Jeurridam Ch. 11: The Vault Matrix

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June, Heaven and I stood before Alistair, the man utterly livid. He paced around the garage, looking at the security feeds. He was upset for a very good reason! A militant group from the west had come during the early morning, investigating the deactivated manticores scattered around the city. This military group wore sandy grey cloaks and had an insignia all too familiar to Alistair. These were Revivalists.

“You boys,” He began, “We may be in some shit.”

“Why?” Heaven asked.

“Because, the network that shut down the manticores is right here! I’m pretty sure the Revivalists are tracing it and we have one of their manticores! We got to get rid of it!” He responded.

“How do you suppose we move a one ton mech?” June asked.

“I don’t know but we need to get it out of here, somehow!” Alistair said, quite frantic.

“I got an idea…” June said, going over to the long range transmitter. He punched in some frequency codes waiting for the ping to drop, “Hello, this is June using the ninteen hundred megahertz emergency frequency! Please get Zanir on the line! It is an emergency! I repeat, get Zanir on the line now! This is an emergency!”
“Roger, give us a moment.” A respondent said.

“We might not have a moment.” Alistair said, looking at the security feeds on the computer.

“Shit,” I said, rushing over to the buggy, “Heaven, help me get this booze! Don’t want the Revivalists to take our merch.”

“Okay.” He responded, speeding over to the buggy. We grabbed the crates of liquor and and began toting them up the platform.

“This is Zanir…” The radio buzzed.

“Zanir, this is June! Revivalists are in The City of Rust and tracing the network that shit down the manticore mechs! They are closing in and we need you to get rid of this mech, like… now!” June said.

“…On it.” Zanir responded.

Suddenly the mech’s optics began to illuminate. It got off the table, having to crouch in the cramped upper levels of the garage.

“Here they come!” Alistair said, glued to his computer, “You boys get out through the panel in the warehouse!” We did so, the mech following. As we did, knocking on the garage entrance surprised us all. Heaven and I reached the panel door, however the mech was too big to fit. Strange figures began to appear all around the warehouse. We had to think fast!

“Shit!” I said, looking around, “You two follow me!”

I led him and the mech up to the upper levels, the loft where Alistair and Galveston called home. As we did, two investigating Revivalists entered the warehouse. It was a narrow escape. We ventured deeper and deeper into the home, eventually reaching Galveston’s space on the far end.

“Fuck…” Heaven said, making a stark realizations, “These mechs are Revivalists… They’re here because of them.”

“I know…” I responded, not pleased by the news. The mech’s head turned towards the door as it’s keen auditory sensors picked up the faint sound of footsteps coming up the stairwell to the loft. It whirred cautiously, alerting us that something was wrong.

“What is it?” I asked. The mech pointed to the door, telling us something was coming. It was so damn nerveracking!

I began to think fast, realizing this loft had nothing but broad windows, each one able to be opened. It gave me an idea.

“Okay,” I began, turning to the mech “I’m going to need you to take this crate to Zanir! Make sure no one sees you, okay?” The machine picked up the crate with its long powerful tail as Heaven and I led it towards the window. Heaven crooked the massive window open, peering out.

“The coast is clear,” He said, smiling at the mech, “Go…”

The massive thirteen foot tall machine, nimbly snaked out of the rear of the facility into The Outskirts. It disappeared into the vast hills of junk, heading north towards Area 51. Both Heaven and I sighed as we closed the window. Just then, the two Revivalists bombarded into the room as though they had caught something.

“You’re just barging into a home! Knock next time! You don’t know what you could have walked into…” Heaven said. The two soldiers ignored us, having strange scanners searching for something.

“It’s gone…” They said, before heading back out. We followed, eventually ending back up in the garage. About two dozen Revivalists stood on the garage floor looking up at Alistair and June.

The Revivalists had the most badass suits. It was a nylon and kevlar suit with a number of electronics, including infrared goggles, sensors and communications. Strapped to the militants chests were strange assault rifles that seemed to be far more advanced than the stuff we used. They wore brown cloaks and scarves that concealed their faces. Both were embroidered with the phoenix-like Revivalist insignia. They just looked fearsome.

One looked at our analog buggies before looking at Alistair.

“Those look quite familiar…” The Revivalist smiled.

“They’re common buggies of the region.” June said, arms istanbul escort folded. Two soldiers went and searched the buggies over thoroughly. The Revivalist that seemed to be in charged, looked around the massive garage.

“I find it hard to believe that this place is the epicenter of the pulse that whipped my mechs out.” He said,

“Well it is. They were a nuisance.” Alistair responded.

“Well,” The man said, stepping forth, “You’ve cost us a lot of resources, shutting down our machines…”

“Why do you need them? What’s their purpose?” Alistair asked.

“We,” The Revivalists general began, “Do research… The areas we quarantined are our research zones! We…”

“Well why let your research come onto my soil?” Alistair interrupted.

“Why harbor an insurgent of war?” The general asked, confusing us all.

“What?” We all said, unsure what the hell he was talking about.

The general held up a holographic projector, showing a rough picture of Zanir. Every single last one of us seized in shock.

“This young man has stolen property from us and we need it back! We believe he’s responsible for shutting down our mechs and many other problems that have plagued the Revivalist. He has information of ours that is incredibly sensitive and you people have been dealing with him.” The General responded, “Where is he?”

“We don’t know him and you have no proof beyond that picture.” Alistair said firmly. It seemed to upset the general.

“We know he is the hacker responsible for disarming our mechs,” The general said, “We know, he has an incredible knowledge of mechs, and know he poses a great threat to the Revivalists…”
“Nope,” Alistair shrugged, “Doesn’t ring any bells.”

“Oh really? Because, we tracked the very mech that got the footage of Zanir back to this place. This mech was here moments ago. Now tell us where the boy is and our mech so we can take what’s ours and go.” The General said, trying to use informational intimidation as a means to get what he wanted. Alistair came down the platform, the big man making all the armored Revivalists get uneasy.

“How about this? You get your mechs… and leave! You have no leads, no evidence beyond a doubt what you think you know. I’m here to tell you that I made the infrastructure that brought down your mechs, so know what? You’re gonna get all stone cold Revivalist on us? You’re in Jeurridam, a place where people stick together no matter what. Depending on what you do next, you’re gonna have to fight your way out of the City of Rust…” Alistair said.

“You think we’re afraid of some thieving hoodlums with varmint rifles and smoke bombs? You think this place poses a threat to us? We came for what we want now are you going to give it to us cordially or do with have to get bloody?” The General asked, not backing down. Alistair looked at us all, laughing quite hysterically. We couldn’t help but join in also.

“Wow,” June smiled, “Varmint rifles and smoke bombs? You don’t know what you’ve walked into do you…?” He held up a remote, the Revivalists pointing their guns at him. Every single buggy in the humongous multistorey garage pointed their turret barrels at the men.

“The Merchant clan is not what it was twenty years ago.” Alistair said, prowling around now with the upper hand, “It is a big, big military group… You may be right thow. You might defeat us all, all ten thousand of us! But I guarantee you’ll lose a lot, close to all of your insurgents. If you knew what I’ve lost, how little fucks I’ve got to give right now, you wouldn’t tempt me!”

“And you think it’s just the twenty of us? We prepared for a scenario of this kind,” The General said, swaying the balance, “We didn’t want to use them, but we brought our ships! We brought our military and we brought a weapon that could decimate this region so we wouldn’t have to break our own blood.” He seemed confident that he had the upper hand. Alistair just smiled at him.

“I know.” He said, causing alarm to spread across the General’s face, “An accelerated particle cannon. Fancy… I saw it when it and the three other cruisers surrounded The City of Rust. I think it’d make a good addition to rest of the junk in the Outskirts.” The General looked at Alistair, not at all pleased by the turn of luck.

“How do you know this?” The General asked.

“I’m sorry. I come across a little too humble don’t I? I’m just a mundane little mechanic running a son and pop shop, right? I’m not at all the very man who founded the Merchant Clan, a computer and tactical genius and one hell of a resourceful ass man! I own The City of Rust! I have eyes in crannies you wouldn’t expect to look. Try your luck, son! Fire will rain down on us all! You’re young… Don’t you want to live? If you proceed with getting what you want, you’ll die so fast, you wouldn’t even understand it in the afterlife! You still got a whole life ahead of you… Don’t blow it on some suspicions. My turrets love to mow grass…” Alistair said.

Heaven, June and şişli escort I were terrified but the three of us stood firm, carrying on the facade Alistair presented. The General sighed, tapping his communicator.

“We’ve reached a dead end in the Merchant Flats…” He said, into the tiny machine. His Revivalists began exiting the garage, the General eyeing Alistair with nothing but malice. He left last, every single one of us rushing to the windows.

The general and his battalion fled away in those strange animal-like speeders Heaven and I were chased with. Following behind them were the very same tanks as well. A huge sense of relief fell upon us as we watched the Revivalists leave. June powered off the turrets.

“That was intense for the morning.” June sighed.

“Those fuckers were lying through the teeth of their ass! Zanir’s been stuck in A99 for the ninety percent of his life.” Heaven said, quite upset.

“That’s what you call tactics of intimidation.” Alistair responded, “A game I mastered well before that kid ever did…”
“I thought we were all going to go up in bullets.” I said, still in disbelief. Alistair looked at us all.

“I want you all to get out! Tell this boy what he’s brought to my doorstep…” Alistair snarled, heading back up the platform.

We did so, heading back to Area 51. We parked our buggies in the lake bed, rushing over to Zanir. He was busy in the junk heap with a number of engineers and mechanics. They were building the micro-reactor to power this place. He didn’t look too happy.

“No… I said use a torque ripper on the side beam! If the cut isn’t even, friction will occur and boom! Nuclear fallout all over again!” He said.

“So sorry about that!” The engineer welding the base to the reactor said.

“It’s fine just,” Zanir said, clenching his head, “Rip it out and solder a new one.” He was quite stressed.

“Zanir.” June said.

“I already know…” Zanir growled through the grit of his teeth.

“You do?” June asked, surprised.

“Yeah, I was listening on air, saw the ships fly in and knew exactly what was going down…” He responded.

“Wow…” June said, scratching his head, “So, what are you gonna do?”

“I’m going to finish what I’ve started…” Zanir said, quite calmly. Still though, it was clear he was distressed.

“You’re going to cut it awfully close, don’t you think?” June warned.

“I um… I…” He seemed to be at a loss forward, utterly stressed. June simply looked at Zanir, knowing the boy was having a difficult time. He was holding onto many things he didn’t want to let go. Zanir often came across as fearless, as undaunting! He was the first to often dive into adversity and was willing to make sacrifices. However, he was afraid! He didn’t want to leave the very little world he knew for something he didn’t! He didn’t want to say goodbye to the ones he loved. It was all understandable but after today, we could see just how much danger he was in. Heaven stepped forth.

“Zanir, I don’t think you understand! They know your name! They know what you look like! They… Want… You and it’s all because of that manticore mech you tried to save.” Heaven said. It caused Zanir to turn around in horror. He put down his laptop, sighing, heading out of the hangar. We followed as he walked towards another hangar where Big Daddy, Orb, the manticore, and the Leer were.

Despite the emotionless face of Big Daddy, he was definitely upset about something. Upon seeing Zanir, he knew something was terribly wrong.

“Dad,” The boy began, “I um… I fucked up.” The machine whirred with concern, “The Revivalists are in Jeurridam because of the manticores. They know who I am because of that manticore.” Big Daddy slowly looked at the mech. He whirred out, this time a low cooing, “I know… I know! We should leave but…” The mech interrupted this time with angry whirring, “I’m trying!!!!! You know how close I am to my goal, a goal for us to be able never have to worry about the acid you need to survive! All I need is a bit of time.”

Big Daddy fell silent. He got up, walking over to the massive manticore. The mech looked at the sentinel with curiosity as he reached to pet it. It pered, loving the contact from the sentinel. Big Daddy then grabbed the manticore by the head, pulling it’s jaws apart. The manticore tried to get away but Big Daddy was too powerful. The sentinel rendered a pulse beam cannons and shot powerful blasts down the manticores throat! He ripped the mechs head apart causing it to bleed it’s tainted circulatory on the tarmac floor.

Both the Leer and Orb watched in complete horror, seeing such a brutal slaughtering unfold. Zanir was shocked beyond speechlessness! He didn’t even breath. Several people rushed into the hangar after hearing the loud gunshots.

“We heard explosions. What’s going on?” Basil asked. Zanir’s eyes welled up with tears as he gave Big Daddy one menacingly penetrating glare. The boy walked away, leaving the mech to stand in the pool of mecidiyeköy escort tainted acid.

“Zanir…” Heaven said, rushing out after him. We all did… It was about to happen! Zanir was finally about to break down after it all!

“I just wanted to do that one little last thing because it was what Galveston and I were going to do together, what he would have wanted. The manticore was going to be his, it was going to be my way of remembering him but now…” Zanir cried, barely able to stand.

“I understand but you’re in danger! Your dad has your best of interest in mind. You need to be leaving, Zanir.” Heaven said. All Zanir did was shake his head, too burdened down to think clearly, even with that powerful brain implant. His lip quivered as all he hid prepared to come out.

“I miss Galvy so much. He was supposed to come along… He was supposed to be there with me, every step of the way. I don’t want to do this alone. No,” He said, sitting down on the side of the hangar, “not after knowing what it feels like to have someone… I can’t.”

“I don’t know what to say.” Heaven said, at his wits end over Zanir. None of us knew Zanir was this heartbroken. It certainly was tear jerking for us all.

“I’m going to get Beth…” June said.

“No. I already know what she’s going to say.” He responded, halting June.

“Well,” I began, sitting in front of him, “Cry… kick… scream… get it out! Bottling it up, acting like it never happened won’t let you heal!” He looked at me with cold indifference, or so it seemed.

“Yeah… I don’t think you’re in any state to make the trip when you’re down like this. You need to heal. Everyone here has licked their wounds and bounced back except you. You’ve taken care of us. Now we’re going to take care of you.” June said, extending out his hand. It left me surprised. June was never this empathetic with anyone.

It was all the more shocking when Zanir took his hand. June pulled Zanir up off the hard stone ground, Zanir gathering himself.

“I just don’t know what to do.” Zanir sighed, heading towards the vaults.

“Take it slow. Think about what you’ve lost. Come to terms with the fact that you’ve lost something and that there’s nothing you can do to get it back. Then you’ll eventually get over it. But this, stressing yourself out with work that takes weeks and weeks to finish when you don’t have weeks.” June responded.

“Do the Revivalists know of this place?” Zanir asked.

“No but it’d be nothing for them to find out.” June said.

“It really wouldn’t. So what ever you want to do, we’re going to have to lie low and not do anything to draw suspicions to this place…” Heaven noted.

“GUYS!!!!” Basil shouted, running over to us, “What happened in there? That’s a big mess!”

“There was a bit of a disagreement between the mechs.” June sighed.

“Well why are you all being so cryptic today? Did something happen? The radio boys told me about something was happening in the south…” Basil responded. We all looked at each other, deciding if we should tell him. Zanir walked off, heading towards the vaults. It was clear he was quite upset right now and these questions did nothing but fester in his mind. He was doing the right thing, getting away from them.

It left Basil quite perplexed as he watched Zanir walk away from us all.

“What’s with him?” Basil asked. June sighed.

“Look, the Revivalists are here and they’re bringing some new heat that none of us are prepared for. We’re trying to decide how are we going to keep quiet about it but it’s hard on Zanir right now. We kind of need to back off and let him cool down…” I responded.

“So he’s not going to be able to complete his work?” Basil asked.

“Look,” June said, losing patience, “Zanir has completed his work. He’s wired this entire facility, designed an impossible to build machine and is showing your people how to build it! Don’t push it!”
“Sorry.” Basil said, holding up both hands, “Wasn’t my intentions. Um… Sorry. Just tell him that whatever happens, he’s good with me.” Basil then disappeared, heading back to the hangars. All I could do was shake me head.

“He’s only using us…” I sighed.

“We’re only using him.” June said back, watching the boy enter the vault.

“Zeek should be back soon. He always seems to be able to make Zanir smile. Hopefully he’ll brighten Zanir’s mood up a bit.” Heaven sighed.

“Wait, Beth just told me Zanir turned twenty one yesterday.” June said, hatching an idea.

“Yeah.” Heaven said, wondering what the boy was thinking.

“Does Zanir drink?” June asked.

“Eh, first time for everything?” Heaven asked.

“Julio, get us some Nopal Sangria out of the ice. Heaven, you go get some board games. We gotta do something…” I responded.

We did so, finding Zanir sitting alone with his computer in the downstairs lounge. We sat beside him, the boy looking at us without a clue.

“You could have mentioned it yesterday…” June said. Zanir rolled his eyes, leaning back in the chair.

“Don’t start…” He sighed, clenching his head.

“Bruh, you’re twenty one now. You need to live a little.” June smiled. Zanir looked at him, quite bothered by us all.

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