Business TripA Chapter by Venompen
Picking pockets and taking names.
Even as the gang arrived at their home in the slums of South Town, Neko continued to dwell on the book. He had figured it had to be valuable to have so much security, but there wasn’t anything of value in or on it. From the first couple pages he had gleaned that it was some sort of instruction manual for acquiring skill in an ancient weapon. With all the phasers, sonic cannons, and old fashioned lasers circulating in the black market and beyond, such a thing seemed utterly useless. Yet something told him that it was valuable. He had always felt that something was missing, not just from his life, but physically missing. Like a favorite watch that was stolen, or a body part that was torn off in an accident. But for once, he felt as though he was close to finding what was missing. Whatever it was.
The next morning Neko awoke to the scent of rotted meat and the sound of sizzling. ‘Yum. Bacon.’ he thought sarcastically. Noone in the slums ate well. Heck, no one in South Town ate well. All the good food was used up by the North Town noblemen. South Town people got the leftovers, and no matter how rotten it was, they used every scrap. Neko rose from his tattered hammock and trudged downstairs. “Morning,” he said groggily. “Where’d you get the bacon?”
“I got it from the scavengers on Seet Drive,” she replied, slightly irate. “Be glad we could afford anything with the few credits you got off the guard.”
“You sound miffed,” Neko said.
“Miffed?” Kira growled, angrily. “One MX22 Blue Shot, A Hawkeye Grav Rider, A customized Hack Disc, gone. 10 Units of battery power expended from your laser knife. 50 Units expended by the communicators. 100 Units wasted hacking the security system. All for that pathetic little book that isn’t worth 10 Credits. Miffed doesn’t even begin to cover it.”
“Oh come on,” Neko said, nervously. “There was more than money in that wallet!”
“The green level security pass is the only reason I didn’t cook YOU for breakfast.” Kira spat, furiously. “We barely sustain ourselves as it is! We can’t afford to waste money like this!”
“Okay, okay!” Neko said. “I’ll go to North Town and pick some pockets to make up for it.” He grabbed a strip of green tinged meat and skedaddled back upstairs before she could continue to rant. He opened the wardrobe and removed the vacuum sealed bag that contained his ‘Ritz-wear’. It was a very practical set of garments, technologically speaking. The jacket was made of plastic fibers woven together, with a refractive light index at each seam, effectively a perfect camouflage in sunlight, although it did glow in the dark. The pants were Stylish but durable and lightweight. The shoes were athletic wear, and therefore excellent for a swift getaway. Things that would let you go unnoticed in North town, but would get him mugged in the slums. All he had to do was wear a tattered blanket over the expensive clothing until he reached Poverty Line, the midpoint between North and South town. He pulled on the expensive clothing (not that it had cost him anything), threw on the blanket from his bed, and strode out the door.
Neko pulled the blanket tightly around him as the morning chill greeted him. He made his way down the grungy street. On all sides he was surrounded by signs of poverty. Filth was everywhere. Not a single scrap of clothing wasn’t tattered or patched. The buildings were crumbling. What little technology there was had been cobbled together of mechanical refuse. The alleys glowed with the eyes of hopeful thugs, waiting for some fool to wander past. Filth was everywhere. Until he reached the Line. Poverty Line was a very clear divisor between South and North, a two foot thick line of pristine road. The road was pristine because few, South or North, dared cross that line. The South feared the biased police, and the organized crime of the North, and the North feared the desperation that their rampant indulgence had created. Thanks to that, noone dared walk the line between them. Except the occasional thief.
Neko tossed the blanket into a nearby alley as he crossed the line into North Town, and took the appearance of another face in the crowd. He put his hands in the pockets of the jacket as he walked. The buildings were pristine, well kept and maintained. Alleys were empty, devoid of crime. People in clean, expensive clothing wandered by, oblivious to the world with their heads in the clouds and brand new headphones in their ears. ‘If there’s anything easier than ripping off Northers, I don’t know what it is.’ Neko thought, mildly amused at the simpletons that surrounded him. With the speed of a ninja, he snapped is hand into the pocket of a businessman’s overcoat, and pocketed a silver pocket watch, probably loaded with special features. He knew that he could get a bundle for it from a scrapper. Treading carefully, he snuck up behind a young lady and plucked her pocketbook from her purse as she waited in line for a movie. He felt inside it within his pocket, discovering a thick wad of bills and some plastic cards. ‘A few more pockets ought to sedate Kate, he thought. He had just swiped a box from a jewelry store from a shopping bag when he heard something. He turned toward the noise… an old, frail voice called out in as much of a shout as it could muster: “No… please… HELP…” a harsh thud rang from an alley. Abandoning his better judgment, he dashed into the alley.
Turning the corner, he came into an empty lot behind the building. Four thugs were kicking an old man on the ground as he lay, helpless. “HEY!” he shouted. “Why are you attacking him?” The thugs chuckled as they refocused their attention on one they saw as a scrawny little kid trying to play hero.
“No reason,” chuckled the leader, the one who everyone mimicked. “We were bored, and he happened to walk by.”
“And now,” said the second thud with an evil glint in her eye, “You will serve as our entertainment!”
“I hope you’re more fun than that old piece of-“ was as far as the third thug got before a sickening crack rang from his skull, signaling his unconsciousness. Neko had darted forward in the blink of an eye and had thrown all his body weight into his heel with a powerful spin kick. He dropped into a fighting stance as the thug hit the ground.
“Let the games begin.” He snarled.
© 2009 Venompen
Added on December 10, 2009
Last Updated on December 13, 2009
Street Rat Revolution
Los Alamos, NM
AboutI do not review your work unless you review mine. I hold this policy because, thanks to all the quick and easy poetry on this site, noone spares a second for a story author such as myself. If you've.. more..