Part 1 [10/3/12]
I just can't get their faces out of my head. None of them.
Stanley and his smug expression, black hair and dark skin. Ean with his egg-shaped bald head, blue sharp eyes, and cunning expression. Telisa, and the red, gold hair that spirals down. If I didn't know better, I'd say that it was true she was new, but was under an alias name. The S, E and T of the names. The name of the camp itself - Plutes.
I smell a fish, and I am determined to find out the truth of the place.
Over the next few days, Max spent ages on his computer, and the ones at the college during breaks, to find out as much about Plutes as he could. He was compiling a list of every single rumour and fact that pointed to the real truth of the place.
On the Friday, the time came to report on what each student like about the trip.
The day starts as normal with Max waking up, walking to his wardrobe and changing clothes. He then walks down the corridor into the main of the house. The house of Max and his family is a fairly large house, with a main room consisting of kitchen and dining room with a corridor running around the outside of the two rooms. Off this looped corridor are more corridors leading to other rooms. From the door at the north-east side is Max's room. The south-east corridor leads to the bathroom and storage units. The south-west corridor leads to the main bedroom and the garage. The north-west corridor leads to two other
bedrooms. Between the north-west and south-west corridors is another building that houses the storage and laundry units. Each corridor has its own toilet unit. Each corridor has red carpet and blue walls, with a white ceiling.
Breakfast is already on the table as Max walks in.
"Hello there, Max, " his Dad greets. "Another great day today is it?"
"Yes. It should be informative," Max says as he sits down, grabbing an apple.
As he eats it, he looks at his watch. And then quickly gets up.
"Sorry. Got to dash!" Max quickly announces as he exits through the door.
In truth, I've still got a fair amount of time to get to the college. I just wanted to get out and talk things through with myself. I've been thinking back to the trip, and I've managed to get a few quotes to back up what I'll say. But
I've also thought about what Stanley said. 'We are all family'. How can that be true is Telisa is new? Unless it's like a clan. That makes better sense, but then, why the names?
If I cannot convince anyone of the truth today, I will try elsewhere. If that fails, I'll take my investigation further.
Part 2 [12/3/12]
The college gates are in sight, so Max switches off the Secure-disk Rec. The chatter of people can be heard.
Max walks through the gates, turns left about twenty steps from the gate and walks through the car park to the room his class take their lessons in. A hole in the fence, a mis-sight of the person who designed it, stopped the fence at the foliage that formed the perimeter of the college. Thus, after a few attempts, the students had broke enough of the fence so a shortcut was formed to rooms on the left side of the college, which would otherwise be a winding road to access them. The teachers knew about it, but thought it was for the best to not do anything. At least until construction was finished on the old building.
Inside the class, Max walks to his seat and seats himself, pulling out folders and work from his bag, his Secure-disk Rec safely strapped to his left wrist.
Tom and Lee then walk in, with cups of tea in their hands, talking. Over the course of five minutes, more students walk in and eventually the room fills. The two teachers then start the lesson.
"Right," Tom says. "You should all have gathered your reports for today. Put up your hands if you haven't."
Only two do.
"That doesn't matter, as I know you two weren't there."
"OK. Who's to go first?" Lee asks.
Only a few people put up their hands.
"Toby, you first," Lee says.
The student called Toby, who is sat in the front row, walks to the front and inserts a memory stick into the main computer of the room.
"Right then," Toby says nervously. "I present to you what I liked about the holiday. First off, the train journey to the place was an adventure in itself, and I really liked it. Filming at the place was great, as I feel I learnt a lot of information..."
Max secretly activates the Secure-disk Rec.
Max: <Quietly - Yes. You feel alright.>
Toby: I mean, I was fairly awful at recording, but going to that place, I was able to get to grips with a camera after all these years. The instructors were also very helpful.
Max: <Quietly - As if. They never even worked with us. They were against us the whole time.>
Toby: -of help. They were kind and considerate with us. They never shouted and they made the whole situation of... Well... What I meant was that they made the holiday one of the best I have ever been to.
Tom: Was there anything-
Max: <Quietly - Wait.. Was that something true coming through...>
Toby: What I didn't like? Well the ending train journey. Why was we in sleeping bags?
Lee: We have the answer to that. They need to send the previous group back quickly so that the train can be ready for the next group. And also so they can prepare for the next groups arrival.
Max: <Quietly - Yes. They have to prepare. They need to make a dramatic entrance.>
Tom: Max. Since you are being so vocal, why don't you go next?
Part 3 [14/3/12]
Max, just as secretly, deactivates the Secure-disk Rec. He then answers with a simple 'Sure'.
"That concludes it then," Lee says. "Anything else, Toby?"
"No, Lee. I think I've said everything," Toby says.
Toby takes his memory stick out of the computer, and Max heads to the computer. Before he sticks the Secure-disk Rec into the computer, he flicks a switch on the side. When it is inserted, it is just a simple memory stick. All the files regarding the recording and other parts are hidden.
The file is then opened by Max, and he begins.
"While the trip was entertaining, it was hard work. For one, we was just left to our own devices, with no help from the instructors, who, in actual fact, never even gave us any work to do regarding filming. They instead had us building sets for the entire time, using deceit and lies to cover it up. The evidence here backs it up."
"Just because you didn't find it entertaining," another student says.
"I concur," a thrid says. "You were hardly the star of the show, no matter what you thought. So what do you do? Try to bring up the dirt."
"This evidence is clear and true," Max demands. "From a site relating to school and college holidays, some saw the truth. I don't know how they do it, but they have mind altering devices-"
"Quit it! Just because you aren't the innocent citizen!"
"Everyone! Please!" Tom shouts. "So then, Max. To round this off, what did you like about the holiday?"
"Even you are being controlled," Max insists. "They do it to everyone." He clicks onto the next page. "Some research points here state they are psychics-"
"No matter what website you got it from," Lee says, "they obviously hated the holiday as much as you did, and are being equally prejudiced as they are."
"No, I'm not. It's true, I tell!"
"Go outside and cool off," Tom commands.
"OK," Max says uncertainly.
He takes the Secure-disk Rec from the computer and flicks the switch back to full mode. He then walks back outside.
Ten minutes later, he activates the recorder.
Well, I can hear the others now, giving their presentations. They talk just like Toby. All praises about the place and completely inacurate facts. Why are they all short sighted? And Tom and Lee. They must be subject to it each year whenever they head to the place, whatever they use to alter the minds. Why can no-one fight it? The list just gets longer. Thankfully I leave this year so I can-
Part 4 [16/3/12]
“They say you can go back in now,” a student says as he opens the door.
“Right.” Max stretches the word out to some length.
Max walks back in, but the other student doesn’t follow.
“Are you coming back in?” Max asks without turning around.
“No. I’m off to the toilet, so Tom said to get you to come back in.”
Max continues on inside and takes his seat just as a student finishes their talk on the holiday. Both Tom and Lee look sternly at him, but say nothing.
As each talk goes by, Max says nothing. But inside, he is seething with anger at the short-sightedness of all the class. He feels like exploding with that anger.
At the end of the class, Tom walks up to Max and says to follow. He is lead out and follows the route of left from the end of the ramp, then right, and into the main building. Another left turn in the lobby and into another corridor. On the right, the construction can be seen of the second lobby and entrance into the building. Straight down the corridor and Max is lead into a door on the left, halfway down.
A staff room of media teachers, Max instantly sees the assaulting poster advertising Plutes and heads toward it, planning to rip it from the wall.
“Max!” Tom calls. Max freezes on the spot. “I called you here for a reason.”
“Yes?” Max asks.
“Why do you hate that place so much? Everyone else is right. It was a grand holiday and worth it.”
“Well I know the truth. Well, parts of it,” Max says. “They use everyone that appears there, for their own ends.”
“Can you prove it?”
“I have audio recordings of when I was there.”
“Audio’s can be faked.”
“Even one with two of the teams’ voices?”
“Well yes. Of course,” Tom says, but he looks a bit unsure. “Anyway, I don’t need evidence. All I am saying is don’t bother doing any of this again.”
“Of course,” Max automatically replies. But as he says this, he releases another microcam in the room. It attaches itself to the door.
“Now go have your break and don’t say anything else,” Tom says, turning away.
Max does exactly what is asked of him, and leaves the room, safe in the knowledge that no-one will realise the cam on the door.
Part 5 [18/3/12]
The teachers are unconvinced. There is some who would believe me, but the teachers won't allow it. I contacted them over break, and they seemed interested. But then next lesson came, and they were warned I was a lying traitor to Plutes. No-one believed me after that. I tried and I tried to convince people. No-one seemed interested.
The weekend came and I put more effort into a campaign to raise awareness of Plutes and the fact that it is a rip off. Some were convinced, but most turned a blind eye in ignorance. I did all I could to persuade them, doing what I had done with the presentation at the college. Still no luck.
Soon the weekend turned into a new week, and new films had new trailers released.
"Right then," Tom says, at the start of the Monday class. "New films are soon to be released, and we have trailers of them."
"What we want you to do," Lee adds, "is to look and analyse the trailers and see if they will make their money back or not, from a budget that you estimate."
The first film shown is an action film, where all things blow up. Everyone rates it at a high budget film and says it will definately make its budget back.
The second film looks familiar to Max. It features a park area in open ground and a caravan park that looks newly repaired.
"That looks like..." Max begins, and then he shouts out "Plutes!"
"Very observant," Lee calls out.
"But- But-" Max stammers. "They- Doesn't matter."
"Very well," Tom calls. "Continue with the analysis."
The group is undecided on whether the film will make its budget back, but they are also undecided on what the budget for the film is.
The film trailers progress and each one follows with the class analysing it in terms of budgetary amounts.
"Right," Lee starts. "That concludes this lesson. Now make sure to keep those advert analyses safe, as we'll be using them even more next week."
Everyone packs up their things and leaves. Max does the same and heads outside through the hole in the gate. Monday's were only one lesson long, so the rest of the day was free.
As Max reaches the gates and crosses through the threshold, a man walks in step with him.
"Max Rushden?" he asks.
"Yes," Max nervously replies.
"We've heard what you are doing. We would like to hire you."
Part 6 [20/3/12]
"What would you like me to do?" Max asks.
"We need to assess you first, to see if you have what it takes."
"Who needs to assess me?"
"The group of course," the man says. "We would like to infiltrate Plutes. We know the stories about it that aren't revealed to the public. Our group is too old, and anyone we have approached are saying the public opinion about it."
"And since I know the truth..."
"You can essentially see what is going on, again."
"So what are these tests?"
"Follow me. And don't worry. My name is Elijah, and I am as trustworthy as they come."
Max follows Elijah across three streets, until they reach an office block. Just one floor. The name of 'Detection Legacy' rests on a light red rectangular plaque in dark blue writing. Inside, the same colour trend follows, with the walls being light red and the floor being dark blue.
The block is only two rooms. The first is the lobby, which is where the two are now. It is sparsley populated but large, with just two square tables either side of the two doors on the walls. Directly opposite the door the two entered is another door which they walk through.
That room is better furnished, with a curved sofa with a cut out part facing the door. The floor and walls are both coloured the light red, with the sofa the dark blue. More plants and tables cover the walls, with computers and storage units also covering the walls. A fridge is in the far left corner.
Two other men sit at the sofa, both with drinks in their hands.
"Who's this," one of them says, who is sat on the left side.
"The person who can spy for us," Elijah says.
"He's at school? Already been to Plutes? Knows what it is really about?"
"Yes. This is the one that has been trying to persuade everyone of the truth."
"OK," the second says. "Let's see if he has got what it takes. My name is Darren."
"And mine is Chris," the first says.
"Let the testing begin," Elijah says, sitting down and indicating that Max should do the same.
Part 7 [23/3/12]
"So you create your own technology?" Chris asks. "What sort of technology is it?"
"Spy camera's," Max replies. "So small no-one would be able to see they are there. Centrally controlled by a main computer which holds all the recording information required. All the camera itself needs is a wireless chip to send the data."
"Interesting," Elijah says. "You're technologically advanced enough."
"Of course. I have a whole box full of junk I use to make things. I'm halfway through making an operating system for a computer, with the internet browser and basic editing equipment required for it."
"Expert with computers as well?" Darren exclaims. "Whoa!"
"Well, I suppose."
"Modest," Chris says. "So, anyway. You went to that place on a college holiday. How did you break from the mind control?"
"Well, I have this recorder I named the Secure-disk Rec. It's essentially a memory stick that doubles as a recording device, which saves the recordings I make in folders I name and locate beforehand. When I arrived back home, I still knew that I had been doing the recordings, so I loaded them onto my computer. When I listened to them, I was shook out of the state of memory replacement they used. One thing I really want to know is how they do it. How they replace the memories of people."
"We can help with that," Elijah says. "All we need is someone willing to go back to Plutes. Many people are afraid to return. Are you?"
"Of course not. I'm determined."
"OK. We'll be in contact. Would e-mail be preferable?"
"Definite," Max says and recites the contact detailing.
"We'll get onto you as soon as we need you for something else," Elijah says, loading the e-mail into a computer.
"I'll be going now, then," Max says.
"Sure," Darren says. "And be careful. We need you if we're going to pull this off."
"Sure. Bye then."
Max leaves and heads back home using the most direct route he can. When he arrives, his dad is at the table in the dining room.
"What have you been doing?" his dad asks. "Lunch has been waiting for ten minutes."
"Wanted to walk around a bit," Max says. "The lesson was awful."
"Well, I'm sure you wanted to take your mind off it, but remember there is only six weeks left until you finish the college proper."
"You need to get your work done for your other assignments."
"Almost all complete."
"I'll just take my food to my room, as I've got some finishing to do."
"No making a mess."
Max answers with 'fine' as he enters into the kitchen to grab his food and takes it to his room. He locks the door and sets to work on his computer.
Part 8 [26/3/12]
The interesting thing is, I've just had a conversation with three people I'd never even met before. And I'd followed them to their base of operations. My hatred of Plutes must be really strong for me to make decisions like that.
Anyway, what I am studying is what that camera I placed in the staff room has picked up. It can detect when movement occurs and puts all those minutes where movement occurs into a separate folder for easier access. So far, no-one has been on the phone to call out another trip to Plutes, but I'm guessing I can persuade another college to send a student along to see about the trip. That way, it will persuade the teachers at the college to book early. Then I can make my move. But that can wait. No point doing it while I'm still at college, but I will work hard to get my tech advanced for when I have to make my move. I'll also complete the various projects I have on the go. That way, if anything is needed to be sold for extra money for bribes, I can easily supply it. And besides, the unique stuff always goes for the highest price.
Max is busy at a table in his room, holding a hilt shaped like a cylinder with the top part missing. Also missing is one of the side panels. These panels are split into quarters and held together by rings at the top and bottom of the hilt. Wires are poking out of the missing quarter, and it is these at which Max works on.
A sweat drop starts to bead on his forehead, so Max lifts his head and wipes it off. As he looks up, he sees out of the window. Outside the window is a man dressed entirely in black, wearing sunglasses and a hat. This man is staring directly at Max's bedroom window, though Max knew he couldn't see anything as the black outside tint of the window was active.
Max regards this as nothing and moves back to his work. Still, curiosity gets the better of him, and he looks up again.
The man has gone.
Max shakes his head and moves back to work. It was only one person, and people are always wondering about the tint on his window when no other window in the house has one. Carefully picking in the insides of the device, Max clips one end of the wires to a portable generator, and the others to a flat light-bulb. The bulb lights up bright. Brighter than is expected.
Removing one of the wires from the bulb, instantly causing the light to vanish, Max pulls a switch with four different settings available and clips the wire onto one end of the switch. Grabbing another wire, he clips that onto the bulb and the switch. He then flicks the switch between settings, and the bulb glows ever brighter with each setting selected. Turning it off, he then grab two more wires and a wireless data chip.
On the computer is a scanner waiting to be activated. When Max passes the wireless data chip across the camera in the computer, that scanner then activates with all the info and processes that are happening with the link between the two. Max opens a folder on the computer, and copies across two codes into the scanning software. These are uploaded onto the wireless data chip, and instantly a GPS opens up on the computer with a red dot indicating where the data chip is located.
Turning away from the computer, Max wires the data chip into the hilt, then assembles the rest inside with the bulb held loosely away from the device. Taking off the two rings and snapping off another part of the hilt, Max then puts a support inside, and then inserts the bulb into that. He then snaps the part back into place, grabs the switch and feeds it through the gap in the final part of the hilt. Snapping that back into place, Max then replaces the two rings and tests the device.
It works. Fifteen centimeters in length, it is covered all in white with red stripes where the splits from the separate pieces are. The switch is small and unless you knew it was there, you wouldn't be able to locate it.
"Max!" his dad's voice shouts through the door. "There's someone here for you outside the front door!"
Max, understanding the need for haste, activates the hibernate function of his computer, and slips the device and Secure-disk Rec into his pockets and zips them up.
Unlocking his door and walking to the main one, Max sees that the man standing there is the same one who was looking through his window.
Part 9 [29/3/12]
"And what do you want?" Max stubbornly asks.
"I understand you contacted the Detection Legacy group," the man says. "And I understand there have been problems with you not taking a liking to Plutes."
"Well it's just a big scam," Max reports. "Anyone with a brain cell should know that when they visit."
"I heard you had some recordings from the holiday. May I come in and listen to them?"
"You can't come in, but can certainly listen to them."
"That's fair enough my me."
"And I'm not going to reveal any secrets, about myself or what I do. Now wait here."
"Sometime soon then," Max hears the man quietly say. Max ignores this, wanting the man away from the house as quickly as possible.
Inside his room, Max quickly inserts a disk into his computer and copies the recordings onto it. Then he heads back to the main door. The man is still waiting, and accepts the disk in silence.
"Maybe we can talk again," the man says, once the disk had been put away. "When you've had time to think where your loyalties lie."
"I'll keep myself confined to here and the college from now on, since you obviously don't want me straying out of the boundaries."
"You are smart," the man says, and walks away back down the path.
Max doesn't even bother to look however and closes the door forcefully, then returns to his room. On the computer, when he focuses on it, is a warning.
Max instantly reaches into a drawer and pulls another memory stick-like device out of it. Inserting it into the computer, a window appears saying 'select a character'. A list of characters appears underneath the text. Max selects one, and an overworld appears with the character he selected in the middle of the screen with its back to the screen.
Taking a controller from the side of the computer, Max moves the character in search of the enemy.
The virus software is one I created myself to combat viruses and malware on my computer effectively. Taking the engine of Frontal Assault, I edited the code of a powerful virus software over it. Depending on the virus, it will appear as a different enemy. Once all viruses have been deleted, a message will appear like it does on virus software once a scan is complete.
I bet that man was behind this one. There is something odd about him. Something I couldn't understand. Dressed all in black, he even covered his face with a mask and hood. Although there was a hint of something in that voice I've heard before.
Over the weeks, no contact from either Detection Legacy or the unknown man happens. Max has finally contacted a far off college, who say they will send a student. Max has alerted Tom and Lee, who say they might have to get an early booking, and to leave that college's contact information with them. Max knows what their plan is, however. They hope to cut him out of the loop, but a deal was being secured behind their backs that might just allow him another attempt to gain more information on Plutes.
Part 10 [1/4/12]
"We'll be more than delighted to relay messages between you and the student we are sending along." The voice is coming from Max's computer, and the face of both Max and the teacher from the far off college are being broadcast to each other. "I know the teachers of your college are trying to block you out of this, but I feel that what they don't know can't hurt them."
"Yes," Max says. "If I can have direct contact with this student..."
"That can be arranged. We will talk with this student later and hopefully get him onto this call. Until then, wait on this link."
"Will do," Max says, wanting to meet the person who will gain him second access to Plutes.
The teacher moves out of cam-range and while he waits, Max checks the camera in the college staff room to see Tom on the phone to someone. Looking back at the video link, he sees the teacher from the far-off school on the phone himself. It doesn't take a genius to work out who the audio link is between, Max thinks.
A few minutes later, Tom puts the phone down and so does the other teacher. Both leave the room. Max is then left staring at two empty rooms. The teacher works at a college called Owenshale, or so it seems. Or maybe that was the teachers name. Max couldn't remember. All he knew was the college wasn't even on the same island.
Minutes pass, and still nothing moves in either cam link.
Then in a blur of motion, two people move into view of the far-off college's cam. One is the teacher. The other is a dark-skinned, black haired male.
"Well, I'll leave you two to talk. There needs to be something that needs sorting out." The teacher then leaves, but not before the other can say a quick "Yes, Scott."
The other then looks at the link, and at Max.
"So it is Owenshale that is the name of the college," Max states.
"Hardly," the other replies. "You're encryption must be bad. This is Halesowen College, and I'm a student of TV and Film. What do you do, might I ask?"
"This is the Lower Clifton College of Arts, and I study on a TV and Film course. Though I'm leaving in two weeks."
"Wow. You're lucky. There's still another five weeks left where I am."
"Too bad. Anyway, I'm second year of this course, so I finish it proper."
"Only first," the other admits. "Now then. I'm told you can get me into a place where TV and Film thrives?"
"Well, sort of. It will be an experience. And it will be expected of you to represent your college when you come over here."
"No problem. But what encryption are you using, if you can't even read the college's logo right?"
"I'll explain everything when you get here. It will be too difficult to understand otherwise."
"Fine. What's your name, by the way?"
"Max Rushden. You?"
"Jaspreet Singh, but you can call me Jaz."
Click to read Chapter 3 - Differences of Nature.