Welcome to a world where technology reigns, where the lines between corporate rule and government action blur, a dark dynasty rules. Those few who rise up against these powers run the risk of madness or death. Those who do not die lose the humanity they wish to save, or become just twisted as those they wish to overthrow. Morality in this world is nothing except for varying Shades of Grey...
You are about to meet a user of this world known as Salmon. He has just returned home after many years to his street samurai clan in Durik City. He has returned home for many reasons, but it can be certain, those reasons are going to be nothing when the real truth comes to light.
The Reaver Publishing Collective proudly presents to you:
What the hell is the whole frukin' world doing?
What if that's why she left?
What if that's why she fruking took up with that prick Fredriksen damn near the moment I left Kleria. Maybe that's why she's moving in with that fat mother fruker. That fat mother fruker who played at being my best fruking friend in the whole world when I didn't have my clan to lean on when shit got tough. Maybe Fredriksen, being that hypocritical cuntbag he has shown himself to be, played that shit up in hopes that he could move in as soon as I was fruking deported, thinking I would just write it off as my clan taking care of my lady.
He's not my boy.
He's never run with my gods damned clan.
I'm breeding revolution in the streets of Durik.
Been gone for years, hanging low, staying out of sight from the Central Gaian Intel Ministry and the fruking police state they've enforced since The Wars, and you know what? Here I am, running with my boys, tweaking and drinking with the dealers, just like nothing ever fruking happened. Here I am, back on my old streets, seeing the jack-boot of the C-Feds pressing down harder than ever on our necks. Here I am, with all my knowledge weaned from the fruking data-dreaming I did, surfing the InfoNet.
Even after being gone for four years, after having been in love and married in a different country, after dealing with the isolation and nightmares from the guilt of exile, here I was again. Sitting in my room in the tenement block, Mom sleeping on her cramped bed a few feet from me, and the blood-red sunset coming in through the window with the noise of my boys coming up for our ride. It was coming home to another fruking life that I'd damn near thought was a giant dream when I was in Kleria. It was the soggy smell of the afternoon drizzle drying up on the plascrete pavement. It was the Pound Punk music from across the street wafting over like a tribal dirge from the highland rises. It was the shouts of Mike, our drunken neighbor upstairs, yelling about his days in the V'Halsen Army in the Wars and how the C-Feds were all a bunch of fruking “cow'rds”.
I went out the front door and down the stairwell, all the while under the electronic eyes of three times more security cams than had been in my tenement before I'd left. Sign of the times I guess. I paused on the bottom floor to let the retina scanners run their lasers over my eyes. I had no worries. The Shogun had set me up with some implants before I came home. No C-Feds were gonna get his boys. Even if he had to threaten his own with his electro-blade for bringing down so much C-Fed heat. Death before dishonor. All that shit.
“Frukin' hell, Salmon.” he said, using my nickname that I'd acquired due to migrating uptown for a certain lady a few years back. “Everyone's gonna be so stoked to see you, man. Seriously. They've been stoked since The Shogun told us last week.”
His bandanna turned into a swirling summer blue sky as the holo-cloth read his excitement.
I shuffled my feet back and forth.
Years of guilt weighed on my shoulders like Athena's scales.
Manny put his arm over my shoulder, walking me to the car.
“Come on, Sal.” he grinned, adamantine teeth glimmering in the sunset. “Tonight, we party.”
Manny blared his favorite Slimetechno band, Slave Port, the moment we got into the car. Accompanied by the sludgy techno vocals and shrieking electronic soundtrack, the already surreal experience of being back in Durik turned downright ethereal. We drove past sights I hadn't seen in years, places where friends had been arrested, enemies cut up, and girls fruked. Each street corner, each layer of pavement, neon light and holo-sign told a story. Held a memory. Memories that had haunted me. Memories. More like fruking nightmares. Man, I never thought I'd see any of this shit again. Not since I met her.
Not since I loved her.
“You alright, Sal?” Manny shouted over the music.
I took out a cigarette and lit up, turning down the stereo.
Manny's face went blank, the dragon holo-tatt on his face coiling up for sleep.
“Is it, y'know. Her?”
I shook my head and lied.
“Nah. Just still a shock being back and shit.”
Manny nodded and turned the music back up, patting my shoulder firmly.
I watched the past recede.
I guess now would be a good time to explain who “she” was and why I was still such a fruking mess over her. It really came about as a fluke to be honest. When the street war was starting up with the Grey Shujini, I had been busy hitting up just about every Black Net feed I could to try and get my clan some goods. I was the hacker for the clan. The Shogun loved what I did. I'd gotten us enough credits from C-Fed banks and megacorps that we'd all be able to fund just about any venture we needed in order to keep our cut of Durik City under control. My work had gotten our boys false I.D. Tags, good electro-blades with clean scancodes, and enough dope to keep that cash flowing in like Klerian sailors to a whorehouse.
“Jerri-Boy told all the new recruits after the war about you. You're like a fruking hero to them, man.”
Jerri-Boy turned to me with an expression better suited to a teacher talking to a dull student.
Manny noticed Jerri-Boy standing and gawking.
He walked away toward a tub packed full of glossy metal beer bottles.
A hand brushed mine.
She turned away to walk off.
“No. No. I don't need that shit.”
He grinned, and an augmentically enhanced voice box boomed out over me.
I punched him in the arm playfully.
I took a blind swing.
"Because you need a hacker?"
“Remember how you got your name? Seeing that girl from uptown.” he said with a panther's growl. “I need you to see her again.”
I suddenly became aware of Taina's eyes on me from across the room.
“Yeah? What for?”
“No. That's a need-to-know matter for the time being. Something dealt with better,” he laid his massive hands on my shoulders, “in private.”
That's it for File 0.5 of "STREET CLAN". If you liked that, check out our Anthology, "Shades of Grey" or click the donate button in the sidebar. You can also like Reaver Publishing on Facebook and follow this blog as we give you updates on the Global Revolution. The next installment of "STREET CLAN" comes out October 31st, so keep your eyes peeled and stay jacked in.