This is a rap sheet, Knight. You see those faces? Those are the faces of your clients across the NBZ. They are in trouble, someone is looking for them, they've done someone some irreparable wrong.
What are their stories? Who did they cross? Why do they need you, the Cyber Knight, to put life on the line for a few credits?
Share story ideas about these 9 contacts (hand study included!) and the most compelling ideas may end up in future Cyber Knight releases and story lines!
[ This sheet was posted on the blog a few months ago as we ramped up toward a CK release. As mentioned then--really rough sketches done on an airplane. Not much has been done with them, but it's time to start chopping them up and dropping them into the game. ]
Sarl Hardin, actually a BraveStar military officer :
Once an anti-corp CyberKnight, he became famous for his almost inhuman strength. More than famous, in fact : he became a legend. And then he made a common mistake amongst CKs. He thought he could stand up to corporations all alone... But if Mars wants your head, there is nowhere to run in the NBZ, nowhere to hide. Hardin had to make the only livable choice : he joined BraveStar. But his true goals remain unknown... It seems like he still have many connections with Street. What for ?
(By the way, fallen, what exactly is a Bouncer ? )
Si t'aimes pleurer sur ton sort, t'es qu'un lâche. Lève-toi et marche.
Ed Dumaine - loved the rush of the stims and crammers. Would stay up for days on end and couldn't get enough. The habit started in his early days of working for Yakuza. They send him all across the NBZ delivering packages with definite deadlines, and if you didn't deliver you or were late you'd get an express delivery of a Yaku christmas ornament in various areas of your soft tissue. Ed learned his lesson after missing a package delivery window one night due to exhaustion, one pinky removal later he discovered the bosses packages contained some pick-me ups.
The bosses haven't noticed the short deliveries quite yet, but they are starting to notice his shakes...
Last Edit: Aug 25, 2011 18:00:33 GMT -5 by chummer
The Kidd never met a dataport he didn't want to interface with. He loved burrowing into the soft electronic underbellies of the Corporations in the NBZ. Finding SMS, Voicemails, space module plans, impant designs, passcodes, it was all digital turn-ons for The Kidd.
He ran into some trouble one particular day while attempting to run his decoy in an Aztek node. Let's just say he was 'force booted' with extreme prejudice from the network. Electronic waves fried his deck and fused his dataport implant into a useless slag in his skull.
He still loves his data though. Now he just finds chumps to procure the beloved bits of 1's and 0's for him.
Last Edit: Aug 25, 2011 17:58:38 GMT -5 by chummer
Katiana Anslo is a beautiful woman. Her hair a glowing chestnut and eyes that burn like black neon. And like most beautiful women she comes with trouble. She was the wife of a highly placed Az Tek scientist. But when her husband is found murdered and his research missing all the evidence points to her. Now she has come to you for help. She wants you to find his missing research and clear her name. She is certain one of his colleagues is framing her to take credit for her husband's research.
Is she the victim of a sinister plot? Or a black widow seeking to draw you into her web?
"On a tree for six days and seven nights and all I got was this lousy t-shirt." -Wisdom check failed...
Post by technomancer on Aug 25, 2011 23:38:33 GMT -5
... I know that one! That Mechanic!
I think his name was something lame, like Randall, but everyone down at The Docks call him Spanky. He rigs up the ships that sail in and out of the NBZ for hauls of... Just about everything. Cargo coming in, people headed out, everything from contraband for the Yakuza to bibles and rosaries for the churches. He patches up the skiffs for some good cred, but word on the street says the Finns hook him up with Hedlozz and Cram from time to time to... Well... To overlook a small leak in the motor gaskets and other usually unfortunate mechanical issues. When he comes down off of that high, he remembers what he has done... And lives he may have helped to take... And crawls inside a pillbottle..
I feel sorry for him. I've wanted to help him get clean and get some help, having helped me get into the NBZ from Denver through a personal ccontact, but I can't get a hold of him. If any CKs know what happened to him, find me on the GM or out at the old Fallout Shelter up north-west. I hope he didn't get caught up with the Finns, or worse, someone they were trying to screw.
-The Legendary Red Hand- The infamous hacker known as Red Hand was praised and despised for training young punks to fight for the streets. Many were orphans and it was said that even the elusive Digital Noise was an orphan prodigy shaped by the Red Hand. It was reported that the Hand was even killed in a K.H. crackdown in the Backbay Slums. Because of this, many have believed over the last few years that The Red Hand is an organization rather than a person. However, there is some indication to conclude the opposite. Since no one is able or willing to confirm the existence of the almost mythical hacker, conjecture continues.
The first reports of Red Hand come to us from the DMZ in Seattle ten years ago. Its unknown what prompted the move to the New Boston Zone, but it seemed to happen around the time that the Seattle riots of 2208 started. Caused when the Mars Inc security bot on-board the Rare Earth Undersea Mining rig off the coast went postal, brutally killing all 200 civilian crew members. During that period shortly thereafter, some shanty towns were created in New Boston to house refugees from those riots, resulting in Backbay Slums, Old Kenmore and Charles Canal, all of which were Streets territory at that time.
Even then however, when the Matrix was in its first stages of being slung across the zone, Red Hand was there to catch the corps in their dirty dealings, exposing them to the civies and delivering the right leverage to the right corps, at the right time. Red Hand is still one of the premier hackers in the NBZ and is known for having a lead on everything that happens in the city.
One of the first CKs himself, Red Hand set a standard for those with something to prove in NBZ. Those who have supposedly had a chance to bump elbows with Red Hand have reported ironclad will, honor and intelligence in their dealings. One thing is for sure, the corps want the Hand hunted down and burned at the virtual stake, while the chummers on the street whisper about it like a vengeful ghost...
Post by technomancer on Aug 26, 2011 8:32:22 GMT -5
Red Hand? He was from New Boston? I remember hearing about his digital shenanigans in Denver, but we heard he was from a settlement in Arizona... Wires getting crossed as news flies, I guess?
... Come to think of it, we had an incident a few years before I left Denver that affected nearly every transmission, public, private, and wireless... We called it Haywire. Everything was made available and easily accessable on the GM, which kinds kicked the slag outta our corps and some officials... It was credited to be someone calling himself Red Hand... But the stories we heard made him out to be underground and chivalrous, but the guy we had back west demanded payment from the corps AND citizens to shut it down... It was found out to be an imposter...
I don't know if he lived when they threw him out of Denver, but we might have to consider that someone plans to bargain with someone, hiding behind the name of someone who cannot speak on their behalf.
Post by Volyren Nightsong on Aug 27, 2011 7:40:20 GMT -5
**Yet another long post from me... big surprise, right? if you want to skip my lengthy explanations for things, just skip over the "code" boxes.
Well, i thought i would take a stab at the junkie guy. (he was first on the list) since im still waiting on my USB cable, so that i can transfer some files back and forth from the phone (or even turn it on, since its DEAD) so that i could work on the weapon/armor/item descriptions, i figured i would give this a shot, since all i needed was the computer. but there is a problem. i write in a style i developed myself. i call it "Bones to Makeup". yeah, i know its a horrible name, but up until this minute i have never had to think of what to call my writing procedure. if you are interested in how i start and finish my books and short stories, then check out the code box below. **You dont have to read it to understand my post. its just my usual rambling, only its about the subject we are talking about here.** basically i start with an idea, then make notes. from those notes i scribble in some diagrams, plot points and doodles to help me keep track of all my competing ideas. once i have an idea of what i am going to write about, i start by thinking about the major parts of the story that i want to create. from there i open my word processor (i like MS Word) and begin laying the "Bare Bones". i take my major plot points, and place a series of asterix in front of them, and then type them out. those become place holders for smaller ideas about what happens to the characters and the story as it moves from the first point to the last. once i have that done, i have a fairly good map of what i want to do, laid out from start to finish. this is the "Skeleton". starting at the beginning, i begin to add in conversations, events, fights, plot twists, and the like until i get to the end. at this point it is not what i would call a story, more like a kids story, told in simple sentences that seem like they were written by a monkey who's strung out on LSD and meth, who is also mentally retarded. but it just happens to be the stage i enjoy the most. because once i reach it, my brain can take a break. at this point, our skeleton has its circulatory system. now that the skeleton has bloodflow, we can add muscle and organs. if we tried to do that without the circulatory system in place first, then the story...er.. skeleton would die because the organs would begin to rot without being connected to everything else. now i look at the skeleton, and decide to myself. "hmm..... what body part to work on today..... " and once i decide, i start adding the neccesary organs and bits. "i think today feels like a left kneecap kinda day..." when you have your story planned out, then its easy for you to work on any part of it, anytime you wish. if you are still at the beginning.. er... the head, and you start to get bored writing about hairdo's and eyeballs, you can stop working on that, and move down to the end, or the foot (or butt, if your story doesnt have legs, lol) and start working on that. this way, the huge chore it is to create a person/story from scratch can be greatly reduced, because you get to switch it up when you are bored, and best of all, if you get a great idea for what will happen later on, you dont have to make notes and wait till later, you can simply skip to that part and write it out while you are inspired to do so. so after a while (a LONG while) you have a bloody mess of organs and muscle wrapped around bone. Its most definately not ready for others at this point, unless you really trust them, and value their opinion (or they are ok with mutilated looking bodies bleeding all over their house) so next we need to go back and smooth out any rough edges. get rid of the bits that poke out, or the pieces that you wanted to put in, but now that your skeleton has 5 fingers on each hand, you might want to remove that tentacle you had growing out of his forehead (it sounded cool at the time!) once you have trimmed off the extra bits, and made sure that there are no parts that conflict with each other (like a black guy arm and a white guy arm would be ok, you would end up with a michael jackson arm, but the devil worshipper leg and the catholic priest left testicle are going to cause conflict in the story. (im talking about like how the soprano's ended in mid sentence, not the good kinda conflict, like a killer battle scene) once you are done, and double checked to make sure the muscles work, the organs havn't been rejected and the brain is firing on all nuerons, you probably want to give your body some skin. this is where you go in and add description to everything. for example: Did; 1. John go to the store, and buy some groceries for his grandmother.... OR... 2. John sped along the backroads, keeping a sharp eye out for cops. He knew that his grandmother needed him right now. Her medicine wasn't delivered on time, and she desperately needs her heart medication, or she could die. He knows that Irene, that damnable hurricane would be upon them any minute. He just had to avoid law enforcement, or they would arrest him for being out after the mandatory curfew. He arrived at the pharmacy at last, with just enough time to spare.
(notice the plot hole in the 2nd example? why would a pharmacy be open if the police have declared a mandatory curfew? thats the kind of stuff you have to watch out for or you will have to rewrite things to make them fit.)
once you get the skin on there, you are almost set. at this point, its ok to let others see your story body. but keep in mind, its nekkid. now go back over it one last time, fix any little errors, add a few lines here and there, and viola! you have a fully clothed, fully developed body, just ready to join all the other bodies in the story morgue! (the library!) if you are lucky enough to have an editor, or know someone who is either an english teacher, or creative writing coach, then you can pass your fully clothed body off to them and they will add a little makeup (make corrections to grammer and syntax) and then, provided they dont hate the clothes you p icked out for them, in which case you have to design some more, then they will put your fully formed and clothed, all made up body onto the cold steel table, and strap it in. after hooking up various wires to the body and putting the classic "spiral tubing connected to a metal pasta strainer" on your story's head and then they call in the mad scientist who will do the unthinkable...he is ....the PUBLISHER!!! (*scary harpsichord and organ music plays with a hint of theramin in the background*) he waits for the right moment, and throws the switch, just as lightning strikes!!!!
and then you sign a bunch of papers, hopefully with a lawyer, so you dont get screwed out of your creative property, and get paid a decent ammount, leaving last but not least, the dreaded "Royalties Negotiations!" (*more skeery myoozak*)
then you go and spend all your money, and when you end up broke, you start the process all over again.
now, i want to point out that i was tired when i began working on this story, and though i have almost finished the muscle/partial skinning phase of my writing method, i would like to do the last bits at least so that i have a complete narrative to offer you. I wholeheartedly admit that my original intent was to write a background bio that was maybe a page, to a page and a half long, that introduced the character, revealed his background, and ended with why he would need the player character's help. I know you guys (and gals) dont know me that well here, but im pretty sure you already know me well enough to figure out that I am utterly incapable of writing anything "Short" and this is the very situation i find myself in right now. when i made it to page 4, i thought to myself, " man! i really have to wrap this up, becuase i doubt anyone is going to read it!" so i set out to do just that. now I am on page 10 and i think/hope/pray that i am only a page or two from the end. I am very tired, and my fingers are starting to cramp from all the typing. i promise you, that as much as i hate to do it, i will post here what i have before i go to bed. i would like to finish the short story (its what it turned into) before i post it so that you can read it all in one go. and on a final note, please dont fear the length of this character piece, because unlike my sloppy posts here, when i take my time to write, i make sure to properly punctuate, capitalize, and (even though it wont show up on the net)i make sure to use proper alignment and indentations as well as spacing.
before i post the story, i want to say something, and it needs to be said. Cyber-punk is almost always set in a dystopian future where life is much cheaper than it is today. reality is brutal, and cold, even though it might hide behind a high tech facade of neon beauty. and as such, this story reflects that. The character , John, has had a very rough life, and his childhood was cut short by a very traumatic and life defining event. He turned to drugs to help him escape the horrors of his past, but he finds that they catch up to him, no matter how hard he tries, or how fast and far he runs. i picked the junkie character, because i felt that he would be a character that most people would skip over. and also, i feel that i have a special insight into the character, due to my own personal experience. (and just within the last 2 weeks no less, so its very fresh in my mind)
**More rambling here. this is where i explain why i felt that i could write a good "junkie" story. feel free to skip it, it wont affect your understanding of the rest of the post. Although you will miss out on the story about the time that I saw COLOR S THA T DON' T EXIST! So, its your call, buddy... ** you see, i am legally disabled. i dont need a wheelchair or anything like that, but it helps to have my homemade walking staff to get around on my bad days. the problem lies with my back. if you know anything about your spinal cord, you know that between each vertebra is a cartillagenous disc which cushions and supports your spine, while protecting your spinal cord and keeping it safe from paralyzing injuries. most of my discs have either ruptured, slipped or have simply disintegrated. the doctor tells me that i have the back of a 70 year old coal miner. over the months, the pain got worse and worse, until some days i could barely get out of bed, or even move. thankfully i had a good doctor who had known me for a long time. i have a weird body chemistry. or as the doctor asks me "You sure you ain't no martian?" kidding aside, i have a problem with most medicines. they do strange things to me, and there seems to be no telling how they will affect me when i take them. for instance, coffee makes me sleepy, and most downers, like pain medicine, where most people would pass out taking the high doses i have to take, they instead made me insanely energetic and clear headed. the first time the doctor prescribed the medicine i am on now, i came home and opened the file where i was working.
******Behold, a Ramble WITHIN a Ramble!!*************
I had been working on a game manual that was intended to be both a pen and paper rpg, as well as the combat and skill mechanics to be set up so that they are easy to input into a computer game, with no need to adjust them to tweak the play difficulty. The game world was my own creation, but i created the system so that any part, be it the weapons, the skills, and especially the setting, could be changed out with any other game world, be it star wars, vampire the masquerade, lord of the rings, or dare i say it, even Cyber Knights. Most games like these are either totally unrealistic (near to the point of absurdity) in the way they handle combat, OR they are so damned difficult that the game is more frustrating than fun. So i looked at how real life combat worked, how wounds affected performance, how armor protected the body, every facet of combat and the factors that would influence its outcome were weighed, measured and compiled into a workable system that would be playable with either dice, or variable attack ranges implemented in a computer game. My ultimate goal was to create a game where the only rules that came into play, did so during combat. You want to be a mage that can go berserk and weild 2-handed battle axes, one in each hand? sure thing. want to be a warrior that specializes in custom made weapons of your own design? i had rules for that as well. (and my players had good ideas. like a crossbow with a mana battery mounted on its bolt-rail, connected directly to a raw spell foci [which converts raw energy into a particular spell] and then they rigged the the trigger mechanism to the mana battery's release port. the end result was a modular crossbow that functioned for all intents and purposes as a highly effective assault rifle, whose ammo, be it ice, fire, raw energy, or even healing auras could be changed out at will (the spell foci) and when the juice in the battery ran dry, they just popped in a new "clip" i thought for sure that it would unbalance my game horribly. and i was very proud when it didnt. (at all!) bottom line is that i wanted a game that would be fun to take your character from level 1 to level 100. and i also wanted to make a game in which if a level 100 player were to be caught unaware, he/she could be killed by a small child with one well placed (or lucky) stab of a knife. enough rambling, sorry about that.....anyway, back to the point. i will mark my rambling with **** to help you out so you dont want to break my delicate little typing fingers quite so much.... lol so, i had just taken this medicine for the first time (Methadone) Its the strongest medicine that can be prescribed for pain, besides maybe oxycontin, which i REFUSE to take. (too many people i knew in high school abused them and ended up dead) after the incident with my bad reaction to a penicillin injection, in which i had a very VERY realistic hallucination that left me standing out in the middle of the road in the dead of night, when it was snowing! (i didnt care though, because i saw something that none of you will ever see.
I SAW COLORS THAT DO NOT EXIST IN THIS UNIVERSE!!
you heard me right. try to imagine a color that you have never seen. and if you dont beleive me[no one does] then try to describe what orange looks like without using the names of any colors) so, given my prediliction for bizzarre side effects while on "normal" medicine, i was locking myself in my room, and removing things i could hurt myself with, just in case. i was very worried, since until that day i had only ever heard of methadone being used on heroin addicts to help them with withdrawals. i knew it was supposed to be STRONG.
I don't recall when i noticed that the medicine had began working, because I was sitting in my computer chair with a lumbar pillow, typing. However i do have a record of the exact time (more or less) when it kicked in. I normally type fast. anyone can if you do it a lot. my average words per minute were averaging 97WPM over the course of using my computer. well, considering that i took a 11 page manual and turned it into a full 75 page game manual complete with graphs, weapons tables, optional rules and all the skills and instructions. The crazy thing was, that I didn't even realize how fast i was going until i finished the guide. THE WHOLE GUIDE. It ended up taking me 9 hours. When i went back and checked, starting that night on the computer, my WPM was logged like this 9PM-10PM 85 WPM 10PM-11PM 101 WPM 11PM-12AM 158 WPM 12AM-1AM 212 WPM 2AM-3AM 217 WPM 3AM-4AM 204 WPM needless to say i was shocked. (but that helps you understand why i type so damned much, eh?) [/color]
the point of this whole rambling mess is this: a week and a half ago i ran out of my methadone. thats usually not a problem, because i can go see my pain management doctor and get a refill. however, this time, there was a problem. the doctor was out, either on vacation or taking classes for his continuing education requirements. I thought that sucked, but not a problem. i asked his nurse if she could renew my prescription because i was totally out. She was new(er) at the job and hadn't dealt with me before. i kind of take for granted that my tolerance for medication requires a higher dosage, which may seem like a lot to others. the normal dose for methadone is 1, maybe 2. (even for detoxing heroin addicts) i started out on 3 and a half, but that was 5 years ago. currently i have to take 5 at a time, sometimes twice a day. (as well as 3 advil, because methadone is just the narcotic part, without the painkiller part, unlike the more common lortab, which is both, combined in one pill) the nurse was scared to give me that high a dose, even though i had old prescription papers, and bottles with my dose printed on it to show her. nothing worked. she was too afraid that i was some sort of test to see if she would just pass out narcotics, willy nilly. (they do try to trick doctors that way occasionally) so i was pretty much screwed. i figured, "oh well, guess i will be laid up in bed, hurting like hell for a few days." i wish thats all that i had to deal with. I will not go into the details, you can see some of them in the short story about John. but i will say this. i would not wish the agony that i had to endure for those 5 days on ANYONE. not even my worst enemy. not osama bin butthead, not hitler, not anyone. the last 3 days i am blessed to have had the foresight to remove the clip from our gun, and have all my sword/knife/weapon collection taken down from the wall. Because i swear to you, when you experience agony like that, death does not seem bad at all. on the 4th day, i was begging jen to kill me, and i was serious. and all of that, because i didnt get my regular prescription. i am by no means a wuss. before i started pain management i was in such bas shape that i would barely get out of bed, just so i could keep my spine from moving. every single bend, twist or turn would pinch nerves, causing spasms, which further bent or twisted my back, in an increasing cycle until i could handle the pain enough to force my muscles to stop by flexing and holding against the spasms, which felt like monster trucks pressing down on my spine. and thats pretty much all i care to say about what withdrawals are like. i never did any illegal drugs, (not counting pot when i was younger, but who didnt) never broke the law (that i know of), always tried to be nice to people, and loved to make people smile or laugh. so if i can feel that hellish torment, over something so simple as not taking my back pain meds, then I should be ashamed of the contempt I have held for those junkies you see on TV, squirming and writhing in pain, strapped to the bed so that they cannot hurt themselves or others. I used to think that these people deserved what they got for doing drugs. I thought that there was no way that something could hurt that bad. I thought that they were just really weak, or faking it for sympathy, and hopefully some money or drugs that they can trade for their drug of choice. For those of you who think that same thing about junkies, its your choice. but my experience has shown me, in the hardest of hard ways, that not all junkies fake it, or "ham" it up. they are in terrible pain. and lastly, i hope you stop and think next time before judging one. not all of them did anything illegal, or to deserve the pain. and i should know, because even though i have only taken medicine that my doctor has prescribed to me, i now have to live with the knowledge that I, too, am a junkie. and so i felt that i NEEDED to write this short story.
I am going to get back to it, and try and finish it before i need to lay down. but i swear i will post some of it within the next hour or so. I won't leave you hanging in mid sentence though, so don't expect all 10 pages ive written right away. i would rather leave it off at a good stopping point, so that you arent just waiting around for 2 minutes of story. at any rate, i will post it here in a bit. and i ask your forgiveness for any double posting. i may not have enough space in a single message to get the whole story in one post, with its 50,000 character limit. drop a text bomb on ya later. peace!
Post by Volyren Nightsong on Aug 27, 2011 14:42:31 GMT -5
ok, i am going to attempt to do something that is anathema to me. i am going to keep this post short and sweet. (since the story is more than a few pages long.) to save on space, i will be placing the story in a code box. this way, it will not eat up tons of space on your browser, and it has the added benifit of a built in copy/paste feature. since the text displays rather small, if anyone is having trouble reading, please copy and paste into notepad or (my reccomendation, Word. Please note that unlike my posts, the story presented here should have the vast majority of it properly formatted for easy reading. keep in mind, that despite it's size, this is a work in progress. i have inserted the dreaded "To Be Continued" at the end. chances are it will take me no more than a day or two to finish it, but for those of you who hate waiting, (you silly people who peek at the last page of a book before you are done with it... ), i will also post my "Bare Bones" notes of where the story will be going. keep in mind that i am talking about my very rough notes on plot points. (read my previous post if you are interested in the process i use to make writing a story easier. the "bare bones" concept is described there. i will note where the plot notes are, and depending on how it looks, will either put them into a code box, spoiler box (if this forum has one) or i will make the text color match the background so that you will only see it if you select the text with your mouse.
*sigh* so much for the BRIEF post, eh? oh well... I tried....
************************************************** This story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any event or person, living or dead is purely coincidental, unless otherwise stated by the author at the beginning of this text. Some material contained in this fictional work may be disturbing to younger viewers, or those who do not like to read about violence, adult situations, and drug use. Parental discretion is reccomended. This fictional work attempts to conform to the comparable MPAA rating for television and movies, classified as "PG-13" This work is considered the property of ***** *****, or the person or persons behind the username under which this work is submitted. As is standard with all material submitted without contract or legally binding agreement to a website owned by either an individual person or persons, or a company, for-profit organization, or LLC, except in the case where terms and conditions of said site specifically address ownership and rights to submitted materials, shall have full permission to use as they see fit on the website to which these materials have been submitted. Further usage or application of materials in question may or may not conform to local and state laws in the area which an idividual lives, or a company, for-profit organization, or LLC is currently liscenced to conduct business. The original owner of materials in question may or may not, at his or her liesure, extend or retract permissions pertaining to the use, sale, or distribution of said materials, above or in excess of the original permissions pertaining to said materials at his or her discretion, with or without prior notification to the website holder. All other permissions granted by federal, local or state law, are implied as to said materials. Neither the owner or website holder accept any liability for harm, physical, emotional or mental, arising from or directly related to the consumption of said materials. By consuming said materials, you consent and agree to abide by the terms and conditions above.
now that the mumbojumbo (my lawyer makes me do it! ) is out of the way, i present to you, the rough draft of .... "Untitled Cyber-Punk Junkie Hero, John!".... (sorry, im all tapped out of creativity. just deal with the title...)
Pain. With every breath. Pain.
Every waking moment was agony. A thousand white hot needles stabbing through skin, through flesh, imbedding in bone, then exploding into boiling torrents of acid that surged through his veins. Sleep.
Surely the pain could not find him in his sleep. Sleep was solace. Sleep would hold him tight, lull away the hurt, rock him gently and coo in his ear. Just like the mother whose name he could no longer recall. But he remembered that feeling. So comfortable, so relaxing, so content. So safe.
How long had it been since he felt safe? It didn’t matter. Because he was there. A small boy, being held by his mother, rocked gently, as a lullabye soothed away his fears. At last, he was safe. He remembered this feeling. It tickled the back of his memory time and again, only to slip away when he reached out to it.
But not this time. This time, he didn’t reach out to it. It reached out to him, enveloping him in a blissful blanket, both warm and soft, to protect him from the cold outside world with weaves of pure love.
He looked into his mother’s eyes, and the love he saw there made him forget about all his failings. It had been so long. So very long since he had felt happiness. Contentment. This was where he was supposed to be.
His mother reached her slender arms around him and held him close, hugging him tightly. He nuzzled up against her chest, inhaling her scent. That wonderful perfume and another scent he could not describe, but that he knew to be his mother. He reached his arms around his mother, to return the hug. His hand slid across her taught belly, up her side, towards her chest.
His face became warm as conflicting feelings and emotions fought within him. So comfortable and safe.
But the breasts. So soft, so smooth. His hand slid underneath her silk robe, acting of its own accord. Oh, the things he would do to her, this beautiful woman. His face buried between her breasts, he breathed in her smell. Cheap perfume, worn down during a long day of rubbing against random strangers, their sweaty unwashed musk mixed in with hers, and covered in a coating of stale cigarette smoke. Desire began to take him. He wanted to look into this whore’s eyes.
A sharp stabbing pain shot through his head, causing him to wince, and whimper in agony. “John? Honey, are you ok?”
That voice. Melodic and soothing, and as unmistakable as the sound of birdsong. He looked up and met her gaze.
“Mother?” There was no mistaking. A rush of shame and queasiness rushed through him as he fought back the urge to vomit. Did he just imagine all of that? What was wrong with him?
“It’s ok, dear heart.” His mother spoke softly as she reached under his chin and brought his tearful eyes up to meet hers. “John, its ok. I know you didn’t mean it. You just get confused sometimes, and its not your fault. You have a heavy burden to bear, my dear sweet son, and no man can carry that weight without being dragged down by it on occasion.” Tears welling in his eyes, he opened his mouth to apologize, to tell her how disgusted he was in himself for letting his mind wander from her to some nightly conquest, taken in the back of a taxi on one of his tweaked out states. He wanted to tell her how sorry he was for letting that dirty world into this sanctuary of peace, where everything was right and safe. But no matter how many times he tried, he choked on his words as if they were nails.
“My son, please, do not be ashamed of what others have made you into.” She said with conviction, as if his shame somehow caused her pain.
Others? But he was the one who first took the bag from the body of that man in the alley. He was the one who took a pinch of smuzz from the baggie and heated it in a dirty spoon, salvaged from a dumpster, with a discarded lighter that was stained with who knows what. It might not have been the primo, the Red Smuzz(*Note-1*), but he didn’t care, as long as it did it’s job. The sharp pungent smell of smuzz tickled his nostrils as the resins and oils seeped out of the buds. He didn’t have a strainer. And he didn’t wait for it to cool. He took the needle and placed it against the bowl of the spoon and pulled back the plunger, drawing in a yellowish transparent, syrupy liquid. He always got a few pieces of the bud in the syringe as well, but he didn’t care. “Real men like it chunky, boy!” his first dealer had told him. John knew that the man simply didn’t want to give him a filter, since they were becoming hard to find, but that saying stuck with him over the years. He had grown used to the grainy feeling of the small bits rubbing against his veins. It did hurt, but that was part of the magic. The sweetest magic, that helped numb his mind, and keep the memories at bay. Memories…he thought, as he reached under his shirt, looking for his newly acquired injection point.
Which memories was he trying to forget again?
“Please, John, you mustn’t blame yourself. You didn’t choose to have this done to you. You didn’t want this life at all. Its ok! I still love you, John, no matter what!”
The frantic tone of his mother’s voice was enough to snap him out of his self-disgust. He hated to hear her voice like that. It reminded him of how she sounded the last time he ever saw her alive…the men, ripping, tearing at her, laughing at her screams for help…
“John, my love, please you have to clear your mind of that right now! You have to wake up John, you must wake up!”
He had walked to the store to get her some flowers for mother’s day.
The door was cracked open. Mother never left the door open. She said an open door invites trouble.
“No! No, John! It wasn’t your fault, you have to stop blaming yourself! Please, son, wake up! There are people depending on you!”
There was so much blood. Blood at the doorway, on the coffee table, on the hallway light switch. Blood on his toys, scattered around the floor.
Around the corner. Open the door. Peek inside. Eyes locked on horror. Innocence shattered. The death of childhood.
The truth of the world revealed.
The group of men surrounded her, slapping her, beating her with their fists. She screamed in pain and fear, but they laughed at her, ripping her clothing off, exposing her vulnerabilities to their evil intentions. Frozen in shock, in fear, in anger. The boy stood there, staring, unable to blink as the horrific scene unfolded before him. The tiny sliver of light peeking through the door was all he could see. The rest of the world did not exist. Transfixed as he was, he did not see the figure sneak up behind him. Sinewy arms reached out around his waist and grabbed him tightly, hoisting him up off the ground. “Hey! Look at wot’s I gots ‘ere, Chummers! A peepin’ Tommy boy!” The men turned away from the battered woman, approaching the struggling boy. Little fists pounded against the barrel chest of the man who had him in the air in a futile attempt to break free so that he could save his mother. “Hey, Milo, looks like the little turd doesn’t like you! Damn surprisin’ considering you smell like shit!” The others chuckled and chortled at the crude comment. “So what you want me to do with ‘im boss? A wiry framed man with mutton chop sideburns turned away from the boy’s mother and faced the one called Milo. His dark, sunken eyes pierced the boy’s bravado, and he suddenly felt very afraid as the man walked over to him, a wicked grin revealing yellow and blackened teeth. A black tribal tattoo, stark against his pale white and red blotchy, peeling skin lifted in sync with his his pierced eyebrow as he stared right into the boy’s face. The child became deathly still as the man brought his face down level to his, until their noses were practically touching. His fetid breath tickled John’s nose as the skinny man spoke. “You like to watch, do you boy? You like watching a real man take care of your mum?” A wicked grin spread across the cracked lips of the gang’s leader. “Too bad you wont get to have a fine little tart like your mum over there. I’m afraid dead little boys have a hard time finding their first piece ‘o puss!” The other gang members laughed loudly at their leader’s crude joke. Then the man turned back to John’s mother and began again with his gang, the torture and humiliation of the woman who had loved and raised him. Protected him from harm. Baked him cookies when he was sad.
“Umm, Zael, you really want I should off the kid?” the big man asked, struggling to control the squirming, flailing boy.
“Did I stutter, you stupid hulking ape?” He rhetorically quipped , not bothering to turn away from the lurid act in front of him. “Just snap the little twerp’s neck, and we can toss em out the window together when we kill this bitch.”
John froze. His mother, dead? Unacceptable. Impossible.
“No.” Zael turned around and stared at the boy. “No, what, little man?” “I wont let you hurt my mommy!” John screamed with all his might. The men stopped for a moment and looked toward their leader. Zael cocked back his head and laughed loudly. “You won’t let us, huh?” that evil grin spread across his face again. “What do you think we have been doing to her, you stupid little twerp, playing with our dollies?” The boy stared defiantly at the gang leader, hatred burning in his eyes. “You don’t get to decide what anyone does, you weak little dog. In this world, only people with power get to decide their fate.” He chuckled “And when you have enough power, you get to decide the fate of others. Like your mom. Like YOU!” Zael’s hand shot out and struck the side of the boy’s head, rocking his head to the side, and causing his vision to blur as blinking yellow and white lights filled his vision.
Suddenly snapped out of her protective, self induced catatonic state, John’s mother struggled against her bonds, kicking at the men pinning her down to the blood and body fluid stained bed. “You will not hurt my son!” She screamed, a low guttural sound, as if a wild animal were growling at a potential predator. “John, Run!”
She wrenched her right foot free from the goon who had been holding it down, and lashed out at Zael, slamming her heel into his exposed groin. With a grunt Zael dropped to his knees, clutching his manhood and swearing loudly. John began swinging his arms at the face of the man who had him pinned. A few of his blows connected and Milo staggered. While John struggled against his captor, Zael was regaining his feet. “Milo! Take that stupid brat out of here and snuff him out, NOW!” Milo began dragging John out of the room with his mother, who was still struggling and screaming his name. “Ya know, ya dumb bitch, “ Zael bellowed, loud enough to be heard over the mother and son screaming match “ I ain’t one to go for none ‘a that necro’ crap, personally I find it sick and disgusting. But you’ll still be warm long enough for my boys to finish up, so I say that this doesn’t count!” Zael pulled his gun and pointed it at John’s mothers head. “ No! Wait! Don’t!” John screamed out as Milo dragged him from the room. He reached out searching for something, anything, to grab onto. His fingers found the edge of the doorframe and dug in, holding on with all his might against the powerful tugging of the brutish criminal. Zael cocked back the hammer on his antique pistol. “You should feel honored, bitch! This gun’s been in my family for generations. And you get to be the first whore to be killed by it since the civil war!” John’s mother, Allora Samantha Rellios, tore her beautiful eyes, stained with blood and tears away from the barrel of the gun, and into the eyes of her greatest achievement. “John.” She managed a smile despite the pain she was in, “I love you, my son” His fingers began giving way, but he stared into his mother’s eyes until the doorframe obscured all but her loving smile, and the pride in her eyes. “Aww, ain’t that sweet. Well you can have yer little one with ya in the next life, you dumb whore!” With a deafening crack, and flash of bright light in the dark room, Zael fired point blank into Allora’s skull. Her gaze remained fixed on her son, but the bright spark that lit her eyes, and lent its beauty to her was gone. Dead lifeless eyes stared back at John. Eyes that only hours before shone brightly with love. “MOOOOOMMMMYYYY!” John screamed at the top of his lungs. “SHUT HIM UP!” Zael yelled from around the corner “NOW!” Milo clamped his meaty hand over John’s mouth and took grip of his neck. “Sorry about this, little man, but I wants me a piece while its still warm. It don’t feel right when they’s cold and stiff.” John bit down as hard as he could, until he felt the “pop” of skin breaking and tasted blood. He clamped his jaw down as Milo yelled and jerked his hand back, tearing out a chunk of his palm. John kicked loose from the wounded goon, and ran. Around the corner, throwing open the door, then backtracking to the window and climbing down the fire escape as the gang ran by. As he neared the bottom, he noticed that the lower fire escape had collapsed to the street below. He frantically looked for another way down. “He ain’t out here!” someone yelled from inside the apartment building. “You! Go check the fire escape!” An icy chill ran down John’s spine. The street below was at least 20 feet down. Much to far to jump. He heard footsteps on the fire escape above him, and decided to take his chances. Aiming for a dumpster, he threw himself out into the airy void. He thought only of his mother as the ground, and the smell of rotting garbage rushed to meet him.
“John! WAKE UP NOW! THEY ARE COMING!”
John awoke with a start, jerking his aching back upright much too fast and causing spasms in his aching muscles. The old familiar agony was back, and with a vengeance. He had hoped to escape these horrid withdrawals by sleeping through the worst of them, but given that painful remembrance, he wished that he had stayed awake and suffered through the pain. Nightmares were nothing new to him. With a past like his, they were just par for the course. He only wished that some nightmares weren’t so true. He ducked back down into the dumpster as footsteps sounded at the entrance to the alley. He pulled the lid down, leaving only a crack to surveil his pursuers.
Four men walked slowly down the alley, their heads constantly moving, surveying everything for signs of their prey. Garbage was piled high against the aging façades of the buildings. The smells of urine and refuse mingled with the slight hint of salt and dead fish as the wind carried the sea breeze into the myriad alleyways and corridors created by the expanding urban sprawl. The New Boston Zone was a decaying mass of steel and concrete, deteriorating every minute from the oxidizing salt air and some would argue, from the inside out, due to the moral degradation of the people in the city.
The group stopped in front of a garbage pile, only 10 feet from John’s location. He fought against the pain and muscle twitches from the withdrawals. Chewing on his lip to keep from making any grunting or pained sounds, he watched the men with rapt attention.
“Hey, Mike, do you-“ The lead man struck out, lightning fast, and slapped the one who was speaking. “ You never use our names, you idiot!” Rubbing his stinging face, the man gave a steely glance back at the one who slapped him. “Yeah, I got it, One.” He spat out through his jaw, clenched in anger. “And if you touch me again, job or no, I will kill you.” A tall dark man in back, adjusted his glasses, and stepped forward. In a cool, calm voice he spoke in quiet, even tones. “Three, listen, and listen closely. If Mars finds out about us being here, we are all dead. We told them we already had the package. If they find out we lied to them, or we don’t find it by the drop-off time tomorrow, all four of us are dead, and I for one, will kill you before I let you endanger my life. Are we clear?”
The final man in back chimed in “Listen up, both of you chumturds. We know he is here somewhere, and if you keep whining, you are going to alert him to our prescence! The tracking device says he is within five hundred yards.” He pulled out a small screened device from his inner coat pocket and activated the screen. “According to this he still hasn’t moved in the last 3 hours. We have searched every building, alleyway and sewer in the area, leaving only this back alley. There is no way he can escape.”
John watched and listened as the mercenaries talked amongst themselves. He still had no idea what was going on. He thought that they were loan sharks sent by Andre the Fist. What a mess THAT had turned into…
* * *
Nano-Factories the doctor had told him. They can be fitted into the body, right under the cyberjack port. Completely undetectable and guaranteed to work. The latest breakthrough in medical science, he said. Originally designed to be a cure for diabetes, this experimental nano-factory created and maintained a small army of nano-bots, pre-loaded with cellular disassembly and reconstruction software. Using only the glucose in the bloodstream and the impurities found in all living things, the Nano’s can collect regular red blood cells and disassemble them. Once the cells are broken down into their basic molecules, the nano’s proceed to construct insulin for the body. Once the process of disassembly and reconstruction have been set up and automated, a group of nano’s break away from the rest, and move along the blood stream until they are dispersed around the body. They then attach themselves to cell walls and membranes at designated locations throughout the body. Once attached, each nano begins monitoring the levels of insulin in the body. This information is relayed back to the nano factory, which in turn produces or reduces the number of active nanos currently producing insulin. “While it may not be a cure for diabetes, it is a permanent treatment solution for the patient. No more shots, dietary restrictions or blood sugar testing. “ the doctor told him. “The great thing about the technology is that it is completely autonomous, never needs recharging, since it runs off of the thermal energy present in the body.” John handed him the money. He found it strange that the doc didn’t count the nuyen, but He wasn’t going to ask. John had spent almost a tenth of the promised funds on a nice meal, a beautiful escort, and a bag of the best smuzz (*1) that he could find. His arms were filled with track line scars from his addiction. Thankfully they were old and faded, thanks to his hidden port in his navel. John had always hated his “inny” and had seen girls he would have died for, but after seeing their bellybutton, decided he wasn’t interested. Just another of his many pet peeves. But since getting the injection port installed, he had to admit that he was thankful for his ugly navel. The doctor looked him over. John had unkempt chin length brown hair, tucked haphazardly behind his ears. His eyes were bright and alert, but weeks of sleep deprivation, and a lifetime of experiences that would drive a lesser man insane had left dark circles underneath them. He looked to be in his mid to late twenties, but both his eyes and the deep furrows in his brow made him look much older. The scowl lines in his face, and the lack of even a hint of crows feet around his eyes told the doctor that this man had experienced a hard life, and that he never smiled. Reaching out to scratch an itchy spot near his half-beard, John’s sleeve slid down, his tract mark scars showing in the moonlight that streaked through the dingy brown windows of the abandoned warehouse-turned-impromptu clinic. So this was to be the one… This junkie was to be the hope for millions. How ironic, the Doctor thought……. He dared to hope that his might be the man to help him finish what had started so long ago, in a run down makeshift clinic, just like this one.
* * *
He had began his medical practice to help those afflicted with a strange condition that no one could figure out at the time. After all the other physicians had given up, he continued working, even as his patient’s conditions degraded to the point where the bodies began to pile up because there were not enough living people healthy enough to help bury them. It wasn’t until he found a man who had been beaten to death in his clinic while he slept that he got his first clue as to what was going on. The poor soul’s hands and arms were clawed and bruised, but these were not defensive wounds. He had been trying to hold onto something as if his life had depended on it. He could find nothing on, or around the body that would give him any clues to what the man had tried so hard to protect. He noticed a white powdery residue under the man’s fingernails. Glancing around to make sure none of the others would notice, he took a sample of the powder-like substance, and quickly slid it into his pocket.
Over the next few days, he tried many different tests to determine what kind of chemical was in the sample, but to no avail. His results were often contradictory which was not only infuriating, but should have been impossible. How could you perform two identical tests on the same sample and get wildly different results? Using one sample, he performed 4 tests simultaneously. Finally, he got the results to match. The sample turned out to be…Platinum? That made no sense to the doctor. True, he was a surgeon by profession, and was not at all trained in molecular science, but he was absolutely sure that he had done the experiments correctly. Not having a SEM (*2) nearby, he could only do the chemical analysis tests he had been performing. Thinking that perhaps he had a faulty testing kit, he purchased a new one, and made sure that it was sealed. He mixed the chemicals in another 4 test tubes, and anxiously awaited the results. When he returned from his rounds of checking on the sickest patients, he saw that the test was complete. The tubes had turned from a clear solution to a milky purple liquid.
After checking the colored chart against the tubes, he sighed in frustration and collapsed into his chair. Another queer result…this time the test showed the substance to be cellulose. Setting the tubes on his desk, he put his head into his hands. It had been days since he last slept. All his time was spent caring for his patients as best he could, while looking for a cure for their mystery sickness. And in his spare time, he was consumed with the enigma of the ambiguous substance found on the dead man. “There must be an answer…” he muttered to himself.
* * *
The doctor looked up, shaken from his reverie.
“Are you going to be alright to do this doc?” John asked with concern. “Because if you are going to zone out like that on me while you are messing with the inside of my head, I think I would rather take my chances with some other solution to my problem.”
The doctor cleared his throat, and adjusted his dingy white lab coat. “Sorry about that young man, I’ve just had a lot on my mind lately.” He smoothed his bushy white hair back and held it down, only to have it pop back up when he released it. His dark skin and stark white hair made for a surreal contrast in the fluorescent lighting. He twitched his nose and rubbed his finger across his scraggly white beard stubble.
John stared quizzically at the doctor, unsure if he made the right decision in coming here, and risking both his life and his chance to make a big score. He could have bought nearly a year’s supply of smuzz with the money he had borrowed. Yet here he was in some run down warehouse, with a possibly senile old man, to have an experimental device attached to his spine, near the base of his skull…
The doctor finished fussing about with his clothing, and stepped forward, hand outstretched. “Dr. Benjamin Deifendurfer, but most people just call me Dr. D.” John accepted his outstretched hand, and the doctor shook it heartily. “John” he replied. Dr. D looked at him, as if waiting for more. “John….?”
”Just John.” He replied, his tone inviting no further question on the matter.
“Well, John, I take it you weren’t here looking to treat your diabetes, were you?” The doctor didn’t wait for an answer. He knew the question would be taken as rhetorical.
“So, this nano-manufacturing..err.. thingie’ John asked “is it capable of making any compound?”
“Technically, yes, however certain safeguards have been built in to protect the user from accidentally creating dangerous compounds like arsenic, cyanide, sodium and the like”
“Sodium?” John asked quizzically “How is salt dangerous? You put it on your food!”
The doctor chuckled “That’s a common misconception, John. Sodium Chloride is what you put on your food. But sodium, in its pure state, is actually a metal. Not only is it poisonous to humans but it is also very volatile, and will explode when exposed to water.”
“Really?” John raised an eyebrow, not sure if the doctor was playing a joke on him. “Interesting…”
Dr. D smiled. “If you care to begin we can start getting ready for the installation.”
“Sure thing, D, but first, could you explain to me how to use this thing?” John asked as he walked over to the table. An assortment of various cutting instruments and screwdriver looking tools were arranged neatly on a side table. Several syringes lay on another table to the right of the other. John couldn’t decide if he felt more like a patient on an operating table or a motor-bike being hoisted into the air, so that the grease monkeys could work on the engine. Perhaps, in this case, he should feel like both.
“Well, not that it is any of my business, but I assume, judging from your arm scars that you will be wanting this for, what? “Deifendurfer asked his patient “Its not heroin, or irrukon-ji-o I assume, seeing as how you are still standing and you aren’t having problems speaking.”
Dr. D’s question netted only silence for his trouble. “So, its smuzz, then. I should have guessed as much given your eyes. It always shows, John.” He sighed and shook his head “It won’t ever go away, you know? The things you are trying to forget? “
John looked up, but did not answer. It was none of this nosey old man’s business what he did with his life. After all, he was paying the senile doctor for his services and the parts, and in the NBZ, the less questions you asked, the less secrets you learned. And the less secrets you had, the less likely you were to get your head cut off and taken back to someone’s lab for data extraction.
“Well, I suppose we all have our demons.” Doc said, looking at the ground his eyes glinting in past remembrances.
* * *
The doctor awoke from his unintentional sleep. He leaned back into his desk char, and stretched his arms out wide as he yawned once more, clearing the last vestiges of sleep from his mind. Those damned test tubes. He didn’t even want to look at them right now. He was sick of all these mysterious happenings, as if his hard earned education was for nothing. His patients and their strange symptoms which defy classification, and those awful samples. There was just no way that he had done the test wrong, the samples must be contam….
The doctor’s mouth fell open as he looked at his desk. His samples were still there, but the color was not purple, as it had been last night. Instead a silvery liquid filled all four tubes, which still had their seal caps in place, bearing his own signature. Grabbing his testing kit, and forgoing his misgivings about the substance, he opened the vials, and began taking new samples from them, placing them in new tubes. After 4 hours of testing and researching the database for any mention of something remotely similar to the substance he had.
Sitting down hard in his char, Doctor D, began rubbing his temples. It just didn’t make one god damned bit of sense! NOT ONE GOD DAMNED BIT! He looked at the printout of the results one more time, as if it would change the truth. Last night, he checked those tubes, then double and triple checked them. Each of those 4 tubes contained pure cellulose, which was unusual as hell on its own merits, but how did cellulose magically transform its self into mercury?
He felt as though he were going to go mad. He reached out and grabbed a tube, holding it in his hand. He stared into the silvery contents as they sloshed around inside the tube. Then something strange began to happen. The mercury level in the vial began to rise! What once was a quarter full vial of liquid metal, had become half full, and began bubbling and frothing! The doctor quickly sat the tube down on his desk, and backed away. Then he noticed and all of his samples were exhibiting the same effects. Just as he was about to grab his hand held recorder to document this reaction, the bubbling died down, and all four of the tubes returned to their former volumes, at the exact same time. It was like watching a dance where the dancers were in perfect sync.
It was the damndest thing Benjamin Deifendurfer had ever seen. But to his amazement, the show, apparently, was not over! Having been preoccupied with the liquid in the vials reacting energetically with no stimuli, he failed to notice until now, that the metallic sheen seemed to be missing from the mercury. The liquid was a dull grey, and it appeared to be some sort of particulate, which began to settle to the bottom of the tube, leaving a clear liquid at the top. Was that the identification solution he had added to the samples? If so, how had it separated from the sample? Before the doctor could begin to contemplate the strange occurance, the liquid once again, began to bubble and boil inside the tube. The reaction seemed to be more energetic this time, and the tubes began to shake as the bubbling liquid seemed as if it would either pop the stopper right out of the tube, or shatter the glass outright. Just as quickly as the whole thing had began, the liquid stopped, like boiling water inside a kettle; when the heat is removed, the water returns to normal. Only, what settled in the tube was not water at all. Where liquid metal had been, mere minutes ago, there was only a fine crystalline powder.
After the excitement of the event wore off, D once again added the solution to the vial’s contents, revealing that the 4 tubes now contained, of all things, powdered confectioner’s sugar. Dr. D knew at that moment, he was going to do something very risky. It was no longer a matter of losing his job, or his credibility. He was even going to risk breaking his hippocratic oath. He was going to leave his patients behind for a while. He knew that some of them would die before he returned. And that they would suffer before they passed. But his determination helped alleviate his guilt. He knew that the best chance of finding out what had happened to these people lay in the vials in front of him.
He spoke to Joseph, one of his patients who had a little medical training, and had been assisting him in caring for the sick. His condition was not as bad as the rest and seemed to progress more slowly than the others. Many tests later, the doctor was again at a loss to explain why Joseph seemed to resist some of the diseases effect. “You needed to see me, Dr. D?” he asked as he pulled up a chair in the clinic’s now abandoned cafeteria. “Joe, I need to ask a favor of you.” Dr. D gave a quick smile, then nervously looked down at the table, choosing to focus on the graffiti scratched into its surface by a long forgotten hand. He almost wished the phone system still worked, and that he was talking to this, ‘Debbie’ character mentioned in the graffiti. The lewd picture scratched into the desks’ surface was obviously an exaggeration of her features, Dr. D thought. Because if they were that big, Debbie would be a hunchback. Though it probably wouldn’t matter anyway, according to the instructions, you were supposed to call her up and request her services. The scribble noted that she was a master at the art of fellatio, and to back this claim up the artist had drawn the absurdly busty beauty sucking a golf ball through a garden hose. D smiled, imagining what a woman capable of such a feat of suction could do with her talents. A true nerd at heart, Dr. D was almost through calculating the maximum suction one could apply to the male genitals before the skin would rip right off, and most assuredly ruin the act. “Doc!” D snapped out of his daydream “Sorry about that Joe, it’s been a rough few days.”
After apologizing to Joseph, the doctor explained what he had found out about the mystery substance. The Doc asked him to watch over his patients, and make them as comfortable as possible. Just as he was getting ready to leave, Joseph came running up to him. “Doc, I was thinking about what you told me. I didn’t know that guy who was beaten to death, but I think I know why it happened.” “Joe, I am all ears, please continue” Dr. D took a seat and bade Joseph do the same.
“Well, Doc, as I recall that guy was a real braggart and an asshole. He kept telling everyone he had some more of that medicine that the corporate guys gave out after that factory explosion last year. You know the one right? That chemical making place a few blocks down from here.” The doc nodded. He remembered it well. He had originally thought that the outbreak of this deadly disease had came from the factory, given how the corporate goons had swung into action so fast, passing out medicine, water, food, and shelter vouchers to the affected families. He had originally suspected the company, since they skipped town and went into bankruptcy a few days after the first cases of sickness were reported. But despite the suspicious activity, he could find no trace of chemicals in any of the victim’s systems. And by the time he thought to check the medicine that was passed out to them, there was none left. Whatever was in it, caused some withdrawals after the victims ran out. It was nothing too serious, and only lasted a few days, so at the time, he thought nothing of it.
However, given the recent turn of events, he was beginning to curse himself for not checking into the medicine sooner. “You know, I recall that the dead man had many wounds on his arms and hands, as if he were trying to protect something. He was already stiff when I found him, and one funny thing stuck out in my mind. His left hand was open as if he was holding something when he died. “
Joe nodded in agreement. “Yeah, I heard a few of the people had “acquired” some more of the disease cure medicine. Funny thing was, now that I put 2 and 2 together, the same people who were bragging about getting more of the medicine, were the ones who died most recently.”
“Thanks for the information, Joseph, you have been a great help to me here.” Dr. D told the man, in earnest. “ These people would have suffered greatly if not for your help here, my friend. But now I must go and find some answers, and if we are lucky, a cure!”
“Take care, Doctor.” Joseph said as he placed his hand onto his friend’s shoulder. “and before you leave, you might find this useful’ He held out his hand and presented Dr. D with a square-ish white bottle. The top was missing and it was empty, however, part of the front label had survived someone’s attempt to remove it completely. Looking at it closely, he could make out a partial serial number, but what really caught his eye was a logo, which had been ripped away, leaving only two small shapes and the letter M.
He needed no help with the top logo, because it belonged to the company that passed out the these pills to everyone. NanoPharm. And with that remembrance, his memory was jogged, and he recognized the second logo as well. He could not believe that he had let it slip his mind. With a long look towards Joseph, Dr. D relayed his findings to him. “You remember this, don’t you Joe?” he asked, pointing to the bottle. “NanoPharm, a subsidiary of Mars military research division.”
The ashen look on his face told Dr. D that he did not.
****************TO BE CONTINUED***************
I am unsure of a lot of the history or backstory regarding cyberknights. Therefore, when it came to what drug that John, "The Junkie" was strung out on, instead of using an in game drug, or common drug like we see people getting killed over today, I drew upon my own personal experience. Smuzz is a slang term for Pot. (and Red Smuzz is high grade pot) if you want to read the crazy story of how this slang term was born, and for some strange reason, spread to almost half of my state, then read the bit below.
(This is a true story, and once again, for the sake of not going into great detail about something drug related, i will skip over all but the neccessary drug references.). Having always been the "just say no" to drugs kid all throughout school, the friends of mine who did smoke pot (the only drug i would put up with friends doing.) loved to tease me, call me a nerd, goody-two-shoes, and many other names I cannot in good faith type here. This was nothing new. One night, that all changed, however. My fiancee (first serious girlfriend) was away at college, and i was working full time. I had a special present for her, since it was valentine's day. I had written a poem for her, in shakespearian style (but not in Iambic Pentameter)and had actually gotten it published. I sent her the poem, and a special delivery of flowers (had to try 4 florists) there were a dozen roses.but only 11 of them were real. The last rose was made of silk. The card I sent along with it, played our favorite song. In it I signed "I swear to love you with all my heart, until the last rose in this boquet dies." (guys, feel free to steal that one, turns out I wasted it...) the day came and went, and no phone call. And no answer to my repeated calls. Finally, she called, or rather, she had her friend call, to let me know that "it just isnt working out" (we all know what that line of BS means. She may have just as well said "im already boinking somebody else, so get lost") Of course i was heartbroken, crestfallen, utterly defeated. to have done the most romantic thing i have ever planned, and actually managed to execute, only to be dumped, and on valentines day of all days. needless to say i was not myself. My friends picked me up, took me out to shoot pool and get some drinks, but the power went out in our pool hall, so instead we just grabbed a few six packs (Mike's hard Lemonade for me. yeah, I drank it BEFORE it was cool, so NYAAA! :P ) We drove down this little trail into the woods, and parked to hang out, and get drunk. Now this is where the historical quote that forever changed the name of a very common drug in my area was born. Two of my friends stepped outside of the explorer, and started smoking a blunt. The window was open, so I could hear them discussing ways to cheer me up. They decided to aggravate me, just to get me out of my funk, even if it would tick me off. So they began blowing smoke into the back of the explorer. they started teasing me, laughing, blowing more smoke until i DID get mad. I climbed out of the car, and walked to the back, with every intent to knock the blunt from their hands and their heads from their shoulders. But something came over me as I got to the back of the car. "who the hell are you trying to impress, anymore?" i thought to myself. And before i could even answer that thought, my hand reached out, and took the blunt from them. They both stepped back, thinking i was going to throw it, but instead it hit it. and again. and again. The shocked look on their faces was priceless. Now, let's push ahead to later, when we were all sitting in the car again. I was on my last hard lemonade, and while i didnt feel anything different from the smoke, i was definately starting to feel the drinks. My friends were all tore up, but I never went in for that. You have to know when to stop. They kept marvelling at how I had "Supposedly" smoked the majority of the thing myself, but somehow managed to not feel it. so they decided they were going to roll up another one. At this point i was starting to think that the whole bit about pot was just an excuse for people to act stupid, because i honestly felt, nothing. Little did I know that in just a few seconds, I was about to change the slang of nearly half a state. (so far..) while one friend was sitting in the back, next to me, the other was up front. the one in back was busy breaking up his pot on a phonebook, or notebook or something along those lines. Then it happened. The guy up front announced loudly that he had to pee, and stepped outside. but being both stoned and drunk, he lacked both coordination AND foresight. He slammed the door behind him, and almost in slow motion, a zephyrous little gust of wind glided right across my friends lap, lifting every little piece of pot airborne, and as my friend did the slow motion "NNNOOOoooooo!", i watched as all that stuff fell like snowflakes onto the fuzzy red carpeting. After much cursing and screaming by my "backseat" friend, my "frontseat" friend asked why he couldnt just pick it out of the carpet. with both cabin light and flashlight, and on occasion even a lighter for the harder to reach areas of the floorboard (ciggarettes might not be good for you, but always carrying a lighter is a handy little tool tip). after about 10 minutes of picking and seperating and trying to figure out what was pot and what was dirt or grass clippings, "backseat" friend declared that he had gotten enough. everyone looked at the pile he has picked up. it was smaller than what originally fell for sure, and not only that, it seemed that every single piece had tiny red nylon hairs on it, from the long fibered floor carpeting. Everyone was either angry, dissapointed or depressed. I wanted to get them all over it fast, because i had worked really hard to have a fun time, and not let my own sorrows bring me down, and i would be damned if i was going to let them do that to themselves, either! I opened my mouth to let them know that it would be ok. that a few little red hairs wouldnt kill them, and to just go ahead and have fun. but the 3 drinks i had at the pool hall, and the 6 that i drank in the car all combined forces and attacked at once. the words began to slur together, and midway through, i believe i fell victim to a dyslexic brain fart. "its'll bee okaaay guuysh, ssss long asss yooou dont miind foking sum redd smuzz. im sure you can tell what i was trying to say...."it will be ok if you dont mind smoking some red fuzz. well, whether you agree with druggies or not, (and ive maybe had pot 2 or 2 times since that day 10 years ago) im telling you that for the next 45 minutes in the car, the whole entire meal at waffle house, and the whole way home, none of us could stop laughing. the kind of laughing where you are gasping for breath, your abs are aching, and you just want to catch your breath and calm yourself for a minute, but just the attempt to not laugh causes uncontrollable laughter. whatever the methods used to achieve it, laughter is the best medicine for what ails you. and from that moment, the smuzz story began to spread. I was under the impression that it was just between me and my friends. you know, an inside joke just between those close to you. i was very wrong. while me and jen were staying at a hotel for a few days (our power was out for a whole weekend) i stepped outside to have a ciggarette, and a shady looking black guy walked over to me. no introduction, no small talk, just a straight up "hey man, don't mean to bother you or nothin, but ummm. .... do you know where... ummm..." I looked at him questioningly, "Do I know where WHAT is?" He looked frustrated and nervous. " look man i'll be honest with you, dawg. my sister just kicked me out of the house, and im stuck here for the next few days. I been looking everywhere to get some smoke. you know where i can get some smuzz?" i was shocked. (im kinda used to the assumption because of my long hair, but he used MY word!) " Some WHAT?" "you know man, some herb, some smoke, you know, smuzz. I'll pay extra if you can find me some o'dat killer ass red smuzz." i almost DIED LAUGHING. it was almost all i could manage just to say, "sorry, dude, i just stick to ciggarettes." its strange the way the world works, huh? even though i would'nt even list pot on my top 1000 interests, it happens to be the most visible mark that i have left on the world. "so put that in yer' pipe and smoke it, chummer!"
and for those of you who want my notes, for how the rest of story will play out, I'm going to have to find a way to post them so that it doesn't spoil it for everyone else. I will get them up as sson as possible. (or you can PM me and i will happily send them over. as is) hope you enjoyed it (or at least didnt hate it) i know it's far too long to use for its intended purpose, but i wrote it for this game and this site, so I needed to post it, or i would have felt like 3 hours of my life were wasted. thanks for taking the time to read it, and while i welcome your comments and suggestions, please keep in mind that this is a rough draft. there may be spelling and/or grammar errors that MS Word missed. i think i have corrected any conflicting plot points, but i had to stop in the middle of writing twice to feed the cats, and to help jen out with something. when i stop and then start back without completing my current thoughts, i can tend to mis them up, so if you see something that doesnt make sense, please by all means, let me know! Thanks for reading, Volyren Nightsong
Post by technomancer on Sept 1, 2011 23:26:39 GMT -5
I found it extremely annoying, actually.
I'm fairly certain you have no idea how to write, and more to the point, you entirely skipped the meaning behind the thread.
Go read the first post, Knight.
[Edit] Also? Forcing everyone to read that stale slagheap isn't wise, chummer. Do yourself a favor for those of us who mobilepost: surround your ENTIRE post with spoiler tags. So those of us who give a frag can read it, which will be nobody since you obviously lost sight of the thread origin.
As a further addendum, my pubes can choke out better posts. Don't think that quantity-over-quality entitles you to writer's respect.
The text font and big block of it makes it a little difficult to read/comprehend and digest. I am sure you are passionate and creative and have some good stuff in there. Maybe break your works into chapters with headings...I did see the fan fiction area that was just created. Maybe these belong in there?
Post by Volyren Nightsong on Sept 2, 2011 1:47:09 GMT -5
yes well, reading fiction is not for all of us. and if one could be so bothered, i explained before the post that should you not have a computer monitor large enough, or wanted to read at your leisure, to copy and paste the text into an editor of your choice. as for breaking it into chapters, you don't do that with the majority of short stories, due to the fact that they are usually as long AS CHAPTERS. I realize that many people are viewing this on the phone. And once the second half of the story is complete, i will be more than happy to format it for easy reading on a small screen, but until such time as it is finished, should that time even come, i won't waste more of my time formatting something that most people won't be reading anyway. Further, this would be a good candidate for the new fanfic thread, however at the time of its posting, there was no section for it. and for those who didnt read it (or the lead in explanatory text) it IS on topic for this post. this is the junkie's tale. oh well, guess it was a waste of those three hours. no point in finishing. i will just file it away with the other ideas i have for my next book.