Fallser Fiction by A. Bradley Green In a time far from now, humanity has lost dominance of earth and is no longer on top of the food chain. Yet capitalism hasn’t faltered. Heroes for hire come at a price when your surviving in the Nil Zones. Follow Team Cross as they uncover the mysteries beyond the ruins of this dystopian earth in Monster Genocide, a five-part serialized story for EastFallsLocal.com. READ PART TWO HERE.
This is Only a Trap (Part Three)
Nil Zone 12
Team Cross Safe House
Dean Vance’s left arm was born of flesh and bone over 30 earth years ago and remained intact for the moment. His right arm was not so fortunate. He lost it to a biolec attack 6 years before, replaced from the shoulder with a Cybo arm; a mix between cybernetics and organic tissue.
The tarnished metal frame held up to abuse over the years. A blurred translucent hi impact plastic shown through to the organic clockwork gears circulating cloudy fluids through his bicep. His hand, while he could feel himself tighten a fist, was with hinged fingers not his own.
He stood shirtless over a work station of hanging arm parts, wires and circuit boards. His navy blue coveralls were peeled down and tied around his waist. Long dirty blonde hair fell over his shoulders. He was tinkering with a new cybo weapon arm from parts he had laying around. Using an external power source he animated the arm on the table. The hand closed up into a cylinder shape and the fingers converted into the spinning barrel of a Gatling gun. He threw his arms up in eureka just as the urgent response alarm went off.
Zamm, an artificial intelligence who would say the term “artificial” was racist, darted into Dean’s work space like a fire fly.
“Get your shit ready funk boy, we hit the road two minutes ago! Humans need saving, yet again.”
Dean turned and swatted at Zamm but was to slow for Zamm’s predictive matrix. Zamm darted from the room with Dean yelling after him.
“Don’t call me funk boy, sparkles! I’ll trap you in a cup and shake you like dice!”
In another section of the converted theatre, Natty Kendell made her personal space in one of the small auditoriums. Natty, who was in her late 20’s, had been kidnapped as a young child with other children from outland communities to be used as incubators for a parasitic biolec called a skin ripper. She was rescued before gestation but the symbiotic parasite growing inside her would kill her if removed. A booster shot keeps the skin ripper dormant – prevents it from peeling its way out of her skin, hence the name.
As a side effect of having a skin ripper nesting inside of her like an unborn child, she inherited enhanced awareness, agility and strength, which comes in handy when your job is to fight monsters all day.
She was meditating on the floor of her space, legs crossed in her lap, eyes shut. She seemed at peace in a black sports bra, tattoos down her arms with coveralls around her waist same as Dean. Her raven black hair was cut in a bob style, short in the back with long bangs blocking the thin features of her face.
The moment the urgent response alarm went off her eyes shot open and she tumbled forward up to her feet pulling her coveralls up over her shoulders in one motion. She grabbed her gun sling holding two extremely rare Maxwell Getty assault pistols. She was strapping them on when Zamm charged into the room.
“Lets go kill things, Natty!”
She looked up at the point of light, smile on her face. “You know how to sweet talk a girl, Zamm!” She blew some hair out of her face and ran out to the garage where Rubin Cross, team leader and master inventor was getting ready to leave. Rubin was considered middle aged in his 70s. Short hair with a groomed reddish beard. A tad stout but not to be underestimated.
He was already stowing his zero point energy pack & power glove into their emergency vehicle, the Merc, which Rubin built from the altered frame design of a mid 20th century station wagon. Adding a fusion energy core with a powerful jet engine secondary turbo.
As Natty entered the garage, Rubin briefed her. “Looks like we may cut this one close. Three people trapped by demon dogs and their barrier cube has about twelve minutes left. One other thing, these folks got set up, note told them to call us, specifically.”
“Sounds like a trap to me, ” Natty added.
“Yeah. When we get there, stay alert. We may need those enhanced senses of yours before things go bad.”
Dean bounced into the garage with his new weapon arm attached and ready. Rubin looked puzzled.
“You finally got that thing workin, I’d like to keep my eye brows intact on this mission.” He raised an eye brow at Dean.
“I’m about 95% sure it’s gonna work this time. I put flash shielding along the ejector port so no more shrapnel blowback.”
Natty shot Dean a side eye and twisted her lips like she didn’t believe him, then jumped in the passenger side of the Merc.
“Come on! Botha you need to trust my skills. You’re gonna be impressed.”
Dean jumped in the back seat just as Rubin pressed the ignition switch.
The Merc sparked to life like a thunder clap. Inside, the instrument panel lit up an impressive array of touch screen options from seat warmers to jet propulsion. Zamm rushed into the car through the open driver’s side window and absorbed into the touch screen panel. His voice came through the sound system as they all strapped in tight.
“System check, Zamm,” commanded Rubin. “Green lights, left to right. Reactor levels?”
“Hot and steady.”
The draw door raised on what used to be a loading dock as the Merc’s engine idled up like a jet before takeoff. Dean looked back through the rear window.
“Back blast area all clear!”
Rubin pulled goggles down over his eyes which gave him a night vision read out of environmental and vehicular conditions. “Alright team. Let’s go kick some action! Burn it!”
The Merc launched like a rocket out of the loading dock into the dark hazardous landscape, driving headlong into unknown danger. As they drove, Rubin felt somewhat off. Was this a setup to get Team Cross on the scene? And if so, what would be their fate
What’ll it be for Team cross? Bait and switch or search and destroy? Tune in next month for another edition of Monster Genocide in The Local. Monster Genocide is a five-part sci-fi thriller by local author A. Bradley Green.