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)