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The Lai Dai megacorporation has far ranging interests, is one of the foremost research companies in the cluster, and has strong links to the Khanid Kingdom?

Author Topic: Cold-blooded Creatures  (Read 47 times)

Korsavius

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Cold-blooded Creatures
« on: 05 Nov 2017, 12:38 »

Hi friends! So here is my final submission for the YC 119 Pod and Planet Fiction Contest (entry number 9!). I hope you enjoy this piece, and all the other amazing fan fiction that was put out there! I’m looking forward to reading through all of it. :) Take care.

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Cold-blooded Creatures

Amatine and Jaaq casually strode down the damp alleyway. Illusory clouds were not strong enough to dampen out the bright stars that stretched beyond the polyglas dome which poured artificial rain on the duo below. Following Jaaq’s advice, Amatine did not look back at the clients as they continued walking. Never look back at the clients after a deal; this is an unspoken rule in the trade. They cleared the alley and cut right onto the shimmering sidewalk. In front of them a distance off was a sizable skyscraper which had a massive Syndicate logo anchored firmly near the apex of the structure. Across the street, a couple of Intaki Space Police officers eyed them with a glare. Amatine and Jaaq kept walking. Even if they knew what the two had just done, they probably wouldn’t bother trying to stop them. Such is the way things work out here in Syndicate.

Amatine walked slightly behind and left of Jaaq. He had his clammy hands dipped into the deep pockets of his trenchcoat. All along the way as the duo walked over to Jaaq’s pad Amatine couldn’t help but relish the feeling of all the kredits they just scored from the drug deal. The feeling of limitless wealth. It saturated his greedy heart with a burning lust for more. Caught up in the feeling of the fanciful thoughts, Amatine bumped into Jaaq who had stopped in his tracks.

“Huh?” Amatine looked to Jaaq dumbly with his mouth agape.

Jaaq nodded over to the shop beside them. An animal store. Really? He’s gonna spend some of our hard earned kredits on another lizard? Jaaq led the way in; Amatine followed.

As expected, Jaaq walked straight to where the reptiles were. Lizards in particular were his favorite. He maintained quite a collection at his private warehouse. Lizards of all shapes, patterns, and sizes. Some could fit in the palm of your hand. Others could fit the palm of your hand and the rest of you inside their stomachs. Jaaq was a breeder of exotic lizards in addition to running a sizable drug cartel which operated in this area of the cluster. The Chameleons were a crafty gang. Under Jaaq’s leadership, they grew potent enough to challenge Serpentis’ grasp on the drug market of this constellation. As Jaaq slowly examined the lizards for sale in the shop, the back of his shaved head which featured a nanotattoo of a lizard skull pulsated a dazzling array of faded colors.

Amatine trailed behind Jaaq. He didn’t understand the fascination the man had for the creatures. Then again, his passion wasn’t in any animal but the beast of shiny kredits stacking up in his vault. He pretended to look interested at all the lizards on display. A rookie in every sense of the word, the veteran Jaaq easily saw past this ruse.

“Lizards are quite fascinating creatures”, Jaaq murmured.

Oh man, here he goes again.

“They are quite adaptable to different terrains. Some species more so than others”, he continued. “A species found in Placid tends to operate in groups.” Jaaq caressed one of the scaly reptiles. “They have a gift for sorting through among their own members to sense which one of them is a snake - a traitor only out for their own good.”

“Is that so?”, asked Amatine in an attempt to appease Jaaq’s interest.

Jaaq nodded. “When the greedy member least expects it, the pack jumps on it and sniffles out its life. Out there in that terrain, the pack cannot afford to have a snake among them leeching away precious resources.”

“Isn’t that what precisely what you were doing while you worked for Serpentis?”, scoffed Amatine. “Embezzling drug sales and black market profits?”

Jaaq stopped petting the lizard. “I liberated those assets. Sarpati is a fool. A fool with a false vision. Daddy this, daddy that. He is a mere child with more money than he knows what to do with. He is nothing compared to his father.”

Amatine shrugged. “Whatever you say, boss.”

The two kept walking through the reptile section. They reached the area where the snakes were on display. Jaaq cringed slightly in revulsion.

“But you know you’d probably get back at Sarpati a lot faster if you didn’t waste so much kredits on that lizard pet farm you manage”, Amatine stated flatly.

Jaaq stopped to analyze one of those despicable snakes. He looked at it for a long time. He looked at it considerately. Snakes had a particular look. A peculiar gaze. You could discern a snake just by looking at its eyes. Jaaq looked over to his apprentice.

“Let’s go back to the warehouse. Our scientists have been cooking up a hybrid booster to introduce into market”, Jaaq ushered. “I’d like to familiarize you with our newest product.”

{}-{}-{}

The warehouse rested deeper within the station. Clients can rent out warehouses and as long as they didn’t cause a huge explosion, the station owners could care less what sorts of nefarious activities were conducted within. Such is the way things work out here in Syndicate.

The two gentlemen trekked along a steel walkway which hovered over the vast warehouse. Below on either side of the walkway was a labyrinth of pens and holds for Jaaq’s collection of lizards. After no short amount of time striding across this walkway, they finally broke free from the labyrinth only to be greeted by Chameleon members below sorting through and packaging their narcotics. Many of the Chameleon members donned their crew’s leather jackets, with the gang’s signature scarlet red and emerald green lizard skull painted on the back. It was a busy day. Shipments of drugs and black market goodies were being prepped to ship out all across Syndicate and Placid. The Chameleon’s smaller transports, repainted Caldari interceptors supplied by an anonymous donor, were loaded up first. It looked to be a big cash-in day for the drug cartel.

Jaaq and Amatine finally reached a closed door at the end of the walkway. After scanning Jaaq’s eye, hand, and hearing a verbal command, the sleek steel doors slide open smoothly. The duo entered a chamber and were sprayed with a decontamination gas. Amatine, being the rookie that he was, forgot to hold his breath during this stage. His nostrils and airway tract felt a tingly singed sensation - rather uncomfortable, but he did not betray his mistake to his mentor. They entered the well-lit lab together. The contrast of the lab’s lighting compared to the warehouses caused Amatine’s pupils to contract in discomfort. The scientists working in the lab didn’t mind the new company; they remained focused on their work. Jaaq led the way to a lab further down a corridor. The sealed door smoothly slid open at the punch of a few commands.

“Euphorix is what we’re calling it”, started Jaaq as the two approached a scientist hunched over a vial of scarlet red liquid.

“As the name implies, the synthetic compound generates a feeling of intense euphoria and pleasure; it functions as a dopamine agonist in the human brain”, stated the hunched over scientist with a cold, scientific tone.

“We expect it to do quite well in the market”, Jaaq interjected. “It can easily be converted into a gas form for rapid use, but we will also be offering it in a tablet form for a longer effect.” The scientist nodded in agreement.

“Neat stuff”, said Amatine with an enthusiastic tone. “I bet Sarpati would love to have this stuff! Too bad for him, I suppose.”

Jaaq confirmed in agreement with a nod. “It has a good effect in humans, definitely.” He continued walking to the back of the lab, nudging Amatine to follow along as he spoke. “It has an even more peculiar effect on some non-humans.”

Jaaq stopped in front of a pen that contained a moderately sized lizard. The head and main body of the reptile was about the length of Amatine’s forearm. Jaaq grasped a small furrier which cooed in distress. He dropped the small creature inside the pen with the lizard.

“These species of lizards normally suffice on small insects”, Jaaq whispered. “But something magical happens when they’re subjected to Euphorix.” He pressed a knob on the side of the pen and a scarlet red gas seeped into the container.

After a few moments, the lizard began twitching violently. The twitching lasted briefly, and then the lizard became tranquil. The furrier peeped and scurried to the opposite corner of the container. Amatine watched the scene with a perked eyebrow. Suddenly, the reptile dashed toward the furrier with flashing speed. It clutched the furrier in its jaws and thrashed the creature about furiously. Blood smears against the glass walls of the container. Satisfied with the bloodletting, the lizard begins consuming the furrier voraciously.

“What gives us a calming sensation gives them a healthy appetite for killing and eating”, Jaaq delivered with a smirk. “It is truly fascinating behavior to watch. When groups of them are exposed to Euphorix, they have enough sense to not kill each other, but they will easily gang up on anything else around them.”

“Okay”, said Amatine with hesitation. “I mean this is a cool experiment and all, but how exactly does this help us increase our profits of Euphorix?”

“Oh, not at all.”

“It is just good to know how certain products affect others.”

{}-{}-{}

The shuttle departed the station and warped off to a hidden stargate. Amatine signaled back to Jaaq.

“Thank you for trusting me with this mission, boss”, he stated proudly. “It is an honor to deliver the first batch of Euphorix, it truly is. I look forward to seeing it sell well.”

“Should be fairly straight forward”, Jaaq radioed back. “The shuttle has already been programmed to autopilot directly to Serpentis Prime using smuggler gates. You will deliver the underhanded punch directly to Sarpati’s face. I’m sure he’ll throw a fit out of his own citizens getting high off the stuff.”

Amatine snickered. He kicked back in his seat and tuned on the holoscreen to some cheap NOH porn. After satisfying himself, he dozed off into a blissful nap full of stacked ISK and endless women.

Amatine woke up to the computer alerting him.

“One jump from Serpentis Prime. Receiving incoming message.”

Amatine allowed the message through.

“Go ahead, boss, I read you loud and clear!”

Silence ensued.

“Boss? Jaaq?”

A recording started playing.

“We have orders from Serpentis Command to handle this new foe. You are to infiltrate the Chameleons and earn their trust. We will monitor the situation as it unfolds. Can we trust you with this assignment, Amatine?”

“Of course.”

“Excellent. We’ve pulled a few strings and got you set up with an interview with some of them. Don’t mess this up, or you’ll probably be dead.”

“I won’t mess this up. I will make Sarpati proud.”


Beads of sweat trickled down Amatine’s forehead. His heartbeat felt like it would race out of his chest. He froze in fear, unsure what to make of the situation.

Jaaq’s raspy voice came through the comm-link. “Did you really take me to be such a fool?”

The holoscreen in front of Amatine’s console lit up. Jaaq stood in front of a pen holding a trio of lizards. Entangled around his hands was a small snake. He looked down at the creature with veiled disgust.

“I believe you know fondly of my disgust for these animals”, he chuckled. “I guess I grew to despise them after working for Serpentis.”

Amatine remained frozen.

“Remember what I told you about the ability of that Placid lizard to discern the snake from within their pack? That rotten culprit looking out for only themselves?”

“Well, I’m sure you remember.” Jaaq’s lips curled into a smile. Scarlet red smoke crawled into the container behind him. The trio of lizards within there began twitching violently.

“I found a snake within my presence”, Jaaq hissed. As he said this, Amatine noticed red smoke drifting around him. He heard noises coming from the back where he thought containers of Euphorix had been placed.

“Send Sarpati my regards, Amatine.” Jaaq tossed the snake in the container of lizards; the reptiles shredded the snake to pieces.

Amatine turned his seat around as the feeling of euphoria and pleasure started to saturate through him. He watched as a frenzy of lizards sped towards him. He couldn’t help but feel happy as they did.
« Last Edit: 05 Nov 2017, 15:57 by Korsavius »
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