“D.S.”

“Are you ever going to explain anything? I have to leave sometime” said Mericus, as the man kept pointing his gun at him. They were in a brightly lit room, equipped with about ten computers, two large communication screens, and a heating system, which kept the room warm. The two entrances were automatically sealed, just as Mericus entered the room.

“Patience, young one. This is not the Gear Church. You cannot boss me around, not in this place.”

“What is this place? And why did I have to enter from a different entrance?”

“Because, the moment you entered from there, an odorless and colorless gas leaked through the vents. It will slightly affect your memory. It has been developed by the Empire ages ago, and I admit it did come in handy. You will remember exactly what we want you to.”

“Memotargeting Gas” said Mericus, dryly.

“Of course you would know about it. You’re a Mechanic, after all!” the man praised, albeit in a mocking manner. “Well, Mechanic, I assume that you know this; there’s a war coming. And your Order is in the eye of the storm, I’m afraid.”

“The Order? Why?”

“Because, we believe that the Order has been infiltrated by those who would seek to destroy both it and the Empire. We are not rebelling against the High Throne of the Earth. We are trying to protect it.”

Mericus gave the man a cold stare. “Protect it from whom?” he asked in a slightly demanding tone.

“From the rebels, of course! They seek to destabilize the Empire! And, in order to achieve this, they need to get their hands on the Order’s secrets.”

“How do you know about it? You are a mere…”

“Human?  Servant? Whatever you are about to say, you’d better think about it twice. I do not take it kindly when others insult me for being what I am… even if they happen to be United Ones” the man warned him, raising his gun in order to make a point. Mericus gave him a nod of understanding, and the man went on.

“You are to travel to Eris, correct?”

“I am.” Mericus decided he had to be cooperative, if he wanted to learn more.

“We warned you about Keiran. He is bound to die. He is one of those infiltrators, as our people have confirmed. Still, you have to go. You will meet Laura, another one of us. She’ll tell you everything you need to know.”

“Can’t you tell me now? You did say this matter is urgent.”

“My orders were to bring you here, and this was all I was told. I was also told that you will find something interesting in that PC over there” said the man, pointing the computer at the far left corner.

“What is it?”

“Something great, as I have promised you.”

Mericus walked towards the computer, and the man followed him, smiling confidently. As Mericus sat down, the man gave him a small piece of paper.

“This is the password. I have to leave now. You must see this alone. It will be fun” said the man, and he disappeared before the Mechanic could even catch a final glimpse of him.

The feeling of uneasiness grew inside him, but he decided he had to see this to the end. He unfolded the paper and started typing the password.

“T-5-1-n-k-0”

The screen was turned on. There was only one icon in it, a folder named ‘D.S.”. Mericus opened it, his heart pounding in his chest. He was anxious. What secrets was he about to see? And, which of them would he be allowed to remember?

A video recording was inside the folder. Mericus clicked on it and it started playing. A black sleeve was obscuring most of the image. Mericus could tell it was a sleeve, because of the mechanical grip coming out of the cloth. It had silver, elongated fingers that clenched as an unseen person began speaking.

“Did you find the parts?” a man’s voice asked?

“I did. It was hard to get rid of those soldiers though. Those bastards… they really know how to shoot a gun” a woman responded, provoking the man’s guttural laughter.

“That’s why they’re soldiers! I’m glad you are safe. Those parts are integral to our project. I must send you to another mission, I’m afraid.”

“I kinda saw this coming” she answered in a somewhat irritated tone. “What will it be this time?”

The man let another laugh. Mericus heard steps, and he assumed the man was walking towards the woman. He could barely discern their figures, but he knew he was right when he saw another hand blocking his vision.

“You are to assassinate Caius, the Governor of Mars” said the man in a malicious whisper.

“Caius… that man is no pushover. And, he will be well-guarded. It will cost you double.”

“Anything for you, Laura. Will you do it?”

A moment of silent contemplation followed. Then, Laura responded, her silver fingers clenching once more.

“Fine. I’ll do it.”

And the recording stopped. Mericus was at a loss for words. So many things, so much information… he felt as if he was trapped inside a web made of conspiracies and lies. What was to be his part in all this? He turned around. The man was nowhere to be seen. Agitated, the young Mechanic rushed to the exit. As he was about to step out of the room, he felt dizzy. His eyesight was blurry, his mind light as a feather… and he passed out.

 

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