by Alex Catt
A group of gentically modified misfits band together to defeat a lovesick man. CHAPTER 2.
|Mamma Mia by Abba plays quietly in the confessional. God knows why- literally- but it is. And I'm not too proud to admit that I'm singing along and that I know all the words. That's what happens when you date an Abba obsessive.
Still singingly softly, I peek through the curtain of the confessional. No sign of him. Part of me wishes that he doesn't show so I don't have to admit I can't fix that asshat of a radio. Not the kinda thing that normal people go into confessionals for, but normal people don't go into confessionals to plan highly illegal jobs either. Just one more thing that I can add to my Things That Make Me Not Normal List.
The curtain flies back and I jump so high I hit the wooden ceiling. A knife scarred Latino with a shock of pink hair sits there, looking like a electrocuted Christmas elf on drugs. Ladies and gentleman, I give you Josh
"Josh! You son of a-"
"Just because you're jealous of my long family biscuit history."
"I don't see anything to be jealous of, biscuit boy."
"Enough about biscuits, it's just making me hungry. Do you have the radio?" He rakes a hand through his hair, making it even worse than normal. I look down at my hands.
"Um, yeah, about that..." Josh sighs, raising his eyebrows.
"What have you done now, Sky?"
"Nothing! But I, um..."
"What was that?"
"I can't fix the radio!" I pratically yell, not looking him in the eye. I can't even remember the last time I failed to fix something, especially when I'm getting bloody paid to fix it.
"You what?!" The boy sits there with his mouth hanging open. He knows my record better than anyone. He knows that I've been able to fix cars that are over 50 years old in a few days. A shortwave radio normally takes me an hour or two, tops.
"I can't fix it," I repeat, taking a deep breath, "The transmitter's completely busted. I've never seen another like it. The blueprints are unique, nowhere near anything I've seen in the Junkyard. Whoever built it has some serious tech."
"Can't you just build a new one?"
"Nu-ah. It would need to be an exact match and it's far too fried to get the prints. And anyway, even if I could get the prints, I don't have the tech to build it."
"Then find the bloody tech, Skylar," Josh pleads, his eyes almost wild, "I need to get that radio in to the people paying you or I'm screwed."
A gust of wind comes blowing through the confessional. Oh shit.
"Josh, what have you done?" I look him straight in the eye, my tone a warning one. I've never seen him act like this before, and I've been around when someone fails a job plenty of times. You see a lot of things when you're a part of a illegal gang. The boy wrings his hands together, not looking at me.
"You don't need to know, Sky, just fix the radio. For all our sakes."
"It's fine!" he waves his hands at me, looking distracted, "I'll have Cherry and Tyler find you that transmitter but you'll have to pick it up yourself. They'll have sent you everything you need to know by the time you get back to the workshop. Please, don't screw up."
The curtain's yanked back across and I'm left alone in the confessional.
Abba is still playing in the background
I walk back to the workshop in a daze. Why the hell does Josh need me to fix the radio so quickly? It's just a stupid shortwave radio. Sure, the compentents are increbibly high tech, but it's still worthless. I would love to know what this kinda tech is doing in an old, fucked up radio though. And how the hell Josh got hold of it for that matter.
Punching in the door code, I sink into the a spinny chair- because, seriously, who doesn't love spinny chairs?- and wheel myself over to my little computer corner. Several mismatched computers that I rescued from the Junkyard (which, by the way, is exactly what the name suggests) sit on a rusty metal table, surrounded by notes and food wrappers. A huge touch screen thingy- I think they used to call it an Apple Computer XL- hangs on the wall. Tapping in some passwords, the computers whir into life, the picture glitching. That's what you get when you use ancient tech only alive through replacemnt parts and several hard hits with a spanner. Seriously, if anything screws up, hit with a spanner. Sorts it right out everytime.
Destroya by My Chemical Romance blares out over my own radio system. Finally, some good music! As much as I love Josh (as a friend, you dirty minded sod), he has God awful music taste. I mean, ABBA, really? That shit is ancient. Granted, my own music taste is bordering on a history lesson, but at least my music is only like 100 to 150 year old songs, not the songs from a gazillion years ago that Josh listens to. He likes ABBA, I like Green Day; he headbangs to Jackson 5, I headbang to Fall Out Boy. Get the picture?
A tinkly piano sound plays out over the computer and I open up the files it's annoucing. Floorplans and sercuity system details fill up all the screens. The projector on the touch screen flickers into a blue tinted life and a 3D model of the place I need to break into to get the transmitter floats in midair. It looks just like I expected it to. Fancy lab with Carreua written all over it. Nothing that I haven't broken into a thousand time. Got to admit though, it has a fuckload more sercuity than the others. I glance down at the details listed in the bottom corner. Shit. Its the head lab all the way down in Zone 1, the one where they do the genetific modification. You see, Carreua is this big ass sciencey company that was founded right back at the start of the URA- which stands for the Underground Republic of America by the way- in 2019 to 'boost' population numbers. They'd been at the forefront of the genetific modifcation back before we become moles and after the whole nuclear bomb incident that kinda destroyed America, the new government lifted the ban on human experimentation.
Nearly a year later, the first 'designer baby' was born. I only really understand the basics of how they do it, which is by creating a human embroyo in the lab and then conditioning the genes to create the child they want. Somehow they can turn certain genes off or add in other genes, but don't ask me how. I'm an engineer, not a biologist. If you really want to know, ask Cara. She's the sciencey one in our relantionship. Grabbing my ancient phone (something else I rescued from the Junkyard), I send her a quick text-
Found way 2 fix the transmitter. Meet u @ yours once done? Ily!
Her reply is almost instant-
Ok, parents home so don't get any ideas! ;) Be safe, ilym
Smiling, I shove everything I need for a house break into my backpack and turn my music up to full. Time to perform a burgualary.