Friday, 3 May 2013

An Excerpt from Alpha One - The Kryl Queen

The final book of the Alpha One first trilogy is now ready to showcase... Here's an excerpt:

The First List
The Administrator worked carefully through the error transcript. Twenty –five pages long; these were the names of those selected whose details had been misplaced, misspelt or where information was absent. These were the few from the list who without complete information, would fall through the net and ironically would be saved from the Kryl’s clutches. Any entry where the information could be verified would then be added back to the database. It was a laborious task, but the Administrator was a professional and if this had to be done, it had to be done accurately.
The computer generated database was full.  Five hundred million names selected at random from the ECG Central database, all with the same unique characteristic; Every person on the database was over sixty years of age and as such they were all eligible for selection.
 “Ok. My checks agree with the team. There are no further persons from the error list to be added to the main database. If we are all in agreement, we can proceed to the next stage.”
They had received instructions to build the database just fifty-four hours ago and Colm Mackenzie had quickly gathered his senior team, cancelled all leave and pulled in supplies for an in house sit in; their brief to generate and circulate the list within seventy –two hours.
 There had been little time to question the rationale behind what they were doing. No-one could quite believe how things had come to this and yet they were just the administrators. They played no active part in the selection process. Mackenzie had been circumspect in his initial briefing. He saw how horrified his team members looked when he explained the task ahead, but reasoned they were removed and that he would ensure that none of his team were personally affected.
This was a breach of his brief, but how else could he justify the process when each of them could be sending those close to them to their deaths? 
In the last few days, there had inevitably been protest, but despite his own deep misgivings he had pulled his team back together again and they had continued their task. Now was one of those times and despite his own thoughts battling and conflicting inside him; he prayed there would be no further interruptions. He did not know how much longer his own conscience would allow him to continue.
On this occasion, there were no further protests and Mackenzie and his team continued with their task.
 The next stop was to place an algorithm filter on the list to identify those who had family links, be they children, or grandchildren. Any individuals filtered out would then be moved to a reserve list. Their immediate fate put on hold. For those with no family connections, a further filter would clear a list of one hundred and fifty million names and it was these individuals who would form the first sacrificial humans who would be delivered to the Kryl.
Six hours later, Mackenzie had completed his final scrutiny of the latest error list. The task was done and a list of names had been generated within the stipulated three day deadline. The final stage of the process was to deliver the ‘collection’ statement to each individual. The statement had already been drafted and uploaded. The prescribed wording was brief and to the point:
Under the powers bestowed on me, by the Kryl/Earth Agreement, you have been randomly selected for Kryl processing. You must deliver yourself to the nearest collection centre (......) within 24 hours of this notice. Failure to comply, will lead to the serving of an arrest notice.
 The collection centres will filter those selected to the final processing list. Those selected will then be transferred to a national collection centre for further processing. Those removed by the filter, will be allowed to return home. Once selected and removed from the final processing list, you will not then be eligible for reselection.
His teams work was complete and it was his responsibility to deliver the merged message to the selected persons. This was not an unusual process; his team had been tasked with generating hundreds of databases for a range of different reasons. He reminded himself that despite its size, this was no different from an administration perspective, although morally it was very different...
 Now, all he had to do was to give the ‘send’ command to his workstation and his job was done... But he needed a little more time.
 “Ok, everyone, that’s it for today. Get yourselves home and get some rest. I don’t expect you in tomorrow. When we return we will move on to another task...”
 His team left in silence. He waited patiently for the last team member to leave the access portal, before turning his attention back to his workstation. He took another few moments to compose himself, turning away from his desk as he contemplated the enormity of his next actions.  What was he about to do? This list was about to condemn one hundred million people to their deaths and he had generated the list. Was he complicit in this crime... a crime against humanity? He took a deep breath and shifted uncomfortably in his seat. At least this way I know my loved ones are safe. If I leave this to someone else, then I cannot protect them. This final thought drifted through his mind as he turned once again towards his work station.
 “Send merged messages.”
This simple voice command confirmed the action and within milliseconds one hundred and fifty million people would know their fate. Mackenzie’s task was done.
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