Okay, Sue.

You can have this version. I'm not sure that it's quite what you were thinking of, when you made recommendations on stuff to change. I agree with your suggestions, but nothing is jumping at me for the moment. If I come up with more/better changes, I'll be sure to let you know.

I also added a "...to be continued" at the bottom for those that may or may not be looking forward to more. [;-)] If you would rather I send this to you in some other format, let me know.

Thank you!

Derek AS


part one

It didn’t start the way I thought it would.

Instead, it happened all at once.

Or so it seemed...

* * * * *

“Damn it, Roddy! What the hell do you think you’re doing this time?”

“Hey, you said that you needed help converting your computer over, so I thought I would help you out.”

“Right, but that doesn’t mean you can just open up my comp’ without me around and start going through it!”

A smile breaks Rodriguez’s face. “Why, what’s in it?”

“Nothing,” clams up the human.

“Right, well, I’ve just about got the upgrade done. You should be able to run you’re hacking matrices at a much higher rate, now.”

“Okay, thanks.” Mia turns and walks out of the room.

G’nd’r picks up his ringing phone. “What?” the Shaktar asks.

“Oh, okay. Terling, the worthless one wants to talk to you.” The Shaktar tosses the telephone across the room to the Ebon.

“Shite! G’nd’r!” Terling catches the flying telephone, depressing buttons in the process.


“A BPN? Great!” Terling straightens up. “What do you have?”

* * * * *

“A yellow?”

Cameron starts up the “bus” and pulls out onto the street below Rodriguez’s apartment complex.

“Yes, G’nd’r, a yellow. Is there a problem with that?” asks Terling.

G’nd’r “Har-rumps” in retort.

Cameron guides the “bus” through Downtown as his team members don their gear.

Terling and Rodriguez, sit back sipping coffee, their Deathsuits ready to go, pistols strapped to their legs.

The Shaktar, G’nd’r, straps on the last of his Crackshot, before checking over his Power Reaper.

Burn, a Stormer, clicks his Vibro Sabre on and off, on and off, on and off. He looks down at the sub-machine gun between his feet and smiles. Burn puts the Vibro Sabre down and picks up the sub-machine gun. He pulls the clip out of the sub-machine gun and checks the clip. Noticing the clip is full, he slaps it back in, before popping it back out and slapping it in, again.

Mia slugs down a Lumo, before standing up and pulling down her rifle. She checks the clip and slings the rifle over her shoulder. The butt of the rifle jostles against the sub-machine gun sitting on her hip. Mia rolls her left ankle, checking the comfort level of the snub pistol strapped to her lower-calf. She turns and checks herself in a mirror, making sure that her skin tone has turned deepest black.

Talston snores in the corner. The Waster not caring to waste time checking his weapons. He figures that if they aren’t still okay from the last time he used them, what’s the point? His automatic shotgun lulls between his feet, should strap wrapped around his right foot to prevent it from rolling across the “bus.”

“Oh. Hey, Rodriguez!” Cameron calls back from his pilot seat.

“Yeah, what is it, Cameron?”

“I got you a present. It’s in the overhead above Talston.” Cameron smiles, knowing the bad things that happen if you wake Talston before arriving on site for a BPN.

Rodriguez shoots a nasty look at Cameron before getting up and walking over to the sleeping Waster. Rodriguez carefully leans over the sleeping Brain Waster and opens the cabinet. He reaches in and pulls out an emergency blanket with something wrapped in it. Shutting the cabinet, he steps away from the sleeping Waster. Sitting back down, he unwraps the blanket to reveal a SLA Blade.

“I remember how you complained that you didn’t have a good hand to hand weapon the last ‘Blue’ we went on. So, I hopped down to the local Derek’s Warehouse and picked one up for you.”

Rodriguez unsheathes the SLA blade, feeling its balance. He flips it about the compartment of the “bus” before re-sheathing it. “Thanks, Cameron. I’ll let you know how it does in combat.”

“Five minutes,” calls back Cameron, into the “bus.”

G’nd’r walks over to Talston and kicks him in the foot. “Wake up.”

The Brain Waster looks up at the Shaktar from behind crossed arms and grunts. Talston slowly sits upright. He reaches a hand up and wipes drool off of his chin. A bottle of whiskey rolls off the seat next to him, thudding against the floor.

The Shaktar glowers at the Brain Waster and goes back to his seat.

“Hey, Terling, what was it we were suppose to do on this BPN?” questions the Brain Waster while checking over his KPS Mangler AS.

“According to what Duke told me, and the fax of the BPN he sent, we’re on a Yellow. It seems a manager’s daughter went missing. She was last seen at the Tiplady Club. Her name is Marie D’Leal. She is twenty years old, stands 155 centimeters tall, and has a slim build. Her hair should be long, brown, and perfectly straight. She is known to hang with a group of Wraiths calling themselves Masters of the Hunt. They are a small-time gang of joy riders. She was wearing a plain black leather outfit, pants, shirt, low-cut boots, silver-hooped earrings, and a silver ring on her left pinky finger.”

“What makes that a Yellow?” ask G’nd’r.

“The ring. It seems that ‘daddy’ implanted data into the ring. The ring is hollow with a metal sheet in the hollow. We don’t know what the information contains.”

“Sop?” asks Rodriguez.

“Yes, if we can’t get the girl, get the ring,” answers Terling.

The “bus” stops, air pressure lowering the back end closer to the ground. “Last stop,” calls Cameron, “Wine, whiskey, and women.” He spins around in his pilot’s chair, smiling.

* * * * *

As the team approaches the front door to the club, the rain reminds them of its all-pervading presence. G’nd’r leans his head back, drinking in the water. He spits it out onto the side of the building. “Gonna be a long night.” No one seems to notice his actions or comments.

Rodriguez steps through the door first. To his left are a Brain Waster and a Frother. The word “Security” is printed across the front of their shirts. To his right, a booth manned by a human female. Rodriguez steps up to the booth and plants his SCL Card and the BPN Fax on the window.

The female attendee rolls her eyes and speaks into the microphone, “You still have to pay cover charge. No one, not even SLOPS, get in for free.”

“How much?” he asks.

“Hundred a piece.”

“Damn rates are skyrocketing,” moans Burn. His fingers rotate around his Vibro Sabres handle. His eyes never leave the door into the rest of the club. The doors are twenty feet away, past two more attendee windows.

Rodriguez tosses down a handful of UNIs. She snatches them off the counter. “Coat and gun check are at the next windows. Have a nice night.” The latter statement more out of practice than from actually caring about another person.

The team continues down the corridor to the first of two windows. The words “Coat” and “Check” are stenciled in over the window. A Wraith female and a human female stand behind the counter chatting.

“Pardon me,” interrupts Terling, “but I’d like to leave my coat here. With you,” he stares at the Wraith Raider. She looks at him for a moment, then steps up to the window counter.

“Fine, five to cover the night.”

Terling takes off his coat, revealing his Fen, and drops it on the counter. He tosses a UNI at the human. He leans over the counter and whispers to the Wraith Raider, “Ever hear of a human girl named Marie D’Leal?”

The Wraith Raider looks at Terling for half of an instance, then dryly says, “Nope.” She looks to Rodriguez, you might want to keep your coat, honey, it’s a bit nippy in the club for non-Wraiths.” She smiles.

Talston and Burn snicker. Terling tosses them an angry look. Rodriguez smiles at the Wraith Raider and says, “Thank you for your concern.” He winks, before moving on to the next window.

G’nd’r reaches the gun-check window before the rest of the team. “But, I don’ wanna leave my Power Reaper with you.”

“I’m sorry, sir…” a young Ebon stutters.


“- sir G’nd’r. But, the rules state, ‘no guns.’” The Ebon points to the counter between the Shaktar and himself. Someone carved into the counter, “NO guns. And I’m afraid that I simply cannot let you go into the Tiplady Club with your,” he pauses as he looks at the Shaktar’s choice of weapon, “Power Reaper. It’s Club policy.”

“Fine,” says G’nd’r. He places the Power Reaper on the counter and waits to watch the youth try and move the gun. He steps back and shakes out his coat, fingering his MJL Power Disk. He smiles as much as Shaktars can smile.

“Talston,” states the Shaktar. “You gotta leave your weapons here.” The Shaktar nods to the Ebon youth behind the counter.

“Ah, man. Fuck that. I ain’t going in there with no weapons. I remember the last time we went into a club without weapons on a BPN. Fuck that!”

“Just your firearms, sir,” the youth squeaks out. “We only ask that you leave your guns here, not your other weapons.” The youth attempts to smile.

“Well, that’s just it, see. I ain’t got not other weapons. I just use my “Mangler” here,” he pulls up the shotgun for effect. “That’s all.”

“I’m sorry sir, but policy is policy.” The youth raises his hands in a defeatest manner.

“And I’m sure that Talston would be happy to oblige.” Mia snatches his shotgun out of his hand and puts it down on the counter next to her Gag and Buzzsaw. Her Snubber lies neatly covered by her trenchcoat.

Noticing the lack of a third gun, Talston looks at Mia and says, “Bitch,” before moving on. She smiles and drops some UNIs.

Terling, Rodriguez and Burn turn their guns over quickly, Rodriguez leaving the team’s name as a reference for the Ebon youth.

* * * * *

Cold air from the ventilation system breathes down Isis’ neck, as she makes her way across the dance floor to the bar. It’s been a long day for Isis. First, she loses her meager job. Then, Anton kicks her out of his apartment. The bastard. How dare he? After all she’s done for him. Damn him. So, she goes over to Iris’ place to crash, only to find that Iris' boyfriend is over. With that, Isis goes by her ex’s place, hoping that maybe Brodie will let her in for the night. He says sure, but then she notices that he has some other female in the apartment with him. She begs off, stating that she doesn’t want to intrude. Eventually, she found her way here. Now, all she has to do is find a room for the night.

“Blizzard,” she says to the bartender. She takes the drink and turns around to look across the dance floor, hoping to find someone with whom to spend the night. She glances toward the door and notices a handful of people walk into the club. “What is this, some kind of joke?” No one hears her question over the speaker system.

She watches as two Ebons, a Brain Waster, a Shaktar, a Stormer, and a human all filter into the club. They all stand uneasily across the entrance platform. Slowly, the clubbers notice the fact that they are being watched by a bunch of goons. And they quickly ignore the ignoble idiots who don’t know their way through the club.

* * * * *

“Damn it, I can’t see a thing.”

“Let your eyes adjust,” replies G’nd’r.

“I’ll hit the main bar,” Mia says before walking away from the group.

“Me, too,” chimes in Talston. “I need a drink.”

Mia and Talston descend a set of stairs to the edge of the dance floor. Cold air whips across their bodies showing them their own breathe. As they look across the dance floor, they notice the club is heavily populated with Wraith Raiders. They skirt around the dance floor and hit the main bar.

* * * * *

“Hmmm, I think I will go talk to the DJ. I don’t like this music.” Burn walks across a cat walk towards the DJ booth.

A couple of kids making out fail to notice Burn walking towards them. He stops in front of them. They still fail to notice his presence. He nudges one of them with his right foot Yet, they still fail to notice them. He kneels down next to them, pulls out his Vibro Sabre and turns it on. The “snick” and “hum” startle the closest kid. He almost falls off the catwalk.

The kid, a human, turns to face Burn. “Shit, mother fucker. Why’d you have to go and do that for?” His partner, a Wraith Raider, turns away, as if embarrassed somehow.

“You are in my way and didn’t react to my presence. I thought that it would get your presence. Now, please move. I must talk to the DJ about this horrible music.” Burn stands up, turning off and putting away the Vibro Sabre.

“Fuck you, mother fucker. I ain’t moving for nobody that don’t like this music.” The boy turns back to his girlfriend, who is staring up at Burn.

Burn reaches down and picks up the boy by his clothing. The boy flails his arms about, afraid of falling the sixty meters to the dance floor. “Put me down, you stupid creation!”

Burn lets go of the boy with his right hand and uses it to slap him across the back of the head. “Obviously, you didn’t hear me. I said, ‘You are in my way,’. Now, I am forced to remove you from my presence.”

“What? Of, fuck, fuck, fuck! Don’t drop me man. I’ll move, I’ll move.” The boy’s arms and legs continue flailing.

Burn turns and tosses the boy back to the entrance landing. A snapping noise clues G’nd’r, Rodriguez and Terling in to the fact that the boy fell incorrectly, breaking his arm.

“Should have rolled with the fall,” laughs G’nd’r.

“Dance floor?” asks Terling, looking at his two compatriots.

“Dance floor,” replies Rodriguez.

“I’ll wait here,” says the Shaktar. He steps back away from the railing and leans against the wall.

* * * * *

Burn turns back around and the Wraith Raider female has stood and moved out of his way. “Thank you,” he says, brushing by her.

Twenty more steps and he is at the DJ booth door. He tries the door knob and finds it locked. He slams his left fist against it three times. The door shakes in its hinges. He notices a shadow fall across the peep whole and pulls his SCL Card out of his pocket.

A weasely looking Wraith Raider opens the door, headphones down around his neck. “Yeah? Whachoo want, man?”

Burn holds his SCL Card in the Wraith Raiders face. “Burn. SLOP. Need to ask you questions.” He puts the SCL Card away.

“Man, I’m working here. I ain’t got no time for answerin’ your questions.”

Burns steps forward. The Wraith Raider tries to shut the door. Burn slams one fist against the door and grabs the shit of the Wraith Raider with the other hand. Burn forces his way into the room and slams the door shut, behind him.

Electronics light up the booth. Lights flash and flicker, reflecting off of the mirrored ceiling and see-through flooring.

...to be continued

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