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Withmore Globe

A division of the New Light Media Entertainment Group. All rights reserved since 2075.

Tragedy strikes topside!

Affluent corporate figure meets misfortune.

Today serves as a grim reminder that we as a species are not infallible, as initial reports appear to confirm speculation that Jack Anderson, Withmore Justice Force Grand Inquisitor, and distinguished combat veteran, has developed a severe neurological disorder resulting in extensive nerve damage. Read More

Such disorders, for those who need a refresher, have been one of the more debilitating afflictions of our time, as it affects a person�s genetics and follows them from clone to clone.

Anderson, who has been lauded by his peers over the years for his tactical-minded approach to big city problems, as well as his numerous acts of bravery in the face of terrorist activity, says he was surprised to find himself on the receiving end of the news when he was rushed to a hospital late last night.

"I don't know what to make of it just yet." Anderson said. "However, this will not stand in the way of my dedication to Withmore City and exacting Justice on those who would act against it."

Public medical research surrounding these genetic disorders helps shine light onto the unfortunate Anderson's circumstances. The afflicted have been observed having significantly delayed reaction times, trouble with hand-eye coordination and general difficulty with most fine motor skills.

During a press conference early today, New Light Media CEO Zenon Ferreira confirmed that he did not believe this development would affect the noted security expert�s career with the city, adding that "Inquisitor Anderson has been a dedicated public servant for his entire working life, ever since his halcyon days in corporate security. The city of Withmore takes care of those who have taken care of it."

While at first glance it may seem that there is nothing else to it, reports of increased security traffic surrounding Anderson may suggest there are concerns not publicly voiced.

One of the members of his new security detail offered the following, under the condition of anonymity: �There�s a real concern that Anderson might be the target of a public assassination now that he�s unable to defend himself, the man used to be a giant in the security world and made more than his fair share of enemies along the way. Nobody here ever thought we�d have to be the ones protecting him, it�s always been the other way around.�

This tragic turn of events makes it all the clearer that we are still at the mercy of genetic disorders, and this reporter hopes that in time, medical science will give us one less thing to fear.

At this time, no representatives from Sense/Net or Genetek were available for comment.

Swimming in Sewage

Written by Leah Hopkins

From sewage floating through Gold, to trash floating through Green, it seems as though you couldn't go anywhere outside in Gold or Green on Sunday without getting soaked to the bone.

According to a source on SIC, the rain started around noon, and proceeded to get worse and worse with each minute continuing for the rest of the day. One man even said that he was dragged down the street, into an underground parking garage.

Though the reason behind the flooding is not 100% determined, some speculate that it might have been another hack attempt by the infamous RatPack gang. This is a gang known for causing havoc on the city. Reports say they have even hacked into the city's day and night cycle in the past, causing mass confusion. Read More

Others say that it was due to a promise made two weeks ago by "Trevor" on SIC. For those unfamiliar with him, he works for Skywatch, and controls the weather around the city.

Though the origins of the rain aren't completely known, the results were obvious. Going outside in the Gold Sector, you can immediately see, feel, and smell the sewage from above. The rain fell so hard, and flooded so badly in Green that the sewage failed, and, well....The rest is history. In Green, while the streets completely flooded, businesses were able to keep their internal conditions relatively dry. There was the occasional puddle, but nothing that damaged anything obvious. No reports have been given on the structure of the buildings, or whether or not the sewage system has been completely fixed, but, with the help of everyone, the city will triumph through this mess of a storm, and recover from any damages done

The Artist Battle Royale is swiftly approaching

Guest by-line: Hanon Kovacic: NLM Public Relations Officer

It was announced today by Jillian LaRouge of New Light Media, that she is turning her attentions to the artistic hopefuls in the city, caught on Public sic today, with an explosive statement.

�Excellent, Mister Gaunt. How would you like even bigger crowds and even more talent?� Jillian LaRouge was caught asking KMB�s Manager, Caleb Gaunt, in regards to the news.

�We'd love it. The more the better, Jillian,� Caleb Gaunt Responded.

It wasn�t a moment later that Miss LaRouge made her big reveal, causing a riot of comments to flood from the minds of the citizens of Withmore.

"Wonderful. Then I think you'll be pleased to hear, along with Withmore's creative hopefuls, that I'll be turning my attention to them as well. Read More

It seems that those who have been given the opportunity remain lax, so I'm opening the doors for new rising potentials to knock them off their thrones, if you will.  Let's call it an artistic battle royale. �

NLM�s Public Relations Officer Hanon Kovacic Responded quickly, asking, �And, is anyone free to participate, Miss? I'm sure there's a lot of artists in the city just drooling for the chance to work with you,� To wich Miss LaRouge responded, �Anyone who is interested in pursuing a career as a creative in NLM is welcome. In fact, I would love to see participants outside just the realm of musical acts.�

Kovacic went on to round out this exciting moment on SIC by saying enthusiasticly, �Well there you have it folks! Miss Jillian LaRouge is throwing down the gauntlet. Crack out your pens, your canvases, your creativity and join us at NLm For what has been dubbed The Artist Battle Royale!� This amazing statement from NLM�s production department ended with Jillian Wishing the citizens of Withmore Good luck, and game on.

The Event kicks off on Friday April 21st at 19:00, located at KMB, and will be broadcast on channel 420 for those unable to attend. We can't wait to see what Withmore has to offer.

Attack on the Halls of Justice!

On the early afternoon of March 18th 2102, the Halls of Justice were attacked and bombed. The culprits of the attack crushed a stolen drop ship into the Halls and using military-grade explosives, they managed to demolish parts of the building�s walls causing extensive damage. Several local clinics responded immediately by dispatching paramedics, yet the number of casualties remains unconfirmed.

Responsibility for this attack was claimed by RDFER (Red District Force for Equal Rights), a group infamous of the massacre of Lening Park of 2100, and also responsible for numerous kidnappings and murders of corporate citizens during the last two years. Read More

One of the most well-known associates of this terrorist group is a person known as �Ruby�, who witnesses claimed that was banished by WJF over SIC only moments prior to the attack.

The identity of the individuals who took part in the attack however, remains unknown. WJF is looking through evidence, however, witnesses are highly encouraged to provide any and all relevant information directly to WJF or to NLM. Any information about the identity of those responsible for the theft of the drop ship, will be rewarded out of the NLM News tips and informants budget.

As of this hour, no official reports have been released from the Halls of Justice and the WJF has not yet made an official statement. All we know for certain is that he WJF is making every effort to apprehend the group responsible for the bombing and to keep citizens from further harm. We will keep you updated as soon as something is released.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. We can only hope that justice will soon be served.

Korova Milk Bar attacked!

And the party still bumps.

On the evening of March 19th,  an attack took place at the Korova  Milk Bar, starting a fire in the establishment and causing minor, though not permanent, damage to the club.

Reports came in quickly as the event was seen across the city, the explosion captured on camera before the EyePod went offline in the midst of the blaze.
The Individual, a woman in her middle ages jumped from the top of NLM tower immediately after the attack in order to avoid capture by NLM and KMB security, verified from Guard and witness reports.

No fatalities were reported, and injuries were swiftly treated by members of the Westside Elective Clinic staff. Read More

 Among those treated was NLM Security staff member, Agent June Senna, who aided in getting the KMB�s guests and employees to safety.

�It was an isolated event by an unwell Citizen. Professional and efficient response from the KMB staff and NLM security minimized injuries, despite the intensity of the fire,� KMB manager Factor stated soon after the event.

�The club will be fine and back into reasonable shape tonight. There will still be minor work behind the scenes, obviously, but nothing that will disrupt business overly much,� Factor went on to say, assuring that this event from a troubled individual will have no lasting effects on the club.

NLM-PR Statement: Hana Song

Rogue Journalist Terminated for External Actions

It was announced on Sunday February 26th by NLM, that Hana Song, a reporter for the Withmore Globe had been terminated from duty due to her involvement with vigilantism and possession of an illegal firearm. Upon this discovery she was interrogated, and found to be unfit for service.

�It is unfortunate that Miss Song has shown such a level of incompetency when it had come to the proper process of applying for a firearm. Between this and her frequent trips to Red sector while outside of the duties of her job description, her inability to produce quality work, and unfamiliarity with corporate procedure. Read More

We feel that it was in the corporation's best interest to terminate Miss Song's employment.� NLM�s public Relation�s department has stated, adding that the corporation wishes to keep their ranks free of those who would engage in such activities.

NLM supports the WJF�s decision in the ruling over Hana Song�s sentencing, saying �We believe that the WJF, has done a wonderful job in protecting Gold and Green sector Citizens, and thanks them whole heartedly for their assistance in this matter.�

The Withmore Globe has released a statement stating, �The Withmore Globe has had no awareness of Miss Song�s illegal activity and publicly condemns her actions.�

(Edited by NewsDesk at 1:33 pm on Feb. 26, 2102)

Like Night and Day

RatPack causing problems...

Like Night and Day

Deckers going by the group alias the 'RatPack' have been identified as the cause of the recent rash of day/night issues plaguing the SkyWatch corporations systems. Read More

 The 'RatPack' was able to gain root access to the lighting controls through an unsecured shell account left open for development purposes during the last system wide software patch.

SkyWatch has since closed the breach but is continuing to scan for rootkits and other malware that the 'RatPack' may have introduced into the lighting control system during their time in possession of the unsecured account.

A SkyWatch technical representative, speaking to the Globe had this to say: "Weather and air controls were never under the control of this group of deckers. Those controls are kept on a different system."

Only time will tell if further breaches will be identified.  Until then, enjoy the extra hours of light--or sleep in if it's dark.

'The Anti' Album Release Party

Juju's debut album party attracted many personalities.

The stars were shining at Korova Milk Bar on Friday, January 27th for the release of NLM starlet Juju�s new album, �The Anti.� Among the massive crowd, this reporter spotted several WJF employees, members of multiple corporations and even the oft-vocal owner of Neon Sun, Tabitha Phlox. A vibrant holo-display given prominent positioning near the stage took audience members on a trippy, fantasy laden look at the many sides of Juju, showing scenes as diverse as the starlet racing on a motorcycle to her feeding impossibly colorful birds from her hand. It seemed like it was a metaphor for all the imagination that her music takes to produce. Read More

The Host of KMB, Factor, looked absolutely dashing in a chic blazer and supplied all the candy and discounted drinks the crowd needed to reach a fever pitch. His DJ was on point, as well, adroitly spinning the heady house beats the club is known for. Meanwhile, beautiful blonde NLM PR girl Baby Blue handed out custom Juju swag in crimson-and-gold gift bags, along with tickets for a prize drawing, to hordes of exciting attendees.

The mona of the hour was of course Juju, who came correct in a stunningly brilliant white diamond weave dress and a fur collared black coat. Every step she took seemed hypnotic. She joked easily with her close friends in attendance, the picture of desirability. She even stopped to tell me what I great job I was doing as I took notes.

Her awe-inspiring performance simply enthralled the crowd, who reached up as if to touch her. After she sang, an NLM representative presented her with what I�m told is the first vinyl pressed copy of her album, The Anti, in a charming display case.

Everyone on SIC took note as Baby Blue announced that one lucky ticket holder would be winning a hundred thousand chyen. There was mixed applause and grief when NeoTrans Senior Transit Guard Icarus Carrera was announced as the winner, with some happily congratulating him and others cursing their luck.

It�s quite clear to this reporter that with the launch of her album and the prestige of her release event, Juju has really arrived as a star, and it was an amazing party to be part of.

Into the Dark with Guts Smith

Guts Brings Justice to a Bringer and Truth to You

"Shit's gone off the rails. More than I can explain in a note." were the first words of the note I found on my nightstand the morning of the 4th of December.

That woke me up real quick. I glanced at my fianc�e, sleeping fitfully, and stood up from the side of the bed to keep reading while I got myself ready for a full day.

"You'll find Claudia and Biagio Spears, her a mechanic working in the Red sector and him a WCS disposal technician, in the living room."

Wait, in our living room? I had to do a double take at that line. What were they doing here? I set the note down on the edge of the bed while I got my clothes.

"Their daughter, Margarete, betrayed them. Read More

The manager of a strip club in Red almost died last night."

My heart tried to open up and read between the lines. There was the terrible sadness, but also something else. The note smelled of anxiousness. Was there something bigger here? I dressed up with casual attire.

"It's all this Bringer cult. A creature, Father Lux, he's eating people. He ate Claudia last night. The Preacher tried to fight him."

Terror grabbed at my limbs and held them still. I had to read that a couple of times for it to register. My mind raced, going in circles. My job. It was my duty to investigate this. And the first lead was in the other room. I smoothed my hands down my clothes and picked up the note, walking towards the door.

"Just be careful and don't trust anyone."

My senses came back to Earth and the words' rationality cooled my mind. I drew a deep sigh. I set the note down and walked through that door.

On my couch, the two figures were asleep, spooning; the smaller, female figure stirring fitfully. He was a middle aged man on the stocky side, dressed in a combination of outlet store clothes and custom made duds, the kind you would save up for from your neighborhood amateur tailor. But as I drew closer, what shook me was his right eye, a horribly disfigured gory mess. Part of his ear looked blown clean off.

Shock shuddered through my body, but I leaned in closer to see what I was dealing with. Deep gouges, clean cuts, destroyed eye. It must have been some very sharp blades. I seemed to vaguely remember that Lux used fingerblades. I forced myself to look at the other person.

She was under five feet tall with long black hair, wearing thrift store rags and Du-Wear. Her hands looked ravaged by hard work.

Sympathy settled in my bones for the couple. Feeling as though I was intruding upon their privacy, I leaned back and walked to sit close by, waiting for them to wake up.

It was about 9:00AM when Claudia finally woke up. She turned around in Biagio's grasp and sat up, meeting my gaze. "Faafetai." she said timidly. Samoan. Thank you. "For letting us stay here."

I felt slightly tense. My urge was to tell her that this was none of my initiative nor had I given my consent. But I could tell she needed a friend and I needed information. "You've been through hell. Please tell me what happened."

"I have no memory of it." she said. "But Biagio tell me dat Margy betray us, and take us to Bringers. And dat dey�" she seemed to have difficulty getting the words out. "... dey eat me." Tears welled in her eyes and she closed them. "My Margy. I love her so much."

A knot drew up in my neck and I could feel my eyes glimmering for the woman. I swallowed and licked my lips, taking a sip of water and offering a second glass I prepared for her. "Did she change noticeably in recent times? Her behavior. Her appearance." I asked calmly.

"I... I not know. I... I wake up in vat. I get another clone. And den I wake up in vat again. Like no time had passed. Dat all I remember. Dey tell me I lose two weeks." she managed. "She be having problems since she lose her baby. She pregnant. Preacher man shoot her. Father was Gabi. He work at Red's. He bartender." She wiped her face but couldn't keep up with her tears.

With each unfortunate disaster that struck this poor woman's family, my heart ached more and more for this woman and I found myself leaning in, sympathizing deeply with this poor working mother. I set my glass down, stood up, walked slowly closer, and crouched near her.

She shied away from my slow touch, then leaned into it, crying harder.

I was almost crying with her inside, but I steeled myself. I knelt closer to wrap my arms around her.

She shook and curled up, making herself small. She whimpered with the incredible pain of her heartbreak, muttering words of lament in Samoan.

I could feel her weakness and depression. I moved closer and held her tightly, rubbed her back, stroked her hair. "Shhh�" I did everything I could to be there while she faced her inconsolable suffering. I offered her a meal and a shower. I did her hair into braids to distract her. She had never seen snow before, being an immigrant from warmer climates, so I took her to the balcony.

Eventually her man woke up and joined us. I let them curl up together. He told me their daughter was a nurse. That she must have been looking for some sort of salvation behind their backs. He said she'd started bringing bodies to the cathedral.

Their vibes were so bizarre, hearing how nonchalant they were about their daughter dragging around bodies. I reminded myself they were from another world, and they didn't belong here. I needed to get what information I could while they were there.

"Last night she was falling apart at the seams, we was watching the snow from the top of Ashlin mall." he recounted. Claudia looked sadly at the snow. It was technically the second time she'd seen it, but the first she would remember. "And she tells me she led this poor son of a bitch to his death. Led him to a Father with yellow eyes who ate him. And then she led Claudia and I to him, and she -fed- Claudia to him. He looked ancient, with black burned skin, NailZ, and yellow eyes. Father Lux. Father Lux." he repeated solemnly. "He ate her. I saw the remains, after he was-- done. My heart stopped beating for a few minutes. I tried to shoot him. He didn't want me, he wanted her. I'm past my expiration date. She was fresh. His words." He let out a pained sigh.

Shivers ran down my spine and I tensed with horror, bile rising to my throat at the thought of the disgusting monster. My hand came to my mouth and I took deep breaths to calm my reaction to the story to remember the details well and take careful notes.

An AV hovered by the balcony and noticed the two individuals who didn't belong in my calm residential complex, reporting them over SIC. They fled and with them my only lead at the time. No more information, just a witness account that opened more questions than it answered.

I was left feeling sad about what happened to them but glad I didn't have to host them for long. Everyone should know where they fit in and I believe the Spears family ultimately makes the choice of living in Red consciously, disagreeing with the corporate way of life.

Either way, I had to find out more so that Justice could be applied and everyone would know the Truth about the horrors of Red, helping corporate citizens appreciate what we have here and not romanticize that terrible sector.

I was grasping at straws. I needed to investigate the scene, which was going to be very dangerous, and to fill in the missing gap, Margarete's view. But how to find this potentially dangerous and unstable woman, much less get something coherent out of her?

No, it was clear to me that she was shrewd and dangerous. I'd been repeatedly warned about her and I had a clear idea of what could happen to me if I pressed on.

But I was a journalist. I had to be professional, and my the risk in my job was implicit. I had to take action before more killings happened. It was the only just thing to do.

A sense of clarity struck me. I thought back to our amazing Justice Force, and how they would want to know more too. I contacted them and explained the article I was working on for the Globe.

They replied with knowledge of the disgusting event and one of their Magistrate Street Judges, Amon Janz, contacted me and offered a chance at meeting Margarete Spears.

A bolt of raw adrenaline shot through my veins. I impulsively accepted, and my rational mind followed through with setting everything up with the Judge, eager to take my chances, despite not knowing how dangerous she was and how efficient this woman might have been at what she did.

The 5th of December was when Magistrate Street Judge Amon Janz went above and beyond the call of duty. Something had happened and Margarete Spears had woken up at Genetek before an unknown perp attempted to drag her through the sewers to the Red sector.

Judge Janz gave chase and valiantly fought the would be kidnapper, giving Margarete a chance to escape to the Hall of Justice where she received medical attention.

Meanwhile, trying to neutralize the suspect, he died after four to six shots of his opponent's firearm.

His courageous sacrifice of a clone for the sake of Law and Order is commendable and I think I speak in the name of many people when I salute him for his unflinching dedication to the Force and protecting the upper sectors from the chaos that would flood in would the Judges let any illegal activities slip by in the Gold sector.

I was worried that this would lose my chance at getting to the bottom of this considering the grave danger it posed to Justice Force personnel to be involved in this.  Quite the opposite, it turned out to be key to driving forward the need to investigate. On the 6th of December, the Judge contacted me again.

"I am going to get Spears in custody as soon as she's on SIC again. Understanding the motives behind her actions may be key to getting an idea of who was my murderer. I want you to try to get her to speak on that and what do Lux or Cosmo Thorsday have to do with it, since they appear to be the leaders of the cult and the ones who gave the order to Margarete to make the trap."

Excited to be of service in the investigation, I instantly agreed and prepared myself for the interview.

It was 3:30PM when the Judge called me to the Hall. I hurried there as fast as I could, to find Judge Janz and a woman waiting for me in the lobby.

Clad in tactical armor, the Judge looked tall and strong, his large jade green eyes and Western features pristine, his appearance at once military and executive.

The woman, Margarete, looked small and Asian. She wore a dark coat and boots.

The Judge led us to the interrogation room and told me the signal I would make to end the encounter.

The quietness of the room struck me as I moved to one end of the table, setting down my equipment. I greeted Margarete, trying to establish rapport with her.

Margarete offered a tight smile as she replied, gaze moving to the camera for a while before returning to me.

It felt fake and I could feel my eyes offering a sympathetic look to let her know of that. "What's your stand on Claudia and Biagio, right now?" I asked.

Margarete said, "I have hurt them very much." Her voice was soft and shaky.

It surprised me. She sounded genuinely remorseful. I told her, "Sounds like you still care. I want to help you. Do you want a chance to explain?"

Margarete said, "Yes, if you would give me it."

I started feeling genuine sympathy. The rapport approach was going to be the most effective in extracting information. "That's what I'm here for. My heart and ears are yours." I assured her.

She started, "First off, I'd like to say I regret everything I've done. But I suppose that means little. The fact is that bad things happened, I was shot...And it ruined me. So I started...hearing things. And sadly, I wasn't smart enough to get treatment for these voices. Therefore, I was...I believed in what a man told me, that if I helped him he would help me...But I was wrong, a fool blinded by grief. I hurt...everyone who is dear to me. I'm a bad person. And I deserve everything that is coming for me."

It shocked me, how someone who could be so conscious of their actions could have done what she did. I remarked, "You sound like you feel extremely guilty."

She stated, "Doesn't matter. It's moot. Too late."

I definitely disagreed with her on that. I tried to form my knee jerk reaction to say something into a more constructive phrase. "It's never too late. Tell me what happened, from the beginning. Gabi."

Margarete said, "I was with him. The Preacher killed our child. I lost it. For a week. Couldn't even talk. Function."

It still felt painful to hear that. I thought we'd both need some sort of explanation of how that could have possibly happened. I asked, "Do you know why?"

She glared at me. "Why a man with a gun shoots someone? There's a hundred reasons.." she looked back at the ground. "I started hearing voices� That's when it started. Voices tell me to go pray at the church. I went..every now and then..one day there were bodies...lots of them...."

I felt bad for putting that question earlier and bit my lip. My head bobbed to show her that I was giving her all my attention. "That must have been extremely distressing."

"It was terrible� I walked out of the church..and he was there..he said he could give me favor...I thought...he meant.. Maybe, when I died, I could see my mother, my daughter. So...I ended up...bringing my friends when I went to pray...and they...got really hurt. I hurt my closest friends..." she mourned.

It felt like she was genuinely remorseful. I wanted her to know becoming something better is possible in our city. "You're having a very empathetic reaction. t's not too late, Margarete."

She pleaded weakly, "Stop..acting like that matters..please... Please. I beg you. Nobody is going to want me near them again, I'm...I'm a psycho� Please."

There was no way I could force her to think like me. I wasn't in her shoes. "I can't imagine how you must feel right now."


There was part of her that knew she's capable of more. I encouraged her. "That's more than could be said of a psycho."

Margarete said, "The little wins...I guess. After that Sunday. I have been hiding. Slowly...coming to terms...reading..about all of this..terrible stuff."

I was getting closer to her real self, closer to the truth and to maybe encourage this woman to seek a better life. "You can help us make sure nobody is tricked like that again, Margarete."

"I'm trying.." she murmured.

She was admitting it too. I moved your hand to Margarete's back softly. "You're doing an amazing job."

Margarete said, "I don't want to be this anymore....I never did� I plan on getting...help...I swear I do. I miss everyone so much...."

She was right there, I could see her thinking more clearly and expressing her emotions. I remembered my discussion with her parents. "They miss the Margarete they love too. I guarantee it."

Margarete asks, "R-Really?"

I said, "You have no idea how much they want her back."

She looked encouraged and tried to figure out what else she could share. "There's...not much else to say..I tried to die so I'd forget about all of this...but they cloned my corpse� All that...just for nothing.. All of this...For what...Nothing."

I could feel her fatalism settling in and shook my head vigorously. "No. Not nothing."

"Then for what..?"

I had to remind her what we were there for and prodded the table with my pointer finger. "You have something no one else has. First hand information on the Darks."

Margarete said, "It's...it was too high a price to pay...but...ok...."

I knew she had endured way too much. But there was no turning back time and we needed to stop this from going on. "The little wins, Margarete. Help me understand Lux and his cult."

Margarete said, "There's...twelve of them...I think...I was going to be the thirteenth...They..it's not for some sort of...higher power..as I understand it..Lux..grants his servants...one material wish when they bring people to him� They say he..Lux is some sort of..failed experiment, that he crawled out of a furnace, that he just doesn't stay dead� My friend said...I was..brainwashed...somehow� His servants...they're strong...extremely strong� They...seem to know everything...He seems to..know everything I feel...." She looked over her shoulder warily.

Fear was trying to shudder its way down my spine but I straightened my back and looked at Margarete squarely, trying to catch her eye. "This room is about as safe as it gets."

Margarete said, "It's no good...my voices still talk to me here� It won't matter soon."

Her words weren't helping me feel good about our chances of stopping these madmen. "Why, why won't it matter?"

"They'll eat me for this, when they find out...they might even know now..who knows...I'm..I don't mean to be selfish..I know I deserve it. The Dark lives in the church. There's only one, it's him." she said.

It felt like she was at once fearful, guilty and sacrificing herself in her mind for the greater good. Perhaps once her head cleared it would help her feel better about herself. For now I needed her to keep talking. "The Temple on South Tamiya."

Margarete said, "Yes. Fighting him is useless, he just gets back up...He doesn't feel like a person anymore. He's..he's an animal."

I didn't like her fatalism one bit. It was getting hard to make her talk and it was time to take charge of the topic."What's inside the Temple, Margarete?"

Margarete said, "I don't know...only a place where he put me...but he doesn't live there, it's just large, empty rooms...I suspect...he eats people in another room...but again. It's suicide to go down there, to go after him. Cause by the time enough people are there, it won't just be him."

That wasn't true, to me. I remembered vaguely how he had been slowed down by concerted efforts by gang members before. "He was taken down before."

"His servants will be there... They're not..people they're..they're monsters." she tried to convince me.

I wasn't going to let her decide that, "If you can tell us more about them, we can start assembling a portfolio. So, Lux is the Dark, is that right?"

Margarete said, "Yes."

I said, "And you were talking about a blue eyed blonde..."

Margarete said, "Huge man..with a fake eye and a gun."

I asked, "Is this the one that attempted to drag you away from Genetek?"

Margarete said, "Yes."

I asked, "A huge man, blue eyes, blonde, fake eye. Did you ever get names?"

Margarete said, "No...I didn't...I swear it...I -fucking- swear it� Nobody believes me when I say that..."

I felt pity for her, a dreadful feeling in the back of my throat. I swallowed and reassured her, "I believe you." I asked, "Lux, he's the thing in the worn habit with charred skin and yellowed eyes, isn't he?"

Margarete said, "Yes."

I remembered the stories and the wounds I'd seen on Biagio, "He uses fingerblades."

Margarete said, "His skin grows..weird when he fights..."

I asked, "How does it grow?"

Margarete said, "Like huge goose bumps...gray.."

That made a sinking feeling settle in my abdomen. He was starting to sound less and less human and more like some rogue biomechanical. I asked, "What would you describe him as, in one word?"

Margarete said, "Angry. At the world. He reminded me of those fire and brimstone type stories. The ones that say if you aren't good you go to hell....ancient...that's the closet thing I'd put it too.. Fire and brimstone." She was starting to speak less clearly and to stare into space.

I was afraid I was losing her and about to have another lead escape me, "And the huge man with the fake eye, he is a Bringer. Can you recall what his firearm looked or sounded like?"

Margarete said, "Silver...maybe...nine millimeters...I'm sorry, I don't really understand guns."

I said, "What is this fake eye like? You make it sound like it's not your typical chrome or biomod."

Margarete said, "Oh..sorry. No..it was just regular chrome..."

I asked, "SaedorKrupp?"

She nodded.

I was having to get every word out of her manually, she was turning preverbal. "Stamped, not color then?"

Margarete said, "Stamped. I feel like there's a joke...somewhere in there. Am I doing ok?"

Her humor was very reassuring. I was going to get everything I needed. I took the queue to encourage her. "You're doing incredibly well. I'm very proud of you. Did you see any other visible chrome?"

"No..I promise." she said.

"I'm sure you'd have noticed. One more thing. Lux. Does he strike you as... more machine than man?" my eyes squinted briefly in hesitation.

Margarete said, "Yes. Easily..."

Satisfied, I nodded and focused on examining her state for a moment, assessing her readiness before moving on to the next subject. "I avoided one topic. Your close encounter with death."

Margarete said, "I've..never been brave enough to kill myself..but I can only imagine people wanted to hurt me for..the terrible things I've done...So...I just...gave myself to themselves...When I woke up..the man who was dragging me said a man killed me� He said they were old?"

I felt startled and I remembered Biagio's feelings towards her about two days ago. I had my suspicions but ultimately it wasn't going to be too important. I looked at Margarete and tried to close on a good note. "You're an amazing girl, Margarete. I think we just about covered everything."

"I don't feel very.." she looked away.

That pity was still in my throat. I knew her destiny was in her own hands but some encouragement might god a long way. "I promise it gets better. Thank you for your invaluable cooperation. You'll keep us posted if you think of anything else?" I made the signal to end the interview

She said, "Ok." and gave me her contact details.

"Take care of yourself, Margarete. See that therapist."

We were escorted out by the Judge, who thanked me for getting all of that lucrative information out. We were getting closer to forming a solid case against the man who had killed a Judge and escaped. We knew what he looked like and we had an insider look into his organization.

My original objective was to gain a comprehensive understanding of the story for the goal of writing a large article on the subject and send it to my editor for publishing in the Globe. My intentions had since included more, given the special nature of this case, the exceptional importance of ensuring Justice prevails and the sensitive nature and risk associated with the information gathered.

By now I'd taken detailed notes and eye-witness accounts, I was in contact with Margarete by SIC and phone, and telling her of my new intentions encouraged her to give me more information that could aid the Force.

I kept them up to date and inquired on how the case was progressing with their public relations. They told me having all of this disparate information wasn't enough, that somebody had to assemble a report on the whole matter for a consortium of Staff Judges to review.

They gave me a declassified, censored report on a previous instance of a Bringer incursion into the Gold sector, threatening the peacefulness of corporate life. It said that Citizen Cosmo Thorsday was identified as being a Harbringer of Death, an associate of the Bringers, who was actively assaulting Citizens in the Red sector with a firearm.

On the tenth of June, he was hunting people in the Gold sector, and the Justice Force bravely punished him for his crimes before he could commit more murders.
Feeling my duty to my city of birth and the corporate medium that makes our lifestyle possible, I realized I was the one who had stuck their nose into the matter the most, who had the best notes and eyewitness testimony transcripts. I locked myself in, leaving only to go to the Archives and look up the proper writing technique to assemble a field report in six parts, including an introduction of the issue, a description of what I did, my analysis, my recommendations, a full transcript of my interviews and a list of Grid references.

All in all, it was 3,700 words. 3,700 words that demonstrate the presence of a secret cult made up of dangerous individuals who lure people to their deaths at the chrome claws of Lux; cannibal, monster, devil. Combined with the numerous testimonies and sightings findable on the SIN and Grid, we can paint a clear picture of them.

They might be twelve or they might be many more, but it's clear that they manipulate people in very vulnerable mindspaces with diabolical meticulousness such that later they might not even know how they were capable of doing what they did for Lux.

In exchange, they get favors from the nigh-invincible biomechanical monstrosity, who allows his minions to believe he can fix their problems while he only rewards them in ways that dig their hole deeper in with the cult.

As long as we don't let ourselves be lured into the Red sector for any reason at all, I believe most corporate citizens are perfectly safe from this threat. I trust in the Justice Force to take strong action to stop any incursion into the Gold sector from happening again, not to mention make it clear that nobody can get away with murdering a Judge.

With the help of my report, a solid case has been established against Citizen Cosmo Thorsday, who now has a 100,000c bounty on the WJF Most Wanted Board. To recap, he is a hulking blue-eyed man with blonde hair, last known to have an SK cybereye and carry a small firearm. He has been taken down before by small groups in the Red sector and through concerted fire by the WJF.

Meanwhile the 'Lux' creature is also at large but its activities have so far been confined to the Red sector. Yet there are rumors that it has been captured before by large gangs.

I hope that this reminds us all of the terrible dangers and horrors of the Red sector and the incredible privilege we have as corporate citizens to be protected from that madness by Withmore's Finest.

I would not wish upon anyone to have to live in the 'Mix', but it is up to each individual to decide how they will act. Where they will fit in. The resources at our disposal give us the tools to improve our lives on a level unprecedented in human history. There are incredible educational instruments and an expertly orchestrated environment that rewards hard work and dedication to our corporate values.

So take charge of your life and make it better for you and your loved ones. Don't compromise your integrity or capital, whether emotional or financial or personal, for any reason at all. The corporations enable us all to live happier and more satisfying and productive lives.

Withmore for Corporate Citizens. That should be our doctrine.

When the Mix Crawls into Gold

Junkie Found Dead. Written by Guts Smith

On December the 18th, our dear Gold sector was the site of a rather unsavory incident. I was walking down the glorious New Light avenue among the pleasant rush of my fellow corporate citizens, armed with their respective tools of trade, when I saw a commotion nearby the mag-lev station, the closest one to the Red sector.

Immediately feeling that wariness that envelops one upon approaching a large group of anxious people gathered in a circle, I tried to see over them by stretching on my toes before deciding to make my way through. "Guts Smith, Withmore Globe. I'm a journalist."

My fellow citizens were extremely helpful and parted so that I could get a clearer picture of what was going on. Read More

The first thing that I saw on the ground was a limp hand poking from underneath a body cover before the forensics expert tucked it underneath, the evidence and photos efficiently catalogued by the WJF personnel and a Judge instructing people to keep moving and clear the area. I had stumbled upon a crime scene.

Shocked to find such a sight at the heart of the Gold sector without sensing much buzz on the SIC about it, I gave my credentials to the Judge's colleague hoping that he would help me for the sake of informing the citizens of Withmore and calming their disquiet.

He was extremely professional and cooperative and explained the situation. "A mixer who couldn't take things in moderation got their mind cooked on addictive substances," he explained. Drugs. "They were found dead on the street. Presumably, they had been stoned out of their minds."

I felt disgust coat the back of my throat as I listened and a shiver crawl down my spine at the thought of what an irresponsibly large amount of chemicals they must have self-administered. I glanced at the covered body. "Can I take a look?" I asked.

The Judge nodded and made a sign for me to pass as he kept other curious citizens from following. "It's Guts. You can read about it in the Globe. Obey the Law." he instructed. WCS was pulling in and just about ready to take the corpse before the forensics specialists let me see the fresh body.

She looked like she could almost still be alive, her skin tone identifying her as Latin American, getting paler and paler and starting to form repulsive blotches of purplish colors. With a petite build and standing about five feet tall, the covering had been oversized for her. She stared out into space with eyes that seemed to shift color as I moved.

Bile rose up towards my throat in protest at the view of the corpse. I swallowed and took a deep breath, determined to see what I could gather about who they had been. As I looked into her eyes from dead-on I could tell they were hazel. I glanced at the woman crouched beside me and she nodded as I reached out to close her eyes, unable to contain my sympathy for the dead. As I did, my eyes were caught by the color on her neck. A reaper was tattooed on it.

The symbol of death. They must have been familiar with it. Perhaps they were a worshipper of Santa Muerte, 'Our Lady of the Holy Death'. Perhaps she had worked in one of the cemeteries in the Red sector. Or maybe she was a killer. Whatever the case, what she had seen with those eyes had led her to deadly substance abuse.

Those memories will be lost in time. We can only imagine the unbelievable horrors she might have witnessed. Gangers slaughtering each other in the street. Junkies injecting drugs into each others' stumps. Muggings and indiscriminate murders. Or maybe the terror of the victims she herself made down there.

I thanked everyone who had helped me and walked away from the scene to the sound of revving engines as the corpse was taken by WCS, grateful that I could only imagine, that I would never have to see those things, experience those unspeakable terrors on my own skin, thanks to the valiant work of the Withmore Justice Force and the incredible service the corporations do us by making our peaceful, productive lifestyles possible.

The scene was cleaned up within moments such that you could never tell anything like that ever happened there, but those memories will always remain in my heart. And now they're transmitted to yours. Guard them well and remember how lucky you are. Don't squander it away by not knowing how to take things in moderacy.

(Edited by NewsDesk at 6:32 am on Jan. 7, 2102)

With Your Head in the Clouds and Your Feet on the Ground

Written with Pleasure by Guts Smith

You can ask any honest corporate worker and they'll tell you career advancement stands at the heart of their life, defining who they work with, how much buying power they have, how much control they have over their work schedule and the meaningfulness behind what they do. In short, it provides the basis for what lifestyle they can afford not just because of money but also based on the time and effort they have available.
A better job means more ability to get the things you want and live your life the way you want. Read More

We all have limited resources but we all want to continuously improve our situations.

One common mistake that young people tend to make is thinking that wanting is enough.

This can give more experienced people an impression of a sense of self-entitlement. The manager of Chex Taxis, Mac (who goes by ChexMac on SIC) has a representative reaction to that kind of behavior.

'You fuckers think you deserve everything. Just handed to you! That's what's wrong with this generation. With your... participation trophies and your Progia-13s with texting! Sickens me!'

So how can our young corporate citizens acquire the aptitudes they need to make it in life, especially as the security, both financial and physical, they receive during their upbringing can leave them unprepared to pass through the difficult period of adolescence, when young men and women need to learn to master themselves and not act to the whims of their emotions?

By instilling good morals with fine role models and going a step further and analyzing what those models could have done better so that they themselves don't have to repeat those mistakes.

These can be parents, acquaintances, friends. But it's not always simple finding an appropriate role model in life. Not everyone can meet successful people, sit them down and ask away at them for hours out of their busy schedule.

That's where I come in. Today, Monday, December 5th, 2101 I offer you an exclusive interview with one of the top professionals in my corporation, New Light Media Entertainment Group: Achava Stephens, who goes by Eight, his gridmail as the administrator of the Grid. Yes, the whole Grid.

I informed myself as to his identity through the corporate information resources at my disposal as an employee and sought him out over SIC.

'Hello, can I speak with you for a moment?' I prodded tentatively.

'Yes, go ahead.' was the brief reply.

I introduced myself and my intentions to write an article on him and his work.

'How would you like to conduct the interview?' he asked.

We settled for his office, and we met in NLM's ground floor elevator lobby.

His emerald eyes exuded experience. He was a fit man in his early forties, some grays mingling with his brown waves. His legs were bowed with the years of efforts he no doubt made to get to where he was.

He greeted me warmly, his muddy gaze gleaming nonetheless with passion for life.

I followed him into the elevator and to the fifth floor. The hallway was painted dark blue and very well lit. We stepped into the reception, a grey room with oak panelling and the large logo of NLM Gridworks engraved into the very carpet.

'Can I take photos?' I asked considerately.

'I can't have you take any photos of HQ or the Data Vault. Just my office and the lobby, really. I maybe could clear some items in HQ and then you could, but definitely not the Data Vault. Proprietary restrictions, I hope you understand.' he explained efficiently. 'Do you want to wait here while I check our HQ?'

I nodded. He raised a finger to tell me to wait a moment and went in, and I snapped some pictures of the reception and lobby until he returned.

As he verified himself to the iris scanner a second time, a chill ran over my skin and I immediately huddled my arms to myself for warmth. In the next room, cold components and cables were strewn about everywhere, nothing but a whiteboard and a wall safe furnishing the room otherwise.

'This is the HQ.' he explained, and I immediately understood this was a space for working professionals, utilitarian and arcane at the same time. He gave me the impression of a man who could instantly know where any given part was in what at first glance seemed like a complete mess of a room.

He typed a code into a door leading to the left and a light flashed green, indicating it was unlocked. I stepped closely behind him, trying to avoid crushing any expensive equipment between my feet.

'Nine will be in here.' he explained. That would be his manager, I presumed.

As we stepped into the next room, I could hear nothing but the whirring of computers and see nothing but immaculate server stacks, databanks, screens, consoles, holophones and a desk and chair in the center, neat stacks of papers at each corner and a computer at its center.

I noticed a man sitting at it, the marks of a sedentary lifestyle on his body, enveloped in a designer suit. I could only assume it was Nine, as I didn't want to bother him.

"This is the Data Vault." Eight explained.

I was in awe at the place. 'The heart of the Grid.' I muttered.

Eight pointed to a large screen, "We monitor everything here."

A live feed displayed everything going on online in real time.

'Incredible!' I exclaimed.

Eight demonstrated by accessing a page on the Grid and showing me the live feedback on the screen.

'Do you see actual gridmails?' I asked.

'No, just who sent them.' he said.

'Well, keep me posted if you see anything news worthy!' I said in my excitement as he led me out of the room.

'I can't. We try and respect citizen's privacy. Only the WJF receives information as is warranted.' he assured me.

I sighed, foiled from gaining access to every journalist's dream, omniscience over even a single aspect of people's lives. But I did have one thing to be grateful for.

'Not many people get to see the Data Vault.' Eight said, as though he could read my mind with his highly intelligent, confident gaze.

Finally we left the cold hub for another code locked door opposite from the first. We walked into a grey room like the reception except with carefully orchestrated lighting, providing minimum discomfort with maximum visibility for work on large, synth-slate desk in the center.

A green screen hovered above it, a highly modern terminal of user-friendly build, offering maximum compatibility with almost any device or software. But a glance at the user interface revealed it was heavily modified, offering all the amenities and efficiency required by a professional. According to experts, in the technical parlance such an operating system is described as 'grabbed by the balls'.

'Welcome to Gridworks.' Eight finally said.

'Thank you kindly for welcoming me here.' I nodded.

He smiled, 'You can sit behind the desk if you like, the chair is more comfortable.'

I gratefully took the seat, the sign in front of me saying 'network administrator's office'. I could feel tremors down my spine at the mere fantasy of sitting in the captain's chair. I cleared my throat and tried to compose myself, turning to the real administrator, sitting in the guest chair. It still felt surreal.

'You're Eight. What does that mean, what are the numbers for?' I asked, trying to break the ice.

'It's an alias, if another takes my role, they will take on the account and responsibilities.' he responded simply.

'Where are you originally from?' I wondered.

'I was born in the piney woods, east of the New Houston sprawl.' he answered unexpectedly. 'In a hospital, not the woods, to be clear.' His sense of humor was disarming.

'How was it like, there? Did you have access to tech?'

'Yes, there is tech everywhere.' he informed . 'Jobs were scarce though, my parents moved us to a shit hole in the hill country, the heart of the Lone Star Republic. It happened when I was pretty young, I suppose.'

He talked in a no-nonsense manner, without revealing much feeling. He compartmentalized his emotions like a professional.

'What education did you receive?' I thought was important to know.

'As a boy, I was educated within the local community schools covering basic subjects of study and particularly excelled in mathematics and science driven by a fascination with the ION projects.' he recounted.

I paused the subject to go on a tangent. "They failed in the inner ellipsis, didn't they? How did that affect you?"

'Failure hurts, but with a mind for science, you know you have to continue. I suppose I can't say I was distraught, in regards to the ION project, but it stung, you know?' he answered, expressing having an emotion for perhaps the first time after having been around each other for what felt like an hour. He was a serious man, not one to open up on the first date, so to speak.

'I certainly had my fair share of failure.' he assured poignantly. 'It was an illustration of wisdom over intelligence, to learn from other's failures as opposed to having the experience on your own, but I digress.' He had assumed the tangent as his own and was steering the conversation back on track efficiently.

'I left home to pursue an education in electro tech and security tech in New Houston, however I left after a year and a half studying once the food riots rippled through in 2076'' he told me.

'How did you come to move to Withmore?' I asked.

'You know there were advertisements showing the new dome of Withmore constantly presented there at the time.' he said, my memory aiding me in recollecting Withmore's advertisements of times long passed. "It reflected a dream life, plenty for everyone, jobs, homes, it was beautiful. I was looking for a change of pace, New Houston had seemed a giant separation of haves and have nots, you know?"

Perhaps he should have known you can never escape this reality.

"Anyhow, I decided to head west in hopes of a new beginning, traveling through the Lone Star Republic and the United States deserts on to the west coast in order to reach Withmore Hope Inc. I wanted that dream." he continued. I was sucked in and letting him tell me his story the way he wanted to, finally having cracked a bit of his clean, unmarred exterior, smooth and cold like the desk under my arms, to expose his human internals. "It took four miserable years doing odd jobs from one shitty sprawl to the next in order to get to that magical dome. I still had to eat, and thank God my mother was certain an education in electro tech was my means of being a valued able body."

'I was a matrix junkie, too. I didn't have any biomods to jack in, but I felt comfortable with headgear and deck in hand. I likely spent more flash on paid time in the matrix than I did for food and candy..." he added, helping paint a clearer picture of how he escaped such a tough life. I noticed he was showing more emotion, chuckling at his misfortune like a man who had learned to move on.

'Get this shit, when I finally get to dome, they closed the doors to immigration. This is my luck in a nutshell.' I knew I breached past his protective shell at the cuss word, and there was no turning back, his unadulterated stream of consciousness falling out. Pure sincerity.

"Crushed upon arriving and hearing the Dome has closed it's doors to immigrants, I fell into a deep depression and tried to drown my sorrows in booze and candy from peddlers, oh around 2080. Lost in the dark commerce and compromise of the badlands, which I am ill equipped to handle, I did find renewed hope after the Shock Security scandal and the transition of assets to the Justice Force." he recounted. 'I was trying to exploit the system with the transitions to get in, but to no avail. But it was something I had to hang on to. I was robbed, beaten and left for dead several times by the asshats out there. It was brutal.'

I grimaced sympathetically.

'I would work my ass off trying to get enough flash for the thought of getting smuggled in just to be robbed and begin the cycle anew. Like I said, I certainly knew failure.' he said.

Those last words ringed with me, repeated and underlined by him as they were. An echo, a unifying thread through his life that spoke of a deeper underlying truth, of resilience and hard work.

'Word in my small circles kept saying TekSoft was doing a re-release of the Matrix platform, I'm thinking this could be my in. I just need to tie in with TekSoft and possibly gain entry on a work permit'' Hope seemed to be close at hand, but then, 'As you likely know, that shit fell apart after the corporation is seized by the Corporate Council after some banking glitch.'

'I had pretty much hit rock bottom at this point. I was wasting away heading back the way I came. Around ninety-three there is word that the Corporate Council was changing their immigration policy'' he said, voice turning quieter, more solemn, rising and falling with his emotions. 'Fuck it, I fight my way back... again.'

'That persistent dream of this utopia within the dome was so strong. It was my drive. I wanted that.' he admitted. "I of course didn't have the flash for entry upon arrival, so I had to bite, scrape and steal my way to getting my hands on the chy.'

It was really brave of him to confess all of that.

A new page in his life turned when, 'I was able to legally enter the dome January thirteenth, twenty-one hundred, right into the red sector, naked as a jay bird. It was quite a shock from what I was expecting. A metric shit ton of people crammed in fighting over the same shit I saw in sprawl after sprawl.' Things still seemed grim.

"I did some work with Shinohara, I ran crates for Acme and slept in the tombs, nothing mind blowing there. I decided I needed to check this place out. I wandered the underdark in fear of dragons, I get mauled by fucking rats, and even took a few walks in the park before a dog tore me to shreds. I didn't have the flash to get a clone either. I was lucky an angel had pity on me, I suppose. After all that shit outside, a dog in the park, can you believe that?" he summarized, as though such shocking events were but footnotes in his long journey. 'I digress.' he brought himself back on track on his own again.

'I knew I needed to change my life. I had one strength, my mind.' he pointed to his head.

'"And what a strength it is." I thought to myself.

'I put together a resume on the grid, which I might add, I was crushed at the lack of matrix technology,' he said.

'Are you sure this is even what you want? I feel like I'm rambling.' he said, shocking me to my senses from my rapture.

'Absolutely, please tell me more.' I urged pleadingly. I needed to get the whole story.

He sighed as though to brace himself before continuing. 'I sent it to NLM for a junior position at Gridworks. I had an extensive background check before the interviewing process begins.'

He started telling me about his early career, 'I got on board under John Frijol Fackworth. The one and only.' The famous 'Jel', artist and digital expert extraordinaire, was familiar to me from his tours with neo-classical orchestras, his influential work of arts, and his famous career as a grid expert. 'He was Eight, then. He introduced me to Nine and showed me around the Data Vault.' I couldn't imagine how exciting that must have been.

'Although the grid was a far cry from the matrix, it had immense strengths.' he said. 'The security, in the right hands, of course, had advantages that the matrix couldn't match. I'm sure that's why it was in place in lieu of the matrix.'

'How did you feel about it, personally?' I asked, sneaking a word in almost unconsciously, sucked into the story of this collossal individual.

"To be honest, I hated it. I hated it so much. I had to work my ass off to be able to do something I could do in seconds before." he stated frankly. 'But therein lies the beauty. Even though the grid was meant to be an emergency backup platform, it was capable of handling billions of users, hundreds of trillions of nodes, allowing for SIC access to all forms of communication.'

He continued. 'Sure, it lacked the luster, but it was solid, stable and it worked. It was job security, my stairway to blue..." He trailed off. It was apparent where his ambitions lied. '...at least that's what I thought then.' he said softly.

'How hard was it to become the admin?' I asked, trying to uncover one thing at a time.

'I worked diligently for the last couple of years to be certain there are monthly patches to the Welcome node, I studied my skills, worked on corporate sales' It was work. It wasn't an easy path.' he admitted. A smile sneaked onto his visage as he hinted at the future of the network. 'Gridworks is working diligently to make changes that I believe everyone that touches a terminal will be pleased to witness and grow into. I can't provide any details or a timeline, but I can assure you, NLM Gridworks is pushing forward to better the digital lives of all citizens of Withmore.'

Modestly, he commented, 'I don't see how you find this interesting, I have to be the least interesting man in the world.'

'You're extremely intelligent and strong,' I admitted, balancing that with a sincere question, 'But how come you're not in Blue where you want to be?'

Was my question going to be too sudden, too forceful? It could have costed me the most important part.

'I allowed myself to be distracted.' he replied simply.

I got braver. 'Why would you do that?'

He stared off for a moment. 'When you love someone, you give all that you have away. You want them happy. You want them to be a success.'

Without having to know the details, I took exception to that. I know you can balance a healthy relationship with your career goals, as evidenced by countless people. So what was stopping him?

'You can't be successful for other people.' I posited, to begin.

'No, you can't.' he responded. I could feel him closing off, his responses becoming short and to the point. His mask returning.

'Love isn't about sacrificing your life and happiness. Nobody  wants that unless they're a narcissistic psycho.' I declared boldly.

'It wasn't a sacrifice of my life and happiness. I live on green, I still work here, I eat well.' he tried to reconcile.

"But you want more, don't you?" I asked hopefully.

'Everyone wants more.' he said, and I could feel a heavy silence punctuating that sentence, carving a gaping ravine between the two of us. We weren't going to agree on this point.

I thanked him profusely and sincerely for his time and we bid our farewells as he escorted me out of the Gridworks department to where I could walk to my own alone.

This example of a man who lived unimaginable misfortunes and difficulties to get to where he was showed me that potentially nothing can stop human willpower as long as that energy comes from within ourselves.

I am extremely proud of working under the same corporation as this incredible man.

There was nothing in this man's behavior or appearance that ever hinted at his troubled past, his manners well-bred and his fitting into the corporate world seamless if quiet.

But where he made his mistake that keeps him stagnating, in my opinion, is his misplaced, exaggerated selflessness towards the object of his affections. And there we should all take note to keep the capitalistic spirit close to our hearts and expect a fair exchange between our time and effort and those of others in order to keep our relationships healthy and balanced and lucrative for all parties involved.

That isn't cold, it's only natural and healthy.

I hope we can all learn to keep our eyes and ears open to understand what other people do right and where they are mistaken in order to improve our lives.

It's a responsibility to ourselves that takes acceptance of the consequences of our actions and fitting into the role of what we wish to achieve to a T, while also keeping in mind that life is nuanced and healthy courses of action must be taken which don't mean compromising our success in the least.

That is just the complex reality we must accept and adapt to in order to live happy, fulfilling lives.

(Edited by NewsDesk at 3:38 am on Dec. 14, 2101)

Life is Good for the Hard Workers on Green

Written with pleasure by Guts Smith

After the dangerous incursion into the Red sector, I heard the Preacher tried to kill Lux, firing a whole clip of his high caliber pistol and missing every time.

To get over my shock and anxiety at the lower sector and try to forget about the ongoing battle between monsters below our feet, what better way to bring things into perspective than focus back on home?

I decided to interview a shining example of a hard-working corporate citizen.

Mignon Platt, a medic at a high quality clinic on Green that only receives corporate patients agreed to cooperate with me on this project. Read More

The woman I met was a beautiful, young blonde with blue eyes, a classical, pure kind of beauty showcasing the most tasteful choice of biomods from Cordoba Wellness Home in the Cordoba Mall. Settling down for some tea with her, she told me about her life.

�Where are you from?� I asked to kick things off.

�I was born and brought up on a small island north of Scotland.� she replied.

�And where did you study?� I encouraged her.

�I studied at Edinburgh university for six years to get my Doctorate in bio chemistry.� she said.

�And before coming to Withmore, where did you work?� I asked.

�I worked in a few research and clinical jobs in Scotland before coming here.� she told me.

�When you moved here, how did you get to where you are?� I questioned, seeing her modesty and quietude.

�I spent my first few weeks working my way to gold running crates and working for SHI. I left as soon as I could and got a job for Cafe bizou, worked there for a month then get my job at AWC where I�ve slowly progressed and earned my medical licence.� she explained.

�And how did you start at AWC?� I asked.

�I started as a Flight medic operating the [ambulance] AV and working long shifts.� she replied.

The more she talked, the more I understood that I had found the right person. Though I myself am a born and raised Withmore City Citizen, this was an individual the perhaps culturally confused immigrants coming from good, corporate backgrounds could relate to.

Many of them come to Withmore with thoughts such as �Everybody should get along.� and �As a doctor you are required to treat everyone.� as told by another medical professional immigrating to Withmore who goes by Konji. He�s learning fast and applying for topside clinics, and this interview is going to show why.

These beliefs, of course, stem from a misunderstanding of the Hippocratic Oath and an idealistic, naive view of the world we live in. As told by Grand Inquisitor Jack Anderson over public SIC, �No [the Hyppocratic Oath] doesn�t [mean you have to accept every patient and treat everyone equally].� You have the right to refuse a patient for any number of reasons.

I asked Dr. Platt what hers was. �As a reputable clinic we feel that the upper class citizens deserve a clinic that does not deal with mixer patients. As a doctor for AWC I feel the need to help the corporate class without the distraction of having to deal with the lowlifes and junkies from red.�

It is as simple as that. While they might have no hostility towards them, mixer patients do not belong there and would severely increase the risk of disease spread and crime.

Corporate citizens work hard to not have to deal with the Red sector or its denizens, and so should immigrants.

I decided to ask the Doctor about her living situation.

�I live alone in a well known corporate establishment. This is fairly near the clinic but I am hardly ever there.� She said.

�What are some of the benefits you enjoy to living and working in a corporate environment?� I asked.

�As a corporate citizen I feel the benefits of being able to sleep soundly in bed at night without the worry of being murdered." she stated frankly.

"That would be a different story if you lived and worked on Red." I mused.

"Sure there are nice mixers out there, but the problem is that the ones who aren't nice build up a bad reputation for them. I am glad I do not have to work with them.� she elaborated, citing she does not mean to be �derogatory� towards Red sector denizens nor to imply �hating the mix in any way.�

�What was your average work day when you first started the job?� I asked, moving away from the unpleasant topic to focus on her persona.

�As a flight medic my duty was to fly to the patients that needed my help. Where either I would haul them into the AV and perform a medical procedure to save their life, or they would walk in them self where again I would perform a medical procedure on them.� she explained.

And what about nowadays, after months of work and getting integrated into the local corporate culture?

�An average day for me involves my rounds in the morning where I go to the clinic to see if there has been any developments then I check up on our customers who need daily treatment. After that I usually take my first appointment which is almost always a check up. Throughout the day I will receive urgent calls from Gold Green or Blue and I will fly there as fast as I can to provide medical services.� she explained.

�How hard was it to get your license? What was it like?� I wondered.

�It was a long process to get my licence, to prove that I was qualified for it I had to work for AWC for just over 2 months. This made sense to me, I applied for my medical licence which was accepted by the judges of Withmore after an extensive interview.� she said.

�And how did this certification reflect on your career?� I pondered.

�This prompted my promotion to EMT in AWC.� she assured.

Seeing that the subject of work was drying out, I decided to ask one more question and then move on to more relaxing subjects. �What are your plans for the future?� I asked when I was sure of my question.

�My plans for the future is to keep gaining experience and reputation as a doctor.� she asserted. Career advancement seemed to be at the center of her life.

Cracking some light-hearted jokes about Christmas and sipping our hot tea over the increasing flow of snow falling outside the window, we transitioned to a lighter mood and I could see a glimpse of a more personal side of this reserved, productive citizen.

�What does a hardworking woman like you do in your free time? What social circles do you frequent?� I threw out casually.

The answer was surprisingly defining!

�Currently in my spare time I like to do research into genetic diseases, I read a lot of medical journals, When I'm not doing that I'm paying old arcade games or running with my dog. I tend to avoid social circles but if I'm seen anywhere it is usually at KMB with a glass of water.� she said with an air of complete sincerity as far as I could discern.

I thanked her for her time and decided to turn in and type up my article before sending it to the editor after a hard day�s work of my own, having enjoyed our discussion and feeling much more at ease but also having raised new questions and concerned for myself.

I was a little thrown back. Researching genetic diseases in one�s spare time? Perhaps one can find a real sense of accomplishment in their work that lets them enjoy it as much as geeky hobbies like playing vintage arcade games or playing with man�s best friend.

The lack of social circles, however, paints a worrying picture about the self-isolation of Green sector citizens. This proves a lack of a sense of security and of mutual acquaintance between these exemplars of labor and ethics.

This can lead to an increased risk of depression with all its scary consequences, as well as a vicious cycle of isolation and focusing on hard work that can lead to burnout.

Hopefully this will be improved in the near future through better separation of corporate citizens and the denizens of the lower sector, as well as policies to filter out Red sympathizers and uncivilized �Mixers� trying to worm their way into polite society and enforce their immoral behavior.

But, as the holidays approach and winter falls upon us, it is also important that we take positive action by not locking ourselves indoors, by organizing and attending festive events, taking some liberty -- or at least more than a doctor adamant about old school health traditions -- and enjoying some responsible alcohol and substance use to forget about our worries and trouble and sing and dance merrily as the year draws to a close and all our hard work pays off.

Those who are still afraid they can�t make friends who will gift them something too by Christmas fear not, as Santa�s �LilHelpr� has been spotted on SIC calling out for anyone wanting a gift! You too could be the recipient of one if you have it ready and in mind for when the LilHelpr appears on SIC!

Remember, don�t be selfish or you might be put on Santa�s naughty list! �Tis the season of giving! Happy Holidays, Withmore!

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