FB4-100 "Nikki"

FB4-100 "Nikki"

A Chapter by dw817

Now we could see what was happening in here. There was a woman or what looked like a woman was being held prisoner with wall manacles and leg manacles leaving her in a vertical spread-eagle position.




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F U T U R E   B A R R I E R
( The 4th Novel )
Secret Technology, Unrequited Love, Absolute Vengeance

© June 2021 - Written by David Wicker
Please do not reprint without permission



* * *

This chapter is Rated: TEEN

Slice Of Life (05-25-21)

Good afternoon:

Things have definitely been happening - at least for my neighbor.

Now my neighbor was always a bit of an odd one. He would sometimes leave his door wide open and go away for long hours or even a day before returning, and then wonder why his stuff gets stolen.

I gently offered perhaps ... because his door is open ?

He dismissed that though. No, that's not it. It must be something else.

*SIGH* Anyways I'm glad Dad gave me the common and good sense I have today to lock my own door even if I'm gone for a short while. I don't know if you remember the mailbox incident ?

It was a little more than a year ago I had left my home, locked it, and went to my mailbox that really wasn't too far away.

As I did I heard someone kicking on wood. I turned to see some person was trying to open my door ! I yelled at them and they ran off. Wow.

So since I'm getting a little forgetful now I tell myself audibly LOCKED every time I lock the door. If I DON'T then I return back and check it and say LOCKED !

That may seem redundant but we live in dangerous times where people no longer rob at night, nope, they'll do it in broad daylight given the chance.

Now back to my neighbor. If you look inside he really doesn't have anything on the bottom level as it's a 2-level home like mine. He has all kinds of well - stuff I guess. Beat up furniture, bags of who knows what, etc.

But I also know he has a fairly decent computer as I was invited upstairs one time. Why he leaves his door open I don't know.

I sometimes wondered if he was leasing out his home to other people and they would enter, lock the door, then pay him later.

But I DO know when it all came to a head. It was Tuesday (05-25-21) when it happened. I woke up, showered and got ready for my day when I saw something unusual out my upstairs window.

Someone had hooked a cardboard box to the fence and it held 6-bottles of water. That's a lot of water for someone to be drinking I thought.

Then I heard what sounded like heavy items were being moved from next door. I got dressed and opened my own door to see what was happening.

I was immediately greeted by a pleasant looking fellow in a sharp blue business suit.

"Well hello there." he said politely enough.

"Hello." I returned.

"You live here ?"

I nodded.

"Looks like a nice place." He then looked up. "Weather is good too. Maybe a good day for a picnic, perhaps ?"

"Maybe." I said.

"So where are you off to ?"

Now if this were Chris he woulda punched in his nose for being so nosy but as it was me I'm usually pretty easy going.

"Just to check my mailbox. I've got some mail I think."

He nodded and pointed, "You MIGHT want to go around THIS way then. We're doing a little work over here - " and he pointed to my neighbor's home.

I looked to see guys in really white haz-mat suits clearing everything out, and yeah it looked really old and grungy like a lot of it should've stayed in the trash.

But I nodded to him. I really didn't want to ask him any questions. There was a policeman though standing close watching the whole thing.

I had to ask him, "Is someone getting evicted ?"

"Maybe." he said evenly.

I corrected myself, "Is - " and I mentioned my neighbor's first and last name, "being evicted ?"

Seeing I knew his name he said, "Yes. He is."

"Why ?"

"From not paying his rent. He's long overdue."

I did not know this. I thanked him for his time. Then I fought some of the overgrown bushes trying to get to my mailbox. Got my mail. The pleasant gentleman was still there.

I nodded to him, touching my hat, and returned back inside my home.

Then I thought it was important that I call my neighbor up. Maybe he wasn't there and didn't know what was going on ?

"Hello ?" he started.

I was upset now cause I knew he would be totally upset himself in hearing this.

"This is David your neighbor, you know I wouldn't call you unless it was an emergency."

"Yes ?"

"Well there are people in white suits taking stuff out of your apartment. There's a policeman too."

"I'm aware of this. But hey, you called in concern, thanks so much. That does mean a lot to me."

I smiled slightly, "Sure. Glad to help. But - are you going to be okay ?"

"Yeah, I'm going to go live with my folks for a-while. I'll be fine."

I couldn't think of anything else to say. He's always been really neutral with me. I've never seen him smile to date. So I concluded, "Okay. Bye."

And that was it. As I was getting ready to run my errands the next day, I saw him sitting in a chair. Did he spend all night guarding his stuff ?

Right outside my door was a collection of his DVDs in a metal spindle.

"Would you like me to get your videos ? It may rain and they'll get wet."

He didn't move from his chair outside, "Sure, if you want to."

I went to get them. I checked to see they weren't just empty boxes. They weren't, but wow what a selection. Documentaries on religion and war - and nothing else !

I'm sorry but if you don't have any Disney videos in your video library there may be very little of me in common with you. Bonus points if you have Star Trek of course. :)

I brought them to him along with some boxes of other DVDs, also documentaries on religion.

I looked and his stuff was spread all over the parking lot. I don't mind cause I don't drive a car myself but someone else would surely complain.

And when Chris came to pick up Katy and me to go shopping we noticed his bicycle was out in plain sight, not locked at all, and he was nowhere around then.

Chris spoke, "That's a nice bicycle. I hope he doesn't get it stolen."

"Yeah." I said. He had two bags of "something" tied to the handlebars but if you took that off it was like a new $100 bicycle.

And now his bicycle is gone but his other stuff still isn't.

Chris entertained the notion that the fellow he was waiting for to give him a ride said NOW and he didn't have a chance to bring anything except what he could with his hands - and had to abandon everything else.

I nodded, it did seem that way as everything was there - except the box of DVDs that could be carried by hand.

I'm an honest fellow though so I didn't touch any of his stuff. Even if he had Disney I wouldn't touch it. I'm - going to let the elements get to it I guess.

If the stuff gets stolen, well, he knew he shoulda payed rent back in January 2021 and it's already June 2021 now so he's had plenty of time to get his affairs in order.

Hmm ...

. . .

On another note I have finished my programming language for the RG-350. Now before you say, "OOOH I wanna copy !"

Understand it's a personal tool of mine with every pixel and fonts are hand-drawn, it runs in source-code mode and unless I can compile to a true EXE I'm not even going to entertain the notion of releasing it to the public.

But it is powerful the way it is now. The commands are color-coded in orange, the numbers and operands have their own colors too.

It shows raised dots for any tabulated code and works directly with the RG-350's own keyboard system to enter code.

The Left 1st trigger is hardcoded into DOSBOX and brings up THEIR keyboard. Now I might've actually not written my own keyboard except for a few things.

There is no key repeat. That is if you just typed key Z and want to now type M then you must press the right arrow key 6 times to get there. Ridiculous. It needs a repeat-key configuration option to bypass this and doesn't.

Mine doesn't even have a delay, it just goes bop bop bop covering movement of 4 keys per second, a real pleasure to navigate and quick to type with.

Anyways, that's fine, I made my own keyboard as you'll see below.

If the file, "IBM.TXT" exists then it uses normal keystrokes on the IBM instead.

It was quite the adventure to write and - I'm not done yet. I want to set it so when I'm working on projects you are only required to have one line of code.

And of course my custom QLB machine-language library which houses all my graphic and database functions.

So I can start writing RG-350 code needing only a single line to start with.

'$INCLUDE: 'myqlb.inc'

Here are the instructions for the editor I finished writing. It starts in mode zero.

MODE zero: Arrow keys navigate code, (A) adds a space, (B) is like backspace. Left 2nd trigger is menu, Right 2nd trigger is SHIFT key, Right 1st trigger is enter typing mode, (X) is enter dictionary mode.

Mode one: Typing, Arrow keys navigate the small keyboard, (A) types that character, (B) is backspace, right 2nd trigger is SHIFT key, Right 1st trigger to exit typing mode.

Mode two: Dictionary. Scan is made to left of cursor for any command or incompletely typed command. If any key other than (A) pressed now, exit dictionary back to mode zero.

Otherwise scan backwards in code including wrap-around to see if anything can match what the player typed.

for instance if you typed, "PR" that could match "PRINT" and "PROOF" and it types it with a ? mark to see if you want that typed.

Press (A) for yes and it converts your typed PR for instance to PRINT, saving you keystrokes.

If you didn't want that though you can press (X) to continue the dictionary search to the next found and matching word, or any other key to exit dictionary mode.

Back to mode zero If you press LEFT and are already at the left side of the screen, then two purple bars appear over the text showing you are now in clipboard mode.

From here press (A) to paste, (B) to cut, and down arrow key to insert a line not adding to clipboard.

The clipboard has 16-slots so you could go move the cursor to 3-existing lines of code, press (B) 3 times, then move the cursor somewhere else and press (A) 3 times to recover the copied text.

Press (Start) to run the code you are working on.

Press (Select) to save the code you are working on and continue editing.

In the menu (not yet done) select LOAD to save current work and choose a new main file to work on, also Pixel Editor, not yet written will be very similar to my Tilemaster image editor for the IBM, except this will be for the RG-350.

Here is what normal QBasic looks like compared to the program I wrote:

And yeah the problem is also the RG-350 screen hardware is 320x240 pixels. So the Real QBasic looks just like that blurry mess above, worse actually as it's not even dithered and on a small screen.

Whereas my own 320x200 program is vertically centered on the 320x240, not stretched, and looks exactly as you see it above - sharp as a bell ! Well ... as sharp as you can stretch a picture in Writer's Cafe which has a horizontal limitation of 500-pixels. (Look below for zoomed for better detail).

Remarks are sweet too. Unlike the zero color choices you have in real QBasic for any of the notation, remarks in my editor appear as a white bar with unique black and bold text, all uppercase.

Here, I'll show you a screenshot of the whole thing in action from the start.

Yes I am a Trekkie and when you run my program from the RG-350 for the first time it shows this. Hey anyone can be a Captain of a Federation Starship if they wanna be - (and they have the proper programming tools and a busy imagination). :)

The dots are visible because I am using the system standard of 216-colors for 8-bit graphics.

I know I could develop a custom palette just for this one picture to make the image a lot better - but I want to use this, it looks great on the true small RG-350 screen anyways and is easier to manage if I want future 8-bit screens without having to retool the palette each time.

No, you cannot have 16- or 24-bit graphics in QBasic.

So from here if you press anything except START it will exit out into normal QBasic mode. Otherwise it loads your last worked on code and continues to my editor.

And you only see this once. Consecutive running the code until you actually shut down the RG-350 DOSBOX and bring it back up again will not show this logo again.

And once again this is how it appears (corner zoomed).

If you're wondering why I drew the default font to be 4-pixels across instead of using more of the available 8-pixels across, it is because the RG-350 screen physically is small. And giving this much black space between letters makes it that more legible.

So, yeah this is exciting stuff for me as I can now write programs on the go in my engine. The first of course will be BRAINFREAK, a miniature programming language in my programming language.

I haven't finalized the design on it yet so I'm not there yet. I want to experiment a bit more with this QLB and INC option of being able to write code from a blank slate only requiring one initialization code.

Good stuff !

. . .

Anyways, let's go back to Future Barrier. Now as we left it the heroes (victims ?) are climbing the stairs and as Katy recently found out about my story, she wanted to be in it.

She actually gave me quite a full description of the character she wants to play in it so most of this chapter are her words for the presentation.

And yeah that's enough female presence. Poor Dev being surrounded by all those girls. How bad can it be ? Remember Nancy Principle ? :)


. . .

Janet looked back to the log cabin herself in thought, "Ashes to ashes and dust to dust ..."

As we reached the top of the steps I could hear a new mechanism start up and the stairs suddenly started to pull away.

In a panic I yelled, "Hurry up !" To both Lilly and Skunk as they were behind us. Hearing my panic they rushed up and just in time as the stairs snicked closed behind us showing now only smooth wall.

Strangely lit green lamps were now illuminating our new passage. And ... I thought I heard something.

I listened for a moment again and didn't hear it.

"Janet, did you hear something ?" I asked.

Janet paused to listen. Tyr and Lilly were whispering about something. She gave a harsh SHHH for them to be quiet.

Then listened. It was perfectly silent now.

"I'm not hearing anything." she said. "It's possible though as this staircase was here years before Mr. White found it."

"We have climbed it about halfway back to the surface. We should be seeing daylight pretty soon."

With that we continued on searching for another passage up when I heard the sound again, and this time I could make it out.

It was like a very small kitten crying for her Mother.

Janet whirled to look at me, "I heard it that time."

I looked to Tyr who also nodded. So it wasn't my imagination.

"Hello ?" I called out tentatively. "Is there - someone else there ?"

Then a much louder meow which was definitely not a kitten.

"This way." Janet said turning her head towards one of the open passages of the 5 available to us.

It ended in front of a door with no handle or lock or any seeming way to get it open.

I reached in my pocket and pulled out the key that Mr. White had given me earlier. Janet shook her head, "I don't see a place for that."

I gave it some thought. "I think it's possible it's here but dust has covered it over."

With that I went forward and rubbed my hand across the door frame where a cloud of dust rolled and billowed off revealing, YES ! There it was the keyhole that would open the door.

And even though it looked like this was the correct key I suspected the key would have further use down the line. I carefully put the key in and turned and sure enough the door started to ascend vertically.

Taking my key with it ! I was expecting something like this so I quickly rotated the key back and pulled it out.

* * *

Janet looked to with shock, "That door just disappeared into the ceiling ! You could've lost a finger !"

I nodded, "Yeah, but I suspect we'll need this key again later."

We stepped into the new room and at was all dark and quiet. We stepped further in and apparently stepped on a floor plate that caused a new light to shine.

Now we could see what was happening in here. There was a woman or what looked like a woman was being held prisoner with wall manacles and leg manacles leaving her in a vertical spread-eagle position.

She saw me and meowed quite pleasantly.

"Who are you ?" I asked, "And how did you wind up like this ?"

"I'm Nicki. I had heard of a scientist that could make me normal again."

For a moment I paused now to look properly at her.

She was not human, not really, more half-cat and half human. She had a very fluffy cat's tail.

And she was wearing a really modern and casual, tank top and torn jeans.

It was then I recognized her as being one of the captive mutants from the evil hospital we had all earlier escaped from.

And presumably she was alive and well.

She looked to be 16-years of age, she had aqua cat eyes, she was a "Ragdoll Cat" and by that I mean her fur was white and she had tan feet, face, and ears.

She had a bit of an accent to her voice which I presumed was Russian.

I looked to her manacles and did not see a mechanism to open them. Janet stepped forward and used her sword to pry open the metal - but I spoke in concern.

"Janet ! Won't that break your sword ?"

She shook her head without look at me, "No, remember, it's made out of that very strong unbreakable metal. It would take a nuclear blast to so much as mar the surface."

And with that she neatly popped off all 4-manacles where Nicki fell straight into my arms and she shockingly started rubbing herself all over me and purring loudly.

I looked to Janet who was not smiling and said in a slow serious tone, "Okay, that's enough loving on the new boy."

Nicki pulled back for a second to regard Janet and it was then we realized she was actually quite nimble and agile. And I suspect if the two ever had to fight they would be evenly matched, blade for claw.

Nicki got down on her haunches and walked around to look at the rest of our party. After a moment of this though she came right back up against me, purring loudly, and spoke, "You smell good."

Janet now smirked, "Okay. Yes, you're welcome for the rescue."

Nicki then seemed to apologize, "Sorry, it's just a habit. Thanks ... I didn't know how long he was gonna leave me up there."

"Mmm hmm ..." was all Janet said. To this point, Skunk, Tyr, and Lilly had been quiet. But it was clear they were glad for new friendly company.

With that Nicki told us as we continued to look for an exit precisely what happened.

Where Mr. White had gotten a hold of her and placed her in this prison so he could examine her later and learn of how she became to be the mutant she was.

In this though we were in a catacomb, a definite maze and no easy way out.

But then I remembered an old survivor technique from a video-game. As Janet was leading I spoke to her.

"Janet, do you think we can find which passage has wind in it ?"

She seemed confused, "What do you mean ?"

I explained, "It would stand to reason that the exit we need will be one that has a wind blowing through it, showing that it leads to the exit."

She smiled and nodded, "That's a good observation. Alright, gang, you too, Nicki, we need to go through these passages and try to follow any traces of wind blowing through them - which will show us the exit."

And with this knowledge in hand, we started out ...


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I've never been robbed, but I've heard lots of stories of people who have.

People have had a lot of trouble paying the rent because of COVID. Several cities put a freeze on evictions, but people still had to pay all the rent they owed. I think rent should have been "canceled" along with everything else.

Great to see new pages of this adventure!

Posted 1 Month Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


1 Month Ago

Thanks, Kari !

I need to finish up though. I kinna didn't want to go to 3-digits for .. read more


I've never been robbed, but I've heard lots of stories of people who have.

People have had a lot of trouble paying the rent because of COVID. Several cities put a freeze on evictions, but people still had to pay all the rent they owed. I think rent should have been "canceled" along with everything else.

Great to see new pages of this adventure!

Posted 1 Month Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


1 Month Ago

Thanks, Kari !

I need to finish up though. I kinna didn't want to go to 3-digits for .. read more

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Future Barrier - The 4th Novel



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