Mission related stories

It must be your lucky day

Writen by Q

This is how I imagen the game to start.

I awake up laid on a cold rusty floor in an N-bank vault, half dressed in only a pair of pajama trousers, and with no recollection of who I am, or why I’m here.

Dim piss yellow Bio lighting flickers above, casting shadows from empty shelf racks on either side of me, the vault I find myself in is roughly the size of a cargo freight container, these are commonly known as economy size vaults, cheap and not so cheerful.

I look to one end of the vault were there is the usual iron bulkhead door, old and rusty resembling something from a sunken ships engine room, I quickly spin my head to the other end of the vault, the exit portal should be glowing away there, but only the rusty riveted steel portal frame greets my gaze and the empty wall behind it, panic spreads, this is usually the only way in and out of these places, the bulkhead doors are always locked from the outside, I get up slowly, my body aches like I have been run over or something, and my head spins as I make it to my feet, clinging to the shelf racks for support I head to the Bulkhead door and try to turn the rusty wheel lock, it doesn’t budge, I bang on the door and it echoes with a metallic thud, I feel trapped, panic rises within me again, questions race through my mind without answers, images of starving to death in this vault flash through my imagination, I bang on the door and shout for help, but who’s going to hear me? this is the N-dimension, and I guess these vaults are automated or something, I notice a sign next to the door (Incase of emergencies please ring the bell and wait for assistance) after searching the wall I find what I was looking for, just under an old torn poster of a cat clinging to a washing line with the words hang in there printed below, I rip the poster away to reveal the  primitive looking door bell button, after pressing it repeatedly I can hear a ringing through the Bulkhead from out side, I try again and listen for a wile, then slump to the floor rubbing my pounding head, a flash of inspiration dawns on me, I start clicking my teeth together to activate my internal mobile phone this has no effect, disappointment leaves me with a large sigh as I remember no advanced technologies don’t work in the N-dimension.

Over three hours later and my patients snaps, banging on the door and screaming as loud as I can in a fit of rage soon looses it appeal and I look round for something to help me get out of here, the vault seems empty, I kick the shelf rack in frustration hurting my un shod foot, but then I notice a loose supporting bracket, a good few tugs and the iron support pole comes free, I wedge it in the wheel lock of the door and pull with all my strength, it gives a little, and then something clunks from outside, I can hear the sound of a sliding bolt, thrilled I grab the wheel with both hands and it starts to shift, and then it spins more freely, as soon as it reaches its full turn I give the door a push, but its stiff and very rusty, with new vigor for freedom I lean back and ram my shoulder hard against the door, it swings open quicker than I estimate and I fall through the open doorway, vertigo grips me as I trip and fall, only blind instinct and luck enabled me to grab a hold of the door  wheel at the last moment.

Swinging on one arm I gather my whit’s, looking down were I presumed there would be a floor, I see only My dangling bare feet and the dark shadowy floor dropping away, it looks at least ninety feet down, wind and dust whistle past, I look up for a way back in and can see dark clouds racing through a dim fiery sky seeming to spiral like the eye of a tornado, flailing my other arm I manage to grab hold of the sill of the door and pull myself back into the vault.

Panting with adrenalin I peak back out at my surroundings, I appear to be in the top vault of a stack of about twenty vaults, to My left and right more vaults stretching off into the misty distance, all neatly stacked like some giants locker room, opposite about 30 feet away are more of the same, the stacked vaults forming a street, all identical and all locked with the same iron doors, Still breathing heavily I prop myself against the inside wall, nothing made sense, all the commercials I see on TV, all the hype, “N-vaults the safest way to store your valuables”

“Dr Betruger folds space and gives you the ability to use space in-between the humble atom, an N-vault for everyone”  Nobody said anything about it actually being in a place, I thought the N-dimension was just empty space occupying the same place, but this? This was another world.

I look out of the door for a way down; something caches my eye, something moving in the shadows below, I shout down for help, the reply chills me to the bone, (Glaaaargh) the sound echoes through the empty vault streets and the wind seems to howl in reply, what ever it is down there its not human, the gargling groan calls back again, I pull my head back in with fear, and fall to my knees, I think I’m safe up here from what ever it is down there…I hope? next I can hear the sound of claws dragged across steel, so I peek out again over the foot of the door, more things seemed to have gathered below, My hart begins to race and an inhuman screech from the shadows makes me spring to my feet, that’s enough for me, its time to get out of there, hesitantly I look out again only this time up above the door, coincidentally I see the bell that I herd ringing earlier and next to it the vault number 101, for a moment I puzzle on how any one could assist me all the way up here? Then shrug it off, another glance higher and I’m satisfied that I’m  indeed at the very top row of vaults, there were no more vaults above me and only the roofs of all the others to either side.

Grabbing the iron pole that was wedged in the door wheel I hurl it onto the corrugated roof, it lands with a clatter, I then lean out and reach up taking hold of the sill of the roof, one last look down to check on what ever it was down there, and fear laced with panic grips me, one of the creatures had began to claw its way up, and more of them were clambering behind, one of them had reached the fifth vault from the bottom and I get a better look at it as it pulls its self out from the shadows, dear God I wish I could have closed My eyes or looked away but it amazing how fear makes you stare even more intently, this creature was humanoid in shape, naked, its skin looked burnt and scorched on its emaciated body, its claw like fingers reached up for purchase, but the horror didn’t end there, the entire  top of the creatures head was completely missing from the lower jaw upwards, like the top had been sliced clean away, its pointed tong lolled around on its exposed jaw, it let out another long gargling groan from its open throat (Glaaaargh), quickly I tried to pull myself self up, managing to get one arm over the top, then the other, I hold on to a ridge of riveted iron as my legs cartwheel in the empty doorway, something grabs my foot and couldn’t help but let out a scream it felt like a shark attack, unable to see what’s below, I kick franticly hard with my other foot contacting with something hard and wet, I free myself from its grasp, another lunge and I reach out for another ridge this gains me enough grip to pull myself all the way up, quickly I grab hold of the iron pole and spring to my feet just as one of the creatures mounts the edge, it begins to pull its skinny body up, its topless head dribbling saliva as it leans, taking a firm grip of the iron pole I swing down hard across what remained of the creatures head, it explodes into giblets of bone and teeth, and it falls away still clawing the air, screeches and noise come from the ground, and as I look over I see the rest of the creatures fighting over the remains of there felled comrade. I tern and run bear foot across the roof tops not looking back for a second, I run till I cant run any longer, my lungs burn and my hart hammers in my chest, after a wile I afford Myself a glance back, nothing follows, a quick look over the edge and I’m satisfied the creatures must of have moved on, I squat down for a minuet to catch my breath cupping my face in my hands, this must be some horrible dream, any minuet I’m going to wake up, and when I do I will remember who I am, something catches my eye, and I quickly look up, as a shadow passes above me, a huge beast with wings like a bat circles round, as I look strait into its glowing eyes it lets out a chilling howl and at that moment I realize were I am,

I’m in Hell,

I spring to my feet and run again, with no end to the vaults, I feel exposed, I scan the horizon for a way down, the winged beast swoops over me and I cover my head in defense, but it seems to be toying with me, it just lands ahead on a pinnacle of rock that runs from a cliff behind the opposite set of vaults, it raps its wings leathery wings around itself and sits watching me like a gargoyle on a church roof.

I stop running, too afraid to pass the point opposite the gargoyle, griping the iron pole I prepare to fight. The beast just sits there staring at me with its red glowing eyes peering deep into my soul. It slowly reaches a clawed hand from beneath its wing wrapped body, I prepare myself for something like a fire ball to spring forth but it just points striate at me with its claw like finger, or is it pointing behind me? to afraid to look I slowly tern my head, nothing there? But my eyes fall down to my feet, and there in the roof of the vault lay a perfect hole, a hole made by a cutting touch of some type, I waist no time, and even less thought of what may be inside the hole, dropping the weapon I leap in, luckily I land in a similar vault to were I found myself earlier, and even more luckily the portal exit glows and hummed in front of me, relieved I step forward and flinch slightly as I step onto some spent bullet shells, were ever this vault exits it cant be any worse that this place, so I step through.

Inside the vault cubicle I hit the big red close portal button, and the portal shuts down behind you, the inside of an N-bank cubicle is about the same size as an old phone box only with no windows, only the dim glow from the controls light this coffin you now find myself in.

Silence now greeted me and I take a deep breath and relish the peace for a moment, maybe this is were I wake up? I press the open hatch button on the touch screen, and a dulcet female voice thanks me for using the N-bank and wishes me on behalf of En-corp a pleasant evening, the cubicle motors hum and its three segmented doors open up like the petals of a flower.

I survey my new surroundings hoping for some clue as to whom or were I am.

With some surprise I realise I’m in a luxurious apartment. Through open French doors the city lights cast orange and blue hues into the unlit apartment, flashes of red tail lights from the passing flying vehicles flicker past as I step out of the bank cubicle situated in the corner, my feet feel the cold smooth polished marble tiles beneath them, I look bake at the cubicle thinking only large businesses or the wealthy have an N-bank actually in there homes and to me this felt strange, looking at the décor I feel drawn to a big guilt framed mirror over an elaborate marble fireplace, I take a moment to study my face, a tired looking man in his late thirties the beginnings of grey around the temples and in a my stubbly beard, it feels like the first time I have seen this face, what is reflected seams totally foreign to me, no flashes of memory no recognition of the face staring back at me. Shaking my head I turn away, and look round the room, an eighteenth century stile Chaise Lounge stands in the middle of the room behind a large glass coffee table, an ash tray to one corner were the stump of an expensive French cigarette still smoulders, a warm gentle evening breeze blows familiar sounds of city life in from out side, shifting the transparent chiffon drapes, then something catches my eye, behind the Chaise Lounge I can see a hand, I slowly  walk round preparing to either fight or apologise for my intrusion.

Suddenly I need to clasp my hand over my mouth to stifle the shock at what comes into view, a body, a mail body, then paralyzed, my knees buckle and I collapse beside the body, I feel drawn to touch his face in disbelief, a smear of his blood stains my cheek, the face of this man was the same as mine, a clone? or my twin? More questions spin through my mind, then suddenly I get snapped out of my daze by a pounding on the apartment door, through the door some one shouts “Regulators, open up, we have a search warrant” they bang on the door once more, I panic and slip on a pool of blood falling backwards, my attention shifts for a second to the dead mans cyber hand, clutched within its grasp is a peace of paper, quickly I grab the note just as the door explodes from a barricade buster, splinters of the door fly around me as I spring to my feet and head for the open French doors, I Crain over the balcony rails, hover taxis zip past, good only Five floors up, a good pair of cyber legs can make this jump easily, wait, my legs? I shift my wait from one foot to the other, how inconvenient, only human. Regulators pile into the room and lazar sites dot all over me, this is getting to become a habit and with out thinking I leap.

The wind is suddenly knocked out of me as I slam onto the hood of a passing hover taxi, the driver’s expressive gestures from behind the windscreen indicating his agitation, he slams on the air brakes and I am sent catapulting forward, adrenalin seems to slow everything down as I realise I’m flying through a junction, cars and building windows flash past, automated hover trucks swerve nearly missing me, and my arc sends me luckily missing the buildings opposite, but instead in-between them I hurtle into an unlit ally way, rag dolling into and a large plastic rubbish bin, the lids give way and I slam in to the bags of rubbish piled within, I must of blacked out but soon my mind catches up after a few seconds and I realise what just happened, Regulator sirens screech past the end of the ally way but I don’t think I’m ready to move yet, not to eager to discover what limb are broken,

Slowly I check myself, each limb at a time, I lift my left arm and cant help but chuckle to myself, a wooden chopstick had been impaled through my for arm but the adrenalin still pumping through me must have been preventing the pain, or did I have a blocker implant? Who knows, carefully I pull the chopstick out, no arteries pierced I suck on the wound for a minute my luck must be in, I check the rest of me for any other surprises, another siren screeches past, the regulators must really be pissed, its not that often one gets away, I sit up and carry on patting myself down, pulling out the note from my pyjama pocket, it’s a business card, embossed in gold on the front is some elaborate symbol no address nothing, I turn it over and scribbled on the back in purple pen is an address and below that a name:

Megatropolis East

Apartment 21a

94th West Row

Danté           Rouge

With nothing to loose I climb out of the bins and rummage round for something to ware finding an old ripped rain Mac, I pull it on and pull up the collar, just at that moment a crack of thunder rolls across the night sky, I feel a smile to creep across my face, must be my lucky day.

94th west row was a good three hours walk in the poring rain, couldn’t risk using public transport or a taxi, too many security measures, the apartment building looked pretty run down, a neon short term leas sign flickered over the front doors with the letters not working making it look like it says (Sho t  e m), the door lock had conveniently been vandalised so I let myself in, I take a brief look at the buzzer signatures for a Danté rouge, but they were either blank, or had comedy names, it was reassuring to know Mickey mouse lived hear but his neighbour Mr Gofuckyourself  didn’t sound to friendly,  number 21a was on the 4th floor so I headed up the steps trying to avoid the broken bottles and pools of urine,

When I reach apartment 21a I paused in front for a moment, what will I find in there? Will I finally find out who I am? Sounds of adults arguing and children crying come from down the corridor, and I’m brought out of my daze as a rat squeaks indignantly at me as it bumps into my foot then carries on its rounds,

I take a deep breath and knock on the door, “Get lost I’m busy” came the reply, I knock again “fek of will yah I’ am not interested” who ever it was inside sounded like scum and clearly disserved a lesson in etiquette, after all I hade walked so far to visit him the least he could do was offer me a drink, besides I needed answers and this was my only lead, a Quick check down the corridor both ways, then lean back and give the door a mighty kick, it explodes of its flimsy lock and I wade in without a second thought, standing in front of me is a short Chinese guy just taking a bite out of a rather large chicken drumstick, he opens his mouth in disbelief and the chicken drops to the floor after bouncing of his rotund belly, “What the fek man…I thought you were dead?” the Chinese guy reaches for something that must have been tucked into his waist band, he realises what ever it was is not there, terns and begins to run, he trips on the rug in the next room and rolls onto his back, by this time I manage to gain on him, he shields himself with his arms and starts mumbling, ”Shit on me man…..shit on me, your dead you cant come back no more you’re fekin dead man” I grab him by his T-shirt, the word Froob printed across it stretches out of shape. I demand answerers, threatening to insert his chicken were he may have difficulty retrieving it, “Ok ok man, calm down, I’ am on your side, we gota be quick though, the Regs will be on you like a bitch on heat” he stands up and brushes the dust from himself.

I explain my predicament, he seem amused by my story “ha ha so you don’t have a single clue who you are? Really? So dude you don’t recognise me at all? Shit on me, this is so cool, ok come with me I think I can help” he leads you into the next room were there are banks of projected viewing screens with all kinds of code and computations flickering across, I’m drawn to the corner of the room were there is a large white coffin sizes tank hooked up to some computers, it sits angled against the wall, a glass pain lit from inside reveals the form of a body its face looking androgynous, as if not yet finished, the skin pale almost transparent. “O don’t mind the gimp there” the man calls over, I just dabble in cloning occasionally, its not cooked yet but I think that’s about to change, ok take a seat my friend and we’ll see what we can do ” I sit and the man introduces himself they call me Teflon and yes I’ am an illegal hacker for my sins, and you my friend are in a whole shit pile of trouble, we need to get you a new identity, or even better a whole new body, the DNA security scanners and that GPMS chip you got in your head is broadcasting are location to every mother feker and there uncle, the chip I can change but the DNA checks, well they’ll catch you as soon as you use any public service, theirs only one way to change that, now let me take a look” he leans over and examines the back of my neck, “good good your still jacked” he pulls over a cable connected to the computer, then yanks my head forward and rams the plug  into my neck. I flinch and begin to stop him “its ok man I’m just deactivating your GPMS chip, then I’ll download your memories and personality into are buddy over there, yeh yeh I know unauthorised cloning is illegal but I will be out of hear by the time the Regs locate us” he looks at his wrist, a wet ware watch glows the time in green through his skin, “11:30pm not much time, we got about an hour, my blocking virus should through them of the sent till then, but after that the Regs will be crawling all over this place like flies round shit, so as soon as we are done, that’s it man, I run ok? We go are separate ways and you don’t contact me again, your on your own got it?, now this is the fun part you get to pick how you look, he points to a screen were a menu displays the representation of a generic human body, “Remember you will need to blend in so nothing to freaky, if you want freaky you do it at your own expense, O and should you fancy, I can offer you a gender change just tick the box, I did myself two years ago but got fed up with all the chauvinistic bastards out there and got gimped back, so are you interested?”

I scroll through the selection process on screen and pick a new face and body,” ok now we need a name?” after a few tries the security checks that my new name is acceptable, this reminds me, and I continue my questioning, I start by asking Teflon for all the info he has on me as it seems we have met before, “yeh yeh all in good time buddy we need to complete this first” I show him the card I found “how the fek did you get my address man? I only rented this place two days ago and I didn’t tell a soul, as for this Danté Rouge person never heard of him” he turns to a console and taps on the screen “Ok that’s your upload done” he pulls the cable out of my neck, and a I walk over to the clone tank rubbing the metallic jack port I never realised I had, as I look at the body inside, I notice its face was starting to look like the one I chose only a few minuets ago, Teflon begins to shut down and unplug some of his gear “Ok buddy hears the low down on your new body, though you’ll probably figure it out for yourself later, its got one of my special GPMS chips installed so the heats off from the Regs for the moment, but you need to keep a low profile for a wile, I hacked and credited your GPMS with one new clone but if you trash this one you can buy more insurance yourself, that’s if you ever find loaded, I’ve included a few Cyber enhancements nothing fancy just the basics, there’s some clothes in that walk-in closet over there, not much to choose from but better than the stinking shit you got on at the moment, lay a set out for yourself and you can pull them on when your done” he continues to pack more of his gear, I walk over to the closet and rifle through the clothes picking out a set along with a pair of boots that look like they might fit, I hear Teflon approach “Now one last job buddy and were done” I turn around and Teflon is holding a revolver to my head, I instinctively hold up my hands in a gesture of surrender, he grips the gun with both hands “we just need to dispose of the original so to speak, but first I will tell you who you are, you double crossing peace of crap” spittle fly’s out of his mouth as his normally placid looking face suddenly changes into one of hatred “Your name is….” as he tells me my name, regulator sirens wiz over the apartment block and search lights flash past the window, the name he tells me rings no alarm bells of recognition, but it would seem me and this Teflon guy have got a little history, my attention is drawn to the revolver as he cocks the hammer and continues his tirade through clenched teeth “And you’re a mother fucking traitor” he pushes the gun harder into the middle of my head “if you get out of this alive and come looking for me again there will be no second chance, you got that? The only reason your still alive now is because someone wants to play a little game with you, there again, I’m going to enjoy watching them make you suffer” he leans close “The shoes on the other foot now dipshit” he straitens up his arm, pushing me close to the closet wall, “Seeya” Teflon pulls the trigger and I hear a loud bang then darkness.

When I open my eyes I see I’m lade back in a brightly lit cubicle, I can here the hiss of an oxygen respirator matching my own breathing, I look down at myself naked, clean and athletic an umbilical cable protrudes from my stomach, so this must be my new body? And once again a gap in my  memory of how I got there, the last thing I can remember is talking to Teflon and him saying that we don’t have much time because of the Regs, I look at my wrist and at the glowing digital display through my skin 12:20am, Shit I got ten minuets till the regulators find me, quickly I locate the opening handle inside the tank, then pull off the respirator and jump out of the cubicle, the umbilical cable pulls out from my stomach drawing out three very long fine needles, cream coloured liquid and blood squirt from them and I instantly collapse to my knees clutching my leaking belly button, I feel terrible, my body aches like I’ve been run over, and my head starts to spin, this new body is going to take some getting use to, I try standing again and manage to keep my balance then head to the closet in the hope of finding some clothes, I notice  the room looks decidedly bare, all the computers have gone and so has Teflon, then I open the closet and cant believe what I can see, there lade on the closet floor in a pool of blood is a body, my body, with a large bullet hole in the middle of its head, I feel a little queasy, it doesn’t get any easier seeing my own dead corps the second time round, what the hell happened here? As if I didn’t have enough unanswered questions spinning through my head, Did Teflon tell me my name? Did he even tell me anything? Is he dead too? Maybe it will come back to me, amnesia and confusion seem to have become close friend of mine, Quickly pulling on a set of clothes neatly laid out next to my corps, I freeze for a second, the sound of screams coming from down the corridor, the muffled sounds of shouting and doors being kicked open, it’s the Regulators there here, hastily I pull on the boots  and as a last thought I pluck the business card from my corpses pajama pocket, I head to the window and pull it open, then jump out onto the fire escape closing the widow behind, slowly I ascend three floors checking for regulators as I go, on the last floor I release the extendable ladder and hastily climb down to the unlit alleyway below. The street at the end of the ally is bustling with night life, it felt like I was coming home, food stalls and venders call out there wears, Megatropolis, the city that never sleeps, may be I still have no memory but there is one thing I’m sure of, this is my city, this is were I belong.

I pull up my collar still holding the business card, I read the name on it again, I guess this is my only lead, a Regulators armored  personnel carrier hovers over the roof tops, its search lights scan around, and it lands on the apartment block but they don’t appear to notice me, something moves to my left and a cat meanders out from behind a dustbin, it brushes its sleek black body up against my legs, I can’t help feeling like some one is playing cat and mouse with me, How many lives you got left my little friend? I thing I just used up two of mine, the cat looks up and meows nonchalantly than wonders off, I stuff my hands into my jacket pockets, and head out of the ally, just then a crack of thunder rolls across the humid night air and it begins to rain again, I cant help but smile to myself as I blend into bustling crowds and umbrellas, this must be my lucky day.

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