Systematic Seduction

By: Ravenna Tate

The Weathermen, 9


In the year 2112, weather researchers around the globe made history with a computer program nicknamed The Madeline Project. The program used a complicated series of electrical pulses to induce changes in clouds. The intention was to prevent or lessen catastrophic weather events such as major floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes. The first real-time test, in 2116, proved moderately successful, and the researchers continued to tweak the program, hoping for complete weather modification one day.

But something went terribly wrong in 2117, when a group of hackers gained access to The Madeline Project and tried unsuccessfully to take it down it with a virus they called Tommy Twister. The program took on a life of its own, and instead of lessening the effects of weather events, it increased them to catastrophic proportions. By 2118, over eighty-five percent of the Earth above ground had been rendered uninhabitable due to the effects of near-constant and powerful storms. And to date, no one has been able to stop The Madeline Project, or find the hackers responsible for this devastation.

Now, in the year 2125, Earth’s population lives underground in sprawling cities, built during the nuclear war scare of 2072. Communication between cities and across continents is only possible via the Internet. And the only people who go above ground routinely are an international group of weather researchers and storm chasers dubbed Storm Troopers. Their mission is to collect data during the barrage of catastrophic weather events, in the hopes this data will assist researchers in taking down The Madeline Project.

The financial backing for these cities, the network of interconnected computers, and the Storm Troopers is provided by a group of friends who met in college, and who each built multi-million dollar communications and IT companies before The Madeline Project went awry. They’re a powerful, wealthy, ruthless group of men who take what they want, when they want it. They call themselves the Weathermen…

Chapter One

Blair Adams was the one project leader at Fairchild BioSystems who never minded mandatory weekly meetings with their CEO, Oliver Fairchild, for one simple reason. Oliver led them. As far as Blair was concerned, Oliver was major eye candy and always would be.

He brought up a presentation on the video screen that covered one wall of the conference room. “I’ve shared this information recently with the other Weathermen, and now I’m sharing it with this group.”

The hard stare he gave each of them in turn only served to make Blair squirm in her seat, but not because his serious gaze had her afraid. It was because when he looked at them in that way, instead of evoking fear or at least caution, all she thought about was that smoldering look in those hazel eyes, bearing down on her as he fucked her silly.

Not that it would ever happen, of course. That’s because you keep turning him down.

“This information is not to leave this room. I’m only telling you because we have some serious work on our hands to try to find a way to slow it down. I don’t want you sharing this with your team members yet. Not until one of you finds a workable solution.”

She was familiar with the data on the first slide because the information in this presentation wasn’t new to her. Oliver highlighted key words while he spoke. “I’ve been working on this in conjunction with researchers around the globe, and we’re all in agreement. We have three years left underground before we can no longer manufacture breathable air, and that’s being generous.”

No one spoke or moved. It was so quiet, Blair couldn’t even hear anyone breathing. Nice pun.

“The rate of oxygen consumption is a constant. We aren’t using it faster than we have been for seven years. What’s changed is the oxygen content in the air above ground because of massive deforestation from the storms.”

He clicked to the next slide, which showed a picture taken on the surface. Blair had no idea where it was, but she’d seen enough pictures to know it all looked the same now. Barren, windswept, foreign, as if they were looking at pictures of a planet too far away from their own sun to sustain human life, not the planet where they now lived underground like moles.

“At the rate oxygen is being depleted from the air, we won’t have enough to keep up with manufacturing it synthetically below ground. Unless one of you comes up with a way to make it without using the real thing, and I’m talking in the next few months, it will be gone in three years or less from the surface.”

He clicked to the next slide, a schematic of how oxygen was produced, showing the necessary components. “Either that, or one of you needs to find a way to slow down the deforestation.”

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