If you are reading this, it means one of two things. 

One, my virus was successful and has now infiltrated the Einz mainframe. 

The second, and vastly  more likely option is that you dug one of our viral bullets from an Einz soldier. If you are that soldier, a family member or comrade, I apologise to you. If that soldier is dead, know that this causes me deep sorrow. But there will be countless more deaths unless these files reach the right people, so I had to do this. The bullets were the easiest method of delivery. As they often are, death and destruction were the most convenient shield.

I am Vardy Folger, a member of the Golden Chain’s inner circle and a Fallen Einz who sought refuge in Trine. Seven days ago, while monitoring communications routing through the Einz networks, I noticed a huge data spike. I was intrigued. 

The hack was complex, but knowing the Einz as I do I have certain advantages. For one thing, my augments are all based on the latest technologies. With my own improvements to the interface, I am able to dismantle most any Einz security. Except, of course, for the Blue Shield. No one has yet figured out ways to circumvent their barriers. It didn’t matter in this case. The Blue Shield was not active, meaning they have either refused to help the Einz on this, or they are being kept in the dark too. 

This is what I found:

The Einz’ own social hierarchy is failing. As the gap between the mega wealthy and the rich increases, dissatisfaction among the poorer substrata grows. There are only so many exiles, so many executions that one can make before the majority threaten to take back power from the incredibly wealthy few. 

So the Einz’ lead family, the Maldran, have conceived a plan.  

On 12.24 at exactly the last minute before midnight, the Einz will turn off the smog suppression system that keeps their city safe from the noxious clouds that choke the Trine. The smog will rise and spread until it covers the lower Einz cities–the poorer cities. This in itself is terrible enough. But there is more.

At the same time the Einz will lock down the upper levels of their cities and reinforce emergency measures in preparation of what is to come.  

The incendiary charges are already set at strategic points around the Einz’ lower infrastructure. The ash falls are due any day now in the Trine. 

With these components they will set alight the very air and burn everything under their heels–wiping away thousands of troublesome poor and bringing those who do not die to compliant ruin.

Unless we stop it. 

I am taking an extraordinary risk by doing this, but I have to believe that whatever our class of birth–Einz, Trine or somewhere in between–we know in our hearts that this abomination cannot be allowed; that this mass slaughter must be stopped and that the Einz regime must fall. 

There. I have laid my treason as naked as a newborn, so I may as well go one step further: if you have it in you to help me stop this, come find me by 12:10. I reside within the labyrinth of the Rose Flats. I have attached the necessary directions, codes and, indeed, warnings. 

For all that is good, please, help me.

Jack finished reading the message. He read it again.

“There’s more. I mean, there’s proof in there. The locations of the charges, the precise code that the Maldran are laying to turn off the Suppressant, everything,” Lee said. “There’s also a map to the Labyrinth.”

“This could all be a conspiracy,” Jack said. “I mean, I’m in a room where you’ve altered what I can see. How do I know you’re not lying about this?”

Lee didn’t take this as the affront Jack had meant it. “That’s a fair point,” he said, and he walked to the terminal behind Jack’s bed. “Besides, I’m getting a bit tired of changing your bed pan given that there’s a bathroom not six feet to your right.” He ran his fingers in a quick patter over the halo terminal. Jack perceived a brightening of the room’s white walls until they became a hot glare. He blinked a few times.  Eventually, the room resolved, different than before.

Dark, a bit grimy. Windows lined the wall behind him offering him a perfect view of the Trine in all its squalor and hazy glory. To his right was a door to what he supposed was the bathroom, and at the far end of the room were opaque windows and a door that led out to the corridor.

“So?” Jack asked.

“I’ve turned the terminal off completely. You are no longer being monitored. There is no interface between you and your augments.”

“Still could be lying,” Jack said.

“And this…” Ignoring him, Lee quick stepped over to a long, black wooden case sat against the wall. “This is for you.”

He put the case in Jack’s lap. Jack looked at it, ran a hand over the synthetic hardwood of its top. He grunted, as was his custom, then he clicked open one of the case’s chrome latches, then the other.

“This isn’t my leg,” he said. In the case was a polished-looking silver limb fashioned from elegant curves and polished touch interfaces–a far cry from the grizzled tissue and metal augment he was used to.

“It isn’t. Your leg’s corrupted. I can’t save it. So I built you this.”

Jack looked up at him. “You…in two days, you did this?”

Lee shrugged. “I have a library of schematics, and since interfaced that day on the roof I had your rough parameters logged. It will take some tweaking but, it should be a good fit.”

Jack pulled out the limb and set it down at his side. Lee obliged by removing the case. Wasting no time, Jack threw off his bed sheet, exposing his naked body to the air.

Lee turned away.

“Why doc, I think you’re blushing.” Jack used one hand to pull the fine caps off his knee joint’s filaments. Then, taking the leg, he angled the cradle of the limb to the joint and threaded through the filaments. A biting sensation as the limb locked into place, and then a sudden rush of sensation.

“It should allow you real-time analysis of the environment, communications, everything.”

Jack rubbed at the leg. Feeling. The illusion of feeling. “Now if you’ll get me my clothes, I’ll be on my way.”

Lee blinked. “Did you not hear me? They’re going to kill everyone.”

“Did you not hear me?” Jack retorted, “I don’t give a shit. Now this leg, it’s pretty good. And you’ve patched me up, so I will forget the fact that you’ve been holding me down here, that you’ve been hacking Einz tech and probably have illegals walking these halls right now. But that’s as far as my grace goes. You want to stop this made up conspiracy, all power to you. But I’m going back up top.”

Lee’s jaw set hard. “Then you can get out of here right now and I hope you freeze. Go on, you monster. Leave!”


DAY 4>>>