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Shouts were coming from the inside. It seemed that something dangerous was happening inside the company. There had not been much noise since the last attack, 20 years ago or so. And those times were far behind, but now... Dan had stayed until late at night, working on his next articles. The company he worked for edited several magazines, newspapers, fiction books, text books, among others. Dan's specialty was journalism. He was writing his article about wikis when he heard the noises. That brought him back to reality. He stood up, wondering who was the attacker, this time.
He saw two men, completely dressed in black, guiding a team. It was strange, Dan thought, those people looked like if they had been taken from a movie. What were they? They had guns. Were they the attackers? It seemed not. They were trying to locate the attacker(s), if any. They told everyone to stay quiet and to freeze. Some of them were even filming the whole incident. Dan heard a voice... it was a familiar voice. Oh, no, could it be...? Yes, it seemed it was the voice of Norman. Norman Epstein was the voice which he could hear. Dan approached the voice, he could not listen very well what he was saying. But he could imagine. The article that Dan was writing was precisely about him, a company worker who had been fired for no valid reason, apparently. Dan got interested in the case and started finding sources of information about it. Finally, he could contact Norman, through voice chat. Norman gave him an interview and Norman could compare notes. After that, he could create the article, after months of long research. Dan had been advised not to write about that person, but he thought this article was different. It gave a new point of view to Norman case. In the net, he was not called Norman, he had the alias of Barsoom.
Dan tried to approach even more but the people in black did not let him do that. At last, Dan could hear what the voice was saying. Something about a social contract, changing the rules of the company, the way it was structured and something about Giordano Bruno... there were things Dan could not understand. Dan was not so good at metaphors or, at least, he was very strict with them. Barsoom liked to compare himself with important men in history, people who had changed it in unexpected ways. As the business of the company and Barsoom's case was about information, Dan thought the metaphors could not get that far. Information was not as tangible as people and besides, the company he worked for was mostly virtual. The company was a very small team of payed employees.
Dan felt a sudden burst of fear. He noticed he had got to the point of admiring Barsoom, after he understood the whole matter he was involved. But coming in person to the company was not right. Barsoom had always expressed his views through the Internet, why would he try to go there and talk to people, in person? He knew his access had been removed when he was fired. He had no right to be there. The guards had been strictly warned about that fact. Dan knew that Barsoom, more exactly, Norman, was in danger. It was something very unusual and a bit absurd that Norman was not aware of that fact. Dan had told him endless times that this situation could result in real life damage to him, maybe even a trial or jail. But Barsoom said he could discuss those themes endlessly due to the nature of the Internet. The problem was that this time Barsoom had come in person, as Norman Epstein. There was danger, Dan could smell it in the air.
Dan could still hear the voice. The room was large, it was the cafeteria of the company. Many people were in panic and the men in black suits had organized them in rows, next to the walls. There was no time for an evacuation, it seemed. Dan tried to listen to Norman once more. Dan knew Norman was completely lost now. Those people had guns, real ones. It was not the same thing as the "battles" in the net, Barsoom finding a new hole to access the company website and go on with the discussion. No, this was real life and therefore it was dangerous. Dan wondered if those people were real guards or just hired assassins. They did not seem very legal, anyway. They were completely armed with knifes, pistols and even machine guns! It was unbelievable, as if they were going to hunt an animal or chase a dangerous terrorist. Dan could not understand why a scholar could be treated in such a way. But now, it was clearly as water that Dan had to erase that article he was writing; he could not publish without mixing his destiny with Norman. He did not want to have anything to do with those people in black now... He felt his heart started bumping fast. Now not only Norman was threatened... Besides, he was not sure if he could stand watching Norman die. It was not fair, only for business matters, to die in such a way. But Norman never understood the real danger.
In a breeze, he could see a glimpse of Norman. He was wearing his usual glasses, evading the smoke and noise grenades thrown at him. It was very unusual... Dan did not know that Norman knew such techniques. It really looked like martial arts... maybe he was an expert in that field. Dan had an interrogation sign painted on his face, he thought. At that moment, Norman looked at Dan and tried to greet him and he was lost. Suddenly, one of those guards in black approached him. He had a grenade launcher! Oh, no, he would kill everyone in the room with that gun! A sudden mixture of screams was heard in the room. Everyone was in panic, unable to run away. Dan shouted at Norman: "they will kill you. Run!" But Norman did not listen this time. He evaded the shots because the grenade launcher took some time to load and then went approaching towards the guard, until he was 1 meter near him more or less. The guard had Norman in target and he was ready to shoot.
"Go ahead" Norman said. "Shoot me and we will both die. I did my mission, did you accomplish yours?"
The guard seemed to notice the awkward situation. He had no chance to shoot Norman from that distance. Norman was exactly in front of the grenade launcher, the gun was pointing directly to his stomach. Both people would blast and maybe other ones who were near, too.
"Neutralize him" the guard shouted. The guard hit him in the head and Norman fainted and laid in the floor, unconscious. The guards neutralized the body.
"What do we do now?" the guard who seemed second in command ask the one holding the grenade launcher.
"Usual thing. He enters our website and we kick him out. Let's do the same in here, maybe he wants it for real now." he answered, chuckling.
Three men took Norman and threw him out of the window. The window crashed and Norman was out of the company building now.
"Bye." A guard called Michel laughed. "That will teach him."
"No." The main guard called Jean said. "He will come back. He will never quit."