Cocka doodle Doo…Cocka doodle Doo…
Damn, I thought, as I rubbed my eyes open with my knuckles, Already 0600 hours. I reached for my mobile and switched off the holographic rooster screaming at my face.
It’s hard to believe these flightless birds once roamed free in pastures, and weren’t all raised and bred in Labs, ran by conveyor belt to the butcher shop in the next room, then on to the grocery store in the front.
Another day in the city, riding the chute to the office, sitting in a cubicle, answering virtual customer complaints, at a virtual resort complaint desk. It wouldn’t be so bad if you could at least enjoy the resort but they program the helmets to prevent you from leaving the desk.
I sat up in my bed, swung my feet to the floor and started through my sad, boring routine of a daily life. Little did I know, yesterday was the last boring day, of the rest of my life.
As i dawn my suit jacket, and walk out of my small studio apartment, I thought i felt the ground shake. Nothing completely out of the ordinary. everyday is a small tremor in a world floating on a fleet of giant jet-powered platforms. “stratospheric turbulence” is what they’re calling it now days.
The cities were all on Giant platforms, because years of mining and pulling oil from the earth finally caused the earths tectonic plates to become so active that its virtually impossible to survive on the surface. Volcanoes in a state of constant eruption. Earthquakes opening ravines that quickly fill with water, or molten magma depending on geographic location. They say that Nomads do still live on the surface, constantly moving to stay alive. But they say that’s an urban legend.
I turned left down the hallway and took a few steps. A stumbling drunk hobo brushed passed me in the narrow passage. The homeless were rampant, and outnumbered those with homes 3 to 1. As i reached the air-lock to the shoot a man stepped up put his token in the slot, scanned the chip in his wrist, simultaneously staring directly into the retina scanner. The door opened he stepped in, the door shut, and he was sucked up and out of sight. Always up over and down into your seat. Every community block, had its own courtyard marketplace, other than that you got a token for your job.
As I stepped up to the door, the hairs on the back of my neck seemed to stand up. I reached in my pocket and pulled out my chute token, I placed it in the slot, held my wrist to the scanner and stared at the little blue light as it read my bio-metric signature. The air lock hissed open i stepped into the tube, the door shut, I hate this shit, I thought, as I held my breath in preparation of the unpleasant sensation of almost having your flesh sucked from your bones.
3…2…1…wait what the hell? Instead of the painful ascension I was expecting, the floor just dropped out from underneath me. I was sliding down a sharply declining chute at a rapid rate. This had never happened before. What on earth was happening? Was I about to die. When it felt like i had fallen smooth to the surface, I saw a light below me, and no sooner had I seen the light I was dropped into a soft seat, not unlike my office chair. In front of me sat a man in a sharp black suit.
” Hello Jacob Smith, How is life?”
Who in the Hell is this guy? I thought taking in my surroundings. I was in a concrete room fifteen feet by fifteen feet, an institutional door was situated directly behind the suit, in between him and i was a steel institutional steel table bolted securely to the floor. Gray, dark gray, and stainless steel, the only colors. Oh shit, I fucked up… I realised too late.
“Life is good, Mister…?” I trailed off trying to figure out just how bad I fucked up.
“You can call me Mr. Smith.” He said with a smirk.
“I like Jones, if it's all the same to you?” I said taking immediate control of the situation.
“ I don't see why not.” He said, GOTCHA I thought.
“What am I doing here instead of at my lovely job?” I asked.
“ Let’s be clear Mr. Smith, we are on the same side. So let’s set aside all assumptions until you hear me out…” He paused waiting for me to reply or, perhaps object, and when I did not he sighed and continued. “You have been selected for an assignment of a lifetime. You were hand picked by...well, by the Boss. He has spent the last 3 years with the sole, dedicated task of finding the perfect candidate. He went through every database in the Network. He found the Perfect candidate 2 years ago: One Jacob Smith, only the problem was Jacob Smith vanished 4 years ago after single handedly wiping the entire Eridite Syndicate from existence.”
“Maybe he decided Jacob Smith was better off as a Ghost.” I said clenching my jaw. The story brought back a flood of memories long suppressed.
I had a sister once. My baby sister Jenny. I was on deployment with the Marines, back when the military was still government run. I was on my 2nd year of my 3rd tour, when my father passed away. As my father used to beat me for simply breathing i didn’t see a point in cutting my tour short to go to his funeral. Then my mother passed, I still say by way of broken heart, and i was on a radio dark mission.
It was a three month mission. Jenny had noone by her side during the hardest part of her life. At some point she started using designer drugs, she must have gotten in over her head because one of the Eridite Syndicate’s Enforcers beat her to death. The rest is a part of my life I have tried to forget.
“ The problem is we think the Syndicate is back. And we believe its back in a big way. It has been recruiting quietly and much smarter than they used too. Solid street soldiers willing to murder and mame, the difference here is they are all upper class rich thirtysomethings.”
“Well that should be much easier than a bunch of ex-military nutjobs, pissed off about the Merge and losing their jobs. What do you need me for?”
“We don’t want to to eliminate the Syndicate Mr. Smith.” He smiled broadly. “ We want to Hijack the Syndicate.”
I sat in silence waiting for him to say “APRIL FOOLS!!!!!!” But he never did so I leaned back and let out a long low whistle. “Where do you see my role taking me in this? Bear in mind I thought the Syndicate was dead, because I thought I destroyed it.”
“Here is the beauty of it, ya ready?” I nodded About as ready as I was to fall this morning. “ You’re going to be the Underboss”
“Wait,” I sat up, “ you want me too run the syndicate for the Boss?”
“ Nothing would please him more and it would be well worth your time. The freedom you would have, its unreal. You would answer Directly to the Boss. No one else. You would have free roam over all of the cities. Decide which rackets to expand, which to eliminate. Rule with an iron fist. Only two rules. One: No Syndicate operation can interfere with Union Corps INC operations. And two: A mere 5% of the Syndicates Profits, after expenses.?
“You talk like all I have to do is walk into Eridite tower and sit at that big ole desk and nobody is gonna ask a question”
“Pretty much, with your agreement, you will be named the Underboss. As the Boss currently owns Eridite LLC the Syndicat now follows under his command, except running the Syndicate is a dirty job. He can not be publicly connected to such affairs and therefore needs you, The under boss. You will be given Penthouse apartment at the top of Eridite Tower, and will sit at the head of the Syndicate Council. All Syndicate assets will be transferred to you, as well as a very significant Signing bonus. And just so you know, the Syndicate is not at all what it used to be. They no longer deal in drugs. That’s a fact I was told to make very clear to you. Also even though some of our operations are illegal, you control the direction the Syndicate takes in the future.”
I thought about it for a long moment, “ One question.”
“Can we change the name?
“I’m sure that can be arranged” He said with a big smile pushing a tablet and stylus in my direction to sign.