It had been pressing times for the Nomads following the raid on their cave by the mischievous Mercs. Not only did they have wounded personnel to look after and equipment to fix, the toxic waste that was seeping into their hideout was getting worse by the day.
It was high time they migrated to a new base. Tasked with the job of scouting out a new spot was Hector, their expert night seeker. Several weeks had passed and his shortlist of locations had been whittled down to two final places. Hector invited Nomad leader Kenny Waste out for a reconnaissance visit to one of those spots, an abandoned building tucked away out of sight from pretty much anything else in the surrounding wasteland area.
It was getting late when the two men arrived at the spot. No traces of life were visible in the final hour of daylight, no cars, no animals, nothing. Hector paused for a moment as his yellow eyes began to charge. Suddenly, two intense beams of light shot out from under his brow, illuminating the exterior of the building. Not a door in sight. A single window was barricaded shut. They flanked the side of the building until they reached the corner and turned around.
“You know, Hector, this place reminds me of an old myth. When I was a Corpo cybernetic engineer, we learnt about a mad scientist who lived outside the city. The story goes that he was working on advanced technology, things like AI-powered weapons, cyborg enhancements and alternative energy sources. They say he disappeared suddenly, but nobody knew who he was or where he came from. Maybe this was his lab.”
“Could be. I think I heard that story too. Rumor has it he tripped and fell into another dimension.”
“Haha, that’s crazy talk, Hector. But you know, I never really thought about where all that cyborg gear came from that we’ve been hoarding for so long. I just reckoned they were Corpo rejects. Maybe it came from the scientist. I’m surprised I never thought of searching for this place before.”
“Well, that’s why they call them myths, Kenny. They’re not real. Look there, is that a trap door?”
“Not sure if it’s a door, but looks like a trap alright. You first.”
“You’re the leader.”
“Fine,” grunted Kenny. “Stand there to the side and shine your eyes on the door. I’ll open it slowly.”
Sure enough, without much effort, Kenny managed to lift the trap door, revealing the entrance to an underground passageway. Without a word, they cautiously entered into the building.
“Wait a minute,” said Kenny. “Don’t close the door. Put something in between to keep it ajar.”
“Good idea.”
Satisfied with their escape route, the two Nomads continued down the hatch until they arrived in a corridor. Hector’s eyes continued to illuminate the path in front. Kenny spotted a switch.
“Let there be light.”
Upon flicking the switch, a horrendous roaring sound developed, closely followed by a wall of fire that hurtled rapidly towards them. The startled Nomads tried to run back but the fire approached at a tremendous pace. It came right up to them, through them, and past them, until the fire was gone, returning the corridor to darkness once again.
“What the hell was that?” shrieked Hector.
“Must have been a hologram. You OK?”
“Yeah, I think so. You?”
“All good. Let’s keep going. Keep shining down there.”
The Nomads continued down the hallway, illuminated solely by Hector’s bright yellow eyes. The corridor floor, having started off as a rough concrete surface, began to smoothen out and descend slightly. The further they walked, the sleeker the surface became, and the steeper the descent. Suddenly, a frightful gust of cold penetrated the air around them.
“This is weird, man,” said Hector as a thick white fog accompanied the words that came from his mouth.
“Look down,” said Kenny.
The cold air had turned the floor to ice.
“I’m going back upstairs,” said Hector.
As he turned, he slipped and fell, dragging Kenny along with him. The two Nomads slid down the icy corridor further and further into the dark depths of the unknown.
As the sun continued to dip behind Cyber City’s imposing skyline, Corpo CEO Geoff Hunter was preparing for another night time escapade. Although this time, he was not alone. Krueger, as he referred to himself on such missions, was out with his crew of his trusty droids, his personally trained Sentinel 42069 model. This particular mission of his required some backup but nobody could be trusted except the 42069 model. This particular sentinel was trained to keep things to itself and do only what Krueger told it to.
Having performed years of extensive research into artificial intelligence, holograms and other cutting edge technology, Krueger was all but certain that the myth of Cyber City’s mad scientist was true. If anyone could help him with his morbid plans, it would be the scientist. In worst case, he’d just grab some resources, his sentinels would help with that.
Now, after weeks of searching, Krueger had finally arrived at what he thought must have been the scientist’s lab. Oblivious to the trap door, Krueger continued to walk around until he found an open window on the opposite end of the building.
He and the droids climbed in through the window. They tried to drop down, but there was no ground to stand on. There was however a ladder attached to the wall that seemed to lead further down into the building.
Undeterred, Krueger led the way until they arrived on solid ground. It was pitch black. The sentinels activated their searchlights. A quick scan of the corridor showed a light switch on the wall. Krueger flicked it. Almost instantly, a deafening whirring sound developed, and a cluster of drones approached them menacingly.
No sooner had they thought of retreating back up the ladder, had the swarm of drones surrounded them and covered them in a tight net. The drones then grouped together and dragged the intruders deeper into the building.
Located deep in the heart of the abandoned building, away from the noises at either end, was Hoodoo faction member Doctor Dope. Doc was in a laboratory, too busy listening to reggae music to have noticed any commotion elsewhere in the building. In his hands were two steaming hot vials. Suddenly, a snake slithered out from his trouser leg and decided to patrol the nearby corridors. Moments later it came back and hissed loudly at Doc.
Doc carefully closed up his potions and sneaked quietly out of the lab. The corridor led to a T junction, where he heard faint noises echoing from both sides. A constant buzzing sound to the left, startled voices to the right, both getting closer with each passing second.
Doc wasted no time and threw a vial of freshly mixed potion onto the ground. Then, from his pocket he took out a scorpion and tossed it into the simmering liquid. A thick black cloud of mist billowed out from the puddle, instantly filling the corridor.
The cloud disappeared and Doctor Dope was nowhere to be seen. Dozens, if not hundreds of scorpions scampered through the corridor. The drone cluster arrived first and attempted to shoot pacifying taser shots at the scorpions but could not keep up with them. The drones retracted and the scorpions released the tangled Corpos from the net.
Kenny and Hector arrived in from the other side. Amidst the stench of the simmering black liquid and scampering scorpions, the two groups of intruders faced off in the dark hallway. Kenny instantly recognized his previous employer, as well as the numerous sentinels. 42069 was a model he was particularly familiar with from his cybernetic engineering days.
“Attack!” ordered Krueger, the command setting the sentinels directly into motion.
“Command Code 48-48!” yelled Kenny.
The sentinels turned towards Kenny, dropped to their knees and bowed their heads.
“How did you do that?” shrieked Krueger.
“Sorry boss, can’t tell you that. I signed a non-disclosure agreement you see.”
“You little rat. Who are you?”
“Don’t you know, boss? I was your brightest protégé. My, my... You Corpos really don’t know a thing about the people whose lives you ruin.”
“Well whoever you are kid, get out of here. I’m taking this place over.”
“No you’re not. You’re outnumbered, Hunter. Your friends have been paused and cannot reboot without manual intervention. I don’t have the tools here, nor do you.”
“Move out the way, Kenny”, said Hector. “And close your eyes.”
With that, Hector’s eyes charged to maximum intensity, switching from yellow to white and released a heavy pulse towards Krueger’s skull. The Corpo CEO instantly fell to the ground in a heap.
“He’ll be out cold for a few hours. When he wakes up, he won’t remember anything from today.”
“Excellent work, Hector. I’m going to call for backup. Let’s dump these Corpos back where they belong and take a closer look at this building.”