Chapter 4.22 – Algorithm

General Jon Buford indulges himself with a smug smile toward his captured prey.
 
He has spent his entire adult life investigating the accident at the research lab located in the McAllister mine (see Chapter 3.7 – Shrapnel).  Surviving shreds of intel gathered from  the accident, suggest that his captive was the root cause behind the unfortunate chain of events. Her unexplained appearance during a rather sensitive experiment had created a massive power surge, overloading the miniaturized reactor powering the facility. The destruction was complete. Yet this sim somehow survived.
 
Buford was still quite a young man at the time. Had he been in charge of the initial investigation, it would not have taken this long to finally capture her. But buffoonery reigned, and the investigation became nothing more than an embarrassment.  Since taking charge of the program, however, he has put many parts of the puzzle together. Everything points back to David Barimen, and his buddies, Reid and Kacey Kimura.
 
Tracing her movement since “escaping” from the hospital has been virtually impossible (see Chapter 3.?? – Voices). And after all this time, it is her attachment to the family that finally proves to be her undoing.  Indecisiveness may have played a role as well. The team monitoring Mark Barimen first spotted her at the hospital shortly after the Barimen girl delivered her child. She left without entering the building, but then returned again. And then a third time. Given her irritating tendency of disappearing and reappearing almost at will, the observation team was ordered to move in and intercept.
 
Complete authority has been granted to make a breakthrough “by any means necessary”. The research facility has been completely rebuilt, but this time without the cooperation of the “Barimen” Research Center. If data gathered from initial experimentation on the captive is correct, then she is living proof that the algorithm works. Discovering how she is able to manipulate it will accelerate his research by decades.
 
As workers immobilize her and move the equipment into place, she repeats the warning that her brother Reid has taken every precaution to prevent this kind of tampering. His assistants hesitate when she desperately reminds them of what happened the last time scientists miscalculated the algorithm. But Buford simply ignores her. He has endured hours of her intolerable noise, but has drawn upon patience from knowing that the mainstream experiments will bring a permanent end to her whining.
 
His last, arrogant words begin to form on his lips as the equipment is powered up and the experiment begins. They are words he will never have the opportunity to finish speaking.
 —
 
It is late at night when Sunset Valley feels a slight tremor, shaking many of its residents awake. In the Barimen household, Hope Barimen hushes her beloved daughter back to sleep. She lays back down in bed and thinks again about the woman who had saved her life. She prays silently, asking that she be kept safe…
 
…wherever she is.
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11 thoughts on “Chapter 4.22 – Algorithm

      • The backgrounds for a couple of the lab shots are from Champions Online instance missions. I superimposed a shot of Buford with an absurdly green wall behind him. Using GIMP (basically an open source photoshop), I used the magic wand tool to cut out the green and place him on the background. I used a softglow filter to give that “something really bad is about to happen” overexposure.

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  1. FortA says:

    Awesome update. I admire you for putting so much time into “staging” – I’ve done it before, and it certainly takes effort and time. I just can’t wait to see what happens when we FINALLY (at the end of the whole thing) learn the truth of the Barimen secret!!

    And, let me say, I feel a bit of a…disturbing…happiness that Buford is gone. But I fear his legacy (or, rather, innate evil) will continue. 😦 And poor Kacey – I can only hope Reid (who obviously did something with this algorithm) manipulated it somehow so his sister wouldn’t die in a similar situation. And was it a previous mistake with the algorithm that made her become eternally young?? So many questions, so few answers…but I know, I know – in due time!!

    FortA

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  2. Glad to see Buford gone, although I’d love to find out exactly what secrets he’s found and if Kacey managed another escape. Can’t wait to see how Hope’s daughter will look when she grows.

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    • I’d considered adding to the narritive that he’d found “it”, only to be obliterated a nanosecond later. But I couldn’t think of a way to describe “it” without giving “it” away.

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