Not sure what this is about. Formerly, reviews of technology, now publishing the first few chapters of a thriller.

New Story

Start Reading from Chapter One! Click Here

Featured

Chapter One

Showing posts with label fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fiction. Show all posts

Chapter Five


☜ Previous Chapter

Denise was seated on the sofa just outside the Supreme Council chamber. The corridor leading to the door appeared narrower than the day before. Perhaps he wasn't so impatient then. Today, he had been staring at the clock on the wall opposite him and wondered why the sound of ticking seemed quite loud. The councillors, including his boss Connor, had been meeting for over an hour. 

‘Excuse me,’ said a voice above him. ‘Are they still meeting?’

‘Erm, yes, yes they still are,’ Denise replied, snapping out of his daze. He recognised the heavily-built, clean shaven Lieutenant General as a military officer on the Presidential Staff.

The officer thanked him and proceed to tap at the double doors at the entrance of the chamber. One of the doors opened slightly and a security officer of the Presidential guard appeared from within. 

The two men spoke in whispers and the Lieutenant General waved a file he was carrying, apparently showing the officer one of its contents. The officer opened the door ajar and the lieutenant walked in. Denise could hear a member of the council within the room before the officer shut the door. 

He frowned as he tried to recall what part of the military the lieutenant was attached to. Based on the comparatively nondescript attire, he looked like an officer of the intelligence services. Was he Central Intelligence or Military Intelligence? he asked himself. Or Secret Surveillance Ops? Unlike CI and MI, SSO reported directly to the President and wasn't formally part of the military. Could that be why he had clearance to enter the chamber? He wondered what the message was. 

The doors burst open as a Presidential guard strolled out. This was followed by another, a few seconds later. Denise stood up as the President himself walked after. He made a slight bowing gesture and greeted him, saying, ‘Mr. President!’

The head of state nodded with passive acknowledgement as he walked past. The five other members of the council who attended walked after, only the Education Secretary was missing this time. 

Denise joined Connor as he walked towards the corridor and they proceeded to walk eastwards towards the atrium of the Presidential Palace and then south to the southern exits. The Economic Secretary looked flushed and Denise felt there was something he didn't like about the meeting. ‘How did it go?’ he asked feeling a bit apprehensive. 

‘A number of things and there was this nonsense about the munitions factories,’ he said, pausing to take a breath. ‘Wage cuts... We best talk about on it the jeep.’ Denise was aware of the people who casually waited around the Atrium and realised it was something Connor wanted to discuss with discretion. Munitions factories are not something you speak about in the presence of others. 

‘Who was the guy who entered the chamber?’ he asked. 

‘An officer from the SSO,’ Connor replied, ‘He had something about the RR being active again. That madman Salzar is making some noise.’

‘It doesn’t matter, RR is dead anyway, no one follows them anymore,’ Denise commented. 

‘Good thing Salzar doesn’t have an ounce of his father's wit,’ Connor said as he walked towards the exits, ‘The older Karen was a different customer altogether.’

Chapter Four


☜ Previous Chapter

‘We got material activity,’ the officer turned to face Jamie. ‘RR have posted something on their de facto social media channels.’

‘About time!’ Jamie remarked and stood up to read the message displayed on a large screen above the officer. The RR have not posted in a while. They’ve only had a post or two since the Karen Mansion was ransacked by the Republic Guards two years ago. Salzar had run into hiding when the Government had labelled him a terrorist. The Government had maintained that Salzar intended to cause rampant sedition and disruption. This will, for sure, be untraceable too, he thought, remembering the last post which defiantly said Salzar would not go into exile.

‘…proclaimed a reduction in the minimum wage…’ he murmured. They really are grasping at straws. The lowering of the minimum wage was to be temporary anyway and it was meant to boost up the country’s ability to manufacture low cost technology and compete with the brand-new manufacturing industry in Granary and the lower nations.

Kategat was the leader in high-tech equipment and consumer products, and they meant to keep it that way. Vangalt and Granary, the other two superpowers did manufacturing too. But Vangalt focused on machinery, equipment and vehicles, and Granary was a superpower because of its agricultural exports, not its manufacturing.

The fact that Granary was able to manufacture experimental high-tech equipment at low cost had surprised the world and infuriated Vangalt. There always had been a cold war of indirect confrontation between Vangalt and Granary. This time, however, Kategat too was alarmed. These new factories with access to cheaper labour could threaten their high-tech monopoly, and hence they had fought back by reducing the minimum wage and lowering costs.

This would never sink into their minds. Jamie was amused at the call for a revolution. The post has been quite popular with the workers based on the comments and feedback that streamed in on the screen, but this is hardly cause for them to put their lives down to rebellion. Salzar was a barking dog hardly anyone would pay serious attention to.

‘The trace failed again?’ Jamie asked the officer, knowing full well that would be the case.

‘Yes sir, going in an infinite international relay loop though VPNs and TOR-like networks,’ the officer replied.

But how could such a lunatic get access to the technical sophistication needed to avert our systems? Jamie exhaled, annoyed. ‘Generate a report along with a summary of the top responses. I’ll escalate this to SSOHQ.’

‘Any information from the effigies?’ he asked. The effigies were fake online profiles U23 maintained to befriend, elicit information and at times socially manipulate rebels.

‘Nothing, it looks like most known RRs themselves didn’t know this was coming,’ the officer revealed. ‘This looks like it’s from the top dog himself.’

Chapter Three


☜ Previous Chapter

‘These rulers keep abusing our people. The scum are always gradually usurping the rights of the people!’ Salzar said, slouched in his cosy armchair, hands on his head. ‘Aitken, when are you going to show me the letter?’ 

‘Aitken is really slow, never pleases his master does he?’ Raphoe injected. 

‘I'm just finishing it up,’ Aitken looked over his shoulder at Salzar. ‘One more minute sir.’ 

‘Oh, hurry up boy!’ urged Salzar. 

‘This is going to be tremendous, really good. We will finally rise, master,’ Raphoe said, tapping the fingers of his right hand on the on the knuckles of his left. He had a satisfactory grin on his scarred face.

‘Here it is sir’, Aitken said handing them both copies of the letter he had printed. Raphoe took it and read excitedly. 

 

RR fights for our hardworking people

The rulers have once again stomped over our hardworking poor. They have fallen to the whims of corporate scoundrels and proclaimed a reduction in the minimum wage. 

They have insulted the workers, whose sweat and hard work are the lifeblood of this country. How much gold have they received for this? How much more profit are the scoundrels going to make off our beloved brethren? How much of what is rightfully ours have they taken from us? 

Hardworking men and women, you deserve a fair share of the profits for your hard work. Let's not let them keep the gold and give you nickel. Those companies are nothing without you! This country is nothing without you!

Are they human and we animals that work for them? We need our dignity back. We have to rise up. Join the revolution, join RR, let's take back our blood right.

 

‘Oh nice! Let's send this out now. Let's give them something to think about!’ Raphoe said. 

‘Post it,’ Salzar commanded. ‘I pray for the strikes and protests this will rain on the scum! We need to gather our followers discreetly and organise something. Something better this time. ‘ 

‘Sure sir,’ Aitken said. ‘It will be on all our social media shortly.’ 

‘Where's Roe? The scent of rebellion makes me hungry,’ Salzar looked around and found Roe looking at him seated on the floor in a corner of the room.

‘I'll make you'll a sandwich, master,’ the servant whispered. 

‘Can we gather all comrades here? Very few know about this safehouse?’ Raphoe asked. 

‘Hmm. Yes let's get Marven and Ludwig first then. They can pass messages to our unions.’ Salzar said. ‘I don't like hiding from the scum. Once we have more power we should be able to shout at them from the open.’ 

‘We are getting good replies sir,’ Aitken interjected. 

Salzar rose from his throne and walked towards Aitken's desk to read the replies and comments. 

RR is hiding in the shadows pretending to care about us, one said. 

Thank you RR. Let's fight for our fair share. Strike! Strike! Strike!, the other said. 

When have they ever cared? We always poorer than the day before. We need to teach these rulers a lesson. 

Salzar looked quite happy at the responses, he had clearly ignored the first. ‘My ancestors will be proud of this revolution. The Karen family will be back on its perch,’ he smiled. ‘I need to make a call’ he said, leaving the living room. 

‘Nice Aitken nice, oh we can give them a strike for sure!’ Raphoe was whistling.

Next Chapter ☞

Chapter Two


☜ Previous Chapter

Connor was meeting with one of his researchers, when Denise entered the large office room of Kategat’s Economic Secretary, situated within the east wing of Government Headquarters. The Secretary had a report in his hand and was asking her a set of probing questions on the viability of a policy they were to implement. Both of them ignored Denise as he entered and sat on a table on the side.

The room has a several shelves of books on one side and tall arched windows on the opposite side. The Secretaries desk was placed at the end of the room away from the entrance and behind it lay a door leading to the Secretary’s private den. Connor would often use this den as a personal sanctuary, and at times spend the night there when his work prevented him from returning home.

As Connor’s chief of staff, Denise was able to walk into any meetings the Secretary was having and he was well known throughout the east wing – formally known as the Department of Economics and Finance. He had been serving the Secretary for over a decade, a period in which Connor was able to win the hearts of the people though a series of economic interventions that enriched Kategat.

The meeting quickly wrapped up as Connor closed the report and lay his glasses on the desk. He was approaching 65 and frequently appeared weary at the many policies, economic models and analysis of data that he received daily.

‘Sir, the King has called a Supreme Council meeting,’ Denise informed him, adding ‘you have to report to the palace at 3 PM.’

The King was not a real king, Denise was referring to the Most Honourable President of Kategat, William Dunn. William had ruled Kategat for the longest of all Presidents, soon to be 24 years of power. His continuous reign had led to the unofficial title King, which he often complained as being bad for his image.

‘I wonder what’s pressing him this time, our weekly meeting on the day before was long enough,’ Connor complained.

‘I’m not sure sir,’ Denise confessed.

Connor and Denise navigated through a labyrinth of corridors to reach the exit of the east wing where Connor’s polished black official jeep lay waiting. The two men got in the back and asked the Secretary’s private chauffer to take them to another of Kategat’s three monumental Governmental buildings, the Presidential Palace.

Next Chapter ☞


Chapter One


Jamie turned from the main road to Fifth Street and walked past a group of office workers engaging in an intense conversation. Fifth street wasn’t as busy as Central Crescent, the circular main road of the Business District. Unlike the daunting high rises of Central Crescent, it mostly comprised of smaller five to eight floor buildings with offices of local businesses ranging from modern real estate companies to importers of a variety of good.

He walked into a building that had a fading sign overhead that read George Stockbrokers Ltd. in large text followed by the words Registered and regulated by the Securities Exchange Department of The Republic of Kategat. It never seemed to him that a stockbrokerage firm appeared out of place in Fifth Street compared to the high rise buildings in the financial hub in Central Crescent.

The ground floor housed the company’s reception which had four desks. These were to be manned by customer service representatives, when the company opened for business at 8 AM, in just about an hour. It didn’t bother him why there were only four desks and an old sofa laying in the corner of the rather expansive reception area. There could easily have been twenty with comfortable room to stretch. On the other end of the room was a security door with a Staff Only sign.

He pulled out his identification tag, swiped at a receiver, and the door opened to a flight of steps. The steps led him to the middle of a corridor with a sign pointing right reading Administration, and other saying Research pointing to the left. He placed his finger on a fingerprint reader and entered the research department.

Unlike the reception, the home of Unit Twenty Three was crammed with more desks and workstations than it seemed possible. All locked into a square room slightly smaller in area compared to the reception below. There were large screens displaying real-time graphs and data feeds, and two monolithic servers housed in a corner. This was certainly not a research department of a stockbrokerage company.

There were twelve workstations facing the wall but only six of them were occupied. Jamie took his place at one of the other four workstations at the centre. One of the officers turned towards Jamie and touched his forehead in a casual salute.

‘Monique had to leave early. I’ll be sending the nightly report shortly’, he said and looked at his screen. ‘Nothing significant today, just the usual activity on the grid. One new player entered the game, but I don’t think it’s much. All other activity in the normal operational range.’

‘Thanks Neville,’ Jamie replied. ‘Open a file for the new player before you leave. And good morning!’

Unit Twenty Three, or U23, was part of Kategat’s Secret Surveillance Ops, an outfit composed of many units operating discreetly with the intention of tracking and identifying any threat to the country from miscreants and malicious actors. U23 was specifically tasked with tracking social media users online using real-time surveillance systems and machine learning algorithms.

The players were people showing malevolent intent or siding with the primary opposition force in government. The Revolutionary Rebels, frequently referred to as the RR, has been the central focus of U23. They had been often warned that RR were to stage organised attacks on the Government to create chaos and disruption, which they need to seize power. Deep down, Jamie knew that the real reason was to eliminate any opposition for the current rulers to consolidate power.

Neville and another member of the team collected their belongings and prepared to depart. Jamie looked at the large digital clock at the top of the wall opposite him which read 07:20:02. The day shift officers would take another hour or two to get in and there will be quite some work he had to do that day.

Next Chapter ☞