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 a rogue element (prologue and chapter 1)

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PaulNat1
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Two Star Member


Number of posts : 51
Registration date : 2012-09-09

a rogue element (prologue and chapter 1) Empty
PostSubject: a rogue element (prologue and chapter 1)   a rogue element (prologue and chapter 1) EmptyWed Sep 26, 2012 6:22 am



Prologue
- An Execution And A Funeral











There is
an old saying that goes: “Be very careful with what you wish for or it will
come to pass.”


Tonight my wish is about to come
true – I am about to witness the execution of people I never stopped hating in
all my years as an employee at 'The Service Provider'. I know some bosses can
be bad but I never thought these people would be bad enough to receive capital
punishment.


As the clock ticks, the audience
around me waits anxiously for this cavernous gas chamber to be occupied by
tonight's convicts. Many of them are excited... though some of them cannot
overcome their grief for even the upcoming death of tonight's murderers cannot
bring back what was taken away.


“I wish time would fly fast,” the
man beside me says. “I want to watch them die now.”


“There's only thirty minutes left,”
I say to him. “Just hold on. It will pass.”


“Believe me, Son. Once those fools
die, I will finally be at peace.”


“Trust me. Everyone here wants it
more than anything else tonight.”


I don't know his story but it's
likely this man beside me has lost a loved one or two at the hands of tonight's
convicts. In fact, all the spectators at today's execution have lost loved ones
at the hands of tonight's convicts. And they are here to watch them die.


When the waiting time finally ends,
the audience goes quiet at their seats. A dozen handcuffed inmates – men and
women, former superiors and employees from The Service Provider – are brought
to the chamber by soldiers armed with silenced M4 assault rifles and silenced
MP5 submachine guns. The entrance to the chamber closes after the last member
of the convicted group steps in. The lights in the chamber are currently green.
When they turn red, their final suffering begins.


This gas chamber here has taken many
unholy lives ever since it was built in the 1960s. Most of those who died in it
were wanted criminals who spent the remainder of their lives running and hiding
from the authorities for their hideous crimes. Other means of capital
punishment were later implemented around the world namely the electric chair
and the lethal injection. But in this city, nothing satisfies a sadist more than
the good old gas chamber.


Tonight is actually my first time to
witness an execution. I look at the chamber's handcuffed occupants one-by-one,
recalling the many times they let me down after all the hard work I have
unwillingly done for them. Since I worked for them, I start to wonder if I
should be in that chamber as well.


The chamber's occupants look at us
through the air-tight glass window. As expected, most of them glare at the one
person who put them there. And that one person is me. I was their cause of bad
luck – the one who exposed their dark secrets.


The lights in the chamber finally
turn red and toxic gas is released within. Mixed emotions fill the atmosphere
as the chamber's occupants struggle for breath. Some members of the audience
cheer while others simply stay quiet and watch. Some of them even close their
eyes and pray.


After seeing enough of them
struggling hopelessly, I close my eyes and wait for it all to end. Several
minutes later, all is quiet... and I open my eyes so see the aftermath.


The lights in the chamber turn green
as exhaust fans suck away the toxic air. This time all the occupants within are
no longer moving and the people around me cheer as if their favorite basketball
team has won a championship game. Is it over? The wardens of this prison, Room
Of Hades, check each body for faint pulses. The soldiers aim their guns at the
bodies... just in case. It's over. All of them are pronounced dead. They are
later taken out of the chamber in black body bags.


Before leaving my seat, I close my
eyes and kiss the painful memories with them goodbye. It's time to move on and
to face a brighter tomorrow... a whole new life.








000








When the
authorities found him, it was too late. Like those before him, he was already
dying from overwork as a secret prisoner of The Service Provider. He worked so
hard as the company's ace data entry and processing operator when he was still
fully alive. When he realized that all his hardships never paid off, he made
the wise decision to file for resignation. But instead of allowing him to
leave, the bosses in the company secretly captured him and made him work as
their secret data processing slave. He was regarded as the most crucial asset
in the company and they didn't want his absence to cause problems or financial
losses. They wanted business to run smoothly... forever. They wanted the
profits to keep on growing. So they deprived him of his freedom to live. And
shortly before he was found half-dead at the basement level of the building,
they were about to do the same thing to me. With his body slowly falling apart,
they were going to replace him with me. But they failed.


Today he is about to be laid to
rest... at the bottom of the ocean, not at a cemetery. People who knew him say
he used to dream of lying down at the ocean floor, watching the sun and the sky
from down there. He used to love the feeling of being underwater because it
felt so calm and peaceful to him. And he was a big fan of dolphins and killer
whales.


Only close friends and relatives are
aboard this boat that is taking him to his final destination. Once in a while
they get up from their seats to see him in his open casket.


Although it's a depressing sight, it
lightens our hearts to see him wearing clothes he always preferred to wear. In
his casket, he is wearing a white long-sleeve T-shirt, khaki jeans and white
sneakers. Like me, he never liked wearing formal clothes in all his life so his
friends and loved ones took that into consideration before dressing him up.


The boat stops in the middle of
nowhere as the sun slowly brightens the night sky. All those present today rise
from their seats as Father Miguel proceeds with today's 6:00am holy mass. The
Church Community choir also sings a few praise songs – his favorite praise
songs. After all that, people volunteer to come forward and share their
memories with him.


At 7:30am, it's time to bid him
farewell. Most of the mourners let out excess tears as they watch his casket
being dipped into the water. As it sinks, the day gets brighter. The sun is up.
It's time for those he left behind to face a new life and a new day.


Before leaving, dozens of flowers
are tossed into the spot where the casket was released.


“Goodbye, Nate,” each of the
mourners say, weeping.


His name was 'Nate'. And he was
loved by many.


As the boat makes its way back to
shore, something fascinating happens. Several dolphins and killer whales swim
past us. They all appear to be swimming to the spot where Nate's casket sank.
Perhaps Nate was their friend so they are paying their respects.


“May his soul find peace,” Father
Miguel says. “Be it in Heaven or in this vast ocean.”


“Amen,” a mourner says.








000








It's my
final day at The Service Provider. The time is 7:30pm. All my personal
belongings have been loaded into my black backpack.


I'm probably the last person to
visit this deserted building. All the desktop computers used by employees are
gone now. The doors are no longer electronically locked so people can just walk
in and out of the building without using access cards. The servers that used to
occupy the basement are gone too. To keep it simple, all of the company's
assets were confiscated by the Lotus Club, an information technology
organization that's currently working for the Central Intelligence Agency in
America.


Everything happened so fast. When I
first joined the company, it took weeks for me to get used to the harsh
lifestyle. I had to sacrifice extra hours inputting data manually into a system
with a user-unfriendly interface. I worked so hard that my arms started aching
to the point of damaging my whole nervous system. And then things changed
somewhere along the way. With my background in computer programming, I was able
to improve the way I handle my job. In doing so, heavy workloads became a snap
and I became an irreplaceable asset to the company. However, I never expected
to fall victim to my own success. As the company gained big profits, the bosses
became ambitious and greedy and I became one of their pawns. They cared about
money more than the wellbeing of their employees. They were too blind to see
that people can't work at their full capacity all the time. They had no shame
in putting their employees through more hardships. A lot of insane things
happened before it finally came to an end.


Tonight is the last time I will
leave this building.


My cell phone rings while I’m in
deep thought. It's an incoming call from Walter, the Warfare family's
chauffeur. “Yes, Walter,” I say upon answering the call.


“I am waiting for you downstairs,
Sir Nathaniel.”


“Okay, I'll be there. And Walter?
Please address me as Nathan.”


“Very well, Sir.”


The night feels better than ever as
I leave with my backpack. It's time to kiss everything goodbye – my desk and
everything that goes with it.


At the ground floor, a black luxury
sedan is waiting with Walter leaving the rear door open for me. I occupy the
rear seat after loading my backpack into the trunk.


“You look so happy, Sir Nathan,”
Walter says as he drives through the evening traffic.


“I never felt this free in a while,”
I say. “I feel so refreshed.”


“So perhaps there's no need to drop
by a bar for a nice, cold drink?”


I laugh. “That's a good one,
Walter.”


“Then I shall take you home. Madam
Chloe is waiting for you. And there's a package waiting for you there.”


“A package? How big is it?”


“Not very big. They say it's the
size of two shoe boxes put together. It hasn't been opened yet.”


“I think we better call the bomb
squad to check it out. What do you say?”


Walter chuckles. “Sir Nathan, that
package came from outside the country. If it contained explosive material it
would never have reached your house. All packages are carefully and seriously
inspected these days.”


I let out a sigh of relief... for
now.





Upon
entering the house an angel welcomes me with open arms – my fiancee, Chloe
Warfare.


“How was your last day today?” she
asks me.


“It was my best day at work,” I say
before hugging and kissing her. A brown, sealed package at the dining table
catches my attention. “Is that the package Walter was talking about?” I ask.


“Yes. I haven't opened it yet
though.”


“Let's open it together, shall we?”


My heart starts to beat fast as we
open the box together. Deep inside I pray for forgiveness for all the
wrongdoings Chloe and I have committed in life. After removing the seal, we
finally open the lid. Time stands still. Nothing happens. I look inside the box
and find something buried under some thick plastic. It's a book entitled 'War
In The Office'. And its author's name is 'Nathaniel Pablo'.


“Oh, Honey, it's your book!” Chloe
happily says.


“Looks like I did it this time,” I
say.


The evening passes by as Chloe and I
turn off the lights for a nice candlelight dinner at the living room.


For a while I thought I received a
present from angry former co-workers or clients who want me dead for putting
The Service Provider out of business. Then again, the whole country is now on
the lookout for former Service Provider employees still at large. With
heightened security, it's not likely they'll go that far. Eventually they'll
stop running to face punishment for their crimes.








000








On a day
like today I would be at the office working my ass off. But with no job to
worry about, I am currently as free as the wind. Even with no superiors bossing
me around I'm still able to earn some money through my book sales.


Ever since my book got published
early this year it has been selling quite well. Surprisingly, several employers
are said to have grown afraid of their own staff after reading it. Perhaps my
writing has taught them how to reward their subordinates properly. They now
fear the possibility of having rogue staff in their ranks.


During working days, the malls are
less crowded. Parking spaces are abundant and it feels great to walk from shop
to shop without bumping into people you don't know.


As a fan of sneakers it has always
been my habit to drop by the sporting goods stores first. Today's lineup of
shoes looks nice but none of them are able to change my mind from buying what I
came for – a simple pair of white sneakers. After paying for my new shoes, I
check other shops for things that interest me.


For lunch, I choose to have a nice
salmon steak at the Ocean Blue Restaurant. Let's not forget the dessert from
Arctic Delights.


My body starts to grow weary as the
hours fly by. So before going home I finalize my shopping by purchasing a white
track suit with blue trims... as a tribute to a late, hard-working hero.





Chloe
and I have been together for quite some time now. As we got to know each other
better, the more we learned to trust each other... to the point of letting her
have her own key to my house, which doesn't have much furniture to boast about.
So whenever I come home from work, there's usually a high probability that she
would be there waiting for me after or while cooking a nice meal.


Tonight it's a little different.
Before entering the house I assume it's empty because the lights are off. As I
enter, the lights suddenly turn on and I am greeted by Chloe, her two brothers
and their girlfriends, and my close friends.


“Happy Birthday, Nathan!” they all
say.


The dining table is filled with
goodies. And one of these goodies is a nice, big, vanilla cake with “Happy
Birthday, Nathan” written in blue icing.


“Thanks, guys,” I say to them.
“Though it isn't my birthday until 12:00am.”


One of the funny facts about life is
that the more you have fun, the faster time flies. With everyone eating and
having a good time, it takes a while to realize it already 11:00pm. One more
hour and it's my actual birthday.


“So how does it feel to have one of
your wildest dreams come true?” Chloe's brother, Sandy, asks. “You always said
you wanted to be a writer.”


I'm currently seated at the couch at
the center of the living room so all attention is on me. “I should have started
this long back when I was still young,” I answer. “All that work and no play
took most of my valuable time away.”


They all laugh.


“Do your wounds still hurt?” Chloe's
other brother, Forrest, asks.


“Not as bad as the time when they
were fresh,” I answer.


They laugh again.


“So like what was your life really
like at The Service Provider?” my old friend, Patrick, asks. “Was it really
that bad?”


I take a deep breath before
answering. “Bad at first, better later, worse much later. It's quite a long
story though.”


“It's okay,” Matt says. “We have the
whole night to spare. Maybe you can mention things are are not written in your
book.”


A few hours fly by as I tell them
everything that happened in those years at a company infested with criminals...
and some lessons I have learned about life.






Chapter
1 – The Corporate Journey Begins











Five
years at the Waterfall City University flew by so fast.


On my first day in college, I was
just another college freshman lost in a campus full of strangers. I've met
friends, I've met foes... and I almost lost my ID card on the first day!


Today I'm a full-fledged Computer
Science graduate in formal clothes covered by a black graduation gown, waiting
for his diploma at today's graduation ceremony. It may be a happy time but
somehow I realize that my whole life in college wasn't that bad after all. I
may have gone through tough times but somehow it was those adrenaline rushes
that made me feel... alive.


In college, students are almost a
hundred percent free to choose what they want to do with their lives. It's
either they focus on their academic objectives or they give in to their desire
to have nothing but good times by dropping out, getting drunk or getting high
on drugs. Temptation is everywhere. If you're stupid enough to choose the wrong
group of friends, you end up wasting your chance for a bright future and your
parents' hard-earned money for school fees. Another important lesson I have
learned is that money doesn't fall from the sky. Parents work hard to pay their
children's school fees. Students who have the strong will to succeed make sure
their parents' efforts don't go in vain especially those dangling below the
poverty line who suffer financial problems all the time. To keep it simple, our
destinies depend on the choices we make. Be it wise or stupid.


As the graduation ceremony goes on,
mixed emotions fill the atmosphere. People are happy. Some are sad. However,
the most common emotion today is uncertainty. Once these students around me
walk out of the university's main gate, where will they go? What will they do?


“Nathaniel Pablo from the Fukuoka
Prefecture,” the guy at the podium finally announces.


Upon hearing my name, I leave my
seat and walk up the stage to collect my diploma from the dean and from the
university's president. As I return to my seat, students and parents can be
seen and heard weeping. Years of sacrifice are paying off today.


When the ceremony finally ends, we –
the graduates – toss our hats in the air and congratulate each other. But it's
not over. There is another ceremony to attend tonight.





My eyes
are closed as the 'big shots' of the Computer Science department give long
speeches on stage.


Unlike this morning's graduation
ceremony, which took place at the university's indoor sports court, tonight's
ceremony takes place at the main ballroom of the Palmer Hotel. Unlike this
morning's ceremony, we – the graduates – are free to wear whatever we want to
wear be it formal or casual clothes. And tonight's ceremony is for Computer
Science graduates only... though graduates are free to bring along guests.


Since we are free to wear whatever
we want to wear, I feel more comfortable now. Before attending this computer
science-only ceremony, I stopped by my apartment to change my clothes. So
instead of wearing formal, 'delicate' clothes, I am now wearing a black
long-sleeve T-shirt, khaki pants and white sneakers. And I like it this way.


After the long speeches, the
graduates anxiously wait as the awarding ceremony proceeds. As expected, Daniel
McAmbers receives most of the awards. And he entertains the audience with a
speech or two. But to everyone's surprise, this year's Thesis Leadership Award
goes to someone else.


“Tonight's Thesis Leadership Award
goes to...,” the guy at the podium says. “Nathaniel Pablo.”


Everyone gasps as they hear my name.


Shocked, I walk up the stage to
collect my award. In doing so, the dean requests me to give a speech to the
audience. I nervously step at the podium, ensuring that the microphone is
functioning. “Good evening,” I say. “I'm sure all of you never expected to see
me up here. I was ninety percent sure this award was reserved for Daniel.”


Daniel smiles at me and the crowd
laughs.


“Life can be full of surprises and
challenges,” I continue. “And perhaps a certain series of past events has
resulted in this. Ever since October 2001, I've had this bizarre theory that
better leaders are born from the failures and shortcomings of their
predecessors.”


Three familiar faces in the crowd
glare at me – faces that I have been in bad blood with since October 2001.


“I was once a member of a 'junior
thesis' group,” I continue. “I'm sure my former teammates – if you know them –
told some of you that they kicked a slacker out of their group before the final
defense on that semester. The slacker they were talking about is standing right
here in front of you.”


Everyone cheers in disbelief for
approximately ten seconds.


“But,” I continue. “I'm not here to
insult or ridicule my former teammates for kicking me out. They did the right
thing since I was so carefree then. They had good reasons to do that. I'm here
to personally thank them for pushing me this far... for unleashing my potential
to be a good leader for my team.” I look down at the three glaring faces.
“Thank you, Roxanne, Joan and Ronnie,” I say to them. “If Rhea where here I'd
be thanking her too.” I turn to my two thesis teammates in the crowd. “It was
fun, Dante, Venus,” I say to them, smiling. “It was fun.”


Everyone starts clapping as I walk
down the stage. Roxanne, Joan and Ronnie look hard at me as I return to my
seat. Did I shatter their pride? Are they planning to pound me for showing my
gratitude in a rather sarcastic way?


“That was a nice speech,” Dante
says.


“Thanks, Nathan,” Venus says. “You
really made my day.”


“It's sad we'll have to part after
this,” I say to them. “But as long as the Internet exists, we should always
keep in touch somehow.”


“We will,” Dante says.


Tonight's ceremony ends with a party
that lasts until 3:00am. Fortunately, Roxanne, Joan and Ronnie let me live...
for now, perhaps?





Okay,
let me back up a bit. The bad blood between me and those angry people at
tonight's graduation ceremony began in the first semester of 2001. At the
beginning of that semester, there was one subject that required students to
work as teams. That subject is known as 'Systems Analysis and Design'. Our task
for the whole semester was to write a whole document about an existing business
system... and to formulate solutions for its frequent problems. We were a team
of five members – Roxanne, Joan, Ronnie, Rhea and myself. Unfortunately, I
wasn't a good team player at that time. Instead of helping them with our
research, I was more focused on my other subjects at that semester. And I hardly
showed up during group meetings. As a result, I was kicked out of the group. As
punishment, my instructor at that time gave me a new assignment – to write my
own SAD research document. I spent weeks working on that document just to pass
a pending subject. Enraged, I spent those days fighting the urge to spill their
blood on the floor. And then I realized that the better way to get even with
them is to succeed where they failed. Two semesters later, I had a subject
similar to SAD – the thesis subject. This time my new team consisted of only
three members – Dante, Venus and myself. This time I was dead serious in
passing the subject. This time I wasn't the slacker. This time it was my turn to
prove I can be better than them. Even though Dante played the role of the
slacker this time, I made sure no one got left out at the end of the semester.
In the end, after all the hardships and the sleepless nights, my team passed
and we all celebrated our victory at a small cafe near the school.








000








Before
graduating and leaving Waterfall city, I got to see my former teammates for the
last time... except for Rhea, who was killed in a car accident sometime in
2002. Joan fell victim to premarital pregnancy before she graduated. To add
insult to injury, the guy who impregnated her ran away, unable to face
responsibility for his actions. I last saw Roxanne working as a waitress at a
pizza parlor down Slider Street. One time I dropped by and ordered a small
lasagna dish from her. And I gave her a tip after that good meal – a thousand
yen. As for Ronnie, he had many pending subjects to finish before graduating.
It turned out that I went ahead of him. In the end, the hatred faded into
obscurity. We all became busy living our own lives. What happened at that time
cannot be undone. That's why we focus on the present to bury those harsh
memories.








000








Most of
the passengers are asleep.


I am unable to rest because of the
frequent air turbulence. I am in a plane that's currently flying thousands of
feet in the air. I am going back to the Business Sectors somewhere in the
Middle East to find a job. Since I'm at the window seat I get to see the clouds
below. But it's night time so the clouds are not visible at the moment.


I press the cabin crew button. A
pretty stewardess named 'Corazon' appears before me in less than a minute.


“Can I help you, Sir?” she asks with
a smile on her face.


“I'd like to have a cup of coffee,”
I answer. “Please?”


“Okay, Sir.”


She goes to the kitchen. A few
minutes later she leaves a cup of hot coffee and three small sachets of sugar
on my tray table.


“Thank you,” I say to her.


I wait for the coffee to cool down a
bit before drinking it. To pass the time I look up at the stars through the
window for a while. I finish my coffee in ten minutes before falling asleep.
Yes, sometimes coffee has a different effect on me. It puts me to sleep instead
of keeping me awake.





The
plane finally lands after a long, eight-hour flight from Japan.


I meet my parents outside the
airport after going through a few passport control counters and after claiming
my luggage from the baggage claim lounge.


“How was the trip, Son?” Dad asks.


“I'm hungry,” I answer.


“Don't worry,” Mom says. “We have a
large pizza waiting for you at home.”


“Thanks, Mom.”





Five
years in Waterfall City, Okinawa now feels like a long, scary dream.


I open the door and I step into the
room I used to sleep in before I left the Business Sectors for college. My bed
and my closet are still there. The only items missing in my old room now are
the TV, the sound system and the computer. “Sure feels good to be back,” I say
to myself... with no voice. I walk in and I hear voices that seem to be coming
from the walls. The sounds of my young years echo in my mind. I hear music
coming from the spot where my sound system used to be. I open the closet and I
find my old clothes neatly folded and stacked. Although it feels good to be
back in my room, the aura and the atmosphere feel different now. I sit on the
bed and I silently kiss my childhood goodbye.





I have
spent a few hours unpacking my luggage.


With my parents currently asleep, I
lock myself in my room and open a secret compartment in one of my travel bags.
From this compartment, I pull out my 'lucky charm'. I gaze at it for a while
before hiding it in my closet. I won't be using it... for now.


I have to admit I was nervous during
my flight from Japan to the Business Sectors. I was afraid that the ground
staff at the airport would stop me from traveling for keeping a deadly weapon
in my bag. Luckily, the lucky charm is not made of metal so it passed through
the metal detectors with ease.


Yes, this knife is not made of
metal. It's made of fiberglass. And it still cuts and pierces like a serial
killer.


After hiding the lucky charm in the
closet, I take off my shirt and look at the many small scars on my arms.


During times of depression, I had
this nasty habit of cutting myself... a little. Fortunately I didn't have the
courage to cut the critical areas in my body. After all, there are more things
to check out in life than to go away at your own free will. And I once heard
that suicide is an unforgiveable sin so even if you put an end your own life
you'll still suffer for eternity in hell.








000








In the
weeks and months that follow I submit my resume to every suitable job vacancy I
find in the newspapers. Day after day I wait by the phone hoping that a company
would call and offer me a good starting job.


I had an interview at one company in
Sector Three. Although I did my best, the interviewer said I needed to know
more about myself. I may have failed but that didn't stop me from gaining some
interview experience.


While waiting for offers, I
participate in small-time computer courses and seminars to sharpen my computer
skills a little. As an advantage, I have learned a few new lessons that were
not available back in Waterfall City.


The days and nights grow gloomy when
I think about whether I'm worthy enough to work and earn money. Just as I am
about to give up all hope, the phone rings and my life changes... for better
and worse.








000








“So,
Nathaniel,” the company's operations manager, Nick Hill, says. “Tell us
something about yourself.”


I tell the manager everything I
could about myself.


Today's interview feels like a
life-and-death situation. It's not just Nick Hill who is interviewing me.
Managers from two departments are in the office too. And they sound like
they're in need of help in their departments. So depending on the outcome of
today's interview I will be in one of those departments. Or I'll continue
sending my resume elsewhere after this.


The managers ask a few more
questions about me before finally asking the 'magic question'.


“How much do you expect to receive monthly
if ever you are lucky to work with us?” Nick asks.


I take a deep breath before
answering. “As this is my first job,” I humbly answer. “I'm not that concerned
about salary... yet. But if I must say a number, I'd say around five hundred US
Dollars a month? For a start.”


The three managers look at each
other, asking each other if I'm a worthy candidate. Some minutes later, the
interview ends.


“We'll call you,” Nick says.


As I leave the building, only one
question occupies my mind - “Did I make it?”





The time
is now 11:30pm. My parents are asleep. I am awake in the living room with my
trusty laptop, studying and rewriting the source code of the computer program
my thesis team and I developed for our thesis subject. Several computer
programming books occupy the table and the sofa. After this morning's
interview, I have been occupied with this exercise of mine. The corporate world
requires good employees. That's why I feel the need to somehow sharpen my
computer programming skills.


“Why don't you get some sleep,
Dear?” Mom asks, startling me a little.


“I will, Mom,” I answer. “After I
upload this program.”


She goes back to bed after having a
glass of water in the kitchen.


With the program all rewritten, I
upload it into a famous computer science community website – The Source Code.
In doing so, I am filled with a spot of regret... for not taking my computer
programming classes that seriously.








000








The
company that interviewed me recently called me for an employment exam today.
The exam felt as tough as the college entrance exams I took five years ago. And
like all exams, this one raised my adrenaline since the exam time was limited.


Before going home I stop at a
restaurant for lunch. After telling the cute waitress, 'Katrina Pineda', what I
want to eat, an unexpected guest joins me at my table.


“How's it going, Nathan?” my
spiky-haired guest asks.


“Hey, Sparky,” I answer. “I just had
an employment exam at The Service Provider.”


“Really? I hope it went well.”


“I hope so too. So what brings you
here?”


“I just need a good meal. My job's a
killer. I skipped breakfast again this morning.”


“I see you've been very busy these
days.”


“Yeah. And I'm sorry for not meeting
up with you as much as we used to.”


“It's not your fault. I understand that
work is a lot different from high school.”


“You got that right. So what are you
having for lunch?”


“A nice, juicy steak.”


“Really? Same here.”


Our individual orders arrive and we
eat while talking about the good, old high school days.





At the
end of that good lunch, Sparky goes back to his office while I catch a bus to
Sector Three. The whole journey makes me wish for my own car. For now, it all
depends on how much money I'll be earning monthly.








000








Okay,
let me give some information about myself.


I was born in Okinawa but I spent a
majority of my life at the Business Sectors. Shortly after I was born, Dad
found a job in Sector Two of the Business Sectors. Two years later, Mom and I
followed and we settled down in a nice, little house in Sector Three. That same
little house has been my home for years until I went back to Okinawa for
college since college courses in the Business Sectors and in Europe are very
pricey.


Now I am back in the Business Sectors for a new objective
– work. And I know it's a lot different from high school and college life.
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a rogue element (prologue and chapter 1)
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