1.4: Skum Bunny: Free Cable
Last year Skum Bunny went ahead and tied his hair up into twin topknots to complete the image. His buckteeth and upturned nose really did make him look like a rabbit, he had to admit. Rabbits weren’t so bad, he guessed. With the addition of ersatz ears he took ownership of the name.
He was working out in one of the mainspokes, practicing swings and rapid direction changes in variable gravity. There was actually no artificial gravity on the station. There was no such thing, at least not available to humans. Maybe the Fid had it, they were not telling. The Qualmfth certainly didn’t have a way to create gravity except for the same three options humans had, acceleration, spin, or proximity to a large mass. The Qualmfth primarily used acceleration because of their nomadic nature. Humans only had the station and it used spin. The farther away from the axel you got, the higher the gravity felt.
Skum Bunny’s belt was loaded up with lengths of wire, cable, and cord. He also had two long lengths of nylex wrapped around his chest like twin bandoliers. His backpack had an assortment of gears and chunks of metal to use as weights for anchors and grappling hooks. He stood on a side tunnel looking down the wide mainspoke. He looked at the meter on his wrist. Gravity where he stood was .5 G. He swung his length of cord lazily and let it fly. The gear weight on the end wrapped around a pipe and caught. Skum Bunny stepped out and swung out and started climbing, re-throwing his cord as needed, getting lighter all the while until he was so light he was pulling himself by his hands and flying toward the center. He found the vent he wanted and pushed himself into it spinning like a slo-mo rifle bullet as he passed along the tarnished chrome.
An open grate allowed him passage to a pedestrian tunnel, already semi-crowded. Skum Bunny watched the people, and wondered if they all had a reason to be there, or if they just needed to be around other people to keep the horror of their situation from weighing too heavily on them. It was dag crazy when you thought about it, bunch of monkeys evolved on a huge sucker in space living in a can, stacked together like ribosomes on a golgi apparatus. Most everyone living in what amounted to a shallow drawer in the wall with a bed and a radi-bath, with a helmet to provide escape into the weirld.
Skum Bunny pushed into the throng of body mods and light deniers. The sour smell of the station dwellers was worse here than in the slum, and it smelled like pennywise there. He had to meet Zombie Lisa in the market to look for cable. Lisa loved using cables and cord just like Skum Bunny, but she was not as interested in practicing. She was not as skilled at cord travel, but her cord fighting was top notch due to her innate ferocity.
They had met when they were nine and teamed up to help keep each other from getting murdered or molested by the older slum rats. He had taught her how to use cords to climb and control zero g flight, and even to fight. The first time they had been attacked together, Skum Bunny was still trying to get his hands on his cord when Zombie Lisa just leaped straight onto this guy’s head and started biting his face while strangling him with a meter long cable. The man stabbed her twice in the back, but she did not let go until he was dead.
Skum Bunny had been practicing his reaction time since then, and sometimes he could actually get there first these days. Plus, Zombie Lisa seemed to be trying to act girly now, especially around Vince.
He found her floating Buddha style, slowly rotating, and watching a mid-sphere family picking through used air cleaners.
“Zomboni,” Skum Bunny said, to let her know he was behind her. Startling Zombie Lisa was not wise. He reached out a leg and caught it in a ring on the wall. He ducked his head as someone else flew past somewhat out of control, “Axel virgin,” he muttered irritatedly. Zombie Lisa looked over at him.
“Skum. Syrge said get some rit-grease for the illudium.”
“Mutard,” some flecks of saliva spread out from the sharp word.
“Who, me or Syrge?”
Skum Bunny rolled his eyes, “Both, sto.”
Lisa pointed to some glowing paint graffiti across the people littered space.
“Look. Slum sign. Satyrday.”
“Vented Manooway. I thought those were over.”
“I think when Elvis gave out all those weirld helmets it gave those sick fucks an outlet. They were old and used though, probably wearing out, or new slumbies coming in hearing stories, slowly watching themselves in the reflective walls losing their humanity. Becoming am open festering sore of desires.”
Skum Bunny sneered at her as they made their way to the lubricant booth for the rit-grease.
“Sounds like you feel sorry for those mother venters.”
“I feel sorry for them if they run into us. Mercy for the damaged isn’t really mercy at all. Doesn’t mean I don’t understand the loneliness at their core.”
Skum Bunny stopped talking. Before they met Vince and Elvis and the rest, he and Lisa had only really talked about violence and survival. There was none of this weird empathy that Lisa had developed. In a way he admired her ability to have compassion for others, because personally, he was of the opinion that any excuse to thin this festering herd of tin-wrapped humans was a good thing.
Far above them someone set off a chaff bomb and a spontaneous zero gee dance party broke out. People’s tech started flashing and a 3D image of DJ Apocandylypse, was projected from multiple bystanders’ tech implants. Every speaker device in the area played rhythmic downstem music. Zombie Lisa shot off to join in. Skum Bunny shook his head and found the rit-grease, as well as a few gears and sound cables to add to his cache. Satyrday meant hunting to him, and he didn’t want to run out of ammo.