Time Gate

Time Gate

A Story by CoreyWhite

Modern day science fiction.

Stepping out of a limousine, she walked along the red carpet and into the club. Rez was surrounded by paparazzi everywhere she went. A parade of close acquaintances followed right behind. This was a fact of life whenever she was in public. In the flashing lights she looked like an angel on her phone, texting something up to heaven. 

She made fortunes through computer software. Every magazine wanted her on their cover. I admired how a woman so beautiful was on top of this industry. In her presence I had to fight the urge not to drop dead and die, right there. Fortunately, I was working for a real magazine, so I knew how to conduct myself. However, that wouldn't make my job any easier. I would need to get inside the club if there was going to be an interview. I went around the back of the building, where I found another door. I tried opening the door, but it didn't budge. All I could hear on the other side was music pounding. I waited in the dark for someone to come outside. After waiting for an hour a man who was covered in tattoos fell out of the door. 

Pressing a roll of twenties into his sweaty palm, I shook his drunken hand. "I'm here with the band" I said, patting him on the back. He was flipping through the roll of twenties, still propping the open door. I went inside without waiting for him to finish. Even if he didn't believe me, it distracted him long enough to get inside. This was journalism, and I had it down to an art. 

Reporters were not allowed inside, so I tucked my press badge away into my jacket. I looked around, checking to see if anyone had spotted me. Trying not to appear nervous, I made my way down the back stage corridor. People were staring at me, which was something I didn't want while trespassing. Inside, I began looking around backstage. Fast music and pounding bass changed the way people talked to each other and, with the music pounding this loud, no one could hear anything at all. 

I noticed that when Rez entered the club she seemed to enjoy all of the attention. Catching her inside the VIP lounge would be like flattery. Yet, there was one catch: she never, ever, did interviews. That's why Wired magazine sent me to cover the story. I had a way with people, call it charisma. Whatever it was, they knew that I would manage to get the story. They also knew that if I was going to meet Rez, it would happen here, and it would happen tonight. 

I found the door marked "VIP" and waited, ready to make my move. I watched as someone with a key came to the door. Once he disappeared inside I sprang into action, catching the door just before the latch clicked shut. Pushing my way into the room, I provoked no reaction. 

"I'm here to see Rez." I yelled loudly over the music. She was sitting by the window, drinking an espresso. "I'm with Wired magazine, can I speak with you?" Taking out my press badge, I showed it to everyone in the room. 

There were laptops and cell phones scattered all over. One bright pink phone stood out from the rest. I assumed it was hers. The expression on her face could have thrown me outside. 

"It would be nice," She said, visibly resiting an outburst, "If you photographers knew how to take no for an answer!" While she spoke, a little spit shot out of her mouth and hit me in the face. She looked right into my eyes, and chills ran up my spine. 

"But since you're here, you can stay for a while." She said, stretching her arms. We talked for a few minutes, but the conversation seemed to run in circles. It was as if I was talking to a computer program, until she unplugged the pink device in her ear, putting it away into a tiny case. I had no idea what it was. 

"What do you call it?" I asked her. 

Rez took a deep breath before answering. "It is called Logos", she said. "It follows human language patterns to simulate real conversations." 

Even if I worked for Wired, I thought the interview would be better left unplugged. This was a PR game for our magazine. Wired wanted to know more about what was already on the market. Something people could find in the stores in time for Christmas. 

"Computing power has become obsolete to cellular services." She said. "The latest cards double the speed of existing wireless. We don't even need computers anymore." 

By the time we finished the interview I had glimpsed the future ans was certain that she ran the coolest company in the world. 

Rez went into her pocket and came out with a business card. 

"Don't be afraid to call," she said. 

"Thanks" I said, feeling delighted. 

Farther from the club I realized that I recognized Rez. Not from the magazine covers. I remembered her from somewhere else. I thought about the interview, replaying it over in my mind until all the pieces fit together. She looked like a portrait of Cleopatra I had seen before in a museum. 

Once I made it back home, I immediately powered on my computer. The screen froze before it finished loading Windows. Worried I wouldn't be ready for work, I raised my hands helplessly in the air. Then something happened. The computer came to life, all by itself. 

I was flooded with data from nowhere, and there was no end in sight. My screen flashed by me like a strobe light. I only saw the occasional frame of information in the chaos of the download. I checked my apartment, paranoid someone could have broken in. The back door was locked, and nothing was out of place. 

I went back to the computer, punching every key and jerking the mouse. Nothing. Starting to feel panicked, I pushed the power button. The stream of information kept coming. As a last result I tore the power cord out from the wall. My screen went dark. I waited in silence until the phone rang, turning on by itself. Something told me not to answer, but I did it anyway. 

"Hello?" I answered. 

"Corey, this is Rez" She said. "I've been thinking about you and decided to drop by" 

I couldn't tell if she was joking, but looked out the window for her anyway. I saw her in the street, waving up to me. 

"Hello" she said. "Could you buzz me in?" "OK, sure." I said, happy my phone was working. 

Watching as she walked to the front door, I ran downstairs to let her in. When I opened the door she was waiting in the snow wearing a heavy winter jacket and a white hat. She certainly knew how to make an entrance. 

"Bonjour, Corey."He french accent was combined with her perfect English. 

I gathered my wits, looking at the the most beautiful programmer in the world. 

"Hello," I said. 

"I'm here to ask you if you want a job" she said. 

Suspicious, I squinted hard enough to give me a headache. "What kind of job?" 

"Someone with your expertise is hard to find," she said. 

I knew there was more to this than the glossy cover my boss was after. It would be a disgrace to my journalistic integrity not to get the whole story. It also meant that I might not have a job tomorrow. 

"We can take my car" Rez said, tossing me her keys. "You drive." 

We got in the car and I started the engine. As we pulled out of the parking lot, the car came to life. The optics inside the windshield highlighted the road in white light. Following the directions on the screen, I got onto the freeway. 

Once on the freeway, a red light blinked on my screen. I could see the state highway patrol through the rear view mirrors. They were already pulling us over as Rez turned around to look. 

We pulled over and he came to the window, the rim of his hat beaming in the light of his sirens. He looked into the car saying, "Have you been drinking tonight?" 

I didn't think I had even been speeding and knew I hadn't had a drink. "No sir.", I said. 

The officer must not have believed me. "Please step out of the vehicle." He said. 

Just then, his radio caught wind of an emergency. "ALL UNITS REPORT TO WEST BROAD STREET!!! ALL UNITS REPORT TO WEST BROAD STREET!!!" 

I watched as the cop ran back to his car, driving off in the other direction. Laughing, I got back on the road and on the interstate. I pushed down on the gas, and for a moment everything felt like a dream. 

"You said you have a job for me?" I asked. 

"Just drive," she said. 

I nodded and asked, "What else can your car do?" 

Rez spoke, "View city map!" 

Lights shot through the fiber optic matrix that was forming a map on the windshield. Stunned, I lost control, swerving into the oncoming lane. Then the wheel spun around by itself, narrowly avoiding traffic. 

We moved out of the worst part of the city into the lights of the downtown skyline. The car's auto pilot was still in control as we pulled into the parking garage. I wondered how it could park better than me, when we were surrounded by cars. 

Getting out of the car I wondered how we were still alive. Rez raised her hand into the air, and I heard the familiar chirping of car doors locking automatically. 

When we got onto the elevator she smiled at me, and I stopped wondering if this was a good idea. Tonight would be the best night of my life. 

"How did you program the car?" I asked. 

"Everything here is programmed." She said smiling. "Every door, every room, every telephone." 

"Even me?" I asked. 

We both started laughing. Once inside the elevator, we were going fast enough to break the speed limit. It took us to the very top of the tower before I could blink. In an instant we were in an open cafe, bustling with people. Huge windows were overlooking the entire city, and all of it was giving me a sudden sense of vertigo. 

This was like entering a new world, one where Rez was in total control. 

She lifted her arms and shouted, "Welcome to Rez, Inc.!" 

"So this whole tower is writing computer programs?" I asked. 

"At Rez, Inc. We make computers faster," she said. 

Walking away from the elevator, she led me to a table. "Are you hungry?" 

"Yes" I said. 

"Do you know how long it takes a computer to process one instruction?" she asked me. 

Pausing to order something from the cafe she said, "It is a lot faster than you can flip a switch." 

"Imagine a grid of X and Y values. You provide the X, and you give it the Y. The computer just has to find where every X and Y meet up." 

"So why are computers so much faster today than they were a decade ago?", Which was something I had wondered about before. 

"Why are two CPU"s better than one?" she was asking a rhetorical question. 

"I don't know, why?" I asked. 

"Technically they aren't any faster unless they are programmed to run in parallel with each other." 

"I see" I said. 

"I am the one who wrote the code to do that, by the way." She said, sounding impressed with herself. 

"I didn't know a computer could even do that" I said. 

"A chess playing computer can beat anyone because it thinks ahead." she said. 

"It calculates the number of favorable endings it has for every move. The only problem is that it can take too long for the computer to think of the best move, unless you are playing a supercomputer. Here at Rez, Inc. we connect people to supercomputers so they can work faster." 

"This building is a giant supercomputer," She said. "Most of our clients work in the intel business. The NSA and the CIA both outsource some of their data here. Just don't tell them I told you that." 

Walking across the cafeteria, I imagined what my boss would say if I put any of this into the story. Taking the elevator down a floor, I looked on. "Super computer" wasn't enough to describe this kind of chaos. There were rows and rows of people on computers who were all talking on the phone shouting at each other, running around like they were on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. 

"This is the backbone of Rez, Inc." She said. 

"We call it the switch board. If everyone here suddenly stopped working there would be a nuclear meltdown somewhere." 

"Who exactly does the switchboard work?" I asked her. 

"The switchboard breaks all of the work for the supercomputers into parts" She said. "It's called parallel processing. The work gets divided up over multiple machines." 

"The only problem our computer can't solve is connecting to our clients," she said. "That's where you come in." 

"Me?" I asked. "This sounds like science fiction Rez." They would never let me put this in Wired. 

"You are a journalist and I need an insider" She said. "What we are talking about has nothing to do with science fiction. We already have desktop computers running over cellular providers." 

"A wireless operating system?" I asked. 

"Yes" She said. "Although there is a holdup." "Oh" I asked curiously. 

"What we are doing isn't legal yet." She said. "We need to get the government to pass new legislature. Believe me; I don't have any more strings to pull." 

"So what can I do for you, Rez?" I said. 

"When you tell your readers we are bringing supercomputers to their desktop, they will force the legislature through" she said. 

Rez thought for a minute. "I'll let you beta test our computers. If they aren't perfect, just forget about the article. 

Back home a package was already waiting for me, as well as a white van parked across the street. Its antenna stretched up just as tall as the channel 4 news crew.  Inside I went to my computer and flipped on the power switch before doing anything else. I lived alone, except for the howling police sirens and occasional phone calls that kept me sane. As I looked around in the dark I could tell something was wrong. Switching the overhead lights on, I looked around the room. I couldn't find anything out of the ordinary so I decided to open the package. 

Inside the box there was a chrome net book. I took it out of the box and turned it on. As I watched the BIOS scroll by, the operating system loaded a screen I had never seen before. Instead of loading windows it loaded up a list of servers. The list was useless without passwords. Trying each one, I was hopelessly ejected from them all. 

If I wanted to turn this computer on, I would have to hack into it. So I clicked the menu button that created a local network. After doing this the screen changed abruptly. It looked like a map, complete with flags pinpointing wireless networks.  I clicked on one of the flags, and a string of binary information danced over the screen. A blinking timer began counting down from five minuets. 

When the clock finished its dramatic count down, the green flag turned to red.  Nothing else seemed to happen until I clicked on it again.  The screen was flooded with data. I leaned over the keyboard, preparing to play this game out to its end. Clicking on buttons, not knowing what would happen. Sweat dripped down from my brow. 

I could hear a mans voice speaking in another language.  I was already spying on cell phones. As a journalist this was like the Holy Grail. I could see that the news van outside might have a green flag. So I zoomed in on the map around my apartment. I saw one green flag in the parking lot. I clicked on it, and a timer appeared. It showed 59 minuets. 

That meant I had time to dig out the manual from the box. Turning to the table of contents I was hoping to get some answers. The first page read, "Portable Cray Supercomputer". I took the manual and walked with it into my office. That's where I went to read anything offline. But it didn't take much time to read instructions shipped with most computers. This one however felt like I should have a PhD. 

Forgetting all about the timer, the flag had was still waiting when I returned.  Part of me wanted to spy on the white van, but I was also a little afraid of getting caught. Ruling out the idea of using anything I uncovered if it would further me in any way.  Now, clicking on the red flag, a number popped up on the screen. It was a phone number I didn't recognize, but had my area code.

I pulled out my phone and dialed the number, hands trembling. I wondered if they were watching me, watching them. After a few rings they answered, "Hello, who is speaking?". It was after midnight, and it felt odd to even get an answer. "Who is this?" I asked. The mistake I made was using my cell phone. Whoever this was hand instantly recognized my caller I.D. 

After 60 minuets I sat back down on the supercomputer.  I waited in front of it for what seemed an eternity. I brewed a pot of coffee, and stayed up all night reading the manual. By morning I was ready to crash, but still had only scratched the surface of the machine. It seemed like it would be possible to crack almost anyone passwords with this computer. 

I had heard of a new trend in laptop design, allowed parallel processing between the CPU and the video card. It made computers almost fast enough to break passwords. Tonight I was connecting to networks that should be virtually impossible to break into. I had the location of wireless networks all over the city, and was tracking them on a live satellite map. 

I wondered what would happen if I took a ride off satellites on top of Rez Tower. Scratching my chin and gazing into the screen. I sat there trying different combinations of user names and passwords, in order to access it. I didn't expect anything to happen, but in spite of that a window opened and Rez was in front of me. 

She said, "So sorry, I didn't realize you were even online." 

"I didn't either." 

"Don't tell me that you have been hacking wifii connections?" 

"Actually I'm not sure. The channel 4 news crew was here and...." 

"News crew?" 

"Yes, they were parked outside with a radio tower. Then they just drove off." 

"Anything else happen?" 

"Well they called me on my cell phone and offered me a job." 

"Listen, you need to get out of there." 


"You know the bus stop around the corner?" 


"Meet me there. We need to go." 

In the blink of an eye I had left my apartment and was outside on the street corner. My thoughts races out of control. This story was taking me somewhere where I hadn't been before. Was I afraid, or was I just in love with Rez? Walking under the street lights to the bus stop, I felt like I was in a mystery novel. The bus pulled up just as I arrived, but Rez wasn't anywhere nearby. Then, once I had given up hope, Rez emerged from the bus. She greeted me with hugs and kisses. We got on the bus, riding it back to Rez Tower. 

Sitting next to each other, we started talking. Rez was easy to talk with, but kind and warm. I didn't hesitate to ask her, "You know you're going to change the world with all of this right?" 

I could tell looking into her eyes that she had heard it all before. 

"I can't help but change the world. I just want to do a good job of it" she laughed. 

"Wouldn't you?" She said. 

"Yes, for what it's worth" I said. 

"I just wonder what the world would look like" I said. 

She continued talking but I was distracted by how she could fit into the dress she had on. 

"You wonder why other reporters have forgotten nowhere with me?" she said. 

"Why?" I said. 

"Because you were the only one willing to break the rules" she said. 

"There is only one thing that could change my feelings about you." She continued. 

"And I think both you and I know that it can't happen. " She said. 

Whatever happened I could tell this was becoming a night to remember. We made it too far together to deny it. I forgot about the story. With Rez I had a partner. 

Once we reached Rez Tower I looked up at it, but could see no end. The clouds moved quickly overhead through the darkened sky. As I stared in wonder my phone vibrated to life. Rez stood there, waiting in the darkness. Taking a final look back I answered my phone. It was my boss but I didn't care. 

"Corey, we need you to pull an extra shift tomorrow." 

I cut him off before he could finish, "I can't be in two places at once Mel" 

"Then maybe you shouldn't come in at all" 

"You know what Mel, screw you and your job!" 

I hung up my cell phone without letting him finish. Then without looking back, I followed Rez inside of her company. 

"So what kind of a job do you have for me? I asked. 

"Maybe you should be telling me that" she said. 

I just stood there, watching her crack a smile. 

As the elevator was taking us up to the top level, she tried to have a conversation with me about her company. I still know very little about what she did at Rez Inc. 

"Out business is like an assembly line, but without the factory." She said. 

I nodded, still not understanding. 

Then she said, "This tower picks up and broadcasts signals across the world." 

We chatted all the way to the top level. The doors opening, as I took a deep breath. For a moment, finding myself at the top of the world. The view of the city was to die for, but then again so was Rez. 

This was no place for business. The only sign of work I could find was the spotless architecture. We stood by the windows overlooking the city, and I forgot about Wired Magazine completely. I looked at her and she smiled back. I didn't know what she saw in me. I knew what she was going to say before she said it. "I need you to continue working for wired." 

"I just quit." I said. 

"That's okay, I can have it fixed by tomorrow" She said. 


"You will be working on a new story." She said, handing me a memory card. 

"And you have another reason I'll be covering the story?" I said. 

"I need you to steal some data with your new computer." 

"From who?" I asked. 

"The President." She said. 

"You want me to hack the President?" I asked. 

"The White House" She said. 

"I can't do that!" I said. 

"You will do that." She said. 

Without me, you will be without a job" She said. 

"How much will you pay me?" I asked. 

"Is $250,000 enough?" She asked. 

"It could be, but what do I need to do? I asked. 

"You need to take your laptop into the white house and it will do all the work." 

"The White House?" 

"I need to gather passwords and user names. You're just going to sniff them up with the laptop. The process is totally passive, and you will be invisible." 

"So you need my press badge to take over the world?" 

"No, that's not it. We need you to help change corrupt laws." 

"You mean you want your supercomputers in the stores." 

"Exactly" she said. 

"Well you can count me out!", I said. 

I stormed out to the elevator, pushing the button to take me back down. 

"Good Luck" she said. 

As son as I finished turning around I felt a burning pain and was lying on the floor, paralyzed. I struggled to yell for help but only felt another electric shock. Followed by laughter. 

"Like it or not you are working for me" She said. 

I considered this for a moment, and realized that I had misjudged Rez. I looked back at her and apologized, "Okay, I'm sorry! I will take the job." 

"Are you just saying that because its what I wanted to hear?" She asked. 

"No of course not. I don't know what I was thinking." 

"Good" She said. Setting off another shock from her stun gun. Twisting in pain, I cried out to deaf ears. 

"Be still!" She shouted. 

I felt something ripping out a piece of my skin, the pain shot through me like ice sickles. 

"There is one more thin we'll have to do now." She said. I don't like the sound of that" I choked. 

"We're going to have to put this Radio Frequency Identification chip in the back of your neck. It will be able to track you from the Tower." 

I tried to protest but Rez stuck me with a needle. I woke up, having no memory of what happened while I was out. Behind my neck a felt at least twenty stitches. Rez was hovering over my bed, watching a computer screen. She was glowing with a warm radiant smile. As angry as I was the smile had instantly calmed me down. 

Clouds covered the sun and no sooner than I left Rez Tower did it start to rain. I stood at a cross walk surveying my situation. Now that the operation was over, the hardest part would be telling my boss what happened. Considering this I decided to keep the RFID chip a secret. I had only heard about the operation being done on cats and dogs before. The procedure left me feeling sub-human. As I started the walk back home, I felt a shooting pain in my neck. 

Before I made it to work people were already sending my icy glares. I was just hoping the police wouldn't be there waiting for me to clock in. I was a spy inside my own company. Sweat dripped down from my forehead. No on stopped me from taking the elevator up to my office. My door was locked and inside it was undisturbed. Set the super-laptop down on my desk, then powered it on. A chill went through me. My cell phone rang just as the laptop began booting up. I reached into my pocket to pull out my I-Phone. I could see her smiling face on the screen. 

"Are you ready to do this?" 

"That much I'm clear on." 


"No, I'm not ready to do anything!" 

"Check your E-Mail." 

"You'll be going to Washington D.C. To cover some kind of political rally" 

"A group named 'Anonymous', will be there." 

"Hold on" 

"So my boss wants me to cover some kind of hacker group, gone political?" 


"And you want me to sneak into the white house and steal all of their files?" 

"It will be as easy as taking the tour. You already have a press badge, right?" 

"I guess, but how will that help you?" 

"The White House has free wifii. You just need to sniff passwords from the network. 

I checked my e-mail, and there was a message from my boss. More often than not this wouldn't be interesting, but normally my work was on time. I read the email very slowly, then read it again. It said that I turned in the article I had been assigned before it was even due. Stranger still, an expense account had been set up to cover the cost of flying to Washington D.C. Wired had decided they wanted an interview with the activist group Anonymous. Just like Rez had said. 

I hadn't realized how powerful Rez was until now. She more than just another person. Rez was a corporation. I opened my net-book and did a little digging into Rez Inc. Zooming through servers at the New York Stock Exchange, I discovered share holders of Rez Inc. had been buying up Wired's company"s stock. This seemed to explain why I was fired yesterday and given a new assignment today. 

To do this kind of work would usually requires the services of a hacker. This laptop however, would get inside computer networks with the click of a mouse. I picked up my phone to make a call, without knowing it was out of power. I secured it's cord into the laptop, and made another discovery. The laptop hadn't lost any power, and I couldn't remember it ever having a charger. As strange as it was, my laptop was gobbling up energy from nowhere. 

I scanned the room, noticing how the wires tethered everything to the walls. Everything except for my net-book. The net-book was free to access anything, anywhere. Taking another look at the manual I found a section on charging the battery. It implied that the net-book recharged itself wirelessly with electricity from the environment it was in. I could even control the battery settings. I turned the battery charger up to max, and all of the lights in my apartment went suddenly dark. Then after switching the recharger off, the lights flickered back on. 

Without wasting any time I took care of everything I would need for the trip. I put the laptop into a briefcase and packed some luggage. This took care of almost everything. I took a cab to the airport, buying a plane ticket at the gate. I did all of this with the company expense account. That was one of the best things about working for wired. That, and I always flew first class. 

On the plane I sat next a woman who was wearing those dark sun glasses people take with them on vacation. The ones that are always way too big for their face. I couldn't sit by the window either, because I had bought a last minuet ticket. I still watched out the window as the plane took off, soaring above the clouds. 

Once they gave the O.K. Signal I pulled out my laptop. Turning it on it began to recharge its battery automatically. An instant later the cabin lights flickered and the plane hit some turbulence. The captain spoke over the intercom, "We are reporting problems with our computers, please stand by". I turned my laptop off and the flight continued without trouble. 

After a few hours we began the gradual descent over DC. The woman next to me took off her glasses to look out the window. Peering over her shoulders I could get a clear view of the capital. Then after a smooth landing, we finally made it to the Washington DC airport. 

Outside the airport it was a warm, sunny, summer day. I stopped to breath in the air and watch other people around me. Most of them were in withdrawal from the rich chemistry smoking cigarettes had to offer after a long flight. I never touched the stuff. 

I got into a taxi and asked the driver to take me downtown, to the Hilton. I paid him for the ride and tipped him before going into the hotel. I took the elevator up to the 11th floor, and quickly found my room. Opening the door of the room I walked inside, looking out the windows to the balcony. It was a perfect view of the city. On the inside there was a king size bed, closet, bathroom, and mirror. Otherwise the room was empty except for the mini bar. I fell into the bed and went to sleep, happy to make it to the capital. 

In the morning it dawned on me that I was already guilty of conspiracy, and maybe even treason. One of the things about that however, was it made me feel like James Bond. I was a spy, gathering information and uploading it to Rez. I couldn't decide if working for Rez was business or terrorism. Just look at Phillip Morris, they kill without impunity. Terrorists get hunted down like dogs. 

After getting dressed I grabbed the keys to my rental and headed out the door. Then, reaching behind my back pocket I could feel there was no wallet. I must have left it in the car. After searching in between the seats I found it. I shut the car door and turned around. Someone was standing there, directly behind me. I hadn't even heard them coming. I had only been in Washington for a day, and another spy had found me. 

Stretching out his hand he said, "Anonymous." 

My job was to find 'Anonymous', but they found me first. I wondered how they even knew where to begin looking for me. 

As if reading my mind he said, "Your boss told me you were staying at the Hilton." 

Getting an interview could never be so easy, but that didn't stop me from screwing it up. Before shaking his hand I set my laptop case down on the hood of the car. He took the laptop, sprinting around the corner. I gave chase, but I didn't catch up to him until he was already on his motorcycle. I felt my insides turning around. If I didn't get that laptop back I would lose more than just my job. In a very real sense, my life was on the line. That meant finding out where the laptop was headed. As a journalist, this was just another part of my job. I was going to track that laptop down. All I had to do was make one phone call to Rez, Adrenaline coursed through my veins as I dialed her number. I listened to the phone ring, nervously, but it only rang once. 

"Hello, this is Rez." 

"I lost the laptop. Someone from Anonymous stole it." 

"What? Are you sure?" 

"Yes, can you trace it for me?" 

"It is on the freeway already, you better get into your car." 

"Which way did he go?" 

"I'll give you directions. Just make sure the police don't get there first." 

The heist was conveniently timed with morning rush hour. But without any other options I got into my rental, driving through the traffic onto the busy freeway, Why can't I be driving your car right now?” I shouted into the cell phone. Just jeep driving, I have his location.” She said. 

So I followed her directions through traffic until coming to the next exit . Turn here!” She shouted at me. 

I could see the kids motorcycle from here. He was stuck at the light, and I pulled up behind him. How am I going to stop him now Rez?”, I choked. Just follow him home, he doesn't even know your behind him.”, she said. Gotcha” I said. 

Rez had tracked him down. All I needed to do was keep enough distance between his Suzuki so that he didn't see me. Following him off the freeway and along a winding maze of city streets he finally came to a stop, pulling off at a Motel 8.  I watched as he went into his room while I was parking at the Waffle House adjacent to the motel. I was a ghost.  There was however a chance that he would be waiting for me. I knew the laptop would be in there somewhere.

Approaching the motel parking lot I didn't see any other life.  I stopped, looking at his Suzuki.  It was a nice bike, but it wasn't my style.  I knocked loudly on his motel door, letting him take his time to answer.  He opened it halfway, and I could look at him square in the eye.  Then he tried to shut the door, but I stuck my boot into the door. Stopping it from closing.  He shouted at me, trying to force the door shut. But I busted the gold chain lock and the door swung wide open.  Now the only thing between me and my laptop was a scared college drop-out.

"How did you find out I had the laptop?" I asked.

"What laptop?.", he said.

"How did you find out I was in D.C.?", I asked.

"I'll call the police!" He replied.

I pushed the door open, and threw him down on to the bed. 

"Where is it!?" I yelled.

"I found out you were hanging out with Rez, and followed you back to Wired.", he said.

"And my boss gave me up that easily?" I said.

He reached under the bed pulling out the laptop.  Examining it carefully first, before handing it over.

"Your probably wondering what went wrong." I said.

He sat there, eerily quiet.

"Somehow you managed to find me, before I could find you. "  I said.

Then flipping open the laptop, I quickly found out that it was unable to connect to the net.  Somehow he had managed to disable my wireless card.  All I could do now was call Rez.  I turned on my cell and gave it her number.

"Hello?" She said.

"Hi, I got the laptop.  But this kid jammed the wireless card somehow."

"That's not good."

"Can you fix it?"

"Not from here."

"What should I do?" I asked.

"Get the kid to fix it.  Maybe he will be a good target for an interview." she said.

"And if that doesn't work?" I asked.

"You will have to improvise." she said.

"What?" I said.

"There's nothing else I can do from here." She said, turning off her cell phone.

The kid didn't seem to know what to do.  He turned the net book on and went through the boot process, but that didn't seem to work.  So he brought out a disk, loading it into the DVVD tray.

"We will try a boot disk."  

He waited a moment as the net book booted up some variant of Unix.  Then he started configuring things that I didn't understand.  Once he had finished we were online again.  This was all so advanced that I had to re-evaluated the situation.   I leaned in to look at the computer screen.

"You didn't do anything to the computer did you?"

"No, I didn't even turn it on!"

"The computer must have automatically locked."

I realized what the problem was.  Rez must have disabled the laptop once she found out it was stolen. But that wouldn't work if a hacker got it, so she sent me after it.  I waited a moment before turning back to the hacker.

"What's your real name?"

"Eric Ruel" he said.

Finally, a name to the face.  No longer anonymous he didn't seem to be a threat.  He turned away to the computer.  For a little while I watched in awe as he cracked the codes to government computer systems all over DC.  Once he had finished he lit a cigarette and blew smoke rings in front of the computer screen.  Something had changed now.  I felt a real connection with Eric.  He wasn't after money, or anything else.  He was hacking because he believed it was right.  He was trying to change the world for good.

"We should go", he said.

The rain came down suddenly while we were in the parking lot.  I ran across the lot to the Waffle House and got into the rental.   Eric followed me, right behind.  After all this time chasing him down he turned out to be an alright guy.  Now that I was in Washington D.C. on a mission to hack the white house, it helped to have a real hacker who knew the ropes in the capital city.

"How long have you been in Anonymous?" I asked.

"Ever since 9/11" He said.

"How does 9/11 have to do with hacking?" I asked.

"Since 9/11 the political sphere has changed.  Now they don't even have to define computer crimes, and hackers are being wound up right and left.  It has become something of a witch hunt." He said.

"How did you become a hacker?" I asked.

Around this time we got stopped at a road block nearing an overpass.  We could see the lights ahead, and some of the people in the cars were being questioned.

"Come on." He said, getting out of the car.

"Wait!" I cried.

"Forget about the car!" He shouted back to me.

His voice sent me into a panic so I hopped out of the car. But there was no where to run to.  The thought of secret service agents arresting me drained all of the blood from my face.

"Anything but this." I whispered to myself like it was a prayer.

From outside the car I could see the goons coming, and some of them had dogs.  As I watched them coming I could also see we were only a mile or so from the Capital.

"Follow me, I know a safe place to hide."

I followed him into a wooded area, scared more of him than the police. Running through the woods, I heard the dogs barking in the distance.  I wasn't prepared for a life on the run.  Even so, to get out of here alive I would have following Eric through the woods.  

Suddenly he stopped, looking at the trees around us.  He found one he could climb and created kind of antenna with his body.

"Pass me the laptop" He said.

Up to now this diversion had made no sense to me.  But now I knew exactly what he was thinking.  He could look all of their computers up on the net book Carefully reaching up the tree I gave him the computer.  It was a long way from here to the checkpoint.  Anticipating this he continued climbing up the tree as far as possible.  It was a long way from the checkpoint, but he yelled down to me after a moment.

"I can see them from here!".

He had caught sight of the checkpoint, and I knew what that meant already.  He was about to hack into the secret service. Then a few minuets later as he came down from the tree, he had the biggest grin on his face.

"They aren't looking for us anymore.  Now they're after Cheech Maron, and Tommy Chong.", he chuckled.

"So did you get their passwords?"

"Yes!" he said, full of enthusiasm.

Acting like I wasn't excited I crossed my arms and asked him, "What's next?"

And just when I thought I would never get out of D.C. alive, he threw a leather wallet at me.  Inside there were 3 ID's.  None of them looked anything like me.  In the moments it took to grasp my status as a fugitive he reassured me.  

"Identities are just papers. You can live without them." he said.

Inside I knew that he was right, but it felt as though I had died.

"You are Anonymous now." he said.

I got on my cell phone one last time to call Rez.  

"I have the laptop, but the police are after me." I said.

I heard her choke on the other end.

"We cracked the network, but they know who I am."

"You are going to have to do better than that!" She yelled.

I hung up without saying good bye.

I wanted to get as far as possible from D.C.  Right now however the police were behind me. And they had dogs.  We ran through the forest, and hit a clearing.  I could see a helicopter flying low over the highway.  Across the clearing was another tree line obscuring part of downtown.  I wondered what our chances of making it were if we could just get away for right now.  

By the time we made it into the city, I had prayed my own last rights.  We stopped at a motel in what looked like the worst side of town.  Following Eric inside, I took a a few step toward the counter and asked, "How much for a room?"

"It will be $50 for a night." The woman working was unusually beautiful.

I took $50 out of my pocket and it seemed like everything took care of itself after that.  While looking at my fake ID, the woman didn't even blink.  Taking the room key we briefly looked around once inside the motel.  The door to the room didn't seem close, and got stuck when I tried to lock it.  All of this was turning out to be quite an adventure. But this place still seemed like the best place to hide.

Eric had the computer monitoring our new identities. If any warrants had been put out, he would see it.  I decided that he was a good guy, even though he wouldn't tell about his real name.  After talking half the night away I just came to the conclusion that he had been on run for far too long already.  He was still hacking away at the computer once I turned out the lights.  

At night I dreamed of Rez.  She was there reminding me that nothing would prevent the project from moving forward.  Not even me.  She had never seemed so beautiful as she did that night.  Early the next morning Eric had woken me up. 

"Rez wants to talk with you, Corey." He said, waving me over to the computer screen.

"O.K" I said, taking the net book

"We will move forward as planned." She said.

"The trouble is that now I'm running from the secret service." I said.

"I couldn't of anticipate that conundrum" She said.

"There is another way for you two to get into the white house without a press badge."

I assumed that it must have been with a tour.  They offered them every so often to the general public, but the secret service would already  know what I looked like.

"You're going to have to get up higher." she sad.

"Like with a helicopter?" I said.

"No, the airspace is restricted." she said.

"A cell phone tower?" I guessed.

"The highest point I know of is the Washington monument." She said. 

"How could we get up there?" I asked.

"It sounds more difficult than it is." she said.

"How?" I pressed her.

"Tours take people up the monument every day.  There is an elevator that takes people 500 feet up to the top."

"Just get it to the top, and you'll have the best reception in DC."

"OK" I said, but something still bothered me.  I could never get my old life back.  The secret service was after me, and I had to do something before the clock ran out.  Part of me wanted to talk my way out of this.  Then the smarter part of me just wanted to run.  Run as far away as I could.

I was amazed to find Eric looking on all of this, reading my emotion.  "I'm game." He said, smiling.

"Who are you really Eric?" I asked.

"I'm originally from Silicon Valley, and was a computer programmer.  I've been on the run for 3 years. "  He said.

"What happened?" I asked..

"I had some misgivings with the credit card companies." he said.

"So are you going to run forever?", I asked.

"It's not a bad life. At least its better than the alternative." he said.

"Checking into motels with fake identities, digging through dumpsters.  That's 'OK' with you?"

"I never would have met you if I had turned myself in." he said, holding up my laptop.

"With this we can stay so far ahead of them.  They can't begin to track us.  Not now."

"So what do you suggest?"

"We give it some time, to see how far this laptop can go.  If we can shut down the DC Police and start a demonstration it would be the perfect cover to hack the white house."

Ideas always seemed worse before they became things.  I thought he was crazy, and the truth is he probably was.  I watched him as his fingers raced over the keyboard, his eyes open but moving almost in a state of REM sleep.  What must have been an idea dreamed up in some garage was now becoming a movement.  

Eric was sending out cyphers to everyone in anonymous.  Person by person, filling in where one was needed.  In minuets they were converging through the streets.  Behind me I heard the chanting, the roar of the mob.  Caught in the moment I joined in, marching with them through the streets of.  Eric put one arm around my shoulders, the laptop shoved into his backpack.

We were marching a short distance from the capital.  The Washington Monument towered above the urban sprawl around us.  I had read that it was the tallest structure in the world.  Directly in front of us were hundreds of demonstrators that seemed to have mobilized out of thin air.

"This will be all the distraction we need.  We'll get inside the Washington monument without anyone noticing" Eric said.

We followed the mob until it passed by the monument.  By then a police escort was driving in front of the demonstrators.  I was more afraid of what would happen if we went through with the plan than if we got caught. We walked up to the entrance area of the monument without anyone noticing us.  Inside there was an elevator.  It took us up to the observation deck.  We had a clear view of the entire city.

Eric leaned against the glass and said, "You know, I have never been up here before."

High above the city, I could measure the distance between the White House and the monument on one hand.  "I hope we aren't beyond range" I said.

Eric slid out the laptop from his backpack.  Despite my doubts the laptop showed wireless access points over the entire city.  He typed something into the console. We watched all the network traffic in the city dance over the map, from one point to the next.  I considered the possibility of taking over the network.  Eric was actually recording all of the traffic in the city.  Saving it all to the laptop.

"We can take the logs back to the motel.  It's best if we do it this way." He said.

While the unauthorized recording seemed to be going slow, my heart was racing and my palms were sweaty. A police man was standing guard in the observation deck and seemed to be ignoring us. I expected him to stop me if I even breathed funny.  My job was to crack wireless networks, and steal data very quickly. I had thought that would be a lot easier than it actually was.

"Do you think we have enough traffic?" I asked Eric.

"Yes.  Just another few minuets."

After an elevator full of tourists unloaded at the summit, he gave me the OK.  

"Alright, lets go!" He said.

We made it down to the base of the Washington Monument.  Two policemen were walking laps around the park.  Hopping in a cab we made a smooth exit.  As we drove back to the hotel I could see the activists still marching through the streets.

A jolt of reality came when we made it back to our motel.  Three police cruiser were in the parking lot with their lights on.  I certainly hadn't anticipated this.  We could still make it back to the airport, I hoped. While still in the cab I began uploading the information we gathered into Rez's network.  I sent her a message telling her our situation.  She responded immediately instructing us to avoid the airport.  "Just find a place to stop and wait for the rescue party.  I'll send someone out to you right away."  

"Thanks." I said.

After the conversation, we stopped at a steak and shake and ate for the first time all day.  We waited as though we didn't have any time left on earth.  But after three hours two suits came into the restaurant waving at us.

"This must be them." I said to Eric.

"Let's hope so."  He said.

We drove all the way back to Rez Tower from DC.  Even I could not believe it when I saw Rez at the entrance way.  She embraced me as if nothing had ever happened.  "And who is this?" she asked.

"This is my friend Eric, he is with Anonymous." I said.

"It's a pleasure." She said.

"Thank you." Eric responded.

I thought that I would never make it back.  Now that I was safe again, that feeling was gone.  It had been replaced with a sense of pride.  I couldn't even imagine what would happen next.  Just when I thought that everything was returning to normal, Rez leaned in and kissed me.  It was a passionate kiss, lasting too long for us to deny it.  Eric cleared his throat.  I always had feelings for her but hadn't anticipated this. She probably hadn't either.  And then it was gone.  

"You can stay here in the tower. Someone will show you to your rooms." she said.

"Thank you." I said.

"I'll see you in the morning" She said.

I tried to get myself together but in all of the rush I never realized that Rez was playing with my emotions.  Still, I had no trouble sleeping in the designer bedroom that she provided.  When I woke up I found a visa gift card on my night stand.  My head started spinning.  The note had a price tag printed on it.  One million dollars.  I knew there must be some catch to this, and Rez was no where to be found.  I texted her on my I-Phone, and she immediately responded.

"I'm sorry Corey, I'm in Paris right now.  I don't have time to chat."

I paused, not knowing what to text back.

"You shouldn't have any trouble getting back home."

Despite kissing her last night she was sending me on my way. I could feel my heart collapsing in on itself.  I left heartbroken, and drove to the airport.  This was exactly where my adventure had begun.  I was going to return to my job as a journalist.  Just a million dollars richer.  I told myself that going back to life at wired was going to easy.  I wrote all of the article on my plane ride back.  That however was not going to be the end of this story.  

When I got back home I put the visa card away inside a locked kitchen cabinet.  For a brief moment I thought about depositing it in my bank.  Then I decided that it would be safer now to hold on to it.  Especially now that the secret service would already be looking for me.  Looking for a place to store the net book, I told myself that I wouldn't ever turn it back on.  Carefully putting the computer away in my closet, it felt awfully hard to say good bye to such a sweet piece of hardware.

As I got into bed and turned out my lights, there was a knock on my door.  It was too late at night for anyone other than Rez to be dropping by.  

I shouted through the door, "Who is it?"

Then pressing my ear against the door I heard her shouting back, "It's me Rez, open up!"

I opened the door, letting her inside.  She walked in to the apartment looking around as though she owned the place.

"Something has come up." She said.

"So?" I said.

"We have managed to attract some unneeded attention.", She said.

"What kind of attention?" I asked.

"Eric has been apprehended by the authorities." She said.

"Sucks for him" I said.

"We think that he has been talking." She said.

"What does that mean?"

"It means that it's not safe for you here anymore." She said.

Rather than argue with her I began packing my things.  A moment later we were out the door.  In the parking lot she grabbed hold of me and we embraced.  With my arms wrapped tightly around her nothing else seemed to matter.  It had been a few hours since we were last together and yet it felt like forever.

"Check the news on your phone." She said.

"O.K." I said, pulling my phone out of my pocket.

The last thing we needed was Eric on the news, but it had never occurred to me that he might be in trouble.  I shouldn't have left him back in D.C.  Then as the news loaded, I felt a shock wave of electronic emotion.  I was at the top of the Google news headlines.

"What?" I exclaimed.

The headline read, "Anonymous member Eric Ruel, on the run.  Believed to have stolen hundreds of passwords from White House computer systems with as yet unnamed accomplices"

"Yeah, it looks like were fucked." Rez said.

"So what's the plan?" I asked.

"My plan is to take a jet to China, and sell the data we've been gathering." She said.

"You want to come with?" She said.

"Do you even speak Chinese?" I said.

"Mushi Mushi." She said.

"Do you still have your card?" she asked.

"Yes." I said.

"Then Just disappear." She said.

"I want to be with you."  I said.

"Good, then let's get out of here before the FBI does." she said.

This was going to be a rough ride, but we were at least doing it in style. Speeding in in her hot pink Lamborghini and stopping at a private airport, we boarded a private passenger jet.  I wondered what exactly the information we stole was.  It must be some kind of state secrets, I thought.  There was really no way of knowing unless I asked Rez what she found with the access codes.

She looked at me as if reading my mind and said, "The aliens."

"You mean E.T.?" I said, laughing.

"Yes, they are real!" she said.

There was no way I would believe in aliens without proof, but rather than arguing with her I just nodded my head.  I realized that the government didn't always tell the truth, but they couldn't hide extraterrestrial space travelers from us.  

"Look, I have proof!" She said.

A few hairs on the back of my neck stood up as she opened a brief case.  It lit up from inside, projecting a hologram into the cabin of the passenger jet. The image formed into a picture of the earth rotating around the sun.  The sight of it in such vivid clarity was a new highpoint to this adventure.

"Now do you believe me?" She asked.

"Yes." I said.  

After the light show she shut the case, letting the holographic display speak for itself.  The flight to China now seemed secondary.  The situation with Eric seemed far away.  We were flying just above the clouds and I watched as cities passed by us below.  Looking out the windows I contemplated how small I was compared to the entire universe.  

"How did you do that?" I asked.

"It's top secret."  She said.

"You mean this is what you were after?" I asked.

"The government has been keeping so much secret from us." She said.

"And there is so much I still don't know." She said.

I stared at the briefcase transfixed,  telling myself that everything was going to be okay.  Inside I wanted to hide from Rez and all the madness that followed her around.  Everywhere she went she left a wake devastation behind, but by now I was starting to get used to it.  Things being as they were, this didn't seem so very out of the ordinary.

Rez closed her eyes and the lights from the brief case began to swirl around her.  Then she was caught by a whirlwind that sucked her flowing red hair into the air and lifted her out of her seat.  A few days ago I would have thought I was losing my mind.  Now I just wanted to land safely in China.

"Planet Earth will have a new Queen!" Rez shouted.

A hundred feet below us I could see the Great Wall of China.  After a few minuets the pilot let us know we were coming in for a landing. Rez was still twirling mid-air in the cabin.  Light and electricity flying around her.  As we were landing I locked eyes with her, and heard a voice in my head.

"This too can be yours!", it said.

In a flash I was gone, and I found myself in a field somewhere far away.  The sun was out, and it was summer.  The smell of roses was blowing through the air.  And then I was back to reality.  Rez was leading the way and we were surrounded by Chinese.  I didn't know how I had landed myself in this situation.  The last thing I remembered was being on the plane.  My clothes were different, and my phone 's calendar  showed a different day.  I considered asking Rez what had happened, but she was talking so fast in chinese I didn't think my english would be appropriate.  We were moving through the halls of a building.  I glanced around.  It looked like a millitary base.

Finally we came to a meeting room.  Rez bowed to the people in the room and motioned me to sit next to her at a large table.  For reasons beyond my understanding everyone in the room was looking at me.  One of the Chinese, who had a scar across his face, spoke to me in English.

"Do you know why your here?"

"No." I said.

"Rez has asked me to look after you." He said.

I sensed that he was being genuine, and wanted to help me.  I was not sure what to say to him, but felt like everything would be okay. I smiled at him, and he took it to mean that I understood.

"Show him to his room" He said.

We walked out of the meeting room, and down the hallway way to a flight of stairs.  Walking up three floors I found my new room.  It looked like a high end hotel room, in perfect condition.  They left me there, and I settled into bed. Exhausted, I quickly fell asleep.

When I woke up Rez was standing over me.  It was in the first few quiet moments of dawn.

"Do you want to know what it is you stole?" She asked me.

"Of course!" I said, still yawning.

"Do you remember the switchboard?" She asked again.

"I think so." I said.

"I told you that I was in the buisness of making computers faster."

I nodded.

"How do you think we do that?"

"I don't know."

"You're not going to believe me." She said.

"So try me." I said.

"The switchboard picks up signals that travel back in time." She said.

"What?" I asked her.

"When your netbook runs a program, it sends the program back in time where the switchboard picks up the transmission."

"Then we send it back into the future to your time stamp."

"All of the physics happens inside the time card on your netbook."

"The government has been reverse engineering our technology."  

"They are going to use it to build a weapon."

"Our technology only works inside of computer chips, but their machine is going to open up a gateway to send people back in time"

"The data you stole is their schematic for the timegate."But now the Chinese have it!” I shouted.At least we are safe.” she said.

It sounded like I had slipped completely into a fantasy world.  Somehow I thought, I had managed to lose my mind.  Rez just leaned against the door frame looking at me with those beautiful eyes of hers, which was more intimidating to me than anything else.

"When do we talk to the chinese?" I asked her.

"I'm almost fluent in chinese." She said.

I should have known.

"They are already for us in the boardroom.  We can go now if you are ready"

We marched down a corrodor stopping at two huge doors.  There was a camera looking right at me. It was clear to me that there was more on the line than I understood.  Which wasn't saying much.  Rez opened the doors.  A dozen men in buisness suits were waiting for us on the other side.  All looking up as if startled by our entrance. Then they motioned for us to sit down, and I found a chair I thought seemed  to be out of the way.  Rez began chatting in chinese and shaking hands with the men.  I was pretty sure she knew them all by name.

Rez turned to me and said, "Everything is okay now.  They are already manufacturing the schematic for the time gate!"

My palms were sweaty and my heart was racing but I tried to play it cool by nodding my head.  This would at least give the appearance that I understood.  Everything that happened during the meeting was in chinese.  I wondered how I would do anything in this country when I had no idea how to talk with anyone that lived here.  Maybe the timegate, if there was such a thing, would let me go back and erase the past few days.  One of the buisness men seemed to take an interest in me during the meeting.  He kept waving his hand in my direction while he was talking to Rez.

After the meeting she told me what it was about.  "They want you to go through the timegate." she said.

"Why me?" I exclaimed.

"Well it was either me or you." she said.

I stared at her, assaulting her with my eyes.

"You got yourself into all of this Corey.  Maybe it's time for you to become a man." she said.

"I'll show you to the time gate.  They are already putting it together." she said.

We entered the laboratory, and I stood silent. Spread out across the room were wires, meshed with machines.  I understood none of what I saw, but there was something resembling a chair in the center of the room.

Then, a chinese man with a clipboard noticed me, "Please, come sit down." he said.  I didn't have the words to express my feelings, and I followed him to the chair as if under his spell.  A ring came down from the ceiling surrounding my head like a halo.

"Ready?" He said.

"I hope so." I said.

Then Rez spoke, with almost no emotion. "Make sure you bring us back some evidence."

I closed my eyes, and then I felt myself get out of the chair and begin talking with Rez.  I couldn't do anything while all of this was happening.  It all seemed to happen like a movie.  She gave me a series of numbers to remember.  And then I felt my consciousness stretched across time and space and I woke up gasping in the chiar.  I looked into Rez's eyes and told her the numbers.  She smiled, and all of the chinese scientists started clapping.

"So it works then." I said.

"Yes, tell us what it was like."  The chinses man holding the clipboard asked me.

"I just remembered waking up in this chair before I actually did.  It is very confusing."

"How so?" He said.

"I couldn't control anything, I just experienced what would have happened without the time gate."

"Interesting." He said.

All of the scientists began celebrating.  I struggled to my feet and looked at Rez. She gave me a hug filled with emotion and said, "You did it Corey!"

I couldn't resist the desire, and found myself moving in for a kiss.  I felt something then that I had never felt before. Rez excited me so much I lost track of everything else, but she stopped me.

"Did you see this in the time gate?" she asked.

"No.", I had to tell her the truth.

"Good" she said, and then came back in for another kiss.

Then I stopped her and said, "Don't you want to try the time gate?"

"Yes." she said.  "What's it like."

"Well I said. "It's like going through a cat scan while you're asleep."

Her face lit up and she sat down in the chair.
"Let's do this!" she said.

The technician flipped the switch but nothing seemed to be happening.  Rez sat there motionless by all appearances asleep.

"How long are you going to leave her like this?" I asked.

Without saying a word the technician flipped the switch back off and Rez fell out of the chair like a doll.

"Rez, are you alright?" I asked.

She looked up at me batting her beautiful eyes. Her gaze locked into mine.

"Better than okay." she said. 

"Corey, what is happening here is no accident.  This is all going to be worth it." She said.

She took out here I-Phone, and looked intent on whatever she was doing.

"I'm buying shares right now" She said.

The scientists leaned forward interested.

"This new tech company is going to go up 100%." she said.

"You saw it in the time gate?" I said.

"Yes!" he said.

In the distance I could hear phones ringing.  The scientists in the room were talking chinese and began leaving the lab.

"What's happening, Rez?" I said.

"The Emperor of China is coming to see this for himself!" she said.

"He is going to take over the world." she said.

I had stopped questioning Rez as soon as I went through the time gate.  Both of us knew we were useless to the Chinese now.  Every country on earth would pay anything for this technology, and that is exactly what I was afraid of. I had to try one more thing before I let anyone take the time gate from me. I went back into the machine, and signalled the computer technician to flip the switch. It started up, and sent me blasting into the future. Or at least a future.  

I saw the Emperor parade into the lab followed by his secret service agents.  The chinese technicians talked with him and showed him the time gate. Realizing that he would only glimpse the future and not actually travel, he sat down inside the machine.  The halo lowered over his head, and the time gate begam warming up.  His expression changed from cheerful to full of hatred while he was inside the machine.  Then the trip was over, and he got up out of the time gate.  Speaking in chinese to his secret service agents he had clearly made his mind up about something.  I turned to Rez to ask her what was being discussed, and she was crying. 

Looking at me she said, “He is initiating a nuclear war!”. 
But before I could respond I was being pulled back into the present time.

I looked at the clock as soon as I was back.  I still had an hour before he would come to try the machine.  The only thing I could think to do was sabotage the time gate.  In the back of my mind I knew this was suicide, but that would be better than starting a war.  As though nothing had happened, I walked up to one of the men holding a gun and punched him across the face.  He fell backwards and I grabbed his automatic rifle. I began shooting at the computer terminals, careful not to shoot anyone in the lab.  The other millitary men all raised their weapons to return fire.  I ran into the time gate and ripped all of the plugs from the machine.  The machine was delecate enough that I could rip it appart with my hands. 

When everything was finished I looked down and could see blood was soaking into my shirt.  I had been hit several times.  The only thing I could do now was die, but that didn't go quite as I planned either.  I collapsed onto the floor, and don't remember anything else until I woke up in a chinese hospital, hand cuffed to the bed.  Rez wasn't there and a armed guard stood over me.

He spoke something in Chinese over his radio and turned to me.You are lucky to be alive.” He said.

In a few minuets Rez burst through the door, running towards me with tears in her eyes.  The guard clambered to his feet, shouting something at her.  I tried to speak, but couldn't even make a sound.

She shouted at the guard, who stood their silent but somehow intimidated.Why did you do that?” She sobbed.You're lucky I am friends with the Emperor.  That is if you even live!” she said.

My eyes rolled back into my head, and consciousness left me suddenly.  They had me plugged into morphine without even asking me.  I dreamed for days before I even had strength to sit up in bed. When I did wake up she was still there by my bed.  You had a violent reaction after going through the time gate.”, She said.They scrapped the project.” She said to me bitterly.

Despite her dissapointment, I felt like I had gotten my point across.It is just too dangerous to study right now.” She said.

I muttered back to her, “They were going to launch their nukes.”
She ran her fingers through my hair and whispered to me, Not anymore.”

© 2014 CoreyWhite

Author's Note

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Added on May 21, 2014
Last Updated on May 21, 2014
Tags: cyberpunk, computers, hackers, hacking