Chapter 30 – Devastation

Zoe looked at the screen as the monitored stared back at her. She had hesitated after watching that news broadcast. She could be adding the confusion if she carried on with her plan. Yet she had no other options. She hit the record button.

“I am Zoe Code Jones. I work for information defense sector. I was one out of eighty potentials recently put in a unofficial team under the command of Charles Dero. The five of us were selected to disable The Judgement and we had dealt a massive blow to the application until we were betrayed.”

She took a moment to breathe.

“Dero is now dead. As are my brothers-in-arms, Alexandra Czervinski and Saul O’Connor. However their echo lives on! They were murdered by one man, one fox who is behind all of this, who believes he can just trot out of here without facing justice of the English court.”

She quickly spliced a clip from Dero’s suicide clip. Combining it with her voice “Stop Gregorz Goodrich Cooper.” The clip ended with Dero putting the gun to his head.

She finished the recording and prepared for the final piece. She hoped her message was understood if the news were to show what she had to say.

She sent the file and the began researching the explosives she was confined to a room with.

###

Through his peripheral vision, Ford could see the battery charge of his Dolosphere. It was still full. That’s not what he was looking at. All of his attention was focused on trying to dodge trolleys and zombie-like players as he sped through the corridors of the hospital. Many of them were too weak to really attempt to grab Ford and Darvi but the bigger men posed more of a challenge.

They made it outside with only the news anchor managed to just about keep up the chase while his camera operator flagged behind while swapping to a more portable device. The road was sodden and wet but the sun was still up, an hour from setting as the orange streaks began fill the sky. Darvi and Ford paused for a minute before Ford acted irrationally. He had found their transport.

Throughout the commotion happening in the hospital and man had pulled in on a motorbike abandoning it on the floor as he rushed past the Ford and Darvi and up the disabled people’s access. Ford didn’t miss a beat. He pulled up the motorbike and gestured to Darvi to join him. He realised afterwards that he was probably breaking so many laws at the same time when he revved the engine; theft, unsafe apparel and likely the most humiliating one – public indecency as his hospital gown swayed erratically in the wind. He put that thought out of mind as he pulled off with Darvi on the back.

People screamed and hugged the sides as he belted the Kawasaki down the path. He hadn’t driven a bike in a good few years and he knew Darvi could tell as he held on with vice grip. As Ford got his bearings with the power of the vehicle he noticed a two police cars veering round the corner in clear pursuit of the off-roading pair.

He made a tactical decision which he nearly regretted. As he neared Big Ben, he pulled an abrupt brake, front wheeling the bike and skidding to the right down the stairs following the Thames, weaving in and out of half put away restaurant tables and chairs.

The bollards stopped the police from following in their vehicle but at the speed they were travelling the stunt wasn’t comfortable and Ford was rewarded with an extra big squeeze on his chest from Darvi who was attempting to stifle a sob.

As the two of them accelerated down the riverside path, the sun retreated behind the clouds on the horizon. The glare from it caught Ford right in the eyes nearly making him miss his next turn. He was also distracted by the Dolosphere that reactivated and was giving him a run down of the last challenge. A map had displayed in front of his vision that was semi transparent allowing him to barely keep the bike on course. The map itself was clearly tracking their progress. The introductory voice from the start of the game gave the instructions and Ford could only imagine that this was being broadcasted to every survivor of the games.

“Kill players F0RD and Darvi” said the voices. He could distinguish one bass pitch which he presumed was Gregorz and two other voices. His skin pricked with goosebumps and he gripped the bike tighter hoping it wasn’t her. Pyrra. He felt ashamed. He let her down when she most needed him. Just like he had let Hannah down Ford thought. He didn’t deserve to be walking on this earth any longer but before he left it, he would make it right. He would put things straight. No matter what.

“Gregorz?” he shouted from under the helmet.

“Most definitely!” Darvi shouted back eyes closed. “He’s trying to mock us but the douchebag can’t splice for shit!”

The comment made Ford chuckle which is what he needed as he belted the bike up the a couple of steps and on to the road. Ford briefly heard a few sirens pass ahead of him as he pulled up near to the Dero tower. Previously known as the Gherkin, Dero had bought the building making it into a signpost for the next generation of wireless technology. If anything the building was like a massive skyscraper version of the recently deceased CEO, with it being super-sized once he bought it, equipped with a outer shell of self conducting electricity. Time magazine called it a beacon of clean, sustainable business etiquette as it produced 10 times the electricity it consumed. Playboy magazine called it the Dero dildo and questioned the CEO whether he was compensating for something.

Ford ditched the motorbike across the road from the tower. The building was surrounded by armed men and they had just arrived as a cop was confronting them. Darvi and Ford ducked round a corner and watched the scene unfold. The cop approached cockily as his partner remained in the vehicle. There was two gunshots and the policeman dropped to the floor stone dead. The horn erupted from the policeman’s partner as he too fell forward onto the steering wheel.

Darvi threw up about three seconds later and Ford struggled to keep his nauseousness down. They carried the bodies inside and one of the armed men got into the police car and drove off.

“What the fuck are we going to do!?” Darvi whispered in a panicked voice, vomiting once again.

“I er.. I don’t know but we have to get in there!” Ford said hushed. “Darvi think! You always had the brains!”

“The brains..?” He said to himself wiping his mouth. He gathered himself, pulled his backpack off his back and pulled out the laptop. He then got a wire out and attached the Dolosphere on his head to the laptop and began typing.

“Tell me, how new do their guns look?” He asked as he worked.

“Very” Ford replied. “They seemed to be equipped with every addition under the moon. Laser targeting system, thermal imaging, holographic sights, fairly sure I can see a drone much higher up.”

“All that COD finally paying off?” Darvi said pale faced but smirking. “This is gonna leave me weakened so it’s up to you to get us in. I’d rather do this when the sun was completely down but this will have to suffice.”

“What do you mean?”

Darvi looked up and smiled. “Watch.”

Then things hit bedlam. Again.

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