Chapter 5:

Chapter 05

The Warm World, My Cold World

Everyone looked weirdly at Zsally who suggested a strange idea.

“Like we explained Zsally, having more people will make it harder to travel to the walled city.” Esther tried explaining to her.

“Really? I think it’s easier.” She said so.

“Whitey said that other whiteys have too manually remove something out of somewhere and replace it themselves, right? It’s like me drawing something and giving it to someone so they can erase my drawing and drawing something else. And since they don’t have printers, they have to draw the image again over and over again one by one. It’s like drawing one image and a thousand images. Even if you are ten people redrawing, it would take… forever to complete. It’s tiring, you know?”

He explanation came out as smooth as butter, with no stuttering or no interjections. Everybody just listened as they tried piecing the information together and linking it with their plans.

“Whitey can also call his friends. The more the merrier. You also said that it’s hard to do things. That’s why you need friends. I’m not that smart so I’m really happy Erias is my friend. He’s pretty smart, you know?”

Everyone was just stunned. They looked at each other but can’t say anything to refute her words. After all, it made sense. The whitey explained before that they have to manually recode the nanomachines when they have to clean and it is a hassle. They couldn’t just copy and paste the codes as information taken from a certain group is different from another group. It usually takes up to a few hours just cleaning something on the scale of Erias and Zsally’s previous incidents. So, if almost everybody in this quadrant had unusual codes and information, who knows what would happen. Doing a mass reset would be impractical since it would take several months to reupload the other codes.

Additionally, if the whitey invited more whiteys who had the same view as him, it would greatly increase the chances of hiding suspicious codes and bugs from upper management. And he had just the right people for the job.

“HAHAHA!” The white couldn’t help but laugh. “She may or may not be smart. But she is a bright child, to say the least.” The whitey laughed loudly as he spoke. “If that’s the case, we have only about a year max before the LCCC would be activated.”

“LCCC? What’s that?” Someone from the crowd asked.

“Even I’m not too sure about it, but it’s something Kris… Kristoffer Koldner, the First Division Commander, designed and had it delivered here a few weeks back. From what I heard, it’s something that could monitor all nanomachines and group them based on interactions. If that thing gets activated, we have no choice but to do a do or die mission. Escape is essentially impossible at that point.”

They didn’t understand what the whitey said at first, but they understood that it’s game over in one year.

“Then, let’s do that for now. Gather people and inform them about the plan, but make sure to do it discretely.”




Everyone agreed and slowly left the room one by one. Even if Zsally was the one who suggested something, she didn’t quite understand why everyone was riled up.

Did I say something strange? Wouldn’t that be the normal thing to do?

She just stared in confusion as she saw the others talking to each other about her suggestion.


[Simulation Complete. Activating delayed cooldown.]

A mechanical  female voice echoed throughout the simulation control room as everyone cheered slightly. After a while everyone was preparing to leave as they are done for the day. A woman, who was sitting in the main control panel reserved for simulation leaders, slumped down as she sighed.

Haa~~~. Why do I have to lead a simulation team? It’s not even a year and yet I’m here. I get praises every time but I feel so nervous the whole time. There were so many mistakes as well. Haa~~~.

The woman who contemplated such was the only one left in the simulation command room. The door opened and another woman entered and greeted.

“How ya doin’, Kreija?” Lisanna entered and greeted her but this time she wasn’t holding her clipboard.

Kreija Senvoska is an intern at Avurgaevs who started less than a year ago. She normally has an austere attitude but when she’s alone, she usually breaks down into a slump, wanting only to lie down.

“Lisaa~~” She got up and hugged Lisanna while on the verge of tears. “He~lp!” I can’t take the pressure. I haven’t even been working for a year and now I’m acting superintendent in the sim room. I blame that monster!”

She was really on the verge on tears as she hugged Lisanna.

“Umm, Kreija, calm down. Also…”

“Monster? Who’s a monster?” Kristoffer slowly walked up to the door and saw the two girls.

The girl who broke into tears was no longer there It was as if she was an apparition that possessed the very austere Kreija who doesn’t take much jokes, especially from Kristoff. And beside her was a laughing Lisanna.

“That’s quite a laugh, Lisanna. What happened?” He asked.

“Ah, it’s nothing, Mr. Kristoff. Just a funny story from our uni days.” Lisanna replied.

“Hmm. I see. I forgot that the both of you entered the same university at Central. And Kreija.”

“Yes?” She answered stiffly and seriously.

“Why don’t you act a bit more like Lisanna. Being serious and all will just give you more wrinkles.”

“Mr. Koldner! Please refrain from mixing personal affairs and work. It’s unprofessional.” She reprimanded Kristoff harshly. But Kristoff only laughed at her words.

“Well, your loss then.”

“Mr. Kristoff, teasing Kreija would only make her hate you more.” Lisanna spoke to Kristoff casually.

“As if I’m not hated already.” He shook his head and lightly shrugged. “Anyways, Kreija, in a few more months, you’ll be headed back to Central, right?

“Yes, Mr. Koldner. Is something the matter?”

“Hmm. Not really. I’m just worried I can’t push my work onto someone else. So please return after getting certified, thank you!” He boldly declared and lightly laughed at the end.

Kreija was pissed. Her face became red from anger and stomped away without saying a word and just dragged Lisanna away with her.

“See you, Mr. Kristoff.” Lisanna waved at him as she was dragged by Kreija.

“Enjoy the rest of the day off!” Kristoff also lightly waved and entered the simulation room.


“AAARGH! I can’t stand him. He doesn’t even do work. He looks like a slob. And pushed his responsibilities to his subordinates What kind of boss is that?!” She ranted in front of Lisanna while devouring meat after meat. “I don’t get why he’s praised so much especially by the Simulations and Cleaners department!” She continued her rant.

Lisanna quietly ate her burger while watching Kreija rant her heart out. To Lisanna, it was amusing watching her break down after a day’s worth of work and almost breaking down herself. It was entertainment to keep her alive in a sense.

“And you, Lisa! How the hell are you able to work beside him as a secretary?”

“Well, he certainly does push his work onto me sometimes. But it’s usually menial tasks.”

“Menial? Like what?”

“Making coffee, printing documents, informing other people of authority if something came up, coding a few things for the LCCC, cleaning the toilets, making dinner, welcoming him back in his personal room, making breakfast for him. Quite a lot of things. The best part is watching him get surprised when he sees me in his room, boasting about his superior security system that not even the director could enter.”

Kreija was dumbfounded and the meat that was in her mouth fell on her plate. It was fine and all until she said welcoming him back in his room? Preparing breakfast? Then suddenly… breaking into Mr. Koldner’s room even with such a tight security? Is this the Lisanna that Kreija knew from university?

“Umm… Lisa, does that really happen?”

“Of course not.” She laughed making it out to be a joke of sorts. “Well, I still haven’t cracked his latest security system so the last bits are still in the making.”

Kreija had just placed the meat that fell earlier in her mouth, and after hearing Lisanna’s words again, the meat dropped onto her plate.

I never knew she had a few loose screws. It needs to be bolted and welded.

Lisanna had already finished her food and just stared at the meat-devouring Kreija. As soon as Kreija noticed, she asked what she was doing.

“I’m just reminiscing how you broke down earlier. Because of you, my sanity hasn’t left me yet.”

“I’m sorry, but I think sanity isn’t in your vocabulary.” Kreija spoke her thoughts in a soft manner.

“Hmm? What was that, Kreija?

“Ah, nothing. I haven’t said anything.” Lisanna wasn’t convinced and just stared gleefully at Kreija but her eyes were as dead as a fish.

“Really? I thought you said something?” He eyes were definitely not smiling.

“Yeah, I said… nothing…” Kreija continued to eat her meat in silence as Lisanna’s gaze haunted her for the rest of her meal.


Back at the simulation room they came from, Kristoff was moving around holographic screens and panels with special gloves he had on. With it, he typed on a holographic keyboard and even zoomed, panned, and even extended the screens to his likings. As he observed the results, he only heaved a sigh.

“I’m going nowhere with this.” He spoke with a melancholic tone. “Something’s not right.”

His screens mainly displayed graphs with line of best fit. Other screens showed percentages, errors in simulations, errors in nanomachines, other notes from simulation leaders, code error debugs and bugs. An assortment of data that is normally too complicated for staff and even other leaders is projected in front of Kristoff. He examined each and every pane but found no fault with it. He scrolled down where the codes are located but also found no error with it. So again, he leaned back on his chair and sighed heavily.

With no progress whatsoever, he himself tried to investigate the cause for the results. The expected outcome should be a significant increase in results. But all he got was an upward trend so negligible that it would take at least four years to see a change instead of the predicted one year.

With that, he also decided to investigate the NEWards. He headed to the post enhancement NEWard where the last group currently is. As soon as he reached there, he saw Churche manning the control panel, typing in something.

“K-Kris? What are you doing here?” He casually called Kristoff by a nickname and stopped whatever he was typing. “It’s rare for you to come here.”

“Ah, yeah. It’s just that I ran into some problems.” Kristoff slowly walked towards the control panel.

“Problems? Like what?” Churche vacated the seat and offered it to Kristoff.

“Hmm, it’s confidential.” Kristoff casually spoke as he sat on the seat.

He put on his gloves again and wore them. He touched the physical screens lightly and pulled his hands back. With that motion, holographic screens popped out that were filled with multiple things. Machine language codes, graphs, raw numerical values, even an image of a person’s body appeared. Churche was surprised by the sight of such. They didn’t really talk much as Kristoff was busy looking at the screens.

It hasn’t even been ten minutes and Kristoff got up from the chair. When he took the gloves off his hands, the holographic screens he brought out disappeared into this air.

“Well, I’ taking my leave. Bye, man.” He waved goodbye and walked away. His figure disappeared as soon as the doors closed.

“That… was strange…” Churche could only speak out his surprise.

In another space above the communal room, he had spotted three individuals. Erias, Zsally, and Esther. They gathered on a table and was practically lounging around. Erias was reading a story book, Zsally was drawing again, and Esther’s head was planted on the table, probably sleeping.

When Kristoff saw them, memories of his past were resurfaced and flooded in like a torrent. Esther was brought in along with others after a shelter broke down due to malfunctions in their systems. She came with her sister but they were unable to save her. Around 20 thousand people came in as refugees but because of food shortages and multiple riots, Kristoff was forced to subdue them and turn them into residents. Because of their strong resistance, despite the offer of just eliminating their hunger while maintaining their freedom, about 60% of the 20 thousand died either from escaping Avurgaevs or by gunshots.

Erias was taken in from Central, also known as the capital, or what the residents call the walled city. He volunteered to become a resident in order to provide for his family. Volunteering to be a resident grants benefits to the direct family of the volunteer. But volunteering is not as easy as there is a certain criterion which must be followed. After all, raising a resident is quite expensive.

Zsally is the unique one among the trio. She was born and raised in Avurgaevs. The world she knows was essentially the whole shelter, so her learning about the walled city strengthened her desire to leave the shelter. And since she was born inside Avurgaevs, she generally has more tolerance to drugs and nanomachine updates compared to people who are of her age and even some who are older. She, too, has unnaturally high characteristics and values even for a through and through resident. Simulations and nanomachine-related tasks that involves her, Kristoff is always present to adjust the dosages. If not careful, she could die by dominant internal codes or her nanomachines would not work at all, causing her to act like a cripple where she could only move her eyes and mouth.

He thought to himself how lucky he was to have people who are very compatible with the nanomachines and codes.

As they laze around, Kristoff slowly watches over them from above with a serious look.

Triple A class, huh?

Who knows what else runs through his mind?

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