A Tale of The Monsterpocalypse
Fiction by A.G.M.
When Ballantyne came around, the first thing she noticed was the chair she was strapped to. Sort of like a dentist’s chair, with all the sinister ramifications that implied. The second thing she noticed was Keith strapped to a similar chair to her left. He was awake with a dismayed face.
The third detail she noticed was the smiling, oriental man sitting behind a desk in front of them. “Ah! Good of you to join us, Ms. … Guillory? I was worried your resistance to coming here might have caused some damage, despite our Physicians’ reassurances.”
“What the hell?!” she started struggling again.
“Please Ms. Guillory! Those bonds are quite unbreakable. You will only succeed in harming yourself!” soothed the man in the desk. When he saw Ballantyne still struggling, he said “Perhaps you fail to respond to the name you gave at the employment office, is that so Ms. Ballantyne?”
That got her attention. “What are you talking about?”
The desk man chuckled indulgently. “Proper introductions are in order here, Ms. Ballantyne, as I seem to have you and your friend at a disadvantage. Unfortunately I only have a designation to provide as my identity. I am Doctor-Designate _01 and will be conducting this interview. Are there any questions you would like to make?”
Ballantyne looked again at Keith, who in turn did a shrug. Nothing would be forthcoming from them.
“No?” the smile and amiable expression never wavered on Dr. _01’s face. He crossed his hands in front of him and leaned back. Keith noted he was wearing gloves. “Good. Let me begin by first congratulating you on your resourcefulness. The forged documents and false ID’s were of excellent quality, as was your skill in accessing our database to imprint your false personas. I believe Mr. De Rose used his old back doors from when he worked in CaliCo and GamePlan. He must have assumed — correctly I might add- that when we uploaded all the databases from those companies that the back doors would also be uploaded without being checked, as they were years old, using old passwords no one bothered to correct. Very clever, unfortunately for you, there were alarms in place when you did the down load, and the passwords corresponded with your old employee number. Imagine when we went to physically check your cubicle, and matched your likeness to the ex-employees’ files. Out of curiosity, we decided to check on all new employees hired in the dates coinciding with your entry into this company. Imagine my surprise when we uncovered eco-activist and minor celebrity, Coco Ballantyne laboring as a lowly data-entry clerk!”
Ballantyne could not resist the bait. “ ‘Celebrity.’ Isn’t that kind of a stretch?”
“Your short documentaries on spouse slavery in the Mideast, as well your documentation of human rights abuses by First World Interests on Third World Countries are all over the Net!”
“What net? That went the way of global economy when the beasties started their party!” said Keith skeptically.
“Yes. But inter-company Net service is still on. One of the many benefits of laboring under a corporate Banner!”
Keith knew they were done for unless they stalled somehow for time. “So you know everything and have us in custody, how much longer is this James Bond crap going to take?” he said, ignoring Ballantyne’s glare.
“Not much, I assure you. The manager just wanted me to ask you a few more questions before taking the appropriate actions.”
“Shoot.” Grinned Keith as Ballantyne rolled her eyes in despair.
“Ha Ha! I like you, Mr. De Rose! You could still turn this around in time to become an asset to this company.”
“Really? How do we do that?” he asked eagerly.
“In time Mr. De Rose. In time. The main purpose of this interview is to asses your willingness to cooperate!”
“How am I doing?”
“Admirably. What about you, Ms. Ballantyne? I know you have been a lifelong foe of the Corporate Agenda, but we at UberCorp believe that in time, everyone has a capacity for Improvement. The Power of Change is in all of us! Take me for example. Would you believe I am over seventy? Twenty five years ago, I was a cancerous diabetic with three divorces, arthritic legs and enough mortgages to pay off the National Debt. UberCorp saw my potential and well… Here we are, looking at seventy more productive years!”
“So they paid for your surgery. How much do you owe Management now?” asked Ballantyne.
“Not much. But who’s counting? This company does not put that much emphasis on a Profit Margin as it does in Usefulness. What’s Useful? What’s Productive? That’s Our real stock and trade, taking something broken or discarded and turning it into a Productive Asset! Take some of Our most famous products: We took the images and strategies of the very Forces destroying The World and made them into symbols of Hope and Salvation! Now people look at Our Cyber Khan and feel safe! That’s the kind of opportunity We hope to give you two fellows!”
“Wow! Never thought selling your soul would be as easy as paying off the mortgage!” scoffed Ballantyne.
“What else are you Guys offering?” asked Keith eagerly.
“We have an Executive Compensation Package that’s very generous. Complete with access to our Luxury Arcology in the East Coast. Health plan including Dental for the Whole family, your choice of project assignments with executive staff and comprehensive retirement plan… but honestly, why think retirement when the exciting life of an UberCorp Executive awaits you?”
“What do you need then? Where do I sign on?”
“Soon. Very Soon Mr. De Rose! I also have to asses the sincerity of your intent! But I believe we could have a very satisfying collaboration ahead of us! So could Ms. Ballantyne, if she has a chance to think it over! I will let you discuss it amongst yourselves while I attend to other matters.” Said Dr. _01. A wall opened up behind the Doctor as smiling man and his desk smoothly slid backwards out of the room.
The wall closed up in front of the Doctor, leaving Ballantyne and Keith still strapped to their chairs. She shot him one of her trademark, venomous glances. “What?” he asked.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!”
“Hell No! I know what these guys are capable of, and I plan on delaying that as long as possible.”
She shook her head. She began testing her bonds.
“You know they are still watching, don’t you?”
“Better than collaborating!”
“As soon as you get free they will just march in and tie you right back up.”
“I don’t care!”
“You know this is part of a test. They just want to see which way we will jump. Just relax!”
“You do that Keith. Some help you turned out to be!”
“Look, we got caught, OK? Best we can do is make deals while they’re in the mood to talk! All they wanna know is what I did with the accounts, then they will turn us over to the authorities! Then we can do some sort of plea bargain for reduced sentences on fraud and embezzlement.”
Ballantyne stopped struggling, ‘What the Hell is he talking about?’ she thought. Looking at Keith, he was the bland image of innocence. It finally dawned on her what he was playing at. What bothered her was that it took her, the alleged people watcher, so long to figure him out. “F-K you!” she said, keeping what she hoped was a flawless pretense.
“Potty mouth!” grinned Keith. Ballantyne had to grudgingly admit that the supposed geek was a player. She only hoped this play would get them out of this Slaver Compound and into the hands of the cops. At least it would delay any questions about the Crew waiting for them out in the Prairies, or who else was involved in this…
Next week: part 5 “THE WORLD IS (KIND OF) NOT ENOUGH”