The Warm World, My Cold World
The meeting room was filled with people, whiteys, blackies, and residents yet it was silent. In the centre of the room was a table and a large map. It was the layout of the fist divisions northern sector. There were markings on it with different colour. Paths that have been crossed out with a red colour, arrows pointing to certain paths with notes on them with a colour blue, arrows on the path itself with a green colour. It was almost like a colouring book. Despite there being details, no one stood beside the table nor talked. Until someone entered from the door with a dial pad.
“Sorry, I was held up by Kris.” A whitey entered as sweat poured down his face. “Now, let’s begin the debriefing.” He stood in front of the table and map while the others drew closer.
“Did you make sure Kris wasn’t on toy you or something?” A female whitey asked him before he started.
“Yeah. He was rushing to the Nanomachine Code Department with Lisanna and Kreija. It seems they are about to interrogate someone. So, we must start the operation next week.” He answered back with great detail.
“Alright, let’s begin.”
Majority of the residents’ nanomachines have already been updated with the Übermensch Project’s codes. Only a few more remain before everybody in the quadrant has it. An anti-cleaning virus has also been installed on those who will act as decoys. It won’t be harmful for the people nor the nanomachines themselves, but it would disrupt the flow and processes of the Cleaner’s Department. They couldn’t entirely disable it as they have no time to pass through Kristoff’s security.
When the cleaners are busy cleaning the others, the whiteys would open all the doors that lead to the exit. But that too would be a distraction as the other resident’s would have already entered the restricted areas using the path Erias and Zsally walked into before, the storage area. There are multiple passageways that connect to that area, so they would use it and travel until they reach a certain room at the Northwest Quadrant, the quadrant just beside theirs.
The other residents who don’t know about the plan would be used as bait while being directed to the exit. It took some time before everybody agreed to use them as bait, but after outweighing the pros and cons against time, that was the best option. While they are used as distraction, the residents who are in on it would all regroup at the underground space located in the Northwest Quadrant. Once everybody is present, another path would be opened that would lead to the loading docks, the main entrance.
When they reach that stage, there would be six vehicles, amaroqs facing the exit with their engines running and their back doors opened. As they hop in, the doors would open and by the time the space is large enough, everybody has entered and the amaroqs would be on their way towards the abandoned capital somewhere further west.
Other whiteys and blackies that remained in the facility after the main retreating group escaped would have other means to escape. There are multiple bikes stored nearby and are hidden. Those who are left behind would use those and escape and soon meet with the main group at a rendezvous point.
Everybody is expected to understand that there will be casualties. For the sake of the majority and their escape, they should prioritise their own lives before others.
The whitey who was explaining the plan in detail stressed that Kristoff was onto them. But he reassured everyone that it would take them at least a month more before they find the people in charge of the escape. He also thought that Kristoff still hasn’t figured out what their goal is.
Even if it would take them at least a month, there is a chance they have found something and would act while they escape. Worst-case scenario, they already prepared traps everywhere and are just waiting for them to move, so he explained his plan in the case that happens.
The initial plan would still proceed as planned, but a few whiteys would block his path and interfere with his actions either physically or through codes. The drivers of the amaroqs, after it has been filled with residents, would charge right through the entrance. If the door remains closed, then it’s game over. But if it opens, they are to escape at full speed. If there are others waiting for them outside, they are to charge right through and move to the fourth rendezvous point, which is a bit further than the original point and also greater in altitude.
Again, in the worst-case scenario in that point, residents would have to fight. Since the codes of the Übermensch Project are active, they can rip easily punch a hole through the vehicle and even deflect bullets, but they must protect their own all the same. After all, they can’t run as fast as that in heavy snow.
The group has gone over the plan several times while others asked questions. There were some changes to their plans like which direction they should run to, but the overall scope and direction has not.
“What about the people who are being cleaned? What would happen to them?” Zsally asked, surprisingly.
“They have a different path to take. They can’t be cleaned, so when the plan starts, there will be a path they would follow and meet up with the others at the loading dock.” The whitey answered.
“Ohh! Do we also have that kind of code? So, we can’t be cleaned?”
“Yes, Zsally. Almost everyone here has that code. In fact, everyone here, apart from us whiteys and blackies, don’t need to eat, are super strong, can’t be cleaned by normal means, won’t age quickly enough, will live a vey long life, can resist the cold and heat, and many more. The list goes on. Basically, you’re a super Zsally.” He tried simplifying things for her while explaining some benefits that come with the Übermensch Project.
“Wo~~~w!” Zsally was filled with excitement. “But I don’t feel strong though?” She asked something that everyone had on their minds. Has the Übermensch Project even been installed into them?
“About that, when we start the final phase, I will update all your nanomachines with the anti-virus. As of now, there’s a code I placed into your nanochip in your brain. That chip prevents you from using anything extra from the Übermensch Project. It’s to keep you safe so I’m sorry for note telling you all earlier. When we start the final phase and that anti-virus gets updated into your nanochips, the nanobots will act according to the Übermensch Project.”
Zsally had smoke coming out of her head. It seems she didn’t understand anything at all.
“We can’t use it now because it’s locked. When we start the escape next week, the whiteys will unlock it and we can become super strong.” Erias explained to her in simple terms.
“Ohh! I see now.” As Zsally understood, the others chuckled and giggled.
They were all relieved someone like Erias was with Zsally. Otherwise, it would be difficult explaining things to her.
There were more questions flooding in now that the plan was more or less finalised. All they had to do now was wait for the week to pass until everyone had the Übermensch Project codes in them.
Zsally was exited for it to happen, after all, she would be able to see and enter the walled city.
“Um, Zsally…” Erias called out to her. “We won’t be…”
“Hmm? We won’t be what, Erias?”
Erias wasn’t sure if he should tell her the truth. All this time, Zsally still believed that they would travel to the walled city, every children’s dream of journeying to. But to his surprise, Zsally knew about was aware of it.
“Well, not exactly the walled city that we have always dreamed of. But it’s somewhere similar, right?” Zsally spoke as she saw the surprised face of Erias.
“Of course, dummy! I may not be the smartest person, but I try hard to listen.”
“But then, the walled city we all dreamed of going to is…”
“It doesn’t matter now, actually. As long as I can be with you and sis, I’m okay with going anywhere. As long as we can all stay this warm like in this room, everything will be fine.” Her voice started to tremble. It wasn’t obvious in her expression btu Erias noticed it.
“Zsally…” Erias pulled her away from the crowd and into the back of the room where there are barely any people. “Don’t worry, I’ll protect you if anything happens.” He confidently spoke.
“But you’re not as strong as me, so how are you going to protect me?” The words of Zsally pierced his heart and injured his masculinity.
“W-Well, we would all receive the Übermensch Project codes, right? I could be strong as well, right? So, it’s fine.”
“Hmm… I guess that’s true.” Zsally spoke while her head pointed downwards. “But… I’m still scared. What if everything fails. And then we get cleaned somehow. All this planning would all go to waste.”
“Zsally…” Erias could only look at the trembling Zsally.
He was also aware that everything can go awry at any time. It was also stressed by the whitey that anything can happen at any given time, even while they are planning now. He clenched his fists and held Zsally’s shoulders.
“Don’t worry. We will escape. “He confidently said. Zsally was surprised by his vitality. It was quite refreshing for her, who was always the energetic one.
“Yeah, I’m sorry for feeling down.” She placed her hands on his shoulders too. “Let’s escape together and maybe find new places and meet new people and try different things and –“
“And don’t forget me!” Esther jumped in between her conversation and wrapped her arms around the two, pulling their cheeks towards hers.
“Yeah, let’s do all those things with sis as well!” Zsally spoke.
Erias felt relieved that she was back to her cheerful attitude.
Little did they know that their plan would immediately fail and fall to pieces because of a little miscalculation.
Before the meeting was adjourned, the whitey gave out one last message. He would be meeting them every day at a certain time. In case he does not arrive withing a certain time period, they are to start the operation immediately regardless of the situation. The whiteys in the control room would initiate everything and the anti-virus would be installed via a signal.
He and the other whiteys and blackies left the room at the same time the residents slowly left as well. After the meeting, they went and informed everyone from their group of the plan and what to do. Positions, time frame, objects to be warry of, people to note, and more. They needed to be prepared at all times in the case something goes awry.
While all that happened, Kristoff was at his office typing codes and making changes to a lot of things. Lisanna was also in the room but her appearance was nowhere near her usual beautiful and elegant self. Her hair was dishevelled, bags developed under her eyes, her lips dried, and even her mood was mostly cranky.
“Hey, Kris. I received a message from Kerija.” She spoke as she hovered a holographic screen towards Kristoff. After doing so, she went back to fiddling with codes and other information.
“Hmm? Let’s see.” He stopped typing himself to read the message. A wide smile floated on his face soon after he read it. “It seems like Kreija and the coding team finished installing and updating a third of the codes. If this keeps up, we could start the entirety of the Übermensch Project by next month. It’s a good thing she put her all into the codes rather than worry about some traitors.”
“More coding, less talking. I’m beginning to look like how I used to when I first became your assistant.” She complained while moving screens around.
“Oh, come now, it’s something to be celebrated for. We now have to wait for only a month.”
“But don’t forget, Kris. Those rats are still wandering about. The residents have unusual patterns of gathering in the residential room last time I scanned the Northeast Quadrant. Even other researchers have begun doing less yet move more. Something might happen in two weeks’ time. No, by next week.”
“Next week, huh? Well, the LCCC is almost done and the traps have been laid out. I think it’s time to trap the rat and kill it then and there.”
“You’re not planning on actually killing the, right?” Lisanna stopped to look and ask Kristoff.
“Of course not. Human resource is an invaluable item, you know. Especially with people like them, we can continue the unscrupulous researches that have been abandoned by the previous First Division Commander and Shelter Director.”
“Well, that is one good point. But with all this mess, I think we would only be able to start it by next year. We are forced to do a division cleansing no matter how we many recode. It may have also spread to other sectors or quadrants.”
“Haa~~~~~~!” Kristoff heavily sighed. It was his longest sigh his whole life ever had.
“Hey! Less sighing, more coding.”
“Right…” Kristoff went back to doing his job. “Tomorrow, we confront them. Let’s have everyone on standby.” Lisanna agreed to his suggestion.
After a while, Kristoff and Lisanna finished whatever they were doing and stretched they bodies. The creaking and cracking of their ageing bodies resounded throughout the silent office. It felt good cracking stretching, so good that every move they did let them release sighs of relief.
“Heh! Seeing your haggard appearance brings back memories of when you were on the verge of tears every time I gave you new tasks even if you weren’t finished with the previous one.”
Lisanna paused and stared at Kristoff with scary eyes. She then flipped him off without changing her expression. The dark circles around her eyes, dishevelled hair, and slovenly appearance made it look even more frightening to Kristoff, but that didn’t stop him from laughing.
“That was a good laugh. So, how’s the feeling of maintaining 28 activated Übermensch codes in your body?”
“Honestly, it’s shit. It’s worse than hell. The need to not eat, sleep, and excrete are eliminated, and the addition of enhanced mental focus and concentration, AND the reduction of mental fatigue and bone stress are all activated, yet I feel more shit than ever. Even shittier when I first became your assistant.”
“Of course, you would. We forced those codes to be on maximum output.” Kristoff sat back down and leaned back. “But remember when you first tried the codes? You passed out the moment a third code was installed. That was because the LCCC wasn’t perfected yet. Although the LCCC there is a trial version, it still is a huge help.”
“Haa~~ I don’t want to experience this again.”
“Rejoice, today is the last day. Yay!”
“Yay! And fuck you!”
They somewhat celebrated and ranted throughout the day, resting while they had a chance. Because the next day is when everything turns chaotic.