Part 3: Chapter 9: Conflict

Once again my suspicions had been activated. The rescue of EricToo seemed a little too easy for my liking. Almost as if what he had told me to guide my search and replace sequence was a mask to his true intentions. I just could not shake off this lack of trust. I knew that at some point I would have to bury it deep within me as there would come a point where it would seriously cloud my judgement and perhaps my ability to think clearly when tackling a critical problem.

I had to give him a chance to make his impressions on everyone without negatively influencing them. I had to see him as an equal, but not as me. He was not me, yet I was telling myself that he was. My mind was in recursion with this circular synapse.

When we finally arrived back at the headquarters only Alice was there. She was working on the day and night cycle problem and making some progress within the confines of a single room.

Alice, this is EricToo,” I said.

It’s good to meet you,” replied Alice, shaking EricToo’s hand, “And I’m really sorry.”

That’s okay, without you I would not exist. In some respect, you are my creator and I should be thanking you for my existence rather than you apologising for my creation.”

But still, I feel some responsibility for anything that might happen to you should people find out that it was you that brought them here.”

I appreciate your concern.”

Alice, I’d just like your thoughts on how we should best utilise EricToo until the restrictions are lifted should he earn that privilege.”

Alice gave me a a very brief glare, which I inferred meant that she was not happy with the reference to earning the privilege. Admittedly, it did make it sound like we were keeping EricToo as a prisoner.

I suppose he could help the Farm Crew with weapons and defence design and perhaps test prototypes of vehicles.”

I agreed. This is what I had been thinking before I asked the question of Alice, but just wanted it validated by a second opinion.

You will meet the others soon when they return. I will say that the military team were the ones that the lock-down on energy manipulation was imposed to appease. Without it, they would not have accepted you here.”

I paused for a few moments to contemplate my current feelings. With EricToo around and my own personal turmoil about the situation, I needed some time away. Now that there was a way out I needed to make contact and build trust. Get people on our side. Create a networked underground army.

Alice, I’m going to be gone for a while. Part reconnaissance, part trying to track down Patrick and part recruitment. When the crunch comes, and I know it will come, the thirteen of us are not going to stand a chance against whatever is thrown at us.

Just keep the two teams ticking over. They know what they need to be doing. Just keep them thinking big. If you need to contact me, use this.”

What is it?”

It’s a recursive search sequence that will look for me wherever I am. It’s basically a radio. You just code the message into the function and I’ll eventually receive it.”

I left without saying anything further. I took one of the automated cars and reprogrammed it for my own requirements and set off to the first zonal crossover point.

I’d not divulged my true plans to Alice. Partly paranoia and partly because EricToo had still been present. My main reason had been simply down to the fact that the less they knew the better. I didn’t want to leave anything to chance. If they knew the reason for my absence then there is no doubt that Patrick would should he manage to somehow infiltrate Blue zone.

It was time to build a resistance. The crude radio that I had made for Alice to contact me with was the only tool that I was taking with me. My journey would take me around the immediate zones and eventually beyond. I would be seeking out dissonance amongst the people. Looking for people that wanted to get back. Looking for people that wanted to get back to reality.

I was hoping that when I arrived in other zones that there would already be signs of adaptation and energy manipulation. These would be the ones that I would need to make contact with first. Build up a rapport and then let them in on the truth behind why all of this happened. It would then be down to them to build a small cell. Recruit like-minded people and get them to spread the truth without bringing attention to themselves.

I would give them the radio code and assign them a unique identifier. They would only be able to contact the central radio in Blue, which I would create when I returned from my journey. Should Blue become compromised, this central radio would have an emergency code that would automatically assign a random cell as the new point of contact for all the others before the energy de-constructed and dissipated.

The one thing I could not rely on was time. Patrick may just bide his time ensuring that he was ready and confident that he could gain control of Stasis. Conversely, the social engineering that occurred after the mass transition may have been ideal for him bringing all his contacts into one big zonal war machine.

I had to work as fast as was humanly possible and the restriction of fast travel was certainly a hindrance. Of course, I could construct something that would take me around the zones as quickly as I wanted, but that would draw attention to me in no time at all. Conspicuous was how I had to operate. Even this car was somewhat noticeable.

Bearing this in mind, I entered the neighbouring zone and slowed down to almost a halt in order for a basic cloaking mechanism to work.

Then I watched and observed our neighbours and considered how I would make my approach when I found a candidate.


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