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

Base Jumpers Part IV

Maxwell knew more than he might have hoped. In his opinion there was only one Grafter who could pull this level of cloning off. Someone else might have gone in there guns blazing and tried to do the whole thing themselves. Dak brought in the boys. The Public Enforcers rained into the complex. Most of the men they found didn’t survive the ordeal and that suited him fine. The less that knew about Erin’s true nature the better. He himself had put a bullet in the Grafter’s skull when he had drawn against him. Maxwell had wanted the guy dead anyway.

 

Enforcers


In one of the cloning vats, they had discovered another of the bald assassins ready to go. The Grafter had just begun to animate it. Dak hadn’t minded at all when a half dozen trigger-happy Enforcers had mowed the clone in half.

Then it was nothing but the paperwork. It was a big bust, but like everything else it would blow over in a few days whenever something new came up.

Dak had no idea how much the repercussions of this bust would effect the rest of his life.

 

                                                         *        *        *

 

As the first part of their reward, Maxwell had set them up in one of his safe houses. It was a surprisingly nice villa in one of the newer sections of the inner Hub. Erin lounged on pastel floor pillows. The opened windows blew gauze curtains the color of pink coral across the room. Erin rolled onto her back the full length lace negligee did little to conceal…anything.

His Personal rang.

Erin eyed him. “Don’t you dare.”

“It could be important,” he said and she rolled back on her tummy and returned her attentions to a glossy magazine. If she thought that such a thing was punishment, she was wrong, because she looked delightful that way too.

It was Matthews. “Dak, Dak are you okay?”

“Yeah. Sure. Why?”

“The people looking into those blasters just gave me a call. I guess they had my number on file for the case. You know that officer that got shot thing. So it would speed up the case and all that.”

“Yeah, yeah Matthews.” Erin glanced at him over her slim shoulder.

“Well they have a tracker on them. That was how they were able to locate you. They went after Erin both times, so it’s probably on her.”

“Without overly sharing, I can assure you that Erin isn’t wearing enough to have any tracker on her now.” This got her attention and she turned around and glared at him.

“No, no this is high tech stuff. It could detect a spray of perfume or clear paint. They have chemicals that it takes weeks to wash off. Another agent could have sprayed her at a store or something.”

This gave him Pause. Erin sat up now her magazine forgotten.

“Don’t worry Matthews, we got them, I saw the last clone die myself.”

He could sense the relief. It was nice to have a friend. “Okay then, okay. I was worried. Just wanted to make sure. You might want to make sure Erin doesn’t have any lingering-“

”I’ll clean her up real good, Matthews. Good night.”

“Clean me up real good,” she asked. She was just about to stand up, but Dak was tackling her. He had seen the figure climb through the window only seconds before it unleashed a massive volley out of the all to familiar blaster rifle.

Sci Fi Big gun


Erin had been drinking wine and the bottle was quickly lunched at the clone. Dak watched the wine spill in lazy arcs as it spiraled through the air. It took the assassin in the eye stunning him enough to spoil is aim.

“How many times to I have to kill this loser,” Dak snarled, as he leapt for his discarded overcoat.  Erin went the other way snatching up her purse as she went. Dak felt like his heart stopped when another round of shots elicited a shrill scream from his love.

The clone really was more concerned about killing her!

Erin was firing some sort of small flashgun at it. Fingers tore at his jacket trying to get his pistol loose. Gossamer drapes hovered between him and his target. Many of them were burning. This emitted a thick greasy smoke. The clone was hovering over Erin. The rifle aimed just as Dak’s flashgun came free. He fired without looking. Earlier he had used his slug thrower during the raid, for he wanted to make sure things stayed permanent. He had never switched his Flashgun from its wide angle setting. The cone of energy funneled before him. As soon as it hit the clone he began to quake. Soon it was dissolving in a familiar pattern, but Dak wasn’t watching. One of Erin’s slim perfect legs had been nearly severed.

She was losing blood quickly.

“I guess they had already sent one after me,” she whimpered while trying to fight against the pain.

“Oh Erin, hold still,” he said as he began to apply pressure onto her wound.

“Why Dak? I never tried to do anything to hurt anyone.”

“Shh, I’m going to call for help.”

“No, no, it has to be my people, call Mace.”

Mace was about the last person he would ever want to call, but he did anyway. Still even with the Jumper Riggers, it was only Dak’s daring move to cauterize Erin’s wound with his flashgun that kept her alive long enough to make it to Maxwell’s personal Grafter. Rumor had it that the Doctor himself aided in the safe transfer of his love.

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Big Gun

Base Jumpers Part III

The questions and paperwork hadn’t ended that night, but had continued into the next day. He and Erin had been put up by an unknown, but not unguessed at benefactor in the High Valley Hotel. Now he was down at the station wading through another series of questions.

Fosters sat in on the interviews. As always his presence made him shudder inwardly. Dak knew that Fosters had died long ago and even as Mace had done for a year, his former coworker was the host for a new Jumper. Dak thought he could tell a few differences between Mace’s and this new Jumper’s mannerisms, but the rest of the precinct was certainly oblivious, with the exception of Matthews.

Matthews was to only other non-jumper that worked for the Skinjobs. He wasn’t as willing as Dak, but since the only other option would be him getting Jumped, he was able to abide.

Dak brought the younger man along for the ride. He was heading to a Market arms dealer who owed him a favor. They were going to try to chance a lead on this the unknown blaster model when Erin called.

Terror ruled her voice. “Dak, you have to help me. I went back to the apartment to get a few things. I thought it would be safe. I was so wrong. I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

Matthews was already radioing in a call for officers to head that way. “Erin where are you now?”                                                                    

“I’m hiding. It’s the same one Dak. He looks the same. I have to go. I can’t talk. He’ll hear me.”

The line went dead. Dak had already changed his route and raced through the crowded streets of New Cluster back to his apartment.

They arrived in record time and they had only clipped one other auto and maybe a biker. Guns were drawn long before they reached his floor. The doors opened onto death. At least one Enforcer had already met his doom. His headless form had painted the hall in blood and bone. The second officer had only made it a few feet further. He laid on his side against the wall his whole middle gone.

Matthews eyes went wide and that’s when the shooting began. It was the same big blaster as before. Matthews was hit in the first volley and went down. He was still screaming, so Dak hoped he would live. He spread open the width setting on his gun, until it would spread the beam into a cone. This weakened the effects, but made it hard to miss anything within the walls of his quickly deteriorating apartment. He dived forward onto his stomach just as the killer came into view.

It was the same man as before.

He pointed the giant blaster, but Dak got the shot off first. The cone hit him. The bald man growled trying to fight off the effects. He stumbled back a step and the gun went off, the explosive blast only missing Dak’s head by inches.  Dak fired again, this time his opponent went down.

Much as before, he began to weep and melt, creating a second foul stain in Dak’s living room. Erin dashed into the room, for a moment she looked unsure, but raced toward him. “I was so scared, Dak.”

He hugged her quickly, but then said, “Matthews is down.

It could have been worse. He had been hit through a wall and the shot to his arm wouldn’t cost him his limb if only barely.

He sighed. More paperwork and interviews would take up the rest of the day and he wasn’t an inch closer to finding out who was behind this.

 

                                                         *        *        *

 

Eventually, he was allowed to go. Refusing an armed escort he and Erin left the station. Even the short walk to his ride left him seeing eyes everywhere. New Cluster raised around them gray and bleak. Everything was concrete and trash. The only thing feeling real was the woman’s hand in his, even though he knew part of Erin was fake too.

A meeting with the Doctor proved difficult to arrange. Erin burned through favors, but he agreed to meet them at midnight. Base Jumper stayed on alert, and the Doctor refused to met them there, instead picking a location with an industrial address. It turned out to be some sort of chemical plant. The smells drifting out of the rusty ash gray building let him know that he didn’t want to be there, long before he reached the side entrance.

A few workers moved around and perhaps some others who were guards. One these men, who looked big enough to eat Erin for lunch, took them to some offices lining the back of the plant. Stained iron cauldrons held bubbling mixtures of questionable nature. They smoked and stank horribly leaving a rusted residue on the tongue.

The room looked simple. Old terminals mixed with new. Forms were held in plastic cubbies along one wall. Reports and folders were spread out over a worn desk before him. Maxwell looked much as before. White suit. Red scarf around his pale neck. For this meeting they had traded Mace for two even huger guys, which left Dak wondering where this Doctor found such Neanderthals? Also with him was a girl way to young to be wearing such a short scarlet dress. She sat on another chair, regarding them coldly. He shuddered, not caring to speculate whether Maxwell was using his boyish looks to date some impressionable teen or if some equally perverted Jumper liked to play little girlie.

“Since you called for this emergency meeting, why don’t you begin Mr. Dak?”

“As you know, Erin and I have found ourselves within this assassin’s sights twice now. I have also killed him twice, although strangely. I seem to be the next on his list, so the way I figure it, you can either tell me all you can to help or you’ll be down two …agents.”


He went over what had happened and let Erin fill in a few of the gaps. “I’ve heard of some speculation down these lines, but have never seen such a thing myself. This Grafter is not only gifted but also innovative. It must have a trigger that somehow causes the cells to collapse and break apart. When you stunned it, this enacted this response. No one will ever question this man. Then he is cloned to begin again.”

“But not with the same consciousness?”

“Well, yes and no. If someone had the proper training or desire before the Jump the new body could contain that same desire.”

“It would be either fool or fanatic.” Erin said joining the conversation. “Although it would seem the same to us, the original person is dead and nothing changes that fact.”

“You mean you can make new people. Clones that don’t even need to be Jumped into?”

The young girl laughed. “That was what we learned to first. It was learning how to Jump which was difficult.” So she was a Jumper. This left Dak somewhat relived. He hated pedophiles.

“So is this guy is a fanatic-“

”Or somehow tricked into thinking his incarnations will really be him,” Erin quickly added.

Dak looked at her for a moment. “Then these people, whoever they are, could just make new clones of this killer until the lights go out.”

“It’s not as simple as that, but with enough resources you are essentially correct. Although the reason they can only send one at once is without the proper training most men go completely mad with any exposure to themselves.”

“The way I see it, this is really your problem. I or maybe Erin just happened to be next on the menu. So it’s in your best interested to make sure this thing doesn’t get any farther than us.”

“Of course. I value all of my employees.”

“Good. I’m glad we are on the same screen. Now I think it’s the time where you tell everything that you know that could possibly help me take this bastard out…. permanently.”

Continued Next Week

Find out more about New Cluster and Skinjumpers Here!

Base Jumper Part II

They shared a quiet ride home. Dak’s mind was full of questions, but Erin’s mood remained taciturn. It wasn’t until they were almost back to their small apartment that she asked, “You aren’t upset that I dragged you into things.

“Being with you was my choice. I knew what I was getting into when I chose to date a Gender-Jumper.”

“Did you? I think you thought of it as a sexual choice, the thing that blazed your passions higher than anything else ever could.”

Only the hum of the auto interrupted the silence as they pulled into the underground garage. It was a dark greasy place, but the complex tried to keep it secure.

“Erin,” he started slowly. “None of that matters now. I love you and it’s just that simple. If this means I have to do a little to help the Jumper community, then so be it. You know I personally don’t think Jumping should be illegal and I certainly would never want anything to happen to you. I would lay down my life to protect you.”

Detective and gal

“Really?” Her voice was barely a whisper as she turned to face him. Tears formed in the sides of her large green eyes.

“Of course.”

She rushed into his arms and soon it was all they could do to postpone their appetites until they could make it to their floor.

As soon as they left the lift, he knew something was wrong. He moved Erin to the side of the corridor. “What’s the matter?”

“It looks like our door’s open.” Moving closer, he found that it wasn’t just open; it had been broken open. He used one hand to keep Erin back, while the other filled with his Flashpistol. Moving into the apartment, he hadn’t made it five feet before heavy blasts broke out and plaster began to fill the air with choking dust. Only a quick drop to the floor had saved his life. Now however, the walls over his head were being ripped away as some serious weaponry continued its assault.

Remaining low, he rolled into the bedroom on his right. He was almost as surprised as when the bullets had broken out, when Erin dove in right behind him. The hitman shifted his attacks to the walls of their room, which began to rain down on them, whitening everything as more chalky powder covered the room.

“I told you to stay in the hall!”

“Screw that. Give me a weapon Dak!”

Detective Dak with pistol

“I got something better,” he said with a grin and started for the closet. Seconds stretched into years, as he fumbled with an old brown suitcase. The walls continued to blast and splinter.

His hand came away with a silver object the size of a dinner plate. In its center was a red panel. Dak’s fingers danced over a small set of controls. Looking up he saw that the gunfire had created a large hole just over them. After punching a few more buttons, he reached back and flung the device through the hole.

“Get down,” he yelled as he flung himself over Erin’s slight form. Her soft body cushioned him nicely.

A bright red flash blinded them for less than a second. His teeth throbbed for a moment, but they were spared any farther effects.

Erin sat up, once he let her, and tried to brush the dust off her black dress. It was not working. “Can I have a gun now?”

“I don’t think you’ll need one,” he said, while he helped her up.

“What was that thing?” She asked. Her heels crunched the fragments of plaster as she followed him into the hall.

“Something I picked up on a whim from the Market. It called a Newt, which is short for Neutralizer I think, and it creates a large stun blast. I’ve had it for years. This is the first time I have ever used it in my own home.”

Standing over the, would be, assassin, they discovered that the device had succeeded in its assigned task and he was quite unconscious. The figure was tall, ugly, and bald. His wore a tight gray uniform of common make. Besides his oversized and brutal continence, the only odd thing about him was his tech. He had a few small items which Erin looked over. Meanwhile, Dak took up his blaster. It was huge and of a make he had never seen. The barrel was 20 millimeter wide and it had a clip the size of his forearm. How the man got it into the building was a mystery.

Suddenly a sizzling sound reached his ears. Suspecting some type of bomb, he was prepared to flee, but what his eyes fell upon did just the opposite and glued him in place. The man’s body was becoming bloated. Skin opened and leaked fluids, which smelt worse than a decaying body that had been left in open sewer.

Erin had found her way into his arms and he hugged her tightly as the assassin continued to dissolve into a foul puddle of wet cells.

“Erin is this guy a Jumper?”

“I’m not sure,” she said pressing against him. “I’ve never heard about anything like this. Maybe the Doctor would know.”

“Well it’s too late to see him tonight.” The sounds of Enforcer boots could now be heard sprinting down their hallway. “I’m going to have some explaining to do. Let me do all the talking.”

“Okay,” she said giving him a quick kiss. “After all I am just your innocent little girlfriend.” When she batted her eyes, it was all he could do to keep from Laughing.

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Base Jumper

It became hard to keep from gawking like a kid in a toy store. Dak had seen his share of tech, but nothing compared to this. Large steel machines, shaped like opened coffins, gapped hallow and bubbling. He had already seen three holding half-formed people.

He thought about how his Erin had been forced to go through this and shuddered.

Mace, the man who he had thought was Fosters for so long, led the tour. Gone was the frame of the old detective. In its place a handsome young man stood. If Dak focused hard enough he could she some similarity in some of the mannerisms, but Foster’s fifty-year-old body was a far cry from this tattoo covered PR with a half shaved head.

Perhaps seeing his eyes lingering on the ink, Mace said, “Do you like the work? Tattoos are of course one thing that doesn’t pass with you when you Jump.” He smiled. “I figure this way I can get new work every year. Pretty wicked eh?”

Dak didn’t comment. Instead he took in a painting that illustrated a happy man jumping off a skyscraper rooftop. The figure’s right hand was raised over his head in a fist. “What’s this?” he said pointing at the painting with his smoke.

With a bigger smile, Mace said, “Base jumping. Our group’s founder was known as Titan. He was quiet found of base-jumping. Some even think this is where the name for our kind began.”

Holding his arm tight, Erin looked up at him her green eyes blinking. Her dress was a skintight strip of red cloth smaller than his towel. As always, her body was slim. Shapely. Perfect. “Titan tended to be more than a bit on the reckless side. But he was insanely wealthy. He would lose a leg in some failed stunt and just Jump into a new healthy clone.”

Pressing herself closer to him, she went on. “Back in his day we were almost accepted. Normal. He was only using his own body though. We would hardly even consider that Jumping now. He however, was the first of the immortals.”

“Until that parachute did not open.”

To his left two Grafters were helping an elderly man into one of their coffins. Noticing his gaze, Mace commented. “People will give all they have for a second chance.”

Nothing more needed to be said. It became very clear why these Jumpers always seemed to have almost unlimited funds. Having Erin finally be honest about her own wealth hadn’t been the worst thing to have ever happened to him. That along with the small sum he took from the Jumpers had definitely increased his standard of living.

Passing a middle aged woman as she stripped off her clothes, he managed to overhear her say, “Make sure I’m really pretty. I want to be really pretty. I’ll see if the prick is cheating on me first hand.”

Mace laughed, but waited until they were well pass to say, “Most people don’t want to leave their lives, but a weekend of Jumping can accomplish more goals than one can count. Athletes in peek form are selling their bodies so novices have a chance to play their favorite games like the pros. And of course there’s always the perversion factor, but you and Erin know about that.”

He felt his cheeks grow hot. “Is there a reason for us to be here other than for you to be showing of like some sort of punk priss?”

Chuckling, “You’re always so touchie Dak. It seems that even Evan I mean Erin-“

Dak moved quickly. A necklace was grasped and he pulled Mace’s face close to his. “I told you that you weren’t allowed to call her that.” Words spit from between his teeth. “I don’t care how many bodies you’ve been in, I can kick your ass. Insult my girlfriend again and I will.”

“Calling him by his name is an insult?”

He barely got the words out before Dak gave him a hard right hook into the jaw.

Erin gasped and rushed forward. “Dak, you shouldn’t” A reproach from Erin made him cringe. All around him Jumpers took notice. They dropped what they were doing and walked closer. Most had weapons. 

Mace stood erect. A pull of the arm drew a smudge of blood from his lips. He waved the approaching Jumpers back. “No it’s okay. He loves his Gender-Jumper. I think It’s cute.”

“Screw you Mace.” Erin gave him a glare that made Dak wonder how well they might really know each other.

“Shall we just keep moving?” Mace asked as once again he wiped his mouth free of blood. He shot Erin a glance which did nothing to soften the mood. “And yes you’re correct you were brought here for a reason.”

The butt of his cigarette still glowed as Mace threw open a wide set of polished steel doors. The insides of the room contrasted strongly with everything else he had seen at Base Jumper. He could have been stepping back three centuries. Bookcases lined the dark hued walls. Never had he seen such a collection of books outside of a museum.  Since the advent of the computer over two centuries ago, books had been coming ever rarer. Most publishing houses had closed within a hundred years. Books were now considered oddities and collector’s items.

Centered amongst the vibrate rainbow of book spines was a walnut desk that could have fit three people. Instead an annoyingly young blonde boy was just putting aside a folder. This was added with not great haste to an already considerable pile stacked to the left of him. The boy looked perhaps seventeen at the most, but Dak guessed that the mind within was by far his own senior. His crystal blue eyes had a tight glare that no youth of that age could have pulled off.

“This is The Doctor,” Mace began. “For lack of a better term, you may consider him our leader.”

“More of s spokesman really.” His tone was one of wisdom and experience, but as if from the lips of an angel. It came out musical and tinged with the strength of a fresh voice. Leaning forward, the youth said, “But please call me Maxwell.”

Dak nodded, he had no reason to speak. Erin gave a courtly curtsey, which was something he would have never thought he would see.

A slim smile spread. “I’m sure you consider your life as busy as mine and as my employees, I assume you are keeping yourselves active.” This wasn’t even worth a nod. “So I will be blunt and brief.”

“Someone has been hired to assassinate Jumpers.” He paused for a moment to let his statement sink in. “Whatever is doing this is a professional and very successful.” Erin’s nervous eyes met his and she trembled. “He has already racked up fourteen of us and those are just the people we know of.

Maxwell stopped. Keeping his voice even, Dak asked, “Do you have any idea who might be behind the attacks?”

“I think it’s the Major,” Mace answered for him.

The Doctor favored him with a stern look. Dak had a feeling he wasn’t used to being interrupted. “Yes, Mace thinks it is the Major and it well could be, but my years of experience have led me to believe that it is not always the most obvious choice. There are always the Nappies to consider.”

Dak thought on this. Nappies was a derogatory term for The National Association of Parents. The supposedly moral body of citizens had their hands in more than anyone considered safe. As a legislating body they could make or break elections. Dak considered them foul self-righteous censors, but working for the Public Enforcers he had often found himself being asked to bend to some policy they were promoting.

“It doesn’t sound like Nappies, they don’t hire assassins, they hire lawyers.”

A short chuckle escaped from Mace, and Maxwell smiled without humor. He addressed Erin first. “It seems you have been keeping your mate in the dark my dear. Dak works for…I mean with us now.”

“Dak’s knowledge has no shortcomings,” she said, crossing her arms under her 36cs.

Dak allowed himself a grin of his own. “I’ll look into it. So why am I here?”

Looking more serious than his young face should allow, Maxwell dropped his voice. “We are being hunted. I don’t like that. Both the assassins and whoever has hired them must be made to pay. We have ways of avenging our own. What I want from you is the legwork. You are a detective, you have the resources of the Public Enforcers behind you, go detect.”

He leaned forward to emphasize one final point. “I also do not need to remind you who you are sharing a bed with. You are involved Dak, whether you like it or not, unless you intend to throw Erin into the teeth of the wolves.”

Find out more about Dak and Erin and their Quest to preserve New Cluster Here!

The Climax of A Clone of a Different Color

It did not take long to pack. Fear lent them speed. Dak’s Public Enforcer salary was enough to allow him the luxury of a vehicle. Sure there would be numerous checkpoints before he could be free of the Hub, where the Mayor’s influence remained strongest, but he could only hope that if they moved fast enough this Enforcer clearance would see them both through before anyone realized they were gone.

Once they opened the door, they found themselves staring down the barrels of three Flashguns. It was Matthews, Waterman, and Fosters and it didn’t take much to force them back into the apartment.

Fosters shut the door behind them then motioned them with the business end of his pistol to have a seat on the sofa. He sat down opposite of them. Matthews scanned the rest of the small apartment, while Waterman mopped his brow with the back of his arm. Neither Waterman nor Fosters took their aim away from the couple.

Waterman sneered at Dak. “Matthews told me about who you really are and what you’re doing, and before they put you away, I just wanted you to know how sick I think it is.”

“Thanks for the update. I would have never been able to sleep other wise. Your opinion has always mattered so much to me.”

“Why you piece of-” Waterman hollered, as he rushed forward.

But Fosters drew him off. “Put a gag on it, Waterman. You know the Mayor wants these two. We’ll let him decide what to do with them.”

Dak looked over at Matthews. His silent pleading proved a wasted effort and Matthews avoided any uncertainly by looking away. Dak was running out of options.

“Come on guys, after all we have been through, you’re going to flush our friendships on a technicality?”


“We do not consider sleeping with a terrorist a technicality, Dak,” Waterman snarled. “Your perverted mind is just too clouded to see how screwed up you are.”

“All right enough of this chit chat,” Fosters said, his voice growing louder. “Matthews, Waterman, check them for weapons. I didn’t want any surprises.”

As it turned out everyone was surprised, but Fosters, when the older man shot Matthews and Waterman in the back with a powerful stun setting. They crumpled to the floor limp and unconscious.

“Wait, what?” Dak said, hopping to his feet. His confusion multiplied when Erin began to quickly gather the fallen officer’s weapons.

“Calm down and sit down,” Fosters said, waving his flashgun at him. He did so. Even if he could make a break for it, he would have stayed. He had to hear this one out. He just hoped it didn’t end with his death.

He looked down were Erin used each officer’s own cuffs to bind their hands behind their backs. She refused to meet his eyes. His heart pumped twenty extra beats a minute. “Erin?” he questioned. She still refused to look up at him and moved father away from him. She made a small sniffing sound and then wiped a hand across her face.

“Don’t blame poor Erin or should I say Evan. She didn’t know she was going to fall in love.”

Fosters seemed pleased with himself, but Dak had never been more confused. Although he had a feeling it would soon be becoming very clear to him. He looked from Erin, who still used her hair to hide her face, over to Fosters.

“It’s because of her that you aren’t flapping like a fish on the floor. It’s because of your little cutie that you’ll be given options. You see,” he began using the gun like a baton to emphasize his points. “We Jumpers are far more powerful than you could possibly imagine. The Mayor is a fool. He has no clue how far our fingers reach. He might not know, but you’re starting to.”

“You aren’t really Fosters are you?”

The older man pointed his finger at his nose in a very undignified manner. “Bingo, my laddie.  Although I have been him for about seven months now. Before me it was my buddy Jaze. You see we usually get paid for a one-year stit and get paid well, I might add. By the way, a good way to keep from getting Jumped, don’t be predictable. I can play his grumpy cynical cop thing all day.”

He imitated some classic Foster mannerisms and it became unsettling to watch.

“I get it, please stop.” A moment of silence stretched and Dak looked over at Erin. She still refused to meet his gaze.

“Why so quiet Evan?”

“Don’t call her that.”

“Oh touchie, how do you know she doesn’t want to be called that? She’s getting paid too, you know.” Dak felt flushed. He stared at the floor. “Your little secret was out long ago. We keep close tabs on those that touch us.”

The presence in the Fosters shell leaned forward. “We are the new immortals, the Gods. We will never age, at least not for more than a few years at a time. I can relive twenty-three for a hundred years. I’m just doing this Foster gig so I can make some money first. Five more months and I’ll be twenty-three when you’re sixty.”

“Don’t say that, Mace,” Erin said suddenly. Her voice sounded choked.

“Hah, what, you want him to join us.” She finally met his eyes.

“Let’s just talk about tonight.”

“Wise, wise. Yes, let’s just talk about tonight. Thanks to Erin you were a useful tool an unwitting man on the inside if you will. With little nudges from the various Fosters over the years you could be steered away form areas of…conflict.”

“I’m not an idiot! I can understand what you have done.” He looked at Erin while he spoke. “What happens now?” he said raising his voice. Beneath him Matthews stirred.

“Maybe that isn’t for you to decide.” At first he wondered who else could be involved, but then Dak saw that he stared at Erin. “Well, Erin?”

“Oh, Dak I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t feel too bad, Dak. The girl you knew as Erin’s contract was up half a year ago. She signed on for another year. Usually we worry about such things, but in the end we all Jump for pleasure, so for each their own. We have no simpler motto.”

“Does Erin have to go?” he asked the ghost of Fosters.

“That’s the real question isn’t it?”

“Would you still want me to stay?”

Dak was still. How long has it been since he took a breath? “Is she allowed to?”

“Alright, this is starting to make me sick. Just tell him what you told me before.”

There was a pause. It grew longer. “I think I’ve fallen in love with you. Dak. I’d like to stay if you’d have me.’

“Will they cut you loose?”

“Oh-hey sparky. No, no, you will both be working for Jump 101 or your lives with get messed up real quick.” He stood up and put the pistol away. “I’ll send someone over with the contract tomorrow.”

“What about these guys?”

“They know a little too much I’m afraid. Besides this bastard Waterman works for the Mayor. We have known that for a while. I’m taking him with me. He might be Jumped, but” he made a face, “he’s so nasty and ugly we may just have to dump him into a den of Mut-hounds.”

“I think I could talk Matthews around it. He’s a good kid.”

The Jumper stood and considered the situation. “I like him a bit too. He isn’t too bad for a pee I suppose. It’s a deal, but if he sinks so do you. I’m still taking Waterman.”

Soon the thing in Fosters’ shell left with Waterman slung over his shoulder. He wanted to deal with Matthews, but Erin was starting to cry.

He moved over to her. “You must hate me for lying to you.”

“How could I hate the woman who loves me? Everyone needs a job I guess. I hope it pays well for I expect dinner to be one you for about a year.”

She tried to smile.

He took her into his arms. “I can live with you know as long as you are a hundred percent honest from this day forth.”

“I can do that. I’ll start with I love you.”

“I love my Erin, no matter who the hell you really are.”

Discover Dak and Erin’s most insane adventure here!

A Clone of a Different Color, Part IV

“What’s wrong?” Erin gasped, when she saw the look on his face. She had always been very good at reading him.

He didn’t pull any punches, he never did when someone’s life was on the line and this was his Erin. “The Mayor knows about us.”

Her small hands covered her mouth in horror. “Oh no, oh no.” She shook for a moment and that was all it took for him to have her fill his arms. She shivered against him.

“What are we going to do?” she whispered.

“I’m not sure.” He moved her back so he could look into her crying eyes. “It sounds like he already knew about us. Most likely he figured he would keep it for an ace in the hole to use when he needed something from me.”

“Like now?”

“Yeah, like now.”

“What does he want from you?”

“It was pretty much like you thought. He wants to blame this on Jumpers and get more PR before the election.”

“Did he really kill Homes?” she asked while trying to hold back the tears.

“Who knows and I doubt it matters. There’s no way I could do anything against the Mayor even if he had pulled the trigger himself.”

“You can’t blame some innocent Jumper can you?” she asked, her eyes looking so sad.

“No, of course not. I think the only thing we can do is try to leave. Get outside the hub.”

“You want me to go with you?” her words came slow, with hesitation.

“Oh course I do, I said we didn’t I?”

“You don’t have to do this Dak. Being an Enforcer is your life. I could Jump back. No one would know. What could they prove against you then?”

“I don’t want to do that.”

She looked up at him as they each held the other’s arms. “Why?”

“You said being an Enforcer was my life. That’s not true anymore.” He stuttered for a moment. “I think I’m in love with you. Everything I see, it’s all tarnished, wicked, and wrong. You’re the only light.”

He stopped suddenly and her tears began again, but for a different reason this time. “Can you really love me? Can I really be your woman?”

“Erin, you already are my woman. Now get your things packed and remember, we are traveling light.”

She started to go, but then dashed back and gave him a long kiss. He watched her for a moment, while she started to pack her things and hoped he was making the right choice.

 

Look for the Conclusion Of Clone of a Different Color on August 9th!

Learn more about Skinjumpers and the world of New Cluster here!

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A Clone of A Different Color Part III

After deducing that wheeling four machines bigger than a man into the hotel would be no easy feat, Dak got a search order and went through the whole first floor. His hunch proved correct, for he found one room near the back exit that showed recent evidence of tears in the rug. There were also stains of an aquamarine color in several spots. Discarded without any attempt at subterfuge were four sets of trampware and a few other female outfits and the usual supplies.

“Waterman have this stain-”

“I’m on it.”

“Matthews who checked in-“

”I’ve already got the uptake. Four Jane Does. They paid in cash, I ran the Codex they used. They never existed and if what you say is true, they will probably never exist again.”

“Damn,” he said kicking the trashcan. “Were the hell is Fosters anyway?”

“Don’t know cap.” Waterman was already gone and Matthews was wrapping up the last of the C.S.I. agenda.

“This doesn’t look good.”

“What was that cap?”

“I want you to head out with me.”

“Were are we going?”

“We’re going to pay a visit to the major. Call ahead. I hear that the waiting time there is a bitch.”

 

 

                                                        *        *         *

And it was. Dak was thinking that Edgar had probably slipped out some back door by the time they were finally allowed in.

Edgar met them alone. He offered them a seat, without a word, then crossed his thick fingers before him. He appeared even larger in person. Everything about him was thick, his mustache, the bloated lips they hung over, his jet black hair, and most of all his neck. His eight thousand Universals suit did little to hide his brutal appearance.

“Before we start detective, I want to know if you are planning to express even the smallest hint of a possibility that I could have anything to do with this matter.”

Dak looked up, “He was running against you.”

 

“Which means he would be the last person I could touch.” Dak’s expression didn’t match the words he was hearing. “It’s well known how much I hate Grafters and the damned Jumpers they make. This is just an example—the very tip of the iceberg of insanity that could befall us if everyone starts jumping. Crime will go unpunished. I can kill someone and be a different person the next day.

He looked Dak in the eye. “And the perversion, the filth. I’m not sure which is worst the havoc or the sickening depravity. Which do you think Dak?”

“It matters little what I think. I’m an objective investigator.”

“Are you? Your girlfriend, you call her Erin don’t you?”

“That’s her name.”

“She looks a lot like a Joy-model. Its name is Erin too. What a strange coincidence. How is it they look so much alike? Are they the same model?” Matthews shifted uncomfortably.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Edgar coughed, like he was hiding a smile. “Like I have said. I have files on all suspected Jumpers, Mr. Dak. They are my enemy and I have pledged to stomp them out of my city. This is obviously a frame up by their ilk in an attempt to make me look bad. Their transparent attempts are quite shallow.”

Both men sat stunned for different reasons.

“Well, if that is all gentlemen, I’ll see you after you bring these Jumpers to justice.” Dak could feel his pulse pounding in his forehead. Edgar already knew about Erin.

“Oh and Dak,” the Mayor called as they opened the office door. “Make sure you find these criminals, or I will have my men make an investigation of my own, if you catch my meeting.”

They walked for a hundred yards before Matthews worked up the nerve to break the silence that moved like a taunt bowstring between them. “I ah…is it true, is Erin…?”

Matthews had been a close enough friend to have met Erin on some of the few times they dared leave the house together. Dak couldn’t speak and only nodded. When they reached the car, he let Matthews drive.

“How long has she been…?”

“Two years from what she tells me. She has had to Jump back a few times, like when her mother died. She doesn’t let me see her then and I am fine with that. I just know her as Erin…she could be just any other girl.”

“But she is a model, a clone. Damn it Dak she is the same model as one of the girls that assassinated Homes.”

“It wasn’t her.”

“But how could you know? How could anyone know? That’s why these Skinjumpers are outlawed in the first place. Goddamn it Dak, you’re a cop. I respected you.”

Dak could think of nothing to say.

“What a second, what was this person before they became Erin? Was it a guy?”

 

“Just let me out here.”

“Suits me fine. I need to think this through. Call me when you’re ready to work on this case, if you ever are?”

Matthews left Dak on the side of the road. Papers and trash blew by him and he was forced to take in more of the cities foul smells than he would have liked. Cripples hobbled in the streets fighting Dregs for handouts. His appearance must have screamed Enforcer for most of them left him alone.

So much ugliness and pain. Compared to what he was walking through, was what he and Erin had really so wrong? He worked hard and tried to do what he could to help. Was it so wrong to have some glimmer of love?

He fought back tears and kept walking. It was only eight more miles.

You can find out more Skinjumper Action Here!

A Clone of a Different Color Part II

A face that always smiled upon his return greeted Dak. Moving with habit more than thought, he flung his jacket over a kitchen barstool and headed toward his girl. He couldn’t be sure if it was the events of the day, but he became fully conscious of the fact that even though the lips he kissed felt soft, full, and very female, the person who kissed him was really a male, at least on the inside.

Dak wouldn’t call himself gay. He had never touched another male in such a manner. However, during the case he had so recently spoke to his fellow officers about, he had come into contact with a male who had Skinjumped into a ravishingly beautiful female. He had not known it at the time or even while he’d experienced the best sex of his life. Through no fault of his, her identity had been raveled and she had been not only put back into her real and very male body, but also put behind bars for a very long time. But for Dak it was already too late.

He was hooked. No sex had ever been better. Since they knew what felt the best themselves, they gave it willingly. While some women accept their role with a lackluster performance, these Gender-Jumpers went at sex with a wild abandon, which Dak never tired of. At home, in an effort to prove themselves a match for any true woman, they always cooked and cleaned his apartment until it shined. And the clothes, these Jumpers dressed in what men wished women always wore.

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Since his first a little over three years ago, Dak had been only dating Gender-Jumpers. He tried a normal gal again once, but became bored as soon as her had gotten her in bed. Yes, he was hooked, but looking down at his Erin’s perfect face he thought, what a way to go.

“How was your day,” she purred. Like most Skinjumpers who jumped gender, Erin tended to exaggerate her feminine nature. Maybe it was one of the many reasons he liked her so much. He had issues, so what?

“We had a serious crime involving Gender-Jumpers.” It might have been the only thing that he could have said that would cause her to drop her role. They played it safe. Erin didn’t even work outside of the few modeling gigs she did under the table. If she was ever discovered, they could both be sent away for a long time.

She retreated to an arm’s distance suddenly serious. Despite her sensuous voice, he thought he could detect the man within her for the first time in months. “Tell me what happened?”

“It’s common knowledge all over the Vid.”

“You know I can’t stand watching those lies.” She always had been a reader.

“From the looks of things, four upscale Hitters Skinjumped into a gaggle of hot little numbers and then proceeded to waste new major hopeful Felix Homes.”

Her big eyes grew wide making it easier to accept her as female again. “Mayor Edgar hates Jumpers. He’ll use this as an excuse to hunt us down.”

She was getting excited and words began to tumble from her mouth mixing chaos, conjecture, and paranoia. “Erin it’s alright. I’m on the case. I’ll take care of it.”

“It’s not okay. This is a double win for that fat freak. He loses the competition and gets to blame us for it. I hate that bastard.”

“He’s not my favorite guy. I’m not too worried about it, but let’s have you lay low for a while okay,” he said, while his hand began massaging her shoulder.

“Maybe I should jump back until this is over,” she said looking into his eyes.

He felt a tight pull in his groan. He had been living with Erin over a year now. They had been sharing a bed nearly every night for longer than that. She was the third Gender-Jumper he had dated and by far the most wonderful. “No,” he blurted out. The idea of her becoming a man again disturbed him on more levels than he cared to count.

Seeing the disturbed look on his face made her smile. She moved in running her long fingers across his face. “Why would you miss me?” He could feel her warmth. She smelled like lavender.

Her lips were near his. “Yes.”

“I could still stay over.”

“It would not be the same.”

“Why because I would have one of these?” Her other hand gave his member a squeeze to emphasize the point. Her mouth paused next to his ear. “Do you only like me for my body.”

“I can’t live without my Erin just the way she is.” These words satisfied her and she allowed him his kiss and soon she allowed him so much more.

Find out more about Dak, Erin, and the rest of the Skinjumpers here!

 

A Clone of a Different Color (Part I)

The four men watched the video where it played out on the monitor. The Vid was not large and they were forced to hunch in against each other in order to see what happened on its narrow screen. Dak sat in the back. This was not due to his fellow officers having any superiority over him. No, he had already formed an option and leaned back to light a smoke, despite the fact that their post had a strict non-smoking ordinance.

 Matthews looked back at him. “What is your take on this?” He was the youngest of the four of them. Dak secretly hoped he would go ahead and get jaded soon. It was certainly taking him long enough.

Dak allowed himself to follow the flow of the improbable scene as it had been recorded. Four astonishingly beautiful women were taking out the new candidate for major, Felix Homes. Their micro Uzis matched their tight little Posh outfits. These young killers that so brutally mowed down Homes and his guards looked more ready for a runway shoot, than assassinating the fool that had been willing to stand up to New Cluster’s incumbent

Mayor Edgar had been the mayor of New Cluster for a long time.

When Dak didn’t answer, Matthews put forth a theory of his own. “Somehow Edgar, or whoever, found some female hitmen, er hitpeople, and they used their looks to get them close enough to get the job done.”

“I’d be careful with your mouth, Matthews,” Fosters grumbled. Fosters’ natural ability to fail to get along with anyone had kept him from being kicked upstairs.

“Yeah,” Waterman said around a tooth pick he chewed on. “If there’s even a hint that we might end up on the wrong side of it with the Mayor, I say we drop this case like a five hundred pound girlfriend.” Waterman didn’t have the best rep in the office. He was old school, overweight, and as dirty as a dishwasher’s shoes.

“They are using clones,” Dak said, disrupting the direction of the conversation.

“What?” Waterman demanded.

“Those girls are Joy-clones. I recognize some of the models.” Matthew’s jaw dropped. It was illegal to clone in New Cluster. Even knowing about the clone trade put an unneeded suspicion upon his shoulders. Seeing the looks on their faces, Dak quickly added, “I was involved in a big bust three years back. One must often learn the habits of their prey.” He took out a pen and pointed the end towards a thin blonde with long fiery yellow hair. “That is the Erin model, that there, the tall brunette, she is the Vanessa. I’ve never seen the other two, but any good Grafter can make these Skinjobs.”

The others still eyed him, but Matthews was able to ask, “What would this mean?’

“My guess is that it would mean that those four girls,” he pointed at the screen again, “Could be anyone.”

“What happens to their bodies?” Waterman asked.

“They are long gone and are usually recycled into the new clone the Skinjumper gets.” They still looked puzzled. “The only hard part would be to bring the Grafter’s tech into the hotel. Sure hotels have a lot of rooms, but each machine is the size of a coffin. It will probably be our only lead.”

“I still don’t under…” Waterman began.

“It most likely went something like this. Whoever the boss is, hires out four of his best guys and a Grafter. The Grafter gets four rigs. Then it’s probably like Matthews said. They use some standard Joy Models. These badass hitmen now look like hot Luster Zone chippies. They get in, wack this Dim-Jim, escape to the Grafter. He gets their minds back into a clone of their old self and they’re walking out of the place looking thirty years and one penis away from anyone who had anything to do with it.”

“But what about their minds?” Waterman asked. “How does that all work?”

“Do I look like a scientist to you? All I know is that it was working three years ago, I bet they are a whole lot better by now.”

 Continue the Adventure with Dak and Erin Here!

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