Only a few more months and then I'm out of here. I've served my time in the company hellhole and I'd better be rewarded for it. I never knew you could hate a place so much. I thought it would be rough, but I had no idea how bad it could be. It's the smells that get to me the most. Sucking in recycled air day after day, breathing the same gases that've been breathed in and belched out by thousands of miners, mercs, scientists, and guards-I don't even want to think about it. The scrubbers are supposed to take out the smoke, dust, bacteria (why did I have to think about bacteria?), and all the other impurities, but somethings still there. It smells stale, dead. I feel like it's slowly coating my lungs, getting harder to breathe every day. I've gotta get back to Earth.
Before I came to Mars, I wondered what was so important to Ultor out here. Now I know, and I wish I didn't. All that mattered to me back home was becoming a VP before I hit 40. Now I just want to live to see 40. I don't care if they bust me to mailroom clerk, I have to get out of here before everything hits the fan.
I can't believe this is happening to me. Sure, I've stepped on people on the way up, but that's what I had to do. Everyone does it. Office politics are rough and people get hurt. If you're smart and tough, you survive. If you're not, you don't. That's the way the game is played. So what have I ever done to deserve this? B-school never taught us what to do when we're totally screwed.
I thought I couldn't lose before I came here. One long string of wins for the G-Man-job hopping, department hopping, company hopping-always moving up. Ultor looked like my ticket to gravy. A huge corp, multinational (hell, multi-planet), great pay and perks, and lots of upward mobility. No downside in sight.
From Earth, the stint on Mars looked good, real good. No 50 layers of butt-kissing back-stabbers above me. Just the Administrator, with me as the Number 2 guy on the whole planet. And all we had to do was keep some half-wit miners and egghead scientists in line. No problem. I was all over that deal. I signed on, packed up, and was off-planet in days.
The cruise to Mars went by fast. Ultor gave me a ton of paperwork to read on the trip. Production reports, cost analyses, company regulations, personnel summaries, etc., etc. I buzzed through it at first, but I started getting uneasy. Something bothered me about the personnel reports. Most people wouldn't have noticed it, but I'm nothing if not thorough. For one thing, no one ever seemed to leave Mars. Sure, a stray exec or two managed to return to Earth, with the company's blessing, but no miners ever left. Lots of them arrived, a few hundred a month, but none ever left. And the miner population stayed about the same. Something was happening. The Ultor mines were like a roach motel for miners; they checked in, but didn't check out.
I was bored, so I tried to figure out what was going on. I flipped through summary reports and didn't find much. Yeah, there were the expected deaths. Mining's dangerous work, so miners die. It's the old thing about having to break some eggs to make omelets. But there just weren't enough official deaths to account for all the missing miners. You expect a miner or three to die every week, but not 40 or 50. Production reports, personnel files, interdepartmental memos, all yielded nada. I hit something in the medical facility files, though. Dozens of miners a week landed in the medfacs, pulled off the shift lines for "Illness." None of these miners ever appeared again on the shift rolls. I didn't know what that meant then, and I'm sorry I know what it means now.
When I arrived on Mars, the first thing I did was grab the Admin for a talk. Davis is a burned-out shell of an old man. Looks like someone drained the marrow from his bones and then sucked his eyeballs hollow. This place must have done that to him; Ultor never would have sent anyone in his condition out here. I hope I don't end up looking like that. I told him what I'd found in the medfac reports. He just stared at me with his soul-dead eyes and told me to leave it alone.
Well, nobody tells me to not solve a problem. I kept after it for a couple of weeks. I went to the medfacs and tried to talk to the doctors. No go. They stonewalled me-the Deputy Administrator!-and told me the disease was of unknown origin and details were being kept confidential to avoid causing a panic. They wouldn't even let me see any of the infected miners. They claimed the disease was highly contagious and the miners were quarantined. Wouldn't tell me where either. Wouldn't even let me past the reception area.
After kicking some walls, I zipped back to my office. Got onto the network and started digging. I didn't find much on the mysterious illness that's been offing the miners, but I did find some interesting personnel discrepancies in the Science Lab areas. Even taking into account that the labs run 24 hours a day, with three shifts of scientists, there were way too many scientists. And about 30% of them were not on the duty rosters of the SciLabs. There was no record of where they worked. They had assigned apartments, and their ID card records showed they ate their meals at the designated times, but ten or more hours of their days were completely unaccounted for.
I decided it was time to see Capek, Director of Ultor's SciLabs. I took an elevator down to his offices on Level F-2. It's a different world down there. Everyone I met stared at me as if I was some kind of insect instead of the #2 guy in the whole place. The corridors and offices are totally barren. No posters, no plants, no personality at all. And there are bots all over the place. Not just the little maintenance bots either, but big, nasty-looking ones I'd never seen in any Ultor spec manual. Gave me the creeps the way their sensors scanned me. It was like they were plotting target points all over me. But even that didn't prepare me for Capek.
When I was finally ushered into his presence, I almost lost my lunch. He is the most hideous-looking excuse for a human being I've ever met. He has implants grafted onto half of his body. It's like he's a cyborg or something. He looked at me when I first walked in, and I knew he'd just as soon have me killed as talk to me. I've never been so scared.
It got worse when he started talking. His voice made my skin crawl-it was the coldest, driest voice I'd ever heard. Now I know why the SciLabs seem so cold and secretive. It's Capek. His personality has spread throughout the place, infecting everyone and everything in it.
Capek knew I'd been digging through the files and talking to the Admin. It seemed to amuse him. He gave a grimace that was supposed to be a smile and said he'd tell me everything I wanted to know. For the next hour, as I sat in that chair and listened to him rant on, my insides slowly turned to mush. When he finished and stared at me with those eyes, I knew why Ultor was here on Mars. And I knew what would happen to me if word ever got out.
I must have walked back to my quarters, but I have no memory of the trip. I zombied my way through the next few weeks, sure that my life was over. Nothing can keep the G-Man down for long, though, and I snapped out of it. I'm going to beat this thing, somehow. I'm not going down with Capek and the rest when this all comes out. First chance I get, I'm bailing out of here and spilling my guts to anyone who'll listen. I've got no future with Ultor, either way this fiasco turns out, but I'll catch on somewhere else. I just have to get out of here before the crap hits the fan.
Gryphon was sympathetic with the Red Faction and its cause. An example this is when Eos recruits Parker to kidnap him. After Parker talks to him, he discovers that Gryphon is more than willing to help him, most likely because he is aware of how crooked Ultor is. Gryphon assists Parker getting through many security checkpoints, only to be ambushed on the other side. He is definitely trying to help the faction without much in mind as to what he will get in return.
Gryphon also organized the original Miner Olympics where the Red Faction held its first meetings and originally got organized. His enthusiasm for these games was shown in that he even tried to sponsor them.