The girls chatter around them, they belong to the Dancing Dragons Gang and some of them have seen an Adam before. Once Adam got over his fear and got to know them, they are nice, and he soon relaxes as he gets an insight to life for most of these people.
‘What do you do?’ he asks a girl walking with him, she has brown hair that she flicks over her shoulder constantly. He quickly realises she finds him as intimidating as he does her, and the hair thing is a nervous reaction to him. This makes him smile.
‘We are all part of the hospitality industry,’ she answers evasively knowing he will have no idea what that means, it must have shown on his face as she giggles at him. Thom looks over at her and imperceptibly shakes his head at her in warning, and she blushes as Adam frowns looking at Thom who smiles back.
‘Not all the city is this rundown, the very centre is wealthy but we don’t ever go there, that’s where the Mothers and Madams live, we um work for them in the laundry’s and restaurants, if we are spotted we might get chosen to work in some of the shops, but that is rare.’
‘Where do you work?’ Adam is intrigued by this and realises he likes her. She has stopped playing with her hair indicating she is more relaxed.
‘In the laundry that’s what the Dancing Dragons do we run the laundry’s, I would like to work in the shops, but I would like have to change gangs and I don’t want to do that.’
‘What’s your name, mines Adam.’
‘Juliet, nice to meet you Adam, that is a confusing name after all that is what you are,’ she giggles at him.
‘Yeah, tell me about it,’ brushing her hand allowing her fingers to twine with his. She glances shyly at Adam and blushes. Walking in silence Adam enjoys the late afternoon sunshine. He doesn’t equate the popping sounds in the distance with gunfire, until Thom pulls his gun out, and moves across to him.
Thom and a small group with guns shield Adam. The girls fan out, some of them producing guns. Adam notices the girl he was talking to has gone as Thom pulls him into a doorway. Over head the familiar whine of a Gen-Corp jet fear shivers down Adam’s spine. Looking around Adam has no idea where Mathew is, he just hopes he is safer than them.
‘What’s happening, Thom?’ Adam asks, trying to sound brave.
‘Bloody vermin sweep,’ is all Thom mutters peering around the corner and then taking his hand and pulling him along to another doorway where a group of girls are sheltering, Juliet is amongst them. Adam catches her eye and she smiles at him, looking as frightened as Adam. She sidles up to him and takes his free hand.
‘Juliet, does this happen often?’ Adam asks her as Thom lets go of his hand, his gun drawn he moves up to a group with guns. They whisper amongst themselves.
‘Yeah, Gen-Corp, if they catch us, they will genetically catalogue us, if we are clean, they will use us to produce Adams, be surrogates, if we are dirty, we are sterilised,’ She whispers her eyes wide with fright. ‘We are vermin to them, the underclass, either way we die eventually,’ Adam swallows he had read a report about this practice, but he thought Gen-Corp had stopped it, apparently not. This is bad, really bad his only thought.
Thom grabs Adam’s hand and drags him at breakneck speed down the next street. The group of girls they were with seem to disperse as more Gen-Corp troops infiltrate the streets around them. Turning a corner Thom stops as Adam nearly runs into him it is that sudden.
More troops appear and a group of girls run in their direction, Thom pushes Adam against a wall within a doorway as the girls run past, the security seem to have stopped. Thom leans away from Adam as a small metallic object bounces down the street and stops not far from Adam and where the girls are now backing up as security push them back.
‘Bloody hell,’ Thom mumbles as grey hissing gas starts to emit from the cylinder. ‘Cover your face Adam, don’t breathe it in,’ Thom instructs as he place his sleeve over his mouth and nose. Staying crouched in the doorway for the most part the gas doesn’t seep to close to them. Adam starts to feel sleepy despite that. Some of the girls stagger past us covering their faces the same as Thom and Adam, but they don’t get far as security in gas masks start to appear through the swirling smoke and apprehend them. Adam watches fascinated as they hold some sort of gun, but not like anything he had ever seen. Thom swears under his breath again as the security take the girls arms and injects something dropping the girls immediately.
The security patrol soon spots them crouched in the doorway as they sweep along the street apprehending the girls, those not already unconscious from the gas are injected as another, second group of security collect the girls up and remove them.
‘Two still conscious here ma’am,’ the metallic click of their voice as they speak into the helmet of their gas mask. Thom takes Adams hand and turns to him.
‘Adam, it will be alright, just don’t fight them,’ he says hurriedly. With the realisation of what Thom is saying his eyes grow wide with fear. They are going to be taken. The guard comes closer with her gun thing poised; she takes Thom’s hand and then stops peering closely at him.
‘Ma’am, I have an Adam,’ the metallic sounding voice says. Adam reckons if I could see her face she would be frowning in confusion. She pushes up Thom’s sleeve expecting to see a number.
‘Ma’am he is an unregistered male,’ the voice sounds even more confused, a perverse part of Adams brain would dearly love to hear the reply. She takes his hand and pushes up his sleeve and hesitates when she sees his number looking back at my face, she pushes my hood down.
‘Ma’am I have a Madam Ramsbottom’s Adam,’ she looks at me once more. ‘Move,’ she pulls Thom forward as two more step forward caging us between them as they march us back along the street.
We don’t get far when a gun goes off, a force knocks into Adam dropping him to his knees. A dull pain in his side makes him look down to see the bloom of blood on his coat. Putting his hand inside he feels the warm wetness of more blood as he wince’s in pain, where his fingers brush the wound. Sitting confused, as he looks around his gaze settling on Thom. He has disabled the two guards holding him and has one of their guns taking the other he has tossed it to a girl who is dropping the remaining security guards with expert precision. She is clearing an escape route. Adam spots Juliet and a dozen others dash for a door and vanish.
Thom runs over and hauls Adam to his feet dragging him behind some old oil drums. Adams only thought, is he hopes to god they are empty with the number of bullets flying around. From his vantage point the girls that remain seem to be getting the upper hand. Until a truck appears and at least thirty security guards flood out, for the most part they don’t seem to have noticed Adam and Thomas.
Thom takes this opportunity to point to a small side door, grasping his meaning Adam gingerly starts crawling toward it, the firing seems to be stopping as the girls that are left are slowly being overwhelmed.
Making a final dash to the door and push the bar type handle down and shove the door open and step straight into the awaiting arms of a security guard. A large hand is clamped over his mouth before Adam has time to warn Thomas, he is hauled away.