Joined: 27 Apr 2007
|Posted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 3:49 pm Post subject: Security
|(As a warning, there are some fairly disturbing scenes within this fiction. Don't say I didn't warn you )
The door clicked open. It had taken a very long time to crack every single code in order to gain access to the complex, but Erik was sure that the effort would be worth it. Those capsuleer types seemed to be completely paranoid to any sort of intrusion and this particular one had installed pretty much top of the range protection in order to prevent any would-be intruders from gaining access. Unfortunately for him, Erik was not just any intruder. A noise behind the career thief suddenly made him turn, his hand reaching towards his gun. Erik only relaxed when he saw the familiar shape of his accomplice appear out of the shadows.
“Have you dealt with the alarms?” asked Erik briefly.
The man simply nodded. Erik had hired him as an electronics and alarms specialist and so far he had proven to be a wise choice. He had already managed to pretty much nullify the alarms present around the perimeter of the complex, of which there had been a surprising amount and variety.
“There are a few alarms inside, but there doesn’t seem to be anything deeper inside the complex,” said the electronics expert. Although he currently had a mask on, Erik could almost feel the man grinning, seemingly happy with his handiwork.
After a nod of acknowledgment, Erik slowly opened the door. Ever since the complex had finished building, he had known that by the end of the year, he would raid it. Although risky, hitting a planetside capsuleer home could potentially set someone up for life. Priceless artworks, statues and paintings were usually a good start, but the real jackpot were implants: it wasn’t unusual for capsuleers to have spares and there had even been one occasion where a daring thief had managed to steal a high-grade snake implant, which was considered expensive even by capsuleers. Such a find would not only let you live in luxury for the rest of your life, but would also allow your children, and their children, and their children to live a carefree and blissful life.
The corridor that first greeted Erik and his accomplice was therefore a slight disappointment. To call it spartan would be to say little of what it looked it: completely bereft of any sort of decoration, this was not what Erik had imagined the home of a capsuleer to look like. The walls, ceiling and floor of this corridor were lined in simple, sterile, white plastic and as Erik looked down, he could see that it stretched out many hundreds of meters towards a single door.
Slowly, the two thieves made their way down the corridors, the electronic expert leading, holding a scanner device in front of him. Erik followed him carefully, making sure that he made the exact motions that he did, even when he seemed to step out of the way of an invisible object. Carefully, the two men finally arrived to the door. After making sure that it wasn’t alarmed, Erik approach the lock, only to notice that it was already open. It was obvious that the owner hadn’t expected for anyone to get this far.
The door lead to another, larger room, without any sort of illumination or any window that would allow the reflected light from one of the planet’s two moons to enter. Turning his night vision goggles on, Erik looked around the room, trying to get his bearings and ascertain if anything of value was present within the area. The room was as stark and empty as the corridor, with soft round edges around all corners. Three doors could be seen both on the right and left walls, while a large door dominated the far wall. Squinting, Erik could almost see a sign above the door that read “Welcome to the Fountain”.
Another empty room, thought Erik with a tiny grunt of disgust. Although nothing had gone wrong so far, he didn’t want to spend any more time than necessary within the facility. Gingerly, he and his accomplice approached the first room on the left: the door of this room had a window on it and even from outside Erik could see that the only things inside the room were chairs, half a dozen lined up against the walls on each side of the relatively small room. After deeming that the room was indeed empty, Erik and his fellow thief split up to search the remaining five rooms, with similar results.
With the hopeful promise of possible loot deeper inside the facility, both men approached the “Fountain” door. It opened automatically, temporarily blinding both men as they quickly switched off their goggles. It took them a few minutes for them to get accustomed to the light, but soon they were able to get a stock of their surroundings. A reception desk, unmanned, could be seen directly in front of them. It was a tidy desk, with a small computer and unfortunately nothing of value was on it. Two corridors lead 90o left and right of the desk.
After rummaging through the desk to make sure nothing of value had been hidden inside it, the electronics man approached the computer and proceeded to hack into it. Almost all of the files within the terminal were heavily encrypted and certainly not worth the time wasted on them, but a few hadn’t been secured, including a small map of the place and what seemed to be a list of patients. Many areas of the map were not labelled, but it seemed to suggest that the corridor to the right lead towards a small hangar complex and little else, while the left lead towards an area labelled “residential complex”. Since not a single ship was currently docked in the hangar, it was clear that the “residential complex” would be much more fruitful.
The corridor lead to yet another door and slowly, Erik opened it. What appeared before him was something reminiscent of a stardock waiting area or a welcome lounge. Many tables and chairs were present, with the left hand side wall bristling with closed cafeterias. The design of the place was purely functional, but clean and had something of a forced cheerfulness to it. Although Erik was glad that the place was deserted, the emptiness did imbue it with a kind of ghostly spookiness that was clearly unsettling Erik’s associate.
“I think we should get out of here…” he said, confirming Erik’s suspicion.
“We’ve got this far and we’ve worked hard for this. I’m not going back yet,” said Erik, almost in a whisper.
It was clear that there was little valuable within this room either. Although slightly spooked, the emotion that currently dominated Erik was impatience. He was sure that there would be untold treasures deep inside the complex, enough to make him rich, if only he could find them.
Several doors could be seen on the right wall and he approached the first one, opening it quickly and carelessly. The room that greeted him was a large dormitory, perfectly neat and tidy. Everything was white: the beds, the sheets, the walls, the little bed-side tables, the tiny lockers, everything.
Erik opened one of the lockers: empty. With rising anger, he opened every subsequent one, still finding nothing. Finally, Erik made his way towards the door at the end of the dormitory, opening it as soon as he reached it, with Erik’s accomplice struggling to keep up with him.
Yet another cut-paste corridor. Erik entered the first door he could find. For a moment, he stood still.
The large, cavernous room seemed to be almost a theatre, of sort. On the far wall, a stage with a single podium could be seen. Facing the stage, hundreds of men and women, perfectly still, not even one turning to face Erik, all sitting on chairs. From the large, metallic chairs, a myriad of tubes were connected to the back and arms of the men and women, some pumping viscous liquids within the still bodies, others containing optical or electrical wires.
It took a few minutes for Erik to suddenly move again. Noticing that no one seemed to move in the slightest, Erik slowly approached one of the sitting figures. His accomplice, once seeing the scene within, also followed, but it was clear by his demeanour that fleeing the complex had become foremost in his mind.
The figure that Erik had approached was residing in what could be called the back row of the congregation. When Erik finally got close to it, it became clear that it used to be a woman. Several tubes were directly connected to the mouth and chest of the woman. Her eyes had been left alone and currently they remained closed.
“I don’t like this, I don’t like this at all. Let’s go, there’s nothing here.”
Erik didn’t know if it had been greed or curiosity which had made him decide to explore further, but it was clear that there was little way that he could keep his accomplice from fleeing. It didn’t take long for the sound of his footsteps to finally disappear.
The rest of the congregation had proven as immobile as the first woman that Erik had examined and after spotting a door near a large stack of white, standard chairs, he made his way to it. As he stepped into yet another corridor, the first thing he saw was a large sign labelled “Medical and Implant Operations”.
His step slightly more brisk, Erik followed the way that the sign pointed towards. It did not take long to arrive to the door marked “Medical” and Erik carefully opened it.
The scene in front of him almost made him gag. Misshapen men and women could be seen lying on the floor, each bent at inhuman angles and already stiff with rigor mortis. The floor was slick with a combination of blood, vomit and other types of human waste. Most of the surgical tables, equipment and walls were also splattered with blood. Just the smell of it made Erik puke and even after empting his stomach, he still continued to heave.
By now, Erik’s mind was screaming at him to run away from this place and his feet had already started to shuffle backwards, ready to turn and run. A sound suddenly ended the silence. Erik could almost make out a small, muffled scream coming from one of the “surgery”. Not even knowing why, he slowly started to move towards the sound, reaching a door. The door opened and the scream suddenly became much louder.
The scream was being emitted by a man, strapped roughly to a chair. His face was the picture of agony and his scream was only interrupted by short, sharp intakes of breath. A large syringe, attached to a mechanical arm, was currently pumping a silvery liquid inside the man’s arm.
“Don’t scream, don’t worry. This is for your own good. You shall see a new world, a new life. The Serum will make you see.”
The words were spoken by a woman that had previously been in a tiny control booth at the side of the room. She could be said to be beautiful, but her skin had an aged, pale complexion and seemed to be almost stretched enough to break. She approached the screaming man with a tiny notepad and it took her a few seconds to finally notice Erik. Surprise took hold of both of them and they could do nothing but stare at each other, until suddenly the woman bolted for one of the doors that lead out of the room.
Swearing to himself, Erik started running after her, pistol in hand, but when he finally reached the door and the corridor that lead away from it, the woman had already disappeared.
An alarm started ringing: Erik started running. After stepping through the “medical” facility, Erik made his way back to the theatre, running as fast as he possibly could. Once inside the theatre, Erik noticed that the congregation all had their eyes open, all of them following Erik as he dodged past them.
Erik only stopped running once he reached the corridor behind the theatre. He looked at the countless doors present, not knowing which one he had come from, trying to make a decision. It was too late for him to notice the rifle butt descending against his head behind him and soon he fell, unconscious. The last thing he would see was the woman he had sighted before, flanked by two heavy-set guards.
“Tell the Master we have another possible candidate…”