Based on picture. A city on a planet far in the galaxy of the Milky way is in Chaos.
The City on the Edge of Infinity.
By Nathaniel Miller
A large city stands on the edge of the sea on Artus One, a class M planet, located in a system nine point six light years from Sol, and the new station for Earth and Sol as a colony. It is on the other side of the Milky Way Galaxy in which this galaxy had been found with the third generation of Hubble telescope in the year 2189. It had only taken man-kind over a hundred years, to perfect the Hubble telescope, having observed many solar systems until in the fifty years that Earth had entered the twenty-second century, a science vessel was finally dispatched by the Earth Federation in the year 2253 to investigate. The planet was colonized in the year 2283, and a colony for the last twenty-years standing.
The planet itself is class M, in an ‘A’ Class solar system with a dim star, two thirds as powerful as SOL. Not very bright, but it has enough energy to light the planet. It is one of three planets in this cluster around the dwarf star that lights the system. The difference here is that each planet is in a close orbit to Artus one. Planet one is Class M planet and similar to Earth, with a slightly thinner atmosphere, making it Temperate to Tropical throughout the planet, even at the poles. On the planet there are several large continents like Earth, and each one has multiple cities on them, established by Earth.
The largest city is New New York. Big deal… It is a city of low lives, just as dirty, infected, and just as crime laden as the one on Earth. It is a place where it has more crime and corruption now, than the city on Earth that it was named. The only difference this is on a world far away from SOL, Earth, and practically clear across the Milky Way. The crimes of murder, rape, and major crime for the massive city is higher than the original city that it is named, and is just as dangerous, if not doubly dangerous than the original. My name is Simon De’Quan. I drive a cab.
Today is another day on Artus one, living the dream in the city that I had been suckered to come here to. Far away from the polluted, overcrowded Earth, and one of many colonies established throughout our Galaxy that we had discovered way back in the Twenty-First Century.
I glanced at the paper, sitting on the seat with me, and adjusted my jacket, and sipped at the soda in the drink holder of my Cab.
“Planetary population expands again! Another estimated three million more colonists to arrive on Artus One in five years.”
“Gee ain’t that grand, and most of them probably the aliens that have come from planets within the Federation to live on Earth.” I thought, turning the page in disgust as I took a determined sip of my soda. I scanned the obituaries quickly, and shook my head.
“Nope… Still not in there.” I murmured, “Wishful thinking, not.”
I turned the page again, and this time an article in the paper caught my eye. ‘Locnar discovered in desert.’ I grinned at the article, peering at the picture of a bald-headed, goatee clad face of an aging relic of a scientist, and a cute tomato standing next to him.
I thought back to something that was still popular even in this day in age, a movie back from the twentieth century called ‘Heavy Metal’ and I thought of the first story in the movie. I managed a laugh.
“Yea right…” I muttered, “Only in the movies.”
The next story was about a missing Heiress who had been abducted from Earth and brought to this shit-hole, being held for ransom. I turned my head to a tap on the window.
“Hey you free?” A harsh voice said, and I turned my head to nod in silence.
“Yeah hop in.” I said to the kid, glancing at him silently. He is about six foot two, thin, muscular, and he is decked out in leather from head to toe, wearing combat boots on his feet. He had a Mohawk and an earring in his ear, and nose. He was covered in tattoos on his arms, one of them a strange design that I did not realize was for a cultist, terrorist group that had come to this planet.
“Where to, pal?”
“UN building.” He replied snidely, and I balked at the statement. They had had the audacity to put the UN like Earth on this planet, making it just like Earth, and have the same council, more of for Federal jurisdiction than over countries. It was a joke, the building and council just as useless in authority as the real one on Earth.
I hit the meter and hit the engine button, making the jet propulsion start. Hitting the accelerator, I sped off into the street. We passed many of the upper sections of the city, and turning off the main drag, running into traffic, I cut through an alley past and by the thirty eight strip joints and gentleman’s clubs that were located in this city. The passenger seemed uptight and nervous as we made out way along. I heard a hiss and I half turned to see a pistol at my head.
“Alright Sucker, hand over your cash.”
I flipped up the atomic disintegrator button, and hit it with my foot. A flash of light as a beam lanced out and it struck him. He gasped, uttering a whimper as it disintegrated him instantly.
“Asshole.” I thought, taking up the pistol, and I put it in the glove compartment with the arsenal of weapons I had there, ranging from handguns, brass knuckles to grenades.
“No one touches Simon De’Quan.” I muttered, and coming up to a light I stopped and waited. On my right was a large building to my right. I drove onward, and turned the corner where police lines were being put up, not far from my building where I live. Here I parked my cab, realizing I would have to walk because of another asshole who was held up in the building across from us, a sanctuary for criminals and low-lifers who constantly were out to break the law. I glanced up at the sky, at the outline of the second planet, Artus Two, and the third planet Artus three that hovered in the sky, orbiting near this planet.
The second planet was like our planet, but mostly an ocean planet, with a thick oxygen nitrogen atmosphere, and only two continents that were not very big at the Equator, and one at the each of the poles. It was similar, and on the planet, the Federation used it as a research facility, and military base. The third planet farther out, was also in a close orbit, and it was a rocky world, that resembled Mars back in SOL. It was mostly a desert planet, with a real thin atmosphere of Nitrogen, Carbon Monoxide, Oxygen, and Methane, but the gravity was two times stronger than Earth. It was hard to function on that planet, even for the automated mining that was being used on the planet, and explored for the treasure trove of minerals that was found there.
I pulled up to the curb and shut down the engine, opening my door. Police vehicles were scattered across the road, as well as vans and men crouched behind them.
“This is the New New York Police Department, surrender or we will come in by force.” The cop said on the bullhorn, and a moment later an array of laser fire erupted from the building not far from mine. There was a scream as a cop dropped from the gunfire, as blood splattering across the bushes and concrete sidewalks the body falling as the police opened up and returned fire.
A shot whizzed by my head, and I just ignored it as I walked past the police lines, down the sidewalk and toward my building. The Police didn’t care that I had broken their lines, and I risked myself to go home for the day with the possibility of being shot. I stepped up to the entryway of my building, hitting the code that allowed access to my building. The security doors buzzed and opened, allowing me to enter and I turned as they closed, shutting out the violence of the outside.
Inside my building it is like any other low income housing apartment building in the big apple down on Earth, with a long hallway, with doors every so many feet on either side. There is a central elevator leading up to the upper floors, and the stairs, and here is an open hotel lobby area where the manager sat usually, screening the occupants for various things happening in the building. It is rundown from tenants abusing the lobby with smoking and other illegal abuses, even fighting, but it’s clean, a dump and cheap. I climbed the stairs quickly, trying to avoid Sam, the manager. He is a typical low-life character, heavyset, missing teeth, and descended from an Italian from New Jersey back on Earth.
“Simon…!” He thundered and I paused at the bottom of the stairs, turning my head to meet his ugly face, and half serious, snaggle-toothed smirk that he carried on his face as he wobbled toward me with a an in hand.
“Yea chief.” I replied haughtily, making it well known that talking to him was an inconvenience, and I had better things to do with myself.
“Rent is due in three days.” He warned, “You better have it on time, or out you go.”
“Yeah… Yeah…” I replied, “I have it, don’t worry your snaggle-toothed ass about that. It will be in your hands tomorrow.” I said and turning I left him standing there, cutting him off in mid sentence, to his usual protests. Walking up the stairs, the lift a death trap, I proceeded to climb three flights to the third level, and walked down the hallway toward the door of my apartment.
I touched the keypad quickly, punching in my access code, and I felt a knife to my back.
“This is a stick up, mister.” A voice said.
“Oh come on, twice in one day?” I said sarcastically, and from my belt I felt the pistol hidden there. I pivoted, taking one step back and grabbed the arm of the assailant, disarming them, throwing the knife out the open window. The assailant was a black youth about fifteen years of age, he crouched with fists cocked. He was lean and muscular, but had a pot belly, caused from all the pot he probably smoked which caused the munchies. He had sores on his faces and arms, and I stood corrected as I made a mental note. “Not pot, meth.”
“I can take you without the knife, honky.” The boy threatened and I smiled. He stepped into me and threw punches, which I nimbly dodged, letting them expend into the open air. I grabbed him by the nap of his shirt collar and with my open hand I bitch-slapped him.
“Boy, the knife went out the window… that could have been you.” I told him with a serious tone, “As it is, I have to dispose of a low-life like you, and I catch you here again, I will kill you. Understand?” I took out the pistol and pointed it at him.”
“You don’t have the guts, honky.” He snarled, and I put the pistol to his head, my fingers solidly on the trigger.
“Want to put that through the test?” I asked, and held the trigger, pushing it solidly. The pistol discharged into the floor, a look of fear on the youth’s face.
“You’re crazy, motherfucker.” He rasped, and I pulled him holding his arm and by his neck.
“Remember what I said, I catch you hassling me again, next time you won’t be lucky, punk.” I half drug him down the hallway, to pivot and hip tossed him down the stairs. He rolled and tumbled down the stairs, at least two flights.
“I’m going to get you, motherfucker. You’re dead.”
“Oh stop your whining. You had better bring a fucking army.” I replied with a shout, and he hobbled down the hall. I could hear him as he complained to the manager about my conduct. I knew that no doubt, Sam would be up to harass me in a few days. I only would suggest he review his security tapes, from the cameras he has posted in the hallway. He had attacked me, and tried to rob me at knife point. As the whining faded away, and I walked back to my door, pushing in my access code, the doors sliding open and I stepped through. When they closed behind me, I hit the switch and they locked behind me.
I grabbed a beer, and reviewed my video panel of all my messages, then walked to the bathroom where I quickly brushed my teeth and stripped. Here, I walked to the bed in the other room, to fall into it. I fell asleep quickly, but not without flashbacks and nightmares of my past, in which plagued me from my military service on Earth. I had seen a lot of duty, and death through my entire career, having to eliminate many cultures, as the Earth Federation fought against them. They would be memories that I would never forget when ordered to eliminate men, women and children on a planet not too far from here, in which I had no choice and I carried out my duty, only to realize they were innocent pawns to take the planet where they were living for Earth and the Federation.
The next morning, I rose quickly, and stood up, dressing quickly, rushing into the kitchen to grab a quick meal before I rushed on out to drive my cab. As I did so, I wandered back into the living room, and hit a button, activating a monitor that connected to a hidden camera I had posted in two places outside my door that gave me a full view of the hallway. Outside, I could see five human bodies standing there. I switched to the one at the end of the hall, and I saw six more waiting near the stairs. All were clad in black leather, with combat boots, and all had long hair.
“Oh so he brought an Army.” I murmured, and I hit another switch, closing a secondary security door. I studied the screen at their reaction and managed a grin at the response. I hurried to an old locker where I kept the arms, I gained in the robberies of my cab, plus military gear from my old service days.
I hefted an m-65 automatic pulse rifle and pushed the clip of phosphorous rounds home into the magazine. It registered on the side. I caressed the grenade launcher empty of course, no sense to keep that loaded that it could decimate this building if it was discharged. I pushed ten grenades into the launcher.
“Hell, just to be safe.” I muttered, not knowing what was in store with the gang members here to kill me, or at least ruff me up, after one of their “Members” got his ass kicked by me. I walked toward the door and glanced at the monitors to see a group of people standing there still.
“It’s time to get rid of some cockroaches.” I muttered, and cocked the bolt, chambering the round. Hitting the switch the doors opened and I stormed the door, leading with the rifle, and right into the group of soldiers led by a grizzled Colonel, my commanding officer in the service.
Around him were the bodies of a few of the punks, others on their knees with their hands behind their heads.
“Whoa, Jesus Simon, that’s some greeting. Apparently, it appears you still remember me.” I held up the rifle, snapping to.
“Colonel Jackson?” I stammered, “Damn, how the hell are you? Sorry about that sir, I was going to remove some cockroaches.”
“That’s some cockroaches.” He replied, and there was a pause and we both laughed loudly. We embraced briefly.
“Please come in.” I said, motioning him and a Lieutenant at his side to enter, while the troops remained outside guarding the door and securing the building.
“This is my aide, Lieutenant Aames.” He said and I nodded slightly to a trooper, only until they removed the helmet, realized it was a young woman who stood beside him.
“So what brings you to my neck of the woods?”
“Looking for you, we’re reactivating our old unit, an emergency has arisen, and the old unit is being eliminated by an assassin, the base thinks it’s the word of the terrorist organization called DOOM.” The officer told me, “They have already killed six of the unit responsible for eliminating the crime boss here on Artus One.”
“We didn’t get the leader though.”
“No, but he’s in the process of trying to rebuild his syndicate, and retake his position in the council here on the planet.” The Colonel replied, “By reactivating the unit, we are going to go after him, and this time eliminate him once and for all.”
“Remember, I am not military, not for a long time.”
“I know, pack your gear though, you think these punks are the first step your right, they are only the beginning. The city is going to be turned upside down.” He ordered and I rushed to the other room, opening the locker and gathering my old gear.
“If your uniform does not fit, we can get you another one.”
“Oh it fits. I keep in shape, even though I drive a cab.” I replied with a smile and he looked at me incredibly.
“You drive a cab?” He asked, “With your technical skills? I would have thought you would be working for a corporation.”
“Tried to, but my PTSD got in the way, and had flashbacks, which was possibly causing harm to other employees, so they let me go.” I replied, “No matter, I work when I want, and probably make less, but I like the environment, no stress, and interesting people.”
“Are you sure you are one hundred percent?” Colonel Jackson asked, “PTSD is nothing to be overlooked. We can put you in a safe house if you are not able to be part of the up and coming assignment we have cooking.”
“I am still one hundred percent, so long as I am not under a lot of heavy solid stress for long periods.” I replied, “Reporting as instructed, sir.”
“Excellent.” Colonel Jackson replied, and nodded to his young companion.
“Please help Sergeant Major get his gear packed.” He said, and the beautiful blond Lieutenant nodded her head.
“It will be my pleasure, Colonel.” She said, and I glanced at the young woman as I walked to my locker, putting stuff in a canvas bag. It included grenades, small arms, pistols and automatic weapons with ammunition, and packed a smaller bag with uniforms and regulation gear.
When we were finished, I gathered up the gear, and the Colonel nodded to me as we walked toward the door, now clad in my uniform. I quickly closed up my place, to lock it, and I followed the security detail that had come with my old C.O. and down to a waiting van where I was loaded with others, my gear stored in the back and we quickly drove off, at the dismay of my land-lord who watched the whole thing happen, and who was being held at gunpoint by a trooper, as the whole building had been secured.
As we drove down the road in a convoy of armored vehicles, to the Star port, I got on line my pocket computer, that was like a touch screen tablet created in the twentieth century, and I transferred six months worth of rent to the manager of my place with a stipulation to look after it, that I would be out of town for a while on deployment.
I knew he wouldn’t believe it, knowing I had been out of the service for a long time. He would be wondering about the troops, the bodies, and my escort from the building in a heavily armed fashion.
When we reached the Star port, I stepped out and grabbed my bags, and we formed up to hustle quickly toward the nearby gate where a waiting Destroyer Class Starship was to take us to the Military and Observation post that had been put on Artus two. Walking toward the sleek craft, I glanced up at the blue sky and at the planet that was in close orbit to this one, where the Military base was located.
“It’s going to be a short trip.” I thought, and I felt a hand of Lieutenant Anderson on my shoulder.
“This way Sergeant Major…” She said, motioning to the gangway, as the ship sat on its massive landing legs, designed like the old fashioned destroyers of the Twentieth Century Earth that once sailed on the oceans and not space. She guided me to the hatch behind the platoon strength detail that had been gathered from my old unit to the open hatch where we went aboard. The ground crew worked feverishly to take care of the massive ship, and I could see their work on repairing damage to an armor plate on the sleek hull of the ship.
“I saluted a harried Ensign, who stood at the gangway on the interior corridor of the airlock.
“Welcome Aboard Sergeant Major.” He said, touching the screen of a tablet he held in his hands, he quickly touched three places on it and it beeped at him.
“Report to the Observation deck, your platoon is mustering there.” The Ensign nodded to the young woman, already having logged her in a few hours ago, already loging in three groups of soldiers from the platoon in which I was a member for a new mission for the Earth Federation. She noted the intensity in the youthful officer’s eyes, as he directed personnel aboard the ship.
“Aye sir.” I replied and I want to the nearest lift, where I stepped on with the Lieutenant, and together we reported to the observation deck.
“I’ll be right back, Sergeant.” The Lieutenant said and I nodded. “Yes Ma’am, meet you on the Observation Lounge.” I turned and continued my trek down the maze of corridors toward the lounge, after checking the interactive diagrams on the computer outlets located throughout the ship, to get me there. I was happy to arrive there swiftly.
When the hatch opened, I was greeted by a cheer, and a hearty handshake and backslap. I stared at the face of another soldier, already clean shaven and his hair cut in military regulation. The uniform hung on him, as he was very wiry in frame, his wrinkled face, and the hint of graying hair evident on the top of his head. It too me a moment to recognize him and when did I gasped loudly.
“Jack, George, Mike!” I shouted gleefully, exchanging handshakes with friends I had in my unit.
“Simon.” They all said, and we all backslapped and laughed.
“Jesus, so they got you guys too? I know you were out before me.” I said and they nodded.
“It looks like for all of us, a lot of the old gang is back together, it looks like one last hurrah for us old vets.” Mike said, and I frowned, “Scuttlebutt, is the emergency, is a DOOM mole within the ranks, and has become judge, jury and executioner.”
Before anyone could continue, Colonel Jackson appeared in the Lounge, with his Lieutenant Aide, Anderson, and several high level personnel, who were responsible for the mission they were going on to fight the likes of DOOM.”
“Alright quiet down, we all know why we are here, and we’ll have a general inspection of arms, and review of objective at eighteen hundred hours, upon reaching Artus Two Military Post.”
“All personnel aboard, prepare for lift off.” A voice said on the speakers, and everyone headed for the nearby tables.
“That’s the Captain, Captain Randall H. Jones.” Mike told me, “I served with him on board a Frigate, he’s a pretty cool guy, fair, and rock hard to the regulations, so look out.”
I nodded in reply to the statement, and closed my eyes, gripping my chair’s arm as I was buckled into the swivel chair at each of the tables.
As we sat on the landing pad, there was a hum and a vibration that could be felt through the ship as the engine and power source was activated for the Starship. As it prepared to lift off, steward’s mates quickly secured the loose equipment and other stuff in the Lounge. My platoon and I all found seats at the many tables, buckled in and ready. I watched as they took seats nearby. Mike, George, Jack and I, sat at a table near the observation port and as the ship’s engine began to rumble the ship shook a bit before it lifted off. The ground suddenly got very small very fast, and as we lifted off higher, the entire city came into view, and the other cities and installations the Earth Federation had placed on this planet.
“It looks like we’re off and on for a long cruise.” I said, glancing at the city of New, New York below us, a city that I had called home in the last ten years after Military service, and the very toilet that was about to go into turmoil if it was not protected from the likes of DOOM now that their targets were not planet-side and being protected or being trained to retaliate against them for the senseless murders of a dozen troops of the three platoon I was assigned with. I didn’t know what to expect ahead of us all, but I suspected that it wasn’t going to be good. I let out my breath when we reached orbit and the three planets of this system orbited the dwarf star. It was the sign of the beginning of this mission, which already had started off bad, and no doubt was going to get worse over time.
To Be, Continued ---