1.3 Laser Boy: The Improbable Kras
Black Elvis sat stoking a nearly depleted fuel rod in the middle of the clearing. Around the edge of the faceted cave were tied and draped cloths and canvases creating a complex of tents and rooms arranged around the open center space. Syrge and Scroot were playing i-ching on the discarded industrial cable spool that served as a game table. Skum Bunny had cornered several scrats by the back of the cave and he was herding them by whipping them with an old cable. Vince could hear them hissing each time he connected. Black Elvis didn’t look up when he said, “Caught you on the walls ‘Ghost’. Get yourself killed who’s Zombie gonna marry when she’s growed.”
Vince’s face twisted up in disgust, “Vent you sisterboy! Zombie…”
Zombie Lisa crashed into him from behind.
“Vinny! I saw you on the wall! Did you let that lion loose? Did you get some money? Are you hurt? By The Nine Bleeding Heads Of allcaps JESUS! You’re famous!”
Zombie Lisa, at thirteen, was unable to disguise her adoration for Vince. Vince, at sixteen, was not properly appreciative of her adoration. Black Elvis, who was seventeen, and the coolest thing in the entire Slum Sphere, thought it was all too hilarious.
Vince scraped the clinging girl off of himself and dumped the contents of his bag next to the cooking fuel rod.
“You late, mad,” said Skum Bunny.
Vince looked at him sideways, “For what?”
“Late. As in Ven-Ti-LATE-Ed. Dead as a scrat in a vat.”
Vince smiled and crossed his arms, “Nah.”
Everyone was quiet for a minute as they pawed through the money
“Not bad,” said Black Elvis, “Hope you luck holds out.”
The kras settled down around the heat of the illudium fuel rod as Black Elvis fried some thin strips of cloned saint scrounged from the business ring refuse tanks. Syrge counted the money and distributed it, keeping a seventh share for the house, which he managed for expenses. They all listened as Vince told them about his score. He tried not to embellish too much since they had already seen most of the highlights on the wall, and they would catch him out.
Each member of the little group was an aberration of competency in the degenerate Slum Sphere that was primarily populated by people and beings of little or no valuable skill. The group existed because of Black Elvis, who had a million and one friends, but those that ended up living in his little hideaway were rare. Black Elvis, dressed in formerly dapper rags and top hat, electric ladies man and so called ‘Pope of Paisleytown.’ Skum Bunny, ugly and perpetually sneering, dressed in stretched out tights, multiple coils of rope on his belt, and a knife tied to his lower leg. His hair tied in two top braids, which when combined with his natural buckteeth explained the Bunny part of his name. Syrge, short for Lysergic Adam, dressed in a new dark blue little boy suit in the old style with a blue and yellow striped beanie atop his short cropped hair. Scroot, a young boy who looked like an old pot bellied man with a shemp haircut, with his keyboard strapped high on his waist with small robotic arms extending from his belt ever tap tapping on his interface. Zombie Lisa, with pale green summer dress, kept solid by applications of silver vent tape, upturned nose, and feral smile, dark red hair tufted out at the end of two dozen metalastic tubes 15 cm long. All of them hanging on his every word.
Vince, squatting in the dirt, rocked back on his heels, proud of his accomplishment, and reveling in the sight of his friends shuffling through his money. He looked around the green glow as the axel light began to dim, creating an artificial dusk. The atmosphere regulating vents chose that moment to release some moisture. No rain came a’ falling, but the humidity was welcome and rare in this sphere. Scroot tapped on his wrist implant and caused the section of BlackWall that they could see from their cave to become a field of stars. They relaxed and enjoyed some rare calm. Skum Bunny told them a story of the Red Engineer, and Vince fell asleep in the open.
It was two weeks before the slavers came. That time passed without any major violence or transformative incident, except for a minor Satyrday and Zombie Lisa who got really fucked up one time. What follows are some things that happened to them that might reveal to us some aspects of their personalities.