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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-17-09, 01:26 AM Thread Starter
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Default Killer

…Recovered…

+++Astropath linked+++

Code-link, please.

************

Thank you Commander.



Date: 145,943. M41; Origin: Emodorus System.
From: +++Link corrupted+++
Link uploading…

Terror echoed in the bulging cityscapes of Emodora First and the Governor was displeased…



…and I need your help.


+++Link Break+++


... so I found myself hurtling through the packed streets of Emodora First, chasing a scummer I was sure would lead me to the answers I desired.

I remember yelling to people to get out of the way, even when I was pushing them to the ground, or vaulting over their fallen bodies, my long black cloak billowing out behind me. I held my old auto-pistol in one hand, my other helping me weave through the thick crowds. I cursed my luck once again - it had taken me most of the morning to find the man I needed to talk to, and once I did, it happened to be as the same time as the local Minitorium shift transfer, and when he had been found, he darted into the ant-like masses.

The Dark worshipper I was hunting had evaded me for weeks now - the killings had become more ritualistic each time and every one worried me, and my superiors, ever more. Usually killers lasted only weeks, even hours, in this city. He had gone longer – too long – and had built up a squad-worth of stiffs. This man I chased had answers, I was sure, so I was determined to catch him.

My prey turned into a lane – one of the thousands buried deep into the city – my Sight told me, and I gave chase, almost tripping over some Administratum adept, and followed him into the shadowy lane. Seconds later I burst out into another avenue. This one was slightly quieter and the buildings that surrounded me now were devoted to the Emperor and his loyal servants. Mighty iconography and architecture dedicated to the Immortal Hero and His sons, the ancient warriors of the Adeptus Astartes, stood tall above me. I looked up at a weather beaten, ceremite statue of our Glorious Emperor, and asked for some help to catch my quarry. It was taking too long, I remember thinking.

People say Imperial cities are all the same. This is not true. Each has its own feel, its own presence. Wispy clouds of steam always rose from ground vents as people walked here and there in and around Emodora First. Even on such a packed world, the people I rushed passed walked with an individual air: A ganger with a long coat and menacing stare, a scrivener snatching a walk in the distance, a food vendor selling a local delicacy; thieves, mothers, Arbiters, Guard, addicts, augmented humans, priests, soothsayers – Emodites have a spirit about them, a soulful determination to be individual even in a crowd of peers within a universe of billions. We are within the Hub of the Imperium on this world, maybe not Terra, but Segmentum Solar was close enough.

The hundreds, thousands, billions of the galaxies walked, raced, flew and sniggered by. A hive of multitudes. I was looking for only one of them. And he could not escape me.

Iho-sticks to obscura-linger, to sweat and sweet perfume, I tasted each scent as I continued my chase. Even though the scummer was faster than me, I was confident he would not get away, no matter how long it took to catch him. I had a taste for his soul now, and would be able to follow its wispy trail throughout the city for hours.

I was an Imperial Investigator for Emodora First, answering only to the Governor himself. I had no official rank; no name; nor any official documents pertaining to my work. I was a ghost in the machine; the white blood cell of humanity; the shadow in the dark. I was a whispered rumour to the people of the city. I am a Heresy to them.

But, I was and still am loyal to the Emperor of Mankind. Know this. Listen to my words. For these may be my last…


*


I blended nicely into the crowds, just another imperial dreg minding his own business. Long, dark coats were all the rage, and mine was no exception. My features are quite bland, nondescript, which suit me fine. Times of vanity have past, my job more important. I bare many scars, even then (more now), but who doesn’t these days?

I had finally caught up with the scummer – he had thought he had escaped me and was now hiding down another dank street lane. I stopped running and walked easily amongst the city-dwellers; running would only tell him I was still hunting him. I moved silently into the dark lane, rubbish lay strewn everywhere and a rusted power-bike sat abandoned near to his hiding place down a shadowy exit built into the wall. A shame, I thought, looking at the bike.

The scummer must have realised I was there, as he darted out of hiding suddenly and thrust a blade at my face. I dodged it and forward swiped my gun across his face, breaking his nose. He yelped and crumbled to the ground. I kicked away his knife and kicked him in the gut for good measure.

‘Hacan Buller, you’re almost a hard man to find,’ I said.

He cursed at me, holding his damaged nose. Blood flowed freely down his face and onto the mucky ground.

‘Now, this time you will tell me what I want to know.’ His surface thoughts suddenly turned to fear. Good, he knew what I was talking about. ‘That night, in the warehouse, what happened?’

‘You broke my nose, you...’

I thumbed the activation switch on my pistol and put it to his head. ‘The truth, Buller. Now.’
Fear raced through him once more, and I could sense he was giving up.
‘The bodies....five of them...’

I pushed the gun forcibly into his skull. He yelped in pain. ‘I know this. Before they died. When he was there!’

At the mention of ‘he’ Buller whimpered and a shocking fear cloaked his thoughts. I winched slightly, drawing away from him. What would do this to hard-time thug?

Two days previous, five Navigator House Custodians had been disembowelled within the main atrium of an abandoned warehouse. How or why they were there was still a mystery. Their eyes had been gouged out by the fingers of whoever, whatever, had killed them and their bodies were found laid out equidistantly upon the floor in the shape of a five-pointed star. This had been the first real sign that we were dealing with a proper heretic. I say proper because I have seen plenty of imitators, rep-killers and such-like. But this one was the real deal. Five heavily armoured, highly trained Custodians had been slaughtered by one assailant.

How do I know there was only one killer? I suppose I have to explain. Know that I am loyal to the God-Emperor, as I have said. I use my Skill for the good of mankind. Some still do not believe this. Governor Thracus trusted me, like many others, and I ask you to do the same.

I have a Skill. It has several faces – I can ‘sense’ people after being close to them, and so I am able to track them. I can read people emotions. When a human feels fear, pain or terror before death, or if some form of psychic ability is used, I have an image of the past burnt into my brain. If someone murders another, I can see it happen, but only after the event and within close proximity to it. The image goes hazy after a few days, and soon vanishes, as if the souls of the dead have finally been sucked into the afterlife. I have other abilities, but these are my main ones and the most painful. The others are, well, undeveloped and unreliable.

For some strange, yet universal reason, every place – be it a church, hab unit, shop-space or warehouse, that someone has been killed in, seems tainted. It’s as if the soul of the building, or room, has been corrupted or changed. Like the dead linger, ever haunting for retribution.

Yet I know that most go screaming into the warp, praying for forgiveness that they will never receive.

Since I was young I knew I was different. Weird. Or Wyrd, if you like. I have other-worldly abilities, a psyker of sorts. It is my curse and my gift. It is also the reason I am so good at my job.

Usually I can go to the site of such an event and gleam the faces of the culprits and the dead (even when the face of the dead is then unrecognisable).

I am lucky the Governor discovered my abilities before the Black Ships did. I am his tool. His secret. His weapon.

There was one problem with this case, however. Usually by now I would have identified the murderer, thanks to the Governors Astropath snatching their profiles from my mind, but I could not do it here. Something smudged the image of the killer, and prevented me to See his face. All I knew was that only one man, one beast, had murdered all these people. I saw all of the victims in crystal clarity. Each of their deaths had been visiting my dreams most nights. All twelve of them. The last five were the bloodiest, most horrid, deaths.

‘It...something came to the warehouse. People were with it. It was evil...frost everywhere...then screaming. The pain... pain in my head.’

I was confused. Had I hit him harder than I intended? ‘What do you mean?’

He looked up at me, eyes streaming with tears. ‘The pain in my head!’ Suddenly the tears turned red and white hot pain shot through me. Buller screamed in agony and started to convulse. I backed away, trying to shut out the pain, and then I backed out. My last thoughts were of a laughing man with burning eyes.

*

It must have been a few hours later when I awoke, my head thumping and dried blood sticking to my face from a nose bleed. What had happened? My thoughts were jumbled spikes of pain in my head.

I unsteadily got to my feet, wiping the flakes of blood from my face. Buller. What had...?

I looked down and saw his lifeless body lying on the ground – his back arched backwards unnaturally, and his face frozen in a mask of pain. There was something more going on, something bigger than just a random killer on the loose. Buller had been killed and I was left alive, why? Again, I had more question and fewer answers. I angrily stooped to pick up my discarded gun, and pain once more shot through my head. I cursed, holstering my gun and looked to my chronometer. Evening. Indeed, the sky was slowly turning dark above me and there was a chill wind.

I decided then to go and meet Jebidius Croon, a man who always seemed to have answers. I could have gone back to report the attack to the Governor, but my lack of headway in the situation was only annoying him. So Croon became my next destination. Maybe I should have just headed back to the Palace and things would have worked out different, I’ll never truly know. At the time I had no idea what I was heading into. Hindsight is a beautiful and terrible thing.



...part 2 coming soon...
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-17-09, 02:09 AM
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Nice.. Enjoyed it... ...
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-21-09, 08:45 AM Thread Starter
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Default Part 2

Thanks Waltz for the support!

Here's the next part


Part 2

By nightfall I was standing in a thin corridor with a low ceiling, waiting outside a thick-looking plasteel door. A dim blue light-orb lit the dingy hallway, making it hard to see.

A large beater stood next to me, casually gawping at a vid-slate in his hand. He barely noticed I was there anymore after my entrance – recognising that I was one of his bosses ‘mates’ – A safe face. I had forgotten his name, but I knew it once, when I was working for his boss, Jebidius Croon. Of course, at the time, I was working undercover (tracking down a drug trafficking thief that had turned to violence when stealing someone’s creds) and had been one of the gang. But, as it turned out, I decided to keep my links to Croon after the job. As I had managed to keep my real identity a secret, I thought having one more informant would do no harm. I never thought I would start to see him as a form of ‘friend’. I liked the man, even though he was a small-time crime lord.

The thing is: I know his kind. I feel a sort of ease around them and know their world. My father was low level drug-dealer in the slum-schemes of Emodora First, and my childhood was surrounded by tab-addicts and petty criminals. At the time I knew nothing of the world, living deep in the dark niches of the city; barely eating every day as my father slowly turned from dealing to addiction himself. Eventually he crossed the wrong crime-boss and he was found floating in the Emodora river-course – a boated dead body.

The plasteel door hissed open, hinged on small pistons, and a shadowy figure edged into the corridor. ‘Salis Cray,’ a croaked voice said, ‘he’ll see you now.’

‘Thanks, Havalar,’ I replied. Havalar was Croon’s ageing assistant. The data-keeper and doorman, as I knew him. Salis Cray was one of my pseudo names, not my real one, but Croon knew me as such, which suited me fine.

Havalar led me in, his augmetic limbs (both arms and legs) whirring as he moved. I walked into another dull decorated hallway and followed the old wiry man to another door, which opened into an altogether different world from the one I stood in moments earlier; I crossed the dull-metal threshold and entered into a form of private club. The colours hit me first, with deep reds and oranges smothering my senses, almost drowning out the thumping background music. Not many night-haunts like this existed on Emodora, which showed Croons relative wealth – or connections – within the underworld. The place seemed quiet, with only a few patrons sitting at the equally opulent looking bar which was hiding at the back of the club, nestled between crimson shrouds and bright, comfy looking seating areas.

Jebidius Croon sat airily within one of the affluently furnished booths, his arms spread along the edges of a red couch, his infectious smile splitting his lean face. He clicked his fingers in a swift gesture as I closed, and before I stood before him, a stunningly beautiful servo-girl elegantly placed my favourite drink upon the circular table beside Croon. The Talvic brandy, a dangerously seductive drink, almost looked at me as I sat down across from Croon, who wore a knowing smile; it had been awhile since I had had a good night out, and I was tempted to indulge with my drink-bud – even after the day I had endured. Especially after the day endured.

‘Well, well,’ laughed Jebidius. ‘What have I done to be graced by the pleasure of a visit from you?’

I grinned at him. I wanted this to be as casual as possible; he already had his suspicions about me I was sure, so I didn’t want to push too much – even though I yearned for some answers. He may not have had any info, but I had to play the game. ‘You know me, I get an itch and I have to scratch it.’

‘Scratch away friend,’ he said, gesturing to the glass holder filled with Talvic. He was wearing high end garpe, a silken shirt obscured with a vibrantly coloured light overcoat. If I was all the rage with my long coat, he was a mirror of the upper-classes.

‘Indeed,’ I answered before drinking. He toasted his drink to me and the strained conversation between such associates began.

I will not bore you with the ins and outs of our long conversations; needless to say it was like old friends meeting, with an undertone of intrigue. Both of us respected each other, but one did not fully trust the other.

As the night drove on, the exclusive, underground club of the crime-lord slowly filled with patrons. Looking at them, I remember that most were either wanted heretics or petty thieves; had I not valued Croon’s help I could have had a Marines-war-worth of fun arresting everyone. Instead, I listened to what Jebidius had to say.

‘Well,’ he started, fidgeting with his already perfect brown hair. ‘From what I have heard there has been an official Inquisition investigation happening within the city. They could have been here for a while, working under-cover as they always do.’ I inwardly snapped to attention. I had not known an Inquisitor was there; even the Governor had not spoken of this. Had he known? ‘Something to do with the Killer – you know, the beast stalking the city?’

I nodded, holding back the realisations in my mind, playing it as simple as I could under the circumstances. ‘Aye, I’ve been hearing of the Killer. Not of Inquisition, though.’ I let it hang.

Croon looked up at me, a look in his eye (I’m sure he knew more, now, than he had let on). ‘Well, I’m sure it’s true. My men have seen the signs, and we have silenced some of our projects because of it. I’d rather lose money than die.’ I nodded knowingly again, encouraging him to continue. He did. ‘Watch yourself friend, this is different, I have a feeling an Inquisitor is close; it makes sense, what with a dangerous killer around that no one can seem to find or stop. Maybe our good old Thracus decided to call in tougher muscle, eh?’

I nodded. He had talked about many things that night, but those words hit home the most – probably because they were true, and my heretic-friend was trying to help me, I guess. Again, please do not judge me for talking to heretic scum for information; I was doing so to benefit the Emperor and His followers.

We talked for a while longer, the club eventually bursting at the seems with clientele, a veritable army of people opposing their Emperor’s wishes. I know such fiends are out there – I have to associate myself with them from time to time – but having to mix with them always burns the mind. It’s too much like visiting the past, delving into my childhood; seeing my father...

He was the first spirit I saw.

I still remember the shock of reliving the death of my father as he was held under the dirge-waters, gulping to his death. It was by chance I walked close to his death-scene, innocently looking for him. The shock of the psyker images almost killed me; but I was lucky to be saved by an Imperial Investigator: the now Governor of Emodora First.

Another story to be told, I am sure. If I live long enough, I may tell it one day. But this is not the time. As I have explained, I had spoken to Jebidius Croon, and he had informed me of the fact the Inquisition had been investigating within the city. He had little info on the Killer, but I had a feeling I needed more from my old friend/ganger.

‘Before I go, I need the nullifier.’

Croon looked at me. His thin, immaculate features seemed to come to a decision. ‘That’s a hard piece of equipment to come by, never mind loan out at a moment’s notice.’

‘Yes.’

‘It’ll cost you,’ he said, twitching his head, ‘but I guess cred is no problem?’

My grey eyes stared into his. ‘No problem. As ever… friend.’ I added the latter word almost unwillingly.

The nullifier was a Xenos device that blanked out other psykers within a localised area – that can stop powerful beings from burning out my mind. The problem is that it also silences my abilities, leaving my mind raw (and giving me one hell of a headache).

Yet someone had killed Buller and not with a bullet; and I felt it was my best type of security for now. I also had a feeling it was what was needed to stop the Killer. I doubted I could match either enemy in straight fight.

Croon thought for a moment then said, ‘yes. Okay, I’ll get it for you. Make yourself comfortable, I’ll be back soon.’ He then left me alone to wait for his return.

I will not tell you how I received the device – a hand-sized opaque stone, which seemed to flicker differing colours every hour – for it will incriminate someone I trust. It took Croon several hours to get the device delivered, and so we talked long into the night. Eventually, I was given what I wanted, what I needed.

Soon I stood outside Jebidius Croon’s establishment in the whipping wind and cold droplets of rain, holding onto a package containing the nullifier. I stuffed it into the inner pocket of my coat and then pulled the said coat close as I prepared to walk to my speeder.

It was then that I was attacked for the second time that day.


...Part 3 coming soon...
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-22-09, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
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Here's the next installment!

Part 3



A barrel of a gun-weapon was forced into my back. ‘Move slowly toward the blue transport on the side street.’ It was a deep, dangerous voice. I had no choice to obey, and was about to walk towards a sky blue vehicle until a shout arisen from the entrance to Croon’s secret club.

‘Drop it canker or I’ll open a new face-hole for you.’ The burly beater, Vid-slate boy from earlier, had followed me out – making sure I made it to my speeder safely I guessed; Emperor bless Jebidius for his thoughtfulness – and now stood yards away, aiming a small handheld las-pistol at the man pushing a gun into my ribs.

Some unseen beam or bullet suddenly hit vid-slate boy in the head, his body crumbling under the shocking impact. As he fell, the loiterers around the scene screamed and yelled, realising someone had been shot.

The distraction was all I needed.

I twirled around, punching the weapon out of my assailants’ hand, and pushed him to the ground. I caught a glimpse of his tough exterior and combat-bodyglove, signs of a tough gakker that was not to be tangled with, and bolted towards the mass of bodies that made up the night-streets of Emodora First.

Chaos and confusion reigned as I belted through the crowds, using them as shields against my attackers. Suddenly my breast pocket heated and glowed out of the folds of my long coat. The nullifier seemed to be reacting to psyker-force. I know now that without it, I would surely have perished there and then.

I sprinted along a thinning concourse looking for escape routes. My speeder was surely watched, and probably trapped, so I ignored that avenue and decided to find another mode of escape.

A laser-beam singed the tails of my coat as screams arose behind me. The original assailant had taken up the chase. My heart lurched as my breathing suddenly became laboured and panic attempted to burn into my being. I had lost control of the situation and I was being hunted through the very streets that had been my arena for generations. It felt alien, out of place.

It was then that I decided to fight. This was my world. My city. Whoever chased me would not force me into a corner like a sludge-rat.

Whatever alcohol left within my body seemed to evaporate as my mind cleared itself (as best it could with the nullifier so close), preparing itself for the action ahead. I pulled out my auto-pistol from its holster as I ran, and thumbed the activation switch on its smooth gunmetal side.

I turned into a small lane – not unlike the one I had started my day in – and jumped in behind a rusting waste-container. Its load light blinked red, indicating it was full and ready for pickup. It’s funny the things you remember under stressful situations.

My assailant skidded to a halt at the entrance of the alleyway, a dot at the feet of giants, the surrounding buildings standing miles high around us. He was clever, I thought, as he dodged into the ceremite shadows, giving me an impossible shot. I fired anyway, just in case I was lucky.

‘Imperial Inquisition!’ he yelled at me. ‘Stand down and repent, heretic!’

As I have said, I am many things, but I am not a heretic. The Emperor is my guiding light. I may have given in to the man then and there, under differing circumstances, but when he labelled me a heretic my mind closed. Heretics are generally shot rather than brought in quietly, which also decided my thoughts for me.

I edged slowly backwards, away from the waste-dispenser and towards the dark recesses of the lane. My pursuer poked his head out of the shadows and I shot at him, my pistol barking echoes in the thin lane. I missed. I knew more of the waste-units lay dotted amongst the shadows, and so I used them to hide my escape.

But the man chasing me would not be undone; like a haunting spirit he followed my every footstep, never truly losing sight of me. This man was a high-grade Inquisitorial operative and he was always going to the hard to shake.

Soon I was running out the other end of the dark lane, moving once again into the main street of that sector.

Shots clipped the paved ground next to the transport-lanes as soon as I sprang into the street light. I jumped this way and that, hoping the unseen sniper would become confused and miss me. Now not only was I being hunted down on foot, but an unseen foe was watching me through crosshairs. Suddenly, a man in front of me crumbled to the ground, and something splashed across my face and jacket. Blood. Instead of hitting his mark, an innocent in front of me had been gunned down by the sniper. Maybe the sniper thought it was the right course of action - possibly in the hope that I would become one of the fallen.

The Imperial Inquisition will have its way. No matter what.

I was lucky. I survived the torrent of shells. The sniper had turned into snipers, from the amount of shots that sprayed around me, felling anyone unlucky enough to be close to me. Scores fell before me as I scrambled onto the lower vehicle-lanes, ducking hostile fire and swerving between ground mobiles.

Yes, in the confusion, I had stumbled onto the main vehicle-lane along with many other Emodites, causing several street vehicles to swerve away from myself and the unfortunates before me, who in their panic rushed this way and that.

One grav-car, some private vehicle, leapt into the air above the streets and into the sky-lanes and collided with a bulk-carrier. The screech of metal on metal still scratches in my dreams. I am sure I saw the fear in the private vehicles driver (or it could be my imagination playing tricks; I like to think so) as he swerved passed me and upwards to his doom. Sparks burst from the colliding vehicles as they clashed and tumbled towards the opposite building in a rolling mid-air death-dance. The final collision into the building – some Administratum office – sounded like grating flicker-glass and was followed by a deafening boom. A bright ball of fire erupted from the crash scene, suddenly lighting the sky-lanes and street.

I am glad I had the nullifier at that point. The images of such close deaths would have been too much to bear.

I fell to the ground, praying for survival, as the heat of the blast tore across me. As you may have guessed, I did survive, with a few burns, as the sky-lanes and street disintegrated around me.

I feel this was my fault. Had I not ran into that street, maybe this catastrophe would not have occurred? No, I know it would not have happened.

Still, the human instinct is to survive, and that was all I was trying to do.

I lifted my head, then body, and looked upon the destruction. The flow of traffic had stopped there, with several smaller crashes ringing out across the cityscape in the distance as the backlog of vehicles tried to evade the crash. The fierce collisions had seemed to put off my attackers for the time being, the snipers losing their target in the explosions and with my on-foot-attacker seeming to vanish into the crowds. I decided to make my escape as quick as possible, hoping my luck would hold.

Amongst the screams of the dying and the screeching of the shocked, I ghosted through the apocalyptic smoke that belched from the main crash site, which caused the street to dampen into a choking darkness.

I coughed and spluttered as I ran through to the clearer parts of the street. A young noble, draped in rich off-world leathers appeared before me in his slim, charcoal coloured motorbike. Its long, eloquent hull screamed creds and power. And speed.

I moved towards him, holstering my pistol, as the man tore off his flight-goggles. ‘Wow, did you see that?’

‘Yes,’ I said, as I pushed him off his ride.

‘What th-,’ he mumbled, surprised, as he fell.

‘Sorry, important planetary business.’

I was on the bike instantly, my arse barely touching the padded seat before I turned the throttle, accelerating the bikes jet-like engines to full power away from the mess caused by my flight.

Suddenly, a military-type land speeder burst out of the smoky-haze and darkness around me.

It seemed I had not lost my enemies after all and so the chase began in earnest once more.

*

Air slammed across my face and eyes as I sped through the night streets of Emodora First. My sight was blind due to the whipping wind that whistled across my senses. Luckily, my augments helped me perceive my whereabouts: digi-implants within my wrists communed with the bike-machine’s spirit, thin fibre-tubes that attached themselves to connectors on the bikes control panel, focusing my outer senses to the stark environment around me.

I thrust through the road-lanes at break-neck speed, determined to outpace my foe that followed within the landspeeder – the speeder itself seemed to be equipped with linked assault weapons that fired hundreds of deadly projectiles minutely. I’m sure the biting death that spat from the cannons clawed at my end-wings, aiming to disable the motors that powered the bike. Alternatively, they could just be aiming to kill me, which seemed more likely. I gunned the bike forwards, its costly engines growling fiercely as I weaved in and out of the ground traffic. Luckily I had fled into a quieter part of town, with less vehicles and barely any sky traffic. Yet really, that only meant that my enemies had a chance of hitting me.

On que, a shot slapped across the bikes slick side, narrowly missing my tight gripping leg. I banked left, dodging a lumbering PDF truck, riding the hit. My digi-senses picked up damage; the bike seemed to be losing power.

I find it hard to describe the images that were fed to my brain from the implants – if you have not experienced it yourself, it is hard to explain. I’ll try my best. It’s like seeing everything while also looking at a control-screen. Within a green haze I could make out the blurry images of the street before me, as if I was looking through night-binocs, all the while data was streamed down the left side of my vision telling me how the systems of the bike were working. Harsh, dream-quality images.

A red blinking on the right-hand side of my vision tried to put me off my flight. The warning sign that there was a fuel leak. There are times I wonder at the Holy Emperors humour – does he intentionally make life hard for His own amusement?

I was indeed losing power and the traitor-forsaken landspeeder began eating up the ground between us.

I think I panicked slightly. I don’t usually lose my nerve, but then again, I didn’t normally have the Imperial Inquisition on my tail as I raced through the night streets. I pulled the speeding bike to right, straight into one of the busiest streets in the sector. Maybe I could evade them in the busy vehicle-lanes, i thought – also, sky-lanes were situated above here, so there was a chance the landspeeder could not pass. The forces grappling my unprotected face etched pain across my skin, the strong wind and ice-cold rain adding to the terrible sensation. My mind was already foggy due to the nullifier and at that point I almost blacked out. I did lose control of the bike, however, over-steering its engines and banking wildly across the lanes.

I was lucky not once, but twice, within seconds.

Had I not lost control within that very moment, I am sure the Imperial agents behind me would have blown my ride apart. The assault-cannons fire kissed my flanks, a hairs breath from a kill-shot. Also, with my too-sharp manoeuvre, I managed to narrowly miss a second landspeeder that had been bearing down on me from the higher sky-lanes.

My bike doubled back on itself and I was suddenly charging through the night against the flow of traffic. Fear fired my senses once more and finally,clarity returned.

The chase had brought us into a busier street, as I have stated, and there was still large amounts of traffic flowing through the dark streets of Emodora First at this late hour. A tall ground-carrier emerged out of the gloom – a dull green image to my digi-connected senses – heading directly for me. Its square hull promised a messy end for my fragile craft (and body), and even though I was losing power, I was still throttling along the avenue at a frightening speed.

I looked at the digi-screen: now two speeders were on my tail, the front one firing its rapid weapons. I pushed the bike to its limits and careered towards the large carrier. Suddenly, the front cabin of the carrier was riddled with bullets and it veered out of control. The avenue was broad, three lanes wide, with a thick ceremite divider between the opposite street. The ground-carrier bucked, its front tires blowing out, and it swayed over in its side, crossing into the middle of the street. It was going to hit me.

Adrenaline and fear pumped through my veins and my brain tried to figure out a way to survive. Mere seconds later I saw a small space between the road divider and the tumbling vehicle in front of me. Would I fit through? Seconds later I had no choice, so swerved up to the barrier, my knee a hairs-breath away from being torn to shreds. The carrier turned over and over towards me as I gunned the bike into the opening. As I belted through the carrier exploded, putting off the landspeeders chasing behind and almost throwing me off the bike.

I had made it through! But only just. Then I came face to face with the wall of the traffic behind the ground-carrier who was trying to stop before hitting the flaming ruin. I skidded to a halt and wheeled the bike around – back towards the ground carrier and with the flow of traffic. The transport crashed into the ceremite wall and ripped through it into the oncoming traffic on the other side. Before I was hit by traffic coming towards me, I hit the throttle switch and accelerated forwards, the bikes engines rattling worryingly. A car skidded to a stop behind me, stopping in the space I had sat in moments earlier. Suddenly, the second landspeeder appeared in front of me through the smoky haze of the carriers’ demise.

The street ahead branched off to the left, opposite to where the transport had crashed through the dividing barrier and the giant buildings around me opened into another broad avenue. The speeder flew forward, guns blazing. I gunned the bike towards salvation, while trying to evade bullets and burning debris littering the road.

I roared down the exit ramp onto a quieter avenue, the Inquisition speeder still hot on my tail. Suddenly my top-end bike started bucking, swaying and stuttering out of control. The digi-senses flashed in warning: the engine was low on fuel and damaged. With what power was felt I rushed past the traffic and took a tight turn into back street, a turn the bulkier landspeeder was unable to do. Swiftly I edged my damaged ride down a deserted ally. The night’s dreadful sounds reached my ears – the almost deafening roars of the crashes within the other street, the rain now pelting down around me, and the aching beat of my heart. So close. Too close.

Suddenly another military landspeeder fired around the smoke-obscured corner in the street. It eased off its speed, and then angled toward my position. My subconscious clicked in recognition: the first speeder from earlier.

I sighed, yes, sighed, before jumping off the bike, my digi-augments instantaneously slipping out of the crafts control panel. Rain hissed off the over-heated engines, I remember, as they slowly powered down. I turned away from the bike and bolted through the curtain of polluted water, down yet another dark side-lane, bullets peppering the road behind me

It would take more than luck to escape the Imperial Inquisition it seemed.


... part 4 coming soon...
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