There was a soft thud as his smart black shoes hit the concrete beneath him. He stood upright, straightening his bold red tie which matched his fiery crimson hair and pulling at the sleeves of his black suit jacket tight around his wrists. Looking around him Kayden swung the briefcase up in front of him clicking it open and checking it's contents before snapping it shut and striding; quick and determined down the empty alley. The large glass window in the office block above him hung open and from his angle he could just about see the rhythmic flashing light of the undisturbed security system.
Efficient, calculated and logical; that was Kayden's style but something was bothering him. He couldn't put his finger on what but it made him feel uneasy and distracted. Making a mental note to speak to Nathan about it later he stepped confidently out into a bustling street.
Here all around him were people in uniforms walking with purpose, blind to everything but their end goal. Kayden snaked his way through the ensuing crowds, dodging the seemingly predictable movements of men and women in suits similar to his own. There was one thing that made this mass of commuters stand out, that made them appear almost eerie, and it was the youthful glow that shone from each and every face. Not a wrinkle or blemish in sight. Every single member of this expressionless crowd was perfectly well kept in their appearance and not one of them looked a day over 21. Kayden ran his fingers through his fiery auburn hair it's bold colour standing out against a sea of bright blonde heads.
The street itself was one large, sweeping pavement situated between two parallel rows of identical grey buildings, everything the same, devoid of colour and perfectly structured with no signs of damage or destruction. Jutting out over the blue skied horizon was a large black metal spike towering hundreds of metres up and about 100 metres wide. It had no windows, and no lights, just a perfectly round spike jutting up from the ground. Aside from that the only thing to break up the skyline was the cable towers which stood at intervals around the grey city running cables carrying all sorts of information and conversations through them.
Kayden brushed past two burly men holding black rifles. They walked in unison and wore pristine white jumpsuits and reflective metal helmets which completely concealed the face of the wearer. These guards ran regular patrols keeping peace and picking up any misfits that appear out of place in the city streets. Conformity is key to the city's operation; all citizens are taught from birth that equality is achieved by all appearing the same, so they are taught to dress, walk, talk and genuinely live identical lifestyles to their counterparts. For the majority this level of conformity is simple, a skill taught to them from birth, a simple life and one of little need for decision making or thought. But for the select few being different comes more naturally and trying to fit in is a daily struggle. They live outside of the mainstream, often being hidden from the world by their parents until they come of age and then being left to conceal themselves.
At 16 Kayden dark had come of age and was sent out by his parents to try and build a life for himself in a world they knew all too well would not accept him. He already had a tough, cold exterior, built up by years of bullying and abuse from his siblings and parents. He carried the scars and bruises of his past all over his body and had by this point taught himself skills to walk the streets unnoticed in order to go about his daily life. Standing out from the crowd didn't just mean problems from those that conformed to the city's rules and regulations either but also meant trying to survive infighting between the misfit menagerie of rejects living under the radar. It was a tough lifestyle, but one that you had to suffer with if you were born with a genetic malfunction which left you outside of the desired genepool for the cities occupants.
He took a left down another alley, dropping back into the shadows as an overhead patrol drone whizzed past on it's way to scout out disturbances to the utopian peace that the regimented regime of this city demanded. He pushed a door behind him and stepped backwards into a concrete room lined with canvas paintings and broken or re-purposed furniture.
"Good morning my beautiful friends."
Kayden said, his voice melodic and sweet. Carrie laughed turning away from Nathan to look at him;
"Morning Kayden, just let me finish up here and Nathan is all yours."
She replied with a loving smile she so often wore. Nathan looked at Kayden, his eyes meeting his strong jawline and tracing an imaginary line down over his shoulder and across his body.
"You look good in that suit, regulation uniform really suits you."
Nathan joked as Kayden strode towards them and stared pointedly at him. Kayden took Nathan's hand and kissed his forehead lovingly before placing the briefcase down on the chair next to him. As he removed the suit jacket he inhaled, puffing out his strong well built chest and flexing the powerful muscles in his arms. Nathan turned his head again causing Carrie to shift in her seat as he finished adding the last few touches to the intricate crown design which now covered a large part of his upper back.
"What's in the case, babe?"
Nathan said gesturing towards the glossy black briefcase with the gold initials embossed into the side, declaring that it's previous owner was 'V.D.'
"Up until half an hour ago this case was the property of one Valerie Dark, successful business woman and owner of a cosmetic conformity surgery. She started out in her field as a plastic surgeon and was part of the board that wrote the 'Equality Conformity Regulations' I stole that little bitch's newest project though, and it's a good un'."
Kayden replied in his usual manner, not leaving a single fact or figure out; all of the details, all of the time.
"Babe, that still doesn't answer my question, what is actually in the case?"
"It's a formula for a pigment control. With this in your body you can change and control the pigment of your hair, eyes, skin tone, you name it. Of course she intends to use it to get rich off allowing the genetically impure to buy their way into the regulations. But without these research notes she can't go ahead with production. She wants to charge millions for a formula that could allow people to live safe happy lives but now we've taken it away from her so she'll be starting back at square one."
"Kayden Parks you are a bloody genius."
Nathan said with another wide grin, watching as his boyfriend opened the briefcase and carefully flicked through the noted before sliding it into a drawer in a desk on the far wall.
"I know I am baby, I know."