Ascenders Rift Chapter 83: Identity Exposed, Cline’s Disaster

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 On the very same night, far away from the street with the strange laughter, was a separate residential area of EarlingStar. One filled with a myriad of tall apartment buildings, looking from the top of these structures, there were a few housing schemes far out in the distance beyond a multitude of other buildings that were close to the suburban area.

At these late hours, hardly anyone would wander about the streets, especially after the current chaos that was on the rise. The occasional patrol of police cars and monitoring drones also served as a means of control to any in this area, far different from the more slum-like regions of the city as it ensured that this place kept a minimum degree of peace.

The various windows of every apartment room had their lights turn off, giving this place a silent and somewhat dreary air. One room amongst these others had a dim bluish light that shone from its windows, as it seemed to be obscured by a curtain.

If one could peer beyond it, they would see that there was one individual who had yet to call and end to his night. It was a skinny man dressed in a hooded sweater that covered his dirty hair that drooped over his angular-shaped face. His face needed a good trim as behind his shining round-shaped glasses; his eyes had dark shades underneath them, showing weariness.

Currently, this man had leaned before a monitor with his fingers typing away at mad speeds on a keyboard. The screen before him flashed about to different windows and browsing screens that showed a variety of information. He pressed another button on his keyboard as a strange scene occurred. Countless data about the Planet Devouring Star began to appear, including its trajectory along with some recent and top-secret information.

\"Ha, with this, I'd like to see how long they can continue to push off the conference, the people have a right to know of the danger that is coming.\" The man said with a smile as he cracked his fingers and stood up from his chair.

A kettle that was boiling hot water soon started to make noise, when he heard it, the man walked over taking it up as he prepared to mix some tea. As he did this, the computer screen began to show an uploading bar of information being pulled in real-time from a distant location.

Far away from this area, at the Earlington Observatory, the Maxion Scope, which was idle, had silently become active as an indicator flickered with a green light now and then.

At this moment, a group of astronomers was too busy trying to piece together the riddle of the newly identified Planet Devouring Star, as various screens were showing its trajectory that directly connected with earth.

The head cosmologist stood within this crowd while pondering, 'It doesn't make any sense, how can the star continuously disappear and reappear at will? Why does it seem to have a certain degree of conscious will? Could it be that we were wrong, what if this object was in no way a star, but some type of lifeform?'


As the head cosmologist pondered to himself, another individual appeared and spoke, \"Sir Calvin, I would like to show you our recent gatherings.\"

Calvin hearing this nodded and took the tablet from the person, he looked at the screen carefully before frowning as he spoke, \"Still no results? If it continues like this, I won't know what to tell the Imperial Council.\"

As he said this, his eyes shifted to the side, noticing a few sturdy and solemn-looking men in dressed black with wires around their ears. They looked at their group with inference acting like air as if they weren't here to at all.

\"Che! Such a hellish time, if I had listened to that Cline back then when he made those wild claims, we could've probably found something more at this time. Now, I am at their whim,\" Calvin said as he cursed underneath his breath.

The person nearby smiled wearily at those words; he too didn't like the ordeal. Still, Calvin's eyes flashed as if he realized something, he thought, 'Hmm, speaking of Cline, where is that bastard anyway? Didn't he get the summoning? He should know that no one can go against the council's wishes.'

Calvin wanted to think some more, but it was at this time, he heard a shout from one of the others.

\"It's there, have the scope focus on it before it vanishes! Activate the sensors!\" One person said to a few others.

\"Got it!\" A few others replied in unison as their fingers rapidly went to work.

Suddenly, the Maxion Scope, which was already showing signs activity halted as if there was some conflict.

\"Eh? The Maxion Scope is being used by someone else!\" One person said in alarm.

Calvin, hearing this was stunned, he shouted, \"What? Who could do such a? Hmm, wait?\"

As Calvin thought to here, his eyes flashed as he recalled that only Cline was given the access code to the scope. He was about to say something, but suddenly, one of the men in black suits walked over.

He was a tall man, with neatly combed brown hair and square glasses above his hook-shaped nose. He looked at everyone's panicked expression and spoke, \"No need for alarm; it was only a drill exercise by our sector. We wanted to test the security facilities of the methods used by the Maxion Scope. A few of my men are going to retrofit its defenses, so you may all feel at ease and continue with your work.\"

A few others were a bit unconvinced, as they wanted to speak but didn't say anything. Calvin, at this time, spoke out, \"I do believe that you're right, but I would also like to take part in this process. This is after all our division's personal property; it should be right for us to understand what's going on.\"

The man hearing this lowered his glasses, showing a set of cold-looking eyes as he spoke, \"You will continue with your tasks!\"

The others hearing this trembled, Calvin also shook slightly, he wanted to curse, but he gritted his teeth and nodded as he replied, \"Understood.\"

Not long after, everyone else had ignored the scene and went back to work. The Maxion Scope returned to normal as if the person who tried to control it had terminated the connection in a hurry.

The man in the suit looked at this and nodded before he turned and left, as he walked past the other men, he gave them a look and whispered to the strongest, \"Keep them under full watch.\"

\"Yes, sir.\" The other man in the black suit replied, not moving an inch.

The man then left this room and headed towards a different part of the observatory, as he arrived here, he saw a few other similarly dressed men and women in black uniforms with laptops.

Suddenly, one of a woman walked over with a smile on her face and spoke, Captain, we've isolated the IP address for that previous hack in an apartment district, we believe that he's the closest link we've gotten to that Doctor Ghost. As per your last instruction, we've already deployed our nearest suppression team, and they should be arriving at his apartment at any moment now.\"

The man hearing this smiled as he lifted his head and muttered, \"Found you...\"

***

When Cline had returned to his PC, he had found that the computer screen had a lot of alert functions, and because his headphones were plugged into the computer's audio port, the words of the PC's supporting AI were muffled.

\"Warning: FireWall Breach detected; computer breach was successful!\"

\"Warning: Your IP address has been traced; unit location comprised!\"

\"Warning: Hard drive breach detected; unknown Virus installed!\"

\"Activating system failsafe, as a precaution to the sudden threat, all data shall be erased!\"

\"Oh shit! Even with my defensive AI, I was still traced by them; this isn't good! I have to get out of here!\" Cline said in a flurry, he rapidly grabbed his most essential bag, tossing a nearby laptop inside of it along with his wallet and passport, before wearing a black hat as he drew the hood on his sweater over it.

Not long after, Cline opened his door and quickly shut it before making his way down the elevator. After a moment, he had arrived at the bottom-most floor, where the various cars were located. Here, the scene was a bit dark, as only the dim night lights had lit the area. A vague haze was also in the room, as with each breath taken, Cline would exhale a cloud of cold mist from his mouth.

'I have to hurry; I have to hurry! They had caught that signal before I even noticed, they should already be on their way here,' Cline thought as he rapidly made his way through a horde of parked cars.

His steps echoed in the dark and silent basement before he arrived at a simple looking white car that seemed similar in design to a Corvette. He was about to take out his electronic key, but before he could even press the button to open the door and simultaneously start the engine, there was a change.

\"Mister Cline, I would like to have a few words with you if you will,\" A calm and collected voice said from directly behind him.

Cline halted his actions has his back ran with cold sweat, he gulped down and turned around only to see a man in a black business suit with a warm smile.

Cline then opened his mouth and spoke, \"Do I have a choice?\"

As Cline said this, the man sighed and shook his head before clapping his hands.

Clap-Clap! With two sharp claps, multiple lights flashed from all areas surrounding Cline and his personal car. They shone from a myriad of shiny black cars that had unknowingly positioned themselves a certain distance around Cline and the man. The air grew tense as the lights from the cars gave one a spooky feeling due to the haze sweeping around it.

When this happened, the man smiled and spoke again, \"I'm afraid not, Mister Cli... no, Doctor Ghost.\"

Cline started to sweat as his mind felt hazy when he thought to himself with a bitter smile, 'Well, I'm screwed.'

As Cline thought this, the man looked at him with an expression as if he caught a mouse in a trap, a few sturdy looking men with guns began to walk over from all corners. However, not too far away from this scene was one particular individual.  He hid in the dark of the basemen in a brown overcoat and had shady black gloves on his hand, his skin was dark brown, causing him to merge with the darkness as his hawk-like eyes gazed at the scene in silence.

With a puff of the cigar, the black man softly spoke as if talking to himself, \"Work never ends.\"


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