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Reliance (Entry for An Intelligent Moron's writing contest)

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avatar striker107
Level 24 : Expert Blacksmith
This is an entry for a contest, which can be found here. The story is 2,639 words.

I sprinted down the dilapidated corridor, my steel-toed boots clanging on the rotted wooden floorboards, I looked back to see several angry men with crowbars and bats-with-nails. I held tightly to the box under my arm, but as I was fleeing I failed to notice a hole in the floor, catching my foot as it fell through it and slamming my chin onto the wood and launching the box ahead of me

Then the men caught up to me and beat down upon me till my health bar reached zero and the all too familiar death screen popped-up.

“Do you wish to continue or log out?” a mechanical voice chirped.

“Log out, I am going to leave it alone for a bit to think of another way out of there.” I replied.

“Logging out, please wait while your save data is updated. And do you wish for me to attempt to find walkthroughts/tutorials on how to escape that mission?” it queried.

“No, and you know that no one has made it as far as me at this level.” I told it.

“Saving complete, please remove headset.” it instructed me.

I did as I was told, taking off the goggles hooked up to the machine with the game ‘Nac-Trion’ in it. I looked about the room making sure everything was where I had left it, my collection of every old gaming console/device only having a few in a somewhat working condition, a wall full of old games and a table with my stuff on it.

I picked up my phone and glasses, then stood up and left to the next room to make some lunch. I walked to my fridge and was about to press ‘make lunch’ when the lights went out. I stopped, never ever experiencing a problem with the power, I didn't know what to do.

Then the room shook as it went to back-up supports which groaned in protest. I ran to my balcony and looked out, seeing every building dark, then I see the supports of an apartment complex like mine give out and bring the whole thing crashing down to the ground (the complex is a spiraling building with each floor separated, a central elevator goes through the middle of it, usually the building relies on hover pads to support the floors, but as back-up it has supports on the bottom attached to the elevator, but it has a weight cap).

I looked up and saw the floor above me, but the supports were giving way, I watched in shocked disbelief as back-up failed and it fell onto my floor which cried out in anger of the extra weight. I fell to the ground when it hit, the the ground beneath me dropped as my floors supports gave out, slamming into the floor below.

I attempted to start crawling back into my room, every time the floor gave way, the next one fell faster, so I had a time limit till I entered free fall, which I didn’t want to be outside when that happened. I made it inside just before we stopped breaking at every floor and the ground got further and further away until I was stuck to the roof.

A few seconds later we reached the bottom, and I was thrown from the ceiling to the ground, coughing as all the wind was knocked out of me and maybe a few broken bones, as my vision danced while I looked around. Then I heard a cracking sound as something nearby started breaking, I turned over to get a better view of the room then saw the cracks forming in the ceiling. I inwardly screamed to myself to get up, but my body wouldn’t respond anymore, I just laid there completely petrified.

Then a chunk of the ceiling dropped, but at the same time someone dived through my balcony doors and rolled to right by me and caught the piece of ceiling that fell. I looked at my savior and saw the beautiful body of a women leaning over me in a fireman’s uniform with beads of sweat dripping off her face onto her helmet as she held up the chunk of ceiling.

“-you okay? Can you hear me? Sir!” she shouted at me, snapping me back into reality.

“Uh… y-yeah, thanks for saving me.” I responded.

“Can you move? Because this is actually quite heavy.” she stated.

“I-I think I can, but it hurts to breathe.” I told her, while glancing towards her chest.

“Good, but try and sneak a glance again and I might lose my grip on this.” she said.

“I-I wasn’t doing a-anything!” I replied nervously as I crawled under her and stood up when I was through.

She dropped the chunk which crumbled when it hit the ground “I am tired of guys trying to be ‘sly’ and sneak a glance, but I guess I still do need to save you.” she sighed as she said it.

She powered up her jetpack and motioned for me to come over, I walked over sheepishly, she grabbed my hand and pulled me closer, she pulled my arms over her back. “Try anything, and I’ll ‘accidentally’ drop you.” she told me.

“Okay, thanks.” I said.

We launched off the balcony and shortly flew down to the ground, she dropped me a few feet above the ground. She landed in front of me, facing a car with the jet-black windows up, preventing me from seeing who was inside the car. I stood up and looked at her, as she just stood facing it, not moving in the slightest.

“You aren’t even breathing… hello? Are you okay?” I asked her.

She just stood there for a bit longer, before she turned to me, slung me over her shoulder and shot off into the sky, leaving the car behind. I watched as the doors opened with guns and aimed at us, they fired at us and she tried to dodge, but a shot from their guns hit the jetpack and we dropped from the sky. Then a car drove under us and caught us, it zoomed off as I was too stunned to move or try to figure out what happened.

“You two okay back there?” he asked. The voice was from man in the front of the car, from the back he had dirty blond hair, a blue t-shirt, brown cargo pants and black tennis shoes with a neon-green trim.

“Yeah, thanks for saving me.” she thanked.

“Is he okay? He isn’t responding.” he stated.

“He’s fine, he does it sometimes.” she replied.

“Y-Yeah, but what’s going on?” I asked them.

“This may sound cliche, but the game you were playing was designed to test who could be assets for us.” she answered with a straight face.

“W-Wait, really?” I asked with shock.

“Haha, nope! I figured out you were a gamer when I flew by your room, so I said something that'd get a reaction out of you. Your face was priceless!” she stated smiling.

“That's not funny. But why did you really save me?” I inquired.

“Because she's such a nice person. In actuality, she probably just saved you by reflex because that WAS her cover, but it was blown by the people in that car.” he told me.

“Sorry about getting you wrapped up in this mess, those people are the ones I was sent to catch, as they were suspected to be planning to take out the power and cause mass chaos… but it seems I was too late.” she stated.

I looked at her and saw that she was straightening out her hair and that her helmet was off. She had shining light brown hair that was probably to her upper-back in length, piercing brown eyes, smooth looking skin of a slightly tan complexion, she had a reserved expression that seemed as if she was hiding something.

“Are you not telling me something?” I asked her.

“Nothing, I don't have anything I want to share.” she answered.

“So you ARE hiding something!” I pointed out.

“What? No!” she snapped.

“She is, and she'll tell you later.” he stated.

“Okay… but why don't you just drop me off somewhere? Or why did you save me specifically? Better yet, who are you?” I questioned.

“We can't, those people will find you. That kinda just happened. Can't say, because I don't trust you.” she answered.

“But what talents do you have?” he asked.

“I've beat nearly every game made on the hardest difficulty, currently on the ‘Ancient Canyon’ mission of Nac-Trion on Suicide.” I replied.

“Dude! No one has made it that far on the difficulty below that! The enemies are compared to A.I. levels of intelligence!” he stated.

“Oh really? Charles, list statistics for Nac Trion on Suicide.” I said as I brought our my phone.

“Yes sir, you have reached as far as Ancient Cavern three times in your three attempts at completion.” Charles Responded.

“Can't really argue with that.” he agreed.

“Told you. But, what about the buildings for life sustainment?” I asked.

“We're heading to a nearby power back-up center.” he responded.

“Okay.” I said.

Shortly after the conversation, we arrived at the back-up center. It was as dark as everything else around it, we parked nearby but behind cover and got out.

“You stay behind us, we'll protect you.” she said to me.

“You better.” I warned, though they ignored me.

They brought out their handgun railguns and advanced towards the structure. When we entered, there was broken systems everywhere, and no signs of anyone still there.

“Alright, you go and fix it.” he told me.

“What? Just because I am a master gamer doesn't mean I can fix the electrical grid!” I replied.

“I'm sure one of your many games delved into it in some way.” she countered.

“Yeah, for ancient systems!” I snapped at her.

“How different can it be?” she asked then continued, “At least try something.”

“Fine, you get your way… I'll try to fix it.” I relented.

After looking at it for a short time, I came to the conclusion of ‘It can be different, VERY much so’, but I still tried to find a way till things turned for the worse.

“Not good…” I said to myself aloud.

“What isn't good?” he asked me.

“I might have just set the system to feedback, meaning it'll amass power till it goes ka-boom. Normally it would be fine, but the safety system is broken too.” I answered.

“I thought you didn't know what to do, but it sounds like you do.” she commented.

“I learned a lot from trial and error, well… until this mistake.” I stated.

“Okay, but we should probably run now.” she added.

We ran outside and she put her arm up in front of me as something shot at me, it dissipated as a blue field blinked around her arm.

“Great, they’ve found us!” she shouted.

“Who?” I asked.

“The people from earlier,” she stated, “so you'll stay between us while we escape.”

She stepped in front of me and he stepped behind me, then we ran to the car as they took the bullets with the field taking the impact. When we reached it, they blasted off to seemingly try and get as far away as possible.

“What's with that field?” I asked.

“Something you were not supposed to see.” she replied.

“It's a force field/energy shield, used to protect their ‘investments’.” he stated.

“investments? What are you talking about?” I questioned.

“Us, we are their ‘investments’. Because we are people that were given a second chance, if we became machines. When we were offered the choice, we were on our deathbeds, our facility had been destroyed due to an accident and many had already died.” he answered.

“Oh… so are you-” I was asking before I was cut-off.

“Dead? Technically, yes we are, for a few years now actually.” he interjected.

“Then how did you sweat when you held up the chunk of ceiling in my room?” I inquired.

“Our bodies were made with the intention of blending in without anyone being the wiser. So that means, fake sweat, proper texture and movement.” she replied.

“So what exactly are you?” I asked.

“That's not exactly easy to explain.” he stated.

“Then who are you?”

“That is none of your-" she said before she was interrupted.

“I'm Jason Barrow, or was. And she's Alexandra Smith,but everyone calls her Alexa as a joke.” he chirped in.

“I should probably introduce myself too. Well, I'm Sam Brown.”

“You had to go and say it, didn't you?” she asked irritably.

“He's helped us, quite a bit actually, so he deserved to know.” he stated.

“No he didn't, he just typed some junk and broke it more.” she countered.

“You do know I am here, right?” I asked them.

The car shook violently before beginning to plummet to the ground, leaving my stomach behind as it fell. I saw Jason trying to steer the car as we fell to probably try and prevent me from getting too hurt when we hit the ground.

But before we hit the ground he ejected my seat, preventing most of the injuries I probably would’ve gotten otherwise. But I still was launched through the window of a building, breaking something.

“Ow, that hurts really bad.” I stated as I tried to stand up.

As I kept attempting to get up, I looked around where I was to get a grip around where I landed, it was a meeting room with overturned chairs, broken coffee cups with puddles around them, tablets with varying degrees of damage to them, and a body on the floor with blood trickling down the side of his head and on a nearby chair.

I crawled over to him, seeing that he was still breathing, even if faintly. I tore his shirt, turned his body over and propped his head up, I wrapped the torn shirt around his head injury and tied the ends together tightly. I dragged him to a wall and propped him against it, I checked his pockets searching for a way to contact the right people to take care of him, I found it and activated the beacon.

I then got up (finally) and walked out of the room scouting for a way down, I found the stairs after not too long and began to climb down them, after what felt like hours I reached the bottom (how I miss hypervators, hyper speed elevators, basically really fast elevators) and walked to the exit.

When I made it outside, I walked back to where the car was and saw that it was surrounded by cops and that they were gone. I ducked behind a pile of trash and peeked over to see if anyone saw me, which they had, so I turned and bolted off, taking sharp turns and sliding under things. But after a minute or two, I was completely out of breath, and began panting heavily as I laid back against a wall.

I looked up and froze, seeing a police security droid in the air scanning the area in search of me, I tried to scoot away as slowly as possible… but it still detected that I was moving and shot me in the neck with something and I woke up in a cell.

“You are going to stay there, because you are suspected of destroying the technical grid.” a voice from a mic told me.

“I didn’t take out the grid, I was trying to fix it.” I countered.

“You were seen in every single grid before the power went out, and the again when the back-up generator exploded.” he stated, then continued “You won’t be leaving here anytime soon.”

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