Shorts smartworld

The Slumlord

Where Detective Jon Bakker is recruited by one of the City's powerbrokers to locate the mysterious Slumlord... But aren't they just a myth?

[Tuesday | 27 November 2266]

It had been another two weeks in isolation since I was last visited by Mikel, or whoever this new Magistrate is. Eight weeks, barely no sunlight, no room to move, and one solitary conversation with someone other than myself. It had been a week since I stopped smashing the wall, but the grazes and bruises on my knuckles weren’t close to healing.

As I slumped against the wall eating my nutrition bar—coffee again; it is my lucky day—I heard something. Or more, the lack of something. The constant humming in the background had disappeared. Soon, I was seeing in three dimensions again: the cybernetic eye was working. I move my cybernetic arm, and it too, has powered up.

I was back online. As much as I wanted to celebrate being able to escape my cell, there must have been something up. After more than ten weeks in here, the EMP field has never crashed. I didn’t expect this was a happy accident.

I switched my eye to infrared, and could make out two heat signatures outside the cells. Then a third one. I heard screaming, then the two original signatures turned cold. The third heat signature approached my cell and suddenly the door burst open.

While my natural eye couldn’t see who entered, the heat signature in the cybernetic eye confirmed a shinobi had burst into my cell. Following the signature, I slammed the cybernetic arm into the assailant with every ounce of strength I had left. Thanks to Mittens fucking with my DNA, it was more than I had anticipated.

As the arm connected with the shinobi, electricity pumped through him, shorting his cloaking field.

“Who sent you?”

Silence. I didn’t expect an answer, but one would have been nice.

“Was it Her Eminence?”

More silence.

Instead of waiting for an answer, or for the shinobi to decapitate me, I aimed my arm at his head. I fired an energy blast, which connected with his head and obliterated the wall behind him. As dust, rubble, blood and bits of brain fell to the ground outside, I made my escape.

“Took you long enough, Jonny.”

Entering my room wasn’t as peaceful as I’d hoped. Turns out that despite being caught by the Magistrate, she wasn’t serving time. It also turns out that even though she didn’t need to lie low anymore, she was still crashing here.

Not that I had time to ruminate on it, because not five minutes after I made it here, there was a knock on the door.

“Mittens, get rid of them, okay?” I said, before ducking into the bedroom to hide.

“Where is he?” It was a man’s voice.

“Y’know, it’d help if I knew who ‘he’ was,” Mittens responded. At least she didn’t go straight to selling me out.

“You know exactly who he is,” the voice said. The voice was growing more aggressive, so I prepared to jump in if need be. Either he kills me, a bouncer kills me, an officer kills me, Mittens kills me, a shinobi kills me, or Her Eminence kills me. I reasoned that no matter what I did, I’d be fucked. All it came down to was who would be there to do that to my corpse first.

“Paz, I—“

Paz? I rushed from the room to greet my replacement with my cybernetic arm.

“So, what? You’re going to treat me like that shinobi?”

How did he know about that? Maybe he was the Slumlord. Before I could ask, he turned to Mittens and told her to leave. She looked at me, and I shrugged. She left.

“Lower your weapon, Jon. Please.”

Despite every ounce of sanity left in my brain telling me not to, I complied.

“I suppose you want to know how word of the shinobi attack got back to me so quickly?”

“Because you’re the Slumlord.” My suspicion was answered with hysterical laughter.

“Not quite, Jon,” he said. “Because I’m the Magistrate.”

I clenched my fists. Returning the beating this bastard handed me a couple of weeks ago was going to be fun.

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