Angular Trifecta Week 03: Angle of Alleviation
Angle of Alleviation: A week of surveillance had netted the usual details: Personalized blurbs, full names, highest-ranking classifications, immediate relatives, group affiliations, skill sets, any paraphernalia that the subjects were particularly fond of, and the always important origins.
For Boyd to be successful, however, he also needed to track their habits and patterns. And under the watchful eye of the Enforcers, every facet of a person’s life was scrutinized to data points which, when interpreted as a part of the larger picture and his own minuscule overarching view, made the Human existence appear to be nothing greater than a collection of machine-like doldrums.
Humbling, as Boyd (too) was a part of the Human race – he began to compare its dearth of existence to the vegetation which had grown up to be much higher than his knees during this short time on recon.
Certainly, when crouched, the wavy grass and crops met him at the chest level. Such accelerated growth was uncanny for just a week’s time, but the Enforcer had been there to witness every foot of the evidence like the plant from the desk of his investor cover that always seemed to be leaning in the direction of the office window. He stroked a gloved hand through the density of greens and happened to be thankful for the increased cover which protected him from visual detection but wondered why a field such as this was not more expressly guarded.
Not that farms required security or anything – outside of an occasional few people who looked more like botanists than pickers who came around to take soil samples, the only other thing that Boyd ever saw come through this area during the days and nights that he had spent mulling around its recesses happened to be the cultivator which was currently rumbling across the plain. That was his cue to leave, so intuitive, one-handed typing on the adequately sized keyboard to his minicomputer summoned the fighter for the purposes of scooping him up before the heavy machinery had a chance to mow down his position.
After leaping up to catch hold of the hovering fighter’s cockpit, Boyd pulled himself inside and quickly got situated with the safety harness and lap belt while the canopy closed. Upon skying away from the scene, the display of the immediate vicinity which had been plastered across his minicomputer now splashed across the screen of the ship’s center console with the same quality of clarity. With a continued curiosity, he watched the cultivator’s mannerisms intently.
And how peculiar was it that the entire area was being shaved with what could be described as a close razor – leaving the farm the way that Boyd had first found the place: Not quite barren but neat and matted down in the vein of a lawn sheering which was done during the cooler temperatures of fall weather? The clippings were not being mulched either as the cultivator collected everything before departing in the middle of the night – right down the street. Nothing happened to be out of the ordinary about this. Dio Qze’s main export was its agriculture, so the heavy machinery would probably wind up back at a processing and distribution plant before long, and there was no use in tailing the massive haul for the assumption to be proven correct as that was a waste of time plus the wrong angle to be tracing.
Something was up with this farm. The fact that Boyd happened to be the only person who was asking questions about its very existence all but assured it. There were no signs of advanced aeroponics. The planet was getting very little rainfall at this time of year. No fertilizer had been used over the course of the week, and no compost was left. He was not a botanist in the slightest – more of a detective at this point but had to admit that the rate of plant growth was insane for zero agricultural assistance. From barren to lush across forty acres in a week’s time? No…freaking…way. But his instruments had recorded every second of it if there was going to be any doubt or a chance that the interested party who he worked for would not believe him and required explicit proof.
Boyd could barely believe his own eyes, so it behooved him to start narrowing down the field, and that pun was intended. He might not have been a botanist, but his screen was filled with the faces of those who he had come across during his week of surveillance. As his fighter hovered above the Power Authority in a holding pattern, the Enforcer picked a random name out of the computer – a suitable and appropriate substitution for a hat and took hold of the twin yokes in order to jet away from the scene. Further research of this selection would happen from the comfort of his apartment.
The Power Authority
The mark’s name was Janette Ueberrhein, and the comfort of her own apartment would have been a nice gesture at this point rather than the hard desktop of the plywood cubicle that currently served as her pillow. No time and a half were offered or allotted for the overtime hours that she worked because the fact that the inhabitants of this world were still breathing was compensation enough.
It was no laughing matter, but the cruel joke of Dio Qze was that the planet had already been occupied by the time that Galaxy Bloc decided to move in. The harsh punchline happened to be that it now needed to support dual ecosystems in order to protect one set of inhabitants from the other.
“You’ve done everything that you can,” Burdlit Giz – the reptilian (in appearance) Carriveaua operational general comforted. “The Deew remains dormant.” He only wore enough clothes for the sake of functionality, so his arms, legs, and tail were all openly exposed, but his hand laser was holstered, a laser rifle was slung around his shoulder, and other gear was either loaded into the crevices of the straps that crisscrossed his chest and back or belted down into the pouches which surrounded his waist.
“But it’s not enough,” Janette muttered into her elbow. Feature-wise, the only thing that was visible of her body was her head – the face of which was well concealed by her folded forearms. Humans were still a self-conscious race, so a drab lab coat draped across the seat of her chair and shielded any other descriptive features of merit. The view-screen that was affixed to the botanist’s console appeared to highlight various stabilized readings to the eye of an untrained novice like Burdlit, but she was left feeling uneasy nonetheless and pointed out as much while sitting up and swiveling around in the chair to face him, “The Deew’s energy demands are not reflected here on my screen because they’ve grown steadily, but they’re really off the nominal charts at this point. We feed it; it sleeps, but it’s requiring more and more for this pattern to continue.
I’m almost thinking that we need to resort to a trickle-type charge in order to ween the Deew off of these constant infusions. It’ll be too powerful to flash freeze otherwise. I should’ve seen this earlier.”
Burdlit could see the weariness in Janette’s now visible yet haggard and borderline blank facial expression which obviously came from working nonstop hours that continued well after she left the Power Authority, so he suggested, “Get some rest. You’ll be able to think more clearly when you come back to it.”
Not necessarily nodding her agreement but too tired to argue – Janette disconnected her slate computer from its console connector which effectively shut down her station. After placing the device inside a backpack and taking a codekey in hand from off the desktop, she stood up and turned to face the windows of the massive bowl-shaped command center that was referred to as Inner Corridor.
Caged within those windows, a gigantic photochromic plant sat where Dio Qze’s core was supposed to be and stared back at Janette without any eyes. Burdlit had called it the Deew, but she only knew the thing as her nemesis.