Version innocent, p.1
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       Version Innocent, p.1

           Pete Molina
Version Innocent




  Pete Molina



  Pete Molina

  Version Innocent

  Copyright 2011 by Pete Molina

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

  For Mairin,

  the love of my life.

  Version Innocent

  Pete Molina

  The universe is change;

  our life is what our thoughts make it.

  Marcus Aurelius – Meditations

  Chapter 1

  The red phone on Jeff’s desk rang….it never rang. Jeff felt his stomach lurch and his hand went instinctively to hold it. The thing was an antique from another era before video phones, personal electronic companions, and neural implants. The only thing the phone had going for it was that it was secure, and it was never supposed to ring except in emergency that threatened the division. He looked at the phone in disbelief for a second and then picked it up.

  “This is Jeff,” he answered, thousands of scenarios spinning wildly in his mind.

  “Sir, this is the monitoring room. We have a problem with the storage system. It’s been compromised. We’ve already lost ten thousand and it’s growing geometrically. We haven’t been able to isolate the problem.”

  Jeff stood up still holding the phone, the panic rising in him, but he managed to keep it from totally engulfing him. He thought for a second.

  “Did you trigger the physical disconnect?” he asked. Ten thousand, it’s a goddamn disaster. This isn’t supposed to be able to happen, the system is isolated. His thoughts raced.

  “Yes, sir, but what ever it is has already jumped into all the storage areas.”

  “Alright, do the best you can to contain it, and I don’t have to tell you that this needs to be kept quiet until we know more…but get anyone you think can help to solve the problem.”

  “Yes, sir.” The technician on the other end hung up. Jeff put down the phone and sat down in his chair, staring into space. Ten thousand backups lost, how many of them weren’t corporeal? Involuntary dissolution of thousands, it was murder pure and simple. Who would do something like this? Jeff knew that he had to call his superiors. The backlash from this was going to be furious, especially once the media got a whiff. He picked up the red phone and dialed the President.


  Two hours later the red phone rang again. Jeff picked it up. “This is Jeff,” he answered.

  “Sir, we have it under control now,” the tech said nervously.

  “What’s the damage?” Jeff asked.

  “We lost thirty-five million. Three thousand of them weren’t corporeal.”

  It was unthinkable and Jeff sat there in stunned silence. After a few seconds the tech squeaked. “Sir, we’ve traced the virus’s origin. We know how it got into the system.”

  “How?” Jeff snapped. “Someone’s head is going to roll for this. Where did it come from?” The tech was silent for a second before answering. “Well?” Jeff said angrily.

  “Sir, we traced it to that backup cube you sent us this morning.” The tech had a little fear in his voice now, after all it wasn’t every day that someone blamed the biggest disaster in the history of the department on the Director.

  Jeff’s jaw dropped… His eyes fixed on the two backup cubes stacked neatly on his desk. Sam’s cube…oh, God, the Resistance has him. He’s been compromised and they used his relationship with me to get it in the system…I had hoped that the letter was sincere…I’m such a fool.

  Sam 6.7 was Jeff’s crèche brother and more. They had formed a pact when they were only young adults to fight the restoration establishment. Jeff had focused on bringing down the system from within, and Sam had gone to destroy it from the outside. The irony was that instead of Jeff bringing down the system from inside, he had been gradually convinced of the fact that the current system was the only way. So he had worked hard and had risen through the ranks of civil servants to become the director of the Restoration division of the U.S. Government, despite the fact that he was a Newbie.

  He had sold out, and he knew that Sam 6.7 had never forgiven him. It had cost him the closeness of the rest of his crèche mates, but Jeff knew he was right. It had seemed that Sam had given up on trying to fight the system as he grew older. Contact had lessened between them over the years until it had been almost nonexistent and Jeff had had no idea what Sam was doing until this morning.

  When Jeff entered his office earlier that morning he had found a package neatly set on the center of his desk. It was odd to get a physical package these days, but not unheard of. He found that it was from one of his crèche mates and had contained a post-it note and wrapped box. The post-it simply indicated that Sam had sent it to their crèche mate, to be forwarded to him. The note was cold and reminded him that his crèche mates didn’t want much of anything to do with him any more. Inside the box he had found a letter from Sam 6.7 and a backup cube.

  Dear Jeff,

  I’m sorry it’s been so long since we’ve spoken, and I realize that you may not wish to hear from me, but considering the situation that I’m in I have decided to risk it. For the longest time I have felt that you betrayed your promise to me. I know that you think what you’ve done is the right thing, because you always did what you thought was right. Of course I think what really got to me was that every time we talked you tried to force those beliefs on me. I’ll never agree with the system that you now direct, but I must admit that I no longer believe the system to be truly evil and the whole cause of the world’s problems.

  I have been living on Mars for the past few years working here and there on various small engineering projects, but I have stumbled on to something that even I think is sinister.

  I have found a group of Martian Newbies that are not only discontent but are willing to achieve their goals to topple the current hold on the Martian government by the Terran Restoration establishment by any means necessary. When I first met one of their people I heard their arguments and, given my past beliefs, was very influenced by them, but as I came to know them better, I realized that this group was planning some kind of terrorist act against your center.

  I believe that I am now in too deep with these people for them to let me leave the resistance. I have managed to escape for the afternoon and was able to get to a backup clinic. I had them make a cube with no transmitted backup so that the Martians would have no way of knowing what I had done. I just hope I wasn’t followed, they don’t trust me much and I would be surprised if they didn’t. I am going to try to escape from them, but I don’t think it will work. They will most likely kill me before I can get away.

  I am sending you this cube through our Crèche sister so that no one will know that I have sent it for you or that you have received it. I know that you have an infiltrator among your staff, but I was never able to achieve a level of trust with the resistance to find out who they are. But they are not a simple resistance, they are Terrorists and I believe that they would stop at nothing to keep this backup from getting into the system, as I already know too much. I trust that you will be discrete. If you haven’t heard from me within a month of the date on this letter please initiate my restoration as I am probably dead.

  Your Crèche Brother,

  Sam Storm, 6.7

  The date on the letter was already two months old, and Jeff had heard nothing from Sam in that time. He believed the worst, that Sam was dead. The implication that someone was planning violen
ce against the center and that this Martian resistance group had infiltrated his staff left Jeff feeling panicked. If he was to discover who it was and how the attack was to take place, he needed what Sam knew. Even though Sam had not been declared legally missing and presumed dead, Jeff took the cube to be downloaded in to the system and for the restoration procedure to be started.

  It was technically illegal, to restore someone who was not legally deceased, but Jeff felt that the circumstances would be justified if they could avert a major disaster. Sam was not one who could ask easily for help, and Jeff knew that Sam wouldn’t ask for his help except in the most dire of circumstances. He knew that he could trust Sam despite their disagreements, they were crèche brothers after all.

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