Author’s note: I’m very sorry it’s taking so long to publish a new chapter of this story. I have had a lot of Real Life Issues including a dead hard drive causing me to loose months of work on this story, all my plot arc notes, pre-written chapters and a dirth of material I just couldn’t replace or even start to brainstorm again overnight. Coupled with being evicted from my home and my former landlord deciding to impound my stuff I’ve been couch surfing and basically dealing with the most retarded stuff possible.
I wrote this chapter from scratch over the weekend and it’s very first draft. I’m very much in need of an editor now and if you could DM me through Discord to chat if your interested I’d be absolutely greatful.
Finally this chapter is from memory much more simplistic then I had originally. I hope you like what I’ve been able to reconstruct.
Arc 2 A New Dawn
Chapter 5 – The Dawning of a new Day (1)
Matt finished the latest alterations to the program he was working on. With a sigh and a whispered prayer he clicked run and after the integrated development engine verified his code the program executed. He blew out a very big sigh of relief, as this was the first time he had been able to get the program to even initialise. He then plugged in a sentence from the text book and started the encryption sequence.
Matt Hyde was a third year Info-Technology student at University, majoring in quantum encryption and information security, he had been lucky enough to receive a under-graduate posting with the Army, who were paying him a wage and his tuition. After graduation, with an additional 6 months of fitness and Officer’s Training, he would be commissioned as a full lieutenant in the Signals Corps, and as he hoped within five years, working in the Intelligence community.
Just as the encryption software he was working on started to output data, the encryption kernel itself began leaking randomised data and eventually the whole software itself came crashing down in I/O errors and then the computer executed an emergency core dump. Matt cursed “Shiesse” knowing full well that no one in his class knew the word.
At that point the lecturer stood up from helping one of the other students and said, “Alright guys, start packing up.” Matt looked up and sure enough this Lab session had five minutes left. He removed his secure USB stick and then rebooted the computer making sure that no trace of his work was left. He then put the stick pen into his book pouch and after straightening up his books and stuffing them into his messenger bag, then stood up and signed the tablet computer back into the cart and with a wave to his teacher left the room.
After walking down the hall and talking a left to the walkway that led back to the rest of the IT Faculty, he went down and exited the secure Information section via the stairwell located within the walkway’s support structure and shutting the key card only access door he walked on the path through a grassy park like area where the Lit and Philosophy majors met to discuss matters of great import that those of the science faculties were too heathen to hear. With a chuckle at that idea he opened a door and walked through the main hall of the Science and Education faculty, and as he passed the chem honour class was just getting out as well.
He saw his friend Ian Matrovsky, who waved to him and said, “My place 1900hrs, bring drinks”. Ian had probably gotten the latest season of Battlestar Galactica and intended on having an all-nighter watching their favourite show. Ian then dashed off to his next class as Matt exited the Faculty building and navigated the main quad to the common area, after 3 hours of stationary programming, he needed something with caffeine in it.
After waiting in line for a while he managed to order, pay for and collect a large moccachino (coffee with chocolate in it) from the Campus Coffee shop. He sat down and retrieved a note book upon which he stated theorising causes for why a data leak would cause a core dump. With a sigh he wrote down the sections of core functionality and then started describing bug traps that he would have to design and insert into the code.
That would most likely take at least a week to construct and a month to get any meaningful results from. But by then he would have the problem isolated almost down to the exact line of code.
As he looked up to grab his cup of coffee, she walked across his peripheral vision and sat down at one of the tables with her friends. Anna Vidalus, blonde, achingly beautiful and for Matt very literally the girl next door. His cup of coffee was forgotten until he saw Anna turn her head and her friends started laughing as he looked slightly to the left as if he had been staring out at space rather then at her.
It was at this moment that her idiot boyfriend, (an Arts Major) doing the easiest degree needed to satisfy the academic requirements of his sports scholarship, chose to make his entrance as he took the seat next to Anna and gave her a rather indecent kiss much to the approval and cooing of her friends.
Scott Dunn, the afore mentioned idiot boyfriend broke off the deep kiss and while he appeared to blush at finally noticing Anna’s friends he turned his head and gloated with a unkind grin toward Matt, who decided to leave at that point and started hurriedly putting his things back into his satchel so he could leave. Scott then turned back to Anna and asked her how her day had been, as Matt hurried past their table towards the parking lot.
Jenna snickered and said, “That guy is so pathetic, you’d think after all these years he’d have given up that idiotic crush.” Scott’s eyes blazed for a moment and Anna after directing a shut up glare toward Jenna turned back to Scott and with a smile said, “I’m in class the rest of the day, what have you got planned?”
Scott leaned back and said, “Nothing much babe, me and the guys are probably going to hang out, and then head to practise around six this evening. So I won’t be able to see you again today, we still on for the weekend?” Anna thought for a moment and then nodded, Scott smiled and with a final smooch got up and nodded to his boys.
“Come on lads, let’s go.” Scott left Anna and after they got around the corner he said in a soft but menacing tone, “I wanna pay that little soldier boy a visit before he leaves.” They continued walking to the side of the building and then slipped down a thoroughfare and over the ring road and into the student carpark where they could see Matt was almost to his car.
Scott turned his head slightly so his voice would project backwards and said, “Last week’s game winner boys,” and Scott and another mate split off right, while a third moved around to encircle Matt from behind. The remaining two approached in plain sight, and appeared non-threatening. The two called, “Matt wait up.”
As they got closer, Matt let his guard down a little as the two approached without Scott, as they said, “We wanted to talk to you about a tutoring gig for the multi-strand science units we have to do this semester. We know you and Scott don’t get on, anyone you can recommend? We’d pay you a finders fee of course.”
The lie they fed him had some truth in it, and like all good lies sprinkled with the truth, this one provoked a guarded, but accepting reaction. They chatted as the rest of the group moved quietly into position, and as the two reached a compromise on a student that would help them, Matt heard a quiet scuff behind his car. Matt might have been a little on the trusting side, but he knew an ambush when he heard one and his training kicked in.
All Army Under-Grad Officer trainee’s did portions of their military training during the University holiday breaks, and luckily for his sake last semester’s training was all about ambushes. When ambushed by a force of unknown number, the only option is to turn, punch through the first line of contact and flank the rest of the ambushing force. Leaving the rest scrambling after you, instead of them keeping you in their kill zone.
That’s exactly what Matt did, and in this case his first point of contact was the two who had distracted him. He pitched forward like he was going to fall while allowing his knees to fold a little and then at the point of no return explosively lept forward while putting his shoulder behind a power punch at the one on the left’s solar plexius. As he landed from the spring he just managed to get his legs back under him and dodged Alex’s grasping hands.
He took off to the left, crouch running behind cars as the man who had circled behind him ran just out in front of him he stood up and threw his right arm out at the guy’s throat, coat hangering him before he took off running down the carpark. Matt was moderately fit, fit enough to pass the Army’s entrance physical. But he wasn’t an athlete who trained five days a week, including sprinting drills and in short order the rest of the pack pulled him down, and dragged him by the shoulders back to his Car where Scott and Alex’s brother Ben who was still down and lay gasping for air.
Scott was furious that Matt had nearly gotten away and laid two of his boys out. And as his two friends forced Matt to his knees infront of Scott, he stepped closer and said, “You’re going to wish you hadn’t done that.” He grabbed Matt by the hair and pulled back his fist and with a downward punch drove his fist into Matt’s jaw.
Matt looked up again, tasting blood as he said, “Is that all you’ve got you gutless bastards. Send your fudge-packing friends to do your dirty work.” At this Scott hit Matt in the stomach winding him as his mates dropped him onto the pavement and those who could pounded on him with their fists and feet.
After they’d satisfied themselves that they’d given him a good kicking Scott knelt down beside Matt and said, “She’s my girl, it’s about time you accept that.”
How long Matt laid there for, he didn’t know. His muscles refused to do anything but scream at him in pain, he was too bloodied and bruised to do anything about it though. He phased in and out of conciousness on the hot blue chip parking lot, almost willing himself to die to escape his battered body, until he heard a gasp and looked up, he wondered for a moment if he had died.
Anna’s blonde hair was highlighted with a corona that looked remarkably like a halo in the rays of the dying sun. That sight was the last image he had before he passed out again.
He was released from the hospital a week later, looking considerably the worse for wear. Angry, yet coping with it. The police had wanted to know who had beaten him so badly. But Matt had refused to tell them, explaining simply. “There’s no video record, so it’ll be my word against theirs. And frankly I won’t allow them to see how close to death I came.”
Frustrated at his reticence, they had left their card in case he changed his mind. After signing the discharge papers he arranged a lift home Ian and after he reached the sanctity of his home secluded down the backside of the mountainous range, he had shut and locked the front door. As he looked in the full length mirror in his room the mask shattered, the sadness that had been masked by the rage spilling out physically.