Paradisio Mortem

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  1. The still of the night air is disturbed by the woeful screams of sirens that tear through the darkened city streets. Eyes peer from the slits of curtains and blinds as people fearfully watch from boarded up homes. The outside streets are nearly deserted, and a stale haze slithers about enwrapping all in its path. Above the full moon casts a pallid light to see by, the street lamps flickering with each passing moment. Upon windows and doorways vibrant yellow caution tape is draped, and signs haphazardly stand about with that dreadful symbol. QUARANTINE! For a better picture of the city once called home, the scene pans out for a bird’s eye view. The diffused remains of rotting human flesh are strewn about with little care for sanitation. A human graveyard, a human disposal area, death lingers. A highly contagious sickness that leads to spontaneous organ failure has taken a hold of the mortal race. What a dreadful thought when even the air that mortals breathe is a death sentence. The Red Death has come forth to take back the lands and drench them in blood and tears. Alone in this dying world a young girl is crying while cradled in the arms of her guardian angel. Broken and smeared in blood, so exposed to the cruelties of reality. Darkness begins to encroach upon her, ripping apart her guardian angel with one fell slice. As the guardian's body shreds in half with a sickening crunching and ripping noise, blood and feathers fly forward and stain the girl's face. She stares with fearful eyes upon the Red Death as it reaches its skeletal hand toward her mortal flesh. Frozen in terror she can just sit there, helpless, until the skeletal hand grabs hold of her small wrist. A shocking cold shoots up her arm and a horrible fear wraps around her very soul. Is this it? Is this the end?

    Rika suddenly sat up straight in a cold sweat. Her heart was pounding in her chest as she tried to orient herself to reality from her dark dream. Moving her hand to her panting chest, her fingers ran over the various scars that covered her body from the numerous surgeries she'd underwent. She was a patchwork of parts, it seemed. Her dark hair fell into her face as she looked around for her brother, "Vance?" she whispered into the dark night. They were currently staying in the house of a recently repossessed individual. Vance was good with getting information like that and so they were squatting for the time being, at least it was a bed though. For a brief moment, Rika thought that Vance might have actually left her and a bit of panic arose within her, "Vance!?" she called a bit louder as she threw the covers off and moved toward the bedroom door. The doorknob began to slowly turn. Instinctively, Rika grabbed the gun from the nightstand and aimed it at the doorway. As the door swung open she was met by a gun pointed back at her, and her brother Vance. He looked upon her with warning eyes but said nothing.

    "Vance!" Rika said relieved as she dropped the gun and ran toward him, wrapping her arms around her beloved brother. She cupped his face a moment and looked him over, "Where did you go?" she said quietly as she stepped feebly back. Vance looked upon her and walked forward, picking up her small weapon, "I went out. The Cutters and Darkies are out and about again, we have to be careful" he said in a level tone. Placing the guns safely on the nightstand, he began to unpack his personal belongings onto a nearby chair. Digging around the small knapsack he'd found, he brought out a small case and extended it toward Rika. Rika moved hesitantly forward and took the wooden case, opening the lid as she peered inside. A faint green glow came from inside as a smile curled on her lips. Reaching in she took out a little green vial of liquid, "You did this for me?" she said to Vance. He only nodded his head faintly. It was a new stash of fresh street brewed X. Vance was in the process of taking off his shirt. Rika decided to show her appreciation to her beloved brother.

    Placing the vial in the injecting gun, Rika moved toward Vance and wrapped her arms around him, "I was worried about you" she said as she tenderly caressed Vance's neck and pressed the injecting gun against his arm injecting a dose of the X into him. He grunted softly and turned to face Rika, his eyes scanning over her body with an truculent hunger. Taking her back to the bed, he laid her down as he injected her with the drug, her fingers running over his body. Her pupils dilated as she felt the intoxicating effects of the X running through her blood stream. As the night slowly drew on, Rika and Vance had their amorous embrace, falling asleep wrapped in one another's arms. A few hours later, Vance awoke. Slipping from Rika's side, he put his clothes back on as he carefully peered out the windows to the streets below. A figure was hastily running for their life, pursued by a dark figure in an all too familiar outfit. The running figure tripped and fell as the dark figure swooped in for the taking, a flash of steel and a horrible cry of pain as blood stained the streets and the Cutter repossessed another Neocore organ. Without pity or remorse, the repo man turned and stalked off into the shadows leaving the poor victim to writhe in agonizing pain for the last moments of their life. Vance let the curtain fall back into place and sighed as he looked back upon his sleeping sister. He checked the jamming devices before he slipped back into bed protectively next to her, remaining awake for the remainder of the night.
  2. View attachment 3478 Darkness, even in the middle of the brightest day, is always present in Paradisio. The city has taken on a kind of shadow, it blankets the buildings and exposes the people to something neither seen nor heard. Although the dark presence is constant, some people still go through their days with hope of living. The radically vicious plague that had swept through the streets like a swarm of locust had devastated many lives, it came in quick and began to decimate the population. Everything seemed bleak and hopeless, this is when the shadow was cast over Paradisio. Legato, being the apparently kind and benevolent leader that he was, created a way to harvest and transplant organs. There was a sense of hope once again, but the shadow still remained, thick and menacing, over the vast metropolis.

    Legato Giovanni sat on his wrap around couch, on the top floor of the Neocore building, located in the Paradisio Plaza. It is his base of operations as well as his place of residence. Legato liked living where he did business. It kept him on the ball and always two steps ahead of the game. Being number one is tough, but not without it's rewards. In a sea of utter darkness, combined with a failing social structure, one might assume that Legato would be a twisted, faithless wreck of a man on the brink of insanity, struggling and conflicted with power, however this was not the case. Legato was a decisive man, strong willed and intelligent. His faith, while strong, did not rest in the hands of a higher power. Instead it was his power that he had faith in. A recipe for personal failure? Legato thought not. He knew what it took to survive, the same way the disease and drug infested scum that roamed the streets did, and just like them, Legato would do whatever it took to get his fix.

    At his side, sitting on a rich iron oak table, polished to a glossy shine, sat a highball glass with beads of water accumulating on the rim. The twenty-five year old scotch inside, which he had anticipated all day, was now forgotten in a pool of melted ice. As much as he wanted to drink it down, pour another and repeat the process until he was numb and ready for sleep, something else had come up.

    Just moments before, Legato received a call from one of his cutters, something had gone wrong during a routine kidney repossession and the 'patient' had managed to get away.

    ''Did you get our Kidney back?" Asked Legato in a questioning, but at the same time threatening tone.

    "No, sir. He got away. The slimy son of a bitch cut me while I was trying to grab the......" The Cutter cut short.

    Legato laughed, low and menacing.

    "It's alright. We'll get it next time." There was a brief pause.

    "Where are you now?" Legato asked

    "I'm on 5th street, down by the old bus terminal." He swallowed, a dry crackling in his throat was heard.

"I know it well." Said Legato, ending the phone call.

The unsuspecting cutter had outlived his usefulness.

Within seconds, Legato was on the phone to the Dark police. His orders were to 'kill on sight', and 'Bring a cutter with you I want all his organs'. This is how Legato operated, after all it wasn't this man's first screw up and Legato suspected him of being on that damn X, so many of them were. It wasn't the drugs that bothered Legato, after all he held the monopoly on the market, what bothered Legato was that the man had been given a task to complete and had failed. This was unacceptable.

  3. Per usual, the two didn't sleep the entire night through. Rika awoke with a start as she turned to see Vance, vigilant as ever near the window. He turned when he heard her stir, "Wh--"

    "Shhh. Listen" she said softly as she seemed to amplify what she was hearing somehow. One of the perks of harvested/manufactured/rebuilt parts was that they could be customized to fit the individual person. Always at a cost, though. She listened very closely, and heard footsteps approaching their destination. Vance frowned and quickly turned as he gathered their belongings, swiping the jamming modulators and checking them quickly. The batteries were dying, "Shit. Fuck" he muttered angrily. Rika turned with a frightened expression on her face as she moved toward Vance's side, "Where will be go? Who knows how long they've had" she hissed in a soft whisper.

    "I know! Look we'll figure something out. Don't worry, I'll protect you. I won't let anything happen to you Rika" Vance said taking his sister and holding her face close to his. He leaned his forehead onto hers and closed his eyes apologetically. Rika looked compassionately upon her brother and lightly kissed his forehead, "I know, I trust you," she spoke softly and with the tone of a worried lover, instead of that of a worried sister. Their eyes met for a split second before there was a scratching at the door. Suddenly the door burst open as a Cutter appeared. His mask made it hard to tell where his eyes were, but Rika knew that she was the first target, the dark visor piercing through her. She could almost hear the screaming of the tracking device that all Cutters came equipped with to scan and check for any overdue parts. Vance pushed her aside firmly as he drew a gun similar in fashion to an antique desert eagle .50 cal. He didn't hesitate as he aimed and fired, the Cutter had enough sense to dodge to the side as the bullet grazed his suit.

    For a split moment, to Rika at least, time seemed to slow down and almost stand still. The truculent way Vance took charge sometimes frightened her, but she trusted him. He turned and looked at her in those few seconds their eyes met. The only thing going through her mind was Run. While the Cutter was distracted she took action as she grabbed their bag of things and headed for the window. She felt a sharp pain in her back as electricity surged through her body. She cried out and fell backwards, still conscious but dazed. Vance frowned as he opened fire on the Cutter, who dodged around the opened doorway to the other side. Wasting no time, Vance dropped the empty gun and drew two combat knives from holsters on his side. He moved forward with conviction toward the Cutter, ready to let loose like a wild animal.

    The Cutter tried to fire the electric gun at Vance, bad idea. Dodging the bullet, he simply took hold of the attached string, ignoring the sharp tingle of electric shock as he grabbed the live wires, and yanked the device from the Cutter’s hands. The Cutter simply reached into his bag and drew out a Liston knife swiping it fiercely in Vance’s direction. Slowed down a bit, Vance was cut across the bicep, but it was a shallow cut. Blood trickled down his arm as his frown deepened. Gripping the hunting knives with ferocity like no other he charged forward and brought them down on either side of the Cutter. The cutter had time only to block one of the knives as the other plunged into his shoulder. Blood squirted out as the arm was rendered pretty much useless from the sickening tearing noise of the knife cut through his skin, muscles, and tendons; Vance added a nice twist to his attack before pulling the knife out. Blood spattered upon Vance but he was past caring, he’d entered an animalistic mode in a sense.

    Cutters were made and trained to be tough, and despite the injury, the Cutter retaliated. Grunting, they pushed back, surprising Vance as he stumbled backwards. Getting to their feet, the Cutter advanced upon Vance swinging the Liston knife dangerously as Vance had only time to block as he scooted back trying to find time to get to his feet again. Vance was momentarily cornered as the Cutter prepared to bring down the knife again, but Rika had managed to regain control and consciousness as she staggered over with the broken leg of a chair and took a mighty swing at the Cutter’s head. The helmet upon his head cracked as he groaned and went down. Rika looked up at Vance as he staggered to his feet, breathing heavily. She began to smile but suddenly the hand reached out and grabbed her ankle as she felt a pull. She yelped and fell down. Vance moved forward, but the Cutter had a trick up his sleeve. Extending his good hand toward Vance, small bullets were shot from a small hidden device as they expanded into small pieces of shrapnel. Vance staggered back into the wall as blood seeped from the fresh wounds; he let out a moan of pain. Meanwhile, Rika was struggling to get up as the Cutter turned and reached for the knife again in order to repossess the organs from Rika.

    Rika was quicker as she pushed the knife out of the Cutter’s reach and brought a splinter of wood through his hand. Getting up, Rika moved to grab the Liston knife for the final blow. The Cutter brought his leg around as a blade extended from his foot and cut the back of Rika’s leg across the gastrocnemius. She let out a cry of pain as blood trickled down her leg and she went down, crawling still toward the knife even as the Cutter pulled his hand painfully free and began to move toward Rika. Vance managed to stumble over. Bringing his knives down into the Cutter’s spine just with the same barbaric precision as he had to the shoulder. Rika grabbed the Liston knife and turned bringing it quickly into a side swiping motion across the Cutter’s throat. Blood burst forward in an arch across her face and the Cutter made a terrible gurgling noise as he choked on his own blood. Finally motion ceased as the Cutter laid there dead in a pool of his own blood.

    The place was a bloody mess. Rika wasn't able to stand without support, and Vance was losing blood from the shrapnel in his side. They'd need to get him some medical help. No doubt during the fray the Cutter would have notified other Cutters or even the Dark Police so they had little time. Rika managed to get to her feet as she hobbled over toward Vance and the two grabbed their things and moved as quickly as their injured bodies would allow them toward an exit. Eerie sirens began to wail again in the distance, moving steadily closer to their location. Time for a hasty escape, but not before a shot of X for the two wounded. The remaining vial and used injection gun were tossed aside as they quickly left the scene.
  4. It was a strange sigh that often make people look, those who were out, not that they were many, and they were always nervous glances. A cutter, leaning against a wall, vizored helmet in one hand the other helping him enjoy a ciggie. Hey, no one said it had to be a high stress job, but the sight of one of the universally feared cutter doing something relaxed and human always seemed out of place. It was one of the reasons he loved this job. Another was the outfit, armored jumpsuit, helmet with air filters, great company car, yeah the boss was a merciless prick but so was he.

    He flicked the butt waway and blew out a long stream or smoke before he pulled his helmet back over his head. Didn't know why corporate made them were 'em anyway, all they did was restrict vision. He pulled out his electric gun and check the charge before pulling the scanner from his belt and sending out a ping, all transponders in overdue organs would ping back and he'd have something to do, but none responded, then he heard them, the black sirens, it could mean only one thing. An overdue fought back tonight, and tomorrow in the lounge there'd be an empty seat.

    "Chief." he said pressing his throat microphone. "I here the birds singing, did a lamb get away? Shall I lead it home?"

    Radio protocol was for those with normal jobs, and as Owen began running he re-holstered the scanner. It had been such a quiet night, thank goodness that was over.
  5. View attachment 3556 Legato walked over to the huge, single pane windows that over looked the entire city. It was a sad sight, desolate, ruined, drug invested and burnt out. Although this particular part of town was nice, it was surrounded by shattered lives and dreams. After ordering a man to die, he felt a little hungry, but not for food, as always his true appetite was for power. Total and complete power is what he wanted, what he needed. He learned at an early age that establishing dominance over, not just his enemies, but also his friends was a must. The phrase "Absolute power corrupts absolutely", Legato thought, was written by an absolute fool. He lit a Gurkha black dragon cigar as he stared out over the dismal scenery, but to him it was ripe for the picking…or harvesting as it was.


    It was his private cell line for the Cutters, he flipped the phone open and answered.

    On the other end was one of his most ruthless and competent cutters, Owen. Owen's experience on the battle field assisted him greatly in his work for Legato.

    "Chief, I here the birds singing, did a lamb get away? Shall I lead it home?"

    Legato cringed inaudibly. 'Another one' he thought 'two in one fucking night?' He pulled deeply on the cigar, letting plumes of thick smoke rise over his face.

    This was unacceptable.

    "Hunt them down, take them for all they've got. I am not in the mood for anymore fuck-ups tonight"

    He flipped the phone closed, then dialed the other cutters. The two that were supposed to collect organs from a young man and his sister. It rang several times, with no answer. This could mean one of two things, either they were dead, or they were running for fear of the repercussions of their actions....the latter was most likely true.

    Legato slammed the phone shut. He hated letting his temper get the best of him, and he never lost it in front of any one but himself. A near by Tiffany's lamp that sat innocently on an end table didn't stand a chance as he backhanded it into the air. It hit the floor with a crash. Tonight had been a series of one unfortunate mishap after the next.

    The boss was not pleased.

  6. It was a sloppy escape, but it was an escape. When they made it to the ground level, Rika hobbled along after Vance. The two made a hasty escape and turned down a dark side street for a short rest. They were leaving a trail. "We need to do a quick fix." Vance said in a calm tone, but Rika picked up on the short gasps between each of his words. The pain he must be feeling right now. He needed to get to a doctor so they could extract the shrapnel and assess damage. Her expression turned into worry again, "I'll be fine...let's look at you first." She tried gently to persuade him, but he was already digging through their bag he brought out what essentially looked like a hot glue gun. Rika sighed some, "You're stubborn, you know that" she said with a frown. Vance said nothing but gave her a stern look as she muttered something under her breath and turned. Pulling down her stocking and rolling up her skirt a bit, she exposed the gash to him. It was a decent sized gash, and blood stained the entire back of her leg. Taking a rag, Vance gently wiped away some of the blood before flipping the cap on the contraption he'd pulled out. It glowed a soft blue tint and felt warm to the touch as he aimed the nozzle at the wound and pulled the trigger. A gel-like substance came out adhering to the skin and wound and cauterizing it shut. She winced a bit from the stinging warmth of the gel, but her leg soon radiated a warm, soothing feeling. She looked at Vance a moment, "What about you?" she said softly as she moved forward and ran her fingers through his dirtied hair. She wiped some dried blood from his face, "I'm sorry" she said softly.

    Vance's expression seemed to soften a bit as he looked down upon his sister. He lifted her chin and shook his head, "You have nothing to be sorry about. I'll be fine...there's not much you can do for me without the proper tools anyways. I think I know a place nearby we can go--"

    "you don't mean..." she paused and looked at Vancee, but he was busy putting things away. Rika frowned a bit, "that is NOT a safe house. Last time we went there they nearly killed us!" she said angrily. Vance turned toward her, "You got anything better? Well?" Rika began to speak but stopped. He was right, they really didn't have much other choice. There were choices, but they were more likely to end in their deaths than this. Sighing, she went along with the plan, "Fine, but I'm not going to be happy" she said softly.The sirens continued to blare overhead as the two hurried on down the side street. They'd left a small trail of blood, but it had stopped, for the most part. Only someone with very keen eyes would be able to track them that way.

    The location of this safe house was an underground portion of an old subway system. The tracks were still there, though not in operation, and some of the various tunnels had been made into makeshift homes and rooms. The deep location of the place made it hard for electrical signals to be read, so it acted as a natural sort of jamming device. Also the maze of tunnels was confusing and endless (or so it seemed) unless you knew exactly where you were going. It was a good system, and a small community of individuals on the run from the cutters and dark police could be found down there. The community was headed by Constance Green, a middle aged woman with graying hair and an overly protective mother disposition. She was more of a self-proclaimed community head, than anything else. Most refugees were just tired and wanted some place to lay low and rest from being on the run so much, so if someone wanted to take charge fine go for it. Rika, personally, thought the woman was nothing more than a snooty bitch, but she would hold her tongue.

    From their current position, it would take them a good 20 minutes to maneuver through the city streets to a viable entrance to the underground network of tunnels that was part of the safe house. For years now this place had been a sort of fortress for refugees trying to dodge the Dark Police and Cutters, but no place was completely impermeable to the realities of this delusional world. The rich, haughty, and ignorant could continue to believe that this world was the best world mankind had ever made, but there were others (like Rika and Vance and the other refugees) who were painfully aware of the harsh reality of things. It didn't take long for them to 'find' people after they'd wandered the subway tracks a short distance. A bright light was flashed into their face as a female voice spoke, "State your business!"

    "We need a place to lay low" Vance simply said, before a coughing fit took over. Rika moved to his side, "please you have to help him!" she pleaded. There was a murmur before th elights were lowered some and Constance herself jumped down adn moved forward, "Vance and Rika Harwell. Well, well..." Constance smirked as she moved forward. Rika wanted to smack her, but now wasn't the time, "Look...we have some fresh Exogen...take some if you want but you have to help us first" she said to the lofty woman. Constance motioned the men next to her as Rika and Vance were lead forward deeper into the maze of the subways, "Welcome to our little neck of the woods then. i can have Carl fix him up" Constance said with a grin as if everything were buddy buddy between them. Rika only sighed some and followed, staying close to Vance. Per usual there was a good number of individuals hiding in this underground labyrinth of tunnels, random rooms, tracks, and the occasional old subway car. Vance was taken off to be patched up by Carl (an ex surgeon for the military who had defected and found his way to the tunnels after failing to make payments on his lungs). Rika was lead away to wait as she conversed idly with the other inhabitants of this place. Despite everything, Rika still had a bad feelign about all of this.
  7. Owen looked down at the body of the cutter as the the debris strewn around the room and bending down examining the shoulder wound. mangled tendons and cartridge and the spine shot he had to feel professional respect towards whoever had done this. 'Aye chief.' had been the only answer he had given but looking around the room he knew he was chasing a killer.... and a lamb. But hell he had a clear trail to follow. On the desk something caught his eye, if had obviously been forgotten in the fight, a scrap, an unimportant memento but it have him a glimpse into the lives of his prey. Worn from many yours of being lovingly held the photo was of a young man and woman, of similar stock, likely siblings. The Man's face was the most warn part of the picture and he ran his fingers over this the loving caressing was the pattern suggested. A relationship, perhaps exploitable.

    "Tick tick tick reaper, the trails warm, time to follow." he said to himself vaulting out of the window after tucking the picture into the velcro pocket of the bag strapped to his hip. He handed with the twin thuds of heavy boots and began tracking. Blood, a clear trail someone was limping. A pool, a smear they rested. Discarded medical gen seal vial, trail got fainter but its direction was clear. Underground. He felt excitement rise inside him, he loved the hunt. Learning his prey by following their trail and using that knowledge to bring them down quickly with minimal product loss.

    It was underground where things got trickier. He found a blood smear on the edge of the platform told him the direction they had headed but they had walked on the rails, no trail.

    "Shit." he whispered pulling out his scanner and extending the range to maximum, he just needed a rough direction. He got something, but the organ was registered to a Hispanic male... his spine shivered as he though of the possibility that his quarry was leading him to more. Slowly he proceeded down the tunnel his eyes and ears open until the man came into view. A big hairy guy standing eating whatever it was they ate down here. He had the look of a moleman, and that could only mean one thing.

    The black blade slid out of his sheathe as he crept forwards using the shadows for cover and maneuvering behind the man before he struck. It was over in a second. hist his free hand gripped the man around his flat head, before he knew what was happening the blade sunk into the side of his neck steel and blood blocking his windpipe cutting off the gurgles scream before the blade was pushed forwards half cutting and half tearing the rest of his throat out before he fell to his knees, teetering a bit before coming down like a sack of bricks. One dead sentry, no merchandise damaged.

    "He got ourselves a nest over here." he whispered into the throat mic before a click made him whip around the blood knife flying , spinning through the air and burring itself into the eye of the woman. Owen followed it one hand crushing her throat the over twisting and burring the blade deeper into her brain before he pulled it out of the mangled socket wiling the blood and gore off on her body turning her head to look at her from the uninjured side. "You were pretty." he whispered before drawing his stun pistol. "Boss, definitely a nest here." he edges to peek around into the junction. "I count 30 overdues on the scanner. I think out lambs among them. Don't worry I've got 'em." he switched channels "Greg, get down under, junction 87, come via unity. Bring firepower."
  8. Just what had happened to life? At one point everyone was happy doing their thing, and the next, the most ruthless face of humanity had shown up. A crisis that offered little hope, a cure with the same outlook, and a city that uses blood for currency, this was the make up for tyranny. Inside this sect of control through fear was none other than a lone chemist looking to use his talents. Reaching top of the class really meant something and with the world in the state it was, experiments didn’t have to abide by any codes. Tossing in a dash of a white powdery substance, the bandaged man sought out a solution for his employer.

    Recently there had been a surge in the amount of organs having to be repossessed, and not too many buyers for fear of what could happen. What was a man to do? Keep these things on ice until the expiration date, or order your lead scientist to develop a liquid to keep organs in a sort of suspended animation. The cylinder bubbled a bit and took on the look of a freshly opened bottle of soda, yet the fizzing stopped. Turning behind him, the modern day Dr. Frankenstein grabbed another kidney off his chill rack. Behind that was his shelf of failures. Some organs were decaying in the blue greenish liquid, others had dissolved completely only leaving small remnants behind.

    This experiment was meant to be a success. The kidney was dropped in and so far so good. The beaker had not exploded, the organ was still intact, and there was no bleeding to speak of. He placed his new prize on a incubation shelf and proceeded to his next item on his agenda. ”Modify tear gas container to emit knock out gas that will not impede lungs.” His thick Russian accent would’ve been funny in lighter times. But now was not a time to laugh. He set up his new shipment of containers in a release and refuel cabinet. While the tear gas leaked out he began developing another miracle chemical. ”Yet another grand discovery for Abram Polinsky.”
  9. Carl was a good man and did his job well. Vance was in safe hands. While he was being worked on, Rika got some wonderful one on one time with Constance. The older woman eyed Rika up and down a moment with her typical disapproving look, but she ignored it. Grabbing some bread to munch on she limped forward, "You should get that looked at" Constance finally said at length. It was still painful, but it was bearable.

    "I'll be long until Carl is done?" she said changing the subject quickly. Her heart was racing for some reason, and she had a deep uneasy feeling deep within her stomach. Her instincts were telling her to keep running and not to stop. "Soon probably." Constance responded dryly as she stood, "You two are trouble. You get fixed, and then head out." She was busy rummaging through their Exogen stash as she spoke. Rika watched her a moment in disgust, but this was a business deal. They gave Constance some Exogen for her 'needs' and in return they got free service. She'd be happy to leave. Constance was a stuck up bitch in her opinion, and a cut throat one at that. Rika had nearly been killed a few times getting surgeries done by her.

    Finally, Constance took what she saw as 'fair payment' and left Rika to be on her own. Digging into their stash, she wasn't surprised to see the woman had taken nearly half of what they had left. Sighing, Rika sat and waited. It only took about 15 minutes and Vance was seen limping toward her, bandaged up but still alive. Getting up, she quickly ran to her brother and wrapped her arms around him. He groaned a bit, but nothing more, "Are you okay?" she asked worriedly as she brushed his hair from his face. He looked down at her, "I'll survive. He had to replace one of my kidney's though." he said with a frown. Rika sighed faintly and went to fetch their things, "She took half" she said annoyed. Vance frowned some but shrugged, "so be it. Small price to pay. I take it she wants us out then?" Rika nodded toward Vance. It was then that things began to go to hell.

    At first they thought it was just some kids playing a joke, but soon it became apparent that this was not something to take lightly. There was the sound of guns being fired. Not just any guns, but tazer guns. Rika heard the faint buzz of the electricity as the guns worked, her eyes widened, "Trap..." she simply whispered. Then the screaming came, followed by the mad pattering of feet. They turned and as they did a large mass of refugees came running toward them in terror. Cutters were quickly approaching. Not just one, but a group of them. This was going to be a massacre! "run!" Rika simply shouted as the people were hurrying past. They were falling left and right, and the Cutters were certainly taking no prisoners. Nearby, a Cutter stepped before her as she skidded to a halt and stepped back. She had no weapon to defend herself as they approached. There was suddenly a gunshot from behind her. The bullet whizzed past her and the Cutter stumbled back, a crack in his visor between the eyes as he fell. Rika turned to see Vance standing there with a gun he'd recently taken from a fallen Cutter. Grabbing their things, and keeping the gun, he took Rika's hand, "come on" he said hurrying forward.

    People were falling left and right of them, screaming in pain as their flesh was cut open to take the bounty before them. The Cutters would stop at nothing to get the organs. Not even children were safe. They weren't sticking around to see how things turned out. As horrible as it was, it was every person for their self in this world. Vance turned a corner and opened fire clearing the way. Tossing the now empty gun, they continued forward. Rika had a slight idea of where they were going as she moved ahead. As they turned down another passageway, the two skidded to a halt. Standing in their way was a single Cutter. Blood spattered his clothing already, and he had a wicked grin upon his face. Rika instantly didnt' like him, and Vance sensed he was different from the rest. His grip on Rika's arm tightened as she glanced down at where his hand held steadfast. Her lips curled downwards into a frown. In his hand, the Cutter already had a tool of the trade, blood dripping from the tip, and a stash of organs already accumulating. They took a few steps back as the staredown continued.

    "this way" Rika quickly said and turned and began to run with Vance again. They ducked down into the darkened subway tracks following them. They Cutter almost seemed to want to play a game as he gave them a momentary head start. Rika stumbled forward and soon they came across an old subway car. Pulling the doors open, Rika and Vance stumbled inside. Lights flickered and turned on as they crept carefully forward. This spelled bad news all over it. Outside the continued screams of horror and pain could be heard as the Cutters continued their work. Rika paused and listened, but suddenly the lights flickered and there was a crash from the window.
  10. Owen led the first breach. The second would come from the opposite direction, the third would close the net. The a cold metallic click he fitted the extended barrel onto the pistol taser giving the weapon the profile of a shotgun. More charge, more range. He crouched low looking at the camp the other cutters behind him gripping their tasers and waiting for the go-ahead.

    A voice crackled in his ear "Team C in position, theres an abandoned car here, good cover." and he smiled. "Hammer time."

    The first group of squatters to notice them were sitting in a circle sharing a bottle. The cutters ran as one their tasers combining into a volley that left them all writhing weakly on the ground with a loud crack of synchronized fire. The entire camp seemed to freeze as Owen prepaired his next shot and they spread out. Then the screams began.

    "Team B moving in."

    Chaos broke out, most people fleeing only to be shot in the back caught between the two teams as Owens group spread out taking the camp row by row. A surgeon... or someone who seemed like one emerged from a tent and was met with a butt of a taser and a knee to the kidney with a final shot to the back of the neck, thousands of volts directly to the brain stem and the gun buzzed sharply, out of charge. Leaving the wired in her he dropped it and drew his knife rolling her open and slicing from the solar plexus to the groin dropping the cooler bag next to her weakly moving form and transferred Neocorp's property into it nested with the organs from the two sentries, before moving to the next prone form.

    "Team C we hear them coming, we'll stop 'em."

    His time harvesting had separated him from the pincer movement and as he stood he heard the shots were more distant. Bag in hand and knife in the other he rounded a corner into what looked like the main row amongst the squalor, and came face to face with the pair he'd been hoping to see. All the lines he's prepared for when he found them momentarily escaped him. Then they were gone and Owen smiled rolling over the body of a fallen cutter, his face a shattered mess behind his broken visor and pulled the taser from his belt sliding it into his own holster swapping the charge pack for a fresh one. With a look back on what had quickly became a mop-up, gunfire echoing down the tunnel from Team C's ambush site he began the chase. Definitely siblings, he'd have to take the male down first.
  11. It seemed to be a smoke bomb of some sort. Rika had moved out of the way as it landed with a soft clinking noise on the subway car's floor. The container began to spin as a thick gas was spewed forth which made Rika and Vance both begin to cough, trying desperately to breathe some fresh air. Rika grasped into the gas for Vance, and finally she felt his familiar hand grasp hers, strong and protective. She pulled in toward her as they moved forward, throwing the doorway open to the next car and hopping into it. Shutting the door behind them they collapsed momentarily to the ground, holding one another as they coughed and caught their breath, clearing out their lungs. Vance hand his arms protectively over Rika, stroking her hair gently, "Vance..." she wheezed softly as she looked up at him. He seemed to shut her word off and was vigilantly looking around and listening carefully. Finally the two were strong enough to move forward as they continued through the car to the other side, preparing to exit this car and move to the next.

    The door opened, however, and there stood the Cutter. The grin visible from his visor and the cooler of fresh parts beside him. Blood smeared his clothing and seemed to drip from the very tips of the fingers of his gloves. Rika, being ahead, slowly looked up to meet the Cutter's gaze. Vance seemed to growl some, and moved to stand between Rika and Vance, but the Cutter moved forward and shoved Rika aside. She hit the side seat a moment, her head hitting the bar as she slid to the ground dazed. Vance turned toward her and then his gaze fell upon the Cutter. His expression was completely feral as his teeth gritted and his hands balled into fists.

    No doubt the Cutter wanted to take Vance out of the picture, but he wasn't going to go down so easily. Vance charged forward ready to throttle the man with his bare hands. His rage made him act without thinking. As he lunged forward he was met by the voltage from the shock gun the Cutter had with him. The first volt he simply pulled the wire out and threw it to the ground, but he was shot at again with a stronger charge as he fell back with a cry of anger before he momentarily slipped into unconsciousness. This left Rika vulnerable.

    She was just starting to regain awareness of what was going on, "Vance!" she said as she stood up only to be hit by the Cutter across the face. She stumbled and fell backwards as she looked up at the Cutter. He easily would overpower her, but she wasn't going down without a fight. Reaching into the bag nearby, she took out the first thing she grasped, a small lead pipe, and took a swing at the Cutter.
  12. One of the training they had given him that was better than what the army offered their medics has hand to hand , the pipe never made contact as he blocked her forearm his his, grabbed and twisted. His fist swung around an slammed into her skull before he pushed her down again. She was desperate, not skilled. The girl removed from the picture for now he kicked the boy's gun out the door and pulling a pair or disposable cuffs from his belt looped then around the man's arms pulling then tight to the sound of clicking plastic. He would have preferred metal but once bound he never unbound. She was getting up again the pipe still in her grasp, he wished all his prey were this determined.

    "You want to put that down." he said, knife still on one hand and taser in the other, the blade of the former pressed against Vance's neck. He didn't even wait for her reaction as the taser his her. "There, you see, now everything much easier." He walked over to her and kicked the pipe away before sliding the taser into his holster and rolled her onto her side, her eyelids flickering as she fought to stay awake. "You have a lot of stock in you." he said pulling a hypodermic needle from his belt and jabbing int into her veins. "And I lot of X I'm sure but you don't have to worry about either of those anymore. This will put you to sleep."

    The sound of tearing cloth filled the car as he removed her top his knife held between his teeth. She had a lot of blood on her face but weather it was hers or transferred from his knuckles it was impossible to tell. He opened the bad and looked inside, enough space for two more, and with a grin he took the knife in his hands and looked at the blade. Perhaps the most innovative thing the company had invented, a blade that could be used for both fighting and surgery. "Don't worry when I'm done with your sister I'll get right to you."
  13. Rika was pretty much out as the Cutter prepared to make his incision. The tip of the knife rested on her bare chest as the Cutter began to bare down on the knife, blood trickled from the shallow cut. It was at this moment that Vance began to stir. The Cutter had underestimated Vance. In the state he was in now, adrenaline coursed through his system mixed with the dose of Exogen given to him for the quick surgery.

    He opened his eyes to see the Cutter hovering over a mostly unconscious Rika. Anger surged through him mixed with guilt, as he'd promised to protect her. He began to pull at the restraints as they suddenly gave. The plastic dug into his wrists making them bleed, but he didn't notice. His entire attention was upon the scene before him. It was as if she were nothing, well really to the Cutter she wasn't. The lead pipe which had been knocked from her hand had rolled nearby as Vance picked it up. The Cutter was distracted with his work and didn't seem to notice Vance right away. He used this to his advantage and charged forward swinging the pipe in a cross motion toward the Cutter’s head. Once again, the Cutter acted to block the attack in the same fashion that he had with Rika, but this time he swung the knife at Vance at the same time.

    Vance, being much stronger than Rika, grabbed the Cutter’s arm that was holding the knife and aimed a kick at his stomach. The Cutter stumbled a few paces back as he felt the wind momentarily knocked out of him. Vance moved toward Rika to check on her, but the Cutter was back on his feet. The Cutter’s gaze was cold and calculating. Wasting no time, the Cutter grabbed Vance and threw him aside. Stumbling and hitting the metal pole nearby, Vance got back to his feet and stared down the Cutter.

    It was obvious that Vance needed to be taken out of the picture first before the Cutter could harvest his prize. Both pairs of eyes stared down a moment at the unconscious woman upon the ground; the blood was slowly coagulating where he’d started the incision. Vance was once more weaponless as he looked quickly around. But was not rewarded with something he could use as a weapon. The Cutter charged forward and began to swing at Vance, who did his best to dodge the knife. The Cutter took another swing as Vance side stepped and grabbed the Cutter’s arm using his momentum to throw him to the side head first into one of the poles. Vance turned toward Rika again and prepared to scoop her up but was suddenly tackled over by the Cutter.

    The two began to grapple hand to hand as the Cutter tried to bring his knife down to stab Vance. Vance took hold of the Cutter’s arm as they struggled some. Vance turned to look over at Rika who looked almost dead with the way she was splayed out. New anger suddenly rose in him as his grip tightened on the Cutter’s arm, digging into the skin. He pushed forward and somehow threw the Cutter off him as he got up, “You will not, lay another hand on her” he said in a dark tone as he ran forward to tackle the Cutter into the wall behind him when he stood. The Cutter dropped the knife from his hand as he made a gasping noise. Vance threw him to the side, and the Cutter landed in a sort of half sitting half laying position. Before the Cutter could regain himself Vance had moved and picked up the Cutter with almost unnatural strength as he hurled him across the subway car. The Cutter crashed through the window landing outside on the tracks as shattered glass surrounded him.

    Vance breathed heavily after this as he looked down at Rika. Kneeling beside her, he checked her pulse as he pulled her into his arms, “Come on, Rika, don’t leave me” he said on the verge of tears it seemed. He lightly tapped her face trying to arouse her. Her chest rose and fell with more strength, but she was still out. She was alive, though, that’s what mattered. They needed to get out. Gathering their things quickly, he hiked the bag over his shoulder and scooped Rika into his arms bridal style. He wasted no time and didn’t look back as he ducked out of the subway car and made a quick escape into the darkness. They needed a place to stay now, but where that would be under the radar enough? Bruce! An old acquaintance, yes, he would do.

    Eventually he popped out of the dark tunnels of the subway and would find himself back on the dim streets of Paradisio. Dodging the Dark Police that were running back and forth for various errands, he stole away into the alleys toward Bruce’s place, knocking frantically on the door when he arrived. Rika was starting to stir, but it would be a short bit before she really awoke, “Come on…come on!” Vance growled as he knocked louder trying to get Bruce’s attention.
  14. A semi-obnoxious snore came rhythmically from a sleeping, young, disheveled man. This particular idiot's name, was Bruce. He had been asleep for longer than ten hours. He had no job, no motivation, but he was always, all smiles. Scratching at himself lazilly, the habitual stoner giggled, for no other reason than what his dreams provided.

    Through sheer luck or cleverness, Bruce had managed to snag a single-story cooperative. What seemed to be a responsible individual's yard, was only a decoy to what travesty lay within his domecile. All manner of dish, and other tableware were strewn about, with no organized intention. The kitchen could not be defined from the living room. Bathrooms were mildly clean, but this was the only redeeming quality.

    Knock, knock, knock..

    Bruce stirred slightly, possibly to another occurrence within his dreams. Otherwise, he did not rouse from his perch in his only recliner free of refuse.

    Knock, Knock, Knock!!

    Raising his head in one final, drawn-out snort, the stoner looked around his pad, wondering what woke him. Both eyes - as if this were a surprise - were bloodshot, and could only open half-way, "Man, it's like, 8 PM, bro. Maybe I ordered pizza.."

    Lumbering out of his chair, the disheveled degenerate unlocked his door, without even looking outside. Opening his door wide, he regarded the only standing figure outside of his abode. Bruce stared at Vance hard, for a few good moments, before finally exclaiming, "DUDE!"
  15. Blood, it was everywhere. He could taste it, smell it, feel it. Vance had put up a desperate struggle, but noone could break those cuffs. There was only one explanation. Drugs. Owen was having difficulty staying contentious. Pain riddled his body as he decided to even the odds. A shaking hand fumbles at his belt as the footsteps of the siblings faded. The first syringe was shattered, useless. The second he pulled free and uncovered the needle. The clear liquid shine in the dim light as he pulled of his helmet, steadying his hand and jabbed it into his jugular. The cocktail flowed up directly to his brain and he spasmed momentarily before taking a deep breath pulling the needle out and discarding it before pulling out another.

    The first would keep him awake and deaden the pain, this one would keep him on his feet, and in more than perfect combat effectiveness. The syringe consisted of two parallel cylinders containing two ingredients. If mixed before entering the bloodstream then became useless, the price Owen would have to pay was the feeling in liquid fire poring though his veins.

    Jabbing it into his arm be pulled the trigger and the spring loaded plungers pushed the liquids at the optimum rate. He whimpered through clenched teeth as it entered him, the first injection doing nothing against this assault on his nerves. Use of this combat drug was dangerous, made from the precessed organs deemed unfit for implantation he ran the risk or his own failing, and therefore being axed by the boss, but he ran that anyway if he failed.

    Struggling to his feet leaving the helmet where it was he began searching for the trail. Noone evaded him, noone... his life depended on it.
  16. Vance was greeted by the typical 'who the fuck are you' blank stare and then it dawned on Bruce who he was. Vance sighed and shoved past Bruce into his 'humble' abode, "I don't have time for that, look I need a place to put Rika. I need to close the cut and get her woken up. This is serious. We have a mad Cutter after us..." Vance said as he whipped his hand across a table, throwing the clutter to the ground. Setting Rika on the table, he checked her vitals a moment before throwing the bag next to her and opening it quickly. Rummaging through their things he found the cauterizing gun and loaded it as he closed the cut upon her chest. Her vitals were starting to fall, though, for one reason or another.

    "shit! shit! shit! No come on, Rika!" he said rummaging through again. Grabbing a hypodermic needle, he fumbled around looking for a fresh vial of Exogen. Bruce had finally fumbled his way over after closing the door, "woe man, chill!" he said in his usual calm, doped up tone. Vance almost growled at him but said nothing as his shaky hands fumbled around and finally found what he was searching for. Jabbing the needle into the vial of X he put a high dose into the needle and looked down at his sister, "This will only hurt a moment..." he said softly. Leaning down he kissed her brow tenderly. Bruce watched the 'tender' scene a moment with a half amused grin on his dazed face. With that Vance thrust the needle straight down through Rika's sternum into her heart, giving it a jump start. Rika's eyes opened wide as she gasped and sat up straight as a board, the needle still sticking into her chest.

    Rika looked down at her bare chest and the needle then over at Vance, "Vance..." Rika gasped as she pulled the needle out. Vance was quick to patch up Rika as she looked around trying to figure out what had happened. Bruce's grin widened as he saw that Rika was pretty much half naked in his place. Rika frowned and quickly covered herself with her arms as best she could. Vance was just relieved that she was okay and quickly pulled her close into an embrace. Rika only blinked a moment, still trying to figure out what had happened.
  17. "So, uhh, did you bring pizza?" Bruce dumbly asked, blissfully unaware of the fact that a person almost died in his house. Don't get him wrong; breasts were distracting. Moving on, or forgetting he had said anything, the pothead stepped past the siblings. He opened his fridge, reaching for a glass of Yoohoo before remembering he had guests. Leaning out from behind his refrigerator door, he asks, "You guys want sommin' to drink?"

    He had already decided that they needed one. For some reason, they were sweaty. Sweaty means decarbonated, or their pits were dry, or...something. Grabbing three Yoohoos, Bruce tossed two to the pair, giggling to himself, for no reason, in particular. Maintaining his ever-typical dumb grin and cow-eyed expression, he says, "Sooo...Rika. I didn't realize you were such a babe. When did that happen?" There was no real harm behind his statement, but it was easily misinterpreted.

    As always, Bruce remained his typical self, while the world basically collapsed around him. He didn't even know what the heck Exogen was. Maybe an anti-depressant? A cure for cotton-mouth? He was a normal pothead; a relic of a lost age.
  18. The shakes died, his body stopped fighting the chemicals inside him and his mind became clear. Deep down he wondered if the brute would take any satisfaction in what Owen had done to even the playing field. Their trail however was not difficult to keep. It was desperation against inevitability. The male would tire, they always did.

    There was a knock on Bruce's door. Before Owen looked at the still fresh blood on the door frame. He wouldn't make the same mistake as last time. The big guy would die first then the girl. He flipped the safety off of his gun and knocked again. "I'm not knocking again." he said listening for sounds from inside before wood splintered and he was inside gun raised and pointing at Bruce.

    "Where are they?" he demanded watching the situation dawn in the man painfully slowly. "The boy and the girl, ripped shirt, blood, overdue organs... ringing any bells?" his gun was almost pressing inro Bruce's face now. "I know they came through here and if you don't mine I'm not in the mood for fucking around."

    He glanced at the window, no blood on the sill, they might still be here, or they've gotten cleverer. "Three.... two...."
  19. Rika buried her face into Vance’s chest a moment, wrapping her arms around him and running her fingers through his hair. Vance had caught the Yahoos and set them aside. Rika nestled into Vance’s arms once again never wanting to be released. When Bruce made his comment, she lifted her head slightly so her eyes peered just over Vance’s shoulder. She said nothing at first, but her look was enough. Her eyes had an almost glassy appearance to them as she slipped from Vance’s embrace and moved toward Bruce. “Oh Bruce. Bruce. Bruce. Bruce.” She finally slipped out of Vance’s grasp and moved toward Bruce. Her breasts slipped out of her shirt as she reached forward and cupped his face gently with her hands, “You never notice anything. We owe you one, though.” She slipped the ripped shirt completely off as she let her hair down and dug around for a clean shirt to put on. She knew he was too oblivious to take into account the severity of the situation he was putting himself into by having them there. Rika was glad to be alive, but that Cutter would be back soon enough.

    “Vance…we can’t stay here.” She said with a frown. They’d be hunted down, that was for sure. The only way out of the system was to make enough to pay back the money (nearly impossible these days), or have your organs harvested and put back into the systems. Why couldn’t the people see the barbarity of this system? Surely they could change the way things were. Vance had busied himself a moment and managed to turn on the ancient machine in Bruce’s pile of artifacts. An old TV set was found. Good Ol Bruce and his old fashioned ways. Hitting the side of the TV a few times, the screen made a soft whining noise before turning on.

    A catchy tune was heard from the screen as the picture blurred and then came into focus. Vance watched with mild fascination. Upon the screen was captured one of the faces of Neocore, Angel Sweet. The Angel of Many Faces, as some people liked to call her. Neocore’s spokes person to keep people’s views in positive light of what Legato and his company did. Even in these times propaganda did wonders.

    Vance watched her parade around while praising Neocore and about spit at the tv. Rika had come over and draped her arms over Vance’s shoulders while he watched. As she watched she felt the same sickening feeling in the pit of her stomach. The people let Legato and Neocore run the city like blind fools, and they believed he was a god for what he did. If only they knew the horrors he put people like her and Vance through. The unfortunate destitute who couldn’t afford luxury, unlike some in this godforsaken world who turned surgeries into a fashion statement! It simply sickened Rika.

    It was soon after that Rika heard approaching footsteps. Her eyes widened as she gripped Vance’s shoulder. They were still too weak to keep running. They wouldn’t get far anyways with both of them in the state they were. Frowning, he glanced at Bruce who was in his own land. Grabbing Rika’s hand he pulled her through the rubbish to search for a quick hiding spot. Go figures it was a closet, but with all the rubbish around maybe the cutter wouldn’t find them. Pulling Rika quickly into the closet and shutting it, they waited. Seconds later the knocking came at the door and the exchange between Bruce and Owen was easily heard. Vance just hoped that Bruce wouldn’t rat them out. His adrenaline was rushing. What the hell were they going to do now? They held their breaths waiting, praying that things would keep in their favor. Vance didn't know how much more he could take at this point.
  20. "Holy crap. That's a gun," stated Bruce, staring at the offending object in his face as if it wasn't loaded. The severity of the situation didn't seem to click with him. However, he did manage to decipher that this man was looking for Rika and Vance. As far as he knew, they didn't go to church, or own an organ, so why would this guy care? Even so, what kind of god-fearing man whips out a gun so quickly? The moment called for intense emotion, or some kind of calm explanation. What Bruce offered, though, was neither.

    "I think I got an organ stashed around here, if you want it."

    The pothead still brandished a glass bottle of Yoohoo in his dominant hand, hanging uselessly at his side, forgotten. Though, the gun in his face, somehow, reminded him that his mom died a few years ago. Something he never really expected, but kept her ashes...somewhere. Bruce's mind continued to wander, without an attempt at focusing on the situation. Did I accidentally bake her into the brownies I made? When did I make brownies?

    ...Where the heck is my bong?
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