The Warm World, My Cold World
Author note: This chapter is supposed to be Chapter 09. If you've read this somewhere 02-03 July 2022, sorryyyyy! The real Chapter 08 has been updated, so go read it now! KEKW
- Edited 03 July 2022
“A storage? I wonder if there was something important down there?” A man spoke while only a few lights were turned on.
“There has to be. If not, then why were soldiers flooding there then?” Another man asked.
“Maybe it has something to do with the locked door? Or perhaps the other rooms at the level above.” Someone else replied.
“But every door was locked, according to this paper.” A woman commented on the previous statement.
A few people were discussing the contents of the paper Esther found inside Erias’ capsule bed. And with her, was a deactivated collar. They commented and rebutted against each other. They continued for quite some time and after a few hours or so, another man came in from a different entrance which had locks attached to it. He had a white coat on him and looked slightly roughed.
“Great! Some of you are here.” The man said.
“Yeah. Take a look at this.” A man handed the notes written down by Erias to the whitey.
After a while of scanning, the whitey sighed and brought the papers down on the table.
“And here I thought there was a something interesting or ground breaking, especially since I saw him walk by.” The whitey said. “But where is the collar?” He asked.
“It’s here.” Esther handed over the collar to the whitey.
“He he he… I finally have my hands on a collar.” He stared at it as if it were some rare and precious jewellery.
“Don’t you guys have those already? Like what Erias saw before his first cleaning?” Esther asked.
“Nope. I belong to a group who collects data and reviews them. Basically, I observe things and write them down. Kinda like what you guys do when you see something unusual. The people who handle these things are those who clean you. We are different.” He answered, trying to make his explanation simple.
“I see. So, what are you going to do with that?” Another man asked.
“I’m going to study how it works. So, in the case someone else places it on your necks, you won’t be affected.”
Everyone let out ‘ohh’s’ as they heard him explain his plans.
“You won’t trick us, right?” Esther glared at the whitey, throwing daggers at him.
“I won’t, don’t worry. So, stop killing me with your eyes.” He looked away while covering his eyes as he sweat profusely.
Esther continued throwing daggers at him for some time.
“Going back, what did you mean by you thought something interesting happened?” Another woman asked.
“Ah, that. The place Erias and Zsally ventured into is just a storage room for the simulation rooms. There’s nothing much in there. As for how the collar got there, probably fell during transportation or is just plain destroyed, so the person kept it.”
“They keep things like that?”
“Hey, it’s their kinks. I won’t judge?
“Kink?” The residents didn’t understand what he meant. The kind they knew off was a bend on something that is supposedly straight.
“Ah, never mind that.” He laughed lightly and scratched his head.
“We derailed once again.” Esther sighed. “So, what will happen to Erias and Zsally? It’s certain they would be cleaned, so no surprise there.”
“I saw Erias with Kris earlier. That’s how I knew something happened. As for Zsally, I only knew about it from Erias’ notes. Honestly, it’s very rare for someone with a high position to bring a residential inside non-residential areas. With that said, there’s something Kris wants from them, I guess. Under normal circumstances, they would be directed to the cleaners without having to pass through the interior.”
“What would he want with the both of them? Sure, they entered areas that are normally hidden and restricted, but only twice.”
“Maybe he’s a paedo?”
“Paedo?” Again, the residents were all confused with an unfamiliar term.
“Ehh… Well… Forget it, please. It’s something unpleasant.”
“Hey! If something happens to them, I’m going to storm in!” Esther was enraged. Besides the fact that he said an unfamiliar word, it was said to be dangerous.
“W-Well, I’ve known Kris for some time! He wouldn’t do something that dangerous to them! I swear!” He tried defending himself as he looked away from Esther. “At most, he will only clean them himself.” He continued.
Esther continued glaring at him.
“Alright, that’s enough.” The other woman clapped her hands to break the silence and awkwardness. “So, whitey, have you gathered some allies on your side?” She asked.
“Honestly, it’s not going so well.” He sighed. “I only managed to recruit five others.” And everybody sighed with him.
“Huh? You guys too?” He asked back after hearing them sigh.
“Yeah, it’s not going well. Even if we try to describe a scenario where we can freely venture into the snow, they said it would still be impossible to escape. And in the first place, they feel safe inside here, so they would rather stay in this shelter.” One other man said.
“There are also the other kids who won’t believe a single word Erias or Zsally said. They even isolated them from their group. They tried tempting them saying they could travel to the walled city. But in the end, they never took the bait.” Another one added and continued.
“All in all, we managed to recruit around 16.” Esther sighed. “Maybe if we can show them actual results like doors opening to the main entrance and showing it in front of them, they might change minds.” Esther suggested.
“Nah, it would make it worse.” The whitey countered. “The outside of the main gates is just snow. Snow and ice. Not a pretty sight. I actually sympathise with them. Everything is taken care of for them in here, so leaving such an uncomfortable life for something that might not even exist is just plain stupid.”
“So, you’re saying we’re stupid?” The other woman asked.
“Frankly, yes. Since you agreed to help me in this.” He answered.
“That makes you stupid as well.” One man spoke and pointed out.
“Exactly. And with this stupid plan, who knows if it will actually succeed.”
“I have another question.” The other man asked. “I know it’s this late into the game, but does the walled city really exist?” The others nodded, forgetting to ask the most important reason why they are doing all this.
“Yes, it does. I was born there, in fact. Majority of the whiteys and blackies are from there.” Everybody was shocked with the revelation. “The residents here call it the walled city in the north. Us, whiteys, call it the Capital or Central. But its official name is Drablavs And this shelter is called Avurgaevs.”
Everyone let out their ‘ohh’s’ as they heard the name and the fact that it exists. With that, they have become more excited about continuing with the plan and marching towards Drablavs. But the whitey trampled on their excitement.
“Even if you manage to reach the capital, you might get shot anyways.”
“Shot?” One of them asked.
“Do you remember the black, elongated box that blackies in strange suits held as explained in Erias’ notes?” The residents present nodded. “Those are called guns that shoot bullets at high speed. Even if you try to run, those bullets can easily catch you and kill you.” The terrified faces of the others came out as they heard it.
“Then, if that’s the case, what’s the point then if we would be killed in the end?” Esther asked.
“The capital isn’t the only shelter out there, you know. There are hundred located all over the earth and a lot of them have different climates vastly different from ours, which is a frozen hell. Also, I kept saying that we should escape towards the capital, but there is another ‘capital’ nearby. Right now, it’s an abandoned shelter with no residents or staff, whatsoever. After we reach that place, we can go to other lost shelters.”
The whitey explained that Lost Shelters are abandoned shelters but have people living in there, both residents and former staff.
“So, it’s not completely hopeless.” After the residents heard the explanation, they let out sighs of relief.
For some time, they had given their thoughts on other topics, exchanging information with one another. With all the info they have gathered, the residents present planned to spread their findings with those that are not here. Even the whitey with them listed the names of the whiteys who are allies. But among the whiteys, only he is the one that gets out. The others are deep into their offices or laboratories.
He explained that it was beneficial as they can provide background information of other things which may be helpful sometime in the future. In addition, they have access to things the he doesn’t such as condition of the nanomachines, the occurrences at the main gate, and even the things that happen inside the simulation room. It was varied, but he was disappointed that he was unable to recruit someone of a higher position.
The discussion continued until the end of the day.
In the main office of Kristoff where Lisanna and the two children are, Kristoff is leaning on his chair while Lisanna stands in front of the glass pane, overlooking the frozen hell of a landscape. She sips the hot coffee she just made as she admires the view from the window.
“Enjoying the view?” Kristoff asked. As he grabbed his cup and sipped coffee from it.
“Quite so, actually.” Lisanna replied in a soft tone as her eyes were glued on the distant horizon. “Hey, Kris. Can that LCCC really prevent ageing?” She asked with great curiosity.
“Is that why you’re so melancholic over there?” He asked sarcastically. “Well, it can but to a certain extent. It’s far from perfect. It’s the furthest from perfect relative to the other codes. It increases regeneration of cells, oils, etcetera, but after about four years or so, the body would overcome the anti-ageing processes of the nanobots.”
“Aww, that’s sad.” Lisanna commented. “We might not even be alive after it’s completed.”
“Well, there are other who could complete it.” Kristoff replied lightly. “There are a few candidates that can take my position, but they too much ambition. Or rather, they don’t really care about the well-being of the residents. They treat them as disposable toys like those businessmen that visited a month ago.” As soon as Lisanna heard about the businessmen, she was reminded of them and her rage permeated from her.
“Well, I’ll remind you. I abstain from taking position.” Lisanna adamantly gave her answer in advance. “You can try and persuade Kreija to do the job.” She suggested.
“Nah, Kreija is like you. She follows orders to the tee and performs them well. But when giving orders, you panic and make rash decisions.”
“Then, who do you have in mind?”
“There are six of them. One is from our side, the Fourth Division Head, Almestaa Muistaliyan, and the other five are from the residents.”
“Kris, you can’t be serious.” She glared intensely at Kristoff
“Oh, I am. Even if you look at me like that, they have more capacity and compatibility compared to those that I have personally trained and observed from the capital. They just need a little bit of training and direction, and they’re good to go.”
“And who are you thinking of?” She asked as she stood beside Kristoff, maintaining her ice-cold stare.
Kristoff couldn’t look away, so he closed his eyes. But he felt so nervous around the murderous aura of Lisanna.
“W-well, one of them is Roidner from the sixth division residents. The other is Misha from the second. And the other three are from the first, specifically Erias, Zsally, and Esther. Personally, I would prefer Esther.”
“Do you fancy her?”
“F-fancy? H-how so?”
Lisanna placed her hands on his cheeks and pulled his head closer to him. Her glare was painful enough, being this point-blank in range caused Kristoff’s heart to beat even faster for different reasons. Her stare was enough to ask the question to Kristoff.
“W-Well, if we’re talking about compatibility with the position, t-then yes, I fancy her more than the others.”
“Hmmm…” After a while, Lisanna let him go and continued sipping her coffee as she walked over to the glass pane and viewed the landscape.
Kristoff hyperventilated, thinking he was going to die just by her staring at him. It would be embarrassing enough to die by just being stared at, but coming from Lisanna, it would be alright, he guessed. He wanted others to know how frightening she really is.
“So, we just finished cleaning them, how are we going to locate the rat?” Lisanna asked.
“H-Huh? O-Oh, right.” He sat straight on his chair once more and brought out multiple screens. “I’ve tried directly tracing the source, but came out with nothing. Or rather, it came from multiple people who has almost no relation with each other.”
Then Kristoff played around with the screens even more, separating and combining different screens.
“But, if we do it like this, we can find out who the rat or rats are. This is as far as I go though, so I don’t have much progress.”
“I don’t understand, what are you trying to say here?” Lisanna got closer to take a look at the screens, but sees an even more cluttered arrangement compared to the first.
“Data gathering time, data results, and data reports. They are so consistent with each other, almost identical even. And if you compare it with these results, which have varied graphs and data gathered, this one seems more unnatural. Like it was coded to look like such.”
“I see. So, you’re saying someone tampered with the data and intentionally placed low values?”
“Exactly. Because of this, things got messy and so much time was wasted. Right now, I’m trying to locate who the fuckers are.”
“But we can narrow it down with just this.”
“Yeah, but we can’t draw a conclusion since it might be more than one person. And that’s where you come in.”
“You want me to gather all the data and compare them to see the difference and somewhat find who the culprits are?”
“Yep. You know me so well.”
“You just keep working me to the bone. So, what are you going to do?” She accepted the job so easily.
“I’m going to make counter codes and lots of dummy codes and programmes. If he managed to hack a part of my system, then he might see these and think it’s the real deal.”
“Hmph!” Lisanna snorted at his last remark. “Noob hacker can’t even get inside Kris-level security.”
“Welp, Imma modify my security codes for my room even more then.”
“What?! Don’t! I’m almost done cracking it –“ She paused and realised something. “Oops!”
Kristoff only looked at her, giving judgemental stares without even saying another word. Even if Lisanna tried to talk to him, he continued typing while staring and judging her.
It was almost time to leave as other residents are heading for bed. Esther and the others also prepared to leave, reconfirming the information they just received. But as they were about to leave, all eyes were on the door to the residential bedrooms.
They were all on guard at first, but relaxed after seeing the people who entered.
“Huh? There are still people here?” Erias asked as he saw the crowd. Zsally beside him also peeked and shouted Esther’s name with joy.
“It’s just you guys. Well, you guys have pretty much been cleaned, right? Just read the paper on top of the table and –“
“Are you really Erias and Zsally?” Everyone looked at the whitey as he asked a question. You were personally escorted by Kris himself. With that in mind, something big happened. I’m not sure if you’re the real one, but answer me just in case. Are you the real Erias and Zsally?”
Everyone turned to the two children with suspicious looks, being all on guard. The two children returned stares at the crowd with dead eyes. The silence and tension in the room grew as much as the temperature fell, despite there being no such temperature control.
Everyone just stared at each other, mostly expressionless, trying to gauge the other party.