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Serris

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Blanking the Slate
« on: August 09, 2015, 08:41:26 pm »
Soren sat on the tattered couch with a bottle of soda in hand. He wrinkled his nose; despite the copious amount of air freshener and the spices from Uziel’s cooking, the sharp ozone-tobacco odor of chemical auto-cigs hung in the air. On the scavenged coffee table were the remains of lunch ó some plastic bowls of take-out ramen and some algae chips.

The program that was being played was some cheesy Spanish language telenova that Uziel happened to be a fan of. Speaking of which, Uziel was in the kitchen directly behind Soren.

“What’s for dinner?” Soren asked.

Uziel tossed some onions onto the hot skillet. “Rice and beans with catfish filets in tomato salsa.”

“Whatever, as long as it gives me energy for work tomorrow.” Soren threw his empty bottle of soda into the recycling bin without even getting up from the couch. “I’m going to work on my stuff.”

The Human got up and walked back to his room. Doctor Schatten’s room was clearly marked by his diplomas on the door. Soren rolled his eyes; he may have been proud of his cyberneticist license but he didn’t flaunt it like Doctor Schatten did.

Soren went to his room and closed the door. His room; the one element of Lanthae he kept. Sure Lanthae was a corrupt, crime-ridden hellhole but it was home. His bed lay in one corner of the room with his personal belongings stored in a dresser at the foot of his bed and in the closet. The space remaining was occupied by a workbench covered with all sorts of electronic bits and bobs.

He looked at the industrial-duty class-1 prosthesis on his workbench. It was pretty banged up but he was certain it was salvageable. Of course, he needed some parts.

Exiting the room, he knocked on Doctor Schatten’s door. The door opened to reveal a rather gruff looking Rhesus Macaque. “What do you want?” It was then Soren noticed that Doctor Schatten hadn’t changed out of his work uniform. His electrified baton and pistol were still clearly visible in holsters on his belt.

“Andyó”

Doctor Schatten.”

Doctor Schatten.” Soren emphasized the Rhesus Macaque’s title. “Do you have any spare electroactive polymer actuators for the wrist assembly of an industrial duty class-1 prosthesis? Model number CGE-631?”

Doctor Schatten scowled. “Quit being a brick and find your own fucking parts!” The door was closed in Soren’s face.

Soren sighed. “Well, time to check out the junkyard.” He disappeared back into his room where he retrieved his pistol from his safe and tucked it inside his pocket. The other item in his safe, a souvenir from his escapade inside a Purifier base: a stolen M-19 select-fire rifle Unlike Lanthae, it was relatively easy to get a pistol permit. All he had to do was pass a class and background check. In Lanthae, he had to personally bribe a precinct chief.

He looked at the cell phone on its charger. Picking up his phone, he decided to give Axel a call to see if he had any spare parts he could use.

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aabicus (LettuceBacon&Tomato)

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Blanking the Slate
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2015, 01:48:02 am »
It was clear amber skies and warm breezes when Ashley Kinc came home from work at 5:00 pm on the dot. He never worked overtime. As far as he was concerned, he served his time when he was one of the groveling salesmen scrambling for sits and leads from the higher-ups.

Setting his hat on the hook by the door, Ashley tapped a few buttons on his phone and his autostove began pre-heating. He had some leftovers from his date last night with the shy woman from the gym. She wasn't anything special, but the ribs at the steakhouse had been the perfect level of moistness, just the way he liked it.

While waiting for the oven to beep, he slipped his virtual reality headset and sensor shoes on and played a few rounds of Arena of Glory. He'd recently unlocked the poisoned bayonet for his assault rifle and wanted to see some new death animations.

But he'd only just connected to a server when a different notification from his integrated house system popped up. It wasn't the oven; his guest was stirring. Ashley felt a twinge of annoyance, but he turned the console off and quickly got in character. This was his favorite part of a date. Mustn't let video games distract him from the real pleasures in life.

As the heavy door to his cellar slid open, the warm light from his living room revealed a shackled human woman strapped to the wall. The drugs were finally wearing off, and as she looked around the room her confusion was slowly being replaced with terror.

"Hello again," he greeted, smiling warmly and causing her to jump. "Did you sleep well?"

The woman gasped. Or tried to; a muffle was preventing her from opening her jaw or fully using her windpipe. Her eyes widened as the gravity of her situation dawned on her.

Ashley helped himself to her body. He let his fingers run along her dark brown skin, tasted the fear in her sweat. The woman began crying (they always did at this point) but the muffle kept her quiet enough. Ashley played with his toy for hours...they always fought so hard at first, then slowly the hours wore them down. Ashley always felt disappointed when their inner strength finally gave out and they slumped, broken and unresponsive to his touch.

When that happened to this one, he granted her a second wind through application of a multi-tailed whip. His current date cried herself hoarse as he flogged her mercilessly, slicing open her skin in a hundred different places. Then he graduated to knives. Then meat hooks.

Finally, as the sun finished setting on the outside commune, Ashley took a deep breath and observed the shredded remains of his handiwork. This one had lasted longer than any guest before; he'd had to bring out almost every tool in his chamber. It was his best date yet. The emotional release was palpable, and he savored the satisfying feeling. He wouldn't have to kill again for at least a month.

Then Emilena shot him in the back with a silenced submachine gun. "Ashley Kinc," she announced, as he spasmed in pain and fright, recoiling at the sudden intruder's emergence from the shadows. "Your crimes are recorded, and your punishment is left to the mercy of the Seryet Police Department."

With a cold look, Emilena locked eyes with the terrified Andalusian Horse and emptied her clip into his chest.

bushwacked

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« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2015, 01:10:51 pm »
The fading light of the day managed to poke its way, here and there, through small patches on the window where the grime and grease was slightly less dense. From somewhere outside, the high, mechanical scream of a passing train rose to a piercing screech, and the paper thin glass rattled in its frame. After a while, the train’s cries faded away and the dull, distance moan of traffic replaced it, accompanied by the more immediate sound of metallic squeaking and the occasional grunt.

What little light that did make it through was able to, just about, push back the gloom that shrouded the room, its glow thin and hesitant as if unwilling to permeate any further into the tiny apartment. Just below the window, a clunky, cheap TV was perched precariously on a small stand that was struggling to take its weight. A frayed cable wound its way down and snaked across the dusty, stained grey carpet, swerving out of the way to avoid the occasional crumpled beer can or takeaway carton. The cable jammed itself into a socket next to a small, dull yellow fridge. The door hung slightly ajar, revealing a few more cans of cheap, budget-priced beer and a carton of milk that was slowly warming its way to room temperature. Adjacent to the fridge, a doorway led into another room and, as the light peered inside it was able to illuminate a tiny bathroom that was only just able to fit a narrow shower, toilet and sink – and maybe a person, if they squeezed in.

The sound of grunting and heavy breaths became quicker.

Opposite the bathroom doorway, a thin set of drawers hugged the wall, on which a small cell phone was lying. Above the drawers, a metal rail had been hammered into the wall, which was being used as a place to hang t-shirts, jeans and other worn looking clothes. A few had fallen off the hangers and lay crumpled on the floor. Next to these, a rackety metallic bed was shoved into the corner of the room. The loose, wearing springs screeched rhythmically as the two shapes writhed on the threadbare mattress and thin sheets, one straddling the other. The rate of their movements increased, the shape on top pushing down harder and faster.

Finally, the thin figure below gave a last groan, bucked once, twice, three times, then lay back still. For a moment, the only sound drifting through the small apartment was the sound of the breathing. From the streets below came the light, distant sound of a car honking its horn, the vague sounds of an argument.

The shape on top gave a sigh and rolled off, clambering off the bed, moving closer to the light and revealing it to be a woman, her blond hair slightly straggly, the make-up she wore making it hard to say how old she was.  The dim light cast a sheen to the curves of her body as she looked down, and then over her shoulder at the person still in the bed.

“I need to clean up.”

The figure in bed shrugged, the bed springs giving another squeak as he sat up, leaning back against the wall. As the woman drifted into the bathroom, the shape in bed leaned over and pulled open the first set of drawers, pulling out a small carton and a lighter then resuming his slumped position against the wall as the sound of water splashing and toilet paper tearing came from the other room. A click, and the flash of flame as he lit the cigarette briefly showed a thin white rat, his messy hair falling over his blue eyes. Then it was gone and his features were once again concealed by gloom, the glowing end of the cigarette seeming to hover in front of his silhouette.

The woman padded back into the room, moved to the foot of the bed and started to pull her dress back on as the rat watched her in silence. When she finished, she stood up and cocked her head at him.

“So?”

The rat waved an arm to the drawer. “Same place as before.”

She crossed to the drawers and pulled one open and fished out a wallet, pulling out a handful of notes. She counted it, then nodded to herself and slipped it away. Heading for the door, she turned back to briefly look at the shadow leaning on the bed. “Same time next week?” From the tone of her voice, it was clear that it was a question she was used to asking.

A small pause. “Maybe.”

The woman snorted, as if in expectation of his answer. “At least clean your windows next time, I can’t see shit in here.” Rolling her eyes, she swung open the door, her shoes clicking as she stepped onto the wooden floor of the grimy hallway beyond, then pulled it shut after her, leaving the rat alone.

Axel sat in silence, staring at the door. As he dragged on the cigarette, his eyes started to wander around the room. He reached up and flicked a switch on the wall to his left. A solitary, bare bulb overhead flickered into life, casting a dusty glow on the state of where he was living. A muscle in his scarred cheek tightened, and he quickly switched the light off again.

The cell phone on the drawers suddenly chirped to life, and Axel jolted, recoiling against the far side of the bed, his shoulder knocking against the wall before his eyes narrowed on the small device vibrating on the wood. Axel’s expression darkened. “For fuck’s sake…” Taking a deep breath, he slid off the bed and picked up the phone, wandering closer to the window as he flipped it open and saw Soren’s ID on the screen. His expression grew slightly distant, his metallic hand moving slowly up the device to hit the RESPOND button. “Soren,” Axel said, his voice dull as he heard the human’s voice on the other end. Reaching the glass, Axel rubbed an arm across the surface, sweeping the grime away and revealing more of the sprawling city of Seryet far below him. The daylight, though fading as the sun sunk lower into the horizon, now poured in with renewed strength, revealing Axel’s lanky body.

 His ribs jutted out prominently, and here and there dark bruises were just beginning to fade. The blue glow of his eyes penetrated the lank white hair that hung over them. They were lined with dark bags, combining with the faint scars crossing his thin features to give his stare a slightly threatening look. His tail hung limp to the floor, and the rat’s left hand compulsively tightened into a fist and loosened again. Tightened, loosened.  His originally young face had grown drawn in, gaunt. In the year since Lanthae, his face had grown to look like someone much older than 22.

He shook his head to himself as Soren’s voice continued. His left ear, a long white mark along its base showing where it had been crudely sewn back, hung at an odd angle and twitched when he moved. “Actuators… No. No, I don’t think so. Sorry.” Axel muttered, looking around him. If he could feel another bout of anxiety creeping closer, burying himself in augmentation work could keep it at bay, and scattered around the apartment lay random assortments of augmentation parts he’d assembled in an effort to keep the panic attacks away… sometimes it worked. So in all likelihood Axel did have some of the parts Soren needed – but he couldn’t face seeing him again so soon. Only last week Axel had gone up to see him, and the anxiety for the next couple of days had been particularly bad. What triggered it seemed utterly random to Axel; phrases, sounds, smells. Small things that brought back memories of what he’d been through…

Axel took another deep breath, bringing his mind back to the present as he realised he hadn’t said anything for a while. “See you later Soren,” he said and abruptly hung up. Glancing at the time on the screen, he saw it was getting on for 6 PM - almost time to get to work. Bending, the rat picked up his ruffled clothes from the floor and started to tug them on, his body bent as if under immense pressure.

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« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2015, 02:19:47 pm »
marita took a swig from a soda can sitting on the desk her face illuminated from the glow of a computer screen. she sighed, her eyes tired from staring at the screen from so long, a small window looked out from the room, her small flat  was on the 6th floor of a 10 story apartment complex ' the flat was smaller than the one she had in lanthae, and the rent was more expensive. but there was one small consolation.
Marita wasnt living by herself.

she had reconnected with an old girlfriend - Rose, who was currently on her way home from theater rehearsal. Rose was currently going through the very difficult process of biproxytol detoxification, which was extremely expensive and painful, the longer you had been hooked on it the longer it took to clean you out from the drug. marita had undergone the process herself after graduating from college. it had not been fun, but - for her at least- it worked completely. her other roommate  marie had been a co-worker of Rose at a strip club called the electric sheep. she had been a waitress thee, servong drinks in a skimpy bikiini. after the club had been destroyed, she had latched on with  rose and Marita,surviving the pulse emp  and settling down in Seryet city. marie now worked as a grocer , bagging groceries. it wasnt much, but at least she wasnt oogled and fondled at this job. between Maritas computer gig ( she cleaned out computers of junk spyware, porn sites malware, keyloggers, the list was just about endless), Roses theater roles and Maries credits from her job, the 3 made enough to pay the rent, just barely. every extra credit went to Roses detox, they had set up a payment plan that would require every extra credit they could scrap together for roughly 20 years. but it was working, roses teeth were returning to the bright white color they had been, her face was losing the large bags under the eyes associated with biproxytol use, she had more energy and pep, and- most importantly to marita- her breath was getting better so that she and marita kissed it didnt smell or feel like she was kissing an ashtray.
 the door opened and close and Marita heard Marie call to her ' Hey! I'm home' the light flickered on in the kitchen, and Marie put a large pile of groceries on the table ' bought these off the half -off rack. still fresh, they were just made yesterday' marie said as she went into the entryway top the kitchen. Marita turned and saw a very fetching golden retriever, wearing a apron and green outfit,  a large nametag hung above her right breast, spelling out her name ' hows your new boss? Toors? right? " right hes a boa constrictor. nice chap on the whole.  things are going well,  hes cutting down on inefficiencies, and  sales  are up month to month, so the extra money trickles down to the cashiers and grocers. not much mind you, but an extra 250 creds  over a month means a lot to us.'
 he gets most of that I take it? Marita said. ' yeah a lot, but hes responsible for the whole store. anyway hes better than that macaw that was there when i first started . Penny. what a bitch she was. short -tempered and anal. next a good combo. anyway, how goes the computer business?
- working on cleaning a series of computers from a local business, its taking longer than i thought. all sorts of viruses and malware on there..  i've been whacking at it since 7 this morning and i;m still only 80% done.' but i might as well take a break and grb something to eat. ' i'm been living up a few cabns of pop . marita said. '
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Serris

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« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2015, 06:37:21 pm »
"Thanks for trying bud." Soren hung up the phone and headed out of his room. It looked like he'd have to go to Egeson Street.

He groaned as he heard Doctor Schatten and Uziel argue about who has to sacrifice what to pay the rent this time. Soren knew all too well about this; he had resorted to selling the six-pack of moziafil for 1,000 creds he had bought two months ago to pay last month's rent -- a fraction of the actual price it was worth on the street but haggling with a shady street vendor who may or may not be armed was not a smart move. Despite their poverty, their furniture was actually rather nice.

Soren looked at the real sealskin footstool was in front of the flat-screen TV. Of course, they hadn't bought it; they had stolen it. It wasn't easy to come up with the 20,000 creds it took to bribe the bellhop to let them into the apartment building where a rich biotech executive had committed suicide but they managed to haul away some rather nice electronics and furnishings for their own use.

He shut the door and stepped out into the street. Unlike Lanthae, the houses at the edges of Seryet City were on elevated concrete platforms like much of the buildings in the core of Lanthae. That said, below him were numerous pipes and other infrastructure, including pedestrian walkways.

A gentle rain, illuminated by the cold white light of LED streetlights drummed against the grimy sidewalks. The air carried the distinct swampy-ocean odor of vertical farms.

Flipping the hood on his windbreaker up, Soren headed over to a call station and pressed the button. As he awaited the automated repulsortaxi, he wondered how his friends were doing.

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« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2015, 09:12:56 pm »
Flashes of red, flashes of light, flashes of pain... the presence of sensation let her know her brain must be repaired. Her optics were getting there. Lily realized she was almost back.

She couldn't groan, she couldn't breathe...the first hour was always the hardest, as her body returned to a state approaching the most generous definition of intact. Finally, once the majority of her nervous system was in place, her body began pumping out the needed adrenaline to deafen the thudding reflexive aches coursing through her body.

Another hour, and she was a fully-repaired body laying in a pool of her own blood.

"That doesn't get any easier to watch," Emilena informed her as she got to her feet with a grimace. The vixen was sitting on the cellar stairs and gnawing on barbecue ribs.

"Thank god you didn't lose your appetite or anything." Lily regarded their latest quarry. "Jesus, Emi, did you kill him?"

"He'll live. I missed all the vital organs." Emilena offered Lily the rubs, but the human knelt down and placed her hand on the unconscious horse's body. "Hey now, what are you doing?" Emilena sat up. "You better not be healing that scumbag!"

"I'm not," Lily assured her grimly. "I'm flooding his system with tryptophan and reducing oxygen to the brain. Just want to make sure he stays out until the police get here. You know that if you always leave them looking like this, they're never going to accept you back onto the force."

"Yes they will!" Emilena's eyes flared, but she didn't press the issue. Lily had made it quite clear who was the alpha female in their business ventures.

"We bring a tranq gun for the next one," Lily decided. She tried to push the cellar door open but her body wasn't strong enough yet. "And lets try to get a more expedient killer, at least for this next one. Whoever's targeting prostitutes near the Warren lots doesn't appear to hold victims overnight. I'll pose there next."

"Whatever you say." Emilena knew it wasn't worth debating. "You know...if you want it to go quicker, you could let me nab them before they kill you. We always get plenty of incriminating footage anyway."

Lily shook her head and her gaze hardened. "No. They have to be caught in the act. The whole act..."

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« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2015, 03:03:29 pm »
Dressed in a ruffled green hooded top and jeans, Axel emerged from the dingy lobby of his apartment building and stepped out into the streets, feeling a cold prickling sensation run along his skin as the cold air hit him. Winter was rapidly approaching, and already the temperature was dropping – although Axel couldn’t remember many days in Seryat when there hadn’t been a frosty bite to the air. The architecture didn’t help; in the city’s centre for the most part the buildings were stark, grey giants, looming coldly over the city’s inhabitants. Here and there the odd proprietor had attempted to add a splash more colour to their place of business, but these were few and far between and always seemed in danger of vanishing altogether.

The street lights had been turned on a few minutes ago as the sun continued its descent, casting a dim glow on those passing beneath them. Turning his head, Axel eyed the nearby autotaxi stand, but decided against it – he needed the air. Pulling his top tighter around his neck to try to stave off the cold, he set off, turning right. As he did so, Axel felt another, different chill run down his spine, and he quickly looked over his shoulder. Apart from the other pedestrians making their own way along the sidewalk, wrapped up in their own private worlds, he couldn’t make out anyone suspicious, nobody looking as if they might be following him. Doesn’t mean they aren’t there… Angrily, the rat shook his head and forced himself to keep looking in front, resuming his brisk pace. “Stop it… stop it…” he muttered to himself. A couple Axel was approaching heard him and eyed each other, backing away from the rat as he passed.

Axel crossed the road and took a left, cutting through a dank alleyway and emerging on Bookard Street. He took another quick look over his shoulder, cursed to himself, and made another right, heading for Stuchen Avenue which would take about another 20 minutes. As he passed a cafÈ, a waiter pouring coffee for an elderly couple sat outside, the headline of the newspaper the man was reading caught his eye and Axel swallowed, his mouth suddenly bone dry.

REMEMBER LANTHAE

Axel’s head suddenly went fuzzy, growing dizzy. Other words printed on the front page seemed to scream out at him;

Two weeks until the anniversary of the bomb’s detonation …

Countless lives lost in the savage slaughter…

Terrorist group, The Purifiers, still ruling through fear…

Drops of rain began to fall from the sky. The old man muttered under his breath, folded the newspaper up and said something quietly to his wife. The two retreated further inside the cafÈ, leaving Axel standing outside, shaken. After a moment, he blinked and raised the hood of his top then slowly continued on his way, his face ashen.

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« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2015, 09:22:55 pm »
marita and Marie were toasting bread in the  toaster when the door opened and a Great Dane dressed in a Victorian era dress strode in. ' hi girls! Rose said ' sorry I'm late, but i had to fit into this dress. I'm going to  understudy for one of the roles in Great expectations! so not only do I have to wear this costume but i have to memorize my lines. Mr Fong was so nice!' rose said as she took a seat.' my next detox test is next week ' she added her face becoming more sober ' I'm nearly halfway though all the tests, or so my doctors says. if only we had more creds, so we wouldnt have to scrape by on day-old food. No offense Marie, of course."
_
 none taken Marie said as  she pulled out a trio of plates and put slices of toast covered with jam on them. ' could be worse, could be living in the street.
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Serris

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« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2015, 11:50:15 pm »
The repulsortaxi that carefully landed in the designated spot. The door opened and Soren got inside. The inside stank of autocig smoke, alcohol and what smelled vaguely of vomit. He edged away from a suspicious looking dark stain on the seat and shut the door.

"Where to?" the voice of the "driver" was scratchy and harsh, reminiscent of a chain-smoker.

"Egeson Street," Soren said. "And don't try pulling shit on me by taking the long way around." He was aware that some less than reputable taxi companies would program their taxis to take long circuitous routes to inflate the fare.

The taxi's door shut and the engine spooled up with a low hum. The vehicle lurched slightly as it rose into the rainy sky.

Soren fiddled with the radio in the blank wall in front of him. There was a card reader for paying the fare, a button that would allow the rider to speak to a live representative and a radio that played music.

Soon, the soothing undulating beat of an electronic ambient track wafted around the dank space.

Soren looked out the window. By now, the sun was low in the sky and the lights of the concrete and steel monoliths of Seryet City began to twinkle to life. He barely caught sight of a news display broadcasting a story about the attack on Lanthae.

"Don't fucking remind me," he muttered.

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« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2015, 08:26:41 pm »
So How is the computer cleanup coming along?' Rose asked as she started munching on the toast ' ok I suppose, I'm been at it since early this morning. those computers are linked and once one is cleaned the next one comes online and theres all sorts of stuff on each one. viruses spyware, malware,  you name it,  I swear Rose people dont use any cleaning software to get rid of the stuff.  means work for me, but much of it is stuff the average bloke could handle, or should. ' Marita sighed ' well at least things are looking up for you. ' that dress fits you nicely, and you're going to understudy ' which means .. what exactly?' I fill in for the main actress playing the role in some performances. if shes sick, or needs a day to rest. I fill in. the job is so much better then grinding on a sleazy dance pole, showing  my goods to all and sundry." Rose said." At least in theater theres a camaraderie, in strip clubs in every girl for herself."
 Now, Rose thats not entirely true. remember the waitresses and showgirls  support each other. I loaned you money on more than one occasion.. and you loaned me stuff in return.' Marie said '
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« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2015, 11:37:46 pm »
"And what law is there that says I need to repay you?" The dark gold monitor lizard cocked one eyebrow behind his silver-rimmed designer glasses. "This is show business, not a charity."

Two livid twin jaguars were standing in front of his desk. Lourve, the elder by twelve seconds, let out a strangled cry of frustration.

"We were your first act!" snapped Bastille, the younger, balling her fists. "We gave you your big break, Bailey!"

"Yes you did, and thanks for that." Nigel Bailey tapped his fingers together in frustration. "And ever since that first gig, people have found you less and less funny. So now you're fired."

Louvre slammed her fist on his desk, almost tipping his small glass of liquor and spilling it on his fashionable cream suit. "Come on, it's just a little stand-up! An opener! We're not asking for much, Nigel, just let us do our routine like always...even for just one last concert, and then--"

"--And then once you've put everyone to sleep, Xyler can come on and work uphill to whip everything back into another critical success!" Bailey grabbed yesterday's  newspaper out of his trash and dropped it on Louvre's fist, it was already open to the Entertainment section. "Everyone said your opener was the weakest part of Chancellorsville, and Xyler's complained that she had to prematurely pop her best song right at the beginning to save the show! Speaking of which, tonight's begins in thirty seconds so get out of my office!" He pressed a button and the exit door slid open invitingly.

Louvre's eyes bulged. Biting her lip, she grabbed her younger sister's hand and marched to the door. "You'd still be a nobody if it hadn't been for us!" she spat over her shoulder.

"You're right, I know." Bailey rolled his eyes. "That and a quarter will get you a gumball."

At the central amphitheater, the lights dimmed and he heard the crowd start cheering; the concert was about to begin.

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« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2015, 07:11:39 pm »
The rain intensified as Axel approached 43 Farson Place, the sound of the water striking the sidewalk become a serpentine hissing in his ears. The occasional pedestrian skirted past him, clutching umbrellas or huddled beneath rain coats, but most people had already scurried inside for protection against the sudden downpour. Axel shivered, drawing the hood of his increasingly sodden top tighter, and picked up his pace as he passed beneath the white glow of a giant plasma billboard. His eyes briefly flicked up to it as he recognised the company name that had been plastered everywhere for the last couple of months:

Brennan Synthetics - Thousands Have Stepped Towards The Future. Receive Your Discounted Augmentations, And Join Them Now!

Finally, the rat slowed outside a low, squat looking building, unremarkable aside from the red neon lettering above the doorway; ëThompson’s Brightsmile Bakery’. The severe appearance of the building and the remaining confections in the display window, misshapen and blackened, promised anything but a bright smile. He could see two shaped moving around inside through the rain streaked window. Axel gave an irritated hiss, then pushed the gold handle down and skulked in.

Within was a small bakery. A small, middle-aged man with skin that had already started to look like leather was handing over a paper bag to an elderly woman from behind the counter. “An excellent choice madam. The chocolate chips you so keenly perceived truly add a distinct flavour,” the man was saying, his head bobbing eagerly. The corner of Axel’s eye twitched. They weren’t chocolate chips.

 The man looked past the old woman at Axel and his expression briefly changed before he turned back to the customer, all smiles again. “I’m sorry madam, I really must be closing now. My… cleaner has arrived.” He swept past the counter and started ushering the old woman out. “I hope you enjoy your doughnuts! Please come again!” He pushed her out into the rain, gently closed the door and flipped the little sign hanging in the window from OPEN to CLOSED. Then he turned to Axel, who was standing silently to one side. “You stupid motherfucker!” he hissed. “You know nobody’s supposed to see you come in!”

Axel stared down at the little man irritably. “You were meant to be closed, Thompson.”

"The old bag wouldn't make up her damn mind," Thompson huffed. He snarled at Axel, looking more rat-like that the rat himself, then jerked his thumb over his shoulder. "Just get down there. We got a new delivery."

Shaking his head, Axel moved across the room, his wet shoes squeaking on the floor as he moved behind the counter. Bending, he pried open a hatch set into the floor and exposing a metallic set of stairs that led down. Pulling his hood down, Axel descended, pulling the hatch closed behind him, and emerged into a brightly lit cellar. A workbench was placed in the middle of the room, with tools arranged over it, while around the room shelves were set into the walls on which were stacked a huge number of whole and stripped augment parts.

An augmented leg, two eyes and a hand were arranged on the workbench. Axel's own hand clenched into a fist. David's been busy. With a sigh, Axel sat at the bench and slid an eye towards him.

Once stripped, individual augmentation parts could be sold for hundreds of credits to the right buyer, but the act of stripping them was difficult - you had to be precise, and know exactly what you were doing, or risk damaging them and plummeting their value to almost nothing. Luckily for Thompson and his illegal chop shop operation, Axel knew exactly what he was doing, and once he'd heard about it through the seedier residents of his apartment block, he'd wasted no time in proving it. Subconsciously Axel winced, his bruised rib panging. Proving he wasn't a cop had been a lot harder.

As he picked up a screw-driver and bent in close to start working on the eye, he noticed a smear of blood that hadn't quite been cleaned off. Of course, most of the parts had to be stolen, and a lot of the time the owner wasn't too happy about it. Especially if the part was still attached to them... His face hard, eyes cold, Axel spat on the blood spot and wiped it off, then got to work.



Serris

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Blanking the Slate
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2015, 09:58:59 pm »
"27 Egeson Street. The fare comes to 100 creds."

The repulsortaxi lurched as it slowly landed in the pad. Soren could hear the drumming of the rain against the vehicle's outer hull. Saying nothing, he swiped his credit chit in the reader and opened the door. He flipped up his windbreaker's hood as he looked around.

Egeson Street was a lively -- albeit, rather grungy -- commercial area with lots of street vendors, restaurants and stores. Dilapidated neon signs in Chinese and English advertised all sorts of wares and stores. Snatches of Cantonese, Mandarin and other Chinese dialects mingled with English and other languages to form the soundtrack of Egeson Street.

Soren passed by an elderly Chinese woman sitting under a tarp and selling ginkgo nuts for fifty credits a bag. Streetside fruit vendors hollered at him to buy their wares.

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« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2015, 09:26:46 pm »
marita turned on the tv, which was turned to the news channel. a bison read reports of the daily news, which involved the usual Seyret fare- murders drug deals, corporate espionage, and a 5 second blurb about some pop star coming to town to perform '  just like in lathae, the news almost always sucks..' Marie muttered.
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Blanking the Slate
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2015, 12:45:39 am »
The cheering in the crowd only grew louder as the music swelled to a pumping, rythmic crescendo. It was pitch-black in the stage area, leaving nothing to distract the raucous fans from the slowly heightening techno beat.

It took a while for the audience members to notice that the floor was illuminating, a dull staccato of strobing colorless pulses casting dancing shadows across their feet. And then a deep voice boomed out from the stage: What is white? What is black?

The diehard fans began shouting the opening monologue along with the voice; 'Black and white' was one of DJ Xyler's most famous songs. On the stage, visible only due to strips of reflective tape, a bowed figure hung in the sky with no obvious means of support. It is a choice, the voice boomed, as the lights from the dance floor retreated from underfoot, skittering along the walls to encompass the stage in a swirling ever-changing pattern. It's an absense of compromise, a freedom from the tyranny of color.

The music and pattern pregnantly paused. The figure in the air rose higher, the white lights betraying the thin wires keeping them in position.

A freedom to dye for.

The figure exploded, sending a wave of fuscia particles flooding the crowd. The massless colored specks quickly granted their color to the stage lights, and the crowd cheered as DJ Xyler revealed herself. She'd been on stage the entire time, but the featureless white light had blanched out her metamaterially-cloaked jumpsuit.

DJ Xyler didn't dance; as was her trademark routine, she never moved from her spot. Her lights and her music treated her like any other prop, but the ever-shifting landscape of sound and color, along with her custom-designed jumpsuit's pre-programmed ability to morph its material, reflectiveness and textures, created a constant optical illusion that the motionless standing figure was flipping, weaving, and teleporting around the stage. It was a display incapable of being adequately recorded on video, and no concert ever reused a routine.

Which was why when a second figure darted onto the stage during the fourth song, fired a concealed pistol at DJ Xyler and bolted as she staggered and fell to the floor, it took a few seconds for everyone to realize that wasn't part of the act.

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« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2015, 01:10:15 am »
"Ah you so you find what you are looking for?"

Soren placed the aforementioned parts on the counter. Behind the counter was lean Tokay Gecko and a half-eaten meal of oil-roasted catfish from a nearby Chinese eatery. Soren noticed that in the dim light of the store, the scales on the Gecko's face seemed to shift and shimmer slightly. His trained eyes immediately recognized it to be a subdermal active camouflage implant that allowed the Augment to seemingly vanish into thin air.

"600 creds."

Soren scanned his credit chit and the battered printer next to the cashier spat out his invoice/receipt. As he picked it up, he noticed a sign in both Chinese and English that read "Please show receipt to doorman".

The Human nodded as he took his parts (helpfully bagged by the cashier) and headed to the exit. A dour-looking and rather burly Chinese man looked over the invoice and the contents of Soren's bag.

"Have a good day," he said in heavily accented English.

Soren tucked his purchases inside his raincoat and stepped out onto the rainy street. All around him were various stores selling all sorts of bits and baubles ranging from augments to Chinese herbal medicines to various drugs. He quickly put up his hood as he made his way down Egeson Street.

He stood by the repulsortaxi landing pad, protected from the driving rain by a rain shelter. Rain shelters were cubes that were made of corundum and open on two sides (front and left/right) that served as places to get out of bad weather or hot sun. OLED sheets sandwiched between the thin corundum layers allowed advertisements, weather forecasts and announcements to be broadcast.

Noticing an ad for his workplace, he smiled as he pressed the call button on the post.

A young Mouse wearing a t-shirt and seemingly oblivious to the rain that poured down from the sky entered the shelter and stood next to him.

"Hey bud, got an auto-cig?" the Mouse asked.

Soren turned to face the man. "I don't smoke."

"Got some creds so I can buy one?"

"No." Soren got up to move to a different area when something slammed into him, causing him to pinball off the corundum pane of the shelter's rear wall. He grunted as he broke the impact with his left arm, sending a jolt of pain up to his shoulder. He quickly whirled around and spotted his assailant.

It was the Mouse who had bugged him for cash. The people who were passing by the shelter paid no heed to him -- except some who were recording the attack.

Soren sized up his opponent. He was bigger than the Mouse by a decent margin but what his assailant in his right hand significantly evened the odds.

A set of electrified knuckledusters.

Soren's heart raced as the crackle of the electric arc between the electrodes reached his ears. The scent of ozone slammed into his nostrils, sending his mind racing.

His free hand dug into his raincoat, groping for his pistol. Just as the mugger closed in, Soren raised the pistol and fired. His adrenaline had sent the shot flying wildly off course; a hole suddenly materialized in the corundum wall. The crowd panicked and scattered. The mugger paused and hesitated.

Emboldened, Soren pushed himself to his feet and trained the pistol squarely on the mugger. "Get the fuck out of here!" he snarled.

The Mouse raised his hands in defeat and scurried away. Soren put his pistol away and waited for the repulsorcab to arrive.

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« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2015, 08:21:14 pm »
the program the girls were watching was interrupted by a breaking news bulletin '  Flash! Pop Superstar DJ Xyler has been attacked! the singer was performing a show tonight when she was shot by an unknown assailant! her condition at this hour is unknown, and her attacker is still at large!'
-
 my God1' Marie said, her face showing surprise and horror she listened to some of Xylers music, her favorite song of hers was ' Black and white' ' who would do such a thing?'
- the world is full of stalkers and crazies marie' Marita said " didnt know you were a fan.. i don;t listen to music much.
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« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2015, 07:50:04 pm »
The shots hit Flora like a ton of bricks. In seconds she was breathless and her head was spinning, and it took a moment for her to realize the gun was still pointed at her. Curling into a ball, she screamed as the shot missed her spine by less than a foot.

The crowd was just beginning to realize something was wrong, but the majority response was to draw back as quickly as possible. The assailant approached Flora's position unopposed, shouting something that Flora couldn't distinguish.

Her hand thumbed the sequence of controls threaded within the gloves of her suit. On accident, she swiped the illuminator and cried out as several frayed wires zapped her. Her suit, malfunctioning from the multiple ballistic traumas, cranked the luminators to maximum and shorted out in a massive spark that radiated from her figure in a split-second of pure, blinding light.

Her assailant fell to the ground screaming and clutching his eyes, and seconds later security guards were on the scene, splitting the two up and raising their guns in Flora's defense.

   *   *   *

Lily waited passively as Emilena struggled with sliding open the entrance to their current hideout. Lily wasn't interested in helping out even if the vixen was still stewing over what she'd found when she scoped out the SPD's mailbox.

"Eeeurgggh!" With one last push, Emilena slid the fenceboards open far enough for her to squeeze into the crawlspace. At the moment the two were holed out under the deck of an abandoned co-op; they'd temporarily upgraded to the inside of the building after the previous tenants were evicted for failing to pass a health and safety inspection, but after being almost startled by surveyors last night Lily opted for the original, less conspicuous location.

"Why the hell wouldn't they even pick up the application?" Emilena panted in an angry whisper, crawling into her favorite spot in the corner and glowering at the resealable cans of non-perishable food propped on a flat rock. "There was other mail when I put it in there, and those are gone, so they saw it!"

"Maybe you should put stamps on it so it looks more legitimate." Lily tilted a fake rock before entering the crawlspace and withdrew a thin power chip. Once she was inside, she slid the solar-powered cell into the compartment on her laptop and booted it up.

"Maybe I should go kill their chief and record that!" Emilena unsealed her can of baby corn and began spearing and eating them with her claws. "I'm already doing his goddamn job, I can supply his golden parachute too." Lily ignored her, focusing instead on connecting to the neighbor's wifi and downloading the latest batch of public domain police reports for the day. "Hey," Emilena continued, breaking her concentration, "We're going to need more food soon. Wish we'd thought to raid that guy's fridge, bet he had loads of rich-person hors d'ourves and shit."

Rather than answer, Lily waited patiently for the download to finish and then scanned the police codes for signs of homicides. There were a few, but none of them linked to the Warren lots. The killer hadn't struck tonight, meaning this was the longest time between two of his hits. Lily needed to be out there as soon as possible. "Tonight's our last night here;" she announced, "we move to the stakeout in Warren early tomorrow morning."

Emilena groaned. "Christ, we just got home. At least let me take one last shower." She moved towards the hatch that provided access to the top part of the deck.

"No," Lily shook her head. "No touching the plumbing, no touching anything. We have no idea if the surveyors turned the water off, and if they did the water company will be alerted if anyone tries to use it."

Emilena threw her empty can at the hatch. "Goddamn, fine!" She peeled her shirt off, grabbed the nozzled bottle of evaporative hand soap and began lathering her pits. "You sure are a bitch sometimes, you know that right?"

Lily ignored her. The sky had been particularly cloudy today, and her solar chip only had charged enough to give her ten more minutes on the computer.

"I mean," Emilena continued, "here you are, getting your dreams accomplished of sticking it to men and getting murdered over and over to assuage your survivor's guilt or whatever, but you don't notice any progress being made on my goals! Maybe you could pick a target that the cops would actually thank us for? Nobody cares about some guy killing hookers, they're hookers!"

Lily continued to ignore her. Grumbling with resigned indignation, Emilena curled up in her favorite corner and tried to fall asleep.

Serris

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« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2015, 08:16:07 pm »
Fuming, Soren paid the fare as he exited the repulsorcab. By now, the rain had stopped, leaving a grey sky evocative of a Seryetian sidewalk. Much to his displeasure, he saw Doctor Schatten and Uziel standing over the bullet riddled body of a Golden Retriever on his doorstep.

Stomping up to the two, he jabbed a finger at Doctor Schatten. "Okay, Doctor, tell me why the fuck there is a dead guy on my doorstep"

Doctor Schatten said nothing but pushed Soren's accusing finger away. "I just saved the house from being burgled."

Soren kneeled down and pulled out the man's wallet. It was full of fresh creds and an employee identification card. Soren sighed.

"Great going, Doc. You just shot up a salesman! I'm going to clean up this mess up. Do whatever the hell you want with this guy. Just remember, if the cops come calling, I didn't see shit." He gestured to the bullet holes and blood spatter on the front of the house. The small shrubs and low ground cover plants could be cleaned up with a simple hosedown but he'd have to manually scrub off the bloodstains from the concrete sidewalk.

Soren then slammed the front door shut.

"So, Senor Schatten? What do we do?" Uziel asked.

Doctor Schatten shrugged. "Steal whatever the guy's got and then overside 'em."

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bushwacked

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« Reply #19 on: August 24, 2015, 02:17:58 pm »
On your mark.

Craig leaned further forward on the springboard, his body growing tense. He stared into the rippling water as the echo of the electronic voice died away. The loud cheers and excited talking of the audience faded along with it as everyone focussed their attention on the long swimming pool before them, on the taut, well-built swimmers preparing to launch themselves in.

They’ll all be looking at me soon… Craig allowed a small smile to flit across his face before pushing his expression back into one of neutrality. He’d been preparing for this race for months, pushing his body to its limits. Craig was tired of always being second or third. This time… he’d be number one.

An electronic beep sounded, signifying the start of the countdown. 3.

Craig clenched his jaw.

2.

He slowly let out a breath.

1.

Craig’s augmented leg glinted as he shifted position. Across the thigh was a small, simple symbol of an eagle, wings outstretched. The manufacturer’s name was written in small letters beside it: Brennan Synthetics.

This time, a high pitched beep rang through the venue and instantly Craig threw himself off the springboard, arrow-like, tearing through the pool’s cool water. In the instant silence, he could see his competitors on either side of him, and he felt a defiant rush pass through him. This one’s mine. Angling his body upwards, his felt his fingertips break the surface of the water. Then Craig's arms and head followed, the audience cheering once again. Immediately, Craig started to kick his legs, to work his arms.

There was perhaps the briefest tingling sensation as the signal was issued from his augmented leg, travelling along and incorporating into his nervous system. It reached his spinal cord, and travelled upwards through the spinal tracts. This was not unusual – all augments worked through the nervous system.

But then the signal reached Craig’s brain.

As soon as the electrical pulse arrived at his brain stem, it exploded outwards, the energy shredding nerves, destroying synapses, tearing through axons. Craig felt a split second of pain as his brain was ripped apart. He opened his mouth to scream. Water flooded his throat and for a moment he had the urge to gag. Everything went dark. His limbs twitched as various functions of his body were forcibly shut down. His body drifted slowly, almost peacefully to the bottom of the pool.

In the next 42 hours, identical signals would be released from the Brennan Synthetic augmentations of almost 80 civilians in Seryet city.