Arbitrary Number by Edwin Escolero
Arbitrary No. – C:\UNE 33
A flame consumes a wreckage as a wounded man emerges from the embers with a hand clutched on his shoulder. Viewing his surroundings he spots the car he ridden smashed against the only other vehicle in the point of impact. An ambulance arrives at the scene and the dazed man enters inside the rear of the vehicle. An attendant bearing a tattoo that reads “Sine” on his arm questions the flustered man. From the breast pocket a phone’s camera lens glows inside the dark truck as the victim’s questioned.
Months pass as the man travels to a different region on a path to expand his field of study and start anew. Following coordinates on a GPS the student of science comes across a trailer truck with a familiar “S” emblem. Several cars maneuver around the man as to box him in, however, manages to switch lanes. Making his way through highway traffic the man reaches his destination without incident. Entering a large facility the man gains clearance upon showing his keycard which identifies him as Dr. L. The scientist dons a lab coat and resumes work on a project in the alpha stage of development codenamed, “Harmony Soul.”
A year into the project Dr. L reaches a standstill as he tries to resolve technical issues with circuitry for the tentative apparatus. As colleagues are shifted to other projects the scientist is compelled to shelf “Harmony Soul” until he can gather a team to delegate work and share data. During the break from his venture Dr. L collaborated in the development of the air drone, HAWK, which is to be used for rescue missions during natural disasters and other crisis. Results from field test look promising, however, the team opts for more testing before release to the mainstream.
Progress is made until suddenly one night an incident in the facility leads to theft of the blueprints for “HAWK” as well as early schematics for “Harmony Soul.” Since the incident the team worked tirelessly to salvage the projects aimed to improve conditions for humankind. An investigation couldn’t find the perpetrator(s) due to the lax nature of security and intelligence during the era. Everyone was disheartened by the break-in especially Dr. L who expressed concern over the potential misuse of “Harmony Soul” to violate and manipulate the psyche.