For those who first became interested in my publication:
In the distant future, people are no longer equal to each other. The protectorium of all divided into classes: The first, enjoying the benefits of a surviving civilization and the second – a worker who does what he is told. And the difference is just about the age.
Corporations that sell people like living toys, surveillance and total control with the help of chips … It is impossible to get out of this game, because the patch is always one step ahead.
Every Tuesday and Friday
Every Tuesday and Friday.
Every Tuesday and Friday.
Every Tuesday and Friday
The conversation with Eurydice did not go unnoticed. Both her and Thomas were so overwhelmed with work that there was no question of any free time and certainly about a sortie into the "zone X". Sati continued to walk in pairs, expecting that Roland Gracie's well-groomed hand would be on her shoulder, and he himself would offer her "a little stroll." Interestingly, those gifted, who seek to jump above their heads, also turn into animatians?
All the charm of the Island was lost for Sati irrevocably. Now, instead of dizzying sunsets, she looked up at the sky over the bay, behind the rocky ridges which, as Thomas assured her, sometimes one could see a glow. She could no longer enjoy the tranquil silence of the corridors: Sati always seemed to hear muffled cries coming from the cellar. And at night the girl was tormented by nightmares in which little Sonya Tao, with her eyes alone, turned thousands of gifted people living on the Island into dust.
These last few weeks have become for Sati Lallemane a plunge into hell. But the nether world was still ahead.
The following Sunday was an exciting day: a new party of gifted people arrived on the Island. Today, Thomas and Satie agreed to meet after breakfast in the winter garden, but at the last moment Thomas was told to join the meeting. Six newcomers had to be taken out of the cabins, briefly instructed, in general – to do everything that was once done with Sati.
At midday Tom, Eurydice, Professor Freese and three other teachers disappeared in telescopic ladders Moored glider. Saty did not see how he sat down: there was a strong fog, and when the girl looked out the window in the dining room, the outlines of the aircraft were already visible on the jetty.
Putting on a raincoat over the grown-up sweatshirt, she went to the beach: still interesting It was that the teenagers were brought this time.
When Saty approached the glider, the five guys were already crowded around Eurydice, demonstrating the wonders of reincarnation. Yet the talent of Miss Avery was quite unique and moderately effective in order to blur the daring newcomers, accustomed to consider themselves stars. Almost all of them behaved deliberately cheekily, spoke loudly and heatedly discussed the details of the flight.
Saty involuntarily remembered herself on her first day on the Island: a new life, rather, frightened her, than beckoned to new opportunities.
– Did you have an air-conditioned cabin? I was so puffed up, – the dark-skinned girl with curls displeased pouting. – I was told that this is the best glider, is it really so?
"Relax, Greta, you will not fly back soon." A high roll lifted her hand over her shoulder, which the girl immediately wiped off.
"More precisely, never," added the guy who reminded Sati Olli Brevik from her class.
– Here that, "Eye" does not work "?! – the tall blonde was indignant, rebooting her visor – I promised my parents to call when we get there.
"We use another system, local," Eurydice explained calmly.
– Here is the setup!
The last of the ladder appeared Thomas, along with a tall, awkward guy with long, like a spider's limbs. Seeing him, some of the teens snorted mockingly.
"Now everything is complete," Eurydice again counted the children. – For me!
Thomas looked gloomy like a cloud, must have been a new one who filled him with questions.
– How are you? – Saty asked him softly, heading after everyone.
"I've lost it," Tom replied honestly. "But this one." He nodded at the spider. "That's still a frame."
Saty glanced at the back of the head of the guy ahead: I wonder what he did to Thomas?
– What's your name? She asked after her.
– Melvin, – the guy glanced at Sati with interest.
"Satie," she said. "How did you fly, Melvin?"
He sighed wearily:
"I already told Professor Calvin Smith that it was not a flight."
– In terms of? – Sati squinted at the "professor", trailing behind.
– Everything was like this: I fell asleep, then woke up in a small capsule, under water. They pierced me and woke up already here in the cabin, Melvin was actively gesticulating, like a man who could not be content with words only.
– Are you sure it was not a dream? – Sati specified, remembering her flight, pink clouds, stratosphere and outlines of the Island in the distance.
"I'm practically awake, Satie," Melvin crunched his long spider fingers. – Only under the influence of strong drugs, and then not for long. The nervous system is too excitable.
Sati paid attention to its ulnar folds: they were dotted with red markings after injections. How many times has he been injected with sleeping pills?
Three tall figures emerged from the fog: men in uniform sweatshirts.
"Good day to all," one of them greeted one of them, the other pointed to Melvin and asked:
"Are you Melvin Aspera?" Please follow me.
Melvin looked at Sati for the last time and disappeared in the fog under the escort of these drove.
– Have you seen them before? – asked Saty from Thomas, but he shook his head negatively.
"It's all so strange." She looked back, but the outlines of the glider had already disappeared in the thick fog. – What did he really see?
"That's just the point," Thomas said. – Something strange is happening to his mind. This Aspera really was under water.
"Maybe he's the one?" Suggested Satie. Thomas absently shrugged his shoulders.
– Listen, – suddenly the girl brightened up, remembering something. – Did they give you a shot before the flight?
"Only the blood was taken for analysis," Thomas narrowed his eyes. – Then they said that I fainted; Woke up already in the cabin.
"They injected me with an antidote," said Satie. – Then I slept. A coincidence, do you think?
– I already do not know anything – the guy really looked very tortured.
In the evening, in the main hall, something like an official party was to be held in honor of the newcomers. There were flowers, sweets and champagne. Shining Roland Gracie, dressed in a white suit and scarf, personally poured sparkling glasses and answered the questions of newcomers with pleasure.
– I studied black holes at school, – told a guy named Oscar. "I hope there is enough equipment on the Island to continue working."
"Wow, what inquiries," Roland chuckled, and added quietly. "I'll try to think of something, maybe I'll knock out a small observatory for you … But while you're studying well, remember?"
"Of course, President Gracie," Oscar's unlimited trust was successfully won.
"Look at the dust in your eyes," whispered Saty to Thomas. – By the way, where is Melvin?
A teenage boy was not really in the hall.
"I can not find him," Thomas whispered after several unsuccessful attempts to connect with Melvin's mind. – Some kind of rubbish!
"I do not have a very good premonition, Tom," Satie took a sip from the glass and gloomily looked around. – Let's go from here?
But they could not go far. Already after the first turn they almost nose to nose have collided with Melvin, sadly wandering somewhere accompanied by the same types which today have taken away it from a beach.
In response to Sati's nervous smile, he blinked as if he were an animal that was being led to slaughter.
– He was "processed," Thomas said when Melvin and his guards entered the elevator.
– What? – on the face of Sati horror was displayed.
"Consciousness is damaged," Thomas frowned. "Like those frogs on which you conduct experiments." They left the guy with only a set of primitive reflexes …
"You do not have to explain," Saty shook her head. She really became very creepy: in fact just a few hours ago she spoke with a man who now did not even remember her.
"Satie, I know it's awful." Thomas looked her straight in the eye. – But this is our chance to really find out something about the zone "X". If we now follow them …
Instead of an answer, the girl decidedly grabbed his hand and dragged him to the elevator.
"Wait," Thomas's hand was wet. – Let's go on the freight.
It was a good idea if they really wanted to go unnoticed.
It was dark on the beach. Swiftly floated low clouds, because of which every now and then peeped the moon.
– Look! – Thomas pointed to large boulders about three hundred meters from them. There stood Melvin and the two men who brought him. At first glance it seemed that they were just talking, but in reality it was not like that.
"We need to leave, Satie," Thomas said dryly and dragged the girl toward the glider without explanation.
– What? What happens?
The road was every second. Thomas knew this handwriting, this imprint in the mind of a person who planned to commit a murder. And those types that brought Melvin to the beach, he was too bright. They were ordered to eliminate the overly perspicacious gifted, as well as all potential witnesses.
– Where are we going? – Sati stumbled continually, struggling to withstand the fast pace Thomas asked.
"We'll hide in the glider, but we'll see." To come back to us for now …
At that moment, the sound of a muffled shot was heard. Then one more – control. Satie screamed briefly, and this was a big mistake. Audibility on the beach at night was just excellent.
– They killed him, Tom! She whispered.
"I know," he almost ran, dragging her behind him like a doll. "And now they are going to look for witnesses."
The nearest sleeve was only a few meters away. They ran into him, lighting the way with only a flashlight on Thomas's watch. On the walls of the gangway, Saty noticed a figure of four, large and fat, repeating more than once.
Thomas attached a magnetic key to the door, and within a second they were in the cabin. It was exactly the same as the cabin in which Sati was flying: the same softest egg-bed in the world, an armchair, a bedside table with green apples in a basket, and a pleasant honey light of a night light. Sati did not seem to leave here ever.
"You can not stay here: they'll search for cabins first," Thomas said. – A more reliable shelter is needed.
A long corridor was waiting for them outside the door. "1", "2", "3", "4" – Sati recounted the cabins that stretched to the very end. How many are there?
"We'll find out about the cockpit," Thomas suggested.
But instead of the cockpit of the pilot at the end of the corridor there was a small room reminiscent of an automated control panel.
– What is it? – Saty frowned and pulled the lever with the inscription "Flight mode." At the same moment the ship revived. On the monitors there appeared an image of twenty identical cabins, noisy engines, and fingers felt a subtle vibration.
– Are we taking off? – Satie was frightened out of the joke.
"I do not think so," Thomas shook his head with a doomed half-smile. – This thing can not fly.
He took the girl by the hand and led him to one of the nearest cabins, it seems, at number seventeen. Entering inside,
Sati did not immediately realize what she was seeing: the interior of one of the walls was turned off and a familiar picture could be seen through the transparent case. The azure sky, clouds resembling cotton wool, and that the most absurd is the outlines of the Island, looming on the horizon.
The picture was so lively and realistic that Saty thought for a moment: they climbed into the air and are now circling the Island.
"Bloody bastards," Thomas gasped, clutching at his hair. Satie had never seen this reserved type so astonished. – That's how they fooled us …
"Is it all fake?" – Sati put her hand to the glass.
"Flight mode," Thomas was ready to laugh at the nervous strain. – Imitation.
– But why? I do not understand.
"Glider never flew to the Island," Thomas said slowly. "Because the Island does not exist, and Melvin learned about it.
" Then where are we? " – Sati shivered from the creepy crawling along her body.
"Under the water," Thomas suddenly remembered that he already felt it when he tried to find Maggie: the feeling that his mind was overcoming hundreds of kilometers of water. "In an air bubble at the bottom of the ocean." This would explain a lot …
At this moment, a fuss was heard in the corridor. These were they – the very types that took away Melvin. Saty glanced at the monitor and, with horror, pressed her hand over her palm: two men had already rushed into the first imitation cabin, and now carried furniture to find them, accidental witnesses to the murder.
– What to do, Tom? – Saty looked hopefully at the guy. – Can you distract them?
"I'll try," Thomas slowly sank into the chair behind the control panel. – Then I did it unconsciously, I do not know if it will work now.
There was no way out. They had no choice but to sit and watch as a couple of bugai broke into one room after another, moving closer and closer to their refuge.
"They're armed," Thomas said. He sat with his eyes closed, pressing his fingers hard against his temples. – One of them is able to foresee the events for a few seconds ahead, the second … I can not say anything about the second, it's closed to me.
Sati nervously walked about the cabin and bit her nails. She understood that if the "invisibility regime" did not work, she would have to cover Thomas with her body, until the gifted would release the entire clip in them. And this is a very dubious pleasure.
"They're outside the door, Tom," she said, turning to the monitor.
Second – and the door to the wheelhouse burst open with a noise. Sati froze in horror, staring into the black muzzle of the pistols that were aimed directly at her head. But these types did not seem to be shooting.
"No one, boss," said the one who was short. – It's empty.
He must have communicated with one of the bosses through a local version of Oka. Perhaps, with Roland himself, who knows.
Meanwhile, Thomas slowly got up from his seat and headed for the exit, beckoning Sati behind him. He did not say anything, but somehow the girl realized that he would not be able to hold their attention for long. It was time to get out of here.
– They've just been here – the one that was taller and slumped into the chair Thomas had just sat in! – Look at the record!
His partner stood beside him behind his back.
– Roland said: "To get their bodies at any cost," he said.
– They could not go far, – the first took the muffler off the gun. But Satie and Thomas were already running down the corridor with all their might.
So it means bodies. Well, again: the protector has great appetites, and it's much easier to modify the old body than to grow a new one.
They ran along the wet sand without looking back. This time their way lay to the skyscraper of Thomas: the huge, whose top was drowning in the low, rapidly gliding clouds in the sky. The moon then appeared, then disappeared; Thomas and Sati tried to skirt the areas illuminated by the heavenly body, in a bad case they could be seen as well as in the light of spotlights or headlights.
Suddenly, Thomas cried out and grabbed his shoulder. And then another shot whizzed overhead. They were noticed.
– They see us! "He cried out in despair, but he could not help it. It was too difficult to escape simultaneously, and to control the consciousness of two powerful gifted people.
"So they shoot us, like live targets!" – thought Saty.
The next few shots hit her in the lower leg. The girl fell as if she had been knocked down, carrying Thomas behind her. She saw the sand around them bulge from bullets with small funnels, as if boiling. In the moonlight it looked even beautiful.
Satie knew that she could survive. Her talent never failed, even after a neck fracture. But here Thomas …
Bullets continued to whistle, now and then grazing it, but Sati, having collected the remains of courage, crawled on top of Tom lying on his stomach, thereby covering him with his body.
Он был без сознания — при падении ударился головой о камень, но, кажется, все еще жив. Хотя это не надолго: топот ног преследователей был уже совсем близко.
— Возвращаться? — недовольно произнес один из них всего в десяти метрах от лежащих на песке Сати и Томаса. — Но босс, мы почти взяли их… А, чччерт!
“Неужели Роланд велел оставить нас в покое?” — мелькнуло у Сати. — “Зачем?”
И действительно, зачем? Ведь девушка была почти что живым трупом. На ее теле было по меньшей мере десять огнестрельных ранений: икры, бедра, спина, легкие, которые оказались пробиты насквозь в нескольких местах… Сати чувствовала, что кровь вытекает из нее вместе с жизнью.
“Ну где же ты, одаренность?” — подумала она, прежде чем провалилась в беспамятство.
Последний якорь был поднят, и «Вектор» отплыл, оставляя мыс Дьявольское врата позади. Три автономных батискафа болтались по правому и левому борту, словно огромные бусины. В них было “сырье”: преступники, психбольные, жители нулевых районов. Общество списало их со счетов, но Остров всем давал второй шанс. Их души извлекут, а с телами проделают десятки жутких операций. Разумеется “переработку” переживут лишь самые сильные, остальных ждет внедрение в искусственно выращенные тела-болванки. Чудовищные химеры обретут души преступников и психов, и отправятся обратно в Метрополь, где будут проданы за хорошие деньги.
Но Обадайю Лонга это не сильно волновало. У него уже имелось три личных аниматуса, готовых по первой команде выпотрошить кишки любому. Они выглядели как люди, но он предпочитал держать их на поводке, словно животных.
Обадайя поднялся на борт самым последним. Торопиться было некуда. Он знал, что Айзек со своими прихлебателями, которого привел Тора, уже несколько часов как здесь: прячутся на нижних палубах, словно крысы, и ждут отплытия. А еще недоумевают, куда же подевалась вся охрана на корабле?
— Спокойно, спокойно, — велел Обадайя, пряча свое лицо от солнца. Его аниматусы недовольно рычали, ожидая, когда можно будет порезвиться. Покромсать на кусочки врагов государства, располосовать их тела своими когтями, размозжить головы кулаками. Обадайя посмотрел на часы: отплытие “Вектора” уже через две минуты.
“Успею выпить чашечку кофе”, — подумал он с наслаждением.
— Пахнет подставой, — прокомментировал Протон.
— Согласен, — шепотом сказал Ойтуш. — Разве судно не должно быть вооружено до зубов?
За два часа на корабле офицерам встретилось лишь двое охранников, которых они без труда устранили. Двое! И это при том, что “Вектор” был крупнейшим судном, перевозившим одаренных и человеческое сырье.
В грузовом отсеке было темно, и лишь бионический глаз Айзека флуоресцировал ярко, словно автомобильная фара.
— Что с дронами, Захария? — спросил он.
— Корабль словно вымер, — Захария покачал головой.
Они отплыли десять минут назад; еще через час судно должно было оказаться прямо над гигантской океанической впадиной, глубина которой достигала почти тринадцати тысяч метров. В нужный момент батискафы активируются, и начнут свое погружение в пучину. А внутри них — по плану Айзека — уже будет поджидать своего часа их доблестная команда. Если, конечно, доживет.
— У меня с интуицией хреново, парни, но, похоже, мы сильно вляпались, — нервно усмехнулась Карен Гравано.
В этот момент прямо над головой офицеров раздалось три коротких стука. Все без исключения вскинули свои винтовки, приготовившись отстреливаться до последнего.
“Вот и поиграли в прятки”, — промелькнуло у Ойтуша.
Но в следующую секунду глава сопротивления сделал нечто, выходящее из ряда вон. Он постучал в ответ.
— Это свои, — сказал он, когда условный сигнал прозвучал в третий раз.
Какие еще свои?
Люк в грузовой отсек распахнулся, и в нем показалась голова девушки.
— Айзек, — сказала она с сильным акцентом.
— Чанг, — поприветствовал ее киборг, опуская оружие. — Рад видеть.
Читать дальше –> Глава 24
Вернуться назад –> Глава 22