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Member Since 09 Jul 2007
Offline Last Active Mar 16 2017 07:09 PM

Wanderers of the Wastes

21 September 2011 - 10:41 PM

The transport was nothing more than a flatbed truck with a couple metal seats bolted to the bed and a canopy over the seats to keep the sun out. It traversed the rough, rocky terrain of the Wastes, sending the men and women in the back up and down, up and down. Somehow the priest in the very back seat was able to read his bible as the truck rocked about. The woman that sat next to him was beautiful and sat close enough to him that everyone on the truck figured they were a couple. An odd couple though, seeing as the girl had a sniper rifle slung over her back. The priest looked like he had gotten into quite a few fights in his time though, his hands were covered in scars, his face had two on each cheek and one that started at the top of his forehead, went down his eyelid, and stopped at his chin. He was young, maybe early twenties. His hair was blown in the wind, making it an even more unruly mess than when he had gotten on. His face was shaven and he had the look of a fighter about him. He was lanky, but had sinewy muscle beneath his black suit. He was a man of God, but he also appeared to be a man of the sword.
He closed his leather bound bible and set it inside of a bag beneath his seat. The woman who sat next to him lay her head against his shoulder, her blond hair tickling his cheek. He wrapped his arm around her and pulled her closer. It was a rather cute display of affection. The man sitting at the front of the transport might have cared a little more if not for the fact he had a duty and that duty meant he needed to kill every person on the transport.
The little man fingered his jacket nervously. He had killed before, but he had never killed a priest, let alone seen one. He had heard it was bad luck to kill a man of God.
The priest leaned into his companion and whispered in her ear. "The man at the front of the transport keeps looking back at us. He is of ill intent. He's playing with his jacket, he must have a weapon concealed beneath it. Keep your eye on him." The woman nodded and watched the little man, still holding tightly to the priest. "Don't let him see Mary. Bandits love to steal pixies and sell them." The woman's hand went to her pocket where a tiny presence nudged her index finger.
The transport continued into a small canyon.
The priest stood and yelled for the transport to stop. The little man at the front's eyes widened considerably as the driver slammed on the break and looked through the little window behind his seat at the passengers.
"What the hell?" He looked the priest up and down.
The priest nodded toward the little man at the front of the transport. "That man has to use the restroom, I can tell by the way he is shaking." The little man stood and turned on the priest.
"I don't have to use the restroom! I'm just going to see my lover! I'm nervous!" The man hastily replied.
"You going to shoot your lover?" The priest smiled warmly. "Take the pistol from your jacket and kick it toward me. You are not robbing this transport."
The bandit smiled. "Damn priest." He reached into his jacket and whipped his pistol out, aiming it at the priest's head. The people on the transport were frozen in shock and horror. A woman in a long flowing dress fingered the gold necklace that hung to her breasts.
The pistol moved to aim at that woman. "She's the daughter of the vice president of Drake Industries! I'm taking her hostage and if anyone tries to stop me I will kill them." He moved his pistol to point at the head of the driver through the window. "Start driving or I'll blow your brains all over the steering wheel!"
The transport lurched ahead and the pistol moved to aim at the priest's companion. "Throw your sniper rifle out of the transport."
"No." The girl said firmly, crossing her arms and legs and looking at the man like he was some sort of idiot.
The pistol moved to the head of the priest. "Then he'll die!"
She shrugged. "That's his problem."
"Thanks babe." The priest muttered. He listened intently for the sound of anyone else coming to back up their comrade.
"So you two are lovers? Then why won't you throw away your rifle?" The bandit moved closer to the priest, his hand shaking. "You'd rather your love die?"
"I can always find another boyfriend." The girl said smugly.
The bandit was only a couple of feet from the priest when the transport started to slow down. The man turned toward the driver and shot into the air. "I didn't tell you to stop!"
The priest used the opportunity to grab the man's face and pull him backward. The priest's knee smashed into the small of the bandit's back. The little man squealed and dropped his pistol.
"Pray for God's forgiveness and he will be sure to give if you mean it. If not only Hell awaits you."
"Have you ever thought we're already in Hell?" The little man asked.
"If we were I wouldn't be able to snap your neck and send you to the next world would I? Have you read the Inferno? Hell is a place of infinite pain and punishment where you never die, no matter how insane the beatings. This world, hard as it may be to believe, is a relative heaven compared to what awaits you if you do not ask God for forgiveness when I release you." The priest took the man and pushed him against the railing spanning the perimeter of the transport's bed.
"There are more of us." The bandit said. "We have this transport's number, we'll find you and kill you!"
"If God so wills it." The priest threw the man over the railing. The bandit smacked into the ground, bones cracking, and rolled the opposite direction of the transport, eventually stopping. He was broken, beaten, and bruised. He screamed in pain as he tried to get up. He reached for his radio with what little power was left in him.
"Save…me." He gasped into the radio when his boss answered.

"You can be quite a good actor sometimes." The priest took his seat beside his girlfriend, shoving the bandit's fallen pistol into the folds of his jacket. The woman clung to him tightly.
"What's to say I was acting Gare?"
"The fact that you are clinging to my arm like that is a clear indication Lily."
Lily smiled and pressed her cheek against his arm.
"Excuse me." The voice was a little more than a whisper, coming from the woman with the golden necklace. The daughter of the vice-president of Drake Industries. "I would like to thank you father." She started digging into her purse and Gare disentangled from Lily's grasp and stood, shaking his head.
"I do not require payment for my services ma'am. I do whatever I feel God would want me to do."
"You are an odd priest though, aren't you? A man of God who knows how to fight and knows how to incapacitate an enemy?"
Gare stuck his hands in his pockets. "It's a tough world. I figured I may as well learn to survive in it."
The woman looked at the other people on the transport who watched the exchange with much interest. She turned back to Gare. "Protect me, please sir." Her hand reached back into her purse. "I know who you are." She whispered. "My father has spoken of a priest like you in the Wastes. You are a gun for hire."
"That would be false information. I would never prostitute my services." Gare ended it there and sat back down. Lily stood and smiled at the dejected young woman. "On the other hand, she will." Gare muttered, sitting back and sighing.
"My name is Lily Seymour! Nice to meet you!" The blond girl shook the woman's hand.
"We're not married yet." Gare Seymour muttered, rolling his eyes.
"After this job I expect a wedding! It's only been how long I've been waiting?" Lily turned her back on her prospective client and started jabbering with Gare.
"We've been together a long time, it's just the fact that we've been too busy to be wedded."
"Well I expect us to take a break in Las Vegas! It'll be like back in the old days. You've heard the stories about all the neon and casinos and there were weddings every minute of every day! And that Elvis guy…" Gare shook his head as he watched the client stare like she was seeing two bears dancing in tutus. She had no idea what the hell was going on.
"Lily, behind you." Gare rested his cheek upon his fist and watched his lover spin around.
"Oh yeah. Um, sorry. I'm Lily Seymour." She stuck out her hand again.
"We established that." The client shook Lily's hand again. "I'm Amy Washburn. I am trying to get to Drake Industries headquarters."
"Why are you here then? What are you doing?" Lily asked.
"My grandmother had fallen ill in San Antonio so I went to see her. She passed away while I was there with her. After her funeral I decided I would head home. I had no idea I would be targeted by bandits, I thought I was safe. It's not like I flaunt the fact my father is the vice president of the biggest cybernetics firm in the Wastes."
"You just did." Lily said.
"You know what I mean!" Amy reached into her purse and pulled out a wad of bills. "I will pay you all I have right now and my father will be sure to pay you anything you want when you return me in Las Vegas."
Lily snatched the wad of bills and handed them to Gare who put them in his pocket. "We were heading to Vegas anyway, so it shouldn't be a problem." She took her seat besides Gare and Amy sat next to her.
"So the priest is a gun for hire?" Amy asked.
"No, he just follows me." Lily answered.
"And everywhere she goes, there's always someone trying to kill her or someone else. So I can't in good conscious let the good guys die. I have the feeling that God put me on the Earth to follow this psychopath around and make sure that there is someone to perform the funeral rites." Lily pecked him on the lips. She turned to Amy and whispered into her ear.
"He takes some getting used to."
"As do you." Gare muttered. "Wake me up at the next refuel."

"A priest and a blond haired woman?" The young man with unruly brown hair asked his companion sitting in the back of the jeep, a girl of about sixteen nursing his wounds as the driver took them toward camp. They had the number of the transport and knew it was headed for Las Vegas. There was only one route the transports took to Las Vegas and it stopped just short of the Hoover Dam at a refuel station. That would be where they took the girl and killed the priest and his lover.
"The priest was a vicious bastard. He is no ordinary man of God." The little bandit yelped as a cotton swab dowsed in alcohol was applied to a scratch on his arm.
"He's a gun for hire. A mercenary. The whole of the Wastes fears him. I have heard him be referred to as the anti-Christ himself." The leader of the bandit group saw the small collection of white tents on the horizon and smiled. "If we kill him, we'll be heroes."
"What's he done?" The driver asked, a cigarette dangling from his cracked lips.
"If we were to believe the legends I've heard, then he was the cause of the apocalypse."
The driver nearly dropped his cigarette. "That was five hundred years ago!"
"I know. I don't think the legend of the priest is quite as prevalent as it was a hundred years ago, but a few people still know it." The jeep stopped and the leader of the bandits hopped out. He needed to prepare for the fight of his life. Whoever the priest was, he was immortal if he was talking of the same one that his father and grandfather had told him about as a child.

The sun set on the horizon and the transport lurched to a stop at a small station on the side of what had once been a major highway. The place was falling apart, the windows boarded up. The transport stopped beside a gas pump and an old attendant in oil-stained overalls walked out and started filling the truck up. Lily nudged Gare in the side hard, waking him up. He frowned at how much force Lily had put behind the elbow and stood, getting off of the transport and entering the station. A younger man with a triangular mustache stood behind the counter and nodded at the priest.
"Do you have any apples?"

Gare returned to his seat biting into a red apple. It had cost him a small fortune to get three of them, but the fruit were certainly worth it, succulent and juicy. He threw one to Lily and another to Amy who caught it and looked at Gare like Santa Clause. "Thank you very much father."
"His name's Gare outside of the church." Lily said, biting into her apple.
"Mr. Gare." Amy took a petite bite from her fruit and after a couple more minutes the driver got into his seat, having bought himself some food and drink and paid the attendant. The truck lurched forward toward the Hoover Dam. It was at about this point that Gare looked over his shoulder and noticed a plume of dust rising on the horizon from the desert and saw a couple shapes growing ever closer.
"Lily, it appears we have company." He took another bite from his apple as Lily took the scope from her sniper rifle and looked toward the dust plume.
"Bandits." She said. Amy looked fearfully at her protectors and Lily gave her a reassuring smile as she slung her rifle from her shoulder and started setting it up. Gare pulled the pistol from his jacket and checked it over. The people on the transport looked from the priest, to his girlfriend, to Amy, to the dust plume getting ever closer.
Lily's rifle coughed and Gare heard the screech of metal.
"Gare, cycles!" She cried as four motorcycles flew toward the transport, leaving behind a collection of jeeps and a truck with what appeared to be a fifty-caliber machine gun.
"Oh my god!" Amy screamed as shots started ringing out, smacking against the body of the transport. The driver was swerving and trying to avoid the shots but failing miserably. The four motorcycles broke into pairs. One pair took the left side of the transport, one the right. Gare focused on the left, shooting a rider before he could hop onto the transport. The second got on and hefted over the railing, his pistol instantly going off, hitting the shoulder of an older man who flew against the railing to the side of his seat. He screamed.
Gare's pistol let off two shots, one into the chest, another into the brain. The bandit's head exploded and his body fell over the rail and into the street below.
Lily had left her rifle where it was and held a knife in her hand. One of the riders on the right hopped aboard and she was on him, her knife slashing through his throat, her foot smashing into his chest and sending him to his head on the pavement. The final cyclist backed off, slowing down. The transport passed it and Gare noticed a fallen advertising sign laying against a rock at a forty-five degree angle to the side of the road ahead.
The cyclist was suicidal!
The motorcycle flew forward behind the transport, passing the ramp.
The cycle hit the ramp.
Five seconds later the cycle fell upon the transport's canopy, the green fabric falling on top of the people on the transport, as well as the metal wire that held it up. There was a snapping, mushy sound accompanied by the scream of a man who was the landing pad for a cycle.
There were sudden shots and Gare felt a bullet whiz by his face. He fell to his knees and grabbed his bag from beneath his seat. When he opened it, he grabbed a metal shaft and threw the pistol away.
The canopy was cut open and Father Gare Seymour hopped out from it, Excalibur in his hands. He was in the air like a bird. The bandit turned and saw the priest falling upon him like an angel from heaven. He turned his pistol to aim at the priest's chest but before he could pull the trigger the weapon was cut in half and his index finger was removed from his hand. His scream mixed with those of the people on the transport.
There was shot from Lily's rifle and Gare heard glass shatter. Before he could focus on the jeeps gaining on them, Gare severed the cyclist's head from his body. When he turned to face the next wave of assailants, he was made to duck as the fifty-caliber discharged. The bullets flew through the air he stood in not a second before. He began to worm his way toward the end of the transport where Lily had thrown back the canopy and was shooting at the bandits cars. He left her alone and grabbed Amy. He took off his jacket and put it over her. She was shaking uncontrollably, she'd never been in a situation like this and it weighed heavily on her. He set her against the back seat and looked over the seat at his enemies. The truck with the fifty caliber was getting closer and Gare knew if it got any closer, they were screwed.
"Focus on the gunner." He told Lily who gave him a thumbs up.
"He's got a metal shield on either side of the gun. I've only got a small hole to shoot through to take off his head."
"You can do it babe." Gare counted four jeeps. One of them was getting closer than the others, only about twenty feet from touching the back bumper of the transport.
"Hey priest!" Came a cry from the front of the transport. The driver looked over his shoulder at the black clad man. "The dam's up ahead!"
Lily's rifle coughed and there was the sound of yelling coming from the group of vehicles behind the transport. Gare looked up and saw that the machine gun had no one on it. He ruffled Lily's hair.
"I'm not thirteen anymore." She said in a rather sarcastic tone as she searched under the seat for her bag containing a case of spare ammo.
That was when the front jeep bumped into the back of the transport and three people hopped onto the railing of the transport. Two came at Gare and one went for Amy. They all carried knives that Gare avoided deftly, backing toward Amy who had a blank expression on her face. She was scared stiff, quite literally.
The man who went for Amy was stopped in his tracks when Gare's boot met his face in a roundhouse kick that sent the man against the railing. His two buddies knives did nothing but cut up his clothes. Excalibur bisected one of the men completely.
The other man relieved himself in his pants before Gare cut off the top part of his body from his lower left armpit to the middle of his right shoulder.
Gare turned in time to see the third man's knife lunge for his neck. Gare stepped aside and brought his sword up, cutting the man's head from his body.

"Holy [cabbage]!" The leader of the bandits cried, grabbing the wheel from his chain-smoking driver as his head was splattered against the leather seat and the jeep swerved toward the side of the road. Ahead he saw the Hoover Dam and knew he had no way he could beat the priest. The man had cut down his men like it was nothing. And his girlfriend was the best sniper he had ever encountered. He opened the driver door, pushed the dead driver out, and took his place, his butt squishing into the pink matter all over the bottom of the chair. He closed the door and turned the car around, grabbing his radio.
"Get the [bleep] out of here! We can't fight these people!"

The jeeps and the truck screeched to a halt and turned away from the transport. Gare sighed and flicked the blood from his blade. He took the canvas with one hand and flipped it off of the transport and to the road as the truck made its way across the Hoover Dam. Beneath the canvas were ten people in various states of fear and pain. The old man whose shoulder had been shot was being taken care of by his wife, there were two dead people lying in the center aisle of the benches, one whose chest appeared to have caved in and another who had suffered a shot through the neck. Gare started toward the front of the bed of the transport and tapped the hood of the cab. The driver looked over his shoulder and smiled.
"That was nuts." He said. "I've dealt with bandits before, but you and that woman back there took care of them in good order."
"And lost two innocent people in the process. I will commence funeral services at the stop. I was hoping to convince you to take the elderly gentleman to a hospital." Gare waved a couple bills at the window dividing himself from the driver. "This should cover expenses and get you a new canvas."
Gare returned to his seat and put his sword away. Amy still sat on the floor, staring blankly.
Lily slung her sniper over her shoulder and looked at Amy, a sudden sense of nostalgia flooding her. Gare caught it and frowned. Lily sat down, melancholy in her eyes.
"Sometimes I wish we could be like her. I wish we were innocent again." Lily muttered.
Gare grabbed her hand and smiled. "I figured you would find that a weakness. I thought you became a mercenary to relinquish the idea of you being a weak little girl?"
She squeezed his hand. "Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I had stayed an innocent little girl, you had stayed a stupid teenage boy, and the world hadn't ended."
"We'd be dead right now." Gare looked up at the ever darkening sky. "Before we died we probably would have been a happy family. Had kids. Found a nice beachside home like we wanted. You'd be a veterinarian, I'd be a literature teacher, or maybe even a professor." Gare laughed. "If the world hadn't turned out the way it did we probably would have had a nicer eighty years together than the past five hundred we've endured now."
"And we're still not married." Lily said.
"We've been too busy. We spent nearly one hundred and fifty years rebuilding civilization in New York and Boston and the past three hundred and fifty years have been pretty hectic what with your deciding to become a mercenary, my becoming a priest, and our constant ability to get in the crosshairs of every bad guy we ever walk within fifty miles of."
Lily nodded. "True. We've said we'd get married for all these years and have been putting it off. It's weird, because you are a priest. You could just do it on the spot."
Gare slapped himself on the forehead. "I have said this a million times and every time I even mention it you tell me that it's not romantic enough. We need to find a romantic time to get married and we need another priest because it would just be proper."
"There have been a few opportunities." Lily muttered.
"When we were in Florida, on the beach with Father Jacob."
"Who was eaten alive by a giant alligator that we were then forced to run away from? We'd only known him five minutes before he died."
"We could have asked him before he died. Maybe he wouldn't have been eaten had we been in his chapel."
Gare groaned and sat back. He looked at Amy, still shaken, and nudged Lily. "Get Mary to take care of Amy. I hate seeing people like that."

The man was only twenty-nine but looked like he was eighty. His body was undernourished, his skin was dirty, the rags that served as his clothes were tarnished with dirt. He held in his hands a shining silver harmonica that he blew into, the sound shrill. He sat against a pile of rubble on the Strip where the Luxor used to stand. Vegas was not a forgotten city, it still had a running casino and Drake Industries brought in a lot of workers. Every once in a while a car would pass down the Strip. Nobody paid the man much heed as he blew into his instrument, the only solace in his otherwise seemingly worthless life.
He started to sing, and it was actually not too bad. It was a song from before the world changed.

Riders on the storm
Riders on the storm
Into this house we're born
Into this world we're thrown
Like a dog without a bone
An actor out alone
Riders on the storm

A transport passed by and the man stopped singing, Two hundred feet down the Strip from where he sat, the transport stopped in front of what had at one time been part of a casino but was now a hospital, a large green military tent sitting outside of it. The man watched people get off the transport and the driver help a man in black priest's garb take an elderly gentleman into the hospital.
After a couple of minutes of watching the people at the hospital, he put his harmonica back to his parched lips and continued his song.

Mary buzzed around Amy's head, her tiny body wearing nothing but a small piece of cloth. Her wings were like that of a dragonfly, though slightly smaller. She was an organism created in a laboratory, made to be a personal companion to whoever owned her. You could liken the tiny creature to a robot, but instead of looking like something from the future, she looked like she came right out of a fairy tale. Lily sat in the transport next to Amy and made sure she was okay. She still had Gare's coat over her shoulders and hadn't budged an inch, staring forward like there was an interesting speck of dust on the floor. She was paralyzed, stock still. She'd never seen violence, never been shot at. For some people, it made them insane, for some it locked them up, and for still others it was a comfort zone and bullets whizzing by were just as regular for them as was breathing.
She had a gun pointed at her, which hadn't locked her up at all. It was when bullets started whizzing by that she had realized how dangerous everything was. Lily figured from her appearance, her crisp white dress and the fact she traveled around the Wastes with jewelry on that she was a spoiled rich girl. She was right. This girl knew nothing of the real world. She'd more than likely led a sheltered life in her father's apartment within Drake Industries building. Now she got a taste of what life was like outside of those walls.
Mary stopped in front of Lily and started to jabber about Amy's condition. She was okay, she just needed a bed. Lily nodded and decided she would take the girl into the hospital.

Author's Note:
I used to post on Tip.It every two seconds but now I haven't posted in three or four months. I don't even know if my old buddies from the forum are still around. It's been four years I've been using the forum...I feel like an old man.

Teenage Assassins

14 June 2011 - 04:16 AM


Target One: The New Girl

I pumped the shotgun, a smoking shell jumping from the weapon. I stepped over the dead man, his stomach nothing but a bloody hole and moved out of the living room, into a large dining hall. I swept the weapon around the room, searching for anything moving. Sitting atop the long oak table, fifteen high backed chairs placed around it, was a fancy dinner. There sat lobster, a glazed duck, a giant bowl of rice. Candles gave the room a romantic ambiance. They weren't prepared for an intruder to come in, that was for sure. I pulled my gaze from the tabletop and then mentally slapped myself.
Under the table.
I rolled to the side as a machine gun sprayed the floor where I had been just a second before. I rolled into the wall to the side and saw who was shooting, a bald man wearing a nice black tuxedo and a pair of tortoise-shell glasses that looked small on his large head. I started running as he shot at me again, the bullets following not a few inches behind me. When I got near where he was hiding under the table I fell, sliding as if I were a baseball player getting to home plate. As I slid, I turned the shotgun and pulled the trigger. The man's head burst like a bloody pinata, brain sticking to the bottom of the table like gum.
I pumped the shotgun again and reached into the folds of my school jacket for more buckshot. There was nothing there. I had run out of ammo. I cursed, throwing the weapon aside and rolling under the table. I cried out as machine gun rounds started chewing through the tabletop, smacking into the wooden floor around me. I grabbed the headless body of the man I'd killed and put him on top of me as a shield as I took his Uzi and checked the magazine. One bullet left. I started checking his pockets and found a fresh clip. I switched the clips out just as a shot smashed through the table and entered the dead man's stomach. I threw him off me and rolled out from under the table. I aimed for the man standing on top of it, carrying an AK-47. I spent a fifth of the clip as I turned him into Swiss cheese, his body falling off the table like a rag doll.
I grabbed the AK from the table and put the Uzi in my jacket as back-up. I checked the dead man's body for any more ammo and put it in my pants pocket. I then continued deeper into the house, toward my target's bedroom.
I found myself standing in front of a grand staircase of marble and gold that led to the second floor of the mansion. It was beautiful, except for the two thugs standing at the top, machine guns at the ready. They saw me and the weapons moved with robotic precision, they had been trained to kill. Then again, so had I. My AK quickly killed one of the men, his shots going wide and his body flying down the staircase. I ran to the side as bullets raced after me, one grazing my shoulder, another my cheek. I felt a bit of blood course down my face, dripping off my jaw. I shot my own AK, the shots going wide, the man expertly dodging as if he could see the bullets in slow motion.
What he couldn't see though, was the Uzi I pulled from my jacket and started shooting at his legs while the AK shot at his stomach. He screamed as one of his knees blew out and he fell, his head smacking against one of the edges of the stairs, cracking it open. He rolled down the stairs, stopping in front of me at the bottom. He was dead, his eyes gazing into nothing.
I put a new clip in my AK and threw the Uzi away, it's bullets all spent before running up the stairs. At the top of the stairs were a pair of mahogany doors with black studs around the perimeter like the entrance to a medieval castle. I breathed deeply before kicking the doors open and sweeping the room with my AK, searching for any living thing.
There was nobody in the large bedroom. It was dark though, so for all I knew they could be hiding behind the sofa that sat to one side, or inside of the large adjoining bathroom. I moved toward the bed where I found a warm blood stain. I followed the trail of blood, my fingers tracking through it, toward the bathroom. The door was ajar. It was probably a trap, but I decided I'd jump in anyway.
I entered and swept the AK. Suddenly, the weapon was jerked from my grasp and I felt a foot connect with my stomach, throwing me against a tiled wall. I could barely see anything, all I saw was a silhouette of a person coming at me with my AK. I flailed my arms around the wall, finding a light switch and flicking it on. The whole room was suddenly bathed in illumination and I saw who had kicked me and taken my weapon. I also saw the bathtub where my target lay, dead. The fat man wore his pajamas, now soaked in the blood that had spurted from his slit neck.
His killer had been the girl standing in front of me. Her long blond hair fell past her waist, a cute pink flower in it; her eyes were large and an unearthly beautiful shade of green. She had medium sized breasts and a beautiful body. She wore a red school uniform, a white top with a short red skirt and a pair of brown loafers and knee high white socks. She was as tall as my chest, about my age. The patch that sat over the left breast of her uniform stated that she went to Tokyo High School. I looked down at my own uniform, white shirt tucked into black pants with black dress shoes. Sitting over my own left breast sat that very same patch. I'd never seen this girl at school before. Who was she? And how the hell had she beat me to my target?
She apparently noticed our matching uniforms as well. She held my AK, which had been pointing at me while I checked her out. She threw it to me, the clip having been thrown into the bathtub with the dead man. She started to turn away and I grabbed her shoulder. She suddenly moved into action, pirouetting on one foot, her other outstretched and prepared to smash into my face I dropped the AK, blocking the kick with my upraised arms. Her leg dropped. She pulled a pistol from under her skirt and pushed it against my stomach. I brought my knee up against the weapon, sending it flying into the air. She started lashing out at me with vicious punches that I blocked or avoided. I wouldn't touch her though, I felt that she wasn't a threat, she just wanted to incapacitate me so she could get away. I wouldn't let her though, she had a few questions to answer first.
The pistol fell in between us and she grabbed it in midair. Before I could do anything else she crouched and placed the pistol against my chest, aimed at my heart. She depressed the trigger.
She stood and put the pistol into the holster under her dress. "You're good." She said in a very cute voice. She didn't seem like someone even capable of holding a weapon.
"You're not too bad yourself." I replied, walking toward her.
"You let me win."
"I knew you wouldn't harm or kill me." She turned to look at me, her hands interlocked behind her back, her head tilted to the side, a huge white smile on her face. She was way to cute to be fighting.
"Is this guy your target too?" She asked, nodding toward the dead man in the tub.
"Yeah. Nagano Kojiro. I was asked by a guy who said his daughter was shot by Nagano for getting in his way in an alley. Bastard deserved what he got. Did the same guy hire you?" I asked.
"No, I was hired by the police." There were sirens approaching the building and her eyes slitted. "How about you go to your guy and say you killed Nagano? I'll go to the police and say I killed him. It was an under-the-table operation so the media will never cover the story. We'll both get our money." She smiled.
"Thanks." I held out my hand. "Zero Miyagi."
"Lily Ichimaru." She took it and shook it firmly. "I'll see you at school tomorrow then?" She asked.
Before I could answer, she ran into the bedroom. I watched her open a window and start her descent down the front of the mansion. She was good, like a ninja. I turned to the bathtub, pulling a camera from my back pocket and snapping a photo of the scene as proof of the man's death. I started to head toward the front door as fast as I could. I hated dealing with the police, I'd rather be out of Dodge before they see all the bodies.

I unlocked the door and walked inside, shutting it behind myself and kicking off my shoes before stepping onto the wooden floor. I threw my keys onto a side table and flicked on the light switch. My apartment was quiet, the only sound the hiss of the air conditioner. I pulled my school jacket off and threw it on the sofa, plopping down beside it and taking the remote from the coffee table. I turned my flatscreen on and watched anime for a little while before heading to the bathroom.
I took a warm shower and sat in it for probably twenty minutes. I had come home after talking to my client and getting my reward for the death of the old man at the mansion. He never knew that I hadn't shot the old man, it had been that mysterious girl, Lily. God, she was the cutest person I'd ever met. Her face sat on my retinas. I'd never met another assassin my age who didn't try to kill me in the most brutal fashion. She seemed to like me, I could see that twinkle in her big cute eyes.
The water of the shower sluiced down my body and I could only wonder about Lily. Who was she? Why had she become an assassin? Where did she come from? Where had she learned how to fight the way she did? So many questions that I hoped would be answered the next day at school.
I turned the shower off and pulled on pajamas. I brushed my teeth and looked at myself in the mirror. My long black hair was disheveled, my brown eyes were bloodshot, I had a small cut on my cheek and shoulder where bullets had grazed me. I needed to shave.
I took my dirty clothes to a basket and threw them inside, pulling my holster and pistols from the wrinkled school uniform. I hadn't brought any knives or swords to the mission, so those still sat in my bedroom's safe. I walked down the hall to my bedroom and stopped in front of the big green thing. I put in the six digit code and it swung open. Inside were two katanas, two wakazashi, a few butterfly knives, a disassembled sniper rifle and a whole lot of ammo. I grabbed two clips of pistol ammo and put them in my weapons. I pulled the slides and a bullet entered the chambers.
Closing the safe door, I moved to my bed and put the pistols beneath my pillow. I switched the lights off and got beneath the blanket, curling up into a tight ball. Lily's face was still burned into my retinas and I kept replaying the events of the night. I looked over at the alarm clock beside my bed. I'd get two and a half hours of sleep before I had to wake up and head to school. Maybe I should just skip school and stay home tomorrow.
That would mean missing Lily though, and I didn't want to do that. I was completely intrigued by her. I hoped that we would be able to talk at lunch or something--- unless she wanted to avoid me and pretend like the whole debacle hadn't taken place. I hoped she wouldn't do that.
I fell asleep. It was a dreamless, boring sleep. The darkness was only broken by the annoying trill of the alarm clock. I smacked the off button on the black box and threw my legs over the side of the bed. If it weren't for that girl, I would have gone back to sleep.
This was the the first time I muttered what would soon become the catchphrase of my high school life.
"Girls are trouble."

I took the bus to school, sitting toward the front and playing a game on my touchscreen phone. I swiped my finger across the screen as men in samurai armor came at me. With every swipe of my finger, a sword cut through them, slicing the enemies to pieces. The bus stopped in a very metropolitan part of Tokyo where my friend Ebisu stood, the dense crowds walking around him as if he were a rock in a river. His parents owned a pharmacy in this area and they lived on the top floor of the building and operated the store downstairs. He hopped onto the bus and the driver shut the doors behind him as he made his way to my seat. He sat beside me, pushing me against the window. He pulled his own cell phone out and loaded up a monster fighting app.
"C'mon Zero! Get off that stupid game and let's battle monsters!" He looked over at me for the first time since he got on the bus and noticed my vacant gaze, my rather unruly look. I hadn't run a comb through my hair or shaved; I had just thrown on a crisp uniform and a concealed shoulder holster with a pistol and a pocket for my butterfly knife. I had then ate a bowl of ramen and watched a game show.
"You look like hell dude."
I took a look at Ebisu's clean appearance; not a dimple on his face, not a hair on his chin. He looked completely opposite me. I just groaned and looked down at my phone, muttering under my breath.
Ebisu grabbed my shoulders and shook me. "What do you spend your whole night doing man? I can tell you've been up all night! Is there a girl? Or do you have a hangover? Look at that cut on your cheek!"
Well, his first guess about what I was doing was pretty on target. There was a lot more than a girl to the story though, but that's the only part that sticks out. I wasn't going to explain anything to Ebisu though. Saying I met a girl would just make him explode with questions that I had no answers to. Nobody (at that time) knew I was an assassin, so I really couldn't explain every problem I had.
The bus stopped once more and let a couple giggling girls on before it made it's way toward Tokyo High. The golden disk that was the sun rose steadily as nine fifteen approached, when the bell for first period classes rang.

My briefcase was slung over my shoulder as I made my way into homeroom. A bunch of people were standing around, playing games on their cellphones or texting. A few were studying. Ebisu had already made it to the class and he patted me on the back as I made my way through the throng of students in uniforms, toward my desk in the back corner, against a window that looked out on the track. Ebisu followed me the whole way. I threw my briefcase on the desk and sat down, resting my head down on my case. Ebisu sat on the desk beside me.
"Dude, why are you always so sleepy? You'd think you'd learn to start going to bed earlier."
"Shut up." I muttered, my eyes closed tightly.
The bell rang and everyone moseyed to their seats. I sat up groggily as the door to the class slid open and the teacher, Mr. Kisuke, strode inside. Following close on his heels was a girl wearing a red uniform, with long blond hair with a pink flower in it and cute green eyes. The face that had been etched into my mind for the past few hours.
"We have a new student today, she comes from Osaka." The teacher announced. I saw that all of the guys in the class were ogling her body, their mouths salivating like predators, their eyes wide. She didn't seem to notice, either that or she didn't mind. She swept her bangs out of her eyes as she stood before the teacher's podium and introduced herself.
"My name is Lily Ichimaru. I'm pleased to meet you all and hope we'll all become good friends." She bowed and allowed a peek at her cleavage. Every guy in the class dropped their jaws. I even dropped my jaw, she had a nice rack, that was for sure.
Mr. Kisuke looked over the room and motioned toward the empty desk next to me. Maybe this empty desk that had sat like that all year was a message from God, that he was waiting for her to fill the spot so she could sit with me. In front of me sat Rei, who had a huge crush on me but we rarely talked. She seemed to be really shy. Behind me was the wall, which talked to me a lot more than Rei did.
Lily sat down in the empty desk and looked at me, a huge white smile on her face like the one that she had given me the previous night. I had a strange feeling that we were going to be put together at some point for something. I had an odd feeling that as two assassins in the same high school, competition would be stiff. Maybe we'd be hired as a duo at points. I didn't like the fact that another assassin was in my territory, but I thought that it may work out. If we work together, maybe we'd get to know each other and maybe we could date---
"ZERO! PULL YOUR EYES FROM LILY'S CHEST AND LOOK AT THE BOARD!" Mr. Kisuke screamed, smacking his ruler against the podium over and over until I looked away from Lily. I wasn't actually looking at her breasts, I was just spacing out. I guess that was a pretty lame excuse though.
Lily didn't seem to mind and actually giggled when the teacher yelled at me, her cute hand touching her cute lips cutely.
I sat through class, half paying attention until the lunch bell rang.

I opened my briefcase and pulled a bento box from it, ripping it open and starting into the assortment of sushi in one of the compartments. A few people stayed in the classroom to eat, most streamed out of the class. A few of the men tried to approach Lily but when they saw her turn to me and pull her desk closer, so that her body was just inches from mine, they assumed that she was with me. They walked away, ready to tell the whole school that Zero Miyagi was dating the beautiful new girl.
Lily didn't appear to have a lunch so I held my bento box out for her. Lily grabbed it and took my chopsticks from my hand, picking up a sushi and popping it into her mouth. She took a sip from my juice, using the same straw I used.
Maybe she really did like me. Either that or she didn't believe in cooties or germs.
She passed my food back and smiled. "Thank you Zero."
I finished the last piece of sushi and returned the smile. "You can have the rice if you want." I put the chopsticks on the box and passed it to her. She ate wolfishly, as if she hadn't eaten in a year. She finished the rest of the box in just under a minute. She wiped her mouth and smiled for what had to have been the hundredth time that day. Suddenly, she had me in an embrace. I was sitting, she was standing. Despite our major height differences, my head was still shoved against her breasts. They were like soft fleshy pillows of soft fleshy---
I felt all my blood rush to my waist. That must have explained the fact that I was woozy, that I could only think one sentence: "This is nice."
She let me go and I fell out of my seat, to the ground. She knelt down, giggling cutely. She helped me back to my seat. I am so damn obvious. I was lucky my nose wasn't bleeding like a fountain. A boner was less obvious than that at least.
Lily sat down again and my heart beat against my chest harder than ever.
"I really like you Zero. We should join forces sometime."
The bell rang, lunch was over. The students came pouring in, all the men staring at me and then looking at Lily.
The day went by fast, and by the time the final bell rang I was pooped. I decided that the best way to clear my mind and to wake up was a long walk home, maybe grab a coffee with my newly acquired monies.
Thus, I did so. I got home about an hour and a half after the final bell and had downed a whole large cappuccino. I was feeling pretty alive. I unlocked my apartment door and closed it behind myself. I kicked off my shoes and hopped onto the wooden floor. I threw my keys on the side table and my briefcase onto the sofa. I took my jacket off and threw it into the dirty laundry basket. I pulled my shoulder holster off and put my pistol onto the coffee table. I turned toward my hall to go to my room and pull on some pajamas when my eyes widened. I lost my balance and tripped over the sofa and onto my briefcase.
Standing in the hall was Lily. She wore my pajamas and one of my T-shirts, the clothes clinging to her.
She yawned and moved toward the sofa. "You look surprised." She said.
"What---why---dur---um---what are you doing in my home?" I finally stuttered out.
"Oh, I climbed the pipe up the side of the building and got in through the window. You should lock those you know? I was pretty sleepy so I put on some PJ's and took a nap in your bed. Hopefully you don't care."
"But you broke into my house!" I stammered. "How'd you find my house in the first place?"
"I followed you last night."
I shook my head. "No, no, no! You can't just stalk me, invade my house---"
"Sleep in your bed?" Lily interjected. "I can tell you're just play acting. You don't mind my being here. I came here because you seemed like someone I could be friends with. I have no home or family in Tokyo and I felt that you might let me stay here." Her eyes got very bright, tears brimming around them. God she was good. She clasped her hands together. "Please Zero. I'll do chores and I'll help you in your jobs and everything! It'd be like we're married or something!"
She sat down on the sofa, facing me. She grabbed my hand and interlocked her fingers with mine.
How could I deny a face like that? She was playing me like a fiddle though, doing everything that would make a man let a girl do anything.
"Only on the condition that you help around the house, don't kill me, and work with me on contracts. Not go commando and take over the job. If you're living with me we can divide the funds but you can at least let me have most of the money for bills and finances."
She nodded.
"YAY!" She jumped up. She hopped on top of me and I swear my ribs cracked. Her hair tickled my face, her boobs threatened to cave in my chest. Thankfully her legs were spread like a Y down my waist, my excited blood sausage unnoticed by her. We stared into each others' eyes for a few seconds before she put her cheek against mine.
Sure she had beat me the previous night at combat, sure she had stolen my kill, and sure she was a rival assassin on my turf, but a mutual friendship (or whatever the hell this was) would be to both our benefits.
She pulled herself from me. "What's for dinner?" She asked.
Well, it would definitely be different having a girl living with me, but I felt that we would get along fine and I also felt that this girl might be the one I was waiting for, the girl I was meant to be with. Or maybe that was the longing of a guy who never dates because of his profession. Since she knew what I was and was one herself, it would be a lot easier to be with her.
She put on one of her school uniforms and I took her to dinner at a little pub. We got to know each other a bit.
We came home, watched anime and we went to bed at a decent hour.
"Where are you going to sleep?" I asked her as she yawned, having taken off her school uniform and put back on my ill fitting pajamas.
She got into the bed beside me and rolled under the covers. I could feel her back against my chest, her body curled up tightly.
I fell asleep and got eight hours of sleep for the first time in months.
As I slept I dreamed of happy things.

Something I wished I would have understood before all the [cabbage] hit the fan was that girls are trouble. I understood they were trouble before the [cabbage] hit the fan, but not to what extent until it was way to late.

The Neon Sea

16 October 2010 - 04:36 PM

You're wondering who I am
Machine or mannequin
With parts made in Japan
I am the modern man

-Styx: Mr. Roboto

I awoke to a bright, almost blinding light. I tried to cover my eyes, but my arms were restrained by some sort of cold, metal clamps. I tried to move, but I found no way to do so. My head was propped up with a pillow, so I could at least see that the light came from a surgeon's lamp. It was not pointing at my face, it was pointing at my chest, which had been cut open, an incision like an “I” made over my heart. The flaps of skin from each side were pulled back and my innards were revealed. I could see my ribcage, but could also see my beating heart. I tried to cry out, but my jaw muscles were numb. I could see in my peripheral vision that there was some sort of IV needle in my right wrist. Whatever fluid it was mixing into my blood stream was a poison that made my muscles numb. It must have also numbed the pain of the surgery.
The four men standing around the bed I lay on had apparently not noticed I was awake. Maybe they were not worried about me waking up. Maybe they thought the muscle poison would make my eyelids unmovable. But that was apparently a false assumption.
I tried to take in my surroundings. I was in some sort of dirty, brick basement. I could tell it was a basement because a window that's top border was against the ceiling allowed me to see people walking by. It was probably tinted so anybody could see outside, but no one could see inside.
My cop instincts tell me that these guys are not professional. They are not precise in their movements with the scalpel. While that should scare me, and it did, it also gave me hope. If I survived whatever was happening, I would be able to easily track them down, because sloppy people tended to make mistakes.
I spent an entire hour watching the foursome steal my heart, quickly replacing it with an artificial one, a cheap one apparently. Some people may find me acting nonchalant about my heart being taken out. Well, it's hard to express emotion and rage when poisoned. If I could express emotion I would probably be screaming.
How did I get into this situation? That's a good question, because I don't know. One minute I'm in the holo-bar, a stiff drink in one hand, a wad of cash in the other, and the next I am getting my heart stolen by organ thieves.
I had fallen asleep at some point between the stitching and laser surgery that was done to seal the incisions on my chest. I awoke to a rank smell of rotting garbage and excrement, the smell that is most associated with a Chicago back alley on a hot summer day.
I do not wake happy. If anything, I woke up in a rage. I looked around, trying to find a way to follow the thieves. Nothing anywhere.
I found my clothes, which the thieves were nice enough to pile up next to my body. I threw them on, assuming that common decency dictated this. I then searched around the jacket of my suit and found my pack of smokes and my lighter. I lit one up and started heading toward the street, thinking.
Many thoughts came to me. One included my rage at having a cybernetic organ inside of my body. I am closer to a Darwin's Army member than the Cybernetic Alliance, not that I choose sides in a religious and scientific war that has taken many lives and is predicted to turn this country to civil war. I am closer to the Darwin's though, in the fact that I believe that becoming robotic is not the next step in the human evolutionary cycle. I don't want any cybernetic body parts or organs. I do have some regulation cybernetic implants in my brain which help my thinking and reflexes, which, as a cop, is a good thing. But I am otherwise a human, not a cyborg, and want to stay that way.
As I smoked, heading toward the police station, most people would not assume I had just had my heart stolen. But I didn't much care at that moment about the heart, as much as the fact it was stolen. The four men were white, looked like anyone else, probably nobodies. But I knew I needed an X-ray, my artificial heart had to be manufactured by some company.
I got to the station and explained my situation. The chief went with me to the staff doctor who X-rayed me. The woman had cyborg eyes, pale white irises staring back at me eerily as she gave me the news. I needed to get my heart back, and fast because the artificial heart was only meant to last two days and then stop, my death would be thought a heart attack and the organ thieves would get away.
“Human organs are in high demand. The Japanese mass produce cybernetic organs and enhancements. You can't get human body parts, the ones replaced by cybernetic versions are thrown away so the companies make money. So when a human needs a human organ, and not a cybernetic version, it costs a small fortune and takes forever to find. Giving you a cheap heart and keeping the real one, you get maybe a profit of 800,000 dollars.”
“Holy...” I refrained myself from using profanity in front of the boss.
“The heart you have is a Kizuki, basically, the dollar store brand. I'm going to head to the database and check out who they sell these things to.” The chief was about to walk away.
“Sir, this is a regular occurrence, I take it?”
“I can't rightly say. But heart attack related deaths have become a major problem in Chicago. And I bet I know why.”
The chief went to check out Kizuki on the database while I was examined by the doctor, disgusted at the giant scars that now crossed my chest. The laser the thieves had used to patch me up must have been very weak, because they still needed to use stitches on some sections.
I stood in the hall, butterfly knife in hand, pacing back and forth. I flicked the knife around like I had learned from my days as a street rat, back when the only thing on my mind was joining the American Yakuza. This was when Japan had become the major player in world economics, became so rich due to their cybernetics and genetics industries, which took off. Every country paid billions for the things Japan invented, and they slowly spread across the world. America, whether you think so or not, is run by Japan. Every television station plays anime and Japanese shows. Most people knew Japanese better than English. The signs in the Neon district of Chicago were mostly in Japanese characters. Over the course of forty years, the Japanese became the most powerful people on Earth. The biggest minority in America at the moment: Caucasians.
I was taken out of my revery by the chief. He explained that only one group in Chicago buy mass amounts of Kizuki Artificial Hearts, and that group resided in the Neon district.
I took a squad car and headed for the apartment the hearts were sent to. It was a floor above an adult entertainment establishment, a neon sign displaying the silhouette of a naked female, Japanese characters beside it, the name of the place.
I got out of the car and made my way up the metal staircase to the apartment door. I pulled my pistol from it's shoulder holster and checked it real quick. All thirty bullets were in the clip. The slide worked fine.
I knocked on the door, the weapon at my side, tapping against my thigh. A young man opened and peeked out a little, one eye staring at me, sweat building up on his brow. I showed him my police badge and he breaks out even more, turns a bit red. I ask him to let me inside. He opens the door hesitantly. I assume he is giving his friends time to clear everything out.
I kick the door. Hard. The door flies open, sending the kid to the ground. He grunts and goes for something at his butt.
I shoot him in the arm before he can grab the pistol he had tucked in the back of his pants.
He cries out and cradles the arm as I jump over him and run into the next room, a dirty kitchen. I jumped backward out of the kitchen and back into the front room. Bullets smacked against the spot on the linoleum floor where I had just been standing. I peeked around the corner and saw a man with dark buzzed hair, searching for me as he slowly walked into the kitchen.
I jump out of cover and shoot him in the chest, rolling over the counter and to the opposite side as bullets ricochet where I had occupied for the shot.
The next room contains one man, who carries a knife. He waves it menacingly in front of his face.
I shoot the wall two inches from his head. His bladder fails him and he falls to the ground, scuttling for the back door. I grab him by the neck and shove him against the wall. The knife falls from his hand. I look at the opposite end of the room and see three open boxes and a part of a cybernetic heart peeking out.
I question the man. “Where is you boss? Where is my heart?”
I leave him on the floor, scared to death, shuddering, as I access the implant in my brain that allows me to speak to the police. I am answered by the chief. I tell him the situation. He tells me he is sending police to arrest the men in the apartment, while I head for the location where the scared man told me his boss is trading my heart.
Holo-bars are a very basic concept. It's a bar, drinks and everything. But it contains holographic projectors throughout. You can watch the news on a hologram, and play holographic games. It's a huge deal because you can meet with people through holograms for a fee. It's better than phones or talking through cerebral implants for the sheer reason you can see each other.
I tended to spend a lot of time in these establishments for reasons concerning my wife's line of work. If I never mentioned I have a wife, I'm sorry. It's not really important at this moment in time because she's killing Yakuza in Tokyo. And not Little Tokyo, or New Tokyo, or Tokyo 2. I mean the highly guarded, nigh impossible to get into Tokyo.
Why am I not with her? She doesn't want me there. It would ruin my reputation as a cop to be off killing Yakuza randomly. It's already bad enough that people know I'm married to a murderer, an assassin, and someone wanted by quite a few major governments, one of which being the Japanese.
Anyway, the holo-bar is known as Al's. It's a very urban name for a place in the Neon district. Typically, places like holo-bars were owned by the wealthy, the entrepreneurs, the up and coming big shots of the Yakuza. This one was operated by a white guy with a lot of money he more than likely obtained illegally.
I walked into the holo-bar and sat down at the bar, throwing a couple bucks at the bartender, Al I presumed. He handed me a glass of sake. I was paying attention to the activity in the bar behind me. I noticed no one out of the ordinary. A bunch of punks and thugs sat in the dark recesses of the bar, women sitting on their laps and smiling as more and more money was thrown on the table. Some of it was yen I noticed. Very few people threw around yen for the basic reason it was worth a fortune. The American dollar is worth next to nothing anymore. But it's the only thing in circulation, you can only obtain yen from the Yakuza or smuggling operations. A yen was the equivalent of five hundred dollars. Yes, you read that right.
Four people walked into the bar and I recognize them all as the ones who performed my surgery. They carry a briefcase and head toward me, past the various holo games; the briefcase is set on the bar next to me. I turn away and they don't pay attention to me as they order. The bartender makes up some expensive drink and discusses about Darwin's Army and their idiotic ideologies. Everyone has a good laugh. I sit back and try to stay as hidden as I can possibly be from an enemy two feet away.
Then said enemy grabs my shoulder and wants to know what a man in a suit is doing alone in a bar, at the bar, instead of in the back with the punks and the women.
I have to turn. And they see my face.
All but one recognize who I am and I smile, pulling the pistol from my jacket. It explodes into the man who had tried to have small talk with me. The bullet goes through his heart, straight out of his back. He slumps to the side, eyes glazed over.
I fall backward as the three remaining men started wildly spraying at me with Uzi's. Yes, even in 2071 there are Uzi's, and AK-47's. Efficient weapons will always be efficient, despite the passing of time. If it can kill, and do it well, then it is fair game.
As displayed by my Heckler and Koch as it blew the top half of one of my enemies skulls off, a pinkish mist exploding in all directions.
I slide behind one of the pyramidal holo-projectors as more shots are let loose. The occupants of the holo-bar have either run away screaming, or in the case of the punks, found this an opportune moment to sport weapons of their own and choose a side.
Being the unlucky man I am, they chose to side with my enemies.
Now it was six on one.
Nope, wait. The bartender has a shotgun and is pumping it, aiming it at where I hide.
Seven on one, two with Uzi's, one with a shotgun, four with pistols. I didn't exactly wonder if I had the authority to shoot the bartender, or the punks. I just kind of blind fired over the holo-projector and apparently hit one of the punks.
I looked over my cover for a moment and noticed they were doing a pincer movement on me, the two organ thieves coming from my left, the three remaining punks coming from my right. And I had nowhere to go.
I looked up. Directly across the bar from me was a window, leading to the street.
I hoped the two groups weren't idiotic enough to shoot at me while I ran between them. They'd be shooting each other, and me. We'd all be Swiss cheese. It was either that or take the sure-fire option and get gunned down behind the holo-projector.
So, being the suicidal idiot I am, I jumped over my cover and ran for the window. No triggers were pulled until I shot the window and jumped through, tucking and rolling on the pavement amidst cries from people walking by or running by, due to the violence.
I started shooting into the bar. I took down three people inside, leaving me with only three more; a punk, an organ thief, and the bartender who now joined them.
“I swear to God we'll have all that idiot's organs after this!”
A realization hit me. The bar owner had something to do with the transaction. The thieves weren't there to trade with someone in a populated and rather shady place. They were there to trade with the owner of said shady place.
Then another realization hit me as I ran from my opponents' insane bursts of fire out of the window. They were killing people in the street, as if they were target practice.
I checked my clip. One bullet was left. I shoved it back into the weapon's body and worked the slide.
This bullet had to count.
I ran back into the bar as shots blew into the walls and ricocheted off the floor. And then the punk's magazine ran dry.
I slid behind the bar. I grabbed a bottle of alcohol and turned it over in my hand.
I had one shot, literally. I'd seen it done in movies of course; but if it didn't work out in real life, then I was dead.
I grabbed a few more bottles of alcohol and raised my head just over the bar enough to get a trajectory. I started throwing bottles at them, one of the bottles smashing into the punk's face. Regardless of the pain inflicted by the bottles, I needed the bad guys all gone.
I got up from behind the bar and shot at the alcohol that had pooled all around them.
Then the inferno burst from the ground like hell itself had come to take them. More than likely, that was the truth. They screamed as they burned, waving around, trying to roll but the pain was too much to bare.
I hopped over the bar and grabbed the briefcase. I open it and find a heart, vacuum sealed in plastic and surrounded by ice. I smile to myself and close the case. I then leave the bar, waving my badge around as civilians try to stop me and ask what was going on.

I am taken to a reputable hospital for the replacement surgery. I am put to sleep, and the doctors do the switch.
And when I awake, the mechanical heart sits on a tray, and my chest has had laser treatment, even more ugly scars crossing it.
I smile up at the surgical lamp. Then notice many faces surrounding me. The press, God's worst contribution to the Earth.
The next day, in my small apartment home, I see myself on the news. I deal with it, the story they spew is garbage anyway. Nobody will question my motives and actions.
I go out for a walk in the Neon district; during the day, a boring area of the city with signs and brick buildings. But as night falls, the signs light up, the people become much more rambunctious, and a cop is needed.
I'm Zach Archer. I'm the cop you call.

I wrote this for a short story project in my Sophomore enriched English class. I basically wrote this in the course of one Friday night a couple weeks ago. I had a page limit, and it shows since I move really, really fast. Otherwise I hope you enjoy this. I'm actually writing a full novel, not based on the events in this, but based on the same character and environ.

Devil May Cry Reboot

16 September 2010 - 09:44 PM

Youtube HD Video - This video will cause high CPU usage, to view the video in a lower quality, please click here.

Thoughts? I personally thought it looked good, but was otherwise quite generic. The city was boring, Dante as a black haired guy just doesn't do it for me. I was actually quite disappointed. While I am not opposed at all to trying it, it just is not appealing from what the trailer shows.

Ratchet573's Top 25 Games You Should Own

21 July 2010 - 07:42 PM

This list is fairly simplistic and probably contains a lot of games that most people wouldn't even consider putting on their lists. You'll notice I have a lot of newer games because, to tell the truth, I didn't become a video game fanatic until maybe three or four years ago. And I play games a lot more for fun than Wow Factor so that's one of the major things going on in the top couple games I chose.


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Ye who opposes ultra violent video games be warned! Saints Row 2 is very, very violent and has a very dark comedy style. But the thing that I love about this game over every other game out there is the complete freedom to do what you want. Sure, Grand Theft Auto allows you to shoot people on the street, but does it openly want you to do this and encourage it? The minigames of Saints Row 2 is where the game really shines. Everything from Fuzz, in which you act like a cop and have cameras follow you around and you are demanded to take out criminals in overly violent ways (I.E take out the pack of skaters with C4, take out the streaker with a chainsaw). Or the most notorious and exciting minigame of the whole game, Septic Avenger, in which you help realators take out the competition by shooting feces at buildings, people, and everything else in the city. Cops chase you, and spraying their cars with poop until they can't even drive is so much fun and so hilarious, even after twenty or thirty times. The story itself should take you about twelve or fifteen hours depending on how much time you spend doing minigames and running into people and sending them flying into the air with your car that can be upgraded with spikes jabbing from the hubcaps so as to stop cars to your sides in their tracks. The games story mode is so much fun with so many great locales for the battles and so many hilarious deaths and characters. This is one hundred percent better than Grand Theft Auto and in this time when realism is something so many game developers are striving for, this game is a breath of fresh air. Being able to streak through town, throw people ten feet through the air, and buy a hot dog suit and battle rival gangs makes this the kind of game you can't stop playing. Sure the graphics aren't that great and there are quite a few glitches, but this game is otherwise my favorite experience in my years of gaming. Buy this game. It's less than twenty dollars at Gamestop and is a worthy investment, especially if you enjoy co-op and want to terrorize the fictional city of Stillwater with a buddy.

2. Unreal Tournament

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Unreal Tournament is one of the greatest first person shooter experiences I have ever had. Picking this game up for five dollars at Gamestop, I had remembered my fathers obsession with this game when it originally came out in 1999. Getting into it, you start off slowly rising up the ranks in a tournament of death. You have to get a certain amount of frags per game to win. You combat AI enemies that start at just positively stupid and work their way to so hard you can't get past this level. And that's what happened with me. The game was perfectly balanced until the end when the final four levels, excuse my language, rape you so hard you have to give in. I ended up quitting because I couldn't beat the AI. So single player is very solid with some amazing maps, some of my favorite weapons in any game, and enough bloody action to keep you playing. Who can forget the level in which you can kill people who are going for the rocket launcher in a room that is pressurized? By pressing a button, you can watch your enemy expand and explode. But then you move to the multiplayer aspect and will be amazed to see that this old game has a decent sized community for a game as old as it is. There are clans, there are around 1200 people playing at one time, and it's seriously enjoyable. To add to that, you can make your own maps and it has led to some of the coolest maps I've ever seen. People even invent their own game modes and this adds so much to your enjoyment. While getting into the clans can lead to some problems (the clans are very competitive for the stupidest reasons. I even found myself fighting a clan of twelve year old girls...don't ask), it's a very solid experience that, even after eleven years, provides new content almost daily.

3. Splinter Cell
Splinter Cell is a franchise that I fell in love with for quite a few reasons. First of all, its story is great. I loved every minute of its story. Even better were the characters. Lambert was the quintessential boss, but Sam Fisher was the quintessential badass. His gravely voice just made him a complete badass the first time you heard it. One of the best parts of this game is the fact that it wants you to slowly progress. It is not a jump in and shoot everyone in sight sort of game, this is a game where you need to carefully plan your moves. Avoiding detection is a major thing in this game, which means you will have to patiently hide in the dark for most of this game. And while this can be boring for some, to me, it is perfect. Planning every move you make carefully is fun. Trial and error. Beating the game is a very great feeling because it really is a hard game. Some parts may be easy, but others are very hard. Despite the fact it looks like an action game, it is also cleverly disguised as a puzzle game. One really tough level, CIA HQ in Langley, is the major level where slow progression and thinking ahead really proves useful. It's sequel, Pandora Tomorrow, got the formula completely right and to me is superior, but for the sheer fact that this is the first in the series and one of the best games ever made, I say this is number three. Less than five bucks at Gamestop. Grab it.

4. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
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Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is one of the greatest story telling accomplishments ever. Hideo Kojima wrote one of the most emotional, powerful, historical, and gosh darn perfect stories to ever come to the video game world. It details the Cold War perfectly, creates characters that are so great and diverse, and the gameplay isn't bad to boot. It is a bit more involved than a usual game of its kind because you have to go into a lot of menus to heal poisons and change camo. But it is still so fast paced and exciting. The greatest part of the game is the powerhouse ending. Defeating one boss leads to an amazing motorcycle chase sequence, leads to a battle with a proto-type Metal Gear and ends with an emotional boss fight with Snake's mentor, The Boss. The game is so well put together, and I can't stop raving about it, even three years after I played it. The boss fights are diverse and very fun, and the whole game is so memorable that you won't ever want to stop playing.

5. Resident Evil 4
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Allow me to take you to my twelfth year of life. I bought this game due to rave reviews across the board. I grabbed it not thinking it would be too scary, it's a game right? So I got it and played it one night with the lights off. I entered the village the first part of the game, and hid inside a house, barricading myself in there as the zombies came at me. Next thing I know, out of nowhere, a man wearing a potato sack over his head and carrying a chainsaw cuts my head off from behind me, and my neck spurts a fountain of blood. I pretty much crapped myself. First of all, I didn't understand that games could be as bloody as Resident Evil 4 was, and I didn't know what I was getting myself into. Three years later I put the disc back in and fired the puppy up, having grown the cahones to try again. I was immediately assaulted by the amazing atmosphere of the game, something very few games have. It's creepy as hell atmosphere emanates out of the television screen and into the room you are playing it at. It was bloody, violent, disgusting, and is ultimately the most amazing survival horror game ever. The graphics are amazing, the bad guys are scary, and the bosses are scary, and the whole package does what it should, scare you. All of the boss fights are very memorable. My favorite moment of the game is when the villages big cheese's body is cut in half and he starts swinging around on a barns rafters without legs, a spine dangling from that giant wound. The ending isn't as intense as the rest of the game, hell, it's actually laughable compared to the horror of the rest of the game, but it is an amazing game. Buy it.

6. Dragon Age Origins
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My favorite role playing game of all time, this is the story of the fall of the Grey Wardens, and their subsequent return to power. It's a story that is so immense and immersive, that just one playthrough is not going to let you experience the whole game. So many branching paths, hidden quests, and different ways to customize the characters make it one of the most replayable games ever. The whole game is totally dark. There is never a happy moment and you will find yourself laughing when after every battle you are covered with the blood of your enemies. Sure the graphics of this game are nothing to shake a stick at, but graphics are not a way to evaluate a game. As long as you can see what is going on and enjoy the game, then why care about the graphics? It doesn't have a lot of really "WOW!" moments besides some of the boss fights, but the story is something that you can not forget. Immersive, violent, and full of great plot twists and other such things. It is a fantasy based more in Medieval Europe with all characters carrying British, Scottish, and other accents along those lines, making the game all the more charming. It's funny at points, emotional at points, and never has an RPG been as immersive and had so many consequences for your actions.

7. Battlefield 1942
Battlefield 1942 is a very fun game. It allows you to choose a class, and then try to get rid of the opposing army by capturing command points and killing them off. The maps help make this so much more fun, allowing you to use a wide variety of tactics to battle the opposing army. It's one of those games you cannot stop playing because once you start, you get so excited by all the action. This game is full of cool moments if you play like a madman. Kamikaze-style flying into enemy ships, parachuting out at the last second, and standing on the boat as your airplane explodes sure is one of the great moments of the game. Online, the game is wonderful as well. This is one of the few games I can say is constantly fun.

8. Max Payne
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Max Payne is the story of a cop vs. the world. The story is where it is at in this game, which doesn't have cutscenes but comic book panels instead. The art is beautiful. The game itself has the graphics you would expect from a game almost ten years old. But they are actually pretty good still, and the game is highly detailed, though a lot more rundown looking than most games. It is hard at some points and contains bullet-time, which leads to some kickass moments. One of the best parts of the whole game is toward the end when it breaks the fourth wall hilariously. There are then some very psychological moments that are very hard. Ultimately, this is a game that I couldn't put down. Great fun.

9. Devil May Cry
Devil May Cry has the most over the top action of any PS2 era game. It's characters are crazy, the action is crazy, the bosses are crazy, the bad guys are crazy. The game is fairly short, but it totally makes up for it in totally kickass action. From shooting enemies while they are in midair, to the great swordplay, I loved this game. It is not scary at all, and should not be considered scary. Devil May Cry is still a very good game.

10. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Vice City is my favorite Grand Theft Auto game for a reason. First of all, it's totally eighties look is great. It's radio is the best of any Grand Theft Auto game and it's story mode is the least boring and stupid story of the GTA games. Yes I have played San Andreas and I hated it's look, it's feel, the characters were all lame and I really didn't feel for the character, nor could I put myself in his shoes. GTA4 just sucked. But this game was perfect. I could put myself in my characters shoes, though Saints Row 2 was even better in making me feel like I was the character. And that level of immersion is something more game companies should strive for. The story of this game was good, the comedy was funny, and everything about the game worked.

11. Team Fortress 2
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Team Fortress 2 is the greatest multiplayer game ever. It's focus on team based action and helping each other makes it all the better. All of its classes are cool and well balanced, it's cartoonish graphics are wonderful, its gameplay is easy to get used to. It's the perfect multiplayer game. Yes, better than Unreal Tournament. But there is no single player and I'm not as much a multiplayer sort of guy. But this is definitely a game all multiplayer kind of people can enjoy.

12. Tales of Symphonia
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Oh I went and did it. Put a JRPG on my list. I have just caused the apocalypse. Tales of Symphonia is a game I used to play religiously for a couple of reasons. One, its story was very good and well told. Two its characters were all pretty cool in their own ways. Three, the gameplay was perfect. Four, it's graphics were really nice. Five, I wanted to figure out when the hell those anime style cutscenes that are advertised on the back of the box would come into play. I don't know why I was obsessed with this game more than I was with Final Fantasy, but I just felt that this game topped all the 3-D Final Fantasy games. It is one of the most fun JRPG's I have ever played.

13. Sonic The Hedgehog

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My favorite game of the Sega Genesis, Sonic the Hedgehog is a pretty self-explanatory pick. It's fast paced, fun, has great graphics, and has stood the test of time. I don't feel any more explanations are needed.

14. Red Dead Redemption
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Red Dead Redemption has the rustic charm of the old west. It's cities and towns are desolate, barren, falling apart and completely cool. It's main character, John Marston, is one of the few Rockstar characters that you can actually feel for and enjoy playing as. He's a bit of a charmer, though he can be a complete badass if he must. The story of Red Dead Redemption may be boring for a lot of people. It is very much a western, and the desolate landscapes may bore a lot of people. Mission-wise it is not as diverse as you may like, but its story is pretty memorable, especially the ending. I can say that this games multiplayer is decent. Be warned that playing it on the PS3 was pretty bad. It took forever to enter games, and it wasn't as fast as it should have been. This is a great game though.

15. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
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Uncharted 2 is fun. A lot of fun. From beginning to end it is nonstop action and platforming in beautifully detailed environments with a soundtrack that is epic. Drake is a really cool character, though most of the other characters aren't that great, and he does some amazing stuff including escaping a falling building, escaping a falling train, escaping a falling bridge. Wow. A lot of falling. The cinematic perspectives and parts of the game are amazing and the train level literally made my jaw drop. Its multiplayer is a lot of fun and it is probably one of the best reasons to own a PS3.

16. SOCOM U.S Navy Seals Fireteam Bravo 2
SOCOM U.S Navy Seals Fireteam Bravo 2 is a mouthful.This game is one of the few PSP games I actually sat around and played nonstop for hours. It's story mode is very fun, though the story is weak. But the multiplayer is where this game shines. While map variety is not very great, it still provides the most solid online experience for any portable gaming system I have ever played. This is a very fun game. Pick it up if you own a PSP.

17. Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow
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Another excellent PSP game. This is a kind of stealthy, kind of run and gun game that I must have played through three times. It is the final Syphon Filter game, and what a game it is. It has some memorable moments and great graphics. Multiplayer, once again, is a staple of your journey through this game and while it is not the best you can find, it is pretty good. The most memorable part of this game has to be tazing someone until they blow up in flames. Another pickup for all PSP owners.

18. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
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The final game in the main storyline of the series, it is definitely another home run for Hideo Kojima. The story ties up pretty nicely with this, and all the weirdness of the other games in the series is actually explained. Though there are still some big questions concerning the weird-ass bosses, but let's not worry about that. The only drawback of this game that I can see is that new people to the series will be lost if they wish to play through the story mode. It will make absolutely no sense to a noobie to the series. Otherwise, online action is good, and the story mode is great.

19. Half Life 2
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Yes, I have played the first one, and no, I did like it, but this one was far superior in my eyes. Half-Life 2 is so much fun. From its great physics based puzzles to its story, the whole game is just so good. My favorite part has to be the bridge, just because it was pretty breathtaking and completely different from what you would expect from a regular first person shooter. More thinking, less pulling the trigger. A great game.

20. Goldeneye 007
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Something about this game just works so well. Maybe it is the many levels, maybe the good shooting, maybe the multiplayer that is still a staple in comic book store and gaming store competitions. I have always enjoyed this game, from the time I played multiplayer with my dad when I was five, to now when I play it with my buddies at their houses where I actually have access to N64's. It truly deserves its status as a classic.

21. Yakuza
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Yakuza is what I consider one of gamings few cult classics. A small amount of people have heard of it, and less have played it. And it's sad, because it is a very solid action game. Playing as Kazuma Kiryu, you battle yakuza and unravel a plot that has started a war between the various family's of the games version of Tokyo. It has a somewhat RPG style that allows you to level Kazuma up and make him stronger and make his health bar larger, and it also has a wide variety of weapons to procure from battles, including lead pipes, swords, ovens, chairs, and a whole variety of other things. Yakuza has a great story, and that's where the meat is at. The game has an open world kind of setting, though a bit more bogged down. One of the main problems with the game is the repetitiveness of fighting bad guys on the street. Almost every street has a guy who comes at you wanting to fight, meaning a fifteen second load time, a fight that is just like the rest of the ones you have had on the street, rinse and repeat. It also has the most cussing of any game besides House of the Dead: Overkill. The F word is used so much, and every other variation of it and all those other words you don't want your kids to hear, that it almost becomes annoying at points when one sentence contains more cursing than a conversation with a guy with turrets. Ultimately though, this is a very good game despite the flaws.

22.Metroid Fusion
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Metroid Fusion is really fun. It's my favorite Gameboy Advance title and for good reason. Its graphics are great, its story is great, its controls are great. Everything about it screams Metroid and for me, it's the best game in the franchise. Maybe it's because it was the first Metroid game I played, but I really enjoyed it.

23. Doom

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Doom kicks butt. I played it on the GBA for the first time a long time ago, and ever since have found it to be so much fun. Drifting around the map and killing evil flame ball shooting Chewbacca's has always been one of my favorite things to do on the GBA. I'll always love this game, and if you can find it in any form I can assume it's good. Minus movie form and book form. I can safely say that you should skip those.

24. The Darkness
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I bought this because it was cheap. And next thing you know, I fall in love with it. It's story was killer, it's gameplay superb and I couldn't understand why it was overlooked. I really enjoyed this dark gangster story and think you should check it out.

25. X Men Legends

Why in the hell would I put X-Men Legends in this list? Well, I personally found its style to be clean, its story pretty good, and its RPG elements superb. Being able to invite some buddies to play with me doesn't hurt either. All together, the best super hero game ever. No, Batman Arkham Asylum is overrated and I thought it was a repetitive, boring game. This on the other hand, is fun and a great game to play with friends.