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"The Pre-Existents: Number 3"

“The Pre-Existents: Number 3,” by scifiguy3553. Shakespir. Copyright @ 2017.

Jaimie Manuel, David Chance, and the rest of the San Antonio Awakened cell, have a rude awakening, themselves! Jaimie and David find themselves in a, truly, cloak and dagger situation. One that will change their lives forever…

San Antonio, Texas; USA. 2023…

“They call themselves the Awakened,” the strong female voice said over the internet. “That’s it. Just the Awakened…they’ve convinced themselves that they’re in some kind of résistance against the evils of the private insurance industry; that it’s some kind of dark empire ruling the American proletariat. That our wonderful insurance corporations are out to cherry-pick only the young; only the wealthy; only those who virtually never need any medical care. While the industry scrubs out those poor, lil’ ol’ free-loading pieces of meat we call the Pre-Existents!

“America, don’t be fooled by these unpatriotic traitors! Have you heard what they’ve been planning for the last five years? If they haven’t already started…those ungrateful slimes have been in the works to found their own nation-state…that’s right, Mr. and Mrs. America; those disabled, high blood pressure-having, cancer-toting, pregnant-menstruate, walking-snot-bags-of-diabetic-sugar traitors, actually have the gall to even think about creating anything at all—much less a nation!

“So, who’s going to be their president? Probably some damn Millennial—are those kids still called that these days? It’s been a few years, now. They’re not getting any younger. Hell, in a couple of years, maybe our beautiful insurance chiefs will purge them from the system, too! Ha!

“But seriously, though; how could they even start a nation? If their pre-existing medical or psychological conditions are so bad, who the hell is going to work in this fantasy-state of theirs…?”

And the assault went on…Cassie Pumwell-Harris was one of the most popular right-wing internet personalities by 2023. She was one of those new generation of American nationalists that had taken power in the US in the several years prior. One of Jaimie Manuel’s co-workers at his cubical was watching her on his portable device during his lunchbreak. Unfortunately, Jaimie couldn’t do a thing about it since his lunchbreak was still another twenty-minutes away!

For the past five years Jaimie had been working at the, now, international-powerhouse insurance corporation called Eagle’s Shield. That same insurance company that David Chance, Jaimie’s one-time handler, had suggest that Jaimie try for when they first met. It was during a mandatory health-screening that Jaimie’s former job told him he had to do, in order to maintain his insurance or he would’ve been dropped! That was five years ago. Jaimie was an IT tech for various companies in San Antonio for all his adult life. He was, now, putting that education and experience to use for not only Eagle’s Shield, but, secretly, for the Awakened movement! That very same political movement that political commentator Pumwell-Harris was maligning on the Social Net that day.

Things had changed a lot for the Awakened movement in the past five years. Just the very fact that a nationally-renown personality like Pumwell-Harris even knew about the movement meant that either the Awakened activists were having a big impact behind the scenes in American politics, or the movement needed to do a better job of staying out of the media!

During those five years of working at Eagle’s Shield, Jaimie and David—whom had gotten a promotion at the job!—both had to juggle their official duties as employees there with their subversive tasks for the Awakened movement on behalf of the, now, 250 million Americans with various pre-existing conditions! That underground work consisted of taking down or copying information on civilians whom were at the very threshold—indeed, risk!—of being purged from insurance coverage because of various changes in their personal lives. Jaimie and David would, then, take that information on the citizens and either enter those data into the Awakened’s own meta-network, or they would do it themselves… Basically, from that point within the Awakened’s cyber-system, various activists would do the same type of work that claims processors do in the insurance industry and would actually obtain insurance coverage for said Pre-Existent!

All activists had their respective areas of expertise, such as the ‘claims’ portion. For Jaimie, with his already-long career as an information technologist, his was helping with the Awakened’s meta-network of firewalls, hack-blocks, hacking insurance agencies’ meta-ware, patches, and everything else associated with the internet infrastructure! Jaimie was an expert at all this, and he was pretty good at covering his tracks—until this particular day…

“Uh, oh,” Jaimie said to himself while working on his terminal. As in, doing the real job associated with his IT position at Eagle’s Shield.

“What’s the what, Jay, my man,” that same co-worker that was watching Pumwell-Harris asked; still seated at his terminal while typing.

But there was no way Jaimie was going to tell someone like Cory, one with nationalistic leanings, what he was encountering. This was a problem that implicated Jaimie as an Awakened!

Without responding to Cory, Jaimie’s hands went on automatic drive on his terminal’s keyboard as he quickly went through the process of not only logging out and shutting down, but he commanded his terminal’s system to do a deep scrubbing while it was shutting off…

Someone was on to him!

Panic was now coursing through Jaimie’s entire body! He began to sweat and his hands were shaking…he had to get out of the office—permanently!

“Hey, Cory,” Jaimie put to him; forcing himself to look at the enemy, “I almost lost my lunch just now, so I better talk with HR and see if they’ll let me go home.”

Cory took on a serious face. “Ok…well, hopefully see you tomorrow.”

“See ya,” Jaimie simply said. He, deliberately, left everything on his desk a bit scattered and cluttered. That way it looked as though he was planning on coming back. Plus, of course, just being in a hurry to leave the premises!

A thought occurred to Jaimie as he walked down the rows of cubicals. Several thoughts, actually: What about the cameras perched all over Eagle’s Shield? Was it possible that Cory had something to do with the hacking of his terminal, and was he going through Jaimie’s terminal at that very instance? Was he getting sloppy after five years of working, basically, two jobs? And, should he risk trying to contact David? Because chances are, if Eagle’s Shield and/or the government had just hacked Jaimie’s work-terminal, most likely they’ve already gotten into his personal devices!

Then Jaimie noticed one of the emergency exit doors…

David Chance had just grabbed some coffee from Eagle’s Shield’s cafeteria when the fire alarm started to blare! This was not a tornado drill. Given that the agency was in Texas, all the employees knew that the agency always gave them a heads up on when the drills would take place and tell them how long they would stay outside the building…it was tornado alley, after all!

Nevertheless, David found himself in a fast-moving stream of humanity; coffee mug in hand, while its cream-tinted content sloshed all over the place! But his personal things were still at his office! Like any other good spy, David began to worry about the insurance agency’s IT people snooping around while everyone was outside for the fire drill; trying to flush out any bad actors. Given that David was an Awakened, he would be classified as such by Eagle’s Shield’s owners and their management team!

That human stream David was in finally snaked out of the building’s stairwell and went outside. David was just about to take a gulp of his, now, cold coffee when someone grabbed him from the side and started to usher him toward the Receiving area for truck deliveries. It was Jaimie.

All David had to do was look at his old friend and he knew exactly what the younger man was up to, and why! They had practiced this, for such occasion. The fire alarm was original, but the San Antonio cell of the Awakened were detailed and ran a tight ship. So far, everything was going according to their plans!

What was next in their escape plan was for either of the two men to hotwire one of the company’s several trucks. By the time the duo had reached one, the San Antonio city emergency responders were just arriving at the facility. Again, as part of Jaimie and David’s emergency planning, they already knew that there weren’t very many security cameras in Receiving—just enough to watch over what happened at the delivery doors. The wide space outside of those doors were neglected by the agency’s security team.

After they found some extra work shirts in the back of the truck, Jaimie and David slipped them on and both hopped into the truck; Jaimie being on the driver’s side. In just a few minutes, the two Awakened spies were off the grounds of Eagle’s Shield.

The Historic Market Square; downtown. Headquarters for the Awakened’s San Antonio cell…

In the five years since Jaimie had joined the San Antonio branch of the Awakened movement, the once-tiny cell of six now had over twenty members! As part of the cell’s by-laws, once they were discovered, the very second the members knew about it the San Antonio Awakened cell was officially dissolved! There was simply too much at risk for the whole Pre-Existents cause! It wasn’t just the San Antonio cell, but the entire movement’s network all over the United States! All it took was for one cell to be apprehended by the US government, or one of the states, and all the years of information of the Awakened’s files on most of the 130 million Pre-Existents in America would be discovered! And with that discovery, from a more pragmatic view, so would some of the Awakened members!

David had sent out a cryptic message to all the cell members, via their phone devices. Some innocuous message about him getting out his shopping list and he’d be out all night…this was the official disbanding message from David for the group.

The Awakened San Antonio cell was dissolved!

Jaimie had parked their stolen Eagle’s Shield truck in an area far enough from the former cell’s location—but close enough for them to run to it so they could zip into the suite and start a massive scrub of their cell’s computer system! Jaimie had come up with his own receipt for killing off the cell’s meta-network. It, literally, took Jaimie just a handful of keystrokes and the cell’s entire system was cybernetically dead!

David and the whole team had always kept the suite bare. That way they did not have to worry about an unexpected guest showing up in the former cell’s suite and giving them away. To David’s and Jaimie’s knowledge, none of the cell members had a criminal record, including themselves. So, they weren’t particularly worried about the cell members’ fingerprints left behind. There was no need for Jaimie and David to do anything else…except to quickly say goodbye!

“We did a lot of good here, Jaimie,” David said as he gave his shoulder a good pat.

“If I run into any other Awakened in the future, I’m going to make sure that they know of your leadership, Dave!”

“Thanks, brother!”

They both gave a quick look around the silenced suite.

“So, we can’t tell each other where we’re going, huh,” Jaimie asked.

David was already shaking his head. “Plausible deniability, my friend…I guess we’re both lucky we don’t have kids or a significant other to make this more complicated, huh?”

Jaimie gave a face. “Well, we could now…”

David’s head snapped out of surprise at Jaimie’s point. “I guess I didn’t have time to think about it that way! Which brings me to a good point for us both to think about: Whomever may come into our lives after this, Jaimie—especially you, since you’re still young, we can never let them know about what we did here!”

“Unless they were one of the Awakened?”

David thought on that for a few seconds. “You’d have to verify that somehow.”

Jaimie saluted David; he saluted back. The two men disappeared in their own way.

The National Health Service office; London, England; 2023…

“Dr. Lowell,” the young aide called out to the doctor as she was walking and reading charts at the same time!

“Yes, Anne…?”

Anne struggled to keep up with the lanky doctor as she power-walked her way through the facility; deftly dodging other white coats and green scrubs! “There’s an American here for that interview you told me to schedule for that IT position.”

“Right…where is he now?”

The young aide tried to refrain from laughing. Dr. Beatrix Lowell looked up from her computerized notepad to see what was so funny. The young man was standing right in front of them. Indeed, Dr. Lowell hadn’t realized that she had been in the lobby for the past several feet!

“Thank you, Anne,” she said with a hint of annoyance.

The American, dressed in a contemporary suite and tie, was the first to reach out his hand so they could shake in greeting. “Hi, Dr. Lowell, I’m Jaimie Manuel…I really appreciate you taking the time.”

She had flung one of her hands in a direction that she wanted to take him. Jaimie followed; a professional folder in hand.

“I’ve read your resume that you emailed, Jamie—”

“Uh, actually, ma’am, it’s Jaimie, with an ‘H’-sound—”

Jaimie…you’ve got an impressive work-history for your age…Anne, whom you’ve just met, did all the calls on your references and everything checks out…”

They were, now, at an elevator and it took just a few seconds before the door opened and a virtual convention of the medical industry spilled out! But in Jaimie and Dr. Lowell’s case, they were the only ones to step into the elevator once it cleared. She pushed for the second floor and turned to face Jaimie.

“…all except for how you left Eagle’s Shield.”

Jaimie’s heart stopped! This was not good! “I worked there for five years and had nothing but good reviews—”

“Indeed; I’ve read them after I had to put in a request over the phone myself. No, your service was impeccable, Jaimie…I mean, what happened to you?”

Jaimie was doing the best he could to stay calm. The elevator door opened and she politely held up a hand to show him where to go for the interview. Jaimie took a glance at the digs; which was sparse, like the rest of the facility. Yet, clean; efficient…almost like a –

“The HR office at your former job mentioned something about a former co-worker saying you had gone home sick one day, but you never showed up again after that!”

Cory Dale, the cubical-mate that was watching that nationalist, online political commentator on the last day of the San Antonio cell! This was, now, beyond sinking hopes of Jaimie getting a great job at the famed-NHS. He was worried that the regressionist US government was the one that had hacked into his terminal at Eagle’s Shield before he fled to the UK. And, now, it looks like they got INTERPOL in on the game! How the hell was Jaimie going to answer this one?

“Dr. Lowell, I don’t know what to tell—”

“Relax, mate; you’ve got the job already…”

Jaimie was stoned-shocked! He, still, had to work at keeping his composure. This would be something he would have to do the rest of his life. The doctor went on.

“I, honestly, was worried that something happened to you—health-wise, you understand?”

A slight, inquisitive frown from Jaimie. “Yes, ma’am.”

She leaned forward; her voice, now, furtive. “We want you healthy here, Jaimie…it’s not every day that I run into an awakened one…”

fin


"The Pre-Existents: Number 3"

  • ISBN: 9781370320660
  • Author: scifiguy3553
  • Published: 2017-05-13 03:50:09
  • Words: 2628