Day Fifty-Nine-One of 4001 Cycle News Feed: Ruling Enzi Outline
“Today’s news feed outlines an act of terror by the New Men Terror Group at the upper levels of Residential Apartment Living Complex for skilled-employ members in the city of Narowii. The main perpetrator exploded an illegal weapon that killed two MilPolits members. The blast destroyed four air-level-six-six-two apartments. Two bio-humans were injured.
Note: the main perpetrator, Ms Tiera Allen, Exxa-designate, is considered extremely dangerous and should not be approached. To assist the criminal would enact Exxa-designation to any participant, whether coerced with force or not.
The Ruling Enzi Family offers peace and harmony.”
None of her friends or associates would be of any help now that the news was out. A reward for information was posted on every site in the region. Tiera had no choice. She needed to disappear. News flashes popped up on every post, in every pane, on every reflective surface. The alerts flashed up so often that the night sky under the floats that held the upper levels aloft was as bright as early dusk. None of the street people would get any sleep, and it was all her fault. She walked past a couple who were too involved in each other to notice the shawl slide from the woman’s arm. That’s what she got for slumming – everyone knew Exxa’s stole everything. As Tiera walked into a darker, more fetid laneway, two street Exxa tried to grab it off her; she fought for it, kept it – she was more desperate. One of them looked at her face, dropped wide eyes from contact, and disappeared as fast as a DezDruz snorter.
It was cold. She had no shoes. No therm-ix outers. At least now there was something to wrap over her head; to hide her hair and partially obscure her facial ID tattoos. Some mud helped, too, even if it stank. Before this necessity, she’d never considered if dirt on the ground stank.
Of course it could, she just never considered it. Her life was clean, regulated. Everything happened at the right time, in the right place, in the right sequence. Her life was upper level – not down in the slums with the Exxa’s and the urchins and the drekkus.
Her parents told her stories of people forced to make other choices, to fight for the right to live. Tiera thought they were just stories, meant to scare recalcitrant children. Stories from the ancients; fables from another time and place, where nothing was sure and life was short. The main theme of the stories: how all cells fought to live; that humans were simply a collection of sentient cells. Her mother’s voice in her head brought tears that shivered on her muddy lashes, drizzled a line through the layers of dirt on her cheeks.
Move on, keep moving. Where? The dark alleys and laneways between the floats and grids were more ominous than the well-lit traders markets, but . . . could she go into such a public place? Would she be safe? Did she dare take a risk like that? The bright lights felt dangerous, menacing. There would be cam-ix – and most of the cam-ix were hidden, wouldn’t be visible to unenhanced eyesight, which she had, but it would still require her to be in their view as well.
Maybe she was wrong about everything. Life wasn’t safe. There was just a thin veneer of civilisation, and underneath it was always a fight for dominance. For power. Control. Why were there street people, urchins, lowers, Exxas, if everything was well ordered, well structured, well run, as stated in the Ruling Enzi daily rendition of life statements?
Why hadn’t she thought of this before now?
Tiera was now one of the outers, the Exxas, someone with no recourse to any legal representation. Technically, an Exxa-designate, because she still had her sub-dermals. Her links would be blocked, so the legal sub-d’s were of no use – drekkus! They’d track them!
Drekkus! Fequat! She should have thought of that. Vortex-worm – activate; obliterate all access points to her sub-d’s – all of them, for the moment. She could reactivate the necessary things later. When she found somewhere safe. There were other resources, but not too soon. Needed to ensure security protocols, and get close to a safe energy source. Later.
Why had her parents done this without her knowledge? Why make her a target? Not just Tiera, also themselves – who else? Those five women – were they dead because of this? Why?
It wasn’t what good people did. She was alone, on the streets, without access to any necessities. Oh, yes, and WANTED for murder and property destruction. And probably Terrorism drekkus. Anything else?
Feet in shoes tapped on the solid pebble-ix behind her. Stood still, waited for them to pass. They didn’t look. She couldn’t stay there. Needed to get out of sight. Moved into the deeper shadows. Time, a little time to think. Would have to do without food; hide in the vehicle until . . .
Who could she go to for help? Who would know a way out of this mess; or if that wasn’t possible, who would know how to make her into someone else? Make the old Tiera disappear? The way she made her dermal link disappear; the way she’d made her mini-hymag vehicle disappear?
The new program worked, and worked too well. Tiera almost knocked down a person who wandered casually along the pathway without looking. If she didn’t remember that her vehicle wasn’t visible to the human eye spectrum while the program was active, she’d be captured, taken in as exxa. It wouldn’t do her cause any good for another death or injury to get added to the list of her crimes. She hid the vehicle under a pile of wind-blown drekkus at the drain opening for excess water dispersal from the air-levels.
Her waste, yesterday.
Needed to be more careful, to consider the potential consequences of making a choice she was not sure of. Needed to be absolutely certain of everything if she wanted to live long enough to find . . . what? The purpose and reason behind it all. A good place to start. Absolutely necessary to think like an intelligent being. Like her parents, like . . .
His face popped into her mind without a blur, without hesitation. A clear picture, a sense of home and . . . pain. Loss and betrayal. He was a person who’d disappeared without a trace. Aren Hunter. The man who lost his reputation and career in one abrupt plunge into corruption should be able to do what a law-abiding citizen could not. The very last person she wanted to see. He didn’t need to know the real reasons, did he? If she kept the need insignificant, and just said something like . . . what?
What would be appropriate for a situation like this? A need for somewhere quiet to mourn? No. Her face was all over the news posts, all over the comms. Even street people looked away from her like she was more dangerous than MilPolits. Which she was.
Her life was in danger, with nowhere to go, and all her friends, acquaintances and colleagues would believe she’d murdered two MilPolits, because that’s what the news posts reported. Tiera would have to tell Aren the truth. She would have to lay herself bare. Take the scorn. Take help, any help, from anyone. Even him.
Now, how to get in touch with him?
An excerpt from a novel, copyright Cage Dunn 2016.