and so she sat back straight on her chair and cleared her throat. “Spill it!” She whispered a shout.
Erias was the one who answered her. He told her of his plans from staying behind to hide in the enhancement ward to seeing whatever was in that space and hiding in a storage room. Finally ending up in the pathway going to the library. He even described the doors disappearing and such. All of this just for the sake of adventure.
After describing what happened, Erias was slightly frightened by the expression Esther gave off. Her brows furrowed and her eyes squinted as she contemplated on something. Her chin rested on her thumb while her index finer covered her mouth. Her serious expression felt chilly to Erias but Zsally was unfazed while saying ‘Waa! Sis’ face looks cool!’.
“Alright. None of you speak of anything about what you saw today.” Esther spoke softly while still having her serious expression. Erias’s muscles tensed up and his whole body stiffened as he replied with a yes meanwhile Zsally, who was just beside him, answered with a cheerful yes.
“O-of course.” Erias spoke again. “I mean… we practically went inside somewhere we shouldn’t go to, right?”
“Exactly.” Esther pulled her body back and returned to her usual character. “Well, I bet you’re both exhausted. So, just relax for a bit. I’ll be off now.” She stood from her chair, waved at them, and left the room.
As she left, Erias slumped his head towards the table, yet Zsally still had her infectious cheerful character looking confusedly at Erias.
Esther walked rather quickly and the man following behind her tried to catch up. He quickened his steps but Esther made it even faster.
“Oi!” He raised his voice slightly. “Why’re you walking so fast?” He asked.
“There’s something I need to write down.” As she exited the path to the library, she headed for the communal space.
The communal space is where every resident has access to. It contains a bookshelf with some books in it, but they are mainly story books or fairy tales written for children. Near the bookshelves are tables and chairs and even couches. Over at the other corner were game systems that uses virtual reality and holograms. The rest of the area are just empty spaces which sometimes children play in.
There was a stationery corner near the bookshelves and Esther went and grabbed a few pieces of paper and a pencil. She sat down and quickly wrote down whatever she heard from Erias and Zsally. The man was curious as to what she was writing but it was too messy to understand.
“What’s all that, Esther.” He asked.
“It could potentially help in our escape.” Esther spoke as she wrote. “That reminds me, why were you in the library? And following me at that?”
“A few others were cleaned again. Fortunately, we got a few new info.” He leaned closer as he continued speaking to her. “Also, I heard that some whiteys are looking for a few others. And speak of the devil.”
As he stopped speaking, he stared at the entrance of the communal space. Esther couldn’t help but look at it as well. There were four people wearing lab coats and they were looking over everywhere. Two of them entered the library and the other remained inside, slowly looking over everyone in the space. Esther turned back to man in front of her.
“Who are they looking for, Arthur?” She asked Arthur, a man with bleach blond hair and some facial hair on his chin.
“I’m not sure. But I heard them saying something about two children trespassing somewhere.” With his words alone, Esther knew who he was talking about. “Honestly, I’m surprised they managed to get passed the-” He didn’t even finish and Esther bolted towards the library, taking the pencil and paper with her.
She didn’t run, but walked with a fast pace. The two people with lab coats didn’t mind her and let her pass by. As she rushed into the library, Erias and Zsally were peacefully sitting at the table. Erias still had his head on it while Zsally was drawing something on a piece of paper. Esther was relieved but that soon dissipated as she remembered about the two others who went in. She saw that they were at the other end of the room, looking at almost everyone.
She took it as a chance and headed straight for the two.
“Hey! How are you guys doing?” Erias and Zsally were surprised by her sudden appearance and even shouted. It grabbed the attention of other readers and even the white coats. “Shh! Keep it down. Those whiteys over there are looking for you.”
Erias peeked a bit and saw the two people wearing lab coats looking at people’s faces. Erias immediately rested his face on his arms and placed them on the table. Esther adjusted herself closer to Zsally and used some of her hair to cover Zsally’s head.
“Both of you, pretend to sleep. Zsally, just hold that position and don’t talk.” Esther leaned her head on Zsally while drawing something on a piece of paper.
A woman with a white coat approached them on their table and was about to wake Erias up, but Esther immediately stopped her.
“He’s asleep. He’d be grumpy if he suddenly woke up.” The woman stopped on her words and just stared at him.
“And the girl?” The woman pointed at the Zsally who was loosely holding the pen and tilted her head down.
“Hmm.” Esther shifted her position a bit to look at her face. “Sorry, she’s asleep as well.”
The woman didn’t do anything afterwards and just asked for the code of Esther. She showed the whitey the back of her wrist and that was it. The whitey woman left with the man as soon as she saw the back of Esther’s wrist and disappeared into the corridor.
The three of them let out sighs of relief as they left.
“What was that about?” Erias spoke.
“It seems they were looking for the two trespassers, which are the both of you.” Esther replied.
“They found us?” Zsally worriedly asked Esther with tears slowly forming on the edges of her eyes.
“I hope not.” She let out another sigh. “Well, for now, grab a paper and pencil then write whatever you remember of today. Take it with you to your beds and keep it safe. Use another paper filled with drawings so if any whitey or blacky asks, just say you want to draw.”
“Alright.” Both of them agreed, albeit reluctantly.
“But what would we need this for?” Erias asked, thinking it’s strange.”
“Just do it for now and remember this: whatever you wrote there happened today. Whatever is written is the truth.” She replied with a serious tone and repeated her words three times, emphasizing on truth the most.
“Sorry, but I have to go again. There’s something I need to do.” She waved her hand and left the space once more.
The following day, Esther headed for the capsule beds of Erias and Zsally. It was a good thing they were awake early. She dragged them away from other people for a bit and asked them a question.
“You wrote on those papers about yesterday, right?”
She asked with such hopes but were slowly being crushed as their expressions and answers became so overly familiar to her.
“Papers? What about yesterday?” Erias spoke first, tilting his head in confusion. “What about you, Zsally?”
“I don’t remember writing anything at all.” She replied. “Ah, but I do remember drawing what we saw in that seemewlayshon.”
Esther’s fear had come to a reality. She could clearly see the blank slate of their eyes. Although their usual characters were the same, they were practically a different person.
“Oh~~ de~~ar…” She sighed so heavy it moved the wavy hair of Zsally slightly.