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Speedway to Hell
(from ":MegaFusion: LifeFiction:")
by Sven Kloepping
Imagine a city with 2,000-yard-high skyscrapers that stretches its arms over the largest oceans and the highest mountains on Earth. A place where "Cyborg Killers" or "Licensing Agents" fight for their daily survival in a brutal, life-absorbing game.
Imagine a misty underground ghetto, or the overground of middle-class homes, 3,000 feet above the underground's streets.
And believe in the almighty virtual media! Always believe in corporate fusions, money-suckin' bankers, and FEVs -- Financial Executive Vampires.
And then imagine the chaos that follows...
Okay, careful now. Over there, not too fast -- attennnntion, man, be careful! These guys gotta think they're safe, you know. If they see our damned movements on the screen, it's over. You got that? Easy, man, easy... But what's... Shit! What's...
I'm staring at the face hanging in the glider like a bloody punching-ball and... Shit! Which sonofabitch erased my friend?
Slow down, slow down -- there's no use in senseless anger.
I gotta grab the accelerator... Somehow. Grabbing faster, faster than I can and I touch it, and the glider slows down, and my pulse slows down... like everything that's around me.
At the same time I'm looking at the screen, but can't see the others. Damn! Where did they hide their sucking asses? Makes me mad. I break, break the hunt.
Shortly after: standing on the sideway, feeling no motion in the glider, no motion in myself -- just hate in the background.
They're gone. With all the money, all those pills. Damned shit!
For sure they've hidden their sucking asses in the underground, where I don't have any rights to catch them and blow out their useless...
Damned bullshit. I won't be decorated now... not for that. They'd rather erase me, oh my g...!
Just imagine: a cop erased by his own employers.
How I hate these guys! Them business people are playin' with us as if we were little holograms that they move around with their virtual hands and -- god! We're men of blood and flesh, aren't we? A never-ending human resource to be used either as useful victims or as fighting slaves, bringing honor and glory to them.
If they really were big brothers, as they're proclaiming every day on the TV shows... skyscratchers would gain social feelings, I tell you!
Keep cool -- but not quiet.
Slow down, slow down... Ease up.
First I gotta kill a pill. Makes me see things more relaxed, you know.
After that I'm able to demagnetize the doors' force field to get out of the glider without any air-flash. If I hadn't taken the pill I'd have vomited right onto the corpse of my friend...
Pete, old buddy! I'll gonna miss you -- and your killer jokes and... oh, shit, I'll miss you so much!
Gotta pull the corpse out of the glider without any timelag, with a lot of care... it's not covered with any shielding suit to protect against the chemical acids outside.
With eyes closed, I'm dragging my friend over the highway, to the railings, right over the river.
I'll have to throw him over.
It's the only place where nobody will find him, not even those ass-faced, dope-implanted cannibals from the subway stations -- they hang over the railings like shrieking monkeys who fear the river, 'cause its chemical floods are deadly even to them, and none would ever dare to enter that hellish river but a corpse.
I'm sliding back to the vehicle, slamming the door mentally with tears in my mind -- steering away, somewhere into... I don't know where.
But then I look into my pillcase -- not believing what I see there, or what I don't see.
Nothing left, not even a single pill! Lots of problems, and no pills. Deadly. Gotta drive to the shop. The suckin' keeper will look at me like he should kick my butt to the moon. I don't know what these guys do other than wait for, and stare at, strangers all day and judge things that don't matter at all. I'm not here on duty, I'll tell him --- my friend died and by now he's nibbling the acids, got that?
And if this know-nothin' bastard wants to reply...
I don't have to think about this right now.
Keeping shops and secrets...
The next shop's 354 meters from here, somewhere to the left, and the autopilot's gotta find it. Why can't we just tell the suckin' machines to follow the outlaws and destroy all their cars in self-defense...? They'd do the job much better than any dead cop.
* * *
Who's really guilty? The bosses, I guess. For more than 8,000 years now.
I could kick their pig faces right in! Why didn't they tell me the details before I signed the contract? And why didn't they make it clear that everything was gonna crash down here -- that criminals would get out of control not only in the underground but also here, in the overground! Bastards. I wouldn't have signed their tricky forms if I had known the real circumstances! But now... I gotta see where I stand.
I'm just driving, hovering over the speedway. With shivering fingers knockin' on the metallic steering wheel. Sounds puzzling, somehow. I can't remember where I caught the illness, but sometimes I get those odd visions; could be the drugs, but what kind of drugs, as I never touched anything like tech? Maybe someone mixed a dose of that stuff into my party-drinks last night -- it's possible, as there were too many of them. I'd rather party right now than mourn for an erased colleague...
* * *
Border lights are just the beginning.
I'm crossing another useless corner, just to arrive at the suckin' shop.
I'm nearly sighing with relief, smelling the pills already in my neural brainzones. The building shines like a shooting star inside the dark, as if it would claim to be something different in this corner of the megacity that stretches its techno-covered arms over all the oceans. Like Himalayas across the whole damned planet. Anyway.
Gotta enter the shop. Gotta have a pill. Just a package.
Entering the shop.
The kids over there are looking as if they'd plan something, but I wouldn't care; someone else has to. I'm no longer a cop right now -- still in uniform, but stopped being a cop for today... Reasons? My best colleague's on his highway to heaven, that should be reason enough to kick that all.
I'm more tumbling than walking to the keeper, because my body's a little bit absent, you know. It can't coordinate my brain's orders. Somehow I manage to look right into the keeper's face.
A package of the light ones, man -- yep, you heard right: the lights ones, not the heavy stuff. Their name already indicates that -- besides, you don't need to stare at me like a monkey stares at his mother. Forget this. Forget your "C U later, cop-sucker!" Stick it into your fathersucking ass! I'm leaving the cops, leaving 'em tomorrow. We'll see who's cursing at whom when we meet again, wanker!
Out again, I'm recognizing that the kids have pinched something out of the shop -- having waited 'til I passed the doors, stealing themselves right behind me out of the building and grinning right now, from the other edge of the dark plaza surrounding the shop's blazing neonlights. But I don't care 'bout those guys. I'll never care again 'bout those things; someone else will have to...
Looking forward to a happy weekend.
Weekend? Forget that!
They're gonna cancel even this last isle of independence! That'd leave millions of criminals on the streets of this Earthwide city-maze...
I don't wanna be part of that stuff, I tell you. Tomorrow I'll leave, leave the fuzz -- they'll have to solve their problems alone. If they creep into their own shit again, I sure won't be the cleaner!
I wanna live in a better place -- maybe I really will take one of those hyper-powered space shuttles escaping every day to the new world they're promoting everywhere on the streets. Even in my personal media chips they're crying: "Come on, cop! Come on! You're gonna come and have a lot of fun!"
Yeah, I'm gonna leave this planet! Leave behind all the trouble I never really cared about...
If I could only grab those dealers first: I'd blow them away like rats; they won't know which direction to slither out of the mud... Anyway.
First I gotta start the glider, fly around the next corner, discover criminals everywhere -- why not take them all on, smash their useless bodies down towards something they belong to? They're worth less than a trash can...
* * *
Back on the speedway. Flying slower.
There's the PD. Gotta stop and enter the office. Gotta say "Morning" to everyone.
Yes, everything's fine -- the dealers were blown away in self-defense -- shit happens -- yeah, I'm all right...
You're absolutely right 'bout that -- not a fairy tale at all. But who cares? They grow up like weeds and nobody really cares about their deaths.
What'd you say?
Yep, Pete will get here soon. I think he wanted to take a shower first.
Story copyright 2001 by Sven Kloepping firstname.lastname@example.org
Illustrations copyright Ernst Wurdack email@example.com
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