please state your identity and ID number.
my name is jones. my ID is 8997 55647.
begin case log.
i received a [bio virus] tip from a tenant of apartment housing complex синий in a no quarantine quarter. i proceeded to investigate said tip by scheduling a routine inspection of the complex.
upon my arrival i found the complex on complete auto emergency lockdown. my sensors were unable to access the backlog of the complex mainframe.
what was your next step if you were not able to access the mainframe?
i went an sought out the complex monitor and asked for a report.
his augmentations made him act strange, and he was unable to get a full cohesive sentence out. i attempted a consciousness dive but it was unsuccessful.
from there i went to the access and maintenance terminal and attempted to find the trigger for the auto lockdown. i was led to apartment семнадцатый. upon my arrival to the apartme
Ambient static played from the console, soothing white noise for anyone. Yosef jolted awake in his car, unsure of what caused him to wake so suddenly.
He looked around groggily, waiting for his surroundings to defog. He remembers falling asleep to the tape recording of Jones’s case report, but the sudden absence of voices must’ve woken him.
He swings the center terminal over, reading the text on the screen.
“Corrupt audio. Hm,” he mutters to himself, tapping on the screen to attempt a decryption. “Never seen that before.
” When the decryption fails, he scrolls up through the transcript to find where the audio ended. A great chunk of the case log was missing, putting huge holes in Yosef’s initial plans.
He switched the terminal over to the NAV application, and inputted the address of the complex on lockdown.
The terminal gave an estimate of distance, about a 14 minute drive from Yosef’s current position. He put the car in autopilot mode, and swapped the terminal back to the case log transcript.
He had very little information to go on. He knew just the basics; the complex was on auto lockdown, the mainframe wasn’t cooperating, and the lockdown was triggered inside apartment 17.
With the untimely death of Jones, Yosef couldn't just go and ask him to fill in the missing log data. He was left with two courses of action.
Yosef could retrace Jones’s steps and speak to the Monitor and attempt his own consciousness dive.
Alternatively, he could immediately find his way to the location that Jones recited in the case log.
Yosef leaned more towards that option, as it would bring him to the last known location his late colleague was headed.
An uneasy feeling weighed Yosef down as his NAV chimed the familiar arrival sound.
He checked the case log one last time and gathered the laser pistol and body augmentation add ons up off the passenger seat.
The car door hissed with the atmosphere leveling as it cracked open to reveal the deary sight of the apartment complex.
Yosef locked the car behind him, inputted the apartment number into his hand terminal and walked up to the front entrance.
The steel door looked like it had been sealed shut at one point until someone had sliced it open again.
Yosef attached a device to his left arm, latching it to the pre-existing prosthetic hand and his forearm.
With the added force of the device, he pried the steel door open wide enough for him to slip inside.
With one last look at his car and the dark, rainy outside, Yosef pulled the door shut behind him.
* * *
He had to use the extra force provided by the extra augment again when he finally found the correct apartment in the maze that was the complex.
He had first tried speaking to the tenant across the hall,
buzzing in on the doorbell and the tiny screen mounted on the door illuminated with the image of what Yosef could only hope was an extreme close up of the tennant’s eye,
flickering in and out with static shifting over the monitor. The tenant had been frightened by Yosef’s presence, asking a million questions about the lockdown and answering none of Yosef’s.
Frustrated, Yosef had just shut off the monitor and set to breaking into apartment 17.
When he was able to get the door open, he was presented with a detective’s playground. The hallway was impassable.
A bookshelf that must’ve once been standing against the wall was broken in two pieces, blocking the floor and leaving items lying everywhere.
A little bit over excited, Yosef opened his hand terminal and switched his eye augments to tech mode, where they picked up other augments, and flagged illegal augments,
like the ones used for dimension travel. He carefully stepped over the pieces lying on the ground, and entered the main living room of the apartment.
The two windows on the far wall were boarded up, and had tattered blackout curtains half draped over the sides of them.
Yosef switched to Bio mode in his terminal, eyes scanning for traces of human DNA instead of tech.
His terminal auto flagged three areas of the room, but pinged with a notification of a signal picked up from an altered augmentation in the room,
but the signal was too weak to pinpoint the exact location.
Yosef scanned the room more closely. Everything in the apartment had been ripped to shreds. Posters that hung on the wall, pillows from the futon in the corner, the wooden cabinet doors.
Shattered glass covered the carpet. With every step Yosef took in his heavy black boots he could hear the crunch of the glass crushing.
Yet, In the center of the room there stood an antique armchair, covered in red velvet fabric. A thin book-shaped object lied on the cushion.
Yosef approached with caution, seeing as this chair was the only thing that appeared to have been spared in the wreckage.
He ran his right hand across the top, feeling the texture of fabric with his real hand. He came around to the front and picked the object up, turning it over in his hands.
He sat down gently on the chair, reclined back and stretched his legs out in front of him as he continued to inspect the thing in his hands.
His terminal determines it as some sort of computer, hidden in the spine of an old book. The book was a faded emerald green, with English writing on the cover in golden letters.
The writing was indecipherable, old and peeling. He opened the cover to the first page, felt the paper between his fingertips. He began to read, hoping for a clue to what happened.
* * *
Yosef feels himself falling, falling, falling, and falling. His head spins. His eyesight fails. Darkness takes over as white noise rises to a deafening volume. And then, nothing.
* * *
Static playing from the radio causes Yosef to jolt awake in his car, surroundings foggy as his eyes switch out of sleep mode.
There are dark patches of static across his eyesight, stray artefacts left from some sort of dimension interference.
For a split second, his surroundings transform into a dark apartment that looks like it had been ransacked in a violent rage. But just as it had appeared, it vanishes.
Brushing it off as faulty programming in his eye augments, he assesses his surroundings. He must’ve dozed off while listening to Jones’s case log report.
As he looks through the transcript, he feels a strange weight in the pit of his stomach. It feels as if he’s seen this before, the failed audio and encrypted transcript.
He opens the NAV on his car’s terminal, blue dot indicating his current location. He pauses with his finger outstretched midair, looking closer at the map.
His location and surroundings seems right, but the shapes of some buildings looked off, and certain roads that he knew were closed forever were suddenly back on the map.
Yosef knew he was physically right where he had been before dozing off, but not everything around him was how it was before he had fallen asleep.
It was as if the whole city had shifted as he slept. Which he knew was physically impossible.
The vision of the ransacked apartment rematerialized. Yosef wasn’t sitting in his car anymore. He was sitting in the antique armchair in the ruined room, holding a shredded paper book.
The book was burning hot, causing Yosef to drop it as he tries to minimize the pain. He’s sitting in the red chair with the velvet fabric.
And then he isn’t.
He’s back in the driver’s seat of his shitty industry standard 2078 cruiser, with the backseat stained rust colored from blood, and the familiar smell of burning oxygen in the air.
That’s when he realized.
The black spots of static, the shifts in the maps, the auditory hallucinations,
the vision of the ransacked apartment that Yosef swears he hasn’t seen before but a deep gut feeling tells him he’s there right now.
There’s only one way that Yosef figures this is possible. In one dimension he’s sitting in the red velvet chair, and in another he’s sitting in his dirty cruiser.
He sees the thin book lying on the dirty carpet. He sees the steering wheel and his hands gripping it tight, knuckles on his right hand turning white with the force.
Black lines run across his eyesight, and he hears the chime of a augmentation system reboot. His terminal auto-injects a stabilizer into his bloodstream.
Yosef screams in pain,overwhelmed and a little bit frightened, and then everything normalizes. There are no static artefacts in his vision.
He only sees his car, he feels the leather on the steering wheel, he smells the air freshener built into the conditioning system. He hears someone chuckle.
“Looks like you’re stuck here with me,”
Yosef turns his head towards the voice, and sees Jones sitting in the passenger seat of the cruiser. Yosef double takes, and then stares at the other man.
“I thought you were dead?” He asks, reaching out to grab Jones’s jacket, just to make sure he’s not hallucinating again.
“Well, that’s the thing. Did they ever tell how how I died?”
Yosef shakes his head.