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  Zopler
THE DARK SUNNY DAYS
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- a while ago
MENTAL CONFUSION
- a while ago
Today,9:30 p.m., you are but just a shadow of your reflection, wake up a sweet mellow voice replied in your ear, you are later for work
- a while ago
but want to sleep in, boom! You wake up, it was all just a dream. You look around your broken down apartment, thinking about the one you lost.
- a while ago
Suddenly all your friends pop up yelling "surprise!!!" and you are thinking "is it my birthday today?". As you try to remember you name, you realise that you have absolutely no memory of what happened yesterday or the year before. After 2 minutes of complete silence and awkward tension, you ask "who are you people? And more important, WHO AM I?"
- a while ago
AWAKENING
- a while ago
One woman dressed in a white smock stepped forward.
"Do not be alarmed agent Fresco" she spoke reassuringly, "confusion and loss of identity is perfectly normal after a brain transplant. It takes a while to adjust to ones new body. Please be assured that you are here completely voluntarily, and that this is not the first time you have undergone this procedure. It takes time, but within a few hours you will have begun to recall the events that lead to your current situation, and you should regain all memory shortly. If you will take a moment to familiarise yourself with your new body, you will notice that this time you are within an emus body. We have made the necessary surgery to enable more full usage of your vocal cords, but apart from that, you are basically an emu."
- a while ago
Agent Fresco was confused. "WTF, why Emu? god knows how he would carry out his spying activities. Who the F would not be suspicious if and Emu was following them? Also as all followers of Sherlock Holmes know an agent has to wear a low brimmed hat and smoke smelly hand rolled cigs. Dashed awkward if some animal lover catches him in the act. What to do?
- a while ago
Shaking his head in disbelief, he craned his long neck, looked around the room and down at the rest of his body.
"Please agent Fresco", spoke the woman, "I know you must have many questions, but if you would just follow agent Lopez through to orientation, all will soon become clear".

Agent Lopez stood forward from the rest of the crowd. She wore a long black dress, shoeless feet, and something about her face seemed vaguely familiar.
"Please follow me", she spoke softly but firmly.
Agent Fresco awkwardly swung his legs around to the side of the bed, Gingerly he placed his 3-toed feet upon the ground, flexing them as he did so. Standing was no easy task, and only after several failed attempts did he succeed. His first steps were quite clumsy too, with his useless wings protruding as he attempted to correct his balance. With a little help though, he managed to follow agent Lopez out of the well lit operation theater, and down the short corridor into a room marked "ORIENTATION".
- a while ago
ORIENTATION
- a while ago
When he entered, he was quite surprised to see an assortment of different animals and birds. For a moment he forgot he wasn't a homo sapien anymore as he searched for a chair. He found himself looking towards the front of the room where a poodle was standing on a raised platform.
"Now that everyone is here, let me begin",the poodle said addressing the crowd, "For those of you who have no idea what is going on, temporary amnesia is simply a minor side effect of the Metamorphosis Chamber. Your memory will slowly come back to you." There was some ruffling of feathers and what Fresco thought to be roar. The poodle continued," I'm Agent Homes. All of you are part of the Wildlife Assault and Recon Team or WART for short. We believe that we may have alien life present, not on this planet, but underneath it. This suspicion was confirmed when Agent Fresco discovered them in one of red zones in the Amazon Jungle. There a total of 327 red zones where we believe alien life survives underground.
- a while ago
Despite not having his memory intact, agent Fresco was above all a deeply analytical, logically minded fellow. As the poodle continued it's speech, Fresco looked around him at the assortment of animals that stood and sat around him. He noticed a lion apparently keen on attracting his attention, and another emu a short ways in front of him listening intently to the poodle. He turned his attention back to the poodle, and as he listened more to it's speech, wondered "if we have all had our brains transplanted into animals, agent Homes must surely be very small brained".

".. thus," continued agent Homes, "we will be dividing you up into 3 different groups to infiltrate 3 different red zones and attempt to gain more information on the suspected alien activity in each zone.. are there any questions?"
- a while ago
"What if we have to contact HQ? If we need help or to report something?", asked an over-eager looking beaver. "All of you have a device implanted in your skull which monitors all your vitals and signals us if they get too low or too high, as happens in times of stress. All these are minor details which are all there in the mission files you will be handed when you leave.", the poodle waited expectantly and everyone took this as their cue to leave.
Agent Lopez was handing out folders and directing the animals. Fresco took his Manila folder and headed to A-203. He found the emu from orientation and another shoeless woman in a suit waiting for him.
- a while ago
ASSIGNMENT
- a while ago
"As you will see in your files, you will be going to a remote grassland in Australia. We do not know exactly how the aliens come above ground. It is your job to find that out. Also, your memory is expected to return by the time you are in the drop zone, if it hasn't already.", saying so, the woman left. Agent Fresco turned to the emu.
- a while ago
By this point, agent Fresco had begun to somewhat familiarize himself with his new body. His movements were becoming less stiff and awkward, and feeling the latent power and strength within his legs, neck and wings, he felt a burning desire to fully explore his bodies limits. In addition, his memory also felt as if it were stirring, he had already experienced déjà vu numerous times while being lead through the windowless corridors.

His head was full of questions as he turned to the barefoot woman, but before he could voice any of them, she turned to him and the other emu, and spoke: "Confusion is normal at this stage," she began "I would like for you both to look through the items on the 2 tables in front of you", Agent Sanchez, if you would please step forward to table A, agent Fresco, table B is yours".
- a while ago
Fresco stepped forward and eyed the items on his table. There were photographs laid out before him, and several items that he immediately presumed must be his personal belongings. He turned his attention first toward the photographs. A short stocky middle-aged man with a balding head stood somberly in the first picture, beside him were 2 young teenage boys. He realized that this was himself and his 2 sons, Domingo and Diego. Suddenly memories began filling his mind. He recalled the day the photograph was taken, and the sad feelings he'd felt then, at his wife's funeral.
- a while ago
Try as he might, he couldn't recall her name. He was sure that it would come to him eventually. After her death, he completely immersed himself in his work so as not to get overcome by the grief. With a pang of guilt, he also realised that he didn't give the boys any of his time which was the least they deserved. Her wished he could go back.
The woman broke him from his reverie,"Please don't get too sentimental. The photographs are more than 60 years old". Hearing her, he almost dropped the folder.
- a while ago
Agent Sanchez, coughed, looked up, and for the first time, agent Fresco heard her voice: "over 60 years old? So exactly how old am..". Before she could finish her sentence, a flood of memories came gushing back to her. She recalled the death of her eldest son, and how he had lived the last 20 years of his life believing his mother to be dead. And how her 2nd child, Martia, had recently been diagnosed with alzheimers and institutionalised. She too was overcome with guilt for the years of family life she had consciously missed out on.

Agent Fresco turned to her: "Me alegro de poder trabajar de nuevo contigo Juanita"..

Sanchez eyelashes fluttered as she threw a large emu smile toward Fresco. "But let's get down to business shall we. Who will be the fingers of the outfit?"

Both Sanchez and Fresco knew that an animal with dexterity would be required at times, and that their team would be incomplete with just 2 emus with ungainly wings.
- a while ago
"Homes has decided that it would be best if you choose for yourself. Keep in mind, however, where you're going when deciding though. We don't need any undue attention", she looked at them pointedly,"Or, you can be a part of an emu herd. One of our men,working on the reservation there, takes them out to field each day. He can aptly fulfill your requirements as well as provide a suitable explanation as to why emus are on site". Both agents liked the idea but still wanted to think over it.
While they were conversing, there was a soft knock on the door and it burst open. A lion came bursting through. The abruptness of the event, caused the emu's brain to kick in and Agent Sanchez leaped back with her powerful legs. She felt embarrassed after she realized it but knew it wouldn't show on her face. Fresco was equally surprised but managed to keep his wits about him and not follow his colleague's suit. The woman seemed unperturbed and calmly exclaimed,"Ah, Agent Marcus. I was wondering when you would come and interrupt us in order to see your old friend."
- a while ago
"Agent Marcus", spoke a taken aback Fresco, "So you finally took the plunge!, I thought you never had it in you!".

Knowing that the position extended ones life expectancy indefinitely, Agent Marcus had always talked of becoming an AFA, (animal field agent), but had always felt more than a slight apprehension toward the idea of leaving his body affirmatively behind. All the agents knew that once the step had been taken, there was no going back to ones original body, and due to chemical changes within the brain, it had been confirmed that overtime, due to a succession of transplants, ones brain becomes increasingly smaller, with the result that the more experienced AFAs were able to transplant into the smaller animals. - Surprisingly without loss of any brain function or mental ability.
- a while ago
Thus newcomers where always given large headed animals as their first assignments. Fresco and Sanchez had both been field operatives for several decades, and through numerous animal bodies and were thus now able to fit their brains within the skulls of emus. Agent Homes on the other hand, was one of the second batch of AFAs, and thus already able to operate comfortably within the skull of a poodle.
- a while ago
"Donnie Fresco! Have you ever seen me shy away from anything?", Marcus replied with just a hint of a British accent. " Back then, I was just an ordinary man. Look at me now. King of the Jungle! Who would have thought?", he licked his paws and continued,"I accidentally jumped your lady friend there. You know, I didn't know which emu you were. Boy! Did I get an earful", he said addressing Agent Sanchez.
"Still not Agent Fresco", Sanchez said.
"Oh", Marcus said,"Again, my apologies". Fresco regarded his friend. Marcus had been a quiet and conservative guy. His parents had passed away last he remembered. Being an AFA had certainly changed Marcus for the better.
Marcus shook his head and turned to Fresco,"Its not my fault emus look the same. Nonetheless, I'm still delighted to see you old boy! So where you going now? Seeing your host body, can't say its somewhere exciting."
"Perhaps not as exciting as where you will be. But in our line of work, exciting is not always better", said Fresco, trying to imitate an smile on his face. He always found it bothersome that animals couldn't show facial expressions. It sometimes caused statements to be misinterpreted. So you always had to be careful how and what you said so as not to offend anyone.
- a while ago
"Well, I have yet to read through my assignment folder, but obviously we will be somewhere on mainland Australia, and by the looks of that mane Bill, I would say you are off to India, am I right?" Fresco quizzed his friend, "I served three months as an African lion back in the 30's and never once saw a male with such a small mane."

"Yes," agent William Marcus replied, "to the Northwest, some place called the Gir Forest Sanctuary, I'm fortunate enough to be working with agent Arne Lundvik, probably the most experienced AFA there is, he'll be our fingers as a Langur monkey"

"Well good luck Bill, I'll be interested to hear your report once we are through with this, right now, Juanita and I have some reading to do, and research to undertake, be careful not to identify yourself too much with your new body, remember what happened to agent Rassmunsen!"

Markus needed no reminding, every agent knew the story of Rassmunsen.
- a while ago
RASSMUNSEN
- a while ago
Rassmunsen was a soviet scientist who was one of the brains behind the transplantation procedure. He also was one of the first to be initiated as an honorable AFA. WART, at that time had small budgets for individual agents and decided to post him on the Antarctic Coast as a penguin. Everything worked like clockwork with reports coming in monthly. What the administration feared seemed out of the question even after the filming crew arrived.
Focal Productions was a studio that had sponsored a group of environmentalists and film makers for a documentary on penguin behavior. Rassmunsen, who had been repeatedly advised to avoid human interaction, was delighted at the new arrivals. He seemed to be constantly present at the human encampment and even more so at their meal times. The crew became accustomed to his presence and even named him Edward after their production manager. Rassmunsen was quite pleased and felt that his superiors were wrong in their predictions.In deference to Rassmunsen, he had spent too much of his time with no one but penguins for company. He was a bright, scientific mind and he needed some intellectual stimulant after so many weeks of isolation. So he hung around the humans, reading books over their shoulders, searching for discarded newspapers and rummaging for food. No one paid him much heed at first, so he became bolder, which was led to his undoing. A young and aspiring cameraman noticed him making off with a bagel in his mouth. But when he saw a penguin stoop and pick up a newspaper, his curiosity was aroused. He decided to follow this particular penguin. As it so happened, he was carrying his video camera with him.
- a while ago
As he watched the penguin waddle across the ice, newspaper held tightly in the clutches of its beak, a sudden gust of wind wrenched the newspaper away, sending Rassmunsen scurrying after it. Holmvik, the young Norwegian caneraman had begun filming and watched as rassmunsen frantically tried to retrieve the paper.

He'd never before seen such comportment in a penguin, and wondered why on earth it was behaving so obsessively with the paper. Rassmunsen, completely oblivious that hewas being filmed, and hell bent on recapturing the flying newspaper, became careless and in his antics knocked his head on the ice, dislodging the communication chip in his head.

Back then, the animal vocal cord surgery, although being researched, was not yet perfected thus not implemented. Thus AFAs were only able to communicate via the inbuilt chip. The result of Rassmunsens clumsiness was that WART suddenly lost contact with him, the inbuilt GPS also having been disrupted with the knock.
- a while ago
Rassmunsen would have no doubt been unaware of this at the time, and would only later have realised that he was no longer being monitored. Being the faithful agent he was, he would no doubt have continued on his mission which involved following the other penguins through their migration.

Holmvik walked away with some rather humorous penguin footage that with time made it into the hands of WART, who on realising this must have been Rassmunsen, launched a full scale effort to retrieve their agent. 15 months past before they finally located him, and only then as his GPS began once more to transmit his location. When they finally caught up with him, he refused to be approached by anyone, doing his utmost to hide amidst the masses of other penguins. On observation it was noted he had formed a tight knit bond with 2 of the other penguins, one of them obviously his mate, and the other their offspring.
- a while ago
No attempt at contact was successful, and WART finally decided to just let him be, although his whereabouts were still tracked regularly.

Naturally many safeguards had been implemented since that time, to ensure that such things could not reoccur. AFAs no longer worked alone, but always in groups of 3 or more, and if at all practical, always at least 2 different species.
- a while ago
This sympathising with the host body coupled with prolonged exposure to animals of the same species led to deep seated alterations on a psychological level. This caused a person to retain certain characteristics of the previous host even after extraction.Eventually this came to be known as the Rassmunsen disorder. It also earned it a mention in every mission file as a constant reminder.

Fresco watched his friend's tail disappear as the door closed behind him. "We have some research that needs our attention", said Agent Sanchez turning her long neck to the files on the table. She found the reading stand and placed the folder on it. "Here comes the grunt work", muttered Fresco as he did the same and started flipping the relevant pages.
The woman in the suit, her job accomplished, left the room. She walked briskly through the well-lit hallway barely noticing the lack of activity. Apparently other agents were still being briefed. She reached the elevator at the end of the hallway and punched in her access code. Exactly twenty three seconds later, the titanium alloy doors slid open and she entered. She pushed the button for the top floor and punched in another set of codes when prompted. The elevator opened directly into Agent Homes's office a few seconds later where she found him staring at a console screen.

"So, I trust the briefing went well?", the poodle said without turning around.
"As expected", she paused and then added carefully," But what about the risk of contact?"
"There is no risk of contact", he replied sternly," Those tribals could have contracted the disease from anywhere. One must not fuel rumors and especially not baseless facts."
She had no relply for this outburst but was still concerned about the safety of their field operatives.
"Besides, we don't know wether this new strain affects animals the same way. We certainly have no evidence of that", said Homes as he tried to reassure her.
- a while ago
THE RED ZONES
- a while ago
The first red zone discovered by WART was in the middle of the Brazilian Amazon. It took them 3 weeks to set up a manned observation post, mostly due to the care they had to take to not interfere with one of the earths last tribal peoples, which meant that they could only safely do so from a 10km distance of the peculiar nightly activity they were there to investigate. Strangely enough, from the day that outtpost was set up, no more activity was witnessed, and after 1 month of inactivity, just as they decided to pack up and head home, the sick tribesman stumbled into their encampment mumbling deliriously before keeling over and dieing. His body was taken back for an autopsy, it appeared to be some hitherto unknown virus which although apparently noncontagious certainly seemed to be the cause of the fellows demise. Some 2 months later, it was reported that the whole tribe had just vanished, and that once more something suspicious was happening there.

Later when yet other red zones were discovered, the first ones all south american based, further suspicious deaths were documented, and following autopsies reported to contain similar yet slightly mutated strains of the virus. It remained unconfirmed, but it appeared most victims simply vanished.
- a while ago
Agents Fresco and Sanchez had finished their research of the local geography and of their host bodies. They seemed to be asleep when the woman in the suit arrived. She woke them up and as they stirred themselves from sleep she said,"You will be leaving in about 2 hours, so it is best that you decide who you wish as your fingers. Also we need to get you equipped before you leave".
They followed her to the tech lab in the basement. Most of the equipment was standard consisting of a set of contact lenses which adjusted according to light so one could also see clearly at night. A lot of the other stuff was usually for the Fingers for use at their discretion. Which is why they had to be experienced in first aid,communication systems and tactical planning. They were the ultimate scavengers and could make do with anything they found in their surroundings.
- a while ago
"ahem" coughed Fresco, "From the choice you have given us, we have both agreed we'd like to work alongside agent Banks, he was one of the first AFAs, and besides having the experience he has, and his easygoing nature, we feel a brush tailed possum would be able to access areas that most humans are unable. We also feel it is best to travel light, and apart from the standard internal enhancements and the contact lenses, our bodies are not really equipped to discretely carry much else, so I think we are all set already"

"Very well" replied the female agent, "If you would like to move along to the canteen area, where you may satiate your hungers before your journey. Agent Banks is on another assignment right now, but will no doubt be there to meet you on arrival".
- a while ago
DAY 1
- a while ago
By the time they reached their intended location, it was nearly midnight. The chopper left as stealthily as it had arrived. The cool breeze of the open grassland did little to soothe their apprehensions.
Agent Banks noted their arrival on his peripheral vision. The object of his attention was a billabong at some distance from his location. He scrunched up his eyes as he waited for the enhanced zoom in his lenses to kick in. As he was waiting for his team to arrive, he had spotted a kind of luminescence coming from that general area. He would have been off to investigate had he not heard the helicopter blades spinning in the distance. He turned to the two emus as they made their way towards the rendezvous point. Jumping from branch to branch, he was there at about the same time as them.
- a while ago
"Up here" he called.

the 2 emus looked up to find agent banks on a branch above their heads.

"I have just been witnessing a rather peculiar light emanating from a small billabong 200ms to the west of here. It unfortunately stopped abruptly with the arrival of your helicopter, but I think we should go and surreptitiously check it out... Oh, and welcome to far north queensland!" greeted the possom.
- a while ago
The two agents followed Banks as he made way for the billabong. Their long legs made the going faster and pretty soon their destination was in sight. Agent Fresco stopped abruptly when he saw faintly glowing spots on the ground near the water,"Stop! I think I know what that light was. Wait a few more seconds and watch", as he said that the light grew dimmer and then was entirely gone.
Fresco was now positive,"I have seen this before. That light you see is residual radiation. As to why it faded so fast", he said moving towards it," I think the substance has a half-life of about a few seconds or a minute at best". Any radioactive substance deteriorates at a rate with which it emits radiation. Though it is not possible to determine the time in which it would get completely used up, the time in which half of it would be remaining, called half-life, could be determined.
"Is it possible that the aliens are highly radioactive?", asked Sanchez suddenly alarmed.
"I don't think that's possible", replied Banks calmly,"if that were true, we would see a large number of case related to radiation sickness especially near the red zones and more so if the aliens are coming above ground".
Fresco nodded in assent,"I believe only a few of them emit radiation or if they are sick".
"Or could be some device they use", added Banks.
They turned back towards the billabong. "I don't think we can trace the radiation to its source. With such a small life, a Geiger counter won't be much use".
- a while ago
"We should move away", urged agent Banks "It's best that you guys get some rest after your journey, and I don't wish to risk us being observed together too often"

The trio moved away from the Billabong, discussing in low voices possible plans of action.

What they knew so far was that any humans that had ventured too close too often to the red zones had either vanished or been discovered dead from causes supposedly unknown. They knew that every attempt at video surveillance had also failed with recording equipment suddenly transmitting static and often fully disappearing. They were however unaware of the presence of the virus found within the corpses. WART had decided that the AFAs would be better off not knowing of it, especially since they had learned that the virus mutated easily, and still lacked understanding as to how the virus was being contracted.
It seemed that the only course of action left to the agents was visual observation.

"I suggest that I keep watch throughout the rest of the night, and you diurnal guys take over at dawn. Refrain from contact via telepathy as we've no idea just what is being monitored" (AFA teams were able to communicate with one another via inbuilt shortwave transmitters and receivers, but Banks was right that any transmission should be kept to a minimum, and preferably all made from a distance of the red zone).

Banks eyes shone in the moonlight, before taking leave and scurrying off into the darkness. Fresco and Sanchez found a spot in the long grass to bed down for the night.
- a while ago
The phone rang. Agent Homes got irritated. He asked no calls to be accepted for the night, so decided to ignore it. When it rang again, he glanced at it. It was the emergency line. He needed no more incentive.
"What happened?", he questioned.
"We lost two agents", said a voice.
"What do you mean lost two agents?How can we lose two agents?! Don't we have satellites tracking every agents movements?!"
"Yes, sir. But we believe that they may have been captured or have gone into alien territory. Just thought you should know sir".
Homes switched off the connection as he felt a migraine coming on. It certainly was possible. Either way, those agents are on their own now, he thought.
- a while ago
Homes activated his console. The report had already been uploaded. A team of 4 agents of which two had disappeared. Only the fingers and one more remained who were now being extracted for de-briefing.
- a while ago
DAY 2
- a while ago
The keen emu ears of Fresco and Sanchez awoke them to the soft thud of agent Banks landing on the ground in front of them. It was just before dawn, and still light from the moon, a blanket of dew glistened on the surrounding grass.

"I'm afraid there's been a development", he began in earnest "2 newly recruited AFAs have gone missing in the Andaman ocean".

The emus shook their head and necks, partly to shake of the sleep, partly at the shock of this new information.

"What more do we know?" queried Sanchez.

Banks continued "2 dolphins had just begun sending a report back when suddenly their transmission was cut short. The 2 other team menus, another dolphin and an octopus searched for them, but to no avail. Both were ordered to leave the area immediately"

"What does this mean for us?" probed Fresco.

"We have been given 2 choices.." agent Banks explained "1, we can either also leave. Given the danger that we must surely be in, this would be an understandable course of action. Or 2, we can stay here and observe, but to do so we must cease ALL communication other than vocal. This includes disabling our internal GPSs. If we choose option 2, we should try and report back to WART once a week, but only from a 50km distance of the red zone. Headquarters are convinced that all radio frequencies are being monitored by whoever, or whatever is occupying these zones".
- a while ago
They all agreed that staying put would be the most logical choice. Apart from the time and finance invested in them, they had been assigned to a high priority locale and abandoning the mission midway would be foolish to say the least.

Banks assumed command and said,"The three of us should take up positions at different distances from the billabong. Surveillance will be done in shifts so we know what is happening at all times". Fresco and Sanchez nodded. They decided that they would observe from as far a distance possible but not so far as to miss anything notable or out of the ordinary. They would be visible to each other so they wouldn't have to break radio silence and could signal if anything occured.
- a while ago
Meanwhile, deep beneath the floor of the Andaman ocean, a 6 fingered thumb-less hand placed itself upon the smooth surface of a table.

In the background, 2 dolphins watched intently from the confines of a large aquatic tank.

A voice spoke, almost song like, in a language neither AFA recognised.

Had they been able to understand, they would have heard the following brief exchange of words:

"Our presence here has never been more in jeopardy. It is imperative that we complete our task as quickly and smoothly as possible, and move on"

"That is no easy task brother, by all accounts it appears that our presence is being monitored at 327 of our stations. Only 3 remain undiscovered. Any movement we make just draws more attention to ourselves. Perhaps it would be wise if we just cease all activity and wait. We will find opportunity with patience."

"No, this task was never meant to take too much of our time, and the sooner we finish it, and move on, the better. We all know that".
- a while ago
There comes a time in every agents tenure when a difficult choice presents itself in some form. Sanchez, alongwith Banks, was on surveillance duty when one of their undergeound guests decided to show itself. Unfortunately for her, she did not see where it had come from but it was slowly moving away. It had an almost humanoid shape but was very dark in color but she could tell that it was not exactly black. She scrolled through the filters in her lenses and found that it had barely a heat signature. Perhaps it was not an organic being.
She was in a dilemma now-should she follow it? or report to Banks? Duty preceded her sense of curiousity and she signalled their Fingers. He understood, perhaps with more caution than was warranted. Together they began following it. As Fresco napped oblivious to this development, another dark figure sinisterly crept from the shadows towards him. Perhaps if Banks hadn't been so keen on keeping them off their communicators, Fresco may have had some chance.

While this was happening, the thing that his colleagues were following, at somewhat of a safe distance, suddenly decided to hasten its pace. It did not do so at a progressive rate but in a sudden burst of speed. This caught them unawares and by the time they followed suit, their target had apparently vanished. Little did they know that so had Agent Fresco.
- a while ago
DAY 3
- a while ago
Fresco awoke with a start. He found himself in a dark room with a soft, somewhat damp, earthen floor. He immediately switch his eye lenses to night vision, and in so doing, discovered his enclosure to be roughly 3 by 3 meters wide. The ceiling was both untouchable and invisible, but judging by the slight echo in the room, he guessed it to be higher than average. It appeared that his prison had no discernible door.

Off in the distance he could hear faint intermittent whirring noises.

"You are awake." A foreign voice spoke from above matter of factly. "You present a great dilemma to us you know" continued the voice in it's song-like fashion. "I cannot fathom why you persist in harassing, Can't you understand that you are just making things more difficult for everyone?".

Fresco craned his neck upwards, trying to pinpoint from whence the voice came.

Suddenly his room was bathed in light.
- a while ago
Fresco blinked several times as his eyes adjusted to the sudden brightness. He was walled up on all four sides. His prison was illuminated from a source above him, but he couldn't make out how far above.

"Answer me earthling!", said the voice.
Fresco tried to play dumb and mimicked what he thought to be an emu cry.
"So it thinks it can fools us! Perhaps you beings are intelligent, but maybe not as much as you think. We are still waiting for an answer!".

The response was as Fresco had more or less expected but he had wanted to be sure. Now that his ruse had failed he said with some defiance,"WE are harassing you? Are we the ones who have come to your planet? Are we the ones who have caused the disappearance of your fellow beings?"

"You would not be able to had you wished it", was the reply,"We know what you are capable of and it is far from what we can do in an instant. The only reason human life exists above is because we allow you that mercy. Earth, to us, represents a great resource. And for years we have been watching humans squander it little by little. All that will change soon human. Our time for watching is past".
Fresco felt a sense of foreboding,"What do you mean?"
"Soon you will know", came the soft but clear reply as the light switched off.
- a while ago
Across a frozen windswept plain of the Antarctic, a lone penguin propelled itself on it's belly, ever forward with determination.

Thousands of kilometers away, an excited voice rang out in an artificially lit room full of monitoring equipment "What the.. Check this out! It's Rassmunsen! He's left the colony!"

Agent Lopez walked briskly toward the flat screen. Sure enough, The lone blip on the landscape indicated that Rassmunsen was no longer in the midst of a waddle, but was instead headed north. "Either he is lost, or he's finally coming home" Lopez spoke briefly to herself, then, with a voice of authority "I want someone out there now. Let's bring him in!" She ordered.

Still shoeless, agent Lopez walked briskly away, disappearing into the confines of her small office, pressing an intercom button on her desk, she spoke: "It's Rassmunsen, it looks like he'll be rejoining us".
- a while ago
On returning from their excursion, Banks and Sanchez couldn't find any sign of their colleague. Careful combing of the surrounding area proved fruitless. Banks was about to give up when Sanchez came up to him with something in her beak. She put it down without a word and he bent to examine it. It seemed to be a the scale of a snake but was atleast twice the size of what would be considered normal and was completely black in colour.
"Do you think it belongs to the alien?", Sanchez questioned.
"Possibly", Banks said turning the scale in his hands, "the only options left for us now I believe are to either leave for HQ or continue what we came here to do".
Sanchez was slowly mulling over the situation and its reprecusions when she fell upon the idea. "What if we bait them to come for one of us? Wouldn't they want all the witnesses to be eliminated? Surely the other person could follow them to their entrance"
"You are absolutely correct!", exclaimed Banks with new found vigour.
- a while ago
Eventually, Sanchez turned out to be the best candidate for the role as it would be easier for Banks to observe and follow from high ground. Furthermore, Sanchez was more conspicuous than Banks which was ultimately what they needed. Now all they had to do was wait and pray that their assumptions were not too far fetched.
It was a daring plan, thought Banks to himself. And if it worked, he would have to rescue two emus now instead of one.
- a while ago
After Fresco's eyes had once more readjusted to night setting, he began examining his enclosure with more details. Confirming his previous brief observation, he once more concluded that escape appeared futile. Switching his focus to the ground, he noticed that the bare earth upon which he stood, had begun sprouting some kind of plant growth, and around him, were several small lizards,and a couple of lumps of charcoal.

"So strange" he thought to himself, "I am sure these were not here earlier".

Suddenly his deep hunger became apparent, and as he began eating the new shoots, he realised that his wardens must be feeding him. He snapped up a lizard too, followed by a lump of charcoal, which although mentally unappealing, Fresco, with his small handful of lifetimes of experience as an AFA, was used to radical changes in his diet.

He began reevaluating his situation and what he knew of his captors.
- a while ago
WART had briefed him of possible alien activity, but there was clearly no certainty of this. He himself had always been skeptical of the conclusion ever since discovering the first red zone. Now he had been in close contact with them, he felt even more doubtful. There was something about the voice that had spoken that just sounded too human. Of course, he did not dismiss the idea entirely. Whoever they were, he felt that they did not mean him any immediate harm, and clearly wished to keep him alive, though Fresco could fathom no real reason why that should be so. He snapped up another lizard in his beak, and swallowed hard.

Suddenly, his enclosure was once more bathed in light.

"I have a question" began Fresco before the anticipated voice of his captor could begin. "Why do you believe that we are making things more difficult for everyone, ourselves included? How can our actions which have largely been observatory, be making things more difficult for ourselves?"
- a while ago
"How many of your people have been found dead at or near our outposts?" replied the melodious voice without pause.

Fresco hesitated. "At least a dozen or more. More have been reported missing with fate unknown"

"And you ask me why you make things more difficult for yourselves?" replied the voice. "Why do you believe those people died?"

Fresco, still no clearer from where the voice originated, "Died? Surely your question should be 'why were they killed?'"

"I choose my words carefully. Those missing are all alive and well, and I can assure you your comrades reported dead, where not killed. Are you truly ignorant to the cause of their demise, or must I explain it to you?"
- a while ago
Fresco remained silent. Surely, we haven't mistaken the basic premise of our observation, he thought. Fresco heard a gurgling sound and redirected his attention. He realised that the thing was actually amused and had produced what he thought as the equivalent of a chuckle.
"As expected. You humans are blessed by ignorance. Perhaps that iswhat entices you to be so inquisitive. Let me enlighten you about my race. We are beings quite unlike any other, we are never at a standstill, constanly breeding, evolving and roaming the realms of the universe. You see, we evolve at such a rapid pace, we can never stay too long at one place. The consequences otherwise are too drastic."
"This planet was chosen because it cotains on it a multitude of environments. That alone made it such a viable candidate as a means to branch out the stages in our mutation. Where the beings of this planet are limited in their evolutionary ladder, we evolve and mutate at will. All we need is a fertile environment. An incubator, if you will. What we assumed to be a harmless process turned out to be near fatal for human life onlyand not any other, which we soon discovered. So we gradually retreated to our present residences. We were quite few when we arrived before your ancestors and I fear our arrival alarmed them to some extent. Some believed that we had descended from the heavens and worshipped us. Others...not so much"
"So in essence, each of our mutations are different depending on the environment we choose. Most of us have adapted for the underground. But those who chose not to, have to be in an environment which facilitates their evolution of choice. The process starts only in such an environment and must be completed there itself. Breeding, on the other hand, is impossible below ground".
- a while ago
"What proof can you provide me, that what you say is true?" began Fresco, "Everything you have told me could be purely fictitious, how can a race be so advanced, living predominantly underground, but unable to breed underground? Show yourself, that I may know that what you say is.."

"I am not here to provide proof of my existence." Interrupted the incorporeal voice "It is unimportant for me whether or not you believe. Enjoy your meal."

The light was extinguished, leaving Fresco once more to languish in his cell, and, lacking other options, return his focus to completing his meal".

____________________________________

Deep beneath the sea of the Andaman ocean. The 6 fingered hand touched its cheek, and something resembling a look of concern spread across the cheek of the smooth skinned being.
- a while ago
Despite mutations undertaken, two thing all variants of the species possessed were, 1.the aptitude to always recognise it's own kind regardless of appearance, and 2. the ability to interbreed successfully.. These abilities had, up until cosmically recently, never been questioned. However, recent generations had seen the birthrate drop ever more dramatically. It was as if, mutationally speaking, the species had painted itself into a corner.
Being a space faring race for countless millenniums, the true home planet of the mel-makarians had been lost to antiquity, however recent historians had unearthed some apparently encrypted digital maps that they had been working hard to decipher. With their advance technology, it had not taken them long to realise that the X on the map, was their original home planet.
- a while ago
Upon arrival, they of course, recognised themselves immediately, the whole of earth was populated with mel-makarians, all brothers and sisters . However, unlike every other mutation of themselves they knew of, the Earthlings, who had ceased mutating altogether, were also unable to recognise themselves, had lost the ability to interbreed and were in a constant state of apparent warfare between themselves. Instead of mutual cooperation among family, they saw themselves as separate species in competition with one another, enslaving each other, abusing and killing each other. A constant state of fear and terror reigned over the planet. Even apparent same species were not at peace.

The visitors soon discovered that despite their clear downfalls, each separate earth mutation still had the ability to interbreed successfully with the travelling mel-makarians, thus research was being undertaken to pinpoint why breeding with them was successful, and to save their slowly disappearing species.
- a while ago
The decision had also been made to keep the Earthlings unaware of their history as mel-makarians, and had instead concocted the story of the alien race looking for a home. Once they had gained a full understanding of why their species was slowly dwindling, their plan was to leave Earth as quickly and quietly as possible, and just observe from a distance.
- a while ago
P440 left the prison hold and headed back towards his research node. He encountered nobody on his way which is why he had chosen such a time for his little interrogation session. The hologram of a Y-shaped DNA structure projected by an electromagnetic plate greeted his vision when he entered. He inserted his fingers in series of holes on the control panel and switched his attention to the slow, increasing brightness. Another DNA structure in the form of a double helix appeared beside the first as he resumed his study of both the strands.

He and a group of other minds of similar intellectual calling had been assigned the task of isolating the singularity which had resulted in the birth of human kind. Their research always brought them to, or was bordered close to, what had been theorized aeons ago.

When the Mel-mekarians were still light-years away from Earth, Meka20 had proposed that all evolution would eventually come to a near standstill as progressive evolutions and inbreeding would cause a fragmentation of DNA and would cause it to receede instead of branching out. He had further proposed that the cause would not structural but behavioural.
There had been quite an uproar on the proposal and his theory had been widely critized by his peers. Eventually, someone high up in the hierarchy felt that he had become a liability and was blasphemously propagating undue fear. His theory was discarded, all his previous work discredited and he himself was barred. He slowly slipped into anonymity among the lower echelons of the social order.

P440 sighed involuntarily as he came back to the present. No use thinking about that now he reminded himself. Atleast he had a specimen to work upon now.
- a while ago
He knew that if Meka20 was right, what he was currently engaged in was completely futile. Which left him the prisoner. Some of the other Mel-makarian clusters had inadvertantly caused the death of humans in their areas. Those had been subsequently brought underground, researched, dissected and experimented upon.
He had to keep conversing with the supposed human if he ever wanted to find how their progressive behaviour had brought them to such an abrupt standstill.
A red light flashed before him. P440 felt surprised, and then shocked. That little red thing had never even blinked in all their time on earth. An intruder was inside!
- a while ago
Little was known about Rassmunsens disorder, its symptoms had of course been observed long before Rassmunsen himself came on the scene, - although he was the first and only to have fully identified with his new species..

If one examines history, the very first humans to undergo brain transplants within the metamorphosis chamber, had been transplanted into the great apes. Due to their very similar physiologies, they had been the natural choice. Death row prisoners had been the first people used, with the possibility of prolonging their lives, few declined the offer. It was rather hit and miss to begin with, with the first 5 inmates dying within hours of completion of the procedure.Inmate number 6 lived for 5 days before complications with the procedure lead also to his untimely death. It was not until the 23rd attempt that success was finally achieved.
- a while ago
Within just a few short years the operation was so fine tuned and perfected that they were able to transplant into virtual any species whose skull was roughly the same size, or larger, though not too much larger.

After gorillas and orangutans, pigs were also used. Again these tests were run with the same inmates that had survived the initial transplants. The success rates were far higher than the initial attempts, and the pig trials were left to mingle with other pigs for months at a time to study the behaviour of not only the pigs, but the inmates too. When they were finally transfered back to human bodies, radical changes in the inmates behaviours were observed. Many of them refused to eat bacon anymore, as they had begun empathizing with the plight of the pig. Within days of being reinstated within a human body (note: not their original bodies as these were no longer usable), every single one of the humans died.
- a while ago
Despite various attempts to rectify this issue, the problems with the procedure were never solved, and finally it was decided to abandon attempts at reinstating brains into humans.

_____________________________

When Rassmunsen first realised that all links to the outside world were severed, he felt extremely lonely. The only company he had to keep were other penguins. After some time, he became more accustomed to their ways, and part of the colony. He even attracted the eye of a particular female, who chose him as her mate. Initially, he was hesitant, but from lack of other company, he soon warmed to the idea of companionship, even though of the penguin kind. When she laid an egg later that year, she left him to fend for it while she disappeared with all the other female penguins on her long journey to the sea to feed. The egg hatched before her return, and Rassmunsen performed his duty well as a father, regurgitating food for his child to eat, and constantly keeping it warm.
- a while ago
Later, when both of the pair were back and fed, and the young some 6 weeks old, he noticed a team of WART agents approaching his colony. He knew instantly that they were after him, but had become so attached to his new family, that the thought of leaving sickened him, thus he did his utmost to hide himself amidst the crowd of other penguins. Eventually WART seemed resigned to the fact that he clearly did not wish to leave, and went on their way.

For 11 years he lived with the emperors, identifying ever more increasingly with them and their behaviour. One day, after being out with his mate fishing, his body pressed up close to hers, he felt a sudden flash of knowing. On a very deep-seated level, he had connected with these beings, and knew that they were one. Even the fish that he hunted regularly, he felt an unfathomable kinship with, and fished more and more reluctantly. It was a kind of spiritual awakening he was undergoing.
- a while ago
Naturally, he was unaware of the fact, but he had tapped into that ever present, though deeply buried mel-makarian psyche, that allowed one to recognise ones kind. Giving him the crystal clear realisation that penguins and humans and other animals shared more than just their planet. This was a profound insight that he felt a desperate urge to share, and as much as it pained him to leave, he knew that it was his duty to share what he had learned with the world.

As he sped across the frozen landscape, less than 50kms away, a helicopter hurtled toward him.
- a while ago
Somehow he knew they were there for him. The helicopter had not even landed that he was bodily lifted into it. He slowly felt the cold receeding from the blubber on his person. The crew onboard were strangely quiet. All except the pilot who was infact radioing for final coordinates. Rassmunsen somehow felt no anxiety. He felt calm in what he knew and tried to comfort himself that all these years had not been in vain. He watched the blue expanse disappear as they came over more warmer land. No, it was not land, he realised. It was a ship. No wonder they had reached him so soon.

A small bump told him that they had landed. The pilot began flicking off switches and buttons as the crew unbuckled themselves. He was carried from the deck to the lower levels. After years spent in the open, he felt claustrophobic seeing walls on all sides.
- a while ago
He was placed in a room with a single bulb which didn't illuminate the whole room. The harsh light hit him as he stood directly beneath the source.
"This is the Comms Room of the ship. Well insulated on all sides and completely sound proof. Transmissions from here are as secure as possible", said the man who placed him down,"Just answer whatever is asked of you", he produced a metal band and secured it around Rassmunsen's neck,"This voice synthesizer will do for now", with that statement, he left the room closing the door behind him.
- a while ago
"Agent Rassmunsen....? Are you there?", a tinny voice distorted by the architecture of the room echoed inside its confines. Rassmunsen opened his mouth and croaked involuntarily. After years of inactivity, he seemed unable to find his voice.

"Y-yes", he said hoarsely,"I fear the news I bring is of prime importance"
"What news is that?",came the high pitched question.
"Alien presence is affirmative. I have sensed it somehow. You cannot imagine what I know...", said Rassmunsen shuddering at the thought. "A solitary mind of vast horizons, single yet comprising of countless consciousnesses. Working as a unit of extraordinary efficiency and unimaginable drive".
"Agent Rassmunsen. You are not being coherent and right now we are not in the position for niceties or ambiguities borne of diplomacy. We need to know exactly what we are dealing with".

"What you need to know now is the truth. The truth of what we were and what we have become".
- a while ago
P440 stood up to verify what he was seeing. An intruder alert basically meant that someone had wandered into a section of the compound they were unauthorized to. An action no mel-Makarian he knew of would dream of undertaking. On further inspection, he observed that 2 young scientists and his immediate superior were leading the prisoner away from his holding cell, and that it was as the emu had crossed over into section C that his alarm had sounded.

A bewildered Fresco followed the trio, curious as to where they were headed. He considered attempting to overpower his captors, but knew he had no real idea where he was, or how to flee the compound.. Besides, the one alien beside him looked a force to be reckoned with, with 6 powerful limbs, that seemed to function both as arms and legs. After a while, they arrived in a room complete with sophisticated equipment.

Suddenly he awoke. It was as if his head was full of fog, the last thing he remembered was following the trio.
- a while ago
Beside him stood the 6 limbed being, or one similar, and another smooth skinned being that seemed to be all fingers. They spoke together in their melodious alien tongue.

"Are you sure this was wise brother?" Questioned P440.

"I think our earthly brethren are strange creatures who respond well to threats. Our message will be clear this way, and hopefully leave us to continue our research in peace", responded the 6 limbed being.

Fresco listened intently, trying to fathom if the voices were hostile or friendly. He had little idea, their language did not give away their emotions. From his strapped in position, he was unable to observe much, but his vision seemed extra keen and focused, and his olfactory sense outstanding. He also noticed that instead of his emu beak, it appeared he had a scaled nose. He could see little else of himself.

___________

Both Sanchez and Banks were growing tired of their wait and considering calling it a day, when suddenly an emu appeared.
- a while ago
"Don?" asked an uncertain agent Sanchez "Is that you?"

The emu fell to the ground, and as Sanchez drew nearer, she knew for sure that this was indeed her partner.

"You must leave", his voice croaked stutteringly "We are all in grave danger. They know the exact location of every agent that is observing them, and have given you 24 hours to leave."

"Tell us what you know!" commanded Banks who had joined the emus.
- a while ago
"There's...no time",groaned Fresco, "You need to get out before you still can. Warn the others! Get away as fast as possible...and stay away".
"Are you alright?",asked Sanchez notcing for the first time the sclaed beak. She couldn't be sure but it was almost as if it was growing darker and spreading ever so slowly. Her concern turned to alarm and she reflexively backed away. Banks also noticed it and looked questioningly at the transformation.
"I'm turning into one of them. I dont know what I might do once the transformation is complete", replied Fresco now in obvious pain.
"At best I have minutes if not seconds. You need to move. Now!".

Banks stood rooted to the spot as he watched dark scales slowly enveloping his colleagues body. He knew he had a decision to make. There obviously wasn't enough time to call for help and he somehow knew that the change might probably be irreversible.
"We have to warn the others", said Banks quietly.
- a while ago
Sanchez understood-if not accepted-her superior's decision. She knew Fresco's chances were on the wrong side of the probability ratio and they were getting bleeker by the second. They had to retreat albeit one comrade short. In her entire career as an AFA, she had never expected such a scenario to play itself out and had certainly not anticipated that she would be entirely helpless to change its outcome.
- a while ago
Fresco watched them slowly retreat as his vision blurred. His neck shortened till his head was just inches from his torso while his wings elongated and grew thinner and thinner. He was rapidly shedding feathers and hair. The sheer agony of this transformation left him gasping for air and he crumpled to the ground, unconscious.

P440 saw the device slowly power down. The white bars of light dimmed one by one as it dispelled the excess charge into its reserves. He knew the consequences of breaking down one's DNA to its basic form would be gruesome and somehow it seemed crude to him that enlightment for the human would be quite painful.
- a while ago
A device that could degenerate the genetic makeup of any organism related to Mel-makarins to its most basic form. The process couldn't be reversed. At first it was a tool to restart the whole evolution process so one could easily re-adapt to entirely new surroundings. It wasn't a well known, or for that matter, a popular process due to the immense pain a subject would have to bear. And many who knew of it still chose not to opt for it.

This was the third time during their stay on earth that the device had been successfully used. Initial tests had produced horrific results with subjects dying in throes of agony. Apparently, it had to be calibrated to the subject so that it did not cross the being's threshold of pain. It wasn't a weapon per se, but his superiors had seen it as the optimum way to enlighten their earthen successors. No name had been given to it and eventually it cam e to be called as The Machine.
- a while ago
2 billion years ago, the first mel-Makarians sparked into existence on earth. Life is a curious little comprehended phenomenon, similar to gravity, we know it is there, and we know certain aspects of how it functions, but no one really understands why it is there. The mel-Makarians through their space faring endeavours, realised eons ago that , life always just happened. They had not yet encountered a single planet, moon or asteroid that did not have some form of life on it, however microscopic it may be. The fact that humans had still not discovered other life within their own solar system was more for want of looking in the right places than anything.

Mel-Makarians were a resourceful, peaceful lot, the first thing they evolved was their intelligence and a deep-seated sense of fraternity. They soon developed a language, calling their home planet Makarian. (the word mel was their term for creature, being, sentient life or simply people).
- a while ago
Although they evolved rapidly, to make use of the multitude of earth environments, they never once lost sight of their inherent kinship, and for fathomless generations, and in all known history of the mel-Makarian species, they had always enjoyed a harmonious balance of nature amongst themselves, always going out of their way to help each other when needed.

The first mel-Makarians to leave their home planet, did so on their own steam. some evolved into beings able to live without air in the cold depths of space, travelling for 1000s of years before colonising other planets, always adapting to live peacefully with whatever other sentient life they encountered. Eventually, ancestors of those same mel-Makarians, developed faster than light space travel, and colonised yet further planets. Their original home planet was soon forgotten, and the Earth as we know it, left in solitude.
- a while ago
Initially, the beings remaining on Makarian happily continued their peaceful coexistence. However, on one fateful day, some 2500 years after the space faring mel-Makarians had flown from their cosmic nest, the Simmorkans arrived.
- a while ago
One could say that the Simmorkans and Mel-makarians were two races in stark contrast with each other. Where a Mel evolved on whim, a Simm could not. This was not the only differentiating characteristic. Because the Simmorkans were physically limited, they had attuned minds which were relatively more self-aware. They therefore felt no compulsion to act for the benefit of all. Individuality, thus came into play as these aliens introduced another element into the gene pool.

Though there was always inter-racial peace, the by-product of the Mel-Makarians and Simmorkans created rifts in this co-existence. Eventually, the Mel-makarians felt that their presence was overdue and that the remenants on the planet should rejoin their race.
- a while ago
The hybrid species bred at a much faster rate and gradually the population count of the Simms began to decline who eventually left the planet in the hands of their successors.
Without the guidance of either the Simms or the Mels, the social structure slowly fell apart. Anarchy and violence ran its course to deal a further blow to the hybrid population who slowly degenerated to crude, narrow-minded and barely utilitarian beings. With too few numbers, the violence eventually died with the more violent counterparts and the hybrids settled to the more essential tasks to ensure survival.
These were the seeds of the new generation of human beings known as Neanderthals.
- a while ago
Homes was silently listening to the exchange between Agent Lopez and Rassmunsen and his pertuberance was growing with each sentence spoken. At first he thought that Rassmunsen was making up a poor story as an excuse but the absurdity of it was probably what made it seem so real.
Homes was both glad and disturbed at this fresh information. Glad because he now knew what he was dealing with and to some extent what they planned. But it also came with a price. This knowledge could not be publicly declared. It would cause mass hysteria and panic. The burden on his shoulders now seemed heavier. He knew that all decisions he made from now on would eventually decide the fate of humanity. He silently sighed.
- a while ago
First things first. Homes issued a Code 13 directive which was basically a 'cover your behinds and retreat' order, effective immediately. All AFAs were being pulled out. The zones however were left with basic surveillence and skeleton crews consisting exclusively of humans. Preprations and meetings with top brass were in order incase it came to nuclear or chemical warfare.
- a while ago
P440 checked his dial and saw the blinking reminder there. It was time for his routine medical evaluation. About to leave the chamber, he realised that he didn't know where the med-center was. It had most recently been relocated to accommodate the expansion plans for the underground base.

He checked the site map for the familiar green dot and almost failed to notice the discrepancy in the schematic. The site for expansion was not considerable in size if actual expansion were to take place. Such a place would in fact use more resources and time and in the end not be worth the effort.
- a while ago
He touched the panel for more information and was surprised to find that he did not have the access privileges. His curiosity roused, he input his higher level Scribe password and found the plans for a simple storage unit. The image flickered once and then was constant. P440 studied the plans for a while when the image flickered again. He waited and again the flicker occurred. This time he counted the flicker interval.
Damn! He thought, someone was using very sophisticated software to project the fake layout of a storage unit on something else entirely. Since the software had to rely on the host machine to parallel project the image at different access terminals, it did so in bursts to reduce processor requirements. He quickly ran an application on the map from his own database. What he found was the last thing he had expected.
- a while ago
A vast circular area had been excavated into the wall with dozens of narrow passages leading to the surface. P440 wondered what it could be. He might have to check it out in person.
On a hunch, he switched to thermal view. He was astounded to see that the heat given out was off the charts. It would definitely need to vent it off. So that's what the passages were! They were acting as exhaust pipes for whatever was in there. But what was it?
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