2.20: Fact Checher: Performance Review
The PIGS loaded Black Elvis into the floating stasis pod drifting on magnetic waves. Fact Checker set the healing controls just high enough to prevent him from dying. He led the team down the long crurved hallway. A dozen or so screens appeared projected around him suddenly, pacing him and moving in sync with each motion of his head. Some of the screens were split. About twenty faces looked back at him as he walked, including the physical form of Fact Checker’s boss, the Pope of Security.
Only his head was visible in the squat gilded cone that hovered on the same magnetic waves that held Black Elvis’s temporary coffin aloft. The head at the top turned smoothly to look at Fact Checker.
“Do you see what is on the walls behind them?”
The words did not vibrate a single air molecule, but seared into Fact Checkers brain via radio waves to the enslaved circuits throughout the clone’s brain and body. Fact Checker did not really hear or see the words, as much as he felt them tickling around on him, in him, and through him; dancing around on his skin and pressing into his flesh and sinews like the raised letters of an old school typewriter, filling his awareness and senses with the intended message. There was only a slight twinge of pain with this particular message, but it pulled a visceral reminder of just how high the amounts of pain could go when the Pope of Security was pissed off.
“Yes Holiness,” Fact Checkers response was in normal speech as was respectful.
“Those scenes are Holy Privileges, and furthermore, could serve to weaken the structure of our authority with the merchants and makers. Also, look how many of our security forces they are slaughtering.”
One of the screens expanded, pushing the others to the periphery. They were there, Blue Kay, Laser Boy, and venting Zombie Lisa in the middle of a large open zero g intersection, the same one where Laser Boy had first showed up surrounded by baboon’s blood and lion’s roars. The scene now was so much worse than that. Hundreds of bodies of PIGS floated, spewing droplets and globules of pinkish blood in all directions. Like a flying and fireworks adorned sickle, Laser Boy flew and swooped among the unending horde of PIGS with blasters in both hands firing a constant barrage of precise and deadly beams of multicolored light. His twists and turns danced him between all the projectiles and beams that surrounded him. His face passed near one of the many floating cameras and the Papal Retinue was able to see that his face was blank and his eyes stared at nothing.
Off to one side of the huge space was Blue Kay. A floating curved table surrounded her, looking like a comically oversized hoop skirt. The surface was covered with her small nano cards. An orange electric glow around her indicated that she was shielded with a top of the line plasma field. She bit her lip and blew a stray feather out of her face as she selected yet another card and activated it. This one shot out of her hand and into the middle of a group of PIGS, where it started spinning and growing. Moments later it was a large pink otter covered with gleaming spikes. One of the PIGS, who are not normally given to outbursts, screamed out the words, “Mr. Pinkles! No!” right before the beloved cartoon icon began bouncing around ripping him and many of his fellows to shreds.Blue Kay sniffed, smiled crookedly, and activated another card.
Fact Checker zoomed the camera in on the third offender. The one who had last killed him by ripping his head off of his shoulders. Zombie Lisa was skulking around the walls of the room using handholds. Most of the patrons of the shops had long since fled, only the most adventuresome remained, videoing and narrating the events to their fans. They all shied away when Zombie Lisa passed near to them. She was bloodied and swollen in many places and a continual feral growl emanated from her mouth. She was watching the carnage and constantly crawling around the walls watching and waiting. The PIGS were not aware of her, but several had been thrown near her in the last few minutes and each of them was covered with the marks of her apelike claws. She continued to circle and watch Laser Boy.
Between and over and below and throughout the shops and mist of bodies and beams, was the series of black walls, showing the principle source of the Pope of Security’s concern. There were scenes of a giant barnacled boehemoth ripping through skyscrapers on planet Earth somewhere in the distant past. Shooting fiery plasma sheets over the fleeing populace, tearing away swaths of atmosphere with fibrous wings crackling with purple forms of energy. Other scenes showed hordes of stiff rictored bodies floating in space with the station in the background. The camera spun dizzingly in most of these scenes.
The Pope again addressed Fact Checker, the pain levels were higher this time.
“You realize that is real footage of the BEAST, yes? The Man Who Ate Japan himself? That footage should not be available to anyone at all. We thought it was all destroyed. There are bigger forces at work here than an anarchic rich girl and a gutter thief with experimental tech. The BEAST is still on this station somewhere, We have no doubt. We do not know who or where it is, for certain it could even be Us! This footage could serve as a catalyst to wake it, wake it’s memories, wake it’s appetites! We do not have to tell you what that could mean for this outpost of humanity. You see those other scenes though, yes? That is footage from the last two slum vents! If the labor class figures out what is going on in that footage, it will throw off our schedule by decades! None of the Walls or Environmental Nanos in the area are responding to us at all. Be gone all ready and check the facts boy. Do not fail.”
Fact Checker paused steadied himself. That last communication had been especially painful. He typed a few strokes on the air in front of him. Several elite collators fell into step behind him with another floating stasis coffin. He bowed his head to the Pope of Security and turned the connection off. The collators and techies followed him with the two floating coffins to the mag tunnels.