Shedding Some More Light

Hooray, more light shedding. Basically, news of the hour is that I am going to split one of the novels that I was working on into a pair of novellas instead. The contrast between the first half and second half of the story means that it generally makes more sense this way. You’re going to have to trust me on that!

In other news, I am working on a second cyberpunk piece to go alongside the other one. They will largely happen in parallel with each other, but cover two very different aspects. Here is what I think will be the prologue (though that may change!) and will likely be a submission for my University’s creative writing magazine.

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The lights outside the Fallen Angel hummed with energy, their light casting a dull grey tinge upon the immediate surroundings. The street was full of various types of people; street walkers, dealers and party goers to name a few.

Lexi weaved her way through the crowd, hands in the pockets of the long coat that hung loosely over her form. She fingered over the small pistol that lay at the bottom of her coat pocket as she got to the doors of the Fallen Angel, taking a peek inside before walking in herself.

The inside of the Fallen Angel was dirty, the bass of the music thumping in Lexi’s ears as she walked up to the bar. The ambient level of light was low, most coming from a mix of UV lighting and spotlights. Lexi hated dance clubs like this herself, and were it not for her current job, she would not even think of going to one.

She leaned on the edge of the counter, eyeing the patrons from behind a pair of mirrored sunglasses.

‘Lady? Hello?’ the voice of the bartender seemed to pass through one ear and out of the other. With a start, Lexi turned around to meet the curious gaze of a blonde man; hair gelled up in a most peculiar fashion. She met his expression with her own. ‘So, just going to stand there all day?’

She pulled a cheap cigar from a pocket on her coat, a tiny blade extruding from beneath her index finger to cut the end off. She smiled at the bartender as she retracted the blade and placed the cigar in her mouth. ‘Something like that.’

The bartender shook his head with a sigh, muttering quietly to himself as Lexi turned her attention back to the patrons. She raised her thumb to the end of the cigar, flipping the end back to reveal a small valve from which a small flame expelled, lighting the cigar before returning to look like normal.

She blinked idly. Minutes passed by. Occasionally her communication implant buzzed with activity, though she had mentally tuned out for the most part.

She almost coughed when she laid eyes on another woman entering the club; Asian descent, black hair with blue highlights. It was her.

‘Target has entered the Fallen Angel,’ she muttered inaudibly, sending the message across her communication network.

No response.

She watched the woman walk up to the bar next to her. She seemed tense and purchased some substances from the bartender. Drugs, Lexi assumed. The woman was mildly unkempt; she had done well to cover it up, but the evidence was still there to Lexi’s trained eyes that this woman had been running.

Lexi continued to smoke her cigar.

Her communication implant buzzed.

‘Understood. Keep us posted.’

Lexi hated her employer’s lack of detail, but she was paid enough not to care too much. She continued to lean against the bar, keeping the woman in her peripheral vision.

‘Target has entered the restrooms,’ she uttered quietly, keeping her head facing forwards as she took another drag from the cigar.

‘That’s redundant,’ her implant buzzed distinctively; a direct reply. The voice was easily identifiable as Harvey Roberts, a most detestable individual in her eyes.

Lexi remained silent.

A couple of minutes passed.

‘Target has been neutralised. Send in the clean-up crew,’ Harvey spoke in a relative monotone.

‘Taylor, you’re up. We need that woman’s cybernetics for analysis,’ their employers asserted in return.

Lexi sighed, dropping the cigar butt to the ground and stubbing it out with the heel on her knee boots. ‘Right, on it,’ she replied reluctantly. She had been told that it was likely just observation.

Then she heard a scream from the restrooms. Lexi turned her head in shock, as most patrons within earshot did. Someone had walked in on the operation. Harvey had screwed up.

Lexi rushed over to the woman to see the target lying in a pool of her own blood. Lexi walked over and felt the woman’s pulse. It was still there, and she breathed weakly, though there was no way to extract the data from her cybernetics now that half of the club was watching her.

She cursed silently to herself. ‘Simple job. Sure, whatever,’ she thought as she looked from the woman to the gathered crowd.

She wondered how to proceed.

‘Someone call a doctor or something,’ she shouted at the crowd, eyes wide and her expression one of surprise at their response to what appeared to them as an attempted murder. She was trained to blend in, so that was what she would do. Some of the crowd dispersed at the abrupt instruction, either through apathy or action, though a lot remained, gawking at the injured woman.

Lexi’s communication implant buzzed with activity over what was going on. They wanted reports, figures, anything on the situation. She was preoccupied with the crowd, but Harvey remained silent.

‘I am going to kill that man next time I see him,’ Lexi thought as she moved the body into a more natural position. She hated the lower levels of New London.

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