Tuesday, 28 April 2015

#OVERRIDE: Wetware Part IV - A Short Story

The Southern Express pulled into it's docking port with ease and it's passengers began to disembark. One by one they left the carriages and took in the sights of The Block's docks. Each port was roughly two hundred feet square and was lined with all manner of cables, wires and tubes running electricity, water and recycled air to the various trains in the many dock ports.

Among these passengers was Akio who kept his eyes to the floor and his head low as he disembarked the train an headed towards to port's collection point. Keying his unique code given to him by his supplier, Akio clenched his fists in anticipation. Within the collection point there was a whir of motors and movement, and after what felt like far too long a time the point opened revealing a very familiar box.

Akio quickly lifted the box out of the collection point and wasted no time in ripping through the box revealing his heavily anticipated Eagle Deck. In Akio's hands it felt exactly as it had in the 'Mantiverse. The simulated equivalent was a spot on replica of the real thing, and Akio felt his fingers getting itchy as they twitched with excitement over this new equipment. Without even moving from his spot in front of the collection point, Akio plugged in a series of cables into the Eagle and then connected those cables directly into his patch. In that instant there was a shock of energy through his spine and he felt the feeling of falling.

Akio looked down at himself and saw that he was indeed falling. The air was forcing itself against him and far below he could see the hard concrete rushing up to meet him. It was with a sudden realisation however that Akio noticed his own body. Gone was his tattered clothes that he had worn for three weeks solid, replaced instead by a skin-tight black faux-leather bodysuit embossed on it's chest with an emblem of an eagle with it's wings spread wide. His Eagle Deck had disappeared and the ground that was quickly nearing with every moment was not Honos but the streets of 'Mantic Space that he was so familiar with. He was back in the 'Mantiverse but he was no longer himself, here and now, connected via his Eagle Akio was gone, he was Jinn, the wish maker, the Deck Jockey. The whole digital world was at his finger tips, and he reached out to touch it.

With a thud he was back in the Block Docking Bay, he was sat hunched in front of the Collection Point and was staring down at his Eagle, his fingers instinctively moving over they keys and tapping out commands. Akio looks around him, there was something different about the world. He was still jacked into his Eagle, and the Deck was feeding information to his patch over the top of what he could see with his organic eyes. If someone had asked to explain what he saw it would have been impossible. He saw the Collection Point before him, but it was overlaid with 'Mantic information. He was not seeing the 'Mantiverse, instead it was what could only be described as a 'Mantic Overlay. He looked over the Collection Point, something that only minutes before had been a flat box with a keypad and opening cabinet. Now it was plastered with information and notifications. In a matter of milliseconds Akio knew exactly the power requirements of the Collection Point, exactly how many items the Point held, and with a gasp he realised that the Eagle was even feeding him information on how to hack this device and take the secured items for himself.

Reaching out, Akio began to touch the Collection Point and a warning flashed before him. Carefully Akio reached down to his deck and flipped a switch. In an instant he was back in the 'Mantiverse, his dirty clothes once again gone and replaced with his eagle jumpsuit. Looking around he could see he was in a digital representation of the Block's Port and stood in front of him was a digital representation of the Collection Point. It looked almost the same as before, but the digi-labels his deck had provided him him now appeared almost tangible. He reached out with a black gloved hand and touched one of the digi-labels. Lights pulsed down his arm and onto the contact point before spreading across the Collection Point and slowly the Point began to move. It split and twisted, looking more like a Rubic's Cube than the large machine it has previously been. Jinn-Akio reached out again and began to manipulate the cubes as the span and floated. He rearranged them into a new configuration, all the while being guided by prompts provided via his deck that floated in the air telling him exactly what to do. After what felt like a minute of pure digital bliss, the cubes realigned and started to flash a bright vivid green. Prompted by the deck once more Jinn-Akio reached across his chest and slammed his hand down hard on his eagle emblem returning him to the physical world.

Once again Akio's bodysuit was gone and replaced by his usual torn baggy clothes. In front of him, no more than maybe a foot or two was the Collection Point, it's dispatch hatch wide open as it began to cycle through all of it's cargo allowing almost anyone to just reach in and grab. At first Akio saw a credit box, then a hand gun, a collection of digi pads and finally a child's cuddly toy. Akio grabbed the guns and digi pads, allowing the Collection Point to finish it's cycle and lock itself again. He figured that whoever was waiting for the credit box almost certainly needed it, and he wasn't about to steal from a little kid. The guns and digi pads however were fair game.

"You must be Jinn"

The voice came from behind and startled Akio. It had the melodic harmony of a Hydan, but sounded like it had smoked sixty smokes a day for the past twenty years. Akio turned.

Standing uncomfortably close to Akio was what appeared to be a male Hydan. He stood at just under six feet tall in a dark red long leather coat and thick brown trousers. Under the coat, Akio could see the top half of a Hydan armoured suit, it was skintight and covered in their patented flexi-pads, capable of stopping most small arms fire and stray automatic bullets as well. The Hydan's face was largely uncovered except for a pair of wrap around shaded-glasses which covered the alien's large eyes. The top of his head was also uncovered revealing his large bone-like scalp which appeared at a glance to have symbols carved into it; something Akio had never seen before but had heard was common place amount the religious members and those belonging to gangs.

Akio's vision lingered on the carved bone scalp and in doing so his Eagle deck began to feed translations directly into Akio's vision. He saw the symbol for loyalty, and spiritual wealth, under that was the symbol for revenge and discipline.

"You know it's rude to stare?"

The Hydan sounded like it's words tasted bitter.

"Sorry" replied Akio and bowed his head in respect, the traditional greeting amount Hydan.

"Lift your head Ape-Boy!" Barked the Hydan "I already know who you are, now come with me".

The Hydan turned away and as if in unison Akio felt a twinge of pain in his neck. Reaching to the afflicted site he felt a thick derm-patch and a numbing sensation as the derm-patch began to inject it's paralysing contents directly into his blood stream. Akio staggered and reached out for something to steady himself with. His visual interface, the organic stimuli crossed with the Deck-Feed was going crazy as information began to cross and blur.

With a pang of white hot agony Akio fell to the floor, his knee caps striking the solid metal floor. Through the blurring vision Akio saw the Hydan stand over him.

"You ape-boys are all the same" the Hydan spat "maybe a few hours with the boss will teach you some manners".

The last thing Akio remembered was a large military boot heading straight towards his face and then nothing but black.

Outside of the memory birds Angel sat mere inches from Akio's face. Akio was still tied to the same hard metal chair in the steel encased room.

"So that's how you get involved with the Block's crime syndicate eh?" Asked Angel "who were they? The Holy Fist? The Burning Dove?"

With white eyes Akio stared through Angel and slowly muttered a single word "Trydan".

Angel stumbled back only barely keeping his balance.

"Impossible!" The interrogator shouted "no Human has ever dealt with the Trydan! None!"

The white eyes of Akio continued to focus past Angel as a thick string of saliva dropped from his drugged mouth. Eventually the doped Akio smiled and managed to utter two more words.

"I did..."

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

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