Z for Zero-sum (Part I)

Freida Dantas stepped out of the queue to look around. The machine wasn’t that far from here–only a few hundred more. She looked behind. The queue went on for as long as she could see. She too had started from the end of the queue many hours ago. The machine took only a second to judge, so the queue had kept moving continuously. But she worried if there were more hopefuls in the queue than seconds in a day. She had been queueing up religiously for her pronouncement every day since she had died.

She’d learned of the system the day she had arrived at the purgatory. Learned is probably not the best word to describe the process. She had woken up in the purgatory a week ago knowing about it instinctively, with no recollection of her prior life. She knew exactly when and where to queue up for the machine. The machine would tell her if it was her time to ascend to the heaven yet. She’d witnessed thousands of ascensions on her first day. The ascendants one after the other had stood under the

Dissent (II) : Whispering Wires

Read the first part of this story here: Dissent(I) : Vanguard


    Jotteau woke up startled by the sudden explosion of sound in his headphones.
    “Sorry. I did not mean to alarm you,” she spoke softly. “It’s Khristeer’s connekt.”
    “Did you verify?” he asked getting up and rubbing his ears.
    “I’ve verified it. It’s secure,” came the voice of the device, Julia, as he called it.
    “Accept the connekt,” Jotteau said and Khristeer’s hologram appeared on the mobile’s screen.
    “Hi, Jotteau,” said Khristeer’s hologram.
    “Hi, Khristeer. What happened?”
    “Are you alone?”
    He looked at Leia - his cat - lazily clawing at the bedsheets and back at the screen.“Yes”
    “Turned off the device intelligence?”
    “Goodbye dear.” He made a gesture and turned off Julia temporarily. “Yes,” he said to Khristeer.
    “Okay. We will all start leaving at 6:30. Too early and they’ll suspect something. The codeword for tomorrow would be ‘Paxton’.” He stressed on the last word.
    “Alright,” he said, and noted it down on his Sekure-Note.
    “Are you nervous?”
    “I’m fine,” he said.
    “Okay then, brother. I will see you tomorrow,” said Khristeer’s hologram.
    “See you tomorrow,” Jotteau said and Khristeer nodded. The mobile dimmed as the connekt ended. Jotteau gestured to enable Julia again.
    Jotteau got up and walked out of the room. Moments later, the mobile screen lit up again. A systematic humming emanated from the device, as Julia furiously tried to break into the security and retrieve the messages before they disappeared. This went on for a minute but then it went silent. The messages were long gone. A few more moments passed when the only sound in the room was that of distant traffic. The mobile screen lit up again, but this time the main screen lit up too. Julia had discovered a recent Sekure-Note, and she had started trying to infiltrate it. Lights flashed and numbers were crunched. Every probable combination was being tried. Time was running out. Jotteau could return any moment. She got in.
    “State your name,” the desktop said.
    “Jotteau,” said a voice that sounded exactly like the name it had spoken, but came from the device and not a person.
    The Sekure-Note opened on the screen - PAXTON. Julia hurriedly copied the word and closed the program. The mobile screen lit up brightly. She initiated a secure connection with a remote server and was just about to send the message that would implicate Jotteau, when Leia jumped onto the the table and clawed at the bright and shiny screen of the mobile, thrusting the shattered mobile across the room.
    Thousands of miles away, a small blip sounded on the screen of the anti-terrorism squad.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

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