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Ford Coplen

United States

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Read the first chapter, the link is on the bottom of the page

Cheating Mortality: Chapter 2

June 22, 2015

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Chapter 2

Yuri sat on the edge of his bed. He was glad that he did not drink like his friends did, he was only feeling a minor headache. It wasn’t even worth calling a headache, it was just a slight throb in his head. I have made a policy for myself to never get too drunk. It would be horrible if somehow I revealed my ‘condition’ while intoxicated. Need I remind you that I am a military secret. I stood up groggily and went to the kitchen. My house was pretty compact. The kitchen and bedroom are the same room. My bathroom is separate, of course. I could afford a bigger house if I wanted, but somehow I felt more comfortable in this small space. I know every inch of it. I set up some water for an energy brew (The equivalent of coffee). I held a palm device that was the equivalent of neurolink except that it works on hand motions instead of reading your thoughts. It is impossible for the device to read me, and I just don’t like the thought of one of these things reading everything I think. It was a red-chrome orb that sat in the pit of my hand. I swiped my index finger left and scrolled through some messages. After I passed a message telling me there were horny singles in my area, I saw one from the peacekeepers. It read

Dear Yuri,

I am going to need you to meet me in my office as soon as you get to the station. There are many things we need to discuss that I can’t say here.

Lt. Germain

    I didn’t know what to be more shocked about. The fact that another person is telling me something I shouldn’t tell anybody else or that I just got a message from a website called Elf HookUp.

    I sipped my energy brew and looked over my room. I sighed. It was a dump.

    I’m gonna have to clean this up at some point.

    How many time are you telling yourself this now?

    I chuckled to myself. I don’t know. Feels like a lot, though. I pulled a coat out of the closet and set it on the futon. I got a long-sleeved, white collared shirt and a pair of black pants. I wore an armored vest under my shirt. It was a bunch of scales arranged into a something like chain-mail with urban-camo painted on it. Practice day is today, so I need to bring my assault rifle and my pistol. I keep my uniform and body armor in a locker at the station. I keep a spare at home, just in case.

    I picked up a small suitcase that contained my weapons and left the house.

 

 

    I waded through a thick patch of morning commuters to the train. Minutes later I was on the train. I passed by District 7 station, I looked out the window and saw a tarp laid over a body. There were a pair of bare feet sticking out from under it. There were two smaller tarps with bodies underneath adjacent to it. The train did not stop at the station.

    “Due to a ,medical emergency, this train has been prohibited from stopping here. There will be shuttles ready to transport you to -District 7-”

    There were many angry groans and complaints about not making it to work on time.

    “Yuri?”

    I turned around and saw Elyssa. Her long violet hair draped over her shoulders. She wore a hexagonal eyepatch over her right eye. She wore a white tank-top with black horizontal stripes and faded grey jeans. Her other eye was green. She had a ring in the tipped end of her ear.

    “Elysa? Wow, how’ve you been?”

 

    They fist bumped.

    “I’ve been good. Man, when was the last time we saw each other?” She asked.

    “Had to have been a few years at least,” I replied.

    She whistled.

    “We should meet up again.”

    “Yeah, all of us. Now that I think about it, I haven’t seen Bu’urdock or Sandra in a while either. How is she doing?”

    “Oh she’s doing great. She recently started a puppet show.”

    “That’s interesting.”

    “Yeah. She uses her psychic energy to control them. It’s weird. I know that she’s the only one controlling them, but there’s a wide variety of voices they use and, knowing her... you’d have to see it yourself. You’ll know what I’m talking about.”

    Sandra can't talk. When we were kids we kept asking her about it and one day she finally wrote in a note I CAN'T talk. It’s not physically possible. So please stop asking me about it.

    “I get off of work at 8, if I’m lucky. Where should we meet?”

    “How about my place? I will get Bu’urdock and Sandra already lives with me.”

    “She lives with you?”

    “She does.” Her expression seemed to darken. “People seem to like harassing her. These guys followed her to her house and started breaking stuff. After I was finished beating the shit out of them, I let her stay at my place.”

    There was a pause.

    “I did it more for their protection than for her’s.”

    The train came slowly to a stop at District 12.

    “We should talk more about this later.” I said.

    “Okay, send me your link number.”

    Just like phone numbers, Neurolinks have numbers to contact.

    “Will do. Later.”

    “Later, Yuri.”

 

 

    I walked out of the locker room at the station. The office was a large room full of cubicles. On the wall was a shifting collage. This isn’t my department. But I have been summoned by Lt. Germain, and this is where he office is. I approached the door to her office and pressed a button on the number pad. The speaker above it said, “Please, come in.”

    The door unlocked and I let myself in. She was sitting at a desk. There was nothing on it other than Lt. Germain’s elbows.

    “Hello, Yuri, we need to talk.”

    She held her hand over the desk and the whole desk lit up. She pressed her thumb on a button on the screen that said LOG-IN. It scanned her thumb and a prompt with a green check mark said ACCESS GRANTED. She raised her hand toward the windows and swiped downward. The windows darkened until they could not be seen through.

    “I know you have practice today, so I wont take too much of your time.”

    “What is this all about?”

    “Before I tell you anything,the information that I am about to tell you is classified under security clearance level 6. If you tell this to anybody without the same clearance, then you will be executed. You ready for me to tell you?”

    “Yes, ma’am”
    “Hand me your Neurolink.”

    I handed her the red orb. She set it on her desk. She put her finger on a file on the desk and she dragged it to the orb.

    “You are being assigned to a new team. The team will consist of upgraded individuals, such as yourself.”

    “What’s the point of this?”

    “No idea. The order came all the way from the emperor himself. I just downloaded some background information on the people you will be working with. I recommend that you start reading it as soon as possible.”

    “Will do. Anything else?”

    “No, I have had practice delayed, so you should have plenty of time to get there.”

    “Thanks.” I said getting up from my seat. I started to walk away. She motioned at the windows and they became transparent again.

    “Remember to read that info.” She said as I walked out the door.

 

 

    Later I was in the practice area with my old squad. I didn’t see Haze or Kent, which I was not at all surprised about. Especially considering how much they drank last night.

    The room we were in was completely white. You had too look very hard to see the crack where the wall and the floor meet. I found this out because this is where I look when I am at attention.

    “Ready...ARMS!”

    I raised my rifle, held it in front of me and then held it to my chest.

    “Today, you will get a chance to hone the skills that make you better keepers of the peace. Become warriors who can uphold all that is right. Become heroes who can stand for those in need.”

    He paced back and forth in front of us as he said this. He stopped in front of the center of the line.

    “To become peacekeepers in the truest sense of the word.”

    Then he yelled. “ARE YOU PEACEKEEPERS?”

    We yelled in response. “YES, SIR!”

    “At ease.”

    We relaxed.

    “We will start with an 80 minute run followed by 45 minutes in the obstacle course. You will then be given a 10 minute break.”

    He paused.

    “We will then spend 90 minutes with Melee combat and 80 with arms practice. Any questions?”

    There were none.

    “Alright. Atten...SHUN!”

    We straightened back up into attention. The captain pointed a remote at the wall and pressed a button. The room turned into something like an old world race track.

    “Start running!”

 

 

    The whole squad was panting and sweating. Despite having run beside them the whole time, the captain doesn’t even look like he broke a sweat.

    “You all have ten minutes to catch you breath.”

    I was not winded either, but I acted like I was. Makes me seem more human.

    I sat with my back to the wall with a sandwich in my hand. I opened the green wrapper and started eating the sandwich inside. Two guys sat beside me on either side.

    “Hey, you’re Yuri, right?” said the guy to my left.

    “Yeah, who’re you?”

    “I’m the guy you’re going to fight later.”

    “If you came here to threaten me, you couldn’t have picked a worse person.”

    “No, no, I’m not here to threaten you. I’ve heard a lot about you, I don’t think I could’ve even if I wanted to. I just got transferred into this squad so I wanted to see who you were.”

    At the end of every melee session there are two fights in “the ring” between two different people. There is nothing gained from these fights except, maybe, reputation. Sometimes people take these fights too seriously, hence my suspicion towards this new guy.

    “Okay,” I opened a water bottle and drank from it. Then I set it down on the floor. “Best of luck to you then.”

    I might have sounded cocky, but I have good reason to be. I am by no means a “kung-fu master” but I do have a database of martial arts downloaded into my mind. That doesn’t mean that I can do it all though. There is a connection between mind and body that can’t be downloaded.

    The guy made a hmph sound and and walked away. The guy to my right chuckled.

    “How long do you think it’d take to do him in?”

    I thought about this for a second.

    “It’d take longer than normal to take somebody down with nonlethal, non injurious attacks. So... two minutes?”

    Sounded about right. That’s how long it normally takes against an opponent of my same skill set. But you never know with these kinds of fights.

    The man cursed under his breath.

    “Why?” I asked.

    “I wagered you’d take him down in a minute and a half.”

    “Sorry to disappoint you.”

    I wasn’t. It’s his own damn fault for betting on me.

    “Do you think you could, y’know, try and take him down quicker?”

    “Two minutes!” the captain yelled at us all.

    “I will take however long I need to.”

    “How can I convince you to change your mind?”

    “You can stop wasting your breath. What you’re asking me to do is outside of my abilities.”

    “Bullshit. I’ve seen you fight.”

    “Everybody’s seen me fight. And most people have bet smarter than you.”

    “One minute! Wrap it up!”

    “We’re done talking.” I said as I got up and walked away. I had half a sandwich left, I suddenly didn’t feel like finishing it. His face was burning red. I felt just the tiniest bit satisfied seeing how pissed he was.

 

I climbed up on a raised platform.  The new guy climbed up from the other side. We both had small, thumbnail size chips attached to the backs of our necks.

    “The match ends when one of you falls out of the ring or are submitted. If you don’t tap out, it’s your own damn fault if you pass out.” The captain said. “Any move made with intent to kill or permanently injure will result in your body being hijacked. No holds or spells are barred as long as they fit these guidelines.”

    The captain glanced at the two fighters.

    “You ready?”

    “Yes, sir.” we replied in unison.

    “Three... Two... One...”

    I crouched down and raised my fists. New guy rolled up the sleeve of his jumpsuit, revealing a long, milky white scar. He produced a short silver blade from the cuticle of his index finger and cut the scar downwards. Blood gushed out, then pulled back and solidified against his fist and forearm, forming a gauntlet on his left arm.

    So he’s a bloodcaster. Interesting. I though.

    “...FIGHT!”

We both charged at each other toward the center of the ring. He threw his blood clad fst at my face, which I easily blocked. He then kicked me under the ribs. I jumped back. He charged after me. I side-stepped and punched him in the face. He spit bloody phlegm in my face and the skin started to dissolve. The skin started to pull away from my face. I pulled the tattered bubbling skin off my face, revealing the metal underneath.

    I kicked high, aiming for his face. He grabbed my foot before it made contact. I lifted up off my outstretched foot and roundhouse kicked him. There was a solid THWACK as my foot collided with his left temple. I fell on my hands and backflipped. He fell face first onto the mat. He rolled forward and threw a bloody bubble at me. It hit my hand and molded over my hand. It solidified. I tried to ball that hand into a fist. It didn’t budge. He punched me in the stomach. I felt a sharp pain as he then hit me in the left cheekbone. I fell to the floor. He brought his foot down to stomp on me. I caught his foot before he hit my stomach and kicked him in the back. He fell forward, inches from the edge of the mat. I stood up again, grabbed him by the ankle, and threw him out of the ring. While in the air, he threw a thread of blood at the ring. It stuck to the mat and grew taut. He pulled himself back to the mat. As soon as he hit the mat, I kicked him in the stomach. He flew backwards toward a cluster of spectators. They jumped out of the way as he hit the floor. The time that the fight had elapsed was one minute and fifty three seconds. People were applauding me. The man shakily stood up from the floor. He screamed and shot a sharp tendril of blood at me. It stopped a foot away from my torso. His body froze. The tendril pulled back into his body and he stood rigid. He stared blankly forward. The chip on the back of his neck started flashing red.

    While you’re being “hijacked”, you lose all motor functions. The chip in the back of your neck connects to the spinal cord. It sends out small tendrils that that squeeze between cells and, once attached, reads the messages sent from the brain to the rest of the body. .It is programmed to take control of the body when a certain message is sent from the brain. After your body is taken control of, messages from the brain are diverted to the chip where it is recorded, but otherwise ignored. When the chip receives commands, it controls the body the same way the brain would. In other words, you are controlled via remote control. It is most often used in prisons, so when an inmate attacks a guard or other prisoner, he is hijacked before he can land a blow. It will also hijack the body if you try to pull it off. It has to be deactivated before it can be removed. In the fights in the peacekeeper corps, it is used to make sure no lethal spells or attacks are used.

    People were laughing at the new guy as he stood there frozen. The captain shook his head disappointedly.

    “You dumbass.” he said.

 

 

 

 

This is the second chapter of the novel Cheating Mortality. If you dont know what is going on, read the first chapter. This is the link to it. http://writetheworld.com/groups/1/shared/1389/version/4944

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