VZ Goliath [Sci-Fi Novel]


She was sitting on the dirty grey bench at the pier. The bench was old and out of stone. It had cracks all over and a film of dirt had built up over the years. She was staring at the river where it all had started. Her first memories were created here. Her first digital ones. The sun was hiding behind a thick shade of clouds. The river below grey, but cleared from trash that had filled it once. The water was splashing against the concrete barricade. Soon it would rise to the bench she was sitting on and further up into the empty streets behind her. Grey clouds, grey water, grey pier. Several hundred meters above her, the vibrant city full of noise and lights. She was in the old part of town, abandoned decades ago when the tide started to rise and flood entire districts. The new city was hastily built above the old one. A megacity on the skeleton of another. The same madness, just a floor higher.

Down here, everything was slowly decaying. Only illegals and criminals were still using this place. But even they only saw it as the last escape. You could not survive here for long. Either the flood would get you or scavengers on the lookout for poor souls. For police and medics, most of the old city was off-limits. They would only enter if they had a special order to do so. Survival down here was raw, untouched. Kill or be killed. Different. Too different for the world above, so nobody talked about it.

They had not been here in a long time. Usually, their job would keep them busy with people rich and poor enough to live in the upper city. But this time, it was the other way round. They were the job and could not escape. Set up and tracked down, there was nowhere to run. The guy wanting them dead was one number too big and already one step ahead.

Black vest, black jeans, black boots. Short black side cut and bruises from today’s encounters. Her face was not swollen but covered in blue and green spots that were still hurting. He was standing close by. Same outfit, but no bruises, at least not on his face. His blond hair was tucked back to a ponytail, a pair of sunglasses covering his eyes. Their outfit was unique. She did not know of anyone else who owned a full set of trans-clothes. They were expensive, illegal, and more of a legend that a reality. Mostly because the people who ever saw them did not live long enough to tell the tale. With the blink of an eye, trans-clothes could turn from a black leather SM outfit to a pink princess dress. It was no optical illusion, but advanced nanobot trickery. Millions of nanobots were in the fabric and would start rearranging it on an atomic level to the outfit and material of their choice. The black preset they were wearing was the default outfit. A simple tribute to the long time the clothes had served. She already missed them.

Motorcycles approached on the bumpy and cracked road behind them. Their noise broke the silence of waves and gulls. The riders stopped on the street behind them and stayed on their bikes. They seemed confused. They expected their victims to run away, fight, or at least turn around. But they did none of it.

She would not try to get out of the situation; she would not give them the satisfaction. The group of riders slowly closed in from behind and knocked him on the ground. His ponytail soaked up the mud from the pier. Then they tased her. The taser strings dug into the back of her head and electricity fried the outer layer of the implant in her forehead. She spazzed out and fell from the bench.

Their old friend came up to her while she was lying motionless on the ground. He was smiling and got out a syringe from his pocket. She could see in his eyes that he was high again.

“This is all your pain, your suffering, the result of all your actions.”

He looked thirsty for revenge and enjoyed finally getting it. He pulled her arm from the muddy ground and injected the syringe into the port she had gotten implanted many years ago.

“Sleep tight bitch.”

She immediately passed out. Whatever it was, it was way too strong. They did the same to him, then left them on the pier.

“The tide is going to wash them out.”