At the very moment that Doctor Pierce finishes his briefing in the Control Room, Amy notices something that she might have missed if it wasn’t for her conversation with James only minutes before. In unison, the minute the screens return to The Global Consortium logo, the necks of the bunker staff glow red. She turns to James. His neck is fine, still blue.
He notices what just happened too, and reads her face when she nudges him. ‘You’re fine!’ he acknowledges, checking out her neck. The light is blue.’
Across the room there is a simultaneous beep as the bunker staff receive their instructions on their personal devices, just as Doctor Pierce had suggested. There is a sudden air of purpose, as Control Room staff access their personal mission agendas. The time for acclimatization is over; Genesis 2 has begun.
‘I need to get back to my station,’ James whispers, ‘I’ll find out what I can.’
He walks towards the man who had taken up his duties in his absence, somebody he hasn’t noticed here before. The man makes way for him, and seems lost momentarily, he has no place to go. He is saved by the alarms that began to sound on a console to his left.
‘Stasis Room power has been cut, as requested,’ the terminal operator reports to Kate.
‘How long?’ asks Kate.
‘A maximum of one hour independent survival for the adults, about forty minutes for the children.’
Amy hears everything.
James walks over to her and whispers hurriedly. ‘They’re killing the civilians in the Stasis Room, Amy: they’ve turned off the power supply. Take my E-Pad, I’ve mapped in the location. When you get there, I’ll send instructions to work around it without detection. I’ll do what I can here while you’re on your way.’
Amy leaves the Control Room, adrenalin flowing, heart beating furiously. Unknown to her, the man who had been sitting at James’s terminal notices her departure and follows her, making sure that he is not detected. She is suddenly aware of a feeling that she hasn’t experienced in some time, since those terrible events with James. It is survival instinct. She follows the navigation data on the E-Pad and manages to make her way through the corridors easily enough. James must be monitoring on the cameras. As she approaches the Stasis Room door, it slides open without her having to place her hand on the panel.
James is good, he must have managed to override it. Unfortunately, his actions are detected immediately by Kate. Security just went up to maximum level and anything that is out of the ordinary now gets relayed to her instantly. Inside the Stasis Room, it doesn’t take Amy long to work out what is happening.
Encased in glass cocoons, she finds her family and other people, some of whom she recognizes as the bunker staff that she’d seen on the previous day. To the side of each of the inanimate bodies is a life-signs indicator. The levels on the graphs are going down, bit by bit. Heart rates are slowing. These people are dying. She has to save her family. The Stasis Room door opens.
With the blue device in her neck currently inoperative, she recognizes him straight away, but she can’t place where they have met before. The alarms are sounding in the corridor outside, they must have spotted her. The man in the doorway looks as if he is about to speak, but becomes aware that there are heavy footsteps behind him. A security team is following just behind. He takes the gun that he has been hiding within his uniform, points it at Amy, and shoots. She falls to the ground.
As the security team enters the Stasis Room, a small pool of blood has begun to form where her body lies still and lifeless.
Kate receives the news that the intruder in the Stasis Room has been dealt with. Unknown to the man called James, she alerts Security to his recent unsanctioned actions. Combined with his unexplained visit to the bunker entrance earlier, he obviously means trouble. They catch him unawares as the security team storms quietly, but efficiently into the Control Room and take him away for interrogation.
With the red devices pulsating furiously in their necks, interrogation will now mean something completely different to what it did only an hour previously. Somebody else is now calling the shots here; internal sabotage will neither go unnoticed nor unpunished. Kate continues to work through the tasks that are being directly transmitted via the device in her neck. By a source unknown.
As the faint red glow pulsates, she executes her next task with no emotion or any thought of consequence.
‘Begin drone activation!’ she commands as the woman in front of her, responsible for carrying out that task, sets to work at her console.
‘Activation sequence has begun, authentication required to process,’ the woman replies.
Kate places her hand on a panel at her desk. Her eyes are scanned by a red laser. This is a Black Zone security operation. Kate now has top level access.
‘Drone activation underway!’ comes the confirmation from across the Control Room. ‘Initiating the arming sequence!’
My mind is racing. First, Nat’s reappearance – or should I say ‘resurrection’? Now this message from Doctor Pierce. Dad said to trust him. Doctor Pierce said to trust Mum and James. I need to start tracking people down – and fast! I remember the unfinished video message on my phone, and begin to replay it. I get to the part where it broke off earlier: ‘It’s about you, it’s all about you and …’
The message continues: ‘… It’s about you, it’s all about you and Nat. It’s because you’re twins, it’s all about you two. Dan … Nat is alive. It’s all connected with your genetic patterns, you have to work together. Doctor Pierce says I’m not going to remember recording this afterwards, so it’s in your hands, Dan. Trust Mum, look for Nat, and do everything together.’
As he said that last word, I could see Doctor Pierce operating some electronic device behind him. His expression turns blank and I hear Doctor Pierce’s voice say, ‘Now go back inside,’ as the video comes to an abrupt end.
‘Work together’. Everything that won’t work for me in this bunker seems to need something else. Or someone else. The weird buttons in the lift. There are two of them. When Nat was in that machine earlier, as soon as I placed my hand on the pad to try and stop it, it seemed to do the opposite – it actually completed the process. I need to get back to that transportation room where I left Nat.
I run as fast as I can, back to the area where Nat disappeared. The activation panel is illuminated. Nat must have touched it already. I place my hand on it once again and the vibrant orange light surges into life.
Moments after Dan leaves the Operations Centre, one by one, three of the large screens flicker into life. On one is the face of a woman. There are men’s faces on the other two screens. Each of them looks serious, grave, concerned. Behind them are control rooms, exact replicas of the one only two floors above. Each of the people on the screens is attempting to deliver an urgent message. A message that goes unheard: ‘Quadrant 2 to Quadrant 1, breaking communication protocols to transmit this urgent message. We’re receiving data that indicates armed drones are being activated in your Quadrant. This is a Tier 10 alert … they’re targeting the remaining three bunkers!’
As the urgent message is broadcast to the empty room, two levels up a woman lies bleeding in the Stasis Room. Shot by a man who is being congratulated by the security team at this very moment. The only man who can help her is being escorted under heavily armed guard to an interrogation room. A room which he is unlikely to exit alive. Around her are the dying bodies of her family, deprived of life by the glass coffins which were meant to protect them.
In the Control Room on the floor below, a woman named Kate has just given the instruction to arm hundreds of drones. Their targets are the other three bunkers which have been secretly built to act as joint guardians of the Earth while the terraforming takes place. The Earth is in peril; its cries for help go unheard. But on the lowest level of this bunker a sixteen-year-old boy has just placed his hand on a panel.
The machine whirs into life, recognizing his genetic pattern. Bright orange lights circle the platform and a figure appears as if from nowhere. It is a girl, about sixteen years old, and she knows the boy. She steps off the platform and grabs him urgently by the hand. It is the first time they have been together since they were violently parted three years ago.
‘Come with me!’ she says. ‘I’ve figured out how to stop this!’