*Begin Part 2*
Akemi offered to walk Zhang home after the scan, but she was having none of it. “I’m out of your way, and it’s not like I’d kiss you good night or anything, so it’s your call.
“I wasn’t looking for a good night kiss, but thanks for the warning.” Akemi attempted a snarky retort, but everyone within a ten foot radius could tell he wanted a kiss.
They seperated at the city dump, Akemi heading north, Zhang south. Akemi paused for a moment and gazed at the mountain of waste and filth. He had opted in for an olfactory shortage years ago when he first moved to the city, so, just like everyone else in the city, he was unmoved by the stench. He watched Zhang walk away in hopes she would turn around, but she walked straight on because she could feel his eyes on her.
Akemi inhales the stale air through his altered nostrils. His scent was the only alteration Akemi had ever opted for. Being born to a low-socioec household meant her was mod-free at birth, and had never seen any use for the plethora of add ons and adjustments available from the varying degrees of legitimate plastic surgeons on the ever shrinking continent. Hence the mountain range of trash filling up what was once the Mississippi river.
Akemi continues northward. He lived in the upper east side in an abandoned DoubleTree hotel in Skokie. He could catch a EcoTaxi once he got into the River North neighborhood. No vehicles were allowed this far into the city center anymore. Cars no longer gave off fumes, but they still gave off heat, and the city center was already a constant eighty-seven degrees as it was. Akemi moved to the lo-fi beat in his teardrop and made good time toward home.
The street was full with Socialites making their way to their perspective suburbs. No one was aware of anything outside of their holographic screen, Akemi included. Since the INuec XI, all devices had been synced with GPS and guided the pedestrian along the streets without the inconvenience of needing to swipe out of media. Akemi caught up on paperwork as he strolled along with the masses. Reading off messages to be sent to headquarters and completing the permanent DisarmForm for Pembleton. He sensed a human’s eyes on him before he felt the hand on his shoulder.
“...you have no idea!” Hit Akemi’s ear as he swiped out of his device and back into the screen-free world.
“Whoa!” Was all Akemi could muster as he separated himself from the angry fists of Holton Pembleton.
“You think you did something? You think you saved people?” Pembleton was crying real tears. Akemi hadn’t seen authentic tears since he had been in elementary school, and the sight of Pembleton’s face contorted in pure emotion was enough to make Akemi retch.
“Back up.” He allowed procedure to take hold; Akemi gave Pembleton his full attention as he tapped out a quick notification on the INuec in his pocket. As he raised both his hands to show Pembleton, “What do you want?”
“You don’t give a shit about what I want.” Pembleton spat back, thrusting his hand into his own pocket. “You think I’m just another Anti-Nuecer case, but your training didn’t prepare you for me, Dissarmer.” It was the first time Akemi had heard the word used as an insult. The Anti-Nuecers still lingered at around 12% of the population, but Akemi had never encountered one for more than the few moments that it took to scan them and move on. Statistically, they faded back into the ether of fellow bomb bashers for comfort and to regroup, but this outlier had decided that today was this day, and this was the agent to prove a point to.
“So, what are you?” Akemi remained calm. This was off putting, but not altogether bad. He could handle it, and maybe Zhang or Jenkins were on their way to assist right now.
“No, I don’t want to talk. I’m not going to give some dumbass speech to a random agent. Your damage probability is dropping.” A slight smile twinged Pembleton’s lips. Akemi tapped his INuec for reassurance, and Pembleton was correct. The streams of Socialites were getting further and further away as the seconds ticked by. Soon they would be the only to living things within the Nuec Containment Zone that encompassed the Magnificent Mile. Chicago was the first city in U.S. Corp to earn the prestigious label as NuecProof. This did no refer to the people of Chicago, but rather the buildings. If people were NuecProof the INuecs would lose all their significance. Keeping the infrastructure of what remained of the North American contenint intact had become priority number one after the Armament Bill of 2043 was passed, and it appeared like Pembleton knew all of this.
“So, your a legit suicide, or do I know you from somewhere?” Akemi felt the soft vibration of a notification on his leg. Zhang had responded. He nearly hoped for her to turn around and start running to save him, but then he thought about whatever it was that Pembleton was caressing in his pocket.
“This isn’t about you! Fuck, and they said Dissarmers didn’t follow media. You’re just like any Socialite, worse even.” With a flash Pembleton revealed the long blade that had been buried deep in his pocket. “Give me the scanner.”
“Did you think that would work.” Akemi hid the quiver in his voice well, but he could not stop the fear from flashing across his eyes. “Are you going to disarm me?”
“Stop acting like a cliche. This is about the Nuec. You could have been any Dissarmer. Your just the unlucky bastard they sent today. Now you get to be the newest victim splashed all over media, but you know who’s name they’ll all remember? Mine. Because I’m the one that set off the first INuec in history. I put the first statistic on the board, and after me, the mimics will just flood in.”
“I thought you said no speeches.” Akemi was starting to veer away from training, but he didn’t mind a little improvisation, especially if it turned out to be the last conversation he had. “So this is just all about you? A bit cliche in itself, don’t you think?”
“This is about everyone, you fuck!” Pembleton was letting his emotions take hold, which gave Akemi some hope. “They need to see it, they need to see an INuec in action in order to fear it. You can’t be dwindle something as powerful of nuclear energy into an accessory and expect the world to function. Something is going to give and the only way to show these SocialDems the absurdity of giving Nuecs to children is to blow some fucking children up!”
“Sounding awfully speechy, buddy, and if you hadn’t realized, I’m full grown.” Akemi decided poking the bear was the best bet here. These super villain wannabes had to make sure your understood their why before they could go through with the what, but the knife was a serious twist. Akemi hadn’t had a knife pulled on him in his twelve years as an agent; he hadn’t been trained on how to deal. His only real defense was the INuec, and as an agent he was capable of disarming himself in case of such an emergency. He didn’t get how Pembleton was planning on actually getting the INuec to go off.
*End Part 2*
If you have been following along with Akemi and his adventures in the future, then get ready for some revisions! The fantastic people over at Reddit were kind enough to read my story and give me some feedback, so I will begin to post my revisions to my short story here now. Please feel free to comment with further thoughts on improvement. I am always looking to get better, and I promise you won't hurt my callused heart with your criticism.
A World Covered in Plastic Bags Filled with Cat Poop.
The protest was in full swing. A few NewRepulic guys loudly reading out sections of the Bill of Rights and the Bible, alternately, while all the Socialites reacted in divergent unison. The SocialDems had started today’s protest thread on Wizper so they got the main stage at the center of the Loop, right below the newest art installation of a sixty foot bronze wolverine giving birth to the current CEO of U.S. Corp.
“Target spotted. Hovering around the SocialDems at center stage.” Zhang’s voice was smooth in Akemi’s Teardrop earpiece. He clicked the link Zhang had slide across the holographic screen projected in front of him, and the aforementioned target came into view. A spindly kid, joining in with the SocialDems as they screamed about the cesspool recently discovered under the playground at Walter Payton College Prep, giving all the future CEOs facial mutations. Genetic modification only works in the whom; fixing a mutated child’s face post-birth costs a shit ton of cash, and Socialites like these SocialDems didn’t publicly approve of underage alterations.
Akemi closed the gap between himself and that mark, Holton Pembleton, double tapping his teardrop to lower the screen and checked out the perps movements in real time. Pembleton was diving full into the SocialDems, going as far as to clasp hands with one of the members of the Citizens United in Nuclear Treaties (C.U.N.T) that made up the one of the center rings of the gathering. Any social grievance could win out at these things. Usually protests just digress into screaming matches and orgies, but today was a special day. One of the seven to five incidents each year when some asshole decides that they are smart enough to beat the Dissarmers at their own game and blow everyone up. Akemi had this one marked on his calendar for a month. He had even volunteered to take the creepy grad student down for Zhang, who was the top agent in the Armament sector, but she hated touching people.
So, in yet another attempt to prove to Zhang that he was worthy of her screen-free time, Akemi began to approach the target. You have to move quick with these Anti-Nuec extremists. They know that from the second they apply for armament they pop up on the Dissarmer Watch List, but this guy had done the extra work. Posting as a pure SocialDem for the past two years and joining every organization with Dem, Feme, or Nuclear in the title, but even the poorest SocialDem wouldn’t be caught dead without an INuec, literally. So, the fact that Pembleton got his first INuec six months ago was a big red flag. Anyone over the age of five without a registered INuec is labeled an Anti-Nuecer, and the label is 92% correct, more proof that the world thrives on stereotypes.
Akemi was five feet from Pembleton now. They both wore ripped leggings and crop tops with ironic quotes scrawled across them, so Pembleton assumed Akemi was one of them just like everyone else was assuming Pembleton belonged. Akemi flinched at his one frustration; he had to wait for suspicious action before he could neutralize his target, and Akemi didn’t like to push the definition of suspicious the way some of his colleagues did. Maybe he could get one of the NewRepublics to push Pembleton to action.
“The NewRepublics are just commies in capitalist clothes! They’ll take your INuec then force us all into debtor camps in order to fund their foreign wars!”
“There hasn’t been a foreign war in over fifty years, and you know it!” A chubby NewRepublicer, wearing an American flag bodysuit, screamed back at Akemi, shoving his finger across the open space between them for emphasis.
“U.S. Corp has been at war with Iran International since before all governments privatized, you ignorant fuck!” Akemi knew the drill. He could scream along with the best of them. The only difference was that he didn’t actually care about the majority of the shit that whipped off his tongue and into the ears of so many enraged protestors.
“Hostile negotiations are not the same as war, so stop trying to hyperbolize our company’s dealings for your own self gain.” This NewRepublicer was well spoken to the point that it pulled Akemi’s attention from Pembleton, who was now quietly watching the exchange.
They had already flagged Akemi as the NuecNarc and were working his own tactic against him. Drawing him into an argument they foolishly believed he cared about. That’s every Socialite's big mistake, conservatives and liberals alike, they assume everyone cares about everything as much as they do. They had misread Akemi, and they had given him the definition of suspicious he needed.
With a flip of the wrist, Akemi’s Dissarmament Wand was out and swinging. Pembleton actually tried to reach out for the Wand, but Akemi’s fist reached Pembleton’s adam’s apple before the greasy fingers could even feel the heat that emitted off the thin, black baton. The overly educated NewRepublicer came from the other way, but was blocked by a couple C.U.N.T members that had just been telling Pembleton how cool they thought his shoes were seconds ago.
“Arm-a-ment... arm-a-ment... arm-a-ment!” The two C.U.N.Ts, beautifully dark women with hair the size of their personalities, bombarded the chubby NewRepublicer into the pavement with their Siren cries.
The scan was done and Akemi made his way through the crowd; protestors of every creed patting him on the back or giving him the finger, as he walked past.The Anti-Nuec crowd seethed with the knowledge that their plan for annihilation hadn’t come to fruition, but within that disappointment there was a sigh of relief, because everyone loves to rant about their principles, but very few actually want to die for them.
* End Part 1 *