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.

FInd out more about New Cluster and the Skinjumpers here!

Big Gun

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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

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!

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.

skinjumpers_copy

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!