Hello readers, here is the 2nd part of the story Proud Infinity that is the new story I am putting together. Enjoy and comment, I like to see your reactions! Yesterday we read about Trego seeing a strange girl at a bar and how he was attacked and left. We pick up right where we left off:
As soon as I was outside I ran. The only safety I had from anyone in there was raw distance. At the very least I was no longer angry, just a little shaken.
I ran a couple of blocks until I was sure I was out of there and no one was behind me. I doubted anyone actually would come after me after such domination, but I was just being safe. A bit further ahead was a fence that appeared to be next to a pit.
I walked over and realized it overlooked the ReCorp complex. Only a few steps in front of me was a steep cliff into a pit that surrounded the entire complex except for the single road in. The small community’s buildings rose ominously from the void of ground all around it. A few pillars of smoke or steam rose off the power plant that had been built strictly for this. Even during the day, I could see the black buildings with their endlessly burning lights from here. I switched my eye filters to pick up thermal, and the heat signatures radiating off of them disgusted me with the environmental damage they were probably doing.
“Some sight huh?” I blinked and turned towards the sound, my eyes returning to normal. It was an old man further down the fence looking at the eyesore, that cancer of the city, that tumor on our fair planet, that blight of aesthetics, a veritable citadel of pain on our hopes and dreams…
I waved the comment off. “Yeah, if you mean totally disrupting to the entire culture and planet that was already here.”
He started walking towards me, but I didn’t really feel like talking. He lifted a hand up towards me as if to include me. “Yeah, you are young enough that I am sure you were displaced by what occurred here.”
“ ‘Occurred here’ is right. Like it was some sort of disaster. Which is what it was.” Where was a portable nuke launcher when I needed one? I fantasized about sighting it up, then watching it all get blown away.
He turned back to overlook the pit and the city beyond. “I retired here. I was in the Solarian Space Force my whole life, and Center always intrigued me. I have an off-planet account, completely filled with gems. This depression has actually made me relatively more well off.”
I went to walk away once more. “Great for you, join the rest of us. Unless you are going to give me money I don’t want to hear how much you got.”
“Hey, wait, I guess I got carried away. Sorry about mentioning money. It’s just… Look at you. You clearly are not, or at least were not, in the dregs of society. Tickets off-planet are not the expensive. Why didn’t you get out?”
I laughed once. “I thought I was going to be hired.” I looked back at the place I hated now. Maybe I still wanted to go back.
He lifted his hands, trying to encompass the whole compound in his arms; it seemed he liked using his hands to communicate. “Ahhhhh.” His hands came back to his side, and he turned back to me, smiling a bit crazily. “That’s the mystery, isn’t it? Being near Center, there are a lot of phenomena that is still being researched and even new discoveries happening fairly regularly. Since this planet is within Center, naturally it makes sense that it was a beacon of research. Let me guess, you were a researcher?”
At this point, I was a bit cautious of his craziness, but also intrigued as he seemed to know what was going on. “Of course. Just about everyone here was.”
He leaned his face in a bit towards me. “See that’s what strange. What were you researching, if you don’t mind me asking? If it’s not classified.”
“It was, but I don’t care anymore. Everyone betrayed me so what’s the point of a misplaced loyalty? We were studying the fabric of reality, component particles, its intervention with time and all that.” I added the ‘all that’ because I am sure he had no idea what I was talking about. “Notably that reality seemed to be potentially constructed differently near Center, and scales away from there based on distance.”
The man nodded. “That’s what adds to the mystery. You clearly were in the know, but a large corporation comes in, buys out everything, and doesn’t even take any of the staff?”
I froze for a moment. How’d he know all the staff got whacked? I never mentioned it, which made me wary.
“Tell me about it,” I agreed, slightly suspicious.
He turned back to me. “Since you told me something, I’ll tell you something. I am a bit intrigued by this, and looked into it, used some of my old contacts. Guess what: ReCorp is not that big of a corporation.”
“Really?” I asked, intrigued quite a bit now by this guy I thought seemed crazy. I had assumed that due to ReCorp’s massive buying power it had to have been huge, near empire status itself. I couldn’t look up anything on it which was suspicious itself, so it always remained a mystery. I suspected the void of information was just a payoff somewhere.
“Ha, got you interested?” The old man’s eyes looked brighter than I gave him credit for; he still had a spark of life in him. “Well guess what? ReCorp does not even exist off planet.”
“What!?” My mouth dropped open.
“Yeah, ‘ReCorp’ is nothing more than a puppet organization propped up by probably nothing less than a full-on empire.”
I shook my head. “I could see that now that you mention it. Pisses me off.”
“It’s completely true.”
“Oh, I have no doubt of that. It makes perfect sense.” The info void and firing the old staff being the largest offenders.
I stood there for a few more moments, thinking about what he said before he told me, “Keep an eye out, reality has an…interesting aspect to it,” and left. Well that sure was a random but interesting encounter.
Maybe I should buy a ticket off this dump like that guy suggested. I figured I’d walk around the city like I usually do until something came to me for inspiration to get out of my plight or perhaps what to do for credits. As I passed people again and again out on the streets, not doing anything, and having nothing to do, my thoughts drifted back to that man’s question as to why I just didn’t get out. I had more than enough credits originally, but the thought had not crossed my mind. I had no loyalty to this place; it was an odd decision for me to have made now I thought about it.
I continued thinking as I mindlessly walked forward, nearly stepping on a slumped body on the sidewalk. I stepped around the stagnant figure, not even sparing it a second glance as I kept walking. I honestly had no idea if the person was dead or just sleeping, but I didn’t really care either way. I saw this quite often around here, so I suppose I became immune to it in a way. I ignored the still body as I went back to my contemplating.
Part of the problem about me leaving though was that I was not ‘technical’ minded. I had gotten my job because of a friend who indeed was good with the details and rote memorization of minute facts. My skills lay in assimilation of facts and creative solutions or ideas. I was actually lucky I had fallen into the position I had, but it was a very good relationship for both me and the research unit.
My big ‘breakout’ was when we were faced with some proof of time running differently within the same system. The data was checked, and experiments reran, but it appeared that on one planet in the system, time indeed did ‘run faster’.
My suggestion was simple in my mind, but everyone else found it really profound. I suggested we take a look at some of the old theories of time non-linearity and let’s assume it might not actually be linear everywhere. I suggested that the five dimensions of space perhaps exhibited preferential pathing for the three physical dimensions, along with time, and gravity. If we looked into the gravitational attraction constant we could see if it might be different, or at the very least gravity could be affecting the time dilation effects.
Ha, yeah. That was back when I was a hero among the researchers, not some chump with a gun cruising the streets. The fall from grace was pretty rapid, and in my own mind I still felt like I was ‘different’ from the rest of these fools.
‘I’m not just a chump, I’m a cut above. At least advanced chump,’ I thought wistfully to myself.
I heard a rumbling of a large truck that drew me out of my reverie. The grav plates must have been loose, because even though the truck was balanced as it floated down the street it was extremely noisy. No surprise: it was a ReCorp truck. I kind of just wanted to shoot the driver and drive the truck off the bridge. Me inside? I don’t know.
Anyway, my theory was probably about a solar cycle ago, and indeed we did find some data that seemed to correlate with my thoughts. I was living on high for a while there, but then ReCorp came in, shut down all the research, bought out everything, and made their own compound isolated from anyone who was employed prior.
Maybe it was part of some big government cover up, like they didn’t like what we found out. Made sense why all of us would be out. What we had found was still in the early stages, so if that was true it’d be more to shut down the info rather than use it for themselves.
Oh, and my friend, the one good with the details and was actually pretty instrumental in getting our project to be so successful? Committed suicide. I found him in his room, took a tie and hung himself off the doorknob. It was pretty fucked up, I doubt he died quick. The claw marks at his neck suggested he thought twice about it after it was too late. All because he ran out of credits…or maybe hope first, I don’t know. For me, I still had credits, so I guess I still had hope.
In a lot of ways, what was once a vibrant city was rapidly falling apart. Though not everyone here was involved in the massive research complex as researchers, it was easily the primary employer from logistics to food service and so on. There were still a fair amount of people around, but I have noticed a decline in the amount still here. I didn’t know if they left the planet, were murdered, or pulled their own pin. In evidence of the later I found quite a few bodies just dumped in the streets. I didn’t really pay that much attention after a while. Really, you stop counting after about five.
I sat down for a moment, looking at the empty sky. It was really calm now, and I mean that in a bad way. There used to be a vibrant trade through here with ships coming and going through the sky; now only a single ship came once a cycle for supplies for ReCorp. I can’t think of the last time I saw an alien…probably an Aelisha a few planet cycles after ReCorp came in and shut everything down. I didn’t even see Aelishan patrols anymore; that was pretty odd itself.
I wonder if I could leave here now. Could I have even left back then?