Up the Ladder (Currently on Hiatus)

The year is 2310, the world long ago has been devastated by nuclear war. It took over a century for humanity to recover from the ruble and built cities known as the Havens. Clean water, rich soil, and clear skies. Only few could afford to live in that kind of valuable luxuries. The rest live in districts outside and underneath these Havens. This is the story of Rinsky, a mercenary who for his entire life has been working for anyone who will pay him money. His one and only desire is to live in the havens; not caring for anyone who stands in the way. Though he learns that his reward will be short lived; as he has made many enemies along his path to paradise.

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3. Arrival in Eden

                     While I slept I had a dream. Crazy dream too. The kind of dream where everything seems real and all the abnormalities that dreams come with are accepted as everyday occurrences.

                     We were inside a courtyard. I say we, because people I knew were there. Tony, my landlord, that kid; members from the guild were even there. Skin, Fangbang, Whiplash, Motorhead. A lot going on in this. The sky was a strange bluish green with clouds moving fast as if some great tempest was pushing through. Things close to the ground moved slower though. Leaves falling, bugs flying all seemed to have been put into slow mo.

                     Fangbang was riding a mechanical bull with half of the people watching. Skin and Tony who had tentacles (its a dream go with it) talking about whether it is possible to extract sunbeams from pickles. That kid was blowing bubbles that exploded when popped all the while we was surrounded by bane hounds rubbing against his leg.

                     I was sitting on a leather sofa with some broads I remember banging back then. I had a card that kept changing the number and shape every time I looked back at it; there was a weird fruit I ate that also seemed to rematerialize every bite I took.

                     All of a sudden I started to feel uneasy in my own heavenly sleep as if something was out of place and I became aware of the fact I was dreaming. Over in at the archway into the court yard I found the source of my uneasiness and it only made it worse for I couldn't even believe it either. Suddenly everything I had going on in my dream just vanished leaving me and him.

                    It was Founder. It explained everything. The old man had enhancements to read the minds of others as well as enter them through sleep. It didn't explain why he was here, because he was dead.

                    "What are you doing here old man? You're dead!" He just stood there for a second in his dirty lab coat,spotted necktie, and bushy gray beard. With his head tilted he broke the awkward silence between us with his gruffly voice. "I just wanted to check up on my kids. See how they're gettin along in this world." he smiled as I was still dumbfounded with a mixture of fear and surprise.

                     "As far as how I died. I only made you guys think I was dead." I just couldn't believe it. "Think he was dead?" "Yes I made you think I was dead" he replied "Just don't over think it cause I'll explain it to you." Indeed it did need explanation. "You see, back in 2279 you and few other troublemakers tried to leave. You remember that don't you?" I nodded at him in reply "You would also remember that when you'll came forward to quit you said 'Old man your goal is a lost cause! We can't waste our time helping retards who can't help themselves!'" When he spoke those words he made it sound exactly the way I said it as if it was a recording.

                     "Then as you remember Grasshopper kicked you starting the fight among us." I could never forget that. So much of our blood was shed. Grasshopper had completely changed from her quirky spirit and was full of rage. She joined to repay Founder for helping get her legs back. She was very disappointed when I wanted to quit. Why he had to remind me of her was a complete mystery at the time. "As you know a lot of us died and my body was supposedly found dead from a barrage of gunshot wounds." "I remember Founder!" I interrupted him "I saw the body with all of my eyes. You showed no signs of life. YOU ARE DEAD!"

                     "Let me finished" as he raised a hand to calm me. "I used my own enhancements to create the illusion I died. My power is to read minds, but it can do more than I have let on. I snuck into your minds and tinkered around with your memories after I escaped." Once again I was blown away. "Have you done this before?" I gritted my teeth in  anger thinking I was manipulated by this man for so many years. "If you ask if I altered your memories constantly, then no. Doing something like that really takes a lot out of me and overexerting my powers in such a way could leave me brain-dead."

                     "This makes no sense! Why would you reveal yourself now just to tell how you disappeared?" Founder raised an eyebrow at my remark. "Well you see in my absence I found out more about the Havens and realized there was something very unsettling. Why hasn't the rest of the world been decontaminated from radiation?" "Simple" I said "The De-Radiation Emitters only have a range of 3 miles. They need to keep running to keep radiation levels low." "Then why haven't they setup Emitters around the earth to eliminate all radiation?"

                   He made a good point. I never questioned it though because I never really was a genius in science. "What I need from you is to go in the underground region while you are in Eden. Everything will make sense then." "What's under E-" Founder's mouth then opened as a screeching sound emitted from it.

                    

                   The screeching wheels of the train roused me from my sleep. It looked dark outside and just as I expected it was close to eleven according to my watch. From what I saw out the window I was deep in 3rd District Eden surrounded by a thick jungle of buildings clustered together.

                    The dream still troubled me; at the same time intrigued me. It really made me question the existence of the havens. Something I wanted to know. In order to find out I had to go under once I was done with my job.

                     The station was crowded with people. As I made my way through the loading docks I found who I could only assume were Armond's men. My question was answered when I saw the guild symbol on one of their shirts.

                      "Do you guys work for Armond el Vastago?" One of them replied to me speaking Spanish "Depende. Eres el chico que envio?" I wasn't to good with Spanish; which is pretty stupid of me seeing how my boss is Spanish. I could make out a few words. I guess he was asking if I was a guy. "Do you speak English?" told the other man. "Yes, and he said 'It depends. Are you the guy he sent?'" "Yes" "He only sent one man?" He looked a bit in disbelief before shrugging off "Eh I just hope you're good. You look right for the job." The two men then walked me through the station to the streets as they explained to me the situation.

                      Armond's guild is known rob people outside in the wastelands and sell their valuables in the cities. For most crime organizations it's a common job. They find someone with a considerable amount of wealth or goods, then they ambush them if they take a vehicle in the wastelands. Bigger organizations such as the Syndicate would sometimes attack trains containing cargo but such cases happen only on occasion. Armond's men made the mistake of bagging someone the Syndicate was after. Who ever it was it made the Syndicate go crazy and have been attacking the group in Eden.

                     "Come right in amigo." He said opening the door to a vehicle. It was boxy like a van but smaller and had a sunroof with a mount for a gun. "Hey I never got your names." It was only professional to know the names of your employers. "I'm Fernandez this is Rodrigo." Fernandez pointing to his friend. " Now get in we need you at our hideout." I stepped right into the vehicle with it's old leather seated interior with the smell of wood. While driving through the streets I just now noticed a lot of cranes and other construction vehicles in the lit up jungle of a city. Curiosity peaked as we drove "What's going on?" "Hm?" Fernandez glanced trying to focus on driving. "The cranes. The bulldozers. What are they building?" "Oh those. Turns out they are expanding the Havens along with the city. They figured out how to expand the range of the emitter a few miles" I gawked a bit in amazement to such an important advancement. Rarely in the past centuries have the havens expanded. "Expanding the Havens? The old man is blowing smoke. They'll eventually expand to the entire world."

                    A finger tapped onto my shoulder and I turned to see what Rodrigo wanted. "Yes?" "Entonces, que es loque puedes hacer?" Once again I couldn't understand half of what he said. Thankfully Fernandez translated. "He wants to know what you can do." "Simple," I answered to him "I can see in different fields of vision." "Puedo ver?" I understood that along with festering me to demonstrate. "I'll do it but you won't notice much." I complied with him and flip through my fields of vision a couple of times." I could see him as he pointed at me "Puedo ver sus ojos cambiando de color. Rojo, azul, y verde." Once again Fernandez translated "He said 'you are pathetic we're all screwed.'" He laughed as Rodrigo then grimaced and then spouted what I can only assume were cusses. Of course I did know that's not what he wanted tell me, but inside it was still funny to hear someone rant in another language.

                 We turned into The supposedly 4th district after a while, I say supposedly because it wasn't as runned down as other 4th districts, when they finally stopped argueing with each other and Fernandez once again took a look at me. "We're almost there, but we'll have to walk to the hideout." "Is it close?" "Si, we have a place to park this though." I let out a sigh of boredom. "Fine so what do you need me to do exactly?" "As you know we've ran into trouble with the Syndicate. Every night they attack the territory around the hideout. If we can hold out for one night we can-" Suddenly Something caught me eye in the neon lit buildings. I could see flashes of light like gun fire. I adjusted my hearing to hear just that. "When do they usually attack?" I said with urgency. "Usually around eleven. Why?" I pointed at the clock in the car "It's midnight."

                   The car suddenly fell silent for a moment "We're almost there don't worry." "I'm not the one quaking in my boots right now" There are not many streets and only few people in the 4th district with vehicles. If the syndicate knows what car they've been driving for the past days makes us a target. "We need to go on foot." Rodrigo who was practically vibrating holding his pistol nodded in argeement. "We are almost there anyway." he assured "I just have to turn here."

                   I could hear a boom with a quick whistle. That sound only meant one thing to me. A rocket was coming at us! I reached over to the wheel to avoid the projectile. "NO! DON'T GO THERE!" I tried desperately to turn the wheel, swerving the car on the road. The rocket hit the ground next the the car. The explosion blinded us as we were tossed and flipped on our side.

                  My ears started ringing while I came to. Rodrigo was climbing over by body as I found that the car was flipped on it's right side. "You awake?" I nodded "Good. Ayudame a abrir seta puerta." When I looked over to the driver's seat I noticed Fernandez was out of the vehicle. 

                   We forced the back door open and climbed out. "Behind here!" Fernandez screamed from behind the downed vehicle firing two rounds from his pistol. Some bullets whizzed past us forcing me and Rodrigo behind the car as well. My night vision turned on, I pulled the crossbow loading a bolt. I peek over the edge only to be met with machine gun fire barely grazing me. "Second floor left building." "I need one of you to distract them. Go over to that car and fire you guns at them." I pointed over at a nearby car someone abandoned during the shootout. Both of them didn't like the idea. "Nonononononono." Rodrigo quickly refused. "You'll cover me?" Fernandez volunteered. "I can't guarantee you won't be shot. Besides would you rather stay here?" Another rocket whizzed past hitting the building behind us; demolishing the first floor leaving a gaping hole. "Fine." he said as he loaded his gun.

                   "On three okay?" "Yes" swallowing a lump kept down his throat "One...two...THREE!" He rushed over to the car firing multiple shots. As expected their fire was focused on him. I three of them in armor plating on the second floor and aimed for the middle man. The arrow flew through the air and struck the syndicate member. For a moment he panicked and the other two turned to see as he exploded sending the other two flying off the edge slamming into the concrete ground.

                    Rodrigo came from cover and shot the man who survived the explosion. "Tuve uno." "Is the hideout over that way?" I pointed towards the narrow road we tried turning to before. "Fernandez?" I went over to the car he went to. "I've been hit." he answered. "How bad?" "In the shoulder and side." Sure enough I could see the blood leaking through his coat and clothing. "I can fight." he shrugged and got up. "Just needed to rest a minute." 

                    "Tell me more about this hideout." "Well," Fernandez began "It's down that way and one other streets and a few alley ways lead to it. It's three stories and the first floor is the only floor that's active. Below on the other hand is were the gang mainly operates and stores things." "That all?" I asked "It also leads the the underground areas of the districts." Once again Founder's words came into my head. "Might as well check it out if I get the chance." 

                   Down the road I could see more agents in armor. One of them had a rocket launcher; likely the one who hit our car. I fired a bolt at them hoping to land another few kills. One of them quickly noticed the bolt and warned the others. I fired more bolts along with Rodrigo and Fernandez shooting their guns. These men were better prepared they saw what I did to the other three and we could only come from one direction in this road.

                  We slowly made our way closer rarely landing hits. From what I noticed some had enhancements. They were reacting to our attack with accuracy. Weapons were attached to some of their bodies. Adrenalites, Cyborgs. The some of the most basic users of enhancements. It still makes it hard to fight none the less.

                    Switching to the auto rifle I had to conserve the arrows for now. They won't do us good in this situation. "Get in the buildings!" I just realized these were buildings. "Just need to run through them and get past these guys." The two Spaniards complied and kicked down the nearest doors or windows. I myself shot the bolts off the door I was next to. I made my may through what looked like a living room. I could hear breathing around the corner into a hallway. Whoever owned this was waiting for me to pass through. The man could have any weapon with him; a sword, gun, or maybe he just had a lamp to defend himself. He could have a family for all I care he wouldn't be the one to kill me.

                    Playing to his game I made my way towards the corner. The man blindly swung out with a claw hammer, which I was able to avoid thanks to knowledge beforehand. He flailed it around in the dark not aware that I step aside out of the way. He was clearly out of shape as he put on a lot of weight and quickly exhausted himself from flailing the hammer around. "Nows my chance" I went from behind him and bashed his head with the butt of my rifle. It wasn't enough to kill him so I didn't take the time to see if he was all right.

 

                     I made my way to the second floor seeing a hallway of many doors. "So this is an apartment building." Through the walls I could surprisingly hear very little only an occasional "It's alright" or a child sobbing was heard. Down the hallway I saw a window; the other building was right across it a small jump away.

                      A shot then fired from the other window causing the hallway to erupt with a few screams. "Damn! Shotgun." even in night vision I could make out where the shots came from. There I saw a head peaking out from the window and blindly shooting shell over the window. Quickly I shot him down, causing more screams, and presumably  killing him. "No one gets in my way."

                      I shot down the rest of the glass on the windows and leaped across the alley. Thankfully I grabbed the edge of the other window and forced myself through landing on a pile of  broken glass and the body of the man which I then found out was dead. Night vision back on I scanned the hallway of the next apartment building. Again on the other end of the hallway was another window leading to the next building. "Just a few more to go"

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