2079, Earth, 59 years after the Collapse.
Zen Cohen looked into the endless tropical groves of North Western American Pacifica rainforests. The endless winding Devil’s Backbone of asphalt, concrete, and aluminum steel guards comprising the Dirty I-30 through California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho were endless camps and compost heaps at there sides. Some raider camps of convoys with recreational vehicles and mobile campers where different nomadic American tribes had formed comprised of highwaymen, the pirates of the urban jungle, all a mechanic, sharpshooting, caravan of the bad Raider Gangs and at best Nomadic Tribals and the Terrifying Cannibalistic Reavers.
Once known as Political Activist movements and the gangs that infiltrated them with various former United States of America G-Men leading them which had fallen to become the People’s Republic of China controlled United Socialist States of America and the Russian influenced United American Empire with the Texas Republic as a remnant of the old U-S OF A.
Zen Cohen, a Hyperborean Psychic sent to collect surveys of everything Intelligence related to the Gardenia Utopian Community via his Quantum Mind to the greater Mass Mind. Zen Cohen was an albino which in this Post-Collapse world signaled someone advanced in Vampirism which resulted from Porphyria Sanguines that was genetic and communicable with Elder and Spawn variants of Vampirism. The Albino hue came from his Hyperborean Outsider status to Earth as Zen Cohen was from his planet of origin, Saturnia. Zen Cohen did not mind being misconstrued for being a Vampire due to his work in the Bedlam Grove Intelligence Community which reported to CEO Elijah Wratheon of the Wratheon MegaCorp. Zen van Nihil had a handsome well-chiseled face, stood 6 feet, 1 inches who wore combat armor of a black and golden decorum. Zen Cohen wielded incredible psychic powers as well as a Razzmatazz plasma cutter longsword and Wratheon Assault Carbine that fired 5.56 rounds and two 9mm pistols held akimbo in holsters. Zen had commandeered a Black Horse Motorcycle that Zen rode across the Dirty Interstate 30 down past the war zone of Portland, Oregon.
Portland being a place of anarchistic bloodshed, cratered out buildings, and mountains of trash as Portland had become a dumping ground of a harbor landfill used by the People’s Republic of China thereby becoming a truly Liberal Democratic Utopia while Seattle had built 100 foot tall concrete steel reinforced walls with renovations across the city into a clean, nice place to live for yesterday’s 1% of the Power Elite who the Wratheon vampire clan controlled not simply the Wratheon Megacorporation and many major world cities still habitable to live such as Seattle where hard work, dedication, and discipline allowed guaranteed luxury if the radical notion arcane to capitalism if rent was paid. The Wratheon vampire clan being ruthless bloodthirsty capitalists who utilized this payment of rent into civilized sanctuaries of eudaimonia or as the Nomadic Savages of Communist creeds warred st bootlicking Greed-loving usury worshipping Bourgeoisie Oligarchs of Capitalism with the Power Elite 1% Vampires who created Totalitarian Police-States. Patricians were those from the Corporatist Wratheon Megacities while Nomads were from the Wildlands. This dichotomous relation that distinguished social-castes inside social-castes with varying degrees of Patricians and Nomads. The Patrician was born in luxury and civilization while the Nomad was born a tribal savage in the wilderness. Simple as that.
Zen Cohen was a Wise Guy of the Wratheon vampire family who as a friend to the family in Zen’s need of personal objectives as a Hyperborean made his ends meet among the Wratheon Megacorporation as being so impressive as a Psychic and Super Soldier that Zen van Nihil was hired into the Wratheon Secret Service known universe known as Bedlam Grove Operatives publicly and singular members were Wratheon Operative. Zen van Nihil was pursuing a group of Nomadic Savages who had absconded with a Wratheon Industries prototype from the biological engineering facility in Boise, Idaho. Zen had been pursuing the Nomadic Savages who pulled the heist down to Coachella, North California. Zen guessed the Druid Fist was planning on releasing the living organism from the lab as Zen had known of the highly-adaptive mutants being chimeras throughout Pacifica in their frenzied flight from Zen van Nihil but Zen had signaled through GPS space-area dynamics of the Mutants so Wratheon Corp could catch the Mutants.
Zen van Nihil knew not what these Mutants were like but he had hunted down a few before they had transformed to impersonate their environment perfectly allowing specialist ecologist to try and identify the new species in their adapted habitat. The one that Zen van Nihil must take alive had achieved a type of person good in a series of journal entries in the notes left behind by the Gang who pulled the heist in extracting anomalous mutants in cryo-canisters that had been discarded as the high-life on the cryo-canisters that thawed out and released the Anomalous Mutants in the Pacifica Rain Forests. Zen rode his Black Horse Motorcycle as he flipped through the notes the Nomadic Savages had left behind.
April 24th, 2133CE. We pulled the heist at the Wratheon MegaCorp biological engineering laboratory, we got off scott-free time to lose the Bedlam Grove on the Dirty 30 to see how willing those bloodsuckers are to get back their product.
April 25th, 2133CE. Buster fell asleep over watch, a couple of the smaller Muties in the cryo-canisters thawed, damn things got lose, Esmeralda keeps going on about how much damage they could do to the ecosystem. I’m just worried what the buyer will think.
April 26th, 2133CE. Buster found a young hitch-hiker on the side of the road who seems gullible and naive. Her name is Sierra. Meanwhile, Esmeralda said it would look better if we were four rather than three who just stole and are losing the smaller Muties in the thawed cryo-canisters than the big one. However, I thought I saw something stirring in the big canister last night. I was so scared but I passed out to find it still secure in it’s cryo-canister. Memo to self – Vertigo and Tequila don’t mix.
April 27th, 2133CE. Buster’s new dime is a little ball of sunshine, her name is Sierra Sunshine and she is a real shooting star. Esmeralda keeps calling us ‘Simps’ and ‘Where did the big Mutant Cryo-Canister go?’ Oh boy the Wratheon MegaCorp and the Buyer are going to be so mad at us but I am having the time of my life. Memo to self – Vertigo and Tequila with little sister Sierra and little brother Buster, sure do mix.
April 28th, 2133. Finally reached Northern California, Esmeralda has been driving the van like a mad woman, going on about Muties in the van, there’s not going to be a mutiny but she is driving me to drink as she’s driving Buster crazy. ‘The Buyer is Salvador DuFont.’ All this alcohol is stopping the headaches but Buster told me to write that down, ‘The buyer is Salvador DuFont.’ Eve wants us to meet her best friend Zen van Nihil from when they did Labs together. Probably in college, probably not. We’re uniting with the Nomad Savage Tribals group known as the Vandals. Memo – Sierra does know best.
Zen van Nihil rode on looking at these notes that he saved in his holovision that he saved on his UtiliTech in photos. Analysis of the handwriting was that it belonged to the Otho Johnston who was a member of the Vandals. Zen knew that Salvador DuPont was a criminal overlord and rival to the Wratheon vampire clan and Wratheon MegaCorp. ‘Mr. Salvador DuPont wants these Mutants for his private collection. He should have hired the Pagans who were magic wielding warriors who were professionals with regional headquarters around the world. However, the Vandals were probably that cheapskate Salvador DuPont’s lowest bidder, he should have known that the Wratheon MegaCorp only hired the best sub rosa agents possible. I will clean up the Vandals, take back the Big Mutant, set-up extraction teams to cultivate the Wratheon Special Forces, return to Elijah Wratheon with this Sierra Sunshine then take out Salvador DuPont at his Venice Beach Fortress of Freaks. As an albino psychic Hyperborean, I will fit right in.’
Zen came up on his partner Emily Chen, a Bedlam Grove Operative who was with a survey team of Wratheon Security Forces and Insurance Agents scanning over the burning van in the middle of the Northern California desert. Emily wore the same body armor and black trenchcoat that Bedlam Grove Reavers wore as a Wratheon MegaCorp uniform. Emily Chen was a Chinese-American who worked as Zen van Nihil’s partner in the field and all things for they were best friends.
“Zen, how did the Muties hunting go?” Emily Chen asked stoically.
“Most were hunted then exterminated or captured by yours truly, the Wratheon Searchers found any I could not take care of myself, the others who got away, are lucky, those captured have been returned to the scientists to be studied at the lab giving the blind research of what those rascal muties got into while they had their freedom. Now, Emily Chen, what did these dumbass Vandals get into? What have you found in your Discovery?” Zen asked.
Emily Chen pulled out a flashlight and prongs putting them on a cloth laid out on the ground. Emily Chen put on plastic gloves under a pair of leather gloves Zen pulled off his leather gloves to put plastic gloves that Emily Chen gave him then he put on leather gloves. Zen and Emily put on rebreathers as the surveyors taking exact notes of tread marks, exact markings, blemishes, and the assortment of stickers charred onto the back of the van.
Emily Chen and Zen Cohen were to check the contents of the charred Turbo Van wrapped around a streetlight then being set ablaze and ditched for another vehicle which Zen albeit a tabula Rosa in this investigation as was Emily Chen had a feeling it had to do with a multifaceted number of stressers put on Esmeralda the Heist leader. They probably were riding a Vandal Caravan Bus given the notes Zen had but this practice was more for his puzzle solving business partner Emily Chen to show the entire habeus corpus to Corporate when the investigation concluded.
“I did some dabbling around and appreciate you sharing all those notes in that Dada-Data message over the UtiliTech but it appears the driver and leader Esmeralda was being stressed beyond imagination, she’s got the Bedlam Grove Agents or us on her case, those Muties crawling all over the van must have driven her over the edge.” Emily Chen smiled while momentarily raising her eyebrows at the sight of the torched gauze and bandages charred to the steering wheel with no sign of a body. The impact was heightened with tire streak marks on the asphalt and concrete. Emily Chen began taking Zen van Nihil through a sensual step by step deconstruction and search of the Killvillion Turbo Van XL. In the front seat, where Esmeralda the Green Peace Eco-Warrior had planted herself at the helm of this Killvillion Turbo Van XL where there was the bloody gauze and bandages at the steering wheel with a smashed motorcycle helmet that she wore for speedy driving and combat defense if they caught them on the road. On the driver’s seat floor were Mister Fixer syringes for quick biological regeneration. Emily took the prongs and picked up each Mister Fixer syringe and put them in plastic bags. Zen jotted down notes on the charred bandages and gauze on the steering wheel taking pictures from his UtiliTech Holocam. After they were done with the front seat the Wratheon MegaCorp Insurance Agents went over it like C-Pop Stans and Paparazzi that they were involved in a Bedlam Grove investigation to clean any and all data that Emily Chen and Zen van Nihil found not useful to the investigation.
Zen Cohen checked the passenger seat to find a Wakatzu Gaming Device with a shattered screen. Zen van Nihil picked it up and sensed clairvoyantly knew that it belonged to the 19 year old Buster. Zen van Nihil took a Semi-Com of his UtiliTech to act as a compartmentalized midway Intel port surrounded by a firewall despite having an impervious firewall in his Wratheon UtiliTech – Quantum Computing Device. He used the Semi-Com to plug into Buster’s discarded Wakatzu Gaming Device to download it’s contents to find games and darkweb Social-Media.
“This is useful.” Zen Cohen said as his biological psychic powers of Technomancy to interface with the Semi-Com storage device. The Semi-Com had sperated any viruses, bugs, or worms that Buster had left to fry any cybernetic agents of Wratheon MegaCorp then safely clean the maladaptive hazardous tech to then effectively save everything for Wratheon MegaCorp to do Cyber-Archeology to create a psychological blueprint to be kept on file which would come as instinctual to Zen van Nihil and Emily Chen as Zen Cohen put the Wakatzu Gaming Device in a Zip-Quick plastic bag then sent the data to Emily Chen’s UtiliTech.
“Oooh, nice find my guy, Zen Cohen, you’re the man.” Emily cooed in awesome delight.
“What did you find back there?” Zen Cohen asked.
“I found all the Wratheon MegaCorp Mutant Storage Containers DESTROYED and OPENED, dammit.” Emily sardonically and sarcastically yelled in cathartic retort.
Emily continued, “I found all this garbage, used drug syringes, butts of Stim-Cigs and Marijuana, enough beer and liquor bottles to fill a lake, nasty clothes, it appears some of it is singed but the fire was mainly from the engine and Esmeralda’s seat also Zen Cohen, don’t open the hood, have Blake do it, he’s dying to help out.”
“Hey man, pop the hood, you get the honor of checking out the engine.” Zen Cohen said to an Insurance Agent.
Elated, elevated, and empowered. The Insurance Agent known as Kor went over to the hood. Taking a crowbar that he popped the hood.
“Ahhhhh!” Kor screamed as a neon green and turqoise furred three-headed dire Mutant Cerberus with four ears on each head, an array of festering eyes, as acid came out of its mouth to digest Kor quickly.
Emily Chen and Zen Cohen drew their .50 Caliber Wratheon Night Hawk semi-automatic pistols. Firing into the Dire Mutant Cerberus blowing it to pieces as it consumed Kor and ran into the woods as it regenerated. Two more Mutant Cerberi slipped out of the engine block as slimey abberations before coming at a windsprint Zen Cohen and Emily Chen fired into the smaller Mutant Cerberi as the Security Forces fired Assault Carbines into the two wolves killing them. The Mutant Cerberi were downed as men in hazmat suits used cryocannons to freeze the remains and check on Kor’s corpse. Zen Cohen and Emily Chen started after the Dire Mutant Cerberus which Zen Cohen and Emily Chen knew this specimen as Fenrir. Fenrir was a Cthonic Mutant, Fenrir was clever and dangerous. It’s two cubs were being stored in a morgue locker in the back of a van. A perimeter was being formed. Three Security Forces Agents ran after Fenrir. Through the Red Wood Tree Forest they ran after Fenrir catching sight of it momentarily in various places as they fired, they ran through a sticky patch of flora and fauna when they started feeling exhausted… feint, light-hearted, nausea as they fell from their run puking incessantly and uncontrollably. Fenrir quickly made a meal out of them at once, growing in size.
Emily Chen screamed after the Security Forces, “Stay here, let me and my fellow Bedlam Grove Operative, Zen Cohen, handle this situation.”
They disregarded this request. Wratheon BioTech Captain Phoenix Albrecht had handled the Insurance Agents by arming them with Wratheon Assault Carbines and Bulletproof Vests.
Phoenix Albrecht yelled through the voice distorter speaker, “Go, Zen Cohen and Emily Chen, I have a perimeter secured, go, Go!”
Zen Cohen and Emily Chen took cryo grenades with them and began carefully walking through the woods looking for Fenrir and immediately began finding signs of how intelligent this Mutant that Fenrir was. Zen Cohen handled the left and Emily Chen to his right as they departed from the round through the ravines of where the Wratheon Security Forces had been lured through the woods and devoured.
Zen Cohen and Emily Chen noticed the 5.56 rounds in the trees with branches violently disheveled and splintered wood on the ground.
“Zen Cohen, the subject Fenrir is around here somewhere.” Emily Chen whispered.
A shift happened in the flora and fauna around them. Branches cracking, twigs popping, and a gust through the trees that sent leaves blowing by. Zen Cohen and Emily Chen walked forward carefully scanning everything around them. They came around a tree to find the disemboweled remains of a Security Forces Officer with an assault carbine that Zen picked up checking that the magazines were loaded. Zen quickly cleaned the rifle and checked the assault carbine’s functionality then loaded two other magazines into his bomber jacket pockets where Zen and Emily Chen walked through the thick leaves on the ground. Zen noticed something he could not quite notice but the clairvoyant part of his mind found he could not find what waited on the other side of the tall grass. Zen picked up a log with his psychic powers of telekinesis to fluidly girl the large fallen tree log at it. The haze disappeared from his mind as an unworldly alien screech was let out into the late afternoon sky from Fenrir. Emily Chen fired at it as it scuttled whimpering off making a sound of scraping metal and elephant seals honking.
Zen and Emily ran after Fenrir. They bounded over ravines and over terrain to keep up with the large Cerberi mutant known as Fenrir that had gained mass with the flesh it feasted from. They came to a meadow where the gore and mutilated bodies of Security Forces were.
Suddenly, they sensed they were being circled from either direction due to psychic distortions. As it closed in. Emily feared for the worst.
“Zen, how are you feeling for psychic energy?” Emily Chen said showing him a high-yield explosive pulse grenade and diving into his arms as she threw the pulse grenade into the air.
Zen put up a crystalline forcefield as he held Emily Chen in his arms kissing her passionately. Lips locked, tongues vying for power and dominance eternally with each other as Fenrir came just to the border of the shield trying to slash and break through barrier as the pulse grenade exploded consuming the beast known as Fenrir in plasmid flames.
The bodies incinerated with Fenrir in fire contained to that area for now as Zen Cohen continued kissing Emily Chen and holding her rubbing their hands all over each other in their fiery passionate paradise that resembled Hell but was Heaven for they were together. The flames were being extinguished by cryocannons as Zen Cohen and Emily Chen kissed more fervently and seductively then slowed down as reality dialed in. Zen Cohen got up then helped Emily Chen up who had been weak in her knees.
“You good?” Zen Cohen asked.
“I love you.” Emily Chen answered.
Zen Cohen pretended he didn’t hear that, “Wait, what,” as any man plays it cool.
“Yes, thank you.” Emily Chen smiled.
Zen Cohen kissed Emily Chen tenderly and sweetly, Zen then said, “I love you too.” They kissed again to see nothing remained but goo remained of Fenrir.
Their work was done. The Science Team were bagging up bodies and cleaning up remains.
Zen Cohen and Emily Chen had work to do.