Hooked Up

{3rd place in 'Vortex' contest} Hans Dimera, owner of Dimera-Limited - a company that sells almost anything. Unknowingly to the consumer, Hans Dimera has more than just money making in mind. His products are riddled with chemicals that will forever alter the human in contacts, rendering the public to a puppet-like state. The Dimera revolution has begun.

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1. Hooked Up 2nd Revision + added starter scene

-Scotland-Edinburgh’s Princess Street – 2024-

The streets were busting with busy souls making their way from A to B looking in the windows of shops as they passed. With a gleeful hop to their step and a wad of cash in their pocket, a family of three made their way weaving between others.

“Oh, mum! Look at that,” the daughter exclaims, pointing at a window display. “Everyone at school has one; it’s all anyone can talk about right now.”

The father turns to the teenage daughter sceptically. “And that means you should have one too, shouldn’t it?”

The daughter gives her father a look and sinks further into the window display to give other shoppers a wider berth. “Look, the headphones are on special offer – they’re only £15 and they’re Dimera products. Do you know how expensive these are elsewhere?” The daughter pleads for their siding.

The mother shakes her head. “No, not today, we’re here for your school clothes not for some more electronics which can I just say- you don’t need,” the mother chides. “What’s all the fuss with these new Dimera products anyway, Misa?”

Misa – the daughter – shrugs. “I don’t know, but they’re good quality and a lot of people are talking about them.”

Father looks down on daughter and pulls his wallet from his jeans. “I’ll give you twenty, but don’t waste it on this Dimera rubbish. How about some notebooks for school?”

Misa snatched the money straight from her father’s hand with a smile that reaches her ears. Clapping her hands ecstatically, she says, “Sure, I’ll be in the stationary shop across the road.” She points across the busy road filled with busses and cars. “You guys get on your way; I’ll be fine on my own.”

After much convincing, the mother and father finally walk away and Misa sighs in relief. No, no stationary. Headphones it is.

A man walks past her brushing shoulders with Misa and suddenly a sharp pain pierces her neck. Misa twitches as her arm scratches at her neck only to find nothing there. Maybe it was an insect? Misa shrugged it off and eyed up the headphones before making her way inside.

She couldn’t wait.

 

-Dimera-Limited- London – 2024-

“We’ve sold over 370% more units than last month.” The office woman types frantically on her computer as her boss oversees; she scans her eyes over another statistic and announces, “Stock-shares are up by 40%.”

The boss nods his balding head enthusiastically as he dreams of the future ahead. “Good.” Another questions pops into his head, “What branch of product seems to be doing the best?”

The woman peers down through her glasses onto the keyboard and with a few clicks she has the answer; “The electronics department seem to be selling the most units, their 6 in 1 device is the most popular.”

The boss doesn’t respond as he marvels in the statistics, never had he dreamed that his business would come on this far; part-owning a multi-use company specialising in home-ware, electronics, decor, and garden. The boss above him would be proud. The boss grins at the thought of the long awaited pay-rise.

As he shuffles down the hallways, hauling his wide body past all the busy employees, a few stop to nod their respect.

“I’ve left your coffee pot in your office, Mr. Brown,” The woman who runs the office coffee trolley informs the man. He replies with simple thanks.

Eager to retreat to the solitude of his office, he picks up his pace and keeps to the left to make it to his destination quicker. His sweaty hands cling to each other as his weight alerts the pressure pad to his presence, the door swings open and he throws himself inside. Slamming the door behind him, Mr. Brown looks around the small office with a grim look. I deserve better, he thinks, I’ll be promoted out of this office soon enough.

Waddling towards the desktop computer, he sits down on the comfortable leather chair that creaks under his heavy build. The computer in front of his was much more advanced than the computer sat just outside the four walls, with voice recognition and his eyes acting as the mouse. Yes, this is bliss.

“Please state your name,” the monotonous computer instructs, recognising another presence.

“Alfred Brown.”

A light beep emits from the high-Tec speakers. “Welcome back, Mr. Brown. Today’s date is January the 23rd, year 2054. What can I do for you today?” Like an obedient dog, the computer waits silently except from the hum of the fans.

Alfred pours the coffee into a ceramic mug and slurps generously. His greasy chubby fingers run through the remains of his dirty blonde hair. “Video conference with Hans Dimera, please.”

“Calling Hans Dimera, please wait patiently.”

Alfred nervously fingers the handle of his mug. Will his boss be proud of him? What was the next step of the plan?

The small circle atop the monitor begins to glow, right before Alfred’s face appears a realistic projection. The man is young, much younger than Alfred. His hair is mysteriously dark, his angled face gives off an ‘I-don’t-play-games’ vibe. His eyes are already glaring straight at Alfred.

Alfred takes a final gulp of his coffee before he opens his mouth to speak. Keep confident, Alfred reminds himself.

Hans beats him to it. “I do sincerely hope you bring us good news, Brown.” The look on his face is angered and even though what Alfred was seeing was simply a hologram, it’s still sent shudders down his spine.

Alfred quickly feeds Hans Dimera the news one of his office workers had fed to him earlier. “That’s still not enough, Brown. We needed it up by at least 500% if we want to be on target.” Hans stands from his position in the room he’s sat in and walks further away from the camera recording him, revealing a conference room with about 10 other bodies in it. Alfred self-consciously adjusts himself.

“But 300%, sir, we’re on our way to achieving what we-,” Alfred stops when he takes notice of Hans’ face. Pure rage emitted from his pores as his hands tighten around the table under his grasp.

Hans’ places a taunting look on his face. “You take orders from me, Alfred. This company belongs to me, not you. You do as I say.”

Alfred twitches at the need to announce his share in the company, how this company was more his than anyone else’s. But Hans is powerful, Alfred cringed.

“You’ll have those 300% rise in sold units doubled by next week or I’m replacing you, Brown. I want everyone in the 1st world to own at least one Dimera-Limited product otherwise this plan of mine will go to waste. The government will catch on and you know what, Brown? The authorities will be after you. You’re the registered owner of this company, not me, Alfred Brown.”  

Alfred felt a chill – and not from the open window a few steps away from his seat either. The chill that he got when he was plagued with the threat of the authorities. They’d come for him; he’s always known this, but it’s never seemed so real before.

Hans’ eyes are glazed with pure and utter control as he thought to come out on top. He wouldn’t let some older greased man beat him at him own game. Hans sought to control his own rage but he only succeeds in pouring petrol onto the pit within his body that was currently fighting its own battle to resist ordering his right-hand man down to the Dimera-Limited building and beating up the fool named Alfred Brown. No, not now.

“But, Dimera, I can’t force the public to like what we offer. I can’t force them to buy our products,” Alfred pleads; his eyes are shinier than before telling us he might be on the verge of tears. A sea of red is making its way up his neck from under his tight collar and suffocating his face in an embarrassing blush.

Hans curls his nose at the man projected in front of him. “I’m sure a weasel like you will find a way.”

Then the video conference is cut to a sudden end.

Alfred stands from his seat sending it flying back into the metal filling cabinet with a smash.

This will not do, this can’t happen, is all Alfred can think as he rushes to the other side of the room and stands in the middle in between a white screen and his desk.

“Computer, turn on the big screen.” The blank hologram is shut down and the white screen in front of him comes to life.

In front of him appears the Dimera-limited logo, icons are scattered around it. “Open file ‘predicted sales’.” Seconds later a spreadsheet is in front of Alfred’s face, the numbers completely meaningless to him without his assistant here to explain it to him.

I must figure this out, Alfred felt determined as he scanned the numbers and moved along the spreadsheet with his fingers. The headings were dates, he noticed. He asked his computer move the spreadsheet to today’s date and saw the exact numbers he was told earlier. The dates after that are only predictions, but it’ll be worth checking them, to see if a rise of 600% is possible.

“Computer, move along 7 days.” The spreadsheet transforms before his eyes and the minus sign he has always dreaded is right before his face in every column for the date 30th January 2054. Fear works its way through his body as he repeats a silent prayer to god. “Computer, what does this mean?” He dreaded what he might be told.

“Units sold for 30/01/54 is down -14.65% from the week before. Stock-shares are down -0.24%.” The monotonous voice of the computer only worsened Alfred’s worst fear – being unsuccessful.

If the prediction for next week were in the minuses how did Dimera expect him to double the figures?

He felt as if inside him there is a countdown until the moment he’s caught in this act, with everything going wrong another hour is taken away. He could feel that countdown coming closer to zero with every heartbeat. “Open Key-protected file C.”

I’m going to find a way around this; I’m not letting some young twit control me and my money. The file opened and a small screen was pushed from under the white board. “Please place your hand on the screen.”

Alfred done so and he was granted immediate access. The drawings, original drafts and ideas of Dimera were presented in front of him, the scanned drawings and hand written drafts a little pixelated, but still readable. The drawing of a faceless human and what looked like an umbilical cord coming out the back of the neck is what immediately caught Alfred’s eye.

Sure, he already knew this stuff, but it was no less shocking each time he went over it.

He began to read the drafted report–

                The latest discovery within science; to control another by infection through products. Discovered by Hans Dimera – A Cambridge university graduate – discovered the ability by mixing several chemicals that are untraceable and easily disguised. The chemicals set off triggers within the human in contact which leads to blocked signals inside the brain placing the human in a puppet-like state.

                The chemicals combined previously thought near enough useless have now been illegal since the discovery. The chemicals combined block neurons in the brain and mimic the blocked signals on command rather than on will once sufficiently connected to a ‘super-computer’ through an invisible umbilical-like cord that exits through the infected persons neck. All the cords connect to a larger cord and finally meet at a super-computer, wherever the source may be.

                While appearing harmless, this combination of chemicals could have drastic effects if used in mainstream production. While being extremely contagious, these chemicals could also possess real harm if in the wrong hands.

 

You’re telling me, Alfred snorted. Hans wasn’t the type of person you’d like to have your hands on a chemical so powerful. At that very second Alfred began to hate his own involvement and frowned.

There were diagrams of glasses that were recognised within Alfred. Alfred reached blindly behind him and picked up his own pair of glasses and marched towards the office window onto the streets below. Looking down he could see several people with the thick slimy looking cord coming from their neck that went far on up into the sky and ultimately will be hooked up to Hans’ computer somewhere. The radio wave emitting glasses are the only thing that enables anyone to see who is truly infected. If the infected person passed another non-infected he could see the infection transfer, latch onto a new victim to control. Nowhere is safe.

Whenever Hans sent a command to his computer, selected groups of people will react and do as they’ve been told. He could trigger anything at anytime and that’s what made Alfred uncomfortable.

Thank god there’s an anti-virus, Alfred sighs. He pulls the arms of his shirt up and he can see clearly the marks on his arm from where he’d previously injected it daily. He wasn’t about to become a clone.

The people who worked for him – utterly clueless. An overwhelming sense of guilt hit his system, but at the same time, pride.

He takes the glasses off and stands on the pressure pad below his door after he instructs the computer to destroy that file. The door swings the other way this time and he steps back into the noise of the main office.

They type obediently; they all believe the lies that are fed to them. Alfred stares at the Dimera-Limited logo on the computer and realises how serious this is getting.

They’re all infected; they’re all just puppets in this show Hans is putting on. But what of the outcome?

 

-Dimera Offices – Location Unknown

“Bloody useless slob!” Hans slammed his fists straight into the wooden table, a groan creaks through the wood. “One job and he still can’t do it right.”

Another man at the table sighs. “Dimera, we both knew that he wasn’t going to reach the quota.” He gets up from his seat and walks towards the glass door with Hans Dimera’s name splattered on the front. “The chemicals will spread like wild-fire. I walked to work this morning with my glasses and I saw almost every single person with a cord. I could see it transmitting to others. We’re fine.”

Hans didn’t seem pleased with the answer. “But it doesn’t harm anyone to make some money on the side, Ray.”

Ray steps on the pressure pad disguised as a doormat and the door swings open. “Look at it like this – once everyone is hooked up to that mainframe of yours, you’ll have all the money you desire.” Ray laughs to himself. “And I better be getting a share of it.”

“Just get out-,” Hans demands.

“-I was already going-.”

Hans rises and daringly looms over Ray. “Leave. Now.” Hans turns to the other silent members in the conference room. “The rest of you can go too, unless you want to be hooked up as well,” Hans sneers.

They all scrabble to get to the door and soon enough Hans is left to his own thoughts. Hans stalks towards the computers to view the screen. “Computer, show me the visuals from the basement security camera.” Hans twitches out of annoyance.

The hologram comes to life and displayed in almost life-like size was the basement. “Showing, security camera 234.”

Hans steps closer to the hologram and smirks over his genius creation. The mainframe computer put to better use, controlling and altering all consumers who’ve even came in contact with those 3 fatal chemicals. His puppets, his subjects. They won’t know what hit them, Hans laughs internally, I’ll be ruler of the new world, the Dimera revolution.

The perfect consumers who’d make him rich by buying his products and his products only. They’ll meet his every whim. They’ll become pathetic clones, wiped dead inside by their consumer driven lives. Good, and once I’m done with the public I’ll start on my staff. First up, that weasel Alfred Brown.

The visual in front of him was one of pure beauty. The wires, the metal and plastic casings, the electronics. All beautiful to Hans. This would be his only trusted companion during his take-over, the only thing he trusted.

“Computer, bring up infection estimates.” The hologram changed, now in front was numbers he could make immediate sense.

The computer droned, “Current infection estimate – 86% of Europe, 100% of China, 73% of America and worldwide – 68%.” Hans nods to himself, not bad at all; he only launched his first product last month.

“What’s the estimation for worldwide take-over?”

The computer is silent as if trying to find the answer. “10 days.”

This was the news he’d been waiting for, this was everything. He was already aware that he’d got his hands on the prime minister; he’s already spread the chemicals to the royal family. This was pure and utter gold, the time would come sooner than he realised.

Am I ready for it? Hans wondered, sure I am.

But what would he do first, what could he do with his never ending power? Infinite money, leave his subjects in dire conditions as he lives it up on all their money. Lock away Alfred Brown just for the fun of it.

Yes, that’s exactly what he would do. Hans Dimera laughs aloud in evil ecstasy. His life would forever be floating on a river looking up at the sun. He’d turn London medieval again just for the fun of it, watch the modern worms squirm.

It’s their own damn fault this is happening to them- modernisation done this to them. If only they could live their life without having to show off their money in the form of electronics and branded products. If only they would live simple lives. I’m doing the world a favour.

Every advert they watched, every product or brand they bought, every ‘I need a new phone’, ‘I need new clothes’ has led them up to this, has led them to their underlying fate.

It’s time for Hans Dimera to shine. “Computer, destroy all supplies of anti-virus within the safe.” He has his own supply at home.

He wasn’t keeping those plebs he called friends around for much longer, no way. No time or need for friends.

A percentage began on screen, slowly making it’s way to 100%. “Anti-virus has been destroyed.”

He stepped back and commanded his computer to shut down. Turning to look out the glass walls and doors he could see a few people lingering outside the room. They’d need the anti-virus soon and when they find it’s not there it’ll be too late and they won’t even have enough of a soul left to rebel against him.

The female secretary comes bustling up the corridor with a wireless phone in hand. She knocks at the window and points at the phone. She smiles widely at Hans trying to grab his attention.

“I’ll take the call in my office,” he informs her, plastering a fake smile to his lips.

She nods and heads back down the hall.

Soon.

Hans Dimera quickly exits the room and puts a normal expression on his face, heading to the office next door. Shutting the door behind him, he takes a look at all his workers, useless and meaningless. Internally he couldn’t help but wish them luck, because they damn well need it.

 

-Scotland- Somewhere in Edinburgh – 2024-

“Make sure you bring your Dimera pencils to school and your Dimera notebook,” a mother tells her child as she loads a Dimera lunch box into Misa’s Dimera bag.

Misa gives her mother a robotic smile. “Of course.”

Her mother walks evenly towards the daughter and pulls her into an emotionless smile. “Remember we’re attending that product reveal, Hans Dimera is going to be speaking. It’s a must-go, so get home as quick as you can after school.”

“Ok, mom. I gotta go, friends to meet up with and see, you know,” Misa tells her mother.

Her mother looks at her with a creepy wide smile and non-blinking eyes as she watches her daughter head towards the car waiting in their drive.

The sun is gleaming on her daughter’s blonde hair and igniting the morning in glow and then suddenly, everything seems to stop. Cars passing pull suddenly on the breaks, Misa stops in her steps and her mother’s waving arms drop to her side and her face falls.

Both Misa and her mother uncontrollably reach out to their necks most probably unaware. They blink simultaneously like clones as their hands suddenly drop to their sides.

Misa regains slight emotion on her face and skip back towards her mother. “I have a better idea, mother, lets go now to the meeting.”

“That’s funny, I was just about to say the same thing.”

The car waiting on Misa now has the doors wide open with no one inside. Cars scattered down the road are similar with their owner walking in the same direction as everyone else. Misa and her mother join the crowd, walking at the same pace straight towards the live meeting on the huge plasma screen in princess street gardens, ready for the live broadcasting of Dimera being shown worldwide.

 

-Dimera-Limited- London – 2024-

“Mr. Brown, we go live in ten minutes. I’m afraid you’ll have to do the speaking if Hans Dimera doesn’t show up on time.”

Albert brown sweats beads from his forehead, he pulls at his tight collar to loosen the strain and is almost panting. “He’ll be here,” he mutters. “He must,” he adds as an afterthought.

The paparazzi outside begin to roar in surprise as camera shutters create a wave of relief. He was here, and boy Alfred was glad.

“Mr. Dimera, can I get you some tea?”

“Mr. Dimera, take a seat.”

“Can I interest you in some refreshments, sir?”

Hans Dimera brushed them off easily as he swaggered through the dull building lobby. There standing by the elevator was the one and only Alfred and Hans could swear he saw a gleam of fear tint his eyes.

Good, Hans thought.

“Thank goodness you’re here, I was worried for a second I’d have to carry out the speech-,” Alfred babbles.

All Hans had to do was glare and Alfred had shut up. “Please, you’re giving me a headache.”

Alfred nods. “of course. Where are your assistants? You usually bring some...” he speculates.

Hans looks to his left and right at his now non-existant advisors and ‘friends’, he’d long ago done away with them. Some dead, some now a clone to his revolution. He didn’t need them then, he didn’t need them now.

“I don’t seem to see how that’s relevant, Brown, do you?”

Alfred stutters, “O-ofcourse not, sir.”

Around them people are bustling around, organising, trying to keep the cameras out the building. A woman comes sauntering up to them. “We’re live in five minutes. May I advise you head up now so you’re prepared, Mr. Dimera,” she suggests.

He looks her up and down and is impressed by her looks, he would like a lady companion. “Of course, and your name?”

“Sarah, now if you excuse me, I really must be getting on...” she turn on her heel and is ready to walk away.

Hans reaches out and grabs her elbow. “You’re going no where. Now come with me in the elevator and tell me a little more about yourself.”

Alfred doesn’t hear much more as the elevator doors are shut behind the two and he nervously makes his way over to a seat and fiddles with his hands. He doesn’t know what Dimera plans to say, but he knows for a fact that it won’t be good news. Now he had world under his command – minus Alfred and himself – he was going to take it one step closer.

***

“We’re live in-.” The woman peers down at a stop watch and continues, “5, 4, 3, 2-.”

“Welcome,” Mr. Dimera greets the camera in front of him, heat from the lights above spilling onto his head. “I’m thankful to whoever has made time to watch this broadcast, sorry to interrupt your daily plans.” Although no one he sent signals to through their cord had much of a choice.

“To begin with, I thank each and every one of you for purchasing Dimera products. We have sold over 100 billion products within the space of three months, and that in itself is an achievement. Without you, I wouldn’t be up here today.” Without the special ingredients he wouldn’t be here today.

He grins at the camera and watches people around him fidgeting. He grins before continueing. “But – and there’s always a but – I won’t be needing all of you,” he confidently states. Those around him stare on in confusion but engrossed in his every word. “Some of you can be disposed of. When I send the command, your cords will implode and those select ten million will be rid off. But that’s not all I got you all gathered for.”

No one in the room looks at all disturbed, all under the control of his chemicals, under control of the mainframe and cord, they take in his words but don’t understand what he’s saying – just waiting for the next command.

“I need you all to move to your given homes. I’ve had my computers assign cities and homes to people, the information will be sent by electronic mail, you’ll receive it tomorrow.”

Hans enjoyed how no one was bothered by the fact that he was a business man yet he made demand like this and no one blinked an eye lid, it made him feel superior in every way possible. “And before I go-.” Mr. Dimera’s hand reveals what looks like a tiny touch phone. He fiddles with the buttons and dramatically pushes the central key. “Good day,” the camera’s shut off just as the camera man slumps to the ground as well as several others around the room.

No one looks surprised, they don’t even look at the dead bodies that were going to be put to ... better use. They stare at him expectantly and he laughs sadistically like a madman. This is the life, he thinks.

Not only has he recently achieved world take-over, he’s now begun the process of catagorising into sectors to produce him yet more money. Turn this democracy into dictatorship with citizins that can’t object. Become king of his revolution alongside the feisty hooked receptionist he’d picked up in the lobby this morning.

These public appearances really were pointless, but it was fun. Those ten million he just killed through the press of a button? He released their cords, immediately sending their brains into shock killing them all within seconds. The bodies would be collected by those he will assign, placed in catacombs once each body has had it’s own little procedure of insertion of a cetemeter long uranium rod into their brain and a microchip connected through almost invisible wires into their brain – the ultimate human-robotic army.

So if the three chemicals ever do stop their little magic show, he has a back-up plan; The unstoppable, already dead army of micro-chipped soldiers.

Walking out the room, he grabs the upper arm of his chosen woman and walks down the halls. This, this is bliss. 

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