King City : Boom – Part Six


“When I said pick your team-“

“Consider it a lesson learned Goodstone.” Silver looked to the almost too perfect forest path. He adjusted his swords, the wazikashi and katana across his leather jacket. “We have to get to the edge of the twilight, and like you said… They don’t like cold steel.”

“Remind me again, why I’m here?” Billy chimed in, checking the arrows in the quiver again. His hands quickly checked the longbow. “Seriously, the standard Magii testing? I scored negative, even lower than you Silver.”

“You’re family to the Hartlan’s.” Tom spoke over his shoulder.

“And the Kennedy’s, but you don’t see me getting invited to dinner. ” Billy nodded ahead. “Something’s ahead.”

“I see that. Maybe if you didn’t do that article and put three more levels of red tape paperwork into my work process…” Goodstone waited for a moment, then adjusted his grip along the length of iron quarterstaff. “Check the rear.”

“If I didn’t do that article, I wouldn’t be reporting the truth.” Billy squinted a little. “Could be the wind, or a Pookah.”

Silver spun to the side, blade somehow already in his grip pointed to the path they just walked on. “Nothing but too dense forest, that isn’t the way we came.”

“It is, remember, this is Fae. Even the maps change.” Goodstone sighed a little, then rested the staff on the top of his boot.

“That some good detecting.” Billy smirked, then in an instant he had one arrow at the ready, nocked and ready to fly pointed towards the path ahead. “Fortunately my hunting skills are better. SHOW YOURSELVES!”

The sounds slid around them, too many voices slippery, from tree branches above, from a rock on the path below. The sounds dizzying. “You dare bring those… things. Into our home, to cause the Rot? This is an insult to-“

“Before you even begin, let it be known that we are only passing through your realm to the Dreamtime. The weapons are for our own protection as is to yours, the blood of the Hartlan walks with us to guide to the one called Rory Hartlan. He dreams and cannot wake.” Silver recited precisely, then looked up towards the brim of his porkpie hat, trying to remember if he forgot anything.

“That one’s blood, it contains the taint.” The voices floated in from the forest edge, seeming to concentrate around Goodstone.

“Yeah, blame that on my heritage, it means no insult to your kind. We’re only travelling through, we will defend ourselves if harmed or influenced.” Goodstone held the heavy quarterstaff above the ground, the air sharpened at the move.

Billy nodded, “Good one.”

“The archer is of the blood, but is not touched by the ancestor. We shall take him as tribute.”

“No you won’t, because if you look further, you will see that I know words. And you don’t want every human traipsing around in these places, if I spread word of the many entrances to this place.” Billy returned the arrow to the quiver. “Billboards, paper flyers, big neon signs flashing ‘OPEN FOR TOURISM’. Hungry humans looking for new food sources, scientists ready to open up whatever they can get their hands on, and even worse. Tourists.”

The forest seem to withdraw a moment.

“The toll must be paid. These are the ways of this place.”

“And we will earn it, not through trickery, permanent or temporary sacrifice.” Silver spoke looking to the forest.

“And the monsters that the Rory has fought do remain in his own dreaming. Near that place where he lies in the Dreamtime, is weak, to this place. The easier the path, the quicker we can stop anything that could come through.” Goodstone pointed out, “And the longer we bicker here, the better chance that something not of the realms of Earth or Fae could enter.”

“Know that this place will take. If not through this journey, but the next. You have been warned, Warrior, Hunter and Smithy. And you will return to these lands, the toll must be paid.” The whispering voices pulled away from the forest edge, and the light seemed to return all around them.

“Hunter Bill?” Tom smirked.

“Warrior Tom?”

“Shut up. We’re just lucky that those were the friendly Fae.” Goodstone took out a notepad and wrote down some details. “Which way?”

“If things keep going the way they should, we keep going forward, then we’re on our way to the edges of Fae. I have a feeling that they want Rory awake just as bad as we do. Or at least have him on guard. His own nightmares are as large a threat as our own bomber.”

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Tales of King City : Boom – Part Five


“Master Hartlan, did not intentionally set off the bomb, but his own presence triggered it.” Boggart spoke as he drew on the whiteboard. “Travel through the shadow plane is quicker and removes quite a few of the perceptions of this world. It would be like putting on filters on your glasses, and having ten league boots. By this method of travelling, Rory would first ‘inquire’ or look ahead to where he needed to go.”

“This is how he managed to triangulate where the bomb was. Looking ahead and seeing what was extremely different. And in this case, what was extremely normal.”

The room of police, registered powers, officials, Magii watched the pair at the front of the room. Boggart held himself tall, all five feet, immaculate white suit. TC wore her standard t-shirt, leather jacket, jeans, but the exception of the red and blue mask of the Pendragon, her hair was tied back behind her head.

“One of the largest anomalies that occurred was that many of the Magii had a moment where they ‘were not themselves’.” TC held herself back from making finger quotes. “They all had one common theme, young boy at play. On the coastline, with beings that seemed benevolent and made of light.”

Many heads in the room nodded.

“This is not a time bomb we are looking for. We are looking for a bomb made of time itself.” TC noted out, as she pointed out to the board. “Memories and moments in time are the trip wire. Due to the chaotic nature of Rory’s energy, we were given some grace for him to contain the blast.”

One of the Magii held his hands up, “Between there and here, is only the now.”

“There has been growth though.” Another Magii interjected.

“Ahem, this is not the venue for that discussion. But it does give us insight as to who has been planting these bombs.” Boggart said in crisp fashion, and slid across the whiteboard. “Our current profile is such. Lady, in her late thirties to early sixties. Never married, quite set in her ways. Biologically unable to give birth, our departments have permission to search through fertility records. Telepathic and Chrono power enabled, but only subconsciously. Never registered, and is quite possibly still a citizen. On the Magii scale, she very well could be near deity level power with the ability to rewrite time. Or even worse, your own memories.”

Goodstone stepped forward, “So, the bomber may not know she is even doing it.”

“Indeed. I still maintain that this the act of a man, but I have been frequently wrong Detective.” Boggart smiled through the British accent.

“But there have been no new threats, correct?” Tom Silver walked into the briefing room, green slime dripped off his leather jacket, there appeared to be some bits of tentacles still clutched to his arm and leg. “No one else got the alert on the big nasty in the-”

Tom looked around, “Guess not. That one’s on me. Literally. So why no new threats? No letters? What stopped?”

Slinger, raised herself up as tall as she could, “At this time, we have no plausible theories.”

“Besides Hartlan becoming the bomb itself, and needs to explode, in order to get the next one going… right? It’s quite possible that it’s a chain reaction. That is what time is about.” Tom took a towel gratefully from someone and wiped his face off. “Send the janitors a box of doughnuts would you? Just as bad job cleaning up after the giant monsters as it is slaying them.”

Goodstone looked to the swordsman. “Thanks Tom. Slinger, Boggart. Thank you for the debriefing. We’ll keep you all posted on this as developments occur. Good hunting everyone.”

The majority of the room left, until Goodstone looked to the four faces. Slinger, emotionless behind the Pendragon mask. Boggart, staring off into space, his clawed finger tips stroking through the spines on his chin. Tom Silver, still wiping himself off as best as he could, an array of edged weaponry on the tables laid out.

“Explode or defuse?”

“Defuse.” Boggart spoke.

“Explode.” Tom said. “Seems quite a regular occurrence that you all die once or twice every four of five years. Or just wait till the human race ends, then wait for a way to defuse him properly. The cryogenics thing, you know?”

“Slinger?”

“I don’t know. We have to at least reach Rory, tell him what we are doing. The last thing we need is a vengeful undead magii not knowing why his life ended.”

Boggart lifted his head, “Dreamwalk. We should be able to reach him in the coma there. I am not allowed to such methods, being of my kind. We could also ask the fae folk for a favor.”

Silver laughed, “You go right ahead my spiney buddy. I’m not getting involved with those dandelion eaters. I’d rather go try my hand at working for city hall.”

Goodstone pulled out his comm pad, started typing in and figuring out the numbers. “Two teams, we pull Rory out to the Lagrange station, give the engineers one week to contain the explosion. Team one, goes dreamwalk or whatever, contact Rory. Team two, let’s see if we can’t duplicate the Hartlan bomb. Maybe there was another one there in town.”

“Team One, Silver, pick your team. I do recall the fairy folk do not like cold iron. Treat them with respect. Team Two, Slinger and Boggart, pick the rest of your team.” Goodstone pointed out to them. “I’m going to get the budget approved.”

Tales of King City : Boom – Part Four


T.C. Calhoun, teen hero, shopper extraordinaire, sometimes blonde, stood by the bedside of Rory Hartlan. She frowned, and removed the Pendragon Mask. She muttered an incantation, looked to the mask, sighed, then enunciated the incantation. The mask shrunk and she attached it to the lapel of her leather jacket.

“What did he say?” A deep grumbling voice spoke behind her. TC knew not to jump when her mentor had done this. He had a habit of moving very silently.

“To call his therapist.”

“How did he set the bomb off?”

“Dice. Like he was playing craps. Sensei, he took the bomb inside of himself.”

“Clever. To take the form of another, like water. It changes when you put it into another form.”

TC grinned, “With Rory, more like whiskey.”

“Ahem.”

TC waved a hand across her face, the small spell placed a glamour, replacing her elfin features to the red and blue face mask of the Pendragon.

“Detective Goodstone.” Sensei spoke in acknowledgement. Small hands stroked the wiry beard. “You come with bad news.”

“Mayor says we will have to move him out of the city. Some of the environmental groups say he should be sent out to the Wild Zone or the Dump. Effectively he is no longer a registered power. Legally, Hartlan is a bomb.”

“Not unless he explodes.” TC spoke quietly. “What is a bomb if it doesn’t explode? That’s what he said when one of the other Magii challenged him.”

Goodstone blinked, “Just parts.”

“And that is what is stopping you from finding them in time. You are looking for a bomb. That does not exist.” Sensei spoke, then grunted as he sat down in the bedside chair. “You must think larger Detective.”

“Parts. That makes sense.” Goodstone nodded, then walked over to the bed. “Slinger, you are up to finding the next one.”

“What? Totally me? I’m not a terrorist hunter.” She exclaimed in perfect teenage tone. “Gimme a giant monster or zombie kung-fu clan any day. I can’t do this!”

Goodstone looked at her deadpan, “I can talk to people, see how this will take off more than half of the ‘community service’ hours that you owe from destruction of property. The other registered Magii are spooked on this, they aren’t saying anything on this.”

“The Hartlan has scared them again. He appears to be a drunk. He appears to be a scoundrel. A base Magii with nothing more than a bag full of tricks. But all along. They only know that his influence and clerverness, not his power, is greater than anyone can realize.” Sensei looked to the bed. “When the Magii withdraw, they know that greater trials lay ahead, some that cannot handle that burden.”

“Okay, like totally Fate did not have to do with it. I didn’t get my wonky sense. I can help, like when you need someone to punch the bitch in the face.” TC said, nodding emphatically. Her pixie cut hair flopping around.

Sensei and Goodstone looked at her, “Bitch?”

“Yeah, as in female dog. You think a guy would be blowing up a fertility clinic? A-Kay-A as a sperm bank? That’s the closest and largest department to where the bomb was. Odds are in favor it’s a woman.”

Goodstone brought up his communicator, “Vegas, the bomber is female. What are we looking at?”

“That improves the odds for us. But expands out the territory.” Goodstone’s communicator replied back.

“Slinger, you shall travel to the sanctum of the Goddess. Three labours you will perform, there you will converse and gain insight.” Sensei nodded in agreement to his own words. “After you finish cleaning the shop, make soup and finish your lessons.”

“Sensei…I can’t-”

“You will.” Sensei barked. “There is much more to your potential than punching and kicking. You have yet to master that which will control you.”

“And the KCPD would appreciate the help on this too.” Goodstone put the hat back onto his head. “Sir, Slinger. We’ll have him transferred out within the hour. Any information, pass it back.”

The Detective left the room, and TC let the glamour slip from her face.

“Really Sensei? You are volunteering me to do this?”

“Those who run from challenges are not warriors. The city has brought us this peril. And you were the closest to Hartlan when he fell. So tell me Student, shall you take the cowardly way out? Forsake your bloodline and the weapons you have won by not only combat, but birthright?” Sensei stood up. “I want a juice box.”

“We’ll stop by the eatery before we head back to the shop.” TC steadied the old man, he took her elbow to settle himself. “You can buy me a muffin.”

“Tell me Student, what was it like near the bomb?”

TC placed the Pendragon mask onto her face. “It was, in flux. Parts of different worlds were there. I tasted something, it was meaty and bloody. With ketchup. I liked it, even though it wasn’t my mouth. It was so familiar, yet-”

“Yes, yes, you do not eat meat.”

“Not for like a dozen years now. I think it was a hamburger.” TC turned to look to Sensei. “And just for a moment, I was a small boy.”

Sensei stopped the pair of them, looked to Slinger, then back to the hallway. “You experienced something that was not you. But as you did have it, it became you. So who was it that time and experince originally belong?”

“Your grammar is falling apart.”

“You are one to talk Student. Let us get the monorail, I must feel the city from above.”

“Sh-yeah, you are just hoping some of the gangs’ll be there. So you can put them in their place. Which is a phrase I’ve never understood, isn’t their place where they are currently standing?”

“Shh! Less talking, more walking. Juice box is essential for my chi.”

*******

TC stood on the beachline, drawing in the sand with the end of her pike. She clutched and fumbled at the toga, then sighing, tied it tighter. She was grateful that it was a calm evening patrol and the Captain would not be as judgemental at the state of her dress. She being supplicant to the labours of the Goddess, had it’s few advantages.

Time being the most important. Actual time passing back in King City, about 20 minutes.

On the island? One week. It gave her time to go through the labours, time to think things over.

She kept drawing out the structure and shape of the city, the locations that she memorized. Seeing if there was a common pattern, a picture, a route or direction from the explosions.

But there wasn’t.

“Okay TC, you really need to get it together here. Outside view, what would Rory do?” She muttered to herself. “Get drunk, say something witty and insightful, save the day, drink whiskey, dance with fairies, and repeat.”

“Supplicant.” Another patrol approached and TC sighed, she obviously took too long and was behind in her area coverage. Looking back down the beach at the drawings in the sand, some where already being erased from the incoming tide.

“Captains.” TC nodded then looked guiltily to the drawing.

“There are things on your mind. Which distract you from your duties. The green one that fell. This man, of the Heartland protectors-”

The idea snapped in TC’s mind. Protectors. Containing the blast.

“Fairies.” She planted the pike into the sand. “I’m not a little boy.”

The Captains looked to each other, concerned. They knew that some of the Outer Worlds had peculiar ways.

“That was Rory. As a child. Right before he arrived, I was … him. As a boy, playing on the coastline. That smell of sea…” TC looked to them. “Permission to complete the challenge at a later date, I must return to the City. I figured out what the parts of the bomb are. And I can save the Heartland protector.”

The Captains nodded. TC ran off sprinting. Then stopped, ran back to the Captains, saluted, grabbed the pike and then headed to the columned house atop the cliff.

Tales of King City : Boom


“Would you look at that. There is a code for spontaneous entropic mass evaporation and/or intropic mass implosion.” Detective Goodstone blinked then marked the code down on a sticky note.

Detective Ferrero chuckled as he looked up from his underwood typewriter. “Seriously, you didn’t know that one?”

“The code for ‘It just blew up’? Or ‘It just disappeared’?” Goodstone pulled a flat mass of etched brass from the inside of his coat pocket. “Thankfully I did not. In this town, you’d think that would be one of them.”

“It just blew up?” A cute elfin smile leaned over into the aisle. Goodstone recognized the tone of her voice. This week, her hair was aquamarine.

“Vegas. Yeah, It just blew up. This time, the previous times it disappeared. A whole warehouse back on Tuesday.”

She blinked twice, “Wait, then there were two other places late last week. Had info trickle down my network. One was a sub-division that was new outside of town…”

“That’s the one. What do you know?”

She held up her hands, and the shiny handcuffs. “I know that this is an injust-”

“Three hundred and fourty four separate traffic violations, six ignored court summons and I believe one bail violated.” Detective Fererro recalled back. “Hence why I’ve got another 3 hours of paperwork before you can actually sign something.”

“My lawyer will clear this up. Judge Castle is back-”

“In Nantucket.” Goodstone interrupted her. “He’s kicking off a speaking tour for the Judicial system. What it’s like to Judge in a city with Gods/Aliens/Super Villains and still maintain an active sex life in your sixties.”

Vegas blinked at the new information, holding up the handcuffs. “Well, I didn’t know that. I’m a little cut off from my network.”

Ferrerro leaned over and looked to Goodstone. “It’s not going to help her.”

“Not this time.”

“Come on guys. Cut me a break.”

Ferrero looked to her, slid his fedora back a little, and then steepled his hands, pursing his lips. “I can’t do a thing. As the arresting officer.”

“Goodstone, buddy. Help me out here.”

“Well, right now an additional charge of withholding information on an active investigation is pending. But I can give Judge Rogers a good word on how cooperative you were at your hearing. Say Fererro, doesn’t he volunteer time to the Orphans of Another World?”

“I heard that.”

“Yeah, it would be really good if a benefactor would just drop a big donation into their lap. Hypothetically the money could come from… I don’t know. Maybe from proceeds of quasi-legal gambling on sports events. I’m quite sure that I could mention it to Judge Rogers.” Goodstone leaned back in his own chair, put his feet up on his desk, placing his hands across his chest. “Oh well, nice thought. All hypothetical too. I’ve got blowing up buildings with no trace, and you’ve got two hundred and ninety seven forms to get through.”

Vegas looked between the two detectives, in disgust, in amazement, and finally in resignation. “Haven’t you heard of photocopiers?”

“Sorry Vegas, technology barrier. It fritzes out when I come close to it. It’s as close as I’ve ever got to being an actual registered Power.” Ferrero pulled out another sheet of carbon paper. “But you know what that’s like.”

“Killing me here.” Vegas muttered under her breath. “Okay, I’ll do it.”

“Get me two solid leads in the next 24 hours, make that donation, and I’ll see what Judge Rogers can do for reducing the number of traffic violations.” Goodstone ticked off the items on his fingers.

“This is discrimination. My insights are Registerable.”

“And denied every time Vegas. You are a citizen.” Fererro continued to type on the typewriter. “With a lot of parking tickets. It would just be cheaper for you to buy a pass. Or take the monorail.”

“Goodstone…”

“Twenty four hours, you are deputized and report to me. No betting network, you work on this. Work on it. Call in favors, make new offers, get witness reports I don’t have. The second I see action on the Vegas network concerning even a prediction on what the kiddy’s soccer game is doing, and I swear…” Goodstone stood up, pulled out his keys and walked over to Fererro’s desk. “You won’t be able to make a bet, play a game of odds, on this planet again.”

“So serious?”

“Letter arrived just before you plopped into that chair. Next time, the city will have casualties. City block in size.”

Vegas blinked and then held her hands up, “Hurry.”

Goodstone scanned her ident card, signed the pad, then unlocked the cuffs. She got up and ran from the desk.

Fererro watched her run away. “Thanks, that was going to kill me if she didn’t take that bait. You’ve been taking bastard lessons, haven’t you?”

“Yep. Can’t believe she bought into that.”

“Judge Castle? Or the letter?”

“Both.”

“One of them I lied to her.” Goodstone looked to Ferrero. “Keep processing those forms. And if you’ve heard anything from the Golden network, let me know.”

“Wait. Castle goes on his tour next month-”

Goodstone held up an envelope. “Yeah.”

“Expletive.” Ferrerro picked up the rotary phone. “Exchange Four Fourty Three, get me the Golden network. Any of the crew missing or received new challenges, let us know. We’ve got buildings blowing up and lives are on the line.”

Goodstone looked to the bundle of brass that unfolded, seemingly random chopstick form over chopstick form until gears emerged. The small humanoid robot shuddered into form, then crawled up the Detectives arm. The warm brass form tapped twice on the man’s shoulder.

There, there.

“Yeah, wish both were lies. Okay Gears, let’s hit the street.”

Tales of King City : The Run – Part 3


The mass shifted at the end of the hallway, then shrunk into a recognizable form. Tom had heard of this kid, and made the connection, this was where all the missing heros and villains had gone. They met him.

Leap was one of the more recognizable rookies back in the day. Always following the larger groups, vying for a spot to get into their ranks. Each group however rejected his applications. He was too young, he was too weak, he could get hurt. Everyone got that feeling from him, that he was just too awkward, too wanting. But it was his smaller powers that made Tom’s skin shiver. It was based on frog abilities and the certain strain of a poisonous frog from the amazon. The frog itself would eat poisonous insects to stimulate its own poison glands.

It would take the abilities of others, and use it to stimulate its own.

“Who sent you? Amazak? There aren’t many left now… I don’t even recognize the last seven that came.” The voice burbled, fluctuating. Tom took a step back as he could hear four distinctive voices coming from the dark form.

“I’m on a job, but you aren’t it.” Tom said casually then twirled the sword around. “I’m going further in.”

“Then you will die.”

Tom was about to say something, but found himself slammed up against the wall. The drywall burst sending a cloud of dust into Toms eyes. He could feel it then, a hundred thousand pinpricks along his skin. the dark mass was wrapped in them. Tom could see flashes of the slain heros and villains reflected in the oily shine. Their faces stretched in final agony.

Tom flexed, the sword flashed and he rolled through the gap.

Leap paused and stopped. “I don’t understand, no one can break that hold. How can you…”

Tom felt the air shift, and Leap took a step back. “You, are just. A man.”

“Yeah, just a guy with a sword.”

“So how could you…”

The air shifted again, and Leap looked out the gaping hole in the wall. “That’s not-”

There was only a scared mid-teen boy in tattered grey costume there. Face blanched, Leap’s voice cracked, “You are going to die.”

“Not today.” Tom spoke to the empty broken room. He looked out the window. The macro storm had shifted away from the center of the Q-zone. Somewhere, alarms went off back at the compound. Something was on the move.

Tom exited the building, rolling his shoulders, working out the combat from his taught muscles. His skin that had been touched by Leap felt sunburned and starting to swell. The wind shifted again, and Tom felt his skin soothed. He coughed and the dark spittle surprised him. Coughing again, the dark ichor horrified him. He felt his lungs burning, then another wind shift and they eased.

Tom slung his sword and walked further into the zone. Buildings seemed more intact, there was a lack of rubble, and plants growing between cracks in the sidewalk. It looked…

“Maintained.” Tom murmured as he ran a finger across the hood of a car. No dust. “Think I like the broken version of the zone.”

Looking back over his shoulder, he could see there was a slight fog, a dusting in the air, that sharply divided the chaos and the maintained area.

“Yeah, broken version.”

He walked further down the street, noting that the traffic lights were working in the surrouding block. The windows on the office were polished. There were garbage cans, with litter in them. Fresh with todays newspaper from downtown. Tom shook his head dismissing the inquisitive idea of how the paper made it to deliver here, but no hero had ever returned.

Looking around, he reached inside his pocket and pulled out a piece of paper, checking the map, he twisted it around, then spotted the street signs. Home.

Home Street.
Home Drive.
Home Avenue.

“Yeah, the broken version is a lot better.” Tom slung his sword and rolled back his sleeve. The comm pad was still turned off, it wasn’t time to start it. Or if he would even need it.

The wind shifted again, and he felt the adrenaline crash. Confused, drained, he wet a finger and held it up. Something was moving the air. He looked to the west and checked the map one more time.

Sighing, he walked into the building. Finding it in some disarray. Papers and medical lab results were strewn on the floor. A dark brown stain on the walls, gunshots. Instinctively he walked to the elevators and pressed the up button. Shaking his head, he found the stairs and then began his ascent. Occasionally there was the oddly strewn labcoat and shoe.

Then he heard the singing. It was an old language from a small voice, young and girlish. There was a tinkling of metal on glass, and he glanced over to the door that was slightly open. On the floor, the mummified corpse of a man, dried from the decades of air conditioning.

“Hello?”

“Hello! Who is there? Is papa there?”

“No, I’m here. What’s your name?”

There was giggling again. “Not saying. Can’t talk to strangers. Is uncle still lying down?”

“Yeah, is there anyone in there with you?”

“No. I’m all alone. I haven’t seen papa in such a long time. He told me to wait right here till he got back.”

“I’m… What’s Papa’s name?”

“Professor Park. I come a long way for him. He sent you here.”

Then the clues fell into place as he felt the air shift again. The smell of warm cookies being baked. The memory of his mother hugging him after coming in from the winter cold. His mouth alive with flavored sugar, and ice cold cola on a really hot day. The air cleared, and he wanted the feeling again. Tom shook his head and stepped back. Leaning back against the wall, he took deeper breaths.

“I stop the others from harming you.”

The winds stopping Leap, sensing something… more dangerous.

A larger predator. What would stop a series of threats from getting closer? Something more dangerous. Mice don’t make their burrows close to the predators or game trails. The lower parts of the food chain knew to stay away, instinctively. As a matter of survival.

Something that could affect a man, and want it back… like a drug. That was using him, or he was using it.

“Where did you come from?”

“Hard to say name, it is strange-” The girlish voice stopped and a mans voice spoke in broken russian.

Tom felt the ache across his bones, the air shifted again. He wanted to push open the door and go to the little girl. He could almost see her long blonde hair, dirty scuffed shoes. Suddenly, his memory was filled with a little sister, pushing her on the bike, wiping away the dirt and putting a bandaid on scratched knee. Then he noticed her eyes. Dark black pools, and the same small scar on the back of his hand.

“I don’t know those words sweetheart.”

“Papa sent you, I can smell it.”

Silver fumbled at his sleeve and hit the comm pad. The power would not come on. He jammed his hand hard, feeling his fingers almost sprain on the interface.

“Won’t you take me to him? Did he ask you to bring me to him?”

Tom fumbled and flipped the commpad over, he disconnected the battery and then reattached it. The comm pad activated. Jamming the big red button, the battery was drained. And he started running.

***

Down the street, he could see the macro storm pushing through the veil, and the back of his body tingled as he sensed the blast from the satellite. Tom looked back to the building, and then wet a finger holding it up. The air patterns stopped, the reeking smell of garbage and decay coming from the outer areas of the Q-zone.

Tom looked up, seeing the dark mass of Leap running to one of the buildings.

He turned back, going into the building. The staleness of the air hit him then. Tom went to the elevator, hit the button and jumped back as it sparked. Up the stairs again, he smelled the ozone. The hallway again, seemed darker, less polished.

He hesitated at the door, his body shivering feeling the warmth again.

Footsteps at the end of the hallway. Tom looked up the sight of a battle armor policeman.

“Silver?”

“Goodstone. Tell me you have a biohazard team. I need a retrieval for my contract.” He leaned up against the wall, as the detective turned and spoke into his headset.

“Didn’t you bring one yourself?”

“All part of the variable plan.”

Goodstone wavered for a moment, he brought a hand up to his head. “There was a girl, I have no sister or- it was you. How did you get in my head?”

“That thing in there made the memory, made me want it. It manufactured the smell, then put it into the air, must be a lingering draft. It’s managed to be top of the biggest threats in the Q-zone, keeping it in check. But I stopped it. That makes me the top badass.” Tom unsheathed the sword and studied the edge. “Show me your badge Watson.”

The bearded man stopped and hesitated, more footsteps were coming up the stairs.

“You need help Leap.” Tom saw the movement, and brought up his sword reflexively. The shape of Goodstone melted into the young teen boy.

“They won’t ever… I’ll be put away forever.”

“Maybe not. If you get better, you won’t. Your choice.” Tom twirled the blade, then looked beyond the teen. Goodstone stood in battle armor, three other robotic companions flanked his position. “Things are going to be a lot different in the Q-zone. Lot of new resources they are going to fight for. You can try and fight, but someone is going to come along stronger than me. And they’ll find you.”

“I- I can’t- They’ll never-”

“Just give yourself up. It’s too hard to keep going. You need to let go, and get help.”

“And sleep?”

Tom suppressed the horrific thought, the kid had not slept for years now.

“Yeah, safely. Just head to the barrier, show them your real face. Ask to be arrested. That simple. I can visit you as soon as they will let me.”

The young teen turned to a dark mass and sped past Goodstone.

“That-”

“You’ll find out. So, tell me you have a biohazard unit so I can get that thing in there for my contract.”

“Aren’t you even going to ask why or how I’m here?”

“That’s another day. Right now, I just want to get the russian fried robot in there and finish my contract.”

***

The charred small form lay on the desk. Tom sat back in the chair and studied the face of Mr.Park. There was a longing there, interspersed with flashes of mourning. Was it a parent mourning for a child? Or a junkie looking at the broken needle?

“Frankly speaking Mr. Park. The contract is complete. Your gift from your russian friend is here, I have brought it to you. The money from those budgets surprisingly dried up, but I made enough money off betting on myself.” Tom took his feet off the desk, and leaned forward.

“It’s ruined, it will never-”

“Oh yes it will.” Tom held up a comm pad. “What was whole, is in pieces. The programming matrix is in here.”

The mans eyes sparkled, “You are a bastard Silver.”

“Probably. But the Department of Defense, would absolutely love talking to you about your involvement with the Russians during the cold war. During the cuban missile crisis. During certain events with double agents in Paris. City hall is now acting on your instructions now to clean out the Q-Zone as Park Industries bought the entire area.” Tom leaned back and tucked the comm pad into his jacket. “The question is, what are you willing to give?”

The mans eyes flitted from the bulge in Tom’s pocket, to the robot on the desk. Back and forth, back and forth.

“Anything.”

Tom nodded, then reached inside his shirt and ripped out the wire.

“You have two minutes to get out. But I will tell you this Mr.Park, you put me into the most dangerous place on the planet to retrieve your drug. I beat everything there. And I’m just a clever guy with a sword.” Tom unsheathed his sword and pointed to the door. “I’m giving you the choice I never got in the Q-Zone. Get out. Run.”

Tom didn’t even hesitate when he took the comm pad out of his pocket, and tossed it up into the air. The sword flashed and the comm pad fell to pieces across the room. He sat back down in the overstuffed leather chair, held his hand to the bridge of his nose. Trying not to remember the sister that never was. Tried to get away from his fake memory that brought him so much pleasure. But he couldn’t. No matter how hard he tried to run.

Creative Commons License
Tales of King City : The Run by Pearce Kilgour is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at pearcekilgour.wordpress.org.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://pearcekilgour.wordpress.org.

But you should really ask him first… send someone to rub his neck, feed him a gin and tonic, that would be the best… in fact he thinks the world would be a better place if everyone got neckrubs.

Tales of King City : The Run – Part 2


For decades the science fiction market spurned ideas like supplemental kidney function, changing skin color, cancer removal, cellular level regeneration; all from microscopic robots. Working on the cellular level, nanotechnology would be the technological cutting edge that would usher in the next great human renaissance. But the nano-replicator outbreak of ’03 had left quite an impact on the world and King City. Entire blocks of homes and businesses were reduced to iridescent goo blobs. Giant lava lamp blobs seemed to hover above the ground of their own accord. The problem was that the controls and safety measures at that time were not ready for the technology. The closest plan to deal with the technology was equivalent to high level contagious diseases. Burn the city with nukes. From a corporate point of view, there wasn’t any money in stopping nanotechnology research.

Some of the brightest and darkest of King City had combined their talents to create honey pots for the nanobots. Gathering places that provided safety in numbers, their own movements would power the semi-solid containers. Large jelly fish shaped bubbles that would shimmer iridescent when they reached a large enough mass, ready for harvest. The dispersal units had been placed into the hands of all who could volunteer. If you could pickup a full watergun, you could join in the fight. Community spirit picked up, as normal people could actually fight back against a menace that could potentially destroy the entire planet. Once the 30 foot long iridescent blobs were contained, it was a quick local broadcast to tell them to shut down, disperse into water molecules. Occasionally the odd blob of ‘macrobots’ would show up in town, from some forgotten corner of the city. These were dispersed with no efforts or harm done.

Tom remembered the words macrobot paramecium come to mind when he saw the form. But then came a quick realization. Without the constant supervision of the heros and villains of King City, something happened. Evolution.

The straight as laser strands came around the corner, and screamed. Tom felt the multi-tonal howl reach into the deep recesses of his brain, activating paralysis and nausea. This was a primal fear, one programmed over several hundreds of years into human DNA. All of his senses told him predator, told him to either fight or run. This was beyond any adrenaline kick. The dark cloud above shivered and twitched.

He blinked when he saw one of the smaller mutants fly through the air into pitch black tentacle. In a blink, the body collapsed in a scream, blood shot out into the air, only to be caught in precise dark nanotech spikes splintering into crystalline trees.

Tom reached into his pocket, and put his earbuds in. The howling of the mutants stopped, the gunfire and snipers stopped. And the multi-tonal howl of the nanobot-thread storm stopped. Looking over his shoulder, he could see the mutants fighting amongst themselves, smaller ones were beaten and were being thrown at the large dark form. The bodies slicing open, the spikes jumping out grabbing every drop of blood.

Blood. Red. Iron.

Tom looked to his sword and sighed. The dark threaded storm had not sensed him, yet. He watched the pebbled cement crumble and fall to dust as the strands played over it. The cloud was getting larger, and then he noticed something impacting it from above. Small waves along the dark form. Shuddering snaps along its perimeter with each impact. He edged his way up a stairwell finding higher ground.

Humid air and swamp rot invaded his nose. Looking around there was no signs of water damage. The air shifted and instinctively he ducked, swinging upwards.

The forearm severed neatly at the elbow, dropped next to Tom’s feet. He studied it for a moment, watching dark tendrils come from the stump. The glove was disturbingly familiar, the ropes with nautical knots. He slowly moved off to the higher landing, keeping his senses keen and alert. Looking to the top of the stairs, he watched for movement.

There was something large moving around further down the hall. The smell again. Raising the sword, he approached and looked around the corner. In a moment, he realized where all the heros and villains had gone. Or who got them.

-To be continued-

Creative Commons License
Tales of King City : The Run by Pearce Kilgour is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at pearcekilgour.wordpress.org.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://pearcekilgour.wordpress.org.

But you should really ask him first… send someone to rub his neck, feed him a gin and tonic, that would be the best… in fact he thinks the world would be a better place if everyone got neckrubs.