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|Title: Demios||Author:Ernie (Blayne Scott)|
Running down the street, past the fences, across the roof, down the alley.
Forever running, driven by the beat, the beat of the music in my head. Damned neural implant.
Pace kicking in, running faster than thought alone allows; pace quickening towards the light. The authorities around every corner, in my head, in my soul. My conscience. Perhaps it's a problem, but it can be to anyone. This shipment to Deimos has to go through. It has to. The resistance movement must continue.
Descending pace, music kicking in again, stripping me to the bone. I must make a decision, run, fight, or breathe. I've got to do one of the four. Or is that three?
A lapse in thought, a crescendo. Choir of nuns, choir of demons. It's all the same. I was told this shipment was imperative. Rockets, guns, knives, powder. Power for war, to fuel the never-ending beast. Heart pumping, I bolt towards the nearest exit sign, into a tavern, down the sandy reddish colored corridor.
Im in a kitchen, or what could pass for one if they had decent food on this planet. Goddamn off- world colonies. Britain would never have treated Canada this way. Or maybe they did. History never was a good subject with me. Some guy in a greasy outfit looks blankly at me, my reflection refracting in his optic implant. Hurrah, Im on an optic camera now. Im screwed. I pull out my .45, and blow the eyepiece out the guys face. Too bad half of his head comes off with it. The place is empty, no more witnesses.
Im pumping down the hallway, driven by the need. The desire to move, cant be caught, cant let people down. Up a set of stairs, throw open a door, and Im on top of a roof nearly as shoddy as the buildings interior.
The massive vista of Deimos hangs mockingly in the sky, silently pointing out how far it is away. The primary shuttle hangar. Its towards the core of the city, a mere seven blocks away. Just- The beat returns. The offbeat, warning rhythm of pursuit. I feel the urge to run again.
Moving like in a track meet, I leap from the rooftop to a synthetic canopy below.
Running like this seems to be a recurring event in my dreams: running towards the horizon, running from the enemy, into battle; its all the same.
The flow of sound at street level will erode ones soul and ears if tolerated long enough. Its midafternoon, and most of the homeless are foraging about.
UE personnel are speeding past, most in their loud electric-powered vehicles.
No real time to admire the higher-ranking personnel with the new model fission-core vehicles. Already people are taking notice of me, the man who leapt from the roof. Not enough time to take care of them all.
Now to rely on my forgettable face and the blur of speed. Speed, quick like a bionic rabbit. Maybe one that was used to market battery cells. The company stopped using it as its trademark when I was a kid. Not modern enough. Fission all the way, no copper power cells for me.
That and powder, in cased in metal coverings. The shipment, the moon; right.
No opportunity to slip into the shadows between buildings. How about now? Right about now, or now? No, now. I pick my way though the alleys leading from the main roads. I check the chronometer, theres still time. The shuttle hangar looms in the distance. Its darkly inviting vista contains what I seek, a mission to complete. I run like a maniac, driven by desire right up the security checkpoint. I immediately straighten up, eyes still wild, hair plastered against my forehead; waiting in line. The people ahead are processed quickly.
The officer looks at me, and at the pass I hold out to him. In the photo, a happy man smiles back at the officer. He regards my look of slight insanity in comparison to the visage on the I.D card.
I knew you spacers always were a wacky bunch. Youre cleared to go. the officer remarks as my card is scanned in.
I walk calmly until the next corridor, then frantically speed down the hallway towards the launch hangers. Up the elevator, across the flight deck, to my destination. A fairly large cargo hold with engines, it passes for a ship, but barely. Someone at the UESC must have wanted this shipment to reach Deimos very badly. All security checks had been falsified. All records tampered with. All scans doctored. All so that I could complete my mission.
I enter the side hatch then send signal to docking bay control to give me the green light. A slight pause and clearance is admitted to cargo vessel 97. My palms are sweaty with anticipation, but also frustration. Cant this vessel move faster? The beat swiftly pushes me; guides me as I cross the vast emptiness between the world below and its child.
The planets surface looms in the view port, growing clearer with each kilometer. The ground of the moon no longer looks as it once did. Networks of reflective canals, areas the size of small towns encased in metal, reflecting in the dim sunlight.
I eagerly send my request for docking to control on the moon. Only as Im 1200 kilometers away, an unsure flight deck officer admits my clearance. I enter into one of the many orifices of the metal skin. The atmospheric doors close behind the cargo ship, entombing it within the planetoids surface.
The air around the ship is recompressed, and men immediately begin to file out of the airlock.
Men in all varieties of jumpsuit color, all bearing the encircled circle insignia Deimos conversion made famous. I exit out of the side hatch; having activated the cargo doors before leaving the cockpit.
I notice the security alcoves light is red. Offlined. It makes sense; no one would want this recorded for posterity.
As the cargo doors grind open, gravity lifts are ushered in. Theyve been known to occasionally cut out, thus crushing the operators toes. However, theyre the only cargo devices made available. Quickly, the cargo is loaded on to the lifts. Its ferried off to be stockpiled around this sector of the moon, I assume.
I was told there were others. Other runners. We were all told wed be rewarded after it was over. My reward was that if the shipment got through, theyd let my wife live. And give me one of those really nice optic implants. That was really the offer that sealed the deal.
As the cargo hold is emptied, one of the men wearing a light blue jumpsuit approaches me. Come with me he states, and proceeds towards the airlock. As I follow him out of shuttle bay, the airlock is closed behind me.
On behalf of the Martian resistance movement, we thank for your service the blue jump suited man remarks.
With that, I feel a sharp pain in the back of my skull. The world goes dark around the edges as I lapse into unconsciousness.
I awake in the confines of a tomb. A metallic tomb. Panicking, I struggle to free myself from this bondage, this confinement. Hit the emergency reactivation sequence on a small panel. I quickly claw my way out of the unit, to discover myself still on Deimos. My clothing has been altered; I now wear a yellow jumpsuit. A terrible roar echoes down the metal corridors. I run through these halls, looking for a window. Something to show me were still near Mars. I shout and holler until my lungs feel ready to burst. Theres no one around to hear my pleading echoes.
After a time, I come to a view port. Im on the dark side of the moon, judging by the lack of light. A large, opaque sphere fills the view port, framed in the distant stars. I stand there for a time. Something seems wrong. To my horror I realize the impossible. The spherical shape of Mars was gradually growing smaller. Deimos has broken Martian orbit, with me trapped aboard. I try desperately to use the intercom system to call someone, anyone who can get me back planetside.
Hours pass. Ive covered kilometers upon kilometers of metal hallways, overpasses, and tunnels. Its all beginning to blend together. The beat in my head has faded with each step I take now. There is no longer the urge to run, to complete a task. I must be getting out of range of whoever was controlling that implant. I find my way to the mess hall, and sit down. I no longer want that optic implant they promised me. All I want is quiet. With the ships inhabitants still in stasis, maybe Ill get some peace.
Peace aboard the Marathon.
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