Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

It was a way of life down here to prove how far you were willing to go.

The stew of Oddtown. The people that lived here knew that they’d never work in a place that required a dress code let alone a mannered way of behaving. The modifications they had done to themselves were extreme.

There was work that a person could get done that was reversible. Horns, smaller tattoos, piercings, subdermal implants, that sort of thing.

Judge’s kids got those to show that they were rebelling against a society that they didn’t create. All tasteful and done in places that could be covered up by business suits and hairstyles in later life when they realized that their destiny was to be a benefit to society rather than a burden.

They took their little rebellious walk in the wilderness on Oddside. If they were lucky, they made it back out with a few ‘hardcore’ stories and some street cred with the other kids from rich families. Learned a few staring tricks for negotiations in the boardroom when they finally accepted Daddy or Mommy’s tuition and went to law school. Memories to make them think that they had a soul or had experienced ‘real life’ for at least a little bit.

If they were unlucky, they met up with the people that didn’t give a fuck about their parents or futures. A few shots of crackoin later, a few hours of video later, and few ransom demands later, a few brain burns later, and the little girls and boys from the rich side of town ended up in pieces amongst the garbage bags in the alleys. Either that or just stumbling around dead-eyed until they starved to death.

But the smart inhabitants of Oddside realized that these kids had money and would soon be running things. Becoming friends with these kids could be good down the road. Ever since the inheritance act was passed, the poor became poor forever and the rich angled with each other for more money. The gulf between the two societies became an uncrossable trench littered with the Icarus skeletons of people who tried.

It’s all about appearance.

Take Mannycentric, for instance. He had robotic, cherry-red fists the size of oil drums. His shoulders and biceps were grafted to take the weight. If he relaxed, his knuckles dragged on the ground. Those fists could knock chunks out of buildings when they were fully charged. They weren’t gloves. The birth-meat of his forearms and hands was long gone.

Killie had antlers and four hearts. Her scars and tattoos ran the gamut from tribal to baroque. Not much of her original skin still showed. Hundreds of small, scalloped shark fins inserted from her tailbone up to her shoulder blades turned her entire back into a cheese grater.

Flail had extra joints installed in his legs. He ran like a deer and leapt like a flea. He had the buttonhole pupils of a goat.

They were currently letting a blonde rich girl buy them drinks and impressing her with violent stories, watching her eyes grow wide, feeling her excitement growing. She obviously thought she had a wild streak and was ready for whatever the night threw at her. She was wrong. Manny, Flail and Killie had been promised a hundred credits to deliver her to the Skinner. They were just waiting for the roofies to take effect. If they didn’t need the money, they might have tried to make her a friend.

It was a way of life down here to prove how far you were willing to go.


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