Read Hurt World One and the Zombie Rats Online

Authors: Stuart Parker

Tags: #thriller, #future adventure, #grime crime, #adveneture mystery

Hurt World One and the Zombie Rats

Hurt World One

& the

Zombie Rats

 

Stuart Parker

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2016 by Stuart
Parker

 

 

 

 

 

Cover Design:
SelfPubBookCovers.com/Daniela

Year: 2092

1 Risk and acquisition

The Savage Alliance board meeting was being
conducted on the fifty forth floor of the newly built Grey Uncle
Tower’s in downtown Zurich. The view from the single pane of glass
that wrapped the entire floor was one of the most expensive in the
world - as much for the quality of its glass as for the picturesque
scene featuring Lake Zurich and the distant snowcapped Alps. It was
Sheer Diamond glass, strong enough to withstand missile and
laser-acid attacks, but more importantly for a company such as
Savage Alliance, it was impervious to all manner of X-wave and
Sonar spy-intrusion. It helped ensure that what was said within the
board meeting remained secure. To the same end, the conference room
was devoid of wall paintings and any other forms of decoration. To
Haddad Caixa, the Savage Alliance’s President, such niceties were
simply not worth the risk they created. Art, he would say, was
merely a breeding ground for bugs, of the surveillance kind. And
besides, in Caixa’s mind the real art in the room was the power
being wielded, the type of power that only came with being one of
the world’s biggest companies. A power to influence world events,
perhaps even to control them. The truest kind of power: that which
was impervious to the law.

Caixa was tall and slender. He had neatly
combed velvety black hair and a neatly trimmed beard. His
complexion had a radiant sheen, the frequent plasma skin treatments
having removed any sense of aging from his complexion. He was
resplendently dressed in an Italian black silk suit. He stood
confidently at the foot of Conference Room One’s immaculately
polished Mahogany long table. ‘Now ladies and gentlemen’ he said,
‘let’s move on to the main business of the day.’

The twelve Ministers of the Board sitting
attentively around the table were also immaculately presented: to a
person they were rich, ambitious and ruthless. Caixa, with all his
sleekness and confidence, stood before them as a beacon of success.
One of Europe’s super-wealthy. He held his hands out to them. ‘This
room has been the location in which many a grand project has been
unveiled. Savage Alliance wouldn’t be the organisation it is now if
not for most of those schemes having been bold, brilliant and
successful. We are gathered here today in this hallowed room for
the announcement of the next great venture in our company’s
illustrious history.’ He gestured to a woman sitting closest to him
at the table. ‘The Minister for Risk and Acquisition will conduct
the briefing.’

President Caixa sat down and the Minister for
Risk and Acquisition rose to take his place at the head of the
table. She was a demure, intensely serious woman of Middle Eastern
extraction. Although quite short, she stamped her presence with
bright colour: orange tints in her black shoulder length hair, a
fiery red blazer and ebullient opals set into a gold rolo-chain
necklace.

‘Thank you, President Caixa,’ she said. On
the thought-activated table screen she brought up the latest stock
results. ‘Fellow ministers, we are all aware of our ongoing
positioning to break into the Big Ten Trade Index. You will also be
aware that we have been on the verge for quite some time. Our
investments in technology, medicine and real estate have all been
skillfully managed. But also there have been complications. Our
weapons and military medicine investments have remained stubbornly
unproductive. The good President put me on assignment some months
ago to look into what can be done to spice them up. I have found a
small crack of opportunity and I intend to pry it open into a
gaping hole.’

Applause broke out amongst the board members.
‘We were beginning to fear this announcement would never come,’
said the Minister for Employment excitedly.

The Minister for Risk and Acquisition stared
at her dispassionately a long moment before murmuring, ‘I am sure
you will appreciate that at this stage and even in Conference Room
One confidentiality must be maintained. We have assembled you here
not for a detailed briefing but rather for a heads-up. And when the
moment for action arrives - which I assure you it will - there are
two words I want you to remember:
don’t
hesitate
.’

The ministers looked expectantly amongst
themselves. The Minister for Risk and Acquisition glanced out the
window at a drone flittering around the exterior of the building in
yet another security measure - set to automatic kill, it was not
something to be trifled with.

President Caixa was meanwhile rising back to
his feet. ‘Did you hear that everyone?’ He slammed the table with
his fist. ‘Don’t hesitate.’ He let the words soak in. ‘I became
President of Savage Alliance with just one goal in mind: to break
into the Big Ten Trade Index. And I have assembled the team to do
it.’ He looked around the ministers and nodded. ‘You people right
here. The codename of the mission is Operation Advance. When your
instructions come, you will have a 24 hour window to implement
them.’ His eyes bore down on a silver haired man halfway down the
table. ‘Minister for Communications, I will want your best work on
this one. When we make our play for the top ten, all the world’s
eyes will be upon us. I want the messages we send out in return to
be meaningful and pure.’

‘Will our actions be pure?’ replied the
Minister for Communication in all seriousness.

Caixa shrugged. ‘There will be a pureness to
our aggression. But let’s keep that to ourselves.’ He returned his
attention to the entirety of the group. ‘As of this moment, I have
raised the security level to 5, which means you must remain
connected to the System twenty four hours a day. If anyone drops
off line for any reason, he or she will be erased.’

Mouths opened to protest, but no one was so
reckless as to let a word slip out.

‘Entry into the Big Ten Trade Index will
change our lives in so many ways,’ said Caixa. ‘The rules and laws
that apply to other companies will suddenly become mere playthings
for us. A privileged position of power in which all trade becomes
Free Trade.’

‘There hasn’t been a shift in the top ten in
fifteen years,’ said the Minister for Technology. ‘So, whatever
move you intend to make, I can only assume it is significant.’

‘I would estimate an additional two trillion
New Dollars added to our books,’ said the Minister for Risk and
Acquisition, ‘but that is only an element of the operation.’

‘Just so long as you are aware we do not have
the leverage to raise that kind of purchasing power. Not with any
reliable degree of risk management.’

‘We are well aware of the kind of leverage at
our disposal,’ snapped Caixa. ‘Our plan has been analysed and
approved by the Super Strategic Computer. The plan is in fact
already underway.’

‘Did you receive my report about Missile
Abduction Technologies that you requested?’ queried the Minister
for the Trade. ‘Is that part of the strategy?’

Caixa smirked. ‘You have all played your part
with your own particular responsibilities and talents. And there is
more to do. This briefing must necessarily be limited in its scope
but I ask you to keep faith and to know that the company you work
for has large plans.’ He turned and marched for the door. ‘Very
large plans.’

‘Faith?’ murmured the Minister for Finance
once Caixa had left the room. She looked sternly to the Minister
for Risk and Acquisition. ‘I just hope you know what you’re doing.
Playing off against the companies in the Big Ten Trade Index is
fraught with danger. It has been tried before by other companies
with resources equal to ours and the results have been decidedly
ugly.’

‘I’m aware of that,’ the Minister for Risk
and Acquisition replied, ‘and I intend to buck that trend with a
little ugliness of my own. Have a pleasant afternoon, ladies and
gentlemen.’ She headed nonchalantly for the door too, leaving
behind on the table screen an image of a giant, fearsome looking
rat.

 

2 A Jungle of death

 

Claps of thunder were shuddering through the
small Russian made Disposable Jet, the aircraft pitching
disconcertedly in the gale force winds. The all too frequent bolts
of lightning were illuminating the dense black cloud within which
the aircraft was immersed. The lightning was also illuminating the
large cracks emerging in the Disposable Jet’s ultra-light wings -
the Disposable Jet was simply not designed for the intensity of
storm cells. Still, for the pilot and solitary occupant of the jet
there had been no temptation to go around the storm. Mas had spent
time and money in acquiring the coordinates displayed on her
military-grade wrist-computer and she wasn’t going anywhere else.
The computer told her there were still ten miles to destination. A
red light began flashing on the console panel. Disposable aircraft
did not carry sophisticated warning systems at the best of times,
and for this base entry model, its solitary warning light could
have been in response to practically anything. Mas, however,
suspected that it meant her journey was about to fall ten miles
short and that at thirty thousand feet above the darkest corner of
the Panama Jungle her journey was about to become vertical. She
tied back her long blonde hair as she readied herself for the fall.
She was a strong, fit woman in her late twenties and she was listed
in the United Nation’s criminal rankings as the world’s most wanted
poacher. With the top ranking came a one million New Dollar bounty
on her head, pooled by twelve different countries, including her
native South Africa. But she was not frightened by it. She had been
raised in the vast Congolese Forests, and had been raised by them.
Discomfort and danger had always been with her and she viewed them
like family. She looked at the flashing red warning light and was
strangely soothed by its gentle rhythm. Cracks were opening up in
the control console around it. Without weldings or premium glues,
the craft was surrendering its joints to the hostile winds whipping
in over the jungle.

Mas took a red backpack from under her seat
and put it on. She devoted valuable time to ensuring it was
fastened tight, for it was the only thing from the aircraft that
she did not consider disposable. She readied a hand at the
emergency eject handle and with her other hand pulled down her tech
goggles over her eyes. Data glowed on the lenses in bold green. The
main number that caught her attention was the eight miles until her
destination - eight miles of treacherous jungle. Mas pulled the
handle and was shot out into the buffeting winds of the storm. She
fell blind through the tumultuous darkness, but after the confines
of the aircraft she found terminal velocity liberating. And she
could be comforted by the knowledge there was nothing base-model
about the descent vest she was wearing over her black bodysuit:
small pockets of super-treated helium would activate at five
hundred feet and she would touch ground as though being lowered by
a gentle hand. That was unless lightning turned her into cinders
first. And there was certainly enough of it about, the sky
literally humming with electricity.

Mas, however, fell calmly. Even while still
at terminal velocity, she was absorbed by the alerts on screen,
informing her of what lay between her position and the target
coordinates. Most importantly, there was a group of people - 6
males and 2 females - located very close to the final destination.
Mas suspected she would meet them soon enough. Scattered about the
jungle before them, as an added consideration, were 188 snakes, 341
scorpions, 2596 rats and 54 giant spiders. But the species Mas’s
attention settled on with a frown were the clumps of Killer
Belizean Fireflies. The display screen simply listed them as
swarming, which meant that even with this level of sensory
technology, there were simply too many to count. Mas fell into
memories of her past encounters with the fireflies’ work: animals
as large as fully grown elephants with their internal organs
completely holed out. And people too. Faces frozen in eternal agony
and bewilderment, their bodies grotesquely hollowed out. It had
only ever been like that, indirect contact, which went some way to
explaining why Mas had survived them. Concocted in a military
laboratory, the Belizean fireflies somehow escaped - or so the
story went - and soon became prevalent over large swathes of South
America. The rumour went that the fireflies had been developed to
keep human activity out of forested regions. If so, the success was
undeniable: it was no coincidence there were so few people being
detected in the jungle below, for the killer fireflies were
indiscriminate in which creatures they attacked, and a swarm of
them gouging a hole through someone’s body was a death worth
avoiding.

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