She was the final one standing, the bringer of death. The bells toll loudly like something she has heard from an old science fiction program about a mad man, and later a woman, in a blue box who travelled through time and space. She had liked that show even if there hadn't been any new episodes since the beginning of the third world war.
The sound is so loud yet also so silent, it's tone marking the end of what is and the beginning of what was to come. A haunting, sorrowful sound that is also oddly cheerful and optimistic.
The end was coming one way or another and she knew, deep inside herself, that she would see it. Ironically, she thought to herself, she and the others had been like that person. Although that person would change appearances, they were still the same person within with just a slight change to their personality as part of the process.
What she and the others had done could be considered like that, their bodies hadn't really changed though but they had while still retaining much of who they had been before except for the personalities.
All to bring about a potential future for the Earth.
The bell tolls again as Leina feels herself being shaken awake.
“Leina” Another gentle shake rouses her awake slowly, her sleep had been a deep one. Slowly she turns over in her bunk to see Clara looking down at her.
“Mmm” She mummers.
“Sorry to wake you but we're heading out in three hours, you might want to get some breakfast before we start the mission briefing” For a moment she forgets where she is, who was this and how was she in her flat? Then it all returns to her.
“Okay, be there shortly” Leina mummers tiredly as she tries to push herself up, blinking sleep away in the effort. Clara leaves while Leina pushes herself up off the bunk and stretches once she's on her feet.
Realising that she had slept in her clothes, she undresses and looks in the room's dresser for something clean to wear. Once dressed and after tending to body needs in the bathroom across from her bunk room, she heads to the mess hall for breakfast.
“Morning” Alica greets her with as she enters the mess hall, she sounds chirpy. Likely from her sex-capdes with Raymond last night.
Everyone else is here and all pretty much awake and ready for the mission. Unlike herself who was still trying to fully wake up.
Getting some breakfast sorted out, she shuffles over to a table and sits down. She is definitely not a morning person.
After breakfast and feeling more up to facing the day, Leina heads through to the briefing room after everyone else has already gone through. Clara waits until Leina has sat down before starting.
“I'll do a recap on the mission for the others since they may need to be caught up to speed, so bear with me” A layout of the central computer platform is brought up in front of them and Clara begins;
“Now the mission is this: The cycle of greed with our species must end, simply bringing the platforms down isn't enough since the wealthy and the UEG will only have more built.
What we need to do is trigger a massive series of overloads in the entire platform network. Since they use the same temporal energy that everything uses now then those overloads will result in massive chain reactions of temporal shock waves that will engulf the planet and beyond to the edge of our solar system.
Using the tags on the power conduits shown in the diagrams and programming them to erase the human genome completely will wipe out our entire species in around a minute or less, the shock waves will be moving fast and chaining with one another to be a system spanning shock wave. All genetic traces of our species has to be wiped out to prevent any possible chance of our species ever returning.
This course of action wasn't accepted lightly, but we ran out of options when we saw just how much the wealthy had dug their roots in when they bought and took over the UEG bit by bit while having anyone who posed a threat to their takeover erased.
We all know our history, we all know how often the cycle of greed caused by the wealthy and the powerful has caused rampant suffering and destruction just so the few can have everything. This cycle has to end, the human race has no future as long as such greed continues to exist. Hence the need to erase our entire species.
Nothing but ruins must exist, no genetic material of any kind.
Thanks to our undercover agents delivering intel to the Agency about the platform network over the years of it's construction and the Agency keeping it safe from the UEG before they even knew what any of it was, we now have a detailed layout of the entire network. More up to date intel was added in the past few hours, thanks again to our undercover operatives who managed to get to safety for pick up since the Agency is no longer around.
Although we have lost a lot of people over the years, their sacrifices have not been in vain. Also thanks to our operatives again who in the early hours of this morning managed to return safely after securing code key access to the central computer platform without their theft being noticed by anyone, with this access the infiltration team” She indicates to Leina and the other elder agents when she says this.
“Will be able to enter the central platform without being detected and be able to access the central computer that controls the entire network. However the access codes will only allow them to get to the core and access the computer, once the central computer is activated then security on the platform will be alerted to their presence.
Lisa, sorry, Leina, as you've been made aware while in the acclimation chamber you are trained in how to take down the code locks in the overload systems for the platforms from both your experiences with such codes in your prior life and from books of said codes given to you by Adam over the years you were in the simulation.
Your aptitude for those codes will be key in activating the overload in the computer core, you know how to get through the codes quickly and the access key will allow you to reduce the amount of codes you have to take down to just ten codes. The rest of you will have to keep her safe while she does this.
Riccola, Samuel, your engineering prowess will be helpful in disabling as many alarms as you can find as well as sealing the airlocks around the central computer core. It should buy all of you the time you need, with any luck, to let Leina do her task.
The rest of you are more tactically trained so you'll have to be the front line defence, since you'll all need to be armed with conventional weapons since the security droids can't be harmed with the tags then take what you need from the armoury. We do have energy shield units as well as barriers to provide some short term protection when security attacks, also turret units you can use for short term additional defence.
Since the conventional weapons also use recharge clips then take as many as you need so that you can switch to another clip when a current clip needs to recharge.
When the shock waves begin there will be a massive EMP burst around the planet, the city's landing thrusters will be unaffected so it will land safely. All droids and all electrical equipment that isn't already offline and secure will be taken offline for several hours, by then our species will no longer be around with any luck.
The burst will weaken as the shock wave leaves the planet so the archives on Mars will be safe, those will continue to hold the records and history of our species should any future race come along and wonder about the history of the planet. If any do.
Over time the droids will power down on their own as their power systems decay, the city will last longer but it will eventually fall into ruin.
While the infiltration team does their thing, the rest of us will run interference here in the city and a few miles from the platform by drawing out as much security as possible and keeping them distracted. They must not know about the infiltration team until they access the central computer, even then we must do everything possible to prevent security from overwhelming them by any means.
Keep in mind that this is a suicide mission, the chances of survival are zero even if the team fails. And failure is not an option. I know it's not motivational but we are well past motivation, we have a little over twenty nine hours until those platforms are brought online and activated in full. The second they are this planet will cease to exist minutes later, that is not to be allowed to happen.
The future of our species is unimportant compared to the future of the planet, Earth needs a chance to restore itself without our species causing more harm.
Today the human race dies for the future of the planet. We have to succeed at all costs. Dismissed, go tend to any last things you would like to do then gear up. We leave in one hundred minutes.
May luck be with us today”
The drawer locks with an audible click, with any luck it will stay sealed for however long keeping the message recorder and the rings sealed away until one day found by anyone who happens to be looking for relics of a long dead species centuries from now.
The message recorder is offline and insulated to protect it from the EMP burst that will be part of the shock waves later if the mission is successful.
She had felt leaving a message behind was a good way of explaining a little of what happened to the species that used to be dominant on the planet, the many species before humans had been so inconsiderate after all with not leaving a message nor records of their own when they had died out millions of years ago, only bones with which so many of them had become the very resources that the wealthy had coveted and caused so much harm to the life on this planet and the planet itself for.
She hoped that any future species would be much wiser than humans had ever been.
Leaving the temporary bunk for the last time, she heads through to the armoury to gear up. She can hear the others are already there, talking amongst themselves.
The bonding with bouts of laughter is a good thing to hear, they were all becoming a tight knit team already thanks to their restored memories and new memories blending with one another. There was a strong bond of trust and respect already in play which would only be a good thing for the mission, a team that gets along with one another is one that will do whatever it takes to succeed.
“Hey, Leina, heard you talking as I passed your bunk. Leaving a message behind?” Tanya asks, she is more vocal now that she has come to terms with her restored memories, the pain of the life she had lived in the simulation is still clear in her eyes but she seems to be managing.
“Aye, felt it was for the best. You okay?” She didn't know what Tanya had lived through, she hasn't talked about it, so she was concerned that Tanya might not be able to cope with the mission.
“I'm enduring, if it hadn't been for the memories coming back I would have probably ended my life by now. I can manage since I know that I'll soon get my peace, all I have to do to get it is help you lot to end our species. If that's not a good enough motivation to keep going a little longer than I don't know what is” She was clearly not going to mention anything that she had suffered in the simulation, something had gone wrong for sure for her since the adjustments made were supposed to protect the agents, so Leina leaves it be. If Tanya wants to talk about it then that's her call.
As she gears up for the mission she listens to the others talk, Tanya is listening as well and not saying much. Alica is playfully teasing Raymond which is getting more laughs.
It was good to hear them having some last minute laughs.
Soon everyone is ready to board the drop ships that are waiting for them, it was time to head out. None of them look back as they board the drop ships, they were all too focused on looking forward.
Endings For The Never Born, Do The Unborn Dream?:
It takes the drop ships three hours to reach their destination, most of the team but Tanya and Leina are talking amongst themselves. Tanya is watching the ocean pass by below while Leina is prepping herself for the task ahead.
She can hear Riccola and Samuel joking about their engineering failures during their life in the simulation, one story in particular being about them making racing toasters that, instead of actually racing, almost set several buildings on fire.
This story is followed by Elizabeth remarking about her attempts to build a computer and accidentally knocking two streets off the power grid when she had run a test to see if everything was working.
More stories follow and the time passes gradually with occasional ETA updates, the drop ships are in stealth mode so they have to go a little slower than their true speed so to avoid being picked up by any UEG satellites in orbit.
Both drop ships are being escorted by three gunships also in stealth mode, small fighter interceptors that are designed to act as escorts and for combat when required.
Once the drop ships reach their destination, the plan is for them to join with the other gunships close by and begin running interference while the infiltration team did their work.
They didn't have many of them, only about ten in total so they had to avoid being shot much as best as possible. It wasn't going to be easy.
No one expected it to be.
“For some reason” Fredrick remarks as they near their destination. “I keep expecting emotional music to be kicking in, I've watched far too many movies” Fredrick has always been a bit of a history buff and he loves his movies, Leina knew what he was talking about despite not being as much into movies as he was.
“One thing in particular comes to mind, something from the early twentieth century about two men who were arrested, tried and executed for a crime they didn't commit. They were blamed solely because they were immigrants and the country they had moved to was unwelcoming of anyone who didn't fit a narrow notion of perfect. The real culprit was never found. There was a song that came out in the 1970s about them, it even got used in some video games. Trying to recall their names, ah yes, Nicola and Bart. The song was called Here's To You, not sure if any of you know it. The lyrics are pretty simple” Fredrick starts singing and stops when he notices everyone looking at him.
Okay then. Hey, up front, is there any access to the music database on here?” A resistance member up front checks and reports that they do, Fredrick gives them the name of the song and it comes on over the intercom on both drop ships.
The lyrics really were very simple and ironically seemed to fit with what they were on their way to do and with everything that has happened. Before long everyone is singing it.
“Fitting song” Tanya remarks quietly, everyone agreeing with her. “Here we are going to die, fighting back against grave injustice committed to not just our own species but also the planet and all other life on it. So many mass extinctions, so much damage. We were lied to, used and prevented from doing our job by arrogant fools who have placed their greed for wealth and their lust for power about life.
We fought back and got slapped down hard, we've lost so much and had to spend years in a computer simulation growing up again when it was really two months in the real world because of how much they had hurt us.
Our agony will be our triumph, this will be our glory. For all of those we have lost, for all of those who for centuries fought for a better life free from the grip of tyrants. If we succeed, and we better succeed, then we will bring true peace to the world and make sure that the greedy can never inflict any more damage.
Any more music?” No one says anything at first since this is the most that Tanya has said in so long, maybe ever since even before going into the simulation she had never been much of a talker.
Fredrick speaks up after a minute of silence.
“Yep, let's see what we've got here. Oooo, this may just be what we're looking for. Highway To Hell, here we come”
Rode The Six Hundred:
“My name is Leina Astry. I leave this message for anyone who is curious about what happened to the former dominant species of this planet. With any luck we have succeeded in our mission”
The drop ships reach their destination uncontested. Landing quickly, Leina's team step off onto the landing platform while Clara talks to them over the comm clips they have on.
“We'll do all we can on our end, good luck” The drop ships lift off and head for the waiting gun ships close by while Leina's team head towards an exterior door while Leina replies to Clara.
“Good luck to you and your people as well, give security a run for it's money”
“Will do” They reach the exterior door and Leina applies the access key to it's lock, the lock bleeps and the team head inside.
“Oddly warm outside, shouldn't be so warm in the arctic” Alica remarks as Raymond checks his scanner in case they were noticed by security.
“It's proof of how much harm as been done to the planet, it needs to heal and the wealthy won't allow it. Hopefully once our species is gone the planet will have the chance it needs to heal” Leina replies as Samuel and Riccola work fast on disabling any alarms as the team reaches the first set of power conduits. Tags are prepared and applied to the conduits before the team moves on after the alarms are confirmed to be offline for the time being.
“Is genocide really the solution though? Seems a bit heavy handed, it isn't exactly what the good guys do” Fredrick remarks as the team pushes forward.
“We aren't the good guys nor the bad guys, this isn't like in the movies. We're not even anti heroes, we are just eight rejuvenated agents going up against an extremely corrupt and destructive government that has been bought by corrupt, selfish scum in an effort to give Earth a future at the cost of our species. There's no reward in it for us, just death. No happy ending waits for us, real life doesn't work like that” No one says anything until Fredrick replies with;
“Not exactly motivational there” With which Tanya remarks quietly;
“Hard to be motivational in the face of death”
“The decision to erase our species was not made lightly, genocide is not even to be used as the last resort. But we had run out of options for the greedy of our species were endangering the planet, they were destroying the life on the planet and it was all too clear that the cycle of greed had to end before there wasn't a planet left”
With multiple power conduits tagged and alarms taken offline for a temporary amount of time, the team soon arrives at the airlocks leading to the central computer core. So far so good.
“Clara to infiltration team, we've kicked the nest here. We're being overwhelmed on both fronts, we're holding the line for now but we can't last forever, how's things on your end?” They can hear the sounds of battle from the other end, it sounds fierce.
“We're at the airlocks, about to head in. We'll get defences set up once we're inside” The outer airlock opens and they step inside, the first turret is set down and activated while Samuel seals the airlock. It isn't likely to hold but as long as it bought Leina the time needed then any time was good time.
“We'll do our best to keep them busy on our end” The inner airlock opens once the outer airlock is sealed, the team heads inside and Samuel and Riccola work quickly on repeating the process with the other airlocks by setting down turrets and sealing the outer airlocks while the others set down the remaining turrets around the core along with a shield emitter and physical defence barriers, Leina goes over to the computer and gets ready to use the access key to activate the computer once everything is set up.
“Good to go” Riccola reports once the inner air locks are all sealed.
“Then here we go, as soon as I access the computer they'll know we're here. I'll work as quickly as I can” Inserting the access key, the computer comes online and Leina gets to work as the alarms blare, even disabling them couldn't stop them from being activated once the computer core was accessed.
“We'll have company soon, let's hope the airlocks can hold a good while” The computer tries to fight her as she disables it's defences, she tries to tune out the alarms as she works. The computer finally wields defeat and the first set of code appears for the overload program.
“I'm in, the codes are asymmetric jumbles of numbers and letters in a constantly mutating algorithm, I've been doing these for two life times so I can do this. They will get progressively harder though so it's going to take me time” Alica looks at her as if she's speaking a foreign language.
“Say what?” She asks.
“It's complex and time consuming, I had a lot of enjoyment doing this for fun”
“You really need a life”
“I've lived two, don't need any more thank you” Loud bangs can be heard at the outer airlocks, security has arrived.
“The party guests are here!” Fredrick calls out from behind a barrier.
“And we're all out of snacks, pity. First code down, onto the second” The second code soon falls, then the third followed by the fourth. They were gradually getting harder.
“The history and records of our species can be found on the fourth planet in this system, we called it Mars. The access keys should you wish to see those records are easily obtainable from the archive there, I hope you find it interesting”
“Clara to infiltration team, we're losing fighters and the teams in the city are losing people at a rapid rate, how you doing over there?” Leina doesn't reply, Tanya replies instead.
“Acknowledged, we've got security at the gates. We're going to get swamped very soon” The sound of metal being cut into can be heard from the outer airlocks.
“Very, very soon”
“Understood, we'll-” Clara's comm is cut short before she manages to come back in. “We're going down, been tagged, comms going offline on this end shortly. Keep going!” Clara goes silent as her voice becomes younger then fades away, communications on her end are cut off seconds later.
Five codes down, the sixth is started. A loud shrieking sound can be heard from the outer airlocks as security tears them open, this is followed by the sounds of the turrets opening fire.
“No pressure like, really, no pressure” Leina mutters as the sixth code comes down, the sounds of the turrets end followed by the sound of the inner airlocks being cut into. Heavy duty plasma cutters by the sound of them. Time was running very short.
Seven codes down, her hands are starting to clamp up and she grits her teeth from the pain.
“Please do not bring our species back if any genetic material did survive, destroy it. Do not let our species return for the cycle of greed will only happen again, such a cycle is far too destructive so please, don't bring us back. Leave us extinct for we brought this on ourselves”
“Cannons to right of them, cannons to left of them, cannon in front of them. Volleyed and thundered” Fredrick says, thankfully everyone knew this poem and Elizabeth says the next bit;
“Stormed at with shot and shell”
Alica: “Boldly they rode and well”
Raymond: “Into the jaws of Death”
Samuel: “Into the mouth of hell”
The inner airlocks scream open, the turrets open fire.
Everyone: “RODE THE SIX HUNDRED!” Guns open fire as the eighth code comes down.
“Work with me” Leina hisses at her hands as she starts on the ninth code, her hands are in so much pain now. She tries to ignore the gunfire, tuning it out as white noise as best she can while she works.
She doesn't see Riccola and Samuel stroll into the flay with their shotguns firing at the droids as the shield weakens, droid after droid falling to each blast, she doesn't see Tanya and Alica taking out daggers and slicing off droid limbs, she doesn't see her team fighting with all of their determination to buy her the much needed time.
The ninth code comes down, one more to go.
“Samuel and Riccola are down!” Alica calls out from where she's torn the heads off two droids. There was no time to grieve, no time to say goodbye, she had to get this code down. It was the hardest one as she expected and she needed to focus.
Just a little more time, that's all she needed, just a little more time.
The turrets fall silent, Raymond cries out Alica's name as she's hit, he rushes to her side just as he's hit. They go into non-existence together, holding hands.
Almost got it, just a little more.
“Elizabeth's down!” Fredrick calls out just as he's hit, Tanya tries her hardest to fight back but soon she's hit.
“I'm down, Leina, you're out of time!” The tenth code comes down and the overload command finally shows itself. Quickly she activates it and sets the timer for thirty seconds, just as she feels a tag hit her.
Her legs start to weaken, she hits the activation command to confirm the time limit as she collapses after managing to whisper:
“Here's to you” Memories of Adam, her children from her former life, her grandchildren, everyone she's loved in her life speed through her mind. The years fall away for the last time and as she becomes a newborn, the last thing she sees is a bright flash as the core overloads.
Then darkness embraces her.
"Judge us for our inability to stop the greedy throughout human history, judge us for letting the cycle continue for centuries. Judge us for not growing beyond hatred, arrogance, greed and selfishness”
Around the world every drill platform dissolves as a massive wave of blueish energy flows from the destruction, each wave meeting with one another to form an even larger wave.
The wave soon becomes a large bubble of energy that envelops the planet and extends outwards to the edge of the solar system.
On Earth the lights of Fully Oath flicker as the city's anti gravity engines are taken offline by the planet wide EMP burst that disables the entire power grid, the landing thrusters, which are on an independent isolated power grid, kick in to guide the city down to a soft landing. Inside the city the simulation is knocked offline, the false world disappearing in a jumble of pixels.
The residents of the simulation are gone seconds later as the wave envelops them, erasing them all within seconds. The wealthy and the powerful fall to the wave as well, disappearing in seconds. Within less than a minute every human on the planet is erased, there are no humans beyond Earth to be erased due to the space program being cancelled by the UEG under orders by the wealthy who had seen it as a waste of 'their' money after the archive on Mars was built. Only genetic material is left and that is erased by the wave as the temporal energy wipes out the human genome leaving nothing genetic behind of the human race.
The human race ends and for the first time in millions of years peace falls on Earth, and the young fall into silence with the elders.
“We were a failure of a species so may our non-existence not be a failure. This is Leina Astry, formerly Lisa Astri, signing off”