Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer

The moonlight is cut off by drifting clouds as I hurdle the wall and drop into the shadowed mess that comprises the unfinished foundations of what will be the Chibakan headquarters when they finally find some new backers.

Behind me I hear the too-rapid crunching of my pursuers using assault speed, trying and failing to get me before I disappear down below and their advantages shrink again.

“There’s no use running, you little puke! Flesh can’t outrun cyber!”

Nice mister cyberpsychosis is technically correct, but all the adverts show hapless escapees running through open malls and down streets. Of course they get taken down by the cheetah-like cybergoons.

I used infra-dense smoke to waste their heatsight and pepper-fleck to trash their sensors. Personally I thought the ten litres of used motor oil was a genius touch on the fire escape, but the screaming profanities as they skidded and in some cases failed to stop before the eight storey drop let me know my talents were unappreciated yet again.

I scoot down the unfinished stairwell and drop further into darkness, sticking another infrasmoke bomb to the crossbeam I pass just before I land. Its little beep as it sets itself for massed circuitry is reassuring. I run left and drop off another ledge into what I presume will be the sub-sub-basement and grab the aerosol I left behind a couple of days ago.

I spray the freespace-rated instabond generously across where they have to land, then do the nearest uprights and scaffolding too. Never know when someone’s going to brace themselves to get the ultraglue off their shiny cyberfeet or boots. As the crashing above indicates my fan club has arrived, I orient myself, take three steps backwards and jump up into the ducting that starts here and extends all the way to the storm drains on the other side. I leave a bodyheat radiator in there, swing out and grab the scaffolding as a pop and a hiss tells me the first winner is about to land.

Climbing the poles in pitch darkness validates my weeks of practice. At the top is a workman’s sling and I wrap myself completely in the totastealth sheet before settling for a doze. Nothing to do until the cybersupermen discover they’re not so super after all.

The shouting and yelling lulls me into a light, refreshing sleep. The silence wakes me.

Sticking my arm out I scan for life using the specialised sensor built into my gauntlet; nothing.

The cyber and nano crazies have their uses, but the archtyptural ‘street samurai’ are a joke. While cybertech has advanced beyond belief, battery technology and similar energy sources have not. Most cybergoons have solar charger pads integrated into their armour and even their tattoos. Put them in the dark and make them angry enough to believe their own hype and they will literally kill themselves as the technology overwhelms the body’s ability to power it when stored energy is exhausted. It’s actually a very short time from out of juice to out of body potentials.

Half an hour later I have a floatrolley loaded with fifty kilos of tech and ten kilos of organs. The scavengers are already gathering beyond the circle of my guardfield.

By tomorrow I’ll be set for another couple of months and Chibakan will be down another four idiots. I’m doing them a favour and they pay me handsome scrap values for weeding out the fools.


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