Tomorrow-The Day That never comes

When the next day never comes but a war is taking place in the future how are you supposed to end it?
Recruited to the organisation F.A.I.T, Harriet (Harri) becomes part of the team who uses the advanced technology to plug in to the future to uncover the truth behind the war and to find a way stop it before it has even begun.
The confusion she finds clogging her mind when she wakes instantly causes a stir amongst the leaders but is soon pushed aside.
Harri's inquisitively soon gets her into trouble she is not aware of. Constantly pushing boundaries and breaking the rules she ends up getting further than they ever have before.
But it's not all good news. Harri discovers much more than she set out to uncover and things go from bad to worse as secrets are uncovered.
'It's no longer a secret if everyone knows'

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8. Chapter Seven

Sleep eventually came but only when I woke did I know it had. Morning had arrived and with it another chance to plug in, another chance to go into the future and another chance to redeem yesterday's event. 

            "Hey, come on hurry up the aircraft is about to come in" Miagh burst through the door of the dorm, she was already dressed and ready. 

            "What? This early? They really don't consider those of us that want to sleep" Alex moaned sarcastically but he jumped straight out of bed and began getting ready. I had no time to slowly prepare myself instead I threw on the clothes, grabbed my hair and shoved it back into a ponytail and followed Alex to the plug in. 

            I was getting used to being wired up, having tubes stuck into my arms, feeling myself slip from reality and fall into the parallel world. This time, however it was more rushed than previously yet everything still ran with fluidity. A inserted the tubes fast but with no more pain than usual. She wasn't the only one plugging people in, those who had been here longer were helping out. It was a quick change from one world to another. 

            The aircraft was already in view when I emerged into the future. The DREADs already beginning to land and as soon as their feet touched the ground I ran. I wasted no time. I wasn't going to mess up this time. There was already less time to prepare than before so I ran. There was no time to look back, no time to glance around at the fleeing civilians or the running members of F.A.I.T. I located on to the hanging wires and fixed onto it. It was my ticket onto the aircraft and this time I was going to keep hold of it. Only looking at the wire and nothing else I ran straight for it. 

            I got closer but someone ran in front of me. At first I thought it was a member of public fleeing to a safe place maybe their home maybe the nearest building but they latched onto the wire I was just about to reach. 

            "Sorry you will have to catch another one" It was Charlie. His opening word was not truly meant but he was right about me having to catch another one. Having not looked around I hadn't seen him coming but I suspected that he had seen me running straight for that wire and was determined to reach it before I did. He wanted to snatch it from me and make me look for another, he wanted me to miss the ride again. 

            Slightly panicking I spun around on the spot desperately searching for a backup, a second chance. I spotted one, a DREAD only just being set down so I had plenty of time to get to it. I began running again. This time I reached it without having to take off and jump for it. I held onto it with both my hands and gripped the bottom with my feet. Determined to stay on I shuffled up the wire giving myself distance from the bottom. I breathed a sigh of relief as I had made it but I knew it could all still go wrong, I could still fall off. But I was determined to make it to the top this time, onto the aircraft. 

            My hands tired as I neared the entrance on the aircraft. Their firm grip on the wire began to hurt like the metal was eating at my flesh, making my skin raw and sensitive but still I held on. My legs ached for the awkward bent position they were fixed in to give me extra grip but still I held on. I looked up not down and the open hatch in the aircraft was so close now, I was almost there. I rose through it my view changing as I did. I could no longer see the outside world as it disappeared completely and was replaced by the inside of the aircraft. I was still holding onto the wire as it began slipping through my hands to retract into the notch in the ceiling. It whizzed through my hands, burning my skin and it felt like it was grating my flesh off. 

            I swung my legs out trying to rest them on the floor of the aircraft, kicking to try and touch the edge of the gap I had just risen through. I managed to place my toes on the edge and tried to use that to pull myself forward so I was standing properly on solid ground. Desperately trying with baby steps to walk forward one foot slipped and I knew the wire was shortening. This wasn't going to happen again. Both feet were back on the edge but I couldn't stand properly. Suddenly I felt a force from behind centre in my back. It launched me forward so I let go of the wire and feel face first into the aircraft. I landed on my front with barely enough time to put my hands out in front of me to catch myself and soften the fall. I turned over and now on my back I saw Alex standing by my feet, his fingertips on the roof to hold him steady. 

            "Couldn't let you fall back down there again now could I?" He said in a smug voice. 

            "Did you kick me in the back?" I barely whispered as I was short of breath. 

            "So what if I did?" 

            "You winded me" I said through gasps. 

            "I will take that as a thank you" He responded. 

            "Yeah, thanks I guess" It was the closest thing he was going to get the a sincere thank you. 

            "Come on" He held out his hand to pull me to my feet but I didn't take his offer, I got myself up.

            "Hey!" A voice called from behind Alex. It was Miagh she was standing on the edge reaching out with one hand asking for help. Alex took his hand from my reach and extended it to Miagh who took it gracefully. She joined us on the side of the aircraft we stood and flashed a smile when she saw me. 

            "Hello Harri, nice to see you on the aircraft this time" She said bringing it up again

            "Although she nearly didn't make it twice today and quite frankly it would have been better if she didn't" I turned my head to see Charlie said as he emerged from the darkness of the shadows behind me. 

            "What exactly is your problem with me, huh?" I span around to face him completely. 

            "You came at me and embarrassed me in front of everyone in the canteen and I don't like to be embarrassed especially by a girl" He took another step closer, towering over me. 

            "It not my fault you were so easy to defeated even by a girl" I shot back. What came next happened to quickly for me to change the outcome nobody could have done anything to stop it from happening. Charlie launched forward, shoving his hand into my stomach with the full force of his arm and body weight. It was his palm not his fist that landed in my stomach. I flew backwards, losing my footing as his moving forward forced me to move backwards. My heels felt nothing beneath them and I knew I was being edged towards the gap. My body kept falling backwards but my feet stayed firm so I was leant back only staying where I was due to the firm grip Charlie had on my clothes. 

            "If I were you I would think carefully about what you say next" Charlie snarled through gritted teeth. 

            "Why are you doing this? Need to prove yourself in front of everyone because you got beaten by a girl?" I wasn't giving in. My heart was pounding but I had already fallen to my death once and I could do it again if need, I didn't want to, I wanted to stay here and see what was next. 

            "What did you say?" He let go of my top and I dropped dramatically further down. I was hanging now, he had grabbed hold of my arm and was holding me in mid air. He had squatted down which left no part of me in the aircraft. 

            "If it makes you feel better I apologies for kicking your arse yesterday" He let me slip further through his grip. 

            "Hey, come on Charlie there's no need for this" I could hear Alex trying to talk him out of it, he was trying to stop him from dropping me. 

            "All she has to do is say she is sorry and leave me alone" He was looking at me. 

            "I have to leave you alone? I'm not the one determined to get me off this aircraft" 

            "Harri, just leave it" Alex shouted. 

            "He is the one dangling me from this stupid aircraft" I yelled back. 

            "Charlie just bring her back up and we will all leave each other alone" Alex continued. 

            "Give me one reason why I should" 

            "Because H and L are defiantly going to be annoyed to find that you killed a fellow colleague and you will be in plenty of trouble for doing so" Alex almost blackmailed Charlie. 

            "It's hardly killing she will wake up in reality" Charlie scoff. 

            "Still won't be happy with your aggressive behaviour" 

            "Alex is right, Charlie just lift her up" Miagh was agreeing. 

            Charlie stared me hard in the eye, his eyebrows furrowed, his nostrils flared and his breathing short and sharp with his aggression. He was not happy and clearly had some anger issues. He began pulling me up but only slightly so that I could grab hold of the end to stop myself from falling when he let go. He walked away and disappeared from my view and instantly Alex and Miagh were there taking hold of one arm each and pulling me back into the aircraft. As soon as I was in the hatch shut, sealing us in which I was rather grateful for. 

            "You ok?" Alex asked. 

            "Perfectly fine" I said getting up and brushing myself down. 

            There were black boxes set up around the edges of the aircraft and I sat on one furthest away from Charlie. I was breathing heavy and my palms were sweaty, nearly being dropped to my death had shaken me more than I had let anyone see. 

            "You have got to stop winding him up because I am not always going to be there to save you" Alex said as he sat down next to me. 

            "So you are supposed to be my knight in shining armour while I am the damsel in distress?" I questioned. 

            "Well you did just need saving and I was the one who saved you" He pointed out his heroic actions. 

            "Well congratulations on talking down the villain you really put your life on line for me" I was being sarcastic. 

            "Can't you ever just say thank you and leave it?" He nudged me. He didn't sound annoyed although he easily could have been. 

            I didn't respond, I had nothing to say to him, I couldn't think of any smart comment and was hoping for a distraction or an interruption. I was thankful when one came. The aircraft suddenly dropped, it was a short sharp drop like the Big Ben rides at theme parks. My stomach lifted and gripped onto the edge of the box I was sitting on. My hands were clamped onto it, my knuckles turning white with my firm grip. 

            "What was that?" My heart beat got faster and my breathing heavier just when it had started to even back out to its normal pace. 

            "It's nothing to worry about sometimes the aircraft bounces about, turbulence or something" Alex reassured me and I felt his hand on mine. 

            "So we aren't about to plummet to our deaths?" 

            "No, it's all fine" I loosened my grip on the boxes but my hands remained in place, holding on just in case. 

            "Look" He stood up to prove his point. "Totally safe" The aircraft dropped again which wiped the smile of his face and made his hands fly up to the fabric loop of a handle hanging from the ceiling. I couldn't help but laugh. We continued bouncing around for a while, shaking about inside, my grip on the box tightened again. It was a few minutes passed before either of us spoke out again. 

            "We're here now, look" Alex pointed forward as he spoke. I stood up wanting to see the view, grabbing the handle next to Alex. I glanced out the window at the front and saw the ground growing closer. A building like the one The Order occupied was not that far away from us. It's dark windows reflecting the aircraft we were approaching it in. It was a large building, huge, but it was the only building I could see. I let go of the handle, slipping my hand out of it so I was free to wander forward. It was easier to walk through than I thought although the occasional drops and turns made me lose my balance. The windows went around the sides expanding the view so I kept walking towards the front. I then found myself in between two seats. I suddenly stopped and took in a sharp breath before taking no more. I froze not wanting to make a move until I realised that they, the occupants of the seats, couldn't see me anyway. I looked at them not sure whether I was expecting to see two DREADs sat in the seats or two people. It was people who sat there but they might as well have been DREADs at they showed no expression and didn't say a word. 

            We were in the middle of nowhere. The building we are heading toward was the only one around. It wasn't in the middle of nowhere as in out in the country side with massive green fields surrounding it with sheep or cows roaming around, it was in the middle of destroyed buildings. There was no sign of life anywhere. If anyone had lived nearby they certainly didn't anymore and hadn't done so for a while. 

            The aircraft began to lower and I had to grab hold of both the chairs to steady myself for the decent. I was finally about to do something. I was about to go into the factory where the DREADs were made. That's what this was, it was where they came from. Not much else had been explored apart from the sections where the DREADs were made, or if it had they hadn't uploaded it onto the memory chips. We landed with a jolt and I almost fell to the floor and as soon as we had the aircraft touched down and the engine turned off the two pilots got up and took it in turns to walk straight through me. I felt the impact of not existing once more and I hated it. 

            "Harri!" Alex called for me. "Let's go" He waved his hand to summon me over as the one of the pilots pulled on a leaver a slid open a door on the side which I hadn't known to be a door. All the members of F.A.I.T filed out after them leaving the aircraft empty except from myself and Alex who stood in the doorway waiting for me to join him. So I did, I jogged down to the door and both of us jumped out. We all followed the people who worked here into the building and I was excited. My heart was pounding but this time with excitement as this was the first time I was actually carrying out a set mission. 

            Once inside we split from the guides we had adopted and headed down corridors that reminded me of the corridors of F.A.I.T. We got to our intended destination and everyone began breaking off into their pairs to investigate the DREADs. Myself and Alex entered the section where the DREADs had already been constructed. The room was filled with the same buzz of electricity I had heard yesterday out on the streets just before the clean up team had arrived. I stood in ore as I entered the room. Rows and rows of DREADs hanging about a foot off the ground, wires coming out from them, plugging them into the machines that stood behind them, screens besides them flicking rapidly through words too fast to read them. They were being programmed. At the moment they were lifeless shells of metal but they were being pumped with life as we wondered through the farm.

            I wondered off from Alex as he headed off with a sense of purpose while I just wanted to have a nose around at everything. I slipped in between two lifeless metal bodies and took a few steps backwards as I took in the whole picture. The wires connecting them to the whirring machine glowed blue which I then realised it to be the only light in this room, that and the glow from the monitors. I stepped closer noticing the blue light seeping through the gaps where the joints didn't quite meet up. The electricity was like blood pumping through the body, pumping life into each DREAD. 

            Standing close I noticed the faint six digit number engraved just above the hip: 254758. I ran my finger over the top feeling the bumps and grooves of each digit. I moved along to the one to the left of me and looked straight at the same place, again another number. The first five digits read the same but the last one was not an 8 but a 7. Again I moved to the left to inspect the next number: 254756. They were counting down. The numbers were getting smaller. I walked back up to the first one then past it, noting the numbers as I did. This way they counted up. Each DREAD had been given an ID number, there was a way to identity each one. Like people and animals had names DREADs had numbers. Interesting. 

            I backed away slowly still looking at them as I walked away. Not watching where I was going proved to be a mistake as I hadn't noticed how close the rows of DREADs were to each other and I ended up walking into one behind me. It knocked into the one next to it and the clang of metal hitting metal echoed through the room.

            "Careful" Alex's voice travelled from where I could not see him.

            "Sorry" I called back.

            I froze with panic momentarily before whipping around and trying to steady the lifeless robot. It was heavy and much bigger than me with its well built structure in comparison to my tiny frame so it was therefore hard to stop from swinging around. The noise fizzled out to silence and the DREAD was merely rocking backwards and forwards. I continued down the line, looking each one up and down as I strolled past. Each one was the same, duplicates of each other, except from the numbers, they were identical. 

            As I walked down I had looked at the DREADs as much as I thought I needed to and my attention shifted to the monitors and machines they were attached to. I followed the wires that climbed up from the DREAD and the monitor and found they originated from the ceiling. The electrical supply was coming from above. The monitor was evidence that the computer hard drive was passing on more than just an electrical current. The complicated pattern of numbers and letters showing the transformation from empty metal shell to functioning killing machine. Programming them. Change what they are being programmed to do and you change what they do. Something that I'm sure was hard to do. 

            I edged closer as though being nearer would reorganised the letters and numbers into words that would make sense to me. I reached out and started pressing keys on the small keypad that hung below the monitor. It was a long shot, I didn't think it would even work. I thought a code was needed that the pressing the keys would send no instructions to the monitor. It didn't work with the intention I had in mind but the keys registered under my touch. The blue turned red, the letters and numbers stopped scrolling before the screen went black and a blaring alarm sounded out. 

            "What did you do?" Alex came running over. 

            "I just..." I spluttered. 

            "Thought you would just press all the buttons?" 

            "I don't know I just thought that maybe something would happen" I justified poorly. 

            "Well something did happen" Alex thrusted his hand at the DREAD I had caused problem to. 

            "Obviously I didn't mean for this to happen, I just saw the keys and started pressing them" I defended. 

            "If there was a big red button with a sign saying to not touch would you touch it?" Alex complained. 

            "Well there wasn't a sign saying do not touch" I pointed out.

            "Because they don't expect us to be roaming around looking for a way to bring them down" He defiantly had a good point. 

            The whoosh of an electronic door sounded and four people instantly stormed into the room once the door was open. Their entrance would have been far more dramatic if they could have kicked the door in. They stood with guns posed ready to take down the intruder. They did not know just yet that they were to be disappointed when they found no intruder even though we were standing right in front of them. They split apart to scan the room for the intruder which they would not find. 

            "No one here" One called out to the others.

            "No one over here either" Came a reply. 

            "Clear here too" Another said. 

            "Just a malfunction with one of the DREADs" The first one said as he walked over to us, to the DREAD which screamed out that it was in need of attention. I moved out of the way as he got closer so he could get on with his job, not that I needed to but I did it anyway. 

            "It seems something went wrong with the inputting" He explained when he further inspected the problem. I was glad he couldn't detect why something went wrong with the inputting. He pressed at some of the keys with more of a clear focus than I had and the wires corrected themselves from red back to blue. 

            "Right, let's take it down then" A second person joined the first. 

            Alex and I stood watching as they took out the wires and unplugged the DREAD. The wires changed again from blue but they didn't change to another colour instead the blue just disappeared. The power supply was cut off as the DREAD was unhooked. One section now obviously different to the others. The men took away the even more lifeless looking metal casing leaving a space amongst the rows of DREADs. I stood watching them walk away united by the heavy object they had to carry. 

            "That was close" I breathed as they disappeared out the door. 

            "Too close" Alex agreed. 

            "Good thing they can't see us" 

            "Good thing for you they can't tell that it was tinkered with" Alex walked away. 

            "Come on, Alex I was just trying to..." 

            "Cause more problems with everything you touch?" He turned around and walked with heavy footsteps back towards me. 

            "Isn't all this about trying to stop the war by stopping those who create it and fight in it?" I began my defence by questioning him.

            "Yes" His reply was simply. 

            "Then why is it wrong when I try and do something to unravel the mystery of the war?" I asked him. I didn't shout because I wasn't angry I was confused. 

            "There are rules we have in place" He started banging on about rules and boundaries again. 

            "Why?" 

            "So things like this don't happen" 

            "Nothing happened" I pointed out how we still stood undiscovered able to continue our search. 

            "You set an alarm off and they came in here searching for the intruders who set it off" 

            "And they also reached the conclusion that there weren't any but instead there was simply a malfunction with the inputting of the information. We are still standing here able to carry on" I felt the success of the situation needed to be pointed out as well. 

            "It could have turned out differently" Alex suggested a possible ending to the goings on that could never happen. 

            "Could have. Meaning hasn't and will not. Everything is fine so let's just keep doing what we are supposed to be doing" 

            "So long as you promise not to touch anything you shouldn't" His tone of voice lightened.

            "How do I know what to touch and what not to touch" I joked but he didn't take it as one. 

            "It's not that hard, it's all been stored on the memory chip, all the things we can and can't do, all the rights and wrongs, all the rules and boundaries are on the memory chip" He explained as he began walking off. It was now he who seemed confused at my own confusion. I wasn't used to this memory chip thing. It felt like I had to search for what I wanted to know when surely it should have supplied me with everything I wanted to and needed to know. 

            "So what are we looking for?" I said as I followed him. 

            "A weak spot" Alex replied. 

            "And the information input wasn't a potential weakness?"  

            "A weakness as in a way to take them down more easily" Alex told me. 

            "So corrupting the data that tells them what to do and how to behave isn't a way to take them down more easily? Giving them a different purpose is stopping the problem before it's even happened which is our goal here" I suggested.

            "A problem that can be just as easily be solved as created, we need to find something more concrete. Something that will last for each DREAD that will be made" He argued a good point. 

            "But you haven't found anything yet?" It was more of a statement than a question. 

            "Thank you for reminding me of the failures" 

            "What makes you think we ever will?" I slowed down and pushed one of the hanging DREADs with my fingers. 

            "Everything has a weakness" Alex sped up, his determination evident in each stride. There were moments of silence that passed as we continued to walk, Alex at his fast paced large strides while I trailed behind with slow steps. 

            "What about the holes where the wires go in?" I suggested after a while. Alex was one row ahead of me so I slipped through the gap in between two DREADs taking a short cut to catch up. 

            "They close up, they get sealed" Alex said. 

            "Yeah but they have must have to be a weak spot, right? If you fill in a hole it's going to be easier to get into again than digging another one" I was trying.

            "The problem is they are so well sealed you can't see them when the DREAD is complete, so figuring out where they are would be too difficult in a quick attack" Alex crossed that off the list of possible weaknesses as soon as I had written it on.

            "Of course" I said letting the information deflate my spirit. "So they have everything pretty much covered" 

            "So it would seem but there has to be something" Alex refused to be defeated. 

            "So we better get looking then" I clapped my hands together and began focusing on only one of the DREADs. I searched it looking for something anything but I didn't really know what I was looking for I did it more to humour Alex, to put him at ease. I could have seen a possible weakness but wouldn't have known. I was careful not to touch anything I shouldn't which made it even harder to search for the possibility of a weakness, none of which had so far been discovered. 

            I walked around for a bit, having gotten bored after finding nothing on the DREAD itself, I began searching for anything else. I didn't get far before I started to feel myself fade away. Relief was something I felt when I realised I was going back. Being in the future was great but all the rules were starting to limit the fun, starting to limit the search. I wanted to keep searching but so far I had done everything wrong and was thankful to be back in reality where I couldn't make any great mistakes. 

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