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Sep 27, 2023 13:24
- Sep 4, 2011
My first Thunderdome submission! I am trying to take my prose more seriously and am eager to forge some skills in the fiery smelt that is T-T-T-Thunderdome.
Why not start with a bang? European colonialism, institutionalized racism, capitalist labor societies, hardened intelligence agents and a noir-ish sci-fi future. I might have bit off more than I can chew, but I suppose that's better than a whimper.
Outbreak 841 words
Thomas walked the street slowly and approached the slum. The building itself appeared a rotting corpse in an already grimy part of town - skeletal and bloated in the smog that hung as fog. This part of the city was foreign to the western expats - it connected through none of the gentrified hubs and contained nothing of any value to them. An aging white man strolling through the Zimbabwe catacombs at this hour was so unusual nobody dared to acknowledge him - he couldn't be lost, not here.
The two officers were waiting inside the building and ushered him in. They had not been allowed inside the scene yet. One of the officers was black and must have been local for he stayed silent as his partner explained. He was under the impression Thomas was with the police force, though his silent companion was not so naive.
The stairs groaned as they ascended and the lights buzzed and chittered ungodly - this building was a horrible amalgamation of every pre-2030 design flaw Thomas could think of, and he remembered better than most. Even when constructing a new city on top of an old one, they must have realized what this dump of a district was destined for. Perhaps, he mused, they should have built the whole city like this. Africa had been sold as the last manufacturing hub in the world - and so they returned much as they arrived.
‘We returned’, Thomas corrected himself. Nobody’s hands were quite clean. Thomas secretly took pleasure in the knowledge the problem would correct itself, as it always had. A middle class was emerging. It would not be long now. The advantage of being wrapped up in one’s work is always packing light.
They finally reached the floor and Thomas removed his thick eyeglasses and wiped them of the dust that must have been lingering in the air. It was quiet save the guttural death throes of the building’s pipe system. The silent officer inserted a police override stick into the lock of the door and it gave off a comforting click of acceptance that was made a whimper in contrast.
The white officer stepped forward to enter but Thomas had already pushed him aside. The apartment was dark and smelt of something expired. His eyes quickly shifted to a more appropriate exposure and he could see clearly. He exhaled sharply. Thomas blinked and turned off the implants before opening his eyes again and relishing in the blackness.
As one of the officers fumbled for the light control Thomas enjoyed the sensory deprivation. It wasn’t necessary to keep his cover intact at this point but out of professionalism he did if for no one but himself.
As the lights flooded the apartment the foreign officer swore loudly in what sounded like Czech. The other officer slowly backed towards the door, careful not to disturb anything but still reeling. Thomas did not flinch.
There were 4 bodies in plain view, one of them collapsed at a small dining table, two strewn about the floor and at least one in the washroom, a leg protruding from the half opened door. The blood had soaked into the carpets and walls and from the withered corpses Thomas could see no wounds or lacerations.
This was very very bad.
“I don’t understand” was all that the foreign officer could stutter.
Thomas clicked his teeth and put a hand in his pocket. He withdrew a thin clear plastic tube and crunched it. As the chemical reaction initiated a neon light began to illuminate the surroundings. Now both of the officers were retching and Thomas clicked his teeth much louder this time unconsciously.
Every inch of the apartment crawled and writhed with bacteria. Although organic this was not natural. Thomas blinked and turned his implants back on. His immune system was not compromised. It must be with the corporation. Bioengineering was one of the few things even he was not filled in on. All the intelligence officers peeked now and again, but this was far different. He must have been immunized automatically due to his clearance. Certainly he was never expected to need it - or know.
This was worse than he had thought. It was a weapon.
Thomas walked swiftly from the apartment. He looked at the officers and clicked his teeth.
“Neither of you will live for more than a few hours. I’m sorry.”
Already they had begun to go quakey in the legs and he could sense them start to panic. One tried to step forward but fell against the wall, catching himself and gasping for air.
Thomas shuffled down the stairs. He might be a carrier. He wondered how far the company would go to protect itself but he already knew the answer. They would be here soon and he hadn’t got long.
He clicked his teeth. He had always packed light. He could flee east to the coast. Until it all died down…
He knew that would not be true. He proceeded anyway.
Apr 26, 2014 03:54