Countdown, Part Two

Continued from Part One

Colonel Deshaun Morgan placed a vid call to the desk of the private the Boise PD told him to call regarding the death cult. Good thing he hadn’t stopped with those no-help IBI clowns. 

The call rang five times.

The holo-window blinked and display-ed a twenty-year-old blond private in dress uniform, seated at a workstation in a corp-orate cube.

The private arched his right eyebrow.

“Private, I’m Colonel Morgan.”

“One moment please, Sir.” Snyder pressed several buttons on his computer. “You’re authenticated, sir. What can I do for you?”

“I command the Moscow, Idaho battal-ion. A death cult killed some of my men. I’ve found similar crimes occurred in Boise. The police said you were working on some-thing.”

The blonde private nodded. “Yes, sir. The Boise conspirators had the same game on their consoles, Oerz. I assume you have access to the consoles of the suspects in Moscow.”

Why would a video game matter?

“Just a moment.” Morgan pulled up the con-sole file for Louise Montoya and checked under games.

Oerz-Level 38.

Then Reebok Marceau

Oerz-Level 42.

Then Speedstick Taylor.

Oerz-Level 41.

Morgan said, “Yeah, all have Oerz.”

“What level.”

“Between 38 and 42.”

“That’s a new record. I’ve never heard of anyone going crazy before Level 40. Right now, I’m trying to reverse engineer the game.”

 “Why? Nearly every popular game has a walkthrough of some sort.”

“Sir, I couldn’t find an Oerz walk-through that goes past level 20. On Level 20, a pledge pops up that makes you promise not to reveal what happens here-after.”

“Who keeps a pledge to a video game?”

“Levels 20-26 are so boring, anyone who makes it past that is a hardcore fanatic.”

“How do we know the game isn’t just an inspiration for violence? What makes you think there’s anything deeper?”

“Intuition. This game seems explicit-ly anti-human. Plus it’s an anagram for zero.”

Morgan nodded. “I wish I could find out who in my area is playing Oerz at level 35 or greater, so we can keep an eye on them.”

Snyder smirked. “I can get you that info.”

Morgan whistled. “You can? But that’s—”

“—a cinch for Intelligence.”

 “Let me know if your hunch pans out, or if you need anything.”

Snyder nodded. “Thank you, sir. I will.”

Continued Next Thursday

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