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Mech-Thieves and Cigarettes

By Mathew Nelson All Rights Reserved ©

Action / Scifi

Chapter 1

I just threw myself through the glass window of a two-story building – tiny razors lacerating my silver flesh as I plummet down to the street below. I’m damn lucky I didn’t break anything when I hit the ground. I’m bleeding though, a few drips of crimson creeping lazily down my cheek – it must have been the glass. My arm’s twitching pretty badly as well – no, not the squishy arm, the other one. Damn, I’ll have to get it looked at, if I manage to get out of this mess. Every spasmodic jolt spurts metallic fluid onto the road – the part of me that isn’t human.

And then I hear a blue and red siren whirling around above my head. The police car hovers wildly around the building and flashes that awful spotlight down on me. I squint at the terrible radiance and feel the hot gale from the engines blow through my hair, mingling with my human senses. I thought maybe I could evade it, but when I saw the second car speeding towards me, well, I more or less abandoned the idea. Wasn’t I popular today! I never thought of this when I signed on as a mech-thief… The sirens, the blood, the guns. Man, I needed a cigarette.

My employer was some shady-looking suit – a guy seeking to procure a disposable servant desperate enough to do something stupid for the right price. I, of course, plummeted right into his trap. I’m not complaining so much as I am stating the obvious. Either way, I had one more job to complete, and then I’d have enough credit to sever all ties with the man entirely.

With the police closing in – spotlights burning – I decide that I really don’t have a lot of time. I pull the pistol from the back of my pants and fire it a few times at their cars. They retreat just a little, a solid jerking movement to show that they are afraid. I have no intention of killing anyone – I’m not that desperate – but now that they know I’m armed they should keep their distance, for a while at least. I think I just added a few extra years to my sentence, if I get caught.

I was hired to do this job because I was special. My left arm wasn’t the only part of me that was a machine. After a rather unfortunate accident that left my mortal body mangled and broken, I’d say about forty percent of it was replaced with this spectacular technology. The old sci-fi novels would have called us cyborgs, but nowadays we’re just labelled as soldiers. I was special. That’s what they said. I don’t know why – something to do with evolution, I had the right blood, my genes were better than someone else’s… I certainly didn’t feel any better.

So my employer gave me a date and a time and said ‘go break into that building, and steal some fancy-pancy piece of hardware.’ So I broke in, located the item of interest – which more or less looked like some weird and extravagantly oversized USB drive sitting in a briefcase – and then next thing I knew the guards were onto me and I had to throw myself out the window!

And that’s how I got here, with the cops on my tail. It isn’t the first time I’ve broken the rules, but this time it’s bad. I run, retreating to the quiet of the backstreets that I seem to know so well. I plant a firm expression as some guys outside one of the local bars eye me off, and tilt their ears to the sound of sirens.

The air around here smells like fast-food and engine grease – but thick and musty. It’s hot. My head starts spinning as my body tries to heal itself, and I start to think that the fall was worse than I thought. No time to worry about that, though, I had to get out of here. I kick open a gate, thinking I’m almost free, but then I run straight into him.

There, in the middle of the street, is a guy in a uniform, pointing a gun at my chest. I stop. He looks at me like some kind of machine, and without a single glance of mercy or even humanity, he fires. The bullet gouges into my chest, tearing right through me, I think. I take a deep choking breath as the electricity surges though my body. I raise my own gun and shoot him back. Bam!

He jolts as the bullet plunges through him. He’s almost surprised to see the crimson flow of blood seeping from his chest. I watch him go weak – the gun falling from his hands, his knees buckling and his body collapsing to the ground. In less than a minute he’d be dead, just lying there in a puddle of blood. I on the other hand would remain alive, or at least, I hope so.

Yes it is true that a bullet had torn through my chest cavity, and were I like him I most definitely would be dead. But I wasn’t like him. I was special, or so they say, because while his heart was made of flesh and blood, mine was forged from chrome and ice.

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