'We need more children.'
'We are turning them over as fast as we can, it's getting more and more difficult. The feds are starting to stitch things together.'
Malachai looked out across the city. He and Adam had agreed to meet at the Terry Road Lookout. The lookout was at the top of the rise coming out of Denistone park, a casual 17 km's as the crow flies from the Sydney CBD.
'What's their issue?'
'Think about it, we've abducted six kids over the last 12 months, two months apart each time. Then strangely, each child reappears on the other side of the city physically and for all intents and purposes mentally healthy, with the exception that they cannot quite recall what has occurred in the last twelve months. It doesn't take a genius to string it together.'
Malachai had his agenda, it was an extended play, one worth taking. The only issue that he had was that his sponsors where getting impatient, as odd as that seemed. They knew the process; the timeline. Abduct the children, expose them to Virtual Reality non-stop. Exposing them non-stop to a modified version of Gears of war changing their memories, manipulating them to become sleepers.
The sponsors' concern was the issue of luck. Would they be lucky enough to find the right kid who would grow into a leader, someone to influence the others; to build an activist cell sometime in the future?
Their reaction was to get more kids. This was not going to work, Adam had a point increasing the random number of kids abducted was going to simply cause more focus from the feds, make things hotter and harder to do.
'All right then, I think I want to slow down.'
'What? They'll cut off the funding.'
'Give me a tic, let me think on it for a few minutes.'
He had to be smarter than the west, they had whole industries geared around indoctrination of the masses through their Xbox's, PS4's mobile devices. The bastards did not even need to abduct children, they just marketed the shit out of their games. That and a bit of academic research was where he came up with the idea in the first place.
So, he'd gotten himself some funding, he was living the high life off the back of this, how was he to continue. He needed to appease his sponsors. Great that they bought into his plan. The academic paper on the risks of VR to under twelves was brilliant. It sealed the deal; they couldn't get the money to him fast enough.
Even better when they funded a whole software development team to crack the game gears of war and change the storylines, and push a role reversal where the main character became the minority fighting the westerners.
Even down to the storyline of a small child having to make their way through a war zone, powerless in every way except to observe, to watch the devastation. This was the storyline he was most happy with, the one he felt would create the false memory he needed.
Then there is the homestead, luxurious house for him and his friends. Enough money to convert the old shed into a bunch of cell's fitted out with a bed, toilet, and networked gaming environment and headset. The sponsors did not care for his ideology, only the outcome.
The issue now, though, was the sponsor was looking for some assurance, some way of knowing that their investment in both money and time would give some sort of dividend or return on investment.
It wasn't a financial ROÍ they were chasing, it was a head count and terror result they were after. They wanted to be assured by paying for everything they had, the hundreds of thousands into the millions that they were going to get a return.
'OK, Adam, you're right. Hold a tic.' Their conversation was interrupted by a sky blue sports car pulling into the lookout. The two of them stood, looking out at the skyline, surreptitiously glancing towards the car to see what was going on.
They could easily see the young couple sitting in the car, having a brief discussion before the car backed out and moved on. Obviously, they were looking for some privacy, something Malachai and Adam's presence did not accommodate.
'Right, we need to change our approach, and I think you need to change your team.'
'What, that bunch of mercenaries, they've become attached to the dollars, I'm not sure we can keep them quiet.'
'Look, we'll pay them a retainer and find a few other little jobs for them to do until we need them again. I need you to go find some more skilled characters, real mercenaries, you know the type, ex-military. A team of six that can do targeted abductions instead of just pulling random kids off the street.
'What are you thinking?'
' Playing the numbers game isn't going to work, we've got to modify our approach, I'm going to take a more research-based approach, you know, top schools, kids with top NAPLAN results, mix the quota up, an equal number of girls to boys, that sort of stuff. I need to convince the investors that we are stacking the deck.'
'How are you going to do that?'
'Don't you worry about that. You think you can get yourself some real mercenaries?'