I'm Ready to Fight (by C.E. Zacherl and see more at veyer.deviantart.com)
From the beginning
Goldie reached up and got a strong hand hold on a rock outcropping, nudging the rock to test its strength. It was hard to pull herself up over the jagged ledge wearing a flowing dress, but she managed all the same.
Detective Tyrone Higgins frowned as he planted his face into the palms of his overworked hands. Here he stood, in another FDA office, arresting another traitor in federal employ. Something connected these criminals other than their affiliation in the same agency. If he did not find that connection before too long, this resistance movement would gain enough momentum that standard law enforcement would not be enough to stop it.
Tyrone had grown concerned since transferring to Harrisonburg that the mega-city would soon be headed for military jurisdiction. He would do everything in his power to prevent that from happening.
Tyrone keyed his gauntlet display and his Virtual Intelligence, Theresa appeared on the screen. Tyrone spoke after a long pause, “Theresa, I need you to run some numbers on the situation in Harrisonburg. The Query: How many public incidents and law enforcement failures before the President enacts NDAA enforcement powers over the city?”
The image of Theresa on the screen winked at Tyrone, “My processor is already working to compute your answer. Status will update periodically. You should also know, the VI you asked me to monitor…”
Tyrone’s eye slanted queerly at the image of the Theresa VI, “What is it?”
“She exhibited some erratic behavior again, sending messages outside of the agency.”
Tyrone shook his head as he reviewed the contents of the message. This VI had a non-standard agenda. Technically, VI’s followed a very strict set of programmed rules. That would mean that the programmer went out of his or her way to change the operating goals of this particular VI. Reviewing the VI proved another fact, the Goldie VI’s creator modeled the VI after a real human. Tyrone could possibly use that to track him down.
Theresa pinged Tyrone with the answer to another query. After reviewing the VI transmissions, Tyrone felt it was obvious where the resistance would hit next. He downloaded the specs from the message. Now, the time had come to head this potential catastrophe off at the pass, at Walls Tower. The resistance was playing with fire, and only Tyrone could stop them from burning down the house.
Jarred worried about Kayla and Apple, how they would communicate without him, as he lay in the hospital bed. He supposed that everyone probably worried a good deal about his survival, being that the artificial components on his heart had been stopped by the EMP. At least that freak of an assassin wouldn’t bother anyone anymore.
Relief and comfort coursed through Kayla after viewing the plan of action Barry had prepared. Kayla would work alone in the real world, while Apple handled some more virtual assignments. If the resistance exposed what the Oathed Technocrats were up to now, the authorities would not be able to ignore them any longer. All those wealthy and powerful men’s doors would receive knocks from the FBI with warrants for their arrests in hand.
The resistance would finally prove itself as a valuable asset to the public good, and, perhaps, the corruption in the government would be rooted and leave a gutted shell of only those who cared.
Kayla crept through the service hatch into the tunnel that led to the secured server facility of the largest, most impressive building in all of Harrisonburg, Virginia. The reason for Harrisonburg becoming a mega-city was Walls Corporation, which ruled much of virtual space from the upper floors of this building. The building’s architecture defied the laws of physics similar to buildings in the virtual world. Walls Towers, built before Kayla’s birth, was known the world over. The eccentric CEO went through a dozen groups of engineers that said what he wanted couldn’t be done. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the CEO, Fred Walls, hired a boy, just out of highschool. That high school boy was the only creative genius that could think outside the box enough to create this unconventional design.
If Kayla got caught in here, her mission would be a failure. She would be thrown in a dark, deep prison, but, in three days, the virus program would come online and many of the people in cyberspace would effectively die in the real world. During the last couple of days, Kayla wondered if she really wanted the Technocrats to fail. This virus would be a wakeup call to all of the people that survived, to hopefully focus on the real world again. Kayla imagined all of the masses protesting outside government buildings to find a solution to the “super” weed. She longed to walk the countryside and enjoy the natural wonders of Earth.
Kayla slipped into the server room, which should have been empty according to Apple’s hacking of the security system of Walls Towers. It was not empty, however, as there was another investigator hard at work trying to crack several mysteries of his own.
Kayla knew that she needed to act before the unknown man, who was not a security guard or maintenance man of Walls Corporation, drew his gun and ended her. The other person must have been alerted by something; Kayla could see the gun in his hand. She skulked down the next set of servers, each their own mountain island in a sea of office doldrums. She waited for a moment behind the next set of those server mountains.
Kayla rushed into Tyrone unexpectedly from the side and knocked the gun from his hand. He reacted quickly and stayed on his feet. Tyrone tried to swing his heavy gauntleted arm around to throttle Kayla, but he did not get the gauntlet around in time to quickly end the close combat. Kayla grasped Tyrone’s gauntleted forearm and their other hands each grasped each other, fingers locked around each other’s.
“Look. You can’t do this! You do and the consequences will be worse than you believe. I’m not talkin’ bout for you either. I mean all those people out there you are doin’ this for. The hammer is about to smack.” Tyrone said under the strain of trying to win the grapple.
Kayla ended the grapple with a combination knee to the groin and head butt to Tyrone’s nose. He sailed back into another server stack and slid down. Kayla knew that it probably would not be enough to knock him out; it wasn’t that easy. She descended upon him and planted blow after blow on his face and chest. Finally, Kayla convinced herself that the bloody pulp of a man would stay out of action. Kayla returned to finding and destroying the target mainframe.
The man, Tyrone, with the bloody face could not even will himself to move a muscle. His face looked like an unrecognizable mess like a Halloween horror mask.
Apple loaded her usual avatar, pink spikey haired post-apocalyptic punk girl with a shot gun in hand.
Apple imagined a totally different future. If cyberspace was alive and could care for itself, none of these problems would be more than hiccups until the antibodies destroyed them. Her world, the virtual world, needed to be saved from the Oathed Technocrats’ plan so that human evolution could continue in the direction she believed human evolution was destined for. Apple felt that she was an alien on the planet Earth; she saw herself as part of the destiny, part of the evolution, beyond the physical world of Earth and into the new dimension of virtual space.
Apple finished her hack pack installations on the Walls Tower security feeds. Kayla was now safe from discovery. Now, only one task remained for Apple. To stop the Technocrats from spreading this insane entrapment virus, Apple had to prevent the download of the virus to back-up servers.
She walked toward the tunnel that led from the server containing the virus to the outside virtual world. If the data stopped here, in the tunnel at her position, the resistance would be successful.
Packets of data dropped out of the storage devices and formed into bullet shape cars. Apple watched from the tunnel vantage point as the cars started hovering down the long pathway that led to the backup servers. Apple knew she could not let a single one of those packets out or the mission might be a failure.
Apple stepped into the middle of the data tunnel and charged at the front most bullet car in the convoy. The car slammed into her and any normal avatar would have been shredded from the impact. However, Apple’s tough assed avatar survived the impact with only minimal injuries. She clung to the front of the car through no fault of her own, the momentum pushing against her keeping her attached like a victim in a spider’s web. She pushed the muzzle of the shot gun directly against the front of the bullet car and unloaded every round she had.
The car exploded in a brilliant flash, again the Tough as Nails avatar pulled through, but not without mental strain upon Apple and physical damage to the avatar. The remaining cars smashed into the back of each other after being dislodged by the explosion and subsequent shrapnel.
Finally, Goldie reached the top of the cliff. The long, thin dress clung to her skin from the salty misty sea water that saturated the air. She stood defiant and satisfied on a small outcropping covered in tufts of beach grasses. Goldie looked out across the turbulent sea. A storm brewed the water and clouds on the horizon, that familiar feeling and smell of a storm front filled the air.
Apple watched through the eyes of her avatar as it finally returned to functionality from the blast of the bullet cars. She grew confused as she looked around and found herself on a rock ledge overlooking a beach that probably came out of one of the adult pleasure programs.
“Hello, child.” Goldie spoke as she used a caressing hand to be sure that Apple and her avatar were alright.
“Huh? WTF?” After the scene fully loaded, Apple’s confusion only grew.
“You have done me a great favor. It is only right that I am honest with you,” Goldie’s soft voice enchanted Apple.
“Uuhhh…” words fell flat and Apple could not find her voice.
“Your friend, Zodi, wasn’t dead, or in a normal coma. You see, an errant version of that virus was released when the resistance dug into the Oathed Technocrat intranet. Zodi was trapped in that mainframe back there.”
Apple grew furious and wished to strike out at Goldie. Apple’s avatar flailed violently at Goldie, but did not make a good attempt to land a killing blow.
Goldie’s arms reached out swiftly and grasped Apple’s wrists, “It had to be destroyed. It was vital.”
“Who? Kayla? The release…” Apple always spoke in abbreviated tones, and now she had rage preventing her words from being effective as well.
Goldie only nodded an affirmative.