Richmond, S.O.N.A : 14:44 3030
Humanity isn’t as fair and just as some would think…It depends on how a fool sees it and depends on how an insane Taosu-Akuma would end their days.
Diriniya, First Dictator.
I stand on top of the Southern Chapel. All the citizens walking around on their own feet, acting like there isn’t a world out there to discover. No one pays attention to others around them. And that is what pisses me off.
The only rule the citizens go by is to avoid death by the Omega Faction. They kill you without mercy, even if you trip onto the street while the light is blue for the other side. They have no mercy, and act like the world is theirs.
But it isn’t.
It never will be.
As I look up at the monochrome sky, the air permeates the open, blank clouds that mute the light coming in to the Syndicate. It will never be bright as the world was all those years ago. I have seen the world in the old videos discs they call digital video discs. The sky was bright, with white fluffy clouds.
That isn’t the case anymore.
No one knows what the world felt like, not even what a breeze would feel like. Even I don’t know. And that pisses me off so much I want to scream. No one knows anything here. No one. No one will know ever.
I pull out a sheet of paper. It had a note written on it. Or it did. Once. It was faded, but it had the Amendments that governed the old country. The only one that wasn’t faded beyond recognition was the “freedom of speech.”
Like that would help the world. It would kill people to do that. The people in this world retaliate against ideals that aren’t their own or the ones they are taught…and they only feel like that because of their personal ideals.
“Well…Gotta go. Want to go now, Kortni?” I turn around, only to notice that there is no one besides me. I sigh. “Oh, yeah. He left me a few years ago…Can’t believe I did that again. What a fool I am. Oh, well. I should get going now. “
I bend down to pick up my thigh-length jacket on. It had a high collar. It had an over-sized hood below the collar. My black pants covered me to the knees, where they met my laced-up metal boots. My sleeves were rolled up and clipped back to hold them in place. My short knives were hidden in the back of the boots. The only problem being that my boots set off the alarm for stores and that made being a vigilante even more harder.
My face was covered in a bloodstained bandage. It kept my breath from aspirating much. The cameras in some of the Syndicati stores had sensors that scanned people for aspiration problems, which would make them national burdens…ones that no one would want to be around.
The stairway I ventured out to get to the top of this dismantled building, strained and crumbling, was dark and damp. As I walked to it, I could have sworn that I heard laughing, cold malicious laughing, but with no one around.
I shake my head and head down the steps.
When I reach the bottom of the stairway, I am bombarded with the sound of the Proj-Boards advertising the latest news:
Daily Death Count from the Criminal K-10: 0
Winter, River and Copper Sectors are barricaded. Do not attempt to enter
Dictator due to announce future plans to counteract Maveris Syndrome.
Maveris Syndrome death count: 938
Stand by for more updates.
The voices as people pass me made me wonder what was going on. There were excited voices, bored voices…Many people expressing their opinions of K-10, none favorable. I take out a watch, a memento from my dead brother, Dez. He is the one who inspired me to become the one person to stop the Dictatorship in this country.
I am known as K-10, ten being the name of an event date. But don’t worry…I won’t hurt an innocent soul. I turn out on Kazin and Sute and find my Comm-Bike hidden behind some dumpsters. The smell would make some people think twice about going in this street, which makes it the perfect hiding place for a Comm-Bike.
After about ten minutes of clearing all the debris and trash off the Comm-Bike, I hop onto it and rev it to make sure it works. It does. I put myself into position to ride the Bike, since it has to be ridden by someone who has amazing coordination and agility.
Noticing this, it makes me remember Dez. The way he stared at me as he died…the smile that would melt me to tears right now if I wasn’t so rock hard in the core of things.
Look…if you want to destroy the Syndicate, defeat the Taosu-Akuma inside…and also…what is the world’s most vital weakness? When you answer that…everything will be clear. I promise.
“Taosu-Akuma…ten years and I have yet to see if they are real. All those rumors and nothing good has come out of the things I have done to get this far. So…”
I look down at the watch in my hand. “Were you lying to me, Dez? I still haven’t answered your riddle. And why…” I shake my head. I can’t get wrapped into all the problems. I have to go somewhere. I can’t be moved to tears just because of some memory is should have gotten over years ago. I scold myself vigorously.
After a few minutes of scolding myself to get over the past, I travel to the light. I stare ahead of me to ignore all the thoughts people have against the Syndicate. I agree with some of them, but the majority of them are useless. Just thoughts no one even finds the facts for. No one ever does. They just go by what others think of.
No one ever listens to the truth. Humans as a whole cannot change themselves alone. Only a mass of people can attempt to change the world…but there are only so many who can even think for themselves. No one will ever understand.
The light turns blue.
Someone suddenly screams.
More scream in fear. People run across the street, shrieking like wild animals. No one heeds the law. I sigh and turn my head, only to see a man holding a Blazer and pointing at everyone. I look carefully at the man. He strikes me at being drunk, probably had to many late-night drinks.
I get off my Bike and turn to him, ready for a fight.
He walks up to me slowly. Staggering left and right, falls once…then gets up.
“You there…Yeah you. I see it in your eyes. I see it. The spark of defiance. One which would make someone do crazy things…I bet you have killed one or two people. Must be recently. You may hide reeeeeal well, to be someone who can kill and can’t be seen. I see it, I do!”
The man walks up to me and pulls my over-sized bangs to his face. His breath smelled like beer and rotting things. He must be a Maveris Syndrome Victim. This can’t be good.
“You are one of the deficient. The mistakes of the Syndicate. I can’t believe someone like you can do that. Survive. That’s what all the people do when they can’t do a single damn thing about their lives.
“But you can’t be the person who will save is from our sins…or can you? Let’s see…I will leave you alone if you can find the one person who can save you from a ghastly death…C’mon…I dare you, you piece of junk! I dare you!”
I stand back, my jacket making me overheat. I sigh, replying, “You don’t have the guts to say it straight to the Syndicate…So you get drunk and then expect people to listen to a drunk person, who smells like shit, and who hasn’t bathed a single time in their life, I bet.”
Just as I expected, the man tried to punch me, only to have his hand squeezed until a few cracks were heard. “Look, I am here to find someone who can help me. I don’t need a drunkard telling me what to do. I am aiming to go somewhere that includes semi-calm, lucid personnel. I am not in the mood for some fool telling me what and who I am. Now get the hell away from and go die somewhere else.”
I let of his hand and begin to turn around, when the man keels over and slugs all the vomit onto the ground. The man repeats this and tries to stand up to face me. “Boy,” He gasps. “Remember the Black Flowers in the sky! They will come, I tell you.” Promptly the man slumps to the ground. “The Maveris Syndrome will never begin its…” Hacking coughs and a dark feeling permeating the air makes me want to puke.
“It’s the Syndicate. They are making the air hard to breath in and suffocating to make all the people move out of the area. Your being here, makes it all different. Why don’t you run and hide? That’s what any sane Syndicati would do. You know the Omega Faction are here to eliminate me. You know that. So why stay?”
Good question. Why am I staying here, when I can go in safety and continue my mission? Why would I stay with a sick person, who can’t even stay sane? One who became drunk to try to numb the mind, so the Maveris Syndrome doesn’t take over his mind?
I take precious seconds to plan my move and come to the same conclusion no matter what I try to plan. I kneel, my jacket brushing the ground, making a scraping sound. The man looks up at me as he lay flat on the ground, heaving breaths that create a rasping sound.
“Run, kid. Don’t play hero. I can tell many people have died because of you. So, get out of here so you can save young people who deserve the future they have. I am an old man, Death beckoning to me, telling me to leave this accursed world behind.”
I begin to pick up the man, and finally heave him onto my shoulder. He groans, while I start to run down the street, trying all I can to get away, no matter what th cost. I didn’t know why I started to help this man. I don’t have any idea, and that scares me. I was never a reckless person to begin with. I was always in the shadows, watching from afar.
After I cross street after street, breaking laws left and right, Omega Faction begin to chase me, on their Comm-Bikes. There is no way I can outrun them. It isn’t possible. I look behind me as I take a left, down the shopping square, into a Market Square. People busy with bartering and paying, take late notice of a running person carrying an old man on their shoulder.
Screaming resonates in the air, the air again suffocating people as they try to get away. About ninety percent of them don’t manage to escape, so they curl up and try to preserve all the air they have in their systems. That is the tactic we are taught in our Early Years as we learn the ropes of the world of the Syndicate.
I turn around when I hear a little girl scream. One of the Omega Faction grabbed her by the shirt and talk to it in accented Syndicati. The girl has snot running out her nose and tears streaming down her face. The little girl seems to be scared out of her mind, while the Omega Faction is yelling at her about something.
When they don’t seem to get anything, the girl is tossed like a rag doll. Even more tears stream down her face. The she starts to scream, calling for someone who already left the Square. The Omega Faction converse and one brings out the Striker-Rifle latched onto their backs.
Instantly, the girl knows what’s going to happen. The tears stop, only sniffles. “Deficient. Number 0-0017802-11. Initiate Title Response.” That’s all the Omega Faction say, minus counting down from three.
“No, no, no, no, no…No! I don’t want to die! I want… want Mommy! I want them! Where are they?” The girl finally screams at the Soldiers. But Omega Faction aren’t known for compassion. They are Soldiers of Hell. They have no mercy, and they don’t show it, either. I weigh the options of saving this man and saving the little girl.
With a heart-wrenching decision, I leave the girl and run. This old man had talked to me, known too much, and I couldn’t leave him to die without telling me what he knows. “Foolish boy. That girl could have been saved as well as I. So why did you choose to save me, when the girl could easily have had better use than I to you?”
I start running as fast as I could. There would be no escape from the Omega Faction if they caught you. You were practically dead in that same instant. The man started muttering, the delirium starting to run into his brain. I couldn’t understand some of it, his voice spurting out gibberish, some which I couldn’t even tell were words. The one word he kept saying over and over, was flowers.
“Keep it together, old man. I don’t want you dying on me. Not when that girl was just left there because of you. She’s dead because you know too much. You won’t leave this world peacefully if you let the Maveris Syndrome seep into your brain.”
The man started shaking his head. “Flowers! They will save us! They will save us and make us gods! The End and the Beginning will save us all! We won’t die; no, we won’t because god as lifted his fist and slammed it-”
I stopped suddenly, heaving breaths. “Look, I don’t give a crap about flowers. They don’t exist. They are just a fairytale to tell kids to make them not scream at night in fear of the waking dawn.” I look at the man and could tell his body was heating up. His mouth had streams of drool falling onto the ground. He was in worse shape than before. I have never helped someone try to calm down from the Maveris Syndrome.
It just isn’t possible in this world. Maybe in the past. Maybe in the future. But not now. All humanity can do is try to win God over and shove his holy butt into a meat freezer. God is dead, and no one knows that. All they know is the pseudo-God Nichi and his mythical tales of success.
But I know that isn’t true. I just know it. No one can become a God in just a day. Pantheons have to be created and years have to go by. I never believed in Nichi. And God damn me for creating death. I get back up and reposition the man. I don’t know if there are any Omega Faction near me. And I don’t really care. All I know to do is run as fast as I can and hope that they don’t send a Hoverwing after me.
The aircraft shaped like a diamond, or more accurately that of an arrowhead. They are silent, and deadly. The books all tell us that the Hoverwings were used in air warfare in the Ameri-Syndicati War. The one that vanquished Omega, Hell’s Judgement Beast. No one knows what he looks like, and many rumors have come a long way, from almost a thousand years ago.
I shove people out of my way and hope they don’t call an Omega Faction soldier after me, because sacrificing that girl would be for nothing, and my mission would become corrupt and everything that stands for Justice will be destroyed.
The man has started asphyxiating. That has made it worse. Well, running while being held like a sack of potatoes doesn’t seem to be a first-class traveling style.
Now people are starting to stare at me and whisper, my odd clothing and hair making people stare. I don’t pay attention; getting this man to safety is my top priority. Well, at least before he dies. No one survives the Maveris Syndrome naturally. In the Old World, Cancer was the aggressor, while no medicine could save people. It could be delayed, but there was no stop.
The Maveris Syndrome is like that, but no one has been known to survive. “It’s like God is toying us. Making us pay for all the problems in our life. We caused so many sins because of him not passing down judgment on us. Hah…Times sure are tough, eh?” The old man mutters under his breath and smiles, somehow finding irony in his words.
“We’re puppets. That’s all we are. Isn’t that right, boy?” I screech to a stop and look at the man. “What makes you say that? Puppets are in the Puppeteer Games, nowhere else. So why say that?”
The man turns his head to look at me. He bucks and tries to get off of my shoulder, hitting his head on the metal street. He stumbles to his feet, but wobbles like a top. He points at me, his face insane and bloody. One of his eyes are red, blood coming out of it.
“Remember this, boy: Keep on moving. Don’t let a day come by where you regret not saving someone. Keep the Stigmas away from Anah Carnalian. Don’t let the world be disgraced as it is now. I want you to promise me this. Promise me!”
His determined expression makes me wonder who this guy is. I open my mouth to ask, but instead, I stare at him, my voice stuck in my throat. His body becomes limp as it falls to the ground in a heap.
I stagger back as blood comes pooling around my boots. I stare at it, a memory flashing behind my eyes.
Don’t forget that the world gives out as many curses as blessings. Remember what you did in life, and you may be forgiven for all the cruel and terrible things we have done as humans. The Stigma’s will be found and executed. A man’s laughter echoes in my ears.
I take shuddering steps to see the man. I kneel down, and gently push the man over. I notice immediately he had no eyes. All the bloods force had knocked them straight out, or just squeezed them till they burst. The man had a surprisingly calm smile, despite that he is now dead.
I feel bad to do this, but I reached into his pockets and out of the left, there was an envelope. The other had a necklace in the shape of a snowflake. It was made from a thin, reflective material that looked like liquid moonlight- or whatever moonlight would look like in real life.
I switched the necklace to the other side and it had the words Rogue Ahran on the back. My hand shook. I knew that person, and she didn’t give off any positive vibes. All she did was cause chaos and destruction.
Rogue Ahran. She looked nice, but then she was evil to the core. No one ever knew her real face- or if she was even a female. All she had on was a hood and a medieval-looking cloak that hid all her clothes and even her feet.
I turned the envelope in my hands. A name was scratched along the edge, a name that was faded, almost beyond recognition. Dextra Sevaire. The letter seemed to be thick inside the envelope. I stare at the man, who lay before me, in shock. Another person has died, I think in shock.
“Why…why can’t I save people? Why do they have to die?” I whisper to no one. Soon, Omega Faction race to the scene, Striker-Rifles in hand. Soon, the bustling crowd was hustled away by the soldiers and the scene was cut down in front of me.
One Omega Faction asked me a few questions, ranging from how old I was, to what happened during the whole sprint through Oak Sector. I tried to put in as much truth as I could, while attempting to hide who I was internally. I used one of my pseudonyms, one of the thousand I have.
The Omega Faction seem to be content on what I say, as they motion for me to leave. I take one last look, before the Omega Faction bag the man and leave the whole area spotless clean.
No one knows what really happens to Maveris Syndrome sufferers after they die. They obviously don’t get taken to a morgue, so they probably don’t get any proper funeral. All they become is ash. A smoldering, blistering pile of ash.
I locate my Bike after twenty minutes of walking slowly, depressed. I couldn’t even talk to people who asked if I was okay. I just waved a hand and kept walking, because, what’s the point of being happy when everyone you try to protect, dies?
Before I get onto the Bike, I notice a string of letters and numbers on the envelope as I pull it out and look solemnly at it. I stare at them and realize the letters aren’t Syndicati. They are a whole other language. And I recognize the symbols. In my head, I decipher the code, if you could call it that.
Meet XXXXXXXXXXXXX at
THIRTY-FOURTH QUADRANT, ROSANE SECTOR, RICHMOND, S.O.N.A
I recognize that building name, because someone who was rich moved in there. The whole reason I even know this person is not because I met this person; it’s because I have heard about him. He is some bigwig who seems to be as rich, presumably, as the Dictator.
And there is only one reason someone can get even a tenth of the Dictators amount of fortune: you hack into their systems and take a quarterly amount of money a month. An amount to be able to sustain you. A million Synd a month will seem like half a Synd.
So, he must have a whole entourage around him if he can do such a thing. Robbing a bank is one thing but hacking and stealing money from Syndicati Official Vaults is on a whole other level. There is no way someone can do that. They have so many firewalls and such, it is impossible to do it.
Though the name Dextra Sevaire keeps my mind going in loops. I know that name from a place or something, but I can’t put my finger on it. It’s like the memory is evading me for kicks. There are innocent people who don’t deserve to die…but then there are the “Stigmas.” That is the common term that normal citizens use.
The slang term for them is “Deficient.” That’s means they have some uncommon Deficiency. Whether going from speed reading, to running faster in school than the usual allowed speed. There is an obvious reason for saying they are two different terms.
I look up and gaze at the monochrome clouds. They don’t move, they don’t make any type of noise…they just stay there forever. Or what forever would be like. The world is against me, some would say, for some superficial reason. Me? It literally is against me. I can’t save anyone in this world. I might as well die and forget.
All the promises that I have made always make me stop in my tracks whenever that train of thought passed my brain. The old man; Dez; all the people at Kuro Sakura…I could keep on going but naming all the people would take hours.
“I suppose…I should go to this location…But why me? Why me out of all twelve million people in the Syndicate?” I mutter as I put the restraints on my feet that lock it in, so I don’t fly off the Bike when I go over three-hundred kilometers per hour.
Yeah, I know it can supposedly kill you, but it hasn’t for me. I know that is not scientifically possible, but there are somethings that can’t be explained by science itself. Those somethings are better left to the imagination.
Before I start my Bike, I look around me, at all the people who are innocents and should not die, but in the end...we all die.
I look at the world and notice how everyone is smiling and laughing; but when you look to the slums…you realize the world is worse than you realize. The homeless and jobless people finding-or trying to- hope and peace.
There are kids who die just because we can’t deal with the Undesirables. The ones who are imperfect in some way. I have met a few.
They don’t live too long.
“Well, Isvaire…I guess I’ll have to keep looking for the answer to Dez’s riddle.” I mutter. The Bike starts; and off I go to the ritzy Rosane Sector.