***Previous episodes of A Common Enemy can be found on the top menu, or start at A Common Enemy. A little sci-fi in progress. ***
The alarm pierced his dreaming. He stretched out to silence the damn thing. Where the fuck is the bloody phone? He opened his eyes to find the glowing, blaring, technological nightmare he could never escape from. The noise silenced, he lay back against his pillow at stared at the ceiling.
Another day trying to stop people killing each other.
He slid his long legs over the edge of the bed and forced himself to his feet. He stumbled to the shower cubicle and turned on the tap. This was always a guessing game: would there be water or not? Today he was lucky, the water sprayed across his broad shoulders and trickled down his taut frame.
He dried himself off, brushed his teeth and dragged on his dark green uniform. The four stars over his chest glittered briefly as he passed the window, the last of the moonlight catching the metal surface. In the weapons locker he drew on his flak jacket, boots and helmet and strapped on his three guns. One day we’ll develop lightweight weapons, he groaned to himself.
Jeremiah. Nice to meet you. He smiled at himself in the mirror. A routine he had developed when he realised his morning smile to himself might be the only smile he would receive all day.
Jeremiah walked out of his apartment, listening for the auto-lock click as he turned left to the lift. He pushed the lift button and waited, hoping for a solitary trip to the car park. After killing three rogues yesterday, he wasn’t in the mood for company.
Death. Every damn day there was more death. Too many humans in two small a space. No jobs. No reliable water or electricity. Medical care for only those who qualified genetically or could afford to buy a genetic bio-chip. Jeremiah touched the small mark on his neck where his had been inserted. These days the bio-chips were inserted at birth, but they’d only been introduced ten years ago, when he was twenty.
Lost in thought, he’d not realised the lift button hadn’t illuminated. Damn, no electricity. At least he was on the fifth floor, not the twenty-fifth. Down the stairs he clumped, the butt of his machine gun hitting the handrail, the sound echoing up the stairwell. In the car park the armoured vehicles stood like soldiers at attention. As Jeremiah walked towards his AV it recognised his bio-chip and started the motor. Jeremiah touched the lock point and the door slid open enough to allow only one person to enter. Once the door slid shut, Jeremiah was encased in impenetrable metal. Impenetrable to most projectiles, anyway, he thought, remembering Sam’s accident.
The computer screen came alive and Jeremiah pushed Sam from his memory. For some reason he couldn’t fathom, his mother’s laughing voice tripped though his memory, telling him about a TV series she’d loved, during her childhood, with a fancy computerised car. Kit, she’d called it, he remembered. Jeremiah missed his mother very much. Tomorrow would have been her fifty-fifth birthday. Two years ago a rogue had slipped through the barriers and dragged her into a lane-way. Slit her throat looking to steal her bio-chip. Sylvia never had a bio-chip. When the first lot were issued, she was over the cut-off age. Her death had been pointless. Like so many others.
Jeremiah programmed the AV to head for the depot. After the three killings yesterday he was obliged to at least appear to debrief. He remembered his father telling him about the old days, when deaths in the line of duty were rare and there would always be an investigation and the officer involved would usually be given leave and certainly counselling. Hell, there’d never be anyone on duty these days if that was the procedure.
As the AV nosed out of the building, Jeremiah looked up. Usually looking at the last of the night sky was the most peaceful part of the day, even if he could only glimpse one star through the haze. Jeremiah blinked and looked again. He was sure he saw flickering lights in the sky. No, they were gone. If he had, the haze had now covered them.
But he could have sworn he saw those lights…..