Expelled From Paradise

Chapter 2: The Real World

The Real World


The module lit on fire. It began to enter the atmosphere. Moving at 8 kilometres per second, it was subjected to very serious aerodynamic heating and was on the verge of turning into a fireball. Accompanied by an incredible roar, it crossed through the blue sky. The parachute opened, thereby slowing down the module. But the speed was not reduced by much. Earth was rapidly approaching. To soften the fall, a rocket was launched. On Earth, there was a huge splash, and yet the successful force on contact with Earth was huge. A huge sand cloud rose. A massive crater appeared on the spot where the module was to land.

The side panels parted like pedals and became supports. The sand cloud settled down and the hatch opened. Something fell onto the ground in a shock absorbing gel. This was the physical body of Angela. Simultaneously with the landing, the transferred virtual mind awakened. With a moan, she opened her eyes. She stood up. It was hard to breathe. She took a deep breath.


She coughed.

“What is this?”

She was breathing, but this wasn’t the pseudo movement that accompanied a virtual body in Deva. She had never breathed dusty air before.

“And this is what I have to breathe..?”

Disappointed, Angela brushed off the remains of the gel and stood up. She was in the deep crater that was formed after the landing of the module. She could only see the walls of the crater and the sky. A clear sky, a sky she couldn’t even imagine. She thought that it would be covered with dirty clouds.

Angela went up the slope of the crater. Before her was a vast open space. Absolute emptiness. There was not a single blade of grass growing here.

Although this was the specified landing point, there was nothing here except for rocks and sand. Angela had become slightly upset.

“What a disappointment. I thought the real world would have at least something.”

A world abandoned by almost all of humanity. Angela imagined this as hell. Whatever she had imagined, there was absolutely nothing. Nothing at all.

She began to move. She started stretching to check the condition of her physical body. It seemed okay. She stretched out her hand to the ground and took some soil. It was different from the virtual soil in Deva. There were too many impurities. She tasted it and immediately spit it out, it turned out to be too bitter. Angela wiped her lips and threw away the soil.

She shook her hands and activated the mobile terminal present in the form of gloves. On her fingers and palms appeared a projection. Each individual finger had its own switch, and a screen was projected mid-air. To get access to the information from the virtual world anywhere was problematic, but it was possible if one had a signal source at hand.

“Management, this is Angela Balzac. I have arrived on Earth. Do you hear me?”

Her support was provided by a battle station of Deva, located at an altitude of 220 kilometres. The operator replied, “This is the management. We hear you.”

“The equipment is ok. Where is my guide? He’s not here.”

“You are at the specified point of the meeting. Should the satellite track his location?”


The display showed a bird’s eye view from a high sensitivity satellite camera. There were lines of clouds of dust. Something was moving across the desert at a huge speed. It was a small three-wheeled buggy. Behind the wheel was what looked like a man. There was little to understand from the image. And yet the operator said.

“That is agent Dingo. He is located to the west by a kilometre from the meeting point.”

“Is that so? I got it. Who is after him?”

Angela was wondering about the dust cloud that followed the buggy.

The plume of sand, stretching behind the car was too big. The image of the sandstorm was increased. There were a lot of wriggling shadows. And the whole horde was chasing the buggy. Even worse was that it was a horde of huge centipedes.

“Recognition is complete. Arthropods, a subspecies of millipedes, the name is sandworm. Carnivorous. Threat level - B+.”

Thanks to the nano-catastrophe, many creatures composed of organic and inorganic substances had evolved. These centipedes were one of them.

“What is he doing over there?”

Angela took a digital monocle from her waist. She looked to the west. Ahead was the buggy, lifting a wave of dust. Behind the wheel was a man. He wore a cowboy hat, goggles and a mask, making his face difficult to make out. Thought it was far way, he noticed Angela and carelessly waved his hand. The crowd of the ten metre long sand worms got closer.

“It’s disgusting. Already have a problem?”

She turned around and went back into the crater to the landing module. She headed to the cargo hatch, touched the sensor switch, pulled the handle and then turned. The sound of an unlocking lock was heard and the hatch opened. The spherical object inside rolled onto the ground. Keeping its own balance, it stopped and a cabin opened, the controls of which looked somewhat similar to a motorcycle’s. Angela sat down in the seat.

“Preparing the system.”

Indicators on the monitor lit up one by one. The motor started up, the electronic equipment gave some signals.

“Connecting to the interactive tactical control of Deva.”

The display showed information about the startup system. Now, all settings had been completed. 3D monitors displayed images of the external cameras.

“Excellent, now forward.”

The sphere transformed into an anthropoid robot.

“Time to warm up a little.”

Angela switched to flight mode, pushing the pedals with all her strength. There was an ignition of highly mobile nozzles at the back. With a huge roar, it flew high up into the sky. Angela directed it to the pack of sandworms. She got closer to the escaping buggy, and Dingo, sitting behind the wheel, sent her an air kiss.

“What a fool!”

She flew past Dingo’s buggy and landed right in front of the pack. A cloud of dust and rubble flew up into the sky, covering the sandworms. The ones up front started to flee, and confusion began. With the help of the manipulators, she grabbed the sandworms. This was followed by disgusting noises. She lifted it without difficulty.

“I don’t want to use ammunition on these lowly life forms.”

She launched herself at the next sandworm. The insides of their torn flesh flew into the air, they seemed to burst. Angela used the grasped worm as a whip and hit its relatives with it. The body of the creature just tore into pieces, so now the Arhan went into a frontal attack. It beat and crushed them with brute force. The strength of the Arhan was overwhelming. And yet the discouraged and frightened sandworms came back into the battle, they bravely attacked the arhan. The captured manipulator was immobilized. However another manipulator was able to grab them and throw them on the ground, literally crushing the bodies of the animals. But still, the sandworms didn’t give up.  

They persistently clung to the arhan and twisted around its whole body. It was what arthropods are supposed to do. Angela tried to maneuver, her breath quickened.

“What’s wrong with them… they won’t calm down.”

Whatever she did, their numbers did not decrease. The sandworms were like a hydra - it didn’t matter how many heads were cut off; they would always grow back. The arhan was still able to move freely, but being entangled in insects, he was forced to stop.  One of the monsters aimed at the main camera of the arhan. Its huge mouth opened, the monitor showed lots of teeth, monster saliva, and monster legs.


Inside the cockpit, Angela screamed with disgust. And then a bullet hit the worm’s head. Blood rushed, the immobile mass fell to the ground. So persistent, yet it died from one bullet.

The camera fixed on the distant figure of a man. It zoomed in on the image. There was an unshaven man. This was Dingo, but without his goggles and mask. On his shoulder was a sniper rifle, he pointed to his forehead. Angela frowned but then understood everything. From Deva’s information, she was able to learn the name of the creature and its classification, but not its weakness.

Angela pressed on the pedals. With a roar, fire came out of the mobile nozzles. The arhan rose upright. The sandworms clinging to it wriggled and fell. Although there were those that had not unhooked yet, it quietly hung in the air. Rising higher, she opened the guns on her left hand. A laser cannon appeared from that spot. The first shot lit a sandworm clinging to the right hand on fire. It fell down. Then a second laser cannon appeared on the right hand.

On the fire control display, 3D models of the enemy were shown. Angela marked the worms’ heads with a finger.

“Carry out guidance on the target, movement forecast, ballistic adjustment. Automatic fire.”

Following the instructions, on the monitor, the heads of all the sandworms were labeled.

“Done.” The voice of the operator reported.

“I won’t waste a single extra charge!”

Angela pushed on the lowering pedal. The laser guns on both hands started firing. The highly concentrated energy beams hit the sandworms’ heads precisely. She kept firing, changing her position in the air. The laser beams of the arhan always hit the brain, even if it was a moving target. This was war. No one could escape. All shots hit their targets.

“Not bad.”

From a distance, Dingo observed with admiration. He returned to his buggy and took his radio.


The flock of sandworms was completely destroyed by the arhan and it landed near Dingo. The rear opened and a cockpit appeared. Angela jumped down from it. Dingo greeted her with applause.

“Excellent job. I didn’t expect for you to be able to kill them all.”

Angela walked over and glared at Dingo who towered above her.

“You’re supposed to be my guide, but all you do is cause problems. How can you explain this?”

“Oh come on”, Dingo retorted. “Now I will help you with your work. As they say, you roll my log and I’ll roll yours.”

Angela noticed two canisters behind the buggy. A wire was tied to the back of the buggy. Were they really the cause of that sand cloud?

“What are these canisters? If you wanted to escape, you had to get rid of the extra load. Or are you completely stupid?”

“Actually I didn’t want to escape. And I purposefully dragged them after me.”


“Sandworms are very sensitive to metallic sounds. Just a little noise and they go mad with rage.”

Angela was puzzled.

“I don’t understand. You lured them?”

Dingo looked at the horizon. A dust cloud was heading their way.

“There they are.”

Trucks appeared out of nowhere. Seeing a pile of sandworm corpses, they stopped. Men began to come out. The mountain of insect corpses was an incredible sight. Someone joyfully yelled, “A huge catch!”

Clearly not expecting this, Angela frowned. And here Dingo spoke, “Well gentlemen, here is the sale promised. For 300 nano-carat per person, take as much as you can carry!”

He held his cowboy hat upside down. The satisfied people put cash and coins into it. After this, they came back to their trucks, took their meat cleavers and went to cut up the sandworms. They were all butchers. Stunned, Angela watched things unfold before her. She became enraged.

“Listen up…”

“Oh, thank you. I didn’t even ask you, but you helped. What a wonderful employer I have. I’m sure you and I will get along.” Dingo said while counting his money.

Folding her arms, Angela continued silently raging. Mad screams wouldn’t lead to anything. While displeased by looking at the working butchers, she said, “Regarding the reward.”

“As always, satellite information about the underground resources. I’m counting on you.”

Angela took out a memory card from a terminal in her arm.

“Cash would also be nice, but Deva doesn’t use them.”

Dingo reached for the memory card, however, Angela pulled her hand back.

“Payment will depend on the success of the mission.”

“Hey, maybe it will be worthwhile to win my trust over a deposit?”

Angela glanced at Dingo.

“You’ve been trying to sabotage my mission from the very beginning. What trust is there to be?”

“You’re really trying to slander me,” Dingo said unperturbedly and then smiled bitterly, “It’s just that I thought you would surely kill all those worms if you saw…”

“Oh really!”, Angela flared up. “You aimlessly wasted 37 minutes and 20 seconds of my precious time! And for me every second counts right now. This is real sabotage!”

Dingo even backed away from such pressure.

“Why are you so angry? The operation starts tomorrow. None of the agents of the security system have even arrived, except for you.”

“Exactly. This is the perfect opportunity to get ahead of them. For this, I even finished the development of my body early.

“So that’s why you look like a teen. I thought you just liked this.”

Angela snorted at him again. Dingo decided to stay silent.

“Now listen. If someone gets to Pioneer before me, you won’t get your payment either. So take this seriously.

“You try to get a raise even in situations like these?”

“So you know the operation…”

“An unknown hacker broke into Deva’s system, and he is located somewhere on Earth. The situation is rather unusual.”

Dingo looked at the butchers, placing the meat into their trucks.

“Look around, we’re hunting monsters for meat to survive. And you think, that one of us can compete with you in cyberspace? Maybe there are aliens here.”

“Whatever he is, he is hacking from the Earth. My mission is to find his location. And yours is to help me. All clear?”

“Clear to me.”

Dingo headed towards the landed arhan.

“This robot deserves respect. Is there some trick in the firing mechanism?”

Angela started to show off.

“Through satellite communication, he is connected to the main server of the security system which provides processing support. It makes fire adjustments. Even if the enemy moves at the speed of sound, it can predict the future.”

The arhan can use Deva’s infinite resources for tactical support.

“Ooh!” Dingo glanced at the arhan, “So this is a kind of terminal to Deva, that is constantly in touch with it. A reliable machine. And as strong as a hundred men.”

“Wow, for a man living in the stone age, you catch on fast.”

“You say it used satellite. Does it have an antenna?”

“In the centre of the back. But don’t you dare touch it.”

Dingo went behind the arhan. Above the hatch with nozzles was a small antenna module.

“Ah, there it is.”

From the holster of his belt, he took out and antique revolver.


Angela couldn’t believe what was happening. Dingo emptied the revolver into the antenna. Loud shots even got the butchers interested. Angela started yelling at him.

“What are you doing?”

The 45 caliber magnum pierced the antenna module. The surprised butchers realized that they had nothing to do with this and got back to work. But Angela had a reason to be concerned. She looked at the antenna shot by Dingo. Smoke came out through the bullet holes present on the electronic components.

“What are you doing? Idiot! Fool! You…”

“Actually the fool here is you,” Dingo said coldly, flushed from Angela’s rage. “Our enemy is a hacker from whom we have no protection. Were you going to carry around a terminal connected to the network? Thanks to your companion, he will be able to determine our location. Or are you going to play hide and seek with him, constantly telling him where you are?”

Angela stood without saying a word. He was absolutely right this time.

“You didn’t have to break it…”

Dingo returned his revolver to his holster.

“There will be no more communication with Deva. If we use satellite communications, our opponent would instantly find out all the information. “

“Well, how will we complete the mission?”

“If the other agents arrive with the same equipment, then most likely they will make the same mistake. They will be walking around always connected to the network. We are better. We can use them as bait. We will be able to sneak up to our prey. We can rely only on our eyes, nose, ears, and legs. Maybe then we can outsmart the wizard, who calls himself Pioneer.”

“But will this work...?”

“Smartness, patience, and endurance; that is what we have. Only God knows if we would achieve anything.”

Angela didn’t answer. All of this didn’t go against her plans, it was quite logical, and there were no other options.

“So,” Dingo pointed at the smoking arhan and said, “Does this thing work when it’s offline?”

“Now this is a heap of scrap metal!”

Dingo looked at it.

“Useless you say… Well, even a heap of scrap metal can be found worthy of use.


They brought the arhan to a garage of old junk for an evaluation. There was sincere admiration in his voice.

“Wow… Just from one of the batteries from the laser, you can power a whole village with electricity. Not to mention the generator… It’s a real monster. But it’s new. Are you sure everything is alright with it?”

Dingo waved his hand slightly.

“It’s not stolen, don’t worry.Just because of a small “accident” it became unsuitable for use.”


He looked at the bullet holes in the antenna.

“Well, ok. For the sake of such a beauty, I’ll do anything.”

The owner took out some money from a safe and gave them to Dingo.

“If you get anything else that’s useful, I will wait for you.”


Recounting the money, Dingo left the store and returned to a hefty land rover, on which the arhan was standing. The car was converted into a house on wheels, in it there was enough space to live, store buggies, and other equipment. Dingo sat in the driver’s seat. The man began to disassemble the arhan. Angela sat in the passenger’s seat on the verge of tears.

“Oh my arhan… A support unit of class A.... What can I do now?”

Dingo started up the engine and said.

“It’s ok. We were able to sell some scrap metal and earn some money. Now we have money for spending, so there’s nothing to worry about.”

“It’s not that!”

Dingo smiled started driving.

Moving away from the store of the junkeeper, they headed for the desert. There was nothing around them but sand. Gloomy, Angela asked.

“Where are we going?”

From under the dashboard, Dingo took out a thick brown journal. He opened up the sticking pages and gave it to Angela. There was an attacked copy of a detailed topographic map, many different coordinates and notes were written by hand. Frowning, Angela stared at the map.

“Is this a map?...”

“Never seen such a thing? Well yes, Deva doesn’t have anything hand-written. “

“The map itself is unusual. It would be enough for us to simply put in the desired coordinates and we would know where to go. And it’s also dirty.”

“Well sorry,” Dingo smiled sadly, “First we’ll look for clues in Jed. The route to there is written.”

Angela activated her display and chose a digital map. The message No Connection appeared in red. To determine the location, a communication channel and a connection with Deva was necessary. In offline mode it was useless to get such information. Sighing, she carefully put in the coordinates from Dingo’s journal. The map showed the closest position, checking the journal, she put a mark in it.

“And how far is Jed?”

“Lets me think… Approximately a thousand kilometres to the south.”

“A thousand kilometres. Hm.”

Deva didn't have the need to use things like distance so she didn't immediately understand how much this is. Angela looked at the speedometer in the car and made the calculations and her face fell.hink… Approximately a thousand kilometres to the south.”

“A thousand kilometres. Hmm.”

In Deva, a thing like distance was not particularly used, so that she didn’t immediately understand how much this is. Angela looked at the speedometer and made the calculations and her face fell.

“A thousand kilometres? You said a thousand kilometres? Right?”

“You’re funny, yes I said a thousand.”

“But you’re joking right? Why do we need to go to such a remote city?”

“Are you going to look for him under every rock? We can only find information in a city.”

“But why so far? Aren’t there closer cities?”

“Yeah. This was told in advance.”

“You exchange information in the range of the network. And new search zones will also be network. All of this will probably become known to Pioneer. If so, he certainly won’t stay in those places. As well as where you landed. He is very cautious. We will work by the process of elimination, and will first check the cities that the security system agents didn’t reach. It’s going to be difficult.”

Angela leaned on her elbows, she thought of how reasonable his arguments were. It was hard,  however, for the execution of this plan, too much precious time was required. But she couldn’t think of a better plan so reluctantly, she accepted it.

“We must have patience. In a hunt, the loser is always the one who is in a rush. It doesn’t matter if you’re the prey or the hunter.”

The land rover was driving on a road that may have been better before. Angela admired the scenery through the car window. For the first time she was interested, but there was nothing around her, except for rocks and dried grass, the unchanging landscape drove her into anguish. The car stank of old oil and rubber, the chair was hard, and there was that dust everywhere. If she were in Deva she could have easily changed this tedious landscape, and could get rid of the feeling of discomfort by adjusting the texture sensitivity. But here all of this was impossible and there was no end to this inconvenience. She wanted to quickly finish this mission and return home.

The sun had set and darkness fell. Except for the part that was lighted by the headlights, the road wasn’t visible. Dingo turned the wheel and stopped at the side of the road.

“What are you doing?” Asked Angela surprised.

“It’s late, we’ll spend the time here.”

“Wait a minute!”


“What will you do without sleep?”

“Well go to sleep, I will drive for now.”

Angela moved to the driver’s seat.

“Are you sure you don’t want to sleep?”

“There was nothing that I ever did, after which I needed rest.”

“I see. And can you steer? Do you need a manual?”

Angela scanned the whole panel.

“Do not hold me for an idiot. I can easily manage such a primitive machine. Just point out the direction.”

“Okay. Go strictly to the west. In about 40 kilometres there will be a dried up valley, go along it to the south. At dawn I’ll replace you. Even if you get lost, don’t use the navigator.”

“Clear. No connection with the satellite. Do as you say.”

“Well done, for understanding everything.”

From the windshield, Dingo saw several “falling stars” in the night sky. The security system agents were entering the atmosphere.

“And here are your colleagues. A little earlier than was expected.”

“They realized that I left early, and finally arrived.”

“Oh how difficult it is, to work in Deva.”

Angela wondered if Kristine was there. How she would be rushing in vexation. A smile almost blossomed on her face, but she was able to restrain herself. After such a delay, catching up. Even for Kristine this was difficult. Hastily, she started the engine, turned on the headlights and pressed on the gas pedal.

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