|Children of the Sprawl
Author: Sacron PM
In the year 2076, a man called Caligari Nectarios works for the police force in Sprawl City, stopping all manner of brutal crimes. But when a group called the Mais Kinnderan appears, Caligari finds himself in the middle of a war. He must fight against this new terrorist group, along with their creations, human/animal combinations called Hybrids and their mysterious leader...Rated: Fiction M - English - Sci-Fi - Chapters: 19 - Words: 61,405 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 01-12-13 - Published: 10-17-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3066318
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Caligari was sitting on the sidewalk, his hat pulled low over his face. He was looking down at the road, clasping his mechanical arm and organic arm together, listening to the loud hum of vehicles moving by.
He looked up and saw a Carrier vehicle moving by. The self-operated cars would be busy tonight, having to pick up the dozens, if not hundreds, of bodies that littered the streets. The car moved by, driving down the street, and turning a corner, moving out of sight.
The assassin looked to his left. The Great White was still parked in the middle of the street, the remains of the Goliath mech lying before it. The massive tank cast a shadow over the sidewalk. Despite the fact that it was a tank, the giant vehicle somehow looked triumphant.
Next to the Great White the Dogfish was also parked on the road. After the assassin had killed Dante, Harris had landed the small aircraft and began to give orders to the surviving cops on the ground. Caligari hadn't seen her in a few minutes, but she had told him to stay put, as she wanted to talk.
Caligari looked up and saw the sun beginning to rise over the horizon, painting the still dark sky in early morning colors of light orange and red. Light began to be cast over Sprawl City, touching the enormous skyscrapers, dispelling the darkness of the long night.
The assassin sighed, and closed his eyes, allowing himself a moment of peace. He was weary from the last few days, but at last, this battle was finally over. Dante was dead and the Mais Kinnderan were at least a mere remnant of what they once were, if not entirely destroyed.
Suddenly, a familiar voice called from over Caligari, "Did I say you could sleep on the job, mister?"
The assassin opened his eyes and saw Harris standing over me. The police officer was holding two mugs of coffee in her hands. She looked exhausted, as there were dark circles underneath her eyes.
"Hello," Caligari grunted. "Come to chat?"
"Yep," Harris said, moving forwards. "Figure I might as well get a little downtime before the real chaos begins. I'm gonna up for the next week filing out all the paperwork for this. Plus, I've gotta get the station repaired, organize funerals for all the people we lost today, and get clean up crews started on fixing up the damage the terrorists did. I'll need a moment of peace before diving into that mess."
The assassin chuckled. He looked at the coffee mugs Harris was holding. "What are those for?"
"Drinks to celebrate," Harris replied. "Hardly as good as champagne, but I'll be needing these to function. Plus, they're the only thing I could find on short notice. You want one?"
"Sorry Harris, but I'll have to decline," The assassin said back, adjusting himself on the hard concrete. "I'm probably gonna go home and go straight to bed after this. Drinking coffee will just keep me up and I don't really want that right now."
Harris sighed, and muttered, "Sleep…that's a luxury I'm looking forward to once I retire. Ah well, more for me then."
Harris took a sip of her coffee and gave a sigh. She then turned to Caligari and eyed the Great White parked several feet away.
"Mind if I ask you a question?" She said.
The assassin chuckled. "You're my boss, ma'am. I don't really have a choice."
"Oh cut that crap," Harris grunted, taking another sip of coffee as she spoke. "Right now, I'm off duty. We're both equal at this moment, just two human beings trying to make the world a better place. You answer me however you want, got it? Now, can I ask you something?"
"Of course you can," Caligari replied, smiling.
Harris pointed one finger at the assassin's massive tank. "I've always wondered, how do you drive that thing so easily? From what I've heard, you need special training in order to figure out to properly drive a tank, especially one as big as that, and even then, its still pretty complicated. How do you drive it without any military training?"
"That's your question?" The assassin asked, laughing. "That's what you wanted to know so desperately to keep me here?"
Harris rolled her eyes. "No! This just an ice breaker question, before I get to more heavy stuff. And besides, I have been curious. I just never thought to ask until know."
Caligari laughed again, before saying, "Well, after I got the tank, I of course couldn't drive the thing. So, over a period of several months, I modified it to drive like a jeep. I had to change around its internal schematics, adding and stripping it of its former driving functions. The process was damned hard, but it was worth it, as the Great White now drives just like a jeep, while still being a massive vehicle of mass destruction".
Harris nodded. "Interesting. You always have been a talented engineer, Caligari. We're lucky to have you on the force."
They were both silent for a moment. Caligari looked out at the road. Another Carrier shot by, heading in the direction of the police station. The assassin could also hear sirens in the distance, probably from rescue crews.
"Caligari…" Harris suddenly spoke up. "Do you remember when we first met?"
The assassin looked at her, his expression turning serious. He got up off the sidewalk and folded his arms, staring up at the morning sky.
"Truthfully?" The assassin said, continuing to look upward. "No, I don't remember much about that night, apart from brief, hazy flashes. After my arm…got shot, everything is pretty much blank."
Harris nodded in response. "Yeah, you were pretty out of it when I found you lying in a pool of your own blood in that subway station. You were in very bad shape. I still don't know how you survived. I mean, you had lost a gallon of blood by the time I managed to get you to the police station."
Caligari nodded, his expression still vacant and expressionless. "You were a low ranking officer back then, right?"
"Yep, just a regular grunt," Harris said, taking yet another gulp of coffee. "I was still climbing through the ranks, trying to prove myself. I was in fact tracking a mugger through the subway station, when I came across you."
"You stopped to save me," The assassin said, finally turning around. "You never told me why. I mean, I just some random homeless man. Most people would've assumed I was a goner at that point anyway. But you still stopped to help me and saved my life in the end."
"Why?" Harris asked. She shrugged. "I wasn't going to abandon you down there. I've always believed in the value of human kindness, Caligari. If everyone showed a little kindness to each other, maybe groups like the Mais Kinnderan wouldn't exist. Maybe the world would be a little less crappy."
"There is one thing I do remember about that night," The assassin suddenly said. Harris cocked her head, falling silent. "I remember when the doctors started to cut off my mangled arm. I woke up briefly for that. That was…the worst pain I ever felt in my life. It was so awful, so mind numbingly excruciating, that I fell back unconscious. But I do remember that part…as much as I don't want to."
Harris clenched her lips together. "I'm sorry you had to go through that. But we had no choice. Your arm was beyond fixing, and the only way to save you was to amputate it."
"I'm hardly complaining," Caligari said, smiling a little. "You saved my life, Harris. If not for your, I would have perished in that subway. But because of you, I didn't, and now, here I am, making my mark upon society, saving other people from meeting that same fate. You just asked what I did remember, so I'd thought I'd tell you."
Harris smiled back and stood. She cracked her neck and slurped down the rest of her first cup of coffee, before crushing it and tossing it away.
"I'm happy we met," The police lietunant said. "Without you, this situation might have played out differently. You're my friend, Caligari, and I hope we can continue to kick ass into the future."
There was a sudden commotion from in front of the shopping mall. The assassin turned and saw a team of medics moving the mall's doors. They were wheeling a stretched between them, which was carrying a body bag. A police officer was moving with the medical squad, carrying a transparent evidence bag. Caligari could see inside the bag was Dante's Uzi.
The assassin watched as the medics wheeled the stretcher off, heading for an ambulance at the end of the block. He turned, and said to Harris, "Guess you've got to get back at it."
"Yep, back into madness," Harris said, flexing her arms. "You go home and get some rest. You deserve it, and now that the situations over, taking the day off tomorrow as well."
Caligari started to nod but paused. He raised his mechanical arm, and stroked his chin.
Harris raised an eyebrow. "Something wrong?"
"Nothing much…" The assassin muttered, his thoughts turning to Dante's final words. "Its just that...Dante, before he died, he said his legacy would rise and come after me."
"Sounds like the final ramblings of a madman," Harris said. "I wouldn't worry about it."
"Yeah…" Caligari said. His thoughts also turned to the door he had seen in the Mais Kinnderan's hideout in the Narrows. The massive door, that had been made of reinforced steel. The door that had been marked by a red x.
Caligari looked up. "Have a team conduct an investigation of the Mais Kinnderan's hideout in the Narrows. We want to make sure Dante didn't leave anymore secrets behind."
Harris nodded. "Yeah, I will. Don't worry, Caligari, we'll make sure all his stuff is found. But you go home and get some sleep."
The assassin gave the officer a mock salute and responded, "Sure, boss. See you soon."
Harris smiled back and turned away. Caligari moved forwards, putting his paranoid thoughts away for now.
He moved towards the Great White in the middle of the road, his vehicle waiting silently to carry him home. The assassin felt the warmth of the rising sun on the back of his neck, as Sprawl City began to be illuminated in bright light.