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?

[Monday | 3 September 2266]

“Rise and Shine, Bobo.”

“Fuck off, Mittens.” Another day, another morning. When I got back last night, I agreed to let her hang here. I’m already regretting that decision.

“Isn’t it a little early?”

“Hey, I don’t tell the Animalz what time to rock into town.”

“Think they’re here for the Slumlord?”

“Well, according to Her Eminence, the Slumlord is funding them.”

Without another word, I leapt from the bed and stripped off my pyjamas, forgetting all about Mittens standing in there, catching an eyeful of my little Jonny. Before long, I was gone.

A caravan of motorbikes drove through the street, heading south-west. Six in total. At least they weren’t hard to track. They made their way to a warehouse. Looks like these fuckers have an M.O. At night, the warehouse acts as a club of sorts, Club 42. This is where the slums’ denizens like to meet, dance, consume synthetics, and occasionally fuck—illegal synthetics have a way of getting you to lower those pesky inhibitions.

“We’re closed, Bobo.” The bouncer was blocking the door.

“But you have customers!” I didn’t have time for this shit.

“Private meeting.”

The neon glow from the buildings towering above the slums began to shift tones as the sound of sirens filled the area. Twelve armoured cars, each carrying two officers, arrive on the scene. An officer—the Chief—stepped out of the car. I’ve worked for a number of Chiefs over the years, and I’m yet to meet one who wasn’t a cunt.

“Arms where I can see them!” Yep, total cunt.

I contemplated running.

I considered drawing a weapon.

I thought about unleashing a sonic blast.

But in the end, I did as I was told and slowly raised my arms.

“Detective Jon Bakker,” the Chief said. Looks like he ran my image through the Conscience database. “You didn’t report for duty after your run-in with the Animalz. What is this, a personal vendetta? There’s no record of you having any connection to Counsellor Adrit prior to that incident.”

“Feed it up the line; this is above your pay grade, ‘Chief.’”

“I’ve never met a turncoat who didn’t try that one on me.”

“Just like I’ve never met a Chief who isn’t a total cunt.”

“Eliminate him,” he commanded the officers. Maybe calling him a ‘cunt’ to his face wasn’t the smartest career move I’ve made.

The officers drew their pulse rifles and aimed them directly at me. Suddenly, I felt a jerk around my collar as the bouncer hurled me inside as gunfire exploded against the wall. The bouncer stumbled inside a second later. Poor bastard took a bolt to the shoulder. Yet, he still sealed the door shut behind him. Mikel had some decent help.

“How long will this hold?”

“Who knows? Depends on how long they take to use a bazooka.”

He had a point, but now wasn’t the time to point it out, with the raining gunfire and all.

“Who’s this fucker?” an Animal asked.

“Bobo,” the bouncer answered. “He’s cool.”

“He most definitely is not ‘cool’,” another Animal added. “I just scanned ‘Bobo.’ He’s Detective Jon Bakker, the cop from the Adrit bust.” Shit, why didn’t Her Eminence scrub me from the network? Now I’ve got a room full of Animalz pointing their guns at me, while I have a parking lot of Officers shooting at me.

“Talk fast, or I’ll paint the floor with detective jam.”

“Send a transmission to any Animal who was at the warehouse that night. They’ll confirm I was the one who killed Adrit, and gave them the head start before destroying the warehouse.”

“Verified,” one of the Animalz confirmed.

“Well then, Detective, it looks like you’ve made some new friends.” Good. I guess.

“Are you the only ones here?”

“Why wouldn’t we be?”

“I’m a curious guy. And generally, if you’re venturing into a club before hours, you’re meeting someone. Like, say, the Slumlord. It’s only a matter of time until they get in, and I’m assuming you’d like to keep them safe.”

“He already left,” the head Animal said.


“He just went out the back, and… that’s all we saw.”

“He went into his underground tunnel network. It’s reserved for him and the other powerbrokers here,” the bouncer told me.

“Well, right now, all that stands between you and death is that flimsy little wall. Or you can take the Animalz through and get them to safety.”

“What about you?”

“I’ll slow them down. Now, go!”

As the bouncer led the Animalz to the back of the warehouse, the door exploded inwards and the officers flooded the warehouse.

“Tell me where they are, and you’ll get to live long enough to see them die,” Chief Cunt said. “Hell, if I’m feeling generous, I might simply arrest you.”

“I’ve been with the Force for a while now, Chief. And I know every piece of gear they give you is electronic, right down to your uniforms.” The idiot looked perplexed. Then the lights went dim, the officers’ weapons stopped working, as did their mech uniforms. My EMP field worked.

I ran through the tunnel faster than a man my age should ever have to. “Do we have far to go?”

The bouncer shrugged. Helpful guy, isn’t he?

Suddenly, the entire tunnel rattled beneath the dull sound of an explosion from above.

“What the fuck was that?” the bouncer asked.

“Protocol. I took the assholes offline, and the Force determined the Slumlord, or our Animal friends, maybe both, are worth the lives of two dozen officers. Can’t risk them telling state secrets.”

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