どくがんりゅう の 軍記物語

White Noise

The pillars of a station dimly shined in the dark of the tunnel. There was only the soft green emergency light along the edges of the track, a warning to long ago passengers in the case of power outages of where the ledge and tracks had been. Don’t fall off. Only half of the lights weren’t broken, but it was more then they had had for the last seven hours. Some of the platform was collapsed, a good enough staircase of rubble to make it up. His legs hurt worse as the air his them, the sludge drying on the skin and some chemicals no doubt activating with access to oxygen and biological. He switched to deep breathing, pushing the sensations away. It was instinct to draw away from his legs, but that was do worse harm. He pushed his chi out, feeling stone lead his feet. Humans could poison mountains, it was true, could rot the earth, but it would take them centuries…..and even then the bones of rock would still remain, steadfast, if bare of forest or life. The platform was bleak. The subways of the second sublevel and below had been abandoned for at least three hundred years. Periodic flooding from above, constant chemical erosion and the physically expressed pain of the detritus of passing humanity had been unkind. The pillars that lifted the ceiling were skinned of tiles, the floor was pocked and an indeterminate black brown. Filth. There were rusted bits and remains of what may have been plastic waiting seats closer to the edge. Chen moved passed, towards the back wall. The architect had wisely chosen to make a ledge, to serve as a more durable and easily cleaned seat, out of the same cement as the wall itself. Both had many tiles missing and broken, but it would serve. He laid Yoshi down, petting his hair. “Do you still have the transmitter, Yoshi?” The Yakuza swallowed and nodded, “in the holster. gun’s not. is it safe to signal here?” “I think so.” He honestly didn’t care. They needed help, and it was the only help they could reach, if it still existed. He fished in Yoshi’s hip holster. The gun hadn’t left the boy’s hand since they’d left the PoonTang Act a day ago. It was the size of a shirt button, titanium and blue LED. “It’s already blinking…?” Yoshi didn’t answer. “When did you trip it?” It had been hours. No one was coming. Chen folded his hands together as in prayer, kneeling next to the cement block-bench. It was tripped. Its been sending out signals for hours that either party could pick up. What is Amakusa waiting for? Yoshi- The boy’s eyes were closed, his lips drawn back a little from his teeth. He was still breathing. Chen set the transmitter down. Its periodic blue light made them both look like ghosts. Then he noticed the face. A young man was standing, half visible, half merged with the pillar nearest them. His skin was sickly, cement grey and pulled smooth. Chen could feel his own heart stuttering with galloping. His voice came out like a command. “Who are you.” “I can help you.” “Answer me.” “A mutant.” “I can see that plainly enough. Can you move from that wall? Are you stuck? Your name.” “Kuge. You’re in trouble. You’re in White Noise.” “The least of my troubles, whatever that means.” Chen stood, facing the hollow creature. “What do you want.” “I watch our turf. Our borders. They’ll come and pick you up. " It didn’t sound, somehow, like ‘They’ meant the allies of Babylon. He didn’t like Kuge, he seemed as mad as most mutants. A wild dog that may break its leash. “What do you mean.” “He means us.” Chen turned on his heel; the darkened stair that led up had a light. He couldn’t see, after so long. He could hear their steps though. One limped, one booted, but the soles were worn, the last wore metal. Perhaps a crude, back-alley cyborg, a garage construct. "We mean no harm, we are just passing, resting. " “We know what you are. Shut the fuck up, ojichan. You belong to us, you and your corpse.” The lantern light wasn’t helping. He could make out their silhouettes now, but it would take fifteen minutes before his old eyes adjusted. He hadn’t practiced blind defense in a long time. If there was a cyborg, it might have speed augments. He could feel them draw close, then the chain bag over his head. A Garrote. Waking was like swimming in plough. Skank had congealed in his nose, choking breath to snoring, and as he coughed a mucus like a second skin peeled off his throat and coated his tongue. Chen spat, rolling on his side. He couldn’t stop until he was clean. The membranes of his sinuses and throat rebelled against the grime. Someone was nearby, but it wasn’t Yoshi. Had he died? What had happened to them both? The world was too blurry through his watering eyes. The tears must have been black with how much they burned. They were too swollen. His audience watched or waited. White Noise. The name came back with a goosebumps. Chen swore when the flesh of his legs pinched. He forced his thick tongue to work, “Is this White Noise.” “It is.” Another male, not very young, by the gravel in the voice. Which of the obvious questions should follow first? Would he get answers? “Where is my companion?” “Your son?” Should he lie? They had probably already DNA tracked them both. Was it better or worse to appear important to him? "Of a sort. " There was speech in some dialect he couldn’t follow. The undercommon, perhaps, bastardized of bounty slang, street talk, Ebonics and leet. “Where is he?” “On ice.” Panic again, and his eyes opened, regardless of the swelling and pus. “Cryo, cryo, he is not dead.” The other raised their hands, black, fingerless-gloved blurs of entreaty, “You’re the ones the Uppers are searching for.” “No, " Chen croaked. “But they will take us.” “What do you mean?” “Their target is gone.” “That is vague.” “So is this entire situation.” Chen lay flat again. “What do you want.” “I don’t want anything. Our leader does.” “Who is that?” “White Noise.” Chen’s mouth pulled into a tight line. They’d have to do more then that if they wanted to exchange information. This was a probe. They seemed to take the hint, and he heard a door. It was quiet and empty then.



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