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Story listed as: Fiction For Adults | Theme: Science Fiction | Subject: Science Fiction | Published here : 10/14/2015
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Subterranean 
 
By K.S. Andersen
Born 1986, M, from Gothenburg, Sweden
Subterranean
The year is 2045. The ozone layer protecting Earth has dissipated. Nothing lives on the planet's surface anymore. Humanity tried to save the world, but disagreements on whether global warming was real or not and war kept humanity split and prevented any lasting solutions to be found. That was until an ambitious corporation called Eurocorp stepped in with a solution. They sought to build 4 big cities beneath the planet's surface where people would be able to continue a normal existence. There was a catch however, Eurocorp could only save 25% of the world's population. Eurocorp selected 1.7 billion people they could save and moved them into the cities. The rest of humanity was abandoned on Earth's surface. Even though they strove hard to survive on Earth's surface people died from starvation and disease, mainly skin cancer. From the increased exposure to the sun crops and other plants withered and died. This affected livestock and animals in general which were driven to extinction, shortly followed by humans. But it was not paradise for people underground either. People soon realized that Eurocorp had cut out the old governments and ran their cities like a corporation. If you didn't work you didn't get food, a place to live, electricity, and other luxuries you were used to prior to the global crisis. To uphold order in the chaos, Eurocorp Security was deployed to keep the citizens in check. These enforcers cracked down ruthlessly on even the smallest infraction. In time the citizens came to fear their rescuers…

“Good day. Today is September 27th and you are listening to Positive News...” These words escape the radio in the kiosk as Thomas pays the cashier for a pack of cigarettes. As he walks out of the kiosk into the light rain, he pulls out a smoke and lights it. As he exhales he looks up into the sky.
“Still hard to imagine that it is not the real sky, right?” A man next to him asks.
“Yes. But considering those are holographic panels covering the ceiling of this cave, or whatever you wanna call it, it sure makes a nice illusion.” Thomas looks at the man.
The man nods. “True. At least the illusion is free to look at unlike most of everything else in this so called paradise!”

The conversation is interrupted by a Eurocorp security patrol chasing down a man on the opposite side of the street. The security officers shoot the running man in the back with a stun gun. While the man lies on the ground the security officers kick him several times before putting him in hand cuffs. A few words drifts across the street from the commotion. All that can be heard is “under arrest” and “rape”. Thomas finishes his cigarette and starts walking down the sidewalk. The rain picks up and he comes to a subway station. He gets on the subway and gets off 5 stops later. Across the street from the subway station there is a high apartment building.

Thomas walks in through the door and across the lobby to the elevators. He gets in an elevator and presses a button.
“Going up to floor 35.” It comes monotone from the elevator. The elevator has 3 glass walls and as the elevator goes up he gets a great view of the city. The rain still falls heavily from the sprinkler system concealed in the holographic panels forming the sky. The cityscape is dotted with dozens of high apartment buildings, like the one he lives in, alongside other sky scrapers and two Eurocorp Vulture VTOL gunships are seen taking off and flying off into the horizon. Thomas arrives at floor 35 and goes inside his apartment. The apartment is a worn down place with a sofa group in one corner, a kitchen in another corner and bathroom in the third corner. In the fourth corner the bed is located and makes the bedroom. Next to the bed there's a full wall glass panel. Thomas hangs up his coat and goes to the glass wall. He lights up a cigarette and takes a deep drag. He stands there for a few minutes looking across the cityscape.
Then his cell phone rings. He looks at the display, caller unknown. “Who is this?”
“Someone who needs your help. Simply call me what I am. The Voice.” It's an electronically distorted voice on the other end.
“I don't help strangers. You have gotten hold of the wrong person!” Thomas responds.
“No. You are the right person.”
“And how do you know that?” Thomas sneers.
“Because I know so much about you. I know your real name is Thomas Sorenson and that you have a past with Eurocorp. That makes you the right man I need.” The voice says calmly.
Thomas becomes surprised. “How do you know this?”
“I'm connected to the right sources and I need help with a problem related to Eurocorp.”
“I thought you would say that. What do you need?” Thomas sits down on the couch and leans back.
“I need you to break into a Eurocorp data facility and obtain some data for me.” The voice explains.
He scoffs. “Of all about 425,000 people in Sanctuary you just happen to call me?”
“As I said before I'm connected to the right sources. I know you are the right man for the job. And of course there's the payment for the completion of the job.”
“Payment?”
“Yes. 250,000 dollars.”
“Ok. I'll do it. How do we do this?”
“You will meet a contact of mine in the strip club Opherix. It's located in Meat City.” The voice hangs up and he sits back thinking over what just happened.

Meat City, a part of town some people avoid like the plague, but also where other people go to escape reality. This is where you find all the prostitutes, strip clubs, greasy bars and more drugs than what you know what to do with.

Thomas walks down the street past rows of women selling themselves to the highest bidder. Opherix is located at the end of the street. As he approaches the entrance he notices Eurocorp security patrols doing random searches of people. He passes the bouncer and enters Opherix. The place is packed and all attention is turned to the strippers on the stage. He pushes through the crowd to the bar and orders a beer. A woman edges up to him from the right. She's thirtyish, normal build, tall and has piercing eyes.
“Hello there stranger.” She says to Thomas.
“I'm not interested.”
“Oh, why not handsome?”
“I'm waiting for someone.”
“Strange place for a lover's rendezvous.” The woman smiles.
“That's irrelevant. But why are you in here and not out on the street hassling the common pedestrian?”
“Too much work. My mother taught me to work smart, not hard.”
“And how's that going for you?”
“It works all right. You see, in here no one can touch the strippers. But me, me they pay to touch.” She winks at Thomas.
“So you are a parasite feeding off the strippers' work?”
She smiles at Thomas. “No, consider me more of a steam valve. I help the strippers' clients to vent their energy. It's a synergy thing. That way these lovely things don't get to experience any unpleasant episodes while on stage. By the way someone seems to have an interest in you.”
Thomas looks over his shoulder and on the far side of the room he sees one of the strippers watching him. An unusual detail is that she has a green and a blue eye. She smiles at him. He turns around and faces the bar again.
“I don't have time for such nonsense!”
The woman looks at him in disbelief. “When did you become such a serious stiff?”

Thomas briefly zones out and thinks back to that day. However before he can respond the flashback is interrupted as a second woman approaches him. This one in her twenties, tall and of athletic build. She is wearing a long skin tight dress, high heeled boots and gloves. Beneath short cut blue purplish hair, that ends in short pony tail, a pair of warm eyes look at Thomas.
“I'm looking for a guy called Thomas.”
Thomas zones back to reality. “That would be me.”
“Well, it seems the lover has showed up.” The prostitute grabs her drink, winks to the newcomer and walks away.
“Who was that?”
“No one in particular. So you are my contact?”
“Yes, I'm Jaye. I'm to assist you in breaking into the Eurocorp data facility. I have something for you.” Jaye reaches in to her purse and pulls out and device that's no larger than a pack of cigarettes. “Here. It's a card reader to scan Eurocorp security passes.”
Thomas takes the device and looks at Jaye questioningly. “You've done this before?”
She looks at him. “I'm experienced with similar situations, yes.”

Then a Eurocorp security patrol enters Opherix and start a sweep of the place.
Jaye looks in their direction. “It looks like a standard sweep. They are not looking for us specifically. Let's leave.” They leave the strip club by one of the other entrances and once out in the street, they start walking down a side alley. They have walked 20 paces down the alley before they hear a shout from behind. “Stop!” They turn around and see 3 Eurocorp security officers walk up to them.
The lead officer looks at them both. “So you thought you could avoid our control by leaving?”
Thomas feigns nervousness. “No, officer. We just had somewhere to be.”
“Save it. ID cards! Now!” The officer snaps back at Thomas. Jaye reaches into her purse, but instead of an ID card she pulls out a telescopic baton. With a quick flick of her wrist the baton extends and she unleashes a flurry of strikes against the security officers. They try to raise their weapons in order to open fire, but are not fast enough and they soon fall to the ground knocked out. Jaye starts to look though their pouches and pockets and takes out an ID card that she holds up to Thomas. He takes the card and runs it through the card reader. It beeps twice to indicate that the card has been read and he hands it back to Jaye who returns it to the pocket where she found it. She gets up and they both walk away into the night.

“Sit down and let's start.” The voice belongs to Drace Hanson, CEO of Eurocorp, who has called his 4 directors into the weekly meeting. Around the table are sitting Rolf Harmer, director of Operations, Sylvie Ryuaki, director of Facility X, Chris Madsen, director of Environmental control, and James Andersen, director of Population control. Drace looks at Rolf and Sylvie. “Any developments on Operation Boundless?”
Rolf clears his throat. “Not yet sir. But we are still looking. We have done random sweeps of the city to try and find any leads. Last night a possible lead was reported. One of our patrols found 3 security officers knocked out. They reported the perpetrators supposedly are a man and a woman.”
Drace leans forward. “Where did this happen?”
“The knocked out officers were found in an alley in Meat City, sir.”
“Then it might be nothing. Have you for one second, Rolf, considered that the officers simply could have interrupted a prostitute working? Some people don't like interruptions and our security forces can sometimes be a bit… overzealous.”
“But sir...”
“This is nothing Rolf. Move on and keep looking.“ Rolf becomes small in his chair and Drace directs his gaze at Sylvie. “What's the status on Facility X?”
Sylvie smiles. “We have a steady supply of criminals coming in and the re-socialization goes well in general. We have only a few failed attempts and as you ordered those are buried inside the facility itself. So all in all, everything goes as scheduled.”
Drace looks pleased. “Good to hear. Now on to the next subject...”

Dressed in Eurocorp security uniforms Jaye and Thomas walk up to the side exit that leads into the Eurocorp data facility. Thomas waves the card in front of the card reader and they walk through the door. They enter a small lobby with three hallways leading to different parts of the facility. On the wall there's an interactive map of the entire facility.
Jaye points to the map. “Look, here's the hangar and this is where they supposedly store the information we're after. I'll go to the hangar and secure a Vulture gunship for our extraction, just in case, while you go get the data."

Thomas looks at her with realization in his eyes. “We scanned the security pass of a security officer on the street and then had the card reader generate a new security pass based on the scanned codes, but how can we assume we will be able access a secure data storage?”
Jaye bites her lip and points to the map. “You are right. Go to this security office and have them bump up your security clearance.”
Thomas shakes his head. “That won't work. They are not that dumb.”
“Don't bet on that. Besides, who's gonna be stupid enough to try and infiltrate one of their secured facilities. Pretend you are a rookie. That works every time.”

They split up and Thomas walks to the security office and knocks on the window.
The security officer opens the door and looks at Thomas. “What can I do for you?”
Thomas inserts some insecurity into his voice. “I've been assigned to guard the secure data storage, but I lost my security pass.”
The officer looks at him funny. “You lost your security pass and exactly why do you bother me?”
“I got a new one, but I can't access the storage area.”
The officer shakes his head in disbelief. “Christ. Are you a rookie or something, Bizielski?”
Thomas looks at his nametab on his uniform. “Yeah...”
“You probably haven't had the right clearance uploaded to the card. Here, give it to me.” He gives the security officer the security pass. “You are almost as stupid as Ricardo. He got beat up by a hooker last night. He claims it was some sort of trained operative with a telescopic baton, but I don't buy it.” The officer hands the card back to Thomas. “Now don't lose this or I will report you to your supervisor. Off you go.”
The security officer closes the door and Thomas walks over to the elevator. He takes the elevator down to the storage floor. He exits the elevator and continues through the hallways.

Then his radio chirps. “It's Jaye. Have you come into the data storage yet?”
“Yes. I've just exited the elevator and am in the hallway.”
“Good. You are looking for door SHC14.”
Thomas walks further along the hallway. “I got it. I found the door.” He walks in through the door and walks over to a data terminal. He touches the keyboard and the terminal's screen lights up. “I'm at a data terminal.”
“Great. Somewhere on the terminal there should be a usb port where you can insert the usb stick I gave you. Once it's inserted, it should give you the access you need.” He inserts the usb stick and the terminal starts reading the stick. “Now call up the search option and do a search on “Operation Boundless”.” As Thomas makes the search a lot of data appears on screen, but it's encrypted.
“I can't read it. There's a lot of data, but it's all encrypted.”
“Shit. Well, we can't pick and choose. You will have to copy it all.” As Thomas enters the command to copy the data to the usb stick an alarm starts blaring. "Damn Thomas. Did you really have to set off the alarm?!”
“It wasn't my choice. This must be really sensitive data.”

Suddenly a security guard burst through the door aiming his assault rifle at Thomas. Thomas quickly draws his pistol and double taps the guard in the chest. Thomas walks over to a security monitor on the wall and flips through the security feeds and sees several security guards taking the elevator down to the data storage floor. He walks over to the door, leans against the door frame and peeks around the corner. The elevator arrives at the floor and the guards exit the elevator covering each other. Thomas takes out a concussion grenade and throws it down the hallway and it lands in front of the nearest guards. They are pushed back as the grenade detonates. They lie confused on the floor as their colleagues step forward and open fire at Thomas. He kneels down and leans out of the door frame and fires his pistol and hits two of the guards that fall dead to the floor. The shocked guards regain their footing and resume firing at him.

The radio beeps and Thomas hears Jaye's voice. “How is it going?”
“I'm a bit hung up with some company right now and the terminal is still transferring,” he replies. “Have you secured transport yet?”
“I'm securing it right now. I've checked the schematics and there is a service elevator at the far end of the hallway. It takes you to the main level.”
“Got it.” The radio connection closes and the data terminal beeps to signal the data transfer is done. Thomas blind fires through the door, he runs to the terminal and removes the usb stick. One of the security guards come through the door and tries to shoot him. He shoots the guard twice in the gut and pushes the guard out into the middle of the hallway. The other guards react on the movement and open fire killing their colleague as Thomas uses him as a meat shield. As the security guard falls dead to the floor, holed like Swiss cheese, Thomas makes it to the service elevator. On the main floor he walks out into chaos, alarms are blaring and security guards try to restore order as civilian personnel are running for the exits.

A security guard locks eyes with him. “You! Stop!” He starts pursuit and three other guards join the pursuit as Thomas runs for the hangar.
Thomas presses his radio. “I hope you are ready. I'm on my way.”
“Copy that.” He runs through the hangar door with four security guards in tow. “Down! Now!” Jaye shouts over the radio.
As Thomas drops to the floor, a torrent of noise and bullets rip into the security guards. As Thomas stands up and looks over his shoulder and presses his radio, He speaks angrily into the radio. “Are you crazy?! You could have killed me!” The hangar door now looks like an expressive alternate painting of blood and meat with holes in it.
“Relax! You survived fine.” Jaye is sitting in the cockpit of a Eurocorp Vulture VTOL gunship hovering a couple of meters above the floor. The gatling gun mounted beneath the nose spins to a stop. As she is about to land to pick up Thomas she looks up. “Shit. Security forces rappelling down through the roof hangar door. Make your way to the upper catwalk and I'll pick you up there.”
“Got it.”

As Jaye raises the gunship to engage the new enemies, Thomas runs for a ladder leading to the upper catwalks. The guards on the upper catwalk open fire on the gunship, but the bullets simply deflect off. The gatling gun roars to life and sweeps the guards off the catwalk with a hail of bullets. Thomas steps over the bloody remains and walks to the end of the catwalk. The gunship comes to a hover at the end of the catwalk and the side door lowers, Thomas boards and climbs into the copilot seat in the cockpit. As he straps in Jaye steers the gunship out of the hangar. More security guards enters the hangar and open fire at the gunship as it leaves the hangar. Jaye sets course for a rendezvous point set by The Voice.


Jaye looks out through the cockpit canopy into the setting sun. “We should be at the rendezvous point in 15 minutes.”
“Just get us there in one piece.”
“Got it.” An alarm starts blinking on the instrument board. “Ah. We seem to have two enemy gunships catching up to us.”
“You don't say.”
“I'm afraid so. Don't worry, I'll try to shake them off gently.”
Thomas tugs at his restraints. “That makes me feel much better.”

The pursuing gunships close the distance and open fire. Jaye takes evasive maneuvers and weaves in between buildings, throwing the pursuers' aim off. The pursuers clear the buildings and resume firing. The gunship our heroes are flying starts to take hits. Jaye puts the gunship into a dive to get out of range and heads toward a construction site. Construction workers are in the process of demolishing a building with a wrecking ball. Jaye dives down into the canyon made of the buildings surrounding the construction site. The wrecking ball hits the wall and retracts. Jaye swoops by the building being demolished without being hit by the wrecking ball. However one of the pursuing gunships is hit by the wrecking ball and crashes through the building. The other gunship makes it through the construction site without problems. As the enemy gunship exits the construction site Jaye dives at the gunship with the sun in her back and opens fire. The barrage of bullets strikes the enemy gunship across the back and hits one of the engines. The engine explodes and the enemy gunship starts to spin out of control and crashes into a building. Jaye turns their gunship around and heads for the rendezvous point.

After arriving at the rendezvous point in an abandoned warehouse district Thomas and Jaye are waiting to be contacted by The Voice. He is walking back and forth smoking while she lounges in the pilot seat. Then Thomas' phone rings. He answers it. “Hello.”
“I assume you got the data.”
“Yes. However our exit was a little less than stealthy.”
“That's unfortunate, but the important thing is that we got the data. Your money has been transferred.”
“Where do we hand over the data?”
“You need to hand it over to me personally. Unfortunately I'm working undercover at Eurocorp HQ. We can meet up outside HQ.”
“Understood.” Thomas walks toward the gunship and ends the conversation. As he climbs into the cockpit the phone rings again and he answers. “Yeah?”
“Hello Mr. Sorenson. This is Drace Hanson...”
Jaye hears him answering the phone, but the rest of the conversation is drowned out as she powers up the gunship's engines.

As they get near Eurocorp HQ they set down inside of an abandoned parking garage where the roof has collapsed. Next to the parking garage they find a security system node. The node is built into the wall of a building next to the parking garage.
Jaye looks at Thomas. “So what do we do now?”
“We'll meet The Voice outside the HQ somewhere and hand over the data. She or he didn't specify where. Wait here. I'm gonna go look for this person.”
Thomas walks away.

As he has been away some time, Jaye goes out looking for him. She rounds a corner of the building and gets a clear line of sight of the Eurocorp HQ's main entrance. She sees Thomas walking through the door. She runs back to the security node and uses the security card from the data facility to access it. She swipes through the security feeds and sees Thomas walk into the main lobby. As he walks up to a security guard standing by the elevator door she hears the guard talking to Thomas. “Mr. Hanson is waiting for you up top.” Jaye becomes shocked as realization hits her.

Thomas rides the elevator to the top floor. As the elevator door opens, he sees Drace Hanson waiting for him. He nods at Hanson. “Let's talk.”

End.
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