tagSci-Fi & FantasyVenus Ascending Pt. 12

Venus Ascending Pt. 12


Chapter 32

They gathered their meager belongings and made their way to the engineering section of Venus. Despite the late hour or maybe it was because of the early hour, 3 AM, the pathways were not deserted and they encountered several people along the way. John didn't expect any trouble and they didn't get any. They went straight to John's office and deposited all their worldly belongings.

They set up a mat for Lisa, and she created a tiny nest of some of his things around her. Both talked for a few minutes, held each other and kissed lightly, before Lisa crawled into her nest to go to sleep. John watched this incredible woman drift off to sleep trusting that he would take care of everything. His heart filled with love as he watched her, but worry was etched all over his face.

John left to go to the conference room and all the other department managers were already there. The first thing John checked on was to make sure everyone had their families sequestered on the engineering floor. There were a few exceptions, but about 90% of the people were there. The remaining people still had shifts to complete and should arrive at the conclusion of their work. So they couldn't isolate the engineering deck until they arrived.

John had been thinking a lot about what needed to happen and as he arrived, he addressed the group, "I don't want any of you to be deluded. This is going to be a long hard struggle and I believe people will die along the way. These are vicious people that will stop at nothing to maintain their power. Our objective should be to restore humanity to Venus as quickly as possible with a minimal loss of life. So my question to all of you is what do we want to accomplish?"

John stood and went to the whiteboard and began jotting down all the shouted objectives. He was giving everybody a chance to speak, but ultimately he knew what the goals needed to be. When the ideas dwindled to silence John looked back and circled all the main points that he felt like he needed to be accomplished then he addressed the group.

"None of us have the business astuteness to run a multibillion-dollar casino. The business model that was created here should not change; it works, creates profit and jobs for everyone. However, they have taken it to the extreme, with death, dismemberment and torture and we can't tolerate that. Our job should be to establish a safe environment for everyone that works here, visits here and lives here. I believe our objective, as shown in the circled items on the whiteboard, should be to establish a governing body sole responsibility for the safety of everyone aboard Venus."

"What is the safety of everyone aboard Venus entail? It should involve an independent counsel with a possible governor and a completely independent police force. This means the current counsel's thugs have to go and a new independent police force would take their place. A civil disobedience code and punishment would also have to be created, but we have lots of examples to draw from. I'm sure as time goes on other things will crop up, but I don't think we should mess with the main purpose for Venus. It was designed as the ultimate playground for adults, as well as a permanent space manufacturing and research platform. It should remain so with as little interference as possible. However, everyone aboard Venus should be accorded safety and security. My friends I think that should be our ultimate goal."

There were murmurs of discontent and some even wanted to profit from taking over Venus, but the overwhelming majority sided with John. He even ask for a vote on the course of action, and everyone except for five people raised their hand. Now that he had a goal and a consensus it was time to turn to tactics.

John let the silence drag on and finally looked at everyone and began again. "Okay, I think we have a consensus of what we want to be, but now we need a name to define who we are. I know with everything were facing meaning ourselves may seem trivial, but it tells people on earth what kind of people we are."

"We need to come up with a name that shows we will not be trivialized. We are serious about our freedom, serious about human rights and serious about our right of self-determination. I'm open to names and ideas." John returned to the whiteboard and went to an open space to begin writing.

As he expected many thought this to be a trivial matter, but John knew if they were to begin negotiating with people on earth, the name had relevance and power. The first name was generic with no power in it. The second shouted name was a joke, and John turned and leveled him with the gaze of pure malice and disgust. He withered under John's intense gaze and soon apologized. After that everybody took the exercise seriously and they finally came up with the name, "The Sovereign Space Station Venus."

John made sure everyone used the same name with every bit of communication that left Venus. John also turned to Ken and said, "Get your best editors and work with marketing and legal people to create a Declaration of Independence. We also need to create some kind of a manifesto that explains why we're doing what we're doing. We don't want this to be gruesome but we need to explain that everyone here lives in fear of being their next victim."

John felt like they were working on some of the long-term items and now needed to work on their security. So he waited for all the sidebar conversations to die down and brought up the subject again of isolation. They needed to isolate themselves, and they needed to isolate the Council and all their thugs.

As they spoke of the isolation, George spoke up and mentioned that the Council has their own internal surveillance systems. George thought some of his hacker crew could temporarily shut off much of the surveillance systems, but he doubted he could shut down for longer than a couple of hours. He would do what he could but there were limited capabilities from their side and that meant the Council would know the minute they started the isolation.

John returned to his seat and continued, "I believe our first objective should be isolation, both inside Venus and all external communications to earth. I'm sure that somewhere along the lines they will attempt to take control of Venus by force and we will need to be prepared against that eventuality. At some point we may have to give them a demonstration of our resolve and we need to agree on how far we are willing to go. Finally we will need negotiations with the Council and the cartels on earth and we may need mediators to help accomplish this. So let's get started."

The first order of business was security and isolation. The information technology group along with the structural and the gaseous group needed to work together to isolate the engineering section. They also needed to work together to conceive of ways to isolate the Council and all their thugs. There were two unknowns with the first being all the guests that were currently enjoying themselves. How would they react and could they be isolated. The second unknown was the entertainment staff and what their reaction would be. John suspected that there would be people on both sides and so they needed to be isolated as well.

As part of the safety protocols there were airtight bulkheads throughout Venus. The original purpose was to isolate any leaks that may occur, but now they could be used to isolate any potential troublemakers. The structural, gaseous and information-technology groups all worked together on a plan to bring them all together. George, Ian and Mike all thought they could trick the various sensors in Venus and force the isolation doors open and closed as they desired. However, there could be some problems because with the isolation doors closed the air is also shut off.

John called in the "Sewer Rats" to help with the isolation because they knew all the ways around all the systems. Ian from the structural group had a similar group that was familiar with all the underbelly of Venus and suggested that the two groups work together to complete the isolation. John agreed and thought this was a great idea.

Once the security was in place they needed to plan a negotiation course for Venus. John hoped if they paralyzed counsel with the physical and communication isolation, that maybe negotiations could proceed at a rapid pace. However, he was under no illusions that this would be quick and painless. The Council and the cartels were used to being omnipotent with no one challenging their authority.

John mused out loud, wondering how the Council will try to restore their power. Everyone was silent for a second, then everyone started throwing out ideas. They varied from an armed incursion from earth to an attempt to destroy Venus rather than let them win. However, one of the more likely scenarios was a takeover of all other systems from the ground control station. Everyone agreed this could be a big problem, because they could undo all the isolation protocols they had set in place.

Everybody started talking at once tried to come up with ideas to stop them, and John had to shout to regain control of the meeting. "I think we all agreed now that this will probably be one of their first modes of attack and we need to find a way to counter this. We need the isolation team to work with communications to determine if the ground station goes way will there be any impact on our systems. In addition, are there any other ways to completely block the ground station from gaining access to Venus?"

Jack from the communications department spoke up saying they had run scenarios where the ground station disappears before. There were long-term issues that involved software and systems upgrades, but no problems in the short-term. Then he dropped the other shoe, "They have completely redundant systems and everything they have is tied into Venus. We could block them, but only temporarily, because eventually they could get around any roadblock we put in place."

Everyone was silent for a second as that sunk in. John slowly spoke up, "I think we all agree that this would probably be their first act to try to retake Venus. So as part of a demonstration of power and as part of the isolation the Venus ground control station has to be taken out."

John knew they currently have around 40 containers docked around the space station. All the containers were long cylindrical tubes that had been used to send up water and supplies, but then were used to transport waste and products back to earth. The containers were heat shielded and used parachutes for their landing. If they turned off all the landing protocols' these containers would hit earth with the force of a meteor. The effect would be like a small nuclear weapon. There is bound to be collateral damage, but communications to their intended targets could mitigate the loss of life. These cylinders could be used as a weapon to take out their earth side antagonists.

Everyone looked at John with renewed respect and realized just how far he was willing to go to protect them all. George from IT felt he could accomplish some of the same things by pulling some of the cards out of the routers and satellite communication gear. Ken from flight spoke up and wanted to run some tests to make sure none of the global positioning and orbital control systems depended on the satellites they were going to disable. Almost every department had something that depended upon the satellites they all agreed to test their systems.

Speaking of communications, they needed to set up their own communications outside all the Venus protocols and Jack had already set up one of those. Jack also volunteered to help establish communications to earth side mediators and send a draft a list of their demands. John thought that was a great idea and suggested that he get some help to write a new charter for Venus.

None of them are politicians, but they knew how to run their departments. None of them had ever started a revolution before, so this was all new. In addition, when it came to negotiations none of them were very political, but they knew how to negotiate service contracts. Hopefully, this would serve them well, but they needed clear definitions and goals or they would surely fail.

Everyone had their tasks and stood ready to go to their work. John held up his hands for a second and said, "We need to begin the initiation of her isolation protocols and use the air isolation systems. However, before we do let's make sure everyone has their families in the engineering section. Also, for those of you that have family or loved ones on earth make sure they have found safe places to stay. Once we know everyone is here and safe, then begin the isolation protocols. So gentlemen let's get to it, oh and George has established an instant messenger chat area for everyone to keep us all updated on progress."

After the meeting adjourned Ken, George, Dominic and Mike all stayed behind to talk to John. Ken started off by saying, "John, we have some people that still aren't sure of the course. We need somebody to give a rousing and inspired speech to convince everyone and we all think it should be you. You started this and you definitely personify the reasons why we need to do it."

John looked round at everyone, and they were all nodding their heads. John knew that if they wanted to accomplish this they needed a unified front. If a rousing speech from him could accomplish this, then okay he's in. John nodded his assent and got out his tablet to organize his thoughts. Meanwhile, all the other managers began rounding up the troops for John's speech.

It didn't take long before everyone was assembled in the bullpen waiting for John. As he arrived he looked out over the sea of expected faces and he saw a wide array of emotions. He expected to see fear and anxiety, but also saw a lot of animosity, irritation, indignation and even some rage. He couldn't tell how much of this was aimed at him or the Council but he started his speech anyway.

"Fellow engineers and family members we have come to a crossroads. We all took this job for various reasons with the foremost being money. Many of us saw an opportunity to work in space and be highly paid doing it. Those reasons are still valid. However, once we got here we found a hedonistic society in which human life had no value."

"Many of us had taken advantage of the drugs, booze and sex that this place offered and it's been an incredible ride. My hope is that it will be again. Over the past few months the liquid engineering groups has been finding large amounts of body parts in the sewage systems. We traced this back to a series of snuff films that were being shot here on Venus. For those of you that don't know, a snuff film is the filming of torture and ultimate death of a human being."

"Many people have lost their lives here and making money off the death of a fellow human being is abhorrent. It became personal when my ladylove was almost raped as entertainment during a show and many of you have similar stories. Rape, torture and death as entertainment; my fellow engineers we can't let that continue!"

John paused and looked round the audience. Many people had clinched Jaws as they nodded their heads in agreement. Others had faces still filled with anger and fury, but John now thought that was pointed at the Council. He continued his speech.

"All the casual destruction of human beings suddenly became very personal and I cannot personally let this go on. I had two choices: the first was to find a way off of Venus and the second was revolution. I could've chosen the first, saved myself and my ladylove, but that would've left all of you to deal with this wanton disregard for human life. Between the bodies floating in space and those we have recovered in the sewage system, there are close to 100 people that have lost their lives here. I could not let that go on."

"All of us here enjoy some hedonistic pastimes, but the killing of innocents is not one of them. There are some lines that must be drawn and the death of fellow human beings is one of those lines. The brutality and wanton disregard for life reveals the kind of people that are in charge of this facility. They are ruthless and vicious and the only thing they worship is money. We cannot let this stand. We cannot let this malicious destruction of other human beings continue, and so we must fight. For our loved ones, for ourselves and for those that have no advocacy, we must fight!"

"Our goal is to establish a government with an independent police force. We will need laws that punish for the death or destruction of fellow human beings. However, we do not want to remove the reasons for Venus being here. We still want this to be an adult playground, with drugs, sex and all manner of gambling. We just want to stop the killing, brutality, torture and rape!"

"Ladies and gentlemen, this will not be an easy fight, but it's a necessary fight. If we don't stop this now, who could be next? It could be your wife, your child, your sister or brother. It could be someone you never knew, or it could be you, but their history shows it will not stop until we make them stop!"

"I know some of you are scared and so am I, but we can't let fear stop us from doing what is right. This is a moral crusade and we will be victorious. Let there be no doubt that people who destroy other human beings will not find a safe haven on Venus!"

"Everyone make sure your families are safe, here and on earth. We know what kind of people we are dealing with and if you're people aren't safe there will be retribution's. So make sure everyone you care about is taken care of. Now let's all get to it and make this place incredible, but safe!"

Apparently John had done a great job because the room burst out in cheers, with lots of testosterone fueled bravado. John hoped this would last a while, but he knew if the bodies started to pile up their resolve could fade away. He walked through the crowd with lots of handshakes and back slaps as he walked towards the back of the room where managers congregated. It was past shift change and John wanted to know if everyone had been accounted for. Could they begin the isolation procedures and lock down the engineering section. Several people shrugged but promised to find out.

The meeting had taken a lot longer than John had anticipated and on his way to his office he stopped to pick up some oatmeal and coffee for both himself and Lisa. When he got to his office Lisa's little nest was empty and he thought maybe she had just gone to the restroom. Then he noticed a tablet on her sleeping mat and it came to life as he picked it up. It showed a video of Lisa wearing her wedding dress hanging in midair on the same spreader bar they had used during their bondage demonstration.

Chapter 33

The hair stood up on the back of John's neck and he felt a shiver of fear traveled on his body. Lisa was hanging in the shape of a cross, dangling in midair with her body stiff and defiant. However, her eyes showed the desperation and fear she was feeling. Then a voice began narrating, "As you can see we have the lady that started all of this and she will be punished. How badly, how long, and how brutally will depend on how quickly you get here. I think you know where we are, but maybe you need some incentive to get here quickly."

As the voice stopped John heard a whistling then the crack of a bull whip as it ripped open one side of her dress. The right side of the dress was shredded with an angry red slash glowing on Lisa's skin. Then he heard a whistling and a second crack from the bull whip that shredded the remains of her dress. As John watched frozen, stricken with terror, the dress cascaded to the floor leaving Lisa hanging exposed with only her thong still covering her.

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