Source Point sequence 15

by Max Saucedo

“What does this solve, Faust?” Damon Wade asked.

“In the short term? You dead, at the bottom of the Source’s main generator. Long term: Progress for the human race,” Faust whispered.

“It can’t progress like this. You’re stunting the growth by inserting your own way. Misusing the Source was your first mistake all those years ago. You’re about to make your last by killing me. You’ll never be able to keep the truth from the people, Faust.” Damon eyed Forester and Zhou.

“I already have. Today, people have been reminded about who wields the true power in this world,” Faust said. “Presidents? Governments? God? No, Damon. I hold the power. But I’m willing to share it with the world. That’s the difference between you and me. You fear the light. I revel in it.”

Damon’s eyes darted to Zhou’s drawn gun. Where was Kenji? Why weren’t Zhou and Forrester reacting to this news?

It hit him then. Their phones, on a side holster, were dimly flashing red. “They can’t hear what’s being said,” he realized.

Keying up a command, Damon hit the reboot button, electronically removing the mic blocks.

Now to stall.

“You’ve lost, Faust. Where do you think all that information on my case went? Because Forrester and Zhou certainly don’t have it. I do. And it’s been copying and relaying itself to every computer in the world as we’ve stood here and waited. Killing me won’t stop it.”

“It’s of no consequence. Agents Zhou and Forrester are expendable assets. Forrester has been kind enough to deactivate the lower floor charges you armed. I think I’ll activate the top ones, … and bury you all here. As for the files, they can be recovered and the truth expunged.”

Zhou pressed his earphone into his ear. Forrester did the same. Did they hear that correctly?

“Expendable assets …”

Faust had set them up; Karen’s mind raced.

Damon stared them in the eyes before turning to Faust’s now-present hologram, to Forrester’s and Zhou’s astonishment.

“I think your employees have some questions.”

Faust’s eyes darted, realizing they could now see and hear him.

“Agent Zhou, what did you hear?”

Dryness overtook his throat. Coughing and straightening up, Zhou glared at Faust. Those eyes that promised him his freedom, his past and his future—all undone.

“Screw you, Faust,” Karen said.

“Regardless of your feelings, he’s correct. The files on Wade’s case are missing from our databanks. Did you think I would miss that little oversight? You didn’t delete them, did you?” Faust said.

“Every human has a right to be treated fairly, Chairman. Wade included.”

Faust turned his attention back to Damon.

“Regardless of your little deceit, I’m prepared to be generous. Surrender now and return the unit that was stolen from our facilities 13 years ago. Do so and it will be a painless transition.”

“And if I refuse?”

Faust clasped his hands. “I can’t make any promises.”

“Go to hell.”

“I’m not your attack dog anymore Faust. I won’t kill him,” Zhou objected.

“That decision is out of your control Agent Zhou. Now, unholster your pistol and aim it at the target.”

Zhou’s body began the movements even as he tried to fight them off.

“What … is … happening?”

“It’s called insurance, Agent Zhou. The augmentations you’ve received also have acommand ability. My command. And now I believe it’s time to wrap up our little adventure.” The room shook as the charges on the upper floors went off.

Zhou attempted to fight off the urges his body was forcing him through, agonizing pain racking his body as he tried to fight back. His will was weakening quickly. Faust’s hologram now placed himself alongside Zhou, paralleling Zhou’s movements to his own, raising his hand. Slowly but surely, Zhou’s hand began to rise, tightly gripping a handgun.

“I warn you, Karen, do not interfere,” Forrester had been edging closer to help Zhou, but backed away.

Zhou tried to speak, barely managing a choked;

“I’m … sorry … I can’t …control …”

Wade held up his hands in a symbolic form of surrender.

“I know.”

Faust clenched his fist. Zhou’s finger pulled the trigger. The gun fired. Damon caught the round just below the heart. He crumbled to the ground, blood pooling around him.

Forrester, who had been biding her time, pulled her taser out and shocked Zhou at his implant node, short-circuiting Faust’s control, she hoped. The room’s lights were flickering as the explosions grew louder. Dragging the stunned Zhou, she headed for the nearest light source, an emergency elevator. Hitting the button, the elevator began going up as she cast one final look at the fallen Damon.

Forrester passed out of his view as the earth shook. He managed to choke back.

“Freedom … From control.”

Damon didn’t have much time left. He slowly dragged himself to the Source, its glowing light the only light as the room shook and the concrete began giving way. Crawling into the shaft, he fell into the bright center, landing in some sort of liquid. The machine gave a start, and then a large agitator began circling, strobes of light flashing past his eyes faster and faster. The noises grew louder, like a hurricane at full force.

“V.i.C., we have access,” he said, raising his hand.

The room flared bright, and then nothingness.

Read part 14 here.