The Climax of Saving Money

We won’t go hungry, no not tonight,”

“Flesh is so tender you don’t need a knife.”

“Eating yer buddies.”

 

Eating Your Buddies

Eating Your Buddies

The group sung as one, except for Pitch, who led them quickly through the night. Talon had dropped back as far as Mucci would let him. He had given Pitch the basic instructions and the man knew the way.

The night came alive around him as the cannibals continued their eerie chant. Shadows clung to the refuse that lined the road, looking like fields of dead bodies. The taste of the meat bubbled up into his throat, staining his lips, bringing back what he had done. He could feel it. It clung against the side of his stomach like a solid lump putrefying his insides. He knew he was tainted, but he couldn’t worry about that now, he had to see this through.

They were nearing the bridge. In the distance, the lights of the other side of the city shined like the stars the smog denied.

Bridge

“Keep an eye on him,” Pitch hissed back to Mucci, and then began to jog under the bridge. A light could now be seen on the far side. ”Rick, is that you?” He called out.

Talon knew he had to act fast. “Hey look out,” he said to Mucci, grabbing his arm.”

“What the hell?”

“The guy I pushed over the ledge, I saw him. The fall didn’t take him out.” Without waiting for a reply, Talon took off back the way they had come. Mucci, uncertain at first, followed. As soon as they had reached thicker shadows, Talon spun around and punched Mucci in the nose. The young man wasn’t expecting such a sudden turn, and the fist broke Mucci’s nose in an explosion of blood.

Talon Fights Back

Talon Fights Back

While Mucci stumbled back, Talon’s left hand grabbed the bat and his right hand punched him again. Grunting, Mucci released the bat. The blow caused him to trip over a rock and he went crashing down onto his back. Talon choked up the bat, like he was going to head in to finish the job, but that was when a helicopter floodlight began to illuminate under the bridge. A garbled voice started shouting orders and then moments later gunfire rang out.

“Good luck dumb ass,” he yelled back at the battered punk and began to sprint out of there. “And thank you, Brian Whitney; sorry about the hassle they’ll be putting you through after all this.” That guy must have been loaded, Talon thought to himself. If the reported kidnapping brought out Helicopter support, Talon must have picked the right guy to call in a false report with. The cops wouldn’t find Brian there, but they had found enough to make sure the trip wasn’t a waste and even if any of Pitch’s crew survived the encounter, he doubted he would be seeing them for a while.

He had almost made it back to one of the main roads, when a large figure blocked his path.

At first Talon thought it was some random dreg or maybe a cop who had moved around to cut them off, but then he saw the glint of the helicopter lights shining off glasses. It was Rick-the-dick. The man could barely stand without swaying and blood dripped from the middle finger of his disfigured left arm, slowly creating a muddy black pool where it mixed with the sand below.

Rik The Dik

Rik The Dik

“You narcing bastard. Can you comprehend what you have done?”

“Rid the world of a bunch of freaks is what I’m thinking.”

With a roar, Rick rushed forward swinging his nun-chucks. Talon still had the bat and used it to block the attack. Moving faster, his back swing took Rick in the temple with a loud crack.

Talon brought the bat behind his shoulder, like he was waiting for a pitch. Rick came in and he swung the bat. It connected with the chucks and sent them flying into the dead bushes.

Rick called out, “I’ll kill you for ruining everything,” and leapt forward. His long lanky arms got past the bat and he began to clutch and pull at him. Before Talon knew what was happening, long teeth had buried themselves into the flesh of his shoulder. His cried out in pain as the jagged teeth quickly tore through his tie shirt.

Dropping the bat, his hand began to fumble into his back pocket. Pulling out the steak knife, he stabbed it between two of Rick’s ribs. The man gasped out and stumbled away, taking the knife with him. “Try to eat me will you,” Talon spat at him while clutching his bleeding shoulder. “You are the one who is going to get carved like a steak.”

After yanking out the knife, Rick came at him again, but Talon snatched up the bat and swung into him before Rick could use the small blade. There was a resounding crack as the tip of the bat broke Rick jaw. He tumbled off of the path with a wet grown.

Talon was going to make sure he finished what he started this time. Leaving a vengeful Rick-the-dick alive wouldn’t be wise. Then a sound stopped him.

Mutt Hounds

Mutt Hounds

A low growling could be heard coming from the dry bushes. Another quickly followed it, then a third. Thin shadows created finger wide tiger strips on the circling pack. Rez-dogs, loose packs that preyed on the unlucky and alone. They scented blood and were more than willing to prey on the wounded.

“He’s all yours boys.” Talon muttered, as he slowly retreated holding the bat in front of him.

Rick reached out a pleading hand and moaned.

“Sorry, I guess it is your turn to fed the hungry mouths. Only I think this meal won’t be over as quickly.” The sounds on Rick’s hopeless cries would haunt him for months. Nearly as long as it would take for him to get the taste of human flesh from returning to him when it was least needed. A thousand beers couldn’t drown it. Over time it faded, but his friends always wondered why a big guy like him would suddenly become a vegetarian and they would never know.

Talon

Talon

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New Cluster

New Cluster

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Saving Money (Part III)

“Hey Talon, what are you doing here?” Marty was one of the cooler guys he worked with. He didn’t talk down to Talon, just because he was a lowly dishwasher and Marty was a chief. “I thought you had tonight off?”

“Oh, I think I left my Personal here,” he lied. Talon didn’t even have enough money to own a personal, which these days meant his dating pool was pretty narrow.

“Well, the lost and found is near the register.” That was what he was hoping Marty would say.

New Cluster

New Cluster

Hurrying through the busy kitchen, he dodged plates and conversations. He saw a stray steak knife and tucked it into his back pocket. It wasn’t too big, but it could come in handy.

Making it to the front, he dropped behind the counter. Sassy was working, which he couldn’t decide was lucky or not. He had a hard enough time talking to her normally, but tonight, he was already feeling like his pulse rate had doubled.

The thought that he had eaten a steak of human flesh splattered across his mind. Did it somehow make him different? Could it scar you? He tried to push such feelings away. There would be plenty of time to ruminate on that horror later. Right now, he just had to make sure he had a later.

Attempting to push his tangled thoughts aside, he moved in behind her, waiting. There were worse places to be. Wearing the skintight Chinese dress did what it was supposed to do and graced her thin figure exquisitely. The scarlet dress matched her heels as well as her lips. She had a short blonde gloss cut, which belled out just over her hairline. Luminescent light blue eyes finished the look.

Sassy selected from the cream of the available undercrusties, and sometimes men who weren’t so available. She was way out of his league, even though they were of an age. This didn’t keep her from being decent to him and they joked around as much as he could manage.

Turning to face him, she smiled, “hi there Talon, just can’t stay away from the fun?”

“You got me pegged, I can’t hang here next to you while I’m not the clock, so I have to come in off shift for the privilege.“

He might have almost brought some color to her cheeks, and she eyed him slyly, but then quickly said, “Why are you really here?”

“I think I might have left my Personal here?”

“Really, I didn’t know you had one.” throwing her hip out slightly, she eyed him strongly.

“Why do you want my number?”

Sassy

Sassy

“Maybe,” she pointed a scarlet fingernail towards a haggard yellow box that sat under the counter. “There is the lost and found. If you see a pair of amber earrings let me know.”

Talon was trying to kill time. He had to stay behind the counter as long as possible. Minutes dragged until he had spent enough of them to search the box three times.

“You know that if you lost it here, some scratch would swipe it anyway,” she said from behind him.

Holding up some thick red winter gloves, “here, how about these? They match your dress?”

“Hilarious. If I didn’t now better, I’d say you were lingering down there to check out my legs.”

“Man, I should have thought of that.” He was trying to joke, but things were wearing thin. Just then, what he had been waiting for happened. One of the waitresses came up with a man’s Digi-cred on a plate. Sassy quickly scanned the number. The number was only on the blue screen for a few seconds, but Talon jotted down the info on the back of his hand with a pen. Thank you Brian Whitney, he thought to himself with a secret smile. The digits disappeared before he could double check that he had gotten the right number. He had better hope that he had, the entire plan rested on this data.

After a brief attempt to part nicely with Sassy, he was on this way. Dashing out into the stagnant night, heading back to the last place in the world where he wanted to go.

*      *      *

“Yeah, he sent me back to get everyone. There are three people that we got.” Gesturing with his hands. “We need help, getting them all back.”

Pitch glared at him through squinted eyes. “Why three? Rick knows that we are only supposed to do one at a time.”

“No see that’s the thing. This is way more than what you guys got before. These three were smugglers. They had all sorts of stolen electronics. Valuable stuff. We can bury the bodies if we have to. Who cares?”

Pitch had drawn a black bladed dagger and was now playing with it while they talked. Talon tried not to stare at it. “How did you PRs take out three guys from the majors?”

“Mostly because Rick is a freak,” he answered. “The guy went sickness. The whole thing happened under a bridge over the canal. He got two of em’ and I waxed the third by pushing him over the railing.”

“You waxed a guy?” Pitch didn’t struggle to hide his disbelief.

Pitch

Pitch

“Unless he can survive a thirty-foot drop.”

“Come on Pitch,” Stain was saying, while tugging at his arm. “I’ve always wanted a Ipod. It would be cool to have a Television here too and make some real money. RTD is…sick like Talon says. I could see him wasting these guys.”

“I’m still not sure.” Pointing his dagger straight at Talon’s face, there was now only a foot of space separating the tip from his eye. “It seems a bit on the, to good to be true side, for my tastes.” A pause, “why didn’t Rick come back?”

“Someone had to guard the gear. He’ll be able to scare any dregs off.” The others were getting excited and soon Pitch didn’t have much choice.

“Alright you pudwacks, we’ll check this out and we are all going.” Pointing the dagger at him still, “and you, we will be keeping a close eye on you.”

Glasses

“As long as I get my share.”

“Oh, we believe in sharing everything.” As he spoke these last words the glowing eyes of the rest of them all focused on Talon. Trying not to shiver, he could only met their gaze for a moment, before he turned and led them out the door. Many of them paused to gather up weapons. Not to be outdone, Talon went to grab a baseball bat. Pitch was faster. He snatched it up and tossed it to Mucci. The dark skinned youth caught it easily. “No weapons for you yet. Mucci keep an eye on this PR. If anything goes less then perfect, keep hitting him until he stops moaning.”

Mucci pushed him forward and the group faded into the streets of New Cluster.

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Streets f New Cluster

Streets f New Cluster

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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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

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

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!