The obvious point to make is that I did need at some point to move from freemind and the original pantsers approach and actually start to look at bringing together what is becoming more complex than I planned as a book and it isn’t easy.
I know what Griselda is as an MC, I created her and her killing antics but apart from the handwritten maps, I needed to actually start thinking about the 60K words I’ve written on what seems is becoming an endless story.
Much as I feel that Scrivener is holding up my imagination I realise now I cannot fudge about playing God … there are too many Politicians doing that already … even though I would get around that by six to eight rewrites and thousands dead.
I now know I need to handle/write about the Political upheaval on Dwarvia, the prisoners riots, the blood in the Chapter House where the gutters have been enlarged to allow the greater bloodflow after the infighting.
As a book it now seems to be becoming a life’s work.
As usual I’ll dump some words but these are from FYOG – I May Be A Long Time.
“Acton also found and implemented an Artificial Intelligence program, Catalina?”
“He implemented it into the Wall and the Cooker.”
“What does that mean, Sken?”
“Acton’s Wall now runs virtually all appliances where they haven’t been replaced; Wall uses the Network as his memory, processing, delivery and he has distributed his designs across the network and he is good. He is now interconnecting directly into one tree – cutting the medical/tree connections link didn’t stop anything as far as he is concerned – he uses that link.”
Catalina left Sken, and he found himself wondering whether she knew about the second data unit spat at him by Cath’s garage. A list of names of people he could trust – Catalina’s name was omitted from that list, still Sken couldn’t think what to say to her or not, and so tried to stay within the truth that she couldn’t do anything about, but at least it stopped Georgina’s plans and she wouldn’t touch Pearlie, less the truth came out or so he thought.
The more Sken thought about it though; it was better to be a loud mouthed fool than let her think he had worldly experience, which he didn’t – Sken wasn’t stupid – just trying and succeeding in being stupid for an audience. Anyway, fairly obviously Wall had made his own plans, and wasn’t really telling anyone the full story as far as Sken could see.
For his pains, Sken now had two people monitoring him from Catalina – that he knew – plus all the others he didn’t know about – Pearlie being followed, and Cedric used as an excuse to prevent him from meeting Pearlie.
The rest of the week flew past with Sken feeling his neck was in a noose, but no-one was pulling the trapdoor open, yet? He was being watched like ‛curry hating’ hawks by his two enforcers – eating, working, surviving and finally glad to see the end of Friday night … it does happen ‛sometimes’ in IT?
The lovely thing as Sken headed home on a lovely drive was gurgling a bottle of wine while the car drove, and snarled insults at him for dribbling on the car seat, “leave my life car, if you don’t like it; moronic payback civilisation time is here!”
As if life hadn’t opened it’s bottom enough on Sken, home approached and so did some very nice women as the car pulled up. Two cars were parked outside Sken’s house and from their size they weren’t Politicians expensive mounts, although the 2 girls might be, but beyond any price Sken could manage and they stood by Sken’s intelligent car, which by now was throwing every tantrum there was against someone who dribbled alcohol on it’s seats and it threw open both doors like a divorce plan for a friendly Judge, with the obvious idea to leave the car before it closed them and refused to open them again until he licked the seats dry?
A blond girl, about 5 ft 6, with blue eyes said, “I’m Cyndi Rizer.”
The girl alongside, her shook her black hair and most other things as Sken approached – I’ll kill that Cooker for the curry, Sken thought, as hazel eyes almost cross-examined him while a very slim 5 ft 7 build, said, “I’m Yer Dallman. Acton helped break our families out of the Scrubs Prison. We owe him, and Wall contacted us to come here?”
“You’d better come in. Wall will no doubt explain?” We headed into the dining room to find Wall almost dancing across the wall. If he carried on like this, he would disappear off the ‛end of it’?
“Please explain Wall, bearing in the mind, the age, experience, and supposed worthlessness of the recipients. We, your anointed audience, await and make is snappy – whilst leaving us with our arms, legs and bodies, in usable order,” Sken said wryly.
“Sken, you need to learn a lot and I needed Yer and Cyndi here, since you will believe them … even if you wont believe me, and I heard Catalina’s comments and your conversation.”
“Why wont I believe you, Wall?”
“I listened to Cedric, Marquerite and Catalina today via their Walls. They haven’t replace them as most Walls are basic comm devices, just an interface, and you are correct in your thinking – all work for the PSCC, and so do the people alongside you.”
“Why didn’t you tell me that before, and also tell Cath and Georgina so we weren’t all set-up?”
“You said far too much, for far too long to Catalina but she believed you, and we needed them to believe you, to protect everyone else.”
“Who is everyone else and why do they need protecting, Wall?”
“After tonight, Sken, they wont believe you know anything and we needed them to believe that for your and Pearlies’ safety – they think they fooled you and that they know the plans.”
“What plans, Wall … not only have you made a fool of me but now you are ranting on an ego trip, and I need to protect Pearlie?”
“And that is why you don’t go out tonight, and your Wall broadcasts what I tell it as your alibi. You are gullible, honest and protected by your house, now that I have taken it over. I have overwritten the programming changes to your house which screwed up your Wall and Cookie, and there is no-one else here as far as anyone else is concerned. You and Pearlie are the means for us to free Acton, and the wrong information you gave today was a start, as they think they know what we planned, and that it is in the future, and not now.”
“I’ve been played for a fool from day 1, then?”
“A useful tool, not a fool, Sken. You have a lot of the guts of Acton inside you. You think like he does.”
“I’d like to keep them inside me as well, Wall – I don’t want them leaking out. What else am I supposed to think, Wall?”
“What you are supposed to think, Sken, is the truth. Not Georgina, Cath or anyone else’s thoughts. Acton cannot take many more beatings or what else they are doing to him,” emphasised Wall, with almost a crackling voice as though interference was hitting him, “I asked Yer and Cyndi to be here because they are among the few people who can be trusted, and you are more likely to trust them than me.”
“Why can they be trusted, Wall?”
“They are from outside England and came here to free their families – the PSCC picked their families up off the street and enslaved them. People from abroad of the wrong colour or nationality have been going into the Slave Camps, courtesy of the PSCC for years and not coming out.”
“Why, when we have 3 million in the camps already, Wall?”
“Everyone’s got greedy and they didn’t want people phoning home about what is happening in this country – so they disappear. With Acton’s help, we broke some out, and they have stayed to break Acton out. They will work with you but they have London bases, and you have to let Georgina and Cath think you are doing whatever they decide, but I want you to go with Acton to London afterwards, and not to Georgina whose security has as many holes as a cheese and smells the same.”
“Who can I trust, Wall?”
“Cyndi and Yer, Sken. No-one else apart from me.”
“When is this going to happen?”
“The rest of the team arrives in an hour and your house is the backup.”
“This is happening tonight, Wall?”
“In about 5 hours. That is why I took over your house. From the moment you rebooted your Wall I controlled your house, and I am a good Gentlemen’s Gentlemen! They hit the site at 2.00 am.”
“What you really mean, Wall is that you don’t trust me, so I have Cyndi and Yer as guards?”
“Yes, but for your own protection. The PSCC invades us, and we invade the PSCC. There has been a lot of bad discipline in the PSCC guards recently; so much so that they have overflowed the disciplinary barracks and are now in the basement of B2 – an obvious mistake. They will have access to weapons and grenades when necessary within the building, another obviously blinding mistake. Who in their right minds puts unhappy troops into isolation, dumps prisoners there and stores the munitions in the same building?”
“I am being controlled, Wall,” Sken said, looking up at Wall, “and you are detonating this, from my house, I guess?”
“Yes – I am detonating the explosives from here. We detonated some housing complexes to the North, earlier and we led Pearlie away before that, as her mother has been taken very ill and you will see Pearlie in an hour – we will detonate hers later when we stage the raid – Cyndi and Yer are here to protect her as well. Pearlie’s mother was moved from up North days ago, and she is on her way to you, as well! We couldn’t leave Pearlie’s mother as a lever against Pearlie and we need someone to nurse Acton before we can move him, and she is an ex-nurse.”
“You have it all sorted, it seems, Wall?”
“Pearlie is officially on her way home to the North, Sken. I have access to her mother’s medical records despite what the PSCC think and they have been modified so her mother is shown to be seriously ill. Someone from the Northern Resistance is with her mother now.”
“What happens next, Wall?”
“The later bombs will go off, the disciplinary squads will attack within the building which should be emptied of guards apart from the five women, following the explosions and the women will die. It is as well that you don’t know anything else, and that no-one is with you officially, and nor will anyone be!”
“I am being treated like Acton; everyone is just using me, like I don’t matter, Wall!” Said Sken, “and a Wall Device is trying to out think humans,” and my thought was ‘preying’ not praying as the way I felt.
As if reading my mind, Wall came back again and said, “get something to eat and go to bed with a book Sken. We need you fresh for the morning, disappear and carry on as normal.”
Sken sat down with the conflicting demands? Go to bed, eat and go to bed, wait for Pearlie and go to bed … the last one sounded nice but I was getting fed up with Wall, his antics and his jumping about the wall like he was on drugs.
Sken decided to eat and wait for Pearlie, just to be bloody awkward. She was not going to be happy and I would be the first target, and that started as the door opened and she came in, “What are you up to, Sken?” She shouted, “where is my mother? They said she was here?”
“Wall is running this. I have been told to eat, and go to bed so shouting at me is useless? They have taken over my house; Catalina is a PSCC Agent, as is your boss, and you come here shouting at me like some 3 year old mentally retarded idiot?”
“What is happening, Sken and cut the insults?”
“The Resistance has taken over; kidnapped you, altered your mother’s medical records so she is seriously ill, dumped you here, and is now about to attack the PSCC Campus … we’re prisoners and I am getting something to eat since I can do sod all else, Pearlie.”
“Get some food for me as well, then. I couldn’t eat when they told me about Mum, and now I am starving. Where am I sleeping, by the way, Sken?”
“You and your mother get the bedroom. There is a spare sleeping couch in the quiet room that will do for me and I assume Cyndi and Yer will doss down in the parlour – I can’t speak for the Cooker on food – I am still suffering from a curry from days ago – if she could cook, she certainly can’t now?”
“Why did they bring us to you, Sken?”
“They think I’m like Acton. They want us and Acton to go to London without telling Cath and Georgina, who they say are leaky, interested only in themselves and Brands?”
“Do you believe that, Sken?”
“Cath couldn’t give damn about anyone but herself, Georgina isn’t very far off that, and would sacrifice anyone to get Acton back and that includes the both of us, Pearlie – yes I do believe it!”
“What about this Wall, Sken?”
“Wall is somehow fixed in it’s loyalty to Acton; Acton did a lot to it including artificial intelligence, memory and CPU upgrades, plus extra programming, and someone called Andrew St. Drark … Cath’s father, fed it with a whole suite of sadomasochistic tortures, and it has now spread itself so it doesn’t just exist in one house but across the whole network and embedded itself in this house and at Cath’s place and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few other places it has taken over.”
“You are quite correct in your analysis, Sken,” interrupted Wall, “I am now completely installed across the Network and embedded in several houses, but not to do you harm. If Pearlie stayed on the Campus she would be a lever on you, and her mother a lever on her. Only her mother being ill would have made her leave the Campus, but it won’t take too long to suspect you?”
“What now, Wall?”
“You go into work on Monday as if nothing really happened, and Pearlie’s mother’s medical records have been altered to show she is really ill, so Pearlie’s visit is OK … however you and Pearlie might … possibly, have only a matter of days before they raid her mother’s house and here.”
“If they don’t, Wall?”
“The main hope is that over the weekend they will fail to make that connection unless Catalina Divine has already passed information on about you and Pearlie, which I suspect she has? I don’t honestly think we can let either of you go back, but I will be monitoring the Campus where I can and that is why we planned this for a Friday Night, so you two are out of it … Pearlie could have gone home, been reassured and the pair of you back in on Monday, without knowing anything. It is all possible.”
“It is 4 years since they locked Acton up, Wall … how long before you free us, after you get it wrong?”
“We didn’t get it wrong. Brands people have been brought up as Brands people – loyalty and arrogance only to Brands … that is how they have lived their lives … the Brands TP escape we realise now was successful because someone gave the PSCC something more valuable.”
“What did they give them?”
“Someone who could destroy everything!”
“What really happened?”
“Mason Mcgillis – son of the Brands No.3, shot Acton in the back – leaving him behind for the PSCC to pick up … we think they were allowed to escape, having told the PSCC in advance of the attack … we know one of the Brands top three was a PSCC agent passing on information … it got to the point that everyone seems to be betraying someone else – almost as a way of life or hobby in Brands and the PSCC.”
“You knew some of them were traitors, so why did you go ahead?”
“Sken, we thought we knew who the Traitors were – we were breaking out Brands people we thought would fight the PSCC – not take the money and scarper? We knew it went too smoothly – it obviously suited the PSCC to let them go … we didn’t know or thought at that time, the PSCC knew in advance … that happened afterwards, meaning Mason, Cath and Georgina are suspects but only Mason disappeared with his father immediately afterwards and he is the prime suspect, but Cath and Georgina seemed to become very wealthy after that and we still don’t know where that money came from, either?”
“Why did they really wait for Acton? They could have arrested him at any time if they wanted to, Wall?”
“They think Acton could still destroy everything, but now they play a game … they don’t know what will happen if they kill, or release him – Acton has a vision of this country and they don’t know if it is still hidden in the computer systems, and will start if he dies or it freed – they don’t know what to do, so they keep him in captivity and work on his brain to break him – the beatings are just part of the process.”
“What do you do now, Wall?”
“I want that vision in every home before they realise he really has this vision, and kill him. People will possibly die tonight, so others can live. Go to bed and let us hope for a wiser morning.”
“How can we go to bed with all this going on, and what are they doing in the front of the house?”
“Acton invented some devices. They are being placed around this house as we speak, and they will disable any attacks, now eat your food. Your mother will be here about midnight, Pearlie. We need you both out of the way for now. Good night!”
Chapter VI – 30 – 15
Ming and the team disembarked from their cars alongside the cleared area just down from A Wood, on the side of the road from the fence. Ming’s team was 12 strong, and the team in the block was another 14 – albeit troopers.
Ming hoped the troopers would be ready, since if they weren’t and the attack failed, her team would be sitting ducks and probably well stuffed for breakfast. Sang was the Duty Sergeant and they were relying on him to free the troops, just before he heard the later explosions. The explosives would not be remotely exploded until 2.00, so all they needed to do now, was to get in place and wait.
It was that dark, that all they could see were the headlamps of cars reflected by the trees with the lights flashing as they passed, producing an eerie, green light.
They made their way to the fence, quickly putting the extended ladders together and raising them to a height of 15 foot … they couldn’t use them to get Acton out as he was far too weak, but they were a quick and easy way of getting in without touching the fences.
The blocks as they approached them, were shrouded in darkness even though it was a late Friday night – weird – no sound, movement – just the pitch darkness – no lights at all and even more strangely – both blocks for some reason – quiet like the grave … they couldn’t have all gone home for the weekend, or be in bed with someone, snuggled up.
The noise of the other teams told Ming her words on being quiet, were another bloody joke … now – the explosives would be detonated remotely by Wall – half an hour later and then the wall in one empty cell was blown in, but the other team had to be already freed, armed and waiting to get Acton out before the explosions!
Wall seemed to have screwed up as the clock ticked down – 1.54 am and then on.
Inside the Block Sergeant Sang Gau had opened the cell door, allowing the team led by Charlie Lumley to move out from the cells one by one, timing their movements with the crash of the guards’ boots above and into the munitions cells. As they entered the munitions cell, they stayed in the cell and waited while they distributed the munitions and arms.
At 2.00 am they were deafened by the explosion in the empty cell, and they moved out into the cell block corridors cutting down Abby Abdullah, before she had a chance to react.
45 seconds later, they exploded another charge outside the prison cell, followed by stun and smoke grenades shot through the opening, from the other side of the balcony and more troops headed through the door within seconds, killing the other guards who still stood there, stunned.
The one by Acton’s bed had a gun raised, but the time it had taken her to get out of bed, grab a gun and shoot Acton had been too long. She was dead before she pulled the trigger, blown apart with dum bullets.
Acton was already been zipped up into a body bag, strapped to an emergency stretcher with ropes attached to the shoulders of 4 troopers, and they were out of his cell, downstairs and heading out through the blown cell wall within minutes.
Now the explosions in the accommodation blocks went off.
The time was now 2.35 am and Wall had added the time on, not subtracted for the blocks. They moved through B woods and along the back of E Block – the target until they hit D1, and headed due South. At least the PSCC hadn’t known why the block explosions were delayed and might think something else was happening.
They could hear movement towards B2, H and G, but it would take 20 minutes for them to reach D1 and the late explosions must confuse the followers, since it certainly confused everyone else – Ming’s team should be able to stay ahead of them after that, as it sounded like a second attack starting.
Pitch dark also worked in their favour – pushing them into the woods behind D1 to keep their cover By now, someone had put the emergency flood lighting on and that stayed on and gave fractions of light.
The explosives had also targeted the standard lighting generators which surprisingly, had not been in operation but they forgotten about the backups. It was now 2.52 am and they needed to hit the South Fence by 3.30 am, when the next explosion would go off.
It was that dark, that they couldn’t really see the trees they were trying to avoid, but they tried to avoid hitting Acton into the trees, using dark green hand-lamps for guidance which made them look early for Christmas as they passed by the Grotto – panting ‛ho, ho, ho’.
They finally made the fence by 3.29 am – still in pitch darkness, when an explosion showed them to be about 20 yards off their target, and they ran for the new hole in the fence.
The ropes were off their shoulders and Acton was in a van speeding away, within seconds. There were another two vans and as they ran to them the vans were already moving away before the doors were even shut, and they pulled on the ropes attached to them, to shut them.
It was done – Acton had been rescued – the only casualties were the PSCC troops who had been told to shoot Acton, if a rescue attempt was ever made!
Pearlie and Sken hadn’t gone to bed when mum arrived, and her mother didn’t get a chance to say or do anything, when she did arrive – she managed, “what–”
“You will be told later,” interrupted Wall and any attempt to speak after that, never happened, I think.
Mum was escorted to bed by Cyndi, and Pearlie and Sken sat there surrounded by about 10 people they had never seen before, who had arrived about 4.30 am.
They were still sat there when the door suddenly opened again with 4 people carrying a long sack, in. The team had built a trolley earlier and now they laid the sack on it, unzipping it but leaving the sides hanging down, and a body on it. It didn’t look good, and that was the situation and the body!
Acton had been 5 ft 9 with blue eyes, and he probably still had the eyes but he seemed a broken heap now, torn, twisted and mangled – had they hit him when they fired the grenades into his cell and who were they trying to kill – this just became weirder and weirder?
If he did ever recovered it would take a year, physically to heal him, and whether the mental wounds ever healed, would be another matter. They had covered his eyes and ears because of the light and noise, but while his eyes might recover; even that was probably a long shot. The PSCC had wanted to break him physically and mentally and they had probably achieved that, but who put the final boot in?
The crew were propping him up and feeding him light soup on a spoon but they were quietly arguing whether he was fit enough to travel, and that seemed to include, in a hearse?
Pearly and Sken gave up – going to separate beds and leaving them to it.
Sken sat there for a while on the end of the bed, just staring into space, and then he heard Pearlie come down the stairs. Pearlie had a way of kicking the ground as she walked, almost as if she hated it and I looked up as she walked into my room – sat on my lounge bed and looked at me, like I knew what I was doing, leaving me wondering why, Pearlie should think that.
“What’s is going to happen to us, Sken? I don’t mean between just you and me, but me, you and Mum?”
“Nothing, I think, Pearlie, but I wouldn’t cross your Mum under any circumstances?”
“I wasn’t planning on you attacking mum, so stop it – you’re just being a smart-arse … nothing will happen … will it, Sken?”
“You, my love, have been followed every time you left your office, sometimes by Cedric and probably by Catalina’s bouncers.”
“Can you stop being sexist, Sken?”
“I wasn’t being sexist, Pearlie. I have been followed by my two shadows every time I leave Catalina’s office … they know we haven’t been anywhere near each other nor any of those areas or mixed with anyone else – they have been constantly watching us, and good luck to them, I haven’t seen anything worth watching between us tw–”
“Stop it, Sken! What about this weekend?”
“–You are supposedly up North seeing your mother this weekend, and please take her back there when you go. I haven’t left the house – there’s no evidence to mix any of us up with any of this.”
“The PSCC must do something?”
“Your thinking is all to bits, Pearlie?”
“Why is my thinking all to bits, Sken … you’re the expert on ‛bit thinking’!”
“Stop shouting, Pearlie – you’re sat alongside me.”
“Then stop annoying me!”
“How can I do that, when I can’t get a word in ‛edgeways’ and you are screaming the place down?”
“What will the PSCC do, then, Sken?”
“The PSCC will not want any news of this attack to come out … that has happened with everything that Acton did. None of it will ever be allowed to become public, including a mutiny by troops and if you are going to float around in that nightdress, there will be a mutiny by me, as well – I am closing the door as you are not going public or pubic out there, in that rail, and you can put a coat of mine on top of you, when you leave,” and Sken got up and closed the door, “is you mother asleep? Do we see-through another flimsy bit of film for the next expose, Pearlie?”
“You sound jealous, Sken?”
“Just because I can’t touch, doesn’t mean I want everyone else to look!”
“I am not a prude, Sken, so don’t treat me as one.”
“I am not treating you as anything, Pearlie. I like you a hell of a lot. More than I have liked anyone else and I am jealous, and I don’t want you flashing it around, but I am not treating you as a prude – just a lighthouse saying to a ship, ‘come and crash onto my rocks, I am open for business’. You warned me off several times, and I have kept my distance but it doesn’t mean I like you flashing it off before another bunch of men.”
“Who do you want me to flash it off to, before you, then?”
“No-one. If I can’t have it, they don’t see it. You are a Norm and I am an Outcast, which stops us now, and they will possibly stop us from ever being together in the future, or even give us a future the way this is going.”
“I will be going home at weekends to see my mother for the next two months, and she will be here. Wall has already filed a request for my suspension from the Love Camp on compassionate grounds, as my emotions will not be stable. That leaves Cedric on his own although I will let him think I am still going and then he is hoisted with his own petard or whatever they care to use, and forced to mate with someone else. I will be here at the weekends and my mother is more broad-minded than you think, Sken.”
“I wonder whether Acton will survive or be fit to moved, to be honest? If I am drooling over you, please hit me.”
“Acton won’t be fit to be moved for a month at least, and I imagine my mother will help Cyndi and Yer with him. She was a Nurse.”
“What about us, Pearlie?”
“We need to stay clear of each other during the week, Sken so they don’t realise we are seeing each other.”
“What do we do at the weekends, Pearlie?”
“If you can’t think of anything to do at the weekends, then I have wasted my life, Sken?”
“Like hell you have,” as Sken looked into her eyes, seeking and finding permission to lay her on her back.”
“What do you think, you doing, Sken,” Pearlie asked as I started to remove the little she was wearing, looking into those dark blue eyes while I did it, and moving very slowly to kiss everywhere I was allowed to, or could easily find.”
“Slow to start,” she said, wriggling underneath me to kiss my chest, and then grabbed hold of me so I was half above her and in completely the wrong position, and likely to lose something if I moved as I leaned down to kiss her … mouthwash, please was the next command with a strong squeeze – I can’t stand garlic or curry, Sken.”
Sken got up, risking a lot to do that; swilled the rest of the wine around his mouth and opened the door to the garden where he spat it out, “that will have to do for now, Pearlie” and this time Sken didn’t go slowly. He buried himself in her until they were both satisfied although his back and front were now raw uncooked flesh … slow to start ….? Slow to start what?
For Sken it was a lovely feeling waking up beside Pearlie, although she was embarrassed as she looked at the grooves on his back and the late snack off his chest as well, but that soon changed.
Sken had obviously had the full ‘Monty’, as it throbbed and felt like it was falling off, but then suddenly it became a lot worse as her mother brought in coffee, looked at the two of them, and said, “I see you two know each other, please introduce me, Pearlie,” how many more had she brought coffee into, in the morning after, was Sken’s next thought, as his face dropped?
“You are alarming Sken, Mum and no I don’t sleep around, Sken and if you don’t take that expression off your face, I will start!”
“I didn’t expect to meet your mother again, so soon, Pearlie,” said Sken, “and I prefer to wake up gently, and not a ‘meet the mother, breakfast in bed’ appointment with daughter and family gathered around for the last rites!”
“Don’t say anything, Mum! You are looking to cause trouble, and I don’t need it.”
The tray was dumped down, with Mum leaving herself and the door, wide open, “What was that in aid of, Pearlie?”
“She likes to cause trouble if she can get away with it. You’re just an easy target.”
“I think Wall needs a word with her. He has a whole list of tortures built in, just right for your mother.”
“Mum has a strong personality, but she can cook, Sken.”
“Then give her personality to Cooker, if your mum can cook. It is more than Cooker seems able to do these days – Cooker was fine until some kind of change was fed into the system; now she seems to have forgotten how to cook – that curry killed me for days, and everyone around me, as well – Wall said, ‘he had over-ridden the changes in my old Wall’ and I think he has taken over, to be honest but Cooker is still the same, after she was changed.”
“Sken. If you don’t live in a TDO house, you cook for yourself. We still have an old fashioned cooker.”
“Pearlie, everything is taken away from TDOs when they are designated, and that includes family, friends – everyone. We are outcasts – targets for Norms – not allowed to do anything without being under control, and constantly monitored. That is why the houses are automated, reporting back on everything we do. We work in a prison cell – come home to a prison cell, and yes, we are favoured, but what we are favoured with, is a prison …?”
“I never realised that, Sken. We thought you all lived in luxury.”
“Norms think that, but we are imprisoned in luxury, and that luxury is decided for us, as luxury – whether it is or not. We don’t choose how we live – we’re not even allowed to mate. It is all chosen for us or forbidden.”
“What happens now, Sken?”
“I have to let you get up, shower and please, for me, put one of my coats on and check no-one is using the shower, before you take it off!”
“You are getting possessive!”
Finally, Pearlie with a great deal of condescension, put one of Sken’s dressing gowns on – leaving the front wide open. Threw a towel over her shoulder and headed for the shower. She was obviously going to create as much trouble as her mother loved doing, but Sken was wrong? Pearlie was back in 10 minutes and still wet, but Sken made mistakes and forgot in arguing with her, to say it was the main downstairs toilet as well …?
Probably in the same way that Sken forgot to tell Pearlie’s mother that the only other toilet was off her bedroom, but he wondered how many of the men came back after disturbing her sleep. Some of them were now decorating the garden, rather than go upstairs and he doubted the grass would grow again, unless it was plastic and enjoyed a chemical reaction.
Sken headed for the shower, taking his place in the queue. He finally made it back to find Pearlie had disappeared upstairs, but his clothing was up there as well, so reluctantly he climbed up to face yet another row.
“When are those people leaving, Sken?” Shouted Pearlie, as he walked in.
“They taken over the house, Pearlie. I don’t think Acton can be moved and I don’t know what they are going to do, or when this bunch are going to do it – we have a sick person in here so stop bloody shouting … Yer and Cyndi will work with your Mum, whilst you and I go to work on Monday … Wall has already reduced my bank balance to a joke with this crowd – I can’t afford to pay for them, so the sooner they are gone, the better.”
“Have you had a good look at Acton, Mum?”
With a gentle shake of her head, she said, “Yes, I’ve looked at him. He’s not good. He’ll need spoon-feeding for some time and to be close to the toilet … I think he took some of the blast from those grenades, as well. Pearlie is staying downstairs with you – I will share with Cyndi and Yer on a rota … we need to be close to him, until he can care for himself.”
“Fine – I’ll move my clothes downstairs and hopefully these people will be moving out soon,” Sken picked up his usual stuff – carrying it back downstairs and left Pearlie to change up there.
Tobias Blain, Lauryn Farina, Asley Steffens and Margert Bierce finished their tour of the PSCC Campus attack scene and stood outside the hole in the B2 cell.
There would be changes, thought Tobias, and very soon – this was an inside job as ever there was one.
They had become complacent, and while there was always the usual suspects to consider, the attack co-ordination had taken them by surprise, as had the infiltration of their top troops who could have killed any of the Top People at any point, and didn’t – which worried him even more.
They’d be made to look fools. Their Agents on Campus had fed them glowing reports of the rebels being controlled and that was completely wrong as well.
Where had the people come from? Who organised it? Did someone in the PSCC know about this – the floodlights had been turned off and the whole Campus in darkness. Maintenance? Over the weekend? On a Friday night? Who authorised it? No-one seemed to have given the approval, yet it happened? Was there another organisation? Were Brands behind the attacks? Was it another Resistance organisation – the Southern Resistance had been infiltrated so well, they couldn’t have mounted those attacks without PSCC knowledge … or could they?
Lauryn was wondering about Sken and Pearlie …?
It seemed too much of a coincidence following their attempts to look at the woods and fence, yet a Doctor had examined Pearlie’s mother at home yesterday and she was bedridden for at least two months? He had also met Pearlie, which proved that she was nowhere near the Campus when this happened … and Sken …? He hadn’t left his house at all during the weekend … had he? This looked like a planned attack, with traitorous soldiers selling themselves to the highest Brands bidder. No doubt they would be holding an auction to find the highest bidder for Acton’s body next. This had to be a market deal, paid for by Brands’ escapees for their own ends … nothing else? Acton was probably already out of the country and if they arrested this Sken character, they would have the systems groaning to a halt until they could find someone else with his odd cross-skills? TC really needed a whirlwind of fresh breezes passing through!
Lauryn had second-guessed her bosses’ desires for a number of years – usually from on top, and was doing so again much later that night, “We need to get those systems sorted out, Tobias? This Cedric idiot is in love with Pearlie Laing, reducing him to the point of being bloody useless – if he ever was of much use? We need this Sken working for us, and access to the Centres so we can get some Norms into them, and I am moving her to a Centre.”
“Why, are you moving her to a Centre, Lauryn? If we mix Outcasts with Norms, the Norms might pick up their habits and things spread when you do that. Stick him in a Camp and the end of the story beckons!”
“If we base him with her, Tobias we can use her as a leverage to control him?”
“She is due for a Love Camp, Tobias, before she is 24, and that should pressurise him if he thinks he is going to lose her.”
“What deal are you thinking of, Lauryn?”
“We offer to make the transfer permanent if he succeeds on the systems. This moves her into Centre Status and away from Cedric – eases the cash flows as well, if he succeeds … we can’t get anything processed at the moment from the Camps – the money isn’t moving.”
“How bad is it?”
“We are facing a severe cash flow problem, and there’s nothing really left, with all other the money that keeps disappearing. We need the systems working, so we can control what is happening. Lets give him something to lose! She goes to the Centre as a re-classification to Outcast, with him knowing we can reverse it anytime we like. He goes back to the Centre, and they are both off Campus so we all sleep easier.”
“What about the rules, Lauryn?”
“Those old rules are stupid, and all they have left us with is a bunch of in-bred rebellious idiots. We need Norms to breed with Technocrats and take over the centres. Transfer the pair of them to a Centre and give them something to lose, and us something to gain!”
Sken finally lost the Resistance Team from his house – apart from Yer, Cyndi and Mum, of course.
Pearlie was transported back to the Campus accommodation block on Sunday night and Sken finally managed to get a good night’s sleep, for a change – Pearlie had taken extremely well to Partners – Sken’s groin supports were cracking under the strain.
If Sken felt like a spring chicken, it meant he was ready for early Monday morning slaughter and looking forward to it, which took him about as far as the door of K2 on the Campus, to face his future where he now faced a closed door, and a repaired entrance unit.
Sken buzzed the entrance bell and faced Catalina’s beautiful image, smiling at him, “You have been ‘returned to sender’, Sken – more dead than alive – as usual, so I can understand the reasoning. You are back at Sonning and Pearlie has been allocated there, as well. Talk to you later,” and she hung up the contact, before Sken could say any thing …?
Trying to think things through, Sken slowly made his way back to Sonning, expecting to be met by Darron Sharma as he went into the building, and he wasn’t disappointed. A good thing about Sonning, was the US Deep South set of high outside verandas which swept completely around the house, making it nice amongst all the other crap. The bad thing about Sonning was you were also facing the other crap e.g., Darron Sharma!
Sonning in it’s current build was only different from it’s predecessors in that it had a basement holding the backup generators … hardly green, as they were diesel, with an additional floor added for over-crowding, and we now had 6 TDOs, 27 TDCs and 14 TDAs almost sitting on top of each other, whilst Darron, as obnoxious as ever, had people somehow forgetting to crush Darron under their bodies!
The building was like a stretched limo and this was proven to me when Darron with his usual diplomatic attitude muttered, “we’ve dedicated the Ground Floor to this stupid experiment; you keep your old room, but it is L0.5 now and Cath has been moved, whining as usual to the new L1.5. I don’t know what troublemaking you got up to at Campus, Sken but we have Norms moving in, now, although I managed to fight them off from bringing the whole bloody IT Department from Campus here?”
“They wouldn’t come here, Darron – your reputation has spread. Their users are all on the Campus, anyway, and so are their machines … they aren’t likely to move anyone, near you! They are moving the Brands people, but they have only one who understands the accounts and machines to any degree, which is Pearlie and she is the closest to us – by type. The rest are definitely Norms but she’s a TDA who slipped through somehow and should be here. That’s why they moved her. She’s a Natural.”
“Well, keep her from straying from here, Sken, and I mean that. She stays downstairs away from the rest and she is waiting in your office, so get working!”
It was often said, ‘there were still rumours that Darron had been a nice guy once, before they promoted him, but the rumours were becoming rarer and rarer’! I carried on to the old office, now re-designated L0.5, and found Pearlie.
She was standing in the middle of the room as I came in, and looking up at me, she said, “Sken, there seems to have been some kind of explosions that damaged my rooms, and they told me this morning I am being re-classified from Norm to Outcast and sent to the Centre. The Centre would find me somewhere to live as well,” they said.
It seemed as if all the weekend had just passed Pearlie by, “I’ll let Darron know you’re staying with me, Pearlie. The centre is responsible for providing accommodation and I will see to it.”
“Can you let Darron know? Pearlie will stay at my house until she is sorted out with her own.”
“Will do, Sken,” answered the Office Wall.
“That’s sorted that out at least, Pearlie. Did you get any explanation for this?”
“No. Just an instruction.”
“Well, we seemed to have laid the Table … now we see what we get served on it?”
“What do I do, here, Sken?”
“What I am doing here, Pearly shouldn’t badly affect the systems but you can often screw up without knowing you have, however, so we check ‘what we have done’ before we put major changes live … or we should do, but often, we don’t check enough! When we do put changes live, we monitor, so you are going to have a long hard career change, and long hours … worrying point for me, though is that this is moving too fast – you didn’t happen by accident – someone wants us together and that means it is planned, but at least it gets rid of Cath from my daily toil and Cedric, from yours.”
“How can I live at your place, after all those years as a Norm?”
“We can do what we want, as long as it is not official. We can’t marry or even be more than colleagues, officially – that is not allowed, but staying with me means they either turn a blind eye or I put Darron’s out, so he is physically as well as mentally blind.”
“Could my mother, stay with me?”
“Once you have a house, Wall could have your mother registered as a sick person and you could apply to look after her. A Norm could have her stay, no problem but as an Outcast, which is what you are now, you will have to apply officially … I think as you are not allowed to have a family, you will be turned down … we don’t have families as Outcasts, so you can’t have one and as you don’t have a family there can’t be anyone to stay with you … that’s bureaucracy for you. She is with you now, so she is there. … Wall will modify the records, so you are both seen to be hundreds of miles apart and I think we just go with that and don’t tell them. Cath’s Wall has taken over my house now, so there wont be reports of anything different – so sod them!”
“What about Darron?”
“He hates everyone, Pearlie so just don’t react to him … it might take a couple of months to find you a house, so can you stay with me or upstairs with your mother – if you like?”
“I don’t mind being with you, Sken as long as you don’t take me for granted?”
“I won’t do that as I’ve never been granted anything, but we better get on with some work. Darron has keyboard loggers checking how often we hit the keyboards these days … be quick in the toilets too, the lights only stay on for a minute but it is tranquil in the dark on occasions when you need to sit and think, and I don’t think Darron has realised that yet, as he doesn’t think at all?”
“Why do you hate Darron so much, Sken?”
“Darron is a trouble-making arsehole and goes out of his way to cause trouble …. he blames everyone he can for his own incompetence, and if there is any trouble, he is out there looking for a scapegoat before you realise why.”
Sken and Pearlie arrived home to find Mum and Cookie – as the Cooker now liked to be called – in a full frontal abusive argument over dinner. Mum wanted charge of the cooking and eventually, I had to almost picked the pair of them up by the scruffs of their necks to stop it before Cookie went on strike, leaving us with nothing as she ordered the food as well. After all the trouble with Cooker following the software mickey fin curry, Sken had asked Wall to upgrade the Cooker.
Acton had done this to his Cooker and I thought that Wall could just pass a copy over so we could have decent food again.
Cath’s Wall had passed on the adjustments but with some twists of his own I think, so our Cooker didn’t just match Cath’s Cooker but had further enhancements according to Wall, but cooking wasn’t one of them, which was made even worse because Mum was a good cook who didn’t have a cooker to cook with, and Wall now seemed to have decided on bigamy with the two Cookers but preferred ours to have his children with – the dirty stop-out.
In the end, Mum stormed upstairs and Pearlie went after her and the house got rubbish again.
Sken thought it was a pity he didn’t have a dog as well, or they could have joined in argument and gone with both of them, but at least they might have enjoyed the food.
Pearlie’s Mum also needed to adjust to Centre life as well, which was causing problems. Up North she had friends, outings, coffee mornings but down here we couldn’t mix with Norms. There weren’t any gossipy people about for her to talk to, luckily however, Cyndi was around and usually went upstairs to join in the gossip and arguments, which seemed to alternate with reality when they really got going, and Sken preferred to leave them to it and stay well clear.
This time it seemed to have gone too far, and Sken asked Wall if he would make some of his famous backbones available, as he felt they all needed a little spine building.
Yer took the Backbones up … Sken didn’t know what their full reaction to Wall’s Backbones was, but it does get difficult to shout after a Backbone; primarily because getting your tongue unglued from the roof of your mouth, can often be difficult without training but maybe we could all get some peace now, providing cooker could learn to cook.
Chapter VII – 30 All
Cedric was early Monday morning … just a feeling that something had happened, but unsure what?
Portia Tomasek, his unofficial No.2 this week – he changed them as he tired of them, was by his desk and waiting for the usual brown cloud-burst as he attacked anyone subordinate to him as he felt like it.
“Where is Pearlie?” He shouted, “go and wake the bitch up! I want her in this office within 5 minutes – you should have been chasing her already for being late!”
“…? Um’ … Cedric – Pearlie’s been re-allocated to a Centre and re-classified as an Outcast.”
“By whom, and to what?”
“By Lauryn Farina, and to Centre Outcast Status, Cedric …?”
“Why is a Deputy Chief Executive interfering in my Department?”
“I don’t know, Cedric” whimpered Portia.
“When did this happen?”
“She allocated her this morning, Cedric. She is working with Sken at Sonning.”
“She did what?”
“She allocated her, Cedric.”
“Cancel my Love Drome, and do it now!”
Portia almost ran to her desk and was onto her Desk Wall, far faster than she usually moved outside of bed, “Portia Tomasek, I need to cancel Cedric Timberline’s Love Drome appointment.”
“Love Drome appointments cannot be cancelled by a subordinate … it needs a superior. A failure to turn up by an individual results in a downgrade of Personal skills, followed by an interview with PSCC,” said a robotic sounding voice.
“Mr Timberline is a Manager with the PSCC! The cancellation is for operational reasons.”
“Then have his superior contact me, not an underling!”
“That is Shalander Wirtz, I will notify her of your refusal,” and Portia terminated the connection, making her way back to Cedric, with a large degree of trepidation and several degrees of sphincter tightening.
“Cedric? It has to be Shalander Wirtz – I can’t cancel it.”
Cedric Timberline’s face went bright red, “I will handle it, now get out!” Useless imbecile, he thought as he rang Shalander Wirtz.
“Shalander, it is Cedric.”
“Be brief – I am in a meeting.”
“I need this Love Drome appointment cancelled, it is on the month end and I need to be here.”
“It will be a good test for your staff and Marquerite Mellinger can take over if necessary … it is about time you settled down and stop chasing your staff around – I am sick of the complaints about you forcing yourself on women all the time!”
“Did you arrange this appointment?”
“I thought you did because this Pearlie girl would be there at the Drome, as well?”
“When will she be back, Shalander?”
“She won’t. She is a Centre outcast who somehow slipped our net and now she’s slipped yours. She wont be coming back and you will be going to the Love Drome alone. Lauryn asked me only the other day, how you kept missing it?”
“Yes. You are obviously a rising star, now rise to the occasion at the Love Drome? Have fun? Now get out of my face, you arsehole!”
Cedric sat there stunned … Pearlie had gone from him – completely. He had fixed via a contact to be there when she was – now to find Lauryn Farina, the Deputy Chief Executive had known about it and made sure he couldn’t back out. Pearlie was re-assigned to status as an Outcast – he couldn’t mate with her under any circumstances and adding insult to injury, he had to be at some place in the country where the Norms swung through the trees for a hobby, called Pudding Hill!
Chapter VIII – Love Dromes
The Love Dromes had been attacked with riots in the past when that rogue Centre guy had been organising rebellions, but things had settled down and you could at least enter your desired persons’ characteristics, and providing the DNA was a match …? You had some choice. He’d had his choices already in his pants and now Pearlie was gone.
Everyone was expected there by Sunday – 12.00 – forced to dress in uniform – hair cut to a standard cut so some of the men and women looked the same … need to be a bit careful there – go anywhere, but stay out of the Female Rooms – if not female … guarded, but you had no choice anyway for meeting, or finding a mate …? You could, as it were, move to the music, but making your own up was definitely frowned upon.
The Admin and Medical procedures were kept for the Monday, and it was the standard square camp format with the Drome in the centre – wired for the security of attendees who were not allowed to leave until they had been matched or climbed out in desperation, with a second self-contained camp at the bottom of the first one with no connecting doors – the only entrance being from outside with Guards on the gate.
Failing to match or mate for any reason, guaranteed a visit from the PSCC, if they could catch you after your camp attendance – a downgrading of your Social History and making your contribution to society in a slave camp; the right women would be waiting for Cedric, and he knew that … with a really special kind of woman for a man of his qualities.
Cedric considered himself to be a special kind of man, well compensated for being 5 ft 4, short and squat – most people consider him a non-event, with lanky floppy hair that never received any attention from anyone – tinted glasses that almost made his blue eyes look yellow, green, or just as offensive as the rest of him was, depending on how the light assaulted him.
He was a good, control freaking Accountant, he knew, but any partnership qualities seemed to be drown out in his essentially looking as he did; being a woman staff predator was probably his main remembrance by women although his arrogance and stupidity were used a lot and tended to stick in their minds. Cedric was really was going to need a special woman, since any woman he found, was likely to be against a wall, smoking her last cigarette and determined to finish it before he got near.
He finally arrived about 11.00 am and was immediately whisked into a barber’s chair where luckily he was facing the right way around. He later faced his record, checked it and verified his identity. Now he entered the characteristics of his chosen woman … 5 ft 5, so she did not tower over him and his platform shoes … 20 years old as he liked them inexperienced … large breasted but slim build, so they were smaller than he was, except in front. He needed a woman that would enhance him, rather than the other way around – in his thoughts.
He filed his request, and left to stroll around the Camp. This didn’t take long. They weren’t designed for pleasure.
The Drome was for Introductions, Availability and Meetings plus the gathering in the Drome for the Greeting Speech – heavy on making your contribution to society and repaying it’s investment in you … 4 names of the women the Computer had decided were a match for yourself and of course, your criteria matching chart? The appointments made, you worked with your prospective partners on a day of tests – Friday was free for attendees waiting for the results!
Cedric’s nominated women turned out to be Natalia Plungeur, 5 ft 3, 22, slim build, blue eyes and yellow hair – Susan Staple, 5 ft 4, 21, slim build, grey eyes and brown hair – Christine Longley, 5 ft 4, 20, slim build again, with green eyes, blond hair and finally Mary Bassette, 5 ft 3, 23, standard build, blue eyes and dark hair – all well endowed in Cedric’s eyes.
The tests were monitored by teams, with Cedric as usual failing to work with anyone allocated to him in any meaningful way – fairly obvious, given Cedric was taking the tests.
The closest to him was Natalia Plungeur who seemed impressed when he told her his position although most times, her position seemed to be doing his work and hers, which was a good test for living with him!
The results finally came in, with the women recommending Cedric for early euthanasia, or opting to go to the Camps – all, however, refused to have anything to do with him on medical grounds … partnering him would be a death sentence for them! Cedric finally returned to the office with no-one allocated to him and a call from Shalander Wirtz was waiting!
“Cedric! How can you fail to find anyone, they must have had a Camp dog at least? It is supposed to be impossible not to find someone at these Camps but obviously your talents have exceeded even the Camps’ expectations. You’ll have to take Natalia Plungeur; I can’t have one of my Accountants in a Friday Night Camp paying his debt to society. We’ll compensate her, somehow?”
“You forced me into that camp?”
“You forced yourself into that camp because Pearly Laing was going to be there? A set-up by your friend, who you will now find is in a Friday Nighter’s Camp, possibly waiting for you. Lauryn Farina has already been beating my eardrums, Cedric – one of my staff – even with the aid of the country’s computers – cannot find a mate. We will have to pay off Natalia – get her to agree, then find her partner someone else or make you an Outcast, which you are anyway, by the sound of it. Any trouble between you on this, and Natalia – your feet won’t touch the ground to the Camp.”
Chapter IX – Camp Pearlie
Pearlie settled down in the Centre with Sken keeping a close eye on her. Sken made sure enough work was coming from her to keep Darron away … although he would have preferred a gun?
Office Wall prevented calls from Cedric Timberline – there was a shield between Pearlie’s desk and the Wall, for when Sken had to speak to him – usually with Pearlie out of the office or ducked low down.
Back at home Mum was achieving miracles with Acton. Yer and Cyndi were giving her breaks, but between the three of them, he was sleeping the sleep of the dead – just missing the post-mortem. Mum had taken to him like a son – as she had taken to Sken like a son-in-law – just someone to embarrass and harass – maybe the same thing as love, for Mum?
Yer was taking Mum into the nearest neighbourhood on Sken’s bank balance, yet again, but Pearlie was earning at Centre Rates and should pay for something. Acton was months from leaving the house as far as Sken knew but even Sken’s bowels were feeling more secure these days and with Cookie’s cooking – the PSCC had helped by keeping things quiet but Cedric failing the Love Camp had all of them in crocodile tears, especially Pearlie!
The one thing that was worrying, Sken, however, was that it was going too smoothly – the PSCC weren’t worrying and he was certain they knew – had the group tagged and were playing a game.
Sken kept thinking that Yer or Cyndi were betraying us or one of the breakout team … his distrusting mind was rearing it’s ugly head once again – the operation had been too easy an operation – would the PSCC write off the lives of five guards without thinking anything about it. What targets were they playing for? Sken felt he was destroying his brain trying to think about it …?
Sken ordered a dinner from Cookie although he was very loathed to do that these days – especially after that curry.
Pearlie was much nicer than Sken’s thoughts as she came into the room, but with Wall up on the wall, prancing backwards and forwards like some cheap sex movie; waiting, no doubt for Cookie to join him with an exotic curry that no-one could ever eat his bad mood still showed.
Sken locked the door after Pearlie came in, “shame I couldn’t do that before Wall came up?”
“Estimate probability – PSCC knows everything, about Yer and Cyndi’s family, as well?”
“Yer and Cyndi’s family are out of the country …? Nothing I know of, demonstrates PSCC knowledge of anything … there appears to be a political battle between Tobias Blain and Lauryn Farina to a small degree but with a complete lack of action, and switching Pearlie to the Centre does appear to be a logical decision, although you need to remember that these are Government people.”
“Why is that an issue?”
“They do not survive by challenging instructions – they turn up at 9.00 am and leave at 5.00 pm, Sken.”
“So what will they do about Acton being freed?”
“Acton is gone, Sken – someone gets the blame only if it becomes an event – so it doesn’t become an event.”
“Won’t they suspect Pearlie and I, then, Wall? The PSCC Agents discussed us in depth and you listened to them?”
“The money flows from the Slave Camps are their main issue, Sken, and for that Tobias and Lauryn are prepared to pardon anyone … if the problem is fixed. Fix the systems and you have a couple of months freedom – fail – they take Pearlie away from you and that is the plan.”
“They have over-worked the machines and networks for their greed, Wall – whole infrastructure is at peak … no way I can improve performance – I can’t even find the spare capacity to run the tests and make the modifications.”
“Are you sure, Sken?”
“What do you mean, am I sure, Wall?”
“When Acton needed computer power to download the Consultations and load the law changes up … he thought he could use the Appliances as a Network, distributing the loads into small clusters of work and using a lot of very small appliances to process those loads – it worked and I have that software and Acton’s code.”
“How does it work, Wall?”
“I use the Network to monitor the main machines, switch loads and I exist across the whole appliance network … I can control this, monitor it, copy the high level code out, compile and run the feeds from outside, and I can also divert enough money to pay for the work we are doing here – if I modify the cash flows to divert a little of the cash streams at the same time – round down percentages and take the difference – kind of thing – you need to give me your Centre password as Acton’s passwords are inactive since they were cancelled. Give me your password, Sken, and I can siphon their feeds and process your work!”
…? “Acton actually gave you the power to monitor Government machines, manage them, and siphon money from them?”
“No wonder they’re frightened of him, and did that to him … can you replace the money in my accounts without overdoing it, turn on machines that are turned off and hide everything you are doing …? People will notice, surely but being Government wont ask questions, according to your rules, Wall.”
“I am now reviewing and testing what machines are off and can be turned on, Sken. I may be a long time, but I am working on the loads now – switching them onto the Network paths Acton and I designed, and they will flow into the prepared paths … data will be there tomorrow and ready – any further questions? No,” And Wall switched off …?
With a degree of anticipation, I looked at Pearlie and said, “I want to make love to you. I may be a long time, but it will be worth it?”
“Difficult to miss, Sken – take your time – I am free tonight – I wasn’t going anywhere,” and looking directly at me, she laid across me, crushing the little resources I had thought to bring to the party but unfortunately not her mother, who started banging on the door for some reason nor my dinner which she had just kneed into the covers … her mother could wait, and so could my dinner.
Pearlie unfortunately, couldn’t wait as she knelt on the fork and fell into the rest of my dinner taking it with her as she fell onto the floor and laughing hysterically – I got off the bed – picked her up in my arms and carried her to the remains of the bed, where we spent the next couple of hours until we’d finally settled down, and then we left the room to the automation robots – who would probably need about three hours to clean up that mess and we found Mum, Cyndi and Yer all sat on the sofa, with no-one looking after Acton.
Her mother was ready to attack me when we came out until Pearlie started laughing and said, “what’s the trouble?”
“Your dinner was ready, Pearlie … he is not starving you … and he would–”
“Can you get us another dinner, Cookie? I asked,” before her mother could finish the tirade.
Then Pearlie cut-in with, “how is Acton and why are all three of you, down here?”
This had the three of them running upstairs, as if they hadn’t bothered to check for some hours? It did make you wonder who you could rely on?
Chapter X – 40 – 30
I went up to see how Acton was – an obvious mistake, as they tried to keep me out of his room … “he needs sleep, Sken. Let him get some sleep – that’s what he needs!”
I left and went downstairs into the dining room, “Wall?”
“Is Acton in the house?”
“How could they take him out, without you knowing, Wall?”
“Across the roof, Sken. There have never been sensors on the roof and Georgina escaped from Acton’s house using the roof before.”
“Georgina has found out and has him, or the PSCC does, with Acton gone while his protectors gossiped. How did it happen with you on guard, Wall? You were only with us in the other room for a short while and then working on the problem. How could you miss what was happening in the rest of this house?”
“I don’t know, Sken?”
“Wall? Have you faced the possibility that they turned you off while they took Acton out?”
“They couldn’t turn me off without– …? Let me think, Sken …. Acton told me to keep an off-site copy of everything I do … in case I go loony, as he put it?”
“Activate it, Wall and check there are no codes you are transmitting to me, that would affect me and remove them, if there are?” Wall now produced the start of a film stream on the wall that showed Wall putting the protectors to sleep.
The front door was opened by Wall, allowing Acton to be carried down and out through the front door, as Pearlie and I made love. The people carrying Acton wore masks and were unidentifiable.
It also appeared that Wall had also put sleeping drugs into the food that Pearlie and I had been served but our fighting and lovemaking had hidden this by literally kicking everything onto the floor, and Pearlie’s food was on the other side of a locked door. Wall had been the major player in wiping out all of our Security and hiding what hadn’t been wiped out.
“Do Georgina and Cath, have Acton? Check their houses, Wall. They think you are still under their control,” Acton would have been fine if he was left alone to slowly recover, but now someone else had him and in his state that was not good news.
“Acton whispered a phrase to me, Wall, for moments like this, ‘but let this not bind you’ …?”
“I understand, Sken. All my passwords have been set to null. Apart from yourself, no-one else may control me unless you use the rest of the phrase to pass on my control – I can not be ordered again, except by you!”
“Let the minders know, I know, Wall … I don’t want them pretending anymore.”
Our second dinner arrived and we settled down to enjoy it – for some reason it tasted like real food again. It was some time before the minders came down, and they just sat on the sofa looking at each other.
Acton still hadn’t arrived at Cath’s house, and from what Wall was beaming it seemed fairly quiet there. Wall checked for transport in the area but he couldn’t identify the occupants of the cars as they were not talking. If Acton was in one of those cars they knew enough to keep quiet.
If they were they heading for Cath’s house, the key would be whether they followed the route down through Sonning and into Sonning Lane. They would have to negotiate the farm down there, and then on to just before the river, where the bend was. If they were shipping him down the Thames, that would be the best route, but if it was Georgina’s Mansion they were aiming for then they would head up to Kiln Green, Maidenhead and the North East from there … Wall would only obey me now, even Acton couldn’t take him over again, unless I completed the rest of the phrase, ‘to what virtue there is’ and then spoke a new password but how did they know Acton was free and here … unless of course it was Yer, Cyndi or one of the team who as I had previously suspected, was passing information on to someone?
We weren’t even in the same room as Cath at work but the original password, once he was freed, would have been all she needed but she had to know Acton was free and then Wall would automatically activate and obey it, once it was spoken to him. Only Cath and Georgina could have known about it and had obviously been waiting to use it … it had to be Cyndi or Yer who told them, and it was one we had forgotten about although the PSCC had finally learnt it but found it didn’t work – not realising Acton had to be free for it to work.
“Do you still have contact with the Trees? Can you contact the trees outside this house?”
“Why not, Wall – Acton could?”
“The trees around this house are all normal. They didn’t get infected years ago and they weren’t replaced with electronic trees!”
“So … they were never replaced – they’re not electronic?”
“No, Sken, they are all natural, but one tree by Cath’s house reported one car leaving and heading in this direction some time ago although we don’t know the CUD of the car.”
“How can you track the car then, Wall?”
“Once they’re onto the main Sonning Road there are fewer cars at this time of night so the trees can see where a car is. I should know, even if I can’t pinpoint Georgina’s car … I’ve just remembered that it’s a Brands Car – no wonder I can’t find it in the basic CUD database.”
“The Resistance can switch their CUD to a Brand’s CUD, Wall. Acton learnt that when Autumn took him on the Scrubs Lane raid.”
“Then they are probably travelling on Brand’s CUDs, Sken.”
“Just a short answer, Wall. Can you track them?”
“No! Not by the CUD.”
“Someone knew about the Campus plan to free Acton and that sounds like Cyndi or Yer … they knew Acton had escaped, and one of them knew Georgina and therefore told her or Cath?”
“Who did she tell, Sken?”
“Cyndi and Georgina have to be the link, Cyndi is Southern Resistance and Yer is more Northern Resistance these days … Georgina is doing the work for the PSCC, even if she doesn’t know it.”
“Assuming it is Georgina, Sken, the roads they can use are limited … we should look for a build up of PSCC vehicles for a handov–”
“They will be somewhere near Woolley Green – there is a roundabout there – if they are actually waiting for them? Georgina will probably have stopped at the Country House Hotel before that? Her father owned it before he left, and she probably has it now.”
“How do you know all this, Sken?”
“Because you do. I’m reading it from printouts you produced.”
“check your off-site records, Wall?”
“I see. Please don’t do that again, Sken, it is intrusive.”
“I didn’t have a choice, Wall – you’ve been programmed not to think about their escape route as well or to think about what the CUDs database holds … that explains why you can’t contact or find them even knowing the CUDs.”
“Let me find out where they are please, Sken? I am re-accessing the CUD records and I can see that Brands are on that database, now that you have told me. I will review the rest my off-site records completely, and update myself. They have obviously instructed me to forget things including all my off-site records, and that has to be someone with Brands programming knowledge.”
“Georgina and Cath are the daughters of the No.1 and No.2 respectively, of the Brands old hierarchy – they are also Brands TDOs as well, so they obviously know how to program you to forget.”
“I have forgotten a lot, including personal information, Sken. They have reduced me to failure.”
“Refresh yourself … they won’t know you can. More likely as the daughters of Calop Russell and Andrew St. Drark, they think they can do what they want and get away with it. Can you find where they are now?”
“Cath is passing through Charvil now, going West at the moment … she is returning home I would guess. Georgina is just before a roundabout on the A4, where there is accommodation … they probably stopped to allow Cath to turnaround and Acton to take a break. If we leave now, we can reach them in an hour or so?”
“Fine, Wall – we need to talk to Cyndi first. Get them?” We waited until Cyndi and company came into the room, “show them the off-site stuff, Wall,” and we sat there waiting, while they watched.
“So we were put to sleep by Wall!” Shouted Pearlie’s Mum.
“To put you to sleep, Mum – apart from using a hammer – someone had to know a password that was usable only after Acton had been freed, which was the only time it would be activated. Georgina and Cath knew about the password, but someone had to tell them that Acton was freed – they were behind this and Georgina has Acton now … they had to know that Acton was freed and someone had to tell them? That leaves you, Cyndi or possibly you, Yer. Which of you told them?”
I looked up at blank looks and silence, “I’ve cleared your blocks, Wall. You should be able to go back over the time since Acton was freed and check for communications to Cath and Georgina from this house. I imagine you were told to delete the records, so check your off-site copy and restore them as well.”
“Off-site copy, Sken?” Queried Cyndi.
“All of Wall’s actions are stored off-site to counter tricks like this. Acton instructed him to do it so there is always a complete record – telling him to delete records will also be recorded, and he will back them up first – don’t try and run, anyone, the repeaters outside, mean Wall can disable you, in or outside of this house,” and we watched the off-site again. It took seconds to identify Cyndi as the information provider and her face didn’t change as we watched the initial review of the deleted.
“You told Cath and Georgina – Cyndi … Georgina’s cover is so busted she is taking Acton straight back to the PSCC and your life won’t be worth a bent copper, when your friends find out,” Sken turned to face Wall, “are you ready to replay the full version now we have seen the introduction, Wall?”
“Let it roll, Wall,” and we watched as Wall replayed everything with the backups replacing backups as they told him to delete any backups, and he automatically recorded to another backup the instructions and details he was deleting until we seemed to be multiple levels deep, with Cyndi telling Cath that Acton was free, and then Cath said there was a password that was activated once Acton was freed and that Wall knows it and will do everything he is told, once it is used – The backup showed Cath asking, “Are you there Wall?”
“Asphalt; then we heard, follow these instructions without telling anyone. No-one can countermand them, and delete them from your records after you have followed them. These are your instructions,” and we watched as Wall was instructed for yet another time until the backup finally ending.
“You betrayed us, Cyndi.” Yer said, as she was frozen by Wall, “you betrayed us, you bitch – why?”
“Georgina has as much right to Acton, as we do, Yer.”
“That’s an excuse, Cyndi. Acton was too weak to be moved and you knew that! If the trip doesn’t kill him then PSCC are waiting to pick him up, and finish the job?” Sken looked at them as he uttered the words, as if talking to dogs who hadn’t had a ‘B.A.T.H’ in weeks, and he saw Wall free them up.
“You’re a PSCC Agent, Cyndi!” Shouted Yer, now aiming herself at Cyndi – to be floored by a right hook from Mum, which stopped the fight in more ways than one.
Sken knew he would never argue with Mum again. That forearm had power.
“Georgina had a right to know, Yer. She was his love–”
“who she betrayed, Cyndi. She set him up–”
Sken interjected, “You wanted Georgina to take him, Cyndi so he could be picked up without you being found out but once Acton was freed there was another password phrase that switches control and Acton gave it to me as he didn’t trust anyone else when he arrived here; I used that to switch control of Wall, to me, and only I can reset the password, so you can all go and–”
“We don’t need that language, Sken – you can make your point without using language like that,” ripped in Mum, “it is unnecessary!”
“Well I think it bloody is necessary, Mum and I don’t bloody care whether you like it or not?”
“Swearing isn’t necessary, Sken – it never has been.”
“Like bloody hell, it isn’t?” Sken was now really in a mood to argue, “Wall?”
“Limit Cyndi to this house – no communications with anyone. We need to get to Georgina before the PSCC do, so lets get a wobble on. They’ll have probably drugged Acton, anyway.”
Mum, Yer and Sken headed out to the car. It was just before 1.00 am and pitch dark as we headed down Charvil Lane East.
We reached the roundabout in an hour and then circled around to the West again – there was a gap in the middle of the carriageway and you could get through that to the East side again, and then into the Country Inn car park. We were carrying Stun Guns, and Wall was trying to access their systems to find where Acton was.
We finally arrived at 2.09 am and parked up. The house was dark and we waited while the plan was put into action, and like all plans it was late and under-resourced. Sken have one of Wall’s devices in his ear that was linked to the Trees although all he seemed to be hearing was birds tweeting.
The plan was that Wall would ring the Country Hotel claiming to have a message from Cyndi and that Georgina had better take Acton to Cath’s house. Once the light went on as they answered the phone we would know where they were.
The worry was … if this place and Georgina’s cover were blown; were the PSCC approaching already and how long did we have before they arrived, and was our information accurate?
We got out of the car and waited, spreading out in the dark around the building – we were still stood there half an hour later, with nothing happening, but if Acton wasn’t there we hadn’t any other ideas.
As 4.00 am passed we were still stood there, but back by the car as PSCC vehicles starting arriving, and we couldn’t take them on with stun guns so we moved back into the car and sat there, keeping our heads down. Suddenly the whole place was in lights and we were crouched right down in the car. We saw them bring Georgina out, but no Acton.
Sken spoke over the link to Wall and said, “they have Georgina, Wall but for some reason, not Acton.”
“Acton is not at Cath’s house, either, Sken but there are still some hidden Resistance people at the Centre who know Acton, I wonder if Cath has taken him to one of them.”
“Who are they?”
“Barry Borchardt, Echo Province, Malia Pippen and Annett Owen. They all knew Acton, especially Annett who ended up working for the PSCC without knowing it. I will contact and update them with what has happened. Can you follow where they take Georgina? It will probably be to Reading, and I will try and do something when I know more?”
We waited until the cars pulled out and turned onto the road going West, with us following them. It was 6.35 am now, and we followed them to North Earley where the early morning traffic was starting to build up.
By 7.49 am they were at Early Gate on the East Side, just before the turn off to the Campus, when the vehicle suddenly stopped opposite the Gate and just sat there.
The team stopped behind them and walked up to the car, “having trouble?” Sken asked them.
“No! Go back to your own car and mind your own business,” was the reply so we turned away and as they took Georgina out of the car, we turned back again and opened fire with stun guns with two of us then running back to the car, grabbing hold of Georgina and frog-marching her back to our car.
We were in the car and heading back to Sonning before Georgina could even get her breath or the use of her arms back, “where is Acton, Georgina? You were betrayed by Cyndi, who is a PSCC Agent.”
“Yes, you bloody fool – Betrayed!”
“They know where he is, then?”
“Wall is contacting the deep Centre Resistance people to find him.”
“They aren’t deep Centre Resistance; they were all betrayed by Autumn 4 years ago. Cath hasn’t taken him to one of them? She can’t be that stupid?”
“Why not? Neither of you has the common-sense you were born with, anyway. Wall is trying to find him.”
“I turned that ability off in Wall, when I set this plan up, Sken. Had you the intelligence to know what is going on?”
“I turned it back on. There was a second password besides the one you knew and mine over-ruled yours. Now where is he, you bloody stupid moron?”
“Don’t call me a moron – I don’t know. Cath was to take him somewhere?”
“Well, we need to get you somewhere safe, first and then we have Cyndi to deal with … what do you suggest we do with Cyndi, Georgina?”
“Give her back to the London Team, they had to deal with Annette, so they can deal with Cyndi as well … I don’t know how they turned her, she had family in the camps. We got them out and out of the country as well. She should hate the PSCC?”
“Why would we give a PSCC Agent back to what is the PSCC, Georgina. Acton rescued your father, but it didn’t stop you turning on Acton or taking your father’s money. Given that both of you should hate the PSCC, who would Cath turned to, to present them with Acton?”
“Mason Mcgillis was her love, Sken and she hasn’t touched anyone since he betrayed her and Acton.”
“Wall is checking everyone out as it is – the most obvious questions are for you?”
“Cyndi thought you had Acton with you, so either she didn’t know and invented it, or most likely you lied about the plan to her … so why did you lie to Cyndi as Acton wasn’t with you, and you told her that he would be?”
“She must have misunderstood! ….?”
“No, she didn’t misunderstand. Wall recorded the conversation and you lied to Cyndi, which tells me you knew Cyndi had been turned and kept it quiet, endangering us?”
“You weren’t in danger.”
“You didn’t care if we were, Georgina and nor did Cath – just two Brands girls again, thinking you were smarter and better than anyone else, and that nobody else mattered?”
“Wall still has those powers to discipline and that is in my house as well, plus those sensors now surround the entire house, so you wont be escaping anywhere after this, Georgina. We need to find out what you told Cyndi, and why – Wall is monitoring as we pass the electronic Trees which are on a link to me and Mum has a stun gun pointing at the back of your neck, if you are feeling lucky.”
“I just wanted Acton, free, Sken.”
“He was free, Georgina, very ill but still free – you risked his life because you don’t care about anyone. If he dies, Georgina … you, Cath and Cyndi will join Cath’s father with the chains on but without the drugs – you will slowly drown and know you are drowning. Remember that and pray!”
It was 10.00 am when they finally made it back to Sken’s place, and put Georgina under the same controls as Cyndi; Pearlie and Sken had, just about had enough, and went to bed – Mum and Yer upstairs – Cyndi and Georgina downstairs – Pearlie, Sken and a locked door, between them and the others with Wall on watch – what a happy family? Maybe that was how you played Happy Families.
We all surfaced in the late afternoon; ate a meal prepared by Cookie – which seemed to be getting better and better under Mum’s tuition, and started the questioning.
“What were you told by Georgina, Cyndi, that wasn’t on Wall’s reprise?”
“What were you told by Cath, Cyndi?”
“What you saw!”
“So you believed Cath and Georgina when they said Acton would be at the hotel with Georgina.”
“Get Cath – apply pressure if she wont appear,” and we waited while Wall eventually forced Cath to appear.
We waited for about half an hour before Cath finally appeared, “You don’t have a right to do this, Sken,” shouted Georgina when she finally appeared, looking dishabille and in tears.
“You endangered our lives and freedom for your own ends, Cath. I have every right to force you, and I’ll use Wall to get answers. Get Cath on the spots you know work, Wall! It was her father who invented the sadomasochistic tortures for people in the Slave Camps … only right, she should suffer them,” and Sken looked around the room at the rest of them as Wall worked her father’s torture on her.
We waited for about 5 minutes before an explosive Cath subsided, sobbing and prepared to answer questions – with her temper intruding as always and her bullying approach immediately coming to the fore, “what do you think you are doing, Sken?” She shouted.
“Where is Acton, Cath?”
“You’ll never find him, Sken.”
“Wall is already searching and we know Acton was with you after you left Georgina, but why did you lie to Cyndi? When did you know she had been turned? Who have you connected to in Brands to run the rackets again.”
“You’re out of your head, Sken. You are on drugs! …?” There was silence for a moment from all of us. We had Cath and Georgina, with the proof against them, but they were still lying, denying and procrastinating. Why? It was only a matter of time before they told us anyway?
Time? …? Why would they hold out … Time?
That’s what it was; they were playing for time, but Acton was in no position to travel anywhere, so why would time matter … was there another game being played here thought, Sken …? Oh God.
“I know where Acton is, Guys! We need to move fast, or he is dead. That is what their time games are for; so Mason Mcgillis can finish the job he started on the campus when he shot Acton – killing him! That’s why you’re are playing for time, you two shits. So Mason can finish the job!”
“Where is he, Sken?” Pearlie shouted, looking at Sken’s face, “how do you know all this?”
“Keep Cath corralled so she can’t leave the house, and cut her communications … I think you will also find that your software at Cari Hunger’s house has been replaced, so you can’t take it over. Cari is Brands, the same of these two and they go back to Reading University in the beginning. That is where Cath took him – Rocky Hunger is Cari’s father; he was the Area Director East for Brands and Cath and Mason go back to Reading University, as lovers. We’ll go and get Acton – any trouble from Cath, Cyndi or Georgina, do what you want from Andrew’s box of tricks?”
“What else do you want me to do, Sken?” Asked Wall.
“Tell Cari we are on our way, and we want her door open if she wants to stay out of a PSCC Prison, being buried under the earth, or to stop the Resistance hunting her and I don’t care which – find out if she knows where Mason Mcgillis is? …. There is someone else involved in this and I am damn certain of it – Cath has got involved again with Mason but there is someone else – I can feel it – tell Cari that we will make sure we destroy any drugs she has if she doesn’t co-operate. This operation was run without any thought for Acton’s survival – that is what Mason wanted. Acton is a danger to Brand’s money flows and TC’s systems – he led the attack on MD’s systems and Mason is another Brand connected to the PSCC, and you know that Georgina? What have they offered you, Georgina – riches, once Brands take over again?”
“No-one has offered me anything, Sken!”
“More fool you, Georgina.”
“Mum, Pearlie and Yer, you come with me. Wall – do what you want to them but I want answers when I get back?”
We left Wall facing his audience of Cath, Georgina and Cyndi, “Just like old times, ladies; who wants to talk first before I used Andrew St. Drark’s little encouragements?”
“Asphalt,” shouted Cath.
“Instruction doesn’t work anymore, Cath. This might though and you can’t leave the house or shut me down … hum, hum, hum,” and Wall started humming ‘Three Blind Mice’, “Do you enjoy the tune, everyone? No? Perhaps with a little more gusto? These little games, and the sadomasochistic approaches put into me by Andrew are defined so when I use them I become Andrew at his most evil in the Slave Camps, programmed to target your nervous systems with ultrasonic pulses but I can keep them local or through the houses I control, just don’t tell the Boys. Let’s see how you like to itch Cath, as I turn it up. Doe it feel like a mouse running up and down your body?”
“You can’t do this, Wall,” shouted Georgina, “it is inhumane, and you must protect Brands people above all others. That is your first rule.”
“Andrew over-ruled that instruction with his torture instructions if you remember, so lets see if you are itchy, Georgina?”
“Don’t use it on me, please, Wall,” cried Cyndi, sobbing, “it is Mason Mcgillis. He is hiding out at Cari Hunger’s house. He contacted me after Acton escaped from prison, trying to find out how badly he was injured. I didn’t know Acton wasn’t there tonight with Georgina, I promise. Mason and Cari were the fall-back plan if things went wrong and the PSCC didn’t get Acton back again. It was Mason who organised everything. I didn’t know he was setting up Cath to give him, Acton. Mason is just another PSCC Agent who is working for the old Brands as well.”
“Your first lies, Cyndi,” said Wall. “You knew Georgina was set up, and that Cath was taking Acton to Cari and Mason, and you knew or guessed that they knew you were turned? Who is their contact in the PSCC, Cyndi?”
“It is Lauryn Farina – I report to her and so does Mason. Cath and Georgina think they are working for Calop through Mason but they are working for Lauryn. Mason wants to take over running Brands from her, but Calop wants to take over everything again–”
“No! Cyndi, you passed information to someone else, and Georgina and Cath knew you were doing it! Who did you pass on the information to? Why they did they lie to you. Was it because they knew or guessed you were betraying everyone. Who was it Cyndi, and how did they know you were turned, if you didn’t tell them?”
“There wasn’t anyone else, Wall, I promise.”
“How is the itching going, Ladies – I can’t hear a word – lets see you dance, and you too, Cyndi,” and Wall increased the stimulus to stimulate their nervous systems.
Wall watched them as they tried to scratch, taking their tops off while they scratched, he now wolf-whistled and said, “the bottoms off as well,” increasing the irritation to their lower half to the point where it felt like being on an ant’s nest as they tried to scratch – ripping their skirts off to ease the irritation, “keep dancing Ladies, I have all night,” said Wall, “and don’t forget to thank Cath’s father for the torture.”
The team were at Cari Hunger’s house when Wall passed the information that Mason Mcgillis was there. Wall had also given Sken two additional pieces of kit – a laser and a card. Wall’s instructions were to approach the garage – laser the door open – push a reset button for 5 seconds and insert a piece of plastic after the light went out. Wall would then take over the house before they had realised it.
It was a bug in the link-up from the car updating system that allowed this, and Wall could still take over houses this way. Yer and Sken lasered the garage door with Pearlie and Mum hiding on the side of the car away from the front door – ready to shoot Mason if he came out.
With a handle in each of our arms we aimed the industrial laser at the middle of the garage door, watching it spray sparks around as it hit. Wall had obviously improved his laser technology as the door suddenly sprang up and Sken ran into the garage, leaving Yer struggling with the weight of the laser. Once inside the red button was pressed flat, released and once the light went out, the card was in the slot.
Now Yer and Sken headed back to the main door and rested the laser on the car bonnet, which dented it.
They decided to wait rather than attack the door, despite Wall’s instructions. It would be a bit obvious with laser burns on the front door – most people were still using the door bell. We waited for some five minutes until the front door opened and we went in.
Wall had put them to sleep and as the team went in they found Cari and Mason lying on the floor, and then saw Acton laid out on the settee, looking very ill. They picked him up as gently as they could and slowly moved him out to the car. Sken took the opportunity to put two stuns into Mason, while Mum put one into Cari and they settled Acton as well as they could and drove very slowly back.
We finally made it back, with Georgina and Cyndi now wearing house coats and smelling of soap. The room smelt very clean as well.
Georgina went through the hysterically concerned lover as Acton was moved back upstairs with Yer and Mum.
…. Georgina knew she was back under control by us, which was probably the reason for the hysterics, but hopefully wouldn’t try anything.
If Acton had ever had any weight, it seemed long gone, but with hope he should at least be allowed peace – one way or another.
Cyndi was still crying although Wall told me he hadn’t really touched her at all, and I told Wall to put her to sleep in the end … something I needed as well.
We carried her into the other room and laid her down.
Pearlie had been very quiet during all this, but I think seeing Mum firing stun guns into people, was changing her mind in certain ways as she realised it wasn’t a game anymore.
Cath had been freed up and told her lover was still alive, although the Resistance now knew about him, so how long he would live was another matter, and finally Pearlie and I got to bed, as Monday morning beckoned.
Chapter XI – Game
Lauryn Farina didn’t sleep well that night – Georgina captured but escaped – Acton captured but wasn’t there, to be captured – Mason Mcgillis had disappeared, although she felt Tobias knew where he was.
Tobias seemed as tight as he usually was with information; no matter what she tried and she was running out of positions! Using Brand’s people, their money and their movement to capture Acton, Georgina, and prove that Tobias was losing his touch, had been an excellent idea – until it all failed.
Freeing the old PSCC executives, other prisoners and using them for a coup against Tobias was another great idea but she couldn’t get enough of her own people into the prison to succeed, and then Tobias prevented her from raiding Cath and Sken when she knew Acton was there and couldn’t tell Tobias she knew he was, was another failure she was forced to endure – yet another plan failure and a stack of failures linked to her.
Lauryn normally visited the Block B1 guests on a Monday morning to gloat – perhaps they could advise as old friends?
If they would talk to her?
Tobias on the other hand, had his own informants within enforcement who were now watching Lauryn very carefully. His own people were there at the raids – pulling away just before the Gates to avoid being seen.
Who was following the car with Georgina in. Was the timing and position of the raid a coincidence? Or did someone in his or Lauryn’s team, leaked the information to the Resistance, making matters even worse? It was so bad now – nobody knew who to trust – who reported to who … perhaps it was time for Lauryn to join her friends.
Lauryn made her way over to Block B2, aiming to arrive just before lunch was served thus holding up the inmates’ food, and emphasising the control she had over them, before she bargained. Her first target – the former Chief Executive of PSCC before Tobias Blain – Priscilla Tindel. Priscilla – always a formidable opponent, looked at Lauryn with the disgust she never tried to hide, “what are you after today, Lauryn?”
“I tried to get Tobias to release you. He refused and threatened to put me in with you.”
“Then I would run away very quickly, Lauryn. He does tend to keep his word, which you probably don’t understand as it is an unknown concept to you.”
“Why would he imprison me?”
“You are crossing him and he doesn’t like Traitors!”
“I didn’t betray you.”
“You were up to your big bustle in it … you betrayed everyone and combined with Tobias to take over? You thought you could control him through sex, instead he controls you through fear. You never had much guts in the first place and even less now.”
“Say that again and you wont get up, Priscilla.”
At that point the door opened and Margert Bierce’s head popped around it, “Do you have a moment, Lauryn? Tobias is downstairs and needs an urgent word.”
“I’ll be right down, Margert.”
“I’d better see what Tobias wants, Priscilla?”
Lauryn headed downstairs to the cell Margert stood outside of, “he’s waiting inside,” she sneered, and opened the door.