apefest 2022 – OECTA

best way to make money through investing “But what if it all goes wrong?” Finlay shook his head slowly. “I never knew any of this.” “This is all happening a bit fast for me. You’re …

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“But what if it all goes wrong?”
Finlay shook his head slowly. “I never knew any of this.”
“This is all happening a bit fast for me. You’re really going to launch an attack on a maximum security prison just on that man’s word?”
“He runs Silo Nine. He was human, once. Now he’s become something else, though whether it’s more or less than human depends on who you talk to. He has artificially augmented esper abilities far beyond anything that’s ever arisen naturally. He makes the prison the hell it is and enjoys every moment of it. The suffering and despair of others makes him strong. It’s because of him that no one ever leaves Wormboy Hell alive.”
“Not many have. The Empire doesn’t like to admit its conditioning fails as often as it does. Most espers and clones used to die trying to break free of their conditioning, hut an increasing number are surviving. The Empire’s tried augmenting the usual mental blocks and controls with tech and chemical implants, but they kill as many as they cure, and there’s always a pressing demand for more espers and clones. We’re so useful. Most failures are locked away in the usual prisons until they can be disposed of. They don’t bother with trials. Clones and espers are property, not people.
“I’ve managed to infiltrate some of my own people into the incoming security forces, and I’ve convinced some of the braver cyberats to run a jamming storm to coincide with our attack. They’ll run interference while we get our people out and keep security from calling for outside help.”
“You never asked. As long as there were always more clones and espers for you to use up as you chose, you never questioned the system that produced them. And you never asked what happened to the garbage you threw away, did you?”
“All right,” said the hog. “We’re convinced. Set things in motion. We’ll spread word throughout the esper network. You organize the clone forces. We’ll begin our attack on Silo Nine in one hour from now. Get moving.”
“We’ve planned to storm it a dozen times, but we always had to call it off. Projected casualties were just too high. But information has come into my possession that changes everything. There’s going to be a complete changeover of the guards this evening, at twenty-one hundred, as the prison’s new security systems are installed. For a short time it’s going to be sheer chaos in there, with new faces all over the place as they yank out the old equipment and plug in the new. The perfect time for us to launch an attack and free all our people rotting in Wormboy Hell. But we’ve got to go now if we’re to take advantage of this opportunity. The authorities knew how vulnerable they’d be, so this was kept secret from practically everybody right up till the last moment. I only stumbled across it by chance. I’ve contacted as many of our people as I could reach, and had them prepare for action, but I can’t launch an attack this big without your approval. We’ve got to do this. We’ll never get a better chance.”
Finlay looked at her steadily. I thought you said I was your life. “You’ve lost someone to Silo Nine, haven’t you? Someone close.”
“But what if it all goes wrong?”
Then let us show you, said the esper leaders, and their thoughts swept over Finlay’s mind like an irresistible tide of blinding light. He was torn away in a rush of thoughts and images, and all he could do was go along with it. He could feel Evangeline’s presence beside him in the churning maelstrom, and that comforted him. He stopped trying to fight it and allowed the esper leaders to take him where they would. He listened, and after a while, thoughts came to him that were not his own.
“Silo Nine is where they send the hard cases, the ones who fought back. Who questioned their orders or dared to think for themselves. And, of course, anyone found guilty or even suspected of being members of the underground. Officially, Silo Nine doesn’t exist. Which means they can do anything at all there that they feel like. The prisoners become just so many warm bodies, used for experimentation. The Empire’s always interested in improving its stock, or learning better ways to control or discipline it. We’re talking about psychological conditioning, genetic tinkering, and every kind of mental or physical torture you can think of. Some of it works, much of it doesn’t, but there are always more warm bodies to work with. Sometimes, the Empire works changes on them in the name of scientific inquiry. There are monsters in Silo Nine.”
“But what if it all goes wrong?”
“Yes. We all have. She was my friend, before I was a clone and after. She helped brief me on taking over as Evangeline. The only person I could ever really talk to. They came for her in the early hours of the morning, and I never saw her again. Daddy tried to find out what had happened to her, for fear she’d talk, but even he couldn’t get answers about what happens to people inside Wormboy Hell.”
The esper leaders turned to each other, and though they were apparently silent, Finlay could all but sense the telepathic arguments crackling between them. He moved in close beside Evangeline and kept his voice low.
“But what if it all goes wrong?”
“All right,” said the hog. “We’re convinced. Set things in motion. We’ll spread word throughout the esper network. You organize the clone forces. We’ll begin our attack on Silo Nine in one hour from now. Get moving.”
“All right,” said the hog. “We’re convinced. Set things in motion. We’ll spread word throughout the esper network. You organize the clone forces. We’ll begin our attack on Silo Nine in one hour from now. Get moving.”
“You never asked. As long as there were always more clones and espers for you to use up as you chose, you never questioned the system that produced them. And you never asked what happened to the garbage you threw away, did you?”
“Silo Nine is where they send the hard cases, the ones who fought back. Who questioned their orders or dared to think for themselves. And, of course, anyone found guilty or even suspected of being members of the underground. Officially, Silo Nine doesn’t exist. Which means they can do anything at all there that they feel like. The prisoners become just so many warm bodies, used for experimentation. The Empire’s always interested in improving its stock, or learning better ways to control or discipline it. We’re talking about psychological conditioning, genetic tinkering, and every kind of mental or physical torture you can think of. Some of it works, much of it doesn’t, but there are always more warm bodies to work with. Sometimes, the Empire works changes on them in the name of scientific inquiry. There are monsters in Silo Nine.”
“Yes. We all have. She was my friend, before I was a clone and after. She helped brief me on taking over as Evangeline. The only person I could ever really talk to. They came for her in the early hours of the morning, and I never saw her again. Daddy tried to find out what had happened to her, for fear she’d talk, but even he couldn’t get answers about what happens to people inside Wormboy Hell.”
“Very well. For a long time now, we’ve been discussing various ways of freeing our fellow espers and clones held in prison and condemned to death for their rebellion. Most are held in Silo Nine, also known as Wormboy Hell. A maximum security prison, with esp-blockers by the dozen and a small army of guards. Long considered impregnable, none of our people have ever broken in or out and lived to tell of it.
Hood nodded quickly with his empty cowl, turned away without acknowledging Evangeline and Finlay, and strode quickly out of the chamber. Finlay looked at Evangeline.
Finlay shook his head slowly. “I never knew any of this.”

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