Welcome to the Grid, Arty Chapter 1
Chapter 1: Breaking In
“Do you remember the plan, Myles?” The young man hardly blinked as he addressed the teen standing beside him.
“Of course. How could I forget it?” The teen wore a tailored suit that fit his slight body perfectly, as did the watch, shoes, and tie he wore.
“I’ll wait downstairs,” the woman beside them said.
The unusual trio could have almost been mistaken for a couple and their child, if the man had not been barely out of his teens and the woman not as fit as an Olympic athlete. They walked the streets of downtown Los Angeles, out to the tall skyscrapers by the wharf.
The man checked his watch screen and quickly read the message.
“Juliet’s in position. Make the call.”
Myles nodded, dialed a number on the smartphone he held, and put the phone up to his ear.
“Hello. This is Myles Fowl.”
The man put his hand on Myles’ shoulder.
“I’m interested in investing in Encom stock,” the teen said.
The man read another message. “I’m in, Artemis, you’re next.” For this was Artemis Fowl, genius, businessman, occasional fairy consultant, and exploiter of the gray areas of the law.
He dismissed the text message and continued to listen in to his brother’s call.
“Yes, I understand it is not customary for a minor to invest. However, this is a special case.”
So it begins, Artemis thought. The chase that will expose Dillinger’s cheap tactics.
He strolled calmly to the skyscraper’s base, followed the path given to him by Juliet, and easily entered the first floor of the building.
A key code protected the elevator, nine mystery digits that changed each week. Artemis tapped the side of his watch against the digital readout, then entered the code that flashed in green, intricate symbols on the watch’s screen.
He was in.
He pressed the elevator button leading to the computer banks. No one except for Encom staff were supposed to visit the computer banks, yet they were only protected by a single keypad.
Pride makes anyone weak, he thought, saving the victory for later.
The doors opened, revealing a long, wide room filled with servers and with a large structure in the back.
Interesting. Laser technology? Artemis walked the aisles, using his smartphone to remotely download any information from the servers. He headed to the structure, noticing as he did so warning signs and a slightly ajar gate.
Someone else is here.
He proceeded carefully, since he could hear whispering coming from up ahead. Soon Artemis was close enough to make out the words.
“There’s still sentries in there,” a female voice said.
“And Rinzler - I mean, Tron, must have survived that fall. Clu’s gone, so’s my dad. Who’s to say the Grid isn’t in complete disarray?” a male responded.
Artemis switched on the hidden mike he wore. Whoever these people are, they know something I don’t. And that rarely happens.
He crept up to the source of the whispers, passing another security gate in the process. Finally, he could see who was talking.
A man, slightly older than Artemis, with a lean, muscular build leaned confidently against one of the metal bars protruding from the wall. He spoke to a woman with short black hair.
“Even if we have to rebuild it sector by sector, we owe it to the programs, and to your father’s memory,” the woman said.
The man ran his fingers through his short brown hair. “You’re right. I just wish it wasn’t so… hard.”
“We’ll take the first step together,” the woman said.
The man nodded and pressed a few keys on the computer, bringing up a code window.
Artemis strode in, revealing himself. These aren’t Dillinger’s lackeys.
The reaction was almost explosive. The man jumped to a fighting stance, while the woman reached for her hood, but didn’t retrieve anything.
Artemis raised his hands. “I’m not going to hurt you,” he said. “Please return the favor.”
“I don’t think so,” the man replied. “Tell me how you got in here.”
“I have a feeling it’s the same method you used,” Artemis said.
“Okay, look. Neither of us are supposed to be here. So truce?”
“Truce,” Artemis said. “What’s all this about a grid?”
The woman looked at the man mischievously, green eyes glinting. “Should we show him?”
“Why not?” the man said. “The name’s Sam. This is Quorra,” he gestured to the woman. Sam pressed a few more keys, removed the necklace he’d been wearing, and plugged it into the computer.
Artemis leaned in to see the screen.
Open aperture? YES/NO
Sam typed in yes, and as the trio stood there, a bright flash blinded them as the screen scrolled with new code.
Before Artemis could say something about the light, it faded, revealing no apparent change in their surroundings. They were still in a small, nondescript room with barely any light, but it was missing the computer terminal and the laser equipment.
“What? You just shorted out the lights,” Artemis said sarcastically. He was not going to be impressed.
“Where’s the computers, then?” Sam asked.
“I’m sure they’re right--” Artemis fumbled in front of him as he searched for the keyboard. “Here. It was right here.”
“Well, it isn’t now,” Sam said. Faint lights appeared in the walls and floors, then solidified into neon strips.
Artemis whirled. Sam no longer wore the motorcycle jacket and jeans, but instead was outfitted in a sleek black suit like armor. Quorra wore similar attire.
Neon light lines glowed along the chest, neck, shoulders, and limbs of the suits.
I have to be dreaming, Artemis thought. He looked down to see that he was wearing a similar armorsuit.
“Welcome to the Grid,” Quorra said.
This was not originally going to be quite as long as it now is, but it's fun. It's also not really how I imagine the wrap-up of Legacy and Uprising either but it's still fun as an 'alternate ending' of sorts. I have the whole thing written so if I forget to keep posting just comment and say so.
Crossposted on my DeviantArt and AO3.