Sitting in the cramped, dingy, crate-filled space within the cargo bay of the Earth-bound transport, Lewis Carson hardly imagined this would be the way that he returned to The City. Held down by cargo netting in the weightless cabin, he looked at his companions.
Connor was dozing and emitted a soft snore. Lewis imagined that the Ronin had travelled in so many military transports - all of which were infamous for their lack of comfort - that he could probably sleep on a bed of broken glass if he needed to.
Angel had pretty much stuck to Shona’s side since the events at the McKenzie building. Despite her obviously shaken condition, the girl had seemed to slowly come to terms with what she had been through and Lewis knew that if she stuck by Shona she would eventually be okay. As much as anyone could be “okay” after what had happened.
As for Shona, as far as Lewis could tell the woman seemed to be completely unfazed by all that had transpired, reaffirming his belief that it was, in fact, liquid Nitrogen that ran through her veins. In all the time he had known her he had never seen Shona flinch or crack under any kind of pressure. He guessed that was why she was good at what she did.
The narrow escape from the McKenzie building, and the subsequent flight from Asimov station, seemed like a blur to Lewis. As he listened in silence to the constant, low rumble of the transport’s engines, he remembered how their escape had been a desperate run out of the corporate sector as McKenzie agents gave chase, having arrived in the building’s foyer moments after they had fled. Fortunately, Lewis had known the area well and was able to lead the others out undetected. After finding a place to briefly stop, they had all removed their coveralls and cleaned off the majority of the blood that had splattered both Angel and Elina.
Elina had been able to get them out of the sector using the various maintenance ducts and passages that the Marooned sometimes utilised when wanting to travel through Asimov unseen. The journey through the noisy guts of the station towards the sanctuary of Marooned Town had been a long and difficult one, but after many hours they had arrived and made straight for Duncan Sterling’s clinic.
When Lewis had told his old friend what had happened, the doctor had not been pleased. Lewis had seen the guy in alcohol-fuelled rages before, but his reaction to the news that the CEO of the Asimov division of McKenzie Corporation had been shot dead in cold blood was something else. The doctor knew that the killing of a corporate chief executive would be the start of a chain of events that would lead to big problems for the people in the lower sectors; at the very least there would be a clampdown on Marooned movement throughout the station. At the very worst it would lead to open conflict and their probable forced expulsion from the station. Either way, things on Asimov were undoubtedly about to get very bad very quickly.
Lewis remembered how midway through Sterling’s raging Elina had turned and ran from the clinic without saying a word. He found himself wondering why no one had tried to stop her.
Wanting nothing more to do with any of them, Sterling arranged to have them smuggled off the station and back to Earth. It had cost pretty much the remainder of Shona’s money, but when it was explained to her that there was no way they were going to get off via normal routes, as the departure bays would undoubtedly be monitored, she was quick to hand over the required funds. She had no desire to stay on the station any longer and wanted to get away as quickly as possible. The whole charade had descended into one of the worst blown jobs she had ever been involved in and she was glad to just cut her loses and escape with her skin intact, even if it meant she was back to being effectively penniless.
A few hours later, Lewis and the others had been smuggled into a cargo transport and were on their way back to Earth. They never saw Elina again.
While the events that had transpired in the McKenzie building hadn’t gone anywhere near how Lewis Carson had planned, he did feel that his personal crusade was over. Even though the man that had been ultimately responsible for the abduction and death of the girl Natasha - and who knew how many others - had been made to pay the ultimate price for his actions, Lewis felt no sense of any kind of justice being achieved when he thought of the people that had been killed during the course of his plan. He felt personally responsible for the death of Kenzo, Mina, Jacob, Linford, and the McKenzie security personnel that had, after all, just been doing their jobs. He knew their deaths would be a weight that would hang around his neck for a long time.
In an effort to take his thoughts away from the feeling of depression that threatened to take hold of him, Lewis tried to focus on what he was going to do when he got back to The City. He had no idea. He glanced over at Shona again and the woman caught his gaze.
‘What?’ she asked. Angel looked up at her as she spoke.
Lewis gave a shrug. ‘Just wondering what I’m going to do back in The City. Been a long time.’
‘Huh,’ snorted Shona. ‘At least you’re not going back to a pissed off Yakuza boss that wants to see your head on a plate.’
Lewis raised his eyebrows at the statement, but it was Angel that voiced the question he was thinking.
‘What?’ enquired the Runner.
Shona gave a wry smile and looked away. ‘It’s a real long story.’
‘Well,’ said Lewis. ‘We’re stuck in here for three days so I think we have plenty of time.’
Both he and Angel looked at the red-haired woman expectantly.
‘Okay,’ she said. ‘Where to begin…?’
(Roll credits...) LOL!
This is the end
My only friend
Well, it's been quite a journey, huh? I want to say a MASSIVE thank you to everyone that has followed this tale. Your support has been most encouraging
What next then?
Well, I will most likely be returning to images!
As for the writing part, well of course I will do something more. And here is where I throw out a question to you "readers".
What would you like? There are a few possibilites from things I have in mind.
Would you like me to "reboot" the fantasy "Flesh & Steel" story that began as a script?
Would you like to see something based in and around the "Torn Skies" universe that I have alluded to in some previous renders?
Or would you like me to have a go at continuing the tales of Shona, Angel & co?
Let me know what you think.
Thank you all again.
Nov 10, 2012 2:56:51 amby SidheRoseGraphics Homepage »
Tah-dah! Certainly leaves the possibility of a sequel open ;) I have no doubt that Shona and company will soon have credits in their pockets again. This was an excellent story with fabulous 'on the edge of your seat' parts that stole the show, Alex!!
I already told you what I'd like but if you are up to doing 'Torn Skies' that would be pretty awesome too. Thank you for the wonderful read :))
Nov 10, 2012 3:05:49 amby RodS Homepage »
Well, first and formost..... I want one of those flechette guns.....
Seriously, this has been an excellent romp, Alex! It pretty much kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to read the next chapter.
As to your question.... All of the above. How's that for no pressure? I'd love to see the Flesh & Steel story pick up again. And then possibly a return to the adventures of Shona, Angel & Co. Maybe Elina could make another appearance... She's completely nuts, but I like her!
Whatever you decide to do, I'll be anxiously awaiting, my friend!
Nov 10, 2012 3:37:45 pmby auntietk Homepage »
Now that I'm done with the whole thing, I can agree with you a bit more in your assessment! I thought the first half went along at a most excellent pace, with lots of story lines and character building, but the second half was a bit disappointing.
As for your next project: I think you should write whichever story ignites your passion! Write the characters you care about, linger over them, flesh the story out, and you'll have us all eating out of your hand. :)
Nov 13, 2012 9:44:04 pmby adorety Online Now! Homepage »
Well done! The anticlimax was actually a good idea. You can't always have a happy ending. You left many threads undone for other possibilities including the fate of the Asimov and what was Sinclair really doing. Not to mention Shona's problem with the Yakuza.
You should do what you want next. While I would love to see more adventures, and some sexy renders ;), of Shona and Angel, I was also getting into the Flesh and Steel story. Maybe you should develop some more ideas for Shona and co. before moving ahead.
I'm sure whatever you do will have excellent quality to it.