The purpose of this blog is to provide a place for me to express the stories that boil out of me. Feel free to comment, critique, congratulate, or hate. To create is to live.

October 16, 2014

A Simple Job - Part 5

(For New Readers: See where it all started!)

5. The Real Deal
His leg itched horribly but at least he could put some weight back on it. The med pack was the stuff of miracles and, while he didn’t understand how the tech worked, somehow the sticky yellow goop that popped out when he activated it had filled in his damaged flesh and was holding tight. Vance had said that the stuff would take a bit to set fully but for now at least he was able to hobble around and take the Nerve Blocker off. That meant getting back to the plan.

“So, I’m wondering Vance, how come nobody has come in here while we were fixing my leg?” Trevor asked the air as he limped his way to the back of the antechamber.

“I’ve blocked the alarms...”

“That’s it? I mean that was the original plan, sure, but that’s gone out of the damn airlock right?” Trevor reached for a scan plate against the wall and passed the Ident across it. “I mean the explosions and dying Bug screams should have clued somebody in on what we were up to right?”


There was a soft beep from the plate and a section of the back wall shifted to reveal a small doorway. “Did you blow something up?”

“A couple levels…”

Trevor stopped halfway through the door, “‘Levels’, plural?”

“Look on the bright side, at least you should be left alone while they deal with the casualties.”

Trevor looked back into the antechamber, the purple blood, the bits of gore, the smoking husk of the Juggernaut corpse, and frowned. “Guess I’m not really in any position to judge...”

“No, not really…” there was a tremor of forced levity in Vance’s voice.

The hall was dimly lit with jury rigged glow bulbs haphazardly glued into the ceiling. Trevor moved as quickly as he could, given his leg, and soon found himself in a small chamber with no obvious exits. A smooth gray cube stood isolated in the chamber’s center, far from the walls and potential cable connections. Trevor winced as he reached into the storage pocket at his back, his fingers fumbling around until he found what he was looking for.

He pulled out a stick of chunky black material the size of his index finger and gently twisted the end. A string of tiny lights blinked to life along its edges which cycled through colors until they settled into a pulsing green pattern.

“Ok, any new info on where the fukkin interface port is on this thing?” he mumbled into the chamber.

“No luck. According to the Augnet the contractor that probably made the thing vanished and they had some kind of fatal server crash right before their offices burned down.” Vance said with no small amount of sarcasm.

“Well, shit.” Trevor reached forward, hesitated, then gently tapped the cube with a tentative finger. It was cool to the touch, a smooth, inert block of gray metal. He moved his hand across every surface of the thing, trying to find some indentation, a seem, anything that could be a hidden catch that would grant access. “No luck feeling around, gonna try an alternate look.”

“Full Spectrum,” Trevor said as he closed his eyes. The darkness behind his lids took on a yellow glow and he noted the little eye icon vanish to be replaced by a stylized sun. He slowly opened his eyes as his vision clouded, the whole chamber taking on a ghostly quality. Rainbow fractiles began to flow around the room, filling the chamber with hallucinatory light. His head started to pound and he tried to narrow his eyes to reduce the data stream. Eventually curved lines started to crystallize from the chaos, becoming obvious radiating waves spreading from the cube. Vance moved his hands through the wavelengths, twitching his fingers at certain points, and turned the colors around in his vision. The lines withdrew and vanished one by one leaving a slowly spreading series of calm waves emanating from a small rectangle set into the upper front of the cube.

"Ok, I think I found the scan port, thing is broadcasting low level pulses.” He took a half step back and considered the cube. “Exactly how far will this Ident get me do you think?”

"Well..." Vance hesitated.

“I’m waiting...”

“Well...it might open it up...maybe...or the vault will self destruct.”

“Come up with another option?”


“I fukkin hate you…” Trevor sighed and after a few moments of repressed panic he passed the Ident across the front of the cube.

The waves shifted, vibrating rapidly, as sweat dripped to the floor from Trevor’s face. His universe contracted into a single metal box and a promise of swift death. After an eternity the top of the cube smoothly parted to reveal a dark void the size of his thumbnail surrounded by a ring of glittering white lights.

“Oh thank God...” Trevor said as he let out a breath he hadn’t realized he was holding. “Normal Spectrum.” The cube returned to its cold, silent, and boring self. “Sliding in the Skeleton Key now.”

He touched the chunky Key to the revealed port and watched the show. The Key adjusted and seemed to pull itself from his hand to sit firmly in the data port. The lights on the Key cycled, slowly at first, but soon they sped into a rapidly flashing cadence.

“Wow, how much data do you think is in this thing?”

“About as much as a soul…” Vance whispered.


“Never mind, the Key should hold it, might take a while though.”

“How long is ‘a while’ Vance?” he asked just as the lights went sold and the Key slowly rose from the port.

Trevor reached forward and freed the now extremely hot Key from the the cube. It burned the tips of his fingers before he could toss it back and forth in an attempt to cool it. The heat dissipated rapidly and eventually it was cool enough to rest in his palm. It felt heavier than when he slotted it into the cube. He slid the Key back into his pouch and blew on his tender fingers.

“Did it work?” Vance asked over the link. The tiny chamber was filling with the smell of burning electronics and Trevor could see smoke rising from the cube’s port.

“Probably?” Trevor said with a dark grin. “You got an exit ready or are we still improvising?”

“A little from column A, a little from column B, the target lift is still more or less secure as far as I can see. It should be waiting for you but you better move quick, I think the distraction is getting under control.”

“Great…” Trevor checked and stowed his cannon, tried to straighten his bloody pant leg, and rehearsed the story he’d tell in case they found him...

October 3, 2014

A Simple Job - Part 4

(For New Readers: See where it all started!)

4. Not a Leg to Stand On
A hole appeared in the creature’s right eye as it lumbered toward him and Trevor panicked. Before the unmanly scream could make its way from his brain and out his lips the Impactor round detonated inside the Juggernaut’s head with a concussive thump. The headless body staggered a step, then a second, before the legs collapsed and it fell forward to slam into the floor a half meter from Trevor, providing him an ample view directly into it’s open chest cavity.

Bile rose in his throat and he scrambled away from the corpse, forgetting his injured leg. He got a meter before the pain converted the high pitched scream he had stifled into something primal and he fell back to the floor.

“The fukk man?” the distant voice of Vance squelched in his ear.

Trevor pulled himself into a sitting position, pulled in a ragged breath, and looked down at his leg to see his boot twisted at an odd angle and blood soaking his pant leg, “I think that thing broke my god damned leg! You never said anything about a fukkin’ Juggernaut you piece of shit!”


“Really? That’s all you got? ‘Crap’?! FUKK YOU!,” he wailed. “I’m fuckin dead and it’s all your fault, I’m so gonna haunt you!”

Vance didn’t respond right away but when he did Trevor could hear a desperate attempt at calm in his ear, “look, that room is the fortified antechamber for The Crusher’s vault right? There’s got to be an aid station somewhere in there.”


“Think it through. Look around for something that could have medical stuff in it. With any luck it hasn’t been blasted to pieces by all the explosions. Better hurry it up though, my hack dampened the alerts from that section but I can’t tell if anyone might have heard the explosions and the screaming.”


Vance’s advice, as insufferable as it was, helped focus Trevor’s head so he could think through the pain. It made some kind of sense, the place did look like a fortress, and if he were building some military styled hard point he’d probably have medical stations around the place to take care of inevitable injuries. He found a way to hobble that didn’t put as much strain on his leg, though the pain layered itself across everything he did.

In the vids, if the hero took this kind of injury, they were usually able to find a chunk of metal or something to use as a makeshift splint and then they could walk on it fine, killing all the baddies and saving the girl. Trevor didn’t believe that would happen, not for a second, not after having experienced it.

He twitched around the chamber in short spurts, trying to not step in any Bug goo as it stank to high heaven. Near the back of the room, in the most fortified area that didn’t have a direct line of sight to the chamber’s entrance, he found a panel hanging partially open from the wall, its surface dented and slashed by shrapnel from his own ordinance. He tried to rush to it through the pain and yanked it open. Small capsules, boxes, and containers tumbled to the floor.

“Mother fukking…” he said as a large red case tumbled to his feet, a white cross flickering on its side. There was a rent in the side of the case as long as his finger with pink stuff dripping from it. He was sweating, hot drips of fear pooling in his waistband, as he tumbled against the wall trying to get the thing open. He was seeing stars and his head was getting heavier by the second. He slammed the case into the wall and it sprang open. He looked down and pawed through the spilled contents until his hand landed on a cylinder about the sized of his boot. He pulled it up to his eyes and he smiled in recognition.

It took further scrambling to get the leads pulled out and attached to his neck and chest, but when he got them in place the tube beeped and vibrated gently. The wave of euphoria struck him like a solid wall of clouds and the pain immediately vanished.

“That’s the stuff..” he breathed as the nerve blockers did their work.

“Great, you’re delirious…” Vance said.

As the pain cleared the fear and panic waned and he was able to get a good hard look at the horror that was his right leg. He tugged at the coverall to reveal a limb that has swollen, bloody, and bent into a shape that precluded continued use. If the cocktail of drugs wasn’t keeping his sanity in check he probably would have passed out from the pure visual shock of seeing the open tear in his calf and the exposed bone.

“I can see the bone through my leg, it’s mocking me.”

“Look in the medical unit, there should be something to plug that up and maybe a splint.”

“Why would the Bugs have anything my size in here?”

“Maybe because it’s not only Bugs that work in that place, quit asking stupid questions and find something useful. Hook in your vision and I’ll try to talk you through it.”

“You? Seriously? The guy who fainted the last time he cut a finger on a playing card? This is a real mess you won’t be able to handle seeing it.”

“Wow...just...wow. Shut up and hook in your eyes, maybe if you can trust me some more you might be able to walk out of there. We still need you to hook into the vault proper so don’t go dying or having an overdose.”

Trevor sighed and closed his eyes, “Vid-link Vance.” A small icon appeared in his lower right visual field, a stylized open eye. He opened his eyes and looked down

“Holy shit, you weren’t kidding about the leg...ok look at the pile of stuff to your right. Paw through it a bit...there, that white packet with the yellow tape around it. Pick it up and let’s pray that it isn’t damaged while I download the instructions. Ok so what you need to do is pull the tape off from the top and rotate the package 90 degrees to the right…”

(Continue to Part 5)

September 18, 2014


Paul pulled the black SUV off State Route 3 and wound into the dark heart of the Oregonian forest. After several twisting miles he stopped and adjusted his sunglasses, surreptitiously looking over to his partner’s scowling angular face.

“You ready for this Martha?”

There was a delicate jingle as she turned to regard Paul, her eyelids fluttering briefly as she visibly controlled her temper, “If you ask me that fucking question one more god damn time I’m going to yank your teeth out and feed them to your stupid ox!”

Paul raised his hands defensively, “I’m just saying, after the Mulligan case and that drill gang you might just want to sit this one out?”

The door slammed as Martha stormed out of the car, her tiny insect wings bent back and sticking through the slits in her bright blue windbreaker, the FCU logo and its bright white labeling clearly visible between them.

Paul sighed heavily and got out of the car, a few stray droplets of afternoon mist collecting on the lenses of his shades. He pulled in a deep breath, smelling the forest, sensing the pine resin as it slowly pulsed through the trees. There had been a time when he would have spit in his hands, rolled up his sleeves, and chopped the whole damn place to toothpicks in an afternoon.

That was before the troubles, before the wilderness got dark, before banality set its claws into his tanned and leathery flesh. He walked to the back of the vehicle, opened the rear door, and pulled out his ax. It felt good in his hands, comforting, the weight proper and balanced. He swung it gently up and down, taking practice swipes at invisible trees as he closed the rear door. He hoped that he wouldn't need to chop anything with the blade but knew that without the Fetter he might not be able to hold it together given what was probably waiting for them through the tightly packed wooden sentinels.

Martha was waiting for him, tapping her foot impatiently, as the cloud choked morning sky opened up, drenching cold reality onto their heads. They felt it then, an emptiness tugging at their chests, a loss of something vital, a violation hunched in the shadows past the next hill.

Paul shivered, pulled his own windbreaker tighter, and wondered, not for the first time, if the Folkloric Control Unit could really keep any of them around for much longer.

They entered the forest and the smell of fresh blood, spun sugar, and burned plastic floated up from the damp earth to greet them.

Notes: This was from a writing prompt where we had to write a Crime Drama in 15 minutes that somehow used Lunberjack, Flutter, and Label in it.

August 17, 2014

A Simple Job - Part 3

(For New Readers: See where it all started!)

3. Enter Stage Right
Trevor adjusted his cap for the 24th time, cursing himself for having Vance as a friend. The maintenance uniform didn’t exactly fit and he was acutely aware of the Cannon tucked in the supply pocket against the small of his back. In theory the pocket was scan-proof thanks to the mandatory shielding since it usually contained volatiles and broadcasting adjusters that would play havoc with the Hive’s tech.

The Hive might have been impregnable, but the place was a hodge podge fortress of improvised subsystems and wishful thinking. It had originally been a kind of storage compartment angled into the flooring of Angel Down, back when the ring was still thought of as an equal member of Angel’s Torus, instead of the bastard stepchild of inequity and squalor it was today. The degeneration attracted all manner of operators from across Human Space and that’s how Crusher had come to burrow into the place like a tick and build a nest from the desperate and the violent.

Trevor wrinkled his nose and resisted the urge to sneeze as the bug musk hit him. The Ident had worked, shockingly enough, and he had made it deep into the warren. Now Trevor was only a few chambers from his goal and the stench was overpowering. He’d never had much direct contact with Bugs until now and was definitely planning to avoid it if he got out of this in one piece.

The Bugs were everywhere in these lower levels. Most were tiny things, no bigger than a toddler. Sure, that was way larger than any insect had a right to be, but so far he hadn’t seen the really big ones, the Juggernauts. Most of the Bugs were armed, or at least that’s what Trevor assumed the long tubes strapped to their legs and sides were. He had no idea what those things fired but he wasn’t in a great hurry to find out.

Luckily it wasn’t just scuttling Bugs. Humans and other creatures were going about their own tasks, most sporting some form of self assured swagger. These people were familiar to Trevor, or at least their type was. Burglars, thugs, hackers, and conmen. They were as vital to Angel Down as the poor schmucks that maintained life support, and most of them knew it.

Hell, Trevor and his buddies were all members of this group, though not as successful at it. If a couple of jobs hadn't gone sour they would be working for Crusher instead of robbing him


“One minute,” Vance’s voice came over the microbead nestled invisibly against his eardrum.

The tunnels seemed to go on forever but eventually Trevor stood before The Door, a slab of metal covered in armor plating and studded with tubular gun ports that tracked him as he approached. He swallowed hard and slowed his steps, imagining the pink mist and splattered gristle that he would become if Vance fukked the next part of the plan.

The door was guarded by technology, certainly, but there were sure to be Bugs monitoring from somewhere else in the complex. He clutched his Ident as he took unhurried steps towards the door.

“3...2...1...and yes!” Vance yelled over the bead as the hall lights flickered, the door guns rotating to point into the hall instead of converging on him. Trevor reached into the pouch at his back and pulled out the Hand Cannon as he pushed the Ident against an interface panel next to the door with his other hand. There were a loud series of clicks around the door’s frame as the massive slab of metal slowly slid open.

The a stronger scent hit him as the door cracked open, the smell of burning plastic and sex, and it put his teeth on edge. He thumbed the selector on the cannon and took careful aim at a blank section of wall beyond the door the moment it was visible. He pulled the trigger and a mini detonator flew, ricocheting off the wall and careening into the room. He heard the hissing squeals of panicked Bugs for the three seconds it took for the round to explode. There was a deep thump followed by silence.

The door opened further and he ducked low and entered. The antechamber was clogged with smoke and the charred remains of Bugs.

“Heat,” he said as his vision shifted into ultraviolet. The center of the room was cooling, as were the gory chunks splattered across every surface, but he could see a large shape shifting on the other side of the smoke and heard clacking as it seemed to grow into something massive.

Trevor felt the blood drain from his face and he fumbled at the cannon, spinning the selector in blind panic.

There was a roar and the shape charged through the smoke, a tyrannical burning monster to his temperature adapted eyes. Trevor tried to jump to the side to avoid the charging shoulders and their promise of shattered bone and liquefied flesh, but the creature managed to clip his foot and pain flared up his leg. A scream was forced through his rattling teeth as his vision blurred and he slammed into the wall, slumping to the floor below.

“What’s happening?!?!” said a dim voice in his ear.

He shook his head as he tried to clear his vision. He pulled himself up to a sitting position and followed the sound of grinding metal. The monster was pulling itself out of the crumpled vault door like a dog tearing through packing material.

“Juggernaut…” he breathed.

The creature shredded and pulled the last of the door away, tossing the thick metal down the hall with casual annoyance. It stood at full height, or as near as it could get given the size of the room, with shoulders scraping the ceiling three meters above Trevor’s body. It turned and regarded him. The beast’s face was a massive pair of compound eyes set above a complicated mass of armored mandibles that twitched and ground against each other. They opened slightly, flashing serrated growths along their inner edges and sharp angular things in the darkness beyond. It hunched and bent its legs for another charge.

He felt the weight in his hand and realized that he still held the Cannon. He tried to brace as best he could and aimed the weapon at the creature. He held down the trigger.

There was a deafening tear as the weapon fired, numbness shooting up his arm. The Juggernaut staggered under the impacts, its chitinous chest caving in as round after speeding round smacked into it. The gun went dry in a handful of seconds but Trevor still held the trigger, staring at the creature as it staggered, shaking that terrifying head like a bear flinging water from its muzzle.

“Shit shit shit!”

Trevor forced his finger off the trigger as he reached his other hand into one of the pockets on his suit. The Juggernaut tried to stand but slipped on a floor now slick with its own yellow tinged icker. It cried out in frustration and slammed a clawed hand into the wall, digging into the metal like it was wet clay, and pulled itself up. A cinnamon stench filled the room and burned Trevor’s eyes as the monster took a step forward.

With shaking hands Trevor slid in a new clip and re-braced himself. He thumbed the selector again and took careful aim as the Juggernaut took another step. He pulled the trigger a single time.

May 25, 2014

A Simple Job - Part 2

(For New Readers: See where it all started!)

2. It Starts With One
“So, the Hive is 14 levels of dedicated shady dealings filled with everything from recreational pharmaceuticals to kidnapping and ransom. All of that run by the Crusher and his Bug family.”

“Yeah, we know that bit…”

The Crusher wasn’t technically a member of any of the Council Megacorps but it exerted so much influence in Angel Down that it was effectively a Corp with all the sovereign rights and obligations anyone could ask for. Those that worked for it got protection, health care, even a pension if they didn’t screw up or get too greedy. That kind of support bought the closest thing loyalty in Angle Down.

Its minions were in everything and its influence could be felt in the other rings if you knew where to look. Angel Down might have been the least opulent of the rings in Angel’s Torus but in a lot of ways it was where the real power lay, regardless of the average credit rating of the residents.

Trevor paid his “rent” to one of The Crusher’s men so he was intimately familiar with the lay of the land. The other bosses hated the situation, of course, since most of them were humans, or near enough, and working with a Bug tended to rankle.

Since the Ordo had managed to win their war with the Bugs years before, the insects were generally polite about it and tended to keep to themselves. Generally.

“It’s thought to be impregnable, all those layers built in the district wall, right next to the diamondoid partitions. It would take so much heat to melt through the wall that the whole ring would go up and decompress into space before you got through the first layer. So we can’t just blast in. However we could walk in like we own the place," said Vance.

He reached into his jacket and pulled out 4 Idents, each ringed with alphanumerics and each containing who knew how many nanoscale security encryptors.

Trevor reached down and gently held one of the cards between his fingers. It was lighter than he expected and warm to the touch, warmer that it should have been for coming out of Vance’s pocket.

“How the fukk did you get Idents to The Hive?”

Vance leaned back from the table, his mouth twisting into that smug grin.

“The less you all know the safer you’ll be, you know that.”

Bradley make a coughing sound, “Oh here we go with your vaunted immunity. I bet you’ve never met a real mindbender. That guy was probably just shining on the idiots...like you!”

“Think whatever you damn well like furball, I’m just saying that if Crusher has hired a psychic you’ll want the guy that can’t be read to hold the best cards.”

“Aren’t Bugs immune to that kind of stuff anyway?” Trevor asked as he put the card back on the tiny table. “I mean they’re aliens right? No offense Brad.”

Bradley let out a low growl before spitting on the floor, “Lord save me from ignorant fukkin hick assclowns too lazy to pay attention to the learning software piped into every forsaken hovel in this rat nest. Nekko-Jin are chimara you fukkwit, my great grandmother was as hairless as both of you morons.”

“Look, let’s get back to this ‘clever plan’ you claim is rattling around in the echo chamber you call a brain,” Trevor said. "Some Idents alone won't be enough to get you know what from you know where."

“Fine, so the next step…”

(Continue to Part 3)

May 13, 2014

A Simple Job - Part 1

1. Out of the Frying Pan
The Karachi Arms Hand Cannon clicked empty as the panel next to his head shattered, spraying him with flecks of molten metal and shattered composite. Trevor pulled back behind the relative cover of the damaged rear door panel as more shots slammed around him. On reflex he triggered the clip release and slid in a new magazine, knowing it would be utterly useless.

“We’re so fukked!” he shouted in the general direction of the transport’s forward engine compartment. He was pretty sure that Bradley wouldn’t be able to hear him over the wind blasting through the open roof of the transport’s rear section no matter how acute those tufted ears of his were.

The incoming fire tapered off and he heard a wail from behind the transport. “Oh shi…”

He shoved a blood crusted hand through a rail and tried to brace himself. The transport lurched roughly to the side and rolled. He found himself suspended over the long concave arc of a night cycled Angel Down, thousands of lights peeking through a smoke clogged patchwork of hab units and dark industry stretching into the far distance. Absently he wondered what was keeping him attached to the transport but a dull pain above his head gave him the answer.

He looked up from the cityscape and the universe seemed to slow down. A bright shape was speeding toward him, a smooth cylinder of reflecting chrome riding an inferno of channeled violence. The moment extended and he found himself thinking of the darkness of the club, the sweaty desperation of the coffin motel, the bad drinks, the sound of breaking bone, an emptiness that swallowed every bad decision he’d ever made.

As he looked at what he was pretty sure would be the last thing he’d ever see, a deep part of him swore an oath to a power that his younger version self was sure didn’t exist.

If I somehow make it through this I promise that the I will tear out Vance’s spine and shove it down his throat...amen.

The world turned a brilliant gold as he was thrown back into the transport and blessed oblivion.


“It’s a simple, no nonsense, easy smash and grab job. Nothing could possibly go wrong,” Vance said to the tiny room.

“Well: One,” Bradley held up three fury and repeatedly broken fingers. “You want to hit The Crusher. Two,” and a finger went down, “if it was so fukkin easy any crap stain would have already done it. Three,” and another finger went down leaving only a single bent central digit with a tiny curved claw at the end, “fukk you and your stupid fukkin fairy plum spinning ‘easy no nonsense’ plans.”

Vance sputtered, his face turning a deep red, his hands balling into firsts on the table. Trevor reached forward and put his palm on his friend’s shoulder pulling the man’s gaze to his own.

“Look, Vance, Brad might be 40 kilos of furry pessimism in a 1 kilo bag, but those are some valid...concerns.”

The room was close, hot, and echoed horribly, but at least it was safe. Trevor had swept it five minutes previous for the techno crap that the criminal scum of Angel Down used to keep track of each other and the place came back clean.

“‘Valid concerns’? Really?!?,” Vance yelled as he shrugged off Vance’s hand and tried to stand away from the tiny table between the three friends. His foot slipped as he straightened and he only succeeded in stumbling. His arms came forward to try to catch himself but he landed awkwardly, keeping his ass off the floor but knocking their drinks into a dark corner instead.

Bradley rolled his slit pupiled eyes, his long ears twitching forward, as he waited for Vance to regain his footing.

“Wow, just...wow...and they say we’re the emotional species. Next round is on you by the way” There was a gleam Bradley’s eye and his whiskers sat relaxed on his muzzle. Vance looked back and sighed loudly, his ego now deflated and some of the tension flowing out of his body along with it.

“Look, Vance, I know you think this score would be sweet, I can see that,” Trevor coddled, “but I’m not seeing an angle. How do we get in The Hive, grab the thing, and get out before Crusher or one of its goons kills us and comes after everyone we ever loved?”

Vance looked up and Trevor could imagine tiny fires igniting in his eyes, the antics of a few seconds ago forgotten in a sea of enthusiastic hope.

“See, that’s where the clever bit comes in…” Vance leaned in and for a moment he looked more feline than Bradley ever could.