New gold, Old snow

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story that will be broken down into parts, but just seeing how well received this small excerpt turns out. Enjoy!

Submitted: March 18, 2017

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Submitted: March 18, 2017

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New gold, Old snow 

By jrc1991

 

“Show yourself you ugly motherfucker.” Havalin muttered a nasty phrase older than the stars under his breath. Once his hateful words escaped the artificial atmosphere of his mask, it was picked up by the frigid winds of the Yukon, destined to be forgotten and forever frozen in time on a primal planet. Dunes of snow turned the barren wasteland of ice a shade of white intense enough to blind any mortal man.

There was evil skulking across the plains of fluff that descended from the heavens, he just knew it. Whoever ran the show upstairs forsake the place he called a prison with profuse amounts of frozen rain in quantities large enough to enclose him in puffy cage of white damnation. To the simple nomad wandering the cold halls of purgatory, snow was a plague from hell. It caused many problems ranging from scarcity of food to hypothermia, frostbite, and depression.

For him, the earth’s core could have turned into a snowball and his body could be fooled into believing he was deep in the equatorial jungle. His pumping heart was grateful for the suit, but nothing more would please the man inside of it than peeling off the exterior layer of nanites shielding him from arctic winds. To embrace the unbearable elements stark naked had always been a dream of his, one that he knew would never advance any farther than just that. Completing his life cycle by transforming into a frozen hunk of blood and meat would be a far better alternative than living out the rest of his numberless days without an ounce of humanity to claim as his own.

Winds strong enough to deafen a common man howled furiously overhead. Snow continued to disorientate his senses by falling with an ungodly sense of rapidity. Temperatures had dropped well below freezing hours ago and he was beginning to become hungry, yet, none of these obstructions bothered him. What really grinded his gears was the fact that his prey had evaded him in the closing stages of his hunt.

Tracking its colossal footprints for miles, the trail metaphorically went cold half a mile ago. There was no guarantee he would reacquire the tracks of his monster, but he was too good of a hunter not to. Hugging the ground in a prone position, he surveyed the landscape with diligent eyes, waiting for something to exclaim its presence.

Whenever a hunt was in its closing stages, music would allow him to drift above the clouds in serenity. Trapped in an environment where there was no distinct divide between heaven and earth, he always knew where the peaks of the White Mountains ended and the clouds overlapping one another began when he was guided electronic notes of old world music. It was just about that time again. The curtains were due to close on another hunt. He was to collect his nector same as before. What it all boiled down to was finding his punch out card.

A small blemish on a section of rolling snow mounds drew Havalin’s attention. Investigating further, his internal computer focused on the dot and magnified what he was seeing by 300%. A creature that had wandered out of a child’s nightmare was hunched over a pile of gore with bright red blotches of liquid plastered to its ice white fur. In a way, he should thank the beast munching on human remains. It was the reason he and many others like him existed. While having nothing to do with the actual monster, his entire world revolved around what it kept close to its heart.

Identifying his prey of the day, his visor painted a red reticle behind its head. Tethered to the muzzle of his hunting rifle, Havalin lined his shot with chilling precision. There wasn’t an ounce of resentment harbored towards the suit for taking skill out of the equation for every kill shot performed. Without auto-targeting, he doubted there was enough motivation left in him to take aim at any monstrosity’s general direction, big or small.

Horns stretching four feet long protruded out of its box shaped head. Jet black claws almost as thick as its horns were stained with human blood and retained fragments of steaming meat. The muscles on its back could be seen flexing through tufts of fur with every chomp of the jaws. Muscular arms ripped apart choice cuts of tissue white its razor sharp teeth sliced whatever it was fed to confetti strips. Blood stained the snow below its paws, but it mattered little to the voraciously driven snow ape. There was something sitting stationary next to it, possibly a vehicle of sorts. It could be salvageable, maybe even useful, but he would never know until his target was eliminated.

There was no recoil kicking back at his shoulder, only a sharp zap that surged inside the receiver, an unavoidable byproduct of an electric discharge. Blue light puffed out the end of his barrel and evaporated the air it expanded in. Traveling a hundred miles a second, the polycrystalline tungsten rod coated in a golden alloy reached the monster’s thick skull before Havalin’s eyes were able to catch up.

Its entire head was batted off its shoulders. Horns once parading the demon as a force to be reckoned with were now shattered and scattered across s purple snow bed. Viscera shaded a deep purple contaminated red and white snow, creating an abstract image of carnage. Organs of odd shapes were tossed about in a flurry of high velocity violence. Fur running blood red and purple kicked wildly in the wind, but the body it belonged to lay motionless.

Standing from his sniping position, he surveyed the vacuum of white for anything out of the ordinary. Bandits weren’t known for roaming this far out, but it had always felt like a set of Bino-eyes were spying on him whenever it was time to siphon. With a quick glance to the top right corner of his visor, four magnetically charged hover plates sparked to life on his snow-glider. Materializing out of its cloak, it beckoned for the form of his torso to be pushed against its humming motor. Powerful magnets acting as a secondary spine ran down his back, keeping his weapons in a magnetic lock once his need for them became null and void.

There was never a time he didn’t look upon an opportunity to ride on his hovercraft with a smile stretching farther than his lips could go. The sensation of bracing against carbon fiber and metal mixed with air flowing under his arms gave him the illusion of soaring high above the clouds on a dragligate. Vibrations were absorbed by meteorite fragments embedded in the metal of the chassis, making for the smoothest ride possible. Blasting all engines to full power, reaching his kill took no more than ten seconds.

Jumping off his electronically sound steed, he stomped over the purple stained snow and began the act that brought home the currency. Sealing a glass canister to the top of a rubberized pistol grip, he threaded a needle forged from pure silver into the front. Once a completed syringe rested in his hand, his visor automatically scanned for a point of insertion. Snow was already starting to take hold of the creature’s body. A minute more and the entire carcass would be reclaimed by the vicious wasteland. Showing a three dimensional circle rippling over the center of the beasts’ body, his suit had found the sweet spot.

Letting gravity complete most of his dirty work, he leaned on the pump, causing the needle to glide through finely woven muscle fibers until it punctured an organ whose task it was to safeguard the juice that kept his world alight. Prompts from the computer confirmed a successful insertion had occurred. The final step was so easy a native child could excel at it. Holding down on the trigger, a small motorized pump whirred to life. Neon pink and red liquid with the consistency of syrup swirled around the glass cylinder.

This was the part that always had him on edge. Nector was easily more valuable than any precious metal found on the ancient earth. It wouldn’t take anything more than a bandit with a pressure rifle to pierce his armor and reduce his entire body into organic sludge inside his own suit. A fellow hunter who was yearning for another visit to Utopia could easily sneak up from behind and melt his mid-section with a burst of Kamilion energy, but that was as impossible as it got. There were only a few hunters for hundreds of miles, and he shared blood with them all. Perhaps a beast could be lying in wait for the foolish hybrid, blinded by greed, to not notice it so cleverly concealed under feet of frozen water.

Alas, this time there was no legendary shooter stalking him nor overly intelligent creature, but cold air that shrieked past his face. Killing the pump with another pull of the trigger, he sealed the nector inside of the glass container and removed the needle along with the pistol grip. What remained in constant motion in his hands was a form of energy limitless with potential. There were many names humans had for his kind, but they knew he and his kind were the ones to keep the lights on.

It would be impossible to understand just how valuable this stuff was to his government, but it didn’t really need to be put in perspective. As long as he got paid, there would be no problems. After all, keeping the electricity flowing on a government that had colonies ranging from hundreds of light years away from one another to hundreds of miles long on the planets they inhabited, he felt that his efforts deserved a decent salary. Priceless was an understatement for the nector, and everyone knew it. What it sold for in the milligram paid more than most jobs available on Mars or the Moon did in a year.  However, the tricky part was always staying alive long enough to enjoy the splendors his tireless efforts created. 

Snapping out of his gaze, all interest in the monster had faded as its use to him now transferred forms of existence. Switching over to his secondary interest, a machine of the old world stayed planted on the ground a few feet away from him. Metal tracks on an endless loop were intertwined in a primitive mechanical wheel lodged in the rear of the tracks.  It appeared like the usual from any savage living off the land, a snow shredder. Furs of monsters were piled in the back of the seat. Their bones sharpened into laughable spears were racked on the side. Relics ritualistic in nature hung on the end of the handlebars, and so forth. What really confused him was something that truly stuck out on the shredder.

A large metal box that had a small pane of glass on all four sides sat on a metal platform. He couldn’t see past the glass as there was an artificial light blocking all means of sight to the inside. Shaded neon blue, there was no way to peek in and see what it held behind blast proof metal. At the top sat a latch with a small bar of glass. It too shared the same solid color of neon and was locked tight. This tech was as modern as it got.

What he couldn’t stop stumbled over was why a savage would have it. Where would they even get it from? Most vendors that sold stuff like hardly became desperate enough to let their business drift to the natives. Picking it up from the handle, the weight was substantial, adding to the mystery of what could be sitting inside.

Walking the box to his craft, he glanced back at the puddle that was once human covered by the purifying snow. Was robbing from the dead really an unjust action if they didn’t have a use for it anymore? In a land this toxic, killing the living for a morsel of food was encouraged by the higher ups. Then again, he was far from a native. Maybe he acted on the same premises, but only when a time arose where he needed to.

Locking the box onto a hatch at the end of his seat, he hopped back on the hovercraft and set the coordinates for the deposit drone. Already backed up in the bikes navigational memory banks, it took off before he could get his footing right. With the hunt over and currency still needing to be deposited, he relied on electronic music from a time he couldn’t read about to sooth his soul as the smooth ride let him pass by a prehistoric landscape. Looking left and right, he still had to gawk at the fear inducing power the world demonstrated on a regular basis.  A super cell of frozen fury had erupted into a full blown tornado of terror. Towering miles high a wind tunnel piercing the heavens stretched miles wide, Carrying metric tons of snow, dirt, and ice with it. There was nothing Havalin could do about it other than stare in amazement at the wonders he’d still yet to see while living on this hostile planet.

It was written in history tablets and spoken in legends that before the beginning of the end, there were pine trees that stretched for miles in all directions on the Yukon. Now, there was nothing but canyons, mountains, and snow. The settlement wasn’t for another 30 minutes, and there was nothing in his path that would call for caution.

Setting the auto-directional steering, he tinted the visor and leaned forward on the glider. Wishing for the graceful clutches of sleep to take hold of him, except this time, the venom that induced dreams would be wiped clean from their claws. That was all he could have hoped for as electronic vibes lulled his mind to sleep.


© Copyright 2018 jrc1991. All rights reserved.

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