Saving Money (part I)

“So how do you like it?” Pitch asked, while cutting another huge piece off his steak. Swirling it in the bloody grease on his plate, he popped it into his mouth, before Talon had a chance to reply.

“Yeah, it’s great,” he answered. Talon hoped that this wasn’t a prelude to Pitch asking him up pony up some money for his share of the meal. Talon only had three dollars to his name and didn’t want to part with them.

Saving Money

Saving Money

“I’m glad you like it,” Pitch said. Some of the other guys laughed for some reason. “Would you like a beer?” Everything about Pitch lived up to his name. From his dyed hair to his wardrobe, everything stayed a deep dark black. He kept himself clean-shaven and was probably a few seasons shy of Talon’s twenty five years of age.

“Wow, you have beer too? What’d you do, roll somebody?”

Laughing between mouthfuls, “there might have been some rolling involved?”

Pitch

Pitch

Rick, or Rick-the-dick, as most people called him, handed him a can of cheap beer. Rick was tall and creepy, in a general sort of sense, which even wearing outdated glasses couldn’t dispel. Local legend had it that Trash had kept the lanky freak from raping a girl behind Greasy Tony’s sub shop. Why Pitch let the guy hang around was beyond Talon. Still, a guy on his budget couldn’t turn down free food and beer, so here he was.

            The group of five guys and one gal circled the grimy table that was in the main room of the small shack known as the Mutant House. Torn and shaggy show flyers mixed with random posters in an attempt to conceal the dirty brown walls. Trash mingled with dumpster dived furniture and junk, until it was hard to distinguish one from the other.

Ebb

Taking another bite of meat, he let it melt on his tongue. Who would have guessed these losers could cook this well? “So what do you think you might be eating?” Pitch asked? This elicited more laughter from his buddies and girlfriend Stain.

“Some kinda steak. I guess.”

“It is some kind of steak,” Mucci giggled beside him.

Talon was starting to feel uneasy. What was going on with these guys? He took another bite and washed it down with a big chug of beer. “Would you like to know?”

“Ah sure, why not.”

“Rick, go grab what is on the plate.”

Moving to the fridge, Rick strangely waited until he was nearly standing behind Talon, before he tossed the plate onto the table. Talon shot to his feet so fast that the chair toppled backwards with a clang. He gasped when he saw that Rick had tossed a folded human arm onto the table. Most of the meat had been sliced away, except for the flesh around the hand. This had turned a sickly light blue.

The others were laughing at his reaction, but Rick placed a controlling hand on his shoulder as he whispered, “stay cool.” The words were drawn out and eerie, sounding like some fiend out of an old horror movie.

“What the hell are you guys doing?” He managed to spit out.

Talon

Talon

“Saving money,” Pitch said, standing up.

“By eating people?” A deep terror began to well up inside him. It was an explosive feeling of horror, which he could barely control, but he knew that if he lost it, trouble would quickly follow.

“Hell, is it our fault?” Pitch began, as he started to pace through the crowded room. Papers were crushed under his feet and he knocked over an overflowing ashtray. This created a gray cloud that clutched at his combat boots.

“We have hit way worse than a recession here. New Cluster is dying. We are living off its corpse anyway, why not take it one step further?”

“Where did you get the body?” He couldn’t help but ask, which caused Rick’s hand to clamp down on his shoulder painfully.

“Don’t worry. It was already dead, if that’s what you’re thinking,” Pitch said, with a dismissive flick of his hand. “Everyone is so hungry that people are dying all around us. Rick found this corpse in the street; no one cared. The government might have gotten the paramedics around to cleaning it up eventually. They don’t care about us or care that we are starving, they just want to clean up the streets so that the uppercrusties don’t have to be disturbed by our reality.”

“But who was this guy?” Talon tried to shrug Rick’s hand off his shoulder, but this only made him grip harder.

“Just a bum.” Ceasing his pacing, Pitch met his eye, staring him down. “Why should we live in poverty, until we end up like those guys, wasting away in the streets? Why should we spend every cent we get just to try to survive and miss out on everything? Hell, you liked that beer, didn’t you? Do you think we would be able to afford something even as simple as these cheap ass beers, if we were shelling out money for grub? Hell no. We would be sitting here eating some oat supplement, staring at each other. Some Saturday night that would be.”

“I hope we can trust you not to narc us out,” Rick whispered into his ear. “Cause if you do…” His words trailed off, but Talon felt the implications. The silent threat that perhaps he would be becoming their next meal.

“So I ask you this Talon, are you with us, or are you just going to continue to grovel for the Posh, washing their dishes at that place you work, watching more food flow down the drain each day than you get to eat in an month?”

The grip on his shoulder intensified. “Yeah, I’m cool. I would never narc you guys.”

“We want more than that Talon, we want you to be one of us. We have already shared one meal; why not make it a lifestyle. No matter what, we’ll never starve and we’ll certainly have more cash for rolling.”

“I don’t know.” This was wrong, so wrong, and he just wanted to get out of there and never return, but he had a feeling he wouldn’t make it out of there at all if he didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear. Quickly building a plan and fighting down his building sickness, he figured he would play along with them for now.

“I guess you have a few points. I hate eating synthetic mush and not even having enough money to wash it down with something more than our nasty tap water.”

“Now you’re talking.”

“Wait,” Rick said from behind him. “Before we welcome him into the fold, I want to seem him clean his plate. Can he do it now that he knows what he is eating?”

Pitch must have seen him grimace, for he smiled and said, “Come on Talon. Talk minus action equals zero.”

His hands fell like fish caught in the mud while his throat constricted painfully. Dread welled up inside him, building into fear. Looking around the constricted room and feeling Rick-the-dick’s grip on his shoulder, left little doubt to the true nature of this test. Fail, and it could be his arm they would be eating.

Red Talon

Red Talon

His mouth turned to ash. Could he do this? Eating this meat was the only way to get out of here, but would it pass his throat? Could he make it happen?

Slowly, trying not to let his arm tremble, Talon picked up his fork and stabbed it into his remaining triangle of dripping black meat. It was a big piece, but he believed that it would be better to do it all at once, for he wouldn’t wish to have to do it again and again.

Staring at it, he could see the crimson muscle. It looked like human flesh now. Hesitating too long could give him away. Frowning uncontrollably, he shoved the whole piece in-between his teeth in one bite. It filled his mouth and he gagged. His throat tensed, closing like a vise. Flesh splintered and tore, splitting into wet fragments that became caught between his teeth.

He began to dry heave. Not bothering to hide the menace in his voice, Pitch said, “don’t do it.” A steak knife filled his hand and he brought it up like a weapon. “Don’t do it.”

Panicking, he snatched up his half full beer and downed the thing. He was barely able to keep from vomiting, but the beer washed away some of the foul taste and with a supreme effort, he was able to swallow the rest.

For a moment all he could do was stand there panting. He hadn’t even noticed at first that Rick-the-dick had let go of him. “Can I have another beer please?”

“Sure,” Pitch said and tossed him a beer. “Good job by the way. Now you only have to pass one more test”

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Talon's Nightmare

Talon’s Nightmare

In Charge of My Own Demise Part V

Mace’s code 10 was taking longer than Dak would have hoped and soon he was forced to distract Lacy Law. Fortunately this wasn’t overly difficult, other than the keeping her icy hands off of him part. Dak just hoped that Erin wouldn’t be leading the way and find Lacy practically sitting on his lap as she was.

When the door to the hotel room was finally kicked open, Dak lunched to his feet, which lunched Lacy onto her ass. After emitting a very undignified chirp when she landed, Lacy suddenly sprung into action.

Lucy

Lucy

“Come on Dak,” she yelled while delivering a karate kick to a Jumper’s face. The man went flying backwards into a wall, his face an angry smear. That would be enough damage to send that boy back to the Grafter’s cloning vats.

Since she was watching, he was forced to stun one of his own allies. When her kick took out another masked Jumper, Dak realized that his remaining allies were dwindling. He grabbed one of the Jumpers by his jacket and together they slammed into a wall. Dak winked at the man, then used his Flashgun to send a stunning beam of yellow energy into Lucy’s back. She fainted before she could turn, but he would have just blamed it on the Jumper anyway.

Mace

Mace

When freed, Mace shook his hand. “I guess I finally owe you one.”

“After helping me with Erin you are more than even.”

“Or maybe you’re going to owe me again,” Mace said, as a smile spread over his bruised face. With his hand his gestured to two limp bodies that were being dragged into the room.

“What is this?”

“We can’t leave you looking like a incompetent can we.” His hand patted the side of Dak’s face. When he saw Dak’s look, it quickly jerked away. “These two Jumpers have broken a few of our laws. They’ll take the rap on your side of the law as their punishment.”

He was walking over to the unconscious Lacy as he spoke. “That will help your story, get you your first big Jumper bust, and get rib of these two dregs all in one move.”

“If I didn’t know better, I might think you set this all up.” Mace only smiled. “Hey don’t mess with her,” Dak started but it was already too late. Mace had found a small dagger somewhere and stabbed it into Lacy’s leg. It drew more sparks than blood.

Cyberpunk

“Just as I thought, she has some type of cyber legs. I’d watch out for this one Dak.”

“You can count on it. Now, since you are still basking in the glow of my rescue, I wanted to talk to you about Matthews. He needs to be on the task force. I also think…”

 

                                               *        *        *

 


Erin was tapping her long pink nails against the glass table. Long blonde locks hid most of her face and only the side of her cute nose and her cherry lipped pout could be seen. “Okay what is it?”

Erin

Erin

She picked up a nail file without looking at him. “Mace told me you were getting pretty close to that reporter chippee.”

“Not as close as he was.” He couldn’t help but grin.

Turning towards him at last. “Mace doesn’t have a girlfriend.”

“Neither do I.” Her eyes went big, he let his words linger for a moment, “I have a lover.”

She softened. “I could see why that bionic bitch would be interested, but she needs to stay away from my man.”

“I wish she would, but I have a feeling that my new job is just going to be making things more complicated and difficult.”

She finally moved close enough for him to hold her. “Doctor Max knows what he’s doing. If he thinks this Task Force is a good thing with you at its helm, it probably is.”

“Better me than someone else, but it still is putting the flame on high.”

“You just have to make sure you don’t get set up.”

“Or that you don’t get dragged into things.”

That quieted her and she shivered against him. In the background the news was coming on. He had wanted to hear how they would cover the event, but when he heard Lacy Law’s voice and saw her cold piercing eyes, he turned the vid off.

Skinjumpers

Skinjumpers

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A

In Charge of My Own Demise Part IV

“There’s a woman on line two Dak. She says it’s urgent and will only speak with you. Her voice sounds familiar.”

Dak hurried to answer the phone thinking it was probably Erin. Instead it was the reporter Law talking in a quick self satisfied tone. “Hello Captain Dak. I’m calling to let you know that I’m doing you a favor, something that will help start your new position off with a punch.”

“And what would that be?” He fumbled for his smokes. He had a feeling whatever it was; he wasn’t going to like it.

Shadowed Dak

“We caught our first one or should I say I caught him. It was easier than I thought. I have him all safe and snug here and I saved you the trouble of a blood check. My personal doctor has already checked a sample of his blood and he came up positive for Jumping. I intend to give you full credit in return for an exclusive interview. When can you get over here?”

 

                                               *        *        *

 

As he went up the flight of stairs leading to the hotel room Law had indicated, he questioned his choice of heading over alone. He wouldn’t put it past her to make up the whole story as a ruse just to get him alone in a hotel room, but doubted it would be that easy.

Law met him at the door smoking a short cigarette and wearing only a thin silk shift. Pointing the way with her smoke, she lead him into the main room. Her long perfect legs proved impossible to ignore. Looking over her shoulder, she caught him staring and smiled. Her teeth were flawless and bone white. Besides Erin he had never met a woman whose body was so perfect, so close to the feminine ideal.

Lucy Law

Lucy Law

Placing her back against the doorway, she wordlessly gestured him into the suite’s bedroom. Passing within inches of where her erect nipples pressed against her loose slip, he entered the room and didn’t like what he saw.

In the center of the luxurious bed, was a bound, and most likely drugged, man. Since he was completely naked, Dak noticed his tattoos before he even took in the shadowed face. The battered man’s eyes slowly rose to meet his own.

Rooftop

It was Mace, the Skinjumper agent who had worked along side of him as Fosters before Bly had his turn steering the dead man’s clone. Mace was more importantly one of Maxwell’s chief agents and also a friend of Erin’s. Hell, the man had just personally helped save Erin’s life when the assassin had almost blown her leg off. Since all three of them worked for Maxwell the leader of New Cluster’s Jumpers, this situation could quickly become a major problem, a problem with no apparent solution.

Mace was no fool. He played it up like they had never met. A string of obscenities flew from his mouth mostly aimed at Lacy’s and his mother’s virtues. Part of Dak wondered if Mace might be enjoying a chance to be able to insult him so furiously. Dak had certainly decked him for less.

Mace finished with, “And what has this whore talked you into now Enni?”

“Nothing yet punk and if you don’t keep that mouth of yours closed, I’ll stun you ass just so I can find the space to think.” Mace shut up, but eyed him with the intensity the situation warranted.

“What’s there to think about?” Law said, as her bare feet moved silently across the lush emerald carpeting. “I told you. My physician already checked out his blood. He’s a Jumper. Let’s take him in as soon as my camera crew gets here.”

She turned towards Dak tilting her head to the side. “Too bad you didn’t take me up on my offer for dinner. It left me feeling bored. I’m sure you appreciate that as much as I would like to lay claim for catching this freak myself…ah certain questions would be asked that I don’t care to answer.”

“Like how you slutted yourself out just to bag one of us,” Mace blurted out.

Dak silenced him with a wave of his hand. “Can I ask why you did this then?”

“Just doing my civic duty,” she smiled.

ll

He just stared. “Okay, I just wanted to see how hard it would be. Besides I’ve learned more than a bit about Jumping from my new friend.” She ran her finger over Mace’s bound arm as she spoke, and he looked like he wanted to bite it off. “I’m thinking about doing a new special. The Jumper threat.”

Moving closer to Dak, it was his turned to be touched. Her hands felt cold, like the rest of her was as frigid as her heart. “I figure that you owe me an interview now.”

“Because of this loser?”

She turned away looking cross, but he was just happy her fingers were away from him. “Not because of him as much as for keeping my mouth shut about this bust and giving you all the credit.”

“What’s to keep me from just letting him loose and pretending the whole thing never happened.”

Either she really was aghast or she was a better actress than he would have given her credit for. “But he’s a Jumper. It’s your job to take them in.”

He shared a look with Mace who was making a foolish face behind her back. “Alright lady, why don’t you start getting yourself ready for your camera man. I’ll wait to call in the boys until you say your crew is in place.”

Approaching him once more, she ran his fingers down his neck. They were just as cold as before. “There is a bed in the front room. There’s no real hurry if you would like to…” Her scarlet lips were only inches from his.

“Ms. Law I know you think that rounding up this dreg is a major accomplishment, but I have a real agenda… so if you wouldn’t mind.”

Her eyes shot icy daggers at him, but with a flourish she retreated into the suite’s main bathroom.

Dak wasted no time, making his way to Mace’s side. They spoke in subdued tones. “Hurry up and untie me. Get me the hell out of here.”

“Not so fast. I can’t just let you go.” He paused. “Is there anyone you can call? Who would you call for help, if I wasn’t here?”

“There are some people I know, but I’m not sure we have enough time.”

Looking towards the bathroom door for a moment, Dak turned back to his bound associate. “If there is one thing I learned about pretty women, they take forever to get ready.”

Mace exhaled deeply. “Just call Erin. Tell her to dial in a code 10 and give her this address.”

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Detective Dak

Detective Dak

In Charge of My Demise Part III

He was surprised how easily the BS flowed from his mouth. Dak knew what the people wanted to hear and he figured if he promised them things along those lines, they would be kept as happy as he could expect.

Maybe being a politician wasn’t so hard, he laughed to himself. 

Dak

He finished with a quick retelling of his recent encounter with the series of cloned assassins. The press ate it up. Action and blood sent their fingers rapidly typing over their glowing Personals.

Things hadn’t stay that easy for long. As he expected, he couldn’t escape without a question session. The first dozen or so he fought off with comments about learning more about the perpetrator and other such vague garbage, then a reporter whose face was vaguely known to him broke in.

She was tall enough to be seen over most of her fellows and about a hundred miles from unattractive. Long auburn hair rolled past her narrow, perfectly painted face. Her eyes would have ruined it for him. Where Erin’s were trusting and full of hope, this woman’s were made of gray ice, holding only contempt.

Lucy Law

“Hello captain, Lacy Law here,” her terse voice chirped. “What you have said is all very well and good, but what about real changes. Others have spoken out on such ideas as stricter ID enforcement and even setting up checkpoints. We know those Bodyjumpers prefer to possess younger better looking bodies. It has been suggested that such body types receive extra scrutiny.”

“You yourself fit that profile. Would you be pleased to have this additional limits on your freedoms?”

She couldn’t quite keep the red out of her cheeks at the backhanded complement, but quickly recovered. “In order to help keep this dangerous underground behind bars, certainly.”

“It still makes me wonder who you’d be after. The little old lady that had enough money to Jump into a younger body and is just out buying her bread or the trained assassins like the man who attacked me or the crew that gunned down the former Mayor hopeful, Homes. Let me tell you from personal knowledge that man that came after me wasn’t pretty. All I think such policies would do is make it a crime to be attractive. Is this the type of world you would want to live in?”

“Personally, I would expect them both to be locked up. Isn’t that the law Captain Dak or does the man in charge of this new task force think we should be lenient on these lesser Jumpers just because they haven’t used their changes to hurt anyone yet?”

Choosing his words carefully, he said, “As a Public Enforcer officer I have pledged myself to uphold the law. I think you can count on my continued vigilance on this issue. If the amount of crime committed by Jumpers doesn’t decrease over the next year I will hand in my resignation voluntarily.”

Nodding, this finally seemed to satisfy her and he was able to get through the rest of the questions without suffering anything worse.

His office was still in transition and this became a great excuse to go get some air. He ran into Matthews on the way out the building. “You okay Dak? You look a little pale.”

“It all comes with the new position I guess. Can’t say I like talking to the press.” He ran a hand over his brow. “I wonder if I’ll be able to get used to it.”

Matthews brightened. “Oh yeah, congrats on the new position. I guess it will be Captain Dak now.”

“What would you feel about being the first man I hire on?” 

Matthews took a step back. Since he was the only other non-clone working for the Jumpers, Dak figured he would be a natural choice. “I’ll have to ask,” Matthews answered strangely. He soon departed a stiffly and Dak couldn’t help but wonder which Jumper might be holding Matthew’s strings. Shaking his head, he thought he might have the answer. He only hoped he was wrong.

 

*        *       *

 

The scent of stale smog burned his noise. Trash blew like city leaves. Even near the PE building bums and dregs fought for a hand out. His vehicle was secured below, but Dak felt like walking. He passed the taverns that most of the PE grunts frequented.

He felt less a part of them than ever. What was he a part of?

Mace

Dak really wasn’t a big one for drinking before sundown, but he felt he needed one. He headed into a nicer establishment hoping that he would find it empty. He was right. The sparse patrons lurked in dark corners huddled over tables. Fine suits mixed with low cut dresses. Conversations ran from afternoon affairs to cooperate backstabbing. Ignoring these, he headed over to the reflective plastic bar.

Massaging his temples, he looked down, while he waited for a hopper. “Hard day captain,” it was a voice that had already been haunting him. Opening his eyes, he saw that Lacy Law had helped herself into the adjacent barstool. “Having a drink before two pm. I see that he are off to a great start hunting down the Jumpers.”

Turning towards his hopper, he took a long pull before saying. “I was supposed to meet a contact here that had a list of known Jumpers, but with a Posher Cleb like yourself around here, he probably won’t show.”

She looked around uncertain. “You aren’t serious?”

“If you had only shown up ten minute’s later you might have had a big scoop.”

She waited until he was looking her way to cross her trim legs. Her gray business skirt did little to hide her looks. Years of police work left him wondering if she was hooked on some type of speed or if it was some fascist exercise routine that kept her body so tight.

“Perhaps you’ll let me take you out to dinner tonight and you can tell me all about it.” Her manicured nails lightly traced his hand. “You fought back well today. Most men crumble when I go up against them.”

“That must make you very proud,” he said while moving his hand away.

“So what about dinner? No one needs to know.” Leaned forward, exposed more of her toned body.

Staring for a long moment, he then slammed the rest of his beer. “No thanks, I think I’m going to be putting in long hours for quite a while. Her intake of breath was so loud that many of the patrons turned to watch, as he turned his back to her and existed back into the faded sunlight.

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skinjumpers_copy

In Charge of My Demise Part II

Erin pulled the amber tie out of her golden waterfall of hair, as soon as she heard him open the door. He saw her cute backside, while she quickly tossed her apron into the closet. Like usual, she wore very little underneath. The apartment gleamed. She rushed over to him before he had even tossed off his jacket. The freshly opened hopper that she held was wider than her delicate wrist. Red nailed fingers parted to hand him his beer, while a smile spread over the most beautiful face in the world.

 

Erin from Behind

“You’re home early. I was trying to make things nice for you.”

“Erin, you don’t have to work so hard.”

Suddenly shy, her green eyes found the sparkling floor. “It’s just…since you found out that I work for the Jumpers I…”

Moving forward, he took her trembling form into his arms. “You think you have to prove what a perfect woman you are? I already thought you were perfect. The fact that you work with your own kind doesn’t change anything.” His face was graced with the kind of smile that only she could bring him. “Besides the extra money is nice.”

Detective i

She slapped him playfully, but then kissed his lips. Holding her close, he didn’t hurry.

She came up for air and wanted to take it further, but he moved back. “Erin we have to talk.”

“That is usually what girls say.” Erin played the role of the perfect female the way only a man could, for Erin wasn’t only a Jumper, she was a Genderjumper as well. Sometimes in the dead of night Dak wondered over his choices, but it was a sick world out there and she was his only light, but now he was somehow in charge of eliminating her kind.

With a sigh, he explained his assignment. A few gasps and startled expressions later, he had finished describing his new position.

“If Bly was for it, then I guess it must be a good thing,” She said, hesitation tainting her voice.

“Yeah, but what about the Mayor. He knows about you…us. Jumpers are his pet project. This will be like a slap in the face.”

“I could think of no one’s face I would rather slap.”

 

                                               *        *        *

 

“Yeah, it’s a pretty nice office.” he had to agree. Dak’s eyes focused on the grimy window. Sure there wasn’t much of a view, there rarely was in New Cluster, but Dak had never had an office with a window before.

Fesse wore the closest thing to a smile his face could manage. “Nothing too good for the new man in charge of keeping the press, the mayor, and everyone else off my back when it comes to this Bodyjumper mess.” Patting him on the shoulder, he continued, “I’ll have them move your desk up here before lunch. You’ll not be needing it this morning anyway.”

Smoking

“Why is that?”

“Because your first press conference starts in an hour.”

“I’m not sure if this is going to work Fesse. I-”

”Make it work,” his voice was raised, “or I’ll send you back to being a beat cop in Dreg Park.” The door slammed behind him, creating a haze of dust in the empty room. Dak watched the motes of dirt dance through the narrow squares of yellow light before finally heading down to the Public Enforcer pressroom.

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Shadowed Dak1

In Charge of My Demise

Mopping the lingering sweat off his brow, Dak entered the Deputy Chief’s office. Fesse’s wide face scowled. It might have bothered Dak if that was not the only look that he had ever seen there. It surprised him to see Fosters in the room with his supervisor, even though Dak knew that the real Fosters had died years ago.

 

Detectives

The man who examined him with Fosters’ gray eyes was named Bly and he was a Skinjumper; a man whose consciousness had been put into the cloned form of Fosters. The Jumpers were more powerful that most realized and Dak should know, he was dating one of them.

Dak, like Fosters, had become a man on the inside—an agent for the Skinjumpers, only he himself had never Jumped. It was his sweet Erin who had drawn him in.

“Have a seat Dak.” He did, and then lit up a smoke. The silence stretched.

Dak

“That was some job you did taking out those Grafters Dak. The idea that someone could clone an assassin and send him after the public again and again,” Fesse rubbed his forehead. “Let’s just say it made waves.”

“They don’t care that it targeted mostly just me?” he lied.

“This isn’t the only story Dak. These nutjob clones are big news. Nothing has been the same since those damned Grafters learned how to place a person’s consciousness into any type of clone they wanted. The world is full of the beautiful people and freaks. How can you even be sure you’re talking to?” For once he refused to meet his eye. “And you know how the damn Mayor feels about these Bodyjumpers. He has been putting a lot of pressure on our department.”

Dak’s mouth went dry. Jumping was a serious offence that gained one enough jail time to forget who you were. If Fesse were to ever find out he was dating a Jumper…

“What does this have to do with me?” He exhaled sending jags of smoke coiling through the triangles of sunlight.

Fosters/Bly spoke up. The young punk did the grouchy jaded cop thing almost too well. “Don’t be an idiot, Dak. You’re part of this. The press loves you.”

“For about another twenty minutes.”

Fesse took over. “That’s why we have to strike now and keep these guys off our backs. I want to start up a Jumper Task Force. And I want you to be its Captain.”

Dak almost swallowed the smoke.

Fosters/Bly was quick to add, “Listen it was a natural choice. When I heard about this, I knew you were the only man for the job. You’re young enough and have enough charisma to keep the press at-”

Shadowed Dak

”But if you’re trying to head off the Mayor, I think we should try to remember that I’m not his favorite guy.”

Fosters shell spoke Bly’s words. “Don’t argue. I’m sure as hell not going to do it. Who else do you think is qualified? Matthews is just a kid and what, would you rather see Peterman doing it.”

Dak wasn’t a fool. He had to take the post if only to keep someone else from taking it.

Still how could he be in charge of hunting down his own woman?

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skinjumpers_copy

Base Jumper, Epilog

He awoke from a half slumber to find a wet and mostly naked Erin standing before him. She was still dripping and she gave him a long hung. No scar from any wound marred her. If anything she was more perfect than before.

They kissed.

“Still as sweet as always,” Mace commented as he followed her into the room.

          Pulling away, Dak moved to shake the young PR’s hand. “You really came through in a pinch. It’s good to know you have my back.”

Pulling away with some distaste. “Well, Erin’s anyway.”

Erin after rebrith

“As far as I am concerned that’s more important.” This brought forth a nod from him and a hug from his girlfriend.

“Until next time,” he said taking Erin under his arm. On a whim he took the big blaster with him as he passed through the door. Mace chuckled to himself as he lit up a smoke.

Mace

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Lonely Erin