The Warm World, My Cold World
The mood was dark and the atmosphere was heavy with only a few lightbulbs working. The opened door provided much light from the outside, but now that it’s shut, you can only make outlines of the people’s faces. Until Esther pushed the switch for all lights in the room to turn on.
“AAAARRRGGGHHHH!!!” Everyone apart from Esther screamed, holding and rubbing their eyes.
“The hell you guys doin’?” Esther questioned the group. “Even if all the lights here would be turned on, it wouldn’t leak outside.” She continued.
“It’s the mood, dammit!” Arthur shouted as he rubbed his eyes, trying to adjust his vision.
It took a while before the meeting actually started. Esther had already sat on a chair at the table. The lights were turned off just to set the mood since it’s finally time to start their plan of escaping the shelter.
All residents who live inside were never informed of other shelters. After the nanochips in their brain and the nanobots in their bodies were programmes with certain codes, they were taught things like, ‘this shelter is the last frontier of humanity’, or ‘the outside is a frozen hell, thus we locked ourselves inside to keep us safe’. Only the people inside the room and another few who were absent knows of the truth.
“Ahh… Now, let’s start the meeting.” The whitey spoke up as his eyes slowly adjusted to the light. “I’ve finally gotten my hands on every possible code from the Übermensch Project. And I’ll describe each to you now.”
The Übermensch Project is a secret operation being conducted by First Division Chief position and up. It’s a series of human experiments in hope to achieve the ultimate human who could survive any harsh environment, eliminating majority of their physiological needs with the help of nanomachines. That is what is perceived, at the least, and the whitey believes that there has got to be more.
The codes the whitey spoke of were quite fascinating that no one could even believe it was possible until they pieced their reality with the code’s purpose.
The first one, which was the most useful and prominent among the codes, is the elimination of hunger and thirst. This was something almost every whitey dreamed of, not having to feel such things. But as experimental subjects, feeding thousands of mouths was an issue, especially with the lack of resources. The residents in the room just realised it that they have never really ‘eaten’ any ‘food’ their entire lives.
Another code was the elimination of certain feelings but the code always has constant errors and the only thing the upper management was able to install into the nanomachine’s was the elimination of lust. It was deemed as something acceptable as eliminating more emotions and desires would just make the point of the Übermensch Project worthless.
The installation of ‘waste nanobots’ were also inserted into the bodies of the residents. They have two operations. The first being is to remove excess waste in the system such as faecal and urinary wastes and the second being its alteration in the human’s mind, eliminating the need to excrete such wastes. There were only a few permitted ones like sweat and saliva.
And one of the most important codes was responsible for the general health of the residents. It monitored the state of the body if any illnesses or abnormalities detected, the nanomachines would first try to eliminate the disease send information to the biotech department of either a success or failure.
The list goes on and it took almost half a day for the whitey to describe what was listed in the Übermensch Project codes. During his explanation, the other residents, including Esther, asked him questions. There were a few that the whitey was unable to answer and just made speculations. He also said that these ones listed are the codes that he has gathered. There are a lot more but he would need to break into its security and might even take months and years. By that time, who knows what would happen to the codes or even the managerial structure of the shelter.
“The worst thing to expect would be the tracking of each nanomachine inside the facility.” The man continued speaking. “As of now, they cannot trace the movement of nanomachines. But there is a plan for the future that would enable them to even scan what you are writing. The books are an example of that.”
“Books?” Esther asked. Among the residents here, she was the one who usually reads quite a lot.
“Yes. Although books are an ancient thing, a few centuries ago, people found a way to make paper using the snow collected from the outside. And right now, they are inserting codes into each page of books for some reason. If that would happen, then even communicating by writing would be impossible. Who knows, besides sight being monitored, maybe even voices, hearing, and sense of touch would be too.”
Everyone was deep in thought. Their eyes were closed and head either tilted up or down. It was a lot to take in especially in a single day. So, the whitey proposed to meet them next week at the same day and same time. He gave each of them copies of the code’s description of the Übermensch Project yet everyone turned sceptical. It was understandable as he was still a whitey.
After that, the residents left slowly by one’s or by pairs. After everyone left the room, Esther headed for her bed, closed the hatch, and activated the full tint so no one can see what’s happening inside. She just stared at the description, staring blankly at it. She couldn’t believe all those codes inside the ‘medicine’ or nanomachines inside them. Yes, it was inhumane, robbing people of their freedom and even violating their bodies as they please, but on the other hand, all this to make super humans. Maybe with this, they could actually go out of the shelter.
She only sighed and later dozed off.
Zsally was drawing on a paper and Erias was reading a book at the communal space. Nothing has really happened since the day Esther told them what happened. It’s been two weeks now and they felt the days were pretty boring. Although they were almost caught in that space where they saw the large gates and objects, it still felt fun as their heart raced.
“Hey, Erias.” Zsally called out to him. “Wanna go on another adventure?” She spoke.
Erias was silent for a few seconds. He was not even reading, but only staring at the same page.
“I… wanna go.” He softly spoke. “But we might get caught again and might not remember what happened.”
“Then, let’s be sneaky. Like how we did it before. And let’s follow a whitey!” She suggested wildly while speaking in a soft tone, enough for only Erias to hear her words.
He couldn’t help but smile because it was fun. Erias is a smart kid, but his curiosity always gets the better of him. So, he agreed.
Although it was rare for a whitey to appear in the communal space, they occasionally pop out and just observe the area. Erias had suggested another thing they do, and that was to escape before entering the simulation room.
And in just a few days, it was their time to enter the simulation room. When their group moved, there were no opening in the walls at all, and not even a scanner. As they entered an enhancement ward, they were told to strip. Erias and Zsally did so and immediately hid in between a wall and capsule while no one noticed them. After a while, the hatches closes and the scientists who led them had left the room.
When they surveyed the area and determined it to be clear of any whiteys and blackies, they grabbed their clothes, put them back on, and wandered the place., They took a peek into one of the capsules and was surprised with what they saw. Multiple tubes and needles were inserted into their body and fluids continued to pump in and out of those tubes. It looked quite horrid and Erias almost vomited, but held it in. They had thought they were really just sleeping but it turns out something else was happening.
They wandered more and checked the control panels where researchers sit, but it was too complicated and so they left it as is. They tried venturing out of the room, but pressing the button doesn’t do anything. The lights just flashed red for a moment, and that was it. They basically couldn’t go out. All they did was search the place but found nothing of interest. Without much to do, they just sat in their hiding spot, waiting for the process to finish.
A whitey came in and after a while, the hatches opened. Everyone started waking up, getting out of their capsule beds, and dressing up. Erias and Zsally tried coming out as naturally as possible and no one asked them any questions. They were happy yet anxious.
They were then led to the simulation room but they noticed something strange. They couldn’t touch the simulations. Their hands only passed through the trees, through the water, and even the buildings that have been simulated. Zsally tried sitting on a bench but fell through it instead. Erias immediately noticed it and helped her. It was a good thing no one saw what happened. No one in the room.
After the simulation, they were led to a different enhancement ward. This time, they entered it despite knowing what would happen. Shortly after, they acted as if nothing really happened but just took a nap. The last destination was back to the communal space.
Their little adventure felt nothing like one and just felt like a big waste of time. They were bored throughout the day. But they did find something interesting. Remembering Esther’s words, Erias reminded Zsally and they wrote everything down, hid it in their capsule beds, and also informed Esther about it.
Esther walked up to the two once again and asked if she could read the notes they took about the tubes and fluids they saw, and their interaction with the simulations. But her question felt nothing more than gibberish to the two.
“Notes? About tubes? I don’t understand. I slept the whole day yesterday thought.”
Esther sighed so deep; it was a long time she sighed like this.
“Look, yesterday was your group’s scheduled simulation. You know what? Let’s go check your beds.” Esther pulled them both to the residential room.
“If you say so, then doesn’t that mean we were… cleaned?” Erias spoke as he rummaged through his capsule bed.
“Yeah. And honestly, it’s happening more often now.” Esther sighed again as she waited for the two to find the paper regarding yesterday’s events.
Zsally was the one who found it first and a little after she found hers, Erias found his. The three read their notes at the same time and it matched with what Esther said to them. The two only sighed again. But they were relieved they had they had some proof it happened.
“I think it’s time for both of you to join. You’re far too deep into this all because of your curiosities.” She spoke while rubbing their heads roughly
“What do you mean.” Erias asked with a scruffy hair.
“Well, just follow what I say.” She spoke as she roughed up the hair of Zsally.
A few days later, Erias walking inside the communal room space. He looks around for any watchers. As he determined no one had eyes on him, he sneakily walked between a bed and the wall. After a while, Zsally did the same, making sure no one was watching her. Later on, Esther followed suit. From there, Esther had scanned the back of her hand and the door opened.
The room’s lights were turned on this time mainly because there was no special discussion or something.
“Guys, these are the chumps who got themselves cleaned twice because of curiosity.” Esther pushed the two a bit forward as she closed the door.
There were a lot of people who wore the same clothes as them. They were residents alike of different ages. From young adults to even seniors, both male and female. But strangely, there was one person in the back who looks very different. He had a white coat on him. Erias and Zsally was on guard but Esther calmed them down, saying that he cannot be trusted fully, but is their ally for now.
“That hurts.” The whitey spoke.
“It’s true though. Especially with the Übermensch codes descriptions you just handed over to us, no shit we would doubt you even more.”
The man laughed lightly.
Upon closer inspection, the two kids recognised the man. It was the person who always led them to and from the simulation room, enhancement wards, and the communal space.
“But Esther, would they really understand the topics we’re discussing? Them being kids and all.” A woman asked.
“Don’t worry. Erias is a smart kid. As for Zsally….” She was silent when it came to Zsally. “Well… she has spontaneous ideas.”
“Meanie!” Zsally shouted at Esther.
“Well, now that we are all gathered, let’s first explain in simple terms so the kids could understand.” The man suggested.
He explained to the two that what they are doing is trying to collect as much data as possible so they can escape. This brought a smile to Erias’ and Zsally’s faces as they thought this could be their chance to go to the walled city of their dreams.
The white provides them with information he knows from his side, and they provide things they know from their side. Although they couldn’t really give the whitey much information since they knew what was happening inside. But the two things Erias and Zsally did, which ended up in them being cleaned, was a tremendous help that even the whitey was impressed.
Later on, they found out about the two children and cleaned them because of what the maintenance crew found out after the first enhancement upload. There was liquid in the bed and an error message saying that it wasn’t injected into anything. Also, a big wig, Kristoff, noticed that Erias and Zsally’s interaction with the simulated environment was unnatural. Linking the two, it was the both of them that didn’t get in the capsule bed. The codes being uploaded to them prior to entering the simulation room happens so the nanomachines could interact with other nanomachines. It was a good thing Erias and Zsally hid their notes before a whitey caught them and sent them to the cleaners.
They also discussed what the codes meant. It was basically to make a human stronger, so they can travel and reach the walled city without being hurt or having problems. Besides that, were layouts of the maps. The whitey with them determined it was still too early to move and was a good thing they haven’t started acting yet. They lacked information and proper procedures. So, the original plan was halted all because of Erias and Zsally. If it weren’t for them, they would practically be charging towards their doom.
“Well, I understand.” Esther spoke.
“I only understood some of it.” Erias was next.
“I… I also understood… some.” Zsally stuttered as she gave her answer.
The rest only gave wry smiles.
“Enough of describing, what should we do next?” The man asked the group.
“If we really want to escape, why don’t we invite more friends?” As if it was the natural answer, Zsally suggested to everyone.
Everyone looked at her with confusion and Zsally looked back at them with a tilted head.