Cluster F Part V

Having Marty along side him as he continued his mad race across the outskirts of the New Cluster was more hindrance than help. Besides Marty’s constant complaining, he was slower and more awkward than Talon and had already almost gotten them caught twice.
“Talon, if we get through this without being killed,” he panted, “I’m going to kill you.”

Hand of Blood
No matter what they did, the Rips found them and were always on their tail. “Don’t you have an Enforcer plan?” Talon struggled to say as they raced under a vehicle overpass.

 
“Yeah, for two-hundred a month.” Talon knew what that meant. Marty could file a report with a one cop, but that was about it. Such a plan would barely be enough to let them into a cop shop. They were going to have to think of something else.

 

Punker Chick
Looking behind him, Talon saw the bobbing mohawks of the Rips come into view, silhouetted against the endless lights of the city. “We better get moving,” he said, then hugged his jacket closer to him. That was when he felt something in his pocket. Pulling it out, he found that it was a small package wrapped in plastic. It gave a bit under his fingers… like… it… was… filled… with… powder.

 
“Oh damn,” he swore to himself.

 
“Come on Talon they are coming,” Marty said, but Talon barely heard him. He was staring at the small blinking red light trapped in the center of the package. “Talon what is it?” Marty persisted.

 

That little Roach, Belter

That little Roach, Belter

“That little roach,” his said, anger flooding his words. “Come on!”

 
The Rips were almost upon them when Talon took them up the other side of the bridge. They hurried up the sandy incline and hadn’t reached the top, before they heard curses following them from below. Ignoring them, Talon raced to the side of the road.

 

Rooftop
“Keep an eye out for me,” Talon said. “Let me know if they get too close.”

 
“They’re already too close.”

 
Despite his friend’s warning, Talon waited. He knew what he was looking for. Marty squealed in panic, but Talon wouldn’t be moved from his spot on the side of the road. He could hear the Bangers, they were nearly to the pair. He was just thinking he might have to take up the run again, when he saw what he was looking for.

 
A large truck barreled towards them, drawing a flatbed behind it. Without hesitation, Talon tore the blinking light out of the package and then tossed it onto the junk filled bed of the truck. Like a demon’s missing eye, the red device flew through the air, hit the back of the cab, and then landed in the bed of the truck.

 
As soon as that was done, Talon grabbed Marty’s arm and they hid behind a pile of trash. The Rips came up only seconds later and the pair tried to hold their breath as a stream of curses flew from their lips that would have made an inmate on death row blush.

 
“They must have jumped onto a vehicle,” Ax spat.

 
“What are we going to do?”

Mace

Mace

“Don’t worry, he can’t hide,” Ax said, but was already moving away from them. A minute later they were gone from sight.
Looking down, Marty pointed at the packet. “What’s that?”

 
“Oh, I almost forgot. This was what they were looking for. My guess is that it is Cain.”

 
“What are you going to do with it? That must be worth a thousand universals easy.”

 
“My inclination is to toss it into a sewer.”

 
Marty was hesitant. “I might know someone who would pay good money for it.”

 
“I don’t want to deal with it.”

 
“You wouldn’t have to.”

 
“Okay, give me a hundred universals bucks and it is yours.”

 

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Cluster F Part IV

It wasn’t that easy.

Cluster F'ed Talon

Cluster F’ed Talon

No matter what he did he couldn’t seem to ditch these freaks. He hid in drainpipes and raced through yards. Once when he tried a dumpster. They almost had him surrounded, when he wisely chose to flee before he became trapped.

 

Rippers

Rippers

He had been moving more or less at random, just trying to stay alive. After over an hour of this, he found himself near Marty’s house. Marty was the coolest of the cooks he worked with. He hated to endanger him, but if he could just make sure he lost these street scum before he got to Marty’s place, then Talon could probably just lay low there for the rest of the night. Hell, if he kept his cool, Marty wouldn’t even have to know.

bloodmouth_460x356
Putting the last of his energy into a frantic sprint, he raced into the complex that housed his friend.
When his banging was finally answered, he rushed into Marty’s room. “Geez Talon, nice to see you too,” the cook said. Marty was about seven years older than Talon’s twenty-five. Ruffled strings of dyed black hair, set off the ghostly pallor of his white face. Marty was a bit of a Goth, but Talon tried not to hold it against him. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

 

The Baron
Forcing a smile, Talon said, “hey there Marty. I was in the neighborhood, so I thought I would drop by and say hello.”

 

Carnival of Blood
“More likely, you ran out of beer. It’s still four days till we get paid. You need to learn how to budget. Take me for instance, I-“
A loud bang rattled Marty’s front door. It was a mighty attack, like someone was trying to kick the door in with one blow.
“What the hell was that?” It only took Marty a few extra seconds to catch on. “Oh crap, you’re in trouble, aren’t you?”

 

Face Biter
“Let us in you wormy little bastard.” The angry shout was only slightly muffled by the door.

Dark Hair
“Is there another way out?” Talon asked.
“Damn Talon. What have you gotten me into? I’m going to kick your ass-“
Another loud bang sounded on the door. “Marty?”
“Arrr,” he growled. “This way, but if those losers trash my cube, I’m taking it out on you.”

 

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Saving Money (Part II)

Moving through the stygian night, he followed the lanky form of Rick-the-dick. They were passing through the slums of southern New Cluster, which were some of the worse parts of the city and of course where they all lived

Streetlights, that hadn’t worked for a decade, stabbed the earth like black daggers. Overhead, the smog obfuscated any hint of the stars he knew lurked above. Leaving the major streets, Rick weaved through the alleys. These grimy streets had gone from being thoroughfares to hard-bitten squats for all manner of dregs.

Normally, Talon would be put off entering these suspect areas, but the tall imposing figure of Rick-the-dick kept the others at bay. Gazing left and right, he saw gangs of dregs. Many eyed them as potential prey, but they had chosen to keep their distance so far.

“These places are too crowded,” Rick hissed back at him. Talon also thought that these folk probably did something with their dead, other than let PRs drag them away, but he kept his opinions to himself.

The pair moved away from the throbbing seas of dregs and headed for the canals. These canals were dryer than a bucket of sand left in the desert and were now just crumbling monuments to a time when rivers still moved across this part of the city, unless you counted the garbage-choked flashfloods that ripped through New Custer in the spring. These were long gone now, and the canal loomed before them like a dark scar cut into the Earth.

People still malingered here and there, for it was rare to find any sort of isolation within the city limits. They moved closer to the canal. A walkway ran along it, which had once been part of a recreation program, but due to the smog, long gone were the days when one could exercise outside. Such things now belonged only to those rich enough to afford the indoor gyms, or people like him that worked off any nutrition he received through drudgery.

A bridge formed a black arch, which blocked half of the northern city’s lights and created a wide shadow across the trail. Rick headed for it. Talon hesitated at the lip of darkness. “Come on you wuss,” Rick ordered. Normally Talon wouldn’t have gone anywhere near places like this, but supposed that they were the predators now.

To his right, only a thin railing kept path traffic from tumbling into the canal bed far below. To his left, the darkness thickened where the bridge continued into a narrow space between the road and the dirt below. Rick had some sort of light and was shining it into these recesses. Talon hurried closer to the light. Looking back at him, the grim form of Rick nodded, the light reflecting off his archaic glasses. He motioned with his head and Talon saw a tangled sleeping form. The man was so filthy, he nearly camouflaged himself into the dirt below.

Rik The Dik

Rik The Dik

“Is he dead?” Talon whispered.

Rick’s response was to kick the man in the shin while he removed a pair of nun-chucks. The man groaned, but made no move to retaliate or even awaken.

“He’s still alive, Rick.”

“That’s a situation which can be easily rectified.” Then with a snarl, Rick tore the old man from his bedding and violently dragged him to the edge of the dirt.

Screaming began and ended quickly, when Rick laid the nun-chucks into the old dreg. Talon couldn’t move as the sick crunches filled the air. Rick beat on him again and again, until there was no doubt that the old man was dead. Then crouching over his victim, Rick began to search the man in the faint hope that he might possess something valuable.

They were right next to the rail that separated them from the long drop into the rocky canal. Without really planning to, Talon rushed forward and gave Rick-the-dick a mighty shove. Rick’s eyes grew wide, more with anger than fear, and he clutched at Talon as his body balanced precariously on the railing. Fingers tore strips of hair from Talon’s mohawk, but with a grunt, Talon grabbed the base of Rick’s boots and upended him backwards over the railing. Rick didn’t even bother to scream when his body plummeted into the debris-choked canal.

Another person might have just fled back to is home and hoped for the best, but Talon knew what sort of end that choice would led him to eventually. He had different ideas.

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