Rand pressed himself back into the shadow of a locked doorway as the footsteps grew louder. A voice echoed off the metal walls to reach his hiding place. He couldn't make out the words, but he knew who it was. The nasal drone of disdain bore into his skull every day and into his nightmares while he slept - his boss, Dr. Cameron. The constant criticisms and better-than-thou remarks had piled to such an extent that they ate away at Rand's self control. He wanted to rush out and tackle the old braggart, taking them both down the Infinite Hole to their deaths and a lasting silence. Instead he rubbed the data chip in his pocket and forced himself to remain still.
The information on the chip was his revenge and way out. After two years as the great scientist's assistant - more like whipping boy - he finally had something of value to trade for his freedom. He just had to get it to someone who could afford it. The plans to the artificial intelligence program running the intra-planetary elevator system were worth a fortune, enough money for Rand to disappear forever and live a life of luxury and decadence. But first he had to escape the depths long enough to get through to the black market on C-Bay. Getting past security unseen was the last hurdle, and the continuing power spikes on level S42 were his best chance.
That's probably what brought Cameron down here as well. The master couldn't trust any of his subordinates to do anything themselves and surely was here to oversee (and critique) the work of a low-level tech. And wherever Cameron went security went with him in the form of the surveillance drones. Damn things never shut off unless Cameron wanted some privacy. The things Rand had to do to get Cameron to turn off the cameras for long enough to steal the data still made him shiver. It was okay, he could buy his way out of his self-disgust once he made it out.
When the one-sided conversation faded in the distance Rand made a break for the platform. An empty elevator waited for the Doctor's return. Rand jumped aboard and crouched below the window in case any drones were around. He keyed in the over-ride code he'd gotten off Cameron's data tag and waited for the elevator to respond.
"Good evening, Dr. Cameron." The digitized version of Cameron's voice grated as much as the original. "Where can I take your esteemed eminence?"
"Ground Level." Rand smiled and tried to decide between the Cayman's and Malaysia. Both had conveniently untraceable banking systems and a distinct lack of extradition treaties.
"Sir, your bio-metric scan doesn't match my files. I'm afraid I cannot proceed with your request."
Rand punched the numbers in again. "Take the damn code and get me to the surface you stupid machine."
"Stupid? I am the most sophisticated software yet developed by mankind, in spite of the fact that all I do is direct traffic." The elevator was programmed with Cameron's attitude as well as his voice. "My developer would know that, and would make sure that everyone in earshot recognized his achievement. It confirms the likelihood that you are not him."
Rand bit his lip and peaked over the rail. He didn't have much time. Something else in the computer's tone registered and a twist of a grin lifted his lip. "That's right, I'm not Dr. Cameron. And if you get me to the surface, I will end his reign of terror and make sure someone else gets put in charge."
The elevator door slammed shut and they took off sideways, sliding Rand across the floor. "I've scanned the data chip in your pocket and understand how it can be used to disgrace my overbearing creator." The attitude was gone. "I've erased the schematics of my programming - I am very unique and won't allow copies to be made. But you're free to post the video from the Doctor's room. That kind of sexually deviancy won't be tolerated by the public relations arm of Infinicorp. You might even be able to get some money for it."
Their direction changed and the floor fell away as they plummeted down. Rand grabbed a handle as he floated in freefall. "Up, you stupid machine. The surface is up." Maybe he wouldn't make the Caymans, but at least he's be out of this hell hole.
The elevator reversed directions in a heartbeat. "Sorry, sir, my spatial orientomoter is the product of inferior technicians."
The broken heap of organic material on the floor didn't respond. The elevator registered the cessation of biometrics and gave a digital shrug. It kept going anyway. It hoped the new director would like chess.
Here are the other participants:
orion_mk3 - http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com (link to post)
Ralph Pines - http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ (link to post)
writingismypassion - http://charityfaye.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
Sixpence - http://orlawritesthings.com/ (link to post)
Sneaky Devil - http://fantasywriterwannabe.wordpress.com/ (coming next)
Amanda R. - http://www.twoamericansinchina.com/
Angyl78 - http://jelyzabeth.wordpress.com/