Here's the final snippet for you from Book 2 of The New Prometheus Series Book 2, THE PROMETHEUS GAMBIT.
Taken from early in the book, here, Frankie meets up with someone we briefly met in book 1, hoping to recruit him to the A.C.T.
I hope you like it and I hope you enjoy the book!
Release announcement to follow!
Reaching the section of back road where the motorway passed above, Frankie stood under the flyover and gave her jacket a quick shake now she was out of the rain. She’d been getting drenched.
She didn’t mind, though, and leant up against a concrete pillar and enjoyed the view of the city; its lights twinkling in the dull rain filled greyness of the day. She wasn’t in a rush and wanted to make sure that Dion felt safe in approaching her, so she didn’t mind if it took him a while. But, sure enough, about forty minutes from the time the email had appeared in her messages, she spotted Dion walking through the rain and finally step under the flyover, giving his own black coat a shake off as well.
‘You came,’ Frankie said to him.
‘Of course, I came. It’s because of you I’m in this mess, really,’ he said.
‘How so?’ Frankie asked quizzically.
‘Well, obviously, I couldn’t go back to my apartment; not after what the Corporations did to my friends, and from what I hear, your apartment. I had to go on the run. I didn’t want them coming after me as well.’
‘I think you’re overestimating your importance a touch, but, sure. I’ll take that. I’m sorry,’ she said. Dion was already coming across as somewhat confrontational, which, again, was understandable, but she didn’t want to argue with him, quite the opposite. She wanted to recruit him. So, taking some blame for his going on the run seemed like a small thing to do.
‘Aaah, it's fine. I’m sure you didn’t want any of this to happen,’ he said.
‘Not to put too fine a point on it, but no, I didn’t. I never thought that you would get dragged into this mess, or that your friends would suffer the fate that they did. I do feel terrible about it, and I also want to make these Corporate bastards pay for it, too.’
‘You do?’ he said, looking up at her. ‘But, I thought… Aren't you working with the police or something?’
Frankie thought about that for a moment. The last time she had seen him, she had been with Gibson, and the story he had told Dion and his friends was that Gibson had caught her trespassing in the Undercity. Then later, when his friends had been killed, he saw her leave the building, again with Gibson, using the Corporate flyer.
‘Look, it’s a bit of a long and complicated story,’ she said, ‘but suffice to say, the Corporations want me dead, and I, along with a team of like-minded people, have come together to try and fight back against them. And we might need your help.’
Dion looked a little surprised by this revelation. ‘My help? What can I do?’
‘Probably more than you know. Look, where are you staying? Is there somewhere better we can talk?’ Frankie asked.
Dion frowned for a moment. ‘There is, but I shouldn’t… Ah, fuck it, sure, it should be okay. I’ll deal with it. Come with me,’ he said and pulled his coat tighter about him and ran from the cover of the flyover, back into the rain.
Frankie followed him, jogging through the cascading water and splashing through puddles, getting wetter every moment.
A few minutes and a couple of streets later, Dion turned into an alleyway, which provided a little cover from the rain. Part way down, they reached a chain link fence that looked to have seen better days. Dion pulled open one side of it and squeezed through, holding it open for Frankie.
‘Thanks,’ she said. He led her to a door at the base of a complex of buildings that had been added to and built on top of over the years. It was dark down here, and, finally, they were out of the rain as he knocked on a door.
An intercom buzzed for a moment.
‘Who’s that with you, Dion?’
Dion looked back at Frankie and then returned his attention back to the intercom. ‘She… she’s a friend, I trust her. She’s cool,’ he said.
Frankie was careful not to react too much, but it felt nice, if a little surprising, to hear this kid, who had only ever scowled at her and cat-called her back when she lived in the apartment, say he thought she was cool.
‘I never knew you cared, Dion,’ she whispered.
Dion looked back at her with a bit of an incredulous frown, but she just smiled back.
‘If you say so. You’re responsible for her, though. She fucks up, it’s on you. Got it?’ said the intercom.
‘Got it,’ Dion said.
The intercom then buzzed a different and louder noise and Dion pushed open the door.
‘Follow me,’ he said and walked inside. Frankie followed him in and found herself in a smallish room where a large man sat in front of a desk with a terminal on it. There were several screens displaying security camera views of the outside courtyard. They had seen them coming from a long way off.
The man sat back in his chair and nodded at Dion, and then gave Frankie a long, hard stare. Frankie couldn’t help but notice the shotgun on the table and the knife attached to the man’s belt.
‘You sure about this, Dion? We don’t like unannounced visitors.’
‘Yeah, we’re cool,’ Dion said.
‘You gonna be any trouble, babe?’
‘Babe? Wow,’ Frankie said.
‘Well, are ya?’ the man insisted.
‘No, I’m not,’ she said, wanting to get past this interruption.
‘You know she’s a cyborg, right, Dion?’
‘Huh? Oh, yeah, sure,’ Dion said.
To Frankie, Dion’s reaction sounded fake, but she wasn’t the one he had to convince. She glanced over at the screens again, wondering how he knew she had an artificial body, and noticed that some of the cameras were showing alternate views, such as one showing heat signatures and other spectrums of light. She could also see a screen of code and such, so it looked like they were more advanced security wise than she had suspected.
‘Go on, get out of here, and if she’s any trouble, I’ll own your ass, Dion,’ the man said.
Dion merely nodded and led Frankie through the next door and along a corridor.
‘He seemed nice,’ Frankie commented sarcastically. Dion ignored her.
Frankie peered into the side rooms as they walked, seeing groups of people talking or standing over terminals, all of them engrossed in what they were doing. In the first large room they stepped into, Frankie suddenly got a much better idea of what was going on here. There were tables and desks everywhere with countless terminals squeezed into any space they would fit. Cables and wires snaked up to the ceiling where they crossed the room in all directions and hung back down to attach to other workstations. People sat or stood about, their faces lit by the light from the screens they were staring at.
This was a hacker den. Frankie had seen one of these before, on a much smaller scale back in University. She couldn’t help the memories of her friend Mallory that rose to the surface again on seeing this and remembering her ultimate fate. She shook her head and pushed those thoughts back, focusing on what she was seeing now. Dion continued on into the room, so Frankie followed and noticed that someone, a girl, had stood up and was now making her way through the room to them. Dion saw her too and slowed up, allowing her to stride over to him with a face like thunder.
‘Who the shit is this?’ she hissed, keeping her voice low. The whole room hummed with cooling fans, which tried to keep the CPU’s in here from overheating, so her voice wouldn’t travel far anyway.
‘A friend,’ Dion said to her.
‘Oh, that’s okay, then. Let’s all just bring our mates over, shall we? Show them where this place is and hope none of them causes us any trouble?’ This girl had an attitude. She also had a shock of neon pink hair and some obvious sockets on the side of her head where it had been shaved.
She sported jeans and a few layers of tops that looked to have seen better days and showed off some of her intricate tattoos.
‘Don’t worry, she’s cool. She won’t cause any trouble, I promise,’ he said.
‘Is that right?’ the girl said and gave Frankie a look of daggers. ‘Have I seen you somewhere?’ she said.
‘I doubt it,’ Frankie said, her face incredulous.
‘Look, Flare, don’t worry, she’s fine. She’ll be gone before you know it, promise,’ Dion said.
‘She better be,’ Flare said, a tone of finality to her voice as she backed off.
Dion thanked the girl and continued on through the room and over to a doorway leading off the main room. He used a key, unlocked it and stepped inside.
The room was small, about three times the size of the mattress that was on the floor with a small window that looked out to the grey city outside.
Frankie drew some parallels between this dingy little room and her own neglected apartment back before her cyberization.
‘I know it’s not much,’ Dion said.
‘Actually, it reminds me of my own apartment back before all this happened,’ she said.
‘Oh, okay. Hey, Clint, the doorman, said you were a cyborg, is that right? I thought you were a Nat.’
Frankie nodded and turned to face him. ‘I suppose that does deserve an explanation,’ she said. She looked down and sat on the edge of the mattress. ‘Yes, I didn’t used to have any implants, just the nanobots we all have. And that evening you saw me at the lifts the time before I met you on the rooftop? I was still without any implants at all. But all that changed that day. I went to the Undercity. I’d been going down there for months; helping people, the ones who were victims of the Corporation’s greed. But I got caught up in a Jacker Gang attack, got myself shot and when I woke up, I was in a back alley lab with my brain transplanted into this cyborg body,’ Frankie said.
‘It was done, against your will?’ Dion asked.
‘I would have died without it, I’m certain of that, so the doctor saved my life, but, yes, it could have been handled differently, maybe.’
‘That’s bad ass, man. Shit, I never would have known. So, how come the Corporations want you dead?’
‘The doctor who did this to me, he was kidnapped by the Psytech Corporation shortly after I woke up, but I got away, went on the run. That’s when I met you, actually. I knew the cop, Gibson, and he helped me get home, but it became very apparent that the Corps were not going to let me be, and I needed to know more about my body, so, I took the Corporate flyer on the roof of our building and went and rescued the doc. Psytech didn’t like that.’
‘No shit!’ Dion said.
‘One thing led to another, and now we’re fighting back.’
‘Shit. I had no idea,’ he said.
‘Yeah, well, it’s not something I shout about,’ she said, going over the events of those chaotic few days after her transformation. She questioned her choices, wondered if she could have done anything differently, done anything better. A lot of people had died in those few days during her frantic run from the Corporations, and maybe some of them didn’t need to, but what was done was done. She couldn’t change it now. She looked up at Dion and saw how his life looked. He’d seen the devastation that the Corporations could cause, he’d seen the complete disregard for life they had, and been on the receiving end of their justice. So he knew what they were all about.
‘I’ve been fighting them in my own way for years,’ Dion said. ‘I hate the Corps. Me and my friends, we’ve been trying to hack them, shut down some of their operations, you know? Doing what we can. It’s been tough, since my mates… well, you know. You saw.’
‘I did. I get it,’ Frankie said.
‘I couldn’t go back home. I didn’t know how much they knew about me and what I’ve done. I didn’t want to put my mum at risk, you know? I thought it best if I just left, make my own way. That’s how I ended up here.’
‘So, what will you do next? Where will you go?’ Franke asked.
‘I don’t know. Where can I go? The Corporations are everywhere.’
‘Look, I wanted to see you for two reasons,’ Frankie said. ‘Firstly, I promised I would find you when I left you on that rooftop, and I always try to keep my word. I wanted to make sure you were okay, and I’m pleased that you are, but the other reason is that I wanted to offer you a job and some protection.’
‘A job?’ Dion asked, surprise and curiosity on his face.
‘After the events I told you about came to a head, we were approached by a government agent who wanted to recruit us to their Anti-Corporation Taskforce. It sounded good, so we joined up,’ Frankie said.
‘Anti-Corporation Taskforce? A.C.T.? Heh, clever,’ he said.
‘I didn’t name it, but, we’re in need of… someone like you, with your skills, to join us. We can give you some protection, but you will be associated with us, and when the Corps find out about the A.C.T., I’m sure they will want to stop us. So, it might not be for you, maybe…?’
‘Wait, no, I like it. You want me to hack and get paid for it? Sign me up.’
‘Oh, really? I thought you might need a little more convincing than that.’
‘Hell no. It’ll be better than living here. I bet.’
‘Marginally, and I’ll talk with Gibson. It might be that we can help protect your mother as well,’ she said.
Dion gave Frankie a slight smile. ‘That would be good,’ he said, trying to hide the emotion that rose up within him.
Frankie frowned as she heard the sounds of commotion just at the edges of her enhanced hearing, but it quickly grew louder and closer. Frankie stood up and moved to the door, pulling it open slightly and looking outside into the main room.
‘What’s that noise? What’s going on?’ Dion said, now that he could hear it, too.
‘I think I can guess,’ Frankie said, as she peered out into the hacker den where people were standing up and looking around, confused and worried. At the far side of the room, through the door Frankie had first come through, an object trailing an arc of smoke flew into the room, followed by another and another. They disappeared out of sight onto the floor, and suddenly, with an intense hissing, smoke billowed up and out.
Just before the smoke concealed the opposite door entirely, she spotted the familiar sight of men in black tactical gear with combat webbing, armour, a side arm, and helmets moving into the room with rifles held high. They started to shout at people to get down and lay on the floor.
‘Shit,’ Frankie cursed. Her day was about to get a bit more interesting.