Friday, October 8, 2010

No Exit

Left - 495

(Chapter 6)

Ben Azevedo

They left the ship in a docking station Jonesy had a membership to. Shielded from the wind, Jonesy and Miles stepped into the dark cavern. They were alone; most people stayed in the safety of their apartments during storms. A long row of exit signs marked the route to the next building.

All of the buildings in New Chicago’s downtown were connected underground by pedestrian walkways. Not many people were downtown in the storm, but the few that were would have been swept away by the winds aboveground. During the clear season, New Chicago had thriving aboveground marketplaces and shops, but currently it was quiet.

Miles pulled a small device from his pack. It beeped once, and flashed several figures across a small screen. He grunted, shouldered the pack, and headed off along the glowing path of exit signs.

“Where’re we going?” Jonesy asked.

“Roughly, 85th and Dawe street.” Miles’ voice echoed in the dark chamber.

“Did he give us any specifics on the mission?”

“No. But we’ll need these.”

Miles slung the pack around his shoulder, still walking, and pulled another device out. It resembled a pencil in length, but it was about three inches thick. One end tapered to a point, and it was a blackish gray color. He handed it to Jonesy.

Jonesy picked it up carefully. He studied both ends and nodded.

“So we’re going to be hunting the-“

“SHUT UP!” Miles clamped a hand over Jonesy’s mouth. “They can probably already hear us!”

His voice dropped to a whisper. “There should be a track we can pick up south of here.”

He pulled a second short staff out of his pack, transferring the tracking device to his left hand. They continued down the path of exit signs. After a few minutes the tracker blipped softly and Miles turned left. Jonesy followed closely behind him, casting wary glances back every few seconds.

The passage narrowed slightly and reached a staircase. Miles stopped at the top and looked down. They had left the exit signs behind, and were losing light. Miles frowned, flipped a few switches on his tracker, and opened his pack again. He produced a tiny case and turned to Jonesy.

“Ever used one of these?” he asked.

“Is that an eyelight?” Jonesy’s frightened eyes momentarily lit up with excitement.

“Yes. You know how to use it?” Miles was all business.

“Yeah. Gonna be dark down there eh?”

“They like the dark.”

Miles put on his eyelight and started down the stairs. The eyelight consisted of a contact lens with a small wire connected to an electrode that attached to Miles’ temple. It provided multi-spectrum imaging for the wearer, controlled by brainwaves picked up by the electrode.

Miles hadn’t lied to Jonesy earlier. The boss hadn’t given him any details. But he knew what they were hunting, and it wasn’t pretty. Humanity wasn’t the only race on Element. The planet had several other sentient or semi-sentient species.

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