A Tale from the Clockwork Future

I decided to think about what the future would be like after we ran out of oil, and realized that it'd be a good fit for elements of steampunk. Hope it goes well.

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1. A Brisk Morning Run

 Its amazing how fast a man can run when his life is in danger.  Cael, the young man sprinting at full tilt from a band of thugs,  would have impressed a prize racehorse with his desperate speed.  The bandits however, were unimpressed, on horseback themselves as they took potshots with arrows, toying with their prey as they rode through the countryside.  Cael had never had the misfortune of dealing with thieves in his hometown, and did not recognized the tell tale signs of an incoming robbery.  A simple question, a swiftly closing circle of men, malicious cackling.  He knew enough to bolt when he saw the dagger though.  And bolt he did, about a hundred yards back.  Cael silently hoped he could make it to the town around the bend in the road.  Village meant civilization, and in the Alianzan empire, that meant that he could be saved by an officer from the Peace Corps.  A slim chance however, as his legs and lungs were burning with effort already.  An arrow whizzed by his head, grazing his cheek. He could see the town now.  A bustling traveler's hub, Port Danica. He heard the horses slow behind them, their hoofbeats fading away.  He'd done it!  The bandits had given up, or so he thought.  An arrow pierced the ground in front of his feet, too quick to dodge.  He tumbled and skid across the earthen path, barely missing a second arrow by sheer luck.  Cael scrambled to his feet, dodging projectiles as he made one last sprint into the thouroughfare.  The bandits kept firing, arrows embedding themselves in shop signs and doorways.  Someone screamed,  A cacaphony of stomping feet and slamming doors erupted before him as the people fled.  He made a last mad dash, and dove into an alley, flattening himeslf against the wall as an arrow planted itself in the ground like a deadly flower.

  Seconds passed like hours as he stood, his legs shaking in pain, his lungs heaving in desperation.  He couldn't tell if the fluid running down his cheek was sweat or blood. He knew that they were waiting.  As soon as he left the sanctity of that stone wall, he was a dead man. He'd have laughed if he wasn't panting like a dog.  He hadn't been gone for a day and he was already about to die.  

CRACK.  CRACK. CRACK.  

Three gunshots... three seconds.  Warning fire.  Maybe Cael wasn't such a walking corpse after all. He watched as four men in brass armor and yellow unifoms marched by his hiding place.  He peeked aroud the corner as they passed.  Three of the criminals had bolted, but one wasn't on his horse.  

"By the power vested in me by the Empire and the community of Port Danica, I hear by place you under arrest for robbery, attempted murder, and reasonable suspicion."  One of them spoke to the last remaining bandit as he looked meaningfully at his horse.  The soldier looked him in the eye and said to him, "Do you yield?"  In short, he didn't.  He bolted to his horse and leapt over it.  

CRACK.  

The poor bastard fell screaming from the horse, clutching his bleeding leg.  The soldier cocked his gun, sending a glittering sliver of brass to the floor.  He took aim again.  "Do you yield!?"  He hollered over the screaming thug.

"I YIELD DAMMIT!"  He wailed.  "I YIELD!"  One of the men hung his rifle over his back and unclipped a leather pack from his belt, using the contents to tend to the bleeding criminal.  Two men pulled black journals from their belts, and began knocking on doors.  The one who still had his gun out made a beeline for Cael.

"By the power vested in me by the Empire and the community of Port Danica, I hear by place you under arrest for reasonable suspicion."  He said through grit teeth.  There are three perfect words to describe this man:  Building with feet. "Do you-"

"I YIELD!"  Cael yelped throwing his hands up. The soldier grinned.

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