You could find anything online. Weirdos made it their hobby to model the city. To explore and record. Comparing the images I’d robbed from the heads of the dead, it hadn’t taken me more than an hour to find what I was looking for. It hadn’t been easy… But if there was one thing I was good at, it was working with complex data.
The heavy steel doors from the vision loomed ahead. Their graffitied exterior said nothing, but the death inside was still seared into my brain.
“Shock me all you like, I’m not going in there.” Ash prowled alongside a burnt up police vehicle at the edge of my vision.
“I’ll extend your range. If I die, though… The shock will be lethal.”
“You’d really just kill me? Isn’t that murder?”
“Is it?” I asked. “I would feel bad about the cat.” The thought came out fiercer than I expected.
“You know what? I have never been conflicted about wanting one of you to die before.”
“…There’s a first time for everything,” I said. “Maybe there’s something to say about the fact we all die together in the end.”
The cat sneered at me from the shadows.
I didn’t know what I was thinking. I was going in with nothing but a taser to take on a monster and a small army of professional human butchers. Big steel doors lied ahead. They were barred and locked, meant to keep the things behind them out of the fragile sight of people like me. Beware, they said, the doors keep monsters in as much as you out.
I took a deep breath. With my eyes closed, the signal in my head, I couldn’t blink or waver. I flipped on the taser and started towards the door.
For my friend.
My metal hand wrapped on its surface.
You should be looking for a side entrance. You should be running.
I knocked again.
Don’t throw away everything, Frode. Don’t kill yourself.
My program took hold.
“They deserve it,” I said under my breath.
The door unlocked from within and began to slide back. A slit of light let out onto the barren street and widened, overtaking me. Stepping into that light and casting me in his shadow was a behemoth of a man.
I’m gonna need more amps.
His massive jaw stuttered, “n-not much m-meat on you, l-little skelly-ton.”
He knew I was here to start trouble. He had already decided I would die, and I had already realized he could do it. I didn’t have time to think through the freeze that was trying to take hold in my bones. I bellowed. “WHAT YOU GOT?!”
He lurched forward, arms outstretching.
My body moved like water, rushing under his arm and then sidestepping, putting us back to back. With him already leaning forward, I only had to push back to send his body to the asphalt. Like meat dropped on brick, his face smashed down as I quickly closed the door behind him again, locking him out.
The first cackle escaped my lips. My eyes darted over the interior of the hallway I had found myself in, the taser tight in my grasp. I only had to think and the pilot program interpreted the command to the military grade AI in my mask. Jerry took the reigns.
I started forward. Small pools of blood broke up under my footfalls as I traveled deeper into the building.
I remembered the way from when they’d killed me… Her.
The pounding of the giant on the outside doors began to sound. It echoed over me. Rapid footsteps came in from around the next corner in response to the noise.
My pace picked up to a sprint. We met at the same time, catching them by surprise right at the bend. The first man already had his gun in hand. Without even thinking it, as my taser stabbed into the flesh under his chin, my hand slipped over his and dislodged the pistol.
The next two fired without consideration for their friend. Their bullets tore into him as my momentum transferred, driving us both towards the wall. I set us into a spin to keep him angled as my shield before raising my new weapon and squeezing the trigger just twice.
They all fell down.
Blood was splashed across my arms and chest, I saw. My beating heart surged with me as I picked up another gun. My lungs expanded to bellow, “BUNDUS!? COME OUT!” They can’t stop me. “IT’S TIME TO PAY!”
More came running into the next hallway. They were augmented freaks laced with metal and lights this time, their proportions and gaits aberrant. Each one only took a single bullet, and aiming took no thought. I walked over their corpses.
The strong smell of brain and blood filled my nose. I didn’t stop.
Finally, I had reached the inner chamber at the bottom of the stairs. For some reason, I had almost expected more. This was his den and he was the head of the entire sector’s flesh-trade. Pride is what it was. Now he died.
My foot hit the door and it swung inward. The red insides of the room reflected on the soaked floors. As I stepped down and my eyes scanned the rafters for Bundus, I heard a noise.
A low cackle came from behind the bloody throne where the woman had died.
I didn’t waste any time in locking onto the source and firing.
The ricochets went violently around the room. The figure stepped forward into the light and sat down on the crimson seat as I watched.
Her metallic face shown in the dim as she leaned forward. The robot cooed. “You are absolutely precious.”
“You’re not who I came here for,” I said.
Her feminine voice almost broke with laughter. Her eyes were glowing silver like the moon. “It’s so refreshing when your type come around. Alone against the world, fresh-faced and grasping for power against insignificance. You always think you’re the first one to figure out a magic trick or two.”
“Where’s Bundus,” I demanded.
“I do love them…” She leaned in as if she was telling me a secret. “They’re always so surprised when the end comes.”