2.21: Laser Boy: Adrift In The Blood Mist

2.21: Laser Boy: Adrift In The Blood Mist

The conditioning fans in the axel were blowing constantly; trying to clear away the gallons of muck and gore that was filling the space. A few minutes earlier, the air had been filled with globs of blood, but the churning of the air was creating a fine mist of blackish pink.

Vince, in a short lull, looked down at his arms and had to fight an urge to vomit. Not from the spinning and flying, but from the stains of blood and flapping shreds of flesh that covered them. He was thinking slowly; separate from what his body was doing. He paused his stream of thought to watch a pulsing ball of blue flame drift in front of his face. His twin blasters continued to let out streams of death in all directions. He was thinking about the interior lives of the papal guards he was all the time killing now. Stories said they were like animals or computers. All emotion denied them, all human activity alien to them. Some pirate reporters said that was not true. That they were just people raised in high grav and implanted with slave circuits. Then other pirates said those pirates were child molesters. And others said other things involving the Fid and abducted mothers. No one had what Syrge called “evidence” or “reliable sources.” Reliable sources were this ephemeral thing from the past when technology could not just replicate any and everything down to the atomic level. Syrge used to say, and eidetic Skum Bunny would often repeat it in a lispy voice, “Computer Assisted Design and 3D printing are the apocalypse of objectivity. Since objects are now subject to our desires, objectivity equals subjectivity.”

Whatever that was supposed to mean.

Vince pulled himself back to the present when his HUD flashed at him. He turned to look where it indicated and saw Lisa. He immediately stopped feeling sorry for the PIGS. She was naked and broken and crawling on the front of a store that used to sell shifting clothes that, for a monthly fee, would upgrade with the latest trends in fashion.

Vince retracted one of his guns and grabbed a passing ring. His right hand kept firing: zttt…zttt…zttt. Three more dead PIGS, more blood in the air. Vince pulled his knees to his chest and pushed off of the wall toward Lisa. He thought a message at Kay at the same time. By the time he came to rest in front of Lisa, she had sussed out what was happening and threw a dozen cards all at once to divert the authorities attention.

Explosions and holograms and all manner of expensive designer nano-mayhem that money could buy filled the axel space as Kay’s magnetic hoop table thing moved up behind Vince.

Lisa looked up at Vince and slowly stopped growling. Her mouth closed and her face went slack and she lost consciousness and started to drift. Vince retracted his second gun and reached out and carefully grasped her shoulder that did not look dislocated and pulled her to him. His head was buzzing now, not thinking about his enemies suffering, not worried about that at all.

“Unclench your jaw, man,” said Blue Kay in his ear with real words. Vince had been ignoring the constant stream of UNOs she was sending him.

Vince turned to look at her face and realized how his teeth were grinding. He opened his mouth wide with a pop and waggled his jaw.

“Give her to me. I can fix most of this.”

Vince pulled away and shook her off and pulled Lisa tighter in his arms. She made a painful squeak in response that snapped him sensible a bit. He quickly loosened his embrace and pushed her into Kick’s arms. Kick started pulling new cards out of a pocket on her belt.

A metal projectile tore into Vince’s abdomen. He screamed and turned, keeping himself between Kick and Lisa and the advancing PIGS.

The guns reappeared, somewhat larger, and when they stared firing they made a buzzing sound of scraping metal. The advancing wall of PIGS began to disintegrate. One of them was sliced clean from shoulder to hip diagonally. As the two pieces drifted apart, the two hands reached for each other and their fingers brushed briefly before they were separated.

“This putrid station is your coffin! You understand! You trapped with me in here! I’m the Man Who Ate Your Mama! All roads lead to die! You all get A Plus in getting killed by me! Vent You! Kwisatz Haderach, give a dog a bone! You Hamleting Venters!”

A blood vessel behind Vince’s left eye burst and filled his hud with a deep and pervasive red.


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