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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/campfires/item_id/1233625-Digital-Burn--OPEN
Rated: 18+ · Campfire Creative · Fiction · Action/Adventure · #1233625
2044- An economically ruined St. Louis battles for rule over its impoverished lower city
[Introduction] In 2036 a computer virus left the US in economic ruin. Through the widespread panic the lower city of St. Louis arose some semblance of order called The Rogue. Due to the rise of foreign business takeovers in America, the lower city found itself teeming with rival gangs. It is now 2044, two years after The Rogue was dismantled, and the lower city must fight to regain the order that was once theirs.


Rules:

1. Create your own character using the profile template, and email it to Faye Kairi for approval.
2. All additions will be written in the third person from your character's point of view.
3. To make an addition, you will be given five days. If a post is not made, you will be skipped. Three consecutive skips will result in being written out of the story unless a reason is given.
4. No magic, No superpowers, No aliens, but creative license is encouraged to come up with futuristic weapons and technology.
5. Profanity, violence, and romance are allowed, but no death or sex with a fellow character without consent. We do however promote interaction.
6. Read past additions before writing one yourself please.


Profile Template:


User:
Name:
Sex:
Age:
Occupation:
Physical Description:
Personality:
History:



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User: Faye Kairi
Name: Kale Stantan
Sex: Male
Age: 23
Occupation: Murphy the barkeep of the club the Digital Burn hired him as one of his errand boys. He knows everything and everyone in the 4th district of the lower city and can manuever through it faster than anyone lucky enough to own a transport. However Kale's true occupation is theif.
Physical Description:. He's about 6'2" with carmel colored skin. Kale keeps his dark brown hair cut short with the top a little longer so it can be styled into faux hawk or just spiked. His athletic build probably comes from his native american background. His face is that rare balance between pretty and handsome with soft features bordering dark eyes.
Personality: Kale is secretive and brooding, having not quite gotten over the deaths of his friends and lady. He is a natural born leader but he is too angry to care. Stealing is his life; he steals to keep busy, to forget, and sometimes he steals to find death.
History: The Virus hit the year Kale turned 15, his parents left the country leaving him behind. For 2 years his girlfriend and he did the best they could while the city tore itself apart. It was Cooper the master rogue of the 4th quadrant that taught him how to live, how to fight, and how to do it with honor, the slighty crooked honesty that the Rogue established in the lower city. It wasn't perfect but at least everyone looked out for eachother and the people were beginning to feel safe again. That is until the Axious took over, they slaughtered the Rogue and with it Kale's life.

~~~~~~~

User: Wayward Antagonist
Name: Raiden Nakashima
Sex: Male
Age: 28
Occupation: Terrorizing the four quadrants of St. Louis with his drug running, scamming, and full out gangster outfit. He is the leader of the foreign corruption in the lower city. If its illegal, he's got a finger in it.
Physical Description: He's a 5'11" Japanese man with chin length black hair that is always carefully styled. He finds joy in luxurious clothes, and is always sporting a pair of black shades. A jagged scar runs from behind his left ear, accoss his neck and down to the right side of his collar bone.
Personality: He is humorless, vengeful, and merciless. He believes in a twisted code of honor, and is attracted to anything he sees as beautiful, whether it be male ore female.
History: As the second son of the Nakashima Industries empire, Raiden always found himself bested by his older brother Daisake. After the virus his father moved to America to take over the crumbling businesses, and took his sons with him. His father died shortly after, and Daisake was put in charge. Raiden was left to roam and cause havok wherever he could. Finding a second family in the lower city, Raiden soon made it his goal to control as much of it as he could.

~~~~~~~

User: Insidious Raven
Name: Sebastian Kilbourne
Sex: Female
Age: 25
Occupation: Stealing and chopping cars and motorcycles. She does the occasional fix-up for a friend, or a large amount of money.
Physical Description: She is of an average height with waist length black hair, which is usually kept in a long braid. Her eyes are a slanted green and her skin is pale- a strange mix of aisian and european herritage. She has a well toned muscular build from hefting car parts around. Her average appearence consists leather and axle grease.
Personality: She's a funny girl, always out to make a buck or crack a joke. But get her near an engine and she turns into a serious, no nonsense mechanic.
History: She never had much money, nor much of a family. It was always her, her brother, and cars. After the virus, it was just her and cars. Using her talents and winnings from illegal races, Sebastian muscled her way into the chop shop business. She works for some of the most unsavory people in the lower city, being most loyal to those who pay her the most. She makes due, and finds herself racing most weekends for fun and the extra bit of cash.

~~~~~~~

User: Jason Simmons
Name: Aaron Kulpin
Sex:Male
Age: 26
Occupation: Hired mercenary, heavy weapons and vehicles specialist
Physical Description: Around 5' 11". Aaron has brown hair that flows to cover his eyes. A scar on right temple to cheek. Blue-gray eyes.
Personality: Very cold and distant until you get to know him. He almost always keeps to himself and lets very few people get close to him. Prefers to work alone. Does his job, gets paid and leaves.
History: Knows nothing about himself prior to a few years ago. Aaron lets no one know about what he learned about his past.

~~~~~~~

User: The.Random.Rocker
Name: Cierra Camashi
Sex: Female
Age: 24
Occupation: Assassin although she also owns and runs a small food stall in the market district.
Physical Description: 5'9, slender but muscular. Blond hair cut short, hazel eyes. An eyebrow pierce, four earrings in her right ear, and three in her left. She also had a couple of tattoos hidden in various places on her body. Normally seen in a red leather trench coat with black jeans and a plain white t-shirt; she never carries a weapon unless shes out on a specific job.
Personality: Incredibly confident and friendly, with an extremely cocky attitude that often rubs people the wrong way. Although on the outside she's all sugar and spice, she has a very nasty streak to her that shows if you try to mess with her. She shys away from personal relationships, and most conversations with her are either about the other person or filled with mindless chit-chat. She relies on no one but herself, and it shows in her attitude.
History: After watching the last of her family - her brother - get murdered in front of her, Cierra developed the mindset that to keep her loved ones safe, (as well as her heart) she should never have any in the first place. It wasn't long before she fell in with a gang, and because she had always been attracted to the power guns held, she was soon sent to kill her first victim. Since then she has done various work for both the Rogue and the Axious. Although she currently works for the Axious, she's more then willing to accept any jobs thrown her way - as long as the price is high enough.

~~~~~~~

User: Simon
Name: Exavier Scemica
Sex: male
Age: 27
Occupation: A member of the Axious A-team a small group of specialized men who deal in the arms trade and bringing in the Rouge by means of spying and wiretapping.
Physical Description: He is about 5”10 and very muscular, He has reddish-brown hair that is usually kept short in length. Very charming, an award winning smile and nice blue eyes to go along with it. Has matching tattoos on both arms. Wears a silver crucifix around his neck at all times. Always looks sharp and well kept.
Personality: Very short tempered, and has no problem dealing with the opposite sex, Has been nicknamed the Don Juan of the 4 districts. Is one of the few men who still holds chivalry in high regard. And treats men who abuse women in a harsh and sometimes deadly manner. Never is with the same girl for more than a day. Believes himself to be the very best at what he does. He enjoys writing poetry in his spare time, but keeps it a close secret from everyone but the women he writes it for. He guards himself, and has no close friends. His left hook is the deadliest in the business.
History: Ex-football star banned from the sport when he tested positive for steroids. Spent some time in jail for beating a referee to death over a bad call in a football game. Once released went full blown into the arms dealing trade. He soon realized that his strength was best used on ending other peoples lives. Not making millions playing sports. Spent most of his life in Kilkenny, Ireland. But moved to the states in 2030 to play for the late Pittsburgh Steelers. And now leads the Axious Spy ring and is often used to interogate Rouge prisoners due to his high success rate of “persuading” the captives to talk. Secretly hates working for the Axious, But he enjoys his fancy lifestyle way to much to give up the great money they pay him.

~~~~~~~

User: majinepyon
Name: Cheyenne “The Mayor” West
Sex: Male
Age: 22
Occupation: If it goes fast… Che is about it. Champion in the highly dangerous street racing syndicate, Che and his crew of Reavors are legends among the sport.
Physical Description: Athletic build, dark skin Persian in origin, long striaght midnight black hair which covers the burn scars on the left side of his face from a racing accident. Self conscious of the deformity, Che hides behind his hair, shielding his eyes from the world. Dubbed the Mayor by his crew, Che came to lead his brigand during the war where he became a master of tactical planning and combat techniques.
Personality: Delusional grandeur: Loose cannon, always looking for a bigger rush, drug addict and adrenaline junkie. AKA-DEAD ON ARRIVAL

~~~~~~~

User: DarkStarr
Name: Araceli Meshkat
Sex: Female
Age: 27
Occupation: former computer security analyst; software/hardware programmer; seducer for The Axious. Araceli is a computer genius. She could be found creating different codes and prgrams to the wee hours of the morning. When not creating different programs and modifying the technical area of the Axious’s business dealings, Araceli was “coerced” by one of the top heads to aide in bringing in high rollers to the business, by any means necessary. With her brains and beauty, Araceli lived the glamourest life. After the Fall, her funds are looking quite low. Her need to increase her savings have became a priority.
Physical Description: Araceli has elbow length dark brown hair with a few wisps of a lighter brown highlighted through out. At 5’8 and weighing 133 lbs, her body looks as if it was sculptured by hand with luscious curves and dips in all the needed places. Her Persian/Bolivia mixed heritage has created with Araceli an intoxicating beauty to lay eyes upon. Light chestnut brown eyes contrast beautifully against her cinnamon hued skin. Pink, pouty lips concealed perfect white teeth. With a toned, hourglass figure, Araceli is beauty defined.
Personality: Surprisingly, Araceli is not the conceited type. She is very aware that she is beautiful and by all means uses that gift to get what is needed, but she is actually a quiet person with a timid demeanor. She is not very outgoing and not one to make friends everywhere she goes. Some reasons for sheer jealousy of other women, others for not wanting to speak with anyone.
History: She was born to an upper middle class couple in Bolivia and lived there until she was a teenager. Early on Araceli was taught to use her gifts she was given to get things she would need. This would in turn pave the way for her future occupation. After moving to United States at 14, she began her love of computers. Graduating from high school at 16, she was enrolled into countless advanced placement courses and college classes, continuing to feed her need of knowledge of computer security and creating software. The details of how she became linked with the Axious are sketchy, but there is talk that her mother had dealings with them and Araceli followed in her footsteps………

~~~~~~~
Kale Stantan:

Kale looked at his watch and contemplated the nature of thieves. Are thieves born or bred? He shifted weight to his other foot more out of boredom than anxiety. The Virus certainly bred a lot of thieves, stupid ones. The banks got hit the hardest, essentially all monetary credits evaporated and the money you thought you had, the property you though you owned was up for grabs. You think when the government decided to switch to an electronic method of payment and ownership they would have backed it up better. It took the U.S. 3 years to start circulating the paper currency it did away with back in the ‘20s. Kale smiled as he remembered the first time he saw a dollar bill, held it and smelled it. He came to love that smell.

The light from the lamp overhead flickered and blinked out. Figures, the power in the city had been a little shady since the Dead Year. The Dead Year was the year after the Virus when the nation plunged into chaos; rioting, gang violence, murders, and all other types of crime increased 10 fold. The only wealthy people in the city now were the ones that stood to gain profit off of the madness and those that came from other countries to bathe in it. The president sent troops to every major city to “assess he situation”, assess in this case meant slaughter, half the population died. We don’t have much of a government anymore each city pretty much runs itself has its own cops and political system. Kale spat at the thought of politics, politics only existed for the wealthy and only applied to those in High-rise. The only fairness he had seen in St. Louis came from the Rogue, an underground organization of spies, thieves, and merchants. At least they had a code of honor; one man ran all the crime, regulated business dealings, and protected the innocent in their section of the lower city; one man or master for each of the 4 districts: market, club, tech, and free.

If you think of the city like a square its easier to understand the quadrants, the lower city is the edges of the square each corner being a separate district. The center of the square is called High-rise, it consists of the only skyscrapers left in the city the wealthy live in the apartments, run their business, and shop like the Virus never hit. He laughed at the thought of being able to go into a supermarket and pick up whatever you needed. People in the lower city had it different, although you can still find most of the stuff you need. The name of the districts coincide with what goods or services are sold there, market has food, produce, drugs; club is the entertainment quadrant; tech has all your technology needs whether its repair, buy, sell, chop; free is not really free just more of a name for miscellaneous goods. Notice there isn’t a home district, in the lower city home is what you make it.

The building to Kale’s left suddenly erupted in violent fire, he glanced at his watch again. “Three minutes late,” he made a mental note to tell Murphy to double check the wiring on those things. Either way he had what he came for. He picked up his pack and slung it over one shoulder. Casually walking away from the site he didn’t worry about the commotion the blast had caused. Murph had said he was getting careless. Didn’t matter he had no one left to be careful for.
Raiden Nakashima:


“How did last night go, Marcel?”

The boy trembled at the foot of the large bed, contemplating how to word what he knew he had to say. Raiden leaned casually against the headboard, his bits barely covered by the black silk sheet that draped across him and the woman sleeping at his side. He ran his fingers unceremoniously through the girl’s blond hair, taunting Marcel with caresses he knew the boy craved.

Raiden asked again, letting his impatience drift into his voice. “Do my ears deceive me, or did nothing happen last night?”

“Oh no, sir, everything went just as planned,” the boy flinched, “Except for the cars.”

Raiden pursed his lips, “What do you mean by “the cars?”

“Well… um, Tai showed up with only half of the designated models.”

“As in, Mr. Holstein will not be getting his full order tomorrow when the ship arrives?”

Marcel winced, taking a small step back. “That is correct, sir.”

With a dramatic sigh, Raiden crossed his arms tightly over his chest. They were like children, all of them; unable to complete the simplest of tasks. If he didn’t do it himself, it didn’t get done. And he had so many other things that were ten times more important than a crate of cars for some errant German buyer.

“Marcel, come here.”

After a moment of hesitation, the boy stepped cautiously around the side of the bed to stand next to Raiden. Quicker than lightning the man grabbed his face, cradling it forcefully in his huge palms. Marcel gasped, quivering with the effort it took to not struggle.

“What did you do when I said Tai couldn’t handle the job?”

“I…I… stood up for him, sir.”

“And so now you have to find someone else, don’t you?”

“Yes, sir.”

“I do hope you’ve learned your lesson, Marcel.”

As the boy opened his mouth to answer, Raiden captured his lips with his own. Marcel melted, leaning heavily against the edge of the bed to get as close to the Japanese man as he could. But it was not a loving kiss. It was menacing and forceful, meant as punishment.

Raiden slid his hand down to Marcel’s chest, shoving him backwards. The boy whimpered like a hurt puppy, stumbling over his own feet to the ground.

“Get out, Marcel. And fix it before I come down there tomorrow.”

The French lad nodded furiously, bolting out the door.

Raiden once again leaned back against the headboard. He had hoped that once he set up his empire of corruption, his delegated lackeys would be able to run it. Now, not two months after he retreated back to High-rise, his hard work was starting to undo itself. Not that he didn’t enjoy getting his hands dirty, he just liked lounging in luxury better.

The woman lying next to him stirred, rolling over to clutch at his chest with a satisfied sigh.

“Do you always make out with your employees?” She asked in a lazy British accent.

Raiden shot her a cold, sobering glare before sliding off the bed and grabbing his robe. “Shut up.”

Tomorrow he was going back down to the lower city to rally his forces back into action.


Sebastian Kilbourne:

Her hand rested nonchalantly on the smooth black gearshift. It vibrated softly, echoing the engine’s rumble. It was a delicious feeling, sitting in the driver’s seat. Sebastian loved it—her feet poised over the pedals while one hand caressed the steering wheel and the other the stick. The only other feeling that competed for her affection was the satisfying roar of a freshly hotwired ignition.

There was a sharp rap on the black tinted window on the driver’s side. Sebastian rolled her eyes, cracking the window. “Yeah, what’s going on?”

“They’re lining up for the cross rivers race, ‘Bastian, thought you might wanna jump in.”

The woman rolled the window the rest of the way down. Leaning against her freshly waxed car was a tall Chinese man. He wore baggy jeans with a white button up shirt and a waist coat. If there was one thing Sebastian appreciated about Tai, it was the man’s strange sense of style.

“They’re lining up already?”

“Yeah man, it’s a grand per buy in. You’d totally kick their asses ‘Bastian. Jennings isn’t even here tonight, neither is Maverick.”

The woman tossed her long braid over her shoulder and raised a small eyebrow. “Tai, cross rivers is a closed casket race. You don’t just die if you fuck up, you get mangled.”

The man groaned, hitting his head against the roof of the car in exasperation. “It’s been a year since that race claimed a life. Come one, just this once.”

Sebastian laughed, her green eyes glittering with mirth. “Oh, you just want to bet on me is that it?”

“You’re a sure thing, ‘Bastian.”

She smiled. It was a huge compliment, and also the truth. No, the woman didn’t win every race she entered, but there were very few she lost. Money was always exchanging hands when she rolled her ride up to the line. But tonight, there were other things that required Sebastian’s attention.

“Maybe another time, Tai. I’ve got business to attend to.”

The man’s grin faltered, and he turned to lean into the car. “What do you mean business?”

“I mean the boosting kind, you hack. What else?”

“Man, I hope you’re not getting into some deep shit.”

Sebastian chuckled. “Yes, let me take advice from the guy who fucked up a major Axious job.”

Tai’s face scrunched in embarrassment, and Sebastian couldn’t keep her grim amusement from showing. They were friends, sure, but anyone in the business was also competition. Not that she wanted the Axious job. She tried to keep her employment from them minimal, lest she got sucked into some serious trouble.

“Oh, shit,” Sebastian cursed, eyeing a black sedan as its reflection grew quickly in her rear view mirror. “Jump in, Tai, that car is Axious.”

“What?!” The man spun around, stumbling over his feet.

“Get in!” The woman yelled, opening the driver door with hopes that he could vault over her and into the passenger seat without too much of a commotion.

The sedan screeched to a halt beside them, door slamming before Tai had gotten a single foot in the car. Five men swarmed out, each one packing heavily. The formed a loose half circle around the driver’s side of Sebastian’s car.

“Tai Hahira,” the one in the middle said, “For your sake, come quietly.”

Tai shot a desperate look at Sebastian, but she shook her head. There was nothing she could do for him now. Nothing she was willing to do. He raised his arms shakily, stepping away from her open door slowly. She mouthed a small “I’m sorry” as men grabbed him and dragged him to the cement.

Sebastian caught the eye of the man in charge. Marcel. She should have known. That French floozy was a bastard all the way around. He winked at her before turning his attention back to Tai who was being bound and gagged. Sebastian grimaced, pulling her door shut and slamming the gearshift into first gear. Running was by far not her favorite thing to do, but sometimes it was the only option left. Tai had fucked up. Now he was paying for it. It was constant reminders like these that kept Sebastian on her toes. She knew one of these days it would be her nose scraping the pavement if she wasn’t careful.



Aaron Kulpin:


2:00 a.m. Aaron stood up from his crouched position. He had just taken out the last of his targets. They were Axious, but he didn't care. He had been hired by a freelancing Rogue to kill this special unit of Axious. Hell, these Axious were as freelanced as his employer.

Oh, well, time to get paid. That's when he heard the unmistakeable click of a round loading into a sniper rifle. He dodged to his left, just as the bullet whized by his head. He found cover behind large wreckage.

He slid against the wall to get a good look at his adversary. Whoever he was, he was good. True, Aaron had avoided death, but that came natural to him. After spending almost four months temporarily blind, he had learned to count on his other senses more.

He peaked over in the general direction of the origin of the shot. 'What the hell? It's a woman,' he thought to himself as he saw the would-be assassin. She was swearing as she reloaded. He took the opportunity to disarm her, nothing more.

He shot her in her hand, forcing her to release the rifle. He quickly got up and held her at gunpoint, carefully using every sense he had to make sure there was no one else to interfere. There wasn't. He got closer and kicked the rifle away.

He took a good look at his assailant. She looked really pissed. But he couldn't help notice how gorgeous she was. 'You're losin' it buddy,' he told himself. But of course she was mad. She had just been disarmed by the person she was trying to kill.

He took a look at her get-up. He recognized her as the restaurant owner, Cierra, he believed her name was. She wasn't a member of Axious or the Rogue. She most be a hired assassin, or mercenary, like he was.

"I know you," she said, still angry but calming down.

"Yeah, I've been in your place a few times. We need to continue this elsewhere, though. The Rogue and Axious will be looking for the both of us. Whether to hire or to kill us, that's the real problem."

"I know a place we can go," she said.
Cierra Camashi

"Are you hungry?" Cierra asked as she finished wrapping a bandage around her hand. The bullet had gone straight through, which luckily meant she didn't have to remove it. She had a pretty good knowledge of first-aid, as she avoided hospitals and the like at all costs. Too dangerous. What, and getting recognized by you're victim isn't? She reminded herself silently.

"Not really." Aaron replied, watching her from a seat nearby, the gun still cradled in his right hand. She had taken him to her restaurant, figuring it would be the safest place for now. Since arriving, he hadn't put the gun down for a second, which proved he wasn't entirely without brains. She was looking for her chance, and he obviously knew that.

"So I guess I'm going to have to watch what I eat from this place, huh?"

She gritted her teeth angrily. "No. As of now, I don't own it anymore." She had liked owning the restaurant, but she had grown careless. Who knew how many other people had connected the asian with the restaurant owner?

"Too bad. You guys had good food." There was a bang from the first aid kit, and Aarons eyes left her for just a moment. It was all the time she needed, and when he looked back a few seconds later, she had a gun aimed straight at his head. "That was quick. Good distraction, though. What was it?"

"Something I made. Harmless, but makes a loud noise." Cierra motioned for him to stand up.

"So now what? You shoot me?" Aaron asked as he carefully got to his feet.

"I don't want to get blood all over my floor. Customers don't like it. Gun."

"It won't be just me their trying to kill, you know." He tossed the gun onto the floor, kicking it over to her. Keeping her eyes on him, she bent down and picked it up.

"No doubt. They won't be able to find me, though."

"You sound quite confident for someone who got recognized by one of her targets."

Her jaw tightened. "Do you want me to kill you?"

"No, I want you to put the gun down so that you don't get us both killed. In case you haven't noticed, theres been an a lot of people running past, which means they found the people I killed earlier. Which means they'll be looking for us."

"You." She corrected.

"Hey, your the one with the gun." He eyed the chair he had been sitting on, then smiled. Her eyes darted to the chair just as something beeped. He had placed a device there, and by the looks of things, it was one that released a gas. "That ones not so harmless." Aaron said with a grin.

"Shit-" Cierra had just enough time to register the fact he was holding his breath and then she crumpled to the floor, unconscious.

Kale Stantan:

The lights came on in Kale’s place around 11:30am, he groaned and rolled over in his circular bed. He should have put a snooze into the building's operating system. When the music started up he knew that the chance of getting back to sleep now was extremely low. The apartment if you can call it that was far too large for just Kale, but he liked it that way. It used to be an underground music venue called Toxicity, the bar or now kitchen still had the green neon sign flickering above it . He kept it up their in tribute to the owners that were so gracious to leave behind their belongings when they fled.

Kale had found his sanctuary after a night of dodging the High-rise border patrols that were suppose to keep the wealthy “safe” from the likes of street urchins. He was stumbling through the forgotten subway system hours before he came to a very heavy bland looking door. Kale having been taught never to take things at first appearance tried to open the door and found that it wasn’t heavy at all. The venue was a members only kinda place, a small stage, dance floor, and bar spanned the downstairs, the upstairs loft held a couple VIP rooms along with a fully functional bathroom. Kale chose the largest of the rooms for as his.

Something pounced on top of him making sure to getting him right in the ribs.

“Ugh! Pix shove off I’m up”

The medium sized dog yapped at him and bounded to a free part of the bed. It had been Ellie’s dog, but after she died the two boys became quite close. Pixel was an Irish terrier and small for his breed, probably why Ellie named him Pixel. Kale however though it made the mutt sound like a fairy so he called him Pix or Pick Pocket, its true the dog had earned its keep with the Rogue. Good for a quick distraction, to get into small places, carrying messages, or just running away with things… Murph thought he was the smartest dog he’d ever seen. “It’s cuz he’s Irish,” Murph had said.

Speaking of Murphy, the dog seemed to have a note tucked in his collar. Kale took the message scratching the dog behind its ears while he read:

Get up and for God sakes get dressed I’ve got some stuff for you

Murph knew him all too well. He looked down at his royal blue pajama pants. He wore pants to bed in case he needed to leave quickly, another reason Toxicity had more than one exit.

He looked at the dog as he replaced his pants with a pair of clean boxers. “Breakfast at the Burn again, those guys spoil you. I’m surprised your not fat and lazy by now.” He talked to the dog nonchalantly and it gave a deep grunt in reply.

Kale put on some torn jeans and a blue shirt that clung a little to his upper body. A black zip up with a hood completed the ensemble. In the last 40 years fashion hadn’t changed all that much, not for the lower city although Kale had heard that metallics was the new thing in High-rise. Whatever.

~~~~~~~~~

It didn’t take long to get to Digital Burn both places were in club, Kale wouldn’t dream of living in any other district he knew this one so well. Pix trotted along side him as alert as ever as they walked up to the building. With a name like the Digital Burn you’d think that the property would be more flashy, on the contrary it looked a lot like every other rundown warehouse around it save for a small torch that Murph lit only at night.

He walked in and was greeted by pretty much everyone in the place. The Burn was a little bigger than his home more dance floor than VIP rooms although the Burn did have an upstairs mostly used for storage. The floor that was empty during business hours was full of folding tables and chairs. At the tables sat the usual body guards, spies, messengers, errand boys, and other employees of Murph, male and female. They were either reading over their assignments or writing down reports about certain city news. Kale’s attention turned to a particularly crowded table, several of ours were watching as a young scarred looking kid was being interrogated. This was unusual to Kale because most “interrogations” didn’t happen here.

He walked over to the bar where Murph was washing dishes. Murphy looked more like a bouncer than a barkeep, big and burly with a bushy reddish brown beard and a bald head. There wasn’t a person who didn’t know or dislike him.

“What’s with the kid?” he asked as Murphy made him a small drink.

“Yeah I wanted to talk to you about him, he actually walked in here looking for a job can you believe that?”

Not really, Murph chose people, people didn’t find him everyone knew that.

“Mickey broke him, truth is he is from High-rise, ran away when his parents decided to send him to boarding school overseas. His folks probably didn’t think a good education could be had in our quaint little city.” Murph grunted and started to wipe down the counter not because it was dirty but just out of habit.

Kale really noticed the boy for the first time, he couldn’t have been any older than fifteen if that. He had done a good job at dressing down, his clothes even had that worn in look about em. Then Kale noticed his shoes, they were a shiny metallic gold dress shoes, no one in the lower city had access to that type of material, he could have stolen them but Kale doubted it.

“Alera,” Kale addressed a petite brunette that was leaning up against a support pole scanning the dance floor. She had keen eyes he liked that about her.

“Yes boss?” she walked past the kid’s table and came up to the bar.

“I’m not your boss,” he said under his breath, “Take the kid teach him the basics, if he proves himself useful within a week start advanced training. I trust you to keep an eye on him.”

She nodded and turned towards the table, the sea of onlookers parted and the kid seemed less frightened more interested like Kale had done something really exciting.

“Oh and Alera” he called back at her.

“Yes boss?”

Kale hesitated before saying, “Get him some new shoes.”

He turned his attention back to Murphy as the room behind him buzzed with action once again.

“You shouldn’t blame them for calling you boss, chief.” Murph said sternly. Kale knew what he meant, outside everyone thought it was Murph that kept the club district in balance. In truth it was all Kale’s work. He had stayed up late last night going over the reports of the previous day and issuing new ones. He knew who had their fingers in what, who was in trouble, who was abusing their authority, etc. Axious may have the rest of the city but club truly belonged to him whether he wanted it or not, it was his inheritance. Murphy hadn’t let him abandon it or forget it, especially after “our Japanese friend” had Copper, Ellie, and the rest of the masters murdered.

Copper was the master of this district, one of the four; someone had leaked information about the four corners, four corners being the meeting that the masters had every once in awhile. They took great care in deciding where, when, and who knew about the meetings. It was a great risk all of them together, but it was necessary. They were betrayed and the conference turned into a bloodbath. Kale had been running late so he sent Ellie to take his place as the Copper’s second. He never forgave himself.

“I’m no one’s boss the Rogue is dead, the name is taken by ruffians saying they are fighting for our cause but in truth they are no better than the Axious,” his voice was low and came out in a soft rumble.

Murphy didn’t often get angry he took life with a pint of ale, but Kale’s words tore an outburst from him. He slammed his right hand on the bar.

“God damn it boy, do you have your head so far up your ass you can’t see what you’re doing, what we are trying to do here,” with a wave of his left hand Murphy indicated in all the people in the club. They had gone silent, holding one collective breath.

Kale downed the rest of his drink before standing up throwing the empty glass against the wall. It shattered into tiny pieces. He couldn’t deny they’ve made good progress, but his arm only extended so far and now days any one with a little thieving skill could call themselves a rogue. Murders, rapes, destructive fires, all done under the headline he used to so proudly present.

“We don’t kill people Murphy, we punish those that abuse people and power, but we don’t kill people if we can help it. How can I salvage three years of taint? And what about the other districts huh, we holding auditions for new leaders. I’ll put up some flyers for you if you want.” Kale’s temper was in full force and he was pacing.

“Don’t flatter yourself to think that you’re the only one who understands or cares what has happened, I just want you too rise to the station that is yours and stop running around like a injured dog tail between your fucking legs.”

Kale started at Murphy as the big man threw a wrapped parcel at him. Startled he nearly dropped the package.

“I got you something although you don’t deserve it, it’s broken but Mickey said if anyone could fix it Sebastian can, she’s down in tech I wrote the address down for you.”

Kale's blood was still running hot, but the moment had passed. He said nothing more just stormed out. He didn’t hear that all the people in the room let go of their breath at the same time. Once outside he was rejoined by Pix who was puzzled at his master’s bad temper.
Raiden Nakashima:


High Rise was one of the most deliciously corrupt places Raiden had ever lived, and he had lived a fair amount of places. The narrow streets were clean, and the buildings sparkled happily in the sun, but deep under the polished exterior was a thick layer of grime. Not that the average well-to-do family would ever know it was there. But if one were to run a gloved finger around the top money makers in the city, it would not come away white.

The Nakashima Empire held some of the most valuable property in St. Louis. And valuable it was. Daisake Nakashima, Raiden’s brother, was rolling in business propositions and industry takeovers. The man made millions every year. And even though the Raiden was not in control of the operation himself, he couldn’t help but take advantage of the benefits.

High Rise was kind to the Nakashima’s, mostly out of fear. But the sick and twisted bastard knew that it was all because of his brother’s success, and not his. So four years ago, Raiden took it upon himself to create his own fear and powerbase: The Axious.

Truth be told, the years he had battled with The Rogue had been the best times of his life. Death, torture, intrigue—they all came with the job description of a leadership coup. And then, after all was said and done, Raiden was back to where he started; lounging in High Rise with lavish romantic flings and money coming out of his ears. What a grand life indeed.

As Marcel wove their car through the backstreets of the lower city, Raiden took the chance to examine the faces of the people they passed. They were all a mishmash of colors and styles, picking up whatever they could find or make themselves, though fashion was certainly better then when he had left for good a year ago. And in their beady little eyes Raiden could see quite clearly, just between the fear and anxiety, was hope.

Oh, he had assumed it was starting again but here was his proof. The Rogue, or something quite like it, was definitely gaining a foothold. A thin smile cracked the smooth exterior of his almond colored skin. Yes, a battle was afoot and Raiden was licking his chops at the thought of spilling vagrant blood once again.

“Marcel, did you take care of that little mix up with Tai?”

“Yes sir, all taken care of. We even got a few names out of him before taking him to the dump.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah, just some boosters we already had on our list. He did mention some things about the elusive Kale, though.”

Raiden licked his lips, glancing out the window as they pulled up to one of their many safe houses. This one was in the market district. “Did you inform Exavier of this information?”

“Yes, he said he was taking it into account and planning an assault.”

“Tell him to hold off.”

“Sir?” Marcel turned off the engine and glanced back at Raiden through the rear view mirror.

“I want him here bright and early tomorrow to discuss possible actions. It’s about time I learned the very latest in Rogue news. I want my city to stay my city.”

“I’ll let him know immediately, sir.”

Raiden opened his door, stepping out into the cool St. Louis breeze. “Not necessary, Marcel. You can call him in a bit. First we need to settle into the new quarters.” Raiden’s eyes twitched with amusement. “Perhaps christian the new bedroom?”

Marcel smirked, following his master inside like an obedient puppy.


Sebastian Kilbourne:


The bass was bumping as Sebastian worked; her left foot tapping absently to the beat as it stuck awkwardly out from under the car. It was one of her favorites, Tech Nine, that blast from the huge speakers in the corner of the garage. Subwoofers lined the wall under her workbench, rattling the scattered tools on top. It wasn’t until the album ended and she rolled out to change it that she came face to face with a man. Well, sort of. She was still on her back, and he was looming above.

Sebastian sat up, her eye twitching with irritation. “Mother forget to teach you how to knock?”

He frowned. “I did, you didn’t hear.”

“Well that doesn’t mean just let yourself in, does it?”

The man narrowed his eyes. “Your window was open.”

“Psh” the woman grinned, standing up with a wince. “The window is broken, and that hardly means ‘come on in.’”

The man opened his mouth to retort, and then closed it. Sebastian raised an eyebrow but decided not to push the issue. The guy seemed pissed off as it was, he certainly didn’t need her help. Instead, she strutted over to her workbench, pulling down the top of her red coveralls to hang low on her hips. The muggy St. Louis air was stifling in the old run down shop, and the air felt good on her bare skin.

“So are you going to rob me or what? I’m kinda busy you know.”

“What? I’m not scamming you.”

She laughed, turning to lean on the bench with her elbows. “Yeah sure, that’s why you snuck in through my broken window. If you’re not here to plunder, then what’s up?”

His lips twitched at the word plunder. She almost thought they’d tug into a grin, but he caught himself. “Someone said you could fix this.”

He picked up a messenger bag that had been dropped carelessly on the floor. She had missed it sitting there earlier. He tossed it, and she caught it with a small oomph. The bag was heavier than it looked.

Sebastian set the bag on top of the counter, letting out a small gasp when she peeked inside. “Oh score! Where did you swipe this?”

“You know what it is?”
She threw a long glance over her shoulder in disbelief. “Hell yeah I know what it is.”

“Well can you fix it?”

“Is your bike out front? I’ll have to take a look at it to see.”

The man knit his eyebrows together.

“You know—two wheels, goes vroom vroom? C’mon man, I don’t have all day.”

Sebastian rolled her eyes as he still said nothing. “Listen hot shot, I don’t know where you got this, but I can’t do anything with it until you bring me a motorcycle. It’s not broken; it just needs to be installed. And not only do you need a bike, it has to be old. This is an electric kit. A nice one too, but it’s useless if the cycle already plugs in. Got it?”

She chucked the bag in his direction and he caught it, coming out of his daze.

“Wait a second… motorcycle?”

Sebastian wiped the sweat away from the back of her neck, shaking her head at the man. “Did you not just here a word I said?”

“Yeah, I’m just… surprised.”

“What, do you just go around stealing things not knowing what they are?”

He scowled, knuckles turning white as the clutched the bag. “It was a gift; I had no idea what it was.”

“Well damn, nice gift and all. But it’s useless seeing as you can’t fence those things for shit.”

“And why’s that?”

“You don’t see a bunch of gas stations around do you? They don’t make cycles, or cars for that matter that need gas anymore. They’re super rare, which means conversion kits are even rarer. Like I said, nice gift, but useless seeing as you won’t be able to find a bike to use it on.”

He pursed his lips before bringing the bag back over and setting it on the workbench. “I’ll have a bike for it in three days.”

Sebastian snorted, turning her back on him to sift through the piles of CDs for something else to listen to. Who did the guy think he was? “Yeah, and my bank account survived the crash too…”
She looked back over her shoulder, but he was gone. On the bench next to her was a small card. It was for the Digital Burn, and on the back in small type were the man’s name and a number. Sebastian gasped, dropped the jewel case that was in her hand, the plastic cracking as it struck the cement floor.

Kale Stantan had just been in her garage.


A Non-Existent User

Cheyenne "Da Mayor" West:
ONE-
MOURNING BELL


Stir to stomach.

2P.M.

Pull the pillow shut to hide away from arrows of daylight pierced through wrenched blinds. Mornings were never quite pleasant. Too many scattered dreams, too many pains to blot out circumstance. Who was I? A sadist. Where does my faith lie? Broken at your heals, I have no soul. The black muscle I call a heart is cold and dead dragging the living down. Reach for the pills on the nightstand, crunch the chalky paste down through cotton dry tongue force a swallow like cement. Where did circumstance abandon me on this occasion?

Recall.
Let the drug have me.

The knife digs across my forearm, rising and falling over the ridges and scars that form valleys upon my appendage. Sometimes a little pain is the only way a soul sodden with sin knows it is alive. The uncertainty taking over. Refuse the black oil that drowns me in the darkness. The tablets become even harder to force down, dry throat constricting muscles fighting off the capsules. First it was the “Red-Devils” but these had nothing on the Pink Betties. Betties made the Devil’s child’s candy, the effects, well come with me for the ride…

I allow the drug to consume me.
Drowning.
Drowning.
In the black I wonder if this is what death is like.
Peaceful.
And recall.
The city:

The world’s murmur of hustle-and-bustle crept through plastic-sealed windows, echoing lost aspirations to early waking ears. Yet desires were mislaid, raped in a blur of clouded remembrance. But it's always small like that, at first. I stand looking into the ghost that stares back at me from the mirror. A shell of what once was an innocent child until that day, the day that changed him into the empty soulless being that laughs back at me. I hate you. He smiles and calls me a soulless pig, a little shit not worth anything.

It is my dad all over again. Haunting.
I close my eyes to his lies. I am not listening.

Pulling my hair down covering the truth to his words. The doctor said the scars would never completely heal, even with surgery the extent was too severe, but fuck-it who wants to die without any scars. Each one an individual story, and event of one’s life documented upon flesh. A scar is like a tattoo, it is who you are.

So now I say it is a bike accident. Life is easier that way.
SHUT-UP!
I swallow another handful of capsules, welcoming the overdose.
I simple didn’t care anymore.

Then the knock at the door.
Admonition tries to elude your ears; nonetheless, it is just irksome enough to draw your attention to it. Repeating over and over like a scratched record, driving the nail deeper into the brain box. And once you have noticed its annoyance, you are faced with a choice: heed the delusions of revelation that marinates gooseflesh in bumps and bedding sweat.


Knock-knock-knock!

Numb; life vague impression of sporadic images—estranged nightmares haunts the mind in recollections of debauchery and mayhem. Bettie sings, the confused demented opera bellows symphonies, performing upon deaf ears with imagery of some classic B-rate horror movie. Crows plug the sky blackening the pool with raining feathers. The clouds pour open and the wicked one emerges, evil’s supremacy unleashes wrath upon mortal cask. Delirium last about five minutes, then the headaches come on. Pain ten times worse than any migraine, crippling, actions rendered into an amebic state. My circulatory runs heated on fire, alive with venom in my flesh. Maybe I took too much, and like that the thought is gone, pushed deep into the filings on my mind. Welcome the pain, embrace the hurt, allow it to smother my feelings, kill the abandoned neglected child that hides within this monster. Anvil tears bone and skull, while the fingers of God cleave head apart, enabling experimentation of their new toy.

Then the pay-off.

The Reave…

High, I could be or do anything I ever wanted. Bettie made me a God. And now I laugh. There are monsters among men. Men who deem themselves Gods, gluttonous ripe bellies swollen fat with evil and sin, pockets fat with greed. I could have escaped this world that surrounds me. Even though, I didn't. A place for your slovenly narrator is along with the rest of the slugs and vermin of the food chain. That's where I find myself the most comfortable. Struggling on, evading the bullet for another sunrise. I will kill every last one of them for the monster they created within me, but first I had to get their attention. Make both sides of this coming war lie in bed with me, if you lie with dogs you may step in shit. But keep your friends close and your enemies closer; yet never sleep because sleep is the cousin of death. Shadow and glass, they’ll never see it coming because I am one step ahead of them. I’m simply too good. And when I’m done playing one side against the other I’ll have both at each other throats, then I’ll take them down.

Then what.
Will a taste of revenge cure the bloodlust within me, or…
Never mind.

Knock-Knock Knock…

“Shit coming!” I demand.

Get up.

Pudgy fingers diligently work to scratch sleep away from fogged eyes. Inebriated feet scurry in avoidance of cigarettes packs littered among the cockroach-infested room. Trembling alcoholic fingers frantically probe the ashtrays for a stub to ease the nicotine yearning.

It became routine.
Find the toilet.
Take a leak.
Brush the teeth, and what should I wear?

Uncomplicated actions to occupy the mind with matters of a bagatelle nature to keep from going insane—sometimes people like me don't need a past. We just fit in. Deep within the trenches, battling the twisted essentially obsolete society in which we all live and breathe every day. I like it here. Buried in Hell’s Kitchen.

At least there is plenty of work….

I go to answer the door. It is my angel beautiful and deadly, body like a knife.

“G’Day Alex.”

“Da Mayor is being summoned.” She smiles and lays a kiss to me, hard and fast it takes me by storm as the blood rushes with the drug inside I tingle electric.

“Race time is at 8."

"Double D wants to meet down at the garage.”

“My bike doesn’t need tuning.”

I turned from the doorway allowing her in. Yet like a dog cowering before the chill of a ghost, she had no desire to soil herself in the gropes of my repugnance.

“This don’t have nothin to do with the race.”

She broke her tongue. Pausing to focus and concentrate on exactly what her next words would be, almost as if she shared no wish in saying them. But finally it came out and I cursed her in my head for saying them at all.

“We found your Father.”

Exavier Scemica:


Exavier’s charger rumbled through the dim streets of the industrial district, as he slowed down for a stop light he noticed some little children rummaging around in a nearby garbage can. His heart sank, “Ah Shit!”

Exavier had very few weaknesses but the few he did possess were what the Axious deem to be unacceptable. His sympathy for kids and women were not a standard that many Axious held in high esteem.

As he Pulled up next to Cierra’s restaurant, It reminded him of how hungry he was. “Man, I could a use a steak right now,” Exavier mumbled to himself. But it’s not about me right now.

He approached the two small children, and in a soft voice he said, “You kids hungry?” Both children lowered their little heads and nodded. As Exavier reached into his pocket he pulled out two cards with an undisclosed amount of money on them. He gave them to the children and said, “Go on now kids, give these to your mother." and the little girl jumped into his arms and gave him a big hug.

As he swung around with the girl wrapped around his arms, He just noticed a man raising a gun in his direction, before another thought entered his mind the bullets where already on their way.

Two shots echoed through the streets. Reaching to check himself for a wound he found none, And put down the small girl. But the girl wasn’t moving, and this sent shockwaves through his body AS he wheeled around, the man fired a few more times, only this time Exavier rolled out of the line of fire, as he looked down at the now bloody body of the little girl, He trembled. So much anger and anguish.

He pulled out his Silenced Uzi automatic machine pistol, and began ripping the windows of Cierra’s place to shreds. The man inside lunged over the bar and out the through the back.
Adrenaline surged through his body as he threw down his now empty weapon, and sprinted after the man who was in Cierra’s restaurant. Kicking down the door and lunging over the small bar he made his way into the back... The man was gone and nowhere to be found.

“He was trying to kill me,” Exavier was boiling, “I should be lying dead on the pavement, my blood should be spilling out on the streets.” “I should have never got out and helped those kids.”

Exavier always had a way of making it his fault when something went wrong. As he shuffled his feet closer to the door, he noticed Cierra crumpled over on the floor next to a table. Another violent shock hit him, “Not another one…” he now reached over and checked her pulse. She was alive, just unconscious at the moment.
“You’re going to be ok, C.” he bent over her lifeless body and scooped her up in his big strong arms. “I won’t fail this time.” He walked out of the Restaurant and placed her delicately in his car, and closed the door.

Looking over the small boy was still crying over his sister. Exavier walked briskly toward the little boy.

“Where’s your mother boy?”

The sniffling little boy replied in a low broken tone. “I have no idea, she left earlier this morning…. taken by some Axious guys. It’s just us now, looking down once again he said, just me now...”

“hey! You keep your chin up, what are their names, I promise I will do what I can to bring them home to you.

“Tai and Lily Hahria..”

Like being shot through the heart he fell to one knee and said, “your father’s gone, but I will give you your mother back. Go home now, she will be there soon.”

With that he walked briskly over and got back into his car, he kicked the engine into high gear and roared through the city, heading for his house in High Rise. An all too familiar phone ring was now echoing through his ears. It was Marcel. How he hated that no good, low life, piece of worthless French shit.

“Hello?” Shouted Exavier to the screen that had flickered on as he picked up the call. Marcel’s face now filled the rather large screen that was set up on his dashboard, and he began to speak.

“Raiden needs to see you immediately!” He said, in an arrogant voice, as if he was the leader himself.

“Fuck you cocksucker, what does he need me for?”

“He needs a report on what’s going on with some Rouge key figures mainly Kale, and he needs you to get on it now, Come meet us at safe house number 6.”

“I can’t right now you French faggot, I gotta to take care of something.” With that Exavier ended the conversation.

His mind was full of what to do and what not to do. He had no idea where this life was going to take him. He looked at Cierra and wondered if he was on the wrong side. As he pulled his car up to his High Rise, he then waited a moment for the car attendant to come out and take his car. He carried Ceirra up to his house and placed her on his bed. “Hang in there C,” he bent down and kissed her forehead before walking out of his house.

He called his service and had his Charger ready and waiting around front. His phone rang and the familiar melody of Krash, instantly told him it was Rictor, his right hand man and street tough of the A-team.

“We learned from a reliable informant that Kale was last seen heading into Sebastian’s Shop, you know that place well?”

“Yeah Rick, I know of it.”

“Should I send two squads over with you to check it out?”

“No, I will go check it out myself, Is this Sebastian guy on our file as being a Rouge?”

“No Sir, She’s clean.”

“Wait a second, Sebastian is a she??? Ahh hell it doesn’t matter.”

“Hey Xav, watch your ass, that Kale is a tricky son of a bitch. There is a reason why we haven’t caught him yet.”

“Hahahah, I am the smartest, fastest and strongest guy in town. I don’t worry about anything I just do it.”

“One more thing Rick, Lily Hahria is to be released and given 10,000 credits in compensation for her stay.”

“What the hell Xav? Are you serious about this? I don’t think Raiden will be happy when he finds out that you let a rouge prisoner go.”

“He won’t find out, because nobody is going to tell him, Lily committed suicide and her body was buried, she no longer exists! No more questions.”

Click.

With that Exavier was speeding down towards Sebastian’s Garage, who knew what awaited him when he arrived.

“The Reaper is calling your name Kale!” Exavier smirked.



Aaron Kulpin

Aaron quickly peaked back into the window. 'Damn Axious,' he thought to himself. The man who had dodged his shots seemed to have been holding something, which at first Aaron thought was some sort of heavy weapon. Aaron felt extremely bad when he found out that he had taken the life of an innocent child.

When the stranger left, with Cierra with him, Aaron ensured that the girl recieved a proper burial. It was the least he could do, considering it was his premature attack that had gotten her killed. After he buried her, leaving a small marker with the small inscription: "Innocence is waisted, and youth is never clear," he set out to retrieve Cierra from the Axious.

With that resolve, he left the old restaurant, burning it behind him. He would make sure that Cierra was not hurt. He had had enough of that already. The Axious would pay. And so would the Rogue, in due time.
Sebastian Kilbourne:


There was something about being backed into a corner that really rubbed Sebastian the wrong way. Not only was she having the boost of a lifetime forced upon her, but there were three very intimidating men roaming the fringes of her shop. Marcel himself stood right in front of her, his stance casual enough, though she couldn’t keep her eyes from wandering to the gun on his hip. Sebastian was in effect cornered twice at the same time: both mentally and physically. And no, they didn’t cancel each other out.

“You come highly recommended, my dear.” The man was leaning against the old Ford on blocks, his blue eyes locked intently on the car thief. She clenched her jaw and he continued. “You may not have been first on our list, but it seems Tai knew you could do it.”

Sebastian’s eyes widened at the mention of her former comrade. “What did you do to Tai, Marcel?”

“Oh, it was nothing personal. Just business as usual. If anything you should be pleased—another of your competition discreetly taken care of and you didn’t even have to lift a finger.”

She turned her head away, unable to look him in the face any longer. She had known what was going to happen when they jumped Tai that night. She had been convinced at the time that there was nothing she could have done to save him. But deep down in Sebastian’s heart was a terrible knot that had been keeping her awake at night. She could have helped.

“It’s all rather convenient, really, since you’ve seen the example of what happens to the unsuccessful.” Marcel slithered forward and she took a step back, eliciting a chuckled from him. “That is of course if you accept our offer.”

“Yeah, whatever, you sick fuck.” Sebastian grimaced at her harsh tone. She was angry. Angry that the job was being offered to her, angry that she was pleased it was going to her before any other boost, and angry that she found the whole situation enticing.

“You better watch that pretty little tongue of yours, Sebastian. I may be inclined to cut it out.”

“Funny, I heard Raiden doesn’t loan out his katana to playthings like you—”

Knuckles struck her face before she could finish the sentence. She stumbled back, crashing into her cluttered work bench. Marcel loomed above and she cringed as he reached out, sighing in relief as he dropped a piece of paper on the bench instead of hitting her again.

His voice was quiet, thick with resentment and his French accent. “You have a week and no more.”

With that he was gone. Sebastian groaned, rubbing her eye where his fist had struck. It would be bruised in a matter of hours no doubt, but she had much more than a black eye to worry about. She picked up the piece of paper. It was a shopping list. A very, very, very long shopping list of cars.

“Shit.” She cursed, stuffing the paper in the back pocket of her jeans.

“That’s going to be a nice shiner.”

Sebastian jumped, looking around for who had just spoken. Her eyes locked on the small room in the back she claimed as her personal quarters. The lights were off, but a man stepped from the shadows.

“Kale Stantan was here. Tell me why.”

Sebastian tensed. She had been positive it was Marcel returning to kill her for some absurd reason, but it wasn’t. The lilting Irish brogue of the man held no resemblance to the young Frenchman.

“Mechanic-customer privileges… can’t tell you a thing.”

The man moved further into the light and she could see he didn’t look like Marcel either. He was shorter than Raiden’s boy toy, but built like a mountain. Sharp dressed, good looking, but intimidating as hell.

“I won’t rough you up like that faggot Marcel, but you will tell me about Kale.” Sebastian couldn’t help but notice his gun swinging happily from a black leather shoulder holster.

She backed up, fingers discretely snatching up a heavy wrench to hold behind her back, just incase. This was the third corner, to her count, that she had been backed into today. “He was here for repairs, that’s all.”

“Repairs on what?”

“On nothing, he didn’t have the right parts.”

The man snorted, stepping around her to rummage around through the mess on her work bench. Luckily, Sebastian was an old hat at the secrets game and had burned the card Kale had left.

“And did he leave any contact information?”

“No.”

“You’re lying”
“What are you, the human lie detector?”

His shoulders rose in a seductive shrug as he approached her cautiously. Sebastian’s hand tightened around the wrench, her muscles quivering in anticipation of confrontation. But he stopped a few feet away, a smile spreading slowly across his lips.

“I’ll be back for an update, Sebastian. And I expect something more than bullshit answers.”

Her mouth twitched with a cute comeback as he strutted out of her shop as what she assumed was empty handed. She shook her head, dropping the wrench on the floor with a clatter. The day had just been too much to handle. The past few days, for that matter, had been bad. Now Marcel had gotten a hold of her, and some mysterious guy was keeping tabs as well. She just didn’t know anything anymore.


And Kale? She had been intrigued by him and wanted, against her nature, to go to the club that night. How marvelous that would turn out—Surly if everyone in the Axious knew she had met Kale that afternoon, the Rogue would soon know she had just accepted an Axious commission; a rather large one at that.

Sebastian sighed, pulling out the list of cars. She skimmed it, eyes picking out a couple Fords and a Honda. They would be easy to get, and a successful heist would surely make the thoughts swirling around in her head make sense.
Kale leisurely strolled through the streets of the club district. A motorcycle? Kale had a personal dislike for vehicles and never understood Murphy’s obsession with old cars. The thought of having your movement limited to the few streets that were wide enough sounded like a terrible idea to Kale. If it wasn’t for his quick maneuvering and a few lucky breaks he’d be dead, not to mention the fact the cars are not the stealthiest especially the old ones that still ran on gasoline. A motorcycle however had possibilities. He rounded the last familiar corner lost in his thoughts. A small redheaded kid dashed into the club as soon as he recognized Kale. Hmmm, no one’s this jumpy unless we have had an interesting day.

A tall man opened the door for him, he was one of Murph’s personal guards those in charge of security at the club. Kale never had a chance to get to know any of em and with the amount of people working for him and Murph it was hard to keep them all apart. As soon as he stepped into the club five young informants rushed at him eager to share their information. A smile was all it took to ease the tension between himself and Murphy, who was at the bar as usual. Kale tried to push his way further into the club while listening to all 5 talk at once. Finally he stopped and held up one hand.

“You.” He pointed to the same young redheaded he had seen outside, the boy was about sixteen and freckly with big brown eyes. I the back of his mind Kale pinpointed the kid’s name, Sam. He had been a lot skinnier when we has a recruit, must have picked up a love for street fighting or possibly it was just muscles from hauling packages.

Sam forgot what he had to say for a brief second, he took a breath and began; “There was a shootout in free earlier today between the assassin Cierra and some unknown mercenary…”

“I want a name and a position.” Kale interrupted, it was a short statement but all knew what he had meant.

“…we’ve got someone on him,” the boy continued, “What we do know is that the Axious want him dead, they hired Cierra to off him. The man was after another unknown target (Kale made a hand motion indicating the need for that information as well) Cierra surprised him and they shot each other up for a bit. The came to a truce and moved to her place because one or both were wounded.” After he realized Kale wasn’t going to say anything he started again, “It is hard to say who violated the truce first but they started using bombs in addition to guns, a stray bullet hit a young girl in the street.”

Kale’s heart sank and the other’s could see it in his eyes. “Is there anything we can do for the family?” he asked.

“Exavier took care of it,” chimed a small brunette. She was roughly the same age as Sam, but Kale wasn’t sure what her name was. The boyish face looked expectantly at him waiting for his reply.

“When and why was Exavier there?” Kale knew Exavier well; he had been trying to get him to switch sides for several months. He could be a valuable asset to the Rogue and Kale believed the man’s morals and beliefs were not unlike his own. Then Kale knew why he didn’t know this girl she must be one of Lee’s. The fiery female had been undercover in Exavier’s A team for longer than Kale had been trying to convert him.. They rarely talked these days because to do so would blow her cover. She was wildly independent and fierce, Kale would have offered her the position of second had she not set her sights on Exavier. He can see Eislee now, short choppy wine red hair fluffed out in the back. Her body had a toned curviness only she could pull off; she wore a black mid drift top paired with oversized green cargo pants that oddly suited her. He made a mental note to check her progress and thought no more about her.

“It was buy chance he was passing by, he saw the kids in the street and stopped to help them. The stray bullet hit a girl he had been holding. He rushed the place and came out with Cierra unconscious in his arms. He drove away after talking a young boy taking Cierra with him. The other man fled but returned shortly to bury the body of the young girl. “

Kale thought this was curious about the stranger, but he was cautious of the unknown man.

The girl continued, “I found out later, the children where the two unlucky spawn’s of Tai, who as you know took a Axious job and failed. He is dead, but Exavier made it so his wife Lily was let go.”

Kale gave an approving nod; there was nothing he could have done for Tai. We warned him of the dangers, saved his life once when he didn’t listen and offered him a place within the Rogue. He refused and the Rogue could no longer protect him. What Exavier had done for Lily was what he himself would have done in the same situation; now more then every he wanted the man on his side.

Another young man with long shaggy dark hair added that he himself was trailed to the store of Sebastian. “They offered her the same job Tai failed to complete, she took it although she barely had a choice in the matter. Exavier questioned her about you, she gave away nothing.”

Kale smiled, he knew he had liked that smug woman, her wit had pierced through all the angry he had been hording until it broke. He waved the others off, they could write the rest of their information down to be read later. Murphy waved him over to the bar.

“So what did the chickie say?”

“It’s not broken it just needs to be installed, you knew that I know you did, why send me to her then?”

The big man chuckled one fat hand pressed to his chest; “Well lad you have quite a temper and I fear the lass is about to fall on hard times. She needs our support.”

It was Kale’s turn to laugh, “That siren was hardly helpless Murph, she talked me around in circles till I was a giddy boy again, but I agree this job the Axious wants done is deadly. So Murph, how do you catch a car thief?”

Murphy winked at him and he knew the Irish man already had a plan.

-----------------------

10:30 and the club was just starting to fill up. Kale was dressed in a blue silk button up and black slacks, the shirt was open revealing a fitted black muscle shirt underneath. He was casually sipping on his drink watching the entirety of the club from his usual post, a balcony just about the DJ’s massive speakers. A red mustang convertible had been pushed from Murphy’s private garage to a corner of the dance floor, it shone brilliantly in the flashing lights of the club. A single armed man guarded the raised platform, but Kale had placed his own people close by. The trap was set all he need was the victim.

She waltzed in around 1, he saw her immediately she long unbound hair swept flew in the gust of her entry. She wore tight red pants along with a simple black tank top that dipped low in the front. He knew he had her as soon as she laid an eye on the classic automobile. After what seemed hours of dancing she disappeared into the backseat of the car, the one guard distracted by a busty blonde in a transparent dress. Kale gave a signal and jumped down off his balcony using the speakers as stairs, at the same time a spot light lit the car as the platform did a 360, the car then was wheeled down the ramp and taken into the back room.

Kale made it to the car vehicle just as it entered the storeroom. He opened the driver seat door and sat down.

He looked back at her, she was pressed flat to the seat hiding herself. “Where to miss?”

“You cocky bastard, I knew I shouldn’t have come. I was gonna warn your sorry ass!” she didn’t seem surprised at him just annoyed probably more at herself than anything.

“I can look out for my sorry ass, it’s your pretty ass I’m worried about, do you know what you’re getting yourself into?”

This time she was surprised.

“Honey I know everything there is to know, but come now lets have a drink after all you are my guest.”

He tilted the driver seat forward and offered her a hand. She refused it but stepped out of the car anyways. Her heals made a loud noise on the cement floor of the backroom. With them on she was just about eyelevel to him and he tired to read those eyes, what he saw was intrigue. He felt something that he thought dead inside him stroked to life by that gaze. Meeting her eyes boldly he forced the feeling down and led her to the VIP section.

© Copyright 2007 Faye Kairi, Wayward Antagonist, Insidious Raven, Jason Simmons, The.Random.Rocker, xx-xx, Simon, (known as GROUP).
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