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JL | Danielle Atarah, Kalina Zett | Earth Syndicate | Reconstruction, Pt V, Chapter 2: "Worse Than Death"

Posted on 241709.03 @ 12:31am by Danielle Atarah

Mission: Non-Plot Log
Location: Earth

... Continued from Reconstruction, Pt V, Chapter 1: "Fuck the Plan"


“You fucking bitch! You… you fucking… cheater!” Jorin yelled, spitting out the last word as if he had none left in his vocabulary, his eyes bulging, his entire body shaking with adrenaline and rage. His men, dazed, confused, and utterly shocked, shuffled around him, weakly moving to cover his position with energy weapons that seemed to not work anymore.

Zett walked to the center of her empty holographic office, looking at the people around her; wherever her gaze fell, fire struck, the once-brave brutal army froze like wild animals caught in the headlights.

“You have no fucking honor, Zett!” Jorin continue, spitting the words, sounding nothing at all like a Klingon would, despite using their slogan. He wasn’t one at all in general, but definitely not today. Zett ignored him, surveying the carnage. The button to end the program didn’t terminate it completely. They were still in the holographic double of her office, but there were no more holographic people. Everyone around were the living - or the dead.

But the program didn’t mask the blood - fake or holographic. Zett’s eyes stopped at the corner of the room, where a large pool of red marked the place where only moments ago, a holographic representation of Dani lay with her throat open.

Dani followed her gaze and swallowed. Smith stood, stoic, ignoring the smaller pool of red that represented his holographic demise. His eyes were cold and calculating and serious until he glanced at Zett.

She stood three, burning hot fire, and the room seemed to shake.

“Dont fucking talk, Jorin.” She warned, and the man’s protests died in his chest despite himself, as if the words had their own sense of what was smart to do. He coughed, releasing the trapped breath, and she turned to look around the room, quietly, watching a soldier aim his energy rifle at her, as if realizing something the others all missed, and pull the trigger.

Dani cleared her throat.

“Those, uh, won’t work here anymore.”

The soldier looked at her, incredulous, his finger tapping the trigger again and again as if he couldn’t quite believe it unless he tried harder. She let him waste his time, but Smith didn’t. He sighed, pulled his own weapon out, and shot the attempted-shooter in the knee. The man screamed and fell, his friends tensing, then staring at their guns, then dropping them, uselessly, on the ground. Dani noted no one was rushing to the injured man’s aid. Typical, wasn’t it.

“You think this is the end? You think you’ve won?!” Jorin finally had the breath to speak. Zett’s glowing eyes turned to him, her expression not changing, but the heat intensifying behind her eyes.

“You have no fucking clue, Zett.” He fingered his knife while he spoke; holographic blood still dripped from it. “I’m not alone. You think this victory won’t have my people come after--”

Zett moved. It wasn’t an abrupt move, nor was it particularly quick, but it was purposeful, intentional, and focused. With one hand, and without looking, she reached towards Smith’s belt, grabbing the knife there. He didn’t even flinch, allowing the movement, but his eyes shifted towards Dani, expecting reactions.

Dani didn’t move, her eyes dimming with realization.

“-- what? You think it will end if you kill me, Zett?” Jorin continued, realizing what the Trill was doing. There wasn’t a lot of time to process.

“You can’t stop this by killi-guhhh--” He couldn’t finish his sentence.

With the misleading gentleness of a surgeon, with her eyes calm but bright, fire incarnate engulfing her entire slim frame, Zett reached, grabbed Jorin’s shoulder, and plunged the knife into his heart.

He was so intently involved in answering, in speaking, in spitting objections in her face, so clearly shaken, that he forgot all about his own weapon, his arm staying low, his knife forgotten.

Not that it would have done anything useful. Not anymore.

Dani held her breath as the man’s eyes grew wide, his knife falling to the floor with a clang. His fingers searched for purchase as blood filled his lungs, grabbing for Zett’s shirt. She allowed it for a moment, examining his face like a zoologist researching a wild animal from afar, her gaze a detached interest full of blue flames.

She twisted the knife, then, once, and he gargled, his eyes widening, and he fell, crumpling, losing purchase, dropping like a stone down a well.

The room was silent.

Zett picked up the knife, plunging it unceremoniously out of Jorin’s chest, cleaning it casually across the dead man’s sleeve. It left thick red trails that soaked into the fabric, spreading slowly. She rose, looked at the body on the floor and then up, her gaze once again spanning the room.

“No one touches my family.” She said plainly, deadly, to the weary shocked faces in the room. She let that sink for a brief moment and then turned, walking away.

“Make this count, Smith.” She told her security chief, and handed him his knife back, as if she just finished cutting the chicken for dinner. He nodded at her. She looked at Dani for a split second, and then turned to the room again.

“And now Dani will tell all of you why this,” she gestured at the dead man on the floor, whose eyes were still open in shock, his death expression stuck on horror, “was the good ending.”

Dani watched her leave the room with two guards, and Smith collect two more to start dragging Jorin’s body away. She realized her breath was stuck in her chest, immovable, she wasn’t even sure she was breathing for the past few minutes.

She collected herself, swallowing, nodding, and then looked at the people in front of her and nodded.

“Welcome to the beginning of the rest of your lives,” she started, and the masterpiece of the plan, the reason everything took long, the computers were scanning, and the bloodshed culminated to such carnage, was told, simply, business-like, to what has now become the most screwed group of people in the sector.

* * *

“Our entire existence is Computer-driven,” Dani explained to Zett and Smith, not even three days ago. They were sitting in the main office, patiently listening to her carefully laid out plan. Smith didn’t seem to like it so far, especially the part where he and Zett were supposed to let random armed people penetrate the actual building, but he said nothing while Dani spoke, letting her finish.

And she was about to. This whole thing was the goal. This was the check-mate.

“Turbolifts, public transportation, PADDs, credit payments -- everything. Everything is computer driven, and everything is networked. We are on one of the most networked planets in the quadrant, and we’re surrounded by sattelite equiment that monitors the entire system, by Starfleet vessels that guard the sector, watching and monitoring movements. The surface of this planet is almost completely covered by networked computerized eyes.”

“That’s… creepy,” Smith noted. Dani smiled.

“It is. And there are ways to cheat them; you could find hidey-holes, and you could mask heat and bio signatures from prying eyes, like we do in this building. But that doesn’t change the fact that everything else around you is still a computer, with sensors.”

“Right.” Zett shrugged. “So?”

“So?” Dani’s smile grew. “When you walk towards that door, Z, what happens?”

“It opens.” Zett muttered, waiting for the point.

“How does it know it needs to open?”

Zett blinked, then shrugged, clearly never have thought of that question.

“It has sensors. It knows to open. But it opens for you, and me, and Smith and Mira - it won’t just open for, say, Joe Schmoe that happens to come up from the street. Right? Because the sensors aren’t just proximity sensors. They scan bio signatures. They recognize people, and their database then states which is approved and which isn’t -- and they open.”

“Okay…” Zett nodded, still waiting for the point.

“I’m going to make it so that every piece of software in this sector, every computer, every turbolift, every public transport, every door, every connected fucking PADD -- will refuse to cooperate when these bio signatures are identified.”

Zett blinked.

“They’ll be ghosts. Worse than ghosts, transportation-related technology will simply stop working when they’re near them; They will have no way of getting money except for hiding actual bricks somewhere, and then good luck transporting it. Good luck having the fucking doors open. And good fucking luck leaving this planet. The computer network on this planet is the best we have available. They’re fucked.”

Zett blinked again. Smith cleared his throat. They were both, quite obviously, trying to imagine life being ignored by all computers, or worse, having them shut down when getting near.

“Guns?” Smith offered.

“Probably projectile weapons will work. Advanced stuff tends to have bio tracking. They can forget about that.”

“What if someone else takes them up on a shuttle?”

“Well, they’ll need to find a shuttle that isn’t connected -- and haven’t connected -- to the Federation network on Earth. If it ever landed here, that would be a problem. They could try to get an older model from outside the sector, and have that stealthily land without making a handshake with Federation control systems -- but that would mean being able to use remote communication. Even if encrypted, that will be a hell of a challenge.”

Zett shook her head, her expression mixed with horror. Smith whistled.

“Jesus, Atarah. Remind me not to ever be on your naughty list.”

* * *

“So, good luck with the rest of your lives.” Dani finished her explanation to the dazed soldiers in the room. The small blonde man, Jorin’s right-hand man, it seems, was so pale, Dani started worrying he may just fade away and vanish.

“Of course, if you want to, we have a few options for you. There are plenty of jobs people in your position can do for us. And, you know, if you’re good at them, we might one day consider getting the restrictions lighter. Maybe enough to allow you to play a brothel simulation.” She smiled without humor, looked around the room, and nodded.

“You just need to remember one important thing here. We know everything. We expect everything. And we see everything. We will know if you try to leave this sector. We will know if you try to change your bio signatures or sabotage sensors. You are, from now and until for-fucking-ever, our fuckng bitches. And if anyone asks what could possibly bring anyone to do this horrible life-changing punishment to you, you tell them.” Her smile continued, cold, completely uncharacteristic to her usual chipperness, completely and utterly winning.

“You don’t fuck with Kalina Zett.”


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