- CE: 2133
Doug glanced over his shoulder and turned back to his systems administrator. “Ok Steve my old chum, it’s time to kick out management.” He pushed his glasses back up his nose. Oh Jesus we’re going to get hung for this.
He glanced at his watch - 2:30am. The office was dark, they didn’t want to attract attention. He leaned over his friend’s shoulder and watched as the tappety tap fingers committed high treason and half a dozen other crimes at the same time. Let’s see, that’s treason and cybercrime and mm, fraud maybe?
The security at Brain Labs was state-of-the-art but he had global superuser access as the lead developer and the sysadmin was all in on their insurrection too. In precisely three lines of code they reconfigured the main security system. Everyone above level 5 access were booted off. All the suits, gone. Simple!
“Top job Steve, you may have just saved the world.” I’ve never seen Steve this way - is he going to cry? He put his hand on Steve’s shoulder. “Let’s find out how the others are doing, ok?” There was an awkward pause until Steve nodded.
Doug got on the kryptokom channel and called ‘chipmonk99’. Let’s try to sound casual this time. “How’s the jolly old insurrection at your end? We’ve locked out management here.” Not too bad, at least you didn’t stutter.
The slightly crackly sound of the distant technician was clear enough in Doug’s earpiece. “Yeah baby! We got internet4’s Western backbone yesterday. We got the NASA boys and Apollo base but are still waiting to hear about the embryo bank. From the coms point of view it looks like we’ve got a clear run to the moon!”
Steve smiled and stuck up his thumb. He had patched into the channel too. He asked “Please tell us that the NSA have been kicked out?”
“First thing we did. In fact all the spooks should be out of the picture. The CIA are trying to fight back but they’ve got no chance. Maya’s got the keys to the kingdom over there.”
“Top job Chipmonk, see you luna-side.” Doug ended the call. He couldn’t quite bring himself to believe that things had come to this, that things had gotten this bad. Societies all around the world had begun collapsing under the multiple pressures of global warming, civil insurrections and not least, the major powers at war. Those who were trying to fix things and give life on Earth a chance had found themselves sidelined. Governments and institutions continued as they had before, as though sleep-walking. Proposals to move embryo banks and DNA stores to safer storage on the moon were ignored by administrations determined to keep the illusion of control even in the face of disaster. A group of scientific researchers had met in Geneva and had decided to take matters into their own hands. Waiting for the authorities to act was no longer a viable option. They were going to simply steal their own research projects away onto the already long established moon base Apollo, get the embryo and DNA stores there and then try and figure something out. Somebody had to, the fates had decreed that it was going to be them. Willing hands had appeared everywhere and yet the forces of the status-quo were still going to try and stop them - out of intertia? - out of spite? It was hard to tell. They were so distracted by the general collapse that their efforts had so far proved uncoordinated and ineffective.
Despite all the qualms about making such a move, it had turned out to be a simple thing. A few of the key people, a couple of systems engineers here, a Chief Technical Officer there, and hey presto, their operation to commandeer spaceflight and a handful of the planet’s most advanced research projects was in the bag - nearly.
Doug said “Right, Steve, we’ve got to power down the Brain and load everything into the, the what did we get for it now?”
“It’s just a regular lorry container. It’s ready in the loading dock. It shouldn’t attract any attention on the way to the airport.”
Oh my giddy aunt! That’s liquid nitrogen in the vault. What the fuck happens if it gets above 70 Kelvin? “Ok, so we’ll need to move it at, let’s see, 5am ok?”
The kryptokom flashed. He put his finger to his ear and held his hand up to Steve - apparently it was a private message.
“Right. Right ok. So the embryo bank is blasting off from, from where did you say?” Shit, they were supposed to be with us. “Kazakstan? Got it, ok thanks.”
He turned back to Steve who also had his finger to his ear having his own private call. Steve looked alarmed.
“Doug, Dougie oh shit, they’re saying there’s some military at the perimeter. It looks like they might be onto us. Someone’s blabbed!”
Fuckity fuckity fuckity fuck “Get the monitors up would you Steve?” On the little monitor they could see a humvee at the outer perimeter gate. Their own security looked like they were aware of it. They could see them having a confab behind the inner wall.
“Management must’ve figured it out. Jesus, they look like real soldiers with real guns and everything” Doug said. How long have we got before they get backup? “I’ll get onto the Colonel.”
“Theo? Theo? Er Colonel, Sir, is that you? There’s a dozen chaps with big guns at our gates. It looks like they are going to try and stop us getting the lorry to the airport. Um, we’re a bit stuck you see.. Yes..? Three hours? Ok.”
“He says he’s got some contacts over here and he’s getting us some help. Air support at, what’s that? 5:40. Right, I’ll get my team moving. Can we hold them off until then?”
“It looks like it at the moment. What’s that, half a platoon? They don’t look like they have enough for an assault. They look a bit disorganised to be honest, we should be ok for now but let’s get cracking, ok?”
Doug walked out to the dev lab and found the security doors propped open. His raggle-taggle team of uber-nerds stood about nervously waiting for him.
“Right you lot, it’s time, so everything just like we practiced ok?” They sprang into action and for the next few hours the nerves eased up. It was much better when there was something to concentrate on. Moving the most advanced artificial intelligence ever created into a big metal box along with its power supply and cryovault was a very ticklish business.
He heard some rifle fire in the distance as they waited on the compound’s forecourt. The soldiers outside had not been reinforced and hadn’t made a move on the compound as yet. Everyone kept flinching at the sound of the firing but then a loud chunk chunk sound came over the nearby hill. All faces turned toward a massive helicopter swooping towards them in the first, glorious flush of dawn. It slowed to a hover, thud thudding over the compound. He ran back inside and scooped up his laptop, a shoulder bag and a cat box. When he came back out he saw a group of soldiers abseiling down from the huge chopper. They got to work attaching the container and at the last minute shoved Doug, his staff and themselves into the container along with the AI.
Everyone was cheek by jowl as they took off. Bullets could be heard slamming into the metal box as they swung up into the Cambridgeshire afternoon. Doug’s head swam with the scent of the young woman’s hair he was jammed up against. He was more embarrassed than afraid. “Gosh, so, it’s Gemma isn’t it?”
There were no further incidents, the chopper delivered them and their precious cargo to the airport and they all slept soundly on the trans Atlantic flight. They met more opposition at Cape Canaveral though. Nimes and Maya met them off the plane and took them and the container on a fast road trip accompanied by a platoon of GIs in humvees. This lot were on their side. At the base, small arms fire filled the air, there were still some military who were organised enough to try and keep control. The soldiery that protected them as they boarded were firing at anyone that even might stop them. Doug, Gemma, Maya and Colonel Nimes strapped themselves into seats. There were just over a thousand people on board the massive space shuttle. From Doug’s little plastic crate, his cat ‘Beenie’ mewed pitifully.
As they cleared the tower and the ferocious G-forces mounted higher and higher, every soul on board knew that this Leviathan X rocket was a life-raft and they were leaving a sinking ship. It was a good thing that the whole launch and flight was automated, for every last one on board was panicking.