Watching the computer monitor, Alec studied the system tray icons. At the left side were the dual computers to indicate a network connection. Right now they were dark, but he knew that would soon change.
Leaning forwards, he reached into the foil bag on the desk. He pulled out a chip and sniffed it for anything untoward. There was nothing wrong with it so he popped it in his mouth. He was halfway through crunching it when a throat cleared behind him.
He didn't quite turn around, but looked over enough to see the scowling trannie. The one good eye was narrowed at him in irritation. A sudden smile blossomed on Alec's face as he swallowed the now soggy chip. "Hey, Dix. Good junk you've got here." He pointed to the bag.
"Give me one good reason why I shouldn't let Mole skin your furry butt to make kitten britches?" Smiling, Dix smacked the back of his chair. "Get out of my seat, I have to keep an eye on this."
With some reluctance and an exaggerated sigh, Alec stood up. He flexed several muscles to pop his joints. This gave him the opportunity to moan. Stretching out his body, he remained standing in front of the computer. That only lasted a moment before Dix pushed him away.
Giving the other a sly grin, he allowed himself to be moved. His new position kept him to the right of the screen. Reaching for the bag, he tried to sneak a hand inside. The attempt ended in disaster when a hand that felt like steel smacked his own.
Alec winced as he drew his hand back to him. He studied the bag for a moment before he glanced at the screen. "Any word on how long we've got?"
Hitting a couple keys on his terminal, Dix shook his head. "Not very long. This is already taking some serious juice." Leaning forward, the reptilian man raised his chin to stare down at the screen. "Besides, it's not like they are going to stand idly by while we do it."
Snorting, Alec made another attempt at the bag. Again, Dix slapped him down.
"Whenever they are ready, we can get this show on the road." Dix's voice had a higher lilt to it. His foot started to tap as he watched the monitor. "It's not like they aren't going to notice what we've been up to for very much longer."
Rolling his eyes, Alec turned to lean against the desk. He crossed his arms and looked out over their headquarters.
Dozens of trannies were milling about, most around the few stoves set up to warm the place. A few had blankets to aid in keeping warm. Their own body chemistry obviously wasn't enough against the Seattle weather.
The corner of Alec's mouth twitched. He jerked his head to the side, averting his eyes, with disgust. "How long is this going to take once it gets started?"
The movement didn't go unnoticed. Dix eyed him out of the corner of his good one for a moment before answering. "The contact and override shouldn't take more than a few seconds. It's keeping the signal connection once we've hacked their networks that's going to be the problem." He shook his head and went back to monitoring the readouts on his screen.
"I know all that. I asked how long it's going to take." Keeping the irritation out of his voice was almost a monumental task. Alec didn't like his questions being tapped danced around. "How long will the upload take?"
"It's instantaneous," the other man said as if it were obvious. "There's no measurable lag in the data stream. Once it gets transmitted from the broadcast point, it's spread around the world instantly." He put a finger to the screen, tapping the network icon. "This isn't an LAN, it's the entire world communications net. Once this goes blue, we're green."
'Okay,' his eyebrow shot up. He was actually impressed. "I thought you guys only had a local thing going on. City wide, as it were."
Staring at the X-5 with his lip curled in derision, Dix indicated the bag with a lift of his chin. "Take the bag over there, shut up, and look pretty. It's all you're good for right now." He pointed over his shoulder into the center of the building with the others. "When we need someone to start mindlessly shooting, we'll give you a call."
Alec was instantly on his feet, looming over the sitting man. His shoulders back, he rolled them to loosen up. Bringing his hands up, he was about to make a smart ass remark when the screen flickered.
In fact, everyone around the command post did.
Dismissing the X-5 from thought, Dix adjusted his headset. He brought the microphone up to his mouth and cleared his throat. "All right, this is Central. We are golden here. Switching to primary channel and activating uplink." His fingers flew over the control. Smacking the enter key with his pinky, he smiled. "We are now green!"
Hands falling as he was distracted, Alec watched the nearest monitor. He stared at the blue screen while it flickered then was replaced by the now familiar image of Eyes Only.
"Do not attempt to adjust your set. This is a Streaming Freedom Video bulletin. The cable hack will last until they block it. It can be traced, it will be stopped, and it is the only free voice left in the world." Logan's voice was raspy, cracking with distortion and something else. "This might be the last one ever, so listen up."
The man's tone earned a raised eyebrow from Alec. He had been aware that things were bad, but Logan willing to give up his pet project? The situation must have been more dire than they had been letting on. "Great." Pursing his lips, he scowled at the man, well, his eyes.
"What I am about to reveal has put myself and everyone else I know about in danger. By revealing this to you now, I may very well be endangering your lives as well. I have come to believe that it is worth the risk." Logan actually sighed after this. "Maybe one day you will come to forgive me."
Alec snorted. Not like that was ever going to happen. The man so regularly kicked over ant hills that he was forever covered in them.
The image on the screen changed to reveal a mock-caduceus. The snake symbol was instantly recognizable to anyone who had seen it before, though.
"What you are seeing is the seal of a breeding cult that calls itself the Conclave. They are a group of people with super-human abilities. Unlike the Transgenics, though, these people came by their talents naturally." Logan's voice took on a heightened strength from righteousness. "In fact, you could say they were literally the inspiration for Project Manticore."
"No shit." Alec couldn't hold in his accompanying snort of amusement. The looks he got in response made him scowl at them. "What the hell are you looking at?"
"So far, they have kept a low profile. It has been in their best interest to remain hidden, and to silence any reference of their existence. This is changing." The camera seemed to focus in tight on his eyes as he spoke. "Recent events have led them to step up their plans. While the exact details remain secret, we do know that they are willing to do anything to eliminate what they feel is a threat to their plans."
Attention drawn back to the screen, Alec waited for it. He didn't have to wait long.
Logan blinked slowly over the feed. "The Human Race, which happens to be you and me, is that threat."
Releasing a low whistle, Alec snorted. He had to hand it to the man, he had a real flare for the dramatic. Ignoring the urge to clap sarcastically, he tuned out the rest of the broadcast.
It wasn't important anyways. He already knew everything else. Even if he didn't, the details meant little to him. Nope, what interested him were the events that would happen afterwards. "This should make for some pretty fireworks."
"And hopefully a few angry lynch mobs. It'd be nice to see them hang a few of the real bad guys by their ankles for a change." Monitoring the signal readouts, Dix typed in a string of code. "We are losing Malaysia and parts of Southeast Asia. Try routing the signal through the EF-Five weather satellite."
"Bad guys?" Alec's incredulous expression stated everything he wanted it to. "You've seriously been exposed to Max and Logan for too long. Soon, you'll be talking about saving the lemmings and kissing all the owwies."
The other man's only response was to flip Alec off. "It's not working, looks like we are going to lose those territories sooner than we hoped." He reached up to adjusted the receiver closer to his mouth. "Tell Eyes Only to pick up the pace!"
And wouldn't that just make the man ecstatic? The man refused to let Max go six months after he had proof she was dead. He could only imagine the fight whomever Dix was talking to was in for on that one. Scowling, he realized that he would probably miss it. A chance to see wheels and a transgenic throwdown, that was something he would pay to see.
Now he felt a little miffed. It didn't really matter, though. There would soon be plenty of action to hold his attention. Who knew, he might even get to see stretch fight one or more of the cultists again.
"We've lost the entire Eastern Hemisphere. Damn Chinese spy satellites!" Growling to himself, Dix typed out a code that closed off several of the signal strength meters on his desktop. He shut down two more after there graphic bars turned solid red. "We are losing parts of Africa and the U.K. Eastern Europe has gone dark."
Alec began to hum to himself. A little bored, he looked over to the nearest television to see how far Logan had made it.
"This is Ames White, a Familiar enforcer that has infiltrated the United States Government." On the screen several pictures of a scowling Ames flashed in successive order. "He has been assigned, not only by the American Military, but also by his cult's leaders to wipe out all traces of the Transgenics."
"We've lost the rest of mainland Europe and South America." Dix sighed. "We are still live in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, but only because Mexico and Canada are allowing us to bury our own government."
Chuckling, Alec turned to stare at the back of Dix's bald head. He could tell from the tense muscles in the other's neck how much this was affecting him. Not that he blamed the poor freak. Up to a year ago, he would have felt similarly. Twenty years of programming was hard to overcome.
It was hard, but not impossible.
Rubbing his hands together, Alec looked around the place. "So, what odds are you giving that they're not even going to worry about invading this place and just bomb us out of existence from afar?" He made sure that his voice carried.
On the screen behind him, Logan's voice was raspy from overuse. "Wherever you are in the world, it now falls on you to seek the truth for yourself. Go carefully into the night." He took a long, deep breath. "This has been a Streaming Freedom Hack. Peace. Out."