Arbitrary Number by Edwin Escolero
Arbitrary No. – C:\UNE 07
Its a sunny day in a busy metropolis, people go about their day commuting while an ice cream truck tends to customers. A large screen projects the latest headlines as the newsroom gives the quarterly earnings for business. The bright sun begins to be shrouded by a dark nimbus that takes shape as lightning streaks the sky. It starts to drizzle with strong gusts of wind and the people run to take cover from the downpour. Minutes later a chill begins to envelop the air and the rain transforms into snow which clumps onto the streets. A blizzard begins a campaign to takeover the industrialized city and the news feed is interrupted by an incoming transmission…
A man laying on bed opens his eyes after a long sleep and walks to the bathroom sink to splash water on his face. Une risen opens the curtains to view the setting sun and heads out to verify the cause of the power outage. The streets are empty and no one is around to provide context about what transpired the night before. Taking a cue from the tenants Une decides to head back to his room to avoid patrolling drones.
Rummaging through his coat Une picks up the disk that he found the night before and begins to scan it. Immediately he discovers that the contents cannot be read which leaves him with no other choice, but to decrypt the code. Working his way through the encryption the man stumbles upon a text within the coding which reads, “Shark Lure.” Having no clues as to who slipped the disk, Une thinks about the text and its relation to him. Keying in his assigned Arbitrary No. Une manages to break the second layer of encryption.
Code breaking his way through the layered security Une makes his way to the final firewall and night has fallen. The fatigued man smells smoke and pauses his work to ascertain its cause. Looking at the hallway the motel is still desolate and there he spot a small white car engulfed in flames.