NT/18 – Second Skin
There had been wars and when each came, those forged from deeper blood and harder bone, and when death came for them, they had fought. One path in the wild carved solely for them, that the sea was made by boats and the sky was made by planes, that noise was made by signal in a world built by walls, and the centuries passed. When the terraforming became a success the deserts vanished, with the new growth and the population, the oceans lowered, soon there were only seas, and soon the only deserts were where the oceans had hid them, for the new territory came the new ‘Great War’.
Something about peace without preparation creates the culminated opposite of both, for this men were medically altered to wear technological armor they could monitor with their brains, weapons and shields became the new skill and strength to them. As many wars begin for some reason of perceived loss, so too had one soldier joined when the war took his civilian family. Into his arms, holes drilled for shields to mount, his legs and back, his feet and neck, all for the armor of an army ant, and he fought, but in 3 years’ time, the war was over. The brain hack discovered allowed these wars to resolve as actual chess, or whichever game you prefer. That is, if you know how to play them. What becomes of the game masters uncertain, as unknown as the modified soldiers, many of whom which are lost from the world turned to illegal black-market gambling events.
We find our unnamed soldier, in a massive vehicle scrapyard, salvaging tech from vehicles, making new age and old-school weapons, a small person comes and tells him an event will happen in a few hours, and he drinks booze in the hot midday sun.
Disastrous moguls and warlords gather one by one, in mobile armored vehicles with armored mobile guards. The vices of the ages remain the same, used in celebration beyond necessity. The gamblers place their bets on and against someone who could not pay their own debts and the soldier begins to hunt him.
The chosen prey of this match is formidably skilled, eyeing the gamblers and avoiding the hunter, attempting to shoot them the hunter confronts him. A sniper shoots one of the gamblers and the soldier becomes scared and tense, he finds the prey with the sniper, the rifle on the ground.
The sniper peels back his jacket collar to reveal the logo of their shared employer, and then holds the prey out to the side without being body shielded.
Sniper: Walk him there out ways for to see they shall and kill him.
X-Soldier: Why did not you radio me into the loop?
Sniper: Too much attention, boss’s orders….....I would not be here if lying I were.
X-Soldier: Run into the street and I will make it painless.
Prey: Those things, is that why you are here? I can remove them, not just cover them, I can get rid of all of them.
X-Soldier: They are a part of you now. There is no going back.
The hunter shoots him with a particle-phase-laser-concussion. The wound melts his chest and the weapon cools audibly. He drags the prey into the causeway and in front of the audience. There are cheers, music of intensity echoing the kill, and eventually servants clean the gambler’s blood.
The next day, another prey arrives, the battle begins and soon reveals that he is more so an apt opponent, a former soldier from a formerly opposing country of a former war. The hunter becomes hunted hurries to win, the battleground is rife with obstacles and the newcomer stares him in the eyes. The danger is laden, wanton recklessness fueled only by rage as fear moves their feet quickly to collisions of sake and sinister division, with precise strikes of snakes and thrashing like horses as each clash.
With hesitation and regret below the hot sun, the ex-soldier remembers his workshop at middle way of the scrapyard and runs for the weapons before spilling all his sweat or blood, or both. Forced by instinct, the challenger races in the same direction feeling the knowledge remembered is his to understand the likewise, they collide and roll in close-proximity and fight alike, one the ground amongst ruin with the strength of wild bears.
The unnamed soldier wins nearly killing the challenger, pinning him beneath a mass of scrap he turns to look at the gamblers’ box, his employer smiling and taking money hand over fist with a cigar in his grin.
The soldier begins to sweat blood, when the light of the sun pierces the glare and begins to burn his rage-red face he charges toward the betting tower. Thru obstacles snipers await greeting him who think he has come to bow in glory, he neutralizes them first. He leaps into the observation watchtower thru the glass and subdues his employer. All guns in the room point at him.
X-Soldier: I die, his books die, and nobody gets their payout!
The sound of hands gripping weapons in emotion.
Gangster: What f! troubles you, ex-soldier?
X-Soldier: Are you paying them, or are they paying you….say it you lying f!!!
The room grows silent enough that the soldier’s heartbeat pounds thru his backplane.
Gangster: Everyone wins ….house loses, challenger forfeits.
The sound of hands relaxing from weapons in relief.
X-Soldier: YOU TRIED TO TEST ME? NOW? HERE, IN A MATCH?
Closer to intimidate, quieter to intimate.
X-Soldier: Tell me what debt I owe you other than I drag your insides over your outsides after I peel them in layers for a bed …OF ANGRY LEECHES!
Gangster: Pay I will you just do not kill me!
X-Soldier: You want to buy me out. Your debt to me is as big as life itself. You want to replace me, fine he is alive, keep him, and after you find and fix him, but if you ever even think a bad thought about me wherever and after I dig in and link up, I will burn you in your own money sell the tape to Media Outlet.
The ex-soldier walks, stops at sexy woman.
X-Soldier: You think that was dangerous.
X-Soldier: You want to get the hell out of here.
Bombshell: Oh hell yes.
The man who had accompanied her tries to intervene, he stops under the gaze of the ex-soldier. She laughs and he picks her up in his arms and leaves the room. He has his own car; the spectator box explodes as they leave.