DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Darkmatters Fiction: Cleric gets mugged


by Matt Adcock

Nobody saw this coming, our ungrateful brains rebelling so vigorously against the subliminal code words that changed our lives. CHATTER, the name given to the unfortunate side effect - now a mass epidemic - the collapse of everything rational and the regression of our human form; back to beast, further back still beyond animal.
Where were the safety standard enforcers?
How could we have done this without a safety net?
It looks like we have been left to destroy ourselves thoroughly and without hope of redemption.

This is how it started…
There is Cleric walking, his strides smooth and perfectly in time to the technologically enhanced music pounding inside his head. See him descend some stairs, watchful of the grimy ancient foot tunnel ahead; a stereotypical crime scene, complete with flickering antique neon tube lighting and murky water coursing down one of the walls. Cleric’s Social Rating™ blinks from "** Chilled" to “***** Very Pissed Off”, there is frantic reality betting taking place involving death, very possibly his, in the near future.
There’s nobody about, not even a token loitering begga or vendorbot. Cleric surprises himself by going ‘on guard’ in a way only those with I.F. training can - it's been years since he acted like this...

“Nice try”, he calls, drawing both his guns, a wry smile playing across his features.
Cleric’s musical choice is an thrash tech fusion reworking of a long lost band once referred to as ‘Pixies’, it makes a fitting soundtrack as the camera pulls back, suspense building with every step.
‘I’m digging for fire’, Cleric lipsyncs, checks the ammo indicators on his guns and then slowly creeps forward. It is a dark and dingy in the tunnel, exactly what the clichĂ© doctor ordered for this all too obviously bad situation.
Cleric is smiling grimly and looking closely at the shadows at the far end of the tunnel.
Some shuffling can be heard but still nobody can be seen. A heat sensitive scan however shows three people and possibly a gunbot hidden around the far corner, from what you can make out from their stances, they are average assailants just doing their criminal thing, waiting for Cleric, waiting to strike.

Cleric walks slowly and confidently along the dim tunnel his guns held casually but the camera zooms in and we can see there is tension in his arms. As he approaches the end corner he pauses and casually swaps one of his guns for a nerf grenade. In one smooth motion he arms it and rolls it forward. It seems to take an eternity to roll to the end of the tunnel where the droid has sensed the incoming device and the three men are already leaping out and opening fire on Cleric who is no longer standing where they thought he was.
Cleric is somehow already crouching behind an air duct, tight to the wall and invisible to the assailants. He opens up with both his guns at waist height. In the hyper momentum of the attack the three are caught with multiple bullets to the groin and then head as they scramble to try and reach the grenade. The grenade detonates from just behind them and blows them off their feet, actually the condensed shrapnel shockwave blows off their feet if you want to be technical about it, slumping their falling bodies directly back into the path of the heavy gunfire that Cleric is delivering. The assailants die squealing as the hollow rounds Cleric is pumping into each of them blossom before exploding out the other side of their flesh leaving fist-sized holes. An unpleasant and rather messy way to go all things considered.
The gunbot however has been waiting and now makes its move. It is covered with the blood and gore fragments of its compatriots and looks like some kind of demented undead metal midget as it lumbers around the corner.
“Just pathetic”, Cleric says and fries it with a single shot to head.
He carefully steps through the scene of carnage; blood is everywhere, steaming gently from the walls, and floor into another cold, dark L2 night. Cleric kicks the guns from the dead hands of the unfortunate attackers. “Picked the wrong guy to jump pal,” he mumbles.

Each of the dead crims has a similar headchip implant, low level, nasty street tech – but unusual for punks like these. As cleric makes his way up the steps, leaving a trail of slick red footprints the air in the tunnel shimmers, and for a second it looks like a hidden doorway has opened in the air itself.
Other extracts from Darkmatters the novel by Matt Adcock:

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