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More than a Delivery Boy
A courier run is usually less than five miles, but there are many threats along the way. The cops are the least of your problems, they generally just want a taste, or to feel like big shots, but they aren’t deadly; usually. Avoiding them is the best option, but every now and again they get the jump on you like they did today. It’s always the same, they aren’t cops, but cowards with guns.
There are scouts, and trappers, and they are more a nuisance than threats. Only the blackheads truly scare you. Usually, they are beggars, but they can sometimes become ruthless. Desperate for a ticket to the black abyss, they will slit your throat and leave you in your own puddle of piss and blood. They come back up from the deep of the Black Water. Sometimes something is left behind, memories, pains, maybe their humanity. The hunger to complete themselves, to return to the deep and find whatever was left there, will drive them mad. You can see a Blackhead coming from a kilometer away, dirty, broken, and babbling.
A courier is usually on track to become one of the street creeps, and ultimately, black water or eye candy teases your soul from you. As a GMO, those things can be too intense. A trip to the abyss, for a GMO, will result in more than one death. GMOs were made to be soldiers and cops, but they weren’t made with souls. You take a deep breath and realize if anyone knew what you were, it would only be a matter of time before you delivered your last.
You’re on a run for Seth-Sagan Cariglio; a long-time dealer and known to be well connected in the upper colors of the city. He saved you from pits, where the slave lords had you fighting dogs and Synthetic cats. Most of your pod-ken were intended as enforcement. Those that survive the purge ended up in hard labor, or as high-end tricks, but Cariglio knew you’d be perfect for his ops.
As you enter the bunker in the lower red commons, a broken and overpopulated section of the city with free water and feed, you feel a sense of home. You gained cognition in the Red Commons; this is your neighborhood.
The interior of the bunker belays its military exterior. No gilded trim, ornate fountains, or fine art, but a decent middle-class home, with a lived-in feel, toys on the ground, and slightly used furniture. Seth meets you with a warm hug and a quick polite grab of the backpack.
“KK, on time as usual. Any troubles this time?” he asks stepping back and opening the pack.
“Nothing I can’t handle,” you reply.
“KK, I must say I am impressed. How would you feel about working for me on some higher-level projects?” Sagan asks.
“The things you do, no judgment here, but they aren’t the things I do,” you say firmly.
“KK, you guard your secrets well, but you don’t take these runs because you want to get in some cardio. You’re a GMO, red-class citizen. You’re supposed to be terminated on site. How is it the cops don’t know that?”
“Because you altered the city database, and I agreed to do runs for you. If you want more, are you able to give more? Are you offering me something or telling me what I need to do? If I say ‘no’, will it get messy”?
“It just might,” he says.
Seth-Sagan is a killer, a drug dealer, and by nature of his existence, ought not be trusted. But since he pulled you from the slave pits, he has consistently kept his word, and looked out for you. You can barely remember your own father, and Seth isn’t ‘dad’ material, but he has been there for you. His business isn’t pretty, but nothing in the red commons is. If you accept his offer you know it will take you further from your justice programming, deep into criminal guilt, but it might be the only way to survive. There might be more here but questioning such an offer could be insulting. Refusing could be worse.