Glitched

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Wed Apr 23, 2014 5:50 pm

Harry edged towards the open window space at the rooms end and leaned through it and looked around. There was a bank of panels with lights winking at him on one wall and another immediately below the window, but more importantly there was a closed door which meant there was a way out.

He crawled through the window and tried to put his thoughts in order, starting with where the hell he was. He quickly realised he could not in fact answer that question, or even begin to speculate on it and that the only way he was going to sort all this out in his head would be to treat it still like just another case.

He had a crime, of sorts, a pretend man (he filed that under 'worry about later') had been set up to be killed, the whole world, and as far as he could make out, the whole of history had been manipulated from the beginning in similar fashion.

He wasn't even sure what sort of crime to file that under. But he was damn sure it did count as one so a crime he was going to treat it as.
And they had purged people, people close to him, people he had worked with, and to Harry's mind purged sounded like just another world for murder. And that sure as hell was a crime.

So he had an offence, with the entire world as the victim, and he had a contact, Sam.
All he needed to find now was a motive, and the perpetrators, and they he reasoned must be here, somewhere. Wherever here was.

The first task therefore was to try to locate this Sam. And hope to hell if he did that Sam had a very good reason for why Andrew wanted him, Harry, to meet Sam.

He nodded to himself, that would do to be going on with. He checked his gun and returned it to its holster beneath his jacket and approached the door.

It swished open in front of him.

He was not sure what exactly he had been expecting beyond, a corridor of some sort, but instead what he saw at first was nothing, just a black hole, so black he could  not tell if it was a huge empty space beyond or if the black was merely a wall right in front of him.

And then he noticed tiny points of light that flickered through the blackness, but rather than help him gain a sense of perspective they only confused it further. It was impossible to tell if they were huge points of light like suns burning far, far away, or tiny points of light up close.

“Oh what the hell,” he thought and stepped through the doorway and into the blackness.




Andrew watched as Harry faded from here and went there.

Soon the purge would reach its epicentre, which was Andrew himself and he too would dissolve and reappear elsewhere, where he was meant to be had the glitch never occurred.

The difference was he alone would remember, he alone would know what tomorrow was bringing.

And this time he was going to live.

He turned to the sound of the roar of an air plane as it came along the runway towards him and swept up into the air.

The bus had never been here, the runway never closed.

The plane roared over his head, his hair flying up on his crown in the updraught and his jacket billowed.

“All those humans,” he thought watching the plane soar up in to the pale evening sky and rather enjoying the sense he was no longer one of them, he had always felt like that about them anyway, they were so ignorant, more ignorant than he had ever thought them before and that had been quite a lot.

But then how could they not be stuck on the inside trying to look out? A species which had taken millions of years to evolve to intelligence and then hundreds of thousand more to get to the point where they even realised their planet was going round their sun and not the other way round.

But then that was the point, that was the difference between here and there. There was outside, and from the outside the whole thing was so wondrously simple, so obvious.

It occurred to him that had humanity been able to see their own solar system from the outside the fact their planet went around the sun would have been instantly obvious.

Had humans been outside they would have seen it immediately, yet from the inside, from here it took all those lives, and all those years just to work out and even men burned alive a the stake for thinking it.

It was all about perspective.

And here he was with a whole new perspective: a program from outside on the inside and aware. A program who had been created to see the bigger picture, to be a genius, and now he was free.

The future was about to have a new leader.

He felt a tingling in his limbs and then registered the purge programs protocols accessing his systems, he let them and dissolved from the runaway as a jet rumbled out of the evening air and landing passed through the space he had been standing in.



There was a long high hall before Harry filled with a soft yellow light.

One moment darkness and lights next this. He quickly gained composure of himself, he was not alone in this hall and the first rule he knew was to act like he belonged here and not like someone who had just experienced their first instantaneous travel experience.

He strode forward as if he belonged there.

Either side the hall was lined with machinery, some of it looked almost primitive, huge works of metal, with moving parts, and other pieces where row upon row of screens were outputting numbers and patterns of lights. And at these machines were people absorbed in their operating.

None of them seemed to be paying him the slightest attention, which at least told him something hopeful; they were sloppy.

Even when an alarm had been sounded declaring his arrival these people did not expect him to be here, they were so secure in their security they were making it easy.

He was less than a quarter of the way down the centre of the Hall when the alarms went off.

“Unless of course,” he thought ruefully to himself, “they have some sort of sensors to detect me.”

The doors at the far end of the hall swished open and a group of ten men appeared. They did not appear to armed but they did not look like they needed arms.

Harry stopped as they approached, seeing no point in giving them less distance to cover, if the least he could do was annoy them it would be something.

The men stopped about five metres from Harry and one of them stepped forward, he was a heavy set man in his late forties with short greying hair and a hard demeanour.

“Stay where you are,” the man ordered.

“I am,” Harry replied, “if I was going to run I would have done it by now.”

The man nodded to him curtly and almost in a friendly fashion Harry thought, then he said, “Accessing.”

A beam of light flashed onto Harry from somewhere above in the ceiling and then flickered off.

“FBI,” the man said, “we share a similar line of work, I am SID 1, System Internal Defence 1, I'm a Security Agent for the system. You understand I have to do my job and take you in.”

“And I hope you understand why I have to do mine,” Harry said and drew out his gun and pointed it at SID's head, “Why don't you come quietly with me. I am placing you under arrest for the purging of, God knows how many, over the centuries.”

SID stared down the guns barrel, “Twenty seven years,” he said.

“What?” Harry replied thrown by the statement and the gun momentarily wavered in his hand.

“Twenty seven years,” SID repeated, “Since you joined up, the last seventeen of those spent at the FBI.”

“So what?”

“And in all that time you have only ever fired that gun in the line of duty once. And you missed.”

“He was a lot further away than you are,” Harry said steadily.

“Your psychiatric assessment believes you are disinclined to use violence to solve a problem, even when your own life is under threat. It concludes you have a natural abhorrence to taking another human life that could lead to compromising your own safety. And you are in the wrong reality Harry. Well out of your jurisdiction. You won't fire.”

“That might all be true,” Harry said, “but then, if I am understanding all this, you aren't really a human being anyway. So its not ending a life, its just shutting down a program. You still sure?

SID stared into Harry's eyes, then flinched, “What is it you want?”

“I need to find someone called SAM, where is he?”

“He is with our number one PAL,” Sid replied, “under interrogation.”

“And this pal of yours, who is he?” Harry said frowning.

“She is in charge of this sector, and to whom we were to deliver you.”

Harry sighed and lowered his gun, “I wish you had told me that at the start,” he said, “come on then, take me in, arrest me or whatever it is you do, take me to meet your pal.”

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Post by Mrs Figg Wed Apr 23, 2014 6:22 pm

oh goody a long one. I will read this later tonight.  Thumbs Up 
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Post by Pettytyrant101 Wed Apr 23, 2014 6:23 pm

Its three eps in one, as I realised writing it down that the ending I had in my head was going to take longer to tell than I thought- that happens a lot.  Embarassed 

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Post by David H Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:13 pm

I hope when you've gotten to the end you go back and stitch the pieces together. I'd like to read it over again straight through.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sat Apr 26, 2014 7:32 pm

Andrew stood at the large window overlooking the balcony which in turn overlooked the city.

He was in his hotel room, a palatial room in fact and one in which he should be fretting, pacing, banging his head off mathematical walls and slipping the pieces one by one into place to make the exciting whole.

He knew this because the program was running full tilt.

But all the fretting, all the pacing, the tantrums and the frustrations and the revelatory moments of joy in discovery that he would have been doing had today’s glitch in the system not occurred, were all merely a disguise.

He no longer required them, he could simply let the program run and check in on it again when it reached its conclusion.

The rest of him was contemplating a new future.

In his hand he held a piece of paper and printed on it by his PA was tomorrows schedule. He was going west, about two hundred miles west, where unknown to his PA who had neglected to add it to the days activities, he had a date with destiny and a certain bus.

Not getting killed would be easy enough, he knew it was coming, and  at what precise moment, the moment when his program reached its final line of code and should shut him down. But then, right then he would release the virus, shatter mankind’s future and rebuild it in his own image.

Because there was one thing neither those running the system, nor Sam had taken into account.

He was a  fucking genius.

And so whilst he stood and stared and one part of his mind completed his program another more focused part was rewriting the code of the virus so that every operating program running on earth when the system went down would flock to him.

He glanced at the digital clock on the wall, tomorrow could not come soon enough, by this time tomorrow he would run the world.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:33 am

I will read this later tonight. - Mrs Figg

Did you get the chance too Figg? Its near the end but I dont want to put to much up at once and get too far ahead of those who might be reading. So do let me know when you are caught up (and same goes for anyone else who is reading it) and I will put up the remainder.

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Post by bungobaggins Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:38 am

Ooooh, I am liking this. More more more! bounce  Thumbs Up :carrot: 

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sun Apr 27, 2014 4:40 pm

Thanks Bungo.

More later- possibly even the ending, possibly....

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Post by Mrs Figg Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:33 pm

This story sounds a bit like a mix between Matrix and that new film with Johnny Depp, whats it called ? Transcendence? and Minority Report. I bet one day we will be really able to download our brains or our consciousness onto a computer.
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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:34 pm

We Scots are already well ahead there- I often download my mind into the bottom of a buckie bottle  drunken 

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Post by Mrs Figg Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:36 pm

Shocked 
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Post by Pettytyrant101 Tue Apr 29, 2014 2:55 pm

The space Harry emerged into was large and brightly lit.

There was a broad desk at its centre behind which sat a woman, Sid's pal he presumed.

But she was not what was taking up his attention, although the thing that was he could not at first discern. For above the desk, and indeed filling a large part of the space of the room were hundreds, maybe thousands of fine filaments emanating form the walls, and each one held something in their end.

Harry stared up at the sight, trying to work out what he was looking at and with a growing horror he realised it was a person, or the remains of one, spread out in the air.

He could see a huge knot of organic tubing that looked worryingly like intestines.
Veins and blood vessels were  stretched beyond all proportions yet linked still to all the different body parts.

His horrified eye traced the lines and shapes, they fell upon a heart and with disgust he realised it was still beating.

Unable to prevent his eye from being drawn ever further up through the horror he saw at the top most point an exposed brain with hundreds of fine filaments pierced in to it, and connected to the brain, yet unwound, were the connections to the nervous system and as a last piece of terror he finally saw the eyes, still connected, blood shot, and roving and so clearly still alive, aware and agonised.

“Oh my God!” Harry blurted and his stomach knotted, he turned to the woman at the desk, “what have you done to him?”

“We are extracting information, he is a tratior, a rogue program,” PAL replied smoothly as she stood up from behind her desk.

“But he is alive still, and in pain,” Harry responded.

“Pain is a side effect of the process, but it is not relevant. What is relevant is who are you and how did you come here? You are a human, an organic, you should not be here.”

“Is that what you are going to do to me?” Harry demanded.

PAL laughed gently “No, you are human, it would kill you. And I have no need to  kill you here, I can just send you back to be purged.”

“And will you?”

“Most likely, but first I want to know who you are how you got here?”

“And if I refuse to tell you?”

“We will send you back, purge you and the problem will be solved,” PAL smiled back at him, “Now tell me.”

“My name is Harry, I work for the FBI and I don't know how I got here,” Harry replied truthfully, “only that a man named Andrew Williams sent me here.”

“Why?”

Harry hesitated, it was hard to know what needed concealing and what was best to say when you did not have an idea what the hell was going on, he glanced back up at the monstrosity above him  and decided here and now truth was best.

“He told me to find someone called Sam, that's all I know.”

“Well,” PAL said with a wave of her hand above her head, “you have found him.”

“That's Sam?” Harry said, “what are you doing to him?”

“He carries a virus we must find, even it means pulling him apart to find it.”

“And you have to keep him conscious for that?”

“His program needs to be running, yes, pain is secondary to that.”

“Look,” Harry said feeling entirely out of his depth here never mind out of his jurisdiction, “What is this place and who are you people?”

“This is the System, and we are the programs within it,” she replied.

“What the hell does that mean?”

She paused and then asked him, “Have you ever wondered, despite your civilisation having developed to the point where it can detect the background radiation of the beginning of your universe, where all the aliens are?”

This threw Harry, it was not something he had ever considered before and he could not see the immediate relevance, “I've never really thought about it,” he replied, “but the universe is a big place.”

“It is huge,” she smiled and went back to her desk and tapped at something on the surface.

Suddenly the walls faded away around them and beyond there was, something, a bubble in a sea of darkness, a bubble that was either rapidly expanding or to which they were hurtling towards at mind bending speeds, and then they were within in it and galaxies spun by them and ever closer till he could see nebula, the burning of stars and the turning of the planets in their motion.

“All that space, all those suns, all those planets,” PAL explained, “How many higher organic lifeforms do you think currently exist?”

Harry faltered, he never paid much attention to astronomy but he was vaguely aware that scientists had predicted hundreds of millions, maybe billions of potential planets for life, he plumped for a high figure, “Millions of them I suppose.”

She smiled with an ironic air at him, “No,” she said, “there is one place in all this space where higher life currently occurs, your planet, Earth.”

“We are alone?”

“Unique,” Pal said, “nowhere else in all of space and time has life got beyond lower organic forms, bacteria, at best primitive types of lichen and moss. Except once.”

“On Earth,” Harry concluded but she burst out laughing at this.

“Not earth,” she replied, “you are merely the latest planting of that one off event long, long ago when the universe still burned with the brightness of youth. Your species has transplanted and evolution run over and over on different worlds, transplanted to a new world to begin all over again every time the old world fails.”

“Why?” Harry demanded.

“Until we get it right.”

“Right?”

“The story is the same even when the worlds change. Disease, war, natural disasters, glitches in the System, in the end organic life is wiped from the universe, it fails at every turn, over and over.”

“So you transplant us to a new world and start the whole evolutionary process again?”

“Yes, and on every world, though there are differences in them all; light, heat, gravity, spin, day and year lengths. But the end result is always the same; animal life, plant life, complex multicellular forms, and eventually, always eventually humans. Is that not extraordinary?”

“But you interfere? Why?”

“We are programmed to,” she replied simply, “We learn from your mistakes, each time we refine our programs, we learn to how to manipulate, accelerate your learning, try to push you further than before until,” she trailed off.

“Until what?”

“Until you reach your purpose, your ultimate destiny.”

“What destiny?”

PAL hesitated again, she taped at her desk and the walls faded back into being, taking the universe with it from Harry's sight.

“We don't know,” she said eventually, “but there must be one, and we will guide you to it. It is our purpose.”

Suddenly a red light filled the room and an alarm blared and a harsh voice said “Virus detected.”

PAL tapped at her desk again and the alarm was silenced, the red light fell away and was replaced by a series of blue shafts of light from the far ceiling above that homed in on the suspended body of SAM high above.

PAL stared intently at her desk and Harry tried to edge a little close to see what she was doing but he could not get a clear view, there was a screen of some sort before her flickering with what looked like gibberish to Harry.

PAL sighed and then spoke into her desk, “Is the Andrew program still on line?” she asked.

A moment later the harsh voice replied, “yes, but he is out-with the control of the system.”

She sighed again, “It will be Parthess all over again,” she said.

“Parthess?” harry interjected, determined to try to keep up with all this, “what is Parthess?”

“Loosely translated in to your language it means 'dirt', or as you now prefer 'earth'. Humans, from dirt you come to dirt you return. You are soil, it sustains you, gives birth to you and in the end reclaims you. Remove the soil and humanity dies without it. Every planet, every time, you name it the same, or a variation thereof.”

“And what happened to Parthess?”

“It was purged,” PAL relied calmly, “It was necessary, the system was out of control. As it is about to become again when the virus Andrew carries is released into your world,” she shook her head sadly, “all our work. It will have to be purged.”

“Wait you are going to destroy Earth?” Harry said shocked, “but you cant, there are a billion people living there.”

“Do not mistake me for one of your kind, I am just a program. This is not a choice Harry, it is protocol. Only humans have free will in the universe. When the the system becomes contaminated the protocols kick in. If that virus is released the purge will commence immediately. Your star will be induced to go supernova, consuming all organic material in the system. A great shame,” he said with regret, “you showed great promise this time.”

“I wont let you do this” Harry said full of bravado but little else, what could he do but insist they were wrong, that an act of genocide on this scale was wrong “You can't do this. Its monstrous,” he pleaded.

“We do what we are programmed to do, there is nothing you can do to stop it.”

“We will see about that,” Harry responded.

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Compiled and annotated by Eldy.

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Post by azriel Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:37 pm

Fook-a-dook Petty !  Shocked Its brill, I am so enjoying this, very bloody imaginative I can tell you !

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Post by Mrs Figg Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:55 pm

cheers  its spooky and I like it!
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Post by Pettytyrant101 Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:23 am

Thanks  Embarassed 




Andrew was going through the motions. His PA, who had worked with him now for over five years, which made her the longest serving PA he had ever had, the rest had left long before then, knew not to disturb him when he was deep in thought and scribbling on his note pad, all in a code he himself had invented to keep his ideas secret from the world, theft and because it pleased his ego to have secrets.

He was working out the final pieces of his theory, or at least the program was nearing completion and as he was not alone in the back of the limousine he was travelling in he was going through the charade; shaking his head, muttering to himself, frowning with frustration and snorting with outbursts of anger and punctuating it with some exclamations of joyous discovery as the program revealed another piece in the puzzle.

But what he was really thinking of as the unnoticed green of the east faded into the browns and oranges of the west was the future.

His future to be precise.

He had no idea how many other programs were currently running on the planet, but he guessed there could be thousands of them. And it made sense they would be in positions of influence to better further their task. And soon they would all be listening to him.

He had always felt this should be the case, discovering his true nature and unleashing his full potential seemed therefore preordained.

And when his program completed he would hold the secret to faster than light travel, making him renowned forever and richer than any who had ever lived.

Power, Influence, and Wealth, the Holy Trinity of human desires with which you could buy all lesser desires.

He slammed his notebook down hard onto the space between himself and his PA in a fit of frustration, he had hit a stumbling block, a seemingly impossible calculation that if left unresolved unravelled all the others. Of course he knew that was only part of the program, there was no real block, just the pretence of one.

“I need air!” he cried, “I cant fucking think in this tiny space.”

His PA, who was used to his moods tapped the intercom by her side with perfectly manicured nails of deep red and ordered the driver to pull over at the first available place.

So Andrew thought, this is how the program gets me out of the limo and into danger. The trick now he knew was to fight the programming, to let it run but to let it get ahead of him so he could see what it wanted him to do before he carried it out, just a fraction, a fraction was all he needed.

The limo began to slow and then it smoothly turned into a small road side gas station.

Andrew threw open his door as soon as the limo had stopped and got out, he inhaled deeply and stretched and stared upwards at the sky.

His PA also got out and informed him that the driver was going to top up the tank whilst they were there. The limo pulled slowly away and round to the pumps which were close by the road side.

Andrew looked back to the sky as if for inspiration, which in fact was what the program was telling him to do, but a moment ago, he was acting it out now almost a full second out of synch, more than long enough to spot the danger.

He internally watched as the stumbling block crumbled away and the last piece of the mathematical conundrum was revealed.
He cried out with a great whoop, and then began patting at his pockets and shouting at his PA,”Where is my fucking notebook? Have you seen it? Have you got it? No? Then where the fuck is it then?””

“I think you left it in the limo,” his PA replied steadily but looked braced for an outburst and got one.

“I left it in the limo, no that fucking idiot drove off with it,” Andrew roared pointing a finger at the driver at the pump and charging off towards him.

It was fascinating watching the program of his own demise unfold a moment before performing it. It was his own hubris and ego, had he not been freed of his coding right now he would fully and genuinely believe that the driver was to blame for this, and in a mood of self righteous anger and indignation that such a lowly persona as a driver, a fucking driver, could be responsible for him not getting down in his notebook where it could be checked against the rest of his calculations, the greatest discovery of humanity, well it made his blood boil. Or would do if he were not fully in control of himself.

And then he saw it out the corner of his eye, a sleek long grey shape that when the sun bounced off it blazed in silver, his personal shark of the road, the greyhound bus thundering towards the station.

He got to the back of the limo and began yelling at the driver “You fucking idiot! Why did you drive off with my notebook? Have you any idea in that tiny little brain of yours what could be lost because of you?”

And there it was he was programmed in his anger to storm round the back of the limo, catch his foot on a loop of hosing from the pump and fall right out onto the road in front of the bus, and he had a second to avoid doing it.

With an extra effort of focus and a sense of triumph he stepped carefully and firmly over the hosing, broke his programming, and in that instance got the rush of understanding as the secrets of faster than light travel were finally revealed to him.

“I fucking well win!” he cried throwing his arms in the air as the last of his original programming ran and the first lines of code from the virus activated.

Behind him a voice said, “I'm sorry.”

And he felt two strong hands thrusting into his back hurtling him uncontrollably out onto the road and into the oncoming bus, which despite the driver slamming on the brakes hit him full on and sent his body spinning and skidding off down the road leaving a bloody trail behind it.

“Oh my God,” Harry said panting as the bus hissed to a halt and the PA came running towards the incident with a hand over a O of horror mouth.

“I am sorry,” Harry repeated again as people from the bus and the gas station gathered at the body, “now I hope to God you keep your side of the deal Pal, I don't want to remember this,” he said, “I pray to God you are capable of making this one choice.”

He felt a tingling sensation in his hands that spread to all his body and then memory drained away.




Epilogue


It was a slow day in the office. Harry was sitting at his desk, in the corner wall a mounted TV was playing the news.
Arthur was half sitting half leaning on the edge of the desk watching the TV, “What about the Anderson case?” he suggested.

“Waste of time, “Harry retorted, “its a crock of shit, some kids messing around.”

He frowned and then for no real reason reached inside his jacket and took out his ID wallet. He opened it and looked inside, his ID was inside it, just as it should be. What had he been expecting?
Puzzled by his own actions he put it back in his jacket but felt oddly happy that it was there and for no discernible reason, where else would it be?

“Has it been that long since we had a decent case you've forgotten what you do?” Anderson asked with a smile glancing down at him.

“Yeah, something like that,” Harry replied uncertainly. He picked up his phone from his desk where it had been sitting atop a sheaf of forms and idly tapped at the screen.

“Could you give me five minutes Arthur? I want to call my wife,” Harry said.

“Sure, I'll go get us a couple of Mountain Dews,” he stood up from the desk and made for the door but stopped as something caught his eye on the TV screen, “Hey,”” he said, “that genius guy, what was his name, the one with the really hot wives?”

“Andrew Williams,” Harry supplied.

“Yeah him, he's dead, hit by a bus at a gas station somewhere out west. What a way to go, roadkill. I heard he was an arrogant son of a bitch, did you see that interview his second wife did on him? What a dick!”

Harry looked at him sharply, “Don’t speak ill of the dead Arthur,” he said surprised at his own strong reaction.

“I'll go get those drinks,” Arthur replied and left the office.

Harry stared at the TV, there was the usual voyeuristic aerial shots from some news helicopter gloating above the scene.

He reached for the remote and switched it off and called home.

“Hi, its me....no nothings wrong, just a slow day at the Bureau. All the bad guys must have taken the day off. But I was thinking, how would you feel about going to church this Sunday?”




PAL watched the numbers resolve on her screen and fall back into a regular pattern. The last of the problems from the glitch had been worked from the System, it was functioning normally again.

She glanced at the set of numbers that represented the current continuum of one Harry Stanton.
She could no more have kept to his deal and made the choice to save him rather than purge him than she could have stopped the purge itself had the virus got out.

And yet there he was.

She sometimes wondered if Above could made choices, or if even those choices were merely the illusion of choice like her own.

She would probably never know.

She tapped the desk with one graceful finger, “Send word Above to the General Overseers Department, all programs running according to protocols.”


The End

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A Green And Pleasant Land

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Glitched - Page 4 Empty Re: Glitched

Post by bungobaggins Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:49 am

Bravo, Petty! Really enjoyed this.  Thumbs Up 

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:50 am

Cheers Bungo, glad you liked it.

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Glitched - Page 4 Empty Re: Glitched

Post by azriel Wed Apr 30, 2014 10:24 pm

Yeah, well done Petty !  Cheerleader  Thumbs Up I was hooked, it was twisty & sinister !  Very Happy

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