Short Story, Neon Garden - Part 3

Continued from part 2.

Neon Garden – Part 3

There’s all sorts of complex subroutines in the human mind, drawing on information even on a subconscious level. In quantum theory you learn about these sorts of things. Flashes of danger before it strikes, or that feeling that someone is watching you. This can be attributed to magnetic synchronization, or a filter in the brain that can draw images from anti-matter traveling backwards in time as our reality lunges forward. Not magic, just little glitches resulting from the formation of the universe. Oddities written into the laws of physics. It was this sense that above all else, Yashima was the most proficient in tapping into, seemingly at will.  It was combat subroutines hardwired into his brain, funneled though his eye modification.  A situational awareness that could factor in hundreds of variables in the middle of even the most horrific scenes of chaos and mayhem that pertained to himself. Who was looking at him, what weapons could fire, what was the net’s traffic was saying, all of these factors and more working in concert. All of this granted him a fraction of a second to react when the phosphorescent fire of an automated gauss gun sliced through the floor of the monorail he was riding as if it were a sword slicing the underside of a loaf of bread.

It wasn’t enough time, one of the slugs sliced clean through his right arm, nearly severing it. The nanomesh didn’t even slow it down, as it cut through the ceiling of the rail car and into the center-linkage that held the whole thing on it’s track. With a sudden lurching sound Yashima found himself being thrown violently to the floor along with a dozen or so screaming citizens. The car had derailed on it’s track. The pain in his arm was being blocked by nerve suppressors built into the artificial tissue, but the blood loss was staggering. He could already feel himself getting dizzy and lightheaded. There wasn’t any time, so he quickly unhooked a belt from a nearby corpse, some low-level executive that took three rounds from the crotch up nearly splitting his torso in two lengthwise. There were others injured too but nothing could be done about that.  There wasn’t enough not enough time for the blood to pool on the floor and barely enough time to haul himself up and tighten the belt around the wound. The car snapped loose from it’s track, pulling the rest of the rail backwards with it.  The emergency door at the end didn’t give.  It was much more sickening to see the corpses as well as the injured and uninjured roll, slide, and fall towards the end of the car, pressed up against the glass and frame by gravity.  Yashima managed to stabilize himself and avoid falling to the end of the car.

He was a sitting duck, there was no where to run and no way to escape. The rapid-fire of the gauss gun pierced the car again, tearing through the mass of humanity pinned at the tail end. A round struck home again, hitting Yashima square in the chest. The slug was stopped by armor built into his chest plate, placed there to protect his vitals. The force; however, was strong enough to knock him loose from a pole he was grasping on to and send him sliding on the dirty and bloody floor to the tail end on top of the pile of now mostly corpses as well as a few unlucky survivors wishing they were.

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Short Story – Neon Garden, Part 2

Continued from part 1.

Neon Garden – Part 2

Blonde’s assessment wasn’t too far off the mark, Yashima had to give him that.  He was the overly inquisitive sort, but not that anyone who hired him could tell.  Most mercs were content to go with the intel provided, and rarely tried to figure out the why of anything.  Yashima was not most mercs.  You could even attribute his continued longevity to this simple fact.  Asking questions just might save your life.  It wasn’t about questioning the mission, or pestering the individual who requisitioned the job for more information.  That was suicide, asking questions always made corps extra nervous and was risky.  After all, they were paying you to not ask questions to begin with.  No, what Yashima did was a bit more subtle.  He did his own independent research, and it didn’t involve using net queries, or hacking, or anything of the sort.  Call it, old-fashioned detective work fueled by a healthy dose of paranoia.

Yashima stood, still wearing his Mr. Incognito attire, in front of a simple placard staked into the soil that encompassed the outer rim of the same park the meeting took place in.  Earlier he went down street side to a rundown yakisoba sandwich vendor.  Then after stuffing his face on what you could describe as food, he embarked on a casual walking tour of the many obscure book vendors and street shops that lined a nearby derelict scraper.  The gutted remains of some office-complex converted by shady third-party landlords and leasing corps into a shopping district.  Automated turrets lined the various points of entry, giving at least the illusion of security.  He ambled about for a few hours, reading books on flowers, specifically on bio-engineered flowers.  He didn’t take anything, just scanned the pages with his artificial eye, storing the information into a slot-drive mounted behind his ear.  Paper volumes were not as rare as you might believe, fairly new books were still printed by underground second and third-party publishers.  The predominate reason being, well, you can’t hack paper.  He paid any vendors who’s books he scanned in cash, and shuffled off to the next stop in the neon trail.

Killing time, as it were, till the operation.  Plus it never hurt to try and learn something new.  After running out of nearby vendors he returned to the place of the meeting because he wanted to see what these flowers growing here were all about.  The placard read:

 The Dr. L.P. Pierce Memorial Flower Garden
Dedicated to the man who’s vision, leadership, determination and spirit helped to pioneer Titan-Pyre’s identity as a conglomerate with a global consciousness.
These rare Gibraltar Campion Silene tomentosa flowers, thought extinct twice over after the siege of Europa claimed the Royal Flower Gardens of London, were brought back from the brink thanks to ground breaking genetic repair technology discovered by Dr. Pierce.  They are a symbol of his legacy, and of Titan-Pyre’s commitment to finding a balance between humans and the natural world.

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Short Story – Neon Garden, Part 1

This is a short story set in the same relative time and place as my cyberpunk story.  It’s a brief side story intended to flesh out, a little more, the nature of corporate warfare in the nearish future.  I hope you enjoy it, I will post this as a three parts over the next week.  The next update will be on Wednesday and the subsequent final update will be on Sunday.

Neon Garden – Part 1

Down on the streets, where columns of light beamed down in between parts of the skyline that had not yet grown to cover them, in between the interlocking sky bridges and office-complex junctions, there was a park. Well, what used to be a park, now it was a concrete makeshift playground for employees of Titan-Pyre Industries. Though, as with most corps that are on the decline after the biotech industry bubble burst, it was slowly being taken over by the other elements of the sprawl. The full time security staff was, at this point, in a sorry state and their attitudes towards their duties were questionable at best. The drones and cameras were infinitely more alert, though clearly not the current models. One particularly sad looking drone sputtered about on it’s flight path, occasionally twirling about as it’s failing gyros tried to compensate for their growing deficiencies.

As a result most anyone could walk in and use the place to hang out, get high, or use P.A.N. Devices to cover the net’s interface of the place in ugly poorly drawn graffiti. Beat box headed drifters ambled about aimlessly at all hours. The children were more concerned with games, dotting the neon landscape of the age-restricted P.A.N. cloud with the typical refuse of youth. Poorly drawn exceptions of skimmers, troops at war, games scrawled on to the ground with bizarre shifting rules. The occasional junkie or punk hacking the cloud to leave crude messages was actually somewhat of a rare occurrence, and with the ignorance of youth, was usually met with indifference or clever ‘modifications’ from the children who frequented this place.

A unique feature of this otherwise unremarkable place was it’s flower gardens, planted by some well-intentioned fool before the skyline blocked out the sun. Now what remains is a ring of dirt encompassing the entire plaza with a single patch of flowers, maybe three feet by four feet in area, still left alive. The sky bridges cover the sunlight so thoroughly that this one spot was the only part that still received direct sunlight. There was a small girl who attended these flowers from the looks of it, coming by to water them and pick up the weeds. A single defiant piece of the natural world that somehow managed to avoid being choked out by the voracious maw of urban design run amok. Flowers aren’t exactly a unique feature, in most corp parks they exist, but what set these apart was that they weren’t synthetic or fake. These plants were one-hundred percent natural.

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