Author : Phill English

Special Agent Jessy McCormick knocked gently on the door of the Director’s office. He looked up from his desk, where a large holographic display was swarming with reports that he was busy gesturing into folders, signing quickly, or dumping into a bottomless recycling bin. He didn’t pause as he addressed her.

“Yes, Special Agent?”

“Sir, we’ve just received a call from the Deterministic Energy Department.”

The Director grunted. “And? What do they want?”

“They want you to take a look at something. They say it’s important.”

The Director barked a laugh, “I’ve got an outbreak of Chaotics in the main district, over one thousand energy directives to implement, and a list of official emails that I might finish reading when I’m asleep in the grave. What could be so important?”

“They say they’ve found a cache. They said they believe it to be the biggest they’ve seen for decades. Centuries, perhaps. Sir, they said they’ve found the ‘motherload’.”

The Director’s hands finally stopped sweeping the console’s face. “‘Motherload’? That’s the exact term they used?”

“Yes sir.”

The Director was already out the door before Special Agent McCormick had a chance to ask what it meant. By the time she caught up, he was already stepping into one of the department’s cuboid transports. “Did they say where they were?”

“Yes sir. Third District, Thirteenth Iteration.”

“Thank you Special Agent, dismissed.”

* * *

The maniacal sobbing was audible as soon as the Director stepped from the transport. DED troops surrounded the entrance to the Iteration. The Chief of the DED was standing at the entrance. He greeted the Director as he arrived. “Thought you might like to see this before we set the boys loose. Not every day you get a cache like this.”

“Who’s the owner?”

The Chief consulted his display. “One Mrs. Narelle Williams. She’s the noise you can hear. Totally deranged. Keeps screaming that her boy will be coming home any minute now. The room is his apparently, perfectly preserved.”

“Is he here?”

“Records show he died in the riots three years ago. Hardcore Chaotic.”

“Good. Less ownership issues. May I?”

“Go ahead.”

The Director ducked down into a room hidden by a false bookcase. This was old tech, probably put in place in the final days before Order was imposed. As he descended the final steps and turned to inspect the space, he was dumbstruck. It was quite a small room, perhaps five square metres, but what it lacked in size it made up for in clutter. Mangled sheets cascaded from a bed that was half buried in an assortment of sex mags and political books. Any of the stained carpet that may have once showed through was covered by food wrappers, clothes, and moldy tissues. The shelves were lined with action figures and the walls practically hidden by a layering of posters. The finishing touch was provided by a pair of filthy underpants hung from a ceiling fan.

The Director whistled. The DED had their work cut out for them. Restoring Order to this mess would yield enough energy to power the District for years.

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