Away from the gleaming skyscrapers and elevated freeways of midtown Central City one could still find surface roads and buildings from Before. For the past couple of months Gaia had been living in the communal three-floor loft space shared by the crew. The old rust-brown brick walls appeared romantic for a while, a whiff of bygone times.
These days it seemed all things were a combo of glass and steel and, more often than not, what passes for a window or wall were translucent screens powered by invisible solar panels facing the outside. More and more buildings were self-powered, but not this early 20th century walk-up. The windows are just glass. The fireplace required actual wood and fire, and lots of it, to keep the cold out.
It was still dark outside when they arrive back home. One by one they filed out of the truck and up the stairs. Their brush with breaking-and-entering had rattled them more than expected.
Gaia traced the rough surface of the bricks as she ascended the stairs. It felt grounding after the otherworldly experience inside the Genesis Tower. They went in looking for evidence that the mythical voice that ruled their society was, what, a computer program? But before she could even reach the receptionist’s desk in one of the most secure buildings in the world, she was intercepted by a man who already knew her name. Who claimed to ‘bring the light’. Dressed in black, intense, foreboding, but… hot? She tried to pin down his features in her mind. Large eyes, a roman nose, black curls falling gently… but he was like a Picasso painting. All pieces, nothing unified.
“You take care now, Gaia,”
His voice was like music, the memory of it made her weak in the knees.
“You ask a lot of questions for a thief.”
Oh, right. Thief. Criminal. The thought shook her back to reality, and her lovely little daze faded. This was the second crime she had committed. Second, besides shoplifting food, pirating old movies, browsing the dark web, and… maybe cursing? Who knew anymore these days. But murder still reigned supreme as the mortal sin.
Fire and brimstone – if it was real – it would come for her now. She wondered if anyone had ever spontaneously combust indoors or if it always happened outside, like lightning. She heard the group above her, reaching the fifth floor. They were laughing and talking animatedly, relishing the high of having gotten away with it.
Gaia stepped across the threshold and was immediately engulfed in the warm glow of the room they affectionately called ‘headquarter’. The large room held fireplaces on both sides and candles spread across several tables and workbenches. It might have been an old clothing factory, but she couldn’t be sure.
Alessandro and Obi were enthusiastically re-telling their adventure to Kuro Sei, an Japanese-American who served as their tech support on missions. He and Sanah, a pretty girl of Indian descent, had stayed behind in case something went wrong. Their eyes went wide by the fact they even got inside the high-security building.
“So we were in the basement, right,” Alessandro gushed, “and we just keep going down and down this corridor, trying all the doors. Finally, one is open. We step inside. Is a massive server room! I can’t believe it! This has to be enough to power all of Central City.”
“Not quite,” Obi stepped in. “But very large.”
“It could definitely power the Voice,” Alessandro continued like the interruption never happened. “But we find no computers, right? Just servers, nothing to access them.”
“At least now we know what to expect,” Jon cut in.
“Yeah, my man,” Obi said. “When are we going back in?”
“I don’t think we can. There’s no way they won’t upgrade their security after this. Did you find anything of interest?” Jon turned to Gaia.
“Um, no, not really. The first floor reception was, um, empty.”
“No cameras?” Jon sounded astonished, and she remembered the feeling of being sent into the hornet’s nest again. Maybe he wished there had been cameras?
“I didn’t check but I got out of there pretty quickly,” she said. Thanks for your concern.
“So all in all, we didn’t get any usable data but we also didn’t explode in a fireball on the way back so, successful mission,” Jon sounded less than sure so Charlie stepped in.
“Actually, we learned a lot. Genesis Corp is not invincible. They have major security flaws and just that fact that we are still here means whoever controls the Voice can’t track our location. How’s that for a dent in the all-powerful?”
“You’re right,” Sanah stepped forward. She had a slight accent and her waist long hair swallowed her tiny frame, but there was no mistaking the fire in her eyes. “The system is not perfect so there is still time to fight it.”
“But not tonight,” Jon’s swagger had returned. “Let’s hit the bars and get ourselves some alibis!”
If you enjoy the Voice of God experience please share our story with friends and other truth-seekers. Only you can help us grow! Get in touch with Gaia on Twitter or Facebook if you want to leave us a message. New episodes drop bi-weekly on Saturday mornings.
Header image found here.