by Peter John Dean

He stood there listening for at least 10 minutes. There was a strange sound that seemed to be both all around him as well as in his head. It sounded almost like static, or small bits of shrapnel striking metal. Something heavy moving on old asphalt made a similar sound, but that wasn't it either. It would get louder sometimes and then slow down and fade a bit. What was it? Whatever it was, it reminded him he was home. It was beautiful.

Being small for his age at 16 and living in the zone, there were very few options for Rico. He had chosen to become a courier for one of the local "pharmaceutical companies' that operated in the area. For the most part, this was one of the better choices he could have made. As long as he stayed out of reach of the gangers his company didn't do business with, he was fine. Unfortunately for him, these areas changed from time to time, and this was one of those times.

Rico knew immediately after he came around the corner that the owners of this block had changed since two night ago. He didn't recognize either of their faces, nor did he recognize the gang logos that was drawn on their jackets, or cut into their arms. He walked quickly across the street and continued toward his drop point, which was only a few blocks up. Four more members of this gang stepped out onto the street in front of him. Rico had no choice but to run for it. He darted down the nearest ally and heard the heavy footsteps of the gang behind him. Without glancing back he knew they were gaining on him and he was in deep. They were pounders, or possibly boosters, but either way he didn't stand a chance if they caught him and there was no way to outrun them. He hoped that he knew the area better then they did and he could use that to lose them. And while he did know they area better, they were just too jacked up for him to lose them.

Then the rain hit. It came hard and fast and the pavement was slick in no time. With his old boots, he was sliding all over the place and he knew he was fried. As he came around a corner to an alley about 2 blocks from a safe house he knew, he finally went down hard. With the gangers right on his heels he got up quick and took off. That's when he realized he had dropped the package.

"Dammit!" he muttered.

While this would probably save his life now, since the gangers stopped to collect their prize, it would get him killed later. The company doesn't like to lose packages. Rico knew they would find him and kill him if he didn't deliver. He continued up the alley to the connecting street and ran right into the biggest cyborg he had ever seen! Rico went sprawling to the pavement, but the guy just stood there not even noticing something had ran into him. The "man" was just standing on the corner in the rain with his eyes half shut.


Rico got no response.

"Hey you..."

Still nothing

"Hey! Don't you got enough sense to get out of the rain!"

"Ah rain..." the beast responded as if in answer to a question. "But were would I go?"

"If it were up to me, you'd go back down that alleyway and get my package from those yatsu who took it" Rico said sarcastically as he pointed back down the alley.

"Agreed" was all the giant said as he turned and walked down the alley.

Rico followed in wonderment as the cyborg quickly went down the alley to the street where he had lost his cargo a few minutes before. Three of the gangers were still there.

"Is that them?" He asked Rico and a low metal growl.

"Uh, yeah, some of them, but I don't see my package"

"They'll know where it is"

The cyborg walked right up to the three gangers.

"Where's the package?" the hulking figure asked.

"Get outta here before we kill you. It's ours now, and so is this block. Nobody messes with th-"

Before Rico really knew what happened, two of the gangers were dead, and the third was on the ground with that thing with his foot on his chest and his arm held tightly in his grasp.

"The kid wants his stuff back" the thing announced to the ganger.

"Eat it, can! Crack took it back to our place, and I ain't tellin' you where that is!"

The sound of the ganger's arm slowly being pulled from his body almost made Rico wretch. Within 30 seconds, he told the beast where to find his friends. The cyborg then dropped the ganger's lifeless body to the ground turned to Rico.

"Lead me to their location."

Part of Rico didn't want to do it, but he needed that package back and he didn't want to tell this guy no no matter what. Rico quickly led him to the location that the ganger had told them, and it was obvious that he wasn't lying. There were a few of the gangers out front, and several more would be inside. He knew this guy was good, but could he really handle a booster gang? Rico wasn't sure.

Without hesitation, Rico's savior walked forward towards the house. The two gangers out front immediately started tell him to get lost, but he just kept moving forward. Large guns were flashed in his direction, and still he moved as if they weren't there. As soon as they lowered their weapons at him, though, it all changed. He moved faster than Rico had ever seen anyone move before. He was on top of the gangers before they got a shot off, pounding them with his fists. Only one blow was need for each, but he kept pounding. He then picked up one of the gangers and through him through the front door. Picking up the guns, he crashed through the wall to the left of the door. Automatic gunfire erupted from inside the house, followed by a lot of shouting and then silence.

After what felt like an eternity, Rico cautiously walked up to the front door and peered in. Through the smoke and dust, he saw several of the gangers dead on the floor. Some where shot, others had their heads or chests caved in, but none of them were moving. His big metal angel stood near the back of the room, pointing into a back room.

"I think your package is in here"

Rico carefully walked over the bodies and went to the back room. In was more of the same. Two dead gangers, as well as the items they had stolen. He picked up his package and showed it to the beast.

"This is it. Thanks a lot. I can't believe you did this. I never thought I'd get this back. I'd be dead by tomorrow without this. How can I ever repay you for-"

"Go. Leave now." Was all the thing said as he picked up some of the weapons, as well as some other valuables the gangers had littered about the place.

Rico left as fast as he could. While his delivery was a little late, the buyer didn't seem to notice.

"The last bit of luck to end an incredibly lucky day" Rico thought.

Return to Kazei 5 PBEM Stories