posted on Nov, 22 2006 @ 08:13 PM
'Sidewalk' was the program she'd entered into the window holograph before going to bed. She was startled awake by a feral child staring out at the
'pedestrians' walking by 100 floors off the ground. He was dangerous, she could feel it. Taut, like a wild animal, his hair blonde and dirty fell
unkempt and long around his face and shoulders. She placed him around 9 years old, but he might have been much older. He was looking past the false
images at the building beside them. He could feel it thinking, she could tell he was tuned into it. Not the people inside, the building itself. He
turned suddenly and snarled. She looked to the building he'd been staring at and sent him what she knew of its schematics, hoping it wouldn't hear
It was massive, much larger than the older model she slept in. Much wider at its base that climbed into the air for 100 floors, then it streamlined
into the apartment living section. It looked like the empire state building, all in black without the art noveau facade. Glass and hard edges and
steel, like an stealth fighter that rose into the air or some other kind of weaponry. The lobby on the ground floor was designed to assuage people
into feeling at home. It never did that for her. She could always feel the thing thinking - its cold and hard edges thinking. The elevators rose
through the computer part of the building with exceeding speeds. There were floor numbers all the way up to make it look like a residential section,
only the occassional technician exited on one of those floors, often pretending to be a resident. All part of the psychological attempts to habituate
people to the machine. They worked, people came and left, dissociated from themselves.
She showed him what she knew of the encoded patterns that ran down the North side of the base. He saw how she'd almost died to get into it. Fooling
the identi-scan hadn't been the problem. Long narrow walkways in black steel that line the innards of the machine don't reach the areas where its
vulnerable. She had clipped a grappling hook onto the walkway rapelled down to find the encoded area they had been looking for. The clip came loose
and she fell, grabbing onto one of the wide blue cables that ran the length of the building. She climbed the length she'd fallen with her specially
designed yo hammer, she had to exit the same floor she'd come in on or the identi-scan wouldn't work. She only had a small time left. The machine
knew she was there and what she wanted.
By the time she was back in the fake residential hallway lined with doors leading to non-existent apartments the fire drill had sounded. That left 5
minutes to escape during the confusion. She picked the lock to the stairwell and ran up the 10 floors to the nearest living sector. People
congregated around the emergency elevators that lined the outside of the building. A mechanical voice screeched repetitively "exit North side, exit
North side." Faces half-asleep with shock and conditioning barely noticed her as she pushed through to the escape lift. Once outside, she ran to
the pre-dug hole she'd prepared and changed her clothes, removed her latex mask. She followed the tunnel into the sewer system and ran a mile
through the stench and filth just to be sure.
He came for her that night. Standing at the window staring in horror and awe at the monstrosity beside them. He motioned for her to follow and they
'flew' to the mountain with the red leaves. The one still awash in the history of oppression. If you live anywhere but on the top of that
mountain, you will suffer. Seemingly empty, but filled with the spirits of the dead all still engaged in some centuries old dance of power and
regret. They climbed and found the hall that functioned as their court. Once inside, a rag tag band of bedraggled feral children, the last of the
awake, discussed strategy with furtive suspicion.