Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Plot

The Plot

Today the activity picked up a bit at the harbor where the freighter lay at anchor. Around noon we heard a whooshing sound and a number of helicopters approached the boat. No one knew whose choppers they were. They weren't ours. We watched a lot of bustling aboard the freighter as the copters approached.

The surface of the freighter erupted in fire and smoke as it launched a barrage of rockets against the aircraft. The copters tried to wheel and avoid the rockets but one by one the rockets impacted and knocked the copters out of the sky as we stood by helpless. A few minutes later we made out a squadron of jets approaching low and fast. They shrieked by, splitting the air. We could see them turning off in the distance, ready for another approach.

I don't really know what happened next because I woke up a few minutes later. Everyone had passed out, apparently even the pilots of the jets because in the distance we could see the burning wreckage. A couple of us had been injured by falling. I don't know what kind of weapon that was, but if you're reading this you'd better be prepared for it. One minute you're awake, the next you're asleep.

Still we watched and observed, working on a plan to capture the boat before anyone else could.

Lets see, where was I...oh yeah.

I worked pretty closely with Carrie over the next few months. I hate to admit it, but she made a pretty effective leader for this project. After her initial bout of haughtiness she settled down a bit and focused on the task at hand. I didn't enjoy it at all, since she still was demanding and occasionally demeaning, but she spent most of her time elsewhere and only showed up a handful of days each month. I didn't know what other parts of the project she worked on if any. She did stay in constant contact via email and video so it's not like I could really escape her.

Spring turned into summer, a hot, abominable summer with swarms of flies everywhere. Only the work area had air conditioning, but the dorms and mess hall sweltered in the heat. Naturally we spent as much time as possible in the work area since the rest of our camp became unbearable. We could still hear the occasional screams and executions coming from the other camps, but we pressed on. Being with the same people day in and day out eventually wore nerves ragged, so I imposed mandatory "vacations" where people couldn't enter the work room for a few days.

I myself had to take one after I got into a stupid fight with Misty about dinner of all things. She had made something for me and I didn't realize she had made it and I went off on the terrible food. She began screaming at me how I never appreciate all the little things she does for me. We created quite a scene. We decided to take a "break" and not come to work for a few days.

Once we returned, we practically jumped in each other's arms. We talked about how much we missed each other and how much we loved each other and how sorry we were for fighting. I promised I would never take her for granted and she promised to not "test" me with food. She admitted her biggest fear was that I only like her because she was convenient and I might ditch her once we got out. I assured her I wouldn't and said something sappy like we met here because we were meant to meet here.
Autumn brought a rising of tensions in camp. We knew that we approached our completion date. I knew this meant our execution was literally weeks away. I thought about begging for Carrie to help us escape but I'd only use that as a last resort. After months of decent cooperation, she began to become more erratic, yelling at the smallest issues and threatening people. A oppressive weight gathered on our shoulders.

Just about a month ago, I was reviewing some of Misty's code when I became confused over some security protocols she had written. I called her over.

"Hey Misty, what's with this section here," I asked.

"Uhh. Oh, yeah," she stammered. "That's something Carrie Park asked me to do."

I looked up at and she glanced over towards Bethany.

"Ok," I said, a little confused. "What is it?"

"She just wanted a debug port set up," said Misty. "A temporary back-door to be used during testing." A back-door allow programmers to bypass the main security.

"Well, make sure you add it to the bug list so we remember to remove it before it ships."

Misty glanced over to Bethany again, and I looked around to. "What going on," I asked.

Misty walked around my desk and kneeled down next to me so she wouldn't be overheard. "Just meet me in the gym at 3:00. Don't be late. There's something I need to show you."

"Oh?" I smiled at her, thinking she was being flirty and setting up one of our rendezvous, but she looked dead serious. "Okay, I'll be there."

At three I wandered over to the gym. Misty met me and grabbed my hand. "Follow me."

She led me back into the men's locker room. For a moment I thought she had some intimate plans until I noticed a group of people in there. They were some of my most reliable and trusted people, all hailing from the US or UK. Bethany, Misty, Ron, Barry, and Ben.

"What's going on," I asked.

"We have something to tell you," said Misty. "We've been debating whether we can trust you. It's never been clear what happened at Infinitae, and you have some pretty damaging connection to Carrie Park and Chinese agents. At this point we have no choice but to trust. You see, Alex, we're not just asylum seekers. We're government agents planted here to uncover The Plot. We've lost many good people so far."

I smirked. "You guys? Agents? You couldn't fight you way out of paper bags."

"Technically we're analysts," said Bethany. "We were approached with this suicide assignment because our governments believe there was a real threat here. We also scored high on resisting interrogation. One by one we've come here. And now we know most of The Plot, and we're ready to act."

"We're getting out of here," said Misty, excitement in her eyes. "The code you saw today was one of a series of steps we're taking to undermine the project, creating security holes so we can hack back into it."

"Jesus Christ," I exclaimed. "Are you guys serious? Agents? Why didn't anyone tell me? What the hell am I? You guys don't trust me after everything we've gone through? I've spent nearly a year in this hellhole and I've suffered as much as anyone. Did you say you're getting out of here? Does this mean you could have gotten out of here anytime? What the fuck is going on?"

"Lower your voice," urged Bethany. "You didn't come with the best reputation. We still have questions. But we've taken a huge risk because we think you can help us."

I glared at the group. "If Carrie gets even a whiff of this, she'll pull the plug and we'll be dead. What are you guys thinking? And why wait 'til now to tell me all this? Are you trying to get everyone killed? And Misty, you've been lying to be this whole time?"

I figured Misty hadn't told me how she came to be here because of embarrassment. I stared at the lot of them. They all seemed extremely nervous. These people weren't agents like Ellie. They were just people like me, thrust into an impossible situation. It strained my mind to think that none of them had cracked. Or maybe some had, and paid the ultimate price.

"So...what's the plan? You have some plan to get out of here?"

"We're awaiting instructions. We've received some tracking devices. Here, keep this hidden on you at all times." Bethany handed me a slip of paper. I was puzzled until I noticed faint traces of wires in the paper. It was a tiny paper thin tracking device. I could put it in my shoe or my pocket and it would just look like a scrap of paper. "There's going to be an extraction. There's only enough space for the people in this room. The entire complex will be leveled, and hopefully all this technology will be destroyed."

"Shit. What about the rest of the team?"

Bethany shook her head. "We don't have the resources. Their respective countries will be notified of their whereabouts. This is a quick get-in-get-out operation. It's gotten to the point where we've been forced to act. This thing, whatever it is, looks like it may become operational. And we can't let that happen."

I exhaled heavily. "Do you have any idea what it is? Do you know what all this software controls?"

They all kind of looked at each other.

I waved my arms. "All this, as far as I can tell, is the control system for some kind of super weapon. This weapon is capable of taking out cities without any loss of structures. It can also power whole cities with no pollution or waste. So it can either be the greatest boon mankind has ever seen, or its worst nightmare. It all depends on who controls it, which currently looks like the Chinese."

Bethany grimmaced. "Damn. Well, it's not the Chinese. Even though this is a Chinese facility, we've determined that they are not in charge of this place. Some other entity runs it with their tacit approval. We've still investigating, but it seems to be run by some amalgam of private Chinese nationals, energy companies, and organized crime. It's a huge power play. If what you say is true, they could control the future of this planet."

Misty added, "and if that happens, we're all screwed."

Posted: Sunday, November 9, 2008 @ 7:38 PM

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