I’m surprised I took this job.
Not that I really have a choice in the matter. The sight of my rifle is all they want anyways, the curl of the trigger mixing into the crevices of my finger. It fits perfectly, like I was made for their war room statistics. I didn’t even need to grow a little caterpillar of a callus like most recruits. If I hadn’t taken this job, they would have noticed my resistance to violence, which in my profession is like a certain level of impotence. If I had a family, friends, or anyone else in my life to occupy my time they might understand my reticence.
I have no one. I can barely remember my father and mother. Both are dead, class eight hurricane got them a dozen years ago. They didn’t think it would sweep inland that far, but nothing in the climate right now happens in small moves. I was deployed at the time. My commander dropped off a handwritten letter with a red bow on it. That was it. I felt like a robot getting the obligatory oil for his gear. It was yet another in a long line of pointed kicks to the ass to keep me moving along without stopping and pausing to feel anything like a normal person would.
It wasn’t my first choice to travel to Rumeo. It is a forgotten place, filled with castaway things and cultures. Whatever the rich nations don’t want on their uncontested lands is sent here. It is the proverbial thrift store of humanity, an orphanage for all diversity and difference. Rumeo reminds me that humans do not really deserve this planet and its wonders, no matter how few of us there are after the heat, fires, diseases, and storms. We should not be vagrants on our own earth, but we are.
This celestial body obviously has a sense of morality, or else it would not be trying to starve us off the planet.
The unchecked warming of the earth has destroyed most inhabitable parts of the old and new countries that still rule what is left of this planet’s surface. The refugee crisis of 2056 put tremendous pressure on the remaining nations to deal with human beings who were essentially homeless. So they picked an island off the coast of Antarctica, which grows less arctic by the second, and built a massive metropolis of towering light and constant steam. It was carved around a mountain called Rumeo, which I guess was undiscovered for most of humanity’s existence. It has been twenty short years after the first girder was planted into the ground for the original skyscraper. Almost everyone I’ve spoken to in my life wants to travel to Rumeo to experience life unimpeded. They want to drink up the sultriness. It is an opposite existence to the antique dictatorships still operating the modern world.
I wish I was one of those looking for sin and debauchery, but I’m just another former jarhead obsessively shining my boots, doing a sharpshooting job for the American military. I’m not a grunt anymore. I did all my service years ago. Once they, the military, people in charge, politicians, know you’re compatible with murder outside the chain of command, then you become like a rare animal, or in our collapsed environments case, a rare DNA strand to be cloned for a high-priced zoo. Regardless, once I was discharged they signed me on as a mercenary, and I have been doing the execution of the unwanted ever since.
So here I am, on a train beneath the ocean waves on my way from Argentina to Rumeo. There are no planes that fly into the city. There are a few Helio pads for the very rich in the center of the metropolis, but no illuminated tongues of a landing strip for even a military aircraft to howl across. You also can’t bring any weapons or combat armor into Rumeo, so my gun is disassembled and hidden throughout a guitar case that holds an actual instrument. Customs won’t want to mess with a real wood guitar, they can be sued for mishandling, and that item is priceless. To get my combat armor in, I’m wearing an obnoxiously long and baggy trench coat, which is real leather. I’m practicing the too expensive to question policy when it comes to security.
There is sweat oozing out of every orifice of my body in this jacket. I am swimming but not in any water. I feel completely and utterly ridiculous.
Combat armor is lucky. It can deflect a bullet, blade, or beam. Just a few times though. I’m not a statue. It might be a lovely, thin shell of plated metal and hidden weapons, but I can still die beneath it like a cooked crab. Combat armor or CA as we call it in the core is only given to the elite few. Acronyms take over all language in a military setting. It gets tedious instead of useful.
I’m a few hours away now. The train is nearly empty. They sent me on a Monday, when the hordes of revelers wouldn’t attempt to make the trip. The cabin is one long, navy-blue tube, with red lights lined alone the floor in plastic chains. Along the walls are round windows with optional metal blinds that look like sideways eyelids. The air smells of ammonia and cheap plastic. They could’ve booked me in first class. They have the means. I keep looking out the window into the water. The city council of Rumeo planted a bunch of illuminated signs and pillars along the railway towards the depot. Glowing squares of tits, asses, and other bits of debauchery pierce the gloom. Their neon faces make the aquatic landscape even more desolate. The oceans are nearly empty. You’re lucky to see a single fish. I read they use to be full of sharks, squids, and whales. Now, they are yet another artist’s rendering of an extinct species in a history book.
I should sleep for these last hours, but I cannot help but be anxious about the briefing they gave me. They shared no information about the target, not one iota to help me identify it. I usually know what I need to kill before I kill it. I could not even read their body language; it was all through the phone’s emotionless honeycomb of a speaker. The only thing they said to me, which is stuck repeating in my anxious brain like some sort of shitty song:
“You’ll know it when you see it.”
Alright, I did it finally, my new serialized story Genesis Adust is now started and living on my blog. This is a cyberpunk noir story. I have been wanting to write it for quite some time on here, but was lacking the discipline to make it happen. Then, after experiencing some heavy existential dread from COVID I decided to say screw it. I’m writing it. Right. NOW. It’ll be published weekly on here every Wednesday. Enjoy!