Date: 28 November 2035
Emma handed the two men some coffee before sitting down on a nearby chair. Percy was rubbing his eyes trying to understand what Emma was talking about while Wesley was slumped over a table, head in his arms, desperate to keep both sound and light away.
“Explain to me again,” Percy said.
“She’s already explained it five times Percy,” Wesley muttered, “You’d think you would have understood by now.”
“Says the man who’s drunk.”
“Why were you drunk? And what’s wrong with your head?” Emma asked as Wesley pressed the ice in front of him on his head again.
“I was drunk because of bla and my head hurts because Mr Uncaring threw me into a table,” Wesley said.
“I said I was sorry!”
“No you didn’t. You said oops and then showed Emma the photo you took. I want that deleted.”
“No a chance!”
“Over my dead body Price.”
“Ladies!” Emma shouted and they turned to her, “Can we get back to Jupiter and the Chips please.”
“Yes. Right. So you’re saying that Miss Worp is part of some Assassins guild that is trying to stop the production of the N.I.C. xChips?” Percy asked. Emma rolled her eyes.
“For the thousand’s time, yes!”
“Then why wasn’t I informed of this earlier,” Percy asked, eyebrow raised.
“I didn’t get time to tell you,” Wesley said as he sipped his coffee.
“And when did you find out that you didn’t have time to tell me?” Percy asked, lasing his fingers together.
Taking a deep breath, Wesley answered, obviously not wanting to, “Two days ago.”
Emma watched at Percy’s eyebrow started to twitch as she replied in a strained voice, “So you were too drunk to tell me there is a noticeable security risk?”
“It’s not his-” Emma tried to explain, only to be stopped by Percy’s cold eyes.
“What happened?” he demanded her.
Swallowing, Emma looked at him and then Wesley. It was no wonder why the two men were friends; they both got angry the same way. Looking at the two, she saw they both had narrowed their eyes, with one difference. Percy was staring intensely at her while Wesley looked between them.
“Percy-” Wesley tried.
“No!” Percy snapped at Wesley before turning back to Emma, “What happened?”
“Jupiter tried to kill you at your charity event. I pulled her at her and she… missed. The second time was when I was comatose. I saw, for the lack of a better word, Wesley. Jupiter attacked him and it snapped me awake. I fought her off and that’s why Wesley was in the hospital. The last one was a few days ago,” Emma said before looking away, “That’s when I found out about Jupiter.”
“Why?” Percy asked, his face straight, not revealing anything.
“Why what?” Emma asked, confused.
“Why save us,” Percy asked, causing Wesley to look at her as well, “It’s well known we aren’t the nicest people. We have done things you can’t even begin to image-”
“You’re wrong,” Emma said, looking at both of them, the words slipping out, “I’m not stupid. I know the smart thing to do is to run as far away from the both of you as I can, but I’m not going to…. I don’t have a clue what you did in the past, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know what you are capable off. Even knowing that… I’m not leaving. Not now.”
Percy looked into her eyes. She was sure he was looking for something. That little thing- that we ourselves don’t know what it is. But the thing that changes everything.
“Ok,” Percy said. Emma looked at the two men, both completely calm.
They sat in silence for a few moments, drinking coffee, when Emma asked, “What exactly are the Chips?”
Wesley looked at her for a few seconds before exchanging a look with Percy. Percy nodded and Wesley turned towards his computer. He put on his glasses, cracked his knuckles and allowed his fingers to fly across his keyboard. Within seconds he bypassed several firewalls and passwords. As he pressed the last button the complete information on the Chips appeared on screen, pictures and all.
“He’s hangover?” Emma asked, whispering to herself and gaping. Percy smirked at her and grabbed her chair, dragging it towards the computer. He then moved to stand on Wesley’s other side, leaning against the table.
“The Chips are basically there to replace both the ID cards and Credit Card,” Percy said.
“What’s so special about it?” Emma asked looking at the picture. It was a simple ‘X’ with lines parallel to the indents of the letter, stopping halfway to the end. Four dots floted some space away in a dimond shape.
“We’re going to incert it under the person’s skin on their left wrist,” Wesley said simply. The two men watched as the sentence sank into the girl.
“Sounds painful,” Emma said finaly, causing the men to just stare at her.
Blinking, Percy grined and turned to Wesley, “Can we keep her?”
“What?” Emma asked, confused.
“Most people so far haven’t reacted so calmly,” Wesley told her.
“Oh trust me. I’m freeking out. But if I’ve learned one thing about you. You don’t do stupid things….Except get drunk,” Emma said to them. Percy burst out laughting as Wesley glared at her. Once Percy stopped, Wesley continued to explain.
“It’s basicly a new way of Identification. It has all the information the ID Cards have: name, address, school and work, medical records, and criminal records. It will also have your bank records, passport, driver’s licence, any other licence and everything else that can identify you. You can also use it to access your bank account like a Credit Card. Pay for things, ATMs and all that others stuff. Within a couple of years you will need it to enter any and every establishment,”
“Yes,” Wesley said and the two looked at her, waiting for her reaction. Emma had to admit it was slightly creepy, especially that last part.
“You do know people are going to feel like you’re keeping them prisoner right?
Percy sighed, his eyes dim, “Ten years ago the International Police force said by this time crime would be a thing of the past. That five year old children wouldn’t be able to understand the concept because it didn’t exist. In reality in the past decade crime had risen over 300%. Not just here, but everywhere on the planet. Think about it. We know that June Worp tried to kill me and Wes. Attempted murder. So why aren’t we turning her over to the police. My grandfather had someone arrested for that. Now if you go to court with it, everyone would laugh at you. It’s not even illegal anymore-”
“It used to be illegal?” Emma asked. Attempted murder, illegal? That’s a new one.
“Yes! The fact that you didn’t even know that just shows you how far the planet has fallen. People say its better, but it’s not,” Percy said. Wesley gripped Percy’s arm, trying to calm him down. Obviously there was more to this, but Emma doubted they were going to tell her.
Instead she asked, “Can’t people destroy them or something?”
“The plans for the Chips have been on the table for over five years now. We were just waiting for N.I.C. Incorporated to find a metal that was fire, water, explosion, cut and everything else proof. In fact the metal in your suit is made from the same material EnterPRICE is using to create the Chips,” Wesley said.
“No offence, but I don’t think this is going to go well. People will resist this kind of surveillance.” Emma said, sitting back and crossing her arms.
“It’s not surveillance. It’s Identification. Once we can perfect the Identification on any transition, a lot of crime will no longer be able to be committed. As for people resisting. N.I.C. has already been in contact with the seven world leaders. They’ve all agreed. By this time next year, every person will have an xChip. No exceptions,” Percy told her.
“You will always have people who don’t want to change. Anyways, what are we going to do about the press conference?”
“June will definitely try and kill us,” Wesley said to Percy.
“Try and kill me. You’ll be at home sick with the flu.”
“Someone needs to keep an eye on everything and you already have access to all the cameras. Also you usually help Nightmare, don’t you?”
“Wait. I’ll be there?” Emma asked, causing both men to look at her like she was an idiot. Again.
“Yes. I want you on the roof tops keeping an eye out. Assassins are long distant killers. Most of the times. They’ll kill you the fastest and easiest way they can. Also you’re the only one who would stand a chance against her,” Percy said. Emma looked him in the eye.
“Because she’s my friend?”
Emma looked at him, eyes wide. She couldn’t kill June. No matter how angry she was with the other girl. No matter how they betrayed and lied to each other. Even the fact that they broke their greatest promise-
“I’m not telling you to kill her. I’ll be a hypocrite if I did. But you need to distract her till the end of the conference. You know how to do that. Once I’ve entered the code-“
RING RING RING
“Mine,” Percy said as he pulled out his phone. He stiffened when he read the Id, walked to a secluded area of Wesley’s basement. He talked softly, not even Emma could hear anything. After a few minutes he said goodbye and walked back over to them.
“We should get some sleep. I’ll email you the rest of the plan. Goodnight,” and with that he left. At least he said goodbye, Emma thought.
“Is he ok?” Emma asked Wesley.
“Probably the President,” he replied.
“Wait! The President is real?” Emma asked. Wesley looked at her, making her feel like an idiot again.
“We have a lot of work to do tomorrow. You can use one of the guest rooms to sleep,” Wesley said and turned back to the computer. Emma scoffed slightly.
“Come on Wesley, he was talking to both of us. Don’t make me Shadow you over to your bed,” Emma said, hands on her hips.
“Coming mother,” Wesley said and stood up.
Nightmare sat in the middle of EnterPRICE’s roof. She had her eyes closed and concentrated on the shadows. In twenty minutes the Press Conference was to begin and Wesley believed June would wait till then. Hopefully.
Nightmare watched everything. She had her eyes on Percy, the entrance, the roofs and all the floor levels people weren’t allowed on.
“Anything?” Wesley asked, voice in her ear.
“No. And I wouldn’t get anything if you keep distracting me. It’s hard enough keeping your mind on so many places while your body isn’t.”
“Then why don’t you go into the shadows.”
“Staying inside the shadows is difficult. It keeps trying to make me part of it. Concentrating on that and everywhere else? Not easy.”
“You mean Slipping.”
“Yes. Pain is a nice reminder of one’s mortality, but time means nothing.”
“Right. What if you – wait!”
“What is it?”
“South side. Next building. Thought I saw something red.”
“Give me a sec.”
Nightmare pulled her mind from everything and trained it on the area Wesley talked about it. There. Jupiter. Dressed as Red Riding Hood. She pulled everything back and stood up, running towards the south side of the roof. Making sure the shadows covered her she used her grappling hook and swung over. Covered by the shadows, she watched Red Hood.
Red Hood was setting up a long range rifle. She lied down and moved it around as she tried to get the perfect aim. After a few minutes she stopped moving and music started from EnterPRICE.
“Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen. Tonight we are going to unveil a new way of life. But that isn’t until later. (laughter) First we are going to reconnect with everything the N.I.C. Incorporated has done for us…”
“Have you found her?” Wesley asked.
“Yes, I have her in sight,” Nightmare replied. She didn’t bother lowering her voice since she already disconnected the external speakers.
“What are you waiting for? An invitation?”
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you Red Hood,” Nightmare said as she stepped into the light. Red Hood didn’t even jump, she didn’t even turn. She just stood completely still.
“And what are you going to do to stop me Nightmare. Hmm. Beat me up? Throw me of this roof? Kill me?” Red Hood asked.
“…It was right after the War when the N.I.C. came to the aid of the people. We had lost so much: lives, land, and economy. Almost everything was destroyed. But the N.I.C. remained strong and within a few short years the world was quickly getting back on its feet...”
“I know why you’re doing this,” Nightmare said softly.
“No you don’t,” Red Hood replied, still not having turned around. Nightmare winced. Ok, so maybe she didn’t know why her best friend suddenly decided she’s going to become a killer.
“I know what you’re going to do.”
“Please. Don’t tell me you’re actually agreeing with this whole Chip thing.”
“It’s creepy, I admit. Especially where it’s heading. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to let you kill someone. How’s that even going to work anyway? Killing one man isn’t going to stop everything.”
“Actually it will. Felix has the activation code. Without that, the implants are useless.”
“Oh. So that’s what Percy meant by ‘code,” Nightmare muttered.
Red Hood tensed and turned to face the other girl, “Percy? Wesley? I’m surprised they let you get away with such familiarity. Well, Felix anyway.”
“Actually it annoys the living crap out of them, but that’s why I do it.”
“Good point,” Red Hood said after a while, amusement in her voice. She then turned back to her rifle.
“…was that year which the N.I.C, developed the chemical which decreases crop grow time, but increases crop size. 90% of the world now has enough to eat and for the rest of the 10%, the N.I.C. has taken to sponsoring hundreds of Soup Kitchens worldwide…”
Nightmare watched her friend before using the shadows to appear in front of the gun. Red Hood looked up at her, her naked fingers still attached to the weapon, still attached to herself.
“Don’t make me shoot you,” Red Hood said, her voice not even wavering.
“You wouldn’t,” Nightmare said with complete confidence. She launched herself at the other girl, hands gripping her shoulders and pushing her back. Nightmare bit back a scream as she pulled at her injured shoulder. She pushed Red Hood onto her back, just as the girl pulled up her feet and kicked Nightmare in the stomach, throwing her off.
Nightmare landed some ways away, hold her stomach with her uninjured arm. Red Hood jumped to her feet and charged at the girl. Nightmare relaxed her body just as Red Hood slammed into it. Nightmare grabbed her and pulled the shadows to her, transporting them somewhere, anywhere, else.
When the girls reappeared they found themselves in the middle of a busy street. They fell from a shadowy building right on top of a car hood. Nightmare cried out as her shoulder slammed against the metal roof. The car swayed and crashed into a street lamp. Cars screeched to a stop, some succeeding, some crashing, as Red Hood jumped down.
Red Hood was tensed, weather it was because of the fight or hearing her friend scream, nobody knew. Her hands hovered over her guns, but did not grab them, as Nightmare landed in front of her.
Nightmare and Red Hood flew towards one another, each catching the other by the fist. They stood entwined in the middle of the four way cross, energy from their suits poring off of them. Within seconds the power had created a small crater for the girls to stand in.
Around them, traffic officers were getting some people (who were too close to the girls) to lie down on the ground. Others, they pushed into buildings. A few people, very, very stupid people, were trying to get closer, to see the fight.
By now the police had arrived to push the onlookers away from the fighting. Cars had come to a stop, people climbing out to see what the commotion was. Several people had taken out their phones and started to record the confrontation.
The black and red clad girls jumped apart, immediately moving into attack positions. There was complete silence. The girls faced one other, staring at each other through their visors. Suddenly, there was a clap of thunder and the girls attack again. Punching, kicking, blocking, everything. Civilians craned their neck to see the fight, but the girls moved too fast. Later, they would say that it looked like the girls were dancing, one always knowing what the other will do.
But then suddenly it all stopped.
The girls stood straight, facing each other, guns held at point blank range. Neither could move away, and neither could pull the trigger before the other.
It was a complete stale mate.