The Mad God and the Puppet; chapter 1, page 4

Renan jumped when a sudden chirp emanated from his computer. It was a notification. He opened it, and read through the contents of the message. The new virus had more or less worked. Shelly Hares had successfully transferred itself to the police database. He scrolled through the contents of the database and the update stream with shaking uneven fingers. His nerves were frayed from lack of rest and caffeine. He reached and drank from a mug of coffee at his side. He was in an abandoned warehouse. Outside, he could hear the sound of lowlifes running from something or other. It was probably that genetic monstrosity that lived around here. He’d learned to avoid it, but others weren’t so lucky. He heard a sudden splat and a scream as the creature pounced upon the poor soul. Renan didn’t care. He barely even noticed. Most people these days deserved what they got. In this age, any man could cause havoc and destruction, with very little effort. It was hard to meet anybody who hadn’t hacked into someone’s data and stole something at least once. It was just the way of the world these days.

Renan continued searching through the database with his shaky fingers. There wasn’t a whole lot of interest to him. But, that didn’t mean that there wasn’t something important to be found. He’d need to go fast, before they found his tap and in turn, found him. This was risky business. The police showed no mercy to the lawbreaker. He began to skip past that which he did not take great interest in. Finally, Renan found what he was looking for. It was a data packet, full of DNA information. That DNA information regarded official business. The cutting edge of tampering with the genome. A Bio-hacker would pay a lot for this data. He began to copy the packet into his hard drive. It wasn’t much memory, but it was a lot of money. Renan sighed to himself. He’d pulled it off. It hadn’t been as difficult as he’d imagined. He sat back and watched the progress bar, dreaming of what he’d buy.

But, it seemed that he’d celebrated too early. A sudden dialog box opened, covering up the progress bar.

Made a few bad decisions, have we?

It was a familiar phrase to the hacker and the innocent alike. Renan felt all his sense of achievement drain away. This was a familiar phrase to a very large group of people. They all had nothing in common. All besides one thing. They were all killed by the authorities. The powers that be had found him out. The police had caught onto his software. And now they’d caught onto him. Renan got up, put his computer into his backpack, and ran towards the door of the warehouse. Before he could reach it, something blasted through the wall, throwing jagged light from outside into the dark warehouse. It was a police hardsuit. They’d taken special attention to him. He might as well have been honored to get that kind of opposition. The hardsuit had two heavy flechette guns for arms, and as soon as the pilot caught sight of him it began to fire. The sound of sonic booms filled the air as the plastic projectiles were shot at mach 4. He ducked behind a support, and felt chips of concrete fall over his shoulders as the hardsuit shot the pillar to pieces. It advanced slowly, carefully, its weapons drawing from a seemingly infinite tank attached to the guns. Renan was armed as well. But a handgun wasn’t much use against an eight foot hulk of aluminum and carbon fiber. He looked around frantically for a route of escape. He’d never had a hardsuit after him before. He looked up, and saw that the pillar was almost reduced to nothing. He had to act now. But what would he do? Suddenly, a familiar squashing sound broke the perpetual boom of the hardsuit.

The projectiles stopped firing for a moment. He looked up from under the mostly destroyed pillar, and saw that the genetic abomination had quite a taste for hardsuit pilots. It was a four legged creature, with reddish brown, gelatinous flesh. It had knocked over the hardsuit and was trying to get into the cockpit, with no success. The hardsuit was pumping it full of flechette rounds at the same time.

Renan got up, and ran towards the back entrance. Just as he did, the genetic abomination slumped over, incapacitated by a body full plastic needles. It seemingly felt no pain, and rolled on the ground, trying to get its now obese body back on its feet. Its bizarre maw was opening and closing as it silently roared its plight of anger and hunger. The hardsuit had gotten back up, and was turning towards Renan. Just as Renan closed the door, he heard the booming of the guns begin again, and ran out of the way as the door was peppered with holes until it fell off. The hardsuit blasted through the wall, its lightweight body effortless smashing through the cheap plaster and old concrete bricks. Its guns were still firing as it turned towards Renan’s fleeing form. Renan turned and slid under a hovering cargo skiff, as the surprisingly agile hardsuit continued to give chase.

Renan ran through the dark streets, drenched in neon light. He pushed past a group of punk rockers, with their crazy hair and spiked visual display goggles. The hardsuit never stopped firing its flechette guns. The causalities of their little war had begun to fall, as anybody unfortunate enough to be in the way of hardsuit was mowed down. Even Renan found his stomach a little turned by the extreme lack of care for civilian life shown by the police. Nothing, not even the lives of the innocent, it seemed, would get in the way of the hunters getting their prey.

Renan shoved his way through a panicked crowd and into an alleyway. He stopped and took deep breaths. What to do, what to do? This hardsuit pilot was relentless. If he didn’t leave the state, it would find him eventually, no matter the cost. He was a high priority target, after all. Hacking into anything government related was an immediate high rank on the public enemy list. It wasn’t incredibly hard to do, it just had high consequences. He hid behind a dumpster as the hardsuit swept the area, its spotlights blasting strange shadows into the end of the alley. Renan needed a way off of the state. It wasn’t as easy as jumping a fence. This nation was named Labrose, and it was space borne. A ‘state’ was a class of spacecraft, not a literal state. He needed a lift to another state, and his identity wiped on the trip. Only then would he be safe.


The End

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