The Warm World, My Cold World
“Answer!” Kristoff shouted once again while pointing the gun at him, prompting Churche to speak. “I will not ask you again. So better speak or your whole family would have to pay for your crimes.”
“You’re crazy! You don’t even have that kind of power!”
“I do have it! How much authority do you think division heads of a shelter has when placed into normal society? What’s more, you directly interfered with a government supported project. Lifetime imprisonment is the least we can offer you.”
Churche still didn’t answer, but he stood up, regaining his balance. Only then did he open his mouth to answer.
“Your methods are wrong, Kris. You could have done a lot better without this human experimentation. Testing drugs and medications through the Biotechnology and Drugs and Medical Practices Departments on humans. What’s more, even killing residents just to achieve something so insignificant. There are better ways to go about it, Kris! You practically robbed everyone of their freedom! Those who were born and raised in the shelters are further being manipulated and now you’re trafficking people from other shelters and the capital into this place for what?! For a goddamn Übermensch Project that has no good foreseeable future? That thing’s shit! It can’t even incorporate two codes together, so how are you going to combine hundreds of codes to make a single human being? And what? You’re going to need to kill thousands just to produce one?!” Churche shouted out his opinion on the matter as someone who was working with codes and has seen the capabilities of each code of the Übermensch Project.
“Churche, can I ask you something?” Kristoff’s voice was so calm that everyone in the area felt shills. “What is the Übermensch Project?” He asked him with a lazy expression. He can’t even hold the gun up anymore and gave it to the soldier.
“Huh?! Isn’t it to monitor all the residents so you trace all their movements and control them in the future? You’re probably thinking of overthrowing the Director and controlling this whole place. That’s why I’m letting the other residents escape this shit hole so they can be free from whatever schemes you’re planning.”
“Did you install all the codes into them? Did you activate them all at the same time?”
“Yeah. I found a way to bypass those errors when they activate at the same time.”
“Did you use some kind of code stacking? Like instead of series connections, you connected them in parallel?”
“Y-yeah. Somewhat. What about it?”
Kristoff laughed his loudest he’s ever did. While doing so he walked over to Churche and punched him right in the face again and it sent Churche flying. After he crashed on the ground, Kristoff ran towards him but Lisanna was quick and ordered the guards to restrain him. They had second thoughts at first but since it was Lisanna, they complied and restrained Kristoff.
“You idiot! Fucking idiot! And here I thought you were smarter! Those people would just die!” Kristoff shouted and struggled as he tried to run towards Churche and beat him up.
“Huh?! What do you mean? It worked perfectly after I released the limiter.” Churche defended his answer with anger in his tone.
“The codes will never perfectly work without the LCCC! Sure! It may work but only lasts for a day! How long did you test the effects, hmm?! I bet you didn’t even test it for a good 12 hours! I’ve tested many more methods than you think and here you are saying that you found one way and claim it’s fine?! How long does the effect last?! Can the human body sustain the stress made by the nanomachines?! How many codes are active under certain conditions?! Did you ever bother thinking about those?! How many samples did you take to come up with that conclusion?! What kind of environment did you take those samples?! That’s what the simulations are for!” Kristoff continued his shouting but Churche still remained confident with his answer.
“The NEWards are there to finely adjust the nanomachines because they are still too big. The LCCC is a kind of amalgamation code for the newer and smaller nanomachines that arrived several months back. If those are implemented, NEWards wouldn’t even be in use. The simulation rooms are to get the residents used to nanomachines inside their bodies while tackling different environments. What do you think would happen if the nanomachines suddenly encountered a frozen hell when it only adapted to a barren and hot wasteland? They could malfunction!”
Churche started having second thoughts about his decision. Did he misunderstand the Übermensch Project?
“The codes for the Ubermensch Project can’t be stacked and operated at the same time. They should activate at different times at different locations for it to function properly. Imagine a damn engine works! They all pump at different times to attain equal power distribution. What you did is activate them all at the same time, at the same place. My design was to spread it throughout their body as to not wear them down. What you essentially did is lead them to a death sentence.”
Churche’s mood drastically changed. He regretted his decision. He misunderstood the Übermensch Project. And now the last words of Kristoff struck him.
“B-But the codes worked when I tested them with the simulations –“
“That was a fucking simulation. Have you ever tried it on an actual human being? Probably not because of your stupid sense of morality. We live in a fucking, god-forsaken world! It has always been lawless since centuries back. How do you think humanity has survived thus far? By being moral and praying to whatever god is out there to save their lives? Fuck that! It was because of our ingenuity, stubbornness, and cockroach-like tenacity. If we have never delved into deeper research and experimentation, we should have been wiped a long time ago when the world was cleansed. Drugs and medications? Since when were those not tested on humans? You want to test it on a robot that has no human life and expect it to say that it’s effective because it was programmed to do so?”
Kristoff continued his ramblings after he calmed down slightly and shrugged himself off from the clutches of the soldiers. He walked up to Churche who had a downcast expression and spoke in a soft voice.
“Also, I would never just willy-nilly kill a resident. Do you know much was invested into any one of them?” Churche remained silent as he stared at the face of Kristoff’s haggard face with his own depressed expression. “Your entire life slaving here is equivalent to one of them. And there are hundreds of thousands of them in this shelter alone. And now, because of your stupidity, you installed every Übermensch code into their incompatible nanomachines and endangered their lives.”
Kristoff broke off form Churche and walked a small distance away from him.
“Give me the antivirus code and the pathway. I’ll clean the mess you made.” Churche was silent when he heard Kristoff. Or rather, he was mumbling. “Huh?! Speak louder!”
“T-they’re on their way to… the loading dock… to escape… and I have no way of stopping them now…!”
“Y-You…. Bastard!” Kristoff kicked Churche at the belly and punched his while he was downed. Kristoff could only scream by what Churche had done.
“Kris!” Lisanna tried pulling Kristoff away from Churche, but he was too heavy. “Stop it, Kris!” She locked Kris’ neck using her arms to calm him down.
“I SAID FUCKING STOP IT, KRISOSTOS!” She tightened her lock on Kristoff until he was unable to move any more. Lisanna gently let go of him while he calmed down. “For fuck’s sake, Krisostos. There are more urgent matters than beating a pig!”
“S-Sorry… Y-You’re right. You four... Arrest… the bastard and Karina.” Kristoff commanded four guards while trying to catch his breath. “L-Let’s go to the division command.”
A few other guards and Lisanna helped him up and assisted him in walking. As their bodies slowly disappeared, Kreija couldn’t do anything but hyperventilate and watch Churche and Karina be bound by collars on their wrists and ankles.
As she tried to catch her breath, Churche looked at Alex who was still standing beside Kreija. His expression was that of confusion. He felt relieved Churche wasn’t killed, yet at the same time angered because of his insubordination and interference in Kristoff’s plan.
Alex was a special case in the first division. Although he was only a researcher for the Nanomachine Code Department, he was privy to the entirety of the Übermensch Project. Kristoff told him personally while Lisanna was training to be his assistant. Until this day, he didn’t know why he was been told that. Was it because his little sister was privy to it as well? Or was it something else? But now, he couldn’t describe what he feels. Only Alex and Kreija remain in that space after Churche and Karina were dragged away.
The residents who were escaping rushed through the underground corridors while those not present in the meeting room escaped through the surface floors and into the storage space. After some time, the two groups eventually met up with the help from other whiteys. Specific doors opened and closed, leading them to the correct path. But while they escaped, there were soldiers waiting in several spaces. There were not many, but a single soldier was able to apprehend and restrain at least six residents. Majority of their force were placed near hidden doors to prevent other residents from rushing into the restricted access spaces.
The escapees could feel the sudden rush of adrenaline plus the enhanced effects of the Übermensch Project codes. They were just stunned by its capabilities. Realising that these have been kept from the residents, their hearts grew with rage, thinking that the whiteys were just selfish and probably even intentionally hid the codes to assert dominance over them. Their judgement started to cloud with rage ever since they learned of the machinations of Kris and other higher management.
They had arrived at the last door and last room. They were at the room before they enter the loading docks. Even with a general lack of stamina, they managed to run from the meeting room all the way to the last space non-stop yet no one was fatigued. The codes were frightening, and they had just experienced two of them, besides the elimination of other physiological needs. Apparently, the codes for eliminating the physiological need of hunger and thirst and excretion were so compatible, it was combined into one.
Majority of the escapees have already arrived at that room and now they wait for someone to open then. As time passed on, even the other whiteys and blackies became agitated. It had gone beyond the time for the gates doors to be opened. Were the people in the control room perhaps restrained? But just as one of them was about to contact those at the control room, the door started to open.
The escapees rushed inside and as they did so, they saw the six large amaroqs with running engines and their back doors wide open. It was a grand sight to them
“Hurry! The driver shouted. “We don’t have time!” He gestured all of them to cram themselves in the vehicles so they can leave as soon as possible.
But there was still one problem. The main gates were still closed. A whitey tried contacting the control room but no one answered; it was just static. Everyone started to panic as they realised everything might fail. It was only now that they started to regret their decision. Maybe the best was to just let life move on while they were ignorant of everything. After all, their past life was a much more comfortable life, with the safety confines of the wall and the warmth of company.
“Let’s push the door!” Zsally shouted while she suggested inside the amaroq. “We have that Oobearmnesh Project, right? So, we must be very strong.”
“Zsally, it’s not time to joke around.” Erias spoke.
“But I’m not joking. Me pushing that door alone would not do anything. But if all of us, all one hundred plus of us were to push, maybe we can open the door.” She was insistent.
It sounded like a plan, but it was quite foolish. All they needed to do was wait for the button to be pressed or it’s all over for them. But Esther agreed with Zsally.
“Alright. Everybody, let’s push the doors!” She relayed Zsally’s suggestion to the others.
“What?! Are you crazy?!” Another resident spoke, shocked by her words. “We don’t even know how the gate opens?!”
“Then we force it to move!” We’ll make it –“
She was interrupted by the sudden shaking of the earth.
“The gates are opening!” The driver of their vehicle shouted at the residents, enough for them to hear. “Everyone, get in! I’m closing the gate!”
Esther’s face was as red as a tomato as she entered the vehicle, sat down, and was strapped by a seatbelt by an AI. Apparently, there were still some vacant seats left. It was a sight that either there are more seats compared to people to begin with, or there were plenty of residents that were restrained. It saddened her quite a bit. But they can’t turn back and save them now.
The giant doors were opening from the bottom half of the door. It was like two large walls pressed against each other from the top and from the bottom, and now, only the bottom moved. As the amaroqs were ready to move as soon as the door reaches a certain height, they started to hear gunshots and things were ricocheting as it collided with the vehicle. People screamed from the inside, wondering what it was.
[Capture the driver and seize the amaroqs!]
An announcement came from speakers around the loading dock. Everyone heard it, even from the inside of the vehicle. That was when they realised their enemy has caught up to them.
“Let me out!” A male resident shouted. “I’ll fight those bastards.”
“Huh?” You out of your mind?!” Another one spoke, shouting her thoughts.
“It’ll be fine. Remember in the list of codes, we can deflect bullets and are stronger than them. We can win!” After declaring, even the person who talked back didn’t have anything to say.
After they conversed with the driver, the back hatch opened slowly enough for him to crawl out and for the other people to see. As soon as he exited, the hatch begun to close. But they were bewildered and fear was painted in their eyes.
For only a short while, for only a few seconds, they saw him get beaten in one strike and was attached with a collar. He was no longer himself at that point.
“W-What happened?! I thought we were strong?! I thought those collars wouldn’t affect us?! Then what was that?!”
“I don’t know!” Someone also shouted back out of fear.
They regretted their decision to escape even more. Even those who originally planned the escape wanted to opt out of this and forget everything, but it was too late. The vehicles accelerated at full speed, pushing the residents back inflicting a significant amount of G-force on them. Some had the feeling of wanting to vomit but can’t because of the codes.
“What the hell?! Have you not yet entered the loading dock control room?!” Someone shouted from a height. It was Kristoff as he looked at a certain wall.
[We have, Mr. Koldner. We apprehended the people but they installed a virus that permanently opens the lower half of the gate. The emergency close codes and buttons won’t work either. We are trying to remove it now.]
Someone answered Kristoff from the control room, the place where Kristoff was looking at.
“Fucking hell!” He could only watch the amaroqs drive off. “Fourth through sixth infantry units and second armoured infantry unit, assist the units outside! Form a search group if any of them escapes. Captain Oliver will take point.
A small sound resounded from the gloves of Kristoff. It was Captain Oliver who was waiting outside the shelter with a full suit on. He was accompanied by other soldiers and armoured vehicles much larger than the amaroqs, waiting for the emergence of the escapees.