Jack Rackams

Jack Rackams

A Story by JR
"

A re-post... still working on the current story.

"

Nothingness.

Often he wondered about that, standing on the ledge that formed the front of his tar paper and plywood business. Nothingness, divided somewhere between the downstream of clear morning sun and the blunted edge of the horizon. Morning fog burned off slowly. Tempered dreams whipped around his head. What mattered? If there was a God, he must have died before everything went to hell.

Staring out over the roll of waves, water polluted by the arrogance of greedy men. An older generation, struck down by the barren wastes of time.

Where does it end? Ordinarily, he wasn't the brooding type. Strange, lately, how this was constantly on his mind. What was the goal? Death? Something beyond? And what the f**k did that mean, anyway, death? Just another word for nothingness. The void. The end of all things, or perhaps the start of more, something complex and many-angled, snapping and hissing into a new form of consciousness.

He'd spent countless hours under the hood, jacked in, staring at complex codes. Hoping for something to pop out of the digital maelstrom, a beacon, a grail, something to say Yes! This is what it means! This is the end of nothingness! If man made code, and God made man, than there must be a mirror in there somewhere, a connection, a portal between the reason of the universe and the reality of flesh.

"Old man. F**k, what ya doin' up there? Damn f****r gonna break a hip or something."

Punks, five or six of them, on the corroded steel decking below him. Flashy. Leather jackets with the grinning skull and crossed swords. New sun glinting off their gauged ears and lip rings, hilts of knives tucked in the tops of motorcycle boots. And everywhere, those grinning skulls. F**k, he thought, Jack Rackams. Well, at least they always seemed to bring something new and interesting. After all, they only brought what they didn't understand and couldn't use, and they were good. Damn good. So much for morning introspection.

The leader of the rag-tag bunch shoved his way through the knot and stared up. His eyes were completely black, even the parts that were supposed to be white. His cheekbones and jaw line had been surgically enhanced, edged, to make him look more skull-like. Bald head, studded with tattoos. He gave an elaborate bow to the old man above him.

"Come on, Blue. I got something that's gonna make your pecker hard, boy. Just swing on down here and you and Bly are gonna have a little palavar."

Enough said, he thought. If Captain Bly himself was putting on an appearance, it just had to be good. There was always time for brooding later… maybe while wandering through the epicenter of some new code, something dense as a forest and twice as silent. Somewhere where the nothingness of it all wouldn't seem so vast.

Blue Bill swung off the edge of the roof in a practiced move, landing with a muted thump on the steel deck. Gestured for Bly to enter. The rest of the Jack Rackams would mill around the entrance, harassing anyone who happened by, as was their custom.

With a practiced sweep, Bill pulled pushed the door back and lead his customer into the interior of his shop. The door was a prized possession, as it had been lifted off a San Francisco - Marin ferry. It was heavy, and it bolted well against the double-plywood frame of the shop.

Inside, the shop was cluttered and narrow, with just enough room for Bly, who was rather tall, to stand. Bill hit the button that started the gennie clattering away behind the shop, scaring the gulls. Rough cries against the hum and chuckle of the machinery.

"What you got, Captain? Something worth my time, I hope." Bill flicked on the overhead halogens, exposing a maze of 'ware, stacked nearly to the ceiling.

The skull-like gangster grinned, enhancing the likeness.

"Blue, you gonna just cream over this one."

He reached inside his cracked leather vest and pulled out a microdrive, tapered and gunmetal gray. At it's tip was a port attachment, which tapered out to form a smooth, blunt end. The Jack Rackam flicked it between his fingers, making it dance over his knuckles.

Bill reached for the drive, which Bly, with a flick of his wrist, tossed into the old man's hand.

Along the back of the drive, just before the fat tapered end rolled completely over, there was a barcode. Old style, pre-War, ISBT. Fat and skinny lines, trading places, highlighting the gaps between them.

Jesus, Bill thought, what the f**k is this?

"Where did you get it?"

The Jack Rackam shrugged and grinned again, broader this time, exposing a line of gold teeth, filed to points.

"Found it, we did. You know how it is, Blue. Something we ran across in the course of an evening."

Which meant, of course, that they'd lifted it from someone, or taken it from their corpse, one or the other. This is what the Jack Rackams did for fun. They were full time technophiles. The psychopathic attacks just paid the bills, a necessary by-product to a life on the San Francisco streets.

"Ok, Bly, don't f**k with me. Why don't you want it? You guys seem to eat this kind of s**t up. So what's it done to you?"

Flash of a grin, something feral in the black void where eyes were supposed to be.

"What makes you think that we haven't already finished with it, Bluey? And want to move it on?"

"'Cause that's not how you boys work. You find flash, you keep it. Probably in that big damn ship you've got out near Treasure."

A laugh from the punk.

"Damn, Bluey, you be nobody's fool, that's damn true. Ok, here it is. That little gray son of a w***e fried my best tech, Peachy, when he tried to port it in his internal drive. Now he's developed some kind of nervous twitch.  Hangs in the corner of Q's drooling on himself and muttering fit to f**k the devil. And when we tried to port it in our old hand-held, it fried every last connection and burned the f****r." He leaned in closer to Bill. "It's the devil's drive, Blue. The code's deeper than the passage to Hades."

The punk got up and started moving around the room, fingering bits of 'ware that was displayed on a rag-tag mix of shelving. "Now I said to myself, 'Bly, who would want a drive with code that thick?' And the only one I could come up with was Blue. You've taken this in the past, so we figured we could bring it to you."

Bill looked down at the drive. Pre-War s**t was going for big bucks, in the right hands. Collector's hands. And this looked heavy. If it had the go-juice to fry a Jack Rackam tech, this might just be worth taking a look at. Maybe even military.

Somewhere, in all the tangled strands of code, maybe there would finally be the answer, the mirror…

"How much?"

Bly picked up an old VR headset and twirled it on his finger, not looking at Bill. "Five thousand."

Bill chuckled, and tossed the drive back at the punk.

"You boys really have a sense of humor. Don't waste my time. And put down those f*****g glasses. I've got a buyer coming around tomorrow for them."

Inside, Bill was waiting, watching for the break. If it came, then he would be a fool…

Bly looked down at the drive. The black orbs of his eyes narrowed to slits as he thought. Finally, he raised his glance to Bill.

"Three thousand."

F**k. The drive was worth the original five, and both of them knew it. If Bly was willing to lower the price, that meant it was hotter than a summer's day in the radioactive dump that used to be LA. Well, at least he'd have a chance to look it over before cleaning it through a broker.

"Deal. Pleasure, Captain."

Bill bowed to Bly, and went to count the crumpled Euros stashed in a safe behind his sawn-off desk. The cash vanished into various pockets and behind the leather vest. Bly tossed a salute, and was gone. Silence, except for the gennie, gamely chugging along. Bill killed the lights and switched off the gennie. As it was, his alcohol budget was already shot to hell and back.

No customers, there rarely were. Those he did see were there to drop the big coin, looking for something older, almost useless with age. Fiber-optics were a big seller. So was all that s****y VR stuff from before the War, with it's cracked plastic headpieces and black electrical-taped finger pads. But some of the high rollers in Frisco, man, they ate that s**t up.

And they had to fairly big on the 'ware scene to have heard of Blue Bill, hunkered on the upper deck of the Miasma, another crate shop like all the others crowded the container ship city. He was hard to find, and he liked it like that. If they wanted him bad enough, there was always the Net. He burned like neon in all the black vastness there.

Bill kept looking at the micro, turning it in his fingers, in unconscious mimicry of Captain Bly. All that emptiness on the Net, all that emptiness within him. There must be a purpose.  Jesus, that's why he came to the Miasma, that's why he spent so many days and even more dreams poring over code, trying to piece everything together. If the universe was vast, then this must be mirrored in the microcosm of the digital world made by man. If the microcosm was a mirror, then somewhere, in all that code, was the reason. The reason for everything.

He didn't believe he was crazy, though others had told him so. F**k. Unconsciously, his fingers flicked the power stud on the driver. Another flick, and the hologram projector digitally coughed, flickered, and began to display Bill's read program.

He looked into the distance, through the one real pane of glass that formed his window. Wide bay, steel and concrete edging into red. He slotted the micro.

 

******************

At first, nothing, like the void he had become so accustomed to. Then, the first hint of blue, far away, coming closer, a speck of freight train within a tunnel. Then things exploded, whipping lines of code, wrapping around him, layer upon layer, symbols intertwined, serpentine. Eating each other, there, on the edges. He reached into the maelstrom and prodded the surface with his interface glove, causing a ripple. There… something behind the neon. Something at the core, malevolent, watching him, waiting for him to make his move. A watcher in the colored jungle.

This wasn't Bill's first rodeo.

He upped a counter program of Bolivian military design, something to keep the eyes off him while he accessed the rich file he could smell underneath the threat. It seemed to work… a gap in the exterior code, eyes turned aside. There was more, Jesus, a second layer, thicker than the first, whiplash of color, I followed by O, a digital double-helix, artificial DNA waiting to swallow him with it's complexity.

Damn, Bill thought, I know there is more. Something to justify the counter-intrusion program.

So he tweaked it, running the program by hand, riding on thirty years of exploration into just this sort of thing. And that's when the ride got wild.

The Bolivian program suddenly disappeared, not shut down or non-responsive, but f*****g gone, leaving a gaping hole in his attack. Bill tried to slot a distraction program of his own design, something based on an American corporate invasion core-runner, but before he had the chance, it, too, was swallowed. Vastness. Black, behind the colored code he realized now was a distraction. Hunting ground for the electronic tiger.

F**k. No time to back out nicely. And if it was going to be messy, he might as well try to peek into the core, to spend one last thrust to see if it was worth going back in, if there was anything that could answer all his questions buried beneath the twister of code and hungry watcher.

With his free hand, real-time, he fumbled through his gear, unable to look away from the screen. He was doing the digital dance, now, trying to keep the f*****g watcher busy, and yet hovering above the second layer of code at the same time. Watch those programs, he reminded himself, keeping half an eye on the scrolling list of active agents in the corner of his vision. When the watcher came for the kill, it would register there first, a blip on the log. Then, bam, it would swallow him whole.

His offline hand found it's target. Slotted it.

Everything blurred as the dagger program kicked in, driving him down, through the second layer of code. Watch the patterns, he thought, after all this, watch the patterns. Something will clear, something will suddenly make sense. An end to the darkness.

And, suddenly, everything stilled.

The old United States logo was there, the eagle with stars and bars. It flickered, and disappeared. A set of numbers began to scroll, serial numbers, old SSNs. Names, dates, ranges.

Holy s**t, Bill thought, as his off hand found the download stud, what the f**k is this?

It wasn't what he'd come looking for, but that didn't mean it wasn't something. Pics flashed by, pupil scans, and even some old DNA files.

Then, with a slight red flash, his eyes recognized the upload of a background program in his log. The watcher had found him.

He began the pull back, smashing through the code he'd so neatly daggered through a mere 60 seconds before. It didn't matter at this point. If he wanted to keep the data, he needed out.

But it wasn't enough.

The tiger swallowed him, all of it's nothing burying him in fragments strands of his failed escape, screaming, as the feedback loop ripped through the connected hand and into the physical whole he identified as his body. But somehow, through it all, he caught a glimpse of something, something beyond the realm of all his experience.

Darkness. A tunnel. A figure (his mother? his first lover?) beckoning… gone.

 

****************

The bitter taste of burning plastic invaded the sweet repose of his mind. At first, Bill smelled lilac, a remnant of a random encounter with a hooker on the Haight, when he was a younger man. Then he realized what it was… the reek of so many components, silicon, rubber, copper, becoming another sacrificial offering to the 'ware gods.

He sat up, wincing at the numbness in his interface hand, the one still wrapped in the synthetic leather glove, with the leads trailing from it. What had been his projector was a mess of burnt synthetics, obscenely bubbled and pitted.

Thank God I rigged up those cutoffs, Bill thought, or I'd be cooked well done.

Whatever that watcher had been, it had pulled a neat trick, re-routing the gennie's power through the link manifold, running all that extra juice in such a way that it both cooked the 'ware and damn near cooked Bill right along with it. Smart program, just the way I'd do it if I wanted to make sure no one could get through to the s**t on the inside.

The cutoffs were also cooked, their fragile aluminum threads burnt black, shriveled.

Bill knew this crap was military, no doubt. American military, pre-war. And worked up by someone good, because, through all of that s**t, the micro was still poking out of the flash slot. In fact, the slot was the only part of the whole system that hadn't gotten fried like a Wharf tuna.

Damn smart program. Too smart. AI?

Knock at the door. F**k.

The door opened on a Jack Rackam, a stocky son of a b***h with a leather motorcycle jacket and a purple bandana stretched tight across his skull. Gold hoops flashing, one in his lip, one in his left earlobe. He smiled at Bill, more gold where his teeth once had been. Minute click from the implant that completely covered the indention where his right eye should have been.

"Ay, you Blue Bill?" The Jack Rackam asked enthusiastically, staring over Bill's shoulder.

Bill just nodded, wishing to God that his arm wasn't tingling and stinging in that crawling way.

The Jack Rackam gave him a quick sweeping bow, grinning even broader. "Cap'n Bly sends his greeting. He says you best be lookin' over yer shoulder." The Rackam leaned in, theatrically looking around to make sure he wasn't overheard. "That flash is burning. Some landies lookin' for it, you down?"

Bill scratched at the three day growth of beard on his jaw with the hand that wasn't on fire. "Why didn't Bly come to tell me himself?"

The grin disappeared. "Cap'n has had to sail. Lost some mates to muscle in a black van last night. Heavy muscle in black. Some of the guys they nabbed are down that Bly unloaded the flash on ya. Bly figures he owes ya…"

The man leaned in and whispered in Bill's ear, "They are looking for it. Muscle like nothing we've dealt with. Tuned in and backed by something big. They are coming."

The Jack Rackam backed away, made another sweeping bow, and was gone, shouldering his way through the avenue of shanties and cooking fires.

Bill rubbed at his jaw some more, and went inside.

There was something in that micro, something sinister and complex. A thing of crawling angles, impossibly deep, coded death. He went looking for the answer to everything, and the watcher had given him a vision in the split second before it had tried to devour his essence.

Impossibly long tunnel. A door. A figure, female, waiting…

Was this what he had been seeking? These thirty years? Plugging so much obscure flash into his optics, watching the tumble of obscene characters and symbols, etched into silicon and ebony crystal so long ago? Man was always arrogant enough to believe in "purpose," that there was some sense to everything that happened. Somewhere to go. And someone waiting for them when they got there.

If the universe had boundaries, then the microverse had boundaries. And if the universe had purpose, this purpose would be coded unconsciously into the microverse of the Net. Hidden within the double helix of DNA, mirrored in the nanochains of code.

Admittedly, he had begun, finally, to despair. He had been doing this so long, so many brushes with death, so many… Then suddenly, there it was. Just a taste, a vision. Did it mean anything? How did this fit in with his purpose? And now someone was coming for it. If they'd snagged Jack Rackams, they would know he had the micro. Rackams weren't known for their ability to withstand torture, at least not when it came to the safety of outsiders, "landies."

Carefully, with the tips of his good hand, Bill slipped the micro from the un-burnt slot.

Darkness, nothingness, a door… and that figure, backlit.

He picked up his cell and speed-dialed a number. When he was greeted on the other end, he looked down at the micro in his hand.

"I've got something for you. It's military, pre-War American. And it's hotter than f**k."

He paused for the response.

"Five thousand. And silence. Send someone for it, ok? Thanks."

Snap as the cell closed.

 

****************

 

The customers came a few minutes before Bill usually locked up and pulled out the tattered mattress from behind the counter. They looked different from the normal crowd. One was a girl, cute if the light hit her right… high cheekbones, dyed fire-engine hair, nice tits and solid legs. The other was a younger guy, tatted up six ways from Sunday. His hair was a slightly darker shade of red, and he was a twitchy son of a b***h, real jumpy.

These couldn't be the two that Bly was warning him about, could they? Bill shook his head. No f*****g way. They just didn't seem all that dangerous.

Then he noticed the muscle.

It was hard not to notice him, though the guy was doing his best to blend in. He was huge, cartoon-ish in workout gear that seemed at least two sizes too small for him. The product of a fuckload of muscle grafts, no doubt. Maybe some HGH and stem cell therapy thrown in for good measure.

Still, as bad a*s as the big guy was, these guys just didn't worry Bill that much. They all looked like something the Miasma would devour. Just another bunch of city folk who come out looking tough and throw weight around, only to be pumped out of the guts of the ship in a month or so, ruined husks, tattered flesh.

The redheads came right for Bill's store, while the big f**k peeled away and seemed to find something very interesting in the sky to stare at. Bill pushed away from the window, leaned behind the counter, and make sure his S&W .357 was laying back there, easy to get to when push came to shoot. It was, a glistening hulk of black, oily metal on an old porn mag.

The door creaked open.

The kids came in, all smiles, nodding. He showed them around, especially the twitchy f****r, who asked a long string of questions about post-War VR technology and uplink interfaces for fourth generation Chinese satellites. The kid new his s**t. Probably some second rate jockey straight from the Haight, running interference while the chick looked over his selection of microdrives. Very carefully.

Finally, when she had crawled over those at least four times, she turned to Bill and said, "Actually, we're looking for something pretty specific."

Bill walked behind the counter. Hand on the security of the gun.

"Let me guess. A microdrive, gray, with a fat rear and a barcode burned into it."

If she was surprised, she didn't let it show. "Yeah, that's it. Do you have it?" The twitchy kid looked kind of panicked, like maybe she'd just blown some huge plan.

Bill shook his head. "No, I don't. Sorry."

Twitchy came closer. The hand on the gun tightened. "Look, man, it's real f*****g important that we find that piece. Dude, seriously. Somebody's gonna grease both of us unless we get that back."

"Back? You mean you had it before?"

The chick pushed her way past the jockey. "Yeah. I had it, and the Rackams lifted it from me. You know how they work?" Bill nodded. She pressed on. "So they took it. Then this big m**********r shows up, says if Willy and I don't get this drive back, he's going to stretch us out. You know?"

Something about her was desperate. Something about her, Bill thought, was tragic. Seriously fucked up situation. Images came rushing back to him, twisting helix DNA, retinal scans, performance records… Now some guy giving this chick hardcore static. It seemed to add up.

The desperation in her eyes had physical power.

So he found himself spilling out digits, a mobile number he was told never to give out. An address in Tenderloin that he was instructed never to reveal. Her smile and relief made him forget his questions for a precious few seconds, but it was worth it.

Redhead shook his hand, followed by Willy. They left without looking back, collecting the muscle from his private reflection. Bill lifted the pistol and tucked it into the waistband of his jeans, in the small of his back. He ended up in the doorway, watching the trio slowly disappearing towards the closest gangplank.

The killer was a slice of shadow, detached.

He rose just as the three kids passed Millie's art store, a long blade flashing in the sun. The muscle took it first, twelve inches of folded, molecularly-bonded steel sliding into the stacked muscle just above his belt. Willy took heels, tripping over stacks of garbage, not looking back.

F**k, run. Chick. Run.

 

Bill watched as the chick instead reached into the sack she carried and came up with an impossibly old pistol, tiny even in her small hands. Can't be more than a .22. Bill realized she was fucked.

Muscle didn't go down. Instead, he was doing his best to remove the killer's head with one massive swing after another. Nothing came close to hitting. That killer moved like a greased panther, twisting, striking blow after blow. Blade, fist, foot… everything like some secret dance, something for him only, existing only in his mind. Muscle was weakening, slowing.

The chick finally was doing something, lighting up the revolver. The flat, brief cracks seemed heavy in the Miasma air. It wasn't a common sound. The shots went nowhere. She wasn't comfortable with either the weapon or the concept of killing.

Muscle went down, bleeding from newly-formed gaps in his work-out gear.

Two more shots. A blur of shadow. The killer closed in.

Without even being aware of it, Bill started moving. His hand found the plastic grip of his pistol. He noticed it was the hand that was still tingling from his ride inside the micro. The circut everyone was apparently living and dying over.

Killer's foot lashed out once, and the girl's pistol flew off over the row of plywood huts. A second time, and she was down. His blade caught the dying sun. Rapture. Close of day.

Bill looked into her eyes, surprised that he was suddenly so close. Even more shocking, the killer didn't know he was there.

"Where is it?" The killer had nothing in his voice, no stress, no accent, nothing that would ever identify him. It was the voice of the dead.

Redhead's eyes, locked onto the killer's blade, pleading wordlessly.

When the pistol went off, it caught everyone off guard, most of all Bill. He felt like a nail had been driven into his right hand, through the already distressed curtain of nerves. He damn near dropped the pistol.

The chick looked at him for a second, shocked, and then moved to the muscle. She was trying to drag the unconscious heap of tissue.

Bill grabbed her shoulder. "No, leave him. We'll move him to the land and make sure someone comes for him. Get the f**k out of here."

And she was gone.

The denizens of the Miasma appeared like the Bay fog, drifting from nowhere to fill in the space. They would carry the muscle down one of the planks, calling for an ambulance. As for the killer, he was sure to have implants. Something of value. His body would disappear, be stripped of everything of use. Then it would end up in the waste treatment plant that had been jury-rigged in the lowest hold. And, eventually, his molecules would merge with the Bay.

Swallowed by tide to join sky at the horizon.

 

**************

The numbers were golden, interspersed with brilliant blue characters. Something foreign. Or maybe archaeic, like Sanskrit. Weird s**t to find in a micro with a cracked purple case. When the Jack Rackam brought it, Bill almost turned it down. But habit turned his hand, and creased, faded bills became a cracked, day-glo flash. With a cracked case.

The smell of Marin tobacco merged with the remaining haze of Humbolt hash. The cigarette glowed from the ashtray, burning within inches of Bill's un-gloved left hand. The right, augmented with a thin layer of pungent salve, was again buried in an interface glove. The old VR headset covered his pinched eyes. He was lost again, striving to find a pattern, something to dovetail the reality of a rotting ship sitting in a polluted harbor to the endless strings of code. Both man-made. Both, supposedly, the work of some remote God. Maybe something else, who knew. Bill wasn't a religious man, but he was a believer nonetheless.

Absorbed, he was unaware that the steel of the lock on his door had begun to glow. Silently, almost gracefully, it melted into an abstract molten flow, and the door slid open, allowing the acrid brine odor to waft into the room.

Reflected on the backs of Bill's eyes, the brilliant blue master code exploded. No watcher this time, no kill programs. This was a simple machine, a thing of elegant touch and an artist's vision. What was the original program? It was running on a sub-screen in the corner of his left eye. A how-to video on pipe bomb construction filmed by a suicide cult out of Selma, Alabama. Beauty was so often buried in the strangest places.

She made her way across the room slowly. The Kevlar-soled boots didn't creak, nor the blade as it extended from a fold in her flesh just below her right wrist. No gleam, either, to that blade. Just thirteen inches of molecularly sharpened cutting edge. She was a killer, another in a long line of tube-bred killers, similar to the one decomposing in the waste plant. She dressed in black because it was required. She shaved her head because it was expected. She wore serpent tattoos across her skull for the sheer pleasure of reaction.

It wasn't Sanskrit, Bill decided, but Hebrew, some obscure form. Language wasn't his strong suit. His right middle finger twitched, called up the razor program, and he went for it, diving into all those golds and purples with the grace of a surgeon. Everything went black, followed by a brilliant white explosion. Then the Hebrew was back, this time in twisting reds and oranges, so much flame against the nothingness of the white background.

Biblical. This was it. Something was happening. He used the glove again, a careful twitch, that brought up the record program. Humming. He sighed, and watched as his world began to clear.

The blade made contact with his neck. Cold, then quickly hot. He felt a warmth spreading in below the thread-bare cotton of his shirt. Her voice was dead, like the killer he'd shot today.

"The micro, old man. Where."

It wasn't a question. It was a command.

But f**k, the program was really going now. It was huge, much bigger than a little piece of s**t drive like that could hold. It was ineffable. The borders of his vision widened to include the entire world. Mountains of flame, red code, against a cobalt sky of digital illusion. Stars that were embedded visual programs, apples against the motif of snakes. Swallowing each other. He couldn't be interrupted, not now, damn it.

"I can't…" was all he could choke out. Then grunted. Simultaneously, the blade slid a little further, and everything twisted again under the VR sky, swirling into a vortex of blended insanity. A tunnel formed. The river of warmth beneath his shirt became more pronounced.

The woman stood in an easy stance, blade arm extended straight out, as her instructors had demanded.

"Old man. I've watched you. On the Net. I know you had it. Where is it now? Enough f*****g around with your toy."

Inside the hood, Bill's mind was clearing, looking at that tunnel. A form was on the other end, in the distance, but closing fast. Hips. Tits. A woman, with a bob haircut. He couldn't let the killer interrupt him now. Why couldn't she see? This was it. The big end of everything. The beginning of everything.

"Sold it to Thurman. Ex-War Hawk. Tenderloin. Now please, for f**k's sake, f**k off!"

The killer nodded, and made sure to store the voice file in her internal bio drive.

As the blade withdrew, Bill managed one last sigh. The woman at the center of Bill's vision beckoned, smiled. White flesh against a black back-drop, interrupted only by the white explosions of resurrected code. She opened her mouth to speak.

This is it, Bill thought, this is where the digital reality finally explains the physical world. The place where religion and faith ceases to matter. Where the hand of man and the mind of God finally come together…

The blade was folded the way the ancient tradition proscribed, yet enhanced by a thousand years of technology. It went through Bill's neck with only a slight pause where it severed the spine. Behind the VR hood, his eyes merged with the glow of the dying code. His lips were pursed in a grimace of expectation, his limbs tensed for holy revelation that would never come to living flesh.

The blade slid back into the killer's wrist, leaving a thin film of blood on the synthetic skin, which she carefully wiped away on Bill's shirt. She produced a water-tight nylon bag, and, with no hesitation, flipped away the VR goggles and looked into the corpse's eyes. Nothing to see. There never was. The head went into the bag. She had her orders.

As she turned and walked towards the door, one boot heel landed square on the purple micro, ported through thin cut-off connection wires. It shattered. The killer walked out into the night, leaving the door open for whatever scavengers would eventually happen along.

The moonlight continued to shine on cheap, Chinese plastic. Purple against the spreading maroon stain.

 

© 2008 JR


My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register




Featured Review

If there was a God, he must have died before everything went to hell. --------------I liked this sentence, a nice strong beginning.

I have read carefully, look in this stanza, there is a typo in the word ladies:

The Jack Rackam gave him a quick sweeping bow, grinning even broader. "Cap'n Bly sends his greeting. He says you best be lookin' over yer shoulder." The Rackam leaned in, theatrically looking around to make sure he wasn't overheard. "That flash is burning. Some landies lookin' for it, you down?"

yea, I have seen you are influenced by my writing, good. You wrote a well structured story. I also liked how you use poetical expressions. It rises the quality of your story. The ending was romantic almost... with this justaposition. so digital reality contra physical world. and what do you think, dear JR, is real? All together it was a readable, exciting story. I liked also how you played that strong guys like your character is having question about this world. well. I say always. Ppl need more physics, ha ha... they need to learn to dream. At least, your protagonist knew how to dream. Even this seeking is dreaming. Be well.


Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Hey, I think I've read some of this before, but you've added a lot more context to it and it works nicely.
A lot of cool [oops] introspection going on.
What did you say this genre is called - cyberpunk or something? You're good at it [although yeah I have no basis for comparison].

"And they had to [be?] fairly big on the 'ware scene"
"s****y VR stuff from before the War, with it's cracked plastic" [its]

This is going to require a lot more re-reads. I haven't been sleeping much lately, hence the crappy reviews.
But yeah, I enjoyed this.

Thanks for sharing it. The improvements have worked well.


Posted 10 Years Ago


If there was a God, he must have died before everything went to hell. --------------I liked this sentence, a nice strong beginning.

I have read carefully, look in this stanza, there is a typo in the word ladies:

The Jack Rackam gave him a quick sweeping bow, grinning even broader. "Cap'n Bly sends his greeting. He says you best be lookin' over yer shoulder." The Rackam leaned in, theatrically looking around to make sure he wasn't overheard. "That flash is burning. Some landies lookin' for it, you down?"

yea, I have seen you are influenced by my writing, good. You wrote a well structured story. I also liked how you use poetical expressions. It rises the quality of your story. The ending was romantic almost... with this justaposition. so digital reality contra physical world. and what do you think, dear JR, is real? All together it was a readable, exciting story. I liked also how you played that strong guys like your character is having question about this world. well. I say always. Ppl need more physics, ha ha... they need to learn to dream. At least, your protagonist knew how to dream. Even this seeking is dreaming. Be well.


Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

wow! Ill read again when all here but wow, so visual. damn dude, yeah im down to go through with a comb this is cool!

be back!

Posted 11 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.


Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

341 Views
3 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on July 16, 2008
Last Updated on July 16, 2008

Author

JR
JR

SLC, UT



About
Back because Writer's Block will kill me if I stay away. Oh, and because C. Boylan gives great motherfucking review. Click here to visit Writer's Block and read her outstanding writing. Click here .. more..

Writing
I Don't Care... I Don't Care...

A Poem by JR


Wicked People Wicked People

A Poem by JR