Dina Turner stood shocked at the scene happening right in front of her eyes, of men and children bound together in chains. They were forced down on their knees with blindfolds disorientating them; they didn’t know that their murders would take place only a few yards away. Chinese officials surround them like sharks circling their prey, each armed with a rifle ready to kill anyone on sight who resists, whether they be prisoner or otherwise. Dina and her camera man Howard were behind the force-field that stopped the protesters from getting to the mass. For Dina the most ominous sight of the whole scene was the giant hole to the Surface, only a few yards away from the innocent captives.
Dina had remembered the reports she was given before coming over for the coverage, that there were meant to be three hundred Chinese infants joining the mass of prisoners here. However, the Chinese government stated that they were ‘humanely’ disposed of a few days before. It was the first time that she saw with her own eyes the colossal chaos and injustice that the list had caused since its appearance almost two years ago. She cried, looking at all those pictures, imagining all those who were gone and the ones that would continue to be hunted. It seemed a world away on the internet and TV, it felt like a dream. She knew she was risking her life being there as the situation was unpredictable, but it was her job as a reporter.
“Yo, you ready Dina?” said Howard who looked at her.
“Are you, Howard?” she said as she looked back to him.
“Well that makes two of us.” She sighed heavily looking again to the pit.
“How far do you reckon that big hole goes down?” Howard said, as he fiddled with his camera. “All the way down to the Surface,” Dina’s voice quivered just thinking about the drop.
“There is no way any of them are going to survive that-sorry. I guess that’s the point but Jesus Christ some of them are just kids!”
“I know and time is running out for them. In ten minutes we have to go online, no matter what the outcome is. Hopefully, they will change their minds.”
“Yeah if not, the whole world’s gonna go even deeper into this crazy shit,” Howard said, while he scratched his head with frustration. Dina started with fiddling with her earpiece, making sure she was ready. All of a sudden her wristband started bleeping.
“My Holo is going crazy; New China’s response must be online. Sophie, feed up-date please.” All of a sudden a thin laser beamed only a few inches out from her bracelet. It formed into what looked to be hundreds of individual squares with text constantly being piled on top of one another. She brought the hologram to her face as she skimmed the rush of messages.
“Shit. Get us online now! Both the internet and TV, issue it as breaking news!” Dina shouted. Flustered at her sudden request Howard brought his camera up to his face.
“Honey, activate with live feeds to both NWN studios and NWN online.” The camera came to life, the screen facing Howard counting down from ten.
“Get ready Dina, we are online in five, four, three, two, one…” Dina used the last few seconds to mentally prepare herself to watch the events that were about to unfold. There was nothing anyone could do anymore.
“This is New World News Reporter Dina Turner. I am reporting from inside New China’s globe at its infamous ‘The Fall’, a hole that has a sixty thousand foot drop to the old Surface of China. I am afraid I have to report dire news to my viewers. New China has rejected the New World Government’s appeal to release the innocent citizens both from the Surface and the New World.” Suddenly, the sound of trumpets bashing out a vibrant tune suddenly burst into the air. Dina knew exactly what it meant.
“It seems that the President of New China is making a speech,” she signalled for Howard to focus on the building in the distance. Howard zoomed onto the balcony. Microphones and cameras had been set up. A tall, broad Asian man in his late fifties stepped out onto the balcony. He stood tall, his shadow loomed over the mass of captives, who were starting to panic and look around frantically from the sudden noises. He raised his hand and the trumpets ceased playing instantly. He then lowered his hand and leaned into one of the microphones. Dina could feel the cold sweat that formed in beads on the back of her neck.
“To the citizens of the New World and the Surface; these people stand for treason against the laws and values of New China. This is because they were listed as Heirs on the document that had been published by the hacker ‘the Order’ just less than two years ago. These ‘kings’ of a supposed new age have no place on this earth. New China will not tolerate any threat to our reformed society.” He stood back up, away from the microphone. His gaze cast down over the Heirs, Dina’s skin prickled from the lack of emotion, not even a slither of remorse showed on his face. He put a hand on his head, smoothing his hair back, exhaling and taking his time. For a minute Dina thought there was a glimmer of hope for them to be freed.
“Send them down the Fall!” his voice boomed across the space, Dina imagined that it echoed all the way down to the Surface.
There was only a second of silence before the roar of almost every angry spectator filled the air. Mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, children, lovers and friends, all retaliated against the decision. However, the barrier proved too difficult to break through, most just kept pushing, pounding and kicking the barrier hoping for it to come down. Despite the protests, the president went back into the safety of the building while the armed men formed a line and started walking forward; the captives were forced to move back. Dina saw a young couple; both were trying to get through the barrier. The man was beating his fists bloody, the young lady sobbing while banging on the barrier. They shouted in Chinese so Dina wasn’t sure what they were saying, but she was sure that their son was among the captive Heirs.
The soldiers kept pressing on and the prisoners at the front suddenly felt the edge of the hole and tried to turn back. However, it was too late and the sheer number of people walking pushed them over and with screams of terror they began to fall down. Realising the danger some even started to fight back blindly at their captors, however the soldiers just kept pressing forward, the chains that bound them all made sure none of them ran, all of them started to be dragged in like in the pull of a black hole. Some clung on for life on the edges of the hole, before being dragged down by the other bodies. However, even then some still clung on to the edge with the adrenaline fuelling them. The soldiers with the top of their guns started bashing their fingers and with howls of pain they too plummeted to their deaths.
Dina swore that the air was somehow darker, thicker, making it difficult for her to breathe. The protestors were quiet, only the soft sounds of sorrow could be heard from the broken people left behind. She turned away from the scene, aware that the camera was still running and Howard had got everything. He focused back on Dina to finish before she broke down on camera. Dina took a shaky breath before she spoke again.
“Due to this course of action New China has taken, there are now only 600 Heirs left in both the New World and the Surface. How many more lives will go because of superstition and conspiracy of hostile governments; and how long will the Heirs themselves battle it out to crown a king? Only time will tell.”
Bruce Anderson sat at the end of the table in the conference room. Outside was a night sky being stained by the early morning light; it was around six am. He had waited for about an hour; he was nervous and stressed. The thought of having to brief yet another batch of agents made his stomach churn, he didn’t have time to keep doing this; even if the numbers were desperately low on the case. He was a young, black man in his early thirties but from taking such huge responsibilities in his career, he seems to have aged. His hair was dark but riddled with grey wiry hairs but as far as he was concerned there were bigger matters at hand than keeping up appearances. His face was pale with sunken eyes, either from lack of sleep or illness, or both. Even his disarray of clothes on his shrunken body reflected his state – with his slept-in suit and forgotten tie.
So, Anderson sat tapping his foot at an almost erratic pace until he saw the twitch of the door handle. He squinted his eyes with the flooding light from the door; he didn’t realise how dark the room was before. Through the door came the familiar faces of his task force, behind them he recognised the new agents. They were all so young; he didn’t like how this case was undoubtedly going to change that. He stood up from his seat as his new task force settled. He kept his face solemn; he wasn’t going to baby them even if they were first timers. All the new agents looked at him with a sort of anticipation that he had become familiar with. It was expected, it was the biggest case of any of their careers. Agent Thomson, who had been on the task force for the past year, looks to him.
“Anderson, that’s everyone.”
Anderson took a final glance at his new team; well, at least it was a bigger turn out than a month ago.
“Start the presentation,” Anderson said and with a flicker a three-dimensional holographic image projected from a small machine in the middle of the desk, presenting their organisation’s logo. Anderson got ready to regurgitate all the information yet again.
“We are the Majesty’s Agents of the United Kingdom, our organisation was formed to protect everything this country has built and reformed in the last thirty years with the New World.” On the projection appeared a list of names with a sort of serial code next to each one. “The List of Heirs jeopardises not only our country, but all of the New World and the Surface.” He looked purposefully towards the new agents, making sure to look all of them at least once in the eyes. “This list, which consisted of ten thousand peoples names and their chip serial numbers, was shown on televisions, computers, phones, any device that could have been hacked into from satellite. It was taken down quickly, but we unfortunately live in an era where things never really disappear. The frenzy on the Internet kept the list viewable. An online hacker now widely known in cyberspace as ‘The Order’ presented himself as the list’s maker an hour later, stating to the entire world that this was a list of potential people who were going to rule a new era. The last person on the list would become King.”
The hologram presentation changed to a vivid red world map with sections darkened. Anderson continued. “Naturally, we didn’t think anyone would take such a claim seriously, that it would blow over quickly. However, the very next day the list reappeared and it had been cut down to just under five thousand people. New China, as you know, recently and publically executed almost all the Heirs they could get their hands on and there was slaughter everywhere. Grown men to infants were brutally murdered over twenty four hours.” Anderson scrunched up his knuckles. “Today, two years later, there are only six hundred Heirs. Most of them live within government protection while the others are refusing government help. As the Majesty’s Agents of the United Kingdom we have to not only protect the innocents left on that list and effectively manage the situation, we have to locate and arrest the Order to bring an end to this.” The hologram changed again and nineteen pictures of people appeared; the range from full grown men to young boys and, unusually, there is a young girl with the name Marie Evan’s floating above her picture. “Unfortunately we can only look after the Heirs in our own country, and currently we have twenty. Fifteen of them are under our body’s protection; the other five are independent at this moment.”
“As you know I myself am an Heir, who is currently the leader of this case and will continue to be for the foreseeable future,” Anderson sighed. He already felt the judgemental gazes from some of the new arrivals and they were either beginning to fear for him, or grow wary. He didn’t need to explain himself though, he would prove to them in time he was no power hungry maniac. “The other independents I will explain in detail,” he continued. The hologram closed in on a picture of a young man with blonde hair cut in a modern and stylish fashion. He had dark green eyes and a face that belonged on a lady killer.
“Firstly, we have Logan Martin. He is twenty-four years old and is the public figure of the trading company M.M.Global, his father Marcus Martin is the founder and CEO. As an Heir, he is a beacon of light to the city by condoning his Heir title and giving aid to others in his situation.” he clicked the button again; this time what appeared on the hologram was what looked like a mug shot. The man though young had hard, old dark eyes. With a shaved head and a disturbing grin for the camera, he oozed lethality.
“Twenty-eight year old Simon Miller, a famous serial killer. Ex-military, he infamously murdered around eighteen children. He abused his position in the army to capture civilian children and torture them at his base. Despite being chipped, because of his previous training he evaded American authorities for three months before he was arrested. He is accountable for the death of 5 men, 15 women and 98 children.” Anderson had to breathe; he always choked up at the same part every time. He was sick of doing this.
“He wished to be tried in New London due to originally being a citizen of the Surface of The United Kingdom during. It was granted and he was lost in transit. Very soon after his escape we suspect that he attempted to cut or pull out his chip. Though his attempt failed as pulling out a chip mean certain death; he damaged his chip enough so that his tracker would lag for several hours. It has made it impossible to track his location. However, he’s likely to be within the perimeter of the Surface of the United Kingdom. He had been missing for four years before he was seen a year and a half ago. He had slaughtered a family home on the Surface. Making his position clear, he murdered a mother and father with their eighteen year old son, Aaron, who was an Heir. Though he does not have the resources, he makes it up with killing instincts and so is a high priority to track down.”
Again, Anderson changed the slideshow. This time on the screen was a young, smiling teenage girl and in her arms was a little baby that looked to have only been birthed a short time ago.
“Arthur Evans; he was born only a few days before the list was released. It is important to note that because he was taken from the hospital before a chip was implanted the serial number on the list belongs to his now 18 year old mother, Marie Evans. In the night, Marie and her father, David Evans, fled the hospital. David Evans is considered a war hero for his part in World War III thirty two years ago; he probably realised they were sitting ducks. However, instead of going to the authorities he used his high up position in the New World military to get his hands on a Shadow Box, a newly developed military weapon to cloak the location of an individual’s microchip; he uses this to hide his daughter’s location. To this day is hiding out in the Surface. Despite this being illegal, we recognise it is what he felt was necessary to protect his daughter and grandson. We are tracking them down to ensure their safety.”
Anderson clicked the button once more. This time on the screen was a school photo of a young boy. His hair was pitch black that just passed his ears in a messy style. His piercing blue eyes and serious expression gave him an air of disturbing maturity. However, his rounded youthful face still gave him his childish appearance.
“Finally, we have ten year-old Cain Hunter. At the time the list was released he was eight years old. When he went missing, we feared the worst. However, his name was not removed from the list and he resurfaced around a year ago by enrolling at Royal Garden, New London’s most prestigious private school, which is attended by many children of the rich and famous in New London. H is using some sort of device to duplicate his location in several different places around the world; we suspect it to be a scrambler, but we have deemed it necessary since he refuses police safety. We suspect he has a hideout on the Surface and somehow has access to travel to New London. He is an individual who has shown much resourcefulness and criminal connections in such a short amount of time. We do suspect that he has somehow been groomed by a larger power because of his position. We cannot forget that he is a child and he is in a very vulnerable and dangerous situation. We aim to urge him into our protection.” Suddenly the hologram closed and the room was dark again.
“Any questions?” Despite Anderson’s offer, the room was silent and everyone apart from a few looked to the floor. Anderson held in a sigh.
“This is the biggest crisis we have ever handled since the creation of this department. Your lives will be at risk, maybe even your families. I suggest you think over your decision to take on this case. If you need to hand in a resignation letter you can give it to me. You can leave.” The blinds rolled up, letting the early rays pool in. Anderson squinted his eyes with pain, he was relieved that the room is now filled with light. The agents made a steady stream out the door, however one started walking over to Anderson. He was a young man who was freshly recruited and walked with a bounce in his step. Anderson didn’t like it one bit.
He walked over cautiously to Anderson who looked him in the eye; he almost physically jumped out his skin from his stare. However, he smiled at Anderson. They awkwardly stood across from each other.
“Well you get the record for fastest to hand in your resignation.” Anderson muffled.
“No I am not here to hand in my resignation.”
“Seriously, why on earth do we hire people like you? You look like one of those smarmy little brats who think this is a game for your career ladder.” Anderson’s voice was filled with resentment; he was filled with contempt at the ignorance of this newbie.
“I’m Agent Thomas Smith and-”
“Seriously, resign. We don’t need you.”
“I’m your new partner, agent Anderson.”