Note: this is a work of fiction, with all the usual stuff about copyright and permission. It’s also a work in progress and a way to develop my knowledge of the english language. So feel free to correct, debate, laugh, ask about it in the comments. Help appreciated.
You may find the index here.
After a full hour of jumps Keller signaled me to stop. We were near a crossroad, there were four wagons at the ready, each one with two horses. Without a word he motioned me to one of those carriages and in matter of a minute all four started their travel, one in each direction. There was no one else all around, it was almost impossible to know what wagon we were in.
Inside that wagon there was Kellan too, I was more than happy and by the look she felt the same about me. That little moment of peace could not last for long, it was up to Keller to set everything in motion.
“Howard, we do not have that much time left. This little masquerade can confuse Omniplan for a while but sooner or later it will understand what’s going on. Think about us as a major distraction for the King and his son, our move will allow our friends escaped from the castle to avoid detection.”
“Are they all ghosts?”
“Yes, they and the group that set them free. This raid costs us all the infiltrates inside Halkoon’s fortress but we cannot let them there. Omniplan was next to operate them all, it was a matter of a day or two.”
“That surgery is about placing a detector inside? I mean, some sort of trasmitter?”
That was a problem. How to explain the concept of radio frequency to anybody in a world like Zeranta?
“Much more than that. Omniplan knows about health conditions, records every word you say or ear and sees everything you see.”
I was speechless, that was far beyond any known control freak on Earth.
“When we discovered that we start to gave birth to our children outside Omniplan labs. You see, that’s the reason why we’re out of its control. The price to pay is huge, our level of medical care is far under the rest of the population. But we are free.”
“So everybody in the Republic is a ghost?”
“The majority is. The others are people who escaped from the kingdom. Prince Halkan created his own group of ghosts about twenty years ago, that will be his surprise for the battle to come.”
That was a cunning move to play. With a battle order known to the last man or woman to both part of the conflict in the field having a small formation able to go everywhere undetected was an huge advantage. The hole in that theory was all in the visual approach.
“This trick with your four wagons is intended to fool the direct observation from satellites, right? So the Halkan’s special unit got to be with the main army and it have to be a little group. The same for your groups since you have to infiltrate without visual detection.”
“It’s worse than this. Omniplan hear and see everything, do you remember? It can understand if any ghost is in an area by a cross-check of the normal people who’s in the same place. We don’t dare to infiltrate a group, not even a small group. We have to communicate carefully, usually by written messages left in predetermined places.”
“I still don’t understand how do you manage to free your people. Even if your men are able to go in, as soon as one of them start a fight with somebody who’s under control you will be busted.”
“You’re right. That’s the reason why we disrupt Omniplan surveillance with one of these.”
Keller showed me a little plastic black box, with the words “Commander Stone” written on one side. There was a single button on top.
“If you press the button you will disable Omniplan for a ten-yards radius. It’s an useful trick. That thing will be really upset now.”
“How many boxes like this do you have?”
“There were ten of them, now we got just four.”
“What if you use one of this black boxes inside a lab?”
“Nobody knows. But it’s up to you to discover what will happen. You see, we need to stop Omniplan and you’re the only one with some chance of success.”
I was about to answer when an awful scream filled the air. It was like a storm of banshees, something between rage and desperation.
“It’s the Omniplan. When we trick him like today it screams a lot, you can hear this sound everywhere on Zeranta.”
That scream never stop, it was almost unbearable.
“Here, help yourself.”
He handed me two small balls of cloth coated in wax. Enough to cut away the main part of that damned scream.
“To find a way to stop that thing you have to go to the most dangerous place on Zeranta, in the Desert of Steel.”