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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2. Work Days

                A bloody mercenary is what I became. After the guild fell apart we all went our separate ways. Many of us became bounty hunters and mercenaries hired by anyone. Havens, guilds, even we received jobs from the Crime Syndicate; though no one knows who their leader is and where they operate. Being part of the Vigilante Guild didn't make us popular with cops, yet we still helped retain order where they couldn't. We each had nicknames based on our enhancements; along with a mask so people can tell us apart.

               My biological enhancements heightened my senses, giving me more fields of vision and acute hearing which can all be adjusted by my will. It wasn't special as there are other people with similar enhancements, but my skills gave me the nickname "The Detector". Lame name, but better names were already taken.

                Then the day came when me and the other members decided we could do more with our abilities. Instead of staying in one spot of the food chain we can rise up and live in the luxuries of the havens which was rightfully ours as the superior men. Others along with The Founder disagreed and tried to warn us about leaving claiming this is our calling in life. The old man couldn't have been more wrong. In all my years I've noticed that people gotten into the havens killing others.

                Outside the 1st District murdering for money was never a problem to the higher ups. The Founder though saw it as a problem which is why he formed the guild and gave in all his money for biological enhancements. The dumbass. That's not how this world works. The only way you can be rewarded is to be strong. That's how people got into the havens. They were strong, clever. Those who aren't strong enough get lowered down the ladder of society. I was strong! I deserve to live in paradise!

                 Ever since I left the guild it has been 23 long years going up and down the ladder. City to city; Eden, Styx, Atlas, Karma, Requiem, and currently Valhalla. Even when I was able to get as closeas the 1st District, I'd always end up taken down a few pegs. Sometimes it got so bad I had to stay nights in the wastelands. Only through dumb luck and the hospitality of settlements helped  me in those times.

 

                  Before I went to Eden I had to make sure I was well equipped. I was going up against the Crime  Syndicate after all; I had to be prepared. As I went to the ammo store in the 2nd District, I tested out all my bio enhancements to make sure everything was running smooth as silk. First came the infrared, night vision, and ultraviolet sights. "All clear. Still reactive to commands." Next was the hearing adjustments. On command I was able to multiple things going on for miles away. The things people had to say. There was some people talking about mutants wandering outside the city. Some drunk jerk off was coming on to a woman. Some bums fighting over garbage. If I didn't had this super hearing I would have been bored half the time.

                The ammo store I went to was surprisingly dry. Normally there'd be people buying weapons or at the very least checking them out. The man who was the owner of this cavalcade of arms welcomed me in. "Hello there mister Rinsky. How can I help you today?" He looked upon me with his mechanical eye which looked like someone shoved a telescope into his goggles. "I'm going up against crime syndicates." "Oh that's never good. But not even a gun can stop them from dying." he said waiving his finger. "Just take a look around. Need anything specific?" "Wouldn't happen to have ammo for this gun would you?" I held out to him a 12 inch barrel semi auto pistol capable of firing .45 caliber rounds. He took a good look at it with his eye zooming in and out. "How long have you had this gun?" He looked at me with some look of amazement let at the same time with some suspicion. "Don't know." I sheepishly replied scratching the back of my head "Why? is there a problem with it?"

                "This gun was manufactured nearly 35 years ago. It's still operational, but" "but?" That word always means something if not the opposite was wrong. "The slide has rusted quite a bit and may jam up in the future." "Shit." "Don't worry I'll replace this gun for you just sell me this one and it'll been evened out." That was a relief I really liked that gun. I had since the guild it was the only reminder I had from those days besides my enhancements of course. I took a look around of course to gear up. I found the ammo for my replacement pistol, a auto-rifle with reflex sights, and a crossbow with explosive bolts.

                "That's it?" the shopkeeper took a look at what I got. "Sure you can afford it?" "Depends on how much this is all worth." The shopkeeper was crunching the numbers on his cash register determining the worth of every item. I think he even raised the price on some of them to make sure he didn't lose more money than he spent to get these weapons. "It comes to 2,276 euros and ninety cents."

                  "Damn that's a lot." was all I could think. I only had  at least 7,000 euros; a minor setback to this job is that the proper equipment can take a chunk out your progress. If my bio-enhancements where broken or malfunctioning  it would have been 3,000 euros to repair them.

                 

                    "Come on! Come on!" I was running late. The 3rd District train to Eden left at 2:30 and it was 2:22. "I'm not missing a free ride and I'm sure as hell not going to pay for another or go into to the wastelands" There Is a train line for each district. They all had barriers to keep mutants and other beasts off, but it was the guards that made a difference. Cops have special positions on trains to help defend the train itself. The higher up the district the more guards there would be.

                   For mercenaries or bounty hunters, your best option was to go on the 4th or 3rd District stations where there would be less guards; and makes it easier to take your weapons on board. That or you can buy a vehicle and try to take your chances in the wastelands.

                   I ran through the crowds going through the streets of the 3rd District. Shoving people aside breaking through crowds. Nothing was getting in my way. I was nearly at the station.

                   I quickly ran to one of the ticket booths to pass on through to the train. "Yes can I help you?" "Ya I have a ticket to Eden paid under a Armond Salamanca." "Just an minute." The vender could not have taken any longer "I don't have time for this!" Finally he turned around to speak again. "Are you Rinsky Gallo?" "Yes."

                   For ANOTHER minute the guy took a good look at me then back at a piece of paper I assume were a list of prepaid tickets. "Ok everything checks out." breaking the silence between us that to me felt like hours. "Enjoy your trip to Eden." he said giving me a ticket.

                   I got to the loading platform eventually. It turns out that the had to run maintenance and delayed the trip for 45 minutes. So I ran halfway across the city for nothing. To pass the time waiting for the train to take off I looked through the city pamphlet.

                    The part that I always like for odd reasons was the map of the world. Not only did it show the locations of all the havens but also Important cities from world before. I found it fascinating that a lot of the havens were in Europe close to important cities which also seemed to make up most of the important cities of the old world. Close to Valhalla was a city named Berlin. Eden was in France close to the ocean. Near a city named Rome was Requiem.

                     The oddest location of all the havens was Atlas. It was nowhere near an important city nor land for that matter. As it was in the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean. The City was important though; not just an oddity. Without Atlas we wouldn't have been able to connect to the Americas; and in the past 30 years, at least 5 havens have been established there: Machu Pichu, Tonaltzintli, Revelation, Limbo, and Monolith.

                     The only continents that don't have established havens were Antarctica and Australia. It seems illogical to live in a frozen icecap so Australia was considered the last frontier. It still seemed far away though. There was half of Asia and an entire ocean to go through. Only through the endurance of hard work and so progress would Australia finally join the rest of the world.

 

                     The repairs were done and everyone at the station boarded the train. from what I saw there was a guard in each cart (well two in the front cart) and didn't mind people carrying gun as they took their seats. Who knows the train could be attacked by bandits living in the wasteland. So little guards wouldn't mind the extra firepower in that situation.

                      I took a look at the time and saw it was 3:12 p.m. "Seven hour ride. Should probably get some sleep if I'm going to be working all night."

                      I rested my head against the window of my seat staring out into the city passing by me. When I noticed we left the boundaries of the 4th District into the wastelands, I took at look back towards the city. I saw the skylines of some the city's most important buildings to help it function. In the distance in the center of it was the haven's citadel that seemed very separate and spacious, yet was the tallest of all the buildings.

                      Then I took a look into the wastelands and saw the sky thickened with clouds. Very little to look at other than the occasional forest, mountain, or communication relay in the distance. I also saw some of the vehicles moving towards and away the alluring promise of the havens. The almighty help those who were leaving. The world out there was harsh. Once again mankind had to tame the wilderness and conquer what ever the world had to pit against it.

                      As time passed by and we went further away, a sense of drowsiness came over me and drifted me to sleep. Eight long hours of rest until things will rock the very foundations of my nerve.

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