In a world ravaged by wars and lacking government authority, the future is a high-tech and dangerous world; criminals and innocent bystanders co-mingle. Robin Luddites become crime bosses that navigate through the corruption to restore balance against the corporations. Humans have evolved with animal attributes in order to survive the radioactive, toxic environment.
New Orleans is a Venice of water and radioactive sludge, but the inhabitants of the drowning city survive with defiant determination. Detective Graves is a folk hero to the people, a Robin Luddite who contracts jobs to dismantle the corporate powers from wielding too much power over the Breeds. His latest contract has Darius Jones secretly guarding a musician named Rose. Slowly, Darius is enchanted by her music. The contract becomes an excuse to watch her.
But something else has Darius Jones vexed; a murdered prostitute and her john proves there is something strange about the relationship between Deotronics and Gratia San Antonia. Although a retired Robin Luddite, Darius Jones begins investigating the power fluctuations from these giant corporations. He assembles a team to discover the answers to these mysteries and calls in the experienced skills of his sister and Gus Sips from Miami to assist infiltrating the elusive Deotronics.
Soon, the mystery leads back to his unrequited love interest, Rose. Her innocence proves more than naïve for the seasoned Robin Luddite. He interferes with the Breeds’ free power and annoys their folk hero. Darius stands alone in an ugly world but he is compelled to chase his ghosts that haunt him.
Contains adult situations, language and violence. Mystery, thriller, Science Fiction
Spoiled food littered the upper floors of the Red Hotel. Used as housekeepers, roving dogs licked clean the discarded wrappers from various foods. Most of those downtrodden creatures never made it to the upper levels, too fat from the bits that they scavenged from the lower levels. Smaller outcast dogs and nutria picked through the spoiled bits on the upper levels, afraid to go anywhere near the meaner dogs on the lower levels.
The Red Hotel had a switch in every room that flipped the outside sconces from white to red, labeling the rooms that were open for prostitution. The TVs were encased in metal rebar crosshatched in cages, and dataplex slots allowed patrons to pay for an arcade of pornography to lull them to horniness or sleep. The arcade was filled with videos, games and simulated porn for Breeds, Elites and the taboo.
A lizard Breed emptied into the fifth floor. His vest cleaved from his body revealing the rough leather of his lizard skin that was smoothed over metal sheathing. The rivets of the metal created extra nipples along his body like a dog in heat. Spatters of hair curled around his dark green vest, and his head tapered with short white hair. His brown slacks swaggered in thick strokes, hiding the Heckler and Koch’s MP8 street pistol that he favored, a stray cousin of the MP5. A nine shot revolver sat at the bottom of his back pocket, sharing the space with his dataplex.
Wimpy brushed away nutria with his left foot as he stomped through the hallways. Red lights flickered to beckon the horny patrons. Tempting, but Wimpy was there for business. He weaved around corners and rapped his knuckles on the letters and numbers that marked the doors. He paused at a walnut door stained in blood that gave it a moldy red hue. The door letters read, “523RP.”
He pushed his body against the door to press his ear to it, listening to the pants and whinnies of two people engaged in sexual combat. The thought of him interrupting their sexual exercise broke a smile to his chapped lips.
Wimpy had a sinister side that he enjoyed to brandish. The astonished expressions from his bold attitude tickled his personality. He was never a subtle man but he knew when to keep his mouth shut. He also knew how to take orders and follow instructions precisely. His boss, Darius Jones had a subtle but sincere side that he appreciated. Wimpy was the mace that his boss used when the scalpel failed.
He was southern bred and had lived in Dallas most of his life until a year ago. Darius had convinced him to abandon his old stomping grounds and slosh through the New Orleans streets. Wimpy was accustomed to contracting for Robin Luddites but the change of pace was a satisfying shrug from the old violent life he had lived.
Wimpy didn’t mind being the errand boy but sometimes he wished for more information to help him follow on the road. His latest job led him to the hooker’s safe haven known as the Red Hotel. He knew that his quarry wrestled his hormones on the stained sheets every Wednesday. The man was predictable like the tide.
Darius was very specific that Wimpy was not to kill him; harming was fine.
In one single stroke, Wimpy forced the door open and cocked his nine shooter at the two startled souls that were clasped together. The hooker leapt from the bed and slipped a machinegun from between the mattresses. Gunfire blazed across the left wall while snaking towards the calm Texan. As the gunfire raced towards him, Wimpy plugged her chest with two bullets.
The john stared in shock as the hooker limped into his lap, spilling blood over the sheets. The john spoke with hesitant smiles, “Well, that saves me from paying.”
“That was not my intent,” Wimpy assured.
“But it is a good thing, I suppose. I got my end finished. She just never received hers.”
“Very selfish of you.”
“It is not compassion that drives an Elite like me to hire some Breed to polish me off.”
Wimpy clicked the revolver’s cylinder. “My employer needs favors from you and your associates at the San Antonio.”
“Some information drawn from you on a regular basis.”
The Elite john shrugged nervously. “I cannot speak ill of any of those I work for. Besides, the power is non-taxed and unburdened to the Breeds. There is no need for this.”
“Then there is no need for secrecy my Elite friend.”
“Friends do not speak between drawn weapons.”
“It is the best way to keep friendships civil and truthful.” Wimpy’s eyes panned across the room to search for weapons. He wondered why the Elite was hesitant and coy. “To start our payments, he wishes to know the output of power drawn down the tracks.”
The john’s eyes quivered in fear, but it wasn’t the pistol that pushed his emotions across the bend of his brain. “He doesn’t allow information to leave the premises of the Inplex. I see no way this can be kept in a smart way.” Stammering through the bloody corpse, the Elite wrestled the machinegun from the hooker’s hands. Wimpy backed into the hallway, pressed against the wall and waited for the popping sounds of gunfire to sizzle out of the room. A couple of seconds passed and then three muffled shots murmured.
After a minute, Wimpy craned an eye into the room and found the Elite lying over the hooker with three holes in his head. “Shoo, that could have gone better,” Wimpy stated as he wiped his gun barrel down.
by Jax E. Garson
copyright, 2010, 2014
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