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Author Topic: Nordrök & Chance: NYPD - RIP  (Read 650 times)

The Legendary Shark

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Nordrök & Chance: NYPD - RIP
« on: 23 January, 2016, 03:40:48 pm »

Being a big-headed git, as most of you know, I've started to write a MC1 novel. Here's Chapter One (I've just started Chapter Four, so there's a long way to go) and I'd appreciate any feedback, especially concerning mistakes and, frankly, whether it's worth continuing with.

Nordrök & Chance.
 by Mark Howard

 THURSDAY JUNE 18th 2099
 Rocky Chance, breath burning in his chest, paused and listened. It took a moment for him to process the sudden lack of gunfire and his deafness was slowly overcome by the crackling of fires, the moaning of injured officers and the ringing in his ears.
 His rifle was hot and heavy as he held it and scanned the smoke with stinging eyes. Its non-slip grips were struggling to cope with the sweat, oil and blood on Chance's hands and he momentarily entertained the notion that only the dust and grit of battle embedded in this foul mess prevented the gun slipping from his grasp like wet soap.
 A heavy, angular arm twitched in the smoke, dislodging rubble and wreckage. Chance aimed and fired, hacking the dying robot to bits. It fizzed and crackled a pitiful dirge as its systems collapsed.
 'Problem?' a gruff voice called from the slithering smoke.
 'Nah,' Chance called back and then coughed to clear the soot and grime from his throat. 'Just a twitcher,' he said, spitting out a gob of black phlegm tasting like chem fires and copper.
 'Fifty cred fine for that,' the gruff voice rumbled, 'but under the circumstances I'll overlook it. Just this once, Officer Chance. Just this once.'
 Chance smiled and wiped his hands on his riot gear but the material was smooth like plastic and made little impression. 'You're all heart, Morph. You think they're coming back?'
 'We have to presume so. Everyone, patch up, tool up, form up! Be ready in five minutes!'
 Chance bent to the fractured ground and washed his hands in the ashes and dust. For a moment they were mired in a mess reminding him of the sticky bread dough his Italian grandmother used to make but soon his hands were clean again. Relatively anyway, he thought with a grimace. As clean as any NYPD detective's hands could be in this city, at any rate.
 The owner of the gruff voice strode up beside Chance, re-filling the empty clips for his Lawgiver as he did so. 'Detective Inspector,' he said in greeting.
 'Morph,' said Chance, rising to his feet like a stiff puppet and unslinging his rifle.
 'Judge Morphy in public, please.'
 'Sure. Sorry... God damn it!' Chance's hands were once again slick with the bloody, oily mess that coated his rifle.
 'And you've got until midnight to curb that profanity as well, remember?' His ammunition clips reloaded and stowed in his utility belt, Judge Morphy gave his Lawgiver a final check.
 'Fuck midnight,' Chance said, grinning.
 Judge Morphy turned away, maybe to hide a smile Chance thought, and watched the weary survivors regrouping. Judge Morphy's head inclined a fraction as he listened to the receiver in his helmet. After a moment he nodded and said, 'Roger that, Control. Morphy out.'
 Chance guessed what was coming and, wiping his hands on a rag pulled from the wreckage of the war-ravaged diner, ran his gritty eyes over the smouldering and settling battlefield.
 Finding no trace of his partner, Chance wiped the rag over his rifle and headed for the ammo stock, which was low. 'God damn it, Nordie, where the Hell are you?' he whispered.

« Last Edit: 23 January, 2016, 03:43:27 pm by The Legendary Shark »

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Re: Nordrök & Chance: NYPD - RIP
« Reply #1 on: 23 January, 2016, 03:41:25 pm »
  Ærlig Nordrök tapped his finger against the trigger guard of his pistol and held his breath. Something wasn't right.
 Glancing back he saw the children, all twelve of them, huddling as instructed behind huge lumps of fallen masonry and mangled vehicles. He gestured for quiet and the two young teachers tried their best to keep the children calm but they could not stem the  whimpering. After today's sights, robots ripping human beings into bloody lumps, some of them might be whimpering forever.
 He returned his attention to the devastated vehicle parking bay, one of twenty built in to the basement of Una Stubbs Block which towered over three hundred storeys above. Pushing away thoughts of that massive weight, Nordrök concentrated on the rubble. Scores of smashed robots littered the place, lying broken and mangled next to empty shell casings and smeared pools of dark, crusting blood.
 What had caught his attention? He wasn't sure but decades of experience nagged at him to stop, look, listen, smell...
 That was it – the smell of sleather oil. Judges used it to keep their uniforms and pads in good order. Canny judges soon learned not to overuse the oil and give themselves away.
 Signalling for the children and their teachers to stay put, Nordrök raised his arms and carefully got to his feet, pistol displayed in one hand and a waving handkerchief in the other. He cursed under his breath as his knees popped with all the sound and fury, in his mind at least, of gunshots.
 'Detective Inspector Ærlig Nordrök, 49th Precinct, NYPD,' he called into the dust-haunted gloom, keeping his voice calm but firm. 'I'm guessing that either you're Justice Department or I'm dead. Come on out now – I promise you I'm human.'
 Nordrök waited but the gloom remained quiet, the only sound coming from a distant, or buried, robotic server motor endlessly running a broken gear. The few remaining lights in the vehicle park hung from the fractured and pocked ceiling like exhausted fireflies caught in cobwebs, swaying in the dusty air and casting shifting, impenetrable shadows. Some lights flickered and others sparked and fizzed like disappointing fireworks.
 'We need to get out of here,' Nordrök continued, his voice even and calm. 'There's a whole robot factory just two floors above us and it's running flat out. Fortunately, the new units are all moving south to support their offensive in Sector Seventeen, so the way north to Sector House Eight is relatively clear.'
 'Running away?' a female voice said from the gloom.
 Nordrök couldn't pinpoint its direction and so made a show of not even trying. 'Escorting refugees,' he said. 'Children.'
 More silence.
 'The two police officers with me were killed. I'd appreciate some extra fire-power, especially Department fire-power.' Nordrök let that last sentence hang for a moment before continuing. 'You're cadets, right?'
 A figure resolved from the darkness, moving slowly and carefully like a hunter. Nordrök turned his face to the figure and smiled. 'Can I put my arms down now?'
 'I never told you to put them up.'
 Nordrök laughed and carefully lowered his arms. 'I guess not,' he said, holstering his gun with a relaxed slowness. 'So, what brings you into my little corner of Hell, Miss?' he asked, wiping the dust and sweat from his face with the handkerchief.
 'Hershey,' the young woman said, emerging into the meagre light so that Nordrök could see her battle-stained uniform and the Lawgiver in her hand. 'Cadet Judge Hershey,' she said with a cool emphasis.
 'Pleased to meet you.' Nordrök held out his hand.
 Hershey ignored it. 'There's a command post at Burdis and Wells,' she said. 'Take them there. This way is closed.'
 'That command post is gone, Little Sister, and it's in the wrong direction. I'm going to take the service tunnels under Stubbs, join the main cableway at Lionel Blair Block and...'
 Cadet Hershey held up a hand and cut Nordrök off with a curt word. 'Enough! I have my orders and this way is closed under the authority of the Justice Department.'
 The old detective sighed a weary sigh and sat down on the wing of a hoverpod lying partially crushed under chunks of fallen rockrete. 'Where's your tutor, Cadet Hershey?' he said, running the handkerchief around the inside of his shirt collar.
 The young woman's harsh, thin lips compressed further and she flashed Nordrök a warning glare.
 'Let me guess – you were left here to guard this sh... stomm-hole in case any robots got the same idea I do and try to slip behind our lines. Some tried it, right here,' he waved his handkerchief at the devastation and made an appreciative face, 'and you stopped them. Cost you though, I bet. You're what, sixteen? Seventeen? Little Sister, if you're in charge here we're in deep shit. Stomm, sorry. I keep forgetting.'
 'I'm fifteen,' said Hershey, 'and my decision stands. Clear this area now.'
 'I intend to,' he said. 'North.'
 'No, citizen, I won't allow that.'
 Nordrök let out a frustrated grunt. 'What are you going to do, Cadet? Shoot us all?'
 'I won't have to. There's something in this block the robots want and they're sending reinforcements from every direction. North, south, east, west – it makes no difference. Una Stubbs is about to be surrounded.'
 Nordrök folded his handkerchief while he digested this. 'They'll be coming, then, to secure the area. That complicates things but it's not the end of the world. They'll move methodically, logically, section by section, level by level.'
 Hershey nodded.
 'All we have to do, Little Sister, is stay ahead of them. We make a dash for the lowest service level we can find and cut to the cableway from there. By the time they complete their search grid we'll be long gone. Plan?'
 'I have wounded.'
 'We'll carry them. Some of the kids are pretty strong, they can help if need be. Whatever, we can't stay here.'
 Hershey's eyes locked with Nordrök's and he saw in them not hesitation but calculation. 'Very well. Bring your people and follow me but, if I see one false move...' Her lips compressed to a thin, bloodless line once more.
 Nordrök suppressed a smile and slipped the folded handkerchief back into his trouser pocket. 'Yes Ma'am,' he said.

The Legendary Shark

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Re: Nordrök & Chance: NYPD - RIP
« Reply #2 on: 23 January, 2016, 03:42:30 pm »



  The blonde SJS judge stood at a thick window inside the dark and deserted Council Chamber, watching Earth hanging in the black sky. Even now, even after all we've done to her, he thought, she still looks beautiful.At least from here. Close up she was scarred and dirty. Ugly.
 But all that could be fixed, if only...
 'Deputy Cal?'
 Cal turned from the window, his reverie broken, to face his aide. Judge Fischer, who always looked worried, today appeared positively harried. 'The City just went dark, Sir. Datastreams, media broadcasts, telemetry feeds – even the Control Net – it's all gone to static.'
 'And everywhere else?'
 Fischer consulted the j-pad he carried everywhere. 'Only Mega City One's affected so far. The other Mega Cities have already isolated their systems from our feeds in case this was caused by a virus and they all seem normal at the moment.'
 Cal returned his gaze to the Earth. 'The latest word?'
 'Not good, Sir. The last, or rather latest report, said that robots had full control of nine sectors and strong footholds in eighty-seven percent of all other sectors.  Casualties are very high and the city's infrastructure is taking a lot of damage. Justice Department has a plan headed up by Judge Dredd but the signal cut before we could learn more.'
 'The Grand Judge?'
 'As of two hours ago, safe and sound.'
 Cal nodded, dislodging a golden lock which  fell like a comma over his left eye. 'In his bunker, no doubt.'
 'Yes, Sir.' If Fischer caught the shadow of disdain in Cal's voice he didn't show it. 'That would be the protocol under these circumstances.'
 'When can we get back, Fischer?'
 'Not yet, Sir. The Chief thinks...'
 Cal whipped around, fury arcing like electricity across his forehead. 'The Chief thinks it's safer here!'
 'He has a point, Sir. Justice Department has to preserve the chain of command in case the worst happens.'
 Cal sighed and stepped down from the window. 'In case you hadn't noticed, Mega City One is being chewed up by genocidal robots. The worst is happening, Fischer. The worst is happening right now and we have to get back.'
 Fischer spread his hands in a gesture of helplessness. 'I'm sorry, Sir, we're grounded. Chief's orders.'
 'I'll talk to him myself,' Cal said, striding towards the exit of the modest and functional Council Chamber. His polished green boots thudded into the Moon-grey carpet like hammers, forcing up faint clouds of dust that sparkled in the earthlight creeping through the window.
 'He's in a meeting, Sir. Not to be disturbed, I'm afraid.'
 Cal paused and looked back at Fischer, who was strolling to catch up with him, tapping at his j-pad instead of watching where he was going. Cal felt the sudden lunatic urge to stick out a foot and trip the distracted judge – watch him fall flat on his stupid miserable face! He pushed the thought away with a scowl. 'What meeting? There's nothing on his schedule.'
 'It's not to do with the conference, Sir.'
 'Then, what?'
 Fischer stopped in his tracks and looked up. 'I don't know, Sir,' he said.
 'Conference Suite Seventeen, Level Three, Grey Zone.'
 Ordering Fischer to follow him, Cal strode out of the Council Chamber and made for the nearest el-bank. With the conference in recess the corridors of Luna Three's Grand Hall of Justice were sparsely populated, mostly by junior clerks hurrying along with bundles of files or bags of takeaway, orange jump-suited auxiliaries moving furniture or performing running maintenance and robots cleaning and vacuuming.
 Normally, robots don't register very much in the human mind. They are just there, working away quietly in the background, uncomplaining and staying out of the way. People don't give much thought to a robot until they need it or it malfunctions. Like a light switch, or a gun, Cal thought. Now, though, everybody was aware of the placid robots, giving them a wide berth.
 Why hadn't the Luna City Three Justice Department ordered all robots shut down until the situation in Mega City One had been resolved? It seemed like gross negligence. In a terrestrial city a robot rebellion was bad but in an enclosed environment surrounded by nothing but frigid dust, searing radiation and hard vacuum it would be catastrophic. In fact, Cal realised as he reached the el-bank and called for a pod, Luna Three would be the ideal place for a robot rebellion. They could simply dump the atmosphere and take over the undamaged city without firing a shot.
 But if the robot quietly and methodically polishing the metal doors and rails around the el-bank had any idea of its tactical advantage it didn't seem to care. It appeared content to be doing what it was doing, every byte of its concentration focused on bringing the el-bank to a high shine, not a scrap of RAM free to consider the concepts of freedom or rebellion.
 Cal stepped into an el-pod and held the doors while Fischer, still tapping at his j-pad, caught up.
 'Come on, Fischer, we don't have all day!'
 'Sorry, Sir – we've just heard that a strat-bat bound from Mega City One to East Meg Two has been hi-jacked by the on-board robo-stewards. The Sovs want to shoot it down.' Fischer's tone was accusatory.
 'Of course they do. The Sovs don't want our uppity western robots giving their uppity eastern robots any ideas,' Cal said. 'We'd do the same thing.'
 The el-pod doors closed and Cal spoke into its control panel. 'Conference Suite Seventeen, Level Three, Grey Zone.'
 'Thank you,' a mellow artificial voice said. 'Destination recognised. Travel time, twenty-two seconds.'
 The el-pod sped on a magnetic cushion through the twisting el-shafts criss-crossing the building like arteries, though inside the pod the acceleration and wild changes of direction were unnoticeable.
 Two heavily armed SJS judges stood guard outside Conference Suite Seventeen as Cal marched up to the door. 'Stand aside,' he said.
 One of the guards stuck out his chin. 'No, Sir.'
 'I beg your pardon, Judge Butterworth?' Cal demanded, his voice like honeyed ice.
 'Nobody's allowed in, Sir, not even you. Chief's orders.'
 'And what of the Law, Butterworth? Specifically the Chain of Command Act 2079?'
 'Sir?' Butterworth's tone wasn't quite so certain.
 'Section 14a. Ringing any bells, Judge?' Cal sneered the last word and saw Butterworth squirm. 'Well?'
 Judge Butterworth stood aside and came to attention without another word, his companion followed suit. Cal pushed open the door and, first saying 'stay here' to the recently arrived Judge Fischer, went inside.
 'Alexander,' the Chief of the Special Judicial Service, the judges who judge the judges, looked up from his position on an overstuffed nylon couch, 'is there a problem?'
 Cal noted with distaste the cigar in the Chief's fat fist and the two glasses of amber fluid on the low table in front of him. On the couch next to the Chief, smoothing her dull grey business jacket with a calm yet strained dignity, was a woman Cal recognised as one of the civilian conference attendees. His ordered mind soon located her name, Ms Shandy Mates-Blatherwitch – a director of the robotics company Komputel, owned by the mad billionaire Hugh Howards.
 'Ah,' said the Chief. 'You disapprove. Well, young Deputy, you've caught me!' The chief laughed, a phlegmy, primal sound. 'But the smoking and drinking laws are somewhat more progressive in Luna City Three and, as Ms Blatherwitch and I have business together, I thought it best to honour the local customs. I shall flagellate myself thoroughly on our return to the City, I assure you.' The Chief issued another of his drowning man laughs.
 'Chief,' Cal's voice was measured and calm, masking the hatred for this sweaty lump whose very name he could never bring himself to say or even think. 'The City, our City, is in danger. We have to get back now – we're needed, Sir!'
 The Chief watched the oily smoke from his cigar ooze indolently towards the recycler grill in the ceiling. 'No we're not,' he said. 'Justice Department has a plan. Ms Blatherwitch has just been briefing me on it.'
 Cal found that his jaw was hanging open and he shut it with a snap. His ordered mind was momentarily thrown into confusion. 'She?' He could say no more. It made no sense.
 'Yes. Don't worry, Alexander, the First Robot Rebellion will be over in an hour or two and Ms Blatherwitch has a really rather excellent idea for ensuring there will not be a second.'
 'I see,' Cal gathered his thoughts with a steel rake, forcing himself to think clearly. 'And what is that plan? Buy only Komputel robots?'
 'Komputel chips, actually,' the Chief said, reaching for his glass and smirking at Cal's coolly hostile expression, 'but right now that's not your concern. Or anyone else's, is that clear?'
 'Chief, the regulations clearly state that no judge, no matter their rank, can engage in...'
 'Don't quote the Law at me, you smug little bastard!' the chief roared, rising to his feet in a barely controlled rage. 'There are things going on here above your clearances, Deputy Chief Cal! Things that you have no need to know! Now get the...' The Chief paused in his tirade and checked the clock. 'Get the fuck out of here.'
 Cal stood rooted to the spot with bottled fury. He felt that if he moved a muscle he might explode.
 'Didn't you hear me? I said get out. You're dismissed. Go away and whack off to some Law books or holos of yourself or whatever it is you get up to when you're not being a pain in my ass.'
 With a forced calm that wasn't entirely complete, Cal spun on his heel and thrust his way through the door, the Chief's repugnant laugh sloshing in his ears.
 'Deputy?' Fischer said as Cal strode out of the Conference Suite.
 'That man,' Cal growled to himself, 'has got to go.'