A loud ring woke Snow up. His heart beat fast as he bolted upright in his bed. Emilie shifted beside him but apparently not disturbed by the annoying sound. Snow grabbed a shirt sticking out of the laundry basket and went to the front door. He peered through the eyehole and cursed loud enough for the person on the other end to hear he also wished that he spent the time grabbing a pair of jeans. Snow reluctantly opened the door and there before him stood Darrian. She was dressed in her usual attire of jeans, a white undershirt and a maroon hoodie. Darrian immediately noticed that Snow wasn't wearing any pants.
"Where are they?" Darrian asked meaning Snow's pants.
"Back in my room," Snow muttered bitterly, "where I sleep during this type in the morning."
"Granted," Darrian said then asked if she could come in. Snow let out a defeated sigh and allowed her too.
"I'll be back," he said heading back to the room for pants. Darrian wondered into the living room looking around. By the time Snow came back he saw three handguns, two switchblades and a single fire bomb out on the coffee table.
"Whoa," Snow said now fully awake as he saw all his secret stash all out on the table.
"It's a violation of Section 267 sub section 2, paragraph d and subparagraph iii," Darrian responded.
"Thanks for the reminder," Snow snapped sarcastically.
"You shouldn't make it so obvious."
"Uh huh," Snow replied still wondering how she knew.
"I'm not here to tip you off about the weaponry-."
"I have permits for those."
Darrian was unconvinced but she let it go. "I'm here to talk about M346."
"Your friend, I believe that his name is John James Mace, correct?"
"You saw him yesterday."
"You gave me a Sunday school summary of whatever the fuck you guys are doing," Snow finished, "Yeah I remember now what of it?"
"I'm here to clarify the importance of why Pallan choose you."
Snow groaned and got up. Darrian rose too.
"Why can't you guys just leave me alone on that?" Snow asked. "Please I'm begging you just go."
"No," Darrian responded shortly, "there have been some problems with the Ghosts lately and we want you to help us."
"Look girly I'm not a lab coat alright? I'm actually far from it now please-."
"Why do you think Pallan hasn't arrested you yet?"
That made Snow stop, he turned to look at Darrian full on.
"We let you walk right out of that building, no one leaves the building without Pallan knowing and if they do they are arrested for breaking oath and thrown in prison for fifteen years."
Snow took a step towards Darrian. "Really?"
"The Ghosts have been acting up lately, already Pallan ordered thirty to death and that's just in one week. Something is wrong with the microchips."
"And if chips break…"
"They remember bits and pieces of their lives, we tested memory regain on a Ghost before and he only remembered up until his twenty first birthday."
"Is that so bad?"
"He was fifty-seven."
Darrian moved around the table. "Look the last time I checked the microchips they seemed to be responding well to the Links, now it only seems to be damaging them."
"I noticed another thing."
"You keep saying Pallan, why?"
Darrian's mask dropped briefly revealing a sign o guilt but the just as quickly it slipped back on.
"I actually quit the project three years ago."
Snow's eyes widened. "You what?"
"Human cloning could have been done generations ago, the only reason why they were so testy was because as you said earlier, the human conscious. So when I came along and developed an interest I created a microchip that would be connected to the brain in order to supress that conscious."
"And it worked."
"Obviously, once it did the human cloning was no longer in questioning and they first used inmates from maximum security prisons here on the ground, until MS-One was in building they looked at the inmates over there and started to pick and choose."
"Something happened," Snow guessed, "Something they did that you didn't like."
Darrian nodded and admitted, "My friend was the first one they tested from MS-One."
Snow didn't get it. "Wait…that's why you quit?"
"He was my link to the outside world when I was working. No he wasn't my boyfriend or anything like that, just a friend who was willing to take an hour out of his day to see me. But then…"
"He found out."
"And then he tried to kill me."
There was an awkward silence that filled the room.
"He tried to kill you," Snow repeated slowly in order to make sure he was hearing right. Darrian allowed the thought to sink into Snow and then replied, "He, like you, didn't agree with what I was doing and so decided that the only way to stop it was for me to die."
"Hey I don't agree with you but you don't see me tried to kill ya."
Darrian sighed. "Zak's father was another test subject, he was in a prison in Oregon, he was the fifteen subject coded E-443, he died because the microchip didn't clamp into the brain correctly and when we hooked him up to the Wires to see if we were getting any connection, his brain exploded."
Snow looked at Darrian as if she just grew two heads. "You guys are weird."
"Pallan just needs your help for a few days then you are done."
"If Pallan needs me then why doesn't that prick come see me at this hour of the morning?"
"He doesn't even know I'm here," Darrian said.
"That's not what I'm here to talk about though."
"No right…you're here to talk about Mace right?"
Snow paused. "He's what?"
"Pallan wants to get rid of him next because his microchip hasn't been responding to the Wires well."
Snow frowned. "He can't do that."
"He can Snow," Darrian reminded.
"How do we stop him?"
"I overheard him telling one of the Monitors that if you don't accept by tomorrow then he's going to kill him."
"If I do then he gets to live right?"
Snow pinched the bridge of his nose.
"Was he ever going to tell me this?" he asked.
"No," Darrian answered straight, "he was going to come to you tomorrow after M-346's expiry and try to blame the death on you."
"Probably hoping for me to kick his ass."
"I'm not sure of his motives but I'm positive that, that was not why he would do that."
"You don't know Pallan like I do girly."
Darrian's face darkened. "I do know Pallan Snow."
Snow perked. That was the first time he had ever heard Darrian say his name. He looked at Darrian who was holding out a piece of paper to him.
"Tomorrow ten in the morning," Darrian instructed and then took her leave. Snow looked down at the paper to see a number scribbled on it. As soon as the front door closed Emilie came from her hiding place.
"She can find your stash of weaponry but she can't detect me," Emilie commented looking at the door.
"I think she knew where you were but didn't really care," Snow replied still studying the number on the sheet. Emilie looked at Snow waiting for him to say something.
"I'm fine," he muttered however that wasn't the response that Emilie wanted.
"You know what I'm going to ask."
Snow sighed. "I'll call tomorrow and see what happens."
Snow stuffed the paper into his pant pocket, then collected the weapons on the table and placed them in their original hiding places before going back to bed with Emilie.
Outside, the air was cool and frosty. Darrian slipped behind one of the many alley ways and took out her Recorder. She warmed it up before pressing the power switch and the spoke the passlock. A screen came up in mid-air and Darrian tapped M346's profile page. Mace's profile came up on the screen and Darrian scrolled down to the bottom where it would tell her his current state now. His heart rate was good, and he seemed physically okay however his brain was giving off abnormal waves that made Darrian worried. She opened another screen and compared it to another Ghost who was completely normal in Sleep State. Darrian then shut down the Recorder and leaned up against the wall of the building. She knew what she had done was illegal and she could be thrown in prison, but in prison Pallan knew that Darrian wouldn't cooperate. She remembered all the early morning visits she gave to the past candidates for the same job but was turned down right at the door. Snow however allowed her to come in and explain what she had to. In her own terms, Darrian found Snow annoying yet interesting at the same time. She pushed herself from the wall and walked home.