X05 Bounty Hunter

By Sean Borgstrom

Chapter 1

I hate these levitating cities I thought to myself as several security droids cornered me on the edge of the city. They moved in a semi-circle formation and pressed in steadily shortening the space between me and the advancing wall of metal, as they moved in I was able to take out one or two at a time with my pistol, but as they advanced more droids took the fallen's places. They were persistent in trying to catch me but I would never just give myself up. I leapt backwards over the handrail diving into a controlled state of free fall knowing that underneath the city was one of the largest atmospheric skyways on the planet. As I plummeted accelerating towards the hundreds of moving speeders rocketing past they were a blur of colors as they went on their way. Luckily I had calculated my descent properly. A rushing freight speeder rocketed just underneath me and I was able to grab hold, after a few seconds I regained my composure and started climbing up the side of the thick green hull until I was on the top of the vehicle. It started its decent towards the city below and I felt weightless as the wind rushed over me. I was relieved and rather proud of the daring escape I had just made, surely if had I had let myself get caught those mechanized monsters would have executed me on the spot. My employer will be most happy to hear the news of the successful infiltration; it would break my code of secrecy if I were to reveal my employer's name.

The truck entered the city through the main entrance, welcome to the city Mecha home of the best machines this side of P3X9 could be read on an over polished welcome sign that went by on the way in. With an over prestigious cleaning crew like this one, nobody would ever suspect that this city was full of the latest and greatest gangs and other under worldly scum. This place was bounty hunter paradise, dark alleys, low security; one could see why they made the cities fly to get away from all the filth on the ground. The city was full of it, on every street corner one could see a gang or slumlord walking past, each waving their finger and screaming obscenities at each other. The only real problem with this city is that they spent more time cleaning up dirt than they did cleaning up crime. But hey, that is what I was there to do, help fix the problem at its source. In this day and age you think that the police would be better armed and prepared to handle the crime that just like technology was always getting better, or in the case of crime worse. But that is what made the job easy. This whitewashed city was full of gangs, all I had to do was find the target take him down, then lay down some gang memorabilia and they'll think it was some other gang just trying to find their shine in the city of slime, as I liked to call it.

The truck floated to a stop then set itself down on the pavement of the city. I jumped off, ran into the shadows of and alley where I could repair my wound. I set myself down next to a waste bin then reached over my shoulder and pulled out my basic repair kit it was a small bag of tools and medical supplies that could be used to repair basic injures. I took some tools out then dug into the wound; I winced in pain as I used the forceps to find the missing pieces of the servo arm. Once found I pulled them out and set them by the kit. Next I dug through the kit looking for an adequate replacement. I could feel the blood running down my arm as the wound sat open during my search. I found the small rod and continued my work attaching the arm at the lower joint first then the one in the upper arm by the servomotor. I then took the time to clean up the wound and closed it with steri-strips. My synthetic skin would heal in time and I would regain blood just like any normal human. I never really was given a name but my old maker before he died would call me X05 for some reason, I think it had something to do with his birthday. I don't know nor do I really care now.

I wrapped up my quick fix and continued with my mission. I stood up next to the waste bin and pulled out a map made by the employer and studied it; this hand drawn peace of shit was useless. The damn thing was illegible; the chicken scratch he called handwriting looked more like hieroglyphics. You'd think I could just ask around and find my way, not for this character, the target you could say was the local gang lord of the Crimson Rage. Sound like a bunch of flaming retards to me personally but apparently they were responsible for several serious incidents down in, well up in, the flying city of the Luminos. People were not very good with names in this area I guess. Anyway, I was hired by the police agency since the gang was, "Out of their jurisdiction they could not touch them." I took this as we are afraid and we need someone else to handle our affairs. Now as I was saying I would not be able to find this character because he had his scouts everywhere in the city so people asking around were immediately reported. Knowing this I emerged from the shadows of the alley and walked to where six or seven people were gathered by a street corner. I was going to try and just listen my way to the target's location. But as I was advancing towards them one of those annoying talking billboard droids pops out and starts following me blaring its stupid message, "Are you looking for a good time? Are you sick and tired of those annoying poet's lounges? Then come on over to Gregor Sihad's bar and tavern two lefts and a right from where you are standing now. And remember, we're hiring."

I would have hugged the droid if I was into that; it just gave me the location of my target. I quickly followed the advertisement's instructions walking down the street and found myself standing right where the target was. The building was a clean white and chrome building in the middle of a street where everything was that color. Everything was color-coded in these modern cities even the droids that ran them. I entered the building without a word from the bodyguards they probably saw the bounty hunter insignia on my shoulder patch and assumed I was there for a job, technically I was. I walked in to the dark smoke filled room finding the place full of people; wall to wall the place was jam packed with potential threats or possible henchmen of the gang lord. I quickly and deliberately walked into the back room cutting the crowd in half as I went. I was granted access to the back with a simple wave of the hand and a "I am here about a job" speech to the bodyguards.

I entered the back room and was relieved to find that it was sound proof, most likely so that the gang could properly handle their affairs in privacy with minimal interference. The room was pained blood red probably to hide the bloodstains that occasionally smeared the wall. In the back portion of the room the desk and chair were the same color, for the same reason no doubt. I stood there for a moment in silence pondering my stratagem of how I was going to handle this I was forced to improvise when the target whom was sitting in the chair spoke, "Why are you here?"

"I am here about a job" I answered

"What job are you looking for?"

I walked closer to he desk until I was a few inches away from it.

"You" I stated blankly as I pulled out my pistol held it at arms length and shot him twice in the chest. He fell out of the chair and hit the ground as fear and death gripped him at once. I picked up the man and sat him back in the chair, then took two copper coins out of my pocket and placed one in each eye as instructed. This was the policy of the gang of Irish descent the McRovies. I quickly put the gun away and walked out of the room and into the bar, where the people were still buried in their drinks I cut through the room again and exited out the main entrance. Once outside I ducked out of site and headed for the location where I could receive my pay. That was one of the smoothest going hits I had in a long time.

Chapter 2

A short time later, after I had received my pay I went back to admire my work and see what the retaliation would be. I walked back down the street to find a medical unit with the standard white and red cross painted everywhere along with several police speeders outside the tavern. There were several panic stricken women all gathered around the corpse pretending to morn the man that they were paid to love as he was wheeled out to the medical unit. He was quickly loaded and the craft took off. The bodyguards looked in my direction so I turned to hide my face and pretended to seethe craft off as it flew away. After a few moments I was bored from watching the police take a fake report of the incident so I decided that it would be a good idea to make my way back to the flying city before it started its nightly course two a new location. That is one of the benefits of living on a levitating city, not only do you get to live in the safety of the air but you get to travel without even leaving home. It was expensive, but my salary could handle it, being a bounty hunter and everything.

I ambled my way down the street watching as the sun set and the cleaning droids popped out of their holes and begin their nightly duties. I passed the street corner where I was helped by the advertisement, this time as I went past it popped out, blaring a special news report. Obviously I already knew what it was going saying so I did not pay it any mind as I strolled past. I walked down the street to see the truck still parked there, and suspected that the driver probably settled in for the night. As I walked past you could see the truck was empty because it was sitting higher than when I had gotten off earlier. I left the city through the main gate passing the over polished welcome sign again. This place isn't as interesting the second time past. I thought to myself as I entered the wasteland on the city outskirts. It was amazing how the presence of a near apocalyptic nuclear war could barely be noticed anymore seeing how what used to be radioactive wasteland had turned into lush green fields and thick pine forests. That is what made the north so nice in the summer; it never was to hot like it can be in the tropics. I could see why the mutants agreed to live out here, the winters were harsh but they can handle it. The breeze picked up and I could smell the faint fragrance of flowers. As I stood there admiring the scent a small rusted cylinder dropped down with large glass windows glaring in the sunset it lowered itself on a high-tension cable. When it touched the ground with a soft metal thud a small rather plump red haired man stepped out in a white lab coat and matching coke bottle glasses that barely clung to his rather round face. "Hello there" he said stretching out his hand.

"Hello," I responded as I shook his hand.

"Need a lift?" he asked in a concerned tone

"Yes… thanks" I replied awkwardly.

He waked around me taking into account every little detail. He stood there in front of me for a moment and stared into my brown eyes. I was surprised that he could see them through the dark brown hair I let hang down over my face. Then he walked around me examining my black space suit noticing every little stitch and flaw. Being stared at in this amazement was unnerving; he seemed to notice my every detail. The bandaged arm the pistol I kept behind me, and its gray holster. He looked at me as if I was his next big experiment. "How old are you?" he asked as he finished his observation.

"Uh… seven" I answered awkwardly.

"Seven?!" he squeaked in excitement

"Yeah haven't you ever seen an android before" I replied defensively

"Wow I have never seen an android that looked as human as you do… emotions very interesting," he stated as he re-inspected me.

I wanted to just hit the man but since he was helping me I figured that I could humor him until I reached the city. He then stepped inside the machine and I followed him on the way up he bombarded me with question upon question, some of which I really could not describe and still fail to comprehend. His fascination with my history was extremely irritating. When we finally reached the top I was nearly exhausted by his questions and all I wanted to do was leave. As I stepped out into the room I coughed from all the fumes of the anti rust products that he was no doubt using to restore the room. The room itself was nearly full of similar pods in worse condition the place in its entirety was caked in rust and decay. It was extremely clear to me what this man was in charge of. I stood there for a moment then I said my goodbye and left him to his work. What a strange man, I thought to myself as I left the room and found my way up the stairs to the city surface. The exit was a door with maintenance written on it, it was nearly illegible this is one of the only places in the city of the Luminos that actual shown its age. The city itself was centuries old it was probably made just after, possible even during the nuclear war. The door led to an alley behind a convenience store. I walked out of the alley to find myself across from my apartment building. I crossed the walkway and entered the towering apartment building. As I entered the lobby one of the fellow tenants on my floor tried holding a conversation I trudged past him and up the thick red flowered carpeted stairs to the third floor, and walked down the hall and into my apartment. It was a small space only having three rooms, the living area, slash, kitchen was one room then there was a bed and a bathroom. The apartment had wood floors was scarcely decorated seeing as I was never there nor did I host parties so there really was no need for petty décor, there was a small balcony as well but there really was no view other than the city and its walkways. I ate a small dinner, usually I don't need to eat except when I am injured to regain lost protean, and unfortunately tonight was one of those nights. I laid down on the small bed that I barley fit on and could feel the city start to move as it does every night. "What a strange day" I sighed to myself.