The Prism Press Special: Arbitrary No. – C:\UNE 13

Arbitrary Number by Edwin Escolero

Arbitrary No. – C:\UNE 13

Sine date 07.19.00, the Sine Corp. enforcers begin placing braces on the civilians against their wishes. The people within the zone reluctantly complied after witnessing the devastation that the weather machine caused. Propaganda spreads around calling the masses to adore and pay homage to the tyrant. Media within the territory occupied by Sine is filled with his image and history is depicted around his image. As several months pass Sine began to circulate an annual status update transmission to remind people of his presence.

UNE 13.pngAs a monitor displays a template for a brain device Dr. Nadir tries to makes sense of the new information. The transfer of data for the weather machine reaches 75% as the scientist looks to the squad captain. He informs the leader of the gravity of the newly discovered information and that they may have to stay in the building a bit longer to retrieve it. The captain calls his squad mates to inform them of the mission update then he radios the helicopter.

On his headset the pilot listens in on the revised mission plan and continues on standby. The marksman tinkers with the Sine drone and manages to obtain a GPS reading on patrolling Sine drones. He radios the team leader but is instructed not to engage unless engaged. The copter lights are powered off to provide covered in the darkening night as the pilot and his mate remain vigilant. Several drones emerge from the distance horizon as the squad members remain still as sweat trickles down their neck.

Data transfer for the weather device has been completed at the terminal, Nadir removes the memory flash and hands it to the squad leader. He inserts a new flash and begins to access the data for the brace while the captain instructs the stealthiest of the squad members to take the information back to the copter. Four people remain inside the facility while they wait for the transfer of the neural data. Silence fills the air as the men wait on the data when suddenly the captain receives a garbled radio transmission.

The Prism Press Special: Arbitrary No. – C:\UNE 12

Arbitrary Number by Edwin Escolero

Arbitrary No. – C:\UNE 12

Helicopter blades spin loudly on top of a building in the night when a crimson flare lights up the horizon. From an open hatch a man looks through a binocular to confirm a blast in the distance. As he looks to the pilot for confirmation, both agree on the visual and he radios in the company. Before stepping out of the copter to investigate the man arms himself to counter hidden dangers. Inspecting a charred drone that made its way to the building the marksman confirms it as Sine Corp. property.

Inside the building the captain informs his teammates of the fallen Sine Corp. drones but advises everyone to stay alert. He looks to Dr. Nadir who continues to key away at the terminal without any regard for his own safety. Sensing the same desire to bring the war against Sine to a finish the troop stands guard by the scientist. Nadir breaks the final firewall and begins to access the stolen data for the weather machine that he worked with the Voiders many years ago.

Before entering the mainstream Sine Corp. was a black-market trader and the puppet master that influenced politics. Guilefully lobbying for laissez-faire stances for illegal weapons and human trafficking Sine Corp. would expand its territory. Atrocities ranging from home-grown acts to global terrorism was the result of Sine’s business model which doesn’t bother to account for buyers of its illegal hardware. Since taking the Voider’s weather device Sine has begun a campaign to monopolize the black-market. His aim is to maintain his “prestige” as he imposes his name and image upon the world.

UNE 12.pngThe terminal displays the data that Dr. Nadir needs in order neutralize the weather machine. As the scientist transfers the information he skims through other projects while he waits for the load time. Reaching 25% Nadir taps his fingers when he stumbles on a Voider template for a neuron and synapse stabilizer. Intrigued by the topic, Nadir reads through the file and there he discovers an unsettling truth. The captain notices Dr. Nadir’s troubled expression as he faces the screen which displays a model of a brace that influences the human brain.

The Prism Press Special: Arbitrary No. – C:\UNE 11

Arbitrary Number by Edwin Escolero

Arbitrary No. – C:\UNE 11

An unmarked helicopter heads into the desolate city as night begins to take hold. Hovering over a helipad on a large building the aircraft makes a perfect landing. The hatch opens as five men emerge while one remains with a pilot and both don a headset. An armed man leads the way while the others follow him into the structure with caution. Busting through security doors and utilizing a layout of the facility the group makes their way into the labyrinth with urgency.

Inside the complex the reconnaissance team find a terminal where information of the Voider’s device is buried under several levels of encryption. One of the men begins work to teardown the firewalls while the others keep a lookout for danger. Outside the two who remain on standby spot seven Sine drones heading their way. The copter hatch opens and the expert marksman takes out the machines that explodes on impact. The men radio in to their teammate and report of the six destroyed drones.

UNE 11.pngFour team members hear the report and weigh the gravity of the situation while the other continues breaking the firewall. The leader calls out to the techie as he’s on the verge of shutting down the security locks. Once again the captain calls out the man but he’s still keying away. Approaching the terminal the team leader calls out Dr. Nadir and informs him of the situation. Nadir pauses his progress to access the drone remotely and overloads its circuits causing it to detonate.

Across the river from the city Une stands outside of a motel as he inspects charred remains of a Sine drone. Rummaging through the apparatus he manages to retrieve a microchip that survived the explosion. Exploring further in the streets the man looks for signs of what caused the wreckage that lays before him. He looks around the area for smoke trail or any sign of discharge residue but nothing turns up. Upon getting a closer look at the fallen machine Une concludes that the explosion was an internal event.

The Prism Press Special: Arbitrary No. – C:\UNE 10

Arbitrary Number by Edwin Escolero

Arbitrary No. – C:\UNE 10

A gala auction is underway as a man adjusts the cuffs of his dress shirt after writing his bid. Making his way to the bar keep the man orders a Pina Colada and looks around for the host as the drink is prepared. He tries to make small talk but stops himself when he spots a familiar emblem on the bartender’s hand. Taking advantage of a passing helicopter the man walks off as other patrons make their order. As if mingling with the other guests the man finds the MC of the event.

Finishing his drink Une walks to the host to compliment him on the success of the evening and laments the missing speaker. The host responds amicably and mentions that the speaker had to cancel in the last minute due to developments in his research. Tactfully Une asks the MC what was the research about but he confesses that he doesn’t know. He explains that he wanted Dr. Nadir to give a motivational speech on perseverance as he started with nothing but he rose in the ranks through his studies. His thesis on the weather cycle revolutionized data collection in the field of meteorology.

UNE 10.pngEight years ago Dr. Nadir began a side project in botany which lead to a template for a device that would help crops flourish year round. Plants were limited to seasons and new crops required rotation of soil in order to grow. Farmers would have to prepare the ground under a specific schedule, but through the Nadir Hypothesis the climate could be influenced to accelerate the production of crops. Collaborating with the Voiders Dr. Nadir began construction an archetype, however, he felt humanity was not ready…

Sensing that he’s being watches Une thanks the host and excuses himself for the evening. After exiting the restaurant Une decides to investigate the reason for the patrolling helicopter in the morning and heads to the nearest motel. After checking in the man splashes water on his face before going to sleep. Late into the night the sky is streaked in a crimson red and Une rises to lift the curtain to see a drone engulfed in flames.

The Prism Press Special: Arbitrary No. – C:\UNE 09

Arbitrary Number by Edwin Escolero

Arbitrary No. – C:\UNE 09

There is a crowd outside in the lot of a restaurant under the blue sky. A man in a suit arrives to the packed lot and immediately takes note that no one has been permitted to enter. Fiddling with his cuffs the man conceals a brace on his wrist and then takes out a laptop. Dusk falls as the crowd is still outside yet no one gives a compliant as if following a script. The suited man suspects a ruse but sticks around a bit longer in hopes of getting answers.

Maple wooden doors open signaling the patrons to enter and Une closes his laptop as he enters the establishment. Entering the hall there golden candles sparkle inside of a glass chandelier which is suspended from the ceiling. Club music blares in the air and the man enters the dinning room in search of his assigned table. After finding his table the man scans the crowd as he makes his way to the appetizers. Holding a plate Une reaches for a tong when a man several decades his senior reaches for a plate and exposes a Sine emblem tattooed on his hand.

UNE 09.pngThe Sine Standard proclaims that the masses must wear braces, however, there are exceptions to the rule. The affluent have used their wealth to get the corporation to look the other way for not wearing the mandated brace. The distinction in social standing is made apparent through the implementation of the brace. Arbitrary Numbers face adversities because of the brace which makes it challenging to rise to the top. They’re ostracized under the Sine Standard due to their desire for independence which is considered “a major threat.”

Une’s cuff descends revealing his brace for a moment but he quickly lifts the sleeve. The Sine patron saw the brace and nonchalantly drops a ceramic plate on the floor and walks off. Walking back to his table Une grabs the program for the evening and confirms the potential lede’s presence. As the evening slowly unfolds the music pauses as the host rouses the crowd. Then he quickly reviews the program but makes one crucial amendment and Une closes his laptop as he looks toward the host in disbelief.

The Prism Press Special: Arbitrary No. – C:\UNE 08

Arbitrary Number by Edwin Escolero

Arbitrary No. – C:\UNE 08

A war between two rival gangs takes place in front of a motel which results in a white car being engulfed in a flare. Stepping out of his room a coated man spots the flames which light the night and decides to check if fire is spreading to the building. A car hops as the gas tank combusts after catching fire and the man dodges the flying rubbish. He spots several cars and motorcycles laying in ruin presumably belonging to the combatants. A speeding car enters the lot without breaking but it explodes upon reversing in the line of fire.

Since the adoption of the Sine Standard in the mainstream other crime organizations began vying for control of territory through intimidation tactics. Lacking the technology of the Voiders’ and the political influence of Sine Corp. rival gangs utilize weapons from the black-market. Targeting key Sine Corp. heads these homegrown crime syndicates strike with the endgame being that they’ll gain access to classified information which they can sell or use for extortion. The misuse of the stolen weather technology has brought out the worse in people and created a division in society. Regardless of intelligence or ethics Arbitrary Numbers are not recognized as human and are treated as such because of the Sine Standard.

As the exchange of fire continues Une deduces that Sine goons are nearby since the gangs seldom use explosives. Rushing to back to his room the man is grazed on his wrist and shoulder as he closes the door. Adrenaline rushes through the wounded man as he barricades the door with the mattress, then gets on the floor to take cover.

UNE 08.pngWaking up the following morning Une steadily steps out to survey the damage. Looking around for other tenants he takes note of nearly all of the room vacancies. Sprinting to his room Une picks up his laptop only to discover that it was hacked. The data had been corrupted during the fray which was likely meant to stall him since he was the only one in the vicinity. Picking up his belongings the man takes his leave as he passes through the tarry air.

The Prism Press Special: Arbitrary No. – C:\UNE 07

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.

UNE 07Rummaging 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.